Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Fav 5 for 2011 + GIVEAWAY reminder

So I completed my reading challenge for 2011 and then some.  Originally, I wanted to read 100 books but then increased it to 125.  I still went past that with more than 135 books read.  Not sure what I'm gonna choose for 2012 yet.

As I went through the books that I read this year, I choose 5 that were my favorites because they are FABULOUS! 
When deciding on only 5 favorites for the whole year I looked at my pleasure of reading the book.  There are some books missing form this list that were fabulous reads but they stressed me or made me sad.  By far the most obvious missing  books is Clockwork Prince.  I didn't include it because while Cassie's writing is brilliant I was so sad reading that book.  I'm team Will and my heart broke for him.  It just wasn't what I wanted at all.  So while I loved that book it didn't make my favorites list for the year cause well, it wasn't a favorite to read.  
So here are my favorites for 2011, my FAB 5 for 2011 in publication order. 
(Note that I only chose from books that have publication dates in 2011)


Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

See my review here.
What did I love about Starcrossed?  I've started really liking the Greek Myth stories and this book has that.  I also really loved the relationship between  Helen & Lucas.  It's not the instant love thing - it is instant though.  I really liked how the hate/love key was played.  It's a nice change.

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon 

See my Review here
What did I love about Carrier of the Mark?  Well, I think that was Adam.  I fell for that boy and that's pretty much the reason.

Half-Blood by Jenifer l Armentrout

Read my review here
So can I say it's Aiden that causes me to love this book?  Well he's part of it.  Really, Alex is the big reason I love this book.  She is kick-butt tough and funny as anything.  

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Read my review here
So you may see the pattern here, Ash is the reason I love this book.  I have loved this whole series and this book was the perfect ending.  I really like reading from a male POV and this was a whole book of it.  Incredible. 

Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

Read my review here
Yes, Daemon does it for me but I also really love Katy.  She's a book blogger and I just get her.  Love this book.  You may have noticed that Jennifer L Armentrout got two spots in my fav 5.  Yeah, well I'd wait in line to read anything she writes.  

These are the same 5 books I'm offering in my New Year's Blog Hop Giveaway!  So if you haven't entered, you should.

Friday, December 30, 2011

And the winner is...


Winning an eBook copy of Existence by Abbi Glines 
& a signed poster

 Didn't win?  You so need to read this book.  Check it out below.

I am not compensated for any of the links in this post. 


The spoils of war & why it's still a victory

So Alex lost her battle against Katniss in the YA Sisterhood Heroine Tourney but I'm okay with it.  I will always be team Alex.  She is an awesome heroine who has only been around for a short time.  To have so many people support her was so exciting.  I had the great honor of talking to lots of peeps about her.  So many want to read the book now.  Others got to know Katy & Daemon from Obsidian and want to read that book.  That's what's important and fun about the tourney.  It's our passion for the characters of the books we love that makes the tourney fun.  Oh and the spoils of war.  We may not have won this battle but we did have the BEST spoils.  Check out all the wonderful things Jennifer gave the Half Blood Legion!

And finally, despite the lose JLA gave us the win incentive of 

Seems like a pretty nice victory to me!  Thanks JLA.

Now for my turn.

I ran a giveaway for a pre-order of PURE and the winner is 

Amy Fournier

Congrats! An email has been sent and the winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Dank from Existence by Abbi Glines GIVEAWAY reminder

Today is my birthday and I tried to decide what I wanted to do with my blog to celebrate my birthday.  One of my favorite things to do is character interviews.  So what better thing to do on my blog but do a character interview.

Today, I have Dank from Existence.  I must admit, I'm a little terrified to talk to .... um .... death.  Okay, so here we go.

So, Dank thanks for agreeing to talk to me today.  The picnic table outside the school is a perfect choice for our little talk.  This is the first place you saw Pagan, right?

No. It was the first place Pagan saw me.

Oh interesting. Tell me, what was your first impression of Pagan?

She was odd. Never had I come across a female as ..ah… unique as Pagan. Sure she's beautiful but outward appearances mean little to me. Her strange behavior intrigued me. 

