Friday, August 31, 2012

SEXY SUMMER SATURDAYS, #14 - WRONG BED, RIGHT GUY by KATEE ROBERT


Sexy Summer Saturdays is a weekly post that Hackaroos Reviews, Sims-Sational Books, The Autumn Review, and The Bookish Babe created for fun, to challenge one other to add a little spice to our reading and to spread the word about sizzling hot reads.


**The books featured on SEXY SUMMER SATURDAYS are for adults. If you are under 18 years of age, or do not like smexy books, please stop here. **


Wrong Bed, Right GuySeries: Come Undone #1
Publisher: Brazen (Entangled Publishing imprint)
Publication Date: July 20, 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 144 pages
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Seducing Mr. Wrong has never felt so right...

Prim and proper art gallery coordinator Elle Walser is no good at seducing men. Heck, she’s been throwing hints at her boss for months, but he’s completely clueless. Desperate to escape her mother’s matchmaking efforts, she comes up with a plan—buy some lingerie and climb into her boss’s bed. The plan goes brilliantly…until she accidentally seduces a sexy stranger instead.

Bad boy nightclub mogul Gabe Schultz just had the best almost-sex of his life. Too bad the smoking hot blonde thought he was his brother and bolted before he could finish what they started. Though her holier-than-thou attitude puts a serious damper on his mood, Gabe’s never been one to give up on something he wants. And he wants Elle. But does a man who lives on the dark side really have a chance with a proper lady?


Wrong Bed, Right Guy is a sexy story that offers as many laughs as it does steam.

In an effort to snag a man her mother would approve of, Elle plans to seduce her boss, Nathan. By sneaking into his bed and rocking his world. It doesn't matter that she doesn't feel that certain spark for Nathan, she's desperate and he's exactly the right type. But when she realizes that the man who just rocked her world is his bad boy brother Gabe, Elle is mortified. She wants to forget what happened and never see Gabe again. But Gabe has other plans. Once he's had a bit of Elle, he wants more, and will make sure she realizes they are right for one another.

So there was a lot that I liked about Wrong Bed, Right Guy. For starters, Gabe was dead sexy. Tall, blond, tattoos...that's my kryptonite, folks. Gabe is my favorite kind of bad boy, the kind who looks dangerous but isn't actually bad at all. He had a rough start in life but has made a good life for himself. He owns his own businesses, has money, and a great sense of humor. And yes, he's had more than his fair share of women, but what hot, successful man his age hasn't? Best of all, he calls Elle on her BS. <----Y'all know I'm not talking about a degree, right?

Another aspect to Wrong Bed, Right Guy that I enjoyed was how funny the story was. And it wasn't so much the scenario, even though that was humiliatingly awesome. We all know sneaking into bed with the wrong guy and practically humping him is no laughing matter unless it's somebody else. Am I right? What was so fun about the story was the dialogue. Gabe was constantly saying things to embarrass Elle, to pull her out of her shell. Elle was also funny at certain points, mostly when she was talking to herself. I also loved her best friend, Roxanne. In fact, I would love to see Roxanne get her own story. She made a lot of the scenes much more enjoyable with her funny comebacks and observations.

But...Elle. I just didn't love her for a lot of the story. I didn't dislike or hate her, but she was a bit hard to take at times. For starters, she was so judgmental. She was constantly noting how she would never get a tattoo, acted like she was too good for the places she was at, and in general acted like a snob. Now, this may not be a problem for a lot of readers, and I know that it ups the conflict between Gabe and Elle. But that part of her did bug me a little. I also had a hard time believing that someone so meek would actually climb into her boss' bed in the middle of the night to seduce him. Having said all of this, Elle does experience growth throughout the story and I ended up liking her quite a bit.

The steam factor was pretty good. There were moments that were hot, but nothing that would scare the faint of heart away. Gabe and Elle have great chemistry. But Gabe is so sexy that it would be impossible not to get hot and bothered by him.

Overall, I found Wrong Bed, Right Guy to be a light, quick read.  The alternating points of view were well done and I loved getting both characters takes on the situation. Gabe was freaking fantastic and I would love to read a book about Nathan. If you're looking for a sweet story of opposites attract, Wrong Bed, Right Guy is the book for you!


Favorite Quote:

  " 'So do you have any ink?'
    Just like that, her anger was back. Of course not. I'd never get a tattoo.'
    Interesting response considering how into ink she seemed to be. 'Never say never, babe.'
   'You don't know anything about me.'
   He watched her while he finished off his burger. 'Don't I? Because at this point, I know enough to make you scream the same way you did the other night.' While she sputtered, her hands fluttering, he slid out of the booth. 'Want to play some pool?' "  (ebook, 26%)


You can purchase Wrong Bed, Right Guy at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

BACK TO THE BOOKS GIVEAWAY HOP


Guess what. It's time for another HOP! The kids are headed back to school and that means it's time for the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop. This is being hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Buried in Books. There are over 200 blogs linked up, offering bookish giveaways. So what am I offering?

The Lorien Legacies, Books 1-3

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, #1)The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies, #2)The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies, #3)

I recently received I Am Number Four, The Power of Six and The Rise of Nine (ARCs) from the publisher. Since I already have this series, I'm passing these on to one of you!

The Rules:
  • Must be a US Resident. (Sorry, but shipping this out of the country is expensive!)
  • Must be 17+ years of age to enter.
  • Must fill out the Rafflecopter form.
Giveaway ends September 7, at 11:59 pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now go hit all the stops on hop. Good luck!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

BLOG TOUR ~ MADLY SERIES by M. Leighton {CHARACTER INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY}





Stops here August 31st!

Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on the Madly Series Blog Tour. This tour is being hosted by the ladies at AToMR Blog Tours. You can find the complete blog tour schedule here. My stop includes an interview with the fabulous Madly. You can also check out my Madly Series review here. But first, take a look at the books.
Madly (Madly, #1)Series: Madly #1
Publisher: M. Leighton Books
Publication Date: June 2011
Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

In order to save her home, the lives of her family, and all of humanity, Madly must learn to wield her exceptional powers and recapture the Lore before it’s too late and all is lost. But Madly’s only help are her two best friends and the Sentinel, Jackson Hamilton, that threatens both her heart and her destiny. Madly has loved Jackson as long as she can remember, but he is the one thing even a princess can’t have. Can she resist love to become the queen she was fated to be? Or can she find a way to have both?

This novelette introduces you to Madly and prepares you for the quest of a lifetime. ~From GoodReads


Madly & Wolfhardt (Madly, #1-2)Series: Madly #2
Publisher: M. Leighton Books
Publication Date: July 22, 2011
Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants. The first spirit to arrive is that of Ulrich Wolfhardt, a man that was once obsessed with wolves and a young maiden he would follow through the woods. After a bite from a wolf, Wolfhardt’s obsession with the girl became an unnatural hunger and the young maiden’s grandmother cursed him with a fate worse than death. And now he’s back…with a vengeance and a bite that can infect others as well. Madly must learn the identity of Wolfhardt’s descendant and stop him before he kills again and spreads his curse across the earth. But the only person strong enough to help Madly is Jackson, the Sentinel who vowed to protect her and the one person capable of breaking her heart. Can Madly resist forbidden love long enough to save the world from Wolfhardt? Or will she have to sacrifice her heart and her destiny to save the ones she loves? ~From GoodReads
Madly & the Jackal (Madly, #3)Series: Madly #3
Publisher: M. Leighton Books
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
How deep does love run? Deeper than the ocean? Deeper than memory? Deeper than magic?

Following their plan to save Atlas, Madly and Jackson return the spirit of Wolfhardt to his prison beneath the sea. But even the best laid plans couldn’t account for the surprises they find. This time, Lore aren’t their only challenges. Madly is special in ways no one could have guessed and dark forces seek to control her. They want her power, but first they must weaken her. They need her beaten. Vulnerable. Near death. And alone. But that task isn’t an easy one with Jackson at her side. The strongest of their kind, the only way to separate Jackson from Madly is to destroy his love for her, to erase it from his mind. And his heart. Is it possible to steal Jackson’s love from Madly? Or is their love the only truly unbreakable thing? ~From GoodReads

And  now, my Interview with Madly... 

What is the hardest thing about being a royal? 
Madly: Putting people you’ve never met and ideals that you don’t always agree with above everything you love, everything you want.
What do you miss the most about Atlas? 
Madly: My family. They drive me crazy, of course, but I love them. And I worry about them. 
 
Jackson…what are your first thoughts when I say his name? 
Madly: *smiles* Strong. Handsome. Protective. Good kisser. *laughs*
Jersey cracks me up! What do you love most about her? 
Madly: Jersey gets me. I don’t know how, but she can do and say things that don’t seem to make sense, but, in the end, they make sense to me. It’s like she knows what I need, even when I don’t. It’s really weird. Plus, I love her. She’s like family. No, Jersey is family.
What is one thing you would do differently if you could? 
Madly: I would stand up to my father and fight for Jackson. I would never let him talk me into seeing my feelings for him as something to hide or kill or be ashamed of. I would make him see how wonderful Jackson is and how we belong together. Jackson makes me a better person. That will always be a good thing for Atlas.
What are you the most afraid of?
Madly: Losing the people I love. Making a mistake that costs their lives. I know I shouldn’t care about anything more than the safety of Atlas and our people, but I do. I can’t help it.


Thanks, Madly, for taking the time to answer my questions. Maybe.. maybe next time bring Jackson with you, okay?

You can get  Madly (Madly #1) for FREE at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can purchase Madly & Wolfhardt (Madly #2) at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can purchase Madly and the Jackal (Madly #3) at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble


GIVEAWAY
M. LeightonI was born and raised in the United States, and I’ve lived in several of the fabulous fifty. Though I currently live in the deep South, I spent much of my childhood up North and hope to return there one day. A few other things about me: I believe that sometimes you have to look really, REALLY hard to find the good in people, but it's there. I believe that I'm shrinking (I swear five years ago I was two inches taller). I believe my husband is quite possibly one of the most amazing men in the entire world (I can't be sure because I haven't met all of them). I believe coffee and chocolate, when combined, could be the basis for world peace. I believe that Jesus rocks and communism doesn’t. I believe that white makes me look fat and black collects lint. I believe summer's too hot, winter's too cold and fall was made for football. I like dogs better than cats and the first movie in a trilogy is invariably the best. But most of all, I believe that love conquers all.

Connect with author M. Leighton at:
her website | Twitter | GoodReads page | Facebook



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BLOG TOUR ~ KARMA BITES by NYRAE DAWN


Stops by August 30th!


Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on the Karma Bites Blog Tour! My stop includes a review of the newest book by author Nyrae Dawn.

Karma BitesSeries: Stand-alone
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Publication Date: August 15, 2012
Format: ebook
Pages:
Source: Received from author for review.
"Whoever said, 'parents are always right' really should have thought that one through. After all, my mom believes in vampires. Go figure."

