Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rumspringa's Hope by Beth Shriver

Before anything else, I must say that the release date of this is set for May 6th.  I should probably wait to post my review, but honestly, I'd rather review it while it's fresh in my mind and I couldn't wait that long to pick it up and read it.

This book is the first in a series of three written by Beth.  The series takes us through the lives of three Amish women who must overcome obstacles and struggle with their faith and beliefs.

Although promised to the widowed neighbor Zeb, Emma is considering leaving her Amish community to watch over her younger brother Mark when he leaves for Philadelphia to explore the outside world during his Rumspringa.
 
There, she reconnects with her former beau Caleb, who protects the Amish teens, introducing them to his life evangelizing and helping the homeless. Unbeknownst to Emma, Caleb is glad for the opportunity to spend time with her and hopes to win her back.
 
Struck by the power of evangelism and outreach, Emma begins to feel a draw to Caleb's way of life. When she doesn’t return home when she promised, Zeb goes to the city to find her, forcing Emma to choose in which of their two worlds she really belongs.(taken from Amazon descriptions)

The copy that I received to review is an advanced copy, so some things may be changed before final publication.  Please keep that in mind while reading my review.

I feel that the Amish community and lifestyle was portrayed quite well.  It shows their beliefs as well as daily schedules.  We get to see how strongly their religion affects their lives.  Rumspringa is probably the one thing that most people know about the Amish.  It's the time when young adults are allowed out into the world to get a taste of it.  Those who choose to go often go because they are curious and end up returning to the Amish faith.  That isn't always the case.  Shriver takes a serious look at the reasons that youngsters choose to take part in Rumspringa, how it affects those left behind, and the long-term changes that can be made in everyone's lives because of it.

As a main character, Emma is slightly fascinating.  I say this because she's put in a position that many women are. She has two suitors and she doesn't know which to choose.  There's Caleb, who has turned his back on the Amish way of life but lives his life for the service of others.  There's Zeb, who is strictly Amish, but also controlling and has nefarious plans.  More importantly, each man offers Emma a different way of life  She can choose the life she's always known or a life of evangelism.  Both have a strong pull.  It's a nearly impossible decision to make and it was a great character study watching her struggle constantly with it.  There were times that she behaved in an odd manner and I wish I'd have been given insight into what she was thinking.

Though it seems the story is centered around Emma's love life and Rumspringa,there's so much more to it.  Caleb and Zeb have histories, as well as current plans, that add a great subplot.  The character of Monique adds another intriguing side.  I have to admit, where Monique is concerned,I felt quite unfulfilled.  I don't feel like any of her character issues were resolved and I was left sort of hanging.  Since she isn't really a main character, I can be forgiving, although I really would have liked to have seen her fleshed out more at the end.  

For those of you who enjoy Amish romance, I can truly say that Shriver is the most dramatic that I've read.  It's difficult to pull yourself back from Emma's life and into your own.  It's an entertaining and fascinating read that will give you plenty to think about.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Poetry and Post-its Giveaway!

I have been so blessed to be friends with J K Blaylock for years.  Throughout that time, I've watched him truly blossom as a person and I've watched his talent for word being honed.  J K comes from an incredibly talented and artistic family.  In that family, he is the master wordsmith.  Though Poetry in Progress isn't the first compilation that he's published in, it is the most recent, so we're giving a copy away!  Not only that, because poetry flows from J K's heart, he's also autographing a heart shaped Post-it note dispenser to give away with one copy of the book!



So, here are the rules!  We will draw one winner on April 18th, making it an extra Good Friday for one lucky person out there!  That person will win a copy of Poetry in Progress as well as the authographed Post-it notes dispenser!  You CANNOT get this anywhere else!  You will be the only person in the world with a J K Blaylock autographed Post-it dispenser!  It's freakishly awesome!  It's useful!  It's fun to look at!  And what better way to pick up girls?  Seriously!  'Yeah, Poet J K Blaylock signed this for me.  Shall I recite some of his work?'  The women will be swooning at your feet!  Don't want women swooning at your feet?  Then don't recite poetry!

J K's poetry is heartfelt and unique.  It comes from a place deep inside his soul that has only been truly tapped into within the last couple of years. Manipulation of words is his passion.  Not only that, there's something for everyone, whether you want to read about life's great mysteries or just want to reminisce over the last cheeseburger you consumed.