As you watched her, you... um .... kind of fell under her spell.  Do you know what it is about her that captured your attention the most?

She is genuine. There are no pretenses. If she is wrong she admits it and apologizes. If she wants something she doesn't hold back. She goes after it. *coughs to cover a chuckle* Which was ridiculously irresistible when it was me that she wanted. 

Can you describe Pagan in 5 words?


Yours, huh? Wonder if Leif would agree.  Anyway, can you describe the perfect day with Pagan, if you think you could handle spending that much time with her.

There would be no souls to take. I could spend my day with just Pagan. No other forces pulling me away. No responsibilities other than making her smile. Anywhere we could be alone… far away from the deceptive quarterback. 

Yeah, I got the feeling you didn’t like the quarterback much. 

Your responsibilities could be considered difficult.  How do you see so much sadness and not let it affect you?

Sadness is a human emotion. I'm not human. When Death takes your soul it is just part of a cycle. You'll be given another life. A new life. It's the way it's always been. 

You can't be with Pagan but you tolerate her being with Leif.  What's it like watching them together?

I despise Leif. Next question. 

Oh, guess that explains it. *heehee* You seem very taken with Kendra, or at least Pagan seems to think so.  What's up with Kendra and you?

Kendra was the only way to keep Pagan at a distance. I was trying to save Pagan's soul. I tolerated Kendra. She was a shield to protect Pagan from me. Nothing more. 

If you could have one wish, no questions, what would it be?

To be a soul instead of the Deity in charge of taking souls. 

You play guitar and sing in a band.  Do you write your own songs?  Is there another band you would consider similar to your music?

Music was once the only thing I enjoyed. It gave me a purpose. I do write music. I've written several for Pagan .Our band sounds similar to Muse. 

Nice.  I like Muse.  Any songs that remind you of Pagan or the two of you?

Going Under  by  Evanescence
 When the Stars Go Blue - The Corrs
Time is Running Out - Muse 
Those are a few. 

M&M or skittles? I'm not a sweet eater.
Burger or steak? If I am going to eat, steak. 
Soda or coffee? Soda, I guess. 
Mountains or ocean? Ocean. It reminds me of Pagan. 
Night or day? Day.                  
Blond or Brunette? Brunette. Transporters are blond and Lief is blond. I dislike that color. 
Blue or brown eyes? Brown

Is there anything else you'd like my readers to know? My full name is Dankmar. It means "famous for his spirit"  

Thanks Dank for hanging out with me for a bit.  Good luck with Pagan.

What do you think of Dank?

I love him and I can't wait for book two.  If you missed my review, find it here.

Thanks to Abbi, I have presents to giveaway for my birthday.  We have an eBook copy of Existence & a SIGNED poster.  What's a birthday without presents.

Just follow StuckInBooks and fill out the rafflecopter below.  Normal rules apply.  This one is US only.  Ends on my birthday, December 30th.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Support Alex TODAY in the Heronine Tourney with INCENTIVES & GIVEAWAY

Today on StuckInBooks, I have Katy to tell us why we should support Alex in the Heroine Tourney.

“Hey guys, I’m Katy from Katy’s Book Obsession.”  (You might also know me from OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L Armentrout.)

“I’m here on StuckInBooks today to advocate for one of my favorite heroines, Alex from HALF-BLOOD.”

“Hey Kitten, what ya doing?”

Totally inserting a frownie face here >: ( 
See. Frownie face. 

“Daemon?  Is that you? What are you doing in the middle of my guest post?”

“You underestimate my…um abilities.”

I hear him laughing but he’s nowhere in sight. Damn, did I ever underestimate his abilities.

“Dang you, Daemon, what do you want?”

“Want to go for a walk with me?”

“Seriously?  Did Dee put you up to this? Are you looking for bonus points again?”

“I do like bonus points.  You willing to help me out?”

“No, I have to finish this guest post and you’re filling it up with blue writing!”

“What if I help you finish your post, then will you go for a walk with me?”

Sigh. “Maybe.”

“What are we writing about?”

“Um… you sure about this? Fine, whatever.  I’m writing about Alex from HALF-BLOOD.  She’s in a heroine tourney today and I want my peeps to vote for her.”

“A heroine tourney?”

“Yeah, the girls over at YA Sisterhood are holding a tournament, you know with brackets and all.  Today’s vote is between Alex from HALF-BLOOD and Katniss from HUNGER GAMES.  I need to convince my peeps to VOTE TEAM ALEX.”

“Okay, convince me.”

“What do you mean convince you?”

“Well, if you can convince me, then you can convince anyone, right?  So convince me to VOTE for Alex.  What’s she like?”

“Um… well Alex is a half-blood…”

“A what?”

“She’s half human, half Hematoi.  Hematoi are godlike and control the elements but half-bloods are either forced into servitude or trained to protect the pure-bloods.  That’s what Alex has been training to do, well sort of.  Her mom took her away for a few years without explaining why but then her mom was attacked by daimons and …”

“I didn’t attack her mom.”

“No, no, daimons!  They’re Pure’s that have been turned… never mind.  The point is that Alex had to stand up and fight against something horrific.  She was tortured, basically, and still protected her friend Caleb.  In the end, she had to make a really tough decision that I can’t get into because it’s way too spoilery.”

“Damn, she’s one tough cookie.”

“Yeah and she is one kick ass fighter too.  Turns out she’s a lot more than just a half-blood, but again, way too spoilery. But let’s say, she makes the Luxen looked like cabbage patch dolls.” 

“So she’s tough.  What else?”

“Tough, strong, brave…”

“Yeah, I get it.  You’re tough too, what else?”

“Well Aiden thinks she’s beautiful.”


“Aiden is the pure blood that trains Alex.  She’s trying to catch up cause her mom took her away and she missed a bunch of stuff.  He gives her… private lessons.”

“Really?  How private?”

“No not like that – geez Daemon.  They can’t be together cause he’s a pure and she’s a half-blood.  It’s forbidden.”

“So what you’re telling me is that she is constantly tempted by something she can’t have but she keeps coming back?”

“Definitely and she’s got it bad for Aiden too.”

“Sounds like she’s trying to do the right thing.  I might like her.”

He was laughing again.

“You do not like her!  Whatever, she’s fictional.  You probably would like her, she’s funny.”


“Well snarky funny.  I do think you guys would get along but she might kick your butt.”

Now I’m laughing.

“There you go again, underestimating my … abilities.  I don’t think she’s faced someone with my power.”

“She’s faced some pretty crazy stuff including things that aren’t normally hanging around on Earth if you get my drift.”


“No I mean… never mind.  You know what else you would like, she tells it like it is. Kind of like you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well Alex risks servitude all the time cause she won’t let people get away with stuff.  When someone pisses her off, she tell them straight out.  Sound familiar?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Is it time for our walk yet?”

“I never said I was going with you.”

“But you are going, Kitten.”

He steps in the room with a huge smile on his face, a laptop in his hands.

“Sorry, Valerie, for all the extra text.  You can delete Daemon if you want.  But everyone VOTE for ALEX today.”

Thanks Katy, and I’d never delete Daemon.  Pretty sure he wouldn’t like it. 

You got that right. So, yeah, vote Alex FTW!


AND there are incentives again. SQUEE!

Here's what Jennifer is promising as the votes roll in...

250 votes: a teaser from Pure
500 votes: a teaser from Onyx
750 votes: a teaser from Pure and Onyx
1,000 votes: a POV from Daemon (Obsidian)

And that's not all.

1250 votes: a teaser from Seth's POV in Pure
1500 votes: a teaser from Shadows.
WINNING votes: a teaser from Pure, Shadows, Onyx, and Cursed


And for every 1000 votes, JLA will give away an ARC of Pure, up to 6000 votes
ARC will be given away on Twitter
***Other Giveaways*** 
Alex's advocate, Momo, over at Books Over Boys still has her giveaway going for a copy of DIAMON, HALF-BLOOD & PURE.  So go check that out here.

Now it's my turn...

Spread the word for my girl, Alex and enter to win a pre-order of PURE.  Yep. And it's international as long as Book Depository ships to you.  Just find a way to spread the word about voting for Alex then fill out the Rafflecopter below.  

