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Sep. 4th, 2012

Burgandy Ice Rose

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett

Degrees of WrongDegrees of Wrong 


by Anna Scarlett

ebook, 212 pages

Expected publication August 28th by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.


Adult Romance. E-copy from Anna.



Premise:



This time, the straight-and-narrow path could be the road to ruin. 

Dr. Elyse Morgan’s mission: find the cure to the HTN4 virus. The compensation, courtesy of the United Nations: a lab stocked with hi-tech goodies, limitless resources and enough chocolate to make her rear look like a cellulite farm. Bonus: she gets to live. 

Rescued (kidnapped) and secreted (imprisoned) on an undersea warship, Elyse adjusts to her assumed identity as a cadet with the finesse of a toeless ballerina. Her sulfuric temper and blatant insubordination capture the unwanted attention of the ship’s captain, the gorgeous, infuriating, engaged Nicoli Marek. 

Elyse would rather perform her own autopsy than become the other woman, but Nicoli—who’s as full of himself as he is of secrets—regards his impending marriage as a mere political transaction. And Elyse as fair game. 

As Elyse’s suspicions about the UN’s true agenda mount along with her attraction to the relentless, chronically shirtless captain, she must choose between the murky path to everything she’s ever wanted, or the squeaky-clean path of self-sacrifice—which could mean taking the secrets of the virus with her to the grave. 

Warning: Features a strong, chocolate-loving heroine who takes no prisoners on the way to saving the world from an epidemic and winning a captain’s heart.

My Review:

What a refreshing surprise!

Chapter 1 starts with a big bang. Dr. Elyse Morgan is stitching up a nicked artery on a gorgeous soldier. She is witty, intelligent and keeps to her high code of ethics, rebuffing the advances of the gorgeous blue-eyed soldier. (This is not a spoiler... this is page 1!)

The title of the book is so perfect. This story is based on Elyse's sense of Right and Wrong... and how she excuses the gray areas she finds herself in as Acceptable or Unacceptable Degrees of Wrong. I could not help loving her wild attempts to do the right thing as situations just get stickier and romantically hotter.

Elyse is wonderful. If I could look her up and invite her over for tea, I totally would. She's such a complete, complicated, flawed, well-meaning character. I think I'd have to kidnap her, stuffing her in a windowless van to do it, but bribing with chocolate does seem to have some effect.

Seen through her eyes, 2053 AD is easy to swallow in all it's sci-fi glory. She is researching an antidote for the virus that killed her parents. Since she is not following any political drama, herself, it is fun to discover the world through her eyes. The most fascinating aspect is how the oceans are being explored and guarded by the United Nations. I loved traveling on the pods to get to this huge underwater military ship. I fit seamlessly in (or rather, NOT) right along with Elyse.

I thoroughly enjoyed the supporting cast - Nicoli is HOT, smart, complicated... amazing. He's such a great leader, I was in awe with all the crew!!  Lt Horan is so startling in his military aggressiveness. I just wanna strangle him until pg 127, which I quote below. Lol. Elyse's friend - the friend of her mother - wow. Such a great support. Honestly, I don't know how Elyse could've survived the sub without her... and yet, she's so full of surprises, too!!

Obviously from the premise, there is a very steamy romance going on here and it only grows in intensity as Elyse back-peddles as fast as she can. Exhilarating!!  No worries about live triangles here. Oh, no. The chemistry is absolutely perfect.
The writing is too, too fun. I had a difficult time not highlighting every other sentence
on my Nook. Here’s some of my favorites:

“He seems happy enough with you now,” Ebony teased. Under
the table, I tried to reach her with my foot. Success.“Ouch!” Stanley grunted. “What’d you do that for?” But he
grinned.


“Sorry.” I offered a sheepish smile. Ebony laughed, knowing
she was my intended target. I refrained – with great effort – from looking
under the table. I would sit closer to her tomorrow.
- Pg 68 

"I-I-" Must be dreaming. Must not have even woke up this morning. Pg. 127 

Someday, somewhere across the world, some anonymous woman had damn well better appreciate the great lengths I took to resist the advances of her irresistible fiance. And the way I would suffer on her behalf when I had to leave him behind. - Pg 208 

The two most attractive men on the planet were teaming up against me. I wasn't sure if I was going to be a happy drunk or a mean one, but I took another sip before I answered.

"I don't know who you think you're talking to in the tone, Ryon ****," I snapped. "But unless you can provide me with some new, alternative definition for hte word doctor, I would think it would be perfectly clear why I headed twoard the gunfire. I would think that you, of all people, would be grateful for it."

A mean one, then. I took another sip. - Pg 257

Premise commentary:  I know Of Poseidon is light and fun and full of humor. K? And this premise hints at similarities from the same author. So this is important - there is delicious wit through-out the writing, but none of the lightness from her YA series and only a little slapstick fun. If you loved Of Poseidon, you're going to fall off your chair like I did over Degrees of Wrong. If you aren't into humor, dive into this one, anyway. Despite all the chocolate references. Lol. The romance and the world building and the character development are DELICIOUS!!


Cover commentary: I love this cover, absolutely, but I have no idea how it relates to the story. Lol. Yea, there's a sub in the water, but the ship in the picture doesn't look like the huge hulking thing in my head. (Maybe I'm way off?!) And the girl in the water is gorgeous, but Elyse can't swim, so this would be dangerous if it were her. Lol.


My rating: 4.5 - I seriously love this book. I can't wait to read everything by this author. (Don't let it go to your head, Anna!!)


About the Author:
Anna Scarlett



Anna's first published work was a letter to the editor of her local newspaper complaining about stingy tippers-she was a 17 year old waitress. The letter got her a free dinner at the restaurant where she worked, and dirty looks from all the stingy tippers. Now that her mother has passed away, Anna feels it's safe to reveal that she also wrote other students' term papers for prom money in high school. Her favorite pastimes include reading, writing, drinking wine, and reading and writing while drinking wine. She can shoot a sling shot, speak with a southern accent, and take a nap in the middle of the day, any day of the week-at a moment's notice, no less. She cannot rollerblade, apply liquid eyeliner, or find her keys. Ever.

Anna lives in Florida with her husband, daughter, and the fictional characters in her head. Feel free to drop her a line at byannascarlett@gmail.com, or chat her up on Twitter: @byannascarlett.

You can also get chummy with her on Goodreads. She loves fan mail and gift certificates to Panera Bread.



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Burgandy Ice Rose

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Every Other Day 
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Egmont USA
I checked this book out at the library.


Premise:  Ganked from Goodreads:

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process. 

Wait, wait, wait... you realize this premise takes place in the first few pages of this book?!  Lol. They didn't want to spoil anything!!!  Well.... I'll try not to spoil anything, too...

My Review:
Argh!!  Rip my heart out!
Before I say anything… I have to note similarities I saw between the three books I’ve read by Barnes because, for me, this is huge. Like, read-everything-by-Barnes huge.  She doesn’t hold back on emotional pain or soften bloody blows. She’s willing to go deep, past assumptive boundaries. Her characters don’t suffer from stubbed toes, if you catch my drift. Rather, there is real abandonment issues, psychological twists to reality, gory moments that are burnt on memories… both the character’s and the reader’s. This depth adds a dose of reality to her writing that feels eerie. Which in turn adds the sense of real danger. I’m hugely relieved over who survives – if some of the characters I’ve fallen in love with do, actually, survive.  This is true of Every Other DayRaised by Wolves &Trial by Fire. And why haven't I read Taken by Storm, yet?  Allow me to fix that problem ASAP!
As for my opinion of this book…
Wow!  I couldn’t put it down. When my family demanded to eat, or I had to sleep (the horror!) I couldn’t stop thinking about this book. At one point I hid on the patio while pretending to do yard work to keep reading. Lol. When I couldn’t avoid it a second longer, I attacked the weeds as if I was Kali attacking the zombies, I was in the middle of the scene where she gets mobbed. It felt really good. Those weeds didn’t stand a chance!
What I loved:

This entire story takes place in 48 hours, counted down in Kali’s mind, which is insanely urgent. How appropriate the cover is!!!  A bloody hourglass.Absolutely perfect.

I didn’t know what Kali was – if you haven’t read this, do not spoil it!!!  It’s a thrill to discover what she is and how she became that with her. Even if you suspect, like I did – like any one of us would! – you want to discover it at Kali’s pace, to embrace Barnes’ unique story.

I love the psychological aspect of all the relationships. Kali’s dad is not just a side-character to bump elbow with occasionally, their relationship effects Kali’s view of herself, her denial, her self-loathing. The more we learn of her dad, the more we understand about Kali and the more she is able to accept herself. How delicious is that?! 
Kali and Bethany have the oddest relationship. The “no one” vs. “Miss Popular”. Only Beth wears her I’m-cool attitude like a cloaking device to hide her own pain, a skill she learned from her mom surviving with her dad, who is also making bad choices for survival purposes. My favorite scene between these two unlikely friends is right at the end when Beth gives Kali a nudge towards coping with pain and forgiveness. Seriously… my heart still aches!!
Skylar is another friend with so many levels. I can’t even holler how much I love her enough. She has four older brothers whom she ranks in order of preference. She brings Kali home with her and there’s this moment when Kali sees the handprints of the kids in the cement driveaway as a barrier more real than any brick wall. It sorta said something like, “beyond this line lives a happy family, kids who grew up with their mom and dad loving them.” *Woosh* It just knocked the breath out of Kali and it still leaves me gasping.
There’s more. Each of Skylar’s brothers have personality and flaws. Each of their relationships with Skylar effects Kali.

