Monday, July 25, 2016

Bestselling Authors Create A Night of Magic in Los Angeles!!!

Bestselling Authors Create A Night of Magic in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California, August 13, 2016:  Bestselling Authors Heather Lyons, Amy Bartol, Chelsea Fine, Shelly Crane, and Stacey Marie Brown are coming together to create A Night of Magic. 

Saturday, August 13th from 6:00pm-10:00pm at Whimsic Alley located at 5464 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90036. With the door proceeds, as well as the money raised through the silent auctions, going towards the Race to Erase MS and Reading is Fundamental charities, 

A Night of Magic will be a special and intimate event where the attendee is able to spend four hours with the authors. Limited to 100 attendees, each ticket sold includes a special swag bag filled with limited edition swag, an author signing and Q&A session, finger foods, dessert, wine and drinks, as well as some special surprises! Tickets are available here for an unforgettable and magical night! 

Link for tickets: 

Heather Lyons Bio

Heather Lyons is the author of the award winning The Collectors’ Society series, The Deep End of the Sea, and other epic, heartfelt love stories with fantastical twists. Coming soon—The Lost Codex the exciting conclusion to The Collectors’ Society.

Amy Bartol Bio

Amy Bartol is the USA Today Bestselling & award winning author of the Kricket Series and the Premonition Series whose stories are enlivened by words that are sure to make every romance reader melt.  

Chelsea Fine Bio

Chelsea Fine is the author of The Archers of Avalon series and Sophie & Carter. Tangled with friendship, history and heartbreak—not to mention a huge dose of humor—Fine's New Adult novel The Best Kind of Broken is not to be missed!

Shelley Crane Bio

Shelly Crane is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of the Significance series and The Other Side of Gravity, Crane doesn't go anywhere without her notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down immediately—even in the middle of the night, where her best ideas are born.

Stacey Marie Brown Bio

Stacey Marie Brown is the award nominated author of the Collector and Darkness series. Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Map of Bones by James Rollins

Map of Bones (Sigma Force, #2)Title: Map of Bones
Author: James Rollins
Publisher/Publication Date: Avon; January 1, 2005
Genre: Mystery; Thriller
Source/Format: Purchased; ebook

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

"During a crowded service at a cathedral in Germany, armed intruders in monks' robes unleash a nightmare of blood and destruction. But the killers have not come for gold; they seek a more valuable prize: the bones of the Magi who once paid homage to a newborn savior . . . a treasure that could reshape the world."

With the Vatican in turmoil, SIGMA Force leaps into action. An elite team of scientific and Special Forces operatives under the command of Grayson Pierce and accompanied by Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome's "carabinieri," they are pursuing a deadly mystery that weaves through sites of the Seven Wonders of the World and ends at the doorstep of an ancient, mystical, and terrifying secret order. For there are those with dark plans for the stolen sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind . . . when science and religion unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time...

My Thoughts:

Well, that was interesting…

I was ready to give thriller/mysteries another try since I needed something different to read—my last endeavor was a little lacking; I didn’t end up enjoying the book. My mom is the one who mentioned James Rollins novels to me, and under her recommendation I gave Map of Bones a try. And well, it was entertaining.

Map of Bones was probably one of the most thrilling books I’ve read this year. It started out at a break-neck pace, and kept up the momentum as the characters were sent across the world, hot on the heels of a mystery that’s steeped in history and religion. Rollins managed to blend science and religion in a way that really worked. There were a lot of religious aspects—beliefs, practices, history, and traditions that were discussed at length—but it was balanced out by the scientific elements that stood as an equally important part of the plot. 

I liked the idea of Sigma—an organization that consisted of special force operatives who doubled as scientist. It was a cool setup, and the themes were spread consistently throughout the book, but there were also limitations. The limitations are what made the characters seem more real—it proved that they weren’t totally perfect, and even as smart as they were the knowledge they knew still had its limitations. They had to actually seek out the answers to their questions, discuss the issues at hand before coming to a conclusion. That was half the fun of Map of Bones: getting to read about the characters' experiences.

There was lots of action, but there were slower moments too. Everything really worked to further the plot. I felt that with each scene something new was added, or another piece became clearer. Amongst the action, the mystery aspect was pretty awesome too. Plus, Rollins did an excellent job with crafting his villains. There was no need to be told that they were evil, it was shown.

