Saturday, June 30, 2012

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I've been so busy with Audiobook Week that I've skipped my usual memes!  But I've gotten so many great books lately that I thought I'd get an In My Mailbox posted before the pile gets any higher. 

Snagged Free:
These are the audiobooks I've gotten free from SYNC!  Lots more of these to come later!
IrisesSense and SensibilityThe Amulet Of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1)The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights



Not so lucky this time :(  I do have some that should be IMM very soon!

Recieved for Review:

White Witch (Coven, #1)Bane (Coven, #2)The GlimpseConfessions of an Angry Girl  Beautiful Lies Heaven Should FallThe Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5)Pushing the LimitsThe Woman Who Loved Jesse JamesFlorenceCrazy Dangerous



SlammedA Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool, #1-5)The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1)Providence (Providence, #1)Requiem (Providence, #2)Eden (Providence, #3)
Blood Bound (Unbound #1)Shadow Bound (Unbound, #2)


Big thanks to Amy at Read to My Heart's Content!
The Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)


Pretty good haul, right!?  Now I just have to figure out which one to read first!  So, what's In Your Mailbox?! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Once Burned (Night Prince, #1)
Title: Once Burned
Author:  Jeaniene Frost
Narrator:  Tavia Gilbert
Series:  Night Prince (Spin-Off of Night Huntress Series)
Length: 8 hours, 30 min
Format:  Audio
Source:  Bought

She's a mortal with dark powers...

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...

He's the Prince of Night...

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.


The Story:
I am a huge fan of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress Series, so my excitement over the release of Once Burned was over the top!  Vlad Tepesh is one of my favorite characters.  He is, very literally, smoldering hot!  Thankfully, Once Burned did NOT disappoint.  This book was an amazing addition to the Night Huntress world.  I love Leila's character, and she is beyond perfect for Vlad.  She doesn't put up with his arrogance and puts him in  his place really quick.  Vlad is an extremely powerful vampire, but Leila has a few tricks at hand.  Once Burned is loaded with the violence and action  that you expect from Frost's novels, and the romance scenes mingled throughout  For fans of the Night Huntress Series, think Chapter 32!  The ending leaves you at a great cliffhanger, and when it was over I was already craving more.  I cannot wait to find out what happens next for Vlad and Leila.  I would love to see this series drawn out as long as Night Huntress. 

The Narration:
Tavia Gilbert does the narration for all of the Night Huntress and Night World books, and they are all wonderfully done, so I was thrilled to see she was back to narrate Once Burned.  Her accents are beautifully done, as usual.  She is one of the most emotionally powerful narrators I've listened to.  During some scenes she had me blushing and I can't help but wonder how in the world she manages it with a straight face.  Tavia Gilbert is a narrator that takes what would otherwise be a great book and makes it truly amazing.

5 Stars * * * * *

Be sure to check out the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop!  I am giving away 2 copies of Once Burned!

AUDIOBOOK WEEK ~ Day 5: Listen Up!

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Listen Up!

Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Find reviews? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us!

Most of my audiobook purchases come from  I am a member and for $22.95 per month I get 2 books.  And they also run sales all the time.  For instance, right now they have 150+ audiobooks for only $5 each!  And the best part about audible is their app.  I can download the books from my library straight to my iPod with no hassle.  I also get their newsletter, which keeps me up to date on new releases.

I occasionally get audiobooks from  iTunes.  Usually they are much more expensive than what I pay as a member of, but iTunes has a Audiobook of the Month for $5.95.  I always make sure to check and see what they are offering every month.  It's usually something I've had on my wish list forever, and they also frequently put the first book in a series on sale when the next book is ready to release. 

I also get audiobooks from my local library.  They have a digital library where I can get audio and ebooks, which is a great resource.  I also get some CDs from the actual library, although that's not my prefered method since I then have to convert them to mp3 format. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop!!

Welcome to my stop on the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop!!  This hop is hosted by Mundie Moms and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. 
I've been anticipating the release of Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost for what seems like forever!!  So, I've decided that's the book up for grabs on this giveaway.  I'm in the middle of it now, and it's great!  Everyone loves Vlad, right?!  The cover alone is worth getting the book!