Then there’s Kali’s mom, whose most powerful presence is in Kali’s memory from when she was three. The way she is introduced gave me this split response to her,half fear-hate and half lingering-ache
Oh, and we must mention Zev. I think he created one of the most exciting aspects in this story because he unraveled who and what she is, providing conscience and non-human opinion while still maintaining his own bucket-load of problems. Lol. At one point Kali is carrying on a conversation with him inside her head andtrying to hide her thoughts from him WHILE concealing Zev from her new friends, who she is not sure she can trust. Lol. Just add a hint of romantic draw and a whole lot of mystery and I was completely hooked!!
The world is unique, the monsters are believable, the pacing is fantastic, the action is realistic (in a What-the? Sort of way) this story is so fun, I can see me wanting to reread it. Soon. If I had a complaint – and this is scrambling for something to balance my ravings – I would note that Kali (rather like Bryn in the Wolves series) gets her thoughts rolling in a repetitive circle that makes me want to skip a line here –n- there since I am eager to see what’s happening next, outside of her inner turmoil.
And Kali?  OMG I love her. She is decisive and fearless, a rescuer of the oppressed, a victim twice over, completely alone and ready to love. She frightens me a little when I think of having her over for tea, but I would stand by her fiercely all day long. Or behind her, anyway. Go, Kali!!

My Rating: 5 - Love it!!  I realize I am putting this book up on a pedestal, but pacing is a big deal for me and the countdown plus all the unpredictable twists make this book really great read. I need to own this book and reread it, I enjoyed it that much.



Burgandy Ice Rose

(no subject)

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2)
Princess Academy:Palace of Stone
by Shannon Hale
336 pages
Expected publication: August 21st 2012 by Bloomsbury USA

Premise: Ganked fromGoodreads:

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. WhenMiri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should" help themSoon Miri finds herself torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city. 

Picking up where "Princess Academy" left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom. 

My Review:

Ah..... Princess Academy came out in 2007. And won the Newberry. It's been too long since I first met Miri and her beloved mountain. I rave about it every chance I get. The content is appropriate for middle grade, but the writing style is delicious at every age. Which is rare.  And amazing.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Palace of StoneThe writing is like snuggling down into a huge pile of feathers and getting lost in the softness until you don't know which way's up.

I highlighted all over my Nook copy...
She felt night-blind and afraid, as if walking a path that might lead to sheer cliff and empty air. Pg 13
The lowlander traders always went on as if the ocean were the most wondrous thing in the world and the Eskalites were fools for living so far from its glory. But it was just a flat, lifeless sky. Pg. 18
Miri did not want the moment to end. She felt tall and strong, as if she and this mob would move together like a giant, striking down any obstacles, remaking the whole world. Pg. 97
They both stared. Neither ran.... And Miri understood the impulse to kiss the lips that laughed. Pg. 116
His promises felt as real as paper in her hands, just awaiting the ink strokes of action. Pg. 141
Letter writing was a lot like quarry-speaking - a soundless call from far away. Would Marda have similar enough memories to understand what Miri was trying to say? Pg. 146
She smiled to show he was correct, but it slid off her lips too quickly. Pg 174
She touched the wood. It was not as polished and well oiled as the Mount Eskel chapel doors. And perhaps not as well loved. With so many things to look at in Asland, who cared enough to love these doors? Pg. 203
History was as hard to hold as a wet fish. Pg. 279
Miri shook her head. "An idea is like a fire under ice. You can try to put out the fire, but the melting has already begun."
"Who made up that saying?" Frid asked. "Doter?"
"Um, no," said Miri. "Just me."
"It's pretty good," Frid said, squinting. "But I don't understand why there would be fire under ice. And Doter's sayings are shorter." Pg. 281

Throughout the story, Miri thinks about a painting of a girl pouring milk while looking out a window at a moon. As Miri changes, she sees changes in this girl, and I love this insight into Miri's heart when she doesn't know how she feels. I haven't shared any quotes about this painting, although I love every reference. They would give some of the story away, which I'm not gonna do!

The story is told from Miri's point of viewbut there are many characters with depth and they are all so different, so fun. Peder is in town and Miri is shy around him because he hesitates to speak up for her, although she thinks he likes her. Timon is so full of ideas and secrets. He represents possibilities she never knew existed before. Britta has to prove herself all over again and she needs to come out purer than pure, but she's so shy!  I love Frid. Like all the Mount Eskal girls, she has mountain dust in her blood. She speaks her mind so refreshingly! Sisela has heart and passion, but what really motivates her revolutionary support? The king and queen seem like awkward decorations at first, but even they reveal reasons behind their blank expressions and harsh responses so that I'm cheering them on by the end. And always, Mount Eskel and its Linder stone permeate everything with such a strong pull I seriously LONG to go see that mountain!!!!

My Rating: 4.5 - Great book!  

The romance is hesitant and hopeful. The revolution feels historically close to what a revolution would be like. The details are just quick enough to draw me into the drama, but not bog down in history. The dangers are real and the responses all realistic. The writing is outstanding. Miri is wonderful - and so unique. If I heard her talking in any story anywhere, I would recognize her. I could swear Mount Eskel exists. It's not enough to visit, either... I want to live another life so I can grow up there, please!

