Whilst the blog is quiet, I am reviewing over at both The Cover Contessa and Book Lover’s Life. You can check out my reviews over at Nat’s or Brooke’s blog, by following the review links below.
Okay, so the post title pretty much says it all, but I think it only fair that I elaborate on that pretty ‘open’ comment.
Some of you may recall my ‘Announcement‘ post I wrote a little while back about decisions I was struggling to make regarding my book blogging versus new commitments/time restraints. Well, pretty soon after writing that announcement post, I admitted to myself that if I wanted to achieve everything I’ve set for myself to achieve, then … well, something’s gotta give.
Sadly, my book blogging is the ‘part’ of my life that drew the short straw.
THIS DOES NOT IN ANY WAY make book blogging, OR reading OR reviewing unimportant to me. The simple and very sad fact of the matter is that I need to lose some of the activities that don’t earn me magic beans in order to make ways for those that might.
To prove I’m not a complete washout, because I DO love reading AND reviewing, I’ve decided to take up two AWESOME gals on their offers, which they made as soon as they saw my announcement post. Yep, two of my greatest ‘reading/reviewing/blogging’ pals came forth upon hearing of the decision I was thinking (at that point) of making and offered up their blogs to me. Invited me over to ‘guest review’ anytime I liked. Well, I happen to love both of these ladies, and their blogs are awesome. Plus, I love the idea that I can still get to share my reviews but without the time-suck of book blogging and everything that comes with it.
So, if you do happen to enjoy reading what I have to say about books, don’t worry, because I will still be shipping off reviews (probably alternately) to these two blogs:
I am so grateful to these two ladies for presenting me with the opportunity to continue doing something I enjoy whilst still chasing my goals. You’ll most likely have heard of both of them. If you haven’t, I think you may be ones of those Mr Men type who hold their blinks a little too long …. (I’m just kidding). Either way, if you’re not already following them, you should rectify immediately, as they both run great ships that you’ll want to visit time and again (I know because I do).
On that note, I’m going to wrap up by saying what an awesome final week this has been. From a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway on Monday, to the Wings of Arian Blog Tour on Tuesday, a review for my favourite author Brigid Kemmerer’s Secret on Wednesday, and another giveaway for the Victoria Danaan books yesterday, this has felt like totally the right week for wrapping this show up.
The blog will still stay ‘open’, and it will remain visible. Who knows? Maybe I’ll miss it so much, I’ll feel a huge yen to come back.
Still, I hope you will all stay in touch. I hope you will hop across to either Book Lover’s Life or The Cover Contessa and say howdy now and again.
And I hope you all have an ace Christmas and the New Year brings you peace.
Finally: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR FOLLOWING, FOR VISITING, FOR COMMENTING, FOR READING, FOR LISTENING, FOR MAKING BOOKAROO-JU THE BLOG I HOPED IT WOULD BE. I ♥ YOU GUYS TO THE MOON AND THEN SOME.
Thanks to all who entered the Victoria Danaan Giveaway I ran on behalf of the author last week.
A winner has been chosen from those who commented on the post using Random.org.
An email has been sent to inform you. Please check your spam folder.
And if you didn’t win, be sure to check out this week’s Victoria Danaan contest, where there’s another prize to be won.
Cheers for stopping by,
To wrap up her Black Swan Blog Tour, Victoria Danaan has not one but TWO great deals for you to join in with today.
You guys can RIGHT NOW grab up Victoria’s ENTIRE Black Swan collection for the BARGAIN PRICE of 99c.
If you’ve always wanted to check these books out, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE!
Purchase links are below.
If you DO happen to purchase the entire collection for JUST 99c!!!!! then you instantly become eligible to enter the prize draw to win a ….
All you need to enter is your sales receipt number.
And to clicky on the link below to cross to the Rafflecopter.
I’m so super, super happy that my last review here on Bookaroo-Ju is Secret by Brigid Kemmerer. If you want to know why I’m super, super happy, then read on for my thoughts and I’m pretty sure you’ll figure it out. ;)
Series: Elementals #4
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Nowhere is safe. Not even home…
Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point.
Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown.
Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.
Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—-or he’ll lose his family.
Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.
Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers.
There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.
Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion.
**WARNING: Contains Mild Spoilers**
Brigid Kemmerer’s Secret is exactly the kind of book that reminds why I love reading so much. I’d been in a bit of a reading lull—I’m pretty sure everyone’s been there—and every book I was picking up just seemed kinda meh, or wasn’t what I was looking for, and so I hadn’t read anything in over a week (a long time for me). But then the opportunity to read Secret came along, and I knew—just knew—that this book wouldn’t let me down. Not to mention I’d been waiting for it since finishing Spirit with eager beaver fingers and a twitchy mind.
And it sooooo freaking didn’t disappoint. Secret was EVERYTHING I needed it to be to get me back into the reading swing and THEN SOME!
I already loved Nick Merrick prior to starting. Brigid’s novella, Breathless, was the first novella I’ve ever rated five stars, in which young Nicholas had already started to break my heart. But then being gay and not only admitting it to yourself, but also to your family/friends, would be a seriously tough bump in anyone’s emotional journey, because the reactions of others too often aren’t what they *could* be. And fear of everyone’s opinion of him changing was Nick’s biggest fear. Most of all, though, was fear of how his twin—completely opposite Gabriel, who’s tough and strong, and hot-headed and not afraid of trouble—would take the ‘news’.
Well, in all honesty, the story would have been too easy if Ms Kemmerer hadn’t made some of those bumps in Nick’s road into impossible-looking hump-back bridges. That doesn’t mean expecting them to be there made them any easier emotionally for me to swallow. It’s possibly my own fault, because I’m such a character-driven-reader and allow myself to connect too deeply with these fictional peeps I spend time with, but when poor Nick was hurting, the hurt spread outward.
But on the other side of the coin, I also couldn’t help but feel for Gabriel. Because his reaction of punching out when panicked was so typical of him, and had the situation had the opportunity to go down differently, then it might have gone slightly smoother for them both. So, the hurt was then spread between the both of these guys (I’ll blame Brigid for making me fall in love with all of the brothers and making it impossible to have a favourite).
And even still, this isn’t the entire gist of the story. True to this author’s writing style, we also get to see a second POV, who just happens to be Nick’s pretend girlfriend Quinn. And boy, does Quinn have a heartbreaking tale of her own to tell. So it’s almost a double whammy of emotional turmoil, and watching Quinn’s almost self-destructive attitude unfold, as well as the horrendousness of her ‘home life’ is saddening. On top of this, she finds safety and respite in the last place anyone would expect, which only causes even more discord amongst these characters—especially when the Merrick’s find out. To be honest, I had my own guard up when we first (re)met Tyler. I wanted to trust the guy, but the Merrick’s had done a decent job of convincing us we shouldn’t. Hell, Tyler’s own past antics had me convinced I shouldn’t. But I held judgement, and the more I saw of him, the more I understood him, and the more I liked him. And then I liked him a whole lot more by the end.
BUT, again, this isn’t all. Because whilst Secret is a book FULL of awesome teenage characterisation, dealing with typical and atypical teen drama and issues, and coming of age, it’s spiced up even further with a fantasticly-tasty dose of the supernatural (or paranormal, if you prefer). From the very first book in this series, Storm, I have loved how Ms Kemmerer has incorporated all of the brothers (and other characters’) abilities into every ounce of the writing, so that even when that slice of the storyline isn’t at the forefront, it’s still present in every chapter in some way. For a long time in Secret, I wondered where the dangers were from this corner—especially after Spirit being so rife with it—but in the end, I couldn’t fault it. Because the rest of the storyline does such an amazing job of drawing you in, and you’re so absorbed and focused on all the relationships, that when the whammy of the supernatural side of the story does come along, it smacks you upside the head. And then it keeps beating you until the very end.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have NEVER come across a series (or author) that contains such consistency for characterisation, storytelling abilities, pacing, plot development, such respectful and appropriate handling of difficult topics, and the ability to continuously grip the reader from page one ‘til the end.
Brigid Kemmerer IS my favourite author. If you haven’t read her books already, then you should seriously consider changing that. Who knows? Maybe she’ll fast become your favourite author, too.
I *think* that is all.