I am adding 5 tweeting buttons BUT they must be done at least an hour apart.  Last time, I had to delete a lot of entries for people that just did them one right after another.  The rafflecopter logs when they come in so I can easily tell and I will DELETE entries that don't comply with the rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's a Team Cassie Battle & GIVEAWAY reminder

So today on the YA Sisterhood Heroine Tourney there's a showdown between two of Cassies girls!  Izzy from the Mortal Instruments is going against Tessa from the Infernal Devices.

Hard choice I know.  But we at Team Cassie decided to leave our giveaway up and running for this competition.  There is one tweet button for Izzy and one for Tessa, take your pick!  Support one of Cassie's girls today then fill out the rafflecopter below to enter to win some great prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's my BD and I'll READ if I want to!

So it is my birthday tomorrow December 30th and I joined a 12 hour read-a-thon to celebrate.  I love read-a-thons!  Yay!

Autumn Reviews is hosting a Holiday-A-Thon and you can check it out here.

Books I'll be reading:

Finishing Lola & the Boy Next Door (Currently on page 94 of 338)
Under the Never Sky
Relatively Honest
Catching Jordan
Kiss Crush Collide

Pretty sure I won't finish those because I'm not a speed reader but I'll try.  Updates will appear here.  Wish me luck!

Update - 10:30 AM
Started reading at 7:00AM
I was on page 94 of Lola & the Boy Next Door but now I'm on page 255

Spend a little time blogging and on the phone getting BD wishes

Update - 2:00 PM
Finished Lola and started Catching Jordan
On page 75 of 281

Took time to eat and shower

Update - 11:30 PM
So I missed a few hours because we had some family BD celebrations but then I finished up my 12 hours when I got home.

Here's my final stats for the readathon

12 hours
2 books
525 pages
Tons of fun
Great BD
Thanks guys for including me!

Happy New Year Giveaway Hop

Hard to believe that 2012 is already here!  

For this giveaway, I choose 5 favorites from 2011 to let you choose between.  The winner will choose one of the five books.  Just follow StuckInBooks and fill out the rafflecopter below.


Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

See my review here.

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon 

See my Review here

Half-Blood by Jenifer l Armentrout

Read my review here

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Read my review here

Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout

Read my review here

a Rafflecopter giveaway Hop along to the next blog

And the winner is...


She wins an eBook of Cold Blood.
An email has been sent and the winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Thanks everyone who entered.

A turning point in my reading life - Readng Cassandar Clare

 As we head to the new year, I've been thinking about where my blogging adventure started, how I got stuck in books.  Interestingly enough, I haven’t always been an avid reader. Shocking, I know but I had a few books when I was young that captured my interest but nothing more. Now, my life seems to revolve around reading. What changed? As I think back about it, I can really pin point it to two authors. The first one is Stephenie Meyer who wrote the Twilight Series. She got me reading but she’s not the one who sent me down the road to loving YA urban fantasy. After I read the Twilight Series, I tried very hard to find other books that spoke to me so I haphazardly picked up books in YA looking for a repeat performance. Then a friend at work recommended The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I literally sailed through the first two books but had to wait on the third because it wasn’t out yet. In her books, I discovered what it is that I love to read.

That discovery has driven my reading choices ever since. Strong central characters just like Clary and Jace are a must. Clary doesn’t know how to be a shadowhunter but she’s determined and doesn’t give up. Jace is strong, talented and has a weakness for Clary. The world is familiar enough to real society that I’m not lost in a constant parade of things I don’t know and can’t keep track of. But it’s also a world of mystery and discovery for me. The plot is action packed with twists and turns that catch me by surprise. The clues that are left in the lines of pages are enough to keep me thinking but not enough to give things away. The love interest is strong and hot but doesn’t take over the entire plot. When you combine these elements you have a perfect book for me. 

Now when I read, I look for urban fantasy or paranormal that have strong characters and fast action. No one writes like Cassie but I’ve found a few I would stand up next to her as just as good in different ways. Jennifer L Armentrout comes to mind. I have LOVED everything she has written and can’t wait to read more. Julie Kawaga is another one that creates those perfect stories for me. And I’m always comparing what I’m reading to these idols that I have. Thank you Cassandra for helping me discover my passion in reading and for getting me stuck in books!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the winner is...

Nicole Sender

 Nicole has been emailed and responded.  She choose 

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Thanks to everyone who entered. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vote Team Clary TODAY

Hey, I’m Valerie from and I’m here to convince you to vote Team Clary.  Helping me today is the gorgeous Jace.  Thanks for stopping by to help me.  Why should readers vote for Clary as the strongest heroine? (Oh and make sure you look for the City of Lost Souls teaser that Jace brought with him.)

By Kara Lija
By Jace

She’s my girl so she’s the perfect heroine but there are other reasons too.  Clary is loyal and driven to help those she loves, even when it was that mundane she wanted to save. 
From City of Bones – “When the self-congratulatory part of the evening is over, maybe we could get back to saving my best friend from being exsanguinated to death?”
She’s feisty & independent.  She doesn’t put up with any shit, even from me.

From City of Bones - "I was ninety percent sure." "I see," Clary said.
There must have been something in her voice, because he turned to look at her. Her hand cracked across his face, a slap that rocked him back on his heels. He put a hand to his cheek, more in surprise than pain. "What the hell was that for?" "The other ten percent," she said, and they rode the rest of the way down to the street in silence."

Clary finds a way to win.  Her gifts help her find a way.
From City of Ashes - "The completed Fearless rune was a matrix of strongly swirling lines: a rune as bold and aerodynamic as an eagle.  She tore the page free and held it up so the others could see it."
She fights her own battles.  All that red hair, I’m not gonna cross her.
 From City of Glass - "Is this the part where you say if I hurt her, you'll kill me?" "No" Simon said, "If you hurt Clary she's quite capable of killing you herself. Possibly with a variety of weapons." 

By Kara Lija
She loves really fiercely, and that's one of her great strong points, but she's never dependent. She knows how strong I think she is.

From City of Glass - "Clary thought of the way Jace had looked at her then, the blaze of
faith in his eyes, his belief in her. He had always thought she was strong. He had showed it in everything he did, in every look and every touch. Simon had faith in her too, yet when he’d held her, it had been as if she were something fragile, something made of delicate glass. But Jace had held her with all the strength he had, never wondering if
she could take it—he’d known she was as strong as he was."

I don’t know this Meghan girl, but Clary saved the world from Valentine.  I think we might need her to kick some demon ass very soon, to save the world again.  To save me.

City of Lost Souls - "The demon struck, and Clary rose to meet it with the dagger she had yanked from her belt. She turned her body aside as she drove the dagger home, avoiding the creature’s fangs; its hiss turned to a gurgle as the blade sank in and she dragged it down, gutting the creature open the way someone might gut a fish. Burning demon blood exploded over her hand in a hot torrent."

Thanks Jace, I couldn’t agree more.  And if you need more incentive to vote for Clary today then remember that if Clary wins this whole deal, Cassandar Clare will write the Greenhouse scene from Jace's POV.  

Make sure you spread the word to vote for Clary today then  enter to win ALL of Cassandra’s books, SIGNED below in the rafflecopter.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Live Chat wtih Jordan Dane

Just a note to let you know about the Live Chat with Jordan Dane on 
January 5th at 7PM EST. on YA Bound.  

The winner of On a Dark Wing from my blog tour post will be announced there.

Missed my review & GIVEAWAY?  Check it out here.

The Lost Hero

Source: Purchased

My Summary:

Jason can't remember who he is or how he got on a bus of misfits.  He has a girlfriend?  Piper wishes she could forget that her dad is missing and she needs to obey the voice from her nightmares to get him back.  Leo isn't sharing his strange abilities or how they were the cause of the death of someone he loves.  Thrown together, the three need to figure out what's going on and who they can trust.  Can they learn to trust each other and work together to complete a dangerous quest to save a Goddess that may want them dead?

My Thoughts:

5 stars - a must read

Rick Riordan does it again.  Love this new series set in the world of Percy Jackson's adventures.  The same Greek Gods are there ignoring the mortal world even though they claim their children as promised to Percy.  Add the Roman version of the Gods, acting a whole lot fiercer and things just got a whole lot more interesting.  Needless to say, the world building is fabulous.  Really enjoyed this new Roman perspective.

The characters are just as good as Percy's lot.  There's a lot of the old favorites hanging around in the background too.  And hints of more of our favorites to come.  I love Jason.  He's trying to remember the memories that have been taken from him.  He's becoming friends with Leo, learning to trust him with his life.  He's feeling things for Piper that maybe he shouldn't because who knows what's in those hidden memories.  He's a great reluctant hero.  He knows he's done great things but why is he the leader?  I love this aspect of him.  Greatness with some humility.  Piper is still learning that she's a demi-god.  Newly claimed she's not so excited with her Goddess mother.  What can she do but talk people into doing stuff they shouldn't.  Unsure how she can help but desperate to get her dad back, she makes a fabulous heroine.  Leo is the fixer with secrets.  Wanting to be noticed by the girls but clearly the sidekick, Leo comes through time and again to save the day.  Love his passion and obsession with making things work.

The plot is action packed and full of twists and turns.  Love it when a book leaves lots of clues that I don't even notice until after they have been explained near the end of the tale.  Such is the case with this book.  The story comes together concluding the first phase of long struggle to save the world.  Loose ends are tied up and clues explained but I was left wanting and needing to dig right into book two as I realize just who that book is about and what's going on.
This is a must YA book for anyone who loved Percy Jackson.  The fun hasn't ended, it's just shifted to add great new characters and new threats.  Love it.

I am not compensated for the links in this post.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop

Seems like the right thing to giveaway during a best of 2011 Hop is the books I liked best this year.  I read more than 135 books in 2011 and the list below is the ones I rated with 5 stars.

One winner will choose one book that I gave a 5 star rating to this year.  Some of the books are only available on eBook and some are only available in the US - so be aware of that when you choose.

Here's the list of 5 star reads from 2011 in reverse read order.

Just follow StuckInBooks and fill out the rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Hop along to the next blog....

Good For You (Between the Lines #3) by Tammara Webber

Source: purchased

Note of caution: This book contains adult content.

My Summary:

Reid, the heart throb superstar, wakes up in the hospital with no memory of totaling his band new car. into someone's house.  Even his high powered attorney father can't get him out of this one without some restitution.   That comes in the form of court ordered community service.  Trying to control the PR damage, Reid has no choice but to help build the new house for the family he displaced.  Reporting his first day to work, he meets Dori, local humanitarian and preachers daughter.  She's not impressed by Reid's star status.  She's not interested in babysitting him through his forced volunteering.  But she's not counting on the sudden pull she feels towards him.  He's surprised by her lack of interest.  Can they survive the month without killing each other?  Could be close.

My thoughts:

4 stars - a great read

Having read the first two books, I was excited to get to this one.  Book two left some hints that Reid might be redeemable but you never know with a bad boy like him.  So I was interested in this heroine, Dori, the one that could bring the mighty Reid down.  Just kidding.  I did love Dori.  She's strong yet she struggles.  She's sure of herself but she falls apart when life throws her  curve balls.  I really liked that about her.  It's hard to be strong all the time.  When things are hard, it's nice to know that even the confident struggle.  She doesn't want to be attracted to Reid but she is.  She has her reasons for resisting and I couldn't blame her once I discovered those reasons.  She puts up quite the battle and poor Reid is so confused by her that I found myself feeling sorry for him.  Really!  The bad boy who uses and loses who can't even kiss the girl.  Love that.  But Reid is persistent and something else happens that I was very excited to see.  Of wait, can't tell you that one.  Okay, I'll just say that Reid may have grown-up a tad bit in this book. =)

As for the ending of this one, I loved it.  Actually, there were loose ends that got tied up from the first two books that I was glad about and one particular comment that I was very happy with.  Fell in love with Reid in this book.  Didn't really care for him in the first two books but he redeemed himself. 

This book is a fabulously funny and romantically intense story that you should for sure pick-up.  Make sure to read book one and two first.  Way too many spoilers otherwise.