Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be full of fun,  friends and family, and good food.  Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving,  I still wish those things for you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why So Silent?? A NEW JOB...That's why! may have noticed that I haven't posted for more than two weeks. 


That's one of the longest quiet periods on my blog, well...ever.

I'm so sorry, I left you all hanging, BUT...I had a really excellent reason for my "radio silence."

As of November 12th, I officially became the Adult Services Supervisor at my Library.  A huge promotion with lots of new responsibilities and exciting duties...and well, some adjustment has definitely been in order. 

So, I took a little break to just sort of get some things under my belt at work.  Not that I haven't still been reading a ton at home, but I just had too many things rolling around in my brain to sit down long enough to blog.  

I also finished up my state award nomination reading committee last week, so now (aside from the review books I get from SLJ, VOYA, and AudioFile), I'll be able to READ WHATEVER I WANT!!!!!!

I missed that anticipatory feeling of being able to lazily wander bookshelves until something just screamed out "read me!" I have so many books I want to get to...but the best part is... I can just get to them whenever I feel like it. Amazeballs.

So, you should be hearing a lot more from me now...I'm hoping to revitalize the blog a little bit. Spruce it up. Ramp up the fun.  It's gonna be a whole new year soon!  Gotta make the blog match what I'd like to think I look like professionally now:

Well, maybe not quite that chic...but, hey, it gives me something to aim for right?  

Lots of love to you all for sticking with me through thick and thin... and here's to the beginning of new, great things!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog Tour - One and Only with Giveaways!!

Today, I'm SUPER excited to be part of Viv Daniels' blog tour for her debut book, ONE AND ONLY. It's the first book in the new Canton series; great NA contemporary romances set at the fictional Canton College.

One night they can't forget...

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she's sworn to keep: the father who won't acknowledge her, the sister who doesn't know she exists, and the mother who's content playing mistress to a prominent
businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship -- Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.

One love they can't ignore...

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan's life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess's legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother's footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.

...And only one chance to get things right

Now, if that doesn't already sound enticing enough for you, Viv was sweet enough to give me a little teaser for you to read...

, right? I would melt if someone said that to me!

Which sets the tone perfectly for my review.  As soon as I finished ONE AND ONLY, I tweeted to Viv (@vivdaniels) asking when the second book might be coming out (the answer's in the spring, BTW). This book was the most perfect kind of romance. 

Perfect for me in the fact that it both was and wasn't perfect. Tess' life is messed up. She's got some serious bone-deep trust issues and with her family situation, you can't really blame her.  Then she meets a guy. A cute, smart, self-assured, yet not cocky...pretty much perfect guy.  Dylan is amazing and she can't handle the prospect of trying to add a relationship into her life. 

When she leaves Dylan, she believes that she's leaving that chance for happiness behind forever. Two years later when she has the chance to reconnect, the worst possible thing happens. He's dating her sister. The perfect, rich blonde sister who doesn't even know she exists. 

What follows is a delicate dance of two people trying to come together in the worst possible circumstances.  This is where the book really flew above a lot of its peers for me. Daniels was unafraid to have both of her main characters be strong, moral, SMART characters that loved and admired those very qualities in each other.  Yes, they absolutely had a sweet, hot romance that left me smiling and just on the verge of blushing in a few scenes, but they also dealt with each other like real adults.  

While both Tess and Dylan desperately wanted to be together, they each respected each other. When Tess refused to be the "other woman," not only did she stand her ground throughout, but Dylan also took her at her word.  Yes, the tension got hot and heavy, Dylan let her know that they were meant to be together, but if Tess said, "No," Dylan said, "Okay."  That is a REAL man.  A most swoon-worthy love interest.  

Each of the characters in the book, in fact, were multi-faceted adults who showed range of emotion, grew through their interactions with each other, and dealt with their true, not necessarily "happy" endings.  In fact, the next book in the series, SWEET AND WILD (2014) follows Tess' sister, Hannah...a book I cannot wait to get in my hot little hands!

So, now that you know that I absolutely loved this book...I know you'll want to read it! Not only is Viv giving away copies of the book itself, but I also have a great swag pack to giveaway to one of you! Here's the rafflecopters so you can enter both giveaways:

Want to learn more about Viv Daniels and ONE AND ONLY?
You can visit the following places:

Viv Daniels' Website
Viv Daniels' Facebook
Viv Daniels' Twitter
ONE AND ONLY on Goodreads

Don't forget you can also purchase ONE AND ONLY at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords!

Full disclosure: Review copy received from author for blog tour

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Movie Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game 
Rated: PG-13
114 minutes

The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth. (description from

So, I may have mentioned once, or twice, or hmmm...numerous times that Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is one of my top five favorite novels of all-time. As such, I have to admit that I was *extremely* nervous when they first announced they were going to attempt a movie adaptation.  As casting was announced and stills were released, though, and then finally the trailer came out, my anticipation grew until I could NOT WAIT for November 1st.  

I am not a midnight release movie-goer, and yet, I seriously considered it for this movie. Happily, I had Friday off from work, so I did end up seeing it on it's first day in the theater!  

I am pleased to report that I really, truly enjoyed the movie.  Now, it was not as good as the book, but I'd expected that, so the movie lived up perfectly to the expectations I had for it.  First off, the casting choices were STELLAR.  Asa Butterfield gave an amazing performance as Ender, as did Harrison Ford playing Colonel Graff. I could not have asked for a better actor for either role. Without those two performances having the nuances and depths that Butterfield and Ford brought to them, the whole movie could have tanked.  Then add in the excellent supporting cast and the movie becomes a blockbuster just from that respect! 

While Sir Ben Kingsley, Nonso Anozie, and Viola Davis played their parts as the other mentors and role models in Ender's life very, very well, this movie is truly about the children who train to become the military heroes of tomorrow.  Again, any of these casting choices failing could have been a crucial mistake and thankfully, these people knew what they were doing.  Hailee Steinfeld was *excellent* as Petra Arkanian. I can see why she'd previously been nominated for an Oscar! 

Petra, Bean (played by Aramis Knight) and Alai (played by Suraj Partha) all hit just the right notes, first as competitors that distrust Ender, then as staunch supporters that will follow Ender all the way to the end.  Watching these actors interact was a pleasure.  Even the choice of Moises Arias as Bonzo Madrid was spot-on.  And though we didn't see a lot of her, Abigail Breslin did a great job as Ender's compassionate sister, Valentine. 

In fact, that was one of the things that left me just a hair disappointed as I came out of the theater. Though I know how difficult it can be to pick and choose which aspects of a story are tackled in a movie adaptation, the complete absence of any reference to Peter and Valentine's subplot as influences on Earth's political government, leading to Peter Wiggin becoming the Hegemon (ultimate head of politics on Earth) I felt was glaring.  Without this being mentioned at all in this movie, I don't understand how a sequel, if one is ever made, would be tackled as each story following this first one touches on Earth's politics fairly heavily...  

I also understand that the timeline had to be tightened up and as such, the focus on the battle school virtual battles became a visually stunning and continuous plot for this movie, but I worry that viewers who have not read the book will not understand the emotional devastation that Ender faces as he becomes more and more isolated and feels more and more empathetic to the race that Earth is trying to destroy.  In fact, the movie is restructured in such a way that Ender's isolation is hardly apparent and the empathy that Ender feels for the "buggers" is not apparent until after the culminating events of the movie. 

However as a purely visual medium for a shortened/less layered version of the classic story, this movie was pretty epic.  The battle room scenes were everything I hoped for, the blend of technologies and Earth and space vistas were breathtaking and I left eager for more. 

My friends know that I'm pretty cheap frugal when it comes to seeing movies in the theater...and I liked this one enough that I'm considering going again... let that sink in, people. I may PAY to see this movie a second time.  That's the highest endorsement I can give it. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blog Blitz - Winter Sparrow

I am happy to be participating in the blog blitz for Estevan Vega's WINTER SPARROW today. It sounds like a great title and I also have a fun interview with the author to share! 

“I’ll grow wings all by myself.”

Mary is a young artist about to enter a new chapter in her life. After years of waiting and searching, she has finally found true love. She’s also just discovered that her fiancĂ© Joshua has inherited his father’s rundown countryside mansion. To add to the rising pressure, her wedding day is so close she can practically hear the music. All she has to do is accept what the future holds. Accept…and be happy.

But something’s missing.

As the seasons change, her doubts turn to fears, and her fears become reality. Through struggle and loss, the love she once possessed for Joshua transforms into contempt. When Mary is confronted with a magical escape, the life she has and the life she dreams of will collide, awakening a mysterious change within. But no choice comes without cost, and each one will draw her closer to the truth.

At times both beautiful and haunting, Winter Sparrow dares you to step into a world where eternity is a moment and every breath is a second chance. The fantasy begins…

Mini Biography:
I’m a writer. Well, technically an author, because they say that you magically become an author (i.e. true creative) if you’ve published something, and you’re a writer if you haven’t (you know those closet aspiring geniuses who just scribble stuff into notebooks and hide it from the world?). But I still call myself a writer. I’m one of 4 brothers. The middle son. I guess that’s supposed to make me uber weird and dysfunctional, but the jury’s still out on that one. I love mint chocolate chip ice cream. Like, really love it. Watching movies and going to rock shows are 2 of my favorite pastimes, and I am addicted to telling stories.

Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Swirl (with chocolate sprinkles in a waffle cone)

Favorite TV show? 
Supernatural. I love randomly quoting Dean Winchester. 
Oh, and b-t-dubbs…I really miss Smallville.

Current favorite song? 
The entire new self-titled album from the band Nothing More
A solid rock record with an occasional melodic tune thrown in. Go check it out!

If you could be transported into any book, which one would you choose? 
When I was a kid, I always used to be like, “Man, it would be so cool being the hero in some crazy time where everything I believe in is illegal and people are hunting me.” What the heck was I thinking? I must’ve thought it was tough or something. Looking back, I realize that was a tad insane, and I’m kind of a chicken. I love books that get to the nitty gritty and make you question what you think and feel, but those books, and those journeys tend to have dark conclusions, which I’m not entirely sure I can handle. If I had to choose, though, I think I’d like to be a part of Hearts in Atlantis, the story with Bobby Garfield. I think it’d be so cool to have some random stranger with special powers enter my life and totally flip my world inside out. It’s dangerous enough to make me feel like my life is intriguing, but safe enough to where I don’t see myself dating a guillotine anytime soon.

For more information about Estevan Vega and WINTER SPARROW:
Estevan Vega Website