Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Article 5 (Article 5 #1) by Kristen Simmons

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back. Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.(synopsis from Goodreads)

Compliance is Mandatory

Kristen Simmons debut novel Article 5 blew me away.  Set in the United States this post apocalyptic dystopia was gripping and the romance bittersweet.  I consumed this book in a few hours and it left me wanting more, wrought with emotion and completely convinced I could never be compliant.

The tale focuses on seventeen year old protagonist, Ember Miller.  She and her mother live alone in a world where the Bill of Rights has been revoked and they are now governed by the Moral Statues.  A list of rules (articles) that if not adhered to, can have you arrested, tried and convicted. The whole country is run by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Their rules are enforced by a group of soldiers nicknamed, the Moral Militia.  In this crazy world, (that must be run by some crazy religious zealots) only one religion is accepted, there is no Internet, the news is controlled by the government and a candy bar will cost you a hundred dollars.  Holding someone’s hand while unwed in public is a punishable offense. At the school Kristen attends, soldiers regularly show up and arrest students for Article violations; eerily they are never seen again. When Kristen returns home after school, the soldiers show up and arrest her mother for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statues.  Kristen struggles to stop them from taking her mother and recognizes one of the soldiers. It’s Chase Jennings. Chase use to live next door and he is the only boy she has ever loved. Outraged that he would participate in arresting her mother, she strikes an officer. Kristen is arrested and taken to a reform school/home run by the sisters of Salvation. Kristen learns she will remain here until her eighteenth birthday. Concerned for her mother and unwilling to submit, Kristen makes plans for her escape. The tale that unfolds and the journey Kristen takes left me breathless, outraged, depressed, delighted and craving more of Simmons tale.

While Simmons world-building prepared me for this oppressed, sadistic, controlled new world, it also left me frustrated with questions.  We never learn about the war or why the people accepted this new government. I am hoping that book two, which remains yet untitled will shed some light on these questions.  Having said that, I was complete caught up in the tale, and Simmons’ characters. While flawed they had such depth and believability. Her depiction of the Moral Militia and the Sisters of Salvation send goose bumps down my spine.  A farm family of three who’d sell out their neighbor for a reward reeked of what a post-apocalyptic world would entail. We meet broken and brave souls willing to risk it all.  This is a world where one’s humanity is lost to preserve self. To survive you must trust no one. The plot was fast paced with lots of action and was very character driven. The tale Simmons’ weaved had lots of twists and reveals that sent my heart racing and my emotions soaring. 

Kristen and Chase are both flawed characters. Kristen has been the parent in her relationship with her mother, she feels abandon by Chase and feels utterly helpless. She struggles with this because her personality demands that she be independent and self-sufficient. The fact that she depends on Chase scares her.  Chase has had an equally tough life since the change. His mother has passed and after spending time with his Uncle, he is basically abandoned. He is drafted by the militia and there he is broken.  The romance between the two of them, at times broke my heart. It is quite apparent that these two love each other but there is so much baggage, emotions, and things left unsaid, that they constantly hurt each other.  Watching the two of them figure things out was a roller coaster ride, and I ended up loving every frustrating, emotional minute of it.  In Kristen and Chase, Simmons’ captures what happens to the human mind when placed in survival mode.  How it struggles to abandon its own ethical and moral code to survive.

I highly recommend Article 5 to fans of post-apocalyptic dystopias and romance.  This novel gives an eerie look at a morally controlled society and a governing body with absolute power.  It also provides a look at humanity and mans will to survive.  Simmons’ has made my list of must watch authors and I am eagerly awaiting news on book two. Article 5 is currently available in paper and eBook formats.

