8.28.2012

Blogger Pet-Peeves

School has started back up for me (my excuse for the lapse in posts ;), and I don't have a lot to actually post about anyway right now, so here comes a rant about my personal pet-peeves as a book-blogger. Feel free to skip this post!

1. When authors/publicists/publishers don't read my review policy.
I would think that it's common knowledge that every blogger has his/her own submission guidelines for review copies. That being said, I would think that people submitting things for review would actually want to read those guidelines before sending an email. I have lots of links around my blog to my policy, and a whole page dedicated to my policy. I think that my policy is pretty clearly outlined (if it's not, shoot me an email so I can fix it!). A few points of it are:

  • I do accept self-published
  • I am not currently accepting e-books due to the inconvenience of not having an e-reader
  • I accept only YA novels and some MG
  • I'm not currently featuring paranormal books
It really sort of annoys me when I get requests for adult paranormal romance. It also annoys me when the emails start out with "I know you don't accept self-published, but..." I do accept self-published. I do. I promise I wasn't lying when I said that in my policy. 

When I can't accept a book because of the e-reader thing, and if it's something I or readers (you guys) may be interested in, I'll offer to do a book spotlight instead. So all you authors with no hard-copies available, I'm sorry, but I can't read your book right now. Shoot me an email about doing a feature post instead.

2. Blog awards
They're sometimes nice and thoughtful, but they're time consuming and can be annoying.  


3. "I just followed you, can you please follow me back?"
No. I usually only follow the blogs I want to read, and ask no less of you. I always appreciate the follow, but I love readers more, and commenters the most :) It makes my day when I get a comment. You are more than welcome to leave a link your blog, as long as it isn't spam (check my policy page for that). I will definitely stop by your blog!


4. People who post the same comment to every participant's meme post (Book Blogger Hop, IMM, etc.).
The purpose of these memes is to actually read the post, as well as get blog exposure. Its kind of inconsiderate just to copy and paste. I always read the post, and try to comment in a way that pertains to the post, not the meme. 

These are just a few things that bother me. They may or may not be a problem for you, and that's perfectly fine :) I'd love to hear your opinions and pet-peeves, so post a comment or leave a link if you've done a similar post! This post is by no means meant to call anybody out, and I ask that all comments be kept respectful :).

Thanks for reading!

8.27.2012

Book Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.
Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.
Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.
My Review: So I've been waiting for this book since FOREVER! I was sooo excited when I saw it came out on my birthday! I loved the Maze Runner trilogy, so I had high hopes for this one, and I can definitely say it exceeded my expectations. By A LOT. 

This book was a definite page-turner! There was NEVER a slow moment. I was definitely not expecting what this book turned out to be, so it really kept me on my toes. I'd say it's the best Maze Runner book. The world building was awesome. Mr. Dashner does a fantastic job with that, and that was another way this book topped the trilogy. The story he told also added a lot to the series, and if you read the trilogy, I highly recommend you read this one too. 

I LOVED the characters! That was by far the greatest improvement with this book. They were awesome! My favorite was definitely one of the more secondary characters, Alec. I really liked Mark as well. They were both really well done. 

The ending was amazing! It was completely perfect.


The Kill Order is a prequel to The Maze Runner trilogy. If you haven't read any Maze Runner books yet and you want to (I highly recommend them), I suggest you start with the trilogy first, even though this is a prequel. Things will make more sense, and I think you will enjoy the books better that way.  :) This series is a great one for dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and zombie fans. 




Thanks for reading!


8.20.2012

Cover Reveal: Perception by Lee Strauss

So I was asked to help out with sharing the new cover of this book PERCEPTION by Lee Strauss, and here it is:


It looks fantastic! 

Here's a bit about the book for anyone interested (me included):
PERCEPTION is a ( SF/mystery/romance) Young Adult novel that takes place in the not too distant future in a world changed by climate extremes, natural disasters and impending wars, and where scientific breakthroughs cause class divisions—both financially and philosophically. It explores the clash between faith and science and how differences can separate us as enemies or ally us together. And in some cases, even in the midst of betrayal and personal crisis, there’s room to fall in love.
This is the first book in a planned three book series.
And the blurb:
Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.
Her brother Liam is missing.
Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.
Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.

