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31 August 2013

Endless Summer Read-A-Thon

Summer is drawing to a close which means it's time for me to try and finish up my summer reading list. I've joined up with the Endless Summer Read-A-Thon hosted by my friend Nicole at The Reader's Antidote. No real theme except to make a goal for yourself and try to stick to it. The read-a-thon runs from Sept 2 - 7. I don't know how many books I can realistically read in that time but I am going to do my best. Here are the books on my read-a-thon list.

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
God Save The Queen by Kate Locke

I usually suck at challenges but I do like to try, so wish me luck. If you want to join in the challenge, head on over the The Reader's Antidote to get more details. Happy reading!

30 August 2013

Uncovered (79): House of Ivy & Sorrow

Hi, everyone. Happy Labor Day weekend.  Anyone have a good BBQ to go to? I usually visit my parents for Labor Day but due to craziness at work, I couldn't leave this year. I am a little bummed about it but am trying not to be too sad. Hopefully I will see The World's End this weekend and get some reading done. But I hope you all have some fun plans. Anyway, this week's Uncovered post is for House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple. I love text based designs so it's no surprise that I like this one. I like the the ivy in the title is incorporated into the cover text. It's pretty but overgrown and wild, giving it a slightly ominious look. I really like the blue and green color scheme as well. I am really looking forward to this one. I am also already imagining what kind of a manicure I could to do match this cover. :)

That's it for me today. Hope you all have a great long holiday. Tell me what you'll be doing in the comments below so I can have a vicarious vacation through you. :) 

28 August 2013

Review: Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon

Author: Matt Fraction (Writer), David Aja (Illustrations), Javier Pulido (Illustrations), Alan Davis (Illustrations)
Publication Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Marvel
Genre: Comics/Graphic Novel
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository
Source: Borrowed

The breakout star of this summer's blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton - aka the self-made hero Hawkeye - fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he's out to prove himself as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence - before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won't believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe...and the darkest parts of Hawkeye's mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble...and stealing from the rich never looked so good.

COLLECTING: Hawkeye 1-5, Young Avengers Presents 6

Hot on the heels of the hit Avengers film comes a new comic book series about Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton. I was never a huge Avengers fan growing up (I was more of an X-Men kind of girl) and pretty much all I know about them I have learned from the recent Marvel movies. You don't need a lot of previous back story to read this collection though and I found it easy to follow along.

My Life As A Weapon is a collection of the first 5 issues of the Hawkeye series written by Matt Faction (The Invincible Iron Man, The Immortal Fist). The first three issues illustrated by David Aja (The Immortal Iron Fist) and the last two illustrated by Javier Pulido (Spiderman: Black Cat). This collection also includes a special issue of the Avengers Presents that features Hawkeye's first meeting with Kate Bishop.

The first three issues of this series are standalone stories. There is no real connection between each episode storywise and I think they are meant to give us insight into how this character ticks. Clint Barton is an everyman who also happens to be an Avenger. He's smart but not a genius and he reminds us more than once that he doesn't have any super powers. He just happens to have really good aim. It's kind of nice seeing a character like this, one who isn't brilliant or have super powers but wants to do the right thing. He gets himself into crazy scrapes and puts his foot in his mouth more often than not.

Kate Bishop is a character that is new to me and I really liked her. She and Hawkeye have an interesting relationship, to say the least, and I enjoyed watching her push his buttons. I would definitely like to read more about them together and see where their relationship goes.

I really enjoyed David Aja's artwork. I wasn't familiar with him before reading this but am interested in reading his back catalog now. He has a clean, bold style that I think works really well for this fast paced action series. I wasn't as big of a fan of Javier Pulido's artwork. There's nothing wrong with it but it didn't wow me. I am also one of those people who enjoys continuity in a comic series and it's a bit jarring when they switch artists halfway through.

While this series is fun, I don't think it's going to be a regular read for me. The lack of an overall story arc didn't give me much to invest in. This may change as the series goes on. If you like The Avengers and/or are curious about Hawkeye's back story, this is a good collection to pick up. There is some great dialogue and action sequences and Aja's artwork is top notch.

Visit Matt Fraction online at mattfraction.com and David Aja at  blog.davidaja.com/

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

27 August 2013

Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments

So this was originally supposed to be a mini movie review but it ended up super long so I turned it onto a full review. Warning - I ramble. Enjoy!

