Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bloggiesta Time - It's time to FIESTA!

PEDRO: Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize.
It's bloggiesta time around here - and I JUST realized it! So I'm late to this weekend, but I can do the event on Sunday, Monday instead. What's Bloggiesta you ask?

The idea behind Bloggiesta is
to spend these next two days working on
(1) perfecting our blogs, and
(2) connecting with other bloggers doing the same thing

My *continously updated* goals:
  1. Back up blog and all the posts (Done! Thanks to S. Leighanne for the know how)
  2. Include twitter/goodreads/pinterest etc buttons (still trying)
  3. Clean up side bar by removing at least 3 widgets (Deleted Blogroll. Removed Communities, Book challenges and moved them to Pages here)
  4. Check blog for dead links
  5.  Add blog and goodreads to my Google+ profile
  6. Can I autopost to Facebook and Google+ ? (Help!)
  7. Prep 5 posts or 10 post ideas for future emergency updates (4 done)
  8. Add to my Amazon reviews (currently 5 are here)
  9. Visit 25 other bloggiesta participants 
  10. Change comment form to in-line with posts (Have also removed the Captcha, feel the difference?)
  11. Participate in 3 mini-challenges (Pinterest challenge & others)
  12. Understand and link Pinterest to blog  -
  13. Get 10 new followers - If you follow me, let me know - I follow back! (2 done)


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Giveaway Coming this month: the Happiness Blog Tour

"Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you."
----Hafiz of Persia 
Bryan Cohen is giving away 61 paperback and audio copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and a Kindle Fire between now and May 7th, 2012 on The Happiness Blog Tour. All entrants receive a free digital review copy of The Post-College Guide to Happiness. Bryan hopes to give away at least 1,000 copies during the blog tour.

He is HERE at E-volving Books on 29th April! 
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Ember by Kristen Callihan (Firelight #0.5)

Ember, a NetGalley provided novella gets a Grade A review: 
Blurb: "After a fire consumes the Ellis family fortune, the beautiful and resourceful Miranda finds herself faced with an impossible dilemma: enter a life of petty crime or watch her family succumb to poverty. But once her fiancée learns of her descent into danger--and of the strange, new powers she's discovered --saving her family may come at the high price of her heart.

When Lord Benjamin Archer's one chance for redemption is destroyed by corrupt London antiquarian Hector Ellis, he vows to take what Ellis values most-his daughter Miranda. Forced to hide his face behind masks, Archer travels the world hoping to escape the curse that plagues him so that he can finally claim his prize.

But once Archer returns home to London, will it be revenge he seeks? Or will the flame-haired beauty ignite new, undeniable desires?"

Ember is an 8 chapter short prequel to a new series, and has completely caught my imagination. The prequel is set in 1800s London, with rich language and absorbing characters. The story covers two POVs - Miranda (the fire-starter) and Archer (mysterious dark man) - and is the backstory for both characters who the key players in Kristen's Firelight series. I haven't read the series yet, but I'm so going to!
Good: The writing is powerful, and took me straight into Miranda's life. She is forced by her gambler/wastrel father to steal, and in the process Burns an attacker. The author's language uses street London argot, feels authentic!

Bad: Its hard to tell from a short novella like this, but my initial read of the prequel and the first few chapters in Firelight was pretty positive.
Should You read it? 
Yes, and I'd even suggest going straight into the main series Firelight - if the writing is anything as good as the prequel, its a must-read for paranormal & historical romance fans!
The novella also comes with decent sized previews of Firelight and Moonglow - the first books in two new series.
Note: This novella was provided for review by NetGalley
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cover Story

The most striking cover I've seen recently! What do you think?
Link to a cover you found gripping - here in the comments, or at your blog!
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Friday, March 23, 2012

The essential wizarding school story (non-Potter category)

Review: The Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones
Grade: A
Why I picked it up: I've recently picked up a few Diana Wynne Jones books, continuing my earlier fascination with her - beginning when I saw Hayao Miyazaki's beautifully depicted Howl's Moving Castle.
'The Year of the Griffin' I had read and quoted from last year, but decided I could re-read a few chapters while the baby slept.
Why I finished it:
Super catchy storyline which brought to mind the fizz and excitement of the early Harry Potter "going to wizarding school" magic.

The Story:
A diverse group of students meet at magic university and unite under incompetent teachers. The Wizards' University is now decidedly short of funds, and the teachers are either obsessed with raising funds, going to the moon or training the students to avoid any real thinking.

From Goodreads: Comical tableaux involving spells that create deep pits and smelly winged monkeys alternate with suspenseful (yet always amusing) scenes involving tiny assassins who mean business. Jones's satirical pokes at academia, racial intolerance (the greenish and jinxed Claudia has mixed blood), and hierarchical societies (Ruskin is bucking the tyranny of the forgemasters to become the first dwarf wizard) keep the story lively, as do the realistic portrayals of her very odd and endearing cast of characters.

The Good:
She has two novels set in an imaginary world, Derkholm. The first novel, Dark Lord of Derkholm, is a recommended pre-read, though you can jump right into this one if you like (or if this is the book your library has).
The exciting bits are pretty fantastic, and so are the characters - a griffin, a marshwoman, a prince, another prince who has assassins after him, a pirate's daughter.. 
Who should read this? Fans of wizard schools, Harry Potter, Young Adult lit, School stories
“What have we got next? Wasn’t there a lecture or something?”
“I’ll see,” said Elda. She hooked a talon into the bag around her neck and whisked out a timetable, then reared on her hindquarters to consult it. It already had claw holes in all four corners. “A class,” she said. “Foundation Spellcasting with Wizard Wermacht in the North Lab.”
“Where’s that?” Claudia inquired shyly.             “And have we time for coffee first?” Olga asked.

Other books by her reviewed:
Cart and Cwidder

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ever wonder What to read next?

I've recently been looking for new reading material but didn't want to delve into my existing TBR list (Not sure why..).
Here are two great ways to grow your Fantasy To Be Read list: