Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

It’s Leap Day everyone!  I’ve got a fun giveaway for you as part of the Leap into Books giveaway hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Jinky is Reading.

Check out the other 200+ blogs participating in this hop!

In my giveaway, you could win a $15 Amazon Gift card


$15 at The Book Depository for any book you like (as long as they ship to you.  Check here)

For those of you just hopping along, you can click the free entry and be on your way.  Following is not required, but it will bring you good karma :)  I have RSS, email subscription, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads all over there with pretty buttons on the top of my sidebar—>

For those of you who want extra entries I have a little game for you!

The Optional Awesome Game

I have taken five book titles and changed each word to be the exact opposite of what it was before (as best as I can).  Your job is to figure out what the original title was.  Here’s an example:

Servant of the Necklace

is really

Lord of the Rings

I know.  That one was pretty bad.  But here are the other five for you to figure out! I hope you have fun!!

  1. Aunt Theresa’s Castle
  2. Here with the Breeze
  3. Of Rats and Women
  4. Scared Old Local
  5. The Green Word

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In My Mailbox ~23~

My Mailbox Banner

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where I show all the books I’ve gotten by various means throughout the week.  Since I LOVE book cover art on my kindle, I took my own pictures of the covers of my ebooks.

Evernight by Claudia Gray, FREE from Amazon (It’s still free! Click the link to go get it!)

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, FREE from Amazon.

What books did you get this week? Leave a link and I’ll come look!

Downton Abbey

downton abbey hd

I don’t watch TV very much, but once in a while a show will come along that just grabs me.  I stay up late to find out what happens next and buy the whole season so I can watch it over and over.  Downton Abbey is my new favorite show and here are some reasons why:

  • Culture: I love how from the first episode you get to learn what it was like to live in the early 1900s.  It’s a time period I didn’t know much about.  There are servants and telephones and cars and fancy dinners.  It’s chock full of wonderful details.
  • Matthew Crawley: My, my, romantic lead, you are dashing.

    Matthew Crawley played by Dan Stevens

  • Drama: There is drama and scandal in every episode.  What fun!
  • Maggie Smith: I love her character, the Dowager Countess.  The honest and passive-aggressive things she says are so hilarious!
  • Charm: They all have British accents.  How can you not love that?!
  • Characters:  All of the characters have so much depth to them.  You get to know a lot of them in detail from the servants, the maids, the butler, to the Lords, Dukes and Countesses.  The characters are so well rounded, flawed and interesting that it feels like they are real people that you know.
  • Writing: The wit and sarcasm in one episode alone is quite shocking.
  • High-quality: The actors are so amazing and talented.  The costumes are beautiful and historically accurate.  Its filmed at a real location –  Highclear Castle.  And since it’s public television, they sold season 2 on Blu-ray before the season finale had even aired. How awesome is that!!!

If you want an entertaining show that takes you on an emotional ride, you have to watch this show!

Have you seen it yet?  What do you love about Downton Abbey?

Harry Potter Reading Challenge: Books 1 & 2 Discussion

Harry Potter Reading Challenge Banner 2012


Thank you to Penelope at The Reading Fever for doing this challenge! She is having a giveaway this month for a Harry Potter wand.  You should go check it out!

So, I haven’t re-read Harry Potter yet this year.  I was really hoping that Pottermore would be selling the ebooks by now (it’s only been 6 months :/).  Oh well.  As soon as they DO release the ebooks, I will read and review them.  Until then, here is the discussion post for the first two books by J. K. Rowling based on my memory.

Book 1 & 2 Discussion questions:

