I FINALLY got time to update my blog! Yeah! So anyway, my goal is to blog at least once a week- on Saturdays when I have some down time and book news. Lately, I have been reading and have finished quite a few books. Here they are. :)
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Forgive My Fins- Tera Lynn Childs
Rating: 5 STARS

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It's Not Summer Without You- Jenny Han
Rating: 5 STARS

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Sometimes It Happens- Lauren Barnholdt
Rating: 5 STARS

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Sisters Red- Jackson Pearce
Rating: 5 STARS

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The Uglies- Scott Westerfeld
Rating: 4 STARS

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We'll Always Have Summer- Jenny Han
Rating: 5 STARS

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So Much Closer-
Susane Colasanti
Rating: 5 STARS

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Ripple- Mandy Hubbard
Rating: 5 STARS

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Matched- Ally Condie
Rating: 5 STARS

I can't wait for the sequel on this one!

Winners

The two lucky winners who won the Bloodlines Experience book duo are:

Jennifer K. Jovus

AND

Delilah Rodriguez!

Thanks for entering and check back for more giveaways! Winners will recieve an email and have 48 hours to respond.

~Alexis~
 
2012 Challenges 11/27/2011
 
While I haven't been blogging a lot lately, I still have been working book-wise. I decided that I'm going to do the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren and the 2012 Contemporary Challenge hosted by Katie at Katie's Book Blog. I've found all the books I'm going to read and can't wait. Now, I have to get my hands on some copies. :)

~Alexis~
 
I Apologize 11/15/2011
 
I haven't been blogging a lot lately, as anyone can tell. I'm going to work on that- I promise. :) First off, school has been stopping me from updating me more often, but that's not a good enough excuse. So, I will try my hardest to update this more then once a month. ;) Starting tomorrow, I will post "mini- reviews" for the books I have finished but haven't yet reviewed here. I have a whole pile of books, which will be featured on my next In My Mailbox, so I will def be busy reading.

Anyway, I'm sorry about my abuse to blogging and hope to get back to it soon. :)

~Alexis~
 
 
Okay, so I haven't been blogging a lot lately and I feel really bad about it. I promise I will blog more often. With school, blog tours, and my birthday coming up, (TOMORROW!) it's been pretty hectic at my house. :)
Anyway, here is a giveaway for the novel Bloodlines and sequel Torment. Just in time for Halloween! Enjoy! (For some reason, the text I got for the blurbs from The Experience Tours, link to Goodreads... sorry about that.)

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    Enter Giveaway Now!

 
 
I was really excited to read Craved and be a part of the blog tour once again hosted by Roxanne at Bewitched Book Tours!  So, here is the blurb and my review. Enjoy!

Craved Summary

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Craved
By: Stephanie Nelson
Blurb via Goodreads
Gwen Sparks just wants to live a peaceful life in the little town of Flora, but when she reads the headline, she knows peace may be hard to find. She'll have to use her rare power for being able to read the memories of dead to catch the culprit behind the string of murdered witches. Teaming up with the one man who broke her heart, Detective Micah Reynolds, all the while she has to deal with a ghost who pulls her into the deathly realm at any given moment and a sexy but frustrating vampire who not only craves what runs through her veins, he's after her heart.

Craved Review

Review:
Wow. That's about all I can say. This book was a great start to the series and I can't wait to read the sequel! I usually don't read books about vampires and such but the cover got me interested and I'm so glad I got a copy!

Gwen Sparks was a great main character. I loved her and how tough she was. She was awesome.

This is review is so short because Wow is really all I can say! Go out and get this book! It's worth it!

Recommendation:
Readers 13+

Rating:
5 STARS

~Alexis~
 
 
So last week I was part of the Gypsy Knights tour and now I am part of the An Unexpected Bride blog tour.  This tour is yet again ran by Roxanne over at Bewitching Book Tours.  Here's the blurb, author bio and author interview for An Unexpected Bride. Enjoy!

