Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: The Life O'Reilly by Brian Cohen

Title: The Life O'Reilly by Brian Cohen
Genre: Contemporary/Drama


Summary: On the outside, Nick O'Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street Law firm, and financial security with an apartment overlooking Central Park. Having grown up in a working-class family, as far back as Nick can remember this was his dream. But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick has started to ponder his future and consider the mark he wants to leave on society both professionally and personally - his legacy.
It is when the firm due to PR reasons is compelled to accept cases "pro bono", that he gets a chance to really make a contribution that matters and within it realize what truly makes him happy and how much he is willing to let go in order to keep that happiness.

Review: I had seen a couple of reviews online and the book really seemed worthwhile, but it wasn't until author Brian Cohen contacted me himself offering to send me a printed copy of his book that I got the chance to read this. He even signed it for me and added a little dedication which was a wonderful surprise that made my day. (Thanks so much!)

I started reading the book almost immediately after getting it in the mail, but I had to stop when I fell sick so that is why it took longer than I had planned.
Anyways...

I found the story compelling and truly relevant to today. I feel like all or almost all have to make sacrifices one way or the other regarding our careers or our occupational path in general. Even if our ultimate goal isn't something more than financial security - recognition and wealth like Nick O'Reilly of the book- we still have to put a lot of work into realizing it. We often end up with a lot of extra hours of work having to stay late and having to say "No" to offers of going out for drinks etc.

Nick has found himself in a similar situation. Inspired by the hardship of his father regarding his work, where he was falsely accused of wrongdoing by his company
in order to be let go without a high cost, Nick puts everything he has got into the pursue of perfection and wealth. That at the cost of his personal life and -as he himself admits- of his dignity and conscience. He mostly deals with financial issues and he knows from the start that his clients aren't innocent. They do steal, embezzle etc. Everything for profit. He is not exactly ok with it, but he doesn't do anything to uncover the whole thing. He accepts it and does his best to get acquittals. He is so good at his work that he has even become a partner.

Then -exactly because his Law Firm has become infamous for its ruthlessness and the not-giving-back-to-society, he is forced to accept a pro bono case, that is a case for free that is more about marital law than anything else.
Dawn his client, is a good-looking, educated woman mother of Jordan who was forced to flee her house after being raped and violated/maltreated by her husband, Jimmy.
It is your typical abusive relationship, which Dawn would be inclined to accept if it weren't for Jimmy's threat towards Jordan's safety. After that she goes away and never wants to look back. But Jimmy keeps threatening and harassing her.

Nick is immediately fascinated by Dawn and he strength of character and her worth as a person and a mother and starts to consider what he has missed out on life due to his constant working. He starts to long for time out, free of work. Time he can spend playing piano (which he adores), resting and even planning a family.
These feelings start to take more and more space in his heart and mind, till it becomes obvious that he can't go on like he is.

His boss, Will, is a cold, manipulative man who cares about nothing but money and Phil, a colleague, is nothing but an annoying, shallow and rude man. I really disliked Phil be kept turning everything into a competition with Nick and relished at all of Nick's misfortunes.

I really liked the flow of the story and even though the description was more factual than emotional, I found it easy to follow and that it made clear exactly what was happening. It is true that I would have liked a little more of a description of emotions and perhaps that could have made the transition from day to day and one big event to another a little more gradual and smooth, especially towards the end.
There was a huge bad thing happening and I felt that it could have taken up more space out of the book. It was a really gripping moment and even though I found myself really tearing up, I think we could have more pages spent following that.

I though the description was generally really good and there were a lot of images that stayed with me during and after reading the book.

Examples: "From where I stood the massive green oasis looked like a big square head of broccoli , the kind they bring you in a Manhattan steakhouse with gaping holes here and there." - I really want to visit a Manhattan steakhouse now! :P

At other instances I found myself chuckling along with some incidents, like when Dawn and Nick ended up at drag-queen show-restaurant (rotfl) and when poor Nick made the mistake of looking at some old, lonely guy in the eye and ended up hearing his life's story.

It made ms sad though, that however good of a person Nick truly was- he wasn't really hardened by his lifestyle all those years, he still had a conscience and sensitivity and consideration of other people's feelings - life kept dealing him misery and bad luck. I wasn't really expecting the ending and it left me with a bittersweet taste. It was still hopeful and the ending managed to make me cry a little, as I had grown fond of both Nick and Dawn, but I wish I had known. Then again, that's life both sweet and bitter so I guess it was to be expected. You win some, you lose some as they say.

Notable Scene/Description: "Nick said he loves you, Mommy"
"Well, I'm glad, honey" she said and whispered into his ear. Again, he giggled.
"Mommy, loves you too" he aid. I quickly responded.
"Tell Mommy to close her eyes"
"Why?" Jordan asked.
"Because I have a surprise for her" I said...
I whispered into Jordan's ear "Tell Mommy I want to know if she'll marry me."


Verdict: A bittersweet tale of a man's journey into self-fulfillment and self-awareness. The story of a life changed to what it should be. This is a story well worth a read. You will find yourself caring deeply for the characters, smiling at their happiness and tearing up at their sadness and above all they feel true. We might have seen or read a similar story before, but it is well-told and it is different than what you would accept.

Rating: I think anything from 3 to 3 1/2 stars is appropriate as this was a book I really enjoyed and it influenced me. I might not be a lawyer, but considering the circumstances in Greece at the moment, things are really hard and one is forced to make many sacrifices regarding his personal life if he wants a job. I think it kinda hit close to home for me because of that.

Find the Author: Site Goodreads Facebook

The book on GoodReads
Buy the book: Amazon , Book Depository

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am back

Hello everyone.
I am so sorry for this 10 day+ absence!
I have been quite sick with bronchitis and had difficulty even breathing, let alone speak or think of anything else and then there were some work-related issues.
Living in Greece, there's always a fear for one's job and as my contract expires next month... Yeah.

Anyways, no one wants to hear about that! XD

Hope everyone had a terrific Christmas and have awesome plans for New Year's Eve!
Best wishes to all!

I would like to thank authors (in random order): Mary Manners, Keith Knapp, Denise K. Rago and Lori Pescatore.
I got all the books and I am so deeply thankful for the bookmarks and the signings and everything. It made my day(s) that much better and I can't wait to read the books! XD

So thanks again and stay tuned for at least 4 reviews!

Take care,
Kelly

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

I'm so sorry for being absent. I have been sick for the past two days with terrible headaches and a runny nose and a sore throat! Yikes, it's been awful. Hopefully, I will feel better soon because with my head hurting I don't get much reading done and even if I do, I don't enjoy it as I should! :(

I had already finished this book but I hadn't gotten around to writing a review, so there you go! :)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: YA/Paranormal Mystery?


Summary: Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Path hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperately searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.


Review:

I started this only days after finishing Hush, Hush. I really enjoyed Hush, Hush, even though I thought the ending was a bit anti-climactic (I think I am too ruined after reading only Forensic Fiction and Dark Urban Fantasy books for a while there lol).
So when I saw it was out at a Greek Bookstore (that must be a first, I mean wow... I was seriously impressed because in Greece we are way behind when it comes to publishing books in this genre), I had to pick it up because I didn't want to wait.
You should also know that books in Greece are usually like 30-40% more expensive though. I guess it's the shipping and I don't blame them, but that is why poor me always orders from Book Depository and Play.com, instead. Sorry Greek Bookstores, but you suck a little :P)

Anyways, back to the book. I had already read some reviews and a lot of people where angered by Nora's attitude... But let's take it from the start.

