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Book Review: Townhouse

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Title: Townhouse
Author: Brian Rowe
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 242
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository
Sara Crimson isn't happy about moving into a shady apartment complex with a man she barely knows. But after discovering she's pregnant with her first child, she decides to try to make a relationship work with the baby daddy Max, an up-and-coming talent agent.

An aspiring novelist, Sara at first is elated with the additional free time she has to focus on her writing. But as the days turn to weeks, she starts to suspect that something peculiar is happening in the Executive Townhouses of North Hollywood, California. People start disappearing, strange noises echo down the corridor, and an old, creepy tenant finds his entertainment value in staring at her from afar.

But what Sara doesn't know is that the hidden horrors that lie inside the complex are far worse than anything her overactive imagination could have ever conceived...
Woah, what can I say about this book? Townhouse definitely isn't horror for no reason!

This book is beyond creepy... I can't really say that much without giving things away, but if you're going to read Townhouse, please, please, please don't eat when you're nearing the end of the book. I drank some water and it gurgled in the most uncomfortable way.

I didn't like the protagonist, Sara, all that much, but oh, gods... the stuff Brian Rowe put her through! I did like Cory a lot though, but hey, who doesn't like little boys in the middle of a horror story?

I just want to say that Townhouse creeped me out so, so much. The ending sent chills down my spine and the "four years later..." epilogue left me wanting to blanch. Horrible, I say. This is the perfect book for a late halloween night, or for anybody wanting to scare themselves (or their friends) silly--because I was, scared silly, I mean...

Sweet Venom Title 2 Scavenger Hunt!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hello! We're participating in Tera Lynn Child's Sweet Venom Title 2 Scavenger Hunt!

What to do: Drop by every blog listed at Tera Lynn Child's blog at the original scavenger hunt post (where clues to the title are posted), and take note of the letter that's bolded (it'll stand out!). But that's not all! You have a chance to win five signed copies of Sweet Venom and a grand prize $50 bookstore gift card if you guess right.

This hunt is going to be a lot of fun, and it is open internationally!

So what are you waiting for? Go participate now!!!

Regardless of whether you are a new entrant or have been around a couple blogs, don't forget to pick up an E from here!

Brian Rowe Guest Post (Townhouse Tour)

Saturday, August 27, 2011
I have a guest post from Brian Rowe, the author of Townhouse today... and it's an excerpt from his book! I'll be reviewing Townhouse on Wednesday, so check back for that a bit later. Meanwhile, here's a small chunk of the book for you to judge Townhouse for yourself before I say anything about it!

Be warned though... it's kind of creepy. It is a horror novel...

Sara yawned three times fast, each one louder than the last, and sat up on the couch. The stench of swiss cheese and meatballs lingered in the room. The TV was on mute, and the table in front of her was littered with messy dinner plates and tiny blobs of marinara sauce. She put her hand through her long hair and turned to her left to see that it was only 9:30 P.M.

Falling asleep at nine on a Saturday night. I really am becoming a parent.

She stood up and stretched, and realized that Max was nowhere to be found. More suspicious, she didn’t hear any tinkering with the computer upstairs. Sara loved how quaint the space was. She could keep tabs on where Max was at all times just by standing still and listening intently.

Sara sipped some water before trudging upstairs, her feet hurting like she had actually been the one lugging boxes and furniture around all day. She smiled with relief when she reached the top of the staircase and looked into the bedroom to see Max at the center of the bed, still fully clothed, fast asleep. She made her way into the room and draped a yellow blanket over him. He looked so adorable right now, so peaceful. She kissed him on the cheek, something she rarely did when he wasn’t awake, and turned down the dial on the wall to dim the lights in the bright room.
She grabbed her pajamas and made her way into the bathroom, which she had yet to really use and inspect. The dual sinks were a nice addition, leaving plenty of space for Max to shave his face on one side and Sara to shave her legs on the other.

Next she inspected the shower. It was sparkly clean, and ready for a test. She turned on the water and put her hand under the showerhead. It started spewing out furiously cold water, as if she had just moved to a suburb in Alaska where most of the pipes were frozen. She took off her shirt, revealing a basic white bra underneath, and pulled down her jeans to reveal a tight pair of white underwear. She tried the water again. It was lukewarm, but nowhere near hot. She figured she’d give it a few more seconds.

A conversation from outside diverted Sara’s attention to the window above the toilet. The conversation sounded to be more of an argument in the outside corridor, but by the time she darted her eyes down to the ground, a door slammed shut, and she wasn’t able to see anybody.
She looked up to see the window across the way, wide open, eerily welcoming, as if the long-socked creep from across the way wanted Sara to have an easy view into his bathroom.
Or maybe he wants an easy view into mine, she thought.

Sara shook the scary thought and moved away from the window. The mirror called to her. She checked out her body in the mirror, flaws and all. There was the tiniest of baby bumps, so subtle nobody but she and her mother would ever notice. She studied her stomach, as well as her breasts, which were starting to look fuller. She cupped them with her hands and fondled them the way a horny teenage boy would. She turned to the side and inspected her back and buttocks. She could see a modicum of cellulite around her rear end, but it was nothing to get overly anxious about.

Sara loudly sighed and then made her way back to the shower. She put her hand in. It was still only lukewarm. She bent over and turned the hot nozzle all the way to the left. The water was warmer, but still not scolding hot, the way she liked it. Annoyed, she slammed her right fist against the gray shower door.

That’s when she heard the noise. A grunt of some kind. It sounded like it had come from outside the window.

Sara held her breath. No. Couldn’t be. She wanted to jump in the shower like that little noise had never happened, but Sara was curious. She kept her torso bent slightly as to look like she was testing the heat of the water and not turning her whole body toward the window. She moved her head up and looked across the corridor. It was pitch black inside the bathroom window, but she could feel a presence watching her every move.

Oh my God. That creep’s watching me.

She wanted to shout it, scream it for the whole complex to hear. She also wanted Max to run over there and beat the shit out of that weirdo with a baseball bat.

But before she could do anything, she heard the man’s toilet flush across the way, followed by a bout of upbeat whistling. She saw the outline of his body exit into a hallway as he shut the bathroom door behind him.

Was he really just in there to use the toilet? Or was he spying on me?

Sara didn’t know for sure, but she did find it odd that he had entered his bathroom just at the moment she was undressing. She felt gross all over, like she had just been molested by one of her granddad’s inappropriate friends.

She made sure to take off her bra and underwear outside of view from the window. She didn’t enjoy her shower at all.
Um... scary? Well, you'll be hearing my thoughts on Townhouse on Wednesday anyway. Meanwhile, have a happy weekend!

Book Blogger Hop (17)

Friday, August 26, 2011
Book Blogger Hop

“Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets?”

Yes, I do! I love animals like crazy, and I've probably lived less than a year of my life without one. Currently, I have two dogs, a chinchilla, and some fish.

Meet Spottie. He's also the cover dog for my personal blog.


Meet Shadow the Chinchilla. The focus isn't really good because he was moving at the time that the photo was taken. Chinchillas are really, really fast.


Did you know that Totoro was based on the chinchilla?

My goldfish with a monstrous appetite.
Every time I come near the tank, he (or she) comes swimming up for food.


In the past, I've had an African Fat-Tailed Gecko, lots of fish, other dogs, rabbits, a hamster, more mice, and rats. Not all at the same time of course! What about you?

Follow Friday (17)




Q. In some books like the Sookie Stackhouse series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish this would happen with in real life?

Hm... let's see... I don't want any vampires--Twilight or not--to come out of the closet OR the fridge (okay, not funny, I know), that's for sure. I think I'd go for genies, the Aladdin kind. Then I can find a lamp, rub it, get a genie, then have three wishes. Of course, I'd wish for more wishes on the last wish--MWAHAHHAHAA!!

Review: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Thursday, August 25, 2011
4 Stars: A Great Read
Series: Firelight #2
Hardback: 294 Pages
Publication: September 6, 2011 by Harper Teen

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

Vanish picks up where Firelight left off, with Cassian taking Jacinda and her family home to the pride. The situation is a 180-degree turnaround from Firelight. Initially an unwilling escapee from her home, Jacinda wants anything but to return. Having met Will, Jacinda knows that her life is in the human world with him, despite his hunter heritage and the stolen draki blood circulating through his body. A surprise encounter on the way out of town leaves them with more problems than ever and makes it even more unlikely for the family to be able to escape the pride’s grasp.

Back home, Jacinda is miserable. Once celebrated as the future of the pride, Jacinda is now viewed as a traitor for having exposed herself to hunters. With her mom absorbed in her own problems, it seems that only Tamra and Cassian are willing to accept her. In fact, despite Jacinda’s relationship with Will, Cassian’s affections haven’t changed, and her feelings for Will and Tamra are tested by the increasing pressure for her to bond with Cassian. Cassian is a tempting prize, and Jacinda can’t forget that she once viewed him as a potential mate. However, her thoughts always return to Will….

Vanish is filled with characters that you love to hate and hate to love. It seems that the Elders find it impossible to think about the feelings of individual draki of the pride. Is it so unthinkable for the draki to act for themselves? Jacinda has never had a say in her future, and even as a traitor she is an asset to the pride. In fact, I’d say that the Elders are happy for her mistakes since they give the Elders the opportunity to place further restrictions on her freedom. As for Cassian, I hate him for bringing her back to the pride, and I want to hate him for making moves on Jacinda when she should be with Will. Nevertheless, I love him for his honor and for acknowledging Jacinda not for what she is but for who she is.