An Unexpected Bride Summary

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An Unexpected Bride
By: Shadonna Richards

 Emma Wiggins is about to marry her heart-stopping, gorgeous boss, CEO Evan Fletcher, in seven days—too bad he doesn’t know it yet! 

Desperate to fulfill her ailing grandfather’s last wish to see her settle down and get married, Emma Wiggins, a 30-year-old, career-focused executive tells him a little white lie on his deathbed that she is in fact engaged--to her boss, deliciously handsome and emotionally unavailable, Evan Fletcher.

The situation takes an unexpected turn when her grandfather's condition improves slightly and to her shock, he goes ahead and arranges a wedding ceremony at his hospital bedside before he passes on. Now, all Emma has to do is convince unsuspecting, commitment-phobic Evan to tie the knot with her in seven days.  

Can love blossom in the most unlikely situation?

Only .99 for the Kindle

 http://www.amazon.com/An-Unexpected-Bride-ebook/dp/B005GXLALY/

 

REVIEWS
"I can feel her heart beating out of her chest. Great pacing...good descriptives…I look forward to buying this story one day soon." - Judge, TARA contest 2010

"Very sweet...great foreshadowing!" - Judge, TARA contest 2010



Author Bio

Shadonna Richards enjoys reading and writing about the magic of romance and the power of love. She is the author of the non-fiction books, A Gift of Hope and Think and Be Happy: 365 Empowering Thoughts to Lift Your Spirit (an Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller in Meditation). Winner of Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write 2010 Day Two Challenge, she is a member of the Romance Writers of America. An Unexpected Bride is her first novel. She’s a proud mommy and wife and lives in Canada with her husband and son.

You can visit her at www.shadonnarichards.blogspot.com or join her on twitter at www.twitter.com/shadonna or send her an e-mail at Shadonna@ymail.com

Author Interview

1. What inspired you to write An Unexpected Bride?
I witnessed a beautiful wedding that took place at the hospital bedside of a dying patient. He really wanted to see his daughter get married but he knew he wouldn’t be able to attend the actual ceremony. So the daughter changed the wedding date and brought the ceremony to him. It was very touching. I thought that was the perfect example of the power of love. Of course, An Unexpected Bride has a totally different spin to that story. The idea of Emma and Evan sort of came to me weeks after. I couldn’t wait to get it down on paper.  

2. If you could be any character in your novel, who would you be and why? Definitely Emma. She would go to any lengths to take care of her family and those close to her.  

3. Do you have a favorite part in this novel?  If so, which one?
Oh, the New York scene for sure. I thought it was so romantic when they got to spend time in one of the most romantic cities in the world.  

4. I LOVE the cover; it's absolutely stunning.  Did you get a say in what the cover would look like?
Thank you. I had a lot of input into it. I thought the bride on the cover would be perfect for the story. I actually went through 3000 stock photos on various websites to come to that image—one that I was satisfied with.  

5. Out of all three books you've written, (A Gift of Hope, Think & Be Happy and An Unexpected Bride,) which did you enjoy writing most?  
An Unexpected Bride for sure. I loved the journey and excitement of living through Emma and Evan. At times, the characters surprised me with their actions. It was fun.

Thanks, Shadonna, for stopping by The Reading Hideaway!

~Alexis~
 
 
I'm so excited to be a part of the Gypsy Knights Blog Tour run by Roxanne over at Bewitching Book Tours.  Here's a blurb, author bio, sneak peek and review... Hope you enjoy!

Gypsy Knights Summary

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Gypsy Knights

by Two Brothers Metz

Genre: Paranormal YA

Fourteen-year-old Durriken Brishen has lost his parents, his grandfather, and though he doesn't know it, his Gypsy culture's dangerous gift.

Taken in and raised on the rails by the first woman to pilot a freight train, Durriken has one remaining connection to his Romani roots: a small wooden box that hangs from the hammer loop of his overalls.

