Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge @ The Story Siren

I will be participating in The Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author Challenge. As the challenge states, I will read at least 12 YA or Middle Grade debut authors in 2011. Here are some titles I am looking forward to reading (subject to change):

-The Iron Thorn
-The Emerald Atlas
-A Touch Mortal
-Across The Universe
-Wake Unto Me

If you are interested in participating, check out The Story Siren's blog by clicking HERE.

Review: Human Blend by Lori Pescatore

Title: Human Blend by Lori Pescatore
Publisher: Self Published, CreateSpace (June 2010)
Paperback: 234 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Author for Honest Review
ISBN-10: 1453765131
ISBN-13: 9781453765135
Rating: 4 Stars

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): Marion, Virginia seemed like a nice place to live a normal life, but she is not a normal girl. Laney has special abilities that keep her looking over her shoulder as she makes her escape from the men who had kidnapped her. A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's budding relationship with a local boy puts both of them in danger when the men she was hiding from find her. All of their lives will change forever as ancient secrets become unearthed.

Human Blend brings a refreshing creative edge to science fiction. What I liked was that it was more than just contemporary science fiction, blending in the intrigue of a mystery, thriller, and a romance, which satisfies a wider reader base. Showcasing unique paranormal beings with multifaceted special abilities, these human blends and earthlings are not only interesting, they are well developed characters. The story starts off a little slow, but quickly picks up the pace soon after, and was full of suspense and action.

The basis of the story is that Laney runs away from her unpleasant past life where she was being taken advantage of by a group of men who used her special abilities to their advantage. She creates a new identity as Julie in Marion, Virginia, but her past comes back to haunt her, so we get to see how Julie deals with this and how her special abilities play an important role. Julie has to learn to trust people again, despite her bad experience before, if she is to survive in the world again. Julie’s bravery and fear are so well captured that you can’t help but be emotionally drawn to her. The bad guys were well written since I loathed them so much, being extremely dangerous, cruel, and merciless. They were very realistic and believable. And when the cat and mouse chase started, I found myself drawn to the book and I was suspicious of everyone. Early on in the book, I didn’t know who to trust, for Julie’s sake.

I enjoyed learning about Julie’s past through occasional flashbacks and about her paranormal side and special abilities from her mentors. There are secrets that are withheld that are slowly revealed as you read the book, which keeps you entertained.

There is also a heartwarming side to this book that looks at Julie’s role as a healer in the hospital. What fascinated me the most was the ability of Julie to heal the sick with just a touch. And the love triangle that surfaces between Julie and Austin, the boy she meets initially, and a doctor, named Eli definitely brings some excitement, sexual tension, and jealousy. There are some sexual references, but nothing too graphic, so this book is more suitable for older teens and adults.

What I disliked was how quick the romantic relationships formed in the book - within a few days. Also, there were a lot of supporting characters that I wish were explored more in depth, since I didn't really get to know them that well. But Human Blend is the first book in this trilogy, so I'm sure the author will shed more light on some of these characters in book two.

Human Blend gives hope that regardless of the difficulties you’ve experienced in life, it’s possible to recover and be able to really live again. I enjoyed reading this book! If you love science fiction that is innovative, you will want to read this book. And for those who tend to not read science fiction, there is enough romance, mystery, and action in this science fiction book to keep you interested.

Author Lori Pescatore Interview + Book Giveaway

I had the pleasure of interviewing Lori Pescatore, the author of Human Blend. Human Blend is her first book in the Human Blend trilogy. My review of Human Blend can be found here.

Here is what Lori had to say in her interview:

Tell us five interesting facts about yourself.
1. I've been a Preschool Teacher for over 15 years. 14 of those years at one school.
2. I've been married for 28 years to the same man, we met on a blind date when I was 18 years old.
3. In 2008 my husband gifted me with my dream car, a black Ford Mustang.
4. I have two precious sons who are now grown men.
5. In 2010 I published my first novel, Human Blend.

Which five words best describe Human Blend?

Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure and Original

Were you always interested in becoming a writer?
Well, I have always been a writer. Mostly I wrote fan fiction for friends and family long before the internet came along and then continued it there for a while. I always created characters in my head. Writing was just the next step in the process

Can you tell us about your journey to publication?

Well once my novel was written, I went the usual route and wrote a query letter and submitted my work to agents and publishers. I got the usual rejection letters: "It is not a good fit for us. We are not accepting new authors at this time" and yada yada yada. I looked into self publishing and decided to go with Amazon Kindle for the e-book and Create Space for the print version. I've also submitted my books to other various e-book vendors. My favorite part of this journey was holding my print book in my hand for the first time. I worked hard on creating the cover and it was amazing to hold it in my hands. The next step was promoting and setting up my first book signing. Promoting was a lesson in marketing but one I was happy to explore. My book signing was an amazing night for me and I cannot wait to do another one. I also entered contests and won a spot in a nationwide television commercial for an up and coming website that publishes e-books and novels. The commercial is set to air in January featuring my book as well as two other authors works.

Are there any advantages to self publication?
The advantages are you control the content and rights. You also make a bigger commission because your expenses are only the set-up and actual print cost. There are no publishers, editors and agents to pay a percentage to.

How did you come up with the concept for your book Human Blend?
The concept itself came from my characters. I had an idea about a girl on the run from something. Once she was introduced, her story was told by her and as other characters began to appear and the story developed from them. Human Blend is a character driven novel.

In Human Blend, Julie (Laney) has special abilities. If you could have any paranormal ability, which would you choose and why?
I like my character Julie's healing ability. To be able to heal people from illness would be a wonderful ability to have.

Human Blend is the first book in a trilogy. Can you tell us a little bit about the other books in the series? When will they be published?
In Human Blend a very unique fantasy creature is introduced and in book two you will find out more about how and why they were created as well as what happens next with the main characters from book one. Book two in the series is set for an April 2011 publication. Book three will be set for an April 2012 publication. The titles for these books have yet to be determined.

Will you be working on any more books after the Human Blend trilogy?
Yes, In between book 2 and 3 of the Blend Series, I have another paranormal novel, called Spirit Key, about a spirit crosser and a demon hunter that will be hopefully finished by December 2011 if not sooner.

What advice would you give to people who want to become a young adult author?
I love the young adult genre because when writing about young adult characters the sky is the limit. Most young adults are adventurous and curious enough to get themselves into situations that most adults might not venture into. So when writing in this genre, I recommend that you keep your characters true to the age that they are and have fun. Also keep in mind the age group you are marketing too. My novel is to the older young adult group ages 15 + whereas the young adult ages can be from 13+.

How can readers learn more about you and your book Human Blend?

I can be followed on Twitter as @preteach99 and on facebook under Lori Pescatore Author.

And where can your book be purchased?
Human Blend can be purchased in print and on Kindle from
Click Here For Amazon Purchase Link.
For all other readers, go to smashwords:
Click Here For Smashwords Purchase Link.

Thank you for this wonderful interview! Happy reading!



Lori Pescatore has kindly offered one of my followers a signed paperback copy of her book, Human Blend.

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): Marion, Virginia seemed like a nice place to live a normal life, but she is not a normal girl. Laney has special abilities that keep her looking over her shoulder as she makes her escape from the men who had kidnapped her. A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's budding relationship with a local boy puts both of them in danger when the men she was hiding from find her. All of their lives will change forever as ancient secrets become unearthed.

Giveaway is International
Must be a GFC follower
Ends 1/17/11


In ONE COMMENT below, tell me you are a GFC follower and leave your email. If you decide to do any extra entries, make sure they are listed in the SAME comment.

+1 Become an email subscriber.
+1 For Each Way: Spread the word about this giveaway (leave link: blog post or sidebar, leave name: twitter, facebook)
+1 Leave a comment about the interview with Lori Pescatore (see interview above).
+1 Leave a comment on my Human Blend review by clicking HERE.
+1 Follow Lori Pescatore on Facebook by clicking the "Like" Button HERE.
+1 Follow Lori Pescatore on Twitter by clicking HERE.
+20 Purchase Human Blend on Amazon by clicking HERE. or on Smashwords by clicking HERE.
(Email me Human Blend purchase confirmation to bookishdelightsblog at gmail dot com)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guest Post: Author Lori Pescatore's First Book Signing of Human Blend

Today I welcome Lori Pescatore, Author of Human Blend, to share her first book signing experience with us as well as showing us pictures of the event!

Book Signing December 14th 2010

Doylestown, PA

Self Published Author: Lori Pescatore

Book: Human Blend

I had worked hard for this day. I promoted and sold myself and my book. The day of my first book signing for my first self published novel had arrived. I still went to work that morning; it was a normal day of teaching. My coworkers would stop me in the hallway asking me if I was excited. I was, of course, but calm at the same time. I thought I would be more anxious, but everything just felt right. My only concern was the weather. It was the coldest night of the season so far. To make matters worse, when we left for the signing it was snowing.

It was cold and a dusting of snow had settled on the ground when the time for the signing arrived. First on the scene was my dear friend Joyce. It picked up from there. My table was adorned with copies of my book and flowers sent there my friend Annie. Holiday wrapped candy kisses provided by friend Shari.

I saw many of my friends who came out to support me and was pleased with the number of people that I did not know that came out to check out the book. I sold 27 books and according to the bookstore, that was a decent number for any book signing.

The night was everything I hoped for and more. My husband and my youngest son where there to film and photograph the event. It was a wonderful experience for me. One I look forward to duplicating for the 2nd book in the series.

