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Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas In July Giveaway 2014!


We're giving away an especially fun Christmas-Themed read from one of the Fantasy Genre's most amazing authors, Terry Pratchett!

Come on and join in the fun!


Christmas in July Giveaway Hop

Announcing the “Christmas in July” Giveaway Hop

July 22nd to 31st

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Laurie Here






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Paperback copy of "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett


Title: Hogfather 
 Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Publication: October 2, 2006
Pages:
432

Synopsis:
It's the night before Hogswatch. And its too quiet.

Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho? The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker...

Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won't be a morning. Ever again...The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too).

As they say: 'You'd better watch out...'




a Rafflecopter giveaway









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Summer Reading Challenge

Hey Book-Babes! We hope you had a rockin' weekend! It's another Summer Reading Challenge update! I could personally only cross 1 off on the list this week.  I'm in one of those weird reading slumps where you have like 5-10 books going all at once and nothing is pulling you in.

At least that means I'll have a ton of books to add to the list all at once whenever I finally finish the bunch! Wooohoo!



SUMMER READING CHALLENGE UPDATE

Link up your goals or updates for a fun Summer Reading Challenge hop!

Below you'll find my and Tori's goals. Click on the book to go to its goodreads page. Titles with a slash through them are books that we've read! Links to their reviews will be added as they happen.


Auggie-Talk's Summer Reading Challenge is a 2014 summer reading hop that takes place between May 1 and September 1 on Mondays. Every Monday participants can recap their reading week, which books they read towards their goal, and hop to other reader's posts to cheer them on! This is an all-for-fun way to connect with other readers and maybe find a few new favorite books!

 



Auggie's Goals



TBR Current: 15/31



691363682

Reviewed 



Tori's Goals



TBR Current: 16/33
Reviewed
(Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever)
Stolen Songbird


Feel free to join in every Monday with links to you SRC updates! You can link up for the next few weeks on this post with a goal post of your own! If you miss the linky sign up on this post, no problem. You can still join by linking up your hop-posts every Monday!








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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: "Love Letters To The Dead" by Ava Dellaira

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Title: Love Letters To The Dead

Author: Ava Dellaira

Genre:  YA Contemporary Fiction

Publication: April 1, 2014


Synopsis:It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.






 


The synopsis of this work truly fascinated me and I was anxious to begin reading, there were quite a few points throughout where I saw a glimpse of the emotion and meaning that I was expecting to find throughout. Sadly, those few breakthrough moments were not enough to balance out the pages and pages of no-movement journal writing. I couldn't help but feel that the book was much longer than necessary to convey the intended message and this feeling created a tediousness that I couldn't shake.

I did appreciate the presentation of "second chances". I also appreciated the "history lessons" regarding the famous people Laurel was writing to. There were certainly a few moments where everything gelled together well and made sense. Even a goosebump or two, especially at the end during reconciliation.

The young main character, Laurel, is struggling with a secret. A few, actually. Not only that but she's also carrying around some serious guilt regarding things that weren't even her fault to begin with. I understand the attempt to convey an idea of struggling youth, of the necessity of identity and friendship and family, but the achingly thorough and sometimes boring detail with which the author portrays this young girl's life through her journal almost outweighs those moments of clarity, of profound thought and meaning.

Truly, though, I couldn't decide if this book was meant to be a warning, a piece of encouragement, a confession, or a story of strength. I don't feel like the main character gained much strength throughout her ordeal and the people and things that brought her to her own realizations were crutches such as alcohol abuse, an intense romantic relationship, partying too hard, skipping school, breaking rules, and generally being a hoodlum. Yet she somehow maintains her grades and keeps the adults in her life somehow in the dark with her extracurricular activities. I kept waiting for her to get caught, for someone to step in and say "slow down", or for there to be a breakthrough moment when she realized what she was doing, but one never came.

There almost seems to be this sense of a "Free Pass" for anyone dealing with tragedy and trauma. I'm an adult reading this work and it just all seems so incredibly unlikely to me the way things played out. Perhaps it would be different from a Young Adult perspective, from someone still in Highschool, but I personally discovered no feelings of redemption for this main character.

This may be a book ready to be praised for its forward thinking and willingness to address dark and uncomfortable issues, but for me it was a mediocre turn out at best and the entire things seems rather incoherent.



Until Next Blog,

Read On!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday


Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme where we list the one book we wish for the most! Auggie and Tori will both list theirs. Add your wish to the Linky and at the end of the month maybe you'll get a surprise!

Auggie's Pick

House of Secrets



Title: House Of Secrets

Author:  Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
Genre: Middlegrade Fantasy/Adventure
Pages:  512
Publication Date:  February 25, 2014

Synopsis: 

The Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult.

Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Why It's On My List: 

I'm a fan of "creepy house" books. "The Theif of Always" by Clive Barker was an awesome one, BTW. I also recently finished a middlegrade series about a house possessed by the ghosts of a family of witches. Also, very great. So this one certainly calling my name!  The synopsis immediately sets a tone for adventure and possibly some enjoyable creepiness that'll keep me tingling with anticipation. Very excited to get my hands on this one.



Tori's Pick


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Title: Lux Opposition

Author:  Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pages:  400
Publication Date: April 1, 2013

Synopsis:  August 5, 2014

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.



Why It's On My List:

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Opposition. Katy and Daemon hae been in the back of my mind for MONTHS just waiting to spill the beans on what has finally become of such an odd coupling. Jennifer L. Armentrout... it's about time!





So What's on your wishlist?

Link up for a fun Wednsday hop! Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme where we list the one book we wish for the most! Add your wish to the Linky and at the end of the month maybe you'll get a surprise!



Participate in Wishlist Wednesday and link your weekly wishlist here!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge Update

We're a day late with the Reading Challenge update because we took Monday to rant. See: Auggie-Talk Rant: Blogger Etiquette


SUMMER READING CHALLENGE UPDATE

Link up your goals or updates for a fun Summer Reading Challenge hop!

Below you'll find my and Tori's goals. Click on the book to go to its goodreads page. Titles with a slash through them are books that we've read! Links to their reviews will be added as they happen.


Auggie-Talk's Summer Reading Challenge is a 2014 summer reading hop that takes place between May 1 and September 1 on Mondays. Every Monday participants can recap their reading week, which books they read towards their goal, and hop to other reader's posts to cheer them on! This is an all-for-fun way to connect with other readers and maybe find a few new favorite books!

 



Auggie's Goals



TBR Current: 15/31



691363682
Reviewed 



Tori's Goals



TBR Current: 16/33
Reviewed
(Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever)
Stolen Songbird


Feel free to join in every Monday with links to you SRC updates! You can link up for the next few weeks on this post with a goal post of your own! If you miss the linky sign up on this post, no problem. You can still join by linking up your hop-posts every Monday!









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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Auggie-Talk Rant: Blogger Etiquette

It's another rant!




As a book blogger you've come to discover that there's this great great thing about our community... we like to help each other. Books are a SHARED passion and we enjoy lifting each other up and connecting with each other through hops, memes, and book challenges.

We know that helping each other is helping us too, we get to expand our readership and have a good time in general sharing our opinions, our ideas, and our passions with other people who can relate.  We WANT other book bloggers to visit our site and share with us and others. That's the ENTIRE POINT.

But there's something that I've noticed lately and I can no longer keep my mouth shut about it. Generally, I believe it's coming from new bloggers who are ignorant of the fact that it IS possible to be disrespectful in regards to "sharing" your content.

Book bloggers have always participated in posting links for their own content amongst other bloggers websites to assist with drive traffic to their site, to get attention for their reviews, and just plain participate with others who share the same interests. But there's a right way and wrong way to do this and I'm noticing that the wrong way it becoming prevalent.... and more and more irritating.


When is sharing your blog or content links on another's website acceptable?

When there is an invitation.

Plain and simple.

Bloggers who host hops, challenges, and weekly memes TELL you in the post that it's great for your to link up your content. They want you to! That's where the community aspect comes in. They want you to participate and to enjoy whatever's going on. It's also very pleasant because the host blog is getting some recognition too.

Generally hops, challenges, and memes request that participants post up a link-back to the host blog, thus the host blog and the participant blog are SHARING traffic with each other. The participant isn't just driving traffic to their website, they're giving back by sharing their readership as well.

In this case it's a completely kosher approach to "marketing" your blog with other readers. Tit for Tat.


When am I being disrespectful to other bloggers?

When you post links to your website content (especially your reviews) when there was NOT an invitation.

When a book blogger posts a review they are not inviting you to post your own reviews in their comments box. 


Okay. So you're wandering about the book blogosphere and you tumble across a blog that has a review up on a book that you LOVE and a book that you've reviewed too. Maybe this blog didn't like the book as much as you, and you just generally disagree with them.

Posting in the comments "Oh, I actually really really liked this one (And here's why...)" is absolutely awesome. You're getting to share your opinion and participate with the review. If the author or other readers think you're pretty snazzy and want to see more they can click on your name (which often times will link back to your website if you want it to) and check you out!

It is NOT okay to respond to a review you disagree with by posting YOUR review in the comments box.

Do not use the comment box of another blog to blatantly advertise and not add anything to the conversation. 


"This is a great review! I review books too! Come check me out guys! linklinklink".

 No. No no no.

This approach may be innocent, but it's uncouth and you're disrespecting the blog you're commenting on by attempting to redirect attention to you. It's called spam.

Here's a scenario for you.

There's an author book signing and the author is going to have a Question and Answer session. You, as an author, would love to go and network with this author (because you love them) and other readers.

During the Q&A you raise your hand and say "I loved how you incorporated werewolves into your main theme. I am also an author and have this great book out called "Werewolves at midnight" and I use werewolves in a bit of a different way and invite readers to check out my work!"

Awkward!


Leaving your review or a link to your blog in the comments section of another blog's review is THE SAME THING. You're attempting to steal the show. A show that is not yours. You have opportunities to share your reviews in other ways. Post them to Goodreads, or in Goodreads groups, post them on blog networks, Booklikes, or Amazon. Post them in APPROPRIATE comment sections on other blogs. Participate in blog hops and weekly memes and lots of other fun stuff!

Don't piggyback on another person's review or post. It isn't your blog and certainly isn't your personal marketing space.

If you've done this as a new blogger don't beat yourself up about it. It seems innocent enough to share your stuff within a community that is so SHARING anyway. It's a matter of considering other bloggers as well as yourself when you do this.

Easy peasy way of making sure you don't ever accidentally disrespect someone's blog space? Look for an invitation.


Help lift your fellow book bloggers up, don't use them as stepladders.







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Review by Tori: "Hounded" by Kevin Hearne

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Title: Hounded
Author: Kevin Hearne
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 304
Publication Date: May 3, 2011

Synopsis:
 


Atticus O'Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old--when in actuality, he's twenty-one "centuries" old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. 

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he's hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power--plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish--to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.


 

Hounded is the first in the Iron Druid Chronicles and I must say that I was supremely excited to meet Atticus O’Sullivan. He’s a modern-day druid that is Celtic, cocky, cute and can reference Netflix while speaking telepathically with his Irish wolfhound Oberon...now this is a character I can curl up with any day. Add in a Celtic god of death who keeps conveniently forgetting to put her clothes on, a magical sword, some werewolves, and a body jumping Hindu witch, who are all conveniently fighting a traitorous Celtic god of love. Sounds nifty, right?

However, I feel like it got off to a bumpy start. The reader is taken along a road full of potholes in the flow of the book. I kept getting jarred out of the story by too much information. Research is a key element of any book, but it doesn’t all have to be piled on too thick too fast.

Intertwining a character’s old-world thought process with a new-world vocab is great in theory. But Hearne’s initial execution left me underwhelmed and feeling a little itchy for something smoother. Even his interaction’s mind-to-mind with his hound seemed to drop like a wet plop into the middle of a solid paragraph in the first few chapters.

Eventually, Hearne made up for his choppy sentences and shaky dialogue with some pretty humorous and descriptive writing about mid-way through the book. I started to remember the reasons why I initially picked up Hounded and began to relax and let Atticus start to charm me. I am not a fan of the heat or the sun, but Hearne’s descriptions of the Arizona landscape were beautifully rendered enough to have me considering adding it to my bucket list of destinations. While I did get into a little tizzy earlier in my bluster about too much information, I did still appreciate the author’s dedication to his story.

Hounded gets 3 quills from me. I am hoping that in the second book, Hexed, Atticus can completely captivate this Irish girl into gobbling up the rest of his tale. Come on, you are a Druid after all.

Happy Reading,

Tori


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