Nov 30, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Hop

Tis the season :)... For gift giving... And on this hop, I will be giving away a copy of Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans.

Perfect, perfect book for the holiday season. I'm about halfway through, and it's not what I expected - in a good way. I'm usually not a big fan of books revolving around Christmas ~ I love Christmas, but I always found the books to be a bit on the cheesy side... This one is proving to be an exception....

"There are stories, Christmas stories that are stored away like boxes of garlands and frosted glass ornaments, to be brought out and cherished each year. I've come to believe that my story is a Christmas story. For it has forever changed the way I see Christmas."
The Christmas season is supposed to be full of joy, but not for Mark Smart. Life had dealt him one blow after another until one snowy November night, when he finds a beautiful young woman who will change his life forever. Macy Wood has little memory of her birth parents, and memories she'd rather forget of her adopted home. A Christmas ornament inscribed with the word "Noel" is the only clue to the little sister she only vaguely remembers, a clue that will send her and Mark on a journey to reclaim her past, and her family.

So, I know it's kinda buzz killerish, but I gotta limit this one to U.S only....

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Good Luck!!! And thanks for entering!!

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading in which we share a little piece of one of our current reads.

Can't wait to get back to my Tuesday Preludes... As it is now, I barely have time to read...

This week's teaser(s) comes from The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen:

"I ran away for the same reason you ran away because staying here means dealing with the past and our pasts are the kind that need to be locked away and never revisited."

"You can't just change who you are on the outside and expect it to change who you are on the inside."

I plowed through half of this book in one day ~ it's sooooo good. Stop by December 5th for the full review :).

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 26, 2012

Book Blast: Wisteria by Bisi Leyton ($100 Amazon Gift Card!)

Title: Wisteria
Author: Bisi Leyton
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication:  Aug 2012
Number of pages: 275
Cover Artist: Olivia Smith

Wisteria by Bisi Leyton:

Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

Praise for Wisteria:

“I love the buildup of this story, getting to know the characters and watching their connection grow. I had no idea which way the story was headed and I was kept in suspense right up to the very end! It has plenty of action and a fascinating plot and I can’t wait to see what Bisi Leyton has for us next!!” 

“There are a lot of great things in this book, so much more than zombies and a struggle for survival. At it’s base core it is about star-crossed lovers, literally and the supporting characters roles… Ms. Leyton brings to Wisteria a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, dystopic world with a twist to the paranormal romance angle!”

“The book was full of nonstop action from the beginning until the end, and I did not put it down until I had finished it. I loved the book.” 


As she walked back to the ridge of the roof, Bach’s heart went with her. Someone had tried to hurt her. Tried to damage what belonged to him, and who he belonged to.

He started to feel dizzy from the volumes of strangle weed planted in the front of her house.

“Thank you so much for coming and for the guitar. It’s perfect.” She gave it back to him.

“No, it is yours, Wisteria.” He refused to take it. “Do you not like it?”

“No, I love it. It’s so beautiful.”

“Then keep it.” He kissed her neck. Knowing—hoping—his touch would soothe her pain, but he hadn’t come here to comfort her.

“Bach.” She used her instrument as a shield as she moved away from him. “It’s a bad idea. You won’t understand.”

“You are right. I do not get why you would refuse something you apparently love,” he whispered while rubbing her forearms and taking in her scent.

“If I accept your kindness, then I’ll have to face the consequences. I don’t know if I can face those.”

“You cannot face accepting my kindness, or is it accepting me that you cannot face?”


“Tell me that you do not feel the same,” he whispered. “That the moment you first saw me that I did not get inside your head. Tell me that you do not think about me all of the time when we are not together?”

The dark-eyed girl did not answer.

Wishing he could will her to speak, he pressed her against his chest. Briefly, he noticed a black spot at the base of her neck, where he had kissed her, and then it was gone. “Okay, Wisteria. Then tell me that you want me to leave, and that you do not care if you never ever see me again.” He felt like someone else was speaking for him, once again. The questions became pointless as he found himself still planting kisses along her neck and the sides of her face.

“I can’t tell you that, Bach,” she replied softly, her voice breaking. “Because it’s not true.” She wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly.

Desperately wanting to kiss her luscious-looking lips, he leaned into her.

Wisteria reached up to him, tugging his head down as she stood on the very tips of her toes, seemingly just as eager to taste his lips.

“Wisteria, I cannot.” He broke away before it happened. “I do not want this.”

* * * * *

Wrapping her arms around herself, she moved away from him. Once again, humiliated and feeling foolish. “Goodnight, Bach!” She strode angrily to the side of the roof in order to climb down.

He grabbed her and held her back

The guy came here just to tease her, yet again! Didn’t he know he was hurting her? Didn’t he care? “I’m tired of all this nonsense. I’m actually tired and need some sleep. I’m done with this. All of this!” She should’ve left the roof when she saw him appear. “Let go, so I can go.”

“Wisteria, it is not that.” Exhaling heavily, he released her. “My people could kill you if they knew I wanted you.”

This wasn’t at all what she’d expected him to say. “What?”

“I am in love with you. I do not know why, but I am. And it is selfish, because I just want you for myself.” Sadness filled his eyes as he spoke.

“Why would they do that to me?”

“Because you are human and because we see humans as Terran, or dirt people.”

“And you believe that too? So why are you here, living among us, if we’re so disgusting?”

“You are not disgusting. You are beautiful.” Rubbing his temples, he seemed troubled and bewildered. “I came to Terra as a rite of passage. To be considered a man, to take a journey and experience the wild.”

“The wild?”

“I chose Terra, or Earth, because I came here as a child. Your people treated me so badly in the past. When I learned about the Nero disease, I wanted to see your world.” He paused. “You were right when you said there was something wrong with me.”

“Bach, it cannot be that bad.” Stepping up to him, she stroked her fingers along his biceps.

The sweet motion made him smile at her, but he still looked distressed.

“Like about Garfield, you let him live with you. And now you’re here with me.”

“You are not like the rest.”

“Neither are you. You’re not so cold and cruel like Enric or patronizing like Felip. They think they’re better than us. You just hate people because you’re a jerk, Bach.”

“Ha.” Bach laughed. “A jerk?”

“You’re a big jerk.” As the final word rolled from her lips, he kissed her.

She was stunned for a second. His lips tasted like a strange, tantalizing spice.

He squeezed her against his larger frame and rested his right hand on the small of her back.

She fidgeted, unsure about what to do with her hands. She tried to kiss him back, but she struggled because she was so short.

:Book Trailer:

:Audiobook Excerpt: 

Author Bisi Leyton:
Bisi Leyton was born in East London in 1978. She grew up in London, Nigeria and the States, listening to the stories life and love from aunts, cousins and big sisters.
She lives in London, but has worked around Europe including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic. She has a fondness for reading graphic novels.


Kindle Fire Giveaway Details:
Bisi is currently running a Kindle Fire giveaway on her blog until November 30, 2012
To enter - Visit Bisi's Blog

Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/5/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Nov 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading ~ the purpose being to share a little piece of the book you're reading :).

One day I'll get back to my extensive Tuesday Preludes, but probably not until after NaNo ends...

This week's teaser comes from Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl:

When you're alive, you don't dwell on how you're going to spend your time once you're dead. You just figure you're gone, and the rest will pretty much take care of itself.

Or you think you're not really going to die. You're going to be the first person in the history of the world who doesn't have to. Maybe that's some kind of lie our brains tell us to keep us from going crazy while we're alive.

LOVE this series ~ so sad to see it come to an end :(.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 19, 2012

Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on. 

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.
***WARNING: There may be spoilers afoot...***

I have mixed feelings about the second (and final) installment of Kendare Blake's series about Anna Dressed in Blood. I loved it, but at the same time I was left feeling... like I wanted more. It just didn't reach the expectations I had formed after finishing Anna Dressed in Blood.

Cas is my favorite. He's sarcastic, brave, and has a bigger heart than he'd like to admit, although he loses some of his sharp wit due to the depression and guilt he's battling over Anna's sacrifice. Thomas and Carmel ~ I adore the dynamic between these two opposites and how they come together despite the challenges they each face. Another tidbit added to the mix was Jestine, a kick-ass young woman of the Order ~ Cas's equal (if not surpassing him) in every way.

The creepy factor is totally up to par when compared to Anna Dressed in Blood ~ an element I find myself adoring despite the chills it gives me. Cas goes about his business destroying ghosts, but Anna's connection to the athame distracts him, putting everyone around him in danger. He's obsessed with her memory and finding her. He'll bleed, take down devils, open a portal to Hell, and face an entire cult-like Order to get to her. He'll even sacrifice himself to save her.

Which is why I think the end just fell flat for me. Cas loses his mojo, standing there with his mouth bobbing open and closed like a fish, just watching his girl get her bones broken and Jestine get pummeled. Kick-ass Cas disappears in the end, until some vague memory brings him back to the business I've grown to love him for. It was weird... You'd think the rage and pain caused by hearing Anna's bones snap would do the trick, but nope, Cas becomes completely drained of his marbles because of... get this... fear. I've known Cas to be afraid, but never paralyzingly so, so it just was... weird... that he would get that way in the heat of the moment he'd been waiting and sacrificing so much for.

When he finally gets it together and does what needs to be done, he's faced with a tough choice. I get it, I totally do. But it still sucks! I know he'll be okay living with the knowledge that Anna will be happy. She'll never have to wait for Cas, she'll never have to not belong... But still.. These two had such an instantaneous connection, it would have been nice to see more to their story. It's sad but truthfully, it was inevitable.

I say I would have liked to have seen more, but I think that's coming from knowing and reading the second book. If Blake had left this as a stand-alone and just expanded in book one, I think the whole thing would have been better.

I do love these books. They are unique, funny, spooky as hell ~ and it's just difficult not to love the characters. I guess I just loved them too much, and to see it end so suddenly leaves me thinking.. That's it?

3 out of 5 stars from this reader.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 16, 2012

Book Tour Stop (Giveaway Included!): Undeadly by Michele Vail ~ Review and Soundtrack

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

Release date: November 20, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Purchase Amazon: Undeadly by Michele Vail

Egyptian mythology, reapers, ghosts, necromancy, zombies, secrets, betrayal, revelations, hope. This book is filled to the brim with all those things that make you smile, cringe, gasp, or get misty eyed. 

Molly seems like a typical teenage girl. She's got her eye on a cute boy; she's dreaming about getting her license (and possibly a car); and she makes zombies after school and on the weekends at her dad's emporium. You know. Typical teenage stuff. 

Until her birthday party. After that, Molly's whole world shifts. Her past isn't what she thought it was and her future... well, let's just say it doesn't include cute boys (live ones, anyway) and cars. Poor Molly comes face to face with her destiny ~ at fifteen, oh, excuse me sixteen, that's pretty heavy stuff ~ and no matter how she may try to ignore it, it's always going to find her. That, and she needs to fix the mess she made of Rick. Not to mention going to a new school, trying to make new friends, and keeping up with homework. Totally overwhelming situation, but Molly swings it, discovering a strength within herself she wouldn't have thought possible before all this crap hit the fan.

I love Molly's voice. She's sarcastic, witty, and there was no denying that she was a teenage girl with a lot of growing to do. She's smart and even though she's afraid, she still faces what's put in front of her and takes it on full force. 

The way this book is put together is ... unique. Clever, clever, clever. We switch from the story to Molly's diary, and before every chapter is a quote, barely hinting at what's coming next, from books like The History of Necromancy, Ancient Zombies, and The Secret History of Reapers. I couldn't wait to get to the next chapter, not only because the story was so captivating, but I couldn't wait to see what concoction the author would come up with next. 

Michele Vail uses a crazy number of supernatural elements, but brought together, they totally work. Zombies. Reapers ~ you know, the dudes who take the dead to where they're supposed to go. Ghosts. Necromancers ~ special people who can bring others back from the dead. Anubis ~ Egyptian god of the afterlife. I love a good vampire/werewolf novel, but it's refreshing to read about something completely different ~ something with elements I never would have thought to combine. Awesome. 

The world building was amazing. Everything looks and feels the same as our familiar "real world" for the most part, but in Molly's world, the supernatural are just a part of life. They aren't secrets or something only a select few believe in. No, kids study these subjects in school and it's a rich part of the world's past. Yet another unique aspect. Vail weaves this necromancy/zombie/Anubis stuff into actual history. Seeing a zombie walking around the streets or a ghost doing dishes in the kitchen is an everyday thing in Molly's world. 

The ending left a lot of questions and anticipation for what happens next. Mostly anticipation. I'm am already itching to get my hands on the next chapter of Molly's story ~ very curious to see where her knack for getting in trouble leads us next. 

Highly recommend! Four out of five stars from this reader.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

P.S. Keep scrolling for the soundtrack, author's bio, and OH YES, a giveaway


1. New Beginning ~ Trapt
2. Arise ~ Chevelle
3. The Grey ~ Icon for Hire
4. Rogues ~ Incubus
5. Closer ~ Kings of Leon
6. Echo ~ Incubus
7. I Walked with a Zombie ~ Kimmi
8. Afterlife ~ Avenged Sevenfold
9. The Collector ~ Nine Inch Nails
10. Don't You Forget About Me ~ Simple Minds

1. New Beginning ~ Trapt

2. Arise ~ Chevelle

3. The Grey ~ Icon for Hire

4. Rogues ~ Incubus

5. Closer ~ Kings of Leon

6. Echo ~ Incubus

7. I Walked with a Zombie ~ Kimmi

8. Afterlife ~ Avenged Sevenfold

9. The Collector ~ Nine Inch Nails

10. Don't You Forget About Me ~ Simple Minds

:Author Bio:

Michele Vail

Michele Vail writes young adult paranormal fiction about zombies and reapers. 

She likes reading, dogs, cats, board games, ghost-hunting shows, and Halloween. She believes in magic, in the impossible, and in the restorative powers of chocolate. 

Michele lives happily-ever-after with her Viking and their family.

Vist Michele via

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Nov 14, 2012

Gratitude Giveaway

It's that time of year, guys :). Everything is orange, brown, and red. Pumpkins and cornstalks decorate porches. People are buying turkeys and cranberries. We all get to stuff our faces and, most importantly, give thanks for all that we have. 

In celebration, I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is hosting a Gratitude Giveaway Hop ~ there's a ton of things to be thankful for here. There's a whole slew of giveaways to enter and fabulous book blogs to discover, so take a gander and get clickin'. :)
This blogger put it up to a vote to see what book it was that you wanted to see on your shelf. Didn't really surprise me which one the winner was (honestly, I would have voted for it too).

Black City by Elizabeth Richards

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below, and keep scrolling for a list of links leading you to other great giveaways!!!  

Thank you for being a follower and a fellow book lover. My day would be pretty boring without this wonderful community!

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(P.S. this giveaway is international. Double yay!)

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 13, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading in which we share a little piece of our current reads. I wish I had time this morning to do one of my lengthy Tuesday Preludes, but between work and NaNoWriMo, sometimes I have to pick between reading and blogging ~ and well, you know which would win in that situation.

This week's teaser comes from Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake:

When this started, I tried not to think ahead, to keep from expecting anything. Turns out it wasn't necessary. The sight in front of me now, I never could have imagined.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 10, 2012

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which we share all the sweet books and swag that are piling up on our shelves.

Added a couple of new ones that I've been waiting a freakin' year for.. Can't wait to crack em open!

With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.  It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestsellingTiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all. 

It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.


A serial killer is on the loose, moving up the East Coast, leaving bodies & notes . . . Planting roses in his victims. Leonardo Gibraldi, Baltimore’s sexy Assistant DA, is tracking the fiend who’s responsible for the grisly murder of his ex-girlfriend. Leo’s out for revenge — so is the killer. Between hunting the madman, and fighting off beautiful women, Leo’s got his hands full. There's one break in the case: An eye witness who says, “It doesn’t look human.”

What's weighing down your shelf this week??

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~ 

Nov 9, 2012

Feature and Follow

Q: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic?

Hmmm... Similar concepts are fine as long as authors take that concept and make it their own. I don't appreciate a novel that simply retells a story everyone's read before, changes the characters name, slaps on a different title and calls it original. Not cool. But I do understand that within a specific genre, some ideas are bound to cross paths. Totally cool. Originality is important. Obviously. But it also depends on how that idea is written, transformed, and used that can mutate it into something completely new.

If I totally fall in love with a book, I immediately go in search of other books with similar elements. Sometimes I waste my time on a knockoff (bummer), but most of the time I find that I get to prolong my obsession with a specific idea, learning more about it as I come across a quite few unexpected surprises offered by various authors with different writing styles. It's interesting to see how people view what can be determined as the same idea in so many different ways.

As for pulled-to-publish fanfic, it's alright, I guess. Maybe I'm confused as to what that actually is, because I once got my head bit off for calling a novel I read "fan fiction," even though it was based off of characters, ideas, and concepts that someone else created. It was fun to read, I suppose, but I'll probably try to avoid books like that in the future.

What about you?

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we book lovers share upcoming releases we can't wait to add to our overflowing shelves.

This week's choice is:

Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2)
Release Date: January 29, 2013
June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengence, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

HUGE fan of Marie Lu and her Legend series. Super excited that January is just right around the corner :)

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 5, 2012


LOL, that cartoon kinda says it all. For the life of me, I couldn't get myself to just friggin' write! I'd sit at my computer with my ideas and good intentions laid out before me, but I'd get so caught up in trying to make in perfect, that I'd lose the story and ultimately my inspiration.

This month, I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. It was a split-second decision, made about four hours before the thing was supposed to begin, and honestly, I was scared to death. How in the heck was I going to write 50,000 comprehendible words in thirty days? But then I remembered last year, when I'd heard about for the first time, and how, once I saw what everyone was doing and checked out the website for myself that I just had to participate in 2012. I clicked the "sign me up" button before I really chickened out, pushing myself to quit being such a weenie.

It's day five, and you know what? I think it's the best decision I've ever made when it comes to my writing. I perused a few of the "get started" articles, and most of them said just write. Don't worry about editing until December. Take your inner-editer, lock her in a sound-proof cage, and throw away the key ~ for now. I've heard this concept before, but it never seemed to work for me. Try as I might, I'd always get caught up in needing my novel to be perfect the first time around.

Turns out, that goal is simply impossible and I was setting myself up for failure every time I sat in front of my computer to write.

One thing that's a huge help is closing my eyes. If you can type without looking at the keyboard, I highly recommend it. Close your eyes, and just type. You can't see the screen; all you can see is the story in your head, and it just, surprisingly, comes pouring out of you.

And whattaya know, sometimes a little unexpected twist occurs. The character takes on a life of his own, says what's on his mind, and completely becomes out of your control. Sounds strange, I guess. He's a fictional character that I created. But as I've gotten to know him over the past four days, he's starting to feel comfortable with telling me how he'd react or what he'd say. It's crazy, and I find that I can't stop writing.

This has never happened to me before. Not getting stuck or completely frustrated with myself. Just write is a tool that truly works if you can find a way to boot your inner-editing out the door. I like the way one of the articles put it: "We're just making all this stuff up...Take your novel seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously." ~ something along those lines, but it's fantastic stuff.

With that in mind, I found that I might be able to go back over my few days of work to just get a better handle on where the story is going. I kept thinking don't take yourself too seriously, trying to maintain my focus on the just write philosophy. And it worked. If I saw something that didn't sound just how I wanted it to, but I couldn't come up with something on the spot, my exact thoughts were, "Fix it in December."

I just plowed through the words, made a few changes to smooth out the flow of the story line, and guess what? I came up with a couple pages full of ideas to work with.

Meaning, I have a crazy amount of writing to do.

What was it Nora Roberts once said? "You can fix crap, but you can't fix an empty page." I've gotten more done in regards to my novel in the past four days than I've ever done in the years that I've said I was going to do this. By just writing.

Happy Reading (and Writing) Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 3, 2012

Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Don’t Sweat.  Don’t Laugh.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him.  He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is a human, and he knows the rules.  Keep the truth a secret.  It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

I've never read a book like The Hunt before. A dystopian-ish world completely overtaken by vampires?  I know this genre is increasing in popularity, but the books I read that entail the creatures of the night usually involve them doing whatever it takes to keep their deep, dark secret. Also, Fukuda's vampires are closer to the nasty bloodsuckers that made up the original vampire stories. The ones that instill fear in people, not curiosity.

The Fukuda vampire is as weird as it is nasty. They have a slight drooling problem, scratch their wrists incessantly and do this weird elbow-to-armpit thing when gettin' steamy with someone of the opposite sex. Yes. You read that right. Also, their sense of smell and awareness has suffered because they have hepers (humans) living literally right under their noses, and they have not a clue.

There were some holes in this novel, which keeps me from giving it any more than three stars. How did the vampire takeover begin? There were little details ~ such as vampires being called people and humans maintaining the animal name of "heper" ~ that created a believable world where humans are supposed to be the inferior species, but how did it become that way?

And how in the heck can the bloodsuckers not smell Gene, who simply washes with soap and water, but they will go into a frenzy if the hepers who live in the dome escape and exude their scent all over the place? They use soap just like Gene. So how does Gene get away with it? Does he have some kind of weird mutated skin that always smells like roses? Just didn't add up.

The addition of another group of hepers living in the dome (the ones to be hunted) added more depth as it caused Gene to doubt his assumptions that they are little more than ignorant cave people. He sets himself apart from the other humans, above them, but at the same time he doesn't want to "forget who he is." He doesn't want to be a vampire (although he goes through great pains to fit in with them perfectly), but he doesn't really consider himself a "heper" either. It's quite the contradiction, and it makes me wonder why he didn't just have himself turned and save himself all the loneliness and drama.

The action and suspense in this novel is pretty intense. You're always on the edge of your seat wondering if this is the moment that Gene loses his cool and his very carefully placed mask slips. If this is the moment he becomes hamburger. He has his face-palm moments (like almost dying of thirst when he knows there's a pond a short walk away), but he's definitely courageous and can surprise you with his resourcefulness in the face of hissing fangs that will tear him to shreds. 

It wasn't really the characters themselves that held my attention ~ there just wasn't enough substance for me to grasp onto ~ as it was the storyline. Very creative. I loved the idea and concept of an elite group of vampires holding a lottery hunt for the "last" hepers on Earth. And if you're not a fan of sparkling, angsty vampires, then this is a book for you. These things are gag-worthy disgusting at times. Ruthless. Bloodthirsty. Animalistic. They can't control themselves, and that's what makes this book so suspenseful.

Pretty decent read, and the ending has me absolutely reading the next book. Well played, Fukuda.

Three stars from this reader.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Nov 2, 2012

Gratitude Giveaway: Let's Vote!!!

Alright, my lovelies... My Halloween Giveaway(s) (oops) have come to an end, but there is another fabulous holiday around the corner. A holiday during which we give thanks. You know what it is! Stuff yourself with turkey, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. Drink (if your family is like mine) lots of wine and have more laughs than you can (almost... not quite) stand.

In honor of this season of giving thanks, I Am A Reader, Not A Writer is hosting the third annual Gratitude Giveaway. Oh, and guess what? It's a Blog Hop, soooo, that means you'll have TONS of gratitude coming your way in the form of giveaways ~ yup! swag, books, gift cards... I'm sure it'll all be there for the taking. If your name is drawn from the hat of course. And that requires your participation. The more giveaways you enter, the more chances you have of winning some free "book stuff."

So for my giveaway, I'm going to revert back to my favorite method: voting. I want to know what you want. This is for you, after all ~ to show how much I appreciate your support, your follows, your comments, and your feedback. You guys keep me going with the discussions, your own blogs (that I frequently visit), and the fact that you even take the time to visit mine.

So what do you want?

As much as I'd love to be amazingly generous and give every single one of you the book you've been yearning to read, I do have to narrow it down a bit, because there are just so many varying tastes, so many different books to read ~ and I'm not a millionaire. Yet. ;). Hence the voting part I mentioned earlier. P.S. All of these are new releases for the months of October and November. Double YAY :). But that also means I haven't read most of them (you know, I'm still catching up on books released six months ago... So many books, so little time), so I can't give you a guarantee on how wonderfully amazing they are. Weird, maybe, but I definitely have them on my TBR list, so who am I to hold back on giving you a chance to read them just because I haven't yet?

One thing I can do is absolutely relate to your anticipation.

Here are the contestants, strutting their literary stuff down the fabulously imaginary black and white carpet:

Undeadly by Michele Vail
Release Date: November 20th, 2012

I have a littttttle head start on this one... Reading my ARC copy right now, and lemme tell ya, it is good. Review and soundtrack will be stoppin' by here on the 16th. Don't miss it! (Oh, and this will be a paperback giveaway, if it's the winning vote.)

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Release Date: November 13th, 2012

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

 Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012

Inhale. Exhale. 
Breathe . . .
The world is dead. 
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.

should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

Witch World by Christopher Pike
Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Witches are real—and each of us may be one—in this all-new paranormal suspense novel from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Christopher Pike.Heading off for a weekend in Las Vegas with her friends, Jessie Ralle has only one worry—how to make it through the road trip in the same car with her Ex, Jimmy Kelter. The guy who broke her heart five months ago when he dumped her for no reason. The guy who’s finally ready to tell her why he did it, because he wants her back.

But what Jessie doesn’t realize is that Jimmy is the least of her problems.

In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble, and who never seems to lose. Curious, Jessie wants to know his secret, and in response, alone in his hotel room, he teaches her a game that opens a door to another reality.

To Witch World.

Suddenly Jessie discovers that she’s stumbled into a world where some people can do the impossible, and others may not even be human. For a time she fears she’s lost her mind. Are there really witches? Is she one of them?

#1 Bestselling author Christopher Pike offers up another classic edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that keeps you guessing right until the last page.

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
For fans of  Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

What'll it be my fellow book addicted friends??

If you won this book, you'd jump up and down and scream with joy like a totally (and mildly creepy) obsessed fan...
pollcode.com free polls 

Just lemme know!

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

Review (or Ramble): Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. House party.
White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
***Consider yourself warned: There may be spoilers afoot....***

I got exactly what I expected along with a few surprises from Gretchen McNeil's Ten. Ten teenagers alone on an island with a murderer? There are only so many ways the story can go. You've got the brainiac, the pain in the ass popular girl, the jock, and of course a few others to spice things up like the pervert and the bossy, uptight female. An unusual group of people. So much so, that in the middle of the it all, you begin to wonder why they were all hanging out in the first place. But it makes for an interesting and dynamic story when you have personality clashes and increased conflict and tension. Especially when there's blood being spilled.

I was expecting blood, and a lot of it. Gory images of slicing and dicing. Picture Jason from Friday the 13th wielding a scarlet-stained machete. That's what I imagined. But things were a little different in this story. There was nothing obviously wrong when people started dying. Wait, that came out wrong. They were dead, and typically that's not normal for sixteen year olds, but there was no evidence pointing to foul play. Arguments ensue and doubts are evident, and while it's enough to freak the others out that their friends are dropping like flies, there's nothing that makes them believe they're all in danger. Then again, denial is a powerful thing, and trust me, there's a lot of that going on.

People always do that though, when they don't want to believe something. They manipulate and twist the facts, ignore their gut feelings, and repeat "it's going to be alright" over and over again until they've convinced themselves that there is nothing to fear. Silly little children.

I really found myself admiring Meg, the one who's pretty much telling the story. She's kind of quiet, but I wouldn't exactly call her shy ~ just wary of others. She has a hard time finding people that understand her, believing that every time she opens her mouth she either pisses people off or earns blank stares. I can relate. But that little fact also made her overly protective in a non-healthy way of those few she found to be on her side. Minnie, for example.

I hated Minnie. I know she's off her rocker and "she can't help" the way she acts, but for the love of all things holy, that girl coulda been the first to die and I would have felt no remorse. She's selfish, clingy, manipulative, and completely narcissistic. I don't know why Meg puts up with her. As T.J. put it, she "treats Meg like shit."

T.J. was pretty cool, I guess. I didn't form much of a connection with the dude because I didn't feel like I really got to know him. He was intended as the heartthrob, the love story; every slasher tale needs one, and I think Gretchen did a good job of creating a likable guy that we'd want to root for.

I really enjoyed the setup and I feel that Gretchen did a fantastic job in getting our characters in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Or the right place at the right time, if you're the killer. It's all relative.) The gloomy and isolated feeling you got as Meg described the island, the house, and the chills she couldn't shake, raising the hairs on the back of her neck. Gave me quite a few jumps, especially when I was enveloped in the horror and the fear and my husband decides he wants to come barreling through the door, making me jump a friggin mile outta my chair, putting a hand to my heart in an effort to get it to slow down.

That's when I knew the scare factor was up to par.

Now, there is a reason I'd give this book three and half stars instead of four or more. While the setup was fabulous, I felt that the characters had a lot of explaining to do. Meg moved to Washington State from New York, something she hints her parents weren't exactly ecstatic about. Why? What happened? We never get to know this about her past. And the relationship between Meg and Minnie didn't feel legit to me. I know, I know, Minnie gave up her social status to be friends with Meg, but I don't feel that love and loyalty between them that is supposedly unbreakable. I do get this from Meg some of the time, but mostly it seems she's always trying to get as far away as possible and is using college as an excuse to escape. These elements, among others, just caused questions for me and left something to be desired when it came to getting to know the characters.

There's enough character development to get by, but not near enough for me to really fall in love or in hate with any of the characters. It doesn't take away from the storyline, which I feel is amazing, but I'm a character driven reader, so I have a very strong stance on how important it is for readers to get up close and almost uncomfortably personal with the people about whom they're reading. Adds tangibility, layers, and texture to the novel as a whole.

BUT don't let that keep you from reading this completely fun and fast-paced book. It's got a fabulous spook factor and has just enough complexity to make it as interesting as it is scary. Mysterious even.

Totally worth your time, despite my snobbery when it comes to the characters.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~