Posts Categorized: book review

The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum

23 Apr, 2010 by in book review, Shadow Mountain, Thriller, time slip romance Hannah Montana 3 comments

to be published: May 10th 2010 by Shadow Mountain
details: Hardcover, 416 pages
characters: Abagail Beatrice Edmunds, Dante Alexander
isbn 1606416359
4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads.. His eyes. His touch. His kiss. Dante was unlike anyone Abby had ever met. Now he’s gone, and Abby will do anything to get him back…

The hourglass door has closed behind Dante, sending him back in time to hunt down Zo, Tony, and V. Abby knows that Dante, as a Master of Time, is the only one who can stop them from destroying time itself. She also knows that he will need her help. But almost immediately, things start to change and Abby’s worst fears are realized when Zo begins targeting her past specifically.

With each new change that ripples into her present, Abby’s life continues to spiral out of control. Her relationships with Jason, Natalie, and even her family, are threatened to the breaking point – and beyond. Zo’s power is greater than Abby ever imagined, and as she struggles to free Dante, she receives help from an unexpected – and unlikely – ally.

As Abby’s world fractures around her, she must face a terrible truth: either Dante didn’t make it through the door, or he is lost forever. So with Dante’s blueprints in hand, she begins construction on a new door, a new time machine that will either save Dante – or doom him.

The river of time is running wild, churning up secrets and betrayals, revelations and promises. With each new turn of the river, Abby faces a new challenge. Who can she trust? And how many more changes can she survive?

The bank is eroding, the barriers are thinning. And time is running out

Book two in the Hourglass Door trilogy was sent to me as an ARC from Shadow Mountain publishing and I let out a squee when it arrived. I met Lisa Mangum at the Authorpalooza in Utah a couple of years ago and the first book in the trilogy is amazing! So needless to say I got right to work on reading it. That being said, I wish I would have re-read book one before jumping back into the trilogy. My ADD brain had a hard time picking up where it left off a year ago. I think they two books would be best when read in sequence, one right after the other. The second book picks up with Dante stuck between the banks of time and I for one really missed him! The highlights of this book for me were the tidbits of native Italian (put more in book three please), the dark room sequence, and hearing stories of the Pirate King. This book is philosophically detailed with theories of time travel, music, and the creation of limits and balance. Obviously the author, Lisa Mangum is a deep thinker!
My favorite chuckle was in the acknowledgements where Lisa advises other writers to “find inspiration wherever you can” She says, “One night I dreamed my friend James Dashner and Hannah Montana were doing the “Thriller” dance complete with zombie moves and the make up. That dream saved he ending of this book. It’s probably best if you don’t ask too many questions on that one…”
Overall, I gave it four stars and reading this book inspired me to start a time slip collection on Etsy which will be revealed this weekend. I am even thinking I may try my hand at a photo gallery and book trailer. If you are interested in participating in our ARC tour for the Golden Spiral please email me your snail mail address and link to your blog at

"Inside Out" By Maria V Snyder

21 Apr, 2010 by in book review, maria v snyder 4 comments

published April 1st 2010 by Harlequin
details Paperback, 313 pages
3.5 stars

synopsis from goodreads… I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it’s all that dangerous – the only neck I risk is my own. Until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution. I should have just said no…

I got this book as part of the Mundie Moms ARC tour and Maria V. Snyder is one of my favorite authors. Her Poison Study series for adults is incredible. What I love about Maria’s writing is that she portrays a strong, stubborn emotionally guarded female who can hold her own. One with little attachment to her parents or past who has troubles with trust. A woman who is looking to buck the status quo and find a better society. Along comes a man to help her ands the rest is always beautiful as they work to smooth our her rough edges, yet there is acceptance and respect between them. I saw interesting parallels in the books. This one also reminded me a lot of the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.
Inside Out is science fiction mixes with a touch of innocent romance. The reader is transported into a world consisting of class distinctions, overcrowding and manual labor where Big Brother- the Pop Cops watch your every step. Trella is the heroine, the princess of the pipes. She is not short on courage or guts and she takes a revolution into her own hands with the help of dreamy Riley. The clock is ticking and her friends lives are on the line. Can they find the gateway to a new life in time to save him?
I admit after a few days of thought this book left an impression and grew even more on me. I give it 3.5 stars and think we will see “Inside Out” in libraries and classrooms across the country as a topic of discussion. Well done once again Maria!

Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer

13 Apr, 2010 by in book review, paranormal, Shadow of the Sun 34 comments

published February 22nd 2010 by iUniverse
details Hardcover, 524 pages
characters Andrew, Gabriella Moretti, Joseph Carter
isbn 1450211758
5 Stars

Synopsis from Godreads: Gabriella’s past is a mystery, but that never stopped her from achieving her goals. As a supernatural specialist, and far more intelligent than anyone her age, she has always been ignored by her peers. Because of the isolation she has always felt, she put her life and soul into her job. Being a supernatural specialist hasn’t given her the divine intervention she always longed for, until one day a shipment arrives from Italy containing three dead bodies with an uncanny ability to regenerate. Gabriella is frightened and intrigued, but not as scared as she becomes when a dark creature attacks her.

As the bodies come back to life, the plot takes an unexpected twist that you won’t see coming. The supernatural world only begins to unfold before her as angels appear, her dreams start to haunt her, and the very past she has forgotten comes back with startling clarity. Romance blooms, escape plans are made, an assassin is out to kill her, and death is only around the corner. But what is more terrifying than all of it is the fact she is the chosen one, the Illuminator, the one who will save them all.

One of our very first fans, Brianne Villano sent us an author signed this book as she is the editor. Bri is an awesome social networker who posted our videos on YouTube and kept our Twi Touring group company at TwiTour New Jersey, but best of all she introduced me to this phenomenal series!
I savored the story and the characters whom I feel like I connected with on many levels. The main hero, Andrew is an angel as well as perfect! He comforts and supports Gabriella while being a perfect gentleman. I can honestly say I am going through withdrawals since I finished the book. Can’t wait for book two to be released so I can have more of Andrew, Gabriella and Joseph, the other swoonworthy male protagonist who is also an FBI agent. Laura creates an emotionally riveting mystery full of myth , magic and romance. I gave it five stars and would recommend it to all of my adult friends!
Book two can’t come fast enough and Laura has promised us a teaser to post later on our blog. In the meantime she is giving away a signed copy of Book One of the Timeless series, Shadow of the Sun to one of our readers!

To Enter to Win
: leave your name and email address below
additional entries
+3 follow @fireicephotos and @laurakreitzer on Twitter
+3 become fans of Fire and Ice and Laura Kreitzer on Facebook
+2 retweet this contest and leave the link
+5 post this contest on your blog or sidebar, leave the link
+3 visit our angel shop and pick your favorite item
Contest ends May 13, 2010 and is open Internationally

Mom’s Monday "Totty" Board Book Giveaway

12 Apr, 2010 by in book review, paola opal, saffy, simply read books, totty 5 comments

published June 16th 2009 by Simply Read Books
details Board book, 24 pages
isbn 189747606X
5 stars

Being a sea turtle takes patience and pluck, as young readers learn in this enchanting board book. A companion to Saffy, which featured a baby giraffe, this book introduces Totty, the smallest of all the sea turtle babies and the last one to hatch. His brothers and sisters are already far down the beach, crawling toward the sea. As they get smaller and smaller, Totty redoubles his efforts to catch up. But it seems impossible! Will Totty find a way? Award-winning artist Paola Opal’s charming artwork makes Totty an instant friend to little readers, and the simple, rhythmic text makes the book one they’ll return to again and again

first saw this book in a book catalog at our local independent toy store and I loved he illustrations. So, finally I bought this weekend and tested it out on the kiddos. Thumbs up! I enjoy the book’s rounded edges and sturdy pages as well as the simple but cute message. I am keeping them in the car for long rides.
We are giving them away as a set to one of our blog readers!

To enter to win:
Saffy and Totty…
Tell us your favorite Children’s board book and leave your name below
Contest ends May 12th, and is open to US and Canada only.

Book Review- Missing by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

07 Apr, 2010 by in book review, Missing, Rhonda Gibb Hinrichsen, utah authors 4 comments

published October 5th 2009 by Brigham Distributing

details Paperback, 265 pages

isbn 1935217305

4.5 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads: A BYU-Idaho choir tour in British Columbia turns out to be anything but ordinary when soloist Stacie Cox spots a kidnapped child from Rexburg during a performance. Before Stacie can alert the authorities, the little girl disappears. Stacie vows to find and rescue her, a choice that forces her to deal with her guilt-ridden past and another little girl that haunts her dreams. When the handsome Matt Brennan helps Stacie in the search, she tries to resist the attraction she feels for him. Yet as he gains her friendship and trust, her resolve to never fall in love begins to crumble. And after a series of harrowing events, Stacie must decide if she is willing to sacrifice her life – and a possible future with Matt – to save a stranger.

WOW, this is a thrilling ride and a page turner! It is one of those action packed novels with a great message that you won’t be able to put down. Told from multiple points of view, one feels like they are immersed in a suspenseful mystery that needs to be solved. Ronda does a wonderful job with the main character Stacie Cox as she struggles with the demons of her past and letting her guard down. She is learning step by step through the chapters to follow her heart and be persistent in her attempt to save the life of a young missing girl. There is even a touch of romance sprinkled in 🙂 This was a phenomenal debut novel and I am so excited her second book, Trapped is coming out this month. 4.5 stars to Missing, I would highly recommend it!

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

18 Mar, 2010 by in book review 7 comments

To be published April 13th 2010 by Egmont USA

details Hardcover, 320 pages


isbn 1606840622 (isbn13: 9781606840627)

4.5 stars

When the Prom Queen becomes your fairy godmother…

Sixteen year old outsider, Jess Parker, gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join a secret society of popular girls dedicated to defeating the mean girls of the world. The Cinderella Society guides all new recruits through its top secret ultimate life makeover. It’s all part of preparing them to face down the Wickeds and win. Determined not to let the Cindys down, Jess dives in with a passion. Finally, a chance to belong and show the world what she’s made of.

… be careful what you wish for.

Jess’s transformation wins her the heart of her dream crush and a shot at uber-popularity. Until the Wickeds–led by Jess’s arch enemy–begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a high stakes battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… and herself.What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?

I received an advanced reader copy of this book in a package from Egmont USA, and I have to admit it blew me away! Kay’s writing had me hooked from the beginning with wise and witty one liners…perfect gems of sentences that got me laughing! As I read further I saw the underlying theme of being the best you can be, lifting others up, service and seeking for excellence as a woman. The Cinderella Society is about much more than a makeover or the right clothes; it’s about the war between good and evil.
Jess, the main heroine, is in the process of discovering who she is. She has self-doubts but reaches beyond herself in the end. And her fairy tale crush…well, he is swoon worthy! The chemistry between Jess and Ryan is irresistible and by the end of the book I wanted more! The only little qualm I had with the book was the insertion of the “F’ word. It seemed so out of place to me because the rest of the book is entirely without swearing. Hopefully it gets mysteriously left out of the final copies 😉 All in all an amazing read, would recommend it! 4.5 stars!
Please comment below and email me your street address to if you want to join the ARC tour for this book:

Book Review- After by Kristin Harmel

17 Mar, 2010 by in book review 2 comments

published: February 9th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
(first published 2010)

details: Hardcover, 240 pages

isbn: 038573476X

3.5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads: LACEY’S WORLD SHATTERS when her dad is killed in a car accident. And secretly? She feels like it’s her fault. If she hadn’t taken her own sweet time getting ready that morning . . . well, it never would have happened. Her mom wouldn’t be a basket case. Her brother Logan wouldn’t drink. And her little brother would still have two parents.

But life goes on even if you don’t want it to. And when Lacey gets the chance to make a difference in the lives of some people at school, she jumps at it. Making lemonade out of lemons is her specialty. Except she didn’t count on meeting a guy like Sam. Or that sometimes? Lemonade can be a pretty bitter drink to swallow

I won this author signed book as part of a facebook giveaway for moms…I love it when that happens! Thanks so much for being so generous Kristin. This was a sweet book which explores the grief of losing a parent as a teen or child. It came right on the heels of losing our little newborn puppy so I found myself in tears as I read it yesterday. Lacey, the main character (and also the point of view for the chick lit novel), tells the story of the day and year after she lost her dad to a tragic car accident. She stuffs her feeling and steps in to help everyone around her. What she didn’t expect was to swept away by Sam Stone, a new student who share some of her past. Her heart has walls and she turns a cold shoulder, questioning if there is a way to feel her father in her life anymore. As time goes on, the reader is taken step by tiny step along the slow pathway to healing. We learn what service can do to warm the heart and we fall in love with Sam.

What a sensitive and caring young man! He shows Lacey patience and compassion. This book does a good job of illustrating how family dynamics can change in the blink of an eye, and faith comes little by little. Three and half stars to “After.” Here is the author, Kristin Harmel talking about her book…

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

13 Mar, 2010 by in book review, nancy werlin, penguin young readers 6 comments

published September 18th 2008 by Dial
(first published September 18th 1994)

details Hardcover, 384 pages

setting United States

3.5 stars

literary awards Booklist Editors’ Choice, Kirkus Reviews Best YA book of (2008), Publishers Weekly “Cuffie” honorable mention winner for 2009 in the categories “Favorite Novel of the Year” and “Best Novel for (2008)

isbn 0803730020

Lucy has nine months to break an ancient curse in order to save both herself and her unborn daughter. Inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this riveting novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale.

Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child’s birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won’t be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents and her childhood friend Zach beside her. Do they have love and strength enough to overcome an age-old evil?

I picked up this book at Wal-Mart because of the awesome photography on the cover and the fact that it’s about an Elfin knight. It is a slow paced but poetic read based on folk music and fairy lore. It tackles some really strong issues like mental illness, rape, and teenage pregnancy in a mature and beautiful way. I honestly loved that it taught abstinence before marriage, taking responsibility for your baby and the power of true love. Zach is a shining example of stepping up when the going gets rough and Lucy is true to her childhood love and values. I think the material covered is best for ages 16 and older, but great for teenage mothers and those about to get married. Werlin teaches that determination and hard work can conquer the evils of this world and the curses of an unseen world.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

12 Mar, 2010 by in book review 2 comments

To be published March 23rd 2010 by EgmontUSA

details Hardcover, 368 pages

isbn 160684038X

Synopsis from Goodreads: Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

I received the ARC of this book from Egmont USA and could not wait to read it, up to the top of my to be read pile it leapt. What an outstanding first novel by Alex Bracken.! Here’s what I love…it is appropriate for ages 12 and up and captivating enough for all ages. It was absolutely refreshing to find a YA novel with no swearing, no sex and no adult content.
Fans of Shannon Hale will eat up Bracken’s vivid landscapes and character descriptions. Brightly Woven is a captivating journey of one beautiful red haired girl worshipped as a goddess and her rough around the edges wizard. They escape duels, foes seeking power, natural disasters and overcome all in search of true love and the cure for a curse. Sydelle is strong and sweet rolled into one. North is one who will stay with you long after you close the book. Four stars and a congratulations to Alexandra Bracken for a breathtaking debut fairytale fantasy!
See what the author has to say about our Brightly Woven giveaway and visit her blog here:

ARC tour is underway, email me for details!

Book Review- Devils Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

25 Feb, 2010 by in book review, paranormal YA fiction, sarwat chadda 1 comment

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423119991
4.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads :As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn’t normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order’s ancient battle against the Unholy.

Billi’s cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He’s ready to reclaim his place in Billi’s life, but she’s met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart.

But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order’s ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years — a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London’s firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

Sarwat Chadda does an amazing job of weaving historical content, religion and myth into this story of Billi Sangreal’s effort to accept her life as a Templar. I found his writing to be rich and highly intelligent. Chadda makes the vampire, ghuls, werewolves, warriors and fallen angels his own. “The Dead should not linger” is what he told me…

Billi is a strong willed protagonist with a mind of her own who become attracted to a mysterious man who comes to her rescue and helps save her life. But also enter in to the equation Kay, her life long friend w ho is an eternal optimist and has powers he yet will realize over the occult. The classic pull between good and evil with a twist of romance and history made this an awesome read. I think you’ll find Devil’s Kiss to be creepy, yet classical at the same time. Chadda announced his second novel, the Dark Goddess “comes out July (UK) but Jan (US) and the versions will be subtly different.” We can’t wait! Follow him on twitter @sarwatchadda and check out his website

Here’s the trailer for Devil’s Kiss: and a photo gallery I made on Flickr with images that reminded me of the book and taught me about the Knights Templar You’ll be sucked in as I was to all of the history in this book!

Win a tatted templar cross in the post below and stay tuned for more Devil’s Kiss inspired giveaways!