My reactions to the characters and their actions are a testament to how Sophie Jordan brings the characters and setting to life. Before I knew it, I was three-quarters of the way through the book and watching the end grow closer with dread. I really felt as though I were in Jacinda’s world. The rich imagery brings the village and its inhabitants to life. Every day that Jacinda spends in the village, new obstacles come her way. Unwelcome advances, threats of punishment, and flying gossip are but few of the problems that confound her upon her return to the pride.

Just when I think I learn something, Sophie Jordan teases us with a new turn of events. I learned so much more about the draki culture and about what the future holds in store for Jacinda. Before I knew it, I had reached the end of the book with more questions than when I started it. The end has left me hanging as an unlikely cast of characters prepares themselves to do the unthinkable, considering where they’re going and whom they’re trying to rescue.

Vanish will be published on September 6, 2011 by Harper Teen. Needless to say, I’m dying to read the third book in the Firelight series.

Add/Buy

An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure Book Tour: Interview & Giveaway

Monday, August 22, 2011
Today, I'm delighted to be hosting B.K. Bostick on his virtual book tour for his upcoming release of Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure, a middle-grade mystery novel that you don't want to miss (even if you're all grown up)!

Today, we have Scott, Huber's personal bully turned best friend, over here for a Q&A session.

When his grandfather dies, Huber Hill is devastated---until he opens Grandpa Nick's mysterious box. An old gold coin and directions to a hidden Spanish treasure send him and his friends off on an mind-blowing adventure, but he's not the only one on the hunt. Filled with dangerous animals and cryptic puzzles, this book will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.


You can watch the book trailer here.

Hi, Scott! Welcome to Imaginary Reads. Before we start, would you tell readers a little about yourself?
Name's Scott McCormick. I'm Huber Hill's best friend (and former enemy) in the book, Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure by B.K. Bostick. I know, I know, lucky me. I live in Carbondale, Colorado, or as I like to think of it, Denver's forgotten, little cousin that lives in the woods.

Your relationship with Huber is complicated. For those who don't know the details, how did it all start?
I wanted to be friends with 'im when we were in fifth grade, but I got the feeling that he thought he was better than me, so I did the next best thing- made his life a livin' nightmare. Spitwads, wedgies, you name it, I did it. Then that one day in the lunchroom, I tripped his sister and he beat the heck outta me. After that, I thought he was alright, I s'pose.

You sure made it certain that Huber wouldn't forget you in a hurry! What is your favorite childhood memory?
When I was little, I had some smoke bombs form the fourth of July and I lit 'em in the bathtub. Pretty soon, the whole house filled up with smoke and m'dad was freakin' out, thinkin' the house was burnin' down. He was runnin' round like a chicken with his head cut off, yellin' 'Fire' 'Fire!' Oh man, it was hilarious! Got grounded for a few months, but it was worth it to see his face.

It must have been a sight for you not to regret being stuck around the house for that length of time! What do you enjoy most about camping?
I love bein' out in the woods. Fishin', huntin', hikin.' Ain't no teachers or principals to hassle ya either.

Sounds like quite the experience. I used to go camping when I was little, but it was always with my family, so I never really got alone time in the woods. I know a lot of things went wrong while you were treasure hunting with Huber and Hannah. If you could go back and change something during the treasure hunt, what would you do?
Definitely wouldn'ta kissed Huber's sister. That was probably the biggest mistake I ever made. Hannah dropped me like a bad habit. Who needs her, anyway? Man, I wish she'd like me again.

Aww... I don't know why she'd dump a guy like you. I can tell you really like her. Say, what were the first words that came to mind when you saw Hannah in middle school?
Dang, she's hot! How's it possible she's related to Puber...I mean, Huber.

The mystery of genetics. If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you do with them?

  1. Wish for a giant meteor to land on the school.
  2. Wish that an earthquake would crumble the school.
  3. Man, I wish Hannah would like me again.

School sounds really bad for you to need to destroy it twice. I think we need a hero here to save the day. Who's your choice of superhero?
Thor! He's tough, smashes things, and the ladies love him- kinda like yours truly.

Now, school's out and you're watching cartoons. What's  your favorite cartoon?
It's a tie between Curious George and Beavis & Butthead

We're in front of a television, and you need a snack and not just any snack. It's a day for favorites!
This is m'own recipe: Take a piece of jerky, soak it in Pepsi for a day, then dip it in peanut butter- try it!

Sounds interesting. One last question. Name your most favorite and least favorite words.
Favorite word: Hannah. Least favorite word: Hannah

Man, you've got one big Hannah complex. You better not let Huber find out, or he's going to go berserkers on you! (Don't worry, I won't tell him.) I wish you the best of luck in life, especially your love life. For the record, I can't say the same for destroying the school, but with the impossibly hot weather nowadays, perhaps there'll be a blackout and you can skip school for a day--or maybe even a week.

Thanks for joining us here today, Scott and B.K. Bostick!