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Author's website:Kristen Simmons

Pick up your copy here:
Barnes and Noble:Article 5
Amazon:Article 5
The Book Depository:Article 5

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Gathering Storm (Katerina Trilogy #1) by Robin Bridges

Sixteen year old Katerina of Oldenburg hides a dark secret from her aristocratic family: she can raise the dead. At an elite school for daughters of European royalty and nobility, she discovers a supernatural evil growing in 1880’s St. Petersburg. Now, she must protect her family, not only from the two dominant vampire families in the city, but must also keep them out of the power struggle between the warring fairy courts.(synopsis from Goodreads)

The Gathering Storm is the debut novel of Robin Bridges and the first in her Katerina Trilogy.  Bridges' paranormal novel delivers, from the historical aspects of Russia to the supernatural. This was a delightful tale of vampires, fairies, werewolves, witches, necromancers and other supernatural creatures.  A combination of Russian history and folklore make this an exciting, addictive read.

The protagonist Is Katerina Alexandrovna, she is the Duchess of Oldenburg, residing in Russia during the reign of Tsar Alexander III. Katerina is a necromancer, but she views this as a curse. She attempts to hide her gift and wants no part in using the ability.  Once as a small child she used it, to save her mother’s cat, but she quickly realized the cat was wrong.  Since she hasn’t even told her parents her secret, she understands very little about her ability and is fearful to share it with anyone.

Katerina is attending finishing school. A school which is more concerned with ballroom dancing then studies. Katerina longs to attend medical school at a time when woman are banned from being doctors. Her dearest friends are more concerned with catching the eye of the highest titled and richest young man. Katerina has been inspired by the first woman in the field and daydreams of going abroad to study. Alas, she has been born to an era where alliances and families’ incomes are dependent on securing good marriages for their daughters.

In a world filled with balls, gorgeous gowns, ballet, and musicals there is a dark underbelly filled with witches, vampires, werewolves and Fae all vying to secure their place.  Katerina attracts the attentions of a powerful family, when she uses her gift to save a member of the royal family. As this family attempts to secure power, they use their skills to lure Katerina. Their young son uses his power and threats to woo her. At the same time she attracts the attentions of George (the Tsar’s middle son). He pledges to keep her safe, but she is constantly getting herself into trouble trying to solve things, and of course the young vampire Prince Danile wants to make her his bride.  

The tale that unfolds is captivating and complex. People are being poisoned, guards are being murdered and bodies are rising from the dead.  As Katerina struggles to uncover who is causing these attacks, she finds herself caught up in the middle of things.  When she is offered help by elders, she finds herself confused as light fights dark. With Prince Danile and George breathing down her neck, can she save the royal family before it’s too late? 

There is romance or the hint of it in this novel, but delightfully it takes a backseat to all the suspense, plots, and supernatural events.  This book completely captured me, and it was delightful to see young Katerina come into herself and protect those she loves; even at great sacrifice to herself. I found other characters to be delightful as well. I liked George, and Katerina’s friends and even the dreadful Princess Elena.

I highly recommend this to fans of paranormal, suspense, and romance wrapped up in a historical setting. I am anxiously awaiting book two of the Katerina trilogy entitled The Unfailing Light, which is scheduled to publish in October of 2012. The Gathering Storm is available in paper and eBook formats. 

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Author's website:Robin Bridges

Get your copy here: 

Here is the cover reveal for book two The Unfailing Light:

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox

In my Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. It's a chance to share books and things we have received, purchased or won.  I am trying to do this at least once a month. So without further ado here are some of the things I received over the last month..

For Review:


Gifted or Won:

I won a kindle touch and 50.00 gift card from the wonderful Maggie @Reading Diva' Blog Stop by and check out her blog!

The lovely Jill Hathaway author of Slide
sent me 5 autographed bookmarks.
See my review of Slide

I won an epub copy of Bound by Mist from Fasbionta@Booked Up Reviews

Well that's a small glimpse at some of things arriving in my mailbox. What was in your mailbox? 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Young Adult Paranormal Activity Giveaway Hop

Young Adult Paranormal Activity Giveaway Hop
February 24th to 28th

Hosted by Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Lora @ Read For Your Future.

