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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Untimed by Andy Gavin

Join Andy Gavin, author of the Young Adult Time Travel/Adventure novel, Untimed, as he tours the blogosphere July 1 - July 26, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00004] Untimed by Andy Gavin

Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. 

Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. 

Still, even if they screw up history -- like accidentally let the founding father be killed -- they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself. (book blurb)


Sound interesting? Check out a sample of the book online!

ABOUT ANDY GAVIN

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.

His latest book is the young adult time travel novel, Untimed.

Visit his website at www.andy-gavin-author.com.

Connect with Andy:


Pump Up Your Book

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Review: Pivot Point

Pivot Point
Pivot Point by Kasie West

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. 

When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with - her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

As soon as I read the synopsis on this one, I knew I wanted to read it! The ability to see your own future? How could anyone resist that?

Loved the story, as I haven't read anything even remotely like this. The closest I could think of was the movie Sliding Doors, but that character didn't "see" both lives and didn't have the option of choosing which path she wanted to take.

Addie's parents decide to separate, and Addie is given the choice of choosing who she wants to live with. She decides to use her ability to see which option would be best, but with surprising results!

After the initial set-up, the chapters alternate between the two choices. Very clever definitions at the start of each chapter remind you if the chapter will be in the NORM or PARA world (you'll see what I mean when you read it).

The majority of the book is Addie's search into her two possible futures, and then she makes her choice towards the end.

Really enjoyed this story! Liked the characters, had a well paced plat, there was plenty of action, and I think the author is very talented. Really loved the premise, and think that Searching would be an awesome ability! Recommended for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy!

ARC received via the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Marilyn's Red Diary

EZ Friedel
Marilyn's Red Diary by E.Z. Friedel

Marilyn's Red Diary is shocking, funny, scandalous and sad but always brutally honest. Marilyn Monroe is caught between intellectual giants - her award-winning playwright husband Arthur Miller and her dashing politician boyfriend Jack. Then along comes Jack's fiery brother Bobby. The world's dream girl relates her intimate adventures with many of the era's who's who. Marilyn's Red Diary is a touching portrait of a hard-working, extremely bright woman, trapped in her own sensuality and, tragically, born far ahead of her time. (Goodreads)


WHO KILLED MARILYN MONROE?

When Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, her estate was worth $370,000. In 2011 the subway dress from The Seven-Year Itch sold for a whopping $4.6 million. Add the gown she wore when she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy, which sold for $1.26 million in 1999, and one thing is clear. The clothes are worth more than the woman who wore them.

More than a half-century after she was found dead on the night of August 5, 1962, Hollywood’s tragic dream girl continues to fascinate. We’re still mesmerized by her endless appeal to powerful men of every stripe, her troubled childhood, her magnetic screen presence and the mystery of what killed the woman who created Marilyn Monroe.

Based on shocking new information, author and physician E.Z. Friedel offers a fictional first-person account of what might have happened to the former Norma Jeane Mortenson in MARILYN’S RED DIARY (Sand Shack LLC; June 1, 2013; $9.99). Friedel draws on his medical knowledge to explore some of the darkest questions concerning the troubled star, including who may have killed her, as he recreates the last two years of her life. This provocative and scandalous narrative is told by Marilyn herself, as she recounts the events of the day - and the steamy, sexual encounters of the night - writing in her red diary all the details and dirty little secrets about some of the most powerful people in history and entertainment.

Marilyn confides in her diary information about the President of the United States, his brother the attorney general, the CIA, the Mafia, her loyal psychiatrist, her overbearing drama coach, insensitive producers, husbands, lovers, and her ongoing struggles with drugs and alcohol. Friedel calls upon his professional expertise to deliver the most shocking revelation of all - just how Marilyn may have been killed and who was responsible.