B.K. Bostick's Website | Facebook | Twitter

B.K. Bostick, author of Dead Man's Treasure, resides among the magnificent Rocky Mountains. In addition to writing, he has spent his career in education. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Utah and his Masters in Psychology from Utah State University. He has worked as a teacher, after school program coordinator, junior high school counselor, and most recently as a teacher mentor for a University. He loves spending time with his lovely wife and two dogs. In his spare time, he enjoys eating cheetos and watching old episodes of the Twilight Zone.

*** For everyone U.S. reader who likes his Facebook page, B.K. Bostick will be giving away a replicated gold coin/bookmark. SO GO LIKE HIS PAGE!! If you aren't in the U.S. though, never fear. Everyone can enter our giveaway to win an e-copy of Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure! ***


B.K. Bostick is also funraising for his neighbor Alyssa, who was diagnosed with a Meningion brain tumor. 100% of proceeds from sales of Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure from October 1 -16, 2011, will go to Alyssa and her family for surgery.

Please support Alyssa. You won't regret buying Huber Hill. It is an amazing book, and this is for a wonderful cause. Buy Huber Hill (the book, not the character. He's not available. He's off adventuring somewhere for your entertainment!) for yourself. Buy Huber Hill for a family member. Buy Huber Hill for friends and neighbors.

You won't regret it, and you can help save a life.

For more information about the fundraiser, check out the fundraising site Treasure for Alyssa.
For more about the book, check out my review of Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure.



But first... check out this interview of B.K. Bostick with Bryan Keith



Giveaway

B.K. Bostick is giving away an e-copy of Huber Hill

Open internationally
Ends September 1st


Imagine My Mailbox (11)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kris's Mailbox

I received for review:
Ever since I read Divergent, I've been into the dystopian genre. I love reading about what may happen in the future, how humanity may take a turn for the worse, and how a teenager learns truths that have been obscured over the years. Eve takes place in the year 2032 after a deadly virus and its vaccine has wiped out the majority of Earth's population. Eighteen-year-old Eve flees the only home that she's ever known after finding out the horrifying fate the awaits her after graduation. During her journey, she learns that boys aren't all to fear when she meets Caleb, a boy who's been living in the wild. But when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between love and survival.


Most of the books I've received for review recently have been paranormal books and dystopian books, but this week I have something a little different The Shattering is a high-tensioned mystery novel. Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to be prepared for anything that happens, but her life is shattered by her brother's suicide, one thing for which she had not been prepared. When her childhood friend Janna tells her that it was murder, Keri, Janna, and Sione, a visiting tourist, team up through their shared losses of a brother due to apparent suicide. The three begin to unearth disturbing facts: facts that lead to a serial killer, facts that point to those they trust the most.

Which genre of books do you enjoy better? Out of the two listed above, which one are you looking forward to more?

Review: Huber Hill and The Dead Man's Treasure by B.K. Bostick

5 Stars: Incredible
Series: Huber Hill #1
Hardback: 256 Pages
Publication: October 4, 2011 by Bonneville Books

When his grandfather dies, Huber Hill is devastated---until he opens Grandpa Nick's mysterious box. An old gold coin and directions to a hidden Spanish treasure send him and his friends off on an mind-blowing adventure, but he's not the only one on the hunt. Filled with dangerous animals and cryptic puzzles, this book will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

Huber Hill and the Dead Man’s Treasure encompasses the spirit of adventure. Starting at the bottom of the social ladder, Huber confronts his fears, befriends the school’s bully, and goes in search of an ancient Spanish treasure over which blood has been shed. In the midst of all this, he will discover the most important treasures of all: friendship, life, and trust.

I can’t remember how long it’s been since I enjoyed a mystery novel involving dead man and ancient treasure. I couldn’t have asked for better characters than Huber, Scott, and Hannah, or for a badder bad guy to stalk them than Juan Hernan Salazar. I enjoyed watching the children solve the riddles to the treasure and outwit Salazar as he attempted to claim the treasure for himself. Along the way, tween angst manifests itself in Huber’s insecurities and Hannah and Scott’s growing awareness of each other.

There are countless things I enjoyed about this book, but I would like to give a special mention to Scott. For all we know at the beginning, he’s a big bully who picks on Huber just because he can. However, after the cafeteria fight that leads to the realization that their enmity was a huge misunderstanding, you learn that he’s a really cool kid. I am so glad that BK Bostick rounded out Scott’s character because not only does it break social stereotypes, it makes the novel all the more enjoyable for his part in the adventure.

BK Bostick has written a thoroughly enjoyable middle-grade mystery novel that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. I can’t wait to read the continuation of Huber, Scott, and Hannah’s adventure!

** Because I love Scott so much and because BK Bostick lent some of his time, Scott will be dropping by Imaginary Reads tomorrow in a character interview!! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. **

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An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Book Blogger Hop (16)

Friday, August 19, 2011
Book Blogger Hop“What’s the LONGEST book you’ve ever read?”

