Friday, September 10, 2010

Yay book signings!

I'm making it my new goal to get out to more book signings. Especially if it's an author I love. However, this means I need to be a little more on-the-ball, since usually I don't hear about signings until they're already passed. But from now on, dangit, I'm keeping up to date!

I knew when "Maybe This Time" was released, Jennie Crusie would be doing a small book tour, and I knew I just had to go one of those days. So I looked up the schedule, sent it to my mother and aunt (also big Crusie fans), and we all said we're going. Well, time passes.. and while checking Jennie Crusie's blog, I noticed she said something about Cincinnati... OH YEAH THE TOUR! Well, I managed to convince my mom and aunt to go, and we got there just in time to browse the bookstore before getting seated.

And what a talk it was! I always love hearing Crusie speak. Talk about entertaining.. and so funny! And I do so love to hear her talk about her works in progress, and even just how some aspects of her life affect her work. But after the wonderful chat, I got my two books signed, bought two other books (Yay for a YA fiction sale!), and then immediately came home to search for the mysterious book Jennifer Crusie wrote years ago and refuses to say the name (apparently, it was one of her first/her first book, and therefore not as good). I found it... and bought it. ;)

Where was I going with this... OH RIGHT! Book signings. I want to go to more! I wish more of my favorite authors were even semi-local, and therefore more likely to travel this area, but darn it, I'll catch them if they ever come close. I did happen to notice the same bookstore hosting tonight's signing will be hosting six YA fiction authors later this month. Though I'm only familiar with two of them, I definitely want to try checking the rest out.

Have a wonderful Friday! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review of "Dividing Dark" by Melissa Swaim

Okay, this will not be a usual review. I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about this book, so the review will be done in a "YAY!" or "NAY!" format. Nay meaning something I didn't like/a problem I had, and Yay being something I was excited about/enjoyed.

This title is available from Eternal Press. You can find it here.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not given any monetary incentive towards a positive review.

Type: YA, Paranormal Romance, Aliens (or are they?!), Shapeshifters

About the book (from the site): "  How is a 16-year-old girl with an eating disorder to reconcile the ancient wounds between the Annunaki, the Reptilian Watchers, and the human race? After Flannery “Fee” Birch loses her father in Afghanistan, she ends up in the alien land of Alabama, where she learns the art of spelunking (caving) in order to make friends. To make matters worse, Fee is afraid of caves, heights, and just about everything else…until she meets Faron Rothschild, an outcast from either world, though an emissary for both. Faron’s mixed blood kind took up the role of protecting humans, whom the Anunnaki abandoned and later warred with, while also keeping the Anunnaki secret from the world who forgot them. Not an easy task for a shape shifter who can switch between both sets of his DNA, human and Reptilian. This is a secret that must be maintained at all cost, and Fee, who once tried to disappear from life, pound by pound, must not only rectify her own life, but demand truce between light and darkness.   "

- YAY - for our heroine, Fee, actually acting like a teenager. She's got moodswings like nobody's business, she has no problem complaining and griping a lot, and she grumbles about her mother's.. existance, really. Oh, and she switches between attraction to two different guys amazingly quickly. Yeah, sounds like a real honest-to-goodness 16 year old to me.

- NAY - for Fee's new "friends." Holy crap, what jerks. I understand Fee is still new to the area, and probably just wants someone to hang with, but why put up with those beaches? Okay, so she's into the guy, Niko, at first.. and yeah, if you like the guy, you're willing to put up with a lot (sometimes), but after her attraction shifts elsewhere, why would she continue to deal with them?

- YAY - for Faron and Fee to be similar in age. I'll admit it, some paranormal romance where the hero is centuries older than our teenaged heroine is creepy. But here, Faron is 18, and Fee is 16. Much less squicky.
- NAY - for trust issues. Fee whines and pleads with Faron to trust her with his secrets, and even says she's eagerly awaiting his decision to tell her everything. But she decides to screw waiting, and ends up going with the jerky "friends" to do some exploring of underground tunnels to what? Find out Faron's secret. Which he's told her is dangerous and she shouldn't do. Trouble ensues. AVOIDABLE TROUBLE.

- YAY - for actually showing some health concerns that come with eating disorders. Because Fee stops eating almost completely after her father's death, she's not getting the nutrition she needs. And the author actually included some consequences of that - Fee temporarily goes blind and has to go to the hospital. Also, big kudos to Faron for taking her to the hospital and making her call her mother, even though she was already feeling better.

- YAY - for a vampire myth cameo. By now, most of you know I love seeing different versions of the vampire myth, and comparing it to others. There is some mention of vampire myths in "Dividing Dark," brief, but there.. and of course I caught on to it. And smiled to myself. Also, despite knowing the YA-ness of the book, after hearing about the "biting" part of the vampire myth, I wanted there to be a steamy scene.

And finally - YAY - for some pretty writing and descriptions. There were a few moments when the descriptions just jumped out at me as being well written. And sometimes the language just sounded... pretty. A good kind of pretty, of course.

Sometimes some books just require a different sort of review style. Or maybe my reviewing muse just needed a different sort of outlet this time around. But I feel like this post adequately summed up my feelings on "Dividing Dark" by Melissa Swaim. I encourage any and all of you interested to pick up the book (again, available here) and tell me your thoughts.

Thanks for tuning in, and until next time.
~!~ Morning Glow

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review of "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble" by H.P. Mallory

The author contacted me to review one of her books, and after reading this - I was grateful for the opportunity! You can purchase your own copy here!!

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I have received no monetary incentive for a good review.

Type: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts!, Faeries, Sexy men with weird names, Mmm.. Accents, Can I have the guys she doesn't want?, Series

Book Description (From the site): "  A self-deprecating witch with a unique ability to reanimate the dead. A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss and her would-be lover. A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda; one that includes and appetite for witches. The Underworld is in a state of chaos. Let the games begin.   "

When browsing both of this author's pieces, I was instantly drawn to "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble." This book follows the tale of Jolie, who isn't supermodel gorgeous, just a normal girl who occasionally gets visions. And then on a job for a client, she discovers she's able to bring back the dead - not as zombies, but as their former selves. It's quite the talent to have, and in today's war-fearing Underworld, it's much in demand. I love stories where our hero or heroine is tossed into a situation that is totally new and frightening for them, and they have to fight their way through it. This new world is something Jolie just can't hide away from, but she learns to deal with it. Of course, she has a little help from her friends...

Speaking of friends, we'll start with one of the secondary characters, Christa. She was definitely good for some laughs, but she had some genuine good-friend moments, which was good to see. When in a situation as tough as the one Jolie was in, a good friend like Christa will come in handy. And then there's Rand. So stubborn, so delicious, argh! Rand was so frustrating and reliable at the same time. There were scenes I wanted to strangle him, others I wanted snuggle him... and then there were a few times I wanted to do both at once.

One thing that really struck me about H.P. Mallory was how human her characters seemed. Well.. maybe that's not the correct term. She described the flaws and traits of each main and secondary character so well, you felt like you knew them. The author added little motions a character might make when aggravated, or sounds they might make when annoyed and amused. Just little things that could just as well be easily over-looked, and in the grand scheme of things might not even be important, but I loved getting that little glimpse of each character's life.

There are plenty of twists and turns in "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble." Jolie has a lot to deal with, and a lot to learn. I was so engrossed in the main characters journey that I read the entire book in one day - I just couldn't put it down. Good thing this book is a series, Jolie's trials are far from over, and there's an even rougher road ahead.

I'm going to give "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble" by H.P. Mallory a FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). It was a great read, and it left me wanting.. or rather NEEDING more. I can't wait to see how this great war that has been building throughout this first novel turns out, as well as how Jolie deals with all the different players in her life. Make sure you all check out this book, as well as her other release (as of right now) "To Kill A Warlock."  Find "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble" here.

Have a wonderful day!
~!~ Morning Glow

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review of "Maybe This Time" by Jennifer Crusie

Crusie is back with a new romance - her first solo release in some time.

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by the reviewer for my own personal enjoyment. I was not given this book, nor any monetary incentive, in exchange for a postitive review. But I am an Affiliate, which means using my link to buy the book will make me a penny or two.

Type: Romance, Ghosts, Children, Creepy, North Is A Hottie, Gabe McKenna is back!?

From the book jacket: "   Andie Miller is ready to move on with her life. She wants to marry her fiance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her. A distant cousin has died and left North the guardian of two orphans who have driven away three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs someone to take care of the situation, and he knows Andie can handle anything... When Andie meets the two children, she realizes the situation is much worse than she feared. Carter and Alice aren't your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. Complicating matters is Andie's fiance's suspicion that this is all a plan by North to get Andie back. He may be right because Andie's dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that's not the only haunting...  "

I loved "Maybe This Time" so much that I had to write down my thoughts to keep them at least somewhat organized. And my first note was "Crusie is back to her old self." Now... this implies that working with Bob Mayer changed her, or took some of her awesome-ness away, and that is definitely untrue. I loved her collaborations with Bob Mayer, and the girls she worked with to produce some other works. But I was just so happy to see the writing traits that I love this author for shine through in her newest book. She has characters I love, situations I can't get enough of, and humor that makes me laugh out loud.

Let's start with Andie. Andie is a real woman, with flaws (She's a bolter!), but she's strong and compassionate. She goes to take care of these children, originally because there was some money on the line (I'd babysit kids for a month for 10,000 dollars too!), but in no time at all, she's become the mother bear, learning what she has to do to care for these unique children, and willing to take on anyone she has to in her path to help them.

And North. Oh man, North... He's a classic Crusie hero - which means he's a real man, a guy like you could possibly meet on the street. But he's so strong, warm, reliable, someone to lean on, and oh so dreamy. I read a lot of paranormal romance, which is full of bronzed gods, ancient warriors, etc. And I think it is a true testament to Crusie's writing ability that makes her modern day human heroes just as perfect, if not even more so, than supernatural beings. You can really see North's growth as a character, from someone hidden away in his office who thinks shelling out money is the best way to deal with problems, to a guy willing to leave everything behind, and stick with Andie no matter what, even when she says some seriously crazy things.

And the side characters - ah! Southie is perfect as the ex-brother-in-law of Andie, and his current love interest is good for a strangle/laugh. Not to mention, fans of Jennifer Crusie will recognize the private investigator North brings in, Gabe McKenna - the hero from Fast Women. I love Jennifer Crusie for her snark and humor, which is still present despite the darker tone of this book. There may be a single line that comes accross as the perfect one-liner to a reader, but just try reading it to someone else. I did, they'll give you a funny look. Crusie writes so seamlessly there are no real one-liners. If you know the story, it's hilarious, but to an outsider, it's just a weird line.

While Crusie generally writes contemporary romance, this story blends that with a hint of the paranormal to create the perfect ghost story. I read it late at night, and let me tell you, there were a few moments where I didn't want to go to sleep, because I was afraid to turn off the light. And the end was to die for (maybe literally?!). I almost felt cheated after the climax, but once again.. Jennifer Crusie didn't let me down.

I'm going to give "Maybe This Time" by Jennifer Crusie a FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). For the first time, I wish my rating system was out of ten instead of five, because "Maybe This Time" deserves an even better score. I hope everyone gets to check out this amazing story, to delight in the storytelling (which was fantastic), and the characters (North is a dreamboat).

Have you read it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Do you want to read it? Get it from by clicking the image above.

Until next time - Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow