Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banned Books Week Giveaway

Hosted by the ever-amazing I Read Banned Books & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
September 28th through October 6th

Banned Books Week is a yearly event celebrating the freedom to read.  This event is usually held during the last week of September and highlights the value of free and open access to information.  Banned Books Week brings together librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, and readers to show their support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, though they might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools.  It's amazing at how these books have been criticized and scorned yet they still remain available to the public thanks to the work of librarians, teachers, students, and members of the community who support the freedom to read. 

Below are three of my favorite banned/challenged books:

To find out more frequently challenged titles, please go here.

While I own these three (and others that have been challenged or banned), I'd like to give my readers the chance to select their own banned or challenged book with a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card!

Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Anew + Giveaway!

Title:  Anew (Archers of Avalon #1)
Author:  Chelsea Fine
Pages:  378
Genre:  Paranormal Young Adult
Publisher:  Acacia Publishing
Obtained:  From Publisher for Blog Tour
Summary:  Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery... until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet's determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he's kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet's world becomes even more muddled. While she's instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she's impossibly drawn to Tristan--and confused out her her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past... might just be the death of her.

The Dish:  Oh my... I want more!  That's how I felt while reading Chelsea Fine's Anew.  I'll admit I had a completely different story in mind when I first read the summary, and Fine definitely delivered a heart-pounding story.  And when I say "heart-pounding" I mean literally in our heroine's case.

After waking up two years prior with no recollection of any memories, Scarlet has been living as normal a life as she can manage in Avalon, Georgia.  She has a guardian who provides for her every need, a best friend who brings her happiness, and she has just started seeing one of the most gorgeous of guys.  Despite these things, Scarlet wants to know about her past, about who she is and why she would have been left in the forest alone without anyone coming to look for her in the past two years.

Scarlet is an amazing character.  With all that she has been through in first trying to figure out who she is and then in dealing with the fact that she is living with a curse that forces her to die, I would have freaked out a lot sooner than her.  She's a strong person and an admirable girl.  What confused me was after she found out about Gabriel and Tristan and how she couldn't understand why she was so drawn to one brother.  Granted, with the way one treated her versus how the other treated her, her confusion was rather justified.

I was very intrigued and smitten with both Gabriel and Tristan Archer, but at the same time, the mystery behind their curse was a factor that really pushed me through the story.  There was one brother that really caught my attention, and I'm very curious to see what will happen in the next book.

While some of the questions put forth in the story were answered, there were others that had yet to be resolved.  Readers will love the dynamic between Scarlet, Gabriel, and Tristan as well as the mystery behind their curse, though I highly recommend having Awry, the second book, on hand.

Thanks to Acacia Publishing, I have one physical copy of Anew for US residents and one ebook copy for International residents!  Enter below to win a copy of Anew by Chelsea Fine!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blog Tour: Anew by Chelsea Fine

I'm happy to welcome author Chelsea Fine and to participate in the blog tour for the first book in Chelsea's Archers of Avalon series, Anew.  Please give a warm welcome to Chelsea Fine as she discusses the background behind her idea for the Archers of Avalon.

The Fountain of Youth, Archers of Avalon Style
By Chelsea Fine

Nearly every culture in the world has their own legend of the Fountain of Youth, also known as the Water of Life, the Elixir of Immortality, and the Fountain of Bounty. Names for this sought-after fountain have come and gone through the years and across the world, but the desire for eternal life has yet to fade from human existence. Because with life being as fleeting and frail as it is, who doesn’t want to be immortal?
When I was first developing my Archers of Avalon series I knew I wanted to make my characters immortal, but I didn’t want them to be creatures. While vampires, fairies, and angels are intriguing subjects, they are still creatures. I wanted to write a story about human beings who happened to have eternal life. But how would a person go about becoming immortal?
 The Fountain of Youth.
 In American history, legend has it that a Spanish explorer named Ponce de Leon traveled to North America in the sixteenth century and allegedly discovered the Fountain of Youth in northern Florida.
My Archers of Avalon series is set in the small town of Avalon, Georgia—just a short distance away from the supposed location of this mythical fountain. Coincidence? I think not. J
While my interest in the Fountain of Youth started out as just research for my books, it has slowly turned into a fascination of mine. Which is ironic because, in my story, water from the Fountain of Youth is entrancing, yet dangerously addictive, stealing the life from those who consume it.
But my immortal characters (two brothers) are not trying to drink the water. They are searching for the fountain so they may undo a curse that has plagued them for centuries and threatens to kill the girl they both love. This curse was sealed by their eternal blood and can only be broken by the very thing that gave them their immortality in the first place; water from the Fountain of Youth.
And so the story begins….  ;)