This is my first Hop and I hope you enjoy it! 

Good luck, leave a comment and take a moment to check out my blog! 

My prize for the Hop:
Your choice of one of these fab novels!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and Good Luck! -Kimba :)

Be sure and visit all of the wonderful blogs participating in this event:

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A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) by Kim Harrison

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the Hollows with the electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed Pale Demon!

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.(synopsis from Barnes and Noble)

Like many Hollows fans I pre-ordered A Perfect Blood and was counting down the days till its release. I was anxious to get my hands on it and stayed up Monday night just to download it promptly at 12:01. I just wanted to read a few pages; such was my anticipation.  It took me three sessions to complete this novel, as the gods and life worked against me. Now that I’ve finished, I am glad because I had a chance to savor it. Now I find myself, stuck right back where I was on Monday...waiting for the next Hollows release..sheesh.  A Perfect Blood, had a blended feel of earlier novels and newer ones as Rachel dealt with being a demon and spent much of the novel with limited powers. As always I loved my trip back to the Hollows.

The tale begins with Rachel, a declared demon, trying to gain status as a citizen; well get her car registered.  She is wearing the bracelet Trent gave her, and basically has no more power than an earth witch. While it protects her from the entire demon collective and keeps Al from dragging her to the ever-after, it is pitiful to see Rachel like this.  She feels stuck and feels like Ivy and Jenks are moving forward. She has a bodyguard, courtesy of Daddy. A delicious werewolf named Wayde and even without all of her powers she is still quite capable of getting in trouble and driving him crazy.  While at the DMV she is paged and taken to a back office. She meets a living vampire who asks her to take a seat and then proceeds to be inhabited by a very old Master Vampire. He wants Rachel’s to help the I.S. department. Someone is abducting witches and using demon magic on them. Rachel immediately agrees but only if, he gets her car registration taken care of.  Rachel is first suspected of committing these crimes, and asked to produce a list of curses that she is capable of performing as a demon. Rachel calls Glenn and the FIB when she sees evidence that this might be a crime involving HAPA (A human hate group). The first part of the book progresses at a slower clip, as Rachel contemplates life without magic, has mini-pity-parties and works to solve the case. The second half of the book is non-stop action and left me breathless. No filler words here my Hollow loving peeps. Tons of twist, trickery, traitors and secret groups will have you turning the pages. Rachel as always finds herself in trouble, kicks butt and never ceases to surprise anyone..even herself.  

I love Harrison’s characters and many make an appearance along with a few new ones.  Trent is back, a softer Trent, a happier Trent. An elf who is embracing his magic. Is that hearts I see in Rachel’s eyes?  Harrison weaves their stories closer together in this novel and makes Rachel see him in a somewhat different light. It is almost magical, like perhaps this was Harrison’s vision all along. Eek gads she is wickedly good.  What we also see in this novel is a lot of character growth. While Rachel still (and always will) rushes into things, she is getting better and actually made plans. She, listens (well some of the time) and is starting to think things through and see the bigger picture.  Ivy is finding peace and acceptance and Jenk’s is surviving the loss of his wife.  David makes an appearance and he and Rachel make peace about her position in the pack. Trent has a lot of character growth and I loved it. Our beloved AL puts in an appearance or two…is it freaky that I love that little demon.  We meet Ella, the young living vamp, who is possessed by the Master Vampire and Dr. Cordova and FIB agent you will love to hate. We also meet a witch, named Winona, who is held prisoner and befriended by Rachel. I really liked Winona, she is clever, witty and one brave cookie.  Daryl is back and living with Glenn and we learn a little more about her.

While not without flaws, A Perfect Blood delivered and lived up to my expectations. I really liked the blended feel from the first few books of the series to the present. I am anxious to see what Rachel does in the next installment of the Hollows entitled,  Ever After. It is expected to be released in 2013. Harrison is saying there are two maybe three novels left in this series and I will be sad to see it end. A Perfect Blood is currently available in paper, eBook and audio formats.

