Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed

toolsnmThanks to Simon and Schuster UK I’ve got a paperback ARC and hardcover copy of Nadifa Mohamed’s latest novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls to give away! Check out the book description below, as well as instructions on how you can win one of these copies!

It is 1988 and Hargeisa waits. Whispers of revolution travel on the dry winds but still the dictatorship remains secure. Soon, and through the eyes of three women, we will see Somalia fall. 

Nine-year-old Deqo has left the vast refugee camp she was born in, lured to the city by the promise of her first pair of shoes.  Kawsar, a solitary widow, is trapped in her little house with its garden clawed from the desert, confined to her bed after a savage beating in the local police station.  Filsan, a young female soldier, has moved from Mogadishu to suppress the rebellion growing in the north. 

And as the country is unravelled by a civil war that will shock the world, the fates of the three women are twisted irrevocably together.  Intimate, frank, brimming with beauty and fierce love, The Orchard of Lost Souls is an unforgettable account of ordinary lives lived in extraordinary times.

About the Author:

Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa in 1981. In 1986 she moved to London with her family in what she thought was a temporary move but a couple of years later it became permanent as war broke out in Somalia.  Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, was long-listed for the Orange Prize, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award.  It won the Betty Trask Prize. In 2013 she was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Nadifa lives in London and is currently working on her third novel.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for our giveaway copies!

Two lucky winners will have the opportunity to win their choice of either a paperback ARC copy or a hardcover copy of The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight of Sunday, September 29, 2013.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday, September 30, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

What Are You Reading This August?

Normally, Kim has the pleasure of telling all of our readers what she has planned for the month and shares new finds and recent releases with you.  This month, I figured that I’d let you know what I’m going to be reading!  Currently, I’m almost finished with Marsha Cornelius’ Losing It All, and I plan on starting Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes next.  We had the pleasure of meeting Morgan at an event at R. J. Julia (read about it here), so I’m excited to finally get a chance to clear my schedule and read her work.

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So, that brings us to you, readers.  What do you have planned for this month (even though it’s halfway over already!)  As the summer winds down and we find ourselves coming inside from the long summer nights, we’re entering prime reading time.  So, get ready for the cooler nights and curl up with a good book (and tell us about it!)

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover

tgchThanks to Atria books I’ve got a copy of  the third book in Colleen Hoover’s Slammed trilogy, This Girl, to give away to you fabulous readers!  Check out the book description below, as well as instructions on how to win a copy!

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache. 

Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series

About the Author: Colleen Hoover is the New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, and This Girl.  Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.  Please visit her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Atria Books for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of This Girl by Colleen Hoover!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight of Monday, August 12, 2013.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Tuesday, August 13, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Mist (Midgard Series #1) by Susan Krinard

mskThanks to Tor Books I have a copy of the first book in Susan Krinard’s new New Adult/Fantasy Midgard Series, Mist , to give away!  Book one should excite fans of mythology, magic, and paranormal romances.  Some info on the book:

New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard launches her first urban fantasy series

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….

Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.

About the Author

SUSAN KRINARD is the author of twenty-seven fantasy and paranormal romance novels and eleven novellas. Krinard grew up in the San Francisco bay area. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband Serge Mailloux, two cats, and three dogs.  Learn more about Susan at her website.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor Books for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of Mist by Susan Krinard!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight of Wednesday, August 7, 2013.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, August 8, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

What Are You Reading This July?

It’s July!  That means vacation time, BBQ time, beach time, or what I like to call “reading time!”  July has a lot of book releases I’m excited about, so instead of telling you what I’m currently reading, I’m sharing what new releases I’ll be planning on reading.  What’s the book I’m looking forward to reading most?  Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare.  It is the second book in Clare’s Billionaire Boys Club series and it’s a Beauty and the Beast type story (I’m a HUGE lover of BatB tales. LOVE.)  My review on book one in the series, Stranded with a Billionaire, can be found here (Look for my review on book two sometime in the next two weeks.)  I’m also excited about the fourth book in Jennifer Probst’s Married to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Merger, set for release July 23rd (can you tell I have a thing for the billionaire romance trope?)  Also releasing on the 23rd is the next book in Marie Force’s Gansett Island series, Time for Love.  The conclusion to Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series, The Mistress, is slated to be released on July 30 and wow, it packs a punch.  I was fortunate enough to read an advanced copy and hot damn, it was so good.  I’m duel reviewing the book with reading bestie Kelly towards the end of the month.

wayrtj

Ok readers – your turn.  Share what you’re reading and what you’re excited to read this month in the comments section below!

