Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Nightmare Affair Giveaway

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Pic and book description are from Goodreads.com

Have you seen this new book yet?!  It sounds amazing and I would love to win a copy.  One of the blogs that I follow is giving us all a chance to win a copy and I just had to share.  Just go one over to Read it in Houston and enter for your chance to win.  Good luck!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Dragon's Call

In a war-torn world, a careless act of destruction wakes a creature of myth and legend - a dragon. Mankind unites to battle for survival, but when dragons enter the fray in human form... humans lose.
Three decades later, Cecily lives in an enclave with her father and brother. Ignorant of life before the war, she placidly obeys the restrictions imposed by dragonkind.
Stifled by court life, Derek, heir of the Dragon Queen, commits a petty crime. To avoid punishment and chronic boredom, he escapes to the enclave. His arrival sparks increased tension when he meets Cecily. She realizes the limitations on her freedom, and Derek discovers his life is built on a lie. Their forbidden friendship threatens to splinter the separation between their people, but something more dangerous occurs.
A mysterious killer has kidnapped Cecily's mother - and seems to be stalking Cecily. Derek and Cecily must defy the rules of their society to find and stop the murderer before Cecily is next.

Pic and description from Goodreads.com

My Review

    *I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
   I loved this book!  I found it to be refreshing and a unique spin on a story about dragons.  The author tells the story in such a way that the dragons are much more relatable and not just fire breathing monsters that just want to kill humans.
   In this story dragons have the ability to take human form and have integrated themselves in to human society as the ruling class.  I have never before read a book where dragons were able to take human form and I immediately loved the idea.  Even though the dragons appear human on the outside does not mean they act human.  They are able to put people in to a trance using what is referred to as ‘The Call’ and that is why they are able to rule over the humans so easily.  They are far more advanced than humans in every subject imaginable and look at humans kind of like we look at animal, uneducated and far below us in intelligence and pretty much everything else. 
   For some strange reason the Dragon Prince, Derek, has decided he wants to attend a human high school.  He has never been like most dragons and does not look down on humans.  He just sees them as different then dragons and he wants to really observe them and get to know them outside of the dragon run areas.  In these areas humans act  as complete lackeys, for self-preservation reasons of course, but still acting nothing like how they do away from dragons.  I loved reading the story when it is told from his perspective.  It is funny to see him trying to fit in when he is so alien to the human teenagers.   In fact one of my favorite parts is when he tries to smile, because that is what humans do to set each other at ease.  He opens his mouth widely in a grin and then he can't understand why the humans suddenly become more scared of him after he does it.  Gee…can’t be those crazy sharp dragon teeth can it?!
  Derek is such a great character.  He really struggles to be a good person and he wants to be a good ruler.  When he falls in love with Cecily, one of the human girl’s at the high school, life for both of them gets very complicated.  They are both caught up in the problems between humans and dragons, not to mention the fact that despite looking alike they come from two very different species.  Life gets even more complicated when Derek’s brother and competition for the throne, Sahak, finds out about Cecily.  Sahak is evil and ruthless and will stop at nothing to inherit the throne.
   Throughout the book there are also diary entries interspersed in the story that describe the war that was fought between dragons and humans and how the dragons were able to seize power.  These diary entries lend a lot of depth to the story, especially after it is revealed who the author is. 
   The ending of this story is beautiful but of course leaves many questions unanswered so that we can’t wait to get hold of the second book.  Overall this story is wonderfully written and will make you believe in destiny and true love all over again.

Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp

A mother that disappeared without a trace, a sudden tragic death and then being forcibly uprooted from your home. That is what Zach, a thirteen year old boy endures when a ghostly girl kills his father. Being strong willed, Zach is determined not to leave his home in New Orleans until supernatural events occur that convince him to move in with his great aunt who lives on the grounds of a haunted plantation. It is there that Zach encounters a Cajun boy that never grows old and a creature that changes his life forever. Parallel worlds of wicked reptiles, animals, ghouls, angels and zombies form a supernatural mix that thrust Zach in the forefront of a battle between good and evil.

Pic and description taken from Goodreads.com

My Review

       *I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
   This is a unique and fantastical middle reader story.  The book begins tragically with Zach’s father dying on his 13th birthday, when a strange girl pushes him in to the path of a trolley and then disappears.  Immediately strange things start to happen to Zach, like seeing ghosts and hearing voices telling him he needs to go and live with his strange aunt out in the country.  Zach is sure that life in the Louisiana countryside is going to be so boring but he soon finds out how wrong he is.
   One day Zach goes in search of hidden pirate treasure in the swamp and finds Kikaju instead.  He is a nutria, not a rat like everyone seems to think, and the prince of a hidden world.  An evil crocodile has stolen a magic stone from Kikaju’s father and imprisoned him.  Now it is up to Kikaju to find a way to get it back and fix all the horrible things that the crocodile has done to the land.  With the help of Zach and a whole cast of crazy characters Kikaju sets out to save his world.  During his adventure you meet some ghosts, a whole slew of talking animals and one crazy, scary cat lady, just to name a  few of the strange people in the story.  Throw in a lot of magic and some good old voodoo and you have a great story that kids will love.
  While the book is fun for kids I do have to say that I was not as draw in to the book as an adult as I have been with other children's stories.  There are a lot of times that the story seems to jump around a bit too much and I kept wishing for a little more depth to the story.  I just kept feeling that if the author had taken the time to add just a little more detail to things such as the characters stories or to explain more about the world that Kekaju came from it would have made the story so much better.  I also had a hard time with the language in the book.  I am assuming that it is supposed to represent a sort of Cajun/Bayou type dialect but since I have never been to Louisiana I can only guess that this is really how they talk there.  I just made some of the dialog hard to follow for this Westerner.  All that being said, most kids don't care about this sort of stuff and since that is who the book was written for, all that matters is that it is an excellent children's book.
Parents guide:  If you have sensitive children you may want to preview the book first.  The crocodile in the book chomps people in half and has their tongues ripped out, etc., and while it is not greatly descriptive it may still be a little intense for some kids.

The Gatekeeper's Sons

Fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin sons of Hades—Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Thanatos, the god of death. She thinks she's manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of death and totally rocking his world.
Than makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try and win Therese's heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give her gifts. Others try to kill her.
The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the help of Than’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will survive.

Pic and description are from Goodreads.com

My Review

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
   I love nothing more than a great series that I can really sink my teeth in to and I think this series will end up being one of my favorites.   The Gatekeeper's Sons draws you in right from the start and has enough twists and turns to keep you enthralled all the way to the end.  Not to mention building a love story that is so powerful but at the same time remains innocent enough for a young adult book.
  The book starts out with the murder of Therese’s parents and Therese’s near death experience.  In this book the traditional Western view of heaven and hell have been replaced by the Greek myth of the afterlife.   In the Greek tradition souls of the deceased are escorted by Thanatos, or Death as he is sometimes called, to the underworld where they are transported for judgment and placement in to paradise or in to ‘hell’ where they are tormented forever.  When Therese’s parents are killed she is close enough to death herself that she is able to follow the souls of her parents to the underworld.  Therese believes she is dreaming the entire thing so when she meets Hip (Hypnos, god of dreams) and his brother Thanatos (Than for short) she has no problem being forward and she wraps Than in a huge hug and gives him a big kiss.  No big deal for the girl that is dreaming but to Than that kiss changes his world completely.  Than’s job as Death means that he rarely has any interaction with anyone other than dead souls and Charon, the man who ferries the souls down the river.  Suddenly Than feels drawn to Therese and know that he wants to always be near her.  He gets his father, Hades, to allow him to travel to the mortal world in order to win Therese’s love.
   I had so much fun reading about all of Than’s experiences of being mortal.  You can’t help but feel sorry for him because of his destiny.  What a horrible existence he must have had before Therese came in to his life.  Imagine an eternity of escorting the dead to the underworld and living there.  Than describes it almost like living in a cave, no suns, no stars, no wind, nothing that we humans take for granted.  You long for him to be with Therese so that he can finally have some joy in his life. 
  Therese is like the perfect girl that doesn’t know how great she is.  She is always more worried about others, loves animals and nature and is so giving and loving.  It is no wonder Than wants to be with her.  She is such a great person that she ends up garnering the favor of many on Mount Olympus and most of the gods and goddesses are rooting for her and Than to get together.  Between her the strange experiences Than brings in to her life and the drama of her parents murder her life becomes very interesting but Therese is able to see how strong she can be and continues to fight for her and Than to be together and for the safety of her family.
  There was only one thing that I did not completely love about the book and that is Than’s sisters, The Furies.  Anyone that knows anything about Greek mythology will know how scary The Furies are and this book does not disappoint when it comes to these characters.  The Furies are sent to earth to help find out who killed Therese’s parents.  They do not operate under any rules when hunting down criminals so their methods of gaining information can be a bit intense and disturbing.  They do get the job done quite easily with these methods so I do see why the author chose to write their encounters the way she does.  Just know that these scenes may be a little intense for younger teen readers.
   I have been given book two to read and review also so I am anxiously waiting to get in to the book.  It is killing me that I have other books lined up first but I am trying to be a good girl and read those first even though book two is calling to me.  Keep a watch out for that review as I am sure I will love book two just as much if not more.

