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Monday, October 31, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday # 12

In this edition of Mailbox Monday I have two books from Amazon and several ARC's to write about. I bought from Amazon. I bought the second book from the WV Book Festival so I bought the first as part of Amazon's 100 books at $3.99 or less so I could begin with the first.

Freebie on Amazon. I've never read it so I decided I wanted the chance to.

I also recieved two books from NetGalley. Cinder and Shadowlander. I haven't found links to those two novels yet but they'll be up here when I get around to reviewing them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011 | By: Traci

Reminder: Spooktacular Blog Hop

This is just a reminder to let everyone know that the Spooktacular Blog Hop ends tomorrow night at Midnight! So if you haven't already go ahead and fill out the form to enter. I'll announce the winner of the Hop by November 2nd with a little surprise if some of you haven't figured it out yet! So go ahead and enter and if you feel up to it follow me for future giveaways.
Saturday, October 29, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Diagnosis Death by Richard L. Mabry

Diagnosis Death (Prescription for Trouble, #3)Diagnosis Death by Richard L. Mabry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed the story line and the plot, I wasn't completely immersed in this story and that is why I had to give this book a 3 star rating. The story is interesting, but for some odd reason, there are several points within this book where the story seems to drag on a bit before picking back up and getting interesting.

And while Elena is a likable character, she's sort of set up as a one dimensional character. She's a woman that just left a residency job after the death of her husband. That's about it. We see her slowly work through her grief of losing her husband a few months prior but even that plot seems to take a back seat to the story after several chapters.

The mystery portion was a good idea but for some reason, it just didn't play out well. It seems like it was just put out there, it was over with quickly and we don't get a lot of explanation except for a few spoken words at the end while everyone is at a public restaurant.

Also, there is one small plot portion where we don't hear a lot more about it. This character was turned into the cops, we find out it wasn't their first time and that's about it.

The book is a fast read however. It's not filled with too many boring details or situations that have no relevance to the plot. It's just the story and nothing else. Not a bad read but not exceptional either.

View all my reviews
Thursday, October 27, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Jenny Pox by J.L Bryan

Jenny Pox (The Paranormals #1)Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm really glad I waited until this book was free before I decided to get it and read it.

This book starts out pretty normal. We have our outcast character going through the motions of being someone that is cursed with the ability to give every living thing she touches the plague. Then we move to current day where Jenny is living with her father trying to avoid touching people for fear of spreading a terrible illness and possibly killing them in the process.

Things quickly get really, really strange from there. We meet a lot of the local teens that Jenny attends school with. Most of them are pretty regular characters until we meet Ashleigh, a girl that is very, very hard pressed for attention and will stop at nothing to get what she wants, regardless of whom she hurts in the process. She's a fraud but lucky for her, she has powers too and can make everyone do what she wants, when she wants simply by touching them. However, Ashleigh isn't the only one with powers. You'll have to read the rest to find out more.

This book is classified as a YA novel, but really, there are some parts that are definitely not YA material. I'm a pretty open minded person and I believe in letting teens read things they are mature enough to handle, but there is one, very large scene in this novel that I'm not sure I'd want any teen to read. It's just not appropriate for a YA novel.

There are one or two parts in this book that just seem out of place or at least a very incorrect thing to place at the time. Sometimes they're quite childish and they left me wondering why I just read what I read. Was it really necessary? To me they didn't seem like something that needed to be a part of the plot.

Also, on the topic of Ashleigh, she's an extremely one dimensional character with only one thing on her mind and I'm not sure how everyone was so willing to believe her. I know she had the ability to change people's opinions and make them do things for her, but it doesn't seem logical that she'd have the ability to touch EVERY SINGLE PERSON to make them believe her. It doesn't seem logical that an adult character that was not falling for her charms, would not be able to make other people see what she was up to.

All in all, it was an OK read. I'm not sure this is something I'd pay to read and I'm not sure I'd continue the series. It's a really strange story that I think will just continue to grow stranger.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel by Jonathan Maberry (ARC)

Dead of Night: A Zombie NovelDead of Night: A Zombie Novel by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to start this review by saying I've never read a zombie novel before this. In fact, I really didn't start to enjoy the zombie genre until a year or so ago and even then I slowly immersed myself in it. So with that being said I'll move on to my review.

I felt the opening of this was a bit slow. And at first, I wasn't very keen on Officer Fox. I thought she was kind of brash and really trying to prove something that she didn't need to prove. However, as her story began to play out, I became very fond of Fox and wanted her to make it out alive. The partnership between her and her partner JT was wonderful. I really thought those two characters worked together well and it was very apparent that these two characters cared for each other and were willing to do what it took to ensure each other's safety.