The last gift he received from his grandfather, the box contains the world's first chess set. But a piece is missing: the Red Queen. According to Durriken’s family lore, the complete set awakens the power of Tărie, a mercurial gift that confers unique abilities on each new Master.

When a suspicious fire erupts in the Chicago rail yard, Durriken's escape produces an uneasy alliance, though not without its silver lining. Dilia is a few inches taller, several degrees cleverer, and oh yes – very pretty. While Durriken is uneasy allying with a girl whose parents were convicted of sedition, there's no doubt she is a powerful partner. And while it's not immediately clear to either, her own Guatemalan culture and family history are deeply entwined with the ancient Romani mystery.

 Jumping box cars, escaping riverboats, deciphering clues, crossing swords with the brilliant madman Radu Pinch – with great American cities as its backdrop – Gypsy Knights is the page-turning saga of Durriken Brishen and his quest to rediscover his past.

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Knights-Saga-ebook/dp/B0051VRLRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312118862&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble:                                                                                      

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gypsy-knights-two-brothers-metz/1031249018?ean=2940012599803&itm=1&usri=gypsy%2bknights

Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11558161-gypsy-knights

Author Bio

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Two Brothers Metz Bio:

The Two Brothers Metz are happily settled in the rolling valleys of Western Pennsylvania – where they are hard at work on the second installment of The Gypsy Knights Saga.







Twitter:@twobrothersmetz

Email: twobrothersmetz@gmail.com
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Two-Brothers-Metz/212578882096369

Gypsy Knights Sneak Peek

Chapter 11

The Lure of Tárie

July 24, 1965 – Chicago, Illinois

Durriken stuffed the letter into his pocket, slammed the yellow suitcase shut, and wheeled to face Dilia.

“Well?” Dilia asked.

“Well what?” said Durriken.

“Well, what is that letter? Well, why did you run away? Well, what the hell is going
on?”

“Right, good questions,” said Durriken. “See you around.” He backed away, keeping his eyes locked on Dilia’s, then turned and walked swiftly down the hall.

“That’s not the way out!” called Dilia. She sighed and darted down the hall after him.

Durriken heard Dilia’s footsteps dogging his tracks. He sped up, turned a corner, entered a stairwell, descended a flight of stairs, and opened another door. Durriken broke into a trot and sped down a basement hallway, the yellow suitcase bumping against one leg, his chess set against the other. Dilia’s steps echoed close behind.

“That’s not the way out,” she called again.

He slowed and stopped.

“Okay, what – do – you – want?” Durriken asked in clipped staccato.

Dilia’s hand slid to the collar of her dress. What she wanted, Dilia couldn’t tell him. He had the chess set, whose Red Queen – her Red Queen – had shown her visions of the two of them, but yet something in the pit of her stomach warned her not to tell Durriken about her chess piece. Not yet.

“You need help,” she said at last, remembering the startling vision of the sailor boy on the burning mast who might have been his twin.

“I’ve been in worse scrapes. I’ll be fine.”

“Fine? You can’t even get out of the school. You just ran into the basement.”

“Look, I’m flattered you want to help – and I’m sure you’re a very good helper – but I don’t need any help,” said Durriken.

“Where’d you get those chess pieces?”

“What?” shouted Durriken. “What the hell do you care about the…”

The sound of a door slamming echoed down the hallway. Durriken froze. Dilia grabbed his arm. He pulled it away with an angry jerk.

“Get off me,” he said, baring his teeth.

“Shhhh!” Dilia admonished. She grabbed his arm again, and pulled him down the hall and around the corner. She yanked Durriken into a deserted office and closed the door behind her.

“What’s your problem?” he said loudly.

“Shut up!” hissed Dilia, clapping a hand tight over Durriken’s mouth. Durriken’s heart beat wildly and he struggled to breathe under Dilia’s warm hand, dizzied by her scent of fresh laundry and spring flowers.

A metallic tapping, like blows of a distant hammer, began to grow louder. They could make out shuffling footsteps and the distinct tapping of a cane on the linoleum hallway floor.