Cover Commentary:  This cover matches the cover to Princess Academy and they both reflect Miri's youth. I think she's about 13 16 yrs. old. But this is not is not a modern world, and she's old enough to be betrothed not to mention study at the Queen's Academy, which feels like college. She also tackles ideas, matching wits with adults. So these covers do not represent the books clearly for me. I think I'd rather see that mountain!!  Lol. Ok, maybe I'm obsessed with the mountain. Can I just go now?!


About the Amazing Author:

My PhotoShannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels: the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, and the highly acclaimed Books of Bayern series. She has written three books for adults, including Midnight in Austenland (Jan. 2012), companion book to Austenland. She co-wrote the hit graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel Calamity Jack with husband Dean Hale. They live near Salt Lake City, Utah with their four small children, and their pet, a small, plastic pig. 

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Burgandy Ice Rose

Immigration and Adaptation

Immigration and Adaptation: How Immigrant Families Excel in North America

Immigration and Adaptation
How Immigrant Families Excel in North America
by Haskell G. Edwards, D.Min.
Paperback, 254 pages
Published September 15th 2011 byLangdon Street Press

Premise:

Adaptation is a must. But how does one go about doing this? It takes great planning, finances, and courage to leave one's homeland; but then finding support and comfort or anything of familiarity in a new land presents a whole new set of challenges. The stress is overwhelming. How do you gain the happiness and success you dreamed of attaining in the new land?

Immigration and Adaptation is here to help you navigate through these challenges. With the information herein, immigrants coming to North America will be prepared to identify and resolve social, family, and personal challenges with confidence. Mr. Edwards' vast professional experience with diverse immigrant families, as well as his own personal journey and genuinely encouraging approach, not only help immigrant families adapt to new surroundings, but grow stronger together in their journey.

This book includes:
- A family wellness test
- Step-by-step guidelines
- Real-life examples
- Inspirational stories
- Family, parenting, and spousal exercises
- Illustrations
- Single-parenting advice

Immigration and Adaptation also includes tips on: building self-confidence, resolving conflicts, tuning communication skills, networking and building social supports, budgeting, parenting, enhancing spousal relationships, helping teenagers adjust, communicating effectively, and more.
 

My Review:

This was an emotional read for me. Yea, I know it's not a novel, but there's plenty of story from the author's  examples from experience. But more than that, this book celebrates the homeland roots, encouraging memories, while also filing them away to accept the new & different adoptedland.

The author believes strongly in the ability of immigrants to overcome the challenges of adjusting to their new home. He repeats throughout the book that the choice is being comfortable nowhere, or adapting... Adaptation is a Must with the strength of conviction, that it is possible.

The emotional part? The author gets so many things so right. Like, "Home" always feels far away. It's hard to let go of your homeland and embrace the adoptedland.But that feeling of "home" is attached to a period of time in the past that doesn't actually exist anymore. Accepting that makes it easier to move on and create a new "home". Anyone who has moved has felt that and can relate, even if immigrants feel it more intensely. Just listen to my husband share stories from Montana!! Lol.

Some of the discussions the author urges brought back memories for me. My parents asked us kids what new words we'd learned after school every day when we first moved to England when I was ten. Sharing with them helped me see embarrassing situations from a different perspective and I was able to laugh and embrace the differences, instead of draw away from them. The end of each chapter includes an exercise. Some are just discussions between family members. Some are writing down goals. All of them are easy and build upon the previous one, strengthening that conviction that it is possible to adapt.

This is a fast-paced read for anyone who is an immigrant or moved from one place to another or knows someone who has... which is just about everyone.The author daringly tackles parenting issues with great examples that I could relate to as a teenager and a mom. *snort* He encourages spouse communication and accepting the differences each face, outlining how northern America defines men and women rolls so differently than many other places in the world. He clarifies theeconomic challenges - the disparity between hopes and reality. He breaks down the adaption process into do-able steps. He uses great Bible verses, but broadly addresses all cultures and beliefs.

Personally, I had a few TaDa! moments - those heart-swelling, tear stinging, "oh yea, it's like that, alright" moments. I can see how Edwards is addressing an issue he understands personally and has helped others overcome. I'm grateful he wrote it down.  So many people move and yet feel isolated, but many challenges are similar. There's comfort in facing the same issues and it's heartening to hear it from someone who is convinced that success is possible. 

Curious if you'll feel the same connection? Read the first chapter for yourself!!

About the Author:


Haskell G. Edwards, D. Min. has vast professional experience for more than forty years as pastor, administrator, family therapist,and director of a family therapy center. His extensive experience gained from working with immigrant families in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic setting, as well as his own personal journey and genuinely encouraging approach, positions him not only to help immigrant families adapt to new surroundings, but grow stronger together in their journey.

He has successfully held immigrant seminars, workshops, and lectures throughout North America. Now a retired pastor, he continues to help immigrant families of a wide cultural heritage transition into their new homeland. 

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May. 10th, 2012

Burgandy Ice Rose

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - signed book giveaway

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Harper/HarperCollins

Premise: 

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


My Review:

Ah… the beauty!!!

There are 3 major things I love about this book.

