Category Archives: New Books

Blog Tour: Flock by Wendy Delsol

Some series steal your heart and just don’t let go. It can begin with that very first book that you devour like literary candy. The one that starts the craving with an introduction to a new world full of characters that you fall for and a story line that keeps you on your toes. The question or uncertainty of the story and its continuation can almost haunt you until you get that release date for the next installation. And then another book, this one taking you deeper and acting as further invitation. And while some series may have many volumes to mesmerize between beginning and end, others may only have that one to bridge the bittersweet distance. The last book eventually acting as the conclusion of your journey.
And so it was with Wendy Delsol’s Stork series for me. Stork, an introduction. Frost, an invitation. And last but not least Flock a masterfully worthy conclusion. 
When I learned that this trilogy would be wrapping up, I immediately set out to re-read the first two books so I could re-live the entire tale in full glory. And while familial duties and illness delayed me in the last couple of weeks eventually making me have to put off my review date for this blog tour, I stubbornly stuck to my resolve to enjoy all three books back to back. In the effort of saving time I could  have simply read the final book and remembered what I could as I read and review on that level (which I rarely do…I almost always re-read a series before reviewing books that belong within a set as I think it’s important to review with the entire series in mind) but somehow I simply could not. I wanted too badly to return to Katla, Jack and the wonders of Norse Falls and all its Icelandic folkish allure. So while I apologize for this review being late…I don’t apologize for stepping into this story one last time before it’s end and savoring every word because I found only in reading the books back to back in such quick succession did I truly appreciate how well-written, consistent and enchanting they are.
Beyond that how stunning are the covers when all displayed together? I genuinely love this type of thought and consistency in a well-developed series. It’s everything from the writing style, the characters, the humor to the very covers themselves..there must be a flow and yet a kind of sameness at the same time. So is this series for you? If you think it could be don’t read the summary of the last book below. Please start at the beginning fresh. I promise you won’t regret it. If you’ve read the first two books then you no doubt will be dying to continue on to learn more about the final volume in the Stork trilogy.
“After surviving her (shall we say) intense adventure in Iceland, Katla is psyched to be back for a blissfully uneventful senior year of homecoming and fashion explorations. But her hopes of dodging unfinished business are dashed by the arrival of two Icelandic exchange students: Marik, an oddly alluring merman-in-disguise, and Jinky, a tough gypsy girl. It seems Katla not only enraged the Snow Queen by rescuing her boyfriend, Jack, she also was tricked into promising her frail baby sister to the water queen — and Marik has come to collect. What’s worse, Katla doesn’t dare confide in anyone lest she endanger them, so even her soul mate, Jack, is growing suspicious. And now Katla’s stork dreams, her guide for matching babies with mothers, have become strange and menacing as well. Hold on for a thrilling finale as the heroine of Stork and Frost calls on her wits (and her wit) to protect those she loves and face a final mythic disaster.”
Interested? Of course you are. You can also check out my feature of Stork  in 2010  and my “Book Birthday” review of Frost  from 2011. And please make sure to check out the other stops on this tour at The Mod Podge Bookshelf where you can enter a giveaway and possibly win the entire trilogy! Also make sure to enter the giveaway at I’m Am a Reader, Not a Writer where you could win your very own copy of Flock. But hurry both giveaways end after October 14, 2012. And last but certainly not least remember to visit the talented author Wendy Delsol. You can also follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook. Either way…you’ll find her as truly delightful as her books. Enjoy and Happy Reading!

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Filed under Blog Tour, Book Blogs, New Books, Young Adult Books

Feature & Giveaway: Ghost Town by Jason Hawes & Grant Wilson

  “WELCOME TO EXETER, THE “MOST HAUNTED TOWN IN AMERICA,” thanks to a deadly flood that unleashed an army of ghosts decades ago. And when ghost trackers Amber, Drew, and Trevor attend a conference during Exeter’s spookiest week of the year, the ghouls grow restless. First, an innocent bookstore worker is mysteriously killed, setting off a string of strange deaths that point to a shadowy spirit known as the Dark Lady.

With a paranormal revolution ensuing, the team must stop the twisted bloodbath. But a past horror involving the death of a former teammate has them spinning faster than a specter in a storm, especially when they learn that it’s his ghost who awakened the Dark Lady. Now, with their lives on the line and the entire town at stake, the three must decide whether to trust the spirit of their old friend or to finally put a stake through his heart.”

