Astraea Press Facebook Book Club!

Do you want to broaden your reading horizons?

What about getting a free book each month?

 

Now I have your attention ;-). Astraea Press now has a book-club on facebook! They will offer one free book each month to read and discuss. The genres will vary, and there are whispers about other prizes to be won as well. Here is their “about” section:

Each month, Astraea Press will offer ONE free book to readers to read and enjoy 🙂 At the end of the month you can come back for a chat with other readers and the author. Readers are encouraged to post a reader review on Amazon, B&N and/or Goodreads with their thoughts of the book 🙂 Have fun and HAPPY READING 🙂

You can check it out here. And tell them Little Read sent ya ;-).

Terrible Girls Club Buddy Review of Masque of the Red Death


 

What the heck is it?

The Terrible Girls Club is a (hopefully) monthly feature you will see from me doing a buddy read/review with another member of the club. We bonded over our mutual love of the character Terrible from Stacia Kane‘s Downside series. You can read my review of Sacrificial Magic here. I might be a little obsessed.

Who started it?

Well, I am happy to be included in this little club, but it was not my idea. It was started by the following lovely ladies:

Jamie and Cat @ Addicted 2 Heroines
Vanesmate, HeatherJay and Emmy @ Paranormal Itch Reviews
This month I did a buddy read with Samina from Escapism from Reality. Check out her post here. We decided on Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. It is a wonderful little dystopian world where there is a horrible plague that kills just about everyone, unless you are extremely wealthy and can afford this little porcelain mask. Here is the official blurb from Amazon:

Everything is in ruins.A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them. So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all. But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
Yeah. Pretty dark and intense. I LOVED IT! 🙂
In place  of a regular review, where I tell you what I did and did not like, I am going to let you in on the discussion Samina and I had about this lovely little horrible world. I hope you enjoy it.
Laura – Welcome to Little Read Riding Hood Samina, it is so lovely to have you! Let’s get started, shall we?
Samina –I’m so excited about this Laura. I haven’t done something like this before. So let’s start from the beginning with first impressions. Did you get off to a slow start or were you straight in?
L – I was straight in. The whole world fascinated and disgusted me at the same time. The characters were all so damaged yet oblivious, and that is always a quick draw for me. Did you like the steam-punk setting?
S – Okay, I was not expecting the steam punk. From the reviews and blurbs, I thought it would a dystopian story with a bit of elegance thrown in (blame the porcelain masks mentions and the cover) so I was slightly taken aback with the stage coaches. I liked the steam punk. It wasn’t too much so as to jar my senses and just enough to set up a great dystopian setup. What about you? How did you feel about the steam punk thrown in?
L – This was my first steam-punk novel *hangs head in shame* so it was a little difficult for me to wrap my head around it. I was trying to reconcile their past with our past, and that sometimes confused me. Because they are vastly different! And obviously don’t mesh.

S- Awww. I understand your dilemma. Sometimes in a steam punk setting it is difficult to keep up. All the settings and world building gets you confused.

L – And I can be easily confused! 😉 Ok, on to the juicy bits … First reaction to the guys; who was your favorite at introductions Elliot or Will? Did that change later on for you? I had a favorite from the beginning, but I kept flip-flopping as the story went on.

S – My favorite when introduced was Will. As Araby already had a crush on him I could not help but have a bit of a crush on him too. Elliot’s introduction was good too but I wish there was more. As the writing style was, for the lack of a better word, economical, it felt slightly abrupt. I was going back and forth between these two! One moment I would love Will and then towards the second half of the book I started liking Elliot more. Will is all hunky with his tattoos and all but Elliot is a tortured soul. He has been through so much and he hides it so well too. He comes across as cold and calculative but he has got that soft streak in him which totally melts me. So, who would you chose between Elliot and Will?

L – WILL! Though right at the end my mind might be changing … I could be persuaded either way. Like you I was drawn to Will because of Araby’s initial attraction … and the tattoos …

S – Laura, *nodding head in approval* I understand. Both were swoon worthy.. Did you have a favorite character? If yes, why?

L – Yes! Will. I love him. Even if he makes some decisions I don’t always agree with. I think ever since Terrible I have a thing for men covered in tattoos … 🙂 I know I said I flipped back and forth between Will and Elliot, but that is as a romantic choice for Araby. For me, it is Will, hands down. What about you? Who was your favorite overall character?