Hard one... I'm not sure, really. I'm pretty sure one of my more-than-an-inch-thick computer science books claims the prize... Or maybe those cat/dog books I read when I was younger. Those were pretty thick too, according to my aching eight-year-old arms afterwards.

Fiction-wise, it'd probably be The Dream Merchant by Isabel Hoving. I loved that book, even though it was a little slow (and VERY long). Mind you though, that book was worth every page I read.

Follow Friday (16)



Q. If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

Hmm... hard choice... There are way too many books I want to live in. I wouldn't mind having a Firebolt and a wand in Harry Potter, post-Voldemort's death. Then again, I'd love to live in a contemporary romance, say, Anna and the French Kiss, and score myself a hot guy (preferably Etienne St. Clair). But really, if I could write myself into one book... I'd choose The Cat in the Hat. And of course, I'd kick Sally and her brother out of the house and have Thing One and Thing Two all to myself.

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Thursday, August 18, 2011
5 Stars: Incredible
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Hardback: 358 Pages
Publication: March 22, 2011 by Simon & Schuster

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Lauren DeStefano brings forth a frighteningly realistic view of the future in her debut novel Wither, the first in a planned trilogy. The cure to all illnesses has been discovered. However, World War III destroyed every continent except for North America, and no one lives past his or her twenties. Faced with shorter lifespans, the Governors—the ruling wealthy class—take multiple wives in the hopes of bringing forth progeny while they are young. Rhine Ellery is kidnapped by the Gatherers and sold as a bride to Linden Ashton. As Linden begins to fall for Rhine, she has only two things on her mind: escape, and the servant Gabriel for whom she's beginning to develop feelings herself.

Rhine is a strong heroine. Despite the low chances of escape, she seizes every opportunity to explore the grounds of the Ashton grounds in the hopes of finding an opening while maintaining the facade of a doting wife and protecting her virginity. She is also a very emotional teenager and continuously worries about those she cares about.

DeStefano has a beautiful writing style filled with vivid imagery. She describes the beautiful grounds of the Ashton estate and its illusions in such detail that you feel as though she takes you there through the pages. Flashback with Rhine, and you also see the horrors faced by those living in poverty: the grime, the fears, and the harsh decisions made a necessity for survival. There are mature themes in the novel exploring death, lust, and love that make this inappropriate for younger reads. Still, while you know that sex takes place in the novel, none of these scenes are shown. DeStefano's setting is further strengthened with unique personalities that bring this story to life.

Wither centers on Rhine’s goal of escape, leaving a lot of world building left for the next two books. I believe that many of us would like to know where the idea of polygamy originated and why the division between the poor and the wealthy has grown so big. If we had retreated to a medieval culture where people marry younger, it would have made sense, but polygamy? In addition, the fight of pro-naturals against pro-science is introduced but hasn’t been fully developed. I expect to see more of this in the second book Fever (which will be published February 2012) along with the romance between Rhine and Gabriel!

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A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Review: My Girlfriend's Boyfriend by Elodia Strain

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
3 Stars: A Good Read
Paperback: 217 Pages
Publication: August 8, 2011 by Cedar Fort

Jesse is looking for the "right guy." When she bumps into Ethan, a despairing writer who she inspires, she thinks she's found him. But only moments later she meets Troy, a successful advertising executive who makes almost every moment romantic. Both seem perfect, but things are not always what they seem. My Girlfriend's Boyfriend is a fun romance that blends warm sincerity with fresh storytelling.

Troy and Ethan. Ethan and Troy. Ethan is the good guy that every girl wants to settle with. He’s charming and kind. When Jesse began dating Troy as well, I couldn’t believe that she’d do this to a guy like Ethan. Then again, Troy… he’s every girl’s dream man. He’s filthy rich, successful, and spontaneous, calling Jesse last minute for a date. I wouldn’t be able to resist him either.

Towards the middle end, I began to feel that pieces weren’t adding up. Considering what was taking place, I’m surprised that it took me so long to realize what was going on. Then again, Elodia did a brilliant job in threading events together. It isn’t until the end when Jesse herself tells you what happened that you learn the major twist in the plot.

Now, Jesse does has a tendency to talk to the audience, and she often rambles, losing herself in thought. While it is a charming quirk of hers, it does tend to overshadow the narrative. It belongs more in the theaters and on the screen than in the pages of a novel. Nevertheless, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend is a light-hearted novel with plenty of humor and laughs, and the novel has the happily-ever-after ending that we love to see in chick flicks. (Plus, there’s the catchy title. You know the heroine’s in for a load of trouble from the title alone.)

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend is a book that you have to read at least twice. Once for the story as it is, the second time once you know what’s actually up. I recommend this for both teen and adult readers alike. You could even read it with your families. Work together and see if you can figure out the big plot twist before it’s revealed. And then watch the movie.