Just in time for some great Halloween related reading comes the release of Ghost Town, the second book from Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson who head up TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society—built on Jason and Grant’s interest in getting to the bottom of everyday, paranormal occurrences.  TAPS has developed an impressive reputation for helping people with “unusual domestic problems.”  It has been more than a decade since Jason and Grant first met, and since then TAPS has grown in size and scope to become one of the most respected paranormal-investigation groups in America.  It now has branches across the United States and affiliates in 12 other countries. You may know them best from their hit TV show on SyFy Ghost Hunters.

As many of you know I am always on the look out for books that can strike a little fear especially during the festive Halloween season. However in the past the list of books that have been able to actually scare me to any degree have been few and far between. When approached to be a part of the Ghost Town promotion I was very much excited, not only to have a new book to give a try for that special fear factor but to also very excited be working with the creators of TAPS since I am a big fan of the show. I was especially interested to read the book knowing of the team’s approach to the paranormal in that they are very reserved and take a scientific approach until they simply have no other explanation for what could be paranormal phenomenon. I wondered how that would affect the crafting of a book that is primarily paranormal in nature and most undoubtedly designed to strike fear in the heart of it’s readers?

Ghost Town is definitely a little different from what I would have expected but it did not disappoint in it’s creep factor. The book really is a never-ending ride into all aspects of the paranormal and the things that go creep in the night. While at times I found the books to be a little unbelievable and therefore not really frightening…there were other times where the spook factor was undeniable. I’m not gonna lie. There was a point when I quit reading the book late into the night with the pitch dark surrounding me and only my tiny book light creating a small glow with the surrounding shadows beyond. The crafting of the story is definitely eerie and will leave you a little uneasy as you slip off into sleep at night. It’s perfect for this Halloween season and for any reader wanting a little scare…including those who might be skeptical and thinking a true fright from literature might be impossible. Unafraid? Skeptical? Non-Believer? Give it a try. I dare you.

Ultimate Paranormal Book Pack Giveaway

Now just in time for Halloween  you too can stock up on some great spooky reading to get you in the mood for the upcoming season. Thanks to the generous folks at Gallery Books I am pleased to be able to giveaway two great titles to two very lucky readers here at Stiletto Storytime. Not only will readers receive a copy of Ghost Town by it’s release date on October 9, 2012 but they will also receive a copy of Jason and Grant’s first book Ghost Trackers as well. But you have to act quick!

Giveaway ends at noon EST on  October 4, 2012. US address only please. The winners will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. To enter just comment below. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower of (any/all) Ghost Hunters Jason Hawes Grant Wilson on Twitter

“Like” Jason Hawes and/or Ghost Hunters on Facebook

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

Winners

Wow…thanks for all the great response to this very short giveaway! I know everyone is very excited to get a hold of Jason & Grant’s newest book so in the interest of getting it to you as soon as possible- let’s announce our winners! Congrats to Paxton Walker and Margay! You’ve both won a copy of both “Ghost Trackers” and “Ghost Town”. Enjoy and as always enjoy “Ghost Hunters” as well especially now during the festive Halloween season!

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Filed under Adult Books, Books to TV, Contests, New Books, Paranormal

Blog Tour: The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

“The fateful first meeting of Enza and Ciro takes place amid the haunting majesty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the last century. Still teenagers, they are separated when Ciro is banished from his village and sent to hide in New York’s Little Italy, apprenticed to a shoemaker, leaving a bereft Enza behind. But when her own family faces disaster, she, too, is forced to emigrate to America. Though destiny will reunite the star-crossed lovers, it will, just as abruptly, separate them once again—sending Ciro off to serve in World War I, while Enza is drawn into the glamorous world of the opera . . . and into the life of the international singing sensation Enrico Caruso. Still, Enza and Ciro have been touched by fate—and, ultimately, the power of their love will change their lives forever.

A riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny, inspired by the author’s own family history, The Shoemaker’s Wife is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write.”

One of my absolutely favorite types of books is that of the family saga. It’s a tricky thing to get right as it takes so many different writing skills from the much needed intense character development to keep readers involved to a fantastic ability to keep a plot interesting and unpredictable for longer periods of time than most novels. To tell a story about a small group of characters and keep readers interested across not only various geographic locations but across time itself is a real feat especially when it’s done as well as Adriana Trigiani’s latest work The Shoemaker’s Wife.

One of the most attractive aspects of this work was the characters themselves. Trigani created two main characters that not only were like-able but downright love-able too. Both Enza and Ciro along with their families grab the heart of the reader and make them hungry to know what would happen to them as the book unfolds. While their love story soon becomes the focal point of the novel, readers will find themselves riveted to their tales long before when their stories are being told separately for the most part. The characters also had a some what old fashioned goodness to them that was captured so perfectly. They are characters that simply steal your heart and connect on a very personal and emotional level. You become invested in their lives, their dreams and ambitions, their love and their loss. It’s a novel that carries a lot of feeling and love which translates so well through the page and the written word. It’s impossible to put down once you meet them and begin their story. The love that the author feels shines through perhaps added to all the more because she based them on members of her own family.

Over the last few months I have found myself in a reading rut of sorts. Tackling being sick myself along with caring for my young son has made me not only exhausted but also distracted to the point that I have found it hard to concentrate on much of anything. Unfortunately for the first time in my life…reading simply could not put me at ease or take me to it’s usual place of escape that I have come to love and expect from it. I tried reading multiple books with little success. I even finished a few only to completely feel underwhelmed upon their completion. I needed just the right book to get me back on my feet and this one was just what the doctor ordered. I went from being unable to read more than a few pages at a time to devouring this book in just a few days. It’s a real treat for readers…the type of novel that doesn’t come along every day. It’s definitely one to be savored and remembered.

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, historical fiction, New Books

Blog Tour: The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe

   “Macau: the bulbous nose of China, a peninsula and two islands strung together like a three-bead necklace.  It was time to find a life for myself.  To make something out of nothing.  The end of hope and the beginning of it too.”

 “After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land–a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets.  As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of a family have been shattered.  She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea.
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Grace opens a cafe, where she serves tea, coffee, and macarons–the delectable, delicate French cookies colored like precious stones–to the women of Macau.  There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family.  But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface.  Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghost to rest and to begin to trust herself.  With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaron baked.  Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.”
The sadness that comes with the loss of a dream- be whatever that dream may have been, can feel almost impossible to overcome for many individuals. When one has nothing else to cling to but the failure of what they most desired or what might have been- they often find themselves in a never-ending almost cyclical battle with depression and the ever present reality of constant reminders of that lost dream or failure. As a woman the idea of being infertile, never having the opportunity to become a biological mother or have a family of own’s own can be the most devastating reality of all. Not only can it be one of deep personal shame ( un-warranted but felt nonetheless) and a sense of unworthiness but also one of a shared nature in that as a female she feels she has not only kept herself from the most natural of experiences but also let her partner down in that aspect as well.
As Grace faces this reality for herself, she seeks distractions from her sorrow within the new city of Macau which she and her Australian husband now call home. But somehow even the excitement of exploring a new and  exotic locale is not even enticement  enough to get Grace out of the bed in the morning…she still needs more. More to invest not only her time but her love in. She needs that one thing into which she can pour her heart and soul into since the reality of motherhood appears to never be an actual possibility. And so she digs deep into her past and a treat that reminds her of a mother whose true story is often hard to determine. It is the delight of the macaron in which Grace immerses herself. A delicate french desert that brings back happy memories of childhood.
Richly detailed and dripping with sensual descriptions of everything from food, to passion and even people. The Color of Tea is a feast of the senses and yet also very deeply personal. It can be wrenching at times and emotionally evocative but still also a light and summery read that never goes too dark. It’s very character driven in nature and yet blurs the lines of also being a travel novel of an not often mentioned place. I found it enchanting and easy to read and surround oneself with. Although I must say the beginning of ever chapter describing a mouth-watering macaron made me hungry at times…wanting to literally taste the delights described within the works. Trader Joe’s frozen macarons may not be exactly what was described but I did pick up a box to enjoy as I read of Grace and her endeavors.
For me personally The Color of Tea came to me not only at a relevant time in my life but also touched me deeply as I shared many of Grace’s feelings of loss. As I am trying desperately  to deal with a devastating blow of my own and a search for an outlet through which to find purpose and the happiness and hope I once had in abundance. After the diagnosis of my son’s autism, I found myself lost. It was as if every dream I had ever had of being a mother had been suddenly stripped from me. Would I ever be able to truly know my child? Would I ever be able to enjoy those small moments most parents take for granted? Would my son every be able to share with me even the most simple things such as his needs, wants or even favorite color? In all this I have searched for an outlet beyond being an advocate for my child. Something to bring me personal joy, to keep my mind from the ever constant what ifs that haunt when things go silent. This novel touched me deeply in that way since I could relate to Grace’s despair and her need for something within her life to fill the void. I myself have filled my void with books and the never-ending search for what else I can do to help my son. In this way the book rings very very true to real life for me. It was a pleasurably read that I believe will attract many readers…those hungry for a good story and those just hungry for one deliciously delicate macaron.
You can follow the Blog Tour for The Color of Tea at TLC Book Tours and check out what others thought of the book. Have you read it ? If so please share your feelings in the comments. Let’s talk books! Haven’t read it yet? Want an opportunity to win your own copy…just enter to below.

TLC Book Tours  Book Giveaway

To enter just comment below and share something with which you have struggled to come to terms with and how you might have channeled your energy and time into an alternative thing or act that gave you peace in some way from the loss you felt. Not want to go that deep…just share your favorite dessert…perhaps even your favorite macaron flavor? Giveaway will end midnight EST August 7, 2012 and is available to a US addresses only. The lucky winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Tweet and/or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, Contests, New Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

Mothership is the first installment in a new trilogy from Martin Leicht & Isla Neal that has been described as Juno meets Pretty In Pink…but in space.”

Pregnant. In space. Yeah, things are really looking up.

 It’s 2074 and Elvie’s unplanned pregnancy (with Cole Archer, who bolted out of town half a millisecond after hearing the news, not that Elvie’s bitter about it or anything) forces her to leave her best bud back on Earth and spend her junior year aboard a corny old space cruiser with forty-five other hormonal teen girls (one of whom just happens to be her arch-nemesis).  Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole.
Quirky, humorous and quite frankly- out of this world would be the perfect description of Mothership. It’s the kind of read where you simply never know what will happen next. You couldn’t guess or imagine the plot line even if you tried and there’s a lot to be said for that. And when the action begins…it’s out of this world literally….the fast paced story is set in actual space after all. Elvie herself presents as an interesting leading heroine in the character of an everyday futuristic teen girl with a pretty logical outlook on life, she’s always the ever resourceful back-up and much more mature than most of the teenagers around her. And her out of this world crush and Baby Daddy: Cole Archer, well he is the ultimate heartthrob. And well written example of that one boy in high school that just sent your hurt a flutter. Only he carries an immense secret that will have major implications on both Elvie and the life of her unborn child. This leads to an interesting quest for truth and a fantastic ride and fight for survival.

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Filed under Blog Tour, Chick Lit, Fantasy, Girly Books, New Books, Young Adult Books

Once Upon A Time Read-a-thon

It’s time again for another Read-a-thon. This one is one of my favorites sponsored by Pure Imagination Blog. This will be my second year reading with them. And for extra excitement I will be hosting my very own mini-challenge here at Stiletto Storytime tomorrow. It will include an autographed giveaway by one of my favorite authors…So don’t miss out!  The Read-a-thon Kick Off was this morning but below is the link that will allow you to still sign up until tonight so you don’t have to miss out on all the mini-challenge prizes over the next three days or the $60 gift card up for grabs.

The Read-a-thon will last from Monday July 9th to Wednesday July 11th at 11:59pm. So start your reading!

As always feel free to post your reading goals and challenge updates on your blog and/or Twitter. We are using the hash tag #OUreadathon on all Twitter postings! So tweet away!

Here’s the list of participates so far and you can still sign up until 12:00am EST tonight!

My Read-a-thon Results

Books Completed 

Partials by Dan Wells

Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

Mini-Challenges Completed: 4

Mini-Challenge Hosted: 1

IBBookBlogging Book Cover Mini-Challenge

1.) What is your favorite cover that has been revealed this summer and why?

2.) Do you rely on the cover to help you choose whether you want to read a book or not?

My favorite cover reveal of the summer would have to probably be Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. I loved how fresh and inviting it was…it definitely would stick out from any book shelf with it’s brightness and quirky humor. I don’t always base my reading choices on cover but a bad cover can certainly deter me from picking up the book and learning more. As a librarian I know there is a lot to shelf appeal especially for young adults and adolescents. Adults love a great cover just as much as the next person but they might actually read the description behind the book- at times other age groups may not. I think in the end…it all depends upon if the cover speaks to the reader and if the reader is serious enough to look past face value. However this particular cover just grabbed me from the first moment I saw it. I just fell in love at first sight.

Kindle Fever’s Mini-Challenge

“Once upon a time there was a bookish fight…As the story teller, I now want you to tell me which two characters are fighting and WHY! If you want to, you’re also more than welcome to guess the outcome.”

My Heroine Showdown: Katniss v.s Bella Swan 

Katniss thought she was all that…I mean she had won the Hunger Games. The odds were definitely in her favor until she found herself confronted one day with Bella Swan. Bella felt that she was far more the better heroine. She too had two suitors ready to fight for her, she was also constantly beating the odds where her safety was concerned and she did Katniss one better…she would have four books written about her compared to Katniss’ measly trilogy. In the end the girls decided to call a truce. After all…they had both been through so much. So in the spirit of friendship Katniss told Bella she looked a little pale…almost anemic…she should really eat something. Would she like some berries? Boom! The cannon sounded…Nightlock struck again.

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Filed under Book Blogs, Challenges, Dystopian, Events, New Books, Reading Challenge, Reading Fun, Young Adult Books

Blog Tour: And Laughter Fell from the Sky by Jyotsna Sreenivasan

 “Still living at home despite a good career and financial independence, beautiful and sophisticated Rasika has always been the dutiful daughter. With her twenty-sixth birthday fast approaching, she agrees to an arranged marriage, all while trying to hide from her family her occasional dalliances with other men.

Abhay is everything an Indian-American son shouldn’t be. Having spent his postcollege years living in a commune, he now hops from one dead-end job to another, brooding over what he really wants to do with his life.

Old family friends, Rasika and Abhay seem to have nothing in common, yet when the two reconnect by chance, sparks immediately fly. Abhay loves Rasika, but he knows her family would never approve. Rasika reluctantly accepts she has feelings for Abhay, but can she turn her back on the family rules she has always tried so hard to live by? The search to find answers takes Abhay and Rasika out of their native Ohio to Oregon and India, where they find that what they have together might just be something worth fighting for.”

Indian fiction is one of my favorite genres. Readers of Stiletto Storytime usually catch on to this addiction pretty quickly as my love of books inspired by or relating to India is displayed on a regular basis. I’m always searching for the next read and it’s naturally become harder and harder over the years to feed my hunger as I have already devoured most of what’s available. It’s no wonder I was so excited to dive into And Laughter Fell from the Sky.

Within it’s pages readers are introduced to two young Indian-American characters trying to navigate the difficult waters of marriage in modern day America while still staying true to the beliefs and traditions of their families and their mother country. No two individuals could be more different than Rasika and Abhay but in many ways they are still united in this cultural pressure to appease their families with their major life choices. Although we learn quickly that they handle and view this responsibility very differently as shown by the way in which they live their lives.

What I found most interesting was the illusion that either character was really embracing a typical modern American lifestyle. Rasika, to me represented a character of extremes in many ways. While on one hand she is a successful banker, she also lives at home with her parents letting them monitor her every move as if she were a child and yet she has this side of her life where she makes rash decisions when it comes to men often leading to promiscuous behavior but sustaining no real relationships of any kind. Often coming across vain, materialistic and selfish- at times it was hard to even like Rasika much less root for her and her view of the world was very difficult to relate to. She almost used her culture’s strictness and traditional practices as a crutch to get what she wanted and what she haw herself as deserving without having to make those tough decisions or work things out for herself.

Abhay on the other hand seems to abhor many of the characteristics of modern society, he is always actively searching for a more simplistic way of life such as the one he sought out within the commune. While he seems unfazed by the demands made by his family in relation to status and career, we still find him limited by his culture when it comes to marriage because of his love for Rasika and how important this approval is for her. Abhay to me represented a very free individual making his own choices but that quickly changed once his feelings for Rasika developed. I often questioned what this man who sought natural beauty and believed so strongly in truth and simplicity saw in Rasika?

The whole work created a very intriguing paradox of this desire for the “American dream” and it’s financial stability and status while also still so strongly believing in the merit of such an outdated practice such as arranged marriage. The very characters themselves were a kind of off-setting paradox as well. Such extremes coming together in so many ways, it was very intriguing to say the least.

The characters of Rasika and Abhay were very interesting to me and only proved more so…the more I thought them though. I still question them and the novel. It still has me thinking. The novel kept me thinking throughout and on my toes while also questioning even after the last page was read. The work is also said to be inspired by Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth and I look forward to a re-read of that classic in the near future to compare and try to further my understanding of this work. 

Sound interesting? You can follow the official TLC Book Tour here. And make sure to tune in to Book Club Girl On Air on July 18th at 7pm EST to hear author Jyotsna Sreenivasan discuss And Laughter Fell from the Sky. You can also connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter.

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books