Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DEBUT FEATURE: Cole Gibsen on Books and Memory + A Giveaway :)


A big welcome to
Cole Gibsen
whose debut novel
Katana
releases March 8, 2012
from Flux

Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.
While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.
Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her. (from Goodreads)

Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.
It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.
When Cole Gibsen isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking milk straight from the jug -- provided no one is looking. (from Cole's website)


ndieBound / Goodreads
Website / Blog
Facebook / Twitter

Today Cole is here to share her thoughts on Books and Memories...

What book makes you think of...your childhood?
Definitely THE BLACK STALLION because I was OBSESSED with horses. Still am…it’s a disease.

What book makes you think of...your happiest memory?
Again, I’d have to bring up any book in the BLACK STALLION series. I read them all when I was in grade school and just learning how to ride horses. The days I spent at the barn were hands down some of the best days of my life.

What book makes you think of...your scariest memory?
Okay, so there’s this YA book called TRAPPED by Arthur Roth that I read in junior high. It’s about this guy who drives off a cliff and is trapped inside his car. Several years back I was in a horrible car accident so bad, I could get my car door open. I ended up having to get thirty staples in my head.

What book makes you think of...your road to publication?
Noah Lukeman’s THE FIRST FIVE PAGES. In my opinion, it’s one of the best books on writing out there.

What book makes you think of...high school?
Any book by Dean Koontz. In high school I was obsessed with him and horror was all I read. I’m happy to say that my tastes have since expanded.

Thank you so much for sharing Cole!

~

To celebrate Cole's debut she hand made some of the coolest book prizes I have ever seen!

Senshi "warrior" bracelet and shuriken hair clips

ninja coffee sleeve (doesn't he look great on my coffee?)

My pictures really don't do these justice - they are awesome! And after you read Katana, they are even more awesome :)

There will be 3 (three) winners!
2 people will get a ninja coffee sleeve and a silicon Senshi "warrior" kanji bracelet
1 person will get two felt ninja shuriken hair clips and a silicon Senshi "warrior" kanji bracelet

GIVEAWAY DETAILS
*Open to US residents 18 and older
*3 Winners
*Ends March 21, 2012 at 11:59pm EST
*Fill out the form below to enter
*Bonus entry -- leave a comment with your thoughts on past lives





If you are a 2012 debut author and would like to be featured at Red House Books, please fill out the form on my Debut Author page or send me an email :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Books and Memories with Jaclyn Dolamore + A Giveaway :)

A big welcome to
Jaclyn Dolamore
whose 3rd novel, Magic Under Stone releases TODAY!

I asked Jaclyn to share with us some memories...

What book makes you think of...your childhood?
Elfquest, Book 1 by Wendy and Richard Pini. My sister and I were OBSESSED with the Elfquest comics when we were kids. We also kept getting the Elfquest role playing game through interlibrary loan again and again, although we never actually managed to successfully play the game.

What book makes you think of...your happiest memory?
The Ledge Between the Streams by Ved Mehta. One of the best times in my life was the first time I flew alone to visit a friend, and the first time I experienced a big city. I went to Toronto and fell in love with the place. I bought this book at a book sale at the University of Toronto library, and read it while I waited for my friend to get out of class. It's a great memoir.

What book makes you think of...your scariest memory?
Ramona Quimby, age 8 by Beverly Cleary. I was homeschooled, mostly, but my mom sent me to second grade because she was going to massage school. I was a nervous child and developed a terrible fear of throwing up in class. There is a chapter in the book where Ramona does just that, and I was so horrified by that chapter I wouldn't read it all the way through, even though I reread this book many times.

What book makes you think of...your road to publication?
Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery. I adored all the Emily books, although the last one wasn't as good as the first two. Emily got a little more serious about her writing in this one, although really the whole trio reminds me of my journey, which I still think of as "the Alpine Path" thanks to L. M. Montgomery.

What book makes you think of...your writing style?
A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine Sturtevant. I love this book a lot, and I read it aloud to my boyfriend at one point, and sometimes I felt like I was reading my own prose.

What book makes you think of...your family?
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My parents used to read to us before bed, and I have vivid memories of my dad reading about Laura twisting the hay and grinding the wheat just to survive. This was definitely the most memorable of all the books they read to us (although second place goes to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

Thank you so much for sharing Jaclyn!

~

To celebrate the release of Magic Under Stone, I'm giving away one of Jaclyn's books to a lucky reader - your choice!

Magic Under Glass
Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir.
Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril. (from Goodreads)


Magic Under Stone
For star-crossed lovers Nimira and Erris, there can be no happily ever after until Erris is freed from the clockwork form in which his soul is trapped. And so they go in search of the sorcerer Ordorio Valdana, hoping he will know how to grant Erris real life again. When they learn that Valdana has mysteriously vanished, it's not long before Nimira decides to take matters into her own hands—and begins to study the sorcerer's spell books in secret. Yet even as she begins to understand the power and limitations of sorcery, it becomes clear that freeing Erris will bring danger—if not out-and-out war—as factions within the faerie world are prepared to stop at nothing to prevent him from regaining the throne. (from Goodreads)

Between The Sea and Sky
For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alander, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alander band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air. (from Goodreads)

GIVEAWAY DETAILS
*Open to anyone The Book Depository ships to, 18 years and older
*Ends March 20, 2012 at 11:59pm EST
*Fill out the form below to enter
*Bonus entry -- leave a comment with one of your strongest book related memories



Book