Friday, September 19, 2014

Once Upon a Time... Meanderings

There's a time to prepare for a "day" by preparing speeches and then there's a time when thoughts just go 'round in circles. You totally know what I mean...
You gotta tell so -n- something but it's important to get it right otherwise they'll take it wrong and you can barely wrap yer head around "it" anyway, 'cause yer borderline TICKED and so you gotta say it right... and it's important...
Just shoot me now.

(Not really. That was for dramatics.)

The best defense to circular thoughts, otherwise known as "worry" (but who's wants labels?) is a good story. Book. Grab a book. Dive into someone else's life, let your crazy mind chew on their issues for awhile.

If you're very good at this, or if you find a very, very good book, you might distract yourself so thoroughly that you elbow out some wiggle room for a fresh perspective to the stupid THING you can't avoid no matter how much running away looks like a viable option. In such cases, getting lost into a good book so thoroughly is refreshing. If that book makes me laugh out loud one minute while freaking me out the next, even better.

This morning I was so "good" at the distraction that I missed my stop. I glanced up from my awesome reading device (otherwise known as a cell phone, which is a joke since the device is clearly an entertainment center and has very little to do with making and receiving calls at all) to see a strange landscape. For a second, I glanced longingly at my book. But then logic took over. If I didn't leap out of the train before the doors closed, it would take that much longer to figure out how far away I was from my stop.

Well. *shrug*  My thoughts were in another world and the most I could immediately manage was the very basics.

The weather was beautiful, for Oregon, and the fresh morning air pumped me full of this... confidence for the day. Like, "Yeah! I can do this!" I totally forgot I was backtracking down the train tracks and strutted like I always took an extra long route to work. To increase my step count. Or something.

I passed this group of enthusiastic iphone line-standers also enjoying the morning like they had a plan.


You can tell how quickly I was walking by how fuzzy the picture is. Or... maybe how nervous I was about a bunch of bored people noticing I was taking a picture of them.

I discovered, eventually, that I only missed my stop by two, which wasn't bad considering how successful I was.

You're curious what I'm reading, no doubt.  I have this love for Charming and now (a preview of) Daring. I'm not sure I can recommend them to all my followers since the grit turns into horror with a minor slip in splattered brains. Oh... sorry.  It's so gross. So gross I can't look away. Or so sensual I can't look away. Or soooo flippin' funny I *snort* OUT LOUD in public transportation, which is embarrassing, believe me. Or... so tender and transparent I hold the words close to my heart and just *breathe* for a few minutes. I guess I love the snarky humor and the sensitive rawness of the story. I haven't gone all fan-crazy over an author in a long time, but I can't help it. I'm in awe of Elliott James' writing. *sigh*

Charming (Pax Arcana, #1)  Daring (Pax Arcana, #2)
(The covers are linked to Goodreads.)

I'm not sure if I was going to start reviewing these titles next or where my thoughts were headed, but now they're getting sucked into HOMEWORK. Yep. 5th grade lit and 4th grade snacks. "I don't know where the orange-juicer thingame is if it's not where it's supposed to be."  I'm getting help putting the dishes away nowadays, so it's anybody's guess where stuff is. Speaking of... I think I started loading the washing machine for the standard 8-load excitement I tackle every weekend. Getting a jump on it Friday night is a Good Idea since I'm hoping to see near relatives on Sunday and, as everyone knows, it's tricky to do laundry AND visit over tea. Or BBQ. Or whatever it is we're doing. I nearly set the side of the house on fire last time I lit the BBQ from grilling up those frozen burgers loaded with 12% grease, or whatever they claim. The drippings light up real good.

I would go back to the idea of preppin' for a decent Friday, but then this wouldn't be "meandering" thoughts as someone thoughtfully pointed out. "Meandering" implies not arriving back at the beginning, which is really hard for me to do. I like full circles.

:-)  Did you catch that? I cheated. I wrapped up my meanders.

Fires are not funny, even though I threw it in there like it was/is. There's a forest fire that's not too far away (Estacada!) and we haven't had enough rain around here, yet. All our greenery is rather dry and brittle and begging for our normal rainfall. Now you know... Oregonians like rain. Some.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Amy Vastine, The Better Man, and DIY Home Improvement! #AwesomeGuestPost

Please welcome Amy Vastine to Colorimetry!

A Themed Tour through Prism Book Tours.

The Better Man (Chicago Sisters)The Better Man
by Amy Vastine
Adult Romance 
Harlequin Heartwarming
January 1st 2014

Kendall Montgomery's six-year-old son has barely spoken in the past year, locked in his world of silent grief. Then one day, he spots his dead father across a crowded street.

Max Jordan moved to Chicago to be closer to his own son and prove he can be a better father than his deadbeat dad. His striking resemblance to Kendall's husband and his track record with fatherhood make her determined to keep her distance?until Max helps her little boy come out of his shell. But can she trust him with their future? How can she be sure he won't take off just when they need him most?



Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.



Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post today! I am so excited to be here. In The Better Man, the heroine of the story is an interior designer. This profession was born out of my love of all things HGTV, of course. I think I can lose whole days to that channel. I love all the shows about surprise makeovers and house flippings, but my favorite is Property Brothers. If you haven’t seen this show, you need to. Two twin brothers help couples find a new house. One is the realtor and one is the contractor. They convince the people to buy a house that needs some work and then do the work so it looks like the houses they wanted but cost too much for them to afford. I absolutely love the transformation of the spaces. It fascinates me to watch someone take something rundown and reimagine it into something new and fabulous.

If I could have someone come do some work in my house (even if I had to do a little DIY like many of these shows make the people do), I would love a kitchen remodel. I have a feeling my husband would argue we should turn our basement into a mancave instead, but since this is my fantasy, I would choose kitchen. New quartz countertops, dark wood cabinets, a large center island, all stainless steel appliances, updated light fixtures, tile backsplashes, oh the fun I would have!

In The Better Man, my hero Max is sort of in need of a character transformation and it is through his relationship with Kendall and her son, Simon, that he does just that. He doubts himself throughout the story, thinks he’s possibly no good to anyone, especially his son. Luckily, Simon and Kendall show him he has more to offer the world than he thinks. Max just needs someone to uncover the hidden beauty within, knock down some walls, and let the light in.

If you could update something in your home, what would it be? Have you taken on a DIY project and lived to tell about it? I’d love to hear what you would do if HGTV came to your neighborhood!


Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for prizes (sorry, no home makeovers in there!) Thanks for stopping by!



Tour-Wide Giveaway


- Gift Card Grand Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback (US) or ebook (INT) of The Better Man
- US Grand Prize: Signed paperback of The Better Man plus swag (shown above)
- 5 copies of The Better Man (paperback for US and ebooks for INT)
- Ends October 5th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Better Man by Amy Vastine #PrismBookTour #Launch

A Themed Tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're excited to be launching the BOOK TOUR for
The Better Man by Amy Vastine!

The Better Man, which is the beginning of the new Chicago Sisters Series, is set in the busy city of Chicago, but is full of family, friendship, and love. It's also from the clean romance Heartwarming line of books from Harlequin. Scroll on down to read a little about this book and series and to read an exclusive excerpt! We hope you enjoy the tour!

September Tour Schedule

28 - Grand Finale

The Better Man (Chicago Sisters)The Better Man
by Amy Vastine
Adult Romance 
Harlequin Heartwarming
January 1st 2014

Kendall Montgomery's six-year-old son has barely spoken in the past year, locked in his world of silent grief. Then one day, he spots his dead father across a crowded street.

Max Jordan moved to Chicago to be closer to his own son and prove he can be a better father than his deadbeat dad. His striking resemblance to Kendall's husband and his track record with fatherhood make her determined to keep her distance…until Max helps her little boy come out of his shell. But can she trust him with their future? How can she be sure he won't take off just when they need him most?


An Intro to The Better Man and an Exclusive Excerpt

The Better Man is the first book in the Chicago Sisters Series, which introduces us to the three Everhart sisters, Lucy, Kendall, and Emma. All three sisters live in the Lincoln Park area, and even though the story has a big city backdrop, the focus is still on family and community. These sisters always have one another’s backs, even though they couldn’t be any different. Funny how siblings can be raised in the same family but develop such separate identities! Lucy is the strong-willed, fanatical health-nut who takes up any cause she deems worthy. Middle-child Kendall is the shy artist, whose loyalty knows no bounds. Emma is the confident baby of the family who believes she has her entire life mapped out. The Better Man features Kendall and her son, Simon. Book Two, The Best Laid Plans, is Emma’s story and scheduled to come out in March 2015. Lucy’s story is told in the third book, with the working title, The Better Fight, and should be out at the end of 2015.

Here’s a little excerpt of the three sisters in action:

“And I am now, officially, the meanest mommy. Ever.”

Lucy put a hand on her sister’s head. “Oh boy. Just remember every mom has felt like that at one point in time. I know I crowned Mom the meanest when I was little. She was a repeat winner of the title for years.”

Kendall let out a breathy laugh. “I remember you being much meaner to her than she ever was to you.”

“Of course I was. I’m meaner than everyone,” Lucy said, unashamed.

“I still love you, though.” Kendall got up and grabbed a large bowl off the top of the refrigerator. From the pantry, she pulled out three bags of Halloween candy and tossed them on the kitchen table.

“You really shouldn’t give out candy. I could have brought over a whole bushel of organic apples.”

“We are not going to be that house.” The two sisters opened and emptied the bags into the bowl. Lucy offered to help with dinner. Kendall had bought the ingredients for chili and no one chopped vegetables better than Lucy. Kendall set her up on the cutting board with an onion and some peppers.

“It’s better that you rip the Max Band-Aid off now rather than later,” Lucy said while they cooked. “Simon will get over it. So will you. It’s always better to be the one who walked away instead of the one left behind.”

“Which one were you again?” Kendall asked, recognizing that Lucy’s guard was down.

“Ha-ha. I’ve been both. At the same time,” she added. “Now, stop making this about me.”

“You love when things are about you,” Emma said, joining the conversation. Dressed in her nursing scrubs and a purple witch’s hat on her head, she sat down at the table next to Lucy with a bag of cheese puffs.

Kendall held a hand over her heart. “Maybe knock next time and give a girl some warning. Isn’t it against your nurse’s training to give people heart attacks?”