S- Tattoos…..ah. I have got a love hate relationship with them. They can be creepy sometimes but attractive and sexy the other. Okay, I have to control my lustful thoughts and answer your questions. My favorite character has to be Araby. She was unhappy, depressed, naive, slightly jaded and I loved her. I loved her voice and her narration. Throughout I felt sorry for her and simply wanted to give her a hug. Elliot was second but it was close. I know it is so twisted that I like him more than the obvious choice. But I can’t help it. He is warped, cold, and mean and I totally love him. I always like heroes who cannot be trusted. Did your feelings change as the story moved forward? How did your feelings/ attitudes change as you read thought the book?

L – I liked Araby straight through, though I was never sure about her parents or April. As I read on I understood their actions & behaviors as I got to know them. I don’t have to always agree with the choices a character makes, but if I understand where they are coming from then it is ok. Was Araby the most depressed mc you’ve read recently? If not, who else was?

S – The most depressed character I can compare Araby with would be Chess. Feel free to disagree with me but both of them are unhappy and depressed. Trying to get oblivion but that time always comes when the haze dissipates throwing them back in to cold, hard reality. How did you find her? Was she annoying in her self-pity and misery?

L –I agree with you, but I think Araby is more “lost,” for lack of a better term, than Chess. She at least had an institution (The Church) that she could believe in. Araby has (had?) nothing. I did not find her annoying at all. I wanted to cry right along with her. I could not imagine going through what she did. I probably would have turned to drugs as well, if not have given up entirely. I am not made of strong enough stuff to survive in a world like that. Did her casual drug use bother you? I am guessing not … because of our mutual love of Chess 🙂

S – After reading The Downside Ghosts, the drug use seemed like candy in this one. I know this is YA but I have to say the drug use issue was handled well. Not over-whelming but enough to make you feel sorry for Araby and understand her better. She has been through so much and has a dysfunctional family. Especially since she misses Finn.

L – Speaking of Finn … what did you think about her vow to him?

S – I completely understand her feelings and her vow. He was her twin and they lived for each other. She thought that she was responsible for his death and that but denying herself she was being fair to both of them as she was trying to punish herself for being alive. Moving on to the setting and the world, did you feel strongly towards anything?

L – I felt strongly that I was glad I didn’t live in that world, how terrifying it must be!! I seem to be washing my hands A LOT more after finishing this book! What about you, are you a little more of a germ-a-phobe now?

S – I’m not sure. I would be if I was living in that world. Thank God I’m not.

L -Do you believe that science started the plague? Or do you think the Prince had more to do with it?

S – Science alone cannot start a plague. It has to be driven by someone and I think in this case it was the Prince. I wish I could get my hands on him and give him a piece of my mind.

L – Do you think there are other civilizations that survived it out there? Will they be found?

S – I definitely think there is a civilization out there. I believe it will be this other civilization that would bring an end to the decaying world. The story unfolded really well for me and I did not expect the twists or betrayal. Did you expect it? How did you take it?

L – NO! I did not see that coming. I was very upset, but once I realized the motivations for it, I guess I could understand it. Did the “big reveal” of the bad guy surprise you? It shocked the crap out of me!

S – Blimey! I totally did not expect that. I mean I knew there was betrayal somewhere in this story but that bad guy I had never thought of. Well done to Griffins. So, what about your overall thoughts about the book? How did you find the writing and the narration?

L – I enjoyed the pace of the story and the writing style. It was significantly darker than anything I have read recently, and was a good change of pace. You?

S – I loved her writing style. It would suffice to say that less was more for the story telling. The words used were economical and to the point. It did not try to distract from the story or the characters which held my interest to the very end.

L – Did you have a favorite quote or line?

S – Oh, yes. There were quite a few quotes for me to pick from but if I had to chose I would chose a few really good ones.

“I’m barely alive. I stare into space and whimper in my sleep. When I’m awake, I contemplate death, try to read, but never really finish anything. I only have the attention span for poetry.”

“Just because you don’t want to see something doesn’t mean that it will go away. Do you think inhumanity doesn’t exist if you pretend not to see it? Or maybe get too drunk to understand?”

“Ugliness has seeped into every part of the city.
Or maybe the ugliness is in us.”

L – Oh, those are all good ones!

S – The quotes are making me want to read this again. What did you think of the plot? Interesting or predictable? Was it everything you expected?

L – A little of both. I don’t mind predictable, it can be comforting. Although I was a bit surprised when THE bad guy was revealed. I didn’t see that one coming at all! I was sad when I turned the last page; I wanted more. What was your overall impression of the book?

S – Did I say I loved it? It was awesome and one of the best YA books I’ve read in a while. It was something which stays with you, something power full and thought invoking. Would you read the next book?

L – Absolutely! Can’t wait!! 🙂 What about you … would you read a sequel?

