Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TLC Blog Tour: Loteria

• Hardcover: 288 pages
• Publisher: Harper (July 2, 2013)
Prepare to be enthralled by this lyrical, achingly human debut novel about a young girl’s remarkable resilience in the face of loss. Struggling to cope as her family falls apart, eleven-year-old Luz María Castillo retreats into her beloved set of Lotería cards—a Mexican game featuring riddles and vibrant images. Each card represents a different memory, and as Luz shuffles through the deck, she weaves her recollections into a compelling story of love, loyalty, tragedy, and hope.
By turns affecting and inspiring, Lotería is a powerful novel that heralds the arrival of an outstanding new writer, one who reminds us of the importance of remembering, even when we are trying to forget.
Mario Alberto Zambrano was a Riggio Honors Fellow at the New School and recently completed his MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow. He is a recipient of the John C. Schupes Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction. Lotería is his first novel.

Find out more about Mario at his website and connect with him on Facebook.

My Thoughts:

This little book packed a major punch! This isn't a happy go lucky story, but it is so very beautiful in a haunting way.  Poor Luz's situation is not a happy one. Her family is basically torn apart by poverty, crime, and health issues. She's placed into the custody of social services. She has stopped speaking, and the only outlet for her story is her journal.

Luz (and the title) gets her inspiration on what to write by shuffling through a deack of Loteria cards. She uses each one to help her tell her story. I thought this was a very unique concept and loved the way the cards wove together to help the reader understand what was going on with Luz.

There were a few negatives. I'm not a Spanish speaker, and my knowledge of the language is very slim. Some phrases I was able to understand while others I had to piece together. This wasn't a horrible thing (I Learned a few phrases!) but it might turn off some readers. Another negative aspect was that there were still some unanswered questions. I was left still curious about a few things. I won't go into details so as not to spoil.

All in all this was a great book. It definitely will leave an impression and stay with you for a while.

Blog Tour: Loving Your Lies

New Adult / Paranormal Romance

Date Published: January 2013

He’s annoyingly gorgeous, provocative, and fast becoming her best friend. But he also has a secret that makes the little hairs on her arms stand on end...
It wasn't nicking an expensive watch or diamond bracelet that landed streetwise Jona Montiniere in the clutches of the police. It was a darn sweater. A judge decides that she has to return to her terminally ill mother, that god-awful dragon, who dumped her in an orphanage more than twelve years ago. Worse, for the coming six weeks, she has to do charity work on a strange aunt’s vineyards in France.
Yeah, right. Jona is determined to sneak off at the first chance she gets. But then she meets Julian, the dragon’s caretaker. Playful, understanding, and sinfully sexy, he’s everything she dreams of—but she’d be damned if she let him know and break through her stonewall of protection. And then he awakens her mother from the dead with a simple touch…
When the first week in her new home is over, Jona is asking herself two things. One, how could it happen that she ended up in Julian’s arms after only three days? And two, how the hell do you keep an angel earthbound?

Author Bio
Hi, I’m Piper. I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun. 
I grew up in Vienna, not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. Ugh, that was hard. I hated the city. Everything about it. So I moved back to Upper Austria right after graduation. There are trees now in front of my window instead of just another ugly gray building, and I love to be woken by the singing of birds every morning. One of my favorite movies? Snow White. The dwarves’ house would be one epic place to live.
At seventeen, I met the love of my life, but he was a playboy, and though he was also the inspiration for many of my teen romances, I didn’t make it easy for him to get me. It took him another four years of fighting for me until I finally decided to give that “couple-thing” with him a shot. I’m now married to this man ;-) It’s cool if you can say: I tamed Casanova. What I’m currently reading? The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.
We have a ten-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and my many stories. Unless we’re in Disneyland. No stress to go home then. ;-)
So, you see, I’m leading a pretty normal life.
Of course, it’ll all change the day my books follow the act of Harry Potter, and I’ll become richer than the Queen. I swear I’ll never again clean my windows myself then. Yeah, one day… LOL


My Thoughts:

Wow! This was a surprise! I loved the way this book was told from Jona's point of view. It's kind of a unique way to go and it didn't come across as a gimmick or weird at all! It gave this book a new flavor that I liked a bunch!

The plot itself is pretty tasty too. I adored Julian and definitely loved the interaction these two had! Such a playful yet "mmmmm" relationship! There's not insta love so I give that bonus points! The build up is a slow burn but it makes it so much more enjoyable and believable!

From the beginning of this book I was caught and left wanting to sneak time to read as much as I could! This was a fun book!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Fall of Sky City

A Chronicles of Illona Novel 
Book 1 of the Devices of War Trilogy
Genre: New Adult Fantasy Steampunk Adventure
Publisher: Blooding Books
Date of Publication: May 3, 2013
Cover Artist: Ravven’s Glass
Number of pages: 316
Previously published as Hands of Tarot

In a world governed by the opposing forces of the mystical House of Tarot and the tribal Great Families, Synn is caught in the crossfire.  He witnesses the slaughter of innocent people, and the devastating murder of his father. This act awakens his Mark of power, a Mark greater than any the world has seen in a very long time.
Queen Nix thought she won a great prize when she destroyed Synn’s father, the leader of the strongest Great Families. She had no idea she’d be doubly blessed by capturing his son. However, before Synn can become her treasured weapon, before she can use him to bring the rest of the world to its knees, she must break him and bind his soul to hers.
She does her job with brutal brilliance. Synn’s mind is broken and his soul is seared to hers in an unbreakable bond.
That doesn’t stop him from wanting to be free. She may have broken his mind and claimed his soul, but he will find a way to destroy her.
Experience a world of ships that sail the clouds and cites buried beneath the ocean, and survive the fiery battle brought forth by those who control the forces of nature!

My Thoughts:
Holy Heck, this book! I was not expecting to start reading and look up and an hour has gone by! This is a fast paced, edge of you seat adventure! I totally could see this being made into an EPIC movie! I'd be first in line! This has everything my little heart could want. Adventure, steampunk, crazy evil hot ladies that wanna take over the world, and a very interesting protagonist and plot..I can't forget the plot! 

There is so much going on in this book, but it never feels too heavy handed. There's lots of back story given out, but it's woven into the present enough that you don't feel like you are trudging through a whole slew of info dump. I really hate the info dump technique, so this is a BIG plus for me. S.M. Blooding did a great job in making sure we understood the world, but without the looooooooonnnnnggggg drawn out history lesson that books like this sometimes give out. 

I loved Synn and I cannot wait to see how his character grows in the next installements and I cannot CANNOT wait to know more about Nix! She's quite a fun gal *snicker* 

This is gonna be a great series!

Here's a taste:
(Excerpt ahoy!)

The crowd several stories below us in the metal and green courtyard fidgeted as they watched the queens high above them and the pyre setting center stage.
Nix walked to the front of the balcony and raised her black gloved hands. “Gentle people of Sky City!”
Silence filled the air.
The guards pushed me to my knees beside her.
Her voice soared, bouncing from the smooth metal buildings that surrounded the courtyard, amplifying her words. “We have before us a grave situation. People from our city have rebelled against us, speaking words that endanger the well-being of the Hands.”
The people stirred.
The Queen of Coins sat up straight in her chair, brushing her rumpled dress.
“We have done everything in our power to protect you, to keep you safe, to allow you the freedom of discovering new and wild technologies. We kept you alive, offered you a new life.”
Two individuals were pushed through the crowd toward the pyre.
The crowd stayed as far away from them as they could.
Nix’s expression relaxed, a gleam of cunning victory in her eye.
My heart raced. “What are you doing?” I asked quietly. “They said words? And for that you’re going to burn them?”
She turned to me, cupping my chin where I knelt at her feet. “You will learn, Synn Primus.”
I clenched my jaw and pulled my chin out of her grasp.
My arms were twisted behind me as the men behind me forced me to my feet.
I let out a roar, trying to shake them off.
“Look what I have brought you today, people of Sky City. The greatest, most powerful Mark we’ve ever seen.” She ripped my shirt from my body, baring my Mark to any who could see.
A gasp echoed through the crowd.
“He does not yet understand why he should follow, why he should obey.”
What was she doing? Dread filled my chest.
“He fought me to protect a handful of Umira children. Umira,” she scoffed, raising her hand, her eyes gleaming as she watched me.
The Umira children were brought out to the square.
Fear fluttered through the crowd.
“Don’t do this!” I watched in incredulous horror. What kind of monster was she? Who could do this? “They’re innocent!”
“Now, yes, but they are pawns, Synn.” She turned to me. “Submit and I will save them.”