Parent's Guide:  Very mild language during a few parts of the book.  Therese talks about being physically drawn to Than but nothing bad.  The Furies use some disturbing and scary tactics to elicit responses from the criminals they interrogate, which may be a bit much for sensitive or young readers.

Open House: Pool of Souls

Intrinsically woven into the fabric of human existence, Aphrodite, Titan Goddess of Love and Passion, dedicates herself to matching soul mates.
Rebecca Carol and Robert Corvin missed their original chance to bond when Ares, God of War, took control of Robert's career ten years ago. Their souls have naturally pulled them back together for a second chance at love, but...How far will the gods go to get their own way?
Will divine influence create another perfect match or will it tear them apart forever?

Pic and book description from Goodreads.com

My Review

     * This book was received in exchange for an honest review.
    I was a little leery to read this book as it contains explicit sex scenes, which I was not aware of when I agreed to review this book.  That being said I never go back on my word to an author so I just took a deep breath and started reading.  Not considering the sex scenes this story was actually a very sweet.    Overall the storyline was great.  Gods and goddesses twisting and turning the human experience to meet their wants and desires is tale as old as time itself.  Aphrodite is one of my favorite characters from Greek mythology.  How could you not love the goddess of love?  In this story Aphrodite is find herself pitted against Ares, the god of war, in her struggle to bring two souls, Robert and Rebecca, together as they are destined.  Robert just happens to be the owner of a company that is developing a new weapon for the government and Ares does not want love getting in the way of its development.  It is quite entertaining to see Aphrodite and Ares try to outmaneuver each other.
   The story goes back and forth between Aphrodite and Ares and the human world where Rachel and Robert are blissfully unaware of the meddling of the gods.  Needless to say the road to happiness is not smooth for Rachel and Robert.  He is dealing with business problems caused by moving his company all the way across the country.  Rachel also has her share of problems, like her crazy ex that likes to stalk her whenever a new guy comes in to her life.  The closer she and Robert become the crazier her ex becomes.
   Overall this is a good book when you exclude the sex scenes.  I do wish the author would have added a little more explanation as far as the Greek mythology is concerned.  I do not remember much more than the basics from school so it would have been nice to have a little more understanding of their story.   It is a short read but still has enough going on that you don’t feel deprived and you can't help but be drawn in to Robert and Rebecca’s story, all the while hoping that true love will conquer all.  I read an excerpt for the second book and it sounds just amazing as the first, but unfortunately I will be skipping it as it also contains explicit sex.  If you don’t mind that sort of thing in the books that you read then I would highly recommend it.

Parent's Guide:  This book is for 18+ only!  It contains explicit sex scenes and moderate language.