To all the readers out there, if you have an opportunity to attend a book signing, please do. It is a wonderful event that will put you in touch with other like minded readers and Authors.

Thank you Lori for sharing your first book signing experience with Bookish Delights! I'm glad it went well! The pictures are wonderful.
I hope to attend an author book signing some day.

My interview with Author Lori Pescatore & Book Giveaway will be up soon as well as my Review of Human Blend!

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review: The Gargoyle Prophecies: The Savior Rises (Part 1) by Christopher C. Payne

Title: The Gargoyle Prophecies: The Savior Rises by Christopher C. Payne
Publisher: JournalStone (Oct 2010)
Paperback: 220 pages
Reading Level: Adult
Source: Publisher
ISBN-10: 0982811969
ISBN-13: 9780982811962
Rating: 3 Stars

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): With a tattered Raggedy Ann doll as her only companion, Stefani has spent her entire life immersed in self isolation. As a 10-year-old child she was the lone witness to her mother's murder. She vowed to find the man who robbed her of all she held dear in the world and ensure he suffers as she has before he takes his final breath.

Her childhood is consumed with training in the hopes of one day finding the scar-faced killer. But her world up-ends as her 21st birthday looms when she discovers she isn't the hunter. She is the one being hunted, and her predators are not human. Stefani finally opens herself up for the first time, allowing Dennis into her life, revealing her emotions to her hopeful protector. But her fear and confusion mount when he reveals he is a gargoyle - and she is, as well.

Dennis claims Stefani is the key to the future of the gargoyle world. She is the Chosen One, and she is in danger. Dark forces covet her imminent power and will use any means to steal it. Stefani's mind swims with peril she neither understands nor is sure she believes. She questions everything, including her grip on reality.

As Stefani battles the damned across the globe, she searches for answers about her identity. Is she truly the savior of an inhuman race or has her solitude and the trauma of her mother's death finally infected her sanity?

MY THOUGHTS: I love reading about anything paranormal, so I was excited about The Gargoyle Prophecies. But after reading the book, I realized that this book wasn’t entirely what I expected. We know from the premise that Stefani witnesses her mother’s murder and because of this experience, she wants to get revenge and find the killer. Her solitude is very evident, having lost her mother and she doesn’t trust anyone. She only has comfort in her Raggedy Ann doll that she had ever since she was a kid. But as she nears her 21st birthday, she meets Dennis, who she opens up to. But he tells her that he is a gargoyle and so is she. There is a prophecy that is involved and the whole story develops further from here.

I liked that Christopher Payne uses a female as the lead heroine fighting against gargoyles. Even though I admired Stefani for being a strong character, I was never able to fully attach myself or really connect with the characters. The reason being that the whole aura of the book, the style of the writing is such that you question what is reality, or rather that Stefani questions this. I felt this hindered me from really getting to know the characters well since the plot is not straightforward, it’s very perplexing. And I wanted to know where the plot was going and understand it, so reading through this book was a little challenging for me. While the author purposely wrote the book this way because he had a very good reason for this, since it played into the heart of the story, it didn’t make it less confusing to read through style wise. There is a fine line between reality and the possibility that Stefani might be nearing insanity. But with the many twists and turns in the story, you just don’t know for sure. But then the final twist in the ending was so unexpected and powerful, that I had to redigest the book as a whole. This made the whole story much more meaningful. You will definitely be in for a surprise. Even so, I didn’t feel that the strong ending was enough for me to really love the book. I thought the majority of the story was just ok, but the ending was better - it was good. So the ending did help improve my rating for this book just a little.

The book was definitely full of adventure and action, but the gargoyle fight scenes were a little too graphic for me, being too gory for my taste. I also wasn’t very fond of the quality of writing. While this book wasn’t for me, I really do appreciate the author’s bold and unique attempt at a different style of writing. If you like reading clear cut books, this is not the book for you. But if you would like to try something different and dynamic, this might be the book for you, especially if you like reading paranormal books.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jennifer Laurens Interview + Giveaway!

Today I would like to welcome Jennifer Laurens on my blog. She is the author of the Heavenly series, which includes Heavenly, Penitence, and Absolution. I recently read Heavenly and loved it! My review can be found HERE.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Laurens, which you can read below.

1. Tell us five interesting facts about yourself.
I used to work in the entertainment industry. I have four dollhouses I've made and collect for. I used to run a muffin business to make extra money when we were first married: Mrs. M's Muffins. I'd live in NY--Upper East Side-- if I could. I had anorexia when I was a teenager.

2. What is your favorite thing to snack on while writing?

LOL, right after the anorexia prefer drinking. Soda of any kind will do, but I prefer Rockstar.

3. Which five words best describe Heavenly?
Uplifting, inspiring, real, fresh, moving.

4. I learned that you have an autistic daughter. Did this experience inspire autism to be a part of the Heavenly series (Heavenly, Penitence, Absolution)?
Yes, it's actually our family story about our struggle dealing with a handicapped child.

5. How did you decide on writing Heavenly from the POV of a sibling vs a parent of an autistic child?
My daughters were teenagers, and Zoe is a combination of both girls. It seemed a natural place to start, since I'd lived through their challenges dealing with their sister.

6. If Zoe's autistic sister Abria could speak, what would she say?
In real life she DOES speak now.( YAY! ) She often repeats phrases--from things that make sense to things that don't make sense. She never fails to make us laugh. Her favorite phrase: "Hi Mom." - repeated at least 50 times an hour. No joke. Autism is about repetition.

7. The word "flamer" is used more than once in Heavenly. Can you define the term?
hahaha...another one of the local slang terms used in a derogatory way. Like you idiot -- or something much more graphic that I wouldn't use in a book.

8. Since you were familiar with autism, did you find that the Heavenly series required less research?
No research needed.

9. What advice would you give to the parents or siblings of autistic children?
That life gets better. Do everything you are mentally, physically and financially able to do for your child and leave the rest in God's hands. When you do that, the relief is unspeakable joy. Love and accept your child for who she/he is: a gift who will teach you and yours about unconditional love, patience, acceptance and charity. Who wouldn't want to develop those qualities?

10. In every difficult experience there is a upside. While I'm sure raising an autistic child has not been easy, how has raising an autistic child been a blessing for you and your family? And what has your autistic child taught you?
Answered above. And so much more. I thought the diagnosis was the end of life, back when she was originally diagnosed at age three. The process has caused me to question everything, exert all the human power I have within me only to come to the conclusion that God knows what he's doing. My puny mortal efforts cannot compare. My child, like all of us, is in his hands and I am so relieved that I don't have to carry the full weight of that burden alone anymore. This is not about anything particularly religious, except that I DO believe in God and in his ability and complete willingness to help me ( and my child ) out.

11. Besides the Heavenly series, what other books have you written?
Falling for Romeo, Nailed, Magic Hands, A Season of Eden, An Open Vein, and a women's romance series.

12. Are you currently working on a new book?
I just finished OVERPROTECTED due out in April.

13. How can readers learn more about you and your books? I love meeting readers on Facebook, too so, come find me!

Thanks so much for joining us Jennifer! It was wonderful interviewing you.

Jennifer Laurens also has a blog, which you can check out at:



Jennifer Laurens has kindly offered one of my followers a copy of Heavenly, PLUS your choice of either a Book Bag, a T-Shirt, or a Key Chain (all of which are themed in the Heavenly series).


Open To US Only
Must be a GFC follower
Ends December 31, 2010


In ONE COMMENT below, tell me you are a GFC follower, let me know which accessory you want (book bag, t-shirt, or key chain) and leave your email. If you decide to do any extra entries, make sure they are listed in the SAME comment.

+1 Leave a comment on my Heavenly review by clicking HERE.
+1 Leave a comment about the interview with Jennifer Laurens (see interview above)
+1 Follow Jennifer Laurens Blog by clicking HERE.
+1 Follow Jennifer Laurens on Facebook by clicking HERE.
+1 Follow Jennifer Laurens on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

Title: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing (Aug 2009)
Hardcover: 294 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Author for Review
ISBN-10: 1933963840
ISBN-13: 9781933963846
Rating: 5 Stars

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister's guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do-I fell in love with him. Zoe's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoe lost in her broken life. Zoe escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoe's autistic sister. After Zoe is convinced he's legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.

MY THOUGHTS: Heavenly was a true delight to read! Very authentic. I would categorize Heavenly as realistic fiction with hints of the paranormal. The struggles that come with raising a child with autism is highlighted in this book. There is an incredible depth to this story, whose solid foundation comes from the fact that Laurens has a lot of personal experience with raising a child with autism. What I loved about this book was that it’s more than just a paranormal romance between Zoe and Matthias, who is the guardian angel of Zoe’s autistic sister Abria. There is much more substance to the book. It zooms deep into heart of the family’s issues revolving around Abria’s autism. The characteristics of autism, the details of what goes on inside this autistic household, the effects of autism on this family, as well as how individual family members unfortunately cope in negative ways (Zoe: partying/drinking and her brother Luke: drugs/pot), are all shown with such pure honesty and realism that you can’t help but be disheartened by what is going on. Especially how non-autistic children get unintentionally overlooked, since the autistic child requires so much care and attention. This story will definitely tug at your emotions. But on a brighter side, this story shows you the inspiring resilience of the human spirit when faced with difficulties and also teaches you that there is always room for personal growth - no matter how small. The family clings to hope and faith that they can eventually mend their broken family.