Title: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Release Date: August 21, 2013
Rating: PG-13

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, as most of you may know, if based on the hugely popular YA series by Cassandra Clare. I read the first two books in this series ages ago but admit to remembering very little about it. I went years between reading book 1 and 2 and had difficulty remembering what had happened in the first book.

My first impressions of this movie were that I enjoyed it. The world building was good, though there definitely could have been some more detail provided in certain spots. But I did not have any difficulty following along and things made sense for the most part. The visuals were great. I especially liked the City of Bones and wish we could have seen a little bit more of it, especially since it's part of the title of the book/movie. That scene was quite short and I wish we had learned more about it.

Lily Collins was convincing as Clary and was the right mix of vulnerable and tough. She also had some great hair throughout, which I was insanely jealous of. People seem to love Jace but I didn't have much of an opinion of him going in. Jamie Campbell Bower was good though and I totally believed his chemistry with Clary. One of my favorite characters was Simon, played by Robert Sheehan. He was great as Clary's slightly nerdy, super dependable best friend who also happens to be in love with her. I was a little disappointed in Isabelle and Alec however. The actors were fine but their characters were not very developed (esp Isabelle) and I would have liked to have seen more of their family and team dynamic. Alec and Jace are supposed to be really close but you just don't see it in the movie. I wish they had given both of them more screen time. Also, wasn't Isabelle a super bitch in the books? That's what I remember but she seemed pretty tame in the movie.  I am also on the fence about the actor who plays Magnus Bane. He looked great but his scenes were a bit wooden. He also didn't have much screen time so it's hard to judge.

The action sequences were really great. The fighting looked really well choreographed and I really liked the fight at the end between Jace and Valentine. The sword work and footwork in that scene were fantastic.

The romance between Jace and Clary was believable. The two definitely have chemistry, which I noticed when I saw the cast at Wonder Con this year. There are a few super cheesy moments (hello sprinklers and bad romance ballad) but, for the most part, I didn't have a problem with it. SPOILER (if you haven't read the series yet, skip down to the next paragraph). The film also veers from the book and decides to tell the audience straight away that the incest plot is all a lie. This is a big change from the book since I know that the are they or aren't they brother and sister plot goes at least into book 3 of the series. I understand why they did this though because the film had no idea if there would even be another movie and I don't think most movie audiences would really be into a possible incest romance. END SPOILER. Hardcore books fans may disagree with me on this but I did not have an issue with it.

Overall, the movie was really entertaining and had some great action sequences and good performances all around. It's not a movie I would buy but I would totally watch it if it was on cable and I would go see a sequel :)

Thanks for reading this rambling review of The Mortal Instruments. Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

26 August 2013

Manicure Monday (29): Storm

Hi, everyone. I am back for another Manicure Monday. Today I have Storm by Brigid Kemmerer, a really fun YA paranormal series. I've been meaning to start this series for and finally managed to get to it this weekend. I plowed through it in a couple of days. It's great fun and very angsty with cute boys and super powers. What more can you ask for, right?  Let's see what look I came up with.

Since this cover has an amazing array of blues on it, I decided to do an ombre manicure with an accent nail. It's kind of hard to see but I used four different shades of blue, going from light to dark, painting each finger a different color. The four shades of blue I used were (from light to dark) Zoya Yummy, Essie Butler Please, Sinful Colors My Buoyfriend and OPI Eurso...Eurso. I also wanted to create a lightning effect on those nails and used OPI silver shatter on the blue nails to get the look of lightning streaking through the sky. 

Finally, on my accent nail, I used a chartreuse yellow shade by Sinful Colors called High Strung.  I decided to make the little star symbol on the cover though I reversed the colors because I did not think that I would be able to write with yellow on black very well. I am not sure how accurate to the story this star is since they used a five pointed star in the book. Maybe it was just for the cover design and has nothing to do with the book or maybe it has hidden meaning...

What do you guys think? I had fun with this one and was happy with the final result. I am waiting for book 2, Spark, to come in from the library. I want to keep reading about these brothers and their lives. Thanks for stopping by today. Leave a comment below to your MM link if you decide to participate. Have a good week!

25 August 2013

Divergent - Full Trailer

Hot on the heels of last week's Divergent teaser, a full trailer was released tonight at the MTV VMA Awards. 

This trailer shows a lot more than the teaser. I am still not totally sold on the actor that plays Four but Kate Winslet looks great as Janine and I really like the overall look of the film. Will it live up to the hype? Guess we'll have to wait until March to see.

