Friday, October 24, 2014

A Giveaway Fantasy Fans Are Going To LOVE!

Happy Friday, y'all! We have an exciting giveaway to be able to offer you! I wish I could enter because some of our very own TB&TB bloggers love this author and I've been hearing A LOT of good things about this series and her Seven Realms series! If you are a fantasy fan, you are going to want this!

What can you win?

In honor of the conclusion to the Heir Chronicles series being released this week (The Sorcerer Heir), one lucky winner will receive the ENTIRE Heir Chronicles series by Cinda Williams Chima.

How To Enter:

Prizing & samples courtesy of Disney Hyperion
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
Giveaway ends October 31 at 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Heir Chronicles series will keep readers glued to their seats through riveting fight scenes, deadly political machinations, burgeoning romance, and the unfolding intrigues of a contemporary magical world.

Series order:

The Warrior Heir
The Wizard Heir
The Dragon Heir
The Enchanter Heir
The Sorcerer Heir

Praise for the series:

"Chima offers a pitch-perfect blend of high fantasy and small-town reality..." –The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

"Chima uses her pen like a wand and crafts a wonderfully rich web of magic, while thankfully leaving some dangling threads for subsequent tales." –VOYA (starred review)

"A smoldering story soaked in tears, sweat and blood, constantly threatening to blaze into an inferno. Spellbinding." –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)



Cinda Williams Chima is the New York Times bestselling author of The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir, The Enchanter Heir, and the four books of the Seven Realms series: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, and The Crimson Crown. Cinda is a graduate of The University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University. She lives in Ohio with her family.

Visit Cinda Williams Chima’s Official Site
Follow Cinda Williams Chima on Twitter
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten New Series Daisy Wants To Start

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

OMG, where to start with this topic?? I actually have a whole shelve on Goodreads dedicated to all the new series that I want to start and it has WAY more than 10 series on it...

1. The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy) by Marie Rutkoski: I've heard REALLY great things about this book and should definitely get started on the first book soon!

2. Also Known As (Also Known As) by Robin Benway: This just sounds like a super fun series and I need a little light reading every now and then.

3. Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms) by Morgan Rhodes: treacherous betrayals and secret alliances sound like my kind of thing always. Also: the cover is so pretty!

4. Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose) by Fiona Paul: it's about Renaissance Venice!! Also, Fiona Paul is awesome, I loved The Art of Lainey she wrote under the penname Paula Stokes.

5. Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin) by Robin LaFevers: ASSASSIN NUNS!!! Also, my friend Mel raves about this series, soooo....

6. The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus) by Rick Riordan: I still can't believe I haven't started this series yet. The only good thing about it is that by the time this TTT goes live, the last book will be released and I can just BINGE my way through it. Hopefully.

7. The Warrior Heir (Heir Chronicles) by Cinda Williams Chima: I LOVED her Seven Realms series and I need more of Cinda Williams Chima's writing in my life.

8. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard) by Scott Lynch: I love a good fantasy and I've heard AMAZING things about this series, so I need in on the action.

9. Outlander (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon: I love historical fiction and this sounds SO good! And also, I want to read the book before I can watch the TV series and I keep hearing all these things about Jamie being total eyecandy, so I need to read this obviously so I can go on to ogle him.

10. Sabriel (Abhorsen) by Garth Nix: I really want to expand my knowledge of fantasy novels beyond what has been released over the last 5 years, and I've heard this series is basically a must read.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lori Reviews Make Your Own Rules Diet

Title:  Make Your Own Rules Diet

Author:  Tara Stiles

Publication Information:  November 11th 2014 by Hay House, Inc.

How I Got a Copy of This Book:  I was sent an abridged ebook version for review purposes...but I am totally preordering a copy!

Goodreads Synopsis:  In Make Your Own Rules Diet, Tara Stiles introduces readers to easy and fun ways to bring yoga, meditation, and healthy food into their lives.  As the designer and face of Reebok’s first yoga lifestyle line, author of Yoga Cures and Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga, and the founder of Strala—the movement-based system that ignites freedom, known for its laid-back and unpretentious vibe—Tara has long been a proponent of creating a tension-free healthy life by tapping into the unique needs of her clients.  In this new book, she teaches readers how to apply this inward-looking philosophy to themselves.  When people understand what they need for true well-being, they can make their own rules—rules that will help them become their best selves.  In her rulebook, it’s no pain, much gain.  In fact, Tara stresses the importance of practicing with ease—leaving the discomfort and tension behind—because what you practice is what you manifest.  Readers will not only learn to create their own rules but also to understand when something isn’t working anymore, so they can update their rules as circumstances change.  Her approach takes readers from the kitchen, to the mat, to the cushion, in an effort to help them get to know themselves.  After leading them through some basic guidelines about how to write their rulebooks, Tara lays out tips, techniques, and practices, including:        

  • A step-by-step goal setting process so readers can figure out where they want to focus
  • Six yoga routines specifically designed to up energy levels, curb cravings, drop pounds, and enhance peace
  • Eight breathing and meditation practices to soothe the soul
  • 50 simple, delicious, plant-based recipes that can be made in minutes
  • A 7-day kick-start program and a 30-day transformation plan to launch readers on their healthy, happy, radiant path

So join Tara today as she opens readers’ eyes to a new way of living well that anyone can do—no matter where they are now.

My Thoughts:  I have been excited about this book since I first saw it announced earlier this spring or summer.  I own a copy of Stiles's other book Slims, Calm, Sexy Yoga and really like its laid-back approach to yoga.  From what I can tell, this approach carries over not only to the yoga routines in this book, but also the meditation techniques and the recipes she provides as well.

I love that Stiles encourages readers to be true to themselves, constantly reminding them that what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.  We are all different.  The only way to be successful at life and weightloss is to be true to yourself or you will wind up doing more harm than good.  She encourages a self-loving approach that cuts out all of the guilt and stress that come with many other diet plans.  Actually, this isn't even really a diet plan, though she does provide a couple of templates at the end of the book to show you how to make it into a plan.

The book has three main components that Stiles believes are necessary to create a healthier person, who will lose weight as a result of these lifestyle changes--yoga, meditation, and healthy food.

So, the yoga.  Stiles includes several shorter routines to incorporate into your day.  I like that there are shorter routines.  For me this is doable.  My job requires me to be at work at 6am three days a week, so I don't have a huge amount of time before going in, but I could totally squeeze in ten minutes first thing to get my day going right.  When I come home from work I am totally ready to collapse, but I could easily squeeze in an afternoon routine.  Then before bed, I can do the Easygoing Winding Down the Evening Flow routine before collapsing into bed.  On my days off or when I go into work later, I can easily do loner routines.  Stiles provides a thorough explanation and picture of each pose in the routine so you know what you need to do and how you should breathe in or transition into the pose.  This makes the yoga accessible to beginners.

The meditation...I have never done much meditation.  So I am really excited about learning more about it with the full book.  The plans Stiles creates for readers have both a morning and an evening meditation.  The explanations that I saw encouraged readers to be comfortable.  Maybe you sit on the floor.  But maybe you'd rather sit in a cushy chair.  It's up to you.  I love that.  Comfort is key otherwise you totally won't want to do it.

As for the food, I am really excited to try many of the recipes.  Stiles encourages a plant-based diet, which is totally not me.  Plus, based on my living situation, it's not realistic for me to follow the eating plan she proposes at the end of the book.  But I can definitely make some of these recipes regularly.  Just for me at lunch or for me and my dad at supper (my mom is way too picky of an eater to try any of these).

I am really excited to try out the ideas introduced in this book and to adapt them to what works for my life.  And I would highly recommend checking out the book when it is published.

In the meantime, you can go to this website for more information, including a book trailer and information about a giveaway.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

A View from Page Thirty: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

The Great Reading Slump of 2014 continues on into October for me, so I’d say that means I should take another stab at The Slumplist. This View from Page Thirty* features a selection recommended by two commenters: Rockyriverteenlibrarian and Incredibraian (I am sensing a theme here). Incredibrarian’s recommendation said, “I haven't had a truly GOOD read since Out of the Easy.” With words like that I say no? Also, Jen reviewed this back in July of 2013 if you want to check out a full review.

The Book: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: February 2013
Philomel Books
Genres: Historical Fiction, YA
Series: Surprisingly, it’s a standalone!!

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 
She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

The View From Page Thirty:
First thought after reading the summary? Hell yeah! New Orleans! A setting I can vividly picture since I was there recently and the French Quarter has such an old world feel that I doubt much has changed since the 1950s aesthetic wise.

And I just got the title. It’s late, whatever. I mean, they even call it The Big Easy in the summary. Wow. Anyway, this book starts off with a powerful first paragraph. 
“My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute.”
Nice. I like this. I like knowing where she is coming from. The whole first chapter is a flashback to arriving in New Orleans in 1940 and how her mom got her prostitute job.  Josie isn’t a conventional kid in this chapter which make me believe that the bulk of this story we won’t be dealing with a conventional 17 year old.

The rest of the first five chapters are setting up the main plot and setting up Josie as an adult. She’s not had the easiest childhood and is trying to figure out how she wants to forge her future. One thing she does know is she wants out of the Easy (ha. See that? Now that I got the reference, I had to use it again. I wonder if this is a metaphor for her growing up and “out of the easiness” of childhood as well as the literal out of New Orleans thing. Probably. I like this title a lot if you haven’t noticed).

What I am Loving:
I am really liking the turns of phrases that just keep popping up. It is really easy to get lost in the words of this story. I am liking Josie so far. It’s easy to get attached to her. I don’t know much really about the other characters yet to make any sort of assessment on them.

What I am Unsure Of:
Damn it. I think this is a love triangle. We’ve already met the boy who has all the girls following him around but could never like me. Then there is the shop owner’s son who is that bff who probably has a secret crush on her but is like her brother or whatever. Sigh. I hope I am wrong about this one. I don’t think I am. I am so over this.

I hope that this book focuses more on her growth into adulthood and the amazing New Orleans 50s vibe that I am getting.

Final Verdict:
I am definitely continuing on with this one. The prose has some beautiful turns of phrases already and it’s easy to get lost in the story. Josie, our lead, is someone that is easy to get attached to and someone who you want to see succeed. I am holding judgment on our two male love interests, but other secondary characters have already leaped out of the pages of history and into my mind. The setting is so vivid and rich in my mind is it easy to picture every location. I haven’t read much set in New Orleans, and nothing set in a historic New Orleans, so I am looking forward to this quite a bit. Let’s hope that it lives up to what I am hoping is going to be an enjoyable ride back in time into the 50s French Quarter.

EDIT: This isn’t really an edit, since I haven’t posted this yet. But I wrote this entry after chapter 5, but I didn’t stop reading. Now I am on page 147. Remember when I was gushing over that beautiful turn of phrase? I just came across this gem and it made me laugh “God I need that coffee. I feel like a bag of smashed assholes” Ha!

EDIT 2: Again not really an edit since I haven't yet posted it. But I read this book through the night and finished at four in the morning. It was one of those stories that you just get sucked into and doesn't let you go. Sine I didn't have anything to do this morning, I figured, why not stay up and read? Anyway my fears were not realized. It was a love triangle but it wasn't a normal love triangle. I really liked how it was played. Also the story doesnt focus on her love triangle. The focus is on Josie and on Josie growing up. This was a great read and it really transported me into New Orleans. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction and wants to read something set in a time period you dont normally read much about. Great book! I'd give it 4.5 stars! Thanks for the recommendation guys!

*For those not familiar with a View from Page Thirty, basically it is me giving my thirty page first impression of a book. I have a personal rule that every book I start gets at least thirty pages. If I am not feeling it by then, time to move on. So I figured it would make a fun feature. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

We Need to Talk About the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trilogy

Here’s a good question to start: WHY?

For those of you who have read Harry Potter (is there a member of the millennial generation who hasn’t?), you’ll recognize Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a textbook that Harry and his classmates use throughout the series. It catalogues many of the magical creatures that they encounter throughout the series, and our dear friend J. K. Rowling actually wrote it as a companion to the HP books in the early 2000s. This is all well and good, and I’m sure that a lot of people enjoyed reading it and learning more about the creatures in the books. I haven’t personally read it myself, but I’ve heard good things.


I am baffled as to how they plan to turn a textbook into a movie. NO WAIT, THREE MOVIES. Remember when they made movies out of He’s Just Not That Into You and What to Expect When You’re Expecting? They received a whopping 40% and 22%, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes. And those were actual books! Nonfiction, yes, so I’m sure that the titles were only used because they were familiar to their target audience (i.e. women in their 20s-40s) and the plots bear little resemblance to the books themselves, but still. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not only a textbook, it’s a fictional textbook. A fictional textbook with no plot whatsoever.

This Slate article claims that the movies will follow Newt Scamander, the (again, fictional) author of the textbook, as he…discovers where to find fantastic beasts, I guess. (???) Okay, show of hands: who cares one whit about Newt Scamander? Not me. Bully for you if you do, but Newt had no bearing on the plot of any of the Harry Potter books, so the relationship between this trilogy (oh God, it hurts to even type it) and the Harry Potter series is tenuous at best, and at worst nonexistent.

The one good thing, I hope, about this travesty (I’m sorry, I meant to type trilogy, oh well) is that J. K. Rowling apparently wrote the screenplay, so I guess that’s good. Then again, we could also have a situation on our hands like Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, which led me personally to believe he should stick to books and forget the whole screenplay thing. The first film of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy will also be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films, but that gives me even less hope because I hated Order of the Phoenix (not as much as I hated Goblet of Fire, though) and I refused to see the sixth or either installment of the seventh, so I can’t really judge his directorial chops very well.

How do you feel about making Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a movie trilogy? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Places Books Have Made Us Want To Visit

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!


Daisy's Picks

1. HOGWARTS: Because seriously, who wouldn't? And a real place that's linked to it is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park and The Harry Potter Studio Tour. It would just be epic to be able to wander through all the places that exist in my head and in the movies.

2. London: I did actually visit London a couple of years ago, but all the stories about the Tudors and all the historical romances I love very much made me want to visit this city. And it was awesome. I want to go back there!

3. Nantucket: I've read a couple of books in which the story takes place on this island and it sounds pretty magical, so it's on the WANT list.

Julia's Picks

4. London and England: I am stealing Daisy's answer, because London and pretty much the whole of England has been on my to do list for ages primarily because of awesome steampunk books and all those historical romance novels. I actually popped over for a quick visit this summer and one of the things I had to do was Hyde Park because of how often the leads in historicals take a strole through it. I took a bike.

5. Middle Earth: Oh, if only I could go there! I had a hardcore Tolkien phase in high school and I would have given just about anything to take a stroll through Middle Earth. I loved all things elves so Rivendell would have been my ideal destination. So to tie this to the real world, I'd love to go to New Zealand and visit all of that amazing scenery that was shone in those movies.

6. Russia: For some reason I have always been drawn to Russia. I don't know why that is, but I seek out Russian fictional literature and would love to go visit St. Petersburg or Moscow. I don't know if I will ever get the chance at least in the near future. So I will have to be content reading lots and lots of fiction.

Jamie's Picks

7. Italy: I've been to Italy before but Kristin Rae's Wish You Were Italian made me LONG to go back and also to explore an area I didn't go to. Great descriptions and she nailed the setting.

8. Space: I WANNA GO TO SPACE & These Broken Stars by Megan Spooner & Amie Kaufman made me want to make sure I do it in style...on a luxury spaceliner. I just can't even imagine that view.

9. Lucky Harbor: Lucky Harbor is a fictional place and is a romance series by Jill Shalvis but I SO WANT IT TO BE REAL. It's this fictional small town in Washington state and I don't know...the way she wrote it I just wanted to BE THERE.

10. Wyoming: I have a friend from college who always used to show me pics from her hometown in Wyoming and it looked gorgeous. Then I read Cynthia Hand's Unearthly series -- a kickass paranormal angel book -- and I just HAVE to go there.

Tell us the places books have made YOU want to visit!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Daisy's Review of The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Title/Author: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Publisher/Date published: Orbit, June 19th 2014
How I got this book: bought the audiobook


Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

Let's start of by saying that I hadn't realised this was a zombie book before I started it. And zombie books are not my thing. But this is an interesting variety of zombies, and since I am conv65nced that one day an infectious disease will conquer mankind, this was actually a pretty scary concept to me. But because the summary isn't very clear on this, let me clarify for you: even though it's an interesting sort of zombie, it's still a zombie book.

All the things that give me nightmares are in this book: eating of people, apocalypse is near and just basically the scary thing that is a fungus spreading all over the planet infecting people. Also, you don't want a fungus to infect you, cause it's just plain nasty. But if this whole thing works for you, than you'll probably enjoy The Girl With All the Gifts. I have once again discovered that it's not really for me.

I did enjoy the first part of the book, where we meet Melanie and the whole class and everyone. I liked Melanie, she's smart and brave and pretty much a good little girl. And she's definitely special and different. I never really got to like Helen Justineau and dr Caldwell is the scientist villain, who also resembles a war criminal, I really hated her. I did respect Sergeant Parks, he's no-nonsense and falls back on his military training, and in the end he's a hero in my book, though I'm still not sure if I necessarily like him all that much. But I could respect him and sometimes that's enough.

I was never sucked fully into the story, while I cared in the beginning what was happening to Melanie, I just couldn't see her the same way anymore after one particular scene.
The scene where she's gnawing on the kitty and eating it alive was just horrible. Since we recently got a cat of our own, I seriously could not find myself caring about what happened to her after that, cause she frigging ATE A KITTY. Which is described pretty graphically. I just cannot.END OF SPOILER
I also felt that there were a couple of too-stupid-to-live moments from more than one of the characters, who are supposed to be pretty smart, so that was off-putting for me.

About halfway through I found myself a bit bored and I know so many people have loved The Girl With All the Gifts, but honestly, I'm feeling a bit meh about it. I considered DNF-ing it, but because I'd heard such good things about it, I made it all the way to the end, but I'm not sure if it was worth the time I put into finishing it. Everything felt so bleak, that I never had any hope at all and was constantly thinking 'well, this really can't end well', which somehow made it not as scary as it should have been and just a bit me waiting for things to start going south. Which I'm obviously not going to tell you about if I was right or not cause if this is your kinda book you should probably read it as lots of people did like it.

This basically just wasn't the book for me, and if you're not into zombies, then you probably won't like it either. This could be a case of 'it's not you, it's me', but with me really meaning it. Be warned that there are some pretty gruesome things in it.

My rating: 2 stars

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