I also enjoyed the romantic aspect of the story. Aside from partying and drinking, spending time with Matthias is another escape from Zoe’s stressful life at home. So to her, being with Matthias is that much more heavenly when they are together. Their relationship develops organically in a very realistic way and over time. I loved how Matthias’ inner qualities - his intelligence and philosophical nature, being caring and protective - are qualities that Zoe is attracted to more than just his dreamy physical appearance, and this is the strong basis for them bonding so well. Their chemistry is easily visible. Heavenly establishes Zoe and Matthias’ love, but questions such as “Can they even be together?” and “What will the consequences be?” are some things that keep your interest as you are reading the story. As expected with many paranormal romances, there are obstacles to face in Heavenly as well. Who said loving a guardian angel was easy! The ending was a complete surprise, I didn’t see it coming. I am curious and excited about where the story will go from here. I will definitely be continuing the series to find out how the story unfolds. Penitence is book two and Absolution is the final book in the Heavenly series.

Honestly, there was hardly anything that I disliked about Heavenly, but if I had to nit-pick, Zoe reprimands her brother Luke for how he deals with his family issues, when she was coping in a negative way as well. But this just shows that she loves her brother and doesn’t want him to ruin his life, even if she is dealing with things in a bad way.

Heavenly is more of a slower paced book, which was fine because I was interested in what I was reading and it allowed me to really digest the information. I think what made me attached to Heavenly was the fact that I have autistic cousins, so I was able to really relate to this book. It was nice knowing that my aunt and uncle and I (when I visit) have witnessed and experienced the same kinds of issues that Abria’s family experiences in Heavenly. And it reaffirms that we are not alone in having to deal with the struggles that autism places on a family. I highly recommend this book, not only to people who are dealing with autism in their family, but to others who want to learn more about it. And for those who crave paranormal romances, while you may find this one to be a little more subtle and innocent, it is definitely more profound than many paranormal romances I have read, making it one to not be forgotten.

Check Out This Epic Contest

Beth Revis, the author of Across The Universe (Released 1/2011), is having an Epic Contest on her blog. There will be 100 prizes and there are lots of ARCs of Across The Universe included in the prizes as well as great swag. If you are interested, check out the contest on her blog by clicking HERE.

Deadline to enter her contest is December 20, 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins (Feb 2011)
Hardcover: 448 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
ISBN-10: 0061726826
ISBN-13: 9780061726828
Rating: 3.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

MY THOUGHTS: Delirium was a good read, but not an amazing one. Delirium is the first book I’ve read by Lauren Oliver, so I wasn’t familiar with her writing style. While Oliver’s prose is unmistakably beautiful and her premise is very unique, I felt that her writing was heavy, lacking conciseness. As a result, the extensively detailed and descriptive nature of her writing slowed down the pace of the whole story tremendously. At times I found myself skimming through passages just to get to the main storyline with dialogue.

Delirium is a dystopian romance novel in which love is considered a disease, also known as amor deliria nervosa. So everyone is scheduled for the cure at the age of eighteen, but Lena tries to defy this system, falling in love at seventeen years old. The cure is supposed to create order, stability, and happiness. But the actual cure or the procedure isn’t explained in depth in the book. It was just glazed over, so it left me wanting more.

As for the “forbidden love story” between Lena and Alex, I never really felt a strong chemistry between the two of them. This was possibly due to Oliver’s overbearing world that she created in Portland with strict rules, set curfews, patrolling regulators(similar to police officers), and a fenced in city. Instead of making Alex and Lena’s love story more enticing because it was forbidden, this strict world took away from the beauty of that love. I felt that I wasn’t able to really appreciate the relationship between Alex and Lena, which was always in secret or hiding, with constant fears of being caught. They were never able to fully express their love for one another in public since love was forbidden. Otherwise they’d risk severe punishment, such as the crypts(jail) or execution. So because their love was prohibited, this was more of a cautionary tale.

What I liked about this story was that it stresses to fight for what you believe in, to fight for love, regardless of the consequences. I think this is a wonderful message. I loved how the Invalids - the people who live in the Wilds that defy the cure and love freely - are a strong example of this motto. I would probably be an Invalid as well had I lived in this world myself. Delirium is full of hope, persistence, and courage, but it was also heartbreaking at times. The ending left lots of unanswered questions from Lena’s past, so I never really got full closure. But overall, I liked Delirium. It was an inspiring story.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway Winners Announced

I had a lot of fun hosting the gratitude giveaway. I would like to thank all of my followers who entered the giveaway. I also gained some new followers too!

The 3 Winners are...