Once Burned (Night Prince, #1)
I want to make this giveaway open to my international readers too, so if you're outside of the US you will be gifted a Kindle book.  If you are inside the US you will have the choice of a Kindle book or a paperback.  And to make this even better I am going to pick 2 winners!!  The winners will recieve their book from Amazon, so please be sure you can recieve this before entering.  After the giveaway is over I will send an email to the winner who will have 3 days to respond or I will pick another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out all the other great blogs on this hop!  It's a huge one!!

SYNC Free YA Audiobooks All Summer ~ Week 3

I am so in love with audiobooks, and this is an absolutely amazing offer!! Sync is offering 2 free audiobooks every week for 10 weeks, and this is Week 3! One book will be a popular Young Adult book and the other will be a Classic that is related to or parallels the first title. And the best part is they're good books!! And, they're yours to keep! 20 free audiobooks...AMAZING!! Click here to see a list of the 20 books and the dates they will be available. I'll be updating here every week with the books that are currently free. I highly, highly recommend everyone go grab these audiobooks while they're available!! Best. Deal. Ever. Go Now!!
Week 3!
Click on the Title to be taken to the download page.

The Amulet of SamarkandBy Jonathan Stroud
Read by Simon Jones
Published by Listening Library

Nathaniel is eleven years old and a magician’s apprentice, learning the traditional arts of magic. All is well until he has a life-changing encounter with Simon Lovelace, a magician of unrivaled ruthlessness and ambition. When Lovelace brutally humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel decides to speed up his education, teaching himself spells way beyond his years. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all and summons Bartimaeus, a five-thousand-year-old djinni, to assist him. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace’s greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, blackmail, and revolt. Set in a modern-day London spiced with magicians and mayhem, this extraordinary, funny, pitch-perfect thriller will dazzle the myriad fans of Artemis Fowl and the His Dark Materials trilogy. And with the rights sold in more than a dozen countries, and a major motion picture in the works, the Bartimaeus trilogy is on the fast track to becoming a classic.

Tales from the Arabian NightsBy Andrew Lang
Read by Toby Stephens
Published by Naxos AudioBooks
To save herself from certain death, the beautiful Scheherazade must beguile a Persian sultan with her enchanting stories. In two of her most well-known tales, Aladdin and Ali Baba’s cleverness and quick-thinking save the day—and a great treasure. Andrew Lang’s masterful version of these ancient Middle Eastern folk tales will captivate listeners of all ages, just as they did when Scheherazade was the storyteller.

AUDIOBOOK WEEK ~ Day 4: What Makes a Good Narrator?

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What Makes a Good Narrator?

Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?
Alternate suggestion: Narration preferences – single narrator, multiple narrators, full cast, etc.

The most important aspect of a good narrator, in my opinion, is the ability to distinguish between the characters.  I love to listen to an audiobook where there are very distinct differences for each part the narrator plays.  I think this is especially true when you have a book with characters that have very different personalities.   Narrators that I've listened to that excel at characters:  Jim Dale is without a doubt one of the best narrators I've listened to, as I discussed yesterday.  Gerard Doyle narrates The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini and he does an amazing job. Other favorites for character definition:  Tavia Gilbert, Annika Boras, Angela Dawe and Amanda Ronconi.  I know I'm missing some really good ones here, so this is just a short list.  Another thing that is important is the flow of the reading.   I've listened to some audiobooks where the narrator paused in strange places or just didn't go with the flow, so to speak.  That can be very distracting.   

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

AUDIOBOOK WEEK ~ Day 3: Mid-Week Meme

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Current/Most Recent Audiobook:
Right now I am listening to Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost, which is narrated by Tavia Gilbert.

This is the first book in a spin-off of the Night Huntress series, which I loved.  So far Once Burned is living up to my expectations.

Current/Most Recent Favorite Audiobook:
My all time favorite is the Harry Potter series, both to read and to listen to.  Jim Dale is the narrator of the audiobooks, and he is unbelievable.  I had already read this series, but decided that I wanted to experience them in audio, and I am so glad that I did.  Dale brings a magic quality to these books that is unparalleled. 

Here are a few fun facts from 
"Jim Dale is the narrator of the American edition (Stephen Fry narrates the UK edition) of the Harry Potter audiobooks. He narrated all seven books, as well as the DVDs.  Dale has won many awards for his narration of the Harry Potter series, including a Grammy Award (in 2000), four Grammy nominations,seven Audie Awards, two Benjamin Franklin Awards and seven Audio File Earphone Awards.  Jim Dale won a Guinness World Record for creating 134 different character voices for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He also won a Guinness World Record for having the first six entries in the 'Top Ten Audio Books of America' in 2005."

Favorite Narrator You've Discovered Recently:
I recently listened to the Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck, which is narrated by Annika Boras.  This series is unique to anything else I've listened to in that while the main character is American, most of the novels take place in India.  Not only does Boras do an amazing job with male and female characters she also handles the accents effortlessly. 

Other narrators I love:  Holter Graham, Amanda Ronconi, Emily Shaffer, Lorelei King, Tavia Gilbert, Scott Brick, Gerard Doyle & Jim Dale

One Title From Your TBL (to be listened) Stack or Audio Wishlist:
I've had Room on my Wish List for quite a while now, but I'm hesitating because of the fact that a large portion of the book is told from a child's point of view.  I'm thinking this may be better read.  Thoughts? 

I should also point out that after reading other participants of this meme I have now added  Ready Player One to my Wish List!  Wil Wheaton...yes please!

Your Audio Dream Team (what book or author would you LOVE to see paired with a certain narrator, can already exist or not):
I think I have to fall back to Jim Dale with this one.  With a voicee made for strange creatures and magical beings he makes me think "magic and fantasy", so any books with a magical quality would be amazing narrated by him.  Take his previous work into account and I suppose I'm not the only one that thinks this.  He's also narrated Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Liesl & Po, and The Night Circus...among others.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)
Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
If I Stay (#1)
Length: 5 hrs, 2 min
Format: Audio
Source: Bought

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

The Story:
Mia has the perfect life:  an amazing family, a younger brother that doesn't usually drive her too crazy, a best friend that will be a lifelong friend and an amazing boyfriend, Adam, who loves music just as much as she does.  There is also the very real possibility that she could be going to NYC to Julliard.  But in the blink of an eye Mia's life is changed forever. One minute she's on a road trip with her family, and then suddenly she's standing by the side of the road witnessing as her own broken body is removed from the wreckage. She spends most of the novel wandering around the hospital watching her friends as they learn that she is critically injured and in a coma. The doctors tell them that it's up to Mia now.  It doesn't take long for her to realize that she has a very difficult decision to make. Does she stay or does she go? Does she have anything left to live for?  Her friends, unwilling to let her go, try to prove to her that she does by reminding her about the things she loves.  What they don't know is that they're competing with Mia as she re-lives flashbacks of the life she knows she will never have again.  This is the kind of book that you can't actually enjoy. It's so passionately heartbreaking, so tender and raw, so devistating and beautiful all at the same time. I cried like a baby throughout this entire book, yet I could pick it up and listen to it all over again right now. I don't often find a book that I know will remain with me forever, but this is one of them.

The Narration:
"If IStay" is such an emotional story, and Ms. Potter does an amazing job capturing that emotion in her narration.  She flawlessly moves from one character to another and does very welll with the male characters.  This was a great audiobook!

Favorite Quote:
"If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band; go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that too. .. And that would suck, but I’ll do it. I can lose you like that, if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay."

5 Stars * * * * *

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

AUDIOBOOK WEEK ~ Day 2: So You Want to Review Audiobooks…

Audiobook Week ~ Day 2
So You Want to Review Audiobooks…

Today's topic of discussion:

Discuss the essentials of audiobook reviewing. What do you make sure to include? What do you want to see when you read other people’s reviews?

When I first started this blog I didn't put much distinction between a book I read and a book I listened to in my reviews.  Since I'm a new blogger I'm definitely learning with every book/audiobook that I review, and with each audiobook I review I seem to add more information.  I try to think about what is important to me when I read someone else's review, but also when I choose my next audiobook.  Of course, I want to know the book title and author on any book, but with an audiobook you also have a narrator.  If you're just an occasional listener this won't matter as much to you, but when you listen to just as many (or more) books as you read you will start to recognize the narrators and you will most definitely have your favorites.  Sometimes I will even find myself searching for my next purchase based on the narrator instead of the author, and that shows an amazing narrator.  Another thing that is important to me is the length of the book.  If the book is short I would prefer to read it.  I love long audiobooks!  This isn't crucial to my decision, but it is definitely information that I like to have so I think it's important to include.  When I write my review I break it into two parts:  Story and Narration.  When I'm reading a review I want a short synopsis of the book, the reviewer's opinion of the story and thoughts about the narration.  How did the narrator handle emotion?  Accents?  Can he/she switch between characters without trouble?  Did the narration flow effortlessly?  If there were any issues, things the reviewer didn't like, I want to know about it.  So when I review an audiobook this is the information I give.  A great book is only as good as the narrator so this is the absolute most important part of any good audiobook review.   

I am having so much fun with Audiobook Week! Thank you to everyone that visited and commented on my posts yesterday. I hope you all are enjoying this as much as I am. And best of all, I'm learning so much! Take today's topic for example. It really made me think about what MY reviews were lacking. 

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Narrator:  Full Cast
Length:  2 hours
Publisher:  L.A. Theatre Works
Format:  Audio
Description:  Drought and economic depression are driving thousands from Oklahoma. As their land becomes just another strip in the dust bowl, the Joads, a family of sharecroppers, decide they have no choice but to follow. They head west, towards California, where they hope to find work and a future for their family.

This review is for the L.A. Theatre Works production of "The Grapes of Wrath" based on the novel by John Steinbeck.  It is not the full novel, only a 2 hour full cast theater production.  When I got the audiobook FREE from SYNC I assumed it was the full length novel, so I was a little disappointed to find I was wrong.  I did enjoy the production, however.  The full cast brought a lot of emotion to it, but you feel a little like there's a television on in another room and you're only hearing it.  It was much different than an actual narration, though I think a lot of that is because of the fact that it was so heavily abridged.  Considering the fact that the full novel audiobook is 21 hours it's not surprising that you feel there's a lot missing from this one.  The story follows the Joad family as they make their way from Oklahoma to California in the midst of The Great Depression.  They have nothing and nowhere to go and hope they can find work when they get there.  This is a chronicle of their journey and the hardships they face.  It's sad and so heart wrenching the trials this family had to face.  This may have only been a small abridged version of "The Grapes of Wrath", but it was enough to show me what I'm missing by never having read the novel.

Monday, June 25, 2012

AUDIOBOOK WEEK ~ Day 1: Your Audiobook Year

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Audiobook Week ~ Day 1:  2011-2012 Your Audiobook Year

Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience.
Welcome to Audiobook Week 2012 hosted by Devourer of Books.  Anyone that has followed my blog knows how much I love audiobooks so I couldn't resist participating in a full week of audiobook reviews and discussion.  This is my first year of participation in Audiobook Week, but I have been listening to audiobooks for years!  Since June 2011 I've listened to 52 audiobooks, 5 of which were 30+ hours each.  That adds up to A LOT of listening time!  I live 30 minutes from town so each and every car trip I'm listening.  It's my favorite time to listen because what would otherwise be a long boring trip just to get groceries seems to take no time at all.  I also listen while I'm cleaning house, when I need a bit of my own quite time (I do have 3 kids after all) and I love to listen when I get in bed at night.  I can't see in the dark to read a paperback book, the light from my Kindle bothers my husband while he's trying to sleep, but I can pop my earbuds in and listen for as long as I want!  I have been known to have to go back and find the last place I remember because I fell asleep listening, but I can promise you my dreams are always interesting!  I wouldn't recommend Stephen King or Dean Koontz while night listening.  You never know what your dreams will be!

Do you listen to audiobooks?  I'd love to hear all about your favorite place to listen.  Comment below, and if you want to participate in Audiobook Week head on over to Devourer of Books and join us!

EXPERIENCE BLOG TOUR: Against All Odds by Aliaa El-Nashar

Against All Odds by Aliaa El-Nashar
Against All Odds

The Story revolves around:

-A boy called Damien who seems to have it all. He's rich, good-looking and athletic. He's also arrogant, obnoxious and a major player. Damien is one of 5 children who seem to not get along, until one day Damien meets Alexis and his life is turned inside out.

-A girl called Alexis who has trust issues due to her parents. Her best friends mean the world to her, and she refuses to date anyone that doesn't fit completely in her 'Perfect Guy' list.

They're thrown together a lot and start to face inner demons they've hidden away for so long.

This book was so unbelievably cute!  It starts out a little slow, but it quickly picks up speed as more characters are introduced.  The story opens and we are introduced to Damien.  He is a rich kid, and a bit cliched as the party boy that uses girls.  You never really see this side of him though, so it's not hard to forget his past.  When Damien meets Alexis his whole world is turned upside down.  As he puts it, it's love at first sight.  Alexis, on the other hand, has trust issues.  The only people she's close to are her best friends, Cameron and Eddie.  She has a crazy little list of what qualities the perfect guy should have, and she won't even consider dating a guy that doesn't meet all of them.  The relationship between Damien and Alexis falls into the dreaded "friend zone", and Damien is determined to move past that.  But this book is more than just a love story.  It's also a family story, and a quite beautiful one.  Damien and his siblings, Taylor, William, Owen and Jane, don't really get along.  Actually, they don't really talk at all, not since an accident when they were all children.  But as circumstances keep throwing Alexis into Damien's family they realize he's not the only one that has changed since she came into their lives.  I loved Damien's family, especially his sister, Jane! 

This story can be heartbeaking at times, but it's also very heartwarming.  Watching the transition between Damien and his siblings is so sweet.  It's obvious that the indifferance they show is not how they really feel.  They actually care for each other.  I really enjoyed Against All Odds.  There are a few things that seem a bit quirky while you're reading, but it's obvious that it's the cultural differances of the author, Aliaa El-Nashar.  It's not distracting though so I was still able to enjoy reading.  This is Aliaa's first novel, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with in the future as she really polishes her skills.  It's obvious she can come up with great stories!


I had the recent pleasure of inteviewing Jane, Damien's sister.  What a lovely girl!

FoSW:  Given the nature of your relationship with your brother and his personality and reputation, what were your first thoughts when you realized just how Damien felt about Alexis?

Jane:  It was really weird to be honest. I mean, that was Damien, my brother, who broke the heart of many a girl. He was careless and reckless with their emotions and never remembered their names or gave them a second thought. It felt like poetic justice that he'd fall so hard for the one girl that didn't seem to be interested in him, it was certainly worth every moment seeing him so flabbergasted. I was so confused though, and curious, what was so special about her that had him twisted in knots?

FoSW:  It was obvious from the beginning that you really liked Alexis. What was it about her that you liked so much? Did you realize right away how she would change your family?

Jane:  Well, to be honest she had already changed the family before I'd even met her. That was the main reason I was excited to see her in the first place. This girl, who was the reason my brother allowed us into his room, to jest with him again, to just sit and talk, to attend my birthday party long enough to see my reaction to the gift she'd chosen. I of course never realized how far she'd go, but that was an incredible start.

What I liked about her was how she was down to earth, she wasn't threatened by us or our wealth. Many girls my brothers dated were either intimidated by our family name or took it for granted, but she did neither. She'd treated us like she'd treat any other friends. She was very sweet and friendly, but you could tell she was guarded. Though I guess I would have liked her anyway with the way she made my brother edgy.

FoSW:  I loved your reaction to the bracelet that Alexis helped Damien pick out for your birthday. Have you added any charms to it?

Jane:  Yes, actually I have! It's a beautiful bracelet let's face it, not to mention it showed how well my brother knew me, even though it wasn't he who picked them out. He still remembered stuff about me when I was sure he hadn't been paying attention for years. I bought a charm with a videocamera on it and another with a pretty high heel shoe. I can't wait to buy more though!

FoSW:  I'm dying to know about you and Eddie. I see a bit of a love triangle there. I'm extremely curious about what's going on with you two. Can you gossip about that?

Jane:  There's not much to tell really. I mean, I guess it's pretty obvious to everyone that I have a huge crush on him, it's not like I can hide it. I try to keep my snide side on alert to at least regain some dignity when he's around. But honestly, I've never seen a male specimen like him before. He's stunning, but also sweet, caring, funny and very smart. Not to mention, he has such a sad history, all you can think of is to try and wipe it away for the time being, even though he tries not to show his true feelings.

Edmund is a mixture of my twin brothers Will and Ty. I am convinced that's why they get along. He's so charming and irresistible like Ty, but has sworn off girls like Will. Not that Ty is always dating or anything himself, but he's gone to more dates than Will.

The love triangle part is awful because I absolutely adore Cam. She's an amazing friend, and the way she looks at Eddie, you could tell she's halfway in love with him. I feel guilty, because whenever he catches her looking at him, he just hugs her and you could tell he felt sorry and sad for the way she felt, knowing he could never return those feelings. At least with me, our battering helps calms things down a little bit.  I'm doing my best to get over him. I'll let you know what happens with that.

It was really nice talking to you Leigh Ann! Bye!

FoSW:  Thank you Jane!!

Be sure to enter the giveaway below!!!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012


The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.

The Story:  I really enjoyed "The Eleventh Plague".  I love dystopian, especially when it involves the destruction of today's world, where things are familiar yet different.  Buildings are crumbling and there's still signs for Starbucks and McDonald's, but they're overgrown with vines and weeds.  In "The Eleventh Plague" we're introduced to a world that has been decimated by war.  Most of the population was killed by a horrible disease after America was bombed by China with a virus called P-11, or The Eleventh Plague.  It's been twenty years since the war and subsequent collapse, and fifteen year old Stephen Quinn's family have become salvagers, people that wander from place to place trying to find things which they can trade for the things they need.  Stephen has watched his mother die when he was just a small child, and he's just buried his grandfather.  When his father ends up in a coma after an accident Stephen is taken to Settler's Landing where they have medicine and a doctor to help his father.  There the people have rebuilt and are trying to maintain a normal society.  As skeptical as Stephen is he finds himself enjoying the normal life with these people.

"The Eleventh Plague" feels extremely real in that it's a look at a future that is a very real possibility.  Actually, it's not even a far fetched reality, which makes it all the more scary.  Stephen is a very likable character.  He's spent all of his life with his father and grandfather.  All he knows is scavenging, so when he's brought to this "town" he can't believe his eyes.  He can hear his grandfather's harsh warnings in his head telling him the people can't be trusted.  He's convinced that they are crazy to believe that they can continue to live as if the world on the outside isn't falling apart.  All he wants is for his father to wake up so that they can get back on the trail and back to their lives.  But when he lets his guard down he begins to make friends and his opinions about the world begin to change.  Stephen is understandably mature for his age.  He sees the devastation around him and blames it on the mistakes of past generations, and he even strives to be better than they were.  He makes important choices and many mistakes, but he always tries to do what's right, sometimes even making the adults around him see the error of their ways.  While the prose is aimed at the younger generation, it's easily enjoyed by all ages.

The Narration:  "The Eleventh Plague" is read by Dan Bittner.  After Googling him I realized he is apparently also an actor, and he did an amazing job.  He read with emotion and put lots of action into his storytelling.  His characters voices were well defined,  and I had no trouble distinguishing between them.  In my opinion, that is the most important quality of a good audiobook narrator.

Story:  4 Stars * * * * *

Narration:  4 Stars * * * *         


I got my audiobook copy of "The Eleventh Plague" FREE from SYNC, and since I already have an ebook and a hardback copy I'm going to do a giveaway.  If you would like to win a Brand New hardback copy of "The Eleventh Plague" be sure to enter below!

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

REVIEW: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Flat-Out Love
Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

I just finished reading "Flat-Out Love", and I had to immediately sit down and do my review while my emotions are still fresh.  It's not every day that you come across a novel that so eloquently weaves a story of sadness, loss, love and even betrayal, all while making you crack up laughing.  It's a love story and so much more.  It takes "dysfunctional family" to a whole new level.  It's about falling in love and healing old wounds and learning to live in the real world after horrible devastation.  Reading this book was like riding a roller coaster.  You're riding up the tracks and you know there is a stomach clenching plummet up ahead and while you're scared to death your adrenaline is pumping and the drop to the bottom is both terrifying and exhilarating.  "Flat-Out Love" is unbelievably real and connects with you on so many emotional levels.  Jessica Park has created a world of multi-faceted characters that you can't help but love.  Julie is snarky and feisty and I want her as my best friend!  She doesn't mind telling anyone exactly what she thinks.  Celeste is quirky and odd yet extremely intelligent and lovable.  And I love Matt's t-shirts!  I loved absolutely everything about "Flat-Out Love"!

5 Stars * * * * *  

Friday, June 22, 2012


The Twenty (Barronlands Trilogy #1) by Claudia Carozza

The Twenty (Barronlands Trilogy, #1)
Imagine living in a time when infertility runs rampant and babies are no longer being born. The world is crumbling around you as people start talking about the end. This is the world Hazel DeSales grew up in. After her mother dies from a mysterious cancer, Hazel finds herself taking care of her younger sister Netty and alcoholic father.

It's not until twenty women, known as the Elect, become pregnant all across the Barronlands when things start looking up. Hazel and Netty apply for jobs working as domestics in the Antioch Center where the Elect will be taken care of and protected. Hazel feels change in the air and her outlook for the future starts to improve.

But she soon learns that change is not without consequence. Rumors are brewing about a government cover up and Hazel finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. So begins the unraveling of secrets that uncover things from her past and rattle her future. Hazel is determined to seek the truth and promises herself to do whatever it takes to succeed.

I found "The Twenty" to be an absolutely captivating read.  When I read the blurb the first thing that came to mind was The Children of Men by P.D. James.  There's something about a society that's been decimated by infertility and the prospect of human extinction that I find fascinating.  The characters in this book are so well rounded and likable.  I immediately liked and respected Hazel.  She is selfless and will do whatever it takes to protect the people she cares about.  She's self assured and amazingly strong willed, and when things get tough she squares her shoulders and marches ahead, even pushing everyone else behind her.  Her sister, Netty, while still a likable character, is much more passive and even a little coddled.  I love our two male characters, Shane and Luka.  It's not often that I am faced with a love triangle where I don't immediately know which guy I want the girl to end up with...actually, I don't think that's ever happened.  Until now.  I love them both!  Shane is more quiet and laid back, yet he's extremely passionate about what he believes in.  Luka, on the other hand, is more demanding and controlling, but he definitely has a softer side.  They are both amazing characters.  The action and mystery in this book had me completely enthralled, and the ending left me begging for more.  Seriously...I begged!  "The Twenty" is the first book of the Barronlands Trilogy, and I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the next thrilling story so I can see where Hazel and her friends end up and what forces they are up against. 

Find "The Twenty" for Kindle HERE.

Vist Claudia's Website.

Find Claudia on Goodreads.


Meet Claudia Carozza:
Hi everyone! I live in NJ and I'm indie author of the The Twenty, first book of the Barronlands Trilogy. I mostly write Young Adult dystopian, paranormal, and fantasy fiction. Reading is my first obsession and writing is my second. I love reading all genres especially those mentioned above.
I love drinking cold coffee (not ice, just cold from too much milk), I order french toast with a side of toast, and I put syrup on everything. I love watching funny movies, reading movie trivia, online shopping, Sunday dinners, and being outside on beautiful days. I have a B.A. in writing from Rowan University.

20 Questions with Claudia

1. Do you have a favorite book, one that you go back to over and over?
I rarely re-read books. There are so many new books on my to-read list that I'm always anxious to start a new one. I do plan on re-reading Harry Potter with my son when he's old enough.

2. Did you always know that you wanted to write?
I've always had a love for writing even as a little girl. About eight years ago, I was a double major in college, studying writing and teaching. Four years later, I was half way through my student teaching when I realized teaching was something I chose more as a practical choice rather than something I really enjoyed doing. So, I took a big leap and dropped my teaching major and graduated with a degree in Writing Arts instead. I always felt that I had a story waiting to burst out of me and ever since then I knew writing was the only thing I ever wanted to do.

3. Who or what was your inspiration to write?
My inspiration to write comes from all the great books I have read. I love when I become emotionally connected with a story so much so that I'm sad when it ends. As an avid reader, I know how fulfilling a great book can be and it's always been a dream of mine to write a story that provides that experience for someone else. To me, there's no better reward than when someone connects with the characters and world you's a great feeling.

4. Do you have a favorite place to read?
Favorite place to read is in bed at night.

5. To write?
Wherever quiet place in the house I can sneak away to.

6. Favorite author?
J.K. Rowling

7. Favorite genre?
Paranormal romance and Fantasy

8. Bookmarks or dog ears?
Dog ears

9. Dust jacket on or off while reading a hardback?
I loathe dust jackets...definitely off! lol!

10. Paper books or ebooks?
Ebooks. I love that I can buy a book in just a few minutes on my Kindle.

11. What book would you like to see made into a movie?
I hope they reconsider making The Power of Six sequel. I liked the I am Number Four movie and was bummed when I read they shelved the second movie.

12. Favorite comfort food?
Cheese fries and cookies and cream ice cream...sometimes consumed together if the situation calls for it.

13. What are your pet peeves?
I asked my husband what my pet peeves are and he burst out laughing... Needless to say he mentioned a few. To narrow the list down, I'll say messy closets and toothpaste in the sink.

14. What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
The Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka.

15. What are you reading right now?
I'm reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth and Immortal Prophecy by fellow indie author Samantha Adams.

16. How much time do you spend every day reading?
I usually can fit an hour or two at night after I put my son to bed. I read until my eyes are too tired to keep open.

17. Writing?
I fit writing time whenever I can. The time I spend writing varies day to day but on a good day I can write for a twelve hour stretch. It doesn't happen often but when it does it's great!

18. Who is your favorite character in your Barronlands series?
Hazel without question. She's down-to-earth and not afraid to take charge. Her unassuming confidence makes her a serious threat to those who underestimate her. In Book 2, we are really going to see how far she'll push herself mentally and emotionally. She has a lot on her plate, not to mention she's caught in a tug of war between two particular people!

19. What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm furiously typing away Book 2 of Barronlands and plan to have it out by the end of the summer. I'm also working on a new storyline called the Reawakening Series which is a paranormal romance. I'm having a lot of fun with new characters and delving into their world. I plan to have the first book, Awake, out sometime late fall of this year.

20. If you could be a superhero what super power would you want to have?
I would want to be Elastigirl...seems like a versatile power that could be really handy!


Claudia has kindly offered up 2 autographed copies of "The Twenty"!!  Be sure to enter below!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

SYNC Free YA Audiobooks All Summer ~ WEEK 2

I am so in love with audiobooks, and this is an absolutely amazing offer!! Sync is offering 2 free audiobooks every week for 10 weeks, and this is Week 2! One book will be a popular Young Adult book and the other will be a Classic that is related to or parallels the first title. And the best part is they're good books!! And, they're yours to keep!  20 free audiobooks...AMAZING!! Click here to see a list of the 20 books and the dates they will be available. I'll be updating here every week with the books that are currently free. I highly, highly recommend everyone go grab these audiobooks while they're available!! Best. Deal. Ever. Go Now!!

Week 2
Downloadable 6/21 - 6/27
Click the titles to be taken to the download page.

IrisesBy Francisco X. Stork
Read by Carrington MacDuffie
Published by Listening Library

Description:  Two sisters discover what’s truly worth living for in the new novel by the author of Marcelo in the Real World.
TWO SISTERS: Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. – if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.
THREE YOUNG MEN: Then three men sway their lives: Kate’s boyfriend Simon offers to marry her, providing much-needed stability. Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past. And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own.
ONE AGONIZING CHOICE: Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darknesses in their sudden freedom. But it’s Mama’s life that might divide them for good – the question of *if* she lives, and what’s worth living for.
Irises is Francisco X. Stork’s most provocative and courageous novel yet.


Sense and SensibilityBy Jane Austen
Read by Wanda McCaddon
Published by Tantor Media

Description:  When Mrs Dashwood is forced by an avaricious daughter-in-law to leave the family home in Sussex, she takes her three daughters to live in a modest cottage in Devon. For Elinor, the eldest daughter, the move means a painful separation from the man she loves, but her sister Marianne finds in Devon the romance and excitement which she longs for. The contrasting fortunes and temperaments of the two girls as they struggle to cope in their different ways with the cruel events which fate has in store for them are portrayed by Jane Austen with her usual irony, humour and profound sensibility.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wish List Wednesday (6)

Every Wednesday I highlight a book that I've recently added to my ever growing to-be-read pile. I know that I'll never get through them all, but it's nice to have a Wish List in place! So what's on your Wish List?! Grab the button and comment here with your Wish List Wednesday link so everyone can check it out!

This week I am highlighting a book I am so excited for!  I can't wait until September 18th so I can get my hands on The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater!  I am a huge fan of Maggie's. I really enjoyed her Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and I loved The Scorpio Races.  I know this new series is going to be just as amazing!  The cover is pretty awesome too.  So, click on the link above and add this one to your Goodreads Wish List!

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

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