So!  Stop reading and enter!  Don't forget to come back every day for the free daily entry!

Wolves and Wheels Giveaway!

If you read my review of Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet, then you know that I loved it.  What I love even more, is that Aurora has agreed to do an authographed giveaway with us!  We'll choose one lucky winner on April 11th.  That person will receive a copy of Bloodmark along with a red Hot Wheels '68 Shelby GT500!  Seriously, even if you're not in this for the book, you know that is one saweeet ride!  And...the coolest part?  Aurora is autographing it!  Nowhere else in the entire universe can you enter to win a Shelby GT500 that has been autographed by an author!

So, why did we hook up wolves with wheels?? We're not telling!  Once you get the book, you can read it and figure it out for yourselves!  We promise there's a connection, like there is with all of our authographed giveaways...but I'm not one for giving out spoilers!


Run!  Don't walk!  Get to the rafflecopter and get your entries in!  How amazing would it be to invite your friends over and show them your one of a kind Shelby!?  You know you want it!  Plus, the book is an amazing read!  You'll need to read it in order to pick up the next in the series, which I'm sure Aurora is working on even as I type this up!  *wink wink*  *nudge nudge*  *hint hint*

Smell Like Me Giveaway!

After an amazing bath tonight, I realized that most of us love to pamper ourselves a little.  Being able to have that light scent wafting up to our noses from our body and that wonderfully clean and moisturized feeling is something that we don't get every day.  Seriously, I smell good!  I feel great!  I want one of my lucky followers to feel the same way!  I'd love for all of you to, but honestly, I just can't afford that.  So, enter, the Smell Like Me Giveaway!

We need a few rules.  Entry is easy.  Be a follower on my Facebook page.  On April 1st, I will randomly choose one person to win.  Now, I'm including pictures so you can get an idea of what you're going to win, but it's not necessarily the exact same thing as the picture.  I'm not perfect!  USA only please, since I have to pay for shipping.

Now, if you don't win this month, don't worry!  This won't be the only time in the world that I offer up some of my favorite things for others to try!

Also, being a follower is a great way to stay up-to-date on the most recent authographed giveaways!  If you aren't familiar with these, they're actually pretty neat.  An author will donate one of their books along with an item that goes along with the book.  The author autographs the item!  You can't get these types of collectibles anywhere else!  If you love authors, we're the one place to get neat, useful items that have been signed by some of your favorite authors!

So, what does the winner receive??  One Neutrogena face bar.  This stuff is amazing!  Your face feels so soft and clean afterwards!  One bar of Caress White Peach and Silk Something or other!  This leaves you feeling soft and smooth and such a heavenly light scent!  One bottle of St. Ives Spray Lotion in Orchid and Something scent!  If you haven't heard me rave about this lotion, you haven't been paying attention.  I will no longer use any other lotion!  This stuff is absolutely incredible!  It's revolutionary!  It's a must for every lotion-using household!



So, quit horsing around and run over to Literary Litter on Facebook!  All you have to do to enter is click the little 'follow' button!  If you're already a follower, you're already entered!

Have a beautifully scented day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Manifestations and Mascara Giveaway!

We've had some really great feedback from authors regarding our authographed items, and now I'm bringing one to you that I'm especially fond of!

Jason Helford, on top of being a really awesome guy, has written one of the best psychoanalysis books into the human mind of a serial killer that I've ever read.  Believe me, I've read a lot of them.  I'm as fascinated by serial killers as I am cannibals...almost.  From a Killer's Mind is one of the most thrilling books you'll pick up this year.  Believe me, you don't want to miss this one!  Not only that, here's your chance to win it for free!

Now that we have the manifestations explained, let's get to the mascara!  I'm a picky girl and I'll admit, there's only one mascara that I will use.  It's Avon's Mega Effects mascara.  No, this isn't an Avon commercial, but seriously, this stuff is really cool!  Once you try it, you'll be hooked!  And, not only is Jason giving you one, he's going to personally autograph it!

So, what does the winner get??  An authographed mascara and a copy of From a Killer's Mind!  What do they have in common?  As usual, we aren't telling!  You have to read the book to find out!  Unless you're squeamish...then have someone else read the book to you!