PERCEPTION will go on sale September 12 on Amazon and other e-book retailers. Since that is SO far away, here are some links if you'd like to learn more about the book:

GoodreadsFacebookWebsite

I'd LOVE to hear what you think of this book! Thanks for reading!

8.19.2012

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've recieved via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etc. Sign up for the linky list here, and if you are participating this week, I'd LOVE to see what books you got, so leave me links in the comments!


This week I got 4 books from various places:




1. The Toadhouse Trilogy by Jess Lourey


I got this book from the author in return for an honest review. I'm super excited to read this one :). Isn't the cover gorgeous? 

Goodreads


Author Website






2. The Council of Mirrors by Michael Buckley


My brother got this one for me for my birthday! I love this MG series, and can't wait to see how it ends.

Goodreads

Author Website








3. The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare



I got this one as a birthday present as well :). I love this cover too! I'm excited to read this one too. 

Goodreads

Author Website






4. The Kill Order by James Dashner


This one actually was released on my birthday, but I didn't get it then. Instead I got it on Friday at Barnes and Noble. I'm most excited for this one!

Goodreads

Author Website






That's my mailbox for this week! I'd love to see what you got, so leave me links! I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for reading! :)

8.18.2012

Book Review: Shaman, Friend, Enemy by M. Terry Green

*I recieved a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.*

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Patients with fractured souls, clients threatened by deadly ancestor spirits, and now the paparazzi–it’s all in a day’s work for techno-shaman Olivia Lawson. Livvy has rocketed to the top of the shaman world, bringing old friends with her but also attracting new enemies.
Even as her career soars, her personal life spirals downward. Broken bonds and lost love finally force her to confront the terrible secret of her beginning in shamanism. Despite being attacked by dark shamans and navigating a spiritual plane that seems out of control, Livvy’s single-minded quest steers her into dangerous territory and puts her on a collision course with those dearest to her.
No longer interested in walking a fine line, Livvy discovers that–when the one thing you need is the one thing you can’t have–you’ll risk everything.

My Review: Yes! Another great and unique read! Even though I loved book one, I liked this one a lot more, and thought everything had greatly improved, especially the conflict!

Since there was so much that I loved about this book, I'm going to list them out:

  • The characters! Livvy was still awesome, and I loved that I got to see a lot more of the characters from book one. And of course, I loved how all the characters were influenced and changed somehow through the course of the action. The new characters introduced were very interesting to read about, and were part of the reason that kept me turning pages.
  • The Conflict! There was A LOT of conflict involving A LOT of different sources. I love stories like that! 
  • The action! There was also a lot of action that kept the pages turning. 
  • I couldn't put it down! 
  • THE ENDING! I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. This was a good one!
  • Also, the cover is pretty cool :)

I can't wait to get my hands on book three (hopefully out this fall)! 



Thanks for reading!

8.15.2012

YA Giveaway Hop Winner

Thank you SO much to everyone who entered! You guys are all amazing! I wish I had something for all of you!

So the winner of Distant Waves and Suite Scarlett is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats! Michele has already confirmed and her books are on the way! Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Coming up soon here on Amanda's Writings is another giveaway, celebrating 200 followers. Check back to win some awesome prize packs!

8.12.2012

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've recieved via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etc. 


This week I got two books from the library:


I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys.
Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.

I love fairytale retellings :)

2. The Hollow by Jessica Verday
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead...and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her - one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
 I won the second book in this series a while back, but I haven't read this one yet.

I'm finally caught up on my TBR pile, so hopefully I can get to these right away! Now that you've seen what I got, I can't wait to see what you got! Leave me links to your posts in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Shaman, Healer, Heretic by M. Terry Green


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Even for a techno-shaman, a kachina in the bedroom isn't exactly part of the drill. When Olivia Lawson wakes to find one towering over her, she panics. A Hopi god visiting the real world isn't just wrong-it's impossible. Or is it?
Soon Olivia learns that the kachina is the least of her worries. As she struggles to save her clients, clashes with other shamans, and fends off the attacks of real-world vigilantes, Olivia finds herself in the destructive path of a malevolent ancient force intent on leaving the spiritual realm to conquer this one.
Left with few options, Olivia is forced to defy centuries of shaman prohibitions. As she and her allies risk everything in their bid for survival, Olivia ultimately learns that the rules are there for a reason and that breaking them has a terrible cost.

My Review: *I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.* This book was pretty awesome! To start with, it is definitely a new and unique concept. I can honestly say I've never read a book about shamans. The world-building was fantastic, the characters were great, and there was lots of action!

This book had me hooked right from the beginning, and never slowed down. There was a lot of exciting action! Olivia (Livvy) was my favorite character. She was determined, and unwilling to let anyone stand in the way of her doing the right thing. She wasn't afraid to break the rules to help people, and wasn't willing to let bad things happen when she could do something about it. 

The only thing I had a bit of an issue with was the bad guy, and part of the battle scene. It was just a little off for me, but it was still a good finale. 

I loved the end, and I can't wait to start book two!



Thanks for reading!

8.10.2012

The Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop The Book Blogger Hop is an awesome way for fellow book bloggers to learn about each other, find new blogs, and gain exposure! It's hosted by Jen over at Crazy-for-books.com


If you're interested in participating, here's what you do:


1. Post on your blog answering this question:

Who is your go-to author when reading in a rut?
2. Enter your post in the linky list at Crazy For Books.
3. Visit the other blogs on the list, spending quality time getting to know the people you are visiting. Don't just visit the post with the question, but click around and read some of the blogger's other content, too! This Hop isn't about the number of people you can visit, but the quality of each visit.

Alright, so my answer for today's question is: 

J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan. I've read the Harry Potter books so many times already, but they're like old friends. I can always get into them :). And as for Rick Riordan, well, Percy Jackson is quite possibly my favorite book character ever. So anything with Percy Jackson is automatically amazing. 

And that's the Hop! If you participate in this meme, I'd love to see how you answered! Leave me a link to your post in the comments and I'll stop by your blog! Thanks for reading!
Don't forget to check out this giveaway!

8.09.2012

Book Spotlight: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Release Date: March 19, 2013

Links: Goodreads ~ Website ~ Author

I love this book cover. Like a lot. It is GORGEOUS! I haven't read the second book in this series yet, but I know I'm going to buy this book when it comes out just so I can look at the cover up close. Lol. 

What do you think of this cover? How excited are you to read this book?
Thanks for reading!
Giveaway Hop!

8.08.2012

Book Review: The Fairytale Keeper: Avenging the Queen by Andrea Cefalo

*I received a digital copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review*
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Snow White was a pet name her mother had given her, but her mother’s dead now. Adelaide hates that name anyway. A rampant fever claimed Adelaide’s mother just like a thousand others in Cologne where the people die without Last Rites and the dead are dumped in a large pit outside of the city walls. Adelaide’s father is determined to obtain a funeral for his wife, but that requires bribing the parish priest, Father Soren. When Soren commits an unforgivable atrocity, he pushes Adelaide to her breaking point, but if she seeks justice against the cruel priest, she risks sacrificing everything: her father, her friends, her first love, and maybe even her life.

My Review: This was an interesting and unique read. It's a historical fiction influenced by a mix of different fairytales. It wasn't a retelling, but I enjoyed the way the classic tales were woven in. 

Adelaide (Addie) was my favorite character. She was a strong character in more ways than one. She stood up for what she believed in and tried to do what was right, and kept going even when everything screamed at her to stop. Ivo was another of my favorites. He was strong like Addie, and sweet :). 

It didn't take me very long to get sucked into the story, but it took me a little while to get used to the style of writing. It's different, but it suits this story. The actual story was great! It was very dynamic. There was never a slow moment, and I couldn't put the book down. I loved how much Addie grew as a character and a person, and the ways she changed. I also loved the different ways the fairytales popped up.

And then came the end. Gah! That can't be it! It was perfect, and I was excited and it ENDED! I sincerely hope there will be a book two!




Thanks for reading!

8.07.2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop (August 8th-14th)

Hey readers! Welcome to this Young Adult Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, and Reading Teen. It runs from August 8th (tomorrow) to August 14th (my birthday). I'm excited to get started! 


Here's what's up for grabs:




These books will go to ONE lucky winner. Here's what you have to do to get them:
  • You must be 13+
  • You must have a US mailing address
  • You must fill out the Rafflecopter form below
The first entry is mandatory, and the rest are extra. You do not have to follow my blog to enter this giveaway, but it is much appreciated. :) Without further ado, the entry form:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out the rest of the giveaways on the linky list!

