Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Dreamin' Book Giveaways Week 13

Non Fiction Week

Welcome to a summer of book giveaways! Every Saturday I will be posting a new giveaway. The books range from children's to adult, from romance to cookbook, from fiction to non-fiction- so something for everyone! This week is being sponsored by Jennifer Phillips and Michelle Wilson and I'm throwing in a cool cookbook. To enter fill out the raffleocpter form. Open to the US and Canada. Please read terms and conditions.

Jennifer Phillips-  Girls Research! Amazing Tales of Female Scientists
Girls Research! features 56 women scientists who broke barriers, made life-changing discoveries and forever transformed the world. Authored by Jennifer Phillips, the book targets grades 4-6 and is 64 pages.

Michelle Wilson- Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?

Michelle Wilson’s humorous yet poignant insights help women examine the limitations we place on ourselves out of insecurity and self-doubt. We have faith in God, but do we know that He has faith in us?

Cook/Pollock- The Casserole Queens Cookbook
In The Casserole Queens Cookbook, they share their fresh, updated, from-scratch recipes for traditional dishes. Tuna Noodle is brought up a notch with a homemade cream sauce and a kick of cayenne pepper; Halibut Enchiladas with Salsa Verde are surprisingly light and vibrant; Mandarin Meatloaf has a sweet orange flavor that recharges a beloved weeknight staple. There are home-style desserts, like Gooey Apple Butter Cake, and great brunch dishes, such as Frenchy Toast Casserole. The Queens have thought of everything, providing advice on scaling and freezing casseroles so that anyone can stock the freezer with go-to dinners

Friday, August 22, 2014

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Every now and then a publisher sends me a book I wasn't expecting and it totally makes my day. So was the case when Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas from Bloomsbury showed up at my door. Then I realized it was book three in a series, so I went out and bought the first two because I can't stand reading a series out of order. So FYI, the first two books are Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. Heir of Fire is set to be released on September 2nd.

The Story-
Celaena Sardothien is on the path to finding out about the Vord and the Wyrd Keys from Maeve the fairy queen. She has travelled across the ocean only to be stuck outside the walls of the fairy kingdom and forced to prove her worth among half fey. At this way station she trains with Rowan, an ice fairy set to watch over her. She needs to unlock her true fairy powers that have been hidden since her childhood, before the queen will see her.

Meanwhile, back at the castle, Dorian is learning about his own hidden powers through the help of a healer named Sorscha. He also uncovers the truths that Calaena had already learned, about the evil of the king, his ways of controling people and the wyrdkeys. To protect prince Dorian, Chaol secretly begins meeting with Aedion, Calaena's cousin and once betrothed. Aedion is a pawn in the king's game, but has outside allies that will help Chaol learn more about the King's savage magic.

Hidden in the mountains the king is building an army of witches and wyverns, his bid to control all the lands finally coming into place.

My Thoughts- (Spoilers)
I've enjoyed all three books and eagerly delved into this one. I was excited to see Celaena finally use her magic powers, because the reader knows there is some sort of greatness within her. I love her kick-butt character and magic just adds to her awesomeness. I ate up all scenes between Calaena and Rowan. This assassin seems to fall in love easily despite her toughness. I liked that Rowan was the ice to her fire.

The difference between this book and the first two is location. In book three Celaena is off searching for Queen Maeve and leaves Chaol and Dorian behind to their own adventures. Then there are the witches in the mountains. There are several chapters about them that I skimmed over just wanting to get back to the main story. I actually was upset every time the author took me away from the main story line. After the first two books I was mostly focused on Calaena and Dorian.

The ending threw me for a small loop, because Maeve was a let down. After all the time Calaena takes to earn her way to the Queen, we don't really get any answers. However, Calaena gets Rowan, so that is a good twist. The reader is left with Calaena returning to where she came from, the castle, looking for the wyrdkeys just as before. The part that had me itching for the next book is Dorian. We end the story with him in the power of his father and I can't wait to see what happens. This is a full- on action packed series full of magic and intrigue and I'm really enjoying the ongoing story. 4 stars!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Waiting Sucks

I posted this on another writing blog last week, but I just had to share. Waiting Sucks! Anyway- here it is...

I'm rambling about writing today. More specifically, the waiting that is involved with writing. There is no other business, but maybe science, where you have to wait so long for results. Writing the book takes forever. Of course, then you have a gazillion rewrites, but that's okay because it needs to be perfect before you query. The hard part is next- waiting to hear back from an editor. Agents are usually very zippy, but once they've all said no, you move on directly to editors.

I had one editor take over two years to get back to me. The good news was that she was very upfront in the process and told me it might take that long. The others take at least three months, but more often than not, six months to a year. And that's the hard part, waiting and waiting, and you can do nothing about it. Even worse is what I call the book 2 wait. That's where I am now. I got my foot in the door and had a book published by a legit publisher. Now I have a great credit in my query letter, and you'd think it would be easier? It's not. I actually joined a group of other writers that experience depression because they can't get that second book picked up. I'm not quite at that stage, but I have gotten to the part where it is hard to write anything new because my excitement is wearing thin. I just want to hear back.

My publisher has my book right now. It is a YA fantasy that I submitted four months ago. The wait is killing me, and I know 90% of all other authors go through the same thing. Ugh. The path is so hard. Any other writer's out there have similar problems?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Dreamin' Book Giveaways Week 12

Picture Book Week!
Welcome to a summer of book giveaways! Every Saturday I will be posting a new giveaway. The books range from children's to adult, from romance to cookbook, from fiction to non-fiction- so something for everyone! This week is being sponsored by Wade Bradford, Anne Belov, and Tanglewood Press. To enter fill out the raffleocpter form. Open to the US and Canada. Please read terms and conditions.