Have you read this title? What did you think of it?
Welcome to my stop for the Wings of Arian Blog Tour, where you can expect to find a great guest post and a giveaway.
Check it out.
Kiora thought she had never heard a lie until she was sixteen. But she was wrong. Her entire existence was based on nothing but. She thought that evil did not exist. Lie. That magic was not real. Lie. And that the land of Meros was all there was. One more lie.
With Aleric telling her that evil is knocking on the door and that she is the only one who can stop them she has a choice to make. Refuse, or start the wildest most painful ride of her life.
She reluctantly dips her toe into her new existence of magic and threads, dragons and shapeshifters, and the person who wants to take control of it all: the evil Dralazar.
However, this journey was never meant to be hers alone. She will be accompanied by a Protector. To her disbelief, and utter irritation they name the hotheaded, stubborn, non -magical, (albeit gorgeous) Prince Emane. They will have to trust each other with their lives, but right now Kiora would settle for a non hostile conversation.
And now it comes down to this, If you had never heard a lie, would you know when you heard one? Is knowing good from evil innate? Kiora finds herself having to decide who lives and who dies on those very questions.
Be sure to add it to your Goodreads by clicking on the coverart image.
But first, stick around a little longer for a guest post from Devri Walls.
Top 10 fast and easy advice to writers
1. Writing is hard, editing is hard, promoting yourself is hard. Make sure you love this before you jump in.
2. Make it the best you can, hire an editor- or two, or three. You need them, trust me.
3. Everyone judges a book by its cover. Make sure yours rocks.
4. Yes, you have to promote. If you don’t you are invisible. Invisible is bad.
5. Yes, social media is also important. Although, be careful on whose advice you follow on how to use it. Spamming people is usually not the way to get what you want.
6. Be nice. * ahem * In case you missed that, BE NICE! If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Always. Vent to your family in private and be done with it.
7. Work fast but don’t rush it. Readers are expecting books faster, so work hard and fast. But don’t send out something until its ready, you will regret it.
8. Find a support system. This is a crazy ride, you will need one.
9. Never forget where you started. Someday you will have your feet beneath you and someone else wont. Help them out. Someone helped you.
10. Don’t forget why you started doing this in the first place. Have fun.
Great advice there!
Up for grabs on the tour are the following:
$10 Amazon giftcard
eBook copies of the book
To be in with a chance of winning, simply head over to the Rafflecopter!
Good luck, and thanks for visiting.
Devri Walls lives in Kuna Idaho with her husband and two kids. She has worked as a music teacher and currently, a preschool teacher. She majored in theater and her love of a story still drives her today. Thankfully, she has finally found an outlet for all the voices in her head.
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)
This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT!
Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7″.
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HDX (US Only – $229 Value)
Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
December Kindle Fire Giveaway #2 Sponsors
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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Title: These Broken Stars
Series: Starbound #1
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: December 10th 2013
Source: Copy received from publisher via Netgalley
It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
LOVE this cover! It’s so stinkin’ pretty.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion of the book.
If you’re expecting a fast-paced, heavily-scifi’d, action-filled read, then perhaps These Broken Stars won’t be for you.
However, if you LOVE character driven books that hold both character and relationship development as the driving force of the story, all tangled together with intrigue, suspense, mystery, and a dusting of the paranormal, then you are the perfect reader for this book.
Because TBS’s has a couple of GREAT leading characters, both whose POV leads the way. Tarver is just great. He has strengths, he has weaknesses, and he has a very appealing way about him that ensures the reader connects instantly with him and cares about his journey. I love how he is very family orientated. Love how his current station in life hasn’t altered who he is at his core. Plus seeing that it’s the male’s attraction to the female kicking-starting a novel, rather than the commonly-done other way around, gave us an instant reason to want him to win from the off.
Alongside him is Lilac, who has strengths and weaknesses also, equal to Tarver, and with a deeper background than we initially realise that dictates her behaviour earlier on in the book. Too often rich girls are seen as spoilt upper-brats—and Lilac certainly goes a way to convince Tarver that she is exactly that (with good reason)—but also too often, there is much more happening beneath the surface, and folk don’t understand the pressure, responsibility and expectations that come with the role of being born or bred into money. And poor Lilac has all three of these in spades.
