Friday, April 18, 2014

Pasadena Book Festival Announcement + Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross + GIVEAWAY

Event date: Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 12pm-4pm
Venue: Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101

T-Shirt sign-ups at CustomInk

Today, I am happy to interview Elizabeth Ross, author of Belle Epoque!


Elizabeth Ross grew up in Scotland where she studied French and Film Studies at the University of Glasgow.
After graduation she worked in the film industry in Montreal for several years, becoming a film editor. That career path eventually led to Los Angeles where she now lives with her husband.

Her debut novel, BELLE EPOQUE, will be published in June, 2013 from Delacorte Press/Random House. She is currently at work on a new novel set in 1940’s Los Angeles. Elizabeth is represented by Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Goodreads ~ Website ~ Twitter

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog Blog Tour: Review of Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman + GIVEAWAY

I'm so very excited to be a part of the Prisoner of Night and Fog blog tour, which you can check out the rest of HERE.

Goodreads rating: 4.14
eARC, 416 pages
Publication: April 22nd 2014 Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Romance

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.
And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.
As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but it truly blew me away! There has never been an unrequited love quite like the romance between one of Hitler's sheltered beloveds and a Jewish reporter. I think that's what really kept me in this story; there's so much that could go wrong and everything felt so on-edge and the stakes were high from the beginning. The other thing I really loved about this book was that it was so relatable in a sense but also so foreign. I can't quite put my finger on it; there were very few situations in this book that I might find myself in, but I really connected with Gretchen and found her situation with her family and Daniel so endearing I just could not stop reading! It was so strange getting used to being on a personal level with Hitler. Some serious kudos to the author for making Hitler into a pretty great guy at first. But, of course, he's still one of the villains of this story, and his true nature ends up being reflected in one of the characters close to Gretchen and she starts to realize how wrong she was about everything. Especially Daniel. It also amazing me how the author could so vividly describe Gretchen's distaste and even mirror that distaste in Daniel for Gretchen, and then in thoughts and movements have that distaste move to something completely wonderful. I loved how that part of the romance was written.

I felt like, more than most books, that we as readers could connect to what was going on here since it occurs in somewhat recent history and we learn a lot about it in school. I gave this book 4.5 apples for only one reason, and that reason is because I found myself wanting to put it down after certain characters got together. I feel like it could have been drawn out a bit longer and created a little less surety and suspense in the plot. I know it seems like a minor thing, but it really made me want to put down a book that I seriously considered bringing into the shower with me (my Kindle, that is) and read it in there! I really enjoyed the stories of the secondary characters, and some I even knew from history (like one of Gretchen's friends). But Gretchen soon learns that there aren't any people close to her that she can really trust, and the one man she thought would always have her back may have been the reason for her father's death. What started out as a heart-wrenching murder mystery turned into a need for survival against the oncoming Nazi occupation. There was just so much about this book that I loved, and I really only had that one issue. The plot soon picked up again and I honestly didn't know what was going to happen on the next page. I love that about a book! Very highly recommended to all! :)

Lovers of historical fiction, especially pre-WWII. Also, for people who love a romance that's forbidden on so many levels! I really loved this book!

This was very unique! I honestly can't think of many books that I've read that take place in this time period.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What Does the Bookworm Say? ~ Negative Reviews

The question this week specifically is: Do you write negative reviews and why or why not?

First thoughts: I have no problem whatsoever in writing negative. Seriously.

The reason I started this blog was to share my HONEST opinion on the books I was reading. I don't care if the author sent it to me themselves or if I bought it in a bookstore; I'm going to give it the same review. I might mention in the review that the author is really sweet, but I will never give a book a better review just because I know the author. It's a little difficult when everyone seems to love the book (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a great example) because I feel like the black sheep. But if I mentioned the things that bothered me, maybe other people can relate because they experiences the same thing. Or maybe I've prepared other readers for the bad parts and the book seems a bit better to them in comparison because they were ready for it. I don't know, but either way, I'm not afraid to write a negative review, whether I bought it or received it from a publisher/author for review. That's the whole point of the blog!

I think the other side of this coin is writing reviews for DNF's (did not finish). Those are a bit of a different situation; I didn't finish the book and therefore I can't give a full review. But the same principle applies. I'm going to tell you why I didn't finish it so that, if you have the same problems with other books and try to avoid them, I may have saved you the time of reading a crappy book.

There was a... debacle a couple years back with a female YA author who shall remain nameless (but I'm sure some of you heard about the situation) and her publicist who were bashing reviewers on their reviews on Goodreads and on Twitter for writing bad reviews for her book. It was ridiculous and I was appalled. Her book continues to sit on my shelf because I'm waiting for a time when my brain can truly separate the art from the author. Things like that get in the way of a critique on the work itself, and not how the author behaves.

All in all, I don't have a problem writing a bad review. I don't like writing them because I obviously wish that all the books I read could be guaranteed 4-5 stars. But it just doesn't work like that. Books reach people on different levels; I may love a book that someone hates and vice-versa. That doesn't mean it's a bad book. I try not to pick at every bad thing. In fact, I often say what I liked about it. Okay, I'll rant about the bad stuff, but I do mention the good stuff AND how it could have been better. I wish I didn't have to write bad reviews, but I'm not going to not review a book just because I'm worried about how people will react to the negative review. I'm just telling it like it is people!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Uni Files Blog Tour: Top Ten Heroines with Anna Bloom + GIVEAWAY

I'm very excited to be part of this blog tour! Sadly, I wasn't able to finish the book on time, but I'm happy to tell you about it!

Goodreads rating: 4.24
ebook, 393 pages
Published September 25th 2013 by Soul Mate Publishing
Series: Uni Files #1
Genre: NA contemporary

For Lilah McCannon, life has taken a bit of a wrong turn. Engaged to a guy she is not in love with and stuck in a job with her tyrannical father as her boss, life has definitely not turned out the way she expected.

At twenty-five years old, Lilah knows that she has a simple choice: live the life she has created or change it.

Enrolling on a course at the local University, Lilah sets out with some clear rules to ensure her success at being a grown-up. No alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys, and no going home. But the last thing she anticipates is meeting Ben Chambers, the lead singer of a local band. With Ben, it’s instant, it’s hot, and it’s deep, but when Ben is offered the opportunity of a lifetime and it looks like his future lies on a different path to hers, Lilah has some heart-rending decisions to make.

With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges. Will she ever make it up the library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? Most of all, will she be able to make the ultimate sacrifice and learn The Art of Letting Go?

About the author:
Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer who writes about life as it happens. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two small children whilst working in a local school and completing The Uni Files series. Anna’s main aim in life is to create the perfect book which makes a reader laugh and cry at the same time, hopefully causing a convulsive (impossible to ignore) donkey noise. It’s a work in progress! Anna also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys – all in the name of her art.

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According to FTC guidelines, I'm obligated to share with you that all of the books that I review on my blog are either purchased by me or given to me by an author/publisher. All of the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and I do not receive any sort of monetary goods for writing either good or bad reviews.