May 31, 2014

Monthly Re-Cap: May 2014

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Another month down, here's another wrap-up- complete with Goodreads and Review links. 

May was a busy month for me, loads of reading, planning for Armchair BEA (which was awesome!), plus Mother's day, my mom's birthday, and we had a friend come and visit us from DC :) It was a packed month of stuff!

What did you read or listen to in May? 

Link me up in the comments section!


  ~~Events from May~~

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge May 2014  

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge: Loved this challenge I got so much done and had a great time doing it!
Planning Post
Update #1
Update #2
Update #3
Wrap Up coming soon...

Armchair BEA: What a wonderful week this was for blogging, discussion, and overall awesomeness with aBEA. I hope you were able to join the fun!

~~Books Read in May (+ Audiobooks Listened to in May)~~   

Hedge Witch These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) Defy (Defy, #1) 17760191 Coffin Hill Vol. 1: Forest of the Night Suitcase of Stars (Enchanted Emporium #1) Princess Ugg #1 Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #3) Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer The Dragon's Egg (Relics of Mysticus, #3) The Only Boy  The People Inside
~~Links to Reviews ~~
Princess Ugg #1 by Ted Naifeh (Comic) - 4 stars - No review yet I'm a slacker
The People Inside by Ray Fawkes (Adult) - 3 stars (review on Goodreads)

May 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt + Giveaway! -- The Only Boy by Jordan Locke

only boy tou
The only boy The Only Boy by Jordan Locke 
 Mary is stuck in Section One, living with three hundred women in a crumbling hospital. She wonders what life was like two centuries ago, before the Cleansing wiped out all the men. But the rules—the Matriarch's senseless rules—prevent her from exploring the vacant city to find out. Taylor's got a dangerous secret: he's a boy. His compound's been destroyed, and he's been relocated to Section One. Living under the Matriarch means giving up possessions, eating canned food and avoiding all physical contact. Baggy clothes hide his flat chest and skinny legs, but if anyone discovers what lies beneath, he'll be exiled. Maybe even executed. Mary's never seen a boy—the Matriarch cut the pictures of men from the textbooks—and she doesn't suspect Taylor's secret. If she knew, she might understand the need to stop the girls from teasing him. If she knew, she might realize why she breaks the rules, just to be near him. Then again, she might be frightened to death of him. Taylor should go. The Matriarch is watching his every move. But running means leaving Mary—and braving the land beyond the compound's boundaries.

The Only Boy was one of those books that I really wanted to read after reading the synopsis, I mean, how often do you get a boy pretending to be a girl in a book? - not that often that I know of. I must admit after actually reading the book it became more than that plot for me, for a young adult book it was actually kind of deep. 

Taylor and Mary alternate points of view to tell their story of meeting one another and experiencing to very different homes - but they both live is a reality were men/boys are scarce or non-existent. Their story tells us about a community after a horrible disease that started with the men but also took a majority of women off the planet. They live in various sections under the Matriarch that had plotted rules to live by - for example, no touching, no leaving the compound, no doing anything the Matriarch doesn't like really - and that is everything.

I feel like in the 270 pages we got a lot of information and realizations. Both Mary and Taylor have experienced loss and are dealing with it; they find each other and have to learn to cope with the realization that things are different; there is crazy plot twisting all the way through; and then there are the Earthers who are (in my opinion) a little creepy...

This was a great book. I really enjoyed this dystopian society and its various bits, but I was curious -- If Mary was in Section One and Taylor from Section Seven -- where are the other Sections? Where are the people in them? I also felt like the ending and the explanation at the end about the disease/d was kind of a cop-out...thus 4 instead of 5 stars. But still a VERY GOOD read.

Read More >>> Excerpt and Giveaway Follow.

Armchair BEA 2014: Topic of Choice and YA/MG!

Armchair BEA Headquarters
Header designed by Amber of Shelf Notes, photography by Wolf_359 on Flickr.
I hope that everyone has had a blast this week with Armchair BEA! I know I have :) I have had so much fun meeting and discussion with everyone.
Today for Armchair BEA we are discussing A Topic of Choice and YA/MG reads :) -- Great day isn't it !!!!???