  1. What was your first very first impression of Harry Potter himself? Did your impression change at the end of the first book? I remember feeling so bad for Harry.  When his cousin gets tons of presents and his birthday isn’t even remembered.  When he’s excited that he actually gets to go to the zoo.  I admired him because even though he was obviously neglected and abused, he still had a kind heart.  It made me wonder if I would be capable of the same thing.
  2. At what point in either book did you decide that you did, or didn’t, like the story? When Harry goes to the Leaky Cauldron and realizes that he’s famous was when I completely and irrevocably fell in love with the story.  The best books ask the most interesting questions and Harry Potter #1 seemed to ask, “What if you were famous and didn’t know it?” That would never happen in real life and I loved seeing Harry’s reaction to his fame.
  3. Is there anything you dislike so far? Something you would change if you could? I don’t know if I would change it, but I was surprised at how scary book 2 was.  I’m a full grown adult and I couldn’t go to bed until I had finished The Chamber of Secrets because it honestly freaked me out!  There’s quite a bit of swearing in the books as well.  I would let my kids read them when they were a lot younger if there wasn’t swearing.
  4. What is it about J.K. Rowling’s writing that makes her books so appealing to so many people? Is it the characters? The plot? Something else? What do you love most about her writing? I think all kids can relate to the struggle Harry and Ron have with school.  School is hard even if you are learning about magic.  I read somewhere that it’s quote ironic and funny that magic is turned into these dull and tedious subjects.  The thing I love about her writing is how good she is at foreshadowing.  Every book of hers took me by surprise and yet I should have seen it coming!  I don’t know how she does it.  Although the movies make it seem like the world she created is dark, I found her writing to be full of funny words and lots of humor.  I found so many elements in her books just plain charming.
  5. In the first book, we are introduced to a very different world than the one we live in. What were some things that blew your mind when you first read about them?  The thing that really blew my mind about book 1 was that you completely thought that Snape was the bad guy just because Harry didn’t like him.  When I went back and read book 1 again, you can see that there isn’t much going against Snape besides Harry not liking him.  What an amazing lesson about what evil really is.  How much do we judge people who are different than us and people we just plain don’t like? I’ve never read a book where the antagonist was someone other than the person the protagonist disliked.  Harry is so fixated on his dislike of Snape that he forgets the real evil that is lurking in the world.  Harry and Snape’s relationship still blows my mind.
  6. Despite being so different, what do you think makes the wizard world so believable? What makes it a place that people want to escape to? I think the thing that was most believable about her magical world is that things are not always easier with magic.  They can do things so easily that we work hard for (like cleaning and making food), but they also have more problems then we do (magical pests that bite, evil lords trying to destroy the world etc.).
  7. In The Sorcerer’s Stone, Professor Quirrel tells Harry, “There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” What does this statement tell us about Professor Quirrel? Do you agree or disagree with him? This statement totally reminds me of Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.  I think this is the kind of thing you would say to yourself to justify even the most evil acts.  But going down that path takes away the ability to love, which is what I think makes us human.
  8. In The Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore tells Harry, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” The sorting hat also suggested Harry could fine great fame and glory in Slytherin House. What choices does Harry make that lead him away from darkness? Could he have been the good wizard that he was if some of those choices were different? J.K. Rowling intentionally made Voldemort’s and Harry’s upbringings very similar.  Both of them were abused and neglected.  But Voldemort chose revenge and power instead of forgiveness.  Harry choses to value love and friendship I think in part because it was so rare to him. Harry tries to make the best of what life has given him and move on about the things he can’t change.  Voldemort thinks that power is more important than love and he’s quite shocked to find out just how powerful love is.
  9. If you’re re-reading the series, what are some differences you’ve noticed this time? Are there things you didn’t pick up on before? Or did you find you liked/disliked something differently this time? It’s fun picking up on her very subtle foreshadowing and seeing the small details that you skip over in your mind that end up becoming very important.
  10. Just for fun: If you could make your own polyjuice potion, who would you disguise yourself as, and why? I would totally want to be Oprah.  I wonder what a day in her life is like.  Is it really busy? What luxuries does she have that we don’t?  Could she just call up any person in the whole world and they’d talk to her?

About J. K. Rowling

JK Rowling

J K (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling was born in the summer of 1965 at Yate General Hospital in England and grew up in Chepstow, Gwent where she went to Wyedean Comprehensive. Jo left Chepstow for Exeter University, where she earned a French and Classics degree, and where her course included one year in Paris. When her marriage ended, she returned to the UK to live in Edinburgh, where "Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone" was eventually completed and in 1996 she received an offer of publication. The following summer the world was introduced to Harry Potter.


Book Review: Pyxis: The Discovery by K.C. Neal

invisible featured imageBook Review: Pyxis: The Discovery by K.C. NealPyxis: The Discovery by K.C. Neal
Series: Pyxis #1
Published: October 2, 2011
Format: eBook (218 pages)
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Source: For Review

Corinne lives an average teenage life working at her dad’s cafe, hanging out with her best friend, and trying to forget a falling-out with her almost-boyfriend Mason. Things take a strange turn when she uses her late grandmother’s food dyes for a bake sale, and her customers suddenly find her irresistibly alluring. Then she discovers she and Mason are haunted by the same dreams of a dark force that consumes everything in its path . . .
3 Stars

I liked the originality of this book.  It felt like one of the few books that really deserves the title “paranormal” (you know, the clairvoyant kind) because of it’s unique combination of dreams and reality. I can’t think of any other books to compare it to. The mystery in this book was great.  It kept me guessing and wanting to find out more.  My biggest complaint was that I felt like the plot meandered a lot.  There are major, mysterious, and interesting things happening but we had to wait for it while we went to her driver’s test.  It frustrated me.  I felt like there were two plot lines competing with each other: her normal life and her paranormal life.  It really slowed the pace down and a lot of the time I found myself wanting to get back to the paranormal plot.  Maybe she was trying to blend the normal and the supernatural, but it just didn’t work for me.  And then just as it got really good, the story ended!  I’m dying to read more!  K.C. Neal has set up what I think will be an amazing series.

Content Rating Medium, for language and teen drinking.

I received this book for review from the author, K.C. Neal in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own. 

About K.C. Neal

KC Neal

Most of K.C. Neal's days are filled with some combination of writing, reading, gardening, working, and watching stuff on Netflix with her husband and their maltipoo, Oscar. She has an irrational fixation with L.A., and during occasional trips there she pretends her life is more glamorous than it really is ("Entourage" is her guilty pleasure). She likes to surf and hang out on sandy beaches, especially where drinks are served adorned with tiny umbrellas.