Cover Talk: I loved the red and black. Rachel looks good, and the man in the back ground had me curious. It's a winner.

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Author's website: Kim Harrison

Buy the book from:
Barnes and Noble:A Perfect Blood 

Amazon:A Perfect Blood 
The Book Depository:A Perfect Blood

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What She Doesn't Know by Lina Gardiner

Raven Gale can’t put the past behind her. A year ago, her husband tried to kill her in a car accident and killed himself instead. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough; she finds out someone is pretending to be him on an isolated island in the Bay of Fundy. What if it’s really her husband? What if he’s still alive? She’d been in hospital when the funeral was held. For the first time in her life, she finds the strength to track down the imposter to find out what’s going on.
Now stranded on an island with no way back to the mainland, she’s in the worst trouble she could ever imagine. The imposter claims to want to help her and keep her safe from the other visitors on the island, a group of men who want her dead. And she has no idea why. She quickly learns everyone wants the same thing her husband wanted. Her family’s secrets. Secrets that she doesn’t know, or can’t remember.(synopsis from Goodreads)

What She Doesn’t Know is a romantic suspense novel, that takes place primarily on an isolated island of the Bay of Fundy. Gardiner known for her paranormal romances delivers a suspenseful tale, filled with a secret society and a group of greedy thugs who want to uncover treasure. I quickly became engrossed in the tale and its characters. 

The protagonist Raven Gale is determined to put the past behind her, but when it appears that someone is using her dead husband’s identity she investigates.  A little over a year ago, her deceased husband tried to kill her, and a part of her is somehow afraid he is still alive. She learns the person using his identity is on an island in the Bay of Fundy. She hires a guide to take her there.  What she finds is a man who looks very similar to her husband, but before she can get some answers, she finds herself tied up, chased and running for her life. In order to survive, she will need to put her faith in Sloan (the man impersonating her dead husband). Raven soon learns that her parent’s death and everything she thought she knew about them is wrong. A group of men are after a treasure they believe her parents safeguarded and think Raven may have the answers. It’s a race against the clock as Raven and Sloan attempt to solve the mystery and stay alive.

Gardiner’s tale was action packed with likable characters. Raven and Sloan were the main characters, and I liked the interaction between them. While Raven clearly cannot follow directions, she is quick on her feet and remains calm while questioning everything.  I respected Sloan for not rushing into things, even though the physical attraction was intense between them almost from the onset. The fact that he was noble enough to realize it was more important that Raven have all the facts first, scored him major points.  The romance, while it progressed slowly, was delightful.

The tale that Gardiner weaves was fantastic, with secret societies and hidden treasure. It reminded me of the movie, National Treasure. Overall, the plot moved at a good pace, revealing key points along the way.  This gave the tale, a genuine feel and added to the overall suspense. There were a few scenes where I question the plausibility of what occurred. For example, when someone is shot in Raven’s apartment, she and Sloan are able to leave the scene and go to the hospital.  While the author provides an explanation, it wasn’t realistic for me.  The EMT’s witnessed them at the scene.  The author also stated the police where held up with a traffic accident and couldn’t be on seen. For shots fired? Not Chicago? The next morning they return to that apartment and Raven showers. Wouldn’t this still be a crime scene?  But do not be discouraged, this was my only issue and a small bump in a fantastic, action packed, suspense that kept me turning the pages to see it reach its climactic conclusion. I would enjoy meeting more members of this secret society and hope Gardiner decides to make a series from this novel. 

I recommend What She Doesn't Know to fans of romantic suspense and mystery.  Gardiner has five published works, including the Jess Vandermire paranormal series. The first book in that series is entitled, Grave IllusionsWhat She Doesn’t Know is currently available in eBook format. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I want to thank the author for gifting me a copy of this book, in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 3.5 coffee cups out of 5. 