Durriken and Dilia inched backward, deeper into a dark corner of the office, furthest from the door. The metallic tapping drew nearer, echoing like the beat of an evil heart. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Their imaginings of the man in the hall grew horrible as the seconds dragged on.

Periodically, the footsteps stopped. A nearby doorknob rattled. Then he moved on. Searching.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Finally, the tapping slowed and stopped as a hunched shadow darkened the window of their door. Durriken and Dilia held their breath as the doorknob rattled. Angry muttering slid under the doorway as the man in the hall rammed the locked door with his shoulder. He cracked his cane on the floor in frustration. The phantom retreated from the door, swirled his cape around him, and started down the hallway. The tapping resumed, quick with anger, and faded down the corridor, back toward the stairs.

Durriken and Dilia listened breathlessly as the stairwell door squeaked open and hissed slowly closed as the last cane taps drifted through the close underground air. Dilia took her hand from his mouth.

Durriken walked to the door and put his ear to it. After a long pause he tried the
doorknob – locked. He dropped his suitcase and turned on Dilia.

“You trapped us in here,” he said.

“You were trapped before,” said Dilia. “This hall’s a dead end. He would have found you.”

“And what if he had?” asked Durriken. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“I just thought…I could help,” said Dilia.

“Good thing you’re not trying to help in a hospital,” snapped Durriken, “all the patients would be in the morgue.”

She walked over to the desk, picked up the receiver to the telephone, and started dialing numbers.

“What’re you doing?” asked Durriken.

“Since, you haven’t done anything wrong, I’ll just call the school and somebody will let us out.”

Durriken took a quick step and yanked the cord from the wall. Dilia’s full red lips parted in a triumphant smile, her white teeth sparkling against her dark skin. Durriken wheeled, fists balled, his short, muscular frame heaving with sharp breaths. Dilia straightened her back and tensed for a fight. She stood a head taller.

“Sit still,” he demanded. “I know you want to help, but just let me think for five minutes before you start helping again, okay?”

Dilia brushed past him and retreated to a dark corner. Durriken thumped his back against the door, and slid down to the floor. He sat cross-legged and ran his hands back and forth through his hair. Composing himself, he pulled the envelope from his pocket. He slid a finger along its edge, pressed the yellowed paper to his nose and inhaled deeply.

Durriken slipped a finger inside a corner of the envelope flap, and gently pried it open.

Dilia emerged from the shadows, and sat on a corner of the desk, watching Durriken.

When Durriken tore open the envelope, a small plain key stamped with the number 1007 fell into his hand. He slipped it into the top pocket of his overalls and pulled the letter from the envelope. Dilia looked on curiously, left to guess at the emotions swirling inside Durriken.

The paper was water-stained and faded with time. Durriken’s eyes scanned the letter.

April 15, 1960

Dear Durriken,

I hope this letter never needs to find you. If it does, that means that I am gone and you are alone. I love you and I’m sorry I had to leave so soon. It was my time.

There is a difficult journey ahead. You are strong and your heart is true, but your path will not be easy.

I have not always been as strong as I would have liked, but I am strong with Tárie. So are you, though you may not know it yet.

Tárie has shown me that my time here is limited. While I can’t see what the future holds for you, I know that this letter will not find you until you are ready. You are probably a man now, or soon will be.

The night of your sixth birthday, your father and grandfather had a terrible fight about Tárie. They never spoke again. After that day, your Grandfather Brishen was dead to your father. So your father and I told you he had died. I did everything I could to heal the family, but your father and grandfather were too proud. My greatest regret – after having to leave you alone so young – is that I was too weak to change their minds. They put their beliefs and their pride before their family, and I didn’t stop them. Do not make the same mistakes, Duri.

I planned to tell you the truth as soon as you were old enough. This letter ensures that you will learn your family history, and who you were meant to be, even if I am gone.

To succeed, you must accept a heavy burden. You must find your Grandfather Brishen and learn the old ways. Study Tárie. Feel and understand. Your grandfather needs you near him. Only you can save him and only he can show you who you are.

I write this during dangerous times. Things can only have gotten worse, so I am taking every precaution. I cannot see what dangers surround your grandfather, but I sense they are grave.

Promise you will find your grandfather. He loves you. Just as your father does. And just as I do.

More instructions await you in a safer place. Remember a day when you and your father went alone. Follow the money. Ask for a man named King. That is all it is safe to say here.

All my power goes into you.

Love,

Mom

Durriken wiped his eyes, crumpled the letter, and jammed it back into his bib pocket.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” said Dilia.

Durriken’s heart was an open wound. Every sentence, every thought, every pen stroke in the letter salted the gaping hole in his chest where his heart had been ripped out and thrown, still beating, on the office floor. The lights in the hallway clicked off one by one and the basement sank into darkness.

Durriken rose, walked around behind the desk and picked up the desk chair. He walked back over to the door, raised the chair over his head and smashed it through the glass window.

The smell of rotten flowers filtered in from the hallway.

“I need your help,” he said to Dilia at last.

Dilia put her hands on her hips.

“Not until you say…”

“Please,” said Durriken.

“What’s this all about?” she asked.

“This may sound silly, but it’s all about my chess set. And my family.”

“And Tárie?” she said.

Durriken dropped his suitcase and eyed Dilia suspiciously, he was certain she had not seen the letter.

“How do you…”

“I told you. You need my help,” she said.

“It’s my…I need to find my…” Durriken faltered. “I need to get to the railyard. Please.

Help me get out of this school without having to answer any more questions – to anybody.”

“Follow me,” she said.

* * * * *

Twenty minutes later, Dilia poked her head out of a back entrance to Bulliard. She
scanned left and right, then stepped out and motioned for Durriken to follow.

“Thanks for your help,” said Durriken.

“You’re welcome.”

“I’ll give you a shot at the trophy again next year.” He took a few quick steps down the alley, turned and walked away backwards. He lifted his yellow suitcase, trophy inside, and tapped it. “Until then,” he said, doffing his cap.

“Where are you going?” she asked, starting to walk after him.

“Salt Lake City,” he said, quickening his pace.

“Great! I’ve never been,” she said. “Why are we going there?”

“We? Listen, you helped me, and I thank you, but there is no we.” Durriken began to trot in reverse, opening a gap between himself and Dilia.

“Look, I know you don’t want to hear it, but you need help. My help.” She quickened her pace.

“Maybe,” he said, backpedaling at full speed, “but we’ll never know.” Durriken turned and disappeared down a side street.

Dilia raced down the alley and turned onto the side street, but Durriken Brishen had disappeared without a trace.

Gypsy Knights Review

Title: Gypsy Knights  Author: Two Brothers Metz  Publisher: First Edition LoudCloud

Review:

In my opinion, this was a great debut for the Two Brothers Metz.  This novel was full of adventure, romance, mystery, chess and trains.  LOTS of chess and trains.

I liked this book a lot because it had a unique plot.  There was a bunch of chess talk and because I don't play chess, sometimes I got lost.  I could easily get back on track because of the way it was written.  That means it was very well written. :-)

The characters were very strong, just like the plot.  I couldn't help but feel sorry for Duri because of what happened in his past with his family.  That's where Casey comes in.  She was the mother figure in Duri's life and she was a great character who had major parts in the beginning, barely any in the middle, but another major part in the end.  I think my favorite character in this novel was Dilia.  She was a extremely strong girl who went through just as much as Duri did in her past and stuck with Duri throughout the adventure.

I enjoyed this book and can't wait for the sequel.  I would go and pick up a copy of this novel before the sequel comes out if I were you.  In fact, I might just pick up another copy for the heck of it. ;-)

Rating:
4 STARS

~Alexis~
 
 
Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty  Author: Jenny Han  Publisher: Simon & Schuester
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Summary:
Belly looks forward to going to Cousins Beach every summer to hang out at her favorite place with her favorite people.  This year, it all seems different though.  First of all, Steven, Belly's brother, is starting college, so he's not even going to be at the beach house the whole summer.  On top of that, Conrad has been acting strange.  Belly notices that kind of stuff with him because although he doesn't know it yet, she's been in love with him since the very first summer at Cousins Beach.  Belly's hoping that this summer will be the best one yet but with the way it starts out, she has a feeling it's not going to be like any other.

Review:

I wish I could've picked this book up so much sooner!  Even though it's the middle of September, I would've loved reading this book during the summer.  It'd be a perfect one to read during that time.

The whole story was emotional in a good way.  All the events that happened during the summer Belly's having, changes the way she thinks and she wishes she could've done things over.  It also gives her time to look back at past summers and what happened then as well.  I thought the flashbacks were a great touch to this novel but also loved what was going on in the present with all the boy drama.

Yes, boy drama.  Conrad, at first, seemed like a bad boy kind of type just by the way he acted.  Steven was the watchful brother who cared for Belly but teased her just as much.  Jeremiah I loved from the start.  He was a funny character who in the end turned out to be sensitive as well.  I loved how all three of the boys were there for Belly and wanted to protect her.  They all were like brothers to her.

This story made me laugh and cry and I can't wait to read the sequels.

Rating:
5 STARS

Recommendation:
Readers 12+

Photo Source:
http://photo.goodreads.com/

~Alexis~
 
 
Title: Two Way Street  Author: Lauren Barnholdt  Publisher: Simon Pulse
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Summary:
Courtney is getting ready for a road trip with her ex.  That's right, ex.  Even Courtney's still a little bit confused on why Jordan ever broke up with her.  They were the perfect couple and Jordan still wants them to be.  But they can't and that's why he ended it.  There are two sides to every break up but through it all Jordan knows he never should have broken up with Courtney because, in a strange twist, the couple are destined to be together.

Review:

The first thing that caught my eye when I saw this book was the cover.  It got me really interested and after I read a few reviews off the blogs I love, I knew I had to read it.

The major thing I loved when I read this novel was how Jordan and Courtney got to tell their stories by having their own chapters.  I love books that do that.  In some that have this back and forth technique, I get lost easily but when I read Two Way Street, I could keep up with what was going on even if it wasn't the same character narrating.

I also enjoyed the characters, Courtney and Jordan, and the story itself.  It was really sad at some parts and really irritating at others.  That's what keeps you reading, the sad and irritating parts, to see what's going to happen in the end.

Rating:
4 STARS

Recommendation:
Readers 13+

Photo Source:
http://photo.goodreads.com/

~Alexis~
 
 
Even though I'm only 13, I do remember what I was doing when I first heard about 9/11.  It's weird because I don't even remember what I was wearing or what else I did that day.  I only remember what I was doing at that moment.

When I first heard about it, I was playing with my Barbies in the corner of the living room, minding my own business like three- year- olds do.  My mom had turned on the news while I was playing and all of a sudden I heard her gasp.  When I turned to look at the tv I saw footage of 9/11 that I will never forget.  The images scared me.  They didn't even seem real.  I mean, who would fly a plane into a skyscraper?  Even me at my age thought that as weird behavior. 

At that time, I really didn't know what to think of it.  Now that's it's been ten years and I've grown I can make more sense of what happened that day.  Each year we talk about it at school and throughout the day there are specials on tv.  Ever since I saw images of it on the news when I was three, I can barely watch the specials when I'm 13.

I pray for all of those people who lost their lives and their families.  All of them, the EMTs, firefighters, police officers, office workers who went BACK IN the buildings to save others, and the brave people on the one plane that went down in Pennsylvania, are all heroes.  The families of those heroes should be proud of what they did.

Please also read Meg Cabot's 9/11 blog post here.

~Alexis~