Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: Embellish by R.L. Sloan



By R.L. Sloan

Published by Outskirts Press, Inc.

ISBN: 1432740326    (ISBN13: 9781432740320)

244 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Paranormal Romance

Received review copy of Embellish from the author, R.L. Sloan


Book Description (from the back cover): Revenge has never tasted so sweet…

As a young girl, Solis Burkes is raped at the hands of ruthless school bullies – an incident that haunts her into young adulthood. Then she meets Nacio, a strikingly handsome man who seems to know everything about her – including the painful past Solis hasn’t told anyone about. But what Solis doesn’t know is that Nacio has been with her every step of the way, protecting her ever since that fateful episode.

It’s a destiny he’s been working up to for the last 257 years.

Now, as Solis enters a dark world of vampires, voodoo, and passion, she’ll need all the protection she can get. Unbeknownst to her, those responsible for Solis’s rape have returned. Connected to the evil voodoo Priestess Aldicia, they’ll stop at nothing in their plans to spew violence and mayhem throughout the city. And an old family feud dating back centuries puts Solis first on their list of targets. But not is Solis can unravel the clues fast enough, and inflict her own brand of revenge.

Embellish mixes sexy romance with high-stakes paranormal intrigue for a keeps-you-guessing, fast-paced and savvy thriller, right up until the shocking finale.

General Review: Bringing a fresh twist to the popular vampire love story, Embellish is a vivid paranormal romance. Filled with creative twists and turns, Embellish will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment to this saga.

Likes: I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Each character is very unique and memorable.

Dislikes: This book has a lot of grammar and punctuation imperfections and there are a few inconsistencies throughout the story.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I like the Mardi Gras mask. It’s simple and classy.

Closing Comments: If you can look past the inconsistencies and errors, Embellish is a great addition to the vampire trend. I’m looking forward to more from this author and the sequel to this book - Embellish 2: Justice Served.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My vacation so far, NaNoWriMo, and contests

Sigh, only a few more days left in my vacation. Where does the time go? I feel like I haven’t done anything productive. I caught a nasty cold and have been sick for a few days now. I’ve been sleeping a lot and I haven’t read near as much as I was hoping to.

On Saturday I picked up my car from the mechanic (it runs AWESOME!!) and took my nieces Ali and Hailey to Penumbra – a fantasy faire. It’s an event put on by the Seattle Knights. There were pirates and knights jousting and faeries and more!! We had a lot of fun and Dave Matthews was even among the crowd!! If you ever have a chance to go to one of their events, I highly recommend you do. You will not be disappointed. I wish I had some pics to post to show you the awesomeness of their performances.

On Monday, I signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s basically a personal challenge to write a 50,000 (or more!) word novel from scratch between November 1 thru the 30th. There are no promises of a book deal or any other contest winnings, just the satisfaction of completing the task. I heard about this challenge back in 2005, but this is the first year I’ve actually committed to it. I almost forgot about it but Dave mentioned it a few days ago on his blog.

It’s been a life-long dream to write a novel. I participated in my first writing contest at the age of 11, but I’ve put my writing passion on the back burner since high school ended and I pursued accounting for a career. It’s only been just recently that I started writing again and began this blog. My writing skills are a little rusty, but you can’t sharpen your skills without practice, right? So, during the month of November, my faithful readers will get the privilege of seeing me post updates on my status in NaNoWriMo and if you’re lucky, I MIGHT post my story here if I finish it. If you’re a writer looking for a fresh challenge or a spark to light the stories bouncing around inside your head, I recommend you sign up to participate in NaNoWriMo.

If you get a chance, don’t forget to check out Shellie’s blog tomorrow and participate in her book giveaway!!

That’s all the excitement I have to share. I think I’ll take a nap now…

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater



By Maggie Stiefvater

Published by Scholastic Press

ISBN: 0545123267   ISBN13: 9780545123266

392 Pages

Genre: YA Fiction/Paranormal Romance


Book Description (from the publisher): For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

The General Review: Shiver is a haunting and lovely paranormal romance between Sam, a shape shifting wolf and Grace, the human he loves. Up against personal tragedy and supernatural circumstances, the two protagonists tell their story in a poetic beauty that is enchanting.

Likes: I liked the alternating perspectives for each chapter. I think by reciprocating the viewpoint, the reader discovers more the the characters personalities. Also, the transition between the two perspectives are seamless.