“And isn’t it against your nurse’s training to put processed poison into your body?” Lucy added. She snatched the cheese puffs out of her sister’s hands and walked them over to the garbage.

“Hey!” Emma sprung to her feet. “I was eating those! I haven’t eaten all day.”

“Another reason you shouldn’t eat them. Your body needs fuel, not intestine-destroying acids.”

“Uh-oh, who’s eating junk food in front of Lucy?” Kendall’s mom popped her head into the kitchen. “Girls, don’t fight over food.” She took the bag away from Lucy and handed it back to Emma, who scrunched up her face and pursed her lips at her sister.

“It’s your body,” Lucy relented. “Sorry for trying to protect it.”

Their dad followed behind their mom and gave Lucy a hug. “You’re a good big sister, but never throw away someone’s cheese puffs.”

“I’m coming over tomorrow and helping Mom throw away all your junk food. We’re putting you on a diet.”

“What?” He looked at his wife for confirmation.

Maureen’s shoulders slumped and she glared at Lucy. “I wasn’t going to tell him what we were doing. If you don’t tell him, he doesn’t miss it. When you tell him, he gets all worked up.”


Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

Website * Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter

Tour-Wide Giveaway


- Gift Card Grand Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback (US) or ebook (INT) of The Better Man
- US Grand Prize: Signed paperback of The Better Man plus swag (shown above)
- 5 copies of The Better Man (paperback for US and ebooks for INT)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Altered by Gennifer Albin - my 3.5 review


Altered (Crewel World, #2)
Altered
by Gennifer Albin
401 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Goodreads

Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.

But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.

In this thrilling sequel to Crewel, Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.


Gennifer Albin

Gennifer Albin: I like coffee. A lot. Writing gives me time to go get a cup without my kids. I like books as much as I like coffee, but it is easier to read with children hanging on you than drink coffee due to the threat of third degree burns. That's why coffee gets top billing in my intro: its unattainability.


I hold a Masters in English with a specialization in 18th century women's studies. While this is a highly marketable area of expertise, I stay home with my kids, which means my 3 year-old son uses correct grammar and doesn't burn down the house.


I have a ridiculously supportive husband who dreams of being included on a book jacket: "The author lives in Kansas with her husband, two children, and a Tuesday cat."


I'm represented by Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media.

My Review:

I like this book and I don't, simultaneously.

For one, it's probably best read all at once instead of bit by bit like I read it in 30 min segments. It was clear, however, that I was able to put the book down, that there was a mass amount of information, and that the action sequences were very short and spread out sparsely.  Of course, I'm comparing Altered to Crewel.

Unlike Crewel, there were moments where I felt all the characters would manage for awhile and I could let them hang out, making it very handy to set the book aside frequently. I wasn't anxious about their safety, although they were always in danger. I wasn't concerned about their relationships, although... there is a beautiful switcheroo in Altered. Possibly the un-anxiety comes from Adelice's ability?  and her confidence? She's grasped this fateful view of things and proceeds forward without questioning herself overmuch. That might be it.

The action sequences come like sprinkles on the chocolate cookie mocha blended thing at Starbucks. (I had one the other day and Yum!!)  They're delicious and perfect, just not enough. (Actually, there were plenty of chocolate cookie bits. You'd have to get a rotten stingy barista, which isn't likely in Starbucks, but I can imagine how that would be sad.)  When there is action, it's grip-yer-seat exciting. Jumping out of a hot air balloon thingame? Very exciting. Facing remnants? Always deadly and very, very exciting.  Just short. Way too short. Adelice screams and someone comes to her rescue. I can imagine how characters from other books wished Albin was writing their story 'cause it just seemed to work out too neatly too quickly.

*sigh*  A little of not working out is nice.  If you're looking for Not-Working-Out, there are two doozies, so go ahead and dive into this book, but just know that you won't be chewing off your fingernails.

Ah... the infodump.  I have a love/hate relationship with the amount of info in Altered. Crewel sets up the craziest world imaginable. I wanted to know more - I wanted to see the world again, I wanted to know what was going on, how it worked and who all those characters were who seemed to have long histories. I love finding out why!!  :-D  And Altered did not disappoint, oh no. There was the beautiful world, this time from the inside out. I love the strands of reality, like seeing neurons as vibrant threads, or something. LOVE.  But... but, every other bit of scene required so much information to support all the story and sprinkles of action. It's like we have to stop and take history and biology to be able to proceed.  Yes, it's spread through-out the story very tastefully, but it's spread thickly like a generous amount of peanut butter that overfills your mouth from beginning to end.

What did I love?

Adelice. Her relationships with everyone. The other characters and that gorgeous world.  These things are as vibrant as those strands of life throughout the book.

I love Adelice.  She takes life head-on, standing up in the middle of the storm, smartin' off to the big world manipulaters, diving into love with both feet. She's vibrant and real and I'm very comfortable reading from her perspective. I feel a little daring, a little astonished, but a whole lot of YESSSSSSS!!!!!!

The other characters are also vibrant and unique. I did not remember all the details about Jost, Eric and Cormac from Crewel, but in Altered, they came to life with all their history from book one with no effort. They are alive in my mind, very real, very handsome, very powerful, very multi-dimensional!  Each has ulterior motives and I love the way Adelice accepts this about people and almost clarifies the bright thread of motivation in each one before deciding whether or not to trust them.

The romance felt droopy the first half of the book, lacking in vibrant life compared to the rest of the story, but then these motivations were clarified and the perspective zoomed into different focus and I was absolutely delighted how it all worked out. The lack-luster was on purpose and created a great backdrop for the romance during the second half of the book, which was quite vibrant and promising, if... um... somewhat tragic.  This romance became one of my favorite aspects of Altered because of this mid-story change. It was ALIVE!!

But wait! There's more!!

I loved the quoting of Shakespeare. Marvelous. Fitting.

There is an origin argument:  Random vs. Created. Very interesting. Adelice/the author argues for random. Arras, the controlled world on the looms, is sited as what Creation looks like and the people who grow up not realizing what world they are in as the offspring of a created world. The juxtaposition is how beautiful the loom is, all those threads that Adelice can see? She can see them in Arras or outside of it, both, and both are uniquely beautiful. Plus, all the characters are an example of how people have choices, the freedom to choose is not taken away because of the beauty of the world. So, in arguing that it is preferred to have no Creator, she proves the opposite.

Which brings me to Choices.  As the story develops, the choices grow more difficult. "Right" and "wrong" are getting muddied while the power to make important choices for many other people continues to rest in the hands of the few. If the current trajectory is followed... book #3 will hold some tragedy. I hope Albin included some sweet for relationships because I have hope that Adelice can find the best choices and that someone else comes forward to assist with the monumental task of fixing everything.

I really loved the parts I loved... and these thought-provoking themes are delightful. 4.5 stars for those bits. The slow speed of the story plus the nippy-short action sprinkles drove me nuts. 2 stars for those bits. The amount of information was necessary and tastefully delivered, so I'm not rating it at all. Between loving this world and needing mountains of info to see it, I'm left more grateful than not over the amount of info.
3.5 starts altogether for me. And yeah, I'll definitely be reading Unraveled!



Crewel (Crewel World, #1)
Crewel
by Gennifer Albin
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Goodreads

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.


Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

My Review

I guess I didn't review Crewel when I read it last summer. I totally hate it when I do that. I remember my thoughts about the story, but they're distant...

Crewel is amazing... all beautiful world, high tension, dramatic action. What a great introduction to this gorgeous, unique world full of vibrant characters. There's a some scoops of scientific info, a peak at the structure behind the action, but this book is all character-relationship-action... beautiful & amazing. I really love this cover, too. 4.5 Stars


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

3.75 Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1)



Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Hardcover, 428 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books



Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.


Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.


Goodreads



Anna Jarzab is the author of All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, and the upcoming Tandem, the first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy. She lives in New York City and works in children's book publishing. Visit her online at www.annajarzab.com, connect with her on Twitter @ajarzab and on Facebook atfacebook.com/annajarzabbooks.


My Review:

Hm... I'll need to read the trilogy, now, and see what happens to everyone. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Quite the abrupt ending. *drums fingers*

What I loved:
"She had no idea how significant she was, what her presence here meant. She'd gone sixteen years - almost seventeen - thinking she was just a regular girl. It was remarkable how important people could be without even knowing."  - Pg 98
This theme of the mundane human being of great importance in another universe is magnificent. It's so easy to feel that message is meant for me, for anyone, everyone.

I love the vibrant characters.

Sasha is very believable - I didn't always agree with her and some of her choices smacked of youth (which led to a few *face palm* moments) but she's three dimensional & alive. She's very different from Julianna.

Julianna is awesome... for a spoiled brat. Also smart, she makes decisions faster than Sasha and is more in touch with what she wants, which is refreshing except her character is so... over-ripe. She's had it too good for too long to appreciate what she has or rise to the challenge of battling the powers that be with power.

Power... "the General" is sooooo delightfully horrid.  He's so cold-hearted. As a villain, he ranks at the top of the bad ones. He's too smart and has been planning too, too long for anyone to get anything past him. Worse, it's like he's anticipated such moves and already set counteractions in place to destroy any resistance while leaving his own hands clean. First clue is when his own sons call him "the General".

Thomas is a winner, too. He's such a perfect soldier, but "he has too much heart" as sweet daddy says. The action moments are all improved by his presence. The budding romance is only possible because of his level of amazing. I hope Thomas shows up a LOT in the next couple books.

The brother, though?  Lucas or whoever he is?  He's a snake and I enjoyed hating him almost as much as the general.  He can get stuck in "the hole" indefinitely and I wouldn't cry.

What's up with mothers?  In this story... moms are pretty much "cruel" and/or "conniving". Any gentle sweetness feels like a cover-up and seriously... some of 'em really lay on the snark really thick.

As for Callum... I had higher hopes for him. I hope he gets some air time and finds where he left his cahones.  He has moments of promise, but they're fleeting and mostly he begs to be pitied.

I pretty much loved all the characters.  Lots of vibrant personalities!!

I also liked the main idea of the story and the tandem "veil" between universes. I like the cover and the way the printing includes some of the physics stuff. Cool.

I did not like:

The repetitivity. I quit counting the amount of times that I learned something monumental and then listened as a character reviewed it in their head while deciding not to share with anyone, yet. and then again when the info was shared.  This 3x delivery of stuff happens a few times.

I also did not get into the info dumps.  There was a physics one in particular... when Sasha meets the nutty professor (also an amazing character!) and he goes off on a tangent of how realities can exist and interact with each other with various strengths depending on proximity (that's a very quick summary from the concept from various other portions of the story. Yeah, I got it.) I skimmed the entire chapter and got to the part where Sasha gets back to the question of "Why me?" and the grand answer is "I have no idea." I had to laugh. I'm not sorry I skipped that section. I don't feel like I missed any of the story even if I did miss the repeat physics lesson.

The danger is unknown and the days are filled with a feeling of mundane boredom. Sasha survives some things that would've freaked me out, but she buzzes through and on to the next thing... like eggs for breakfast, being dangled from the heights and interviewing on live TV.  The danger didn't feel dangerous to me.

The romance is mostly absent, too. Not just "young adult" or "fantasy with some romance". The romance is skipped over (like the physics is not) and then summarized later like I wouldn't be interested in hours bonding late night talk/kiss. *sigh*  So much potential!!

Last fuss:  There's a dash of "Wha-?!" in the mix as the parallel universes mix and part and clash. The eeriness of Chicago of one world not being like the Tattered City of the other is exhilarating.  I like the palm-reading locks, too. Fun deviations. The moments that shook me out of the story were odd phrases. For example, Thomas would say something that sounded like a cliche phrase from Earth. It was confusing to accept the similarities after swallowing the differences, I guess.

That pretty much summarizes my thoughts and feelings. I recommend the story. Just be ready to take some stuff as it's delivered while getting some thorough explanations of other stuff.

My rating:  5 Stars for the awesome characters. They totally rock!!  5 stars for the world-building. Brilliant. 3.5 stars for the romance (the characters add a lot.)  2 stars for the repetitive info delivery & 2.5 for the pace/tension.  Total:  3.75 Stars total.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jennifer Lynn Armentrout's Lux Series. Five Reviews in One Post.

Do you remember the first time you saw Daemon?  Hm?

I do. I was surfin' the web and saw this blogger totally FAN-GIRLING over this creepy-creepy alien - ALIEN - and I was, like, WHA-?  Oh... *^&# no!  I subsequently avoided all things alien and JLA.

*wince*

I don't say that as a recommendation. If you see a BLOGGER fan-girlin' over something... well, that'd be one of us flippin' out which is, like, really cool. This series even has a blogger in it. Which, of course, I thought of some reason to dis. (Sometimes I battle negativity pointing a finger at me. Got a problem with that?!  *snort*  Me, too. I stink. Oh... that's me doing it again.)

Obsidian (Lux, #1)My point is... I picked up Obsidian 'cause it was on sale recently. Or free.

I got sucked in to the story while laughing all the while in my head. And sometimes out loud. Kind of like this...

Oh, that wasn't cliche...

Of COURSE the alien is mega-hot. And can't keep his shirt on. *rolls eyes*

Naturally, they're in high school.

Why wouldn't he be dangerous, huh?

Yeppers... and he'd have to fall for her for no other reason than... he just does.

The part that sort of caught my attention was when I ran into a few typos.  Normally a typo means not-much-editing, right? Which you'd think would make me feel justified in my sniveling. It had the opposite affect. I literally did the head-tilt thing the Luxen do and thought...

Are you telling me this stuff came straight out of JLA's head?!  You're kidding me!!

And then I started to fall in love. I resisted, but... dang.  This story is a flippin' fun ride no matter how you dis it. The parents are absent, the neighbors are HOT, the romantic tension is at a 15 on a scale of 1-10... I can feel the different characters no matter how many come and go in the story, they're all vibrant and solid, like you could punch 'em in the arm.

Of course, I downloaded the next book on my phone imediatemente.
Onyx (Lux, #2)
Ok... what was Onyx about?

*taps fingers*

This is the part of the story where I did not obsess about how much I did not like the cover. (Sorry. It looks like Creepy Again to me.)  (Plus... that is not the Daemon who resided in my head these last few weeks. Again, sorry.) (Mine is waaayyyy hotter.) (Sorry, dude.) (Not saying you're not hot, but... you're just... well... and that girl doesn't look like she has muscles and when I'm Katy, I have more muscles.)

As I was saying, I quit being so PICKY and when that voice wanted to sneer about something other I just *shrugged* and told myself to GO-FOR-IT. Meaning, jump in the story. If Katy feels that way, I can see how she would. Even if I had my suspicions about "normal guy" early on, I thought, Hey... maybe he pulls off normal better than he looks like he does. When he wasn't normal and he got all... you know, hybrid-y (that was in this book, right? Last book? Then I was furious at what's-his-butt in this one.)  I went with it. I quit dippin' my toes in, you now and just jumped all the way in and got soaking wet with the story. (Figuratively... not whatever twisted romantic thing you could be thinking right now. This is a YA book. Pretty much. With lots of awesome romance.)

I love Daemon's terms of endearment... Kitten?!  Lol. Yeah, I wish my name was Katy now. I had no idea that name had so much potential! I'm not sure where Onyx ended and the next one began...

Opal (Lux, #3)Opal really builds... like hums with SOMETHING.