8.06.2012

Harry Potter Bookmarks

So I went to Barnes and Noble today. My brother had been wanting to go for a while, but I was just going to "look".  

Well, then I saw this:



It was only $20 and It was incredible and amazing and I really wanted it. I almost got it. 

Then I saw these:




I bought them. Way cooler than a collector's edition Narnia. 

8.05.2012

In My Mailbox (19)



In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've recieved via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etc. 


This week I got 4 books:




I got this one in the mail from RandomBuzzers.com, and I can't wait to read it!

I found this one at the library today! I loved Fablehaven, so I can't wait to read Brandon Mull's next series!

I'm a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, Jackson Pearce, and Jackson Pearce's book covers. I also found this one at the library :)

I've already read this book (and loved it!), but I sadly don't own it, so I grabbed it at the library too. 

Well, that's my mailbox! If you participate in this meme, I'd love to see what you got this week, so leave me links in the comments! Thanks for reading!

8.04.2012

Book Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.
Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past -- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone -- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is. Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
My Review: I love Jackson Pearce, I love fairy-tale retellings, and I love awesome covers. So right of the bat, Sweetly = Win! But anyway... Sweetly was a great interpretation of Hansel and Gretel, and a great companion to Sisters Red, and it wasn't just a strait up retelling either. Each part of the original Brother's Grimm story was in there somewhere if you were paying attention. :) I LOVE how the author worked it all in.


Sweetly started off awesome. It hooked me and pulled me in right away, and got me invested in the outcome. I already really wanted to know where this was going to take me, and the only way to find out was to keep reading. ;) So I did, and I was totally not disappointed. 


Gretchen was an awesome character. She doesn't want to forget the past, but she's tired of letting it hold her back. She wanted to be stronger. Ansel didn't have as big a part as Gretchen, and he wasn't quite as awesome, but I did like his character as well. 


The overall story was just as awesome as the beginning. It was definitely a page turner with lots of surprises and things to keep me guessing, and I loved the end. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was the infamous chocolate festival. I don't think it quite lived up to expectations.


Anyway, great read! I highly recommend to fans of Sisters Red and fairy-tale retellings.




Thanks for reading! 

8.03.2012

Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger HopThe Book Blogger Hop is an awesome way for fellow book bloggers to learn about each other, find new blogs, and gain exposure! It's hosted by Jen over at Crazy-for-books.com


If you're interested in participating, here's what you do:


1. Post on your blog answering this question: 
When a book goes "viral" (Hunger Games, Fifty Shades, Twilight), do you rush out to read it like everyone else, even if it's not your genre?
2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list at Crazy For Books. 
3. Visit the other blogs on the list, spending quality time getting to know the people you are visiting. Don't just visit the post with the question, but click around and read some of the blogger's other content, too! This Hop isn't about the number of people you can visit, but the quality of each visit. 


So my answer for today's question is: Nope. Not usually. I try to read the books that I know I'll like, and a lot of the hyped up books have fallen flat for me (like Fallen). But I try not to judge a book by the hype, because there have been a lot that I have liked as well, even if it took me a while to get to them (like The Hunger Games). I definitely notice books because of the hype, but I like to do some research before I devote any amount of time to them, so I don't end up with something like Fifty Shades of Grey. 


And that's the Book Blogger Hop! If you participate, I'd love to see how you answered the question, so leave me a link to your post! 
Thanks for reading!

8.01.2012

Book Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Toe the line between rule-following and rule-breaking in this tense and twisted start to a smart and sexy dystopian trilogy.Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.     But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous—everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.     This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.  

My review: For the most part, I didn't like this book. Here's why:

  • There wasn't enough world building
  • There wasn't enough character development
  • It was confusing
  • It didn't make sense
  • It wasn't realistic
  • Some things were too predictable

I was super disappointed, because I love the author and Possession sounded like it had a lot of potential. It sadly did not live up to it. 

BUT. I loved the ending. It was just about perfect, but still not enough to save the book for me. 
BUT. It was enough to make me want to read book two (and I've also had some very reliable recommendations for book two from a close friend). So I will be reading book two as soon as I can get my hands on it, and I will be keeping you posted about it. 



Thanks for reading!

Giveaway winner: Downburst by Katie Robison

Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway! The winner has been notified (and has confirmed)!

Check back tomorrow for a review of Possession by Elana Johnson, and keep an eye out for my next giveaway!

Thanks for reading!

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