Thank you, Chelsea, and it's wonderful to see your take on the Fountain of Youth as a means of creating immortal humans.

About the Author:

Chelsea lives in Phoenix, AZ where she spends most of her time writing young adult fiction, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs.  Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks.  She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen. 

 Find Chelsea on:

About the Book: 

Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in a forest alone, afraid, and with no memory. Lost and confused, her past was a complete mystery... until she met Gabriel Archer. Intrigued by his voice and its familiarity, Scarlet immerses herself in his life only to stumble on a secret. Gabriel has a brother. Once Scarlet meets Tristan Archer, her life becomes even more muddled. She's instinctively drawn to both of them and confused out of her mind. She can't figure out why Gabriel feels so familiar or why she's so attracted to Tristan. But the Archer brothers have more than just one secret and they know a lot about Scarlet that she doesn't--including the fact that she's cursed. They all are. 

Find Anew at: 

Please be sure to visit other blogs on the tour linked here!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (50): Bookish People I Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted by one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone is welcome to join, just make sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so everyone can check out other blogger lists. Have fun!

Top Ten Bookish People I Want to Meet
(In no particular order)


1. Rae Carson (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers) - I'm so thrilled to meet the author who broke some serious "norms" in YA fiction.  Elisa is one of the most courageous and amazing fantasy heroines readers will ever find.

2. Kerstin Gier (Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue) - It's so understandable how she became an international bestseller.  I cannot wait until Sapphire Blue is released in October. 

3. Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer) - If you haven't been paying attention to interviews, reviews, and the like involving either Jay or Stormdancer, I'm betting he's an awesome and hilarious guy to talk to.

4. Tamora Pierce (Song of the Lioness) - I missed the chance to meet this early YA writer when I was at Dragon*Con back in '08.  Should I have the chance again, you can bet your boots I'm going to meet her.

5. Gena Showalter (The Nymph King, Intertwined) - This was the woman who got me back into reading paranormal romance when I thought all there was to offer was vampires.  She seems like a fun lady, too.

Bloggers :

1. Marla from Starting the Next Chapter - She's been a great blogging friend and confidant when it comes to advice on what to get for the library.  I hope one day we can meet and chat about books and writing over coffee and dessert.

2. Poison Rose from Picked by Poison - As a new partner in crimeme *rimshots*, I'm sure she'd be a fun person to hang out with.

3. Christy from The Reader Bee - I've followed this lovely lady for a long time now, and she always has great reviews and such a cute blog.  She's one of the best precedents for bloggers, and I would direct any newbies to her blog.

4. Louise from Between the Covers - A hilarious and snarky lady, I know she'd be great to go shopping with, especially in a bookstore.

5. Kyla from Unbind with Words - Same goes for this pretty lady as with Louise, she's one awesome writer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Mashup (1): Picked by Poison

Welcome to the Monday Mashup, a no frills but all thrills meme with no commitment issues!  Just fun getting to know fellow bloggers. This blog is hosted by Amy H of DJ Librarian Dishes and Poison Rose of Picked by Poison.  All we want to do is introduce you to your fellow bloggers whom you may or may not know and share the blog love!

If you'd like to be featured or know someone you'd like us to feature, contact either Amy or Poison. Welcome to the Meme and enjoy getting to know another blogger.