I absolutely adored the opening. What can be more spectacular than watching colorful fireworks and stuff with your boyfriend? (Ok, don't answer that I know I'm a silly romantic!). I thought it was a special way to open a book and my heart just melted. I loved how Patch was around Nora and how Nora was herself and the mutual trust they had. Of course, I knew it wasn't going to last but I didn't see that coming.
Well, that wasn't exactly the opening since we did get to see Nora's father and what more or less happened the day he was killed, but honestly I was dying to read about Nora and Patch so I hurried a little!

They were really adorable together and I just loved how protective he was of her, after she run into Marcy who once again hurt her with her words. It is on thing to have a rivalry at school due to grades and ambition and quite another to constantly put down someone and even mention their dead, no murdered, father.
So yes, Marcy not on my Christmas list of people to give gifts.
Anyways, I have to say that we get a lot of answers in this book.

We, finally, get to know exactly why Nora is in danger and why Fallen Angels use Nephilims and not humans in general for their “hosting- parasitic” needs. We get to know more about how their society on earth functions and what exactly happened to Harrison. Who killed him and why and who has been after Nora the whole time.

I have to admit that I didn't see that coming and I really liked the fact that it was unexpected.
I enjoyed the pace of the book and the wonderful descriptions only Becca Fitzpatrick can give you. We saw everything through Nora's eyes and it was so beautifully described that we felt her frustration and her anger and pain.

I was really disappointed in Patch regarding some of his actions but I also have to say that Nora wasn't entirely rational all the time, either.
She was quick to judge and jumped to conclusions and it was frustrating to see how little faith she had in Patch after only a few incidents. I am not sure if it was because she was insecure or because she can be pig-headed, but I didn't like that about her.

I didn't like Patch's disregard of her feelings either. I know there was a bigger picture and in the end he was an Angel again so he had a “Facade” to uphold so that the two of them wouldn't get separated but he could have been more subtle.

He showed remarkable affection and tolerance towards Marcy , whereas he often left Nora alone with no explanation. I know some people might say that if you love someone and trust him, you wait for him, but on the other hand, when you are in love you can be jealous and feel hurt if your lover doesn't give you the necessary attention.
And well, wasn't Patch supposed to be in love too? If he was in love then he should have shown a little trust to Nora as well, letting her know what was going on, so I think both parties were at fault here, although Patch was calmer and it showed how much it was hurting him inside.
Nora was the one who kept picking fights and again with the stalking like I mentioned in the review of “Hush, Hush”.

It was like an everyday couple fighting for the relationship and I love that dynamic in the book.
And I kinda liked Scott too. He wasn't what I initially thought and although he is not my favorite character I understood his part in the book.
Then, the unthinkable happened. I got to understand Marcy better.

We finally know why Marcy hates her and let me tell you, it wasn't what I expected. I was literally staring at the page, mouth agape. It was astonishing! I mean wow!!!
At first I thought it was that childish thing Marcy said at the bar, that Nora stole her 5-th Grade boyfriend (well kissed him was more like it), but that WAS NOT IT!!!

You have to read the book, but it is worth it!!

Memorable Scene/Description:
“Are you insane?” I told Patch, blood rising in my cheeks.
Patch sliced his eyes toward me. “You don’t want to be here.
Not with him.”
“You don’t get to make that call!”
Scott brushed past me. “Let me take care of him.”
He made it another two feet before Patch shoved his fist into
Scott’s jaw with a sickening crunch.
“What are you doing?” I yelled at Patch. “Did you break his
jaw?”
“Unnuh!” Scott moaned, clutching the lower half of his face.
“I didn’t break his jaw, but if he lays a hand on you, it will be
the first of many things to break,” Patch said.
“Out!” I ordered Patch, thrusting a finger at the door.
“I’m going to kill you,” Scott growled at Patch, opening and
closing his jaw, making sure it still worked.
But instead of taking the cue to leave, Patch crossed to Scott
in three steps. He flung him around to face the wall. Scott tried
to get his bearings, but Patch slammed him against the wall
again, disorienting him further. “Touch her,” he said in Scott’s
ear, his voice low and threatening, “and it’ll be the biggest
regret of your life.”
Before leaving, Patch flicked his eyes once in my direction.
“He’s not worth it.” He paused. “And neither am I.”
I opened my mouth but didn’t have an argument. I wasn’t here
because I wanted to be. I was here to shove it in Patch’s face. I
knew it, and he knew it.



Verdict:
Awesome. I loved the book. even though I wish we could have gotten a few more sweet moments between Patch and Nora. The love between them shone through, though, so I'm still satisfied! :) And there were bombshells of revelations which render this book stunning.

Rating: I think what is fitting is 4 ½ stars. I have to subtract half a star because I thought some scenes were not consistent with what I think Patch should have done or would have done when faced with Nora's words and actions. This whole thing could have been settled a lot sooner if he wasn't so secretive and stubborn.

~Kelly~

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: YA/ Paranormal (Romance/Suspense)



Summary from Goodreads:
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life

Review:
I picked this book up because of its stunning cover and, of course, because everyone had been talking about it. I thought the synopsis was really interesting and I'm all for Angels and forbidden, tormented and impossible romance.

Hush, Hush didn't disappoint in any respect. Nora is an everyday girl with no special power or anything setting her apart from other girls her age, other than the fact that she lost her father a year ago – he was murdered- and due to the expenses, her mother took on a job that required her to be away a lot. Too much if you ask me.
She has one best friend, Vee, who is curvy, vivacious and flirtatious and generally, she is the joy of life personified and just as careless sometimes.
She also has a enemy, a rival in the form of the blond cheerleader, Marcy, who is beautiful and popular and the “It” girl at school. For a reason Nora can't fully understand, Marcy always got it in for her, always making her life miserable or that much worse.

There's nothing special lacing her days up till the day a new student, Patch, makes his appearance at their school. His undeniable good looks and cheeky attitude catches Nora's eyes, but the way he talks to her, like he already knows her unsettles her and annoys her.
When she is unwillingly teamed up with him for a biology assignment, she thinks it can't get any worse than that, because he is uncooperative and rude and always teases her. It seems that all his words and retorts are laced with innuendos and that makes her mad.

She needs a good grade, though, so she swallows down her pride and when they should be working on the assignment, (meaning him giving her details about his life)but he is out playing pool, she marches in the place she plays at in an effort to catch him off guard and finish the assignment.
But Patch never fails to embarrass her and make her blush and get her angry.

There's mystery covering everything that is Patch and even though she resents it, Nora still finds herself interested and – despite the fact that Vee is the one that instigates it openly, Nora is the one that truly goes along with it- she stalks him around wanting to find out his secret.

Nora begins to think whether it is the other way around though, that maybe Patch is the one stalking her and following her around- to what end she can't really tell. She is intrigued and a little scared, but the anger within her rises with each snide comment he makes.

I have to admit that I really liked Nora. She Is a believable character. I liked the fact that she didn't turn into a shadow of herself, or a mush just because she liked him. She didn't immediately turn into jello when he looked at her, talked to her or happened to touch her. I really liked that because the whole “I-loved-you-the-minute-I-saw-you” drill has been overdone in my opinion.

Unlike other characters in this genre, Nora had the good sense of at least trying to keep her distance from him, since she felt it in her gut that something was wrong. Seriously wrong with him.