Author's website: Lina Gardiner

Pick up your copy here:
Barnes and Noble:What She Doesn't Know

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Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher

Against Shannon's wishes, love stakes its claim in her heart. Will she discover treasure or treachery? When Shannon Adair accompanies her minister father to the western gold rush town of Grand Coeur, she's certain she'll never be happy away from her beloved Virginia, even though the South is still gripped in civil war. Wells Fargo driver Matthew Dubois isn't sure the lovely Shannon belongs in Idaho Territory either, but he is a desperate man. His widowed sister is dying and leaving her young son, Todd, in his care. If Matthew ever wants to return to driving coach for the express company--and he does mean to return to it--he'll need a wife to look after the boy when he's away. Shannon is determined not to lose her heart to a man who is neither a Southerner nor a gentleman. But love stakes its claim. Now, will her heart survive learning the truth behind the courtship?

Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher is a delightful faith-based historical romance.  This novel takes place in Grand Coeur, part of the Idaho Territory during the Civil War. It touches on the north and the south, immigration, and accepting through faith people from all walks of life. At its heart it shares the struggles of Shannon Adair as she follows her heart.

Shannon is a minister’s daughter, who thanks to her deceased mother was raised in privilege in southern Virginia. She has lost her fiancé to the war, and has spent the past few years working as a nurse for the South. When her father feels a calling and accepts a job as a minister in the western gold town of Grand Coeur, Shannon makes the journey with him.  She is heart-broken about leaving her friends and shocked by the people she meets.  She meets and takes an instant dislike to Wells Fargo drive Matthew Dubois when he declares, no alliance to either side of the war.  When Matthew seeks the minister’s help in finding someone to care for his dying sister and her young son; Shannon accepts the position. She soon realizes her opinions of Matthew may be wrong. The tale that unfolds is delightful, as the dying sister sets about finding a mother for her son and a wife for Matthew. The romance that develops between Matthew and Shannon is sweet but not without competition as a young southern gentleman, looks to court Shannon as well.  It was a delightful experience watching Shannon discover that there is more to a man’s character then where he was born.

Hatcher captures this raw territory and the people who reside their beautifully. I found the tales regarding the Wells Fargo stage coach and the war to be fascinating. She touches on the trials of the gold rush, the brothels and the troubles Chinese immigrants faced in the West.  While this novel’s faith-based message was a little too heavily salted for my taste, I still enjoyed the tale. The characters, especially Matthew’s sister touched my heart and made the love story all the more surreal.

I highly recommend Heart of Gold to fans of Christian historical romances and fiction. Heart of Gold is available in paper and eBook formats.  I look forward to reading more of this award winning author’s work.

I want to thank Booksneeze and Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Author's website:Robin Lee Hatcher

Buy this book from:
Barnes and Noble:Heart of Gold

The Book Depository:Heart of Gold

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites - Tribute Blog Tour Stop

I am excited to be a part of 
Tribute Books Rebel Wife Blog Tour.
Today the author is joining us to tell us
 a little about the time period in which The Rebel Wife is set.

Please join me in welcoming author:
Taylor M. Polites

The Rebel Wife Book Summary
Set in Reconstruction Alabama, Augusta “Gus” Branson's is a young widow whose quest for freedom turns into a race for her life when her husband Eli dies of a swift and horrifying fever and a large package of money – her only inheritance and means of survival – goes missing. Gus begins to wake to the realities that surround her: the social stigma her marriage has stained her with, what her husband did to earn his fortune, the shifting and very dangerous political and social landscape that is being destroyed by violence between the Klan and the Freeman's Bureau, and the deadly fever that is spreading like wildfire. Nothing is as she believed, everyone she trusts is hiding something from her. 

