Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Enchanted Truth by Kym Petrie

 Release Date: September 18, 2012
In this humorous and insightful tale, a modern day princess finds herself single and asking for magical intervention to change her sorry love life. Rather than casting a spell to bring Prince Charming to her rescue, a savvy fairy godmother gives the tenderhearted damsel an unexpected gift. By entrusting her true thoughts and desires to an unlikely confidant, the young royal soon discovers that the person who could make her life everything she dreamed it would be has been with her all along.

As author Kym Petrie herself realized, every woman needs a froggy friend and a secret journal—and enough adventures with the girls to keep her heart pounding and her mind racing. Life is meant to be about happy beginnings . . . you can never have enough of them.

Don't scoff at the measly forty pages of this book. It packs a powerful message for girls and women of all ages. 

This was told in such a cute, humorous way that I couldn't put it down. It only took me about fifteen minutes to read it from start to finish, and by the time I put it down, I thought I need to call Kaity and Hannah (my teenage sisters) and tell them to read this! It was such a good reminder that we, as women, don't need a man to be complete. We can be who we want to be and live the life we want without being completely dependent on a man. (But sometimes we find a great one and they take our lives from regular awesome to SUPER awesome and we never want to let them go....but maybe that's just in my case.... ;D)

I had a good friend in high school that was so obsessed with the idea of a "happily ever after". She thought that her life had absolutely no meaning and she would be a nobody until her "Prince Charming" showed up, swept her off her feet, and rode off into the sunset on his noble steed. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration because obviously there would not really be a horse involved, but you get my point. I saw how she built her entire concept of love and romance around this idea of hers and how that translated into her being terribly unhappy in all of her relationships. And trust me, there were a lot. I was there. For every. single. breakup. aftermath. It was exhausting. 

I think it's so important for girls especially (and women of course, because those girls grow up) to learn the importance of self confidence and learn that it's a wonderful thing to be a fabulous, young, confident lady and not have a man dangling from your arm. It IS possible to be alone. And it's not a scary thing. Sometimes we need a little work anyway before we'd be someone's "Princess Charming". There's no shame in being who you are. I think (and maybe again this is just me) that we (women) don't give ourselves enough credit. We are awesome. Don't forget it. 

READ THIS! Then buy copies for your daughters, your sisters, your moms, your grandmas, your best friends, whoever. Every woman needs this reminder every now and then. (Even I can grow from this empowering tale, and I have my Prince Charming and little Princes waiting for me at home every day). This was such a wonderful book and I am so thankful I had to opportunity to read it! And remember: A life full of happy beginnings is so much better than one happy ending.

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beta WHAT??

Sometimes I disappear for a while. And sometimes that's because I'm lazy and haven't been reading or I've been sucked into a TV series (PRETTY LITTLE LIARS!! And before that it was How I Met Your Mother, and before that, Bones....haha) on Netflix and I can't bring myself to pick up a book until I've watched every.single.episode.ever.made. This doesn't happen on a regular basis though, so where am I REALLY??

Funny you should ask. Actually, crazy as it seems, I'm reading. During these times when I'm MIA, I'm doing what is called "beta-reading"---reading an unpublished fictional work from someone who has asked me to give feedback about the flow of the story, spelling and grammatical errors, and characterization.

Truthfully, if I could do this for pay, every day for the rest of my life, I would be a happy girl indeed. As is, I'm still a very happy girl doing it for free for some of my amazingly talented author friends. I absolutely love to read and especially edit (believe it or not!) and I find that I read all books with a fairly critical eye so it's not much of a stretch to do it when specifically asked to.

I was actually just able to beta read my friend's book. It's set during the Civil War, which I think is such a fascinating time period. The story was very well-written and had very accurate details of the time. I never cease to be amazed at what amazing writers there are (and researchers, because a TON of research is involved in most fiction!) and I am blessed to know a few.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that, even when I may seem like I'm slacking (sometimes I am!), but usually I'm just busy with something that I can't review publicly yet. Patience. One day I will. :)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

When Anne broke off her engagement seven years ago, she thought she'd never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil's brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies Neil's return. Fans of Persuasion will love this fast-paced, modern retelling of Jane Austen's most romantic novel.

I was actually kind of disappointed after reading this. It's not that it was a bad story (Hello?!?! It's based on Jane Austen!), but it just didn't do it for me. As you all know, I'm a sucker for a good romance. What you may not know is that I am really, really picky about modern day romances. While I thought this was a decent retelling of a great romance, it wasn't for me.

I don't really know what else to say about this book. I liked characters fine and the storyline was fine and it was all just fine. Maybe that was the problem--the story was more like this:   ---------------------- than this: ---/\_^\/.....{---}.....!!...._>___<___ ---="---" :=":" does="does" lol="lol" make="make" sense="sense" span="span" that="that"> I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wanted more life to the book than it had. More depth, more feeling, just MORE.

Like I said, this wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't my favorite romance I've ever read. But it was clean, so I would recommend it because of that. 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I've been wanting to read this book since it came out last year, but I've heard that it has horrible language which was kind of a deal breaker for me. Finally I decided to get it from the library and skim it first to see what I was in for. I ended reading it (obviously) and now I'm a little torn on what to say.

First, the language. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It actually didn't even drop the first f-bomb until about 150 pages in. I would say that it says it 10 times or less in the entire book, but probably about half of them are concentrated in one conversation at the end of the book.

Second, the story. I feel like I just read 452 pages that led up to absolutely nothing. I'm fairly uncertain what the point of the entire story was. While I liked Mara and her love interest separately, I felt like there wasn't any love between them. Actually, I'm not even sure there was LIKE between them for most of the story. This was one of those books where I felt like the conflict grew and grew and nothing ever got resolved. Even though this is a series, it still frustrates me that I felt like the first book was a complete waste.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, and I don't want you to misunderstand me. I did like this book. (Could you tell??) It was a surprisingly quick read and it was difficult to put down. I'd pick it up for a minute when I had some down time and next thing I knew I was halfway through it. I love books like that. However, with this book I just feel like I didn't get as much out of it as I felt like I deserved. I invested in those 452 pages and I'm as clueless about the storyline as when I started.

I think at this point, I have no choice but to read the sequel when it comes out in October. Maybe it will shed some light on all my unanswered questions. As for a recommendation- this is one you're going to have to decide for yourself.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The winner of the signed copy of Not Your Average Fairy Tale is......

I enlisted my cute Buzz Lightyear to help me select the winner. And a big thanks to him for letting me use his hot wheels carrying case, since him and his brother, Sheriff Woody, had just dumped it out anyway. :) 

If you can't read my chicken scratch, that says Jen Long! Congratulations! Please email me your current address and I'll get your book sent out.

Thanks to everyone who entered and shared this book with the world. I am so ridiculously proud of my friend Chantele and I am thankful to you all for spreading the word about her very first book! Even if you didn't win, you can purchase this book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Highwayman of Tanglewood by Marica Lynn McClure

Faris gasped as a gloved hand of a sudden covered her mouth from behind. Be still. The Highwayman of Tanglewood owns ya now. Faris he whispered, Do not struggle. Ill not harm ya, lass Come away with me, sweet Faris, the highwayman whispered. What say ye?

I say, who are you, highwayman? Faris breathed...All romantic thoughts of knights riding to win the fair lady were driven from her mind. A rogue's manner was vastly more delightful!

Aye! But that ye should know, sweet Faris, the highwayman whispered.

I know you not, sir, Faris said in a whisper. Surely I would remember such a shape of a man.

Indeed, would ya, lass? he asked.

I would, sir, she answered.

Tis well ya know who I am, fair Faris, he whispered, kissing her neck again. I am the Highwayman of Tanglewood.

A chambermaid in the house of Tremeshton, Faris Shayhan well knew torment, despair and trepidation. To Faris it seemed the future stretched long and desolate before her -- bleak and as dark as a lonesome midnight path. Still, the moon oft casts hopeful luminosity to light ones way. So it was that Lady Maranda Rockrimmon cast hope upon Farisset Faris upon a different path -- a path of happiness, serenity and love.

Faris abandoned the tainted air of Tremeshton in favor of the amethyst sunsets of Loch Loland Castle and her new mistress Lady Rockrimmon. Further, it was on the very night of her emancipation that Faris first met the man of her dreams -- the man of every woman's dreams -- the rogue Highwayman of Tanglewood.

Dressed in black and astride his mighty steed, the brave, heroic and dashing rogue Highwayman of Tanglewood stole Faris's heart as easily as he stole her kiss. Yet the Highwayman of Tanglewood was encircled in mystery -- mystery as thick and as secretive as time itself. Could Faris truly own the heart of a man so entirely enveloped in twilight shadows and dangerous secrets?

Every once in a while, I get a hankering for a good love story. When this happens, I turn to trusty ol' Marcia Lynn McClure. I have read (and liked) a good number of her books, and I have liked every one of them. This one was no different. In fact, I think this was my favorite of her books so far.

While McClure's stories are reliably predictable, I still love how completely I am drawn into her books. I love the characters (even when I think they have goofy names). I love the conflict-there is always someone defending a woman's honor. And I love the romance, the stolen kisses in darkened corridors or under a blanket of stars. Oh how I love it!

Sometimes a girl just needs a little romance. When that happens, turn to Marcia Lynn McClure (and read this)!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined...

An ebook exclusive prequel to The Steampunk Chronicles.

I have had this novella hanging out in my Kindle library for a while (correction: a LONG TIME) and I figured that I should read it since I wanted to start reading The Steampunk Chronicles series.

Well, it was short and to the point--much like this review is going to be. This really could have been a decent story if it had just been a bit longer. I liked Finley--she had spunk-- but I felt like I didn't really have time to get to know her. I also liked Phoebe, but again, there wasn't enough of her.

I liked that I had this short story to introduce me to Finley, but I don't think any of the other characters will make an appearance in the following books. I hope I'm wrong though! While I wish this hadn't been told at such breakneck speed, it left me curious to see where the story will go from here. Stay tuned for my review of the official first book in The Steampunk Chronicles series, The Girl in the Steel Corset, coming soon!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: August 7, 2012
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


There's been so much buzz surrounding this book in the past few months that I had to read it. However, I had pretty high expectations for it since I've heard it mentioned so often which usually (but not always) ends badly. I was pleasantly surprised when this book didn't disappoint. How could it, with a hardcore heroine like Celaena? A case in point:
"She stalked towards him, keeping her sword sheathed at her side. Verin's grin widened as he lifted his blade. 
He swung, but Celaena struck, ramming her fist into his arm, sending the blade soaring through the air. In the same breath, her palm hit his left arm, knocking it aside too. As he staggered back, her leg came up, and Verin's eyes bulged as her foot slammed into his chest. The kick sent him flying, and his body crunched as it hit the floor and slid out of the ring, instantly eliminating him. The hall was utterly silent. 
"Mock me again," she spat at Verin, "and I'll do that with my sword the next time." She turned from him, and found Brullo's face slack. "Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master," she said, stalking past him. "Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."
While this book was slow for about the first half of the book, the remaining story more than made up for the time it took to get there. I loved the growth of Celaena who, if I'm being honest, I wasn't a fan of at the beginning of this book. Come to think of it, I wasn't a fan of Dorian (the Crown Prince) or Chaol (the Captain of the Guard) either. But by the end, I loved them all in their own ways.

I went into this book not knowing that it would have hints of magic and fantasy characters. While it's talked about a shockingly few number of times, I am undecided if I thought this element helped or hindered the story. The last few assassin books I've read have left me wanting more action and less politics or magic or unnecessary fantastical detours. What ever happened to just a girl that kicks butt and takes names? Why does the butt-kicking have to be at the king's bidding? Can't she just do it for the sheer joy of a job well done? (This is obviously not serious.) Surprisingly, buried in all the boring bits of history and war, there was a wonderful story here full of suspense and action and romance.

Speaking of romance, that was probably the most frustrating part of this book for me. I hate when I feel like I pick the wrong guy to root for. I really wanted her to end up with a certain someone, which she didn't in the end. It hints at maybe a future for the pair, but in a consolation prize kind of way. Don't be deterred though. It still had plenty of love story. I just felt like it was with the wrong guy. And even worse, I liked the guy she chose too! My heart, the traitor.

This is one I highly recommend. I hope you like it as much as I did!

Happy Reading! 

**I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Not Your Average Fairy Tale (AND A GIVEAWAY!!) by Chantele Sedgwick

Release Date: August 1, 2012
Armed with wings and a blue wand, being a fairy godmother should be easy ... unless your name is Ash, and you're a dude.

Ash Summerland has it all–good looks, popularity, and the best grades at The Academy of Magical Beings. Ready to complete his last assignment in order to graduate, Ash is confident he will get the apprenticeship he wants. When he opens the letter from the Council, he is shocked to discover he has been assigned to apprentice Lady Shenelle, Keeper of Happy Endings. A.K.A. the head fairy godmother. Ash is forced to grant three wishes to a troubled human girl named Kendall, and ultimately give her a "happy ever after". But Kendall turns out to be more than he bargained for. Still grieving over her father's death, Kendall doesn't want anything to do with him. And worst of all, she doesn't believe in happy endings.

In case you missed it, I interviewed the author of this book, Chantele Sedgwick on Tuesday. You can read what she had to say HERE.

This is such an exciting time for me. I feel like a proud mama, seeing this book in print. Chantele and I have been friends for a few years (she's the one that got me into YA!) and I have read snippets here and there and version after edited version of this story. I love that this is a book that I can read easily over and over again. I am so, so thrilled for Chantele on her VERY FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK. Holy crap, I need to go fan myself so I don't pass out from excitement.

I know what you are thinking. Is she completely biased about this book because she is friends with the author?? Is it really THAT good? No, and yes. First off, it doesn't matter how well I do or do not know you. If your book sucks, I'll tell you. I have reviewed books for different authors (that were also friends) and, while at times I may do it more gently than others, if I hated their book, I'm not going to pretend I didn't. If you don't want the truth, don't ask me to read your story! 

Second, YES, it is that good. I absolutely love the concept of this book, and have from the first time Chantele told me what her newest project (this) was. It's such an original idea. At least, I've never come across another telling of a male fairy godmother. I was hooked from the first chapter when Ash unwillingly starts his apprenticeship, through Ash and Kendall getting to know each other, then Kendall's wishes, and up to the very last page when I exclaimed, "What the freak!?!?!?!? What happens now??" 

This is on my MUST BUY IMMEDIATELY list. In fact, I already have bought it. And then I bought another one. Why, you ask? So Chantele would have one to sign for one of my lovely readers! Yes, you read that right!

I am giving away a SIGNED copy of  Not Your Average Fairy Tale. All you have to do to be entered into the drawing is help get the word out about this awesome book by doing the following....


P.S. I need to be able to access your shared post(s), or it won't count. Please also leave me your EMAIL so I can contact you when you win.

Also, this is a giveaway for U.S. residents only. For all you international folks, please still support this book by reading it and getting the word out to your friends about it. Thanks!

Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 15th and winner will be announced Thursday, August 16th.

Good Luck
Happy Reading!