Now, the important stuff.  We'll choose one winner on April 15th.  There are several different ways to enter.  My apologies, but due to shipping, it's US only.  Now, get clicking and get as many chances as you can in to win this one! Remember, you can't get this anywhere else!  Nowhere else in the world can you get mascara signed by Jason Helford!  You can call all your friends over and throw a 'Look What Author Jason Helford Sent ME!"  party!

Thank you to Jason Helford for being a willing participant in one of our authographed items giveaways!  I look forward to more in the future!

Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet

Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves-she was able to shift to wolf form at birth.  Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, he is force to live in seclusion in Ireland's countryside.  Ashling's reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws.  When her pack's oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine-far from everything she's ever known.

In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul.  There's just one problem:  Grey is human.  Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws.  When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets-secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear-Ashling's courage and tenacity are tested. (taken from inside book jacket)

First, I sincerely apologize to the author.  I read this book months ago and thought I had already posted the review.  The fact that it's months later and I can still tell you everything in the book is a testament itself for the book's worth.  This is an epic and beautiful tale.  It's been crafted to the point that you don't even question the races other than human.  Each point has been finely tuned and it comes off naturally.

The highs and lows of the story will keep you continuously reading.  Passion, joy and romance rival with fear, anxiety and immorality.  It really is a nonstop journey through all emotions and several times past some of them.  It's written in such a way that you don't even realize you're experience the ups and downs until it's over.  You're just along for the ride and at the end you look up at the roller coaster and realize all the twists and turns you've taken.

For me, personally, the selling point was Ashling.  Honestly, she's one of the best heroines I've read.  You know that point in the movie where the large-chested blonde walks upstairs when the killer is waiting for her?  That point when you're screaming at her because you know at some point she's seen a scary movie or read a scary book and she knows without a doubt that what she's doing is stupid?  That point when you lose all sense of caring for the character because she's too stupid to live?  That point when you're thankful the killer takes care of the issue and puts her out of her idiotic misery?  Yeah...that doesn't happen here.  Ashling is an intelligent girl filled with  morals and sense.  She doesn't always take the same path I would, but she does explain why she's taking the path she is, and it always makes sense.  I didn't just enjoy her character, I actually respected her, which is unusual.  The's a strong lead female character who isn't portrayed as a dimwit.

Terry Spear fans will definitely enjoy this one.  It's different in that it's much darker and more medieval, but you'll devour it.  There are a lot of books out there in the werewolf genre, but even if you're feeling overwhelmed by them, you'll still want to pick this one up.  It's definitely towards the top of my favorites list.

Delusional by Scott Spotson

When rising marketing executive Patricia Fowler falls for Paul Blast, a married co-worker, she tries to put her life into perspective-a task that becomes increasingly difficult when she starts having eerie hallucinations.  Patricia's dreams of a happily ever after turn into one nightmare after another as she battles threats that go beyond her imagination.
 
Is her new love behind the torment?  After all, his former girlfriend ended up in an asylum.
 
Or could Paul's wife be more than a bored, spoiled, rich girl?
 
Meanwhile, the FBI is trying to track down a thief who  magically appears and disappears, taking priceless gems and artwork with her.  (taken from the back of the book)
 
I'll admit when I first started reading this, I was bored.  I was disappointed.  I was dreading reading any more than the first few chapters.  It was dry and dull and overly detailed.  An art thief?  Yeah, it's been done.  Characters I don't care about?  Yeah, that's been done too. 
 
So, a few chapters later, my attitude really changed.  There are still a few spots in the book that are overly detail-oriented, but it really changes mood and fast.  Imagine a train moving downhill.  It starts slowly, then picks up speed and by the time it reaches the bottom of the hill, it's really moving!  That's what this book is.  I really started to care about the characters and their plight.  The mystery of the art thief wasn't such a big deal to me, other than trying to figure out how she did it. 
 
This is one of those rare books where the author has realized that anything can happen and has taken advantage of it.  Take an unstable character that doesn't seem to have a moral compass, and you've opened a Pandora's Box of delicious nastiness and shock.  Several times I caught myself with my jaw dropping and saying 'whoa!' 
 
If you enjoy any type of supernatural, thriller, or just a good mystery, I'd definitely add this to your 'to read' list.  I haven't read anything else by Spotson yet, but if his other work is as captivating and heart-thumping, I'm all for it!

Reviewed for Minding Spot

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Schism and Stars Giveaway!!

Michael Phillip Cash
In order to celebrate our new Facebook page, Michael Phillip Cash has generously agreed to do something unusual.  He's autographing a star!  For one lucky person!  I'll be sending you a copy of Schism The Battle for Darracia.  

So, first let me say I'm a big fan of Michael's work.  I've read everything he's written.  To be honest, Brood X is my favorite but Schism may overtake it by the time I finish the next book in the series, Collision.  Watch for my review of Collision coming soon!  OK So, when you get a chance, check out the book!  It's great sci-fi and a fun read!


Now, check out these awesome stars!  We came across these and we knew they were just right!  Now, here's the deal.  Michael is autographing one!  For you!  That's right!  You'll be the only person in the entire world to have a Michael Phillip Cash star of your very own!  Show it to your friends!  Post a picture on Facebook!  Stand outside in your underwear and shout it out to the neighborhood!  Okay, scratch that last.  You get the point!  You cannot get this anywhere else!  This is a one-time deal!  You DO NOT want to miss this!

So, a little more about the stars. Each mirror is 5.5" wide and it's peel and stick.  There's no glass so supposedly they're child safe.  No sticky residue when you remove and re-stick!  These mirrors have gotten 5-star reviews on Amazon, just be sure to remove the protective film covering before sticking up for best clarity!  Who wouldn't want this?!?!

Entry is easy!  We'll be drawing a winner on March 31st.  So, what do stars have to do with Schism??  Besides that they start with the letter 's'?  We're not telling!  And neither will Michael!  You'll have to read the book to find out!  OK Technical stuff:  One winner drawn.  US only.  

Now get pushing buttons and up your chances to win! Good luck!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ani is a fallen angel sentenced to eternity on earth. Lost and helpless in his wingless state, he suffers the anguish of mortality until he meets Simon. 

Simon is the first angelic exile to walk the earth and the best guide a banished angel could ever ask for—only Simon knows how to become winged once again. 

But Ani’s human inheritance is more than he expects. When he falls in love with Sarah, the girl haunting his memories, he is doomed to live a heartache greater than the plucking out of his wings. (Amazon book description)

Reviewing this without giving any spoilers is so difficult!  I love Ambroziak's style of writing.  This is the second book of hers I've read, and it's still very classy.  This book definitely had hints of Dante.  Actually, the story itself could have been Dante-inspired, with a little Groundhog Day thrown in.  

Even though this is a novella, it was definitely a satisfying read and didn't seem like less than a novel.  You get so immersed in what's going on and then you have time travel and 'people' to keep straight.  It's not difficult, but it requires that you pay attention.  

I cannot imagine a worse punishment than Ani's!  I simply can't.  It's literally a Hell on Earth for him.  You get to know him so well inside and out that it's difficult to comprehend how he can possibly survive it.

I'm really interested to see how religious people view this book. There are definitely divine references alluded to.  Personally, I found the references and similarities an exciting 'what if.'  Just keep in mind that this is fiction, not propaganda. 

If you enjoy paranormal, fantasy, thriller, or drama this could be the best 99 cents you've spent in a long time.  I'm so glad I didn't miss out on it.  I was really impressed with Ambroziak's vampires and zombies in The Fifth Empire, but I have to admit that this book might have even been better.  It will keep you thinking long after you've finished.  Though it isn't a light read, it's an amazing one.

Reviewed for Minding Spot

Darkness and Mac N Cheese Giveaway!!

Ariana Wood




To celebrate our new Facebook page and author Ariana Wood's birthday, we're having a fabulous giveaway!  We'll select a total of 5 winners on March 31st.  Each will win a prize package consisting of a copy of Ariana's ebook Darkness Lies in Winter as well as an AUTOGRAPHED box of Kraft macaroni and cheese.  Yes, I said autographed!  By the author!  You cannot get this anywhere else!  Eat the food, read the book, frame the autographed box!