All Abigail Thompson ever wanted was to be considered normal. Instead, she ended up a loner with a vampire–obsessed mom and a stamp labeling her the resident freak of Karma, California.

When bad boy Caleb Evans saves Abby from a mean girl attack straight out of a “B” movie, Abby’s own karma starts to improve. Maybe “normal” could become her way of life, after all. But Caleb isn’t the only boy to notice her. Once newcomer Gabriel Chambers becomes Abby’s new best friend, she finds herself trapped between two boys, both holding secrets. And when Abby learns sometimes things really do go bump in the night, she discovers one of those secrets could just get her killed.

With a disbelieving and snarky teen protagonist, Karma Bites is a fun take on vamps.

Abby Thompson's mom believes in vampires. Like, really believes in them. Her quirkiness makes the pair outcasts in the town of Karma, California. Abby has zero friends and is constantly on the run from The Lipstick Posse, a group of mean girls who bully her. But one day, the school bad boy Caleb stands up for her. Caleb has long been the object of Abby's would-be affections, but he has some serious mystery surrounding him, keeping Abby at arm's length. But they soon grow closer while bonding over their problems. Then comes Gabe. He's new in town, and definitely interested in being Abby's friend, maybe more. Naturally, Caleb and Gabe don't like one another, and Abby doesn't know who to trust. As if her problems aren't enough for one teenager, a face from the past comes back and proves that Abby's mom isn't so crazy at all.

I instantly liked Abby. She was funny, sarcastic, and self-depracating. Sometimes I wished she would lighten up on herself, but honestly, being a social outcast gave her more than enough reason. As for Caleb and Gabe, there was so much mystery surrounding the both of them, that even I didn't know who was best for Abby. I thought Caleb was a good guy, what with his standing up for Abby. I just hated how he was so hot-and-cold with his feelings toward her, even though he does have his reasons. I didn't feel like I knew Gabe that well except that he was kind of strange, which made perfect sense later in the story.

For much of the story, the plot focuses on the characters, particularly Abby's sense of not fitting in, and her attraction to the two boys. I wasn't sure exactly what was going on with Gabe and Caleb, personally I like knowing what's up. Everything started fitting into place and making sense in the last fifty to sixty pages. Behaviors and motivations that were confusing were explained. The arrival of hidden characters that had been operating behind the scenes helped kick the drama up a notch and moved the plot into high gear.

I feel like Karma Bites will have appeal to those who love YA Paranormal Romance. The snarky, dramatic voice of the mc and pieces of the story, particularly the mystery, put me in mind of the Vampire Kisses series.


Favorite Quote ~

  "I break into a run. Sad, I know, but unfortunately I don't have any super-vampire abilities where I'm able to take on The LP by myself. I shove through the charred-brown doors leading to the back of campus. Ahead of me is a field of green. If this were a movie, I'd be frolicking through it rather than running for my life." (ebook, 1%)

You can purchase Karma Bites at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble Book Depository


About the author:




I am a compulsive reader and writer who loves YA fiction.

I love nothing more than writing about young adults. There is something so fresh and fun about it. You can pretty much always find me with a book in my hand or open document in front of me. I live in Southern California with my husband and two children.

Connect with Nyrae at:
GoodReads  |  Twitter  |  Blog


SPECIAL FEATURE {Q&A and GIVEAWAY} ~ THE SONG OF ACHILLES by MADELINE MILLER

I have something really cool for you today. I love The Iliad. I'm that person who read it numerous times. For fun. So I hope you are as excited as I about this book. The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller's debut novel and 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction winner was released in paperback on August 2012. To celebrate, the publisher is offering one copy to a lucky winner. Also, I have a Q&A with Miller. But first, take a look at The Song of Achilles.

The Song of AchillesGreece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.

Achilles, 'best of all the Greeks', is everything Patroclus is not — strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess — and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.


 
A Note From the Author:
I have loved ancient Greece since I was five and my mother began reading me the Greek myths. I was enthralled: by the larger-than-life gods, the epic adventures, and most particularly by the stories of the Trojan War, with its noble and deeply flawed heroes. “Sing, goddess, of the terrible rage of Achilles,” begins The Iliad. The words resonated in me, lingering long after my mother had closed the book and turned out the light.
Years later, when I became a student of Greek and Latin, I immediately sought out The Iliad. The poetry and language were gorgeous, the story even more compelling than I remembered. I spent a summer in Greece working on an archaeological dig, and my copy of the The Iliad came with me. There, wandering in olive groves and swimming in the beautiful Aegean, I began to think of how I, too, could sing of these ancient tales.
I had always been especially moved by Achilles, and his desperate grief over the loss of his companion Patroclus. But who was Patroclus? I searched the ancient texts for every mention of his name, and discovered an amazing man: exile and outcast, loyal and self-sacrificing, compassionate in a world where compassion was in short supply. I had not thought The Iliad had a love story; I was wrong.
It has been the deepest privilege and pleasure to spend the last ten years sailing in Homer's wine-dark waters. I very much hope you will enjoy reading this book as much as I have loved writing it.
 
