Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Awesome Gift from A! (Pretty Little Liars Secret Keepers)

Over the summer I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the ABCFamily Pretty Little Liars "Secret Keepers Game".  It was a super fun role playing game where I got to play Aria from the show (and the incredible PLL book series by Sara Shepard).  The game ended in June, but 'A' resurfaced via email in October letting the players of the game know that she was sending us gifts that we could use for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years!  Right before Halloween I received a really cool box that contained a note from 'A' with a clue that lead us to a video with a sneak peek at the new season of Pretty Little Liars that airs in January.  There was also an orange PLL flashlight (used to figure out the clue) and a pumpkin container filled with orange M&Ms that had 'trick or treat' and 'A' written on them.  Well today I came home to a big box on the porch and the label on the outside said it was from "The Little Pie Company of the Big Apple".  When I opened it there was another note from 'A' (see pic) that said "Time to turn up the heat and see what secrets are revealed.  Happy Thanksgiving, Liars. -A"  I noticed that there was a strip of black on the front of the card and I decided to hold a lighter to it to see if any thing would happen.  Well once again a website was revealed that lead you to another sneak peek clip of the new season.  I was super excited when I opened the package and an enormous and MOST delicious looking apple pie with the letter 'A' written all over it appeared!!  Yeah!!  Thanks so much 'A' and ABCFamily!  I can't wait to dig into this!!!!  If you would like to see the exclusive clip, you can check it out HERE! The highly anticipated second season of Pretty Little Liars will premiere on January 3, 2011- so mark your calendars!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (51)

**Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting IMM

'In My Mailbox'is a weekly post that spotlights the new books that were received during the week.  Here is what I got:

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Prophecy Of The Sisters by Michelle Zink
Sabotaged (The Missing: Book 3) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

*Now you know what I got! What did you get?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate
Written by Erin Bow
Available Now!!
Published by Scholastic

I first heard about Plain Kate through some of the lucky bloggers that received arc copies at BEA.  I thought that the summary sounded really interesting and I couldn't wait until its release.  This book was totally worth the wait!

Summary from Goodreads:

"The drizzle had broken into patches as they walked. As Drina scooped up the pale sand, Kate found herself standing in the smudge of shadow cast by the deadfall. She had never before noticed the way shadows gave things weight, made them look heavy and real and connected to the ground. Without hers...

She edged into the light.

Her shadow looked strange and thinned. It seemed not cast against the ground, but floating above it, like a fog. What Linay had said was true: No one would notice this, at first. It was just an uneasy little change, like the half-felt movement of a boat that slowly induces a great sickness."

Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square.

For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

My Thoughts:
This book was SO original!  I've read more ya books than I can remember and this book is truly unlike any book I've read before.  Erin Bow's writing style is simple but elegant, to the point, not overly descriptive, yet vivid in that you could picture the story unfolding in your head.  I felt totally transported into Plain Kate's world.  I think one of the strongest facets of the book was the phenomenal job the author did at creating atmosphere.  I became so immersed within the pages that I fully expected to look out the window and see fog rolling in and gray, rainy skies!  The characters were interesting, especially Taggle.  I never thought that I would say that my favorite character from a book would be a cat, but I am actually saying that!  I really enjoyed the way that the author brought Taggle's character to life.  Taggle embodies the characteristics of the most egocentric, self-centered, yet loyal and caring creature EVER, but arn't all cats like that?!  I don't want to say any more about Taggle because I don't want to give anything away- but if you read this book you will love him too!  As for Plain Kate, well she didn't really seem that plain to me.  I liked how she was so self-reliant and independent.  She was definitely dealt a pretty crappy hand in life, but she never really complained about it.  The magical aspects of the story were fun.  I would have liked to have learned more about the magic but overall I was satisfied.  I have to say that it was refreshing to read a stand alone novel.  It seems like EVERY book I've read of late is part of a series.  It was really nice to read a book and have full closure at the end- and the ending was really good!  It didn't wrap everything in a perfect little package, but it satisified all of the major plot points.  Overall, this book was fantastic!  It flows like an old-fashioned folktale.  It is definitely not an action-packed thriller, but will really appeal to readers that love a good story.  Kudos Erin Bow!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (50)

**Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting IMM

'In My Mailbox'is a weekly post that spotlights the new books that were received during the week.  Here is what I got:

For Review:

Those That WakeThe Iron QueenThe Betrayal of Maggie BlairThe CellarThe VespertineThe Lipstick Laws
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (Book 3 in the Iron Fey Series!!! Woot! Woot!)
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
The Cellar by A.J. Whitten
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

*Thanks to Harlequin Teen, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and NetGalley!

Now you know what I got!  What did you get?

*Don't miss your chance to enter my giveaway of a signed copy of The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos!  It the incredible sequel to The Emerald Talisman!  You can find the entry form HERE!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Character Interview: Nicholas from The Emerald Talisman and The Sapphire Talisman & Giveaway!

I am so excited to welcome Nicholas to Extreme Reader Book Reviews! Nicholas is the super-hot half vampire/half human vampire slayer from Brenda Pandos' The Emerald Talisman and the upcoming sequel The Sapphire Talisman.  

 Welcome Nicholas!
You and Julia had definitely experienced your fair share of drama when we left you last at the conclusion of The Emerald Talisman. What have you two been up to since all of the action died down? I worry a lot about Julia’s safety, so I prefer to spend time together in private. One can never be too careful. You let your guard down for a second and the vamps can get the upper hand. Though, I have allowed a few risky evening interactions and so far, things have been fine. I’m drawn to Julia and want to be with her all the time. Maybe I’m overly cautious.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding your past. Can you tell us a little about how you were raised? I spent a lot of time with a family friend growing up, well, my Godparents. Imagine a toddler with super human strength and a father who can’t go outside in the daylight. I was a little hard to handle. With great guidance from my Godfather, he channeled my talents into something great and I learned a lot. My Father and I aren’t on the greatest of speaking terms. Our views on life differ greatly.

