Thursday, July 30, 2015

feature and follow friday



Feature and Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Alison can Read and Parajunkee. Check them out!


Question of the Week: If you could get an ARC of any book, already published, or not yet, what would it be? 



I'd have to say if John Green were to come out with a new  book (or five), that would be what I want. As in, above all else. Green is featured on my Author Idols page and if you don't already know him as the writer of The Fault in our Stars, I highly recommend you start with Looking for Alaska, read (or reread) The Fault in our Stars, and finish up with Looking for Alaska.



How to follow me: I still use GFC, so there's that. I'm also @kdaziz on Twitter but all that links to is my reviews which you get here anyway. I'm also on blog lovin!
Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Thursday thoughts: Summer reading

I was looking through various book blurbs and kept seeing something in common. Claims of  "this is the perfect summer read!", "Great for summer reading!", and the like came up again and again.

What makes a book good for summer reading? Is it also good for fall and winter reading? Do they mean it's a book that's easy to hold in one hand when you're poolside?


Or are they thinking of teachers and students, who get to have summer off and have time to sit and savor a book all in one sitting? What about those who still work during the summer months? Is it still a good summer read or is it best to reserve time to read it in one sitting so we're not hiding books under our desks like we're in math class all over again?


Are summer and spring reading akin to summer romances and spring flings? Am I more likely to add an author to my Author Idols page during the summer months? 



Or maybe it's just a part of marketing. Maybe not. What does a "great summer read" mean to you?


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: Fearsome by S.A Wolfe

Jessica Channing’s big city life should be more exciting than sixty-hour work weeks and popcorn nights with her girlfriends, but it’s not. She has worked hard fulfilling her role as a child prodigy and graduating college years before her peers. She’s the good girl, the brilliant girl.

Unfortunately, she’s also the dateless young woman.

That all changes with one phone call. Jess’s rigid, predictable life upends when she must visit a small, obscure town to deal with a relative’s death. This isn’t just any little speck of a town, though. Long lost memories come crashing down on Jess’s world when two men, the Blackard brothers, seem to lure her in. 


Genre: Romance
This novel contains graphic sexual content and strong language. It is intended for mature readers.



S. A. Wolfe lives with her family in New York City. She is a voracious reader of all types of fiction and passionate about writing. She loves connecting with readers on Facebook or email her at: sawolfe24@gmail.com.












My Review: 
The first few chapters had me intrigued. Maybe I've been reading too many suspense novels but I was expecting something more sinister to the mysterious fallout of Jess's parents and her aunt. That said, it's an easy read and entertaining if not thrilling. I was disappointed with the inaccuracy of the first love scene, spreading the myth that sleeping with someone still hurts and you still bleed even if you are properly turned on. I had hope for the Romance genre again after reading Diamonds in the Rough, but was let down by what I felt was a lack of plot. However, if you're into the fluff  and the romance and the love scenes, you'll enjoy this book.

My rating: 3.5/5

Book Review: Just back off and let us teach by Caroline Lewis



My Review:
As a millennial, my radar for the older generation overreacting and rejecting anything new or different from the stone age tends to go off a lot. When I first received this book for review, it dinged as soon as I read that the author was from Trinidad, in the age of teachers using corporal punishment on children and still somehow had respect. But then I kept reading. It wasn't the rulers and paddles that made teaching reat, she explained, it was the passion and respect from others for teaching the next generation the things they need to know. Lewis pointed out something I rarely hear in reform speeches, too: sometimes teachers are the problem. We've all had at least one lazy or unmotivated or disenchanted teacher in our lives. You know the one that tells you to read tthe book, take a test, and then violate the Student Privacy act by having the student behind you grade it. We've also had the motivated teacher who puts their energy into teaching and reaching students. We loved that teacher! We wanted to be that teacher! And tthis is what Lewis is calling for. More teachers like this, and how to become that teacher using SCOPE. My rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Working On Wednesday

There's generally more that I'm doing than waiting on something, but I definitely thank Breaking the Spine  for inspiring this post with "Waiting on Wednesday".


 


Reviewing: Fearsome 


Waiting on: Amani's River 

Book Review: Short stories and novellas by Eric Dixon

Break Every Chain: 
There are curses that are passed down from generation to generation. There are sins we bring upon ourselves. Yet, with God’s everlasting love and the blood of His Son, Jesus, we are able to break the chains that bind us. 
Karma: 
What goes around comes around. Some people learn the hard way. Clarence had it all and lost it all before he figured it out. 
Survivor: 
Fighting through the pain, inflicted by cancer, Charles made up in his mind to survive! 
Dirty Laundry: 
When a unit of cops is betrayed by one of their brethren, they are willing to go through drastic measures to keep him silent. But what if it’s too late? What if the wrong person already knows their dirty, little, secrets? 



Eric L. Dixon was born November 7, 1980, and raised with his two older sisters in Minden, Louisiana. After graduating from high school in 1999, Dixon left to join the United States Navy that same year, ultimately becoming part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Marrying in 2002, Dixon and his wife became proud parents in 2001 and again in 2003. After an honorable discharge in 2004, Dixon continued to serve his country by becoming a Navy contractor in 2005 after attending Tidewater Tech. When he’s not working, Dixon writes stories, reads, watches movies, and spends time with his family and friends.
Parentless at a young age (he lost his mother to breast cancer at the age of twelve and his father to a massive heart attack at fourteen), Dixon sees his role as a father as his greatest privilege. His children are his biggest inspiration as a writer, followed by his niece, nephews, and authors such as Donald Goines and James Patterson.
Dixon began writing his first novel in 2005 after watching a Donald Goines documentary and reading Goines’s novel Whoreson. He is seeking his breakthrough into the industry with his short stories and novellas: Break Every Chain, Karma: Life Merry-Go-Round, Survivor and Dirty Laundry.


My Review

I decided to review each short story separately, as there are only four in this work.

Break every chain: This story had a good thing going for a while, but ended upbruptly. It felt pieced together and read more like flash fiction. I enjoyed the concept and characters, but the ending left me feeling unfulfilled.

Karma: This story was far better. Dixon focused on two characters and the result was an enjoyable read with lively characters.

Survivor:This was the shortest story, but the most personal. Any English teacher will tell you that stories bloom and have life when they have an element of your soul in them. This time, the connection to God didn't feel forced like the first story did. It felt natural, and raw, and I loved it.

Dirty laundry: This novella was the longest work, but I wouldn't mind seeing it stand on its own. It had a great potential for more character development and if it was fleshed out a little would make a good novel.

Overall, 3 of the 4 stories had my interest and were fun to read. I wouldn't lead with Break Every Chain, but that had its good points too. Dixon has a lot of promise, and if he focused on one work would produce something great.

My rating: 4.5/5

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters who love words

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created and hosted by Broke And Bookish. The theme this week is "Characters who are fellow book nerds"



1. Liesel--The book thiefIt’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
2. Matilda-Matilda : Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.



3. Hazel--The fault in our starsDespite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. 
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.





4. Alaska-Looking for AlaskaBefore. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

5. Hermione-harry potterHarry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the "Harry Potter" series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.





6. Claus--A series of Unfortunate eventsDear Reader, I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing. With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

7. Clay Jannon- Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour bookstoreThe Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.








8. Elizabeth Bennet-pride and prejudice"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.
(Disclaimer: I did not enjoy reading Austen. But I did enjoy her Character.)




9. Anne Shirley --Anne of Green GablesEveryone's favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.








10. Guy --F451Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
 

Monday, July 27, 2015

REVIEW POLICY UPDATE

You really should be reading it anyway, but here's the short version:

I typically don't like romances because I feel like they're fluff and need more plot. If you have something like Diamond in the Rough, which had an extra element of suspense to it, go on and send a review query.

No horror novels. I'm serious. They give me nightmares.

I will accept ebooks, but due to my job's security policy I won't be able to read them at work, which makes for a longer review timeframe. Print books are preferred because I have a lot of downtime at work otherwise and I can only do so much sudoku.

All the best,
Kristina

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book review: The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers by barb drozdowich

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? 

If book bloggers are the new gatekeepers to ‘book publishing success,’ do you wonder how you can tap into that source of free promotions? How you can move comfortably into that world, putting your best foot forward? 

Look no further, because The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of over two-hundred bloggers, covering all aspects of communication between authors and review blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog. 






Social Media and Wordpress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.





I read this book first as an author, and then as a book blogger. I found this book a valuable addition to my reference shelf during both reads. As an author, Drozdowich showed me how much work actually [should] go into review queries I receive. She lists many valuable resources including links to where you can find lists of book reviewers. 

As a reviewer, I have to be honest. It took so long after receiving the confirmation that she was sending the book to get it that I thought she forgot about me. I also reached out to her on Social Media after I finished reading to see if she follows her own advice (as any good self help author should, she does.) 

I do want to add one more thing to her list of 'things bloggers want authors to do'. While it's not a necessity, a small note written on the first page always makes me feel appreciated and less likely to procrastinate on the review. A simple "thanks for reading" or "hope you enjoy" goes a long way with me.

Despite the delay in receiving the book, I'm still offering a 5/5.