My Topic: Book/Blog Organization!

So... This week has been CRAZY busy on the blog ... probably on yours as well... so I wanted to take the time to talk organization as my choice topic today.

Over the few years that I have had the blog it has been one of those learning curve things. When I started, I thought, 'Oh this will be an easy fun thing to do in my spare time'.... well if you blog you know that is WRONG!!!! Yes, it is a whole lot of fun, but it takes time, organization, and practice to get into a good blogging groove. So here is my style of that craziness...

Reading the Books!
I am a bit obsessive when it comes to lists and calendars, so since I use Gmail, I use the Google/Gmail calendar to plan my months as I add on book reviews, tours, reveals etc. I color code it according to the touring group or if it is just me posting and then I also have colored labels in my email for the individual emails as well that match the colors in my calendar [I am crazy! I know it... I am OK with it :)].
Here is the crazy calendar (Sorry is is blurred out --it does that as the days pass  - oh well you get the point):
I also have a spreadsheet of all the ARCs and Tour books that I get and I plan out my month for the books I need to read through. It has stuff like Title, Publisher, Pub Date, Review Date, and who I am reviewing it for Tour/ARC etc.  I really like my spreadsheet. It helps me stay on track each month.
 A Place for the Books!
You would think that someone with so many calendars, color coding and spreadsheets would have a very specific way the books should be, right? HAHAHAHAHA you are funny! NOPE! Is there shelf space? Probably not, so there are books everywhere, mostly concentrated in my Library/Dining Room in stacks on the shelves. Sometimes I make medium piles that are my monthly TRBs but most the time it is just piles to keep them off the floor... :/

Blog Maintenance! 
Last thing I want to bring up is about maintaining my blog... I kind of suck at updating things like my "reviews by author" tab and backing up my blog... yes I know it is a dangerous life I lead...I have started to be better about this stuff and learned about Bloggiesta this year. It is awesome!!! If you haven't done one, you should. I fixed all the blog things I needed to in a matter of days and cannot wait until the next one. 
I hope my rambling helps someone, if not that is ok too, I like to ramble :) Happy Blogging!

 YA / MG DAY !
I just want to share some YA/ MG Books I have really enjoyed recently...
Fangirl  Fallout  Half Bad (Half Life, #1) Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer 
 Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple (Zoe & Zak Adventures, #3)  Rose (Rose, #1)  The Orphanage of Miracles  Two Boys Kissing

May 29, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014: Giveaway Day!

Armchair BEA Headquarters
Header designed by Amber of Shelf Notes, photography by Wolf_359 on Flickr.

Up for grabs from Cover2CoverBlog for Armchair BEA is a bunch of YA and MG book swag, including bookmarks (some signed), stickers, and other book goodies :) I may even add a book -- who knows?! Surprise package of things!

Decided to award 2 winners :) Thanks to everyone for entering!

~~~ Rules ~~~
 US only (Sorry INT peeps)
13 years old w/ a parents permission or older
Must enter on the Rafflecopter below.

Winner will be chosen on  June 1st and will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email with a mailing address. Failure to do so will forfeit the prize to the next person.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 28, 2014

Armchair BEA 2014: Expanding Blogging and Novellas/Short Stories

Armchair BEA Headquarters
Header designed by Amber of Shelf Notes, photography by Wolf_359 on Flickr.
Hello Again Everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful week so far with Armchair BEA and have won some prizes! (If not tune into some Twitter parties and make sure to visit sites and comment) 
Today for Armchair BEA we are discussing Expanding Blogging Horizons and Novellas/ Short Stories :)

Expanding Blogging Horizons!

As one of the helpers of aBEA I got to experience the behind the scenes fun that went into planning the agenda for aBEA... there was a lot of great discussion. Some of that discussion was focused on today's topic of Expanding Blogging Horizons. There were many people that felt expanding horizons meant vlogging, podcasts, other media outside of just the blog. I think that those things DO expand your blogging horizons if you are interested in them, but I also took this discussion day to mean a lot more.

Community Outreach
 I, for one, have done a good amount of things in my communities (plural because I have moved in the middle of my blogging endeavors) and I feel that while my blogging isn't necessarily benefiting - I am as a reader and blogger.
For example. for the last two years I have been given the honor to participate in World Book Night  as a book giver. My job as a giver is to pass out free books to those in need of books. 
wbn logo no date 
This year I gave away Agatha Christie's After the Funeral at my local community center dinner and the response was super positive! I got a lot of "free book....why?" but as a book lover there doesn't have to be a reason. I explained my love of books ans my love of sharing them with others --just cause....
My blog is one thing in my life, books and what it means to share them with others is a lot more of it, that is why the blog is there in the first place (well that and my husband said I should get a hobby). I feel that sharing books with real people in the real world expands my blogging horizons.
But the Pageviews!!?!?!?
That is not to say that I have not ever tried to help my blogging numbers, because we all look at those and *sigh* occasionally. In this aspect I have tried vlogging but I always feel like a goob and end up not posting them. Maybe I need to just get over that feeling. Do you Vlog? How did you get over feeling ridiculous about it, or did you not ever feel that way? Let me know, I need the helps!
I have also tried to get more involved with the blogging community, because for a while there I was reading other blogs but my blog and I were in our own little world. In the past year I have tried my hardest to comment on the posts that I like and relate to and state discussion on books -which is what we are here for right?! I have also participated in more blog community things like read-a-thons, Bloggiesta, Review-a-thons, aBEA :) 

Those too have allowed me to branch out more and more as a blogger. What have you tried?

Novellas and Short Stories
Novellas! Good, Bad, Eh?
In the last few years I have been overwhelmed by the number of novellas that authors have for various series as extra tidbits. I find them wonderful!!!! but also kinda frustrating... here is my thoughts on this.
If I read a series...say 3 books...but don't read the novellas, have I finished the series? NO!!!! I feel like I am missing something because I know that they exist.  
They can be wonderful for adding to the story line of other POVs so I can enjoy them, it just keeps prolonging the end and I feel that I need more stand-alones in my reading life. 
Short Stories 
Wow, I love that short stories is one of the topics this year, I have a few that have left me with wonderful memories of reading. So here they are :)
The Lottery and other Stories by Shirley Jackson 
This book! OMG I love this book so much. The Lottery is so messed up but a WONDERFUL short story (speaking of which I need to re-read this book... hmm need to go to the library) 
The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
The Complete Tales and Poems 
Can you really go wrong with Poe? I think not! 
What are your favorite short stories and novellas? and as always Happy Reading! 

May 27, 2014

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway! -- The Dragon's Egg by H.B. Bolton

The Dragon's EggThe Dragon’s Egg (Relics of Mysticus- Book Three) by H.B. Bolton

Sure, the glass castle floating over Evan’s head makes him uneasy, but that’s the least of his worries. With each step inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, he must battle against his worst nightmares. One after the other, wispy smoke-filled bull sharks come at him — he must remember they’re only illusions pulled from his imagination by those dreaded shadowlike hands. If only the vengeful dragon circling above was also an illusion and didn’t have his mind set on destroying the one person who can control him: Emrys. Inside the castle’s glass tower, Emrys sleeps in an eternal slumber, and Evan’s uncertain whether he can save the great wizard. Especially now that Emrys’ former student, the Lady of the Lake, has joined forces with the cunning immortal Alamaz. Together they have already stolen the Dragon’s Egg, but their greed doesn’t end there. The Siren’s Pearl calls to them, and that means only one thing … Atlantis is in trouble. Join Evan, Claire, and Dunkle — along with a few other unlikely heroes — as they travel across the realm of Medieval Legends, float through the Ancient Isle of Avalon, plunge inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, and be there when Atlantis rises once again.  

Book Trailer | Amazon | Goodreads


The Dragon’s Egg is the third installment of H.B. Bolton’s Relics of Mysticus and continues Evan and Claire’s search for Alamaz and the missing relics. This series is wonderful for young readers, the characters are funny and easy to follow, the plot is full of adventure and mishaps, and the overall story leaves just enough for you to want to read more and more about it.

In this book the kids are with Dunkle voyaging to find Merlin and the Dragon Egg in Avalon / The Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams. I love that this story is set in a medieval kingdom and the legends surrounding it. The little tidbits of information about Merlin and the dragon and the Lady of the Lake are wonderful additions to the story. I also loved the involvement of the faeries in this realm (I love faeries!).

Each book in this series gets better and better. The kids are coming into their own having defeated the Trickster in book 2 and learning more about themselves. And in this book, they are beginning to learn even most about their family (I am going to leave out the amazing spoilers! – you must read to find out!).

Another wonderful Realm built for the setting, another wonderful adventure for kids. I really enjoyed this book and will continue to re/read the series.

The Serpents Ring

The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus- Book One)

Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum … that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods. Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.    

tricksters-totem-cover-low-res-200x300The Trickster's Totem (Relics of Mysticus - Book Two)
Life has returned to normal for fourteen-year-old Evan and his older sister, Claire. That is until Dunkle, a clever but stinky little imp, pays an unexpected visit to their school. He has come to take the siblings back to Sagaas, the mythical realm of the gods. Once again, a Relic from the ancient Mysticus Orb has fallen into the wrong hands. Only Evan and Claire, with their unique mystical abilities, can help find it. Through the power of the Trickster’s Totem, a coyote trickster has escaped. His laughter echoes throughout the realm, as he spreads mischief and mayhem. He burns an entire crop of popcorn, carves his grinning image into sacred artifacts, and things really get interesting when he shape-shifts into Evan’s friends. Claire and Evan must capture the Trickster, retrieve the Totem, and be careful not to become sidetracked by robotic Steampunk animals, “sweet” pixie-like Pains, and a problematic mermaid … all while dodging Mothman-like aces. Most surprising, Evan discovers the true reason dragons exist in the Native American Spirit World.     

About the Author
A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting
characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women’s fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that’s another story, altogether.

Connect with H.B. Bolton here:

$25 gift card (Int), paperback set of all 3 books (US), ebook set of all books (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Armchair BEA 2014: Author Interaction & More than just Words

Armchair BEA Headquarters
Header designed by Amber of Shelf Notes, photography by Wolf_359>on Flickr.
Good Morning Bloggers! 
Today for Armchair BEA we are discussing Author Interaction and More Than Just Words :)

These are amazing topics!

Author Interaction!
As a blogger I use a lot of social media to connect with authors and publishers. Specifically Twitter, oh how I love me some twitter! Before blogging I had a twitter account that sad by the wayside and was just kind of there... doing nothing in my life... then I became a book blogger and Oh my gosh!!!!! Who knew authors would talk to you?! I was super stoked about it (and still am if you couldn't tell).

I love when you tweet that you love a book or it is your Waiting on Wednesday and the author says thanks, that to me is the best kind of reinforcement for what I do here on the blog.

So what about this More than just Words thing...?

I have been a reader for a very long time...always under the covers with a flashlight, or hiding from my family to sneak a chapter during family get together. But it is not just books that strike my fancy, I am also a comic book and graphic novel reader ... I love them so much!

As an art minor in college, I love/d anything to do with the arts - museums, photography, charcoal, crafting, books with pictures!!!! So graphic novels are up my alley.  I love a lot of them but I would like to share some of my favorite series (Both Graphic Novels and Comics) with you:

Courtney Crumrin by Ted Nafieh

Courtney Crumrin Volume 1: The Night Things Courtney Crumrin Volume 2: The Coven of Mystics Courtney Crumrin Volume 3: The Twilight KingdomCourtney Crumrin Volume 4: Monstrous Holiday Special Edition 
~~ Read My Reviews Here ~~

Harley Quinn (The New 52) by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Harley Quinn #1 (The New 52) 18711621

 ~~ Read My Reviews Here ~~
Harley Quinn #1 / 2  - No Reviews
Harley Quinn # 3/4

A few other loves: 
Johnny The Homicidal Maniac #1  Lenore : Noogies (Issues 1-4)Once Upon a Time (Nightmares & Fairy Tales, #1) 

As you can tell, I am a fan of the more macabre books and such. I love the vibrant dark colors and fantasy that are intertwined through these series. SO GOOD :) -

Do you have favorites? Let me know!