Your father seems to be a sore subject for you. I am very curious about how you and your father co-exist when you are the infamous vampire slayer and he is a vampire himself. Can you or will you tell us a little about him? If you think I’m conservative, you haven’t met my dad. He’s the total loner and since my mother’s death, he’s tainted against any interaction with humans. My Godparents are the only exception. He maybe able to do it, but I need purpose and some interaction with others.
Does he know about your relationship with Julia? If so, does he approve?
He knows. He doesn’t really approve for Julia’s sake but doesn’t interfere anymore now that I’m an adult.

We know that your mother was given the emerald talisman so she and your father could be together safely. She then gave it to you. Do you know anything about the talisman's original origin?
I don’t know much about it other than someone magically made it so a human could be with a vampire and not be killed by accident. It was passed down and given to my mother for the same purpose. My Father doesn’t talk about it.

Now that you have given it to Julia to ensure her safety, do you find slaying vampires much more difficult?
Not really. They hear me sneak up on them now and smell my presence, but I’m confusing. I smell like a human. But I move fast and react like an immortal. By the time their silly little minds figure out I’m different they are a puff of smoke. It’s really too easy.

Julia has proven to be a little impulsive at times and you seem to be a constant 'voice of reason'. Is there something that you love to do that allows you to loosen up and drop the seriousness for awhile?
Surf and play the guitar.

Thanks so much Nicholas!  

Now it's time for a giveaway!  If you would like to win a copy of The Sapphire Talisman just fill out the form below.  The winner will receive a signed copy when it releases on December 15th!  The contest is open for US/Canada only and will close a Midnight (EST) on Friday, November 26th.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.  It is always so hard to decide which books I want to feature on Wednesdays.  There are so many wonderful books coming out!  Waiting is such torture!  Here are a few that I am waiting for....

Darkest MercyDarkest Mercy
(Wicked Lovely #5)
Written by Melissa Marr
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Published by HarperCollins

Summary from Goodreads:
"The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the faery courts, and in the final conflict, some will win…and some will lose everything.

The exhilarating conclusion to Melissa Marr’s New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless."

I am dying for this and I can't wait to see how Melissa Marr ends this series!  This cover is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen!!  COVER LOVE!!!!

The Sapphire Talisman (Talisman, #2)The Sapphire Talisman
(The Talisman Series, Book 2) 
Written by Brenda Pandos
Release Date: December 15, 2010
Published by Obsidian Mountain Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:
"With the local vampire coven decimated, Julia and Nicholas try to begin a somewhat normal life together. Bound by secrecy from a shape shifter determined to see Julia’s world-saving prediction come to fruition, Julia isn’t allowed to tell Nicholas the leader survived, ransacking her happiness with guilt. When Alora returns, bent on revenge, the reunion forces Nicholas and Julia to choose what they are willing to live and die for."

I had the privilege of receiving an arc of this book and I have already devoured it!  My review will be posted soon!   I will also have an interview with the book's hottie, Nicholas, on Friday as a part of the book's blog tour.... so don't miss it!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CSN Product Review Announcement

CSN Stores

I am soooo excited that I was contacted again by CSN to do a product review!!  I LOVE CSN and I will admit that I am guilty of spending hours perusing their 200+ online stores!  You can find just about anything you could possibly want at one of their sites.  Whether you are wanting a new bookshelf or kitchen bar stools , CSN's wide variety of products and superior customer service will make them your go-to site for on-line shopping! I will be posting a new CSN product review soon- so keep an eye out!  In the meantime, if you haven't visited CSN Stores yet.... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING ON??!!  You will not be dissappointed!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (49)

**Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting IMM

'In My Mailbox'is a weekly post that spotlights the new books that were received during the week.  Here is what I got:

For Review:
Extraordinary (arc copy) by Nancy Werlin *Thanks Dial Books!

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
The Game by Monica Hughes
Virals by Kathy Reichs
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Other Goodies:
*Signed copy of Intrinsical by Lani Woodland
*Signed Intrinsical bookmarks
*Intrinsical goody bags
*Intrinsical Necklace (Yara's necklace from the book!)
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly bookmarks

*Intrinsical goodies sent to me by Lani and Pendrell Publishing to use for an upcoming contest!! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

WINNERS ~ One Year Blogoversary Giveaway!!


Wow!  I can't say thank you enough!  I received so many wonderful comments on the entry forms - you guys ROCK!  My first year blogging has been so much fun and I have met so many wonderful people!  I look forward to talking books for many more years with everyone!  But now I am sure you would like to know who won- right?!!  All of the winners were chosen using Random.Org.  I will be emailing all of the winners today!  And they are:

Radiance by Allyson Noel..... Shannon (entry #249)
Reckless by Cornelia Funke..... Orchid (entry #24)
Zen and Zander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan... ReaganStar (entry #65)
Manifest by Artist Arthur (arc)..... Ava C. (entry #101)
The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos (arc tour copy)... Carol Wong (entry #83)
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.... Donnas (entry #232)
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison..... Trillian (entry #127)
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel..... Elizabeth (entry #61)
Swag Bag ...... Caitlin (entry #56)

Thanks again to everyone that entered and to everyone that takes time out of their day to read my blog!  Keep a lookout for my next contest (it's a good one!) ~ It should be posting soon!!!