Now, when it comes to the outbreak of the zombie virus, I thought it was very well done. The idea behind this zombie outbreak is not one that I've heard before. I've heard lots of things about failed government experiments but I haven't heard anything about doctor's seeking revenge and really doing it in the worst way possible. It seems that this was meant to fail from the beginning and the evil of our first zombie victim just was not meant to end.

The action in this book built up slowly. It just kept building and building and building until we finally reached an all out zombie war full of guns and other weapons meant to take down the walking dead. I think one of the better parts about reading through this book is the few chapters from the perspective of a zombie. We find out that this person is fully aware of what they're doing and yet, they cannot stop their actions no matter how hard they try. This makes for great insight I think because we really are only thinking about how horrible this outbreak is rather than, do the zombies think? Do they know what they're doing? Do they even want to stop?

I also feel this book ended on a good note. We're left hanging but it's not in a bad way. Some books ends are a terrible point, they leave us wanting more. I didn't feel that way with this book. I felt like, even though we're left hanging, we're left at a good point. We may be left wondering but if you have any sort of imagination at all, you should be able to fill in the blanks as to what happened next.

This is a definite must read! Thanks to LibraryThing for this novel for review!

View all my reviews
Monday, October 24, 2011 | By: Traci

WV Book Festival Recap

So I left on Saturday morning for the WV Book Festival. About an hour or so into my trip I realized I didn't bring my camera. Thank goodness most phones today have a camera otherwise I wouldn't have anything to show for the trip! My GPS ended up getting us lost so we made it there a little later than I expected but that's OK. The first thing on my agenda was to check out the book sale. We did end up buying some books but not as many as I thought. I think this sale is so big the best thing to do is show up as soon as the doors open to begin looking. It was pretty empty when we got there and we showed up about 3.5 hours after the sale began. That's OK though, while the selections we bought aren't recent they're still pretty interesting looking nonetheless.

So, after the book sale, there weren't any presenters we were too interested in so we went to the mall. Thankfully the mall is right across the street from the Civic center so it made the trip easy. We found this really awesome tea place so naturally, we had to buy ourselves bubble tea! Cake batter flavor which was amazing. Anyway, rambling.

When we went back to the Civic Center, we had a bit to wait for Alex Flinn, so I bought a hardback version of her book Cloaked and we went to the presentation room. Alex spoke about her books, the inspiration for writing the fairy tale retellings and she talked a bit about writing her first books.

Here's Alex during her presentation.
And a copy of my signed book!

I'm definitely thinking about going back next year. However I think next year I'll plan to spend an entire weekend going to more presentations and just enjoying the weekend in another location!

SPOOKTACULAR Blog Hop Giveaway

-This hop is hosted by I am a reader, Not a Writer
-This contest runs from October 24-October 31st.
-Open to residents of the US only.
-Fill out the Form and click submit.
-Following is NOT required for this giveaway but it's very much appreciated! So is sharing and tweeting about this giveaway. This encourages me to hold more giveaways in the future.

I will be giving away my ARC copy of Will Lavender's Dominance. I reviewed this novel in the past and as this is a spooky giveaway, I figured a novel about a madman murdering people is a perfect book to giveaway! So enter, share and come back the week of November 1st to see if you're the lucky winner!

Saturday, October 22, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles, #0.5)The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this novella. It was interesting to see Finley in her days before she began working with other individuals to take down a mad man with his machines. I wasn't exactly sure how everything in this book would connect to the first book in the series, but it quickly became clear right before the book ended.

It was touching, rather sad really and while depressing, it was kind of shocking. I think I would have been more shocked by the story if I hadn't figured out what Lord Vincent was planning before it was actually revealed. That's sort of a pet peeve of mine when it comes to books. I'm not a big fan of books that tend to give away a major part of the plot before it actually occurs. It ruins the story.

I was going to give this book a three star rating but after reading through the end, I had to give it a better rating. I really thought the point where Finley and Lord Vincent met and fought was well written. It was action packed, not overly done, not rushed and descriptive.

I think one of my other issues with this novella was how easily and willing Finley's newest employer, Lady Morton was to employ her even after hearing what she did that cause her to be fired in the first place. While I understand her wanting protection for her daughter after she realized something wasn't right with her daughter's engagement, I'm just have a hard time believing that someone would be so willing to employ someone that someone else has considered 'dangerous'.

View all my reviews
Thursday, October 20, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Warrior (Dragons of Starlight #2) by Bryan Davis (ARC)

Warrior (Dragons Of Starlight, #2)Warrior by Bryan Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book begins pretty might right where the last book left off, which I think is a good thing. It helps us jump right into the story line without having to try too hard to remember where we left off.