The first is the balance on the edge of sanity. Juliette
begins with a roll of a mini-book and a tiny pen where she scratches her
thoughts. She has no one to talk to, so her thoughts begin as written and even
when she is no longer living precariously out of that mini-book, her thoughts
follow the pattern of writing to herself in it. She is forever catching her
thoughts and correcting them. 

Sometimes, she is forcing her will over
her emotions... sometimes it is her initial reaction that is virtually
insane, but at other times it’s her will-power insisting on an imagined reality that is even more insane. Either way, Mafi has captured a level of emotion and
imbalance that is exquisite. 

As the story progresses and Juliette’s confidence
grows, these cross-outs lessen. She doesn’t have to correct herself as often.
Except in moments of great emotion… and it’s precious. What she refuses to
admit carries more story than the words she allows to live. Not to mention, so
much more of Juliette’s character is revealed without any description!

The second thing I love is the use of Numbers.

“I’ve been locked up for 264 days… 1 window. 4 walls. 144
square feet of space. 26 letters in an alphabet I haven’t spoken in 264 days of
isolation… 6,336 hours since I’ve touched another human being.” Pg 1

Numbers are emphasized by using the numerical instead of
letter form… Juliette divides her life into counting
everything around her to keep her grasp on reality. She counts to wait. She counts
to make sense of things. She counts to keep her brain ready to think because
she also has moments of freezing, where she can’t move and can’t react and
those moments frighten her. I loved, LOVED this use of numbers through-out the
entire book.
The third thing I loved, but I also squirmed uncomfortably
with… there is an awful lot of sexual tension!!
Consistent with the power of
the first two major themes, Juliette’s senses are so deprived that any TOUCH at
all is an exclamation point!!! Experiencing human contact through her deprived
point of view was… beyond words. My words, that is, so I’ll quote again:

“His fingertips are 10 points of electricity killing me with
something I’ve never known before. Something I’ve always wanted to feel. 

‘Then why are you here?’ I whisper, broken, dying in his
arms. ‘Why…’ 1, 2 attempts at inhalation. ‘Why are you touching me?’ 

‘Because I can.’ He almost cracks a smile and I almost
sprout a pair of wings.” Pg 117

I loved this incredible dive into emotions, but, but… those
shower scenes are… OMG!!! No, there’s no sex, but only because they keep
getting interrupted!! 
Here's my one tiny complaint:  apparently Juliette is any-man’s idea of beautiful
‘cause every one of 'em ogles over her. Since this is opposite of her
childhood memories, it leapt out at me as beyond-believable. That EVERY man
would suddenly desire her beyond their physical control was a little excessive
for me. Adam makes complete sense… they have deep long-bonding connections that
ooze believability. Warner also makes sense in a sick, twisted way. 

Warner, btw, is a
great hate-able, detestable character and that hint of attraction between him
and Juliette is extra creepy, but totally believable. 

It’s just… every other
man that saw her flipped over in awe of her seemed far-fetched ‘cause… frankly…
if she was THAT hot, she couldn’t be THAT innocent at the same time. You know?
She’d have that cocky self-assurance that natural beauty slathers it’s bearers
with. So she’s either one or the other… but both? End of teensy-weensy complaint.

I’ve found one more thing I love about this book, now,
which makes four:

“He closes his eyes for half of a second and I marvel at the
drop drop drops of hot water caught in his eyelashes like pearls forged from
pain.” Pg 117

“Killing time isn’t as difficult as it sounds. I can shoot a
hundred numbers through the chest and watch them bleed decimal points in the
palm of my hand. I can rip the numbers off a clock and watch the hour hand tick
tick tick its final tock just before I fall asleep. I can suffocate seconds
just by holding my breath. I’ve been murdering minutes for hours and no one
seems to mind.” Pg 127

The writing behind everything… behind the numbers and the
edge of sanity and the sensual tension… is incredible. It’s picturesque,
unexpected and sharply graphic. I don’t know how many times my heart pounded
and I stopped reading and just soaked up an odd phrase here or there, reading
it over and over again wondering how Mafi ever thought to put those words
together in that combination?  She took a
busy storyline filled with complicated characters and spilled it out her own
unique way.

You know when you love a book so much you have to read the
Acknowledgements section? This thank you to her editor made sense:

“It’s been such a privilege working with someone who so
absolutely understands my story. My characters are safe with you in a way they
wouldn’t have been anywhere else and I still can’t believe I got so lucky.”

Actually… I can’t believe we all got so lucky!!  This book could have been edited to pieces,
stuffed full of punctuation and strict rules about how numbers are handled in
books, not to mention No Crossing Out when it’s Thoughts and not even Journal
Entries!! This book is a work of art from the writer all the way through the
publishing industry… and I really love it.

NOTE:  At the book signing, Tahereh clarified that her agent loved the book in it's entirety, strike-through's and all, so there was never any scary looming publishing bullies to fight off. I was just letting my imagination go crazy in my own little world. Weird.

Cover Commentary:  What's with the dress?!  I'm just curious... it's not even the shimmery one with the pockets or the too-tight one that's hard to run in. I was (happily) caught off guard when the story inside did not match that cover. The blips are right-on... but based on the cover, I thought some super-human girl in formal wear was going to storm the town.