Throughout the book, we watch as this duo deal with initial attraction, social standing, the compromising of the ship’s stability on which they are aboard, and it is about this time that the characters instantly begin to surprise us. It’s about this time that we get the first glimpse of what more there is too them than meets the eye—especially Lilac; she is definitely the most surprising character in the book. From there, they escape the damaged and failing ship and crash land on an unknown planet—one that appears terraformed, as a habituated one would. It doesn’t taken them too long to understand that not quite everything is as it seems, and they begin on a journey that slowly unveils the unusualness of their situation, their current surroundings, and also (in a way) themselves. And thus begins the changes which leads to the great character development mentioned in the opening of my review.
I don’t want to say too much, because I hate spoilers. But rest assured, for all of the reasons I’ve listed that make this book great, I thoroughly enjoyed reading These Broken Stars. Thoroughly enjoyed watching the growth in Lilac and Tarver, and grew from empathising with them, to liking them, to loving them and wanting them to succeed. But be warned, there is definitely cause for tears later on in the book, there is definitely cause for curled lips with a whole lot of (blue) light is shed, and there is definitely cause for big cheesy, heart-warmed grins when the ending is reached—because the ending? Dude, that ending made my day.
Read it. Then come back and let me know if you loved it as much as I did.
Have you read this title? What’d you think?
Title: Lover at Last
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #11
Author: J.R. Ward
Publication date: October 1st 2013
Source: I own a copy
Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….
Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.
Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.
Okay, so Lover at Last by J.R. Ward is possibly one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write. In fact, I’ve stepped away from the book since finishing it, and have waited for OVER A WEEK, in the hope that my thoughts will unscramble and be a little clearer. I’ve even been unable to pick up another book since I finished reading this one. Because I’ve never felt quite to … frustrated, I think, by a book.
Let me just pause a moment to state that I LOVE the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I started reading them a couple years ago, flew through as many of the books as I could get my hands on, and then eagerly awaited the release of the last couple of titles. And having followed along from the beginning, I have been anticipating the coming together of Blay and Quinn just as much as anyone else did.
However, I just didn’t ‘feel’ it. And this makes me so terribly, terribly sad. It really does.
To begin, I wondered if maybe I just didn’t ‘appreciate’ M/M sexual relationships as much as I do M/F, but I think there is a lot more to it than that. Because I didn’t mind that aspect of it—I just wanted them to be together, dammit. Or, that’s all I wanted initially. Now, after reading ‘how’ it was done, I’m reconsidering. Nope, I think my biggest issues with Lover at Last were the sexual scenes themselves between Quinn and Blay—but not on a homophobic level before you all jump on me. It was way more to do with the ‘violence’ and aggression of it all. I mean, where was the tenderness between these two guys? I get that they’re both ‘warriors’, but I wanted that left outside of the sexual relationship, and for them to ‘show’ the love they kept internally confessing for one another. I just didn’t want rough, almost sadistic sex. I wanted them to be ‘different’ when confronted with what they’ve both been craving and savour it rather than grasp it by the balls and give a good hard yank, so to speak. I mean, it got to the point where I felt like I was watching a horror film from behind my cushion, except I started spending more time hiding behind the cushion than peeking over it. Though, I’m guessing a lot of this has to do with personal preference as most other readers have loved it, so there’s a chance it’s just me.
However, on top of this, there just seemed to be too much repetition from previous books in the storyline, and far too many pertained-to ‘other’ potential/upcoming romances. And it’s getting to the point where the ones who are being set up for future romance aren’t characters I’m particularly interested in, and whose book most definitely isn’t next, which leaves me wondering just how long these side character relationships are going to be dragged out for before something comes of them. All of these additions, and new Lesser story arcs, added a tonne of wordage to the story, and at one point, I just wanted it to be over already. I have NEVER felt that way about a BDB book before. I’ve always been happy to read forth whatever the page number.
So, with all that said, I’m somewhat confused still. Because I have no idea what to even rate it, as I’m still try to judge if I even enjoyed it at all. And I have no idea, at this present time, if I feel any inclination to read on.
Time will tell, I guess.
Have you read this title? What’d you think?
I’m so happy to be on the One More Day Blog Tour, especially as a couple of these contributing authors are pals of mine. Here on my stop, I have a guest post from contributing author Anna Simpson as well as a great giveaway. Before we check those out, though, let’s take a look at the book.
What if today never ends?
What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—never happens?
Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying … that’s where you’d be … forever.
In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us their twists, surprising us with answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.
How do we restart time?
How do we make everything go back to normal?
The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could,maybe, happen today.
What would you do if this happened … to you?
I’ve already had the pleasure of reading this antho, and I can vouch that’s it a great collection of stories. If you’d like to add it to your Goodreads, all’s you gotta do is click on the coverart.
BUT before you do that, let’s take a look at Anna’s post:
Top Five Must-Do List if I only had One More Day
Before I begin sharing some of my deepest and darkest secrets in the form of my Top Five Must-Do List, I’d like to thank my wonderful hostess.
Julie thank you for having me as a guest. I hope I make you proud. Okay I’ll settle for a giggle or an eye roll.
I live in a small town near the US-Canadian border. I’d have to travel faster than light to make any of the items on my list come true. So let me draw you into a time loop that will last forever. Whaa haa haa. There will be no consequences. No consequences because I will live forever and so will you. Lots and lots of time for what I need to do.
So here I go putting on my brave hat which I use only for special-mind blowing-insane occasions like this one.
5. I would like to swim with the sharks. A great white shark and watch it smile at me as it rushed toward the very strong and sturdy shark cage. I will wear special gear so I can scream at the top of my lungs from under the water.
I like feeling scared.
And once I’m done and the shark is too tired or bored to carry on, I’ll change my once clean underwear and move on to number four.
4. I’d like to take all my friends to a lovely dinner. It will be catered on an ocean liner because I’ve heard they have very good food. I’ll personally have the ship pick up each one of us at the nearest port. Many like Julie live across the pond. This dinner will take weeks, but thanks to my time loop . . . oh-oh I think I see a problem. I better make my loop about a month or so long.
Like I mentioned before, lots of time. hehehe
On to number three.
3. I’d like to visit the space station and see what Earth looks like with all its lights on in the night. I’ve seen pictures, but the real thing would be incredible. Just close your eyes and imagine it or Goggle it. There are tons of pics on the web.
Everyone that wants to join me is welcome. Things like this are so much more fun in a group. That might mean converting the ocean liner to a space liner, but I’m cool with that.
And on we go to number two.
2. Back on Earth it’s a tossup between a camera safari in Africa or diving the Great Barrier Reef. I once had a marine aquarium and it was so beautiful and soothing. And seeing wild animals in the natural habitat would make my . . .
I’ll pick the fish. Watching a lion having lunch would be too much for my delicate sensibilities.
Okay, here we are at number one.
1. Now this one is my most favorite. It is the beginning and the end of my story—Time Piece. To kiss someone that I can only meet in a dream, or using a wish from a genie or on a top five list. Now remember even though my characters are young, I am not.
Unless you look into my heart.
Then you’ll find a kid. A kid that has watched this man for most of my life. He was on The Facts of Life, Roseanne, and on ER. He’s made movies that have changed women’s lives. He’s always had great hair—no matter what color. We’ve grown up together, yet we have always been miles apart.
George Clooney, come here.
Ha, ha! The rest I can’t share. Time to close the curtain.
Thanks for dropping by. I’d love to hear some of your top fives. Share with me.
Thank you SO much to the lovely Anna for being a part of my stop today.
Again, if you’d like to add One More Day to your Goodreads, you can do so by clicking HERE!
But don’t rush away yet, as it’s …
And up for grabs during this great tour is:
One More Day paperback
One More Day eBook
One More Day Swag
Cool, you can find out how to enter by clicking HERE!
Good luck, and cheers for stopping by!
Anna Simpson, mother of Bossman, enjoys living the good life, near the Canadian-US border, in beautiful British Columbia. No matter how you find her site, remember you will have better luck Googling Emaginette than Anna Simpson. Anna chose a web persona that would stand-out, and so far, it’s one of a kind.