Yes, be the only person on your block, in your state, to have an author autographed box of macaroni and cheese!  Spread the word!

Why macaroni and cheese to go with Darkness Lies in Winter?  We're not telling!  You'll have to read the book and find out!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Out of the Cave by Cotton E. Davis


This book starts out as a brilliant idea.  In the not-too-distant future, time-warpers have gone back nearly 40,000 years and returned with a 6 year-old neanderthal boy.  After a two-year-long battle, his adoptive parents are able to get him away from the institution that treats him like a specimen rather than a child.  Adam, as he was aptly named, is now fifteen and his father has decided it's time for him to become socially acclimated by sending him to high school.

At this stage, we mostly devolve into high school drama.  Will Adam make the football team? Will he actually get to play or just warm the bench?  Will our little high school love triangle work itself out?  All along the way, we also have authority figures explaining historical backgrounds of 'cavemen' and 'time travel'.

If you can look past all of the high school drama and 'teaching moments', there's actually a viable story here.  Keep a close eye on Adam.  Even though he's been in human society for nine years, he's just now beginning to figure out who he is and who he was before he was transported through time.  If you can keep the story from Adam's perspective, it's actually quite heart-rendering.

Reviewed for Minding Spot

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Goldilocks by Patria L Dunn

I just finished reviewing this one for Minding Spot.  Though it isn't posted yet, I'll try to post the link here so you can go read it, if you have the inclination.  I just wanted to take a few minutes to discuss it here, though.

Editing.  I can't stress it enough.  If someone is taking the time to read your book, then they most likely read as a hobby or more.  Which  means, they're going to get stopped and be annoyed by a lack of editing.  Imagine if you will, you're watching your favorite movie.  It's just getting to your favorite part.  All of a sudden, Waldo pops up and fills your screen with his brightly red and white striped attire!  He goes away after a second and your movie resumes.  You can't just jump back into where you were in your movie.  Now you're thrown off into Waldoland and trying to figure out what on earth he's doing there.  As a reader, this is a huge turn off.  I understand that many Indie authors cannot afford editing.  No worries.  Have someone actually read through it.  Spell check and grammar check are not enough.  Actually reading the book, you'll come across errors that will put a quick halt in the enjoyment of the reading process.

Note regarding my rant above:  This was not aimed at Goldilocks.  I have an advanced reader's copy where editing has not been finished yet.  It was rather what was on my mind after reading a few other 'finished' books that had not been edited and having issues with this one not being edited yet on top of it.  None of the fault in my rant lies with Dunn, but rather this was me venting :)

Trends.  I adore Gregory Maguire.  His book, Wicked, set a new trend of retelling favorite old stories in a new and fascinating way.  As for Goldilocks, we've all read the story.  Not a reader, well you've at least heard the story.  A little girl named Goldilocks gets lost and walks into the house of the Three Bears.  We have Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear.  What Dunn has done here with the retelling of Goldilocks I actually quite enjoyed.  There were several minor changes I would have liked to have seen, but it was still pretty great.

In this one, Baby Bear and Goldilocks are both teenagers.  Of course, that makes for some romantic possibilities as well as the wonderful drama of the teenage world. Not only that, Baby Bear isn't just a bear, he's a shifter.  But I'm sure you already figured that out.  Not only that, but he's a shifter with a PURPOSE.  This, of course, makes everything even more complicated.

If you're like me and enjoy the darker version of beloved children's tales, you should really enjoy this one.  Be prepared for the editing and you should be fine.  Also, anyone who reads Goldilocks on ebook, Dunn has made a deal for you.  If you read and review Goldilocks honestly on Amazon, and then email her (address provided on the last page of Goldilocks), she'll let you have one of her other ebooks free!  Honestly, a few of them sound pretty inviting to me!

Giveaway Notice

All winners of giveaways will be notified as soon as their name has been drawn. Each winner will have two weeks to respond in order to receive their prize. Prizes cannot be delivered without an email/physical address. Any prizes that are not claimed within a two week period will be forfeited.

Notice

All books (unless otherwise specified) belong to me already, have been borrowed, or are sent to me by the author, publisher or review company for review. I do not receive any monetary rewards for reviewing books. The opinions expressed in my reviews belong solely to me.