I wasn't too happy with this book though. While the first book immersed us into the world, this book began in the world and jumped back and forth between the plane of dragons and enslaved humans, and the world where humans currently live as free people, it just didn't seem to be full of the same descriptive properties of the first novel. I felt like I wanted to know more and to experience more rich imagery than I was receiving.

Also, for me the story was kind of slow. It seemed to me that while we learn many surprising things about the dragon world, prophecies and the startling truth about a few characters, it just didn't pick up until we're almost at the end and we're trying to find out what is going to happen with the dragon plot. We're left wondering which set of dragons to cheer for, and we're left wondering what will happen to Tibber and Elyssa back on Darksphere. There are many more holes opening up that will have to be filled by the next book because there are just so many things that are left open.

While I enjoyed reading this one, I felt that it could have been written in a more appealing manner. Fight scenes between humans and dragons seemed quite rushed, weren't descriptive and were over before you realize what's going on. The first book had a much slower pace which I think suited it better. It's much easier to immerse yourself in the first and much harder than in this one.

Thanks to Goodreads for allowing me to read and review this book.

View all my reviews
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | By: Traci

Upcoming Event: The West Virginia Book Festival

This is the first I've actually heard of this event occurring in my state. So naturally I'm pretty excited because it seems like a pretty interesting event. I think what's more interesting is the people that will be in attendance this year. I wasn't expecting this festival to draw very many popular authors but previously, Diana Gabaldon attended the event so they do draw popular authors. This year, Alex Flinn will be attending and giving a talk. Lee Child will also be in attendance, also known as the author of the Jack Reacher novels. Dave Pelzer will also be in attendance, author of "A Child Called It". So, this festival is a 2.5 hour drive for me but I'm seriously considering attending. There is the slew of famous authors not to mention the giant used book sale that is drawing me in. So far, I'm planning to go, so if I do, you can expect some pictures and maybe even a surprise or two! I'm not sure what I'll get into exactly but it sure sounds like fun!

WV Book Festival

Monday, October 17, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday # 11

So I picked up a few books from Amazon this week. I also received a book from Good Reads from their reviewer program.

Warrior was won from Good Reads. I have already read the book. The review will be coming within the next week.

I just bought Seed from Amazon. It's currently priced at 0.99 and I hear it's a really spooky read which is great for October! It's almost Halloween afterall.

I just bought Jenny Pox last night. It's actually free for the Kindle right now so jump on it while you can. I'm also currently reading this one so I'll have a review up soon.

I also went to a book sale at a local church on Saturday afternoon. I picked up a total of 18 books, a handful of them children's books for my classroom. I can't remember the entire list of books that I bought but I'll post some of them below. The rest are currently in my car so I can go through them later.

As always, clicking a picture will take you to Amazon so you can check out the books.

Saturday, October 15, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

PredictedsPredicteds by Christine Seifert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked the idea of a computer program named PROFILE that determines the future behavior of an individual. To make matter's worse, this computer program was developed by our Daphne's mother Melissa. The program is supposed to help society sort out the bad people from the good and predict what type of criminal behavior they will exhibit which means the world could turn into a safer place. The problem however is that the entire program is rather corrupted.

Daphne attends a new school in Oklahoma, a school were PROFILE is tested, the problem is, like all things people can pay money to make things work out in their favor and that is exactly what happened. Money talks, and sadly, people are so set in their ways and you cannot change their mind.

I really liked this concept. People everywhere are concerned about safety especially in school's where shootings and other violent acts sometimes take place. We hear about people that had an idea they may end up doing something bad, but with this PROFILE program they can do just that. Determine which student is more likely to commit a crime or commit a antisocial act.

I think a program like PROFILE would be an interesting and if executed correctly a useful tool in determining which students need intervention to stop them from committing crimes. Of course, this book raises a very important point, can genes really determine someone's behavior? Can we predict what someone will do, given a person has many choices and can choose any of them freely?

My only really complaint about this book is the sometimes annoying banter between some of Daphne's friends. They are overly superficial character's, a typical preppy, prissy girls that really can't think for themselves. I'm not sure why a character like Daphne, someone that doesn't mind thinking for herself, would find joy in being friends with those girls.

Not a bad read but I think a little too long to get the entire story across. A good story that leaves you thinking!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Life's a Beach by Claire Cook

Life's a BeachLife's a Beach by Claire Cook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I got this book from Amazon, it was free so I figured why not, I'd try it. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't amazing either. This was definitely chick-lit at it's finest and it was definitely a pretty easy read too.