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A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Review: Bite Me by Parker Blue

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
4 Stars: A Great Read
Series: Demon Underground #1
Paperback: 229 Pages
Publication: September 30, 2008 by Bell Bridge Books

An edgy book for teens that spans the gap between YA and adult fiction. Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Val Shapiro is just your ordinary, part-demon, teenaged vampire hunter with a Texas drawl. And a pet hellhound named Fang. Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.

Val Shapiro is thrown out of her house on her eighteenth birthday because of her bad influence on her younger half-sister Jessica, not that she can help the fact that her dad was a lust demon. Desperate for a steady income now that she’s banned from her family’s bookstore, Val finds a job partnered with Dan Sullvian, a detective in San Antonio’s special crime unit. Her new job? Hunting vampires, which is sweet considering how she’s already been doing it for free.

Val Shapiro is as kickass as her name. She doesn’t let Lola, as she nicknames the succubus within her, direct her life, and she isn’t afraid to take action, especially to protect her family even after all they’ve done to mess up her life. Despite the tough kid attitude, she loves her family, and she’s emotional at heart. It’s hard for her to come to terms with her demon heritage. All her life, she’s treated it as a curse. It’s hard for her to view it any other way after being pressured—and struggling—to keep it hidden all her life. The reason she’s been hunting vampires is because the lust of the hunt is the only way to sate Lola’s hunger without resorting to seduction.

Immediately upon acquiring her job, Val and Dan are assigned to watch the New Blood Movement, a group of vampires claiming that they want to leave in peace with humans. Because the vampires aren’t attacking humans, the scuzzies can’t stake them, though they’re suspicious of their motives. This is complex because they’re so beautiful and seemingly good-natured that you want to trust them (especially since Dan’s ex-fiancĂ©e stands among them), and yet they seem too perfect, too good.

Her troubles grow with her increasing attraction towards Dan, her work partner, who knows something is up after seeing how easily the girl can take down a vampire on her own. Having seen his black-and-white views of vampires, Val knows that he won’t be able to accept Lola’s existence. Nevertheless, I do like Dan. He’s a sweet guy with strong morals and a stubbornness that works to his advantage in blocking vampires from manipulating his mind. He’s the kind of guy who’ll buy a girl cake when he hears her family celebrated by kicking her out of their house and who will find you a room with his younger sister when he hears you need good but inexpensive lodging (and when he knows you’ll help look out for her).

Another character that I love is Fang. A part hellhound that looks like a red-haired terrier, Fang is the best thing that could happen to Val after losing the home she thought she had. He’s part-demon with a sense of humor. In fact, you’ll love all of the new friends that Val makes. She may be in danger of losing the family that raised her, and hopefully her mom will come around with time to give Val the emotional support that she needs. However, she does have new friends who back her unconditionally, and I can’t wait to read her continued adventures in Try Me.

Bite Me is about accepting yourself for who you are. It is about making friends and finding love. I recommend this book to older teens and even adults, who are fans of urban fantasy and darker, edgier books. If you like Bite Me, don’t miss Try Me and Fang Me, books two and three in the Demon Underground series!

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A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Monday, August 15, 2011
5 Stars: Incredible
Series: Iron Fey #4
Paperback: 394 Pages
Publication: October 26, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.



To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The Iron Queen left us with a sense of despair when Meghan Chase took her place as the Iron Queen and banished her one true love from her court to save his life. Now, Ash returns to fulfill his vow to Meghan and find a way for him to stay with her… he returns to win himself a mortal soul. In order to do this, Ash must travel to the End of the World and be the first to pass the multiple challenges set his way.

Looking at Ash through Meghan’s eyes, he seems to be a calm, collected man who rarely lets slip the mask he wears, the one of a Winter prince. While the past books have hinted that there is more to him, The Iron Knight gives us a glimpse into the man behind his mask, and we see Ash for who he really is: an insecure man with centuries of burdens weighing on his shoulders. He worries that he isn’t strong enough for Meghan, he regrets his long feud with his best friend, and he mourns Ariella’s untimely death.

I trusted Ash to overcome any physical obstacles that would come this way. What I wanted to know was if Ash’s love could overcome its own obstacles, and Kagawa brought out the big guns for this. Time after time, even before reaching the End of the World, Ash’s love for Meghan is tested. And once you think Ash’s heart has won, there are bigger challenges awaiting him at the final destination of his journey.

If I thought I loved the Winter prince, I love the man inside even more. He wears a cool demeanor on the outside, but he has the potential to have one of the warmest, most loving souls out there, if he can only overcome his past. Kagawa gives us insight into his potential life as a human with Meghan besides him, and it’s bittersweet with all that it represents. It’s hard to believe, but this is the end of our journey with Meghan and Ash. I’m going to miss them.

And Grim. He’s the cattiest of all cats. Hard as it is to believe, I’ll miss “Wolf Man,” as well. I grew rather fond of him over the course of Ash’s journey. I can’t forget Puck’s sense of humor. That’s impossible not to miss. I’ve always been jealous of Meghan for having him as a best friend. As for the seer, the seer was a necessity to this story, though it doesn’t mean I liked the conflicts the seer caused for Ash. Without the seer, Ash couldn’t have made it to the End of the World, and he wouldn’t have been able to put his past behind. After all, that is the job of a seer—to point the path to the future.

Julie Kagawa brings the Iron Fey series to a stunning conclusion in The Iron Knight. Ash’s love for Meghan will be tested in a manner that has the potential to stir doubts in even his most devout fans. Julie had me captivated and falling more in love with the Iron Knight with every page. The Iron Knight is a book for re-reading. I recommend it to those of you who love everything to do with the fey, to those of you who love magical adventures, and most of all to those of you who love romance stories, because this is one that puts the truest of hearts to the test.

For more information about the Iron Fey, check out the official site. Also look forward to the companion series that will be told from the point of view of Meghan's brother Ethan, which I am so, so, so looking forward to reading. I also thought we didn't see enough of him!! (Which means we'll probably see recurring characters... but I will miss seeing them from Meghan's perspective.)

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An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Imagine My Mailbox (10)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kris's Mailbox


As I haven't been doing IMM for a couple weeks, this will be a culmination of all I've received for review since August.

First, from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers...


Dark Parties by Sara Grant (Goodreads, my review)
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (Goodreads)

I'm currently reading Guardian of the Dead and will be reviewing it after I've finished my review of Vanish by Sophie Jordan. Now, I need some help deciding which of two books to read after Guardian of the DeadWard Against Death by Melanie Card and The Marked Son by Shea Berkley.

I really enjoyed the last adult/young adult crossover novel that I read: Bite Me by Parker Blue (expect my review Tuesday!), and I've always enjoyed historical fiction novels. Melanie Card's Ward Against Death incorporates both elements. Twenty-year-old Ward d'Ath has been branded as a criminal by he Quayestri for trying to be a surgeon, so he's left to working as a necromancer. However, upon waking the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he's dragged into solving the mystery of her murder, an investigation further complicated by her mood swings and the many enemies she's made during her life.
The Marked Son is one of few YA books told from a guy's perspective, as compared to all the books with female protagonists that you see out there, so I'm excited for this one. It's about seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy who was abandoned by his mother and who has dreams of a girl in white telling him that only he can save her world from an evil, power-hungry lord. What guy wouldn't want to hear those words? The only problem is that her world is full of creatures of horror stories, and his human blood has him marked for death. This is book one in the Keepers of Life series.

So which book should I read and review first? Please vote by commenting on this post. I'd really appreciate it!

Review: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Saturday, August 13, 2011
5 Stars: Incredible
Hardback: 320 Pages
Publication: August 3, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Reads

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...
Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.

The name and the U.S. cover both look foreboding. However, Dark Parties is less of a dark thriller and more of a dystopian novel. It is the future, but the general population doesn’t know it, as the news, history… everything… is censored by the government. Resolved in her belief that there is a better life out there, Neva has begun silent protests against the government. However, it seems as though the government knows her every move….

I love the symbolism behind Neva’s name, which means snowflake. Within the Protectosphere, the population has been inbreeding so much that everyone looks alike. Snowflakes look alike and yet each one has a unique pattern. It is her namesake from her grandmother, who believed in a better life outside of the Protectosphere. A belief that Neva shares.

Neva is a strong character with an even stronger voice. It takes incredible spirit to speak out against a government before which even your own parents, loyal citizens of the state, quail. She’s curious, brave, and intelligent. Still, there were some things that I thought she would have seen. That it would be impossible to get her peers other than Sana to fight the government again after their initial failure. Why the government is taking so many young girls even when they have done nothing against the government (think dwindling populations, encouraged sex, and a Women’s Empowerment Center).

Overall, the plot is really interesting. At a time with so many dystopian novels coming out, Sara Grant creates a unique world in which I lost myself. I couldn’t have guessed all the plot twists that were coming! Everything did come to a head all too quickly, and things worked out conveniently for Neva. However, she had her own losses, and she was kind of in a hurry to get out of there.

I’m intrigued as to how Sara Grant will continue from where Dark Parties left off (if she does). The government seems all-powerful within the Protectosphere, and the ending is very open, leaving us with so many questions that I hope she'll answer.

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A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Boyfriend From Hell Tour


As part of the Boyfriend From Hell book tour, E. Van Lowe's been kind enough to provide a copy of Boyfriend From Hell up for grabs!

What the "Hell" is Boyfriend From Hell? (Pun totally intended) Well... here's a review.

This giveaway will be open internationally. If the winner lives in the US (s)he will receive a hardcopy of Boyfriend From Hell, otherwise, an international winner will receive an ebook.

How to enter? Easy, roflcop--sorry, Rafflecopter! The only requirement is to be a GFC follower of Imaginary Reads, then click "I did this" and you're good to go! Of course, there are always extra entries... if you're up to it...








Boyfriend From Hell is the first book in the Falling Angels Saga. While the book is scheduled for publication September 1st, White Whisker Books is offering an ebook pre-sale, where for two weeks (from Aug 15th-31st) Boyfriend From Hell kindle or Nook will be available for just $2.99. On September 1st the book will go up to its regular price. Readers can go to the publisher's website on or after the 15th to purchase.

Winners!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Liyanna won Divergent, and Summer won the signed ARC of Dark Inside. Both winners have been confirmed.


Congratulations to the winners! We had well over 900 entries for the Divergent giveaway and over 1000 entries for the Dark Inside giveaway!! You've succeeded in impressing us.

If you didn't win anything, never fear. We have more exciting giveaways coming up, including one for Boyfriend From Hell that starts tomorrow. Haven't heard about this one?

Check out Hikari's review to see if you'd be interested in entering the giveaway.

Book Blogger Hop (15)

Book Blogger Hop

“Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

Hmm... What books do I have with interesting titles? Well, there is one called Paranormalcy that I really like. I mean--Para-normalcy, aka. so not normal? It's a really unique title that underscores Evie's desire for a normal life when she's not very normal (but so very special) herself.


Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.


There's also Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have), which underscores the fact that they did ten things and really should have re-considered what they were doing.

2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.

Noticing a pattern?

The titles that really stand out to me are the interesting ones. The ones that hint at the going-ons of the book without giving anything away. The ones that entice you into reading the book. The ones that don't have cheesy, not very original titles that could be about any other hero(ine). The creative titles that you recognize right away.

And of course they're interesting (relating to the topic at hand).

Follow Friday (15)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Q. How has your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?

I'm still a teen. Currently... I'd say I'm in love with dystopias? They just have this thing about them that I love. I think it's because they could happen at any time. I don't have a really strong genre preference though. I mean, I tend to shy away from historical fiction (hey, I'm a 21st century girl) and whodunnit murder mysteries, but I'll still read them if they're good, or if I have nothing else to read. I'll gobble up any book thrown my way, regardless of genre, as long as it's a book.

Review: Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

4 Stars: A Great Read
Series: Intervention #2
Paperback: 324 Pages
Publication: February 12, 2011 by Zondervan

When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse. His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies. In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

Vicious Cycle is book two of the Intervention series by Terri Blackstock, centered on the lives of the members of the Covington family and how drugs impact their lives. While there are recurring characters from Intervention (book 1), it is possible to read Vicious Cycle without having read Intervention beforehand. References to past events are made in context and easy to understand. Honestly, I hadn’t known there was a first book until I looked up Vicious Cycle.

Jordan is a fifteen-year-old meth addict who has given birth to a baby girl while under the influence of drugs. Seeking to give her baby a better life, Jordan leaves her in Lance Covington’s car. Coerced by her mom, who wants to sell the baby to dealers, Jordan accuses Lance of kidnapping, and he is thrown into jail. The events of Vicious Cycle unfold from the alternating perspectives of Barbara Covington (Lance’s mother), Kent Harlan (a detective with an interest in Barbara), Lance Covington, Jordan, and Emily Covington as necessary to further the plot as the Covingtons search for Jordan and try to get her to speak up for Lance, accept treatment, and put her baby up for adoption. It may seem overwhelming from the list; however, Terri Blackstone knows how to thread the multiple points of view together into a suspenseful novel.

You can see the clear-cut differences between two families with drug-addicted daughters. Jordan turns to drugs because her family does drugs and goes so far as to abuse her, making her think that she’s worthless. On the other hand, Emily, who has gotten into the wrong crowd, has family members supporting her. They get her treatment and stay beside her to keep her out of temptation’s reach once she completes treatment.

Lance is an amiable, very likable, guy. As Jordan later confesses, he's the kind of guy that girls want in their life. His kindness to Jordan is often thwarted by her inability to accept that she has the potential to chance. However, he continuously reaches out to her and talks to her about God, and he’ll breach the barriers she’s placed around her heart. He’ll teach her about faith and forgiveness. I also like Jordan. While she tries to reject help, you can see how mistreated she’s been, how insecure she is, and you can’t help reaching your heart to her. She's stubborn and independent--and despite all she's been through, she still yearns for love and acceptance.

The central characters of the novel are religious; however, the religion is skillfully woven into the novel so that it doesn’t come off too strong for readers who aren’t Christians. More than a Christian novel, Vicious Cycle is about choices. It is about trusting our friends, those who care about us. It is about learning from the consequences of our actions. Even if we take a wrong turn, there is someone there willing to support us and show us the right path. It is about forgiveness, learning how to forgive ourselves and give ourselves a chance.


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An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.