Now Taylor is going to share a little about the time period of this book:

The Rebel Wife is set in late Spring 1875, after the November 1874 elections in Alabama brought the Democrats back to power and restored what many refer to as “home-rule.”  This was the end of Reconstruction, close to ten years after the end of the Civil War.  When I was growing up in Alabama and learning about the period, the big event was the Civil War.  Very little was said about Reconstruction other than it was a terrible time of much suffering under some sort of forced and corrupt Republican rule.  All the books and movies seemed to focus on the dramatic events of the war (as they still do), neglecting its coda, a period twice as long as the war itself in which dramatic and often futile efforts were made to fundamentally change the way Southern society was organized—economically, socially and politically.  The cornerstone of this process was the enfranchisement of African-American men, the vast majority former slaves.  Legislators in the federal capital believed that arms would not be available forever to enforce the civil rights of the recently freed people, but the vote would serve as their protection—that is, their participation in self-government would ensure that they would have a voice at the ballot box to influence government.  The Civil Rights Act of 1875, passed February 1875, offered further federal guarantees of civil rights, regardless of race.  By 1883, however, the act was struck down by the Supreme Court in a series of cases that denied that the federal government could intervene in the states over civil rights issues—States Rights won this round, each state being granted exclusive authority over the regulation of the rights of their citizens.  The legislative drama ultimately put to bed by the Supreme Court was also being played out in the broader culture that reflected the growing national fatigue with the struggle over black civil rights and desired a consensus of white national unity over race politics.  In the process of post-war national reconciliation, the Reconstruction program of equality (that was truly radical for the time) became the casualty. 

The period of Reconstruction contained as much drama as the Civil War, but has remained a step-child to the main event of white America’s war with itself.  As the debate over the extent of Federal power over the states, which one would think would have been concluded in 1865, continues, so does the debate over the extent and meaning of the “Civil War amendments”, the 13th, 14th and 15th, which abolished slavery, ensured citizenship for American-born people regardless of race, and guaranteed the right of all American citizens to vote. These political changes were made against the backdrop of economic collapse and racial violence that consumed the South in the years after the war, a fertile and rarely turned ground for a dramatic narrative.  The rare cultural discussion of Reconstruction drew me to the period.  But when we look back at the war (especially now in the midst of its 150th anniversary), we cannot understand what the war was about and what changes it made without thinking about, asking about Reconstruction.  The Rebel Wife, I hope, opens a door to that discussion for readers who have that interest.  I want it first and foremost to be a fascinating read, but I also want to add another layer to the exchange between literature and history, to the often blurred lines between fiction and fact.

Taylor M. Polites is a novelist living in Providence, Rhode Island with his small Chihuahua, Clovis. Polites’ first novel, The Rebel Wife, is due out in February 2012 from Simon & Schuster. He graduated in June 2010 with his MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. He has lived in Provincetown, Massachusetts, New York City, St. Louis and the Deep South. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in History and French and spent a year studying in Caen, France. He has covered arts and news for a variety of local newspapers and magazines, including the Cape Codder, InNewsWeekly, Bird’s Eye View (the in-flight magazine of CapeAir), artscope Magazine and Provincetown Arts Magazine.

Author's links:

 I want to thank Taylor for stopping by today!
I find this time period fascinating and look forward to reading 
The Rebel Wife
                    Thanks again, Kimba

Buy this novel at:
Barnes and Noble: The Rebel Wife
Book Depository:The Rebel Wife

*to learn more about other stops on
 the Rebel Wife Blog Tour
 and Tribute Books click on the banner at the top of this post.
The next blog on the tour is A Bookish Libraria on February 24, 2012.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.(synopsis from Goodreads)

The Snow Child is Eowyn Ivey debut novel and it is absolutely breathtaking.  Set in 1920’s Alaska, and based on a Russian fairytale this lyrical tale stole my heart. Ivey expertly crafts characters and paints a world that immediately draws you in. Set against the harsh and beautiful landscape of Alaska and laced with magic, hope, and fairy dust; I will never look at snow the same way again.