Dislikes: There were a few shape shifting facts that were a little unbelievable or weren’t explained in detail. I don’t want to give examples because I don’t want to blow it for those of you that haven’t read the book yet.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I like the simplicity of this cover. Excellent design.

Closing Comments: This one of the better YA novels I’ve read in a while (besides Catching Fire by Susanne Collins, which is in its own category of awesomeness). I did expect the story to be more suspenseful, but I was not disappointed. I recommend Shiver to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance and shape shifting.

Blog Discussion: If you could shape shift into any animal, what would it be and why?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where have I been?

I know, I know, my faithful fans are missing my posts and reviews. I have been really busy with a couple of work projects. I've been putting in a lot of hours at the office. By the time I get home, I'm exhausted and do not want to spend any more time staring at a monitor. But, my vacation starts Friday!!! Yay!!!

If you get a free moment, check out Shellie's contest here. She's giving away a Radiohead CD. All you have to do is EMAIL her your top 5 favorite albums and explain why your top one is your favorite. This was a very hard choice for me. I own over 700 albums, so I consulted my faithful friend, iTunes. I sorted my library by play count and here are the top 5 albums I listen to:

1. Some Mad Hope by Matt Nathanson

2. All Sides by O.A.R.

3. The Fray by The Fray

4. Busted Stuff by Dave Matthews Band

5. The Glass Passenger by Jack's Mannequin

In other news, some of you know my beloved 2002 Volkswagon Jetta has been acting up. It's been running weird and the front end was shaking when I go above 35 mph. Then it started dying on me. So I finally took it to my mechanic. Basically, my problems were a combination of a cracked drive axel, my transmission going out and 3 out of the 4 ignition coils were really bad and the 4th one was only kinda bad. Luckily, I still have 2400 miles left on my warranty so they are footing the bill to repair everything!! Sadly, I have been without a car because of diagnotics and the warranty company taking their sweet time to inspect the damage so they can approve the claim so my mechanic can do the work. I have my car back for now, but my new transmission will be ready to be installed on Wednesday, so I will have to be without my car again for a few more day. But when I get it back, no more shaking and dying!!

As for book related news, I was recently given a Barnes & Noble giftcard. I have over 200 books on my to-read list, so choosing books to purchase at Barnes & Noble was very hard. I decided to buy a couple of books that I've been waiting for from the library for a while and a new release that I really wanted to read. The new release is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I recently read Lament: A Faerie Queen's Deception by Stiefvater and really liked it. The other 2 books I got are Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris (the book HBO's True Blood is based off of) and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Dave, Logan, Krista and Shellie (their blogs are all awesome! If you don't follow them, you really should!!) all have been talking about Mistborn and how awesome it is. I didn't want to feel left out, so I jumped on the Mistborn bandwagon. I'm excited to read them all.

Review: Lonestar Secrets

This is the first book I’m reviewing for Thomas Nelson.

Lonestar Secrets

By Colleen Coble

Published by Thomas Nelson

320 Pages

ISBN: 1595544879 (isbn13: 9781595544872)

Genre: Fiction/Christian Romance

Book Description: Shannon Astor returns to southwest Texas to serve as the town's veterinarian, believing she's finally found the space to get her life back on track.

Then she catches a glimpse of Jack MacGowan, the man who ruined her life years before. But even more shocking is the sight of Jack's five-year-old daughter Faith, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Shannon's own daughter Kylie. Is it possible that their similarities could be more than just coincidence? Could Faith be the daughter that Shannon has believed to be dead for all these years?

As the truth emerges, everyone is forced to take sides--in a story with a heart as big as Texas.

A Quick Synopsis: Trying to put her life back together, Shannon returns to her hometown to become the town veterinary. But shortly after her arrival to the farmhouse her uncle bequeathed her in his will, the puzzle pieces to her life become even more mixed up.

Likes: The pace of the story is well done. The author didn’t spend too much time on any one conflict.

Dislikes: The plot is very unrealistic. The storyline read like a soap opera. There are way too many twists and coincidences. The interpersonal conflicts and mysteries that the author meant to be suspenseful are very predictable.

Closing Comments: I didn't really care for this book. If you like a quick, light, christian romance read, you will enjoy this book.