Even though, her sixteen years of age would suggest raging hormones, Nora was able to fight them and maintain some rational thought, despite the fact that Patch dispersed it from time to time - not that I blame her. ;)

Vee, was a likable character, as well. I have to admit that sometimes I rolled my eyes at what she was suggesting or saying or doing, but all in all, she is who kept Nora in check and urging her when she needed to be. Vee wasn't as level-headed as Nora, however, and her disregard or ignorance of danger and consequences was something I resented.

As for Patch. What can I say? He was gorgeous, a great male specimen too with his dark hair and dark eyes and his lean physique. I truly enjoyed his lines.
He was witty and annoying, but sexy as hell and some of the things he said – if said to me- would totally leave me breathless and speechless – let alone running to his arms.

I think that sometimes, when you are 16 or 17, you don't necessarily grasp the imminence of danger or exactly what danger could ensue. I mean when a cute, mysterious guy hits on us – no matter the manner- we aren't that inclined to immediately think he is a bad person or a stalker or a psycho.
So, even though some people have said that it's not realistic, in my humble opinion it is.

I really couldn't believe that Patch wanted to kill her, and some of his words made me - reading between the lines- think that he was starting to fall in love with her and care about her well-being, despite himself. There were times, where he was talking to Nora and she was all negative and I just wanted to scream at him: Kiss her already. Take her in your arms and make her shut up” lol

But it took way longer than that, regretfully! :P
The revelation and the pace till then, was really good. My heart was already racing by then and my breath was short! I was honestly dying to see what was going to happen.
And even though, I didn't think the ending was anti-climactic, I believe there was something missing.

Maybe I was just missing the whole point. I mean, I guess angels – not being able to feel touch or have any physical sensation, really craved exactly that and that was why they were willing to do anything to feel, even kill.
I don't know what I would do if I wasn't able to feel or touch, I think I take it for granted, but in retrospect, I am starting to realize how important it is.

Fallen Angels according to the book lived among us, having ordinary lives or trying to and seeing humans having all that plus the ability to feel and touch and lust and love and do everything with burning passion, could have really jolted their envy and lust.

Nonetheless, I'm really glad Patch fell in love with Nora and I wouldn't change Patch's character into a more benevolent one right from the start. I really like tormented characters and bad boys tuned good because of love, so I adored the book.

I thought it was very remarkably written too. Better than a lot of YA novels, not only in terms of the beautiful language and descriptions used, but also because of the style and its originality.

Some people argue that Nora quickly understanding that Patch was a fallen Angel was a bit too rushed or “easy” for the plot, but I didn't think so. Let us not forget that Nora is a nephilim, part-nephilim anyways, so it must have been also her instinct – even her self-preservation instinct- that kicked in. So what might be too hard to gather for a common human, wouldn't make sense to be as hard to her, since she is a nephilim.

What I found a bit weird is how Nora was willing to stalk him – even at dangerous places- , how she traded her coat for information (I would never do that! Lol ) and how she went undercover in a club disguising herself with a wig so that she would find more about him.

Although, I did my far aimount of pseudo-stalking as a teenager (I think we have all followed our crush around a little), I never went as far as following him into bars or disguising myself. Then again none of my crushes tried to kill me either so... Yeah lol

Notable Description/Scene”

He waited a few counts before answering. His tone was so low, I shivered. “You want me to come clean,
I will. I’ll tell you everything. Who I am and what I’ve done. Every last detail. I’ll dig it all up, but you
have to ask. You have to want it. You can see who I was, or you can see who I am now. I’m not good,”
he said, piercing me with eyes that absorbed all light but reflected none, “but I was worse.”
...“Are you keeping anything else from me?” I wanted to know.
“I’m keeping a lot of things from you.”
My insides took a steep dive. “Like?”
“Like the way I feel about being locked up in here with you.” Patch braced one hand against the mirror behind me, his weight tipping toward me. “You have no idea what you do to me.”



Verdict:
An excellent book. I think everyone has to have it in her/his bookcase because even if it is not exactly ground-breaking, it really is an unforgettable book that manages to excite, scare, “caress” and turn into a jello everyone with the plot twists, the suspense, the danger and the epic romance.

Rating: Anything around 41/2 -5 stars. I might deduct half a point for the things I mentioned earlier, but this book merits a prominent place in your shelf!