I loved this book best so far. There's just a hint of so much MORE coming, more story, bigger plot, louder danger... just more POP!

The first book seemed so simple by comparison. Which gets all kinds of warm snugglies from me. Plus... there's nothing like giving in to a sweet romance and just knowing, KNOWING that it wouldn't stay that easy.

I had to peak ahead at reviews and saw a cliff-hanger was coming. The first two books make you HAVE to keep reading, but this one had the feeling of being a doozy even a ways off.

The only way to take on a cliff hanger of that magnitude is to read faster and just take a flying leap off the end.  I had to chuckle at the nod to coming cliffhangers - I can't believe JLA threw that in there!  and then I flew... right into downloading...


Origin (Lux, #4)
Origin. *sigh*


Now the cover is starting to match the story in my head. Ominous, cocky-as-heck, Daemon with a purpose.

The beauty of this story is... the bad guys step into the light. And they're horrible. They're powerful, too, and bad-bad-bad. I love how Daemon doesn't fuss... he just gets busy. This is the story that sold me on Daemon's awesomeness.

Katy? She doesn't give in and try to be "bad", which I also love. She's strong in resisting the evil authorities. Those bad guys?  Soooooooooooo bad. Evil. Twisted. Heartless. I can't help LOVING to hate them. Hate-hate-hate-hate them.  It was refreshing to hate them so much. Ha.  It's refreshing to feel so strongly. We don't go back to any of the previous relationship levels, we just keep going deeper and I LOVE IT.

It took me awhile to realize that A) This wasn't the last book in the series and B) the last book just came out which is C) probably why Obsidian was on sale and D) I totally fell for the awesome marketing plan.

0.0

I do love marketing.  Haven't really fallen for any marketing scheme so ignorantly before. Not sure how I feel about that.


Opposition (Lux, #5)Opposition was practically perfect.

The threat is soooo real and deadly and unstoppable. For some reason, I really get a kick out of that. I love that there is real danger, real death, real consequences to big explosions and stuff.  I was frightened for every breathing being that I'd come to love... even when I felt hopeless about sis.

The story is so fast moving, I forget everyone's names. Not them, their personalities and what they do, but what to call 'em? Yeah...

Pathetic, I know.

I was absolutely delighted to descend into the depths of more danger. I think I chewed all my fingernails off, but it was awesome.

The lord of the underworld? *snort* He was perfectly horrible and... funny? Who'd've guessed. Like another Armentrout solute to "bad guys" who require disgusting favors.

The moment the unlikely allies leave for groceries for "only an hour". Lol. That was ominous right from the mention of a time limit. What could possibly happen within any given space of time around these people? Lol.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of Opposition and by extension, the entire series. *shrug*  Nothing was shoved under a carpet and yet Armentrout didn't destroy everyone just because it could've happened. I felt justified and relieved and satisfied at the end. Thank you for wrapping up the series, Jennifer, so completely. It was kind and thoughtful and completely exhilarating.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grand Finale: Sci-Fi Prism Tour #TourAtAGlance #Giveaway

To post this Grand Finale (we'll send you the HTML code) and add your Social Media to the Rafflecopter, 
email us at PrismBookTours(at)gmail.com with "SciFi GF" in the subject line.
Sci-fi Tour
A Prism tour though Prism Book Tours.

Are you interested in reading about futuristic societies where there are aliens and space travel, technological advancement, robots and utopias? If so, then check out the books that were featured on this 
Sci-Fi Tour! 

September 2nd - Launch


September 3rd - Halfskin and Clay by Tony Bertauski hosted at Beck Valley Books

We’re often convinced if we just get this, whatever this is, our suffering will end. Yet with all of today’s advancements, why does utopia still seem to be something achievable only after death while dystopia our human inheritance?


Can technology change this?

Suppose that medical bioengineers invent a synthetic stem cell, a biomite, that can replace any cell in your body...

 
Halfskin (Halfskin, #1)Halfskin
(Halfskin #1)
276 Pages

Biomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.

We become better.

At what point are we no longer human?


Clay (Halfskin, #2)Clay
(Halfskin #2)
278 Pages

This psychological thriller will keep them second-guessing every move while they elude Marcus Anderson and the governing agency that seeks to rid the world of biomites. But in the end, they’ll all discover just how deep the betrayal goes.


Tony Bertauski: During the day, I'm a horticulturist. While I've spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I've always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I've always fancied fiction.

And I'm a big fan of plot twists.




September 4th - The Glory by Mister JMI hosted at Nocturnal Predators Reviews

**Excerpt**
Prologue
In need of Glory 

Frustrated and embarrassed by its struggle to defeat the Tikal rebels, the United States Space Force dumped its resources into the development and construction of a new class of warship. After nine years of research and development, trial and error, the final product was beyond impressive. Integrating the bleeding-edge of current technologies and completely inventing new ones, the new warship was an absolute marvel. The ship was a perfect harmony of the highest levels of speed, agility, weaponry and defensive capabilities. The awe-inspiring warship was leaps ahead of everything else in the known universe...

The GloryThe Glory
(The Glory #1)
579 Pages

The Glory and it is a fun, funny, exciting, character-driven sci-fi book that follows Adam Whitlock in his journey to join the United States Space Force in hopes of becoming captain of The Glory, the best ship in the fleet. Meanwhile, brewing tensions between the humans and a group of alien races is on the verge of becoming a full-scale war.

