Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Win $25 Amazon Gift Card @ A Novel Affair

As part of the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop, Kimberly over at A Novel Affair is giving one lucky duck a $25 Amazon Gift Card to spend as they please.
Would you like to win this?
Then all you have to do is CLICK HERE and enter.

Good Luck!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Win: Katana by Cole Gibson @ Pages From My Thoughts

The awesome Soumi over at Pages From My Thoughts recently reviewed a new release that caught my eye. The book, Katana, has a very interesting premise and Soumi's review was very promising. You can GO HERE to read her review.


Blurb (taken off Goodreads):

"Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.

While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her."

I'm certainly very excited for this new release! What's even more exciting is that we now have an opportunity to read it as Soumi is offering up two prize packs in an amazing giveaway.

What can you win?
The first winner will win a copy of the book along with a whole load of great swag, while the second winner gets to win some of that great swag.

This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway and ends 29/03/2012.

So hurry over to get the full details and ENTER HERE.

Good luck!:)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Giveaway @ Pages from My Thoughts: Cover Reveal and Giveaway of ARC of Black City (Black City Chronicles #1) by Elizabeth Richards

Look at the cover! Isn't it amazing? I'd initially thought it was rain or shards of shattered glass falling on the city landscape but, on closer inspection, I realised that it's actually shredded bits of rose petals being blown over the city. I can't help but wonder what this signifies...If you think the cover's gorgeous, you should red the blurb for this book. I think the premise is fascinating!

Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

"A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths."

How exciting does that sound?

Well, I've got news for you. Besides the Cover Reveal going on at blogs across the blogosphere, there is also an awesome giveaway of an ARC copy of this book going on over at Soumi's blog Pages From My Thoughts.

This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway.
It ends on March 7th, 2012.

So hurry and go over HERE to enter!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Angel in the Shadows (The Angel #1) by Lisa Grace

Angel In The Shadows (The Angel #1)

Title: Angel in the Shadows
Series: The Angel (Book 1)
Author: Lisa Grace
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 175 pages
Challenge: Why Buy The Cow? Reading Challenge

My Rating: 1/5

Blurb (taken off Goodreads):

"Fifteen-year-old Megan Laughlin has a gift--or what seems like a curse at times. Megan sees angels and demons.

Megan knows her destiny is to protect her friends against dark angels who try to sway them into situations that can destroy their lives, their souls, and their eternity.

At school, she recognizes Judas, an ├╝ber popular boy, as an evil angel hell-bent on destroying her and everyone she loves. As Judas spreads horrible rumors and overdoses two of her classmates at a rave, Megan realizes the enormity of his power. While classmates die, Megan, with the help of an angel, Johnny, and a team of friends will face the fight of their lives as they battle Judas.

Megan thinks God hasn't given her any "special" powers, but discovers she has what she needs as she confronts Judas and his seemingly unconquerable power."

My Thoughts:

Fifteen year old Megan finds out while working as a counsellor at summer camp that she has been granted powers of light by God to battle the evil of dark angels who seek to lead unsuspecting people astray. She has been attending the same summer camp for many years and the previous summer, had noticed a strange bright light surrounding camp counsellor, Mr. Z (as she knows him). When she remarked on it, she was laughed at and so, she has not mentioned it since. However, this summer she gets Mr. Z aside and asks him about it in private, wondering why she’s the only one who can see the light surrounding him. She finds out that Mr. Z is an angel of light sent down to battle the forces of darkness encroaching upon humanity and that she has also been blessed with powers to battle against these enemies of man. Once camp is over, Megan will have to go home and prepare for a great battle that awaits her in her near future and will possibly affect the people she loves.

While I thought this book was written with noble intentions and attempted to convey an important message, I am sorry to say that the storyline just fell flat for me. No doubt, the cliffhanger at the end left me curious about what will happen in the next book in the series (as most cliffhangers do) I don’t think I’ll end up reading the next book in this series, mainly because it was really difficult for me to get through this one. There were many factors that affected my opinion of this story, but I think that the main one was that the behaviours of the characters, the dialogue and certain events were exaggerated and mostly unbelievable. I also felt that the book read like it was written for a much younger audience, even though it discussed issues of sex, eating disorders, teenage pregnancy and abortion, and it came across as too overtly preachy. I found it really hard to buy into a lot of what happened in this book.

Firstly, at the summer camp, I found it incredibly odd how fast Megan and Mr. Z got into a discussion about the light surrounding him and it was very unrealistic how easily Megan believed everything he said and didn’t question his sanity or hers. Their discussion was a relaxed one, as if it were no surprise that he was an angel and she happened to have special powers. Secondly, all the talk about dark forces and angels of light was very vague and Megan didn’t seem at all curious to know more or to know why she’d been granted the power to see these dark angels.