My Rating: 5 stars - Love it!!  I love this book, I want to quote this book, reread this book... I want to follow the author around so I can listen to her quirky humor. Oh, I don't have to!!  She makes vlogs!!  Phew!  That would be creepy!

About the Author:

Tahereh Mafi is a girl. She’s 24. She writes books and reads books and drinks way too much coffee. 
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I was thinking of my readers when I went to the book signing... so this is a signed book just for YOU!!  You totally want to read this... even buy a copy and win a copy, both.  Maybe an extra on your e-reader. Can't have too many copies of this one!!  If shipping exceeds $12, you'll have to help me out, but I don't think it will... not even to wherever you are.  My giveaway rules are listed under About Me - mostly, you need to be old enough to win and no one's responsible for any hiccups in the process.

"Be Extraordinary!"

I have some extra swag from the other book signings if you're interested: Spring Into the Future tour summary

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Burgandy Ice Rose

Interrupted by Rachel Coker

Interrupted: Life Beyond Words

Interrupted: Life Beyond Words

by Rachel Coker

Harcover, 320 pages

Published February 14th 2012 by Zondervan



Premise:


Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn't shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept.


Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie's heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.

My Review:



Um... Wow!!



I think age disappears in writing, I really do. But I've never read a book where I felt so completely like I was 14 again. The incredible thing about Rachel Coker is not that she has such a good grasp on youth... she is a youth!!  But that her writing is so seamlessly smooth!!  She has skill and perspective that make this book very unique.



On my copy there's a quote from Publisher's Weekly: "Coker is one to watch" and I have to agree 100%.



Interrupted has a somber tone. The main character, Alcyone, faces some difficult circumstances and grows hard & bitter. Her friend, Sam, is a neat character. Both of them are complicated, multi-layered. I was pretty much in awe of all the supporting cast. They are alive and vibrant.



The setting is beautiful and completely 1930 - 1940's. I could picture the lake, the ocean, the beach, the local hang-out. There was old-time chivalry, parties with dancing, cute polka dot dresses. In fact, "cute" describes the main feel of reading, rather like a (somber) flitting butterfly dancing along Ally's inner conflict.  



It feels weird to close the book and find myself in the present day. The pace of life and the values of the community were very refreshing. Ally's search for God and meaning was realistic, too. I would have liked more romance, maybe.  And maybe a little less time-jumping, 'cause that pulled me out of the moment, away from my connection with Ally, and left me catching up. But that just brings me around full circle to the beginning - I was just transported over seventy years back in time, where I felt completely at home. So... Wow!



My Rating: 3.5 - Worth the Time, Cute and better-than-cute.



About the Author:


Rachel Coker resides in Virginia with her parents and two sisters. She has a passion for great books, and has been surrounded by them all her life. Her gift for writing became apparent at the age of eleven, at which time her parents signed her up for a year of lessons with a professional writing coach.


Rachel CokerRachel also has a deep love for classical music and old black-and-white movies. When she is not writing or playing the piano, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends and serving her Lord and Savior.



Check out this GREAT author interview at wordslikesilver!!!!!



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729730: Interrupted: Life Beyond WordsInterrupted: Life Beyond Words

Burgandy Ice Rose

At the Foot of the Lighthouse by Erin Hoffman



At the Foot of the Lighthouse (Todai Moto Kurashi)At the Foot of the Lighthouse

Tor.com

by Erin Hoffman

ebook, 32 pages

Published May 2nd 2012 by Tom Doherty Associates



Premise: 



I am American. We are all Americans.The year is 1942. A Japanese-American girl’s life is turned upside down by Executive Order 9066, and she must cope with a life confined to the barbed wire of an internment camp in the Arizona desert. There, she struggles to weigh her continued loyalty to her country (which has betrayed and ostracized everyone she loves) against a closely guarded family secret that could change the course of history.




My Review:



O.M.G.



This story is not long... I want to say, "just go read it real quick and get your own impression" 'cause it's short and fast and free at Tor.com. But I didn't read it until I saw the review at Calico Reaction... and the review was pretty mind-blowing. (Which is how I found the story!)



For being so short, it's jamb-packed with explosive emotion. I've experienced some prejudice and maybe that effects my understanding of the story, but the author's intentions were immediately clear to me. I read her comments and then hopped over to her responding post just to see if I was close.



What I love about this story is that I felt Japanese-American reading it. I felt loyal and innocent and hurt. I felt prejudice, yes, but not just being singled out... I felt separated AND misunderstood on separate levels and that's just amazing.



Also... I didn't know about the Japanese camps in America. I hadn't realized we did that. What I learned about World War II and the Japanese is centered around Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombs, lots of stories and details surrounding them, enough for me to say "enough!" and not ask any more questions.  I knew there was more I didn't know... but I had no idea about camps in America.



