Archive for December, 2010

A “Few Of My Favorite Things” For The Holidays

Posted December 16, 2010 By Jennifer

Hello there! Christmas is a time for giving, right? The authors we love give us fantastic stories all year long, so I thought I’d give some of my new favorites to YOU for the holiday! We’re having have a week-long holiday contest, each day with a different prize pack of books from this year. All you have to do to enter is comment with the day’s drawing you want to be entered in and your email address so I can notify you if you win. You can request to be included in as many of the daily drawings as you wish, but you can only win once. You’ll get one entry for your request, and one entry if you tweet or blog about this contest. (Maximum of 2 entries per daily drawing.) Please include the link to the blog or the tweet in the comments, so I can make sure everyone gets their extra entry. (I would love if you all would subscribe as well, but it’s not necessary to enter.)

Daily prizes are:

SUNDAY 12/19: Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler, and Into The Dark by Gena Showalter

MONDAY 12/20:  Atlantis Betrayed by Alyssa Day *autographed*, and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

TUESDAY 12/21: Matched (ARC) by Ally Condie, and My Way To Hell by Dakota Cassidy

WEDNESDAY 12/22: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare *with autographed bookplate, autographed Mortal Instruments preview comic, and rune tattoos*, and Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

THURSDAY 12/23: Killing Me Softly by Maggie Shayne *autographed*, and Shadow of the Vampire by Megan Hatfield

FRIDAY 12/24: Nightshade (ARC) by Andrea Cremer, and Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland

SATURDAY 12/25: Stork by Wendy Delsol *with autographed bookplate*, and Night Myst by Yasmine Galenorn

Winners will be chosen at midnight, pacific each night, and emailed. The winner will have one week to respond with mailing address or a replacement will be chosen. Prizes are as listed, and cannot be substituted. International entries are welcome 🙂 I’ll be sending out all the prizes the week after Christmas. I really hope you all enjoy these books. They’re some of my favorites from this year and I would love to hear what you think of them.

Happy Holidays to you all from the crew here at Books Make Me Happy!! We hope you spend your time making happy memories.

~Jennifer, Dolorianne, Shellie

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Author: Cassandra Clare
Format: Hardcover, ebook
Pages: 496
Original Release Date: August 31, 2010
ISBN #: 978-1416975861

Imagine for one moment that you are in a strange country, where you know absolutely no one. Your brother is supposed to be there, but no one seems to know where he is. You are held captive and his life is being threatened to keep you compliant. Welcome to Tessa Grey’s life. Tessa is the main character in Cassandra Clare’s newest Shadowhunter book, Clockwork Angel.

Some of the new characters that you will meet are part of the London Institute. Charlotte Branwell, and her husband Henry, run the Institute. They live there with William Herondale, Jem Carstairs and Jessamine Lovelace. In The Mortal Instruments, the readers get to see that the Shadowhunters living in the Institute have an adoptive family dynamic. This same dynamic is true for Clockwork Angel. Charlotte is the definite mother of the group, and Will, Jem and Jessamine look up to her as such. Charlotte even shows the pain a mother knows when she feels her children pulling away from her. As a fan of The Mortal Instruments series, I was ecstatic when I found out that Ms. Clare was working on another series of books that predates that story. I enjoyed getting to meet new characters, most of whom are ancestors of the characters from The Mortal Instruments. I can see parallels between Will and Jace and also Jessamine and Isabella.

As with The Mortal Instruments, Clockwork Angel is action packed. This time the Shadowhunters are fighting more than just demons. They are going up against something that could turn out to be their destruction. However, the fighting is not just against outside forces. Tessa battles with herself as she learns who she is and what happened to her brother. She also battles to be accepted in a world she doesn’t belong in.

The book was a quick read, and I would recommend having a weekend to finish the whole thing because once you start it you will not want to put it down. All the characters were fleshed out very nicely and they interacted with each other with a great chemistry. Any fan of Cassandra’s books knows that she loves adding romantic tension to the story, and we love the way she does it. This story has a romantic triangle that’s had people picking “teams” for months. I, personally, can’t help but root for Tessa to choose Jem. I think he is good for her because he is so gentle and tries to listen to her. Will is the typical brooding my-life-is-so-messed-up-no-one-can-understand-me-man. Most of the time I wanted to slap him. Other times he made me weak kneed. I think if Tessa was to end up with Will, she would really have to be on her guard and make it clear that she will not tolerate any of his childish brooding.

I think it was brilliant of Cassandra to include scenes of Will letting his guard down, especially with Jem and a couple of times with Tessa, to show the readers that will is not all bad. I cannot actually think of any scenes that made the story drag. That being said, there were moments that made me gasp in shock and anticipation. There were even some moments that made me teary eyed. Most of all the story made me laugh.

Most of the time when I turn the last page of a book I will sit there with the book across my chest absorbing what I’ve just finished reading. Clockwork Angel was no exception. I will patiently await Clockwork Prince. To Cassandra, I would like to say…amazing job! I can’t wait to read what comes next!!

************************BREAKING NEWS******************************

(haha, I’ve always wanted to say that, lol.)

Yesterday, Cassie and the lovely people over at Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life revealed the cover of the next book in the The Mortal Instruments series, City of Fallen Angels!!! The cover is the brainchild of Cassie’s input and request, and the artistic talents of Cliff Nielsen (who is responsible for the rest of the series’ amazing covers, as well).  Here’s the beautiful next installment of the Shadowhunters Saga: The Mortal Instruments Cycle Two: Book 1 – City of Fallen Angels

The EW Shelf Life reveal video can be found HERE. Cassie blogged about the cover reveal, and some of her favorite aspects of the cover on her website HERE… and made some comments about the design choices from her twitter account  HERE.  I, for one, absolutely LOVE the cover, and can’t wait until April when we get our hands on the real live book!! What are YOUR thoughts on the cover?

 – Jennifer

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Review: His For The Holidays – Josh Lanyon (anthology)

Posted December 9, 2010 By mantasticfiction

 Authors: Josh Lanyon (editor), LB Gregg, Harper Fox, ZA Maxfield
Stories: Mistletoe At Midnight, Nine Lights Over Edinburgh, I Heard Him Exclaim, Icecapades
Formats: eBook
Release Date: December 6, 2010
eISBN#: 9781426890833

(review copy was eARC from NetGalley.com)

Mistletoe At Midnight by LB Gregg

I’ve always enjoyed L B Gregg and Mistletoe At Midnight is a fun holiday story. The “voice” is a bit different from her earlier stuff. The fun, wit, can-you-believe-this chaos, and strong romance are all still present. Cool family, too. Love Owen’s brother Ryan. The stuff that comes out of his mouth is classic L B Gregg.

The difference seems to be a slightly darker, despair vibe that I haven’t really seen in anything other than the Halloween hit, Dudleytown. The character of Owen, and Caleb to a certain degree, just seem really sad. The feelings are addressed within the story so it fits, but they definitely deviate from Gregg’s previous characters. I’m a big fan of that. Makes them seem more individualized.

The character of Keith is another example. All of Gregg’s previous release involve some kind of crime mystery. This story was all about family, the only intrigue being who invited who and what to do with the motley crew. The addition of Keith served as visual aid to Owen’s personality and I’m not sure Gregg has used a person this way before. It didn’t bother me, but I’m not sure he was entirely necessary either. He created a conflict and then exited stage left. I feel bad for him … kinda.

I like the variety and originality of this. I really liked that it shook up the normal. I loved that Owen and Caleb weren’t all over each other right out of the gate. And the supporting cast of friends and family were really great.

Nine Lights Over Edinburgh by Harper Fox

The only thing you can expect from a Harper Fox novel is to not have too many expectations. The way she twists and turn, pulls everything inside out and backwards, all with blunt force, is unlike anything else in the M/M genre. She truly does stand out as an original.

Like her previous stories, Nine Lights Over Edinburgh doesn’t caterer to the Hallmark crowd. Her stuff is gritty. Her characters are dark. The events don’t happen in a neat little row. The poetic, yoda-style ramblings can be confusing if you aren’t use to the Scottish speech pattern. 90% of what I watch comes from that side of the world and there were a few times even I had to re-read a section because it seemed to talk itself into a circle.

What is so great about all of that is how beautiful real life can be when it isn’t perfectly coordinated. McBride is in the middle of the most horrific thing he could ever imagine and to pretend otherwise is nuts. His desperation and panic are very convincing. He makes a lot of mistakes. To see the underbelly, so to speak, is not pretty, but Fox shows us how necessary it is.

There are happy Christmas stories out there, but this isn’t one of them. For most of the time the reader may even forget it’s supposed to be. There are a few one-liners and sweet moments that lighten things up when things start to get too dark, especially McBride’s daughter … she is a handful.

This romance between McBride and Leitner is seething right under the surface the entire time, but Fox doesn’t really let it out to play until the end. A gamble in this genre because so many of the comments and ratings I see on review sites suggest many read for the sex/romance. I hope it pays off for her because the plot is strong and should do well for those who prefer mystery/suspense stories.

And for anyone wondering … there is a spectacularly happy ending.

I Heard Him Exclaim by ZA Maxfield

So fun!

Steve and Chandler start the story as strangers. Both of them are on the road trying to escape the memories of what they are missing most this Christmas. The timing is just right for them to cross paths at a gas station along the way.

Overwhelmed with his new responsibilities with his niece, Chandler welcomes the opportunity for something good. He still worries, but accepts Steve help. Steve is just excited that he can share Christmas again.

The attraction between the two is obvious but they have to be more subtle with Poppy in the car. Their own form of hide and seek.

As good as the beginning of this story is, the best parts are when they make it back to Steve’s house. Steve’s over the top family is fantastically devious. Steve’s normal Christmas rituals are unlike anything Chandler has seen and he finds himself letting go of some of his anxiety. The care, warmth, teasing, and instigating between Steve’s family rubs of on Chandler, and Poppy is lossing a bit of her haunted look.

I’m glad that through all the holiday cheer that the problems they had in the first place didn’t go away. Maxfield was able to deliver great tension breakers when things got too heavy, but Christmas was in no way a cure-all. Instead it allowed them both to lay it out on the line. The worst case scenario being they would part ways after the holiday and Chandler got his car back. But if it worked, they knew there wouldn’t be anyone else for either of them. Funny how much being completely 100% from the start with someone cuts out a lot of the doubt and insecurity in a relationship.

Icecapades by Josh Lanyon

I love the give and take of these two. Each spending the last 10 years thinking they knew all they needed to know about the other, Noel and Robert are in for many surprises.

We know where Noel is feeling since we are in Noel’s head the entire time, but Robert is almost as obvious with his motives. We can see the wheels turning as he fits in new information from Noel’s current life.

The best part for me was when we find out why Robert has never picked up the phone during one of Noel’s New Year’s Eve phone calls and, presumably, why he never changed his phone number. Until that moment it could have gone either way as to why Robert really tracked him down.

There is a little game playing in the beginning, neither one wanting to be the one to give in first. Lanyon made it work, though, so neither man came of like a jerk. It was close a few times, but backed off just in time.

I would definitely recommend this story, and all of the ones in the His For the Holiday Anthology. Seems he has a great feel for stories that compliment each other and yet still keep the authors individual style.

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