Stacked (69)

Hi, everyone. Good Sunday to you all. Last night I went to see The Mortal Instruments movie. And I have to say that it wasn't terrible. I wasn't awesome but it could have been much worse. I thought the actors did a decent job and the fight scenes were really good. There were some incredibly cheesy moments (hello sprinklers) but overall I had fun. I may write a longer review at some point, but we'll see. It did make me kind of want to finish the series though. I've only read the first two books.

I've kept it pretty light this week and only picked up a few books from NetGalley.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater - I admit that I actually haven't read The Raven Boys yet, but I do plan to. I hear that the sequel is even better and hope to read both of them soon.

Born Wild by Julie Ann Walker - I've never read a book by Walker but this one piqued my interest on NG. It's a bodyguard romance, which are always fun.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes - So excited about this. I loved Me Before You and am excited to see what Moyes comes up with next.

Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen - This is a new series by Sorensen and I have heard really good things about her. Hoping this one lives up to the hype.

That is my book haul this week. I am signing up for a couple of reading challenges soon to hopefully motivate me to get through some of these. What's new in your mailbox?

24 August 2013

Nalini Singh at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach

Hi, everyone. This is a ridiculously late recap post. I don't know what happened. I planned on writing this the same week it happened but time just got away from me and now it's months later. Hope you guys don't mind this trip down memory lane. :)

If you don't know, Nalini Singh is one of my most favorite authors. I'll pretty much read anything by her. When I heard that she was touring for the newest book in her Psy-Changeling series, I was ecstatic. The SoCal tour stop was set for Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach, which isn't that close to me. I knew it would take me at least an hour to get there - in good traffic. So I decided to take the afternoon off and leave really early and just hang out. I bought my copy of Heart of Obsidian, got a cold coffee beverage, and sat down to read while I waited for the signing.

There were actually quite a few people there who showed up early, too, and I ended up chatting with some of them. It's really fun hanging out with people who love the same books as you do because it's like you already speak the same language. About half and hour before showtime, the staff let us back into the store to get seats. There was a good crowd there by that time though more would show up later. And finally it was time for Nalini to come out! She looked cute as always, in a gorgeous print dress. I kind of love the picture below because of the MG employee doing some sneaky legwork. 

The event started right off with questions from the audience. Someone asked if Amara would ever got her own story. Nalini said that, though she would definitely be back, Amara would not get her own HEA story. She's too unstable and "crazy." Nalini did confirm that there will be more stories on the Arrows. This elicited much cheering from the audience.

Someone asked if Nalini would ever go back to Dark River (we haven't had a Dark River story in a long time). Nalini said that she she always intended for Dark River to be a small, unique pack. They don't have many members and she knew that there would be fewer stories from them. However, she said that she would definitely go back to Dark River one day (yay!).

When asked if she writes for herself or tries to please her audience, Nalini said that she writes to please herself. She knows that she can't please everyone and that she goes with her gut when writing.

One of the hot topics was what kind of pup-cubs would Riley and Mercy have. Nalini didn't give anything away but she did confirm that the kids would be all wolf or all cat, not a mix.

When asked who some of her favorite authors were, Nalini mentioned JD Robb, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook and Julie James

Then it was time for signing! Unfortunately the staff at MG decided to line people up by letting everyone standing go first and everyone sitting go last. So, even though most of us sitting had been there for hours, we had to go last. It was worth it to see Nalini but I still wish I could have gotten closer to the front of the line. 

Nalini was sweet and gracious and signed the big stack of books I had. We had a nice chat about her travels and touring before I said goodbye and let the next person go. By then there were less than 10 people left in the line and I was pooped. Luckily traffic wasn't terrible and I made it home in less than an hour.

I had a great time at the signing. I don't usually go to a lot of signings by myself but I made some friends there and had fun. I really hope Nalini comes back again soon. If you're interested in seeing a few more pics from the event, you can check out my Facebook album.  And if you've never read a Nalini Singh book, do it! I am totally enabling you to do it right now.

Thanks for hanging out and reading this overdue recap. I think I have one more recap event I need to post about to catch up. Have you been to any great signings recently?