Giveaway 1: #107 Emma

Giveaway 2: #44 Jennifer from Book Noise

Giveaway #3: #71 Patsy

Congratulations to all the winners! For those of you who didn't win this time, there will be more giveaways in December.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

ARC Review: Vixen (The Flappers, Book 1) by Jillian Larkin

ARC Review: Vixen (The Flappers, Book 1) by Jillian Larkin
Publisher: Delacorte Press
(Dec. 2010)
Hardcover: 432 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: B&N First Look Program
Rating: 5 Stars
ISBN-10: 0385740344
ISBN-13: 978-0385740340

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination. Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

MY THOUGHTS: Wow! What an amazing debut by Jillian Larkin. Vixen is now my favorite YA debut book for 2010. It’s that special. This is definitely one of those must read books, it’s just too wonderful to miss out on. This is the first book that I’ve read that is set in the 1920’s, so I wasn’t sure I was going to like it because it was outside of what I like to read. But surprisingly, I loved it! Vixen is the first book in The Flappers series. The second book, Ingenue will be published in 2011 and Diva, the third book, will be published in 2012. I will definitely be continuing the series.

Vixen is a book that you don’t want to put down from beginning to end. It is so entertaining and captivating. When I was reading the book, I was immersed in the aura of the 1920’s because of the detailed descriptions of the time period, including the flapper lifestyle, clothing, hairstyles, jazz music, prohibition, alcohol, speakeasies, gangsters, etc. The story is told in alternating points of view of three teenage girls, Gloria, Clara, and Lorraine. Gloria is a socialite in Chicago. She is engaged to Sebastian, who comes from a powerful family. Clara is Gloria’s cousin who is visiting Gloria to help her with the wedding. Lorraine is Gloria’s best friend. Larkin goes in depth with each character's storyline, that you really get to know each of the girls well. Each girl has their own lead role in the book, which I thought was great. I loved each character. The plot was solid throughout the book, no boring spots or weak plot points. It was cleverly done.

While the girls try to find themselves and fit in, so much drama unfolds as the stories of these three girls seamlessly weave in and out of each others lives. I loved the drama! And when the cute bachelors enter the lives of these girls, everything gets way more complicated. This made things very interesting. There is rebellion, jealousy, betrayal, romance, deception, lies, secrets, danger, and mystery. And the ending leaves on such a great cliffhanger that you can’t help but want to know what happens next.

There really wasn't anything I didn’t like about the book, except that the word “love” was introduced a little too soon for me personally. I like to see a relationship last a little longer before it blossoms into love. But other than that, the book was awesome!

Vixen is truly a bookish delight! I’d recommend it not only for older teens but for adults as well. For those of you who enjoy reading about the 1920’s but want a young spin on things, this book is perfect for you. But even if this isn’t something you’d normally read, just give it a try like me, it will amaze you. If you like reading debut authors, then make sure Vixen is next on your list.

*Although this is considered a YA book, the level of maturity is higher than in other YA books I’ve read, in terms of the girl’s relationships with the guys. If you aren’t into the angsty books, then this book is probably more your style. There are a few sexual references but not many, as well as underage drinking. So just wanted to point that out.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and get to spend time with family and friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reminder: My Book Giveaways

To enter my Happy Haul-idays giveaway for a chance to win my wish list of Chronicle books valued at $500, click HERE. (Ends 12/10)

To enter my International Gratitude Giveaway, click HERE. (Ends 11/28)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update: Gratitude Giveaway Now International

For those of you who have not yet entered my Gratitude Giveaway, I have decided to update and change my Gratitude Giveaway so that it is international. This way all of my followers may enter.
Check it out HERE.
Ends 11/28 at 11:59pm PST

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway

As a way to say thank you to my blog followers, I am having some giveaways as part of the Gratitude Giveaways, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. There are more than 175 blogs participating, so once you have entered my giveaway, hop on over to another giveaway. The linky is at the bottom of this post.
(*I have changed my original giveaway to accommodate International followers as well. So the specific book titles I am giving away have changed. For those of you who entered my giveaway before (11/19), there are two different book giveaways instead and you will all be automatically entered for all giveaways. Books will be ordered online instead of me mailing them, since I will be away for the holiday when the giveaway ends.)


MG/YA/Adult Giveaway 1
Your Choice Of Any 1 Book Below (I tried to accommodate all age groups):

Middle Grade:
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched The World
The Secret Language Of Girls
The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1)
The Presence: A Ghost Story
Bites: Scary Stories To Sink Your Teeth Into

YA Books:
The Book Thief
City Of Bones
City Of Ashes
City Of Glass

Adult Books:
Eat, Pray, Love
The Art Of Racing In The Rain
Never Let Me Go
Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Little Bee

