I finally bought myself a Kindle!

January 29, 2011 § 10 Comments

Slim and lightweight - only 8.5 ounces

After much consideration, I finally decided on the Kindle. In the past few weeks I have read so many reviews on Ereaders and for a while now, I couldn’t decide between the Nook, Kindle, and the Ipad. Of course, I would prefer the Ipad but it’s a little out of my price range. The only reason I even considered it at all is because QVC is offering it for 5 payments of $150. Still, since I haven’t even finished paying off Christmas, AND I just bought a new vehicle, its probably not the best time to add another monthly expense.

It was so hard to decide between the Nook and the Kindle,  I really like that the Nook allows you to lend your eBooks to fellow Nook users. But what finally made me choose the Kindle was that in most of the reviews I read, the Kindle was determined to be the best value and to be honest, I do most of my shopping on Amazon.

I’m so excited to finally have an ereader. I just received it today and I’m already shopping for eBooks! I still love having a shelf full of hardbacks and paperbacks, but I think this is going to be such a convenient and quick way to read. I’ve been wanting a Kindle or similar for such a long time now, and I’m beyond thrilled to have finally gotten one! YAY!!

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Congratulations Winner!

January 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Blue – Lou Aronica  

Congrats to BLHMistress from Book Lovers Hideaway who Random.org selected as the lucky winner of a copy of Blue by Lou Aronica. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and cannot wait to hear your thoughts on it!

Thank you to all who entered and please remember that Lou Aronica’s other contest is still ongoing until April 16th. This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties.

Check out the details in the post here and please email your submission to Lou at laronica@fictionstudio.com

Happy reading!!

Guest Post and Giveaway: New York Times bestselling author Lou Aronica

January 25, 2011 § 11 Comments

 

I’d like to welcome New York Times bestselling author Lou Aronica and thank him for agreeing to stop by The Happy Booker today for a guest post. I just recently read and reviewed Lou’s most recent Young Adult fantasy novel Blue which you can find here.

Putting My Name On It 

Several years ago, a friend and colleague was given the opportunity to have her own book imprint with a major publishing house. She decided that she wanted to name it after her father. This was a lovely gesture, but my first response was, “I would never do that. What if it doesn’t work out?” It seemed to me that if you named an enterprise after someone you loved and then that enterprise failed, you’d stained the person with the failure.

As it turned out, though I didn’t think of this at the time, I felt the same way about using my own name. The first time I truly needed to consider this was when I moved from the business side of the book publishing world (where I’d worked for twenty years, most recently as Publisher of Avon Books) to the creative side. When I made a deal for my first novel,The Forever Year, I didn’t consider for a second the idea of putting my name on the book. What if things didn’t work out? Instead, I chose “Ronald Anthony,” a derivation of “Aronica” (Ronald) and my father’s first name, Anthony. Yes, I realize that using my father’s name contradicts what I’ve been saying here, but he’d died recently and I felt a strong urge to pay him tribute in spite of my overall skittishness. Not long after The Forever Year, I made my first deal for a nonfiction book. In that case, I chose the name “L.A. Stamford” (Lou Aronica from Stamford, CT) and maintained that as my “nom de nonfiction” for several books.

Things went along this way for some time, and I continued to be convinced that it was best for me to leave my name out of my business. Then, with my eighth book, Miraculous Health, which I coauthored with Dr. Rick Levy, things changed abruptly.

“I want you to put your name on this,” Rick said as we were wrapping up the manuscript.

“I am putting my name on it – L.A. Stamford. That’s the name I use for nonfiction.”

“I want you to put your name on it. It’ll make a difference.”

I felt a bit of a chill at that moment. What I realized right then was that it was no longer about “what if things didn’t work out” – I had absolute faith in this book – but about something else entirely. I was nervous about how the publishing world was going to regard me as a writer. Would former colleagues and associates snicker over my writing ambitions? Would writers I’d edited and, worse, writers I rejected flame me online in some form of payback? I wasn’t sure I was ready for this or that I would ever be. Still, Rick was persuasive and I gave in.

Amazingly, the sky didn’t crumble around me. The book received many nice reviews and no spurned writers chose to flail me in public. I decided to put my name on my next nonfiction book, The Element (which I coauthored with Sir Ken Robinson), and when that book became a New York Times bestseller, I decided to retire “L.A. Stamford” for good.

Still, when it came time to publish my next novel, Blue, which has just gone on sale, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take this final step. Blue is a novel that means a huge amount to me, perhaps more than anything I’ve ever written. Meanwhile, there was no coauthor the hide behind here. If I put my name on the book, it would be the only name on the book. For a long time I resisted, even deciding on a new fiction pseudonym.

In the end, though, I decided it was wrong to publish this novel without my real name on it. If I were truly committed to this novel – and I’ve never been more committed to something I’ve written – didn’t I need to avoid erecting false barriers?

And so I am presenting Blue to the world as nakedly mine. Boy, I hope the guy I rejected four times in a year never hears about it.

How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.

New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books, Lou Aronica has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.” This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?

Now for the details:

The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.

The pitch needs to be submitted by April 16, 2011
Please email your submission to Lou at
laronica@fictionstudio.com

What a great opportunity!! And once again I’d like to thank Lou for stopping by The Happy Booker on his blog tour for his incredible novel Blue.

Since I thought Blue was such an incredible book, I’m also offering one of my followers and opportunity to win their own copy. If you’d like a chance to win, simply leave a thoughtful comment on Lou Aronica’s guest post here or on my review of Blue between now and Thursday 1/27/2011 at midnight. Winner will be announced Friday morning 1/28. Good luck!!

 

Review: Blue by Lou Aronica

January 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

Blue

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The Fiction Studio (January 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936558009

I was sent a copy of Blue by Lou Aronica for review.

Blue is a YA fantasy that  introduces us to a family that’s been broken by a child’s serious illness, divorce, and a loss of communication. Becky, daughter of Polly and Chris, battles her way through a horrible illness as a young child. Her father, Chris helps her through this time by helping her to create a fantasy world, Tamarisk, to mentally escape to. The details of this world they build together is amazing and I loved watching Becky discover all the games, creatures, smells, and sounds that she and her father created once she discovers that she can actually go to Tamarisk, that it, in fact, exists.  Sadly, however, the real stress of dealing with this illness has caused Becky’s parents’ marriage to reach its breaking point and somehow Becky and her father lose that connection they had with each other as well as Tamarisk.

I didn’t like the parents, Polly and Chris. Polly was an overbearing, hypocritical, controlling toad of a woman and Chris was a weak, pathetic, clueless mess of a man. These two were such perfect caricatures of so many divorced couples that I’ve seen, the power and control games that get played and nobody bothers to notice that the child gets caught in the middle and ends up lost and confused. Polly and Chris couldn’t have been more true to life, and while I didn’t really like either of them, I understood them and their place in this story. Their one redeeming quality was that they did genuinely love their daughter. Becky was such a brilliant character. The depth of  friendship she shared with Lonnie, the easy relationship she had with step-father Al, and the hope she was always willing to reach for made me really connect with her. I loved reading the slow process of Becky’s reconnection with her father and the surprise and delight Chris felt at having that communication with his daughter back again. It was beautifully written.

I absolutely loved this story. I was hooked from the very beginning and there wasn’t a single point where I ever lost interest in what I was reading. The novel flows easily from one chapter to the next, the plot is clearly laid out, and while I figured out long before the ending where it was headed, it didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed getting there.

I found only one fault with Blue, there were a couple of chapters about Gage, seemingly some sort of God-like being maybe. These chapters were a little awkward and confusing and personally I just didn’t get it. But they were a very small part of the story and overall I loved this book so much that it didn’t even matter that I didn’t understand Gage.

Blue is definitely an emotional roller-coaster, with flawed realistic characters, an extraordinary elaborate fantasy world, and a plot that will tug at your heart strings, this novel is one that I will certainly read again. I hope that Lou Aronica returns to the world Tamarisk for future novels.

Rating 5- Amazing, beautiful touching story.

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Sound like a book that you’d love to read? Be sure to stop by my blog tomorrow when Lou Aronica will be making a guest post and I’ll be giving away a copy of Blue to one lucky follower!!

Review–Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

January 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

Unearthly (Unearthly – Trilogy)

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061996165

First of all, this book cover is absolutely gorgeous. The silvers and greys with purplish tints, the effect is stunning and I love having this book on my shelf.

I think Unearthly is a wonderful debut by Cynthia Hand. Clara is one fourth angel-blood and now that she is 16, she is well on her way to discovering and fulfilling her earthly purpose. Her visions point her to a certain boy in a burning forest so she and her mother and brother pack up and head to Jackson Hole Wyoming where Clara can find this mysterious boy that her visions are telling her she must save.

I really enjoyed some of the characters in this book, Clara and her brother were fascinating, discovering that they are part angel and having to deal with understanding the extraordinary powers that accompany that, but also trying to fit in a normal society without standing out.  I also really enjoyed a lot of the background characters, such as Clara’s friends Angela, Stacy, and Tucker.  However,  Christian, the mysterious boy that Clara is meant to save, seemed like a very shallow character that could have used a little more work.

While I was fascinated by the background of the Nephilim, one of the complaints I have about Unearthly was that there are entirely too many things left unexplained, questions unanswered, which, to me, left too many holes in the plot. I understand that the reader learns things at the same time as Clara does, but I find it hard to believe that she is able to accept such incredible things and react to such unusual circumstances with barely any explanation as to  what is going on or why. Clara’s mother is super secretive throughout the book and absolutely refuses to explain what it means to be an angel and what the higher “purpose” is all about.

That being said, the characters kept me interested in the story. I loved that there was a unique twist on the “immediate attraction” thing that is so common in YA today. I thoroughly enjoyed the teasing friendship that builds between Clara and Tucker. I was surprised by how quickly I was able to finish this book, it doesn’t really seem like a page turner since there really isn’t much action, but I think it was the unanswered questions that kept me reading, wanting to understand more about these angel-bloods. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen in Unearthly, so I’ll have to eagerly await the next in the series.

Rating 3 – I liked it but hope the next in the series answers more questions and explains things much better.

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Giveaway Winners! Congratulations

January 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

 

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway this time. Wow, over 325 entries! Random.org has spoken and the two winners are:

Jules @ One Book Shy – $35 CSN Gift Certificate

Shannon @ Books Devoured  – $35 Gift card choice (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Book Depository)

Congratulations Jules and Shannon, I will be emailing you shortly and you will have 48 hours to get back to me.

Once again, thank you to everyone who participated in another great giveaway hop, I look forward to the next one and am already planning something good to offer as a giveaway prize package!

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop

January 14, 2011 § 19 Comments

Welcome to my stop on the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Fill out the form below to enter to win a $35 gift certificate for CSN stores. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find anything you need whether it be swingsets, fitness equipment, or even cute cookware! For US/CAN residents only
US/CAN/INT followers can also fill out form to win $35 in books from the Book Depository, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. Please make sure they ship to your country before entering.
Thanks for stopping by and good luck! Extra entries if you subscribe via email or RSS.

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