Today's featured blogger is: Picked by Poison

button by parajunkee

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you?
My name is Sara. I'm a single mom and Web Designer up here in MN. I have a 7 year old son, Ryan who is in second grada.. I'm a jewelry addict! I have so many pieces, but I wear the same set almost daily, with the exception of holidays/ special occasions.

2.  How long have you been blogging?  
Its been a little over a full year since Picked by Poison got started.

3.  Why did you get into blogging?
I got into blogging after I got into Romance last year. I know sad, isn't it. Here I am at 33 and JUST getting into romance and all the steamy stuff..LOL. My Fav. Author, Laura Kaye, was still unknown before then to most, as she was still doing fan-fiction at the time. BUt she was at that point in the beginning phase of writing Forever Freed and posting a few chapters on - next thing I knew it was pulled and being published, so I sat in wait for almost a year before Lucien finally got his story.... *le sigh*

4.  What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
Hard choice at first, but I have to go with Big Came (the V V Inn Series #3) by CJ Ellisson because I have been waiting for a while for the book, CJ has gone through some rough patches to get it out, but delayed it for good reason.

5.  What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?
Author Interviews hands down. I get to ask about back-stories of characters, research whats to come and my set of fun questions for all the authors I've been lucky to interview.

6.  Where do you see your blog in five years?
Overbooked on mysite with request from author's on from Book Tours to keep it a one person gig. At my reading page I’m only getting in one book a week, and I'm not getting to the series I want to read with my commitments. Brutal honesty there.

7.  Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?Easy! Interview with CJ Ellisson, Vivian and Rafe.

8.  If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
Oh, great question! With Author it would have to be Jodi Redford. She is funny, witty, and writes a sex scene that can involve objects one would NOT think can be sexy! Have you seen her guest post about Home Depot?!?!? Read it Here.

As far as characters I'd go with my first love, Lucien Demarco from Laura Kaye's 
Forever Freed He was my first true Romance love, and part of what got me into romance again. And got me into Paranormal Romance all around. He holds a special place on my "Book Boyfriends" list...LOL

9.  What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
Detroit or NY where Forever Freed took place. I want to see the places described by Lucien and Sam.

10.  What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?
Meeting new book bloggers and making new friends. :)  Local groups which have lists of bloggers by region/state so I know who else is here in my area.

11.  Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?
Not as much as one would think. I still try and stay with Romance mostly, but I do go into some of the darker toned books in the PNR genre and some horror as well. I have also delved more into erotica lately as I'm finding some great Authors who can write it how I like it.

And About You: 
12.  Tell us three non-book-related things that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
I’m a roller-coaster enthusiast. I would love to join American Coaster Enthusiasts (A.C.E.) and travel around going from one amusement park to another riding roller coasters day in and day out! LOL

I’m a very stubborn Capricorn; I don’t like being told how to do things. I would prefer to try my own way and either watch it fail and try again of find I can succeed with my own methods.
I collect pins from places I’ve been as souvenirs.


13.  What do you like to do in your downtime (besides read of course)?
I like to go out with my friends, whenever we can all find the time; otherwise I love to attend concerts – seeing Seether in October, Halestorm and Trans-Siberian Orchestra in December.

14.  If you were given a break to do one thing on your “bucket list” what would you do?
Eesh, morbid thought. Hmm…I might try writing, but my grammar and English would have to be professionally edited extensively!

15.  If you went to your dream vacation spot where would we find you?
As of lately, I would love to be in another Disney resort. They are so much fun and loaded with amenities and the parks are never ending fun!

16.  What are some of your hobbies and interests you enjoy?
I love designing my son’s Birthday invitations and thank you cards. I don’t like the non-customized “boxed” invitations and such.
I love doing web design – I volunteered and took on doing my son’s PTO website for his school.
I collect pins from places I’ve been as souvenirs.