Amazon

Founder of Fictitious Fox Publishing, author of The Glory and owner of a sweet head of hair, Mister JMI is a longtime lover of the art of storytelling.

At the age of 12, Mister JMI knew he wanted to become a writer. Unfortunately, his dream was delayed for over a decade to suffering from a severe case of chronic procrastination. Now fully recovered, Mister JMI is ready to unleash a deluge of exciting, funny and fantastic stories for your entertainment.

So sit back, relax and enjoy.


Would you like a receive a copy of The Glory? Send an email request to this email.



September 5th - Parched by Georgia Clark hosted at Mythical Books


How to Research A Sci-Fi Novel 
(if You Know Nothing About Robots) 

I did a ridiculous amount of research for my second novel, Parched. So much so that when compiling it all for this guest blog post for the Prism book tour, I found myself wondering 1. I am crazy and 2. If knowing it was going to take as much time as it did, if I’d do it all again. (Answers are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’).

My jumping off point for Parched was this: a girl in love with a robot. What did I know about robots? Well, I’d seen Bladerunner a few dozen times…

ParchedParched
312 Pages

Robots, renewable resources, and romance get tangled together in this thrilling futuristic adventure novel about a utopian city struggling to keep its peace.

"Bold futurist adventure with unusual romance, riveting action and ominous ecological red flags." —Kirkus Reviews


Georgia Clark is an Australian writer and performer based in Brooklyn. She is the author of the young adult novels SHE’S WITH THE BAND (Allen & Unwin) and sci-fi/romance PARCHED (Holiday House). Widely published online and in print. Won some awards/grants/residencies. Has a play on at the NY Fringe festival. Pretty keen on cheese plates. 




Tour-Wide Giveaway

$15 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ebooks of Halfskin and Clay (INT)
Signed copy of Parched (US Only)
Ends September 14th


Prism Book Tours

Missing In Action: Blogger Burgandy Ice Extraordinaire

Well... "Extraordinaire" might be a big of an exaggeration.

:-)

I haven't been posting much this summer, however, so "Missing" is pretty accurate.

I'm just working, is all. In a cubicle, no less.  I have some windows, which helps with the breathing part of living, and I've decorated with plenty of art and pictures and maps. (Gotta love maps!)  I'm on the 8th story of an old, old building in downtown Portland, which... is pretty flippin' awesome. I love the old windows and how they open to a straight drop down to Pioneer Courthouse Square.  Well... my window opens to a fire escape, which is also flippin' awesome, but if I zip through this hamster maze of cubicles to the Other Side of things, I can see the Square out the window.

I do Zip.

I also do creativity, as you might imagine.  I get to schedule my day around projects I choose to work on (or so I tell myself.) I add my flair everywhere, naturally.  Like a company newsletter with a humorous column.  :-D  Why not?!

I'm always seeking additional creative outlet, though... it's never enough. Not even if I get to read on a train - and reading on a train is also flippin' awesome. I don't get enough... time to write... express stuff.  I've started posting on Instagram.  Yep. Not too personal, either. Plus there's Twitter. Lol. I am learning how to keep up on Twitter better. It has everything to do with getting one of those new devices that pose as phones. My new large device is too big to fit in a pocket and is comical to use as a cell phone, but it's got a great screen for e-books and carries tons of music plus it keeps me connected to people, which is tricky. Being a mom of four who attends football practice while working full time and managing everything else still, you'd think I'd drop the ball somewhere, hey?  Well... MIA on the blog, pretty much, unless I can figure out how to post my pic here, too...

You can find me at one of these places if you're not already following me there:

Instagram:   burgandy_ice
Twitter:  @BurgandyIce


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Win a Kindle Fire HDX!! Yeah!

September $229 Giveaway

229 giveaway  

  It’s time for September’s $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader. 

  We are giving away 2 great prizes both valued at $229. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!  

 The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to those share this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.  

Win a Kindle Fire HDX 7", Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

Each of these bloggers/authors paid to help sponsor this giveaway.   

  Sponsor List I Am A Reader Feed Your Reader A & E Kirk, Author Inspired Kathy Lori's Reading Corner Talia Jager, Author Mother Daughter Book Reviews Krysten Lindsay Hager Every Free Chance Books Romance Under Fire I Love to Read and Review Books :) Christine's Blog Elizabeth Isaacs Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton Pauline Creeden, Author Author - Cindy A Christiansen Mama Monkey Craftology MoreThanaReview My Devotional Thoughts Author Suzy Turner Jenn @ Bookreviewsandgiveaways Too-Clever Danielle @ Coffee and Characters Author D.E. Haggerty C Family of 6 Bella Street Weird Romance Bonnie Blythe's Pure Romance Sid Frost YA Author Fabio Bueno Read for your future Jennifer Laurens Author Laurie Here - Contemporary Fiction and MORE Reviews from a Bookworm Helen Smith (author) Author Deb Atwood Author Claudia Burgoa Start Publishing Elizabeth Isaacs True North Publishing Whiskey Creek Press Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author Luthando Coeur Bette Lee Crosby Against Idleness & Mischief (BOOKTUBE) BookBunnyPR Victoria Allred

Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups  

  Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).
 Ends 9/30/14

 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Sending by Jandy Salguero #BookBlast #IAmAReader

  The Sending

The Sending 
 A city's peace is shattered when two university students go missing, and only Daneel and his friends know the shocking truth of what happened. Finding themselves under attack, Daneel leads them in a race to escape the mounting violence. Mara is willing to kill for the beliefs of the faction that raised her. But as she seeks out her mark, using a rare, mystical form of travel known as the Sending, Mara discovers a powerful connection that challenges the truth of everything she’s been taught. While Daneel fights to protect those he cares for, Mara must choose whether to cling to the ideology of her home—or open her scarred heart to a searing attraction and the promise of a new life.  