Find Becca Fitzpatrick: Site, Goodreads , Blog, Twitter

Buy Hush, Hush at:
Amazon , Book Depository, Play.com

~ Kelly ~

Review: Hurt Me So Good by Joely Sue Burkhart

Hurt Me So Good by Joely Sue Burkhart
Genre: Adult/Erotic/ Romance/BDSM

From Goodreads:
Victor Connagher is no stranger to the Dallas BDSM scene. As CEO of a risqué cable channel that caters to adventurous adults, he ensures the lifestyle is portrayed in a positive light. He even supports a local bondage club. Yet behind the cool, confident mask, Victor lives in fear.
Once, and only once, he lost control of his inner Dom—and it cost him his fiancée. Now, no one knows how hard he works to keep his darker appetite for pain buried. No matter how much his saucy, confident associate producer makes his fingers itch to once again take up his riding crop.
Shiloh Holmes is a sub, but she’s no doormat. She’s always suspected Victor has the skills to feed her insatiable need for pain, and now she’s found the perfect way to crack his formidable control. Develop a new reality show, America’s Next Top sub…and dare him to compete.
Week after week, as Shiloh fearlessly challenges the real Victor to come out of hiding, he realizes his past mistake was only a blow to his pride. If he loses Shiloh, he could lose his heart.
Warning: Explicit sex, BDSM, reality television, a very reluctant Dom, an audacious sub willing to do anything to win for him, and one very wicked riding crop.

~~~~~~~~
Shiloh is in love with Victor, her boss. Cliché, you might think, but maybe you'd reconsider if I told you that Shiloh is into BDSM and she wants Victor to be her Master, knowing that he is a Dominant. Everyone has fantasies, but Shiloh took this one step further.
You see, Victor is the CEO of VCONN, a local Dallas TV channel which specializes in erotic shows. When they are in need of a new show, that will help increase ratings, something innovative and shocking, something that will enthrall viewers, Shiloh has the best idea.
One she'd been perfecting for months, having Victor in mind. She suggests that they make a reality-show called: America's Next Top Sub: Submit to the Master.
To get it started they audition well-known people from this scene and, of course, Victor, like the Dominant he is, cannot resist entering as well. For Shiloh that is the chance she had been waiting for, so she signs up, too, as a submissive.
What ensues changes their lives forever and reveals their deepest desires and needs and ties them together...

Review:
I actually got this ebook from Chrizette @ Everything's Just Peachy Today, because she didn't think she could finish it and I was curious about it.
I try to keep an open mind with anything and everything I read, so even though BSDM novels aren't really my thing or rather I haven't really read that much in this genre, I wanted to give it a chance.
I had read a couple of fanfictions which entailed a little adult play like that, as a courtesy to some friends, but I was generally unimpressed.
I know a lot of people have embraced this lifestyle choice, so I was curious to see how it was presented.

I have to admit that I was surprised by this book.
Initially, I thought it would be too “harsh” or too “distasteful” and I'm sure a lot of people think that, but overall I think it was a book I enjoyed for the ongoing struggle description, both physical and emotional.

Shiloh was a likable heroine, because even though she was a submissive, that was only in the bedroom, because in her real life, she was brave and strong-willed and knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. I always admire characters that know what they want and fight to get it.
Shiloh was like that, relentless and persistent, but not in a bad way.

Her life wasn't easy and it actually made her unhappy how she could not find the one person that could truly love her for who she was and give her what she needed, without fear or shame. For her, punishment and pain given to her by the person she loves, is an indication of commitment and testament to both their loves for each other.
It's like the ultimate gift of trust and devotion anyone can ever give and it's what she craves.

She is capable of doing almost anything for her lover, but, sadly, no one has been able to hurt her as mush as she wants, so that she loses herself, feeling safe at the same time, because she knows that her lover is there to both punish and reward. It was the reason she parted ways with her previous lover, whom she loved, but he hated that part of her and they could not remain together.

Victor on the other hand, is a dominant. Meaning that he likes to inflict pain on his lover, not exactly as a punishment, but as an indication of their love for him. It should be mentioned though, that he is also a masochist, meaning that he also likes pain inflicted on him, because it helps keep him focused.
He is deeply disgusted with himself, because he has been taught to be a gentleman and, indeed, his need for pain, is not because he hates women, is not an act of hatred, but a promise of commitment and dedicating yourself completely to the desires of another person. It was really sad to see him suffer this much, because he was a good person, devoted and loyal and caring, but he thought that his "darker" self would scare his lovers away.

He really thinks he is a monster and he struggles to keep those needs in check, more so because he was once engaged to a woman he really cared about and she indulged him in his games.
He always held back for her, because he knew she only did it for him and didn't enjoy it.
Actually, Kimberly thought it was just a game, just a fantasy of his and that he didn't really enjoy it either, and was mortified when she realized that he was, so she abandoned him, leaving him heart-broken and wallowing in self-loathing and self-pity.

What's interesting to note here, is that it wasn't just the shock and the fear, it was the absolute disappointment that she couldn't make him happy, that she had let him down by not being able to endure that for him, to prove her love for him that way.
But Shiloh, is certain that she is able to do just that and she is willing to demonstrate.
~~~~~~
I really liked the writing in this book. The pace, the way the story proceeded, the characters. You really got a feel of them throughout the book and you learned to care for them, not just the protagonists but the secondary characters as well, mostly Mal in my case, but characters like Patrick and Andy were clearly defined, too.
The way Ms Burkhart immersed into the very psyches of both Victor and Shiloh, was amazing. For the most part, I found myself astounded by the detailed description of emotions and thoughts going through their heads at any moment. Even if you -like me- don't read that kind of books, I think you will appreciate the story for the romance it provides, because it is, at its core, a romantic novel of two people desperately trying to find love and acceptance, even though they think they don't deserve it, (mostly Victor and not Shiloh, because she really fights for what she wants), and even if he thinks that this somehow makes him less of a person, or a horrible person. I always understood why they acted the way that they did, even if I am not inclined to endure pain this way and I was happy for them. I really wanted them to end up together.

For me, due to my constant curiosity regarding everything and anything, it was enjoyable because it felt like a psychological study of two people, who generally are defined as Masochist and Sadist. Well, maybe not so technical, but it really opened my eyes as to what two people into the BDSM scene could be thinking and feeling. Plus, up until the middle of the story there was almost no scene I found unsettling or harsh, it was mostly thoughts and even though Ms Burkham has the ability of creating powerful and vivid imageries with her words, it was only the last few chapters that I found a bit harsher, since I'm not used to it. But, still, the descriptions of the emotions and the joy and catharsis they felt through that play, made me understand them better and, well, BDSM are acts among consenting adults who actually like that and we shouldn't forget it.
The ending really put a smile on my face. :)

Verdict: Hurt me so God is a novel which was written beautifully and evocatively with powerful imagery and insightful emotion and thoughts description and even if you are not into reading this genre, is still a good book for the romance it entails and you know what? I think I'd read a sequel! :)

Rating: I have to give this book something between 3 ½ and 4 stars because it was really well-written, even though I'm not really drawn to this genre. I think that if you enjoy reading this genre, this book could be a solid 4+ star because it was incredibly well-written and well-paced.


Find Joely Sue Brukhart
Online

Find the prequel to this story and more free reads by Ms Brukhart:
Here
Buy Hurt Me So Good at: Amazon

~ Kelly ~

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Contests Around The Blogosphere { December 10th}

Here are some giveaways/contests I found.

[Note]: For Multiple Contests on the same journal I have put a tag link. Scroll Down and choose which contests you'd like to enter! :)


USA/CAN [AU-UK]
Twilight Eclipse Swag Giveaway at Nocturnal Bites
Kelly Creagh Interview & Giveaway at I'm a Reader not A Writer
- List of all contests at Kathy's blog - HERE (include: Dust, Forgive My Fins, Guardian of the Gate etc)
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour + Rot & Ruin Giveaway at Between The Covers
BIR 2010 GiveawaysBIR 2010 Giveaway at Books Complete Me (includes Mockingbirds,Paranormalcy, Nightshade, Before I Fall etc.)
3 ARC Giveaways at Reading With Tequilla
Win Night School by Mari Mancusi at Dark Faerie Tales + more giveaways
Check Giveaways including Firelight, Intrinsical, Shadow Of The Sun, Dark Flame etc at Mundie Moms (by tags)
Win Duchess of Sin by Laurel McKee at In The Hammock
Win Duchess of Sin at You Wanna Know What I Think?
Sacred Oath ARC Tour at Lost For Words
BIR2010 Contests - by tag at Best I've Read 2010
Forever Romance Giveaway at Rex Robot Reviews
Win Dark Goddess And Afterlife ARC at Reading In Color
Win Delirious ARC by Daniel Palmer at Dan's Journal
Win 12 Days Of Christmas giveaways (tag) at My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Bamboo People Review & Giveaway at DeRaps Reads
Holly Cupala Guest Post & giveaway at A Good Addiction
Win Warped by Maurissa Guibord at Books Obsession
Christmas Contest at A Book Adventure

INTERNATIONAL
Win The Light Series by Jennifer DeLucy at The Bibliophile's Journal
Win A Copy of BLood Prophecy by Stefan Petrucha at Suburban Vampire
Win Intrinsical at Books Complete Me
Win Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin at Forever Young (Adult)
Win The Demon's Covenant at Once Upon A Twilight
Win Tyger Tyger at Fire And Ice
Win Scourge by David Burton at Candace's Book Blog
Blogaversary Ginormous giveaway at Candace's Book Blog
Angel-Themed Giveaway ONE MORE HOUR TO ENTER
Kate Kaynak Interview & Giveaway at Larissa's Bookish Life
December Giveaway at Alaine Queen Of Happy Endings
Win Where She Went ARC at Courtney Allison Moulton's Blog
Win The Unidentifiable Redhead by Alice Clayton at Smoking Hot Books
Celebrate Like it's 2011 Contest at Lush Budget Productions
100 Followers Giveaway at Call Me Crazy
Marissa Dobson Interview & Giveaway at Rex Robot Reviews
Win A Signed Copy of Immortal & Betrayed by Gillian Shields at ThatsWellReelsWellProductions
600 Followers Giveaway at Just Your Typical Book Blog

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Bargains of the Week

Here's a list of books I found, which I consider to be bargains.


From Smashwords:
click on title for description





You can pick up the whole
Grace Series by S.L. Naeole.

Book 1: Falling From Grace 2.99 euros
Book 2: Bird Song 2.99 euros
Book 3: Black Halo 2.99 euros

- The Indie Hit Hush Money by Susan Bischoff for 0.99 euros
- Insight by Jamie Magee for FREE. Grab it before they realize how much it's worth! :P

From Book Depository:

[1]Pre-order of Jenna Black's Dark Descendant for 4.29 euros!
Come on, you know Jenna Black is an auto-buy!
[2] Pre-order of Mara Purnhagen's One Hundred Candles, sequel to Past Midnight, which, if you read my review, you know I absolutely adored!

That's it for now,

Kelly

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: Past Midnight By Mara Purnhagen

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
Genre: Paranormal/YA


Summary: Charlotte Silver is the happy youngest member of an unconventional family. She has one older sister, Annelise and her parents are accomplished psychologists who study and dispute the "paranormal" in the paranormal phenomena that get reported and have actually written a successful series of books and make equally successful documentary films/shows.
Because of this, they travel from city to city in search of the newest "haunted" place they have been invited to, in order to film a documentary investigating it.

No one in the family actually believes in the "supernatural".
They believe that all of these phenomena are either something that can be explained scientifically with facts and laws of physics, or just "energy" left behind due to repetition or lingering.

When they are called to investigate yet another "ghost" sighting, they get to work and call for both their daughters, Charlotte and Annalise to act as "bait" for the "ghost".
The readings are off the charts and both girls feel something.
Annalise feels incredible sadness and Charlotte feels cold.
It is obvious that something is happening in that place, but they never expected for that "something" to follow Charlotte in their new home.

Review:
I loved the idea of this book. It is so original.
We are so swamped with Paranormal books taking the existence of ghosts, vampires, werewolves for granted, that we forget the simple joy that is to discover it anew.

I think my favorite part of this book, is that they don't take the "supernatural" element for granted. They think it doesn't exist and everything can be explained through science, much like most of people believe nowadays.

I loved the idea of having parents investigating incidents like these and for most part of this book I wanted to be Charlotte, even though life has been hard for her.
She has had to move all the time, since her parents' job made them a bit of "nomads".
They always had to move to where the paranormal incident has happened and often this meant they had to spend two months in one place, 4 months in another, never setting down roots anywhere.
Poor Charlotte has changed so many homes and schools, she has never had any real friends.
Hence, it was with joy that she found out they would remain there for a year.
She even made a few friends like Avery and eventually, Jared.

I really enjoyed how all the characters had personality and were not strictly good or evil.
Our lives sometimes are based on circumstance and we can act nice in one situation and not so nice in another. But, at least, there was no cliche with the "bad cheerleaders".

Overall, all the characters were likable, although, Charlotte was, by far, my favorite.
It was hard not to sympathize with her, since the book was written through her eyes.

We get focused on the mystery, which, let me tell you, is pretty believable and has a satisfying ending, and there's no abundance of romance. There's friendship, though, and all relationships are pretty rewarding!

I enjoyed this book very very much and I read it in one day.
I literally could not put it down. I just had to know what was going on.
I cannot wait for the next book.

Verdict: I was torn between 4.5 and 5 stars rating, but I have to go with 5 stars, because this book was really great and it's been a while since I last was so pleasantly surprised by a book. Try it and you won't regret it!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! A book you must have in your bookcase, if you enjoy this genre!

Find Mara Purnhagen: Site, Blog, Goodreads

Buy Past Midnight: Amazon , BookDepository

~ Kelly ~

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Into The Old World Reading Challenge

Into the Old World Reading Challenge



About the challenge:

Hosts: Splash of Our Worlds and My Love Affair With Books
Starts: 1st January 2011
Ends: 31st December 2011
Eligible Books: Any books published BEFORE 2009. All genres included.


Books I am planning to read for the challenge:
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong
Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
Marked by Kristin Cast and P.C. Cast
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
The Devil You Know by Jenna Black
The Devil's Due by Jenna Black
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
The Dead Girl's Dance by Rachel Caine
Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine
Stray by Rachel Vincent
Rogue by Rachel Vincent
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Die For Me by Karen Rose
Scream For Me by Karen Rose
Nothing To Fear by Karen Rose
Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Wicked Lovely -Melissa Mar
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Wake by Lisa McMann
Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
Masquerade by Melissa De La Cruz
Revelations by Melissa De La Cruz
I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy by Ally Carter

Contests Around The Blogosphere {12/4/10}

Here are some contests I found around the blogosphere.

*Adding more as I find them so check back!

INTERNATIONAL
International Giving Thanks Contest at Ramblings Of A Teenage Bookworm
Imagination In Focus Blogaversary Giveawa at Imagination in Focus
Clarity ARC Giveaway courtesy of Kim Harrington
Win Explosive by Beth Kery at Paranormal Haven
One Year Blogaversary Giveaway at Paranormal Haven
Thanks to the 1st Giveaway at Loud Words & Sounds
Francesca Lia Block Spotlight & Giveaway at The Thoughts Of A Book Junky
Gini Koch Interview & Giveaway at Reading On The Dark Side
Win a My Soul To Steal ARC courtesy of Rachel Vincent
Book Holiday Giveaway: Best of 2010 at Nocturnal Bites
Donna Grant Interview & Giveaway at Over The Edge Reviews
Win Shadows Of The Moon at The Zoe Trope
Christmas Countdown Contest at Not Enough Bookshelves
Interview & Giveaway with Kathryn Caskie at Romantic Crush Junkies
Lara Adrian Special Note & Giveaway at Paranormal Haven
Cheyenne McCray Interview & Giveaway at Over The Edge Reviews
Denise K. Rago Guest post & Giveaway at Suburban Vampire
Vampire Academy Giveaway at Sparkling Reviews
Pauline Baird-Jones Guest Post & Giveaway at Larissa's Bookish Life
Stars And Gods by Larry Niven Giveaway at SciFiGirl
Holiday Gift Giveaway at YA Bookie Monster
THe Secret Society of The Pink Crystal Ball at Consumed By Books
Courtney Summers Books Giveaway at Bree's Books
Holiday Gift Giveaway at Ex-Libris
Holiday Gift Giveaway at I Read Banned Books
Win A Matched ARC at Fire And Ice
Win Real Live Boyfriend ARC at Roots In Myth
Win Sapphique ARC at Roots in Myth
Win a 10$ GiftCard at Geeky Blogger's Blog
Clarity ARC Giveaway at Kim Harrington's Blog
Win Nico Rosso's Taken To The Limit at The Quillery
Win Toil & Trouble at Sparkling Reviews
500 Followers Giveaway at My Love Affair With Books
Hungers Games Trilogy Cover Recreate Contest at Word For Teens
Win Some Rivers End on The Day Of The Dead at Electrifying Reviews
Win Matched by Ally Condie at Sweet Nothings xo
Phoebe Conn Interview & Giveaway at Among The Muses
Win a Book up to $20 at Reading Vacation
150 Followers Giveaway at Rabid Reads
Win Delirium by Lauren Kate at Eating YA Books
Keta Diablo Christmas Proverbs & Giveaway at Fang-Tastic Books
Alice Eve Cohen Guest Post and Giveaway at Eclectic Reader
Win a MAC Giftcard at She Walks In Beauty
Win Solid by Shelley Workinger at Book Addict Patti
Christmas Giveaway with Roxanne St. Claire, Kerrelyn Sparks and Lynsay Sands At Over The Edge Reviews
Win The Hunted of 2060 by Ami Blackwelder at Loud Words & Sounds
Christmas & New Year Giveaway at Splash Of Our Worlds

USA/CAN/AU/UK
Lydia Dare Guest Post & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Bloody Kiss'Mas Giveaway at Paperback Dolls
Win The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova at A Sea Of Books
December Giveway at Alaine Queen Of Happy Endings
Win Sundays At Tiffany's at Library of Clean Reads
Chance to Win 3 Books at Pure Imagination
Win 3 Romantic Holiday Books at BookHounds
Forever Holiday Giveaway at Love To Read For Fun
Win Unforgivable by Laura Griffin at Readaholic
The Adventures of Ook and Gluk + Scholastic Giveaway at This Purple Crayon
Win To Fetch A Thief by Spencer Quinn at Murder, Mystery & Mayhem
Sophie Jordan Interview & Giveaway at Book Lovers Inc
Kate Perry Feature & Giveaway at The Romance Reviews
Fabulous Giveaways at Best I've Read
Win Get Energy by Denise Austin at I'm A Reader Not a Writer
Win a Box of Arcs at Books Are Dreams
Tyger Tyger Inspired Necklace Giveaway at The Book Scout
Giveaway - Tick Tock by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge ARC at Lori's Reading Corner
Blog Tour: Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone + Giveaway! at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
The Lost Saint Giveaway at the O.W.L.
Euphemania Giveaway at Cuzinlogic
Lydia Dare Giveaway at Book Addict Patti
Katie McCurdy Interview & Giveaway at Reviews & Giveaways By Jane
Win Lost Island Smugglers by Lovez 2 Read
Christina Henry Interview & Giveaway at Dark Faerie Tales
Terry Spear Interview & Giveaway at All Things Urban Fantasy
December Book Giveaway at Marcia Hoehne's Blog
Kimberley Griffiths Interview & ARC Giveaway at Books Complete Me
Win an ARC of Anna And The French Kiss at Between The Lines


~ Kelly ~

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review: Crave By Melinda Metz & Laura J. Burns

Crave by Melinda Metz & Laura J. Burns

Summary: Shay is a 17-year-old girl, in high school and suffering from an extremely rare blood disease no one has been able to diagnose, let alone cure She lives with her mother, Emma and her step-father, Martin. She has never known her real father and her mother has always been reluctant to discuss the issue. The only thing Shay, has left of him is a locket with two birds flying across a sky that held both a sun and a moon ( I want a locket like that btw!!!)
Everyone treats Shay gently and differently, because her condition is so dire that she keeps passing out from exhaustion and is in need of frequent blood transfusions. No one can really be mean to her and she secretly resents it.
Even her best friend, Olivia, Shay thinks doesn't make an effort to "really" know her.
Everything begins to change, though, when Martin, who is also the doctor (possibly a hematologist)who treats her, presents her with a new transfusion, with blood that he has tweaked a little, as he himself says. Ever since Shay starts receiving these transfusions she keeps getting visions of Gabriel's life. A man who apparently has lived hundreds of years ago and is a vampire. Mesmerized by both the mystery and the strength the blood fills her with, Shay makes her own rebellion...

Review:
I picked up this book, because I loved the title (It's the same with one of my favorite songs ever) and due to the cover (Johnathan Rhys-Meyers, anyone? I really think it looks like him lol), but after reading the summary on goodreads, I thought it was pretty original.

It was easy to sympathize with Shay, because she has been living sheltered and overprotected her whole life, as even the simplest of things - like a walk in the park- could prove fatal to her. I couldn't believe how frail and weak she was. In the first chapter, she was even shown unable to pick up her own textbooks and Olivia and her boyfriend, Kaz, helped her.
I could certainly understand how a life as deprived as this could cause Shay to be cynical and sad, but I couldn't help thinking and believing that her being sick couldn't be the sole reason others were nice to her.
Of course, they would be careful about her and she would attract attention, but it was because of this "by default" attention that her peers really knew who she was and, well...They liked her.
Shay refused to accept that they were nice to her for any reason other than pity, though, which I guess is plausible (she is bitter and resentful... Everyone can enjoy life but her), but still irked me a bit. Or maybe that is because I'm an idealist and believe in the innate goodness of people.

I really liked the transitions from Shay's pov to Gabriel's pov (the vamp of her visions)during the transfusion procedure and I thought it was beautifully described and easy to understand. I found myself "traveling" along with Shay along Gabriel's consciousness and memories and I liked the fact that there was no unnecessary sugar-coating.
Yes, vampires were not exactly evil in this book mythology, not by default anyways, but they could be evil, just like humans could be evil. I liked how Gabriel was a character, clearly defined as viewed through Shay's eyes.

As Shay kept having this transfusions, she begun craving for more, because that sense of power and freedom they gave her, was truly addictive. But this newly-found sense of strength and near-invincibility (compared to her previous status)made her take some really bad decisions.
For example, I could understand how her resentment and anger at her condition could have her acting out by doing reckless things testing her new limits, but seriously, kissing her best friend's boyfriend? o_0
And what was worse is that she felt no remorse afterwards and was even non-nonchalant when Olivia confronted her about it. And of course, she kept being mean to her. She even begin to lie in order to get transfusions in advance of the time she would normally get them.
After several visions, during which she could see through Gabriel's eyes, she realized that he was imprisoned and mistreated closer than she'd ever think and she had to do something about it.
This decision put her on a path she had never imagined. On the run with a vampire not sure if he wanted to protect or hurt her, leaving behind a guilty, yet devastated mother.

Gabriel was likable, although there were times I wanted to hit him over the head with a blunt object (wow, that sounded a bit murderous *g*) repeatedly, but I could really see where he was coming from. To him humans were dangerous and a necessary evil when he had to feed, but he generally made sure he didn't hurt any of them. He just avoided contact and that made him ignorant about certain situations, which in turn affected his relationship/contact with Shay.
But I can tell you, their relationship was believable and nicely grown.

I don't want to reveal any more about the book, because even though you kinda expect the revelation at then end, it was still a pretty nice journey to get there and the cliffhanger was so evil! *g*
Now I want a second book, but I'm not really sure there will be one.
If anyone knows, let me know!

Verdict: A fast read (I read it in virtually one day) that you will not be able to put down. Though it is YA, the writing style is really good, clear and sucking you in the story, which is gripping and original.
Get your copy now, you will not regret it.

Rating: 4-4.5 stars

Find the Authors: Site , Facebook , Goodreads - M. Metz, Goodreads - Laura J. Burns

Buy Crave on: Amazon ,BookDepository

~ Kelly ~

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Debut Authors 2011 Challenge Books Preorder

A little while ago, I posted that I signed up for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.
I expect it to be awesome and well, I couldn't wait so I have preordered some of the books I have chosen to read for the challenge.




More specifically:

1. Wake Unto Me By Lisa Cach
2. XVI by Julia Karr
3. Falling Under By Gwen Hayes
4. Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell
5. The Demon Trappers: Forsaked by Jana Oliver
6. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
7. Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
8. Born At Midnight By C.C. Hunter


So, what books have you preordered for the challenge? Whgat books have you already receivied as ARCs you lucky girls (and boys?) :P

~ Kelly ~

Review: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan


Summary:

Mary lives in a village where the rules are set by The Sisterhood. It is a rural community and life is hard and precious because this village is surrounded by fences to keep the Unconsecrated out (which are what we would call "zombies"), although sometimes Mary thinks they are there to keep the villagers in.
Mary loses both her mother and father to this scourge and the pain is unbearable. Consumed by guilt and keeping her mother's stories of the sea beyond the village as a compass, Mary wants to know what lies beyond the fences and in this journey there's a man she loves, his brother who loves her, her brother and her practical best friend all with their own dreams and losses.

Review:
{I'm feeling a little under the weather, so this review might suck, but here it goes}

I finished this book about two weeks ago and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I love dark books, that is why I really adore reading Urban Fantasy novels, but I also have a soft spot for Zombie, Vampire, Werewolf, Ghost and any monster stories.

When I found out that this book was about Zombies, I really had to read it. And I didn't regret it.

I might be the last person who read this, it's quite a popular book, but I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who hasn't read it yet.

The book follows the story of Mary. She is a girl who has grown up In a city that is surrounded by a forest swarming with zombies, called “ The Unconsecrated” in this book.
It is not clarified how this “plague” really started, but somehow we get the impression that it was due to man.

The Sisterhood is the “authority” in this town, a religious coven of some sort that is bent on maintaining the balance and keeping people afraid of leaving the city, and in this way keeping people safe from the threat of the Unconsecrated that are outside the borders.
Actually, there are special Guardians that make sure the fences that prevent the Unconsecrated from entering the city are still holding, because the zombies had broken in in the past.
Actually, Mary's brother is a guardian.
She lives with her mother and brother, because her dad got turned into an unconsecrated, causing major distress in their family, while her mother seems unable to live with his loss.
Which is why she eventually lets herself get bitten by approaching the fence and they eventually have to let her out of the village and join the zombies.

Mary blames herself because she wasn't there to stop her mother and she knows that her brother will blame her too.
Mary is in love with Travis, a boy she has grown up with and it seems that he has feelings for her too, but it is Harry, his older brother who eventually professes his interest towards her, leaving Mary torn. Mary also has a friend named Cassandra.

The book really starts with her brother turning her away after losing their mother, leaving her with the option of joining the Sisterhood, since no one had asked her for marriage yet.
Mary is terrified and even comes to the point that she would accept even Harry's proposal should he ask for her, but he doesn't and she learns that Travis asked for Cass.

Heartbroken and terrified, Mary realizes that the Sisterhood know a lot more than they let on about the origin of this plight and even make sure that no one ever knows the whole truth.
It isn't until, Travis is hurt in combat and brought in the Church to heal, that Mary sees him again and even though they don't talk about it, it becomes apparent that they love each other and Travis only asked for Cass, because he didn't want to hurt his brother who loves Mary.

Then one night, Mary sees a girl come through the forest and into the Church and realizes that what her mother told her of a life and a whole world outside the boundaries, a world entailing a sea, as immense and as blue as the sky and Mary gets obsessed with it.
Of course, after the village is attacked, the four of the flee and soon after her brother and his wife join them and we follow their journey...

I'd rather not tell everything about the story, but it's enough to say that it is magical.

Once again, I have to say that I was impressed by this book. It was written in a beautiful language, in one that immediately made you sympathize with the protagonist and her friends and got you really invested in them.

You really had to see them survive and see them get happy and not feel lonely anymore, but the whole premise of this book is dark, is about survival in difficult times, so there was a sense of danger always looming overhead and a sense of urgency.

Funny, how it was only when I was a few pages from the end, that I realized the book was really coming to an end. I mean nothing was really resolved and there were only like 20 pages left.

That is not to mean that the book felt unfinished or incomplete somehow, although I have to admit that I would have liked to know what happened to Cass and Harry, after Mary left and found the other guy.

I know the book was about Mary, but she was a bit over-obsessed about getting to the sea, to the point that she overlooked other people's feelings and safety. She had to get there no matter what and everyone, Harry, Travis, Jebb, Cass; everyone loved her and it was hard to say no to her. She was like a force of nature, a femme fatale even during this and kinda selfish, too.
Which is what really rubbed me the wrong way in the end.
Even though she was selfish, I was hoping that all of them could have a better ending, which wasn't the case.
I just felt a little disappointed with Mary because she never looked back. I know they were hard times and people should be tough, but that was kinda harsh.


Verdict: Overall, a very enjoyable read, one I could not put down. In fact I took it with me at work and almost missed my bus stop, more than once, because I was busy reading! *g*


Rating:
4 Stars (amazing read, chilling and powerful)

Find Carrie Ryan: Site, Blog , Goodreads

Buy The Forest Of Hands an Teeth on: Amazon, BookDepository, Play.com

~ Kelly

Contests Around The Blogosphere [January 13th]

Slowly getting back on the horse! XD

Here are some contests I came across in the past couple of days!
Check back as I will be adding more as I find them.

INTERNATIONAL
250 Follower Giveaway at SnifflyKitty ENDS TONIGHT
Win a Signed Copy of Suzy Davis's Amber Frost at Blkosiner's Book Blog
Win Imogen's Rose Portal Book 1 at I'm A Reader Not A Writer
Win Tom Olbert's Unholy Alliance at Suburban Vampire
Win Knight Angels Books 1 and 2 by Abra Ebner at I'm A Reader Not A Writer
Win A Signed ARC Copy of The Forest Of Adventures at I'm A Reader Not A Writer
Win 13 To Life by Shannon Delaney at Forever Young Adult.
Win Keeper by Kathi Appelt
Win a Signed 1st Edition copy of The Lost Saint
Win a e-copy of all of Tina Folsom's Novellas
Win The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Win The Last Queen by C. W. Gortner at On The Tudor Trail
5 Copies of The Iron Witch Giveaway INT + UK



USA/UK
Win a Born A Midnight Prize Pack at Blkosiner's Book Blog
Delirium ARC Giveaway at Resugoreads
Blogging Success Summit Contest
Robin Kaye's 'Yours For The Taking' at Romantic Crush Junkies
Prom & Prejudice Review & Giveaway at GreenBeanTeenQueen
Dreamfever Discussion & Giveaway at Smexy Books
Win Nocturne by Syrie James at Suburban Vampire
Salvaged by Stefne Miller Giveaway at I'm A Reader Not a Writer
Win Command Influence by Robert Shaines at I'm A Reader Not A Writer
Audiobook Giveaway of Wolves of Andover at I'm A Reader not A Writer
Win Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney at World Of Book Reviews
Drought by Pam Bachorz Giveaway at I'm A Reader not A Writer
The Target by Bill Bowen Giveaway
Winning Mr. Wrong by Marie Higgins Giveaway
The Girl Who Ran With Horses by David Michael Giveaway
Giveaway of 2 audio copies of Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Shiff
Win Tick Tock by J. Patterson at CMash Loves To Read
Win a 10$ itunes gift card at The Book Cellar
Great Shakespeare-related Giveaway
Real Wifeys: On The Grind by Meesha Mink Giveaway at Lori's Reading Corner
Win The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson at Holly Cupala's blog


**Various Giveaways

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Contests 29-11-10

Goodmorning everyone.

Thanks to new followers! XD
I know it may not seem huge because everyone has like a gazillion followers, but I managed to get 30 followers without doing anything, so yay! :)

Anyways, I have a couple of reviews to post and I think I'm going to make a "In My Mailbox" post, because I have a lot of new books coming my way! :)
For now, here are contests I found around the blogosphere.
*Sorry, I'm too busy to write the blog hosting the giveaway next to the contest. Just click and you will see!