Secondly, I found it a little ridiculous that Megan would see a dark angel influencing two little boys to plot mischief and then decide to go over and warn them against whatever childish mischief they may have been plotting. Little boys make mischief- that’s what they do. I don’t think it warranted such seriousness.

I thought Megan’s and Seth’s relationship was sweet, innocent and quite adorable. Robbie, Seth’s friend, was such a charming prankster (he reminded me a little of Robbie, aka Robin Goodfellow aka Puck, from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series) and I found him quite entertaining. The mornings when the counsellors met for breakfast and the evening bonfires provided a feeling of warmth and cosiness to the story. It was funny how everyone seemed to be aware of Megan’s and Seth’s relationship, but they were still forced to act like they weren’t more than friends. There was one thing that got to me, though. There was this scene in which Seth sat down to have his breakfast of six doughnuts and a can of soda (strangely, that stuck in my mind because I can’t imagine the sugar high that must cause) and I found it a little unbelievable that he’d say a little prayer before consuming his six doughnuts and a coke, all while sitting next to his girlfriend in a room full of student counsellors. That just seemed odd and out of place. I can’t imagine any teenage boy, no matter how religious, doing that in front of his girlfriend. That’s where the preachy bit comes in.

While I understand the inclusion of passages from the scriptures to explain situations and illustrate points, I just didn’t like the obvious way in which modern-day parallels were drawn to biblical references. I feel that it could have been handled with more subtlety and finesse because there were times when Mr. Z was talking to Megan and it felt like a parent telling bedtime bible stories to a child. By the way, speaking of Mr. Z- him being a camp counsellor known as Mr. Z reminded me of Mr. D in the Percy Jackson series.

I found that things did pick up later in the book when Megan went back home and met Johnny (an angel) at her high school and found an enemy in Judas/Jude, a bad boy transfer student who was leading Megan’s fellow students astray. It was very strange how a Goth chick and non-believer suddenly became a believing Christian and Megan’s closest friend after witnessing Judas’ evil in convincing her friend to commit suicide. As I said, there were just too many things that stood out for me while reading this book and my intention is not to unduly pick apart and criticise this book, but these were just a few mental notes I made as I read along, which I felt that I could not ignore. Overall, I didn’t enjoy this novel despite its well-meaning message but I hope that the next instalment in this series will not fall into the same traps as this one has fallen into and that it will be an improvement on this one.

Review: The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna

The Wedding Gift

Title: The Wedding Gift
Author: Kathleen McKenna
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: Unspecified
Challenge: Why Buy The Cow? Reading Challenge

My Rating: 2/5

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"It is a spine-electrifying supernatural tale where a huge Southern States mansion contains one of the most terrifying, violent and indeed psychopathic ghosts to haunt any town. It is also a murder mystery - why did Robina Willets apparently kill all five of her young children, and her husband, before stabbing herself to death? And, if you are in the camp of believing that 'justice .... just is not', then this will have you frothing at the mouth with righteous social fury. Add to that the vision of two exceptionally beautiful girls lying on a landing stage in the middle of a secluded lake, sleeping naked in the sun .... .... and then see if you can find any consecutive ten minutes in this book when you don't at least snicker at the heroine Leeann's sly, caustic, sometimes-knowing sometimes 'too stupid to live' commentary."

My Thoughts:

I'd read a few positive reviews for this book and even heard that it was picked up for movie production, so when I saw it available for Free Download at Amazon's Kindle Store, I was excited to finally read it. In this book, the narrator and main character, Leann, tells us her story through her diary entries. We learn that she comes from a small town, Dalton, and is a local beauty queen who has been winning contests from a young age. She comes from a good Christian home and has one sibling, an older brother. Before she was born, their eldest brother died while trespassing on private property owned by the richest family in Dalton, the Willets. Ever since the murder of the Willets family’s elder son, Roger and his children at the hands of his wife, Robina, (who also took her own life in the incident) the locals believe that the house has been haunted. Over the years, the house became the source of many Halloween pranks for teenagers seeking a little excitement. Leann’s brother was one such teenager who decided to break into the house out of curiosity and to showcase his bravery in doing so. However, something went wrong that night and he and his friend, Donny, were found by the police lying in the mansion’s empty pool, having fallen from a great height and sustaining serious injuries. While Donny survives and is eventually released from hospital, Leann’s brother Charlie does not make it. After that night, Donny refuses to talk about what happened, readily going along with the Sheriff’s explanation for the events of that night. However, many years later, when Leann ends up pregnant with the child of George Willets, the murdered Roger Willets’ nephew, and moves into the long abandoned Willets mansion as his wife, Donny feels he needs to speak up and warn her.

Having loved Donny for most of her life while being regarded by him as a little sister, Leann never expected Donny to show up at her house after marriage. Despite marrying George, she doesn’t love him and Donny’s not too happy with his wife either. They soon realise that they actually love each other and Donny is afraid for Leann’s safety in that house. After witnessing a few strange occurrences in the mansion herself, Leann becomes determined to find a way to put an end to all of it by finding out the truth about what happened the night of the Willets’ family massacre. She is lucky to have the unflagging support of her best friend, Jessie, and the love of her life, Donny. Surprisingly, the people one would expect to have supported her most- her husband and parents- are the ones who don’t even believe her. However, another murder occurs in the mansion soon after Leann moves in and she is placed under suspicion. So, with the help of Donny, Jessie and Mark , Leann sets out to clear her name and uncover the secret behind what happened in the mansion many years before.

Firstly, let me just say that I was happy for Leann and Donny when they finally realised that their attraction was mutual and that they’d been foolish to resist each other all those years. I just didn’t like the way they chose to be together- by cheating on their spouses. I thought Donny was an admirable character for being married to a “junkie whore” and sticking with her for so long. It really bothered me how casually George’s drug problem was accepted by Leann and I found myself disgusted with how easily she was able to manipulate him. Leann was a pathetic character who I had very little respect for. She was pretty, dumb, vain, self-centred, manipulative and a heartless gold-digger. There was also this annoying tendency to repeat senseless statements like “get killed dead and then murdered”. While the statement may be unique to the setting, I just felt that it was overused.

While I understand that George was ugly and unremarkable and Leann thought she was too good for him, I don’t think he deserved what he got. I loved Jessie with her snarky personality and great sense of humour. I admired how loyal she was to Leann. Mark was sweet for putting up with Jessie’s bossiness and still adoring her. Leann’s dad was rather funny and a little adorable, even if he was a drunk. Leann’s mum was a little too perfect to believe, with her firm religious faith and her claims that she never hated anyone in her life. I felt that there was not enough of Leann’s mother-in-law in the book except for the beginning, where we only have Leann’s descriptions of her to go on. It’s possible the lack of information is due to the novel being written from Leann’s point of view and Leann not wanting to discuss her mother-in-law, but it seemed to me that Leann had very little to complain about since her mother-in-law seemed to keep out of her life completely after marriage. However, given the role played by her mother-in-law towards the end, I expected her to appear more often throughout the novel. Overall, this was an okay read. The only gripping part was when the mystery was unveiled, but other than that, it made for predictable light reading.

Review: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

Title: Mockingjay
Series: The Hunger Games (Book 3)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Format: ebook
Pages: 293 pages

My Rating: 4/5

Blurb (from Goodreads):

"Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Kattnis, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding."

My Thoughts:

I thought that this final book in the trilogy was sad yet beautiful. It was sad for me due to certain events in the latter half of the book- there was a lot of damage and destruction and no one emerged unscathed. However, they each had to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and move forward. I thought the ending was beautiful.

This book highlighted important issues like PTSD, greed and the corrupting influence of power. It showed how easily power changed people and could turn the oppressed into oppressors. There were new alliances formed in this book. Katniss felt very lonely for most of the book although she had Gale, Finnick, Haymitch, Boggs (her bodyguard in 13) and even her stylists and camera crew on her side. Much of her loneliness, I believe, stemmed from not having Peeta by her side. Katniss found that she couldn’t really trust the people at the helm of the resistance effort (people such as President Coin, Plutarch and Flavia) adding to her uncertainty and stress in the midst of the turmoil facing the country.

This final instalment in the series was action-packed with a lot of battle scenes and more political power play than in the previous two books. After all the battering that Katniss has taken throughout the series, it never ceases to amaze me how she manages to stay alive and maintain her sanity. Sadly, all the upheaval meant that there was very little romance throughout the book and the changes we witnessed in Peeta just made me sad and very angry that the Capitol was able to taint such a noble soul. Despite knowing how this series ends, I find myself excited for the release of the movie in March and look forward to seeing the excitement of The Hunger Games brought to life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mega-Awesome HUGE International Giveaway @ Evie-Bookish

There's an amazingly huge giveaway going on Evie-Bookish's blog. Evie will be moving soon, so she's decided to give away a box filled with 16 delicious books to some lucky reader somewhere in the world. There will be ONE lucky winner who takes all 16 books.

What can you win?

How about this...

Yes, you could be the proud owner of these 16 beauties. So don't delay! Go on over HERE to enter, as the contest ends on March 1st, 2012.

Good luck! :)