I think my biggest issue with this book was the fact that the characters kind of lacked substance. Ginger is our main character. We know that she live's at home in an above garage apartment at her parent's house because she's single, 40 and without a job while her sister Geri has all of that and three kids. We know that Ginger is dating a glass blower named Noah but that relationship is really hit or miss and kind of going nowhere. And, well that's about all we know about Ginger. There isn't a lot of internal thoughts. Everything Ginger feels is really played out in the conversations that we see between her and other characters. I feel as if we don't really get to know a lot about how she really feels until she decides to leave the hotel she's staying at and drive home in an attempt to find out what it is she truly wants.

Also, there isn't much romance in this book either if that is something you're looking for. Yes it's talked about but Ginger tends to shy away from these things, preferring to move from place to place rather than settle down. So we don't actually see much of a relationship until the end.

All in all, not a bad read but it's not something that I'd return to again and again.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse, #5)Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For some odd reason, while I still enjoyed reading this book about my fast becoming friend Sookie and her dealings with supernatural beings, this book just wasn't as good as all the others. While, I did enjoy the story, I just wasn't happy with how the story was executed.

With were's being shot and some killed, the killer is caught pretty fast. It happens suddenly. You're not expecting it. There isn't really a big build up to it at all. Then, when it's over, well that is that. It's just over. Of course, Sookie has to deal with Andy and other police professionals, but it's not really made out to be a big deal. There isn't a big climatic build up and then, we're hit with a huge let down.

Then, when things turn interesting more towards the end, it happens pretty fast. We realize that Sookie, once again was sort of duped, but so was Eric. That's sort of surprising, and of course, we're not expecting that person to be at fault, but the ending is fast. It's almost half hearted as if Harris just wanted to get it done and over with.

Definitely not the best True Blood novel but it's still an OK read. I'm hoping that the next book has more interesting things than what happened in this one!

View all my reviews
Saturday, October 8, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten by Harrison Geillor (ARC)

Rating: 3 out of 5


Summary: Welcome to the next Twilight parody. In this novel, we read about Bonnie Grayduck, a sociopath who moves from Santa Cruz to Lake Woebegotten because some things back home are pointing to Bonnie and her mother things her leaving town is the best thing for her to do. Then Bonnie comes across the Scullens and the Scales and of course falls in love with Edwin.  This book has it all, supernatural love, killing, blood sucking beasts, murder, and a wedding to tie up all loose ends.

My thoughts: I really wasn't sure what to expect with a Twilight parody but I wasn't too impressed. I think my biggest issue was how the book was written. Something about it was just a little bothersome. I feel as if the characters did a lot of talking in rounds about the same thing which made it a little difficult to enjoy but I know it was written a certain way for effects.

This book was funny though and I can see how the book incorporated some parts of Twilight in it. I think it's funny that Bonnie is a sociopath that's committed several crimes and has the urge to do it again. Also, I like how she muses about her brooding ways, even though she wouldn't do that because she has no need.

If you're looking for a Twilight parody that is sort of funny, but not laugh out loud funny, then this would be a nice book to read. But, be forewarned, this book was quite a few surprising moments that I really never expected to happen!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: All Good Children by Catherine Austen (ARC)

Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary: Max lives in a poverty stricken, future world where cars are rarely used anymore and children that do not do well in school are sent to either an institution if they are considered unable to be educated, a trade school if they can't do anything else, or academic school if they exceed expectations. Max isn't a kid that people would expect to stay in academic school. He's creative and he has a trouble making side. He likes to graffiti and playing pranks on teachers. However, the school systems have a way to change that, it's called NESTING. All children in the school system must undergo nesting but it's not a training or a class, it's a 'vaccine' that makes children 'zombies'; that is, they only care about school work, staying in line, staying home and keeping everyone else in line. Max manages to escape the vaccinations, but maybe not for long. Max and his mom decide that maybe the best thing for them is to leave town and never come back.

My thoughts: I was pretty disappointed with this book. It sounds like an excellent story and it really is interesting. It's not like it doesn't have a good story to read, it just doesn't hit the mark with what a great dystopian novel should have. At least in my opinion.

I really liked the idea that the school systems, already dealing with a lot of other issues in the world like poverty, expensive cars and gas and terrible wages, must do something to help force their students to behave and actually care about things other than creativity and getting into trouble. Teachers and parents are simply giving up because they're frustrated and in my opinion, lazy and they'd rather not fight with kids over things that kids do. So they decide to start drugging these children. The sick part? It really is a way to make money. So, is this story believable? Yes, to me it is. I can see it happening. However I just really disliked the way this story was executed.