Winner Announced in the A Diet to Die For Giveaway!

adtdrssOne person has been chosen a winner in the A Diet to Die For giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. Janis Rothermel who left a comment on July 12th

Please contact me with your mailing address by Tuesday, June 23, 2013 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: A Diet to Die For by Sarah Steding

adtdrssWhoever said dieting wasn’t fun obviously hasn’t met Jen Stevens.  Thanks to Pocket Books you’ll have an opportunity to meet her (and get some awesome recipes) when you read A Diet to Die For by Sarah Steding.  I’ve got a copy to give away, so read on! (Giveaway instructions at the bottom of the post!)

Meet Jen Stevens in Sarah Steding’s A Diet to Die For—a hungry New York City event planner who’s 31 years old, 30 pounds overweight, and flirting with disaster when it comes to sticking to her diet.  Working for the food-centric Yummy Channel, it’s hard to resist temptation. But when there’s a crime for Jen to solve, it’s easy as pie…

Baker extraordinaire Bess Brantwood is one of the Yummy Channel’s brightest stars—and biggest divas.  Despite the off-camera drama, Jen has to admit that Bess’s chocolate buttercream cupcakes drizzled with caramel are simply to die for—and kill for, as it turns out—when Bess’s body, like a baked good gone bad, is discovered…in a Dumpster.

Who iced the cupcake queen?  Jen is determined to find out.  With the help of her BFFs—fab food-blogger Gabby and lively life coach Elizabeth—she starts sifting for clues.  She’s got all the ingredients to solve the perfect crime, including one delectable detective, one divalicious diary, and enough industry rivals for a battle of the network stars.  But is Jen prepared to risk her life as well as her waistline?  No matter how you slice it, revenge is sweet—and loaded with carbs.

Readers will enjoy the Skinny Mystery A Diet to Die For, which will delight both mystery fans and foodies with low-carbohydrate recipes tucked throughout the novel and diet tips at the end of the book!

image001About the Author: Sarah Steding has cut carbs, calories, white foods, yellow foods, packaged foods, and fatty foods (not all at the same time, or any for more than a few well-intentioned days). She’s tried grapefruit, cayenne-spiced lemonade, macrobiotics, and even gummy bears. While crusading against thunder thighs, she has developed quite a sense of humor about the whole ordeal. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with three little boys and a husband who has learned to say she looks quite slender in those jeans.

Sarah Steding blogs on her site at www.sarahsteding.com. She’s also active and quickly building a ravenous fan base on social media so please check out her profiles and become a fan:

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6459720.Sarah_Steding!
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sarah.steding.7,
Twitter https://twitter.com/SarahSteding

A note from the author:  The truth is the main character, Jen Stevens, and I have a lot in common. We can’t resist a juicy mystery and we both ask a lot of questions when people would prefer we just stay out of it. We’re also both totally into cupcakes…. and go back and forth between trying desperately to lose twenty pounds yesterday and convincing ourselves that we should fully enjoy the multitude of pleasurable flavors the world. Life’s too short to count calories right? No, wait, life’s too short to be overweight and unhealthy. One thing’s for sure—life’s too short not to laugh at it!

Giveaway – Special thanks to Pocket Books for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of A Diet to Die For by Sarah Steding!  For your chance to win leave a comment below telling about the worst diet you’ve ever tried.  Comments will be accepted through midnight of Monday, July 15, 2013.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Tuesday, June 16, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

What Are You Reading This June?

What are you reading this month?!  I’ve been on a decidedly contemporary romance kick recently (although I’ve sprinkled a little bit of dystopic and paranormal books in the mix also.)  I’m planning on finishing the month out with historical fiction novels.  Specifically, The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley, The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway, and When They Fall in Love by Mary Lydon Simonsen!

Ok, folks! Spill the beans on your current reads below!

wayrj

What Are You Reading This May?

It’s that time again! Time to share what we’re all reading this month! I’m still going strong with my new adult kick, adding in some historical fiction and YA novels as well.  A complete list of what I’ve read for the year can be found here.  On the forefront for the rest of May? More new adult and some historical fiction.  I’m currently in the middle of reading Karina Halle’s Sins & Needles, the first book in her Artists Trilogy.  Following that I’m delving into Karen Witemeyer’s new novel Stealing the Preacher, which is slated for release June 1st.  And finally Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton.  The plot of this last book fascinated me so much I couldn’t help but request it for review!

Ok, folks! I’m turning the tables on you. What are you all reading? Share in the comments below!

maywayr

Page to Screen: Adam’s Review of The Great Gatsby

gatsby-original-cover-artWhat defines a book as a “must read?” Is it that regardless of how old it is, people still relate to the story or still care about the characters? Or is it that one influential person really liked it and proclaimed it a “must read” and people listened?  One such “must read” (which for me was basically a “to-read” until I saw a movie trailer for it) was The Great Gatsby. Once I saw the trailer for the Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby, I couldn’t believe I had never read the book. It seemed like a giant party set in the context of the roaring 20’s (my favorite time in American history.) The complexity of the story seemed intriguing and I knew I had to check it out from the library. I read it in less than 48 hours and was obsessed with everything about it. I loved the characters, I loved the love story, I loved the symbolism, and I just loved the simple, yet complex feel of the work overall. I was told there was a movie version of it already made, but that it was not a great translation from page to screen. Even so, I wanted to try it out on my own and see if my new favorite novel could become my new favorite movie.

Sadly, for once I have to agree with the critics. From the moment I started watching the movie, I automatically felt a disconnected to it. Lost was the magical world Fitzgerald created, gone were the extravagant parties I wanted a time machine to witness, and sadly, most everything else special about the book seemed to be missing. I just couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. How could this movie have gone so wrong? Francis Ford Coppola, the genius behind the Godfather trilogy, wrote it and was a huge factor in bringing it to the screen. With a cast like Mia Farrow, Robert Redford, and Sam Waterston in the lead roles, the characters should have jumped off the screen and been bought to life. Out of the three main actors, the only one I truly believed in his/her role was Sam Waterston as the narrator Nick Carraway. He was able to portray the every-man really well.

Gatsby 1974

The magic aura and appeal of Gatsby and Daisy were lost in the translation from page to screen. These two characters are pertinent to the story, and if you miscast them you might as well not make the movie, as their story is the heart and soul of the novel/movie. Redford as Gatsby didn’t have any mystery to him. He didn’t seem like someone who was unattainable, and something about his character just was lost. He didn’t have that magic feeling about him, he just seemed like an average Joe with a really nice house. I’m trying to think if it was his acting or if it was just Redford in general, but either way he didn’t seem like the Gatsby I envisioned. When I was reading the novel, all I could think of was a young Warren Beatty or Marlon Brando playing Gatsby. They seem so clouded with mystery that I think they would have effectively portrayed one of the greatest literary characters ever written. Mia Farrow was also horribly miscast as Daisy, the lost love of Gatsby, who in a way is the original Kim Kardashian. She has no responsibility; she goes around from guy to guy, party to party, not caring about anyone’s feelings but her own. Mia Farrow seemed too white bread to play this character. In the book, she’s described as the most beautiful woman in the world, a Greek Goddess. Perfection. I couldn’t help but envision a blonde Natalie Wood or Faye Dunaway playing this character. Someone with a little bit more substance to them, but not Mia Farrow.

The-Great-Gatsby3

One hope I have for the new Baz Luhrmann version is that the magic is ignited and visible throughout the story. There is something so classic about the story, yet it also feels so modern. I think the incorporation of modern music, modern themes, and modern special effects really do the original story justice. I loved Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet as it was a fresh take on a classic story.  It still had the heart of soul of Shakespeare, but was a new and interesting way to present the story. I am already enjoying the trailers I’ve seen because it seems like they finally got it right. Gatsby seems like that mysterious figure, that person that no one really knows. I really hope Luhrmann is able to keep this mystery alive. Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn out a hot mess like the previous version.

Book: 6 out of 5 Stars

Movie: 1 out of 5 Stars

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Scribner
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN: 9780743273565

The Great Gatsby (1974)
Paramount Pictures
PG, 144 minutes