INTERNATIONAL
150 Followers Giveaway ends tomorrow!
Moira Rogers Interview & Giveaway
Swag Contest
Saphiqque ARC Giveaway
Christa Henry Interview & Giveaway
Win The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Evangeline Collins Interview & Giveaway
Win a Silver Vintage Pine Cone Necklace
Elaine Viets Interview & giveaway
Win a Signed Nightshade ARC
Win The Perfect Tree by J.P. Barnaby
Jennifer Rardin Giveaway
Extravagant Ebook Giveaway
Give Me Identity Giveaway - 9 Books
Free Ebook of Death Machine
Jessica Lee Interview & Amazon GC Giveaway
EGiftCard Giveaway Extravaganza
Kieran Kramer Interview & Giveaway
Toni Lo Tempio Interview & giveaway
Win Books by Kathryn Erskine
Gini Koch Interview & giveaway

US/CAN/UK
Zombies Vs Unicorns giveaway
Duchess Of Sin Giveaway
Everyone Wins An Ebook
Gratitude Giveaway ends tonight
Win Born To Bite by Lynsay Sands
Win Day Of The Dragon by Rebecca York
Win In The Dark Of Dreams
Mega Giveaways
[UK ONLY] Win Towers Of Midnight by R. Jordan & B. Sanderson
Win Wither
Win The Last Saint by Bree Despain
Simon & Schuster Mega Pack Giveaway
Win Ivy & BEan: What's the Big Idea?
Win Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Win A Signed Copy of Eternal Kiss Of Darkness

~ Kelly~

Review: The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith

The Miracle Inspector
Genre: Dystopian/Thriller/(Sci-Fi?)


Summary: Lucas and Angela - almost 25, almost 21- could be your regular, every day couple, but they are not. Because they do not live in a regular, everyday world, either.
This is the future and it is not a nice one. At least not if you are a woman.
The world spun dangerously out of control, so much that terrorism is perhaps the worst fear imaginable and exactly for that women are not allowed to do anything work, go out unaccompanied etc)unless they are with their husbands.
Everything is controlled and supervised and to this purpose there are Ministries overseeing almost every aspect of life. Lucas is the Inspector of Miracles. That is, he investigates every report he receives about miraculous events.
He is well-off. Life for him and his wife, is not as hard as it is for others, but still, how much can a person endure when he doesn't have his freedom?

Review:
Helen Smith kindly offered me a copy of her book to review and I am so grateful and thrilled that she did, because I loved it - so thank you Mrs Smith :D
I can't believe I hadn't discovered this little gem before! *g*

I must admit I was surprised by how much I liked this book.
Not because I didn't like the summary I read, but, mainly, because it's been a while since I read something in this genre and I thought that given the fact that I'm too used to vampire and shifter stories, I was too "ruined" (*g*) to thoroughly enjoy it. I was wrong.

Helen Smith's writing reminded me of Ruth Rendell's and Kathy Reich's writing...
Even Patricia Highsmith's writing.
I know they do not write in exactly the same genre, but I loved this straightforward, matter-of-fact delivery.
Short, blunt, powerful sentences that force you to picture their deeper suffering, instead of actually describing it.

In other words, it is more like: "She felt bereft and sick" rather than elaborate description of emotions, which is actually great, because I often found myself filling the blanks and my heart constricted at the thought of all the emotions the character must have felt. And I'm sure that is what the author was going for. For us to feel.

And the dry humor and slight sarcasm lacing the descriptions and the thoughts of the characters was brilliant. I loved it, it must be an English thing! :P

At first, I found myself feeling sad, because it was shown that Angela and Lucas loved each other, but they had fallen into this comfortable silence, this detachment due to life being so controlled and they had stopped really communicating.
It was like there were so many things they wanted to tell each other, but they didn't. They both held back, each one for their own reasons.

Angela is bored, unmotivated and she wants something more from her life. I totally sympathized with her, because if anyone deprived me of the right to get educated, to vote, to make my own decisions to demand my voice to be heard, I would certainly rebel. Angela couldn't though. Anyone who rebelled was detained for questioning and was never heard of again.

Lucas isn't satisfied with his life, either. His life, especially his work life has become a routine. He might have more than one cases every day, but the people who reported the events always turned out to be people who only wanted attention, charlatans or needy and he came to tire of them.

Lucas was hard not to like as a character because trapped though he was in his own semblance of freedom, he truly loved his wife and always worried whether she was safe or happy. He would and did go to extremes to ensure her happiness and for that he deserves praise. He was more appreciative of women than other men of his time, even though he did "experiment" or entertained the thought of "experimenting" with a colleagues wife.
Generally, Lucas often startled me with his thoughts, but I guess it is utterly realistic. We all happen to have fleeting thoughts that can be mean or illogical or inconsiderate. But, once we think more maturely about the issue at hand, we make the right choice.

The secondary characters were also important and enjoyable. From Jesmond - the pseudo-rebel who wrote the lyrics to what would become the emblems of the fight for freedom (and who also suffered an unjust death), to Jason Prince - the poet with the heart of gold who thought it his duty to help whom he considered Jesmond's family to get out of the city and from Maureen, the woman who reported her own personal miracle which was none other than her sweet, disadvantaged daughter Christina.

Helen Smith did a really good job at keeping a steady pace in her narrative and I enjoyed how each chapter was tied to the previous one even though after the middle of the story each chapter referred to another character. It was a nice tough and I think it made the book more intriguing.

Towards the end, I was more and more affected by the book to the point that when a village man helped Angela find refuge in another city without asking for the price she thought, I was in tears.
The word was in ruins morally speaking, no amount of control could fix their souls, it could only force them to comply, it could only dictate their actions and not their feelings, but still it was so depressing and moving.

I loved the little sunshine of hope all through Angela's, Maureen's and Christina's journey to liberty, even with all that darkness. It helped me restore some sense of faith in mankind and humanity.

The ending was bittersweet and I have to admit that although in the beginning I wasn't expecting it, as I read on, it was the only thing that seemed possible and fitting.

Notable Description/Scene:

"Those flowers are lovely, Arthur. Very English, like your name. Like seasides and countrysides."
"Long time since either of us have seen the sea, I'll bet."
"You can go down to the sand on the Thames at low tide, near London Bridge. Have you seen them do it?"
..."Yes. Not the same though, is it, sir? That saltiness in the air as you lick your ice cream. The sound of the waves, kids laughing, sand castles, going home to put on after-sun cream."

He didn't say whether he‟d seen it on a documentary on TV or whether he remembered these things from his childhood. He was older than Lucas, perhaps he remembered it.
Lucas took the flowers and the scent almost overwhelmed him. He could have stood there and cried, looking at the man, Arthur, with his English name, his not-especially gay attitude to floristry and his distant memories of a better life, when people had thought nothing of going to the sea side and buying ice creams for their kids."


Verdict:
A very powerful futuristic, dystopian thriller. This book was a slow burner in the sense that it takes some time for you to fully immerse yourself into the world Helen smith created. But once you do, it swallows you whole like quick sand and doesn't let you go.
It's been quite some time since I last felt this sense of imminent danger and well, this kind of sinister feeling, this urgency... I actually feared for the character's safety and I think you will find the whole thing stunning

Rating:
4 stars. {Lovers of the genre will devour it. If you are new to the genre you might find the story slow to start, but read on and you will totally love it}

Find Helen Smith at: Site , Goodreads , Blog

Buy "The Miracle Inspector" on Amazon

~ Kelly