 
Q & A with Madeline Miller 
 
Do the Greek myths really matter in our modern world of cutting-edge technology and tenuous global politics?
MM:   It can be a clich√© to call a story timeless.  But the stories of ancient Greece—the Iliad foremost among them—are exactly what this clich√© was made for.  To borrow Ben Jonson, they are not “of an age, but for all time.”  Human nature and its attendant folly, passion, pride and generosity has not changed in the past three thousand years, and are always relevant.  And especially at this fractured and shifting historical moment, I think people are looking back to the past for insight.  These stories have endured this long, moving generation after generation of readers—they must, still, have something important to tell us about ourselves.  Every day on the front page of the newspaper is an Iliad of woes—from the self-serving Agamemnons to the manipulative, double-speaking Odysseuses, from the senseless loss of life in war to the brutal treatment of the conquered.  It is all there, in Homer too: our past, present and future, inspiration and condemnation both.
    I would also add, more specifically, that I think the culture is ready for the kind of love story that transcends gender and time. I did not deliberately set out to tell a “gay” love story; rather, I was deeply moved by the love between these two characters—whose respect and affection for each other, despite the horrors around them, model the kind of relationship we all can aspire to.
 
How much of the Achilles story depicted in THE SONG OF ACHILLES is based on the classics and how much did you create in order to tell the story?  And, can you explain how you did your research for the book?
MM: In some ways I feel like I’ve been researching this book my whole life!  I have loved the ancient Greek myths since I was a child, and studied Latin and Greek throughout high school, college, and graduate school.  My professors gave me an incredible and electrifying education in ancient history and literature, and all of it helped provide the foundation for the book—though at the time, of course, I had no idea that I would one day use it for fiction.
   Once I started writing the novel, I inevitably discovered that I needed to know more: What exactly did ancient ship sails look like?  What kind of flora and fauna does Homer mention?  My background in Classics helped there too; I had a lot of the answers already on my bookshelf, or I knew where to go to find the information I needed.  It was also extremely helpful that I had spent time in parts of Greece and Turkey.
   It was very important to me to stay faithful to the events of the Homer’s narrative.  The central inspiration behind the book is the terrible moment in the Iliad when Achilles hears about Patroclus’ death.  His reaction is shocking in its intensity.  The great half-god warrior—who carelessly defies rules, and condemns a whole army to death—comes completely unglued, desperate with grief and rage.  I wanted to understand what it was about Patroclus and their relationship that could create that kind of crisis.  Although Homer tells us what his characters do, he doesn’t tell us much of why they do it. Who was Achilles?  And why did he love Patroclus so much?  Writing the novel was my way of answering that question.
   The biggest changes to the mythology came with the stories about Achilles’ life before he came to Troy, which the Iliad doesn’t cover.  There are many, many variations on these, so part of what I was doing was figuring out which ones added to the novel’s arc, and which ones I should omit.
 
Most people don’t know that much about Patroclus and his relationship with Achilles.  How did you come up with your theory that their friendship grew into love?
MM:  I stole it from Plato!  The idea that Patroclus and Achilles were lovers is quite old.  Many Greco-Roman authors read their relationship as a romantic one—it was a common and accepted interpretation in the ancient world.  We even have a fragment from a lost tragedy of Aeschylus, where Achilles speaks of his and Patroclus’ “frequent kisses.”
   There is a lot of support for their relationship in the text of the Iliad itself, though Homer never makes it explicit.  For me, the most compelling piece of evidence, aside from the depth of Achilles’ grief, is how he grieves: Achilles refuses to burn Patroclus’ body, insisting instead on keeping the corpse in his tent, where he constantly weeps and embraces it—despite the horrified reactions of those around him. That sense of physical devastation spoke deeply to me of a true and total intimacy between the two men.
 
What about the “Achilles Heel” legend?  Where does it come from, and after all of your research, do you believe it?
MM:   Achilles’ most famous myth—his fatally vulnerable heel—is actually a very late story.  Our earliest account of it is by a Roman author, almost a millennium after the Iliad and the Odyssey were first composed.  During those thousand years a number of other stories popped up to explain Achilles’ seeming invincibility, but the Iliad and Odyssey contain the simplest: he wasn’t really invincible, just extraordinarily gifted in battle.  Since the Iliad and Odyssey were my primary inspiration, and since their interpretation seemed more realistic, this was the version I chose to follow.
   There are a number of fun myths about the heel, once that story became popular.  The most famous one is that, in trying to make him immortal, his mother, the goddess Thetis, dipped him in the river Styx.  The place where she held him—his heel—was the only place not made invulnerable.  Every time I have told this story to my middle school students, they erupt into chaos:
            “That’s so stupid!  Why didn’t she just switch heels and dip him twice?” 
“Or go back later, and do it again?” 
“The water would still have seeped in!”

So that may have also influenced me on finding that a not-as-compelling reading.
 
If one wanted to visit Greece and its surrounding countries now, and walk in Achilles and Patroclus’ footsteps, and “re-live” the Trojan War, what modern cities should they visit and what might they find there?
MM:  The journey would begin in northern Greece, in the region of Thessaly. We aren’t sure where Peleus’ palace may have been (if it was a real place), but certainly Mount Pelion is still there.  It is a gorgeous spot to go hiking, and there’s even a mountain train that runs on the weekends.  Nearby, the major port town Volos is a wonderful place to visit and, given its excellent location, could very well have been a good Phthian settlement in antiquity.
     Next up would be the island of Scyros, where the goddess Thetis hid her son Achilles from the war, disguising him as a woman.  Scyros is in the middle of the Aegean, the most southern of the Sporades island cluster.  It’s quite rocky, especially in its southern region, and also has some wonderful Byzantine and Venetian monuments, along with its stunning landscapes and beaches. If you want the full Achilles experience, cross-dressing is a must.
     After that, it’s off to Aulis, (modern Avlida), in Boetia, due north of Athens.  This is where the Greek fleet gathered before setting off to Troy.  It’s quite a small town, but there are beaches, of course, and you can sit on them and pretend that you’re there waiting for that kid Achilles to finally show up so you can sack Troy already….
     Though Achilles and Patroclus didn’t actually go there, now is a good time to take a quick detour to Agamemnon’s palace at Mycenae, in the northern Peloponnese.  It’s one of the few Homeric-era ruins that we do have, other than Troy itself.   You can see the famous “Lion-Gate” entrance to the city, as well as the circular graves where the golden “Mask of Agamemnon” and “Cup of Nestor” were found.  As you tour the site, imagine that you’re the proud son of Atreus himself, and bully some subordinates.  But don’t go too far: Agamemnon was killed with an ax in the bathtub by his fed-up wife.
     Now, back to Aulis.  After joining up with the fleet, Achilles and Patroclus would have made their way to Troy, stopping several times along the way.  Since we don’t really know where they stopped (even in mythology), I think that this gives you the right to land at pretty much any fabulous Greek island that you wish.  If you take the southern route, you can drop by Lesbos, where the famous poetess Sappho (whom Plato named the tenth muse), lived and wrote.  Farther north is the island of Lemnos, which was infamous in ancient mythology as the home of the venomous snake that crippled the hero Philoctetes.  Watch where you step!
     Personally though, I would recommend choosing the most northern route, which takes you, with just a little detour, by the incredible city of Istanbul. I had the good fortune to visit Istanbul this past spring, and it is breathtaking.  Everywhere you look there is some priceless piece of history, from the Hittites to the Ottomans, not to mention its many modern attractions.  So, you heard it here first: Patroclus definitely went to Istanbul.
     Last stop: Troy itself, perched just below the Dardanelles.  The nearby city of Canakkale is a great place to stay and boasts the full-size prop of the Trojan Horse used by the 2004 movie Troy.  Brad Pitt himself arranged the donation, the rumor goes!
     A short bus ride south brings you to the ancient archaeological site.  Stand amid the ruins of five thousand years of history, and look out over the plains where the Greeks and Trojans fought.  Though not much is left but stones, the feel of the place is unmistakably epic. Be sure to bring a jacket: not for nothing did Homer call it ‘Windy Ilios.’  Find the highest point—all that’s left of one of the ancient city’s famous towers— and remember the Iliad’s immortal first line:
      
     Sing, goddess, of the rage of Achilles.
 
What do you hope that readers will gain from reading your book?  And, what do you say to folks that say, reading the Greek myths is just too hard and not very interesting?  That kids in school should be able to choose their own reading materials (vampire novels, and the like) and not have to worry about these classics?
MM:  For those who have dipped into an ancient epic—the Iliad, say, or the Aeneid— and found it boring, here is my answer: I understand.
    As a teacher, I have often had students who would come to me at the beginning of the school year and confess, I read the Aeneid over the summer and hated it.  It doesn’t worry me: the poems assume a lot of background knowledge—who the gods are, and what the back story is.  They also assume that their audience understands epic conventions, like listing all the generals and their ships, or using frequent repetition.  If you don’t have that knowledge, the book can feel like a confusing slog.  But, if you go into it with a guide—a good introduction, a quick re-read of Greek myths, a friend who loves it—then it just comes to life in your hands.  Every one of those students, at the end of the school year, declared that they loved Vergil and they loved the Aeneid.
     One of my explicit desires in writing this book was to make it so that readers didn’t have to know anything about the Iliad to enjoy it.  I wanted to give them everything they needed to follow the action right then and there, so that they could experience Homer just as his first audiences would have: as entertainment, instead of an object of study.
      The good news is that even if someone doesn’t appreciate a Classic text in school, they might go back to it later and realize that they enjoy it after all.  I read Toni Morrison’s Sula in tenth grade and it went completely over my head; I just couldn’t connect with it.  Then I picked it up again a few years ago, and absolutely loved it.  So there’s always hope.  In the meantime, what’s wrong with vampires?
      As for what I hope readers will gain: I certainly would love to hear that the novel inspired some interest in Greek mythology in general, and the Iliad in particular.  I hope too that it might help to combat the homophobia that I see too often.
      In writing this novel, I thought a lot about personal responsibility.  Patroclus is not an epic person, the way Achilles is.  He’s an “ordinary” man.  But he has more power than he thinks, and the moments where he reaches out to others and offers what he sees as his very modest assistance have huge positive ramifications.  Most of us aren’t Achilles—but we can still be Patroclus.  What does it mean to try to be an ethical person in a violent world?
 
Madeline Miller grew up in Philadelphia, has a BA and MA from Brown University in Latin and Ancient Greek, and has been teaching both for the past nine years. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specializing in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. She grew up in New York City and Philadelphia, but now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Song of Achilles is her first novel. Visit: www.madelinemiller.com.
 
Now for the Giveaway 
 
In celebration of the paperback release of The Song of Achilles, Harper Collins is giving one of you a copy of book!
 
A couple of rules:
  • The giveaway is open to residents of the US only. (Due to shipping costs.)
  • Entrants must be 17+ years of age to enter.
  • Must fill out the Rafflecopter form.
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY

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Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's WoW selection is...

Glass Heart (Cold Kiss, #2)
Wren can do things that other people can only dream of. Make it snow on a clear, crisp day. Fly through an abandoned tunnel. Bring a paper bird to life.

Wren knows her abilities are tinged with danger—knows how easy it is to lose control—but she can't resist the intoxicating rush. And now that she has Gabriel by her side, someone who knows what she can do—what she has done—she finally feels free to be herself. But as Wren explores the possibilities of her simmering powers, Gabriel starts pushing her away. Telling her to be careful. Telling her to stop. The more he cautions her, the more determined Wren becomes to prove that she can handle things on her own. And by the time she realizes that Gabriel may be right, it could be too late to bring him back to her side.