E.Z. Friedel is a novelist and surgeon. His first novel, The Cutting Room, based on his medical experiences in Spanish Harlem, was published by Bantam. It sold out its first printing of 50,000 copies and was optioned three times to NBC. He lives in New York. Marilyn’s Red Diary, his second novel, is the culmination of more than 20 years of research, thousands of pages of correspondence and many interviews. (press release)



Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Sand Shack LLC (June 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988890704
ISBN-13: 9780988890701

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blog Tour: The King's Deception by Steve Berry

The King's Deception
The King's Deception by Steve Berry

Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown - an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.

At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons.” An outraged American government objects, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene. Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

When I was in grade school, I was fascinated by Queen Elizabeth I and read every book I could get my hands on! It's been awhile, but the fascination is still there. A few days before I started reading, I watched a documentary about Hampton Court Palace. Interest definitely renewed!

The story was a little confusing at first, as there are three main characters and they take turns narrating. There's Cotton Malone, the retired Magellan Billet agent; Blake Antrim, the CIA agent in charge of Operation King's Deception; and Kathleen Richards, a SOCA agent currently on suspension and on her way to being fired. Their stories eventually come together and make for a thrilling ride!

Scattered throughout the story are snippets concerning King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. Both present and historical stories are fascinating! While I had read quite a bit about this family, I had never heard of the Bisley Boy legend. True or not, it makes for a great plot!

Cotton Malone is retired, but a simple favor for his former boss lands him right in the middle of a CIA operation well on it's way to going wrong. There are lies and double-crosses and manipulation galore, which is great for the reader but not so hot for the participants. So much going on that I almost wanted a scorecard to keep track of all the twists!

I've never read Steve Berry before, but I knew that he had quite a few titles under his belt. Now I can see why, as he's very talented! Interesting plot, good characters, and very well paced. Thoroughly enjoyed the story and looking forward to reading more by Berry, as he's incredibly talented!


THE KING’S DECEPTION
Steve Berry
Ballantine Books; May 2013
432 pages; $27.00 U.S./$29.00 CAN.
ISBN 978-0-345-52654-0
www.SteveBerry.org


STEVE BERRY is the New York Times bestselling author of eight Cotton Malone adventures, three stand-alone novels, and four short stories. He has 15 million books in print, translated into 40 languages and sold in 51 countries. Through his passion for history Berry created the foundation, History Matters, which is dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and his wife Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers’ workshops. To date, nearly 2,000 students have attended those workshops. In 2012 Steve’s devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve the first spokesman for National Preservation Week.

Blog tour arranged by Meryl L Moss Media Relations Inc, review copy received in exchange for an honest review

Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: 'Til The World Ends

'til the world ends
'Til The World Ends collection

While this is only three stories, I think it still counts as an anthology. I'm already a fan of Julie Kagawa, but haven't read Ann Aguirre or Karen Duvall. Since it's only three stories, will review each one.

Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa

Before The Immortal Rules, there was the Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden-as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What's worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she's beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems.... (Goodreads)

This is a nice prequel to the Immortal Rules series, giving us a glimpse into life right after Red Lung has hit. Kylie is a doctor trying to save as many patients as possible in a temporary clinic set up because all of the hospitals are full. It's a losing battle, but she's giving it her all. I liked Kylie, and grew to like Ben. Wish we had more of a first-hand account of what went wrong, but guess all of the people at the front lines were killed. There's even a cameo of one of the characters in The Immortal Rules, which was a nice touch! Recommended!

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre

After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside-in the Red Zone-is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they'll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside...for good. (Goodreads)

Although I have several books by Ann on my TBR pile, I haven't gotten around to reading any of them yet. After this one, I need to dig them out ASAP, as Ann is an awesome writer! I don't usually like stories like this, but I was pulled in by the characters. Mari is a great main character, struggling to survive any way she can while still providing for her siblings. Thorne is a big harder to pin down, as he works for the bad guy but seems willing to help Mari. Loved both the plot and characters, and hoping that this becomes a series as I'd love to see what happens to these two down the road!