I want to quote Calico Reaction's review because this is why I read this story:


The story invites multiple readings. It’s one of those sneaky ones that you read a certain way the first time through, and by time you hit the ending, you realize you need to read it again from a different point of view. Those, in my opinion, are always the best stories, because that means there’s layers, and the possibility of getting more out of said story out of every read.

Yea... I love multiple-angle stories and having to re-read to find a different point of view and I agree that those are the best stories.



About the Author:






Erin Hoffman was born in San Diego and now lives with her husband, two parrots, and two dogs in northern California. She started an online writing group at age 15, and at 18 started as an assistant game designer for Simutronics on DragonRealms. Her other game credits include Shadowbane: The Lost Kingdom, GoPets: Vacation Island, Kung Fu Panda World, and FrontierVille. She also serves on the International Game Developers Association’s board of directors, writes for the award-winning online magazine The Escapist, and has had fiction and poetry in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Electric Velocipede, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more. In 2004 her blog on game industry quality of life, “ea_spouse”, was covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and LA Times, and is now referenced in numerous game history and corporate history studies.



Erin’s games have won multiple awards and have been played by over 23 million kids and adults worldwide. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, and her first novel, Sword of Fire and Sea, is forthcoming from Pyr Books in June 2011





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At the Foot of the Lighthouse is free!! Go read it!!!



Erin's other books:








Lance of Earth and Sky just released April 24, 2012

Apr. 13th, 2012

Burgandy Ice Rose

(no subject)

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
Hardcover, 1st Ed, 549 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Hougton Mifflin Harcour
NetGalley preview on my Nook

Premise: Ganked from Goodreads:
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?  
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.  
Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

My Review:

Ha!  Ha HA!!  What an exhilarating ride!!!
This book pulls together some of my most favorite things,
weaving a new story with new characters and depths. As I read, I felt growing
satisfaction… that THIS is what I had always hoped for and didn't even know it.
I loved so many things about this book. The concept is rich
Ismae (love the name!!) is rescued from abuse, smuggled across the country to a
Convent fortress where she is trained in the arts of Killing. It’s like
Cinderella + Graceling. What a fun combination!
I don’t don't much about history, so the setting
might as well been a new fantasy world, for all I knew (or cared). The French-sounding
names were exotic and the politics felt exactly like a complicated chess game,
(the author's intention). There is
gritty reality behind the impossible choices,
which I absolutely loved. So
often, especially when big, multiple kingdoms are involved, the answer is
obvious & predictable, so “impossible” was refreshingly frustrating.
I thoroughly enjoyed the deities of Britain. Does anyone
know if this is historical? There are 8 (9?) Gods transformed to “saints” to
conform to the times. Mortain, the god of death,
adds depth to the entire story. I was never certain how Ismae was literally
conceived by him, but I love, LOVE the idea that she is a daughter of God.
Absolutely. And that the Convent believes that only it – or specifically the Abbess –
knows what Mortain wants, while the question is raised as to whether the
Convent is above deception? 
Doubt is cast on
the Convent, even while relationship with Mortain Himself is strengthened.
Ismae is a fun character. I slipped inside her skin so
effortlessly, so that I still feel rather dangerous with various weapons strapped in hiding
spots up my sleeves and skirts. (Ha!) I thought for sure I would learn all the in’s
& out’s of her training at the Convent – like Paksennarian or The Song of
the Lioness series. Instead, the story dives right into Ismae’s assignments. I can’t
tell you how thrilled I was wondering how complicated this story would get if
we leapt right through so much excitement so fast. She is intelligent
& brave (rather than fearless). I love getting her thoughts behind each
action, and I love her fast reflexes!!
Duval is also very fun. He has layers of reactions and
motivations to figure out, while being at the same time, highly enticing.
Suspicious and sexy at the same time!!  I
was right there with Ismae as she experienced new love (great budding romance!)
while remaining true to her beliefs and her deep conviction to serve the God of Death. When
traitors abound, everyone is suspect!!
Many of the secondary characters had surprising depth.  Duval’s closest friends keep revealing
greater depths, the council surrounding the Duchess holds surprises, the
Convent and the handmaidens of Death have lots of secrets that they don’t give
up even by the end of the story. 
The Duchess & her sister felt shallow to me, but if I was in either of their shoes, I could only hope to be as brave & decisive as they were. I'd probably run away.
Grave Mercy does not have a cliff-hanger ending, but it does leave loose ends – rather loud loose ends. I wondered how the author could sleep at night without resolving these. (Ha!)  Until I noted what book 2 in the series will
be about… and entire book devoted to at least two of those loose ends, which
gives me hope for the third, too. (Ack!! I hate not spoiler-talking!)
As I read, I kept thinking of similar books I love. The court
scenes reminded me of Crown Duel, which I love! Sometimes I was reminded me of
King Arthur or Robin Hood or somewhere in between ‘em (all the Britain stuff - either inner fighting or against France). I already mentioned
Cinderella, Paksennarion and the Song of Lioness… not to mention Graceling. What if Katsa had a different motivation for doing
her killing job? Hehehehe  And yet, Grave Mercy is unique, too. Some of the best of all of 'em rolled into something new.
Cover Commentary: Love it. I love the red dress, with the
windblown wild look & the suspicious back glance… especially with the
castle and storm clouds in the background. The crossbow makes the picture for
me, although it seems a little large for the weapon she hid in her skirts. I
suppose of they’d given her a wee little crossbow, it wouldn’t have had the same
effect. Lol.

