Thursday, July 31, 2014

Magnolia ~ Kristi Cook (arc) Tour Review + Giveaway [@SimonTeen @TUABFC @Asatoorian @Kristi_Cook]

by Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Pages: 384
(purchase links after the review)


In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

Kristi Cook's Magnolia is a great, fun, summertime read. Jemma and Ryder are what would happen if you flipped Romeo and Juliet's tale on its head: their families have been uber close for generations and have all but planned their wedding. Only, Jemma and Ryder cannot stand each other.

Or so they want to believe.

The families' history adds an interesting element to Magnolia and to Jemma and Ryder's lives, as well. Both their history - personal and familial - and their present play roles in their feelings for each other. It brings more depth to their relationship and the novel.

While it stays a fun, easy read, there are elements of the story that provide more substance. Characters are facing their own - internal and external - struggles that affect not only them but those around them. It all affects everything from why Ryder and Jemma have to brave the storm together to what their futures hold. We get a fuller picture of the characters and the 'why's for things feel logical and real. Even as the characters may be thrown together, there's a reason.

Those deeper issues that are part of the story and the characters' stories, make for a really enjoyable read. It's not just two characters who hate each other and then have to spend a stressful, trying time together. It's characters with a history (dating back to the Civil War), with their own stressors who have to face a trying event, together.

It is a full and well thought out story where nothing is isolated, everything - and everyone - affects everything else.

One of my favorite things about Magnolia was how well the author could set the scene. The characters live in Mississippi and that was not just so that the storm could happen. The descriptions from Jemma of her surroundings evoked a terrific sense of atmosphere. It was easy to imagine being in that same place, knowing how it would sound, smell, look and feel. It really brought the setting to life.

Favorite Quote:

"But yeah, Mama taught me to sew, Daddy to shoot. That's the way we roll here in Magnolia Branch."

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Follow the FFBC Magnolia Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

That’s the official version–here are some other fun facts:

~ As an undergrad, I majored in History and minored in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. While at Southern Miss, I was a member of Phi Mu sorority, and I was a Dixie Darling. And yep, Brett Favre was our quarterback at the time!

~ I studied American History in grad school at Columbia University. I *love* history, especially the Civil War era (U.S.) and Regency- and Edwardian-era British history.

~ My all-time favorite book *and* movie is GONE WITH THE WIND. My favorite literary characters are Rhett Butler, Atticus Finch, and Mr. Darcy. I kind of want to add Peeta Mellark to that list!

~Weirdly enough (or maybe not so weirdly?) I’m also a big fan of STAR TREK (the original series). I never can remember if I’m supposed to call myself a “Trekkie” or a “Trekker,” though!


Win (1) $25 gift card to an online bookstore of choice (Amazon or BN) plus an entire paperback set of the Winterhaven series (Haven, Mirage, and Eternal) [INT]
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My Waiting On pick for this week:

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

The Young Elites will be published by Putnam Books for Young Readers on October 7th - add it to your Goodreads or pre-order from Amazon

I really cannot wait for this book (and series) - I love, love, loved the Legend series and am really looking forward to reading something else from Marie Lu! (Plus, the Pinterest board she made for the series makes it even look even more appealing.)

What are you waiting on this week? Link me to your post!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars Release Info [@TheFaultMovie #TFIOS]

We're all excited for the BluRay & DVD release of The Fault In Our Stars so I thought I'd share the information I just received about i:

#TFIOS is about to come to home!!!

The Fault in our Stars Little Infinities Edition with the Extended and Theatrical version of the film will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack on SEPTEMBER 16!! The Little Infinities Edition Blu-ray will include a Behind-the-Scenes look at how the two lover’s paths aligned in bringing the book to the screen, Six Deleted Scenes and a limited time only INFINITY BRACELET!

The Blu-ray box art was selected by you, the FANS of #TFIOS.

The Fault In Our Stars movie Twitter: @TheFaultMovie and, of course author of The Fault In Our Stars John Green: @realjohngreen

add The Fault in Our Stars to your Goodreads, buy it from Book Depo, or Amazon.
And pre-order the movie, available September 16th.

thanks Fox & ThinkJam for the info!

Video Veneris

The trailer for this week is The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

about the trailer:
Lev Grossman turned to his fans to help him create the trailer for "The Magician's Land" (in bookstores August 5th), his highly anticipated third book in the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy. You'll notice some special guests as well.

add the book to your Goodreads or pre-order on Amazon

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me ~ Julie Anne Peters (earc) review [@lbkids @julieannepeters]

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
June 10, 2014
256 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

When Alix's charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee's room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee's cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T. The most recent text reads: "Please tell me what I did. Please, Swan. Te amo. I love you."