Why I'm Waiting ~ I thought Cold Kiss was so beautiful and heartbreaking. I actually have an ARC of Glass Heart, but am making myself wait until closer to release. I'm expecting another gorgeous story from author Amy Garvey.

Expected publication: September 18th 2012 by HarperTeen

You can preorder Glass Heart at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

REVIEW ~ DEMONS OF THE SUN by CINDI MADSEN

Demons of the SunSeries: Stand-alone
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 272
Source: Received from author for review.
Persephone didn’t ask to be the guardian of Hades Dagger, an artifact Hades forged to turn demons into daywalkers. She didn’t ask for the demon blood running through her veins that allows her to touch the thing, either. And she definitely didn’t ask for Jax, a cocky Warrior, to barge into her life and proclaim himself her bodyguard now that Hades wants his dagger back.

Forced to deal with this reality, along with an increase in demon attacks, and the fact members of the Order of Zeus keep turning up dead, Persephone finds her hands full. When demons tell Persephone that she’s one of them she’s appalled... And a little intoxicated by the power she feels when they call her their queen. Telling Jax about her demon side might turn him away from her forever... Something bad is brewing, and if Persephone doesn’t figure out a solution, and soon she’ll be responsible for unleashing Hell on Earth.




I feel the need to start by saying, Demons of the Sun is YA Urban Fantasy at it's best! I have so much I want to say about this story and I will try to contain myself, but I make no promises.

The world that author Cindi Madsen built in Demons of the Sun is detailed enough that it felt authentic, yet it was easy to understand. The world is built around demon slaying and Greek Mythology, which I found to be an interesting and extremely smart idea. The New Orleans setting gave the story an appropriately dark and gritty mood.

Demons of the Sun has two awesome main characters: Persephone and Jax. Persephone is the last member of her family, charged with guarding an artifact that could destroy the world if it gets in the wrong hands. I found her to be smart, tough, brave, and so funny, despite her circumstances. Persephone uses sarcasm as a weapon, which made me love love love her. And though she's consistently pushes ahead, her quiet vulnerability and her sadness made her more endearing to me. Persephone has a stubborn determination that sometimes puts her in bad situations, but instead of acting like a brat about it, she can admit when she needs help. Another big plus for me.

Persephone's help usually comes in the form of Jax. Oh, Jax. I want to start by talking about his physical attributes. I know this sounds completely superficial of me, but I'm okay with that. Jax is tall, well-built and gorgeous. Obviously. I mean, who among us wants to read about a "so-so" hero? Jax has wavy blond hair, which makes my heart skip. Okay, we've now that I've gotten talking about Jax's physical attributes out of my system, let's talk about the other reasons I loved him. Honorable? Check. Smart? Check. Badass fighter? Check. Funny and sarcastic? Check and check. Yes, I loved everything I just listed about Jax. But, here's what puts him above and beyond: Jax wants to protect and help Persephone, but he's willing to do it on her terms. He disagrees with Persephone, but doesn't put her down. He doesn't bully or condescend to Persephone, he respects and admires her. That is why Jax became a character I love.

Author Cindi Madsen has a true gift for storytelling. Her writing has a nice flow and energy and the perfect amount of wittiness. Her characters are fun, sincere, and engaging. At this moment, I'm not sure if another story is planned, but I sure hope so, and am not above annoying her into writing a sequel. I NEED MORE PERSEPHONE AND JAX.

Dark and dangerous, yet funny and filled with surprisingly light moments, Demons of the Sun is a great young adult urban fantasy that you don't want to miss!



Favorite Quotes:

  "His eyebrows drew together. 'You go to school still?'
  'I'm seventeen. Of course I go to school. The real question is why don't you?'
  'I already graduated. A year early.' He looked all pleased with himself about it. 'So I could start taking out demons as soon as possible.'
  'Sorry, I'm fresh out of gold stars. You'll have to settle for an uninterested stare.'" (pg. 16)

"A metallic thud drew her attention. 'What was that?' she asked.
Jax's eyebrows drew together. 'What was what?'
Persephone sat next to him. 'Did you take a knife to school?'
'Of course not. I took my sword.'
'You took a sword to school! Are you crazy?'
'It'd be crazy to not be prepared.' " (pg. 28)


You can purchase Demons of the Sun at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository
Cindi MadsenCindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Connect with Cindi at her:
website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Monday, August 27, 2012

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY ~ JAYE FRANCES, AUTHOR OF 'THE POSSIBILITIES OF AMY'

Today I have a guest at the blog that I'm pretty excited about. Author Jaye Frances recently contacted me about reviewing her book, The Possibilites of Amy, and the premise instantly hooked me. I knew that my schedule would keep me from reviewing the book right away,  but didn't want the readers to miss out on the book. So today I have a very insightful guest post from Jaye, an excerpt from The Possiblities of Amy and a giveaway! So let's get to it!


The Possibilities of AmySeries: Stand-alone
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 17, 2012
Amy is the ultimate trophy girl—gorgeous face, killer body, and a vivacious personality. But there’s something else about her, something that makes her even more special. Amy is new. A transfer student from out of state, she’s starting her senior year without knowing a soul. And that means she’s up for grabs, available.