23 August 2013

Uncovered (78): Zebra Forest

Hi and happy Friday, everyone. This week's Uncovered book is Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz. This is totally the kind of cover that would catch my eye in a bookstore. I am a fan of forest themes in general and really like the clean lines of the tree trunks in this one. I love that you can create the feeling of a forest with only a few simple lines. I also like how the designer incorporated the title text into the artwork so that it actually forms the house. It's pretty simple but I think all of the elements really come together well into a really cool cover. I don't know much about this book but the synopsis is a little ominous.
When eleven-year-old Annie first started lying to her social worker, she had been taught by an expert: Gran. "If you’re going to do something, make sure you do it with excellence," Gran would say. That was when Gran was feeling talkative, and not brooding for days in her room — like she did after telling Annie and her little brother, Rew, the one thing they know about their father: that he was killed in a fight with an angry man who was sent away. Annie tells stories, too, as she and Rew laze under the birches and oaks of Zebra Forest — stories about their father the pirate, or pilot, or secret agent. But then something shocking happens to unravel all their stories: a rattling at the back door, an escapee from the prison holding them hostage in their own home, four lives that will never be the same. Driven by suspense and psychological intrigue, Zebra Forest deftly portrays an unfolding standoff of truth against family secrets — and offers an affecting look at two resourceful, imaginative kids as they react and adapt to the hand they’ve been dealt.
I don't think I have actually seen this one in stores yet even though it looks like it was released a few months ago. I will have to look for it the next time I am at the bookstore. :) Thanks for visiting today. Let me know what you think of this cover in the comments below and have a great weekend!

22 August 2013

Divergent - Teaser Trailer

Have you guys seen the new Divergent trailer?

Shailene Woodley is seriously the YA star of the moment and this looks like it could be fun. Hopefully movie Tris will annoy me less than book Tris. :)

Review: Tiger Magic by Jennifer Ashley

Author: Jennifer Ashley
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository
Source: Purchased

He was once a captive, but his urges were never caged. Now he’ll release them on a beautiful stranger whose own secret desires are longing to be sated…

He doesn’t have a name. He doesn’t have a clan. The humans who held him prisoner for forty years have taken them away. He knew nothing but captivity until nearly a year ago, when he was released into the light. Now Tiger lives in the Austin Shiftertown, where he struggles to belong and searches for an identity.

Carly Randal thinks her fabulous life is complete—until her car breaks down on the side of the road, and a wild-looking Shifter is the only one to help her. Tiger takes one look at Carly and knows instantly—she will be his mate. As Carly is drawn into his Shifter world, she risks everything she has for that forbidden something she still wants: passionate love.

With the introduction of Tiger in Tiger Magic, Jennifer Ashley veers slightly in a new direction with her Shifters Unbound series.  Though I haven't always read all of the books in this series in the correct order, if you want to know more about Shifters Unbound, I would begin with Pride Mates (Shifters Unbound #1).  Additionally, though you can read Tiger Magic without reading Mate Claimed (Shifters Unbound #4), readers who would like more of Tiger's backstory might want to add that one to their list as well.

In Tiger Magic, Ashley's main character is a tiger shifter named Tiger for his obvious similarities to his animal self.  Unlike the other shifters, Tiger was created and not born from parents who were shifters.  His abilities are significantly different than other shifters and he is considerably more unpredictable and, in some ways, wilder.  This makes other shifters uncomfortable around Tiger.

The story begins with Carly Randal, on the side of the road with a car that has broken down.  Tiger senses an immediate connection or bond and believes her to be his mate.  He approaches her and helps get her car working again.  Shortly after this the fun begins.  Carly is engaged to an arrogant and very rich man, who she discovers having an affair in their kitchen. When Tiger goes into protector mode, he nearly gets killed and winds up in the hospital, where it turns out that Carly is one of the only ones who can control him.

Carly recognizes that there is also a connection with Tiger, but isn't all that certain about this "mate bond" that Tiger keeps talking about.  I don't know about other readers, but I was immediately drawn to Tiger (who is an ultimate alpha male) and Carly.  Carly is a strong female and was a really nice balance for Tiger.  Their connection felt real even if it did contain quite a bit of "insta-love".  I felt that the introduction of Tiger has brought some new life to Ashley's series.

In addition to the romance aspect of the book, which definitely plays a large role in the story line, there is also a mystery about Tiger's abilities and what his purpose is. Why was he created?  There are some federal agent types that are after Tiger and it takes awhile to figure out who is good and who is just plain trouble. This story line adds another layer of interest for readers beyond just the romance.  Finally, I enjoyed catching up with previously introduced characters who live in the Austin Shifter town.  Readers, new and old, to Ashley's Shifter Unbound will want to pick up Tiger Magic and read it as soon as possible.