Shocked and betrayed, Alix learns that Swanee has been leading a double life--secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time she's been with Alix. Alix texts Liana from Swanee's phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news.

Brought together by Swanee's lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they'd thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana. Alix knows what it feels like to be lied to--but will coming clean to Liana mean losing her, too?

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me was not what I was expecting. Granted, I did only read half of the summary and I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was different. In the best possible way.

Alis is awoken with the news that her girlfriend Swanee has suddenly died. The news devastates Alix. Though she and Swanee have only been together a short time, she can't imagine going on without her. It's when Alix is looking around Swanee's room that she finds Swanee's phone and reads a text thta threatens to cast a new light on their relationship.

Some pretty major things happen to Alix in quick succession in the beginning of this novel and I found her reactions realistic and believable. Things happened very naturally.

Though Swanee has died suddenly, her character is not made into a saint or given a free pass on things done while she was alive. Her character, her personality, the actions she took and how they affected others are a fantastic part of the story. With much farther reaching consequences than is at first apparent.

There is a progression in Alix's character that is gradual, plausible and very enjoyable.

Neither she nor Liana are in any sort of a 'usual' situation. Despite the uniqueness of it all, it feels that none of it could have happened any differently. Despite any heartache that may have been prevented.

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is one about which I don't want to give too much away. I loved the relationships - of all different types - in it, the characters and how they grew. At the book's conclusion there were some things left unresolved, but they were the things that would still be unanswered in life. We dont' get to be omnipotent just because this is fiction. It's that slightly messy end that makes it feel even more real.

I loved Julie Anne Peters' By the Time You'll Read This, I'll Be Dead and now I love Lies, as well. It is definitely a recommended read.

thank you to the publisher for my copy - through NetGalley - to review

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My Waiting On pick for this week:

Trust Me I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

Trust Me I'm Lying will be published by Delacorte Press on October 14th - add it to your Goodreads or pre-order from Amazon

What are you waiting on this week? Link me to your post!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Mirk & The Midnight Hour ~ Jane Nickerson (audio) review [@jane_nickerson @AAKnopf]

The Mirk & The Midnight Hour
narrated by: Dorothy Dillingham Blue
Listening Library (audio)/Knopf Books for Young Readers (print)
March 11, 2014
12 hours 15 minutes/384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/at Audible/or Amazon

A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest.
All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.

When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she's drawn to him. But Violet isn't Thomas's only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn't been out of compassion.

Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.
From the author of Strands of Bronze and Gold comes a haunting love story and suspenseful thriller based on the ancient fairy tale of “Tam Lin.”

Jane Nickerson’s Strands of Bronze and Gold, published last year, was a reteling of Bluebeard, with The Mirk & The Midnight Hour, she retells another little known fairy tale: ‘Tam Lin.’

Though not a sequel to Strands of Bronze and GoldThe Mirk & The Midnight Hour is set in the same town and they have a great character in common.

Taking place a couple of years after Strands, the civil war is now taking place and affecting the characters of TM&TMH. There is no part of Violet’s life that isn’t affected; her twin brother was killed and now her father has left to fight, leaving her with a new stepmother and sister. Beyond all of that, Violet begins to wonder if all of her own views on slavery and the war are what she thought and if they are correct.

As with Strands, slavery is very much a part of the novel. Whether it is the war that has affected Violet so much, her family’s own slaves or characters’ views on it, they all play an important role in the tale, also giving us insight into the characters.

Narrator Dorothy Dillingham Blue is fantastic as Violet. Violet’s character and all that she encounters make for someone readers can easily relate to, being quickly drawn into her tale.  Blue’s narration really brings Violet, the entire world and the characters of The Mirk and The Midnight Hour to life.
The voices for all of the characters stay true with each of them easily identifiable.

One of the big events in novel seemed to be so strongly hinted at that while it may have been startling to the characters, readers will likely predict it. The exact occurrence and all that it brings do, still, contain some surprises.

Full of atmosphere, suspense, romance, drama and era relevant issues, The Mirk and The Midnight Hour is an incredibly enjoyable book. One that is even better as an audiobook.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
 • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser:
James shifts, and drops his arms. "That's horrible. Why didn't The Program take that memory?"