I think a big turn off for me simply was the writing style. It seemed to vary a bit in different parts, some of which really made me want to skip over. Also, I guess I expected the 'zombie' thing to be a bit more creepy than irritating and sad. Also, why on earth were so many parents willing to allow their children to undergo this treatment and just turn a blind eye to it? Is it possible for society to really produce that many terrible children that do nothing but annoy, vandalize and refuse to do their school work? That idea is really hard to process.

This is a quick read though if you're looking for a slight dystopian novel to read
Monday, October 3, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday # 10


Dead of Night was a LibraryThing win, Crave is a ARC from NetGalley and Valor was won through a contest on Good Reads!

Review: The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates (ARC)

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: When Caleb receives a mysterious letter from a childhood friend, he ditches his plans to spend time in Africa trying to get a start on his journalism career. Instead he travels to Hudsonville Florida, his hometown in search of Christine that desperately needs his help. She's been locked away in the Dream Treatment Center, a place people are sent when they are experiencing nightmares, sleepwalking and other issues of sleep abnormalities. The people at the dream center never come out, in fact, more and more people continue to disappear. When Caleb and his friend Bean attempt to break into the dream center, they encounter not one, but two sleeping children. The only problem? The children attack, brutally wounding Bean before he too disappears. Caleb must band together to find out what is happening at the dream center before it's too late. Besides, the spirits say they've been waiting on Caleb a long time, after all, he's the one that will bring about the end.

My thoughts:  I haven't read many books that are considered horror but when I saw this book listed on NetGalley for review, I just had to read it. I really expected something a lot different than what I was presented with. For me, this book wasn't terrifying but there was a definite creep factor that really bothered me.

I think what bothered me the most was the suspense. This book is full of it. You're kept guessing for a long time about what is really going on in Caleb's hometown. Too many strange things happen and they just keep occuring and for so long, we're left without answers. Then, when things slowly start to unfold, it becomes extremely difficult to put down this book because you terribly want nothing more to finish, to wrap up the mystery of the missing children and adults.

I think the ending is what really makes this book warped. We're lead to believe one thing and those ideas that we were once taught are all thrown out the window. We discover that many people in the town all have dark secrets and those in power have more secrets than the regular, everyday people that have lived there for many years.

Also, this book poses a few important lessons. One, everything in life is interconnected in some way. Things happen the way they do simply because, that's how things are supposed to happen. And secondly, sometimes you'll be faced with a situation that poses no real right or wrong answer because both choices may be the wrong one. However, as tough as it may be, you'll have no choice but to choose either one way or the other for 'the greater good' or greater purpose.

This is a great book if you're looking for a creep factor but one that's not totally terrifying! Thanks to NetGalley for this book to review!
Saturday, October 1, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Deviant by Adrian McKinty (ARC)

Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary: Danny's mom, a casino manager accepts a new job in Colorado which means the whole family must move. So Danny, his stepdad Walter and Danny's cat Jeff move to a giant house in a nice little town where things seem perfect. Problem is, Danny is forced to go to a school where Direct Instruction rules, where students and teachers read from a script and talking is definitely not allowed. This school, while small still has things that other typical school's have, like cliques. However, there is something else going on below the surface. Cats in the neighborhood are ending up dead, victims of coyote killings. There is no way a cat could hang itself from a tree by way of a clothesline. The kid's of the town know better. Someone is up to no good and it is up to them to stop the killer because no one else will.

My thoughts: I have to start this review by saying the beginning of this book really creeped me out. I was really expecting a blow by blow of a cat killing and I'm really glad I did not have to read through any of that because I am sure that would have stopped me cold in my tracks to begin with. The beginning of the book, apart from the attempted cat killing is a bit slow and hard to weed through. However, the deeper I read into this novel, the better it got and the happier I was that I picked it up for review.

The town that Danny lives in seems quite boring really, but like all towns when you really dig beneath the surface you start to see that things aren't quite what they appear to be which makes this a great read. The people in this town cannot be trusted, sure some of them can, but the point is, some of them cannot. The sad part about this is that the people that everyone tends to like are the people the really cannot be trusted the most. I think not knowing who can be trusted is what makes this novel extra creepy.

Honestly, I really got tired of this crazy person running around killing poor innocent animals I just really wanted the killer to be caught already and when Danny almost had him, I was very excited. I just wanted to know who to blame and when it didn't quite go as planned, I was pretty devastated. When it finally came down to the ending, I was glad to know that the person had been stopped.

However, it's not a happy ending. There is more to this story than meets the eye and if the ending doesn't creep you out then I bet nothing will!

Thanks to NetGalley for this book to review.
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