Wade Bradford- Why Do I Have to Make My Bed?
Since ancient times, one question has endured in the hearts and minds of children: Why do I have to make my bed if it's just going to get messed up again? Now, Wade Bradford takes readers on a trip through time for a humorous look at how bed-making has evolved throughout history.  Using examples of household tasks that might have been performed in colonial America, in ancient Egypt, by Vikings, and so on, this clever examination of chore lore eventually reveals the answer to this age-old question. (Hint: Mothers throughout history have always had a ready response.) This book makes history so much fun, kids won't even realize they're learning. 

Anne Belov-  Pandamorphosis

Think playful pandas and you have a “what if” tale of transformation that will transport readers into a moonlit night of wishes and fantasy. Pandamorphosis, is a visual adventure that explores the unintended consequences of getting what you wish for. Follow a night of magic adventure as a young girl’s passion for pandas, her pet kitty, and pandas on the loose create fun and mayhem.

Penn/Gibson- A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon
The Kissing Hand has become a children's classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents. A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon conveys the heart of the story in rhyming verse, perfect for read-aloud and easy for even the little ones to remember and recite. With illustrations by Barbara Gibson that capture the warmth and beauty of the original artwork, toddlers now share in the benefits from Mrs. Raccoon's secret for making a child feel safe and secure.

Hall/Bell- Miss You Like Crazy

Walnut and his mom agree that it would be fun if he could go to work with her, and they fantasize about the adventures they could share. Though it can't always happen, Walnut’s mother assures him that he is always on her mind, and together they find ways to have a physical presence for each other when at work or school. This light-hearted story provides parents an opportunity to reassure children on their importance in busy parents' lives.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shadow Swarm by D. Robert Pease

For YA Friday I am reviewing Shadow Swarm by D. Robert Pease. Welcome to anyone that is stopping by as part of the Novel Publicity blog tour. There is a wide offering of prizes up for grabs!

The Story-
Aberthol Nauile wakes up inside a tomb with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Even more confusing are the people he finds that insist he is a king of legend who has come to save the world. Before he can even digest their beliefs, they are attacked by a swarm of shadow creatures and the people are slaughtered. Aberthol barely makes it out alive with the help of Elise, an acolyte in training.

Elise fills in some of the missing pieces as they flee into the woods, but before they reach safety, Elise is captured and taken to the enemy. Aberthol is on his own, until the words to summon a dragon come unbidden to his mind. With the help of his knew companion, Aberthol brings estranged groups of people/creatures together to fight off the evil threatening their world.

My Thoughts-
I agreed to review this book based on the blurb that what sent to me. I was intrigued by the idea of waking up in a tomb with no memory and being forced to assume the role of savior. As I read the book the ongoing mystery of who Aberthol really was pulled me along. He has glimpses of past events in history and also begins to develop healing powers. I enjoy this kind of story and love to figure out mysteries.

The character himself left something to be desired.I understand he has amnesia, but the lack of early character development was lacking and I didn't grow invested in him. I did become invested in the people he was working with, which is why I wanted to find out how he would help them. His age is not clearly given, but from what I gathered he is between 17 and 20. The problem was that as I read it seemed as if he was a man in his thirties. Plus, the reader is asked to believe that he fell into an eternal love with Elise when we barely have anytime to see the two of them together.

Just one other thing, the author falls into the trap of using really hard to figure out and pronounce names for his fantasy characters. This really pulls you out of the story and makes you stumble. Plus, it's hard to keep characters straight.

Overall I applaud the idea, but it needed more fleshing out. 3 stars.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Double Reverse by Fred Bowen

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am reviewing Double Reverse by Fred Bowen.

The Story-
Jesse has always looked up to his quarterback brother, Jay. Now Jay is off to college and Jesse is on the Freshman football team at the high school. He's comfortable in his role as wide receiver, until he notices that their quarterback is horrible.

When Jay comes home for the weekend with thoughts of quitting his college team because he wasn't given the position he wanted, Jesse and him make a deal. Jay will try being a safety if Jesse will try out for quarterback.

Despite his doubts of being too short, Jesse tries, and succeeds! Now he's in a position to help his team win games and improve their skills. Will his determination pay off?

My Thoughts-
First off, this is a book about football and it'll probably pull in boy readers, but I really enjoyed it and I think a lot of girls will too. It was just a lot of fun to read about Jesse as he comes to realize that size doesn't matter. That it's how you play that counts. His first move as QB is to notice they also need a good kicker. So what does he do? He looks past the obvious and asks one of the female soccer players to help out. The whole theme of the book revolves around the idea that anyone can be great at anything. There is even an after chapter about real life athletes who beat the odds to become stars.

The only thing I'm ashamed to admit is that because of my lack of football finesse, I didn't understand  the illustrations included about football plays. I'm betting those that understand them will enjoy a whole other level.

I originally agreed to review the book because of a preview of Jay and Jesse. I really like that these two brothers are good friends and support each other. It was nice to read about a family that supported each other and set good examples. I just enjoyed the entire book and loved that it had a great moral and included good sportsmanship, but that it wasn't preachy or over-the-top. 4 Stars!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summer Dreamin' Book Giveaways Week 11

The Ashfall Series by Mike Mullin

Welcome to a summer of book giveaways! Every Saturday I will be posting a new giveaway. The books range from children's to adult, from romance to cookbook, from fiction to non-fiction- so something for everyone! This week is being sponsored by Tanglewood Books. They are putting up the entire YA Ashfall Trilogy by Mike Mullin! To enter fill out the raffleocpter form. Open to the US and Canada. Please read terms and conditions.

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

Ashen Winter-
It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions.

When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.