-pg 38 of The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young

Monday, July 21, 2014

Welcome to the Dark House ~ Laurie Faria Stolarz (earc) review [@lauriestolarz @DisneyHyperion]

Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House #1)
Disney Hyperion
July 22, 2014
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.
Laurie Faria Stolarz's Welcome to the Dark House is a a good horror novel, with a very cinematic feel to it.

Seven teenagers win a contest where entry required them to write of their most horrible nightmare. The prize is a weekend with horror film director Justin Blake and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at his next film. Most of them entered because of their love (possibly borderline obsession) with Blake and his movies. Ivy, however doesn't like horror movies or Blake - she has a much more real world nightmare she's hoping to conquer.

Things are interesting and exciting when the group first comes together, but soon it becomes clear the weekend will not go as promised.

Welcome to the Dark House alternates between the different characters points-of-view. In the ARC there was no labeling of who the narrator was. With them all together as a group and each told in the first person, the characters weren't distinct or recognizable enough for me to tell who was now narrating until another character's statement or action or process of elimination revealed their identity.

While the labeling is only an ARC issue, it's worth mentioning as it brought my attention more to the characters' lack of individuality.

As the synopsis shows, Ivy and Parker are the two characters who get more focus (and development), with Ivy feeling like the novel's main character. Her history, her nightmare and reason for entering the contest, lend the story more drama and suspense. It also poses more questions, both about her decisions and what is happening.

The other characters are similar to those in most horror movies. They play a role in the plot progression and they serve a purpose for the story as a whole but you don't really know them and you don't care all that much if/when they're gone.

I did find one of them more interesting than the others. Her character had a very unique back story and everything from how she interacted with the others to her family brought up a lot of questions. Yet, we never seemed to get any of the answers.

There are quite a few places where questions are left unanswered in Welcome to the Dark House. Whether that's due to it being the first in a series (per Goodreads indication) or just how the book was written, I'm not sure.

The horror-movie- like feel of Welcome to the Dark House is where the novel is the strongest. We spend the first half of the book being introduced to the characters - and them being introduced to each other. That part was pretty hit or miss for me. Though it was necessary for both the introductions and to setup the rest of the story.

The second half of the book is where the danger, suspense and horror came in and the stronger part of the book. The buildup of suspense is done extremely well. It's obvious something is going to go horribly wrong, it's just a question of what - and when. The closer we get to the end, the clearer it is that they're horror won't be some sort of smoke and mirrors scaring. It will be very real.  As the ending approaches the suspense is really ratcheted up.

Welcome to the Dark House is a fun, quick YA horror novel.  Now knowing that this is the first in the series, I like the ending much better than before I knew and hope we'll get some more answers in Book 2. This should be a good read for those who like horror movies - or who want to like them - and I'm anxious to see where Book 2 takes the story.

earc received for review from publisher through NetGalley

Friday, July 18, 2014

Video Veneris [@SimonSchuster @BenoitDLewis]

Today's trailer is a book trailer for Travels With Casey by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Travels With Casey will be out on the 22nd and is published by Simon & Schuster

about the book:
A moody Labrador and his insecure human take a funny, touching cross-country RV trip into the heart of America's relationship with dogs."I don't think my dog likes me very much," "New York Times Magazine" writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis confesses at the beginning of his journey with his nine-year-old Labrador-mix, Casey. Over the next four months, thirty-two states, and 13,000 miles in a rented motor home, Denizet-Lewis and his canine companion attempt to pay tribute to the most powerful interspecies bond there is, in the country with the highest rate of dog ownership in the world.On the way, Denizet-Lewis,known for his deeply reported dispatches from far corners of American life meets an irresistible cast of dogs and dog-obsessed humans. Denizet-Lewis and Casey hang out with wolf-dogs in Appalachia, search with a dedicated rescuer of stray dogs in Missouri, spend a full day at a kooky dog park in Manhattan, get pulled over by a K9 cop in Missouri, and visit "Dog Whisperer;" Cesar Millan in California. And then there are the pet psychics, dog-wielding hitchhikers, and two nosy women who took their neighbor to court for allegedly failing to pick up her dog's poop."Travels With Casey" is a delightfully idiosyncratic blend of memoir and travelogue coupled with an exploration of a dog-loving America. What does our relationship to our dogs tell us about ourselves and our values? Denizet-Lewis explores those questions and his own canine-related curiosities and insecurities;during his unforgettable road trip through our dog-loving nation.
add it to your Goodreads/pre-order on Amazon/or Book Depo
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