S – Hell yeah! I want the sequel like now. I know it’s coming in April 2013 (already started stalking the author) but I simply can’t wait to get more of Araby and Elliot.

L – … and Will!!

Samina, thanks for asking me to read this withyou! I really enjoyed this whole process, and look forward to doing it again sometime!
Leave me a comment, letting me know if you would like to see more like this, more like my regular reviews, or something different entirely … vlog? More author interaction? Guest posts? Etc.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts! 🙂 Thanks, as always for stopping by!

Whisper Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

And the cover for Whisper looks like …

THIS!!

Exciting I know! Read on for more information, and leave a comment (again, winner will be chosen by Random.org) below saying if you have read either of Chelsea’s other books, Nocturnal (The Noctalis Chronicles, Book 1), or Nightmare (The Noctalis Chronicles, Book 2).
Both of which are good, and if you have not read them, they both come highly recommended by me.

Synopsis:

People think I’m crazy. Maybe I am, since I’ve been able to talk to spirits for as long as I can remember. They are the forgotten, the souls who have unfinished business and can’t cross over. I help them, or at least I try to. There’s this one in particular, Jack, I call him, who’s been following me around a lot. Usually they tell me what they need to do and move on. Not him. 


It isn’t until he brings another spirit, Tracy, the victim of an unsolved hit-and-run accident, that I know for sure he’s something more than just your average spirit. Then I start seeing him. And feeling his touch. And falling for him. 

In our quest to get justice for Tracy and help her move on, Jack and I become something more than just a dead boy and a living girl. I’m just waiting to see what happens next…

Sinful Sirens Giveaway Hop!

It’s here! My very first giveaway ever, hosted by the lovelies over at Under The Covers and Guilty Pleasures! Now aren’t you excited? This giveaway is also INTERNATIONAL (anywhere Amazon or The Book Depository ship), so you have no reason not to enter.

I know we are all Sinful Sirens, or at least imagine ourselves that way, so when I heard about this giveaway, I knew I had to participate.

I originally was going to find some trashy romance novel that takes place on a beach, but then I realized, that is not what I read. That is probably not what my readers read. So I went with the most recent book I’ve read that had a beach in it. It was a rainy day, and not a sunny beach, and a very small part of the book, but still a very powerful scene. Those of you that are familiar with it know what I am talking about; the beach scene in Unholy Ghosts, near Tyson’s house.  Of course, that means you will get your choice of whatever Downside Ghosts book by Stacia Kane that you want, up to and including a pre-order of Chasing Magic, out June 26th. I have had a chance to read it already, and it is AMAZING. My favorite so far. My review will go up June 1st, keep your eyes peeled!

The books, including the shorts, in the order I believe they should be read are:

Not shown is the origin story, Finding Magic, which will be released June 4th.

All you have to do is follow me, and leave a comment with how you follow, and which book you want if you win! Simple right? The winner will be chosen by Random.org, so unfortunately bribery and flattery won’t influence who wins, but are always appreciated. The winner will be notified by the end of the day May 21st (Est time) and will be announced of course via Facebook and Twitter, so it doesn’t hurt to follow me there either. 😉

Once you have done that, click on the Sinful Sirens button above, and check out all the other blogs participating. You could win lots of great stuff!

Buddy Review of Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay for The Terrible Girls Club


 

What the heck is it?

The Terrible Girls Club is a (hopefully) monthly feature you will see from me doing a buddy read/review with another member of the club. We bonded over our mutual love of the character Terrible from Stacia Kane‘s Downside series. You can read my review of Sacrificial Magic here. I might be a little obsessed.

Who started it?

Well, I am happy to be included in this little club, but it was not my idea. It was started by the following lovely ladies:

Jamie and Cat @ Addicted 2 Heroines
Vanesmate, HeatherJay and Emmy @ Paranormal Itch Reviews

Today I would like to give a warm welcome to Jennifer from The Book Nympho. We did a buddy read of Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay, and emailed our thoughts back and forth as we read. Read on for more of our ramblings. And check out her blog, it is pretty awesome. 🙂
 

Blurb from Goodreads:

Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dreams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t. Including helping law enforcement— and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town.

But Annabelle isn’t equipped to deal with the murder of a six-year old girl or a former lover-turned-FBI snob taking an interest in the case. Suddenly her already bumpy relationship with Cane turns even rockier, and even the most trust-worthy friends become suspects. Annabelle’s life is imploding: between relationship drama, a heartbreaking murder investigation, Breeze-crazed drug runners, and a few too many rum and Cokes, Annabelle is a woman on the run—from her past, toward her future, and into the arms of a darkness waiting just for her. . . .

Continue reading

Review of Nocturnal by Chelsea Cameron

Blurb from Amazon:

Seventeen-year-old Ava-Claire Sullivan isn’t one for doing the expected. Especially when she finds out her mother’s cancer is terminal. After a crying session in the local cemetery where she’s attacked by one strange guy and saved by another, she doesn’t call the cops. Because those guys definitely weren’t your average hooligans.

And the one who sort-of saved her? Well, he’s odd. He doesn’t seem to breathe or smile or have anything better to do than wait in the cemetery for Ava to come back. Which she does. Call it morbid curiosity. Even after he warns her that he’s dangerous, she can’t stop wanting to see him, talk to him, be with him.

There’s something about Peter that provides a much-needed escape from her mother’s diagnosis and her tenuous relationship with her father. Even her best friends Jamie and Texas don’t know what it’s like to face death. But Peter does. He already has. He also made a promise a long time ago that could destroy both of them.

When everything in your life is falling apart, what are you willing to give up to hold onto the one thing that could last forever?

****

Nocturnal is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance at approx. 86,000 words and is suitable for ages 14 and up.
The sequel, Nightmare is due out in March 2012
The third and fourth books in the series, Numb and Neverend are due in Summer and Fall of 2012.

Ok then. Talk about hitting the hard stuff right out of the gate. Chapter one has us out to dinner with Ava-Claire and her parents. They are there to tell her that her mother’s cancer is terminal. In a public setting. Then they have dessert. I must say, props to this girl for not making a scene right then and there. I would have.

So obviously this sets the scene for Ava doing things most kids wouldn’t. Like driving to the cemetery in the middle of the night for some fresh air and peace and quiet. Of course this night it is anything but; she is almost killed, yet somehow wakes up in her car, safe minus some bruises on her neck. She must obviously go back to investigate, and meets Peter. And at that point I must say YAY NO INSTA-LOVE!!!! She is intrigued, and the more she gets to know him, the more she wants to (and the more I want her to!) Of course, things happen that make them have to be around one another, but by that point it is great. They don’t really need an excuse.

She also has two great friends, Jaime and Tex, who she can’t confide in about her mother’s prognosis. My theory is that would make it too real. She has known them both since grade school, and have been BFF’s ever since. P.S. Jamie is a guy. At first I wanted there to be a love connection with him, but now I don’t think so.

And her parents … how opposite could they be? Her mother is a SAINT. Her dad … lets just say I wanted to kick his teeth in every time he spoke with her. Great with his wife, horrible to his daughter. I hope he gets his shit together; they are going to need each other. Very soon.

When I was first asked to read this book, I was nervous and put it off for weeks because I HATE crying. I must say, I almost didn’t read it because I thought I might cry. But I jumped in one night figuring, “What the hell?” Boy am I glad I did! I did not cry, but there are some scenes where those more sob-inclined might. Like when Ava’s mom makes a list of things she must teach her before she dies. Yup, that choked me up a bit and made me want to run and give my own mother a hug. I can’t because she is several states away, but I wanted to.

Before I get too gushy about this book, I must admit there were just a couple of things that distracted me. First, and biggest, there are several editing errors. Not spelling errors, but words in places that didn’t make sense. Which is usually a big turn off for me, but the story itself carried me through. Second, and only a personal preference, what is with everyone having 2 different eye colors? (Explained in the first part of Nightmare, book 2). That is just weird. One person, ok, that makes the unique, but all of them? And lastly, though it makes for a neat story, it is still somewhat cheesy how he died. Not gonna spoil that for you, just keep that in mind when you get to that part.

Those (what I consider minor) complaints aside, I thought this book was amazing. Cameron takes a typical girl-meets-vampire type creature, and adds a whole new element to it. And the only way for them to die … man that is some more deep shit. This story made me feel things, and not just for the character, for myself. It takes an event we all fear and brings it to the forefront. The looming death of her mother colors everything Ava does, and in turn makes you think how you would handle the similar situation.

I could go on, but you will just have to read this for yourself. Nocturnal gets 4 1/2 out of 5 stars, and the only reason it isn’t 5 out of 5 are the editing issues I mentioned. I immediately acquired book 2, and am already half-way through it.

This book took me less than 24 hours to get through. As I was finishing it, I was also tweeting the author about how mad I was because the book was coming to an end. She said it was all part of her evil plan and laughed! She is one funny lady, and if you get the chance, you should talk to her. I will leave it up to her if she wants to share her twitter handle with you. 😉