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall

Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms-in the cosmos and beyond. And she's not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She'll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defense, the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world ends. (Goodreads)

This was my least favorite of the three, but might be because I'm not a big fan of dystopian fiction. I didn't really connect with either Sarah or Ian, so that was a problem. There was nothing wrong with the writing, it just wasn't my cup of tea.



Overall, I'd recommend this collection as I really enjoyed two of the three stories! And the third story wasn't bad, just not my type of read. Recommended for anyone who likes urban fantasy and dystopia!

ARC provided via Amazon Vine, in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Book Haul (23)

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In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

This was a nice surprise from Meryl L. Moss Media. It's been awhile since I've read a good thriller, and this one is set in Hawaii, so should be good!

Saving Paradise
Saving Paradise by Mike Bond

When a beautiful journalist drowns mysteriously off Waikiki, Hawaii, Special Forces veteran Pono Hawkins, now a well-known surfer and international correspondent for surfing magazines, soon gets embroiled in trying to find out why she died. (Goodreads)

Edelweiss:

Note to self:  staying off of NetGalley does you no good if you can't stay off of Edelweiss as well.

Heart of Venom
Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point—can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out…(Goodreads)

***

Once We Were
Once We Were by Kat Zhang

In the riveting sequel to What's Left of Me, Addie and Eva struggle to share a body as they join in the rebellion against the government that would destroy them. (blurb)



What did you receive this week?


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mid-year Review

library-6

Hard to believe that the year is half over already! My theme for the year is Discipline, but I don't seem to be very disciplined...

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to read 8.33 books per month. Got into a bit of a reading rut and I've only read 26 so far. I'm now 24 books behind. To make my goal, I need to read 12 books every month. That's 3 books a week. Even at my best, I don't think I've ever read three books a week. Going to give it the old college try though! *puts on reading goggles*

Blog Goals

Have lots of lovely goals. They even have their own page. They are very pretty goals and, every now and again, I stop by to visit. Haven't actually completed any of them, but I do stop by to say hello periodically so they don't feel totally neglected.


Blog Updates

Installed a floating share bar on my blogs awhile back. Found easy instructions at Simplex Design  and it only took a few minutes. I also updated my little "About Me" widget on the sidebar and created a Contact Me page. No recent updates, but I have a few ideas.

Commenting

Am slowly getting used to Bloglovin and was able to transfer all of the blogs I follow from Google Reader successfully. I hope. It's a little awkward with all the clicking, but think I'll eventually get used to it. It was the lesser of the evils when I was trying to find a Reader alternative, so now I just have to get back on the Commenting Bandwagon.

Fun with keyword searches

There are so many funny ways that people find my blog, so thought I'd share some of the more unusual keyword searches:

*parker young shirtless*
*power lunch eat shirtless at desk*
*mammy ryans kitchen*
*hairy alexia*
*hairy italian dominate men shirtless*

I have no idea what these people were searching for, but can only imagine that they were disappointed when they wound up on my blog. Thinking about titling all of my reviews "Shirtless" from now on...if nothing else, my blog traffic will increase! *L*

Conclusion

So the first half of the year hasn't been all that great. Hoping the last six months is better! Progress is slow, with a few setbacks along the way, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Spartan Frost

Alexia's Books and Such
Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep

I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was - until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story …(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This is a novella, which takes place after the events in Crimsom Frost and is told from Logan's point of view. I really like Logan, the Spartan warrior who is Gwen's boyfriend!

Logan is having a tough time dealing with the events that took place in the previous story, so he's left school to try and deal with the situation. While he stays in touch with a couple of his friends, he refuses to talk to Gwen by phone, text, or email. He is confused by what happened and fears for the future, but not discussing what happened isn't helping. It's hard enough getting a male to discuss his feelings, but when that male is a Spartan? Furgeddaboudit!

It's a great story to tide us over the next full-length book, as it's nice to see things from Logan's point of view for a change. There's even some great action in this one, despite being a novella! Recommended for all Mythos Academy fans!


eBook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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