Now, the operatives from Sigma were among some of my favorite parts of the story. I liked seeing how Grayson Pierce—a usual loner—got along with his team. There was also Rachel Verona, who was fantastic. She was on par with the rest of the team, smart, and also brought her own methods of handling investigations to the table as well.

Map of Bones tangled the past with the present, and the end effect was cool. I’m definitely going to check out some of the other books in this series.

Rating 4/5

(Thanks mom, you were right about this one! :-D)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide, #4)Title: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
 Author: Douglas Adams
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey Books, April 30, 2002 (First published in 1984)
Genre: Science Fiction
Source/Format: Purchased, Paperback Omnibus Edition

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth's dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on. . . .
God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it's light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?

My Thoughts:

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish was a lot mellower than the previous novels, but it was also a slightly refreshing break from the general random—often life threatening—shenanigans found in the Universe of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy (which, by the way, is far beyond a trilogy by now, but again, more books. So I’m a happy camper).

As I stated above, this book was more down to Earth, literally. The earth has evidently come back from the seemingly permanent destruction it suffered back in book one, but of course something was still amiss. The dolphins have gone missing. Not one, not two, but all of them.

Arthur Dent was slightly less ordinary in this one, despite being back in his old life before his adventure to the far reaches of the galaxy, to odd planets, and even to end of the universe and back again. He also picked up a few interesting skills that defied the laws of physics. Many familiar characters were absent except for a few that still weren’t present for the majority of the book—the others were just mentioned.

The story, for the most part, was firmly grounded on one planet. So, there isn’t much to mention about the setting. Still, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish was interesting and I really enjoyed it.

My Thoughts about Young Zaphod Plays It Safe...

Young Zaphod Plays It Safe was an interesting story, and takes place before the beginning of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—ironically enough, it was placed after the end of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish in the omnibus edition of the books by Douglas Adams. It follows Zaphod, earlier in his life, when he was working as a salvage ship operator. The story is basically about Zaphod during this time, while he was out on an assignment for a couple of people. Their evasive behavior was suspicious but interesting.

There isn’t much more to say on this one, but I did like it despite its incredibly short length. It was nice to learn a little bit more about Zaphod’s life before he became president of the universe, and his ensuing adventures aboard the Heart of Gold.

Rating 4/5

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar GirlTitle: Vinegar Girl
Author: Anne Tyler
Publisher/Publication Date: Hogarth; June 21, 2016
Genre: Contemporary; Chick-lit; Retelling
Source/Format: Blogging for Books; Hardcover 

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

My Thoughts:

I want to make three things clear. First, Vinegar Girl was a light read, not necessarily very romantic, but still entertaining. It wasn’t a bad novel considering how short it was. Next, I knew nothing about The Taming of The Shrew—the inspiration for the novel. And finally, this was the first book I’ve read by Anne Tyler.

I read Vinegar Girl before I actually checked to see what The Taming of the Shrew was about. And now I can say that I can see some of the inspiration Tyler pulled from the original; although, it was modernized to fit the retelling. The Taming of the Shrew didn’t really seem like something I would enjoy—go-figure that the title would be too literal for my liking—which is why I’m glad that I read Vinegar Girl before going back to see what the original was about.

Vinegar Girl was about Kate, who let her family use her for what she was worth. She did everything for them—from cooking, to filing taxes for her father, and even doing the laundry. I spent half the book waiting for Kate to do or say something against her family, to stick up for herself. Ultimately she gets caught up in her father’s scheme to keep his lab assistant in the country. That was the core issue of the book, which was introduced early on. There was nothing wrong with that. In fact, there was nothing really wrong with Vinegar Girl. Sure, I did get a little bored while reading some of the scenes. However, the ending was nice enough, and I felt that it neatly concluded the story. My favorite part of Vinegar Girl was definitely the 
writing. I really liked Tyler’s style. As such, I would consider the possibility of picking up another one of her novels.

Overall, Vinegar Girl wasn’t a bad read. It was quick to get through and entertaining enough to make me stick around until the end.

Rating 3/5

This copy of the book was provided by Blogging for Books (Publisher) for this review, thank you! 

About the Author...

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters...

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