Giveaway 2: US ONLY
Massive MG/YA Author Signed Swag Pack

Kristina McBride (The Tension Of Opposites)
Julia Hoban (Willow)
Shaun David Hutchinson (The Deathday Letter)
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder)
Dianne K. Salerni (We Hear The Dead)
Jen Nadol (The Mark)
Denise Jaden (Losing Faith)
Mindi Scott (Freefall)
Amy Brecount White (Forget-Her-Nots)
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF)
Leah Cypess (Mistwood)
Mara Purnhagen (Tagged)
Mara Purnhagen (Pat Midnight)
Jaclyn Dolamore (Magic Under Glass)
Irene Latham (Leaving Gee’s Bend)
C.J. Omololu (Dirty Little Secrets)
Jennifer Hubbard (The Secret Year)
Holly Nicole Hoxter (The Snowball Effect)
Jessica Leader (Nice And Mean)
N.H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul)
Jennifer Cervantes (Tortilla Sun)
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (8th Grade Superzero)
Josh Berk (The Dark Days Of Hamburger Halpin)
Jame Richards (Three Rivers Rising)
Melanie Dobson (Refuge on Crescent Hill)

(A big thank you to all the wonderful authors who donated signed swag for their books)

YA Giveaway 3
The Poison Diaries by The Duchess of Northumberland Jane
(Note: This is not The Poison Diaries By Maryrose Wood)

To Enter:

Become A GFC Follower
& Fill Out FORM

Extra Entries:
Email Subscriber +2

Giveaways End Nov 28 at 11:59 pm PST
Winners will be chosen by by Dec 1

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Enter Chronicle Book's $500 Haul-idays Giveaway At Bookish Delights!!

Hey guys! Chronicle Books is having a $500 Book Haul for Bloggers as well their readers/followers. Chronicle Books is an independent publisher of books.

Here is what it says on their giveaway page:

Post a list of Chronicle Books valued at up to $500 that you’d like to haul in, and you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing to WIN your list of books! And, one of your readers who comments on the post will win the list too!

If you don't have a blog, no worries. For everyone else, visit these participating blogs for your chance to win a haul of Chronicle Books! Each of these blogs has posted a list of books valued up to $500! One blogger and one commenter on the winning post will each WIN the list!

Below is my Chronicle Books Wish List. I entered the Chronicle Books Haul-idays Giveaway for a chance to win these books. If you want a chance to win these books as well, just make a comment on this post below along with your email.

Marley Legend: An Illustrated Life of Bob Marley $35.00
Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson & Sam Stall $14.95
Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy & Ben Winters $12.95
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith $12.95
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies Deluxe Heirloom Edition by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith $24.95
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith $12.95
Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters $12.95
Dracula’s Heir: An Interactive Mystery by Sam Stall $24.95
The Gravedigger by Peter Grandbois $13.95
The Writer’s Toolbox by Jamie Cat Callan $24.95
Women Know Everything by Karen Weekes $16.95
Unicorn Wishes by $15.95
The Space between Trees by Katie Williams $17.99
Barry Moser Story Pack $23.95
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll $19.95
The Nutcracker by Michael Hague $7.95
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore & Cooper Edens $7.95
Olive, The Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold & Vivian Walsh $15.99
The Alchemist’s Cat(Hardcover) by Robin Jarvis $17.95
The Oaken Throne(Hardcover) by Robin Jarvis & Leonid Gore $17.95
Thomas (Hardcover) by Robin Jarvis $17.95
The Whitby Witches(Hardcover) by Robin Jarvis $17.95
The Dark Portal (Hardcover) by Robin Jarvis $17.95
The Crystal Prison(Hardcover) by Robin Jarvis $7.18
The Final Reckoning(Hardcover) by Robin Jarvis $17.95
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes $16.99
Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood $23.95
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco, Monique Felix $17.95
Lexi’s Tale by Johanna Hurwitz $4.99

Last day to submit entries is December 10th!
Winners will be announced on December 13th!

Visit the Chronicle Books Website and check out their books by clicking HERE.

Interested in entering your blog? The form to enter is HERE.

Check out other participating blogs so you can have more chances to win Chronicle Books. Click HERE.

Leave a comment below in this blog post, along with your email, for a chance to win my Chronicle Books wish list, valued near $500.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Review: Girl, Stolen by April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
( Sept. 2010)
Hardcover: 224 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Author/Publicist
Rating: 4 Stars
ISBN-10: 0805090053
ISBN-13: 9780805090055

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads): Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

MY THOUGHTS: I really adored Girl, Stolen. This is the first book that I've read from April Henry and I had been looking forward to reading it for a while and it did not disappoint. The story is well thought out, smart, fast-paced, with suspense and action, and a twist towards the end. And with the added strain of a teenage girl’s blindness and pneumonia, this accidental kidnapping is unlike any other I’ve read, so it definitely peaked my interest. It is fresh and original.

The characters are believable, with Cheyenne being my favorite. I liked how despite her handicap of being blind and sick, she is not portrayed as weak and helpless. The author focuses more on Cheyenne’s strengths than her weaknesses and utilizes them to the fullest extent. Don’t underestimate her. In fact, she is quite an extraordinary, remarkable, and brave young girl. The amount of strength and fight in her to try to survive this ordeal is just incredible and inspiring. Even though this is just a work of fiction, it still gives you a testament of what a blind person is capable of overcoming when faced with obstacles. Cheyenne never gives up hope. Her intelligence as well as her methodical planning and strategic ingenuity make up for her blindness. Cheyenne finds the strongest weapon in the most unlikely place - through communication - which I thought was interesting. But she also uses her handicap to her advantage, trying to evoke sympathy, in hopes of gaining some leverage in her situation. So she really leaves no stone unturned.

Griffin, the teenage boy who accidentally kidnaps Cheyenne when he steals her stepmom’s car, is another character who, while I shouldn’t like him because he is one of the bad guys, kind of grew on me once I got to learn more about him, as his damaged layers were slowly peeled back as you read through the book. He is torn between doing what’s right and doing what his father expects of him, so his vulnerability is easily visible. The book does a great job of detailing the internal conflicts and thoughts of the kidnappers. For me the story was just as much about Griffin as it was about Cheyenne. I felt that it was just as important to try to “free” Griffin as it was to free Cheyenne. There are certain parallels in their lives that allow for them to relate - or seemingly so - which you have to decide, is it a genuine connection or a strategic one? You’ll have to make up your own mind about this if you read this book.

I found myself caring about what happened to the characters. And I was rooting for Cheyenne the whole time. The exciting part about reading this book is that it’s unpredictable - to me at least - because it could go either way, good or bad. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, which made the journey more thrilling and suspenseful.

Money is such a powerful incentive for some of the captors that they are willing to selfishly hold Cheyenne for ransom despite never being kidnappers before. Even though Cheyenne is literally the blind one, for me it felt like her captors were also “blind,” being blinded by money. You get to see the extent to which some people will go for money and how greed can affect some people in a negative way by clouding and overpowering rational reasoning and good judgement in the weak-minded. The book has a lot of underlying depth, dealing with themes and issues of peer pressure, morality, trust, the handicapped, overcoming obstacles, courage, and hope.

While there is definitely some tension throughout the book, I wish there had been a little more conflict between Cheyenne and her captors. But this is understandable as her captors were not natural kidnappers. I also wish the story would have taken place over a longer period of time, as it only spanned a few days. It would have allowed for the story to not feel so rushed towards the end. And the search for Cheyenne isn’t highlighted as much as I would have liked, only briefly mentioned in the book. But overall, I was very impressed and satisfied with the book. The plot is solid from beginning to end. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 2010)

Hardcover: 352 pages
Reading Level: Adult
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 Stars

ISBN-10: 0312595670
ISBN-13: 978-0312595678

Synopsis (From Goodreads): On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old Realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor of the day pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive of a sadistic psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered spirit back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

My Thoughts: Still Missing is a raw, honest, and intense read that will hook you from the very beginning. No sugar coating here, that's for sure. The way the story is told, through sessions with Annie's psychiatrist, was a smart thing to do and added much more realness for me. I was able to really connect and feel for Annie as she was pouring her whole heart out and I felt like I was right there with her in the cabin with her captor, re-living the horror that she went through. I was very repulsed by her captor who she nicknames The Freak.

Annie's voice is a strong one and gives a powerful narrative. She's a true survivor. The story is very captivating and there is a huge twist towards the end, which was very shocking and disturbing. I love twists in stories and this one definitely brought the story to a whole other level. However, I felt like the reasoning behind it wasn't a satisfying one and wasn't convincing enough. I wish it had been more believable. This was the only time I felt that something was lacking.

Overall, a great read for a debut novel. The last line of the book is probably one of my favorites. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Winner Announcement: Halloween Themed Book Giveaway

I have a winner's announcement to make.

Out of a total of 61 entries (the number of postcards being sent by you guys), chose #35, who is..........


Her spooky book of choice is We Hear The Dead.

Congrats April! I sent you an email and you have already confirmed. For those of you who didn't win, you should all still expect some cool postcard(s) in your mail!! I'm looking forward to this myself. I am sending 3 postcards out. I have already sent out the emails to you guys with the names and mailing addresses of the people you'll be sending your postcard(s) to. Try to get them in the mail by the end of this week or at the latest, early next week. And once you've sent your postcard(s), let me know by sending me an email to: bookishdelightsblog at gmail dot com. This way I can easily keep track of things. Thank you all for participating in the postcard swap! Hope you enjoy the postcard(s) you get! I know I will!

Postcard Swap Facts (If You Are Interested):

25 Participants...

Sending a total of 64 Postcards(includes the 3 I'm sending)...

From a total of 8 Different Countries...

Of which...

4 people are sending out 1 postcard each and...

3 people are sending out 2 postcards each and...

18 people (the majority) are sending out 3 postcards each.