My Rating: 5 - LOVE IT!!  I think this is one of my favorite books. I definitely want
this book on my bookshelf collection to reread when the urge hits, ‘cause it
definitely will!  It may be 500+ pages
long, but I couldn’t put it down!!



The Awesome Author:

Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.
Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.
Many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.
In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at www.rllafevers.com.

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Mar. 22nd, 2012

Burgandy Ice Rose

Controversial Things

I love to challenge any status quo.  Tell me "it can't be done" and suddenly, all I can think about is how to do it.

Humph.

That's not always good.  I've gotten myself in and out of impossible situations, sure, but sometimes the cost was higher than I could've guessed. Like... "it takes 6 wks to close a business loan" was a taunt to close it in 3... but I was pretty much a wreck for days on end and still get echoes of that stress headache.  Maybe not worth it.  

I feel like I have this radar that senses impossibilities. It zeroes in with an "Oh Yea?!" and I'm off-n-runnin' again. It is possible that I'm acting like Kate in Goddess Interrupted, who didn't observe the results of her own actions before repeating bad ideas.  *cough*  I hope that's not the case.

Today I posted about Advertising... because someone told me I would never earn money from my book blog, as in a threat that I'd have to stop my new-found love to pursue something that would provide threads. I don't need to make a lot, though... just enough for odd expenses. Books, of course...  most the kids' stuff, some sports, pictures, field trips.  I like to have some extra in case of needing clothes or shoes. Dog food. Dish soap. You know, that sort of odd-ball expenses.

Only.... Advertising is really not popular. Bloggers wear "no advertising" like a badge, almost. Not because they don't want a few extra bucks, but b/c it's got such an icky flavor, being so pushy and obnoxious. My post today was like siding with the enemy and it's got me NERVOUS!!!  I could make enemies, I'm thinking, by being so open to the idea.  Especially since my reasoning is "for profit". Ugh.

So.... I've passed the line of whether or not to have giveaways... to having about two every week.  And now I'm squirming deeply into advertising, getting as many affiliate accounts as I can, telling everyone how great it is to click on advertisements!!!

Um.... yikes?!

Here's the thing.  

Books are a business same as other businesses.  Traditional advertising really sucks right now 'cause people don't believe big advertising bucks anymore. They don't!!  I sure don't!  I live in a world of referrals... you go to the mechanic you know, not the one you see advertised, you know?  

Well.... book bloggers are the referral network for books.  They're making a big difference in the publishing world, big enough to get noticed. Publishers have been handing out free books all over the place taking advantage of this boom. Authors, too.  Bloggers are super-cheap advertising for publishers and authors... the cost of the book gets a lot out there.

Since book bloggers lose integrity asking a publisher for payment, as in accepting influence in their review, that option is closed. Maybe bloggers should offer their services free, but that doesn't make sense to me. They should be compensated for doing something so useful in the publishing world.

Advertising on my blog is a way of drawing income off of traditional advertisers, which brings my entire point full circle. Those businesses that have the funds to advertise with Google, or those big book dealers... they are compensated when we place their ads on our blogs, sure, but even more, I am compensated for doing their reviews and blogging well. (Assuming bloggers will help each other out!!)

Giveaways play a big part since entering giveaways actually work... books are won. They increase the incentive to visit blogs, increasing the reach for each book reviewed. It's circular.  Sure, I could buy books for myself instead of purchasing giveaway winnings. Sure.  But I'm meeting so many people who love books... love the same books I love!!  Kindred Spirits from far away... and I'm spending as much as I was before, only getting so many warm fuzzies in exchange.

So...

Giveaways are good for books.  Advertising on book blogs are good for bloggers and good for books and good for advertisers.

If bloggers would let go of that aversion to advertising, how much more income would bloggers receive?  How much more impact would they have?  I don't know.  I just know that I like book blogging and I would like to keep doing it and I'll find a way to make it work for me even down to the nitty-gritty of looking at profit.  If I can.  

Only... please don't be mad at me!!!!

Mar. 4th, 2012

Burgandy Ice Rose

Update on Colorimetry

Just a quickie update on some of the latest stuff going on over at Colorimetry.

Click on the pictures to go to the reviews (hypothetically - let me know if it doesn't work!!!)

* 3/3 Tag Game w/ Awesome Questions for anyone!!
* 3/2 Dr. Suess's Birthday! and Friday Hop!!
* 3/1 MASS review of Embrace
Embrace
*2/29 Happy Leap Day!
We are all Winners - 1,000 Followers!
The Sight (Warriors: Power of...
Peru in Images
The Wishing Pearl
A Great and Terrible Beauty (G...
The Giver (The Giver, #1)
Until Next Time (The Angel Chr...
* Love Lessons inspired by Colorimetry Readers.

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