  Praise for The Sending 

 The Sending reads like a dystopian Romeo and Juliet where strong, full characters from very different places inevitably collide with passion and conflict. Salguero fills a fresh, vibrant world with a nerve-tingling fast plot. Prepare to be immersed. ~Tamara Ward, author of Hidden Betrayal 

 The Sending is a thrilling, fast-paced, science fiction-romance that's impossible to put down. Edge-of-your-seat action scenes, and a romantic attraction so intense that it will make you want to turn down the air conditioning, The Sending is a great read that left me hungry for more. I loved this book! ~Sterling R. Walker, author of The Orphan Ship


Purchase Your Copy


Excerpt

As one of the hawks flew across the tiny plane of space framed by her window, Mara closed her eyes. She envisioned herself there, experiencing the grace and the power of their movements. She imagined the control of that journey and thought that one day she might have that type of power over her own fate.

Mara felt a kinship with the graceful hunter. It knew the thrill of conquest coupled with the need for survival: opposite sides of the same implacable coin. The compound had taught Mara to use that need to a greater advantage than she had before.

Her chest tightened. Before? No, there was no before. Everything was after.

After her home had been raided, after her family had been killed, after she had been forced to fend for herself. She’d had only the passive help of a few others who had suffered the same fate, who had used her as much as she had been forced to use them.

She was a young six years when she lost her family. The memories of their life together had quickly begun to fade into the cruel background of her new life, into an icy, nearly paralyzing bath of hunger and fear.

The fear had covered everything. It had even blanketed the things that had seemed gentle and innocent to her before, so that nothing was safe. For a long time, the fear had ruled her with a cold, hard hand.


   Jandy

  Author Jandy Salguero

 Growing up in southern Louisiana, Jandy Salguero's life was full of friendly smiles, good food and tall tales. She holds a BA in French from Brigham Young University, where she met her husband in the midst of the great Rocky Mountains. She now resides in a small town outside of Raleigh, NC. Her days are full of grade-school antics and underfoot toddler toys-- courtesy of her two handsome boys. She is currently working on Book 2 in the Senitha's Light series, due out in early 2015.  



 

  BookBlast Giveaway

 $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
 Ends 10/3/14

 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Untaken by JE Anckorn

I'm excited to reveal the cover for young-adult, action-adventure, science-fiction Untaken, by J. E. Anckorn, which is scheduled for release October 16th, 2014. The stunning cover was created by the talented Amy Chitulescu.

  Untaken, by Jen Anckorn - Cover

About Untaken: It turns out that a real alien invasion is nothing like the Sci-fi shows 14-year-old Gracie loves. Not when it’s your own family who are swallowed whole by those big silver ships. Not if it could be you next. In her search for her family, Gracie meets Brandon, a high school dropout who would never have been caught dead hanging out with a dork like Gracie before the world ended. Gracie isn’t too crazy about Brandon either, but he has one thing she doesn’t: A plan. Brandon’s uncle has a cabin up in Maine, and If Gracie and Brandon can survive long enough to get there they can hide out until the Space Men pack up their ships and leave. Until the army guys come to rescue them, says Brandon. Brandon is big into army guys. Gracie has to admit that Brandon’s Awesome Plan probably would have worked out great if wasn't for Jake. They found 5-year-old Jake, laying half-dead under the remains of someone’s ranch house. He’s a good kid, even if he won’t-or can’t- talk. But Jake has a secret, and when Gracie finds out what it is, the fragile new life they’ve started to forge looks set to break apart. When the people you’ve been counting on to put the world back together start hunting you down, alien invaders are the least of your worries.

  Add Untaken to your Goodreads 'to-be-read' list. --

  J.E. Anckorn, author, writing,

About J. E. Anckorn: J. E. Anckorn has been an artist and writer ever since she began to surreptitiously doodle on school supplies instead of learning about practical things, like osmosis and mathematics. After barely surviving a freak mathematical osmosis disaster, she set out to travel the world, living in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong before returning to her native Britain- just in time to marry an American and leave for the U.S.A. She still failed to learn anything about osmosis, but did manage to cultivate an accent that is unintelligible to almost everyone. (It happened through a mysterious net movement of information from the outside environment into her brain. If only there was a word for that!) This led to her development of a new language, based almost entirely on polite yet uncomprehending nods. In between these adventures, she has worked as a toy designer, copywriter, and freelance illustrator. She lives in Boston, with a small grumpy dog, and a large, slightly less grumpy husband.

Find J. E. Anckorn Online: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads