Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review of Kill Me Next Week by Christie Silvers

Kill Me Next Week is the second book in the Liz Baker series by author Christie Silvers. In this installment, Liz takes her hottie bar bouncer Chad with her to Atlanta, to collect her inheritance. Rick, her ex-sort-of-boyfriend whom she used to bang in the cemetery prior to being caught up in the vampire mess, isn't happy that she has left him behind for this trip. Liz is still reeling from the news that she is a Dhampiresa and the fact that she had killed her ex-vampire lover. He still creeps into her thoughts when she least expects it.

Jim, the estate lawyer, takes Liz and Chad to her new inheritance. There, she meets an interesting staff who run the place for her. Randall is a butler with a bad attitude. Identical twins are her maids. Hamish McIntosh is her plump Scottish chef who makes the best meals in the world. Only they aren't really what they seem.

A mystery package arrives, holding a pendant whose magical powers cause Liz and Chad to rush into what they've been fighting against doing. (And fulfills the fantasies of many readers who "met" Chad in the first book!) It was sent to her by Cole McIntosh, who is literally Hamish's other half. Cole needs Liz to have that pendant, supposedly for good, but actually to fulfill some of his evil plans, including being reunited with his better half. Liz is going to need some help to protect herself and essentially the world!

This second installment in the Liz Baker series was another quick and easy read for me. It flowed quite differently than the first book. It felt like it had a lot more background information being given in it. That makes it slightly less enjoyable than the first book, but at the same time a necessary read in order to continue the series. This book also has a much more fictional and supernatural feel to it than the first one. This is again a part of how the series is developing. It does not detract from the experience at all.

Scenes between Liz and Chad continue to be quite steamy, almost more so than anything she ever experienced with Marcus.

Liz continues to be a headstrong, independent woman, but she is softening as she continues to learn more about herself. She also realizes that she needs the help of others in her life and is more willing to accept it. I like her even better this time around.

When Kill Me Next Week ends, it is clear that another story is waiting to come along. Liz still has more to do for herself, for her family and for her friends. I can't wait to read the next installment!

I received a free ebook from the author, Christie Silvers, in exchange for my honest review.

Kill Me Next Week is also available for Kindle. Download your copy here.

Enter this giveaway (starting on June 1st) to win all three books in the Liz Baker series! First place wins them all in print. 2nd and 3rd place win e-book copies.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Review of Time for Death by Christie Silvers

Christie Silvers and I have been Facebook friends for a few years now. In April of this year, she sent out a request for people to read and review her Liz Baker series. I have not really been a fan of vampire novels, but am slowly warming up to the idea. I was home sick, anyway, and decided to give it a shot. She sent me her first book, Time for Death, and I stayed up all night reading it.

Liz Baker is the owner of the bar Athena's Ambrosia and she likes to have a good time. In fact, she and her sort of boyfriend Rick have a thing about having sex in the cemetery. On this particular night, someone or something is watching them do the deed. As they are scrambling out of there, Liz accidentally crashes the car when something flies over the hood of the car, a la Mothman Prophecies. She ends up in the hospital with rib injuries; Rick is okay. While she is there, her nurse is mysteriously murdered.

She goes home to recuperate, under strict orders to have nothing to do with the bar until she is feeling better. Someone else close to her is murdered, presumably by the same man who killed her nurse, and she begins to suspect the mystery man in the cemetery.

When she goes to sleep again, she is entranced by a mystery man with long silvery hair, who is wearing a black cape. He brings her to climax before she feels a sharp pain in her neck. He comes to her again for an even more intense erotic session, leaving her wondering how much of it is real and how much is in her dreams.

Liz also receives a surprise inheritance, leading to questions about her parentage and world as she knew it. She also has to become stronger than she ever thought she would be, to protect herself and her loved ones from a murderous vampire.

What I loved about this book was how fast the pages kept on turning. The story caught my attention from the beginning. I remember joking at the time that you know a book is good if it can hold my interest while I am lying in bed, sick as a dog.

Liz maybe isn't who I would choose to be my best friend, but I can see myself hanging out with her to have a good time. She is strong in character and in personality. She is loyal to her friends and family and will do whatever she can to protect them. She doesn't take any crap from anyone - mortal or otherwise. And the men in her life are just absolutely delicious.

For those who can't stand sex scenes, don't bother with this book. I am not usually a fan of erotica, but these scenes didn't bother me. They were steamy enough to pique interest without going overboard and fit in well with the story. Violence is also at a minimum. It's a steamy, fast-paced book that left me wanting more. Good thing there are two more books in the series!

Time for Death is also available on Kindle. Click here for your own copy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Review of Caring for a Loved One With Cancer

Cancer is a horrible thing for anyone to have to endure. Everyone is affected, from the sick patient to her friends and family. No one really knows what the right thing is to do or to say when confronted with the illness. Author June Hunt decided to create her own guide for caregivers, based on her own experience as a cancer patient. In the first part of this book, she provides 50 ways that caregivers can help their loved one. Tips include sharing in the emotions, coordinating efforts for prayer and positive thinking, and helping around the house. Go on errands and bring special, meaningful gifts.

The second part of the book focuses on the special needs of children whose loved ones have cancer. People often forget about their feelings and confusion during these times. This section also talks about how to get through temporary trials. It includes a few extra do's and don'ts.

The back of the book includes lined pages so that readers can journal along their journey.

The information given in this book is quite useful to those who feel at a loss when watching a loved one go through cancer. The fact that it is written by a former cancer patient makes it that much more meaningful. This is someone who has been there and knows what is really helpful and what isn't. She was fortunate enough to have friends and family who seemed to have instinctively known what to do to help her through her own ordeal. She also had extreme faith in God.

Some people are turned off by a lot of talk about prayer and faith in God. This book weighs heavily on religion. If you are unable to look past that, then this book isn't for you. However, much of the information is useful, no matter what your religious viewpoint.

The end of the book also invites readers to share any further information that they would like to add to the book, for possible inclusion in later editions. I like the flexibility and desire to share the experiences of others.

I received a complimentary eARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reflecting on Reading A to Z 2012

This year, I think I was out to prove something to myself. Last year, I started out with gusto, determined to find 26 authors and/or books that I felt were worthy of sharing with readers. I didn't get very far. Once Dad was in the hospital, I simply didn't have the time nor the energy to keep up with it.

This year, I had the blog titles prepared well in advance, like in February. I finished researching most of them during that first weekend. Time then got away from me, and I was unable to post every day. I was really sick over Spring Break, which was supposed to be prime writing time. I was at least able to read almost a book a day, which gave me plenty of topics for after the challenge.

I did manage to get all of my posts completed and posted prior to midnight on April 30th. That means in a sense, I completed the challenge. I didn't post daily like I was supposed to, but darn it, I finished it!

I'm not sure if I will be able to maintain this particular blog for another round of A to Z next year. I guess only time will tell! I still have 10 1/2 months to prepare....

Here are the titles from this year's challenge. Click on one if you are interested.

A is for Austen
B is for Bryson
C is for Cabot
D is for Daphne du Maurier
E is for Edgar Allen Poe
F is for Frankenstein
G is for Gayle
H is for Hornby
I is for Irving
J is for James
K is for Krakauer
L is for Lamb
M is for Mountains
N is for Nature
O is for O. Henry
P is for Paranormal Romance
Q is for Queue
R is for Richard Bachman
S is for Salinger
T is for Twain
U is for Unwinding
V is for Vonnegut
W is for Wilde
X is for Xenophobes Guides
Y is for Yarn
Z is for Zinn

And here are last year's handful of posts:

A is for Andrews
B is for Bronte
C is for Capote
D is for Dexter
E is for Encyclopedia

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Kindle Touch has arrived!

I am now the owner of two Kindles. Technically, at the moment, I own three. My Kindle Touch arrived today, along with the regular Kindle that I am giving to my BFF. By tomorrow, I will be back down to two.

I am giving her one because I redeemed points to get them both for free. She also never gets anything new and fun for herself. And I am tired of reading awesome Kindle books that she can't find to read herself.

I have been playing for the past two hours.

People are asking me why I need two Kindles. Well, when you are redeeming points and get awesome deals, it is hard to resist fun new technology. I also like different aspects of each Kindle and can use each one differently.

The Kindle Fire is fun because it is in full color, thus allowing me to enjoy puzzles, games and children's books for reviewing. However, in sunlight and some overhead light, the glare on the screen makes reading difficult. The Kindle Touch may be in black, white and gray, but I can read it outside with no problems. Apparently, there are also some apps that are only designed for the Touch. I was contacted by a company a few weeks ago about reviewing their apps that are only for the Touch. That was in part incentive to get both.

Another thing I love about the Touch is that I can organize all of those books. As of right now, I have about 2100 books that I have downloaded. Most of those have come from freebies. The Touch lets you create "collections." So, now I can sort all of those books by genre, to help me choose a read for the right mood. I can also divide them up by those I need to review and those that have been reviewed. I can add them and delete them at my whim on all devices. I just feel better organized now.

I definitely prefer the touch screen. For my BFF, that is a new form of technology and I think she will be happier with the buttons for now. She can also let her mom play with it to see if she likes it.

I know I will have fun playing with both of them for some time to come. I will be reviewing more books, soon, especially now that conference reports are done. I have plenty of time to read and write. :-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Kindle Fire is here!

I am typing this post on my new toy, the Kindle Fire. It just arrived last night, which was a pleasant surprise. I was totally not expecting it until next week.

I have been saving up Amazon gift cards from the various point sites that I use and couldn't make up my mind which Kindle I really wanted. I have been intrigued by the Fire for quite some time, but also saw the benefits to having the Touch. Then, that commercial came out where the family has all three Kindles, each for a different reason, and all of them together cost less than the guy's iPad. That pretty much cemented in my mind that I was going to want both of them for different reasons.

I finally decided to go with the Touch when I had saved up gift cards. That would leave me some extra to buy a regular Kindle asagift for a friend. So, I placed my order on Monday, selecting the free shipping option. Expected delivery time was the end of next week. That is perfect because I have parent-teacher conferences and the new toy would give me a way to unwind.

On Wednesday morning, I got a text from my friend Amy, who runs the blog A Girl and Her Kindle and is my cohost on the Facebook page "Andi Reviews With a Girl and Her Kindle" (see the side bar). She said that refurbished Kindle Fires were on sale in the Gold Box Deal of the Day for only $139. That's $60 cheaper than brand new. No stranger to refurbished electronics, I jumped onto the opportunity and purchased it. The last time thatI had tried, they were immediately sold out. I got lucky.

So far, I haven't done too much reading on it. I immediately jumped on Facebook, of course. I player with some of the apps and watched a lotof Netflix. I did open up a couple of books out of curiosity. The view is just as crisp and clear as holding a physical book in your hands, if not a little clearer. Colors obviously show up and look great. So far, everything pretty much seems to navigate quite similarly to my Droid. There is still a little bit of a learning curve to be had, tough, which is typical any time you are dealing with new technology. I know I am going to like having the Touch, as well, as the glare from overhead lights and sun can be a bit of an issue with the Fire. I will keep perusing it and keep you posted on what I discover!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

100 Books Challenge: Frankenstein

One of my writing friends, Jacob, is challenging everyone to read through the list of 100 books that we posted some weeks ago. He has started a new blog called Reading the Top 100 Novels Together, based on that list. It's an ambitious plan to spend the next 100 months making his way through this list, reading one book each month. He invites all of us to join him and to share in conversation along the way.

The first book is going to be Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The plan is to start with book #100 and to work up to #1.

I remember reading Frankenstein back in the 8th grade. I was one of those nerdy kids who had a special list from which to choose her reading material. I liked the darker, horror novels and also read Dracula and Rebecca that year. I remember discussing the book later in high school and of course have seen some of the movies. It has been a long time since I read it, so this is going to be interesting!

Please join us in this adventure. You can start with a free download of the book for your Kindle or Kindle app. Or, purchase a physical copy to enjoy it the old-fashioned way!