Flash round:

17.  Cake or pie?  Hands down, Cake!

18.  Coffee or tea?)  Neither – give me hot cocoa or apple cider!

19.  Beach or mountains?  Beach

20.  Night owl or morning dove?  Night Owl!
Thank you so much for visiting, Poison!  It's always great to learn more about blogging friends.  You're the peachiest! *huggles*

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thought for Thursday: Weeding

Weeding: the process of removing materials from a collection.  Synonyms: culling, removing, trimming, making space.  It just sounds wrong on so many levels especially when referring to your library.  But as with a professional library, there is only a finite amount of storage space present in a building whether it's your home, storage facility, or otherwise. 

Part of my job as a librarian is the process of weeding the collection of materials that haven't circulated (been checked out) over a long period of time, materials that are in poor condition (falling apart, possess an unsightly odor, water-damaged, or moldy), or materials that are outdated.  We do this to keep the collection fresh and new while also providing for the changing needs of our patrons.  Serving as an academic library as well as a public library, this is even more important as well for the students and professors. 

So why is it so hard to weed my own home collection?  I can only have so many bookshelves and those bookshelves can only have a certain amount of space.  But each time I have to go through the bookshelves to weed, it's like parting with a friend.  And I find it even harder to weed older books, those few titles I've had for many years.  That's like getting rid of family, and who would do that to one's family?

Here's what I usually do when I have to weed my collection at home.  I take a look at the entirety of my library and see which titles that either I have read before and will probably be less likely to read again or titles that I bought on impulse and are less likely to actually read.  Yes, I know, I suffer from being a bibliophile, but I'm working on my problem.  And it's thanks to the idea of a friend that I keep in mind when I do feel the urge to purchase a new book.  For each book I buy, I must give/sell/donate a book from my bookshelves.  Logical, right?  It has actually helped in my weeding process because when I weed, it usually means another reader will benefit.  Readers get new-to-them books and I free up some shelf space.  Such a win-win situation!

So while it might be a sad thing to do, weeding is a process in any library to make room for the new or new-to-me.  Keep that in mind when you are trying to fit new books from an event onto your shelves. 

How do you choose to weed your shelves?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.  Anyone can play along!  Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR lists!

This week's teaser comes from Melissa Jensen's The Fine Art of Truth or Dare.

"In another story, the plucky little heroine would have slapped both hands onto the table, making it wobble a little on its predictably uneven fourth leg.  She would then have taken both hands, ripped the long scarf from around her neck and, chin high and scar spotlit, stalked to the dais, leaped up, and slayed the audience with her kick-ass version of 'Respect.'  Or maybe 'Single Ladies,' for the sheer Yay factor." ~pg 146.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thought for Thursday: Dear Author

Do you remember your first letter/email that you wrote to an author?  Remember that feeling of nervousness you got when trying to formulate just how much you enjoyed said author's book(s) into either an understandable letter or email?  I know I definitely do. 

Of course, this was when I felt authors were these awesome beings that were cloistered away from the masses of readers out in the world.  Yes, when I believed that publishing houses spirited away their authors, and letters were rarely to be replied to since authors were so busy writing their next book.  Honestly, you can't say that you didn't think that once upon a time, too, right? 

Now in the digital age, readers are so very fortunate to be able to interact with authors not online via email, twitter, and blogs, but also in person with all of the amazing tours set in motion by *cues dramatic music* the same publishing houses I thought were keeping the authors busy at their computers.  How silly I was back then! 

But I'm getting away from my point.  The first author I ever wrote an email to (yes, I was too scared to send fanmail only to receive a carbon-copied response in return) was Carol Berg, author of Transformation

I was in awe of this book mostly because it took me two times to read it, not because of disinterest.  No, during college, I accidentally dropped it and lost my place in the book when my bookmark went flying out of the pages.  D'oh!  So I had to start over and I was glad I did because I saw certain aspects of protagonist Seyonne's life in slavery that I had missed during the first read.  When I wrote my email to Carol Berg, I wasn't really expect a response, so when I got one, I was flabbergasted.  And also very happy.  Below is my email to Carol.

"Dear Ms. Berg,
I am sure you receive mail from many readers, but I still wanted to send this letter regarding Transformation in the hopes that you would have time to read it.  After starting the book my freshman year of college, I clumsily dropped the book, sending my bookmark flying and losing my page.  Although I wanted to read Transformation again, I was unable to begin it because my English classes (my major) consumed all my reading time.  It was two years after that I was able to pick up Transformation and begin reading it.  When I reached the part where I stopped, I set the book aside but not just due to more readings.  I wanted to be able to enjoy Transformation to the fullest extent, and to do so, I needed to have the anticipation of finishing it.  Although I have not finished the book, Transformation does consume part of my mind as I ponder the remarkable manner in which you developed both Seyonne and Prince Aleksander.  The setting is amazing, and the trials Seyonne undertakes in the Derzhi world and within the Ezzarian world are so realistic and vivid, it makes me want to cry for him.  I am nearing the end of Transformation, and I look forward to continuing the story with both Revelation and Restoration (already in my possession).  Transformation has been an inspiration to me and my own writing, and I must offer my gratitude to you for creating this world.  Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. 

And her response:

"Dear Amy,

What a lovely letter.  I am always thrilled to hear from happy readers, especially when they say they have found themselves immersed in the world and feeling things along with the characters.  No higher praise, as far as I'm concerned.  And it is such a pleasure to hear that my work has inspired you to move ahead with your own writing. Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to let me know.

Best of luck with your studies and your writing.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear from her.  And that is what got me thinking about how fortunate we readers are in this digital age to be able to communicate with authors we adore and admire so... well, easily.  Still, I admit to being nervous each time I do take the time to write an email to authors for the first time or even Tweet to them.  Even with that nervousness, I know that they appreciate their readers.  And so, dear Authors I have met or hopefully will meet, thank you.  Thank you for all you do and thank you for giving your time to your readers.  ^_^

P.S. To Mary Lindsey, Joy Preble, Lynne Kelly, C.C. Hunter, Christina Mandelski, and any other local authors I have missed, keep doing our city proud!

P.P.S. To the staff at Blue Willow Books, Murder by the Book, and Katy Budget Books, thank you!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (49): Books TBR in Fall

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted by one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone is welcome to join, just make sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so everyone can check out other blogger lists. Have fun!

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List
(In no particular order)

1. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff - Japanese steam punk, what more do I need to know?
2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - Maggie! <3 Aside from the author, it sounds like such a mysterious series. 

3. Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier - Ruby Red was such an amazing book, I have to know what happens next!
4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - I know I'm behind the rest, but I'm still eager to read a good dragon book.

5. Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson - Norse mythology, done deal since it's rare to see it featured in a book.
6. Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout - After the teaser in the back of Obsidian, I'm eager to read more about Daimon and Katy. 

7. Gravity by Melissa West - More aliens? Yes please!
8. Black City by Elizabeth Richards - I'm so curious about the Darklings, one of the first few "vampire" books that I'm eager to read.

9. Venom by Fiona Paul - Reading Marla's review inspired me to check this one out. :)
10. Soulless:The Mange Volume 2 by Gail Carriger and REM - Yes, there's a manga I'm eager to read, mostly because it's one of the few that features werewolves. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Time to Clean My Shelves

Taking a page from Books of Love as well as the arrival of my beau, I think it's time to clean my bookshelves.  Below are 5 titles I'm giving away to 3 winners.  The first winner will have their first pick of TWO titles, the second winner will have their pick of TWO of the remaining titles, and the third winner will win the remaining title.  Sound good?  Yay!  On to the books!

Crave by Melissa Darnell (Paperback)
On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane (Paperback)
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (Hardback)
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz (Paperback)
Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley (ARC)


Giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST 9/4/12 to 12:00 am EST on 9/18/12
First winner will win TWO books (out of FIVE)
Second winner will win TWO books (out of THREE)
Third winner will win ONE book

US entries only, please, sorry but postage is a bear.
Must be 13 years or older to enter.
You don't have to be a follower to enter.

Good luck everyone!
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