Visit the author online at www.jennifersromances.com, her blog, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @jennallyson

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

21 August 2013

Review: Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis

Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: Aug 6, 2013 (re-release, original published 2005)
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository
Source: Publisher via NetGalley


Summer Abrams left everything behind-the warehouse fire that took her father's life, the town where her world fell apart, and her best friend in the world, Joe Walker. All she carried with her was guilt. Now, twelve years later, another fire has devastated the same warehouse, and Summer returns to Ocean Beach to search for answers. But what she finds first is an old flame that never went out . . .

Joe Walker has become the town fire marshal-sexy, strong, and an expert at keeping people at bay. The only person he ever let into his heart broke it and left town without a word. Now that she's back, Joe swears he won't fall for Summer again . . . but the heat between them is irresistible. As he tries to help her heal the past, can he take a risk on building a future with Summer?

I am a fan of Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series and, when I saw that her publisher was re-releasing one of her older and unavailable books as an eBook, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Summer Abrams and Joe Walker have been best friends since childhood. Until one day a terrible warehouse fire changes everything for the both of them. After high school, Summer leaves town and doesn't look back. Years later a similar fire bring Summer back to town and she finds that Joe is no longer the chubby, awkward teen that he once was and is now a fire marshall. As Joe investigates the fire, it's clear that the connection between he and Summer hasn't died and they both want more this time.

I know a lot of people who have a thing for firemen. And after reading this, I can see why. Joe is kind, sensitive, has killer abs and is doing a job that saves lives. I don't know how much hotter he can get.

Summer, unfortunately, was not the best heroine. I understood why she left town all those years ago and kept her distance. I didn't agree with it but I could see where she was coming from. What I didn't like what how she treated Joe when she came back. She was extremely selfish in their relationship, using Joe as a way to relieve her stress when she knew her actions would hurt him in the end. Even when he tells her that he can't do casual with her, that he'll get hurt, she persists in pursuing a purely physical relationship because it makes her feel better. She doesn't think about how her actions will affect others, which has led to her current strained relationships. I just had a really hard time liking her and thought that Joe deserved better.

Seeing Red isn't Shalvis's best, though it definitely shows promise. If you are in the mood for a quick beach read or have a thing for firemen, this might be a good pick. Otherwise I would recommend picking up one of Shalvis's more current books.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at jillshalvis.com, Facebook and follow her on Twitter @JillShalvis

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

19 August 2013

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop (US - Ends 8/27)

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and The Bookhounds. I have been waiting for this hop because I have lots of books that need new homes. I have several lots of books to give away and I tried to separate them by internest/genre. You can enter to win one or all of them. Take your pick. The box will contain what's in the picture and we may throw in some swag and other prizes as well. US residents only. Thanks and good luck!

Giveaway Rules:
  1. Open to US residents only. 
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!

Box #1 (Urban Fantasy)

Box #2 (Romance)

Box #3 (Lit Fic, etc.)

Manicure Monday (28): Clarity

Hello and thanks for stopping by the Manicure Monday feature here are Nite Lite. Today I am featuring Clarity by Kim Harrington. As you can see, I am actually reading an old ARC that I borrowed from a friend. I am trying to get through some of the books I've borrowed so I can give them back and make some room on my shelves. I haven't gotten very far into it yet but I really like it. I like the way Harrington writes Clare. She seems like a real teen and she's pretty badass. I am not sure where the story is going yet but I think it's going to be fun.

I started with a base of white with OPI's My Boyfriend Scales Walls from the Spiderman collection. It's kind of streaky but I like that it's a more muted white. I then sponged on a gradient with a pretty blue from American Apparel called The Valley. I wanted to mimic blue fade that is the background of this cover.

I tried to do a watercolor type thing to mimic the sunspots on the cover, but that turned out pretty bad. Instead, I used an orange and yellow polish to just make some dots on my pinkie. It kind looks like it though it doesn't really have the exact same effect. 

Finally. I drew in some seagulls with a small nail brush and some dark grey nail polish. The seagulls came out better than I anticipated and I had a lot of fun making them.

So that's my manicure today. Hope you guys liked it. Let me know what you think in the comments below and leave me a link if you do your own book mani. Have a great week!