Infatuated from the moment he sees her, David is determined to meet Amy, and if the fates are willing, to spend the rest of his life with her. But his shyness prevents him from approaching her—until his friends devise a contest to determine who will be the first to prove their manhood by seducing her. This coming-of-age story about high school romance is best suited for an older YA/New-Adult or Adult reader, and contains some mature language.

 



Thank you, Andrea, for hosting me today on The Bookish Babe with my New-Adult romance novella, The Possibilities of Amy.

Even as a mature, sexually-active woman, I’ll be the first one to admit that I miss the old days, when a car date provided the ultimate playground for my burgeoning high school libido, and the suggestion of a drive-in movie sent tingles down my spine—and sometimes further. Even before entering the hallowed ground of the bumpy parking lot—presided over by a five-story outdoor screen—I would fantasize about cuddling next to a dreamy guy with nothing but a layer or two of flimsy fabric between us.

I always envisioned a big tub of buttered popcorn and a large Coke as part of the dating ritual. And after feeding each other the greasy kernels, and tasting each other’s tongue on a shared straw, I would wonder how long it would take for the windows to fog, secretly hoping that the natural veil of privacy would induce a mutual lack of interest with the events taking place on the screen.

When I was writing The Possibilities of Amy, all of those memories came flooding back, and I realized the story would be much more interesting if I put myself into the male mind of one of those guys who was hoping for more than holding hands and a good night kiss.
I hope you enjoy the following excerpt as the main character, Dave, and the girl he’s infatuated with, Amy, get to know each other at a drive-in movie.

Here’s an excerpt:

  The lines at the snack bar were short, and as always, it was apparent who had dates and who didn’t. There was a certain stance, a look of confidence when ordering for two. Those with dates patiently waited in line, nodding to each other, silently acknowledging others of their own kind, their behavior separating them from the conspicuous stags that shuffled back and forth, desperately searching for someone they knew.

  In minutes, I was stuffing a tub of popcorn and two sodas into a pop-out cardboard tray, the paper cups giving off little blackboard squeaks as I twisted them in tight.

  As I walked back through the incandescent twilight, the rise and fall of the aisle humps forced me to slow down to keep the drinks in balance. I hesitated as I approached each new row of cars, ready to steer away from those that were familiar. I didn’t want any friendly interruptions or unexpected visitors.

  I remembered how a few hours earlier—just before leaving to pick up Amy—I had practiced holding her, wrapping my arms around empty space, imagining how her body would feel next to mine.

  I spotted the Falcon, and inside, Amy’s shadowy form still hovering on the passenger side of the car. She recognized me, gave a little wave and scooted over to open my door.

  “Was it crowded?”

  “Not really.”

  She reached out with both hands, taking the popcorn and one of the drinks. Tossing the cardboard tray to the ground, I balanced the other soda in one hand and turned sideways, wedging myself back into the seat.

  What happened next was so unexpected, yet so welcome, I instinctively knew I would hold the memory of that moment for the rest of my life.

  There, on my glorious, factory-installed, green vinyl bench seat, Amy had left just enough room for me to squeeze in and shut the door. I slid in beside her like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, feeling the razor sharp exhilaration that comes from the first touch of a woman’s body.

     "Am I crowding you?” she asked.

    "No, you’re fine. Perfect.”

  She was more than perfect, better than fine. With her body pressed against me, I was acutely aware of the shapely contours of her breasts, her narrow waist, the seductive curve of her hips and the muscles in her thighs. I could feel a stray wisp of her hair teasing the back of my neck, and with each breath, I could smell the clean, unmistakable scent of lilac soap.

  I looked toward heaven and offered a quick prayer of thanks. Maybe I would give up cursing, or jack-off only every other day. Surely I could give up cursing.

    “Open up,” she commanded.

    "What?”

    "Open your legs a little.”

  I did it without thinking.

    "We need a place for this.” She wedged the tub of popcorn between my thighs. Shoving a straw through the plastic lid of her drink, she jousted with the ice cubes, then held it up to my mouth.

  Without hesitation, I took it between my lips and sucked until I tasted the sweet liquid. She waited for me to release, then brought it to her own lips. The translucent paper tube darkened as she filled her mouth. We were sharing fluids, from the common end of a straw.

  She reached down, digging into the popcorn. I could feel the movement of her fingers through the side of the container.

  She brought several kernels to my mouth. As I parted my lips, she gently placed them inside, her fingertips lingering on my tongue. I sucked on the oily corn, believing I could discern the taste of her skin from the slick greasy coating.

  Had something happened while I was at the snack bar? Had someone recognized my car and stopped to chat, assuring her that I would never take advantage of the unwilling?

  It didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to question my good fortune, and I pretended there was nothing unusual about a beautiful girl feeding me with bare fingers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Holy cow! I loved that excerpt. I have a feeling I will be reading The Possiblities of Amy even sooner than I'd hoped. But you don't have to wait. Jaye is giving one lucky reader the chance to win an ebook (Kindle) of The Possibilities of Amy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Jaye Frances is the author of The Kure, a paranormal-occult romance novel, The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age story of high school romance, The Cruise-All That Glitters, a humorous adult satire about a single guy hoping to have a romantic encounter at sea, and The Beach, a sci-fi fantasy about a man who is given the opportunity to receive his ultimate wish—and lives to regret it. She is also a featured columnist for the NUSA SUN magazine. Born in the Midwest, Jaye readily admits that her life’s destination has been the result of an open mind and a curiosity about all things irreverent. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, traveling to all places tropical and “beachy” and taking pictures—lots of pictures—many of which find their way to her website. Jaye lives on the central gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, four cameras, and several hundred pairs of shoes. For more information, visit Jaye’s website at www.jayefrances.com, or Jaye’s Blog athttp://blog.jayefrances.com

TEASER TUESDAY


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, just do as following:

·Grab your current read
·Open to a random page
·Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
·Be careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others.

Make sure to share the title and the author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR piles.

Demons of the SunPublisher: Crescent Moon Press
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 272
Source: Received from author for review.
Persephone didn’t ask to be the guardian of Hades Dagger, an artifact Hades forged to turn demons into daywalkers. She didn’t ask for the demon blood running through her veins that allows her to touch the thing, either. And she definitely didn’t ask for Jax, a cocky Warrior, to barge into her life and proclaim himself her bodyguard now that Hades wants his dagger back.

Forced to deal with this reality, along with an increase in demon attacks, and the fact members of the Order of Zeus keep turning up dead, Persephone finds her hands full. When demons tell Persephone that she’s one of them she’s appalled... And a little intoxicated by the power she feels when they call her their queen. Telling Jax about her demon side might turn him away from her forever... Something bad is brewing, and if Persephone doesn’t figure out a solution, and soon she’ll be responsible for unleashing Hell on Earth.




My Teaser ~

  "A metallic thud drew her attention. 'What was that?' she asked.
  Jax's eyebrows drew together. 'What was what?'
  Persephone sat next to him. 'Did you take a knife to school?'
  'Of course not. I took my sword.'
  'You took a sword to school! Are you crazy?'
  'It'd be crazy to not be prepared.' " (pg. 28)


You can preorder Demons of the Sun at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

Sunday, August 26, 2012

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY ~ MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTLEPIECE by ANNABEL PITCHER

My Sister Lives On The MantelpieceSeries: N/A
Publisher: Galaxy
Publication Date: August 2012
Pages: 211
Source: Received from publisher
Ten-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really.
Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie's left with questions that he must answer for himself.

This is his story, an unflinchingly real yet heart-warming account of a young boy's struggle to make sense of the loss that tore his family apart.


My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece hit me like a punch square to the heart. Told through the eyes of Jamie, who doesn't even remember Rose, My Sister is unflinchingly honest and raw.

Jamie is lonely, and awkward. He just doesn't fit in no matter where he is. This poor sweet boy just wants his family to see him without the cloud of Rose hanging over them, to gain some sort of closure. Rose was killed five years ago, and his parents can't seem move on. They still act as if Rose is there with them; speaking to her ashes, preparing her a plate at special occasions, and neglect Jamie and Jas. Looking for a fresh start, they move out of London. Once there, the routine stays much the same, revolving around Rose. Jamie reluctantly becomes friends with Sunya, a vibrant and happy girl, who is treated poorly by classmates because she is Muslim. Sunya's personality wins Jamie over. But the fact that Sunya is Muslim troubles Jamie, whose father is adamantly racist because the attack that took Rose was carried out by Muslim terrorists. Jamie tries desperately to reclaim his family, but along the way learns that we each must make our own choices and move on the only way we know how.

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece is a fairly short book, but every single page carries an extraordinary amount of emotion. I can't say that I enjoyed the story, because it is so emotionally charged and a difficult subject.  But it was very, very beautifully written journey and I didn't want to put it down until I'd finished. I've become a parent, I've realized that children are the bravest storytellers. They simply tell the story as they see it; no rewrites, no glossing over.With it's awkward but resilient main character and exploration of the lasting effects of grief on the family unit, I was constantly reminded of About a Boy and The Lovely Bones.

If you're looking for a beautiful story of grief and resilience, My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece may be the book for you.


Favorite Quote:

"My sister Rose lives on the mantlepiece. Well, some of her does. Three of her fingers, her right elbow and her kneecap are buried in a graveyard in London." (pg.1)

Product Details



You can purchase My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

 
Giveaway
I'm giving my finished copy of My Sister Lives Under the Mantlepiece away.
 
A couple of rules:
  • Must be a resident of the US to enter.
  • Must be at least seventeen years of age to enter. 
  • Must fill out the Rafflecopter form.
Giveaway runs August 27 - September 2, 2012.
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 25, 2012

THE WEEKLY REWIND, #17



THE WEEKLY REWIND is a weekly post in which I recap the bookish awesomeness from the past week, and post a book haul. Warning: I tend to ramble in my vlogs. Sometimes I get excited about things and I flail. Enjoy.

                                                Book Haul




**Warning: Shirtless Men Below. If you don't like hot men, avert your eyes.**
For Review:
Double Time (Sinners on Tour, #3)Until There Was You (Coming Home, #2)Passion BlueMy Boyfriend Merlin (My Merlin, #1)


Bought:

Ta Ta for Now! (Stories About Melissa, #1)Stirring Up TroubleSeducing Cinderella (Fighting for Love, #1)Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1)



Borrowed:
 Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

Awesome People
Search Terms
  • Two Tammara Webber searches: "between the lines" and "what happened in easy" - *stares* I'm never ever ever going to tell you what happened in Easy. But you can read my reviews of Between the Lines and Easy. Spoiler- Free!
  • "between the lines book 4 tammara webber"- I'm with ya, buddy. From your lips to Tammara's ears.
  • "what a boy needs" - My favorite Nyrae Dawn book! Here's my review.
  • "abbi glines while it lasts excerpt" - No excerpt, but I have a review.
  • "jennifer alba" - I'm going to go wild and assume you meant Jessica Alba. She was Karina Halle's pick for Jenn Rodriguez in the Lying Season Dream Cast.
This Week's Posts
Giveaways
Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment, and I'll come check out your blog. Have a great week!

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