Jack and Mabel have tried unsuccessfully to have children. After Mabel delivers a stillborn, she is eager to get away, and in their early forty’s they decide to accept a government issued homestead in Alaska.  Life is hard as Jack builds their home and then clears the land for farming. Mabel cooks, cleans and sews but this isn’t the life she imagined. She pictures herself helping Jack farm, but he cannot fathom his wife working in the fields.  Mabel is uncomfortable around people and especially children, but Jack takes her to meet some of their closets neighbors.  They arrive at the home of George, Esther, and their three sons.  Mabel quickly finds them to be delightful, generous and experienced homesteaders.  Ester is a true woman of wild Alaska. She wears woman’s britches and can cook a moose.  Ester is able to draw Mabel out, and the two chat like hens in a coup. Mabel is feeling renewed and hopeful, when the first snow fall occurs. She heads out into the yard and when she sees Jack she lobs a snowball at him. A snowball fight quickly follows and they are soon laughing like children. Mabel feeling young and giddy, asks Jack to build a snowman with her. Despite some reluctance he falls into helping and even carves a beautiful face on the snowman.  They realize it looks like a girl, and slowly add a dress of snow, some straw for hair and a pair of red mittens.  After, they go inside, for the first time in a long time, they lay together as man and wife.  When they awake, the snowman is gone and so are the mittens.  Around the base and leading into the woods are a child’s footprints. They see glimpses of a child watching them in the woods, but she runs off when they pursue her. Jack leaves things for her on a log. Winter’s in Alaska can be bleak and dark and sometimes play tricks on the mind. When Mabel tries to tell Ester about the child, she is met with skepticism, even Jack won’t omit what he is seeing.  Mabel remembers a tale about a snow child that her father told her and quickly writes to her sister asking her to check the attic for the book.  When the book arrives, Mabel becomes even more convinced that they created a snow child.  Jack believes otherwise, but knows, despite how crazy it seems, that the child belongs to the woods.

The snow child known as Faina befriends them and the tale that unfolds is magical, touching and at times heartbreaking.  Ivey surrounds Faina’s existence in doubt, even using punctuation to cast mystery. When Faina speaks there are no quotation marks.  The tale spans over many years and shares the hardships and joys of the Alaskan frontier.  Ivey’s pen paints images and brings nature to life, while weaving magic throughout.  The characters have such depth, and I connected with each of them. I came to love them and Faina. At one point I set the book down, unsure if I could handle an unhappy ending. My curiosity won out, and I was soon swept back to Alaska, soaking up every word.  I can tell you that I am glad that I did and that this is a book I will reread again and again.

I highly recommend The Snow Child to everyone.  Fans of historical fiction and fairy tale retellings are sure to delight in this novel.  This is the type of book that you will want to share and gift to others. The Snow Child is available in paper and eBook formats.  I have added Ivey to my list of must read authors.

I want to thank netGalley and Little Brown and Company for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 5 coffee cups out of 5. 

Author's website:Eowyn Ivey

Pick up your copy here:
Barnes and Noble:The Snow Child
 Amazon here:The Snow Child: A Novel
The Book Depository: The Snow Child

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

I am Participating in the Review Copy Cleanup Event

I am joining Vicky @ Books, Biscuits and Tea and Celine @ Nyx Book Reviews for their Review Copy Clean-up event in March. I have quite a few reviews scheduled for March, and this will help make my busy review schedule fun. I invite you to join us in cleaning up your review pile...ya know you want to, ya know you need click on Vicky or Celine's link and sign up. They have scheduled lots of fun events and cool prizes....deadline for sign up is March 15, hurry on over! 

Here is a list of just some of the book I will be reviewing:

Her Dear & Loving Husband by Meredith Allard
Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans #1) by Suzanne Johnson
Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr (Virgin River series # 19)
Gold Train by Lady Ray
Blind Sight through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson (Blind Sight #1 Aniela) by Eliabeth Hawthorne
Revenge Is Sweet by Misty Evans
After the Snow by S.D. Crockett, Sophie Crockett
Grave Mercy by R.L. Lafevers

 Challenge schedule:
✦ March 2 - Show Off Your Pile
✦ March 9 - Cuddle Up With a Book
✦ March 16 - Don't Be Such a Tease!
✦ March 23 - Mysterious Meet-up
✦ March 30 - Love Will Find a Way

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Mist by J L Wilson

Seven years ago, I was kidnapped and held against my will by a monster who made me his 'bride'. I was kept for more than forty days -- 964 hours, to be precise. 964 hours of torment, fear, and humiliation. Each of those hours twisted me until I was no longer Carolyn O'Malley, a woman with a normal life, a woman who lived in a nice home on a nice street with a man who loved her, with a sweet little dog and a good job and a life just like yours... By the time I jumped out of a window and escaped, running naked through the snow to freedom, I was mangled into the person I am today, a scarred and crippled woman whose lover was brutally murdered, whose life was torn asunder, a creature who lost everything in those nights of terror. Now there was just one focus in my life: Find the monster and kill him. I've spent the years recovering from my wounds, planning, and training for what I would do. My chance might finally be here, if I play my cards right. The FBI task force has laid a trap with my bodyguard, Ned Buchanan, as the bait. I'll be going into the trap with him and if I have my chance... Have you ever wondered what happens to us afterward, to those who were missed? Have you ever wondered how we feel, how we adjust to 'real life' again? Have you ever wondered what would happen if we could face our torturer? Have you ever wondered how good revenge might feel?(synopsis from Goodreads)

Mist is a compelling psychological thriller that captivated me from page one. Wilson takes us on a suspenseful ride as we enter the life of Carolyn O’Malley; the woman who escaped from the sadistic serial killer known as the Groom.  The tale was fast paced, with twist and a little romance. I read this over two evenings.

Carolyn O’Malley was the only one to escape from the serial killer known as the Groom.  He grabbed her in her home and seven days later made her his bride. He held her for over forty days before she jumped from a window and made her escape. Permanently scarred both mentally and forever physically, she has spent the last seven years helping the FBI. They have created a task force know as the Bridegrooms.  Ned, an ex-military buddy of her late partner, has been living with her as a bodyguard. Every year on the date of her escape, the Groom sends a sympathy card.  Carolyn has spent the last seven years secretly plotting her revenge. After Carolyn escaped, the serial killer changed his MO.  He began taking  girls in the spring and fall; each girl resembles Carolyn.  If she changes her hair color, he changes his victim. The FBI task force believes she is the key and together they will lay a trap to capture him.

The tale that unfolds sent me on quite a ride, as Wilson slowly revealed what occurred during the forty days Carolyn was held.  As Carolyn works with the FBI, we learn they are keeping things from her and she is keeping things from them.  The clever twists and reveals Wilson provides kept me engaged, as I connected with the characters and worried about them. The relationship between Ned and Carolyn is unique. He has spent the past seven years acting as her bodyguard, maid, nurse and friend. Ned is deeply in love with strong-willed Carolyn and deep down she knows this. As Ned hints about life after the Groom, Carolyn must address how she feels about Ned.  The climatic, weekend ending, was gripping and a surprise reveal left shocked. After I closed the book, I realized Wilson had cleverly dropped clues along the way.

I highly recommend Mist to fans of adult psychological thrillers and mystery.  This is the first novel I have read by Wilson but it won’t be my last. This novel contains dark subject matter, and some of my followers might find this adult-fiction to realistic. Mist is currently available in paper and eBook formats.

I want to thank the Book Rooster for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 4 cups of coffee out of 5.

Author's website:J L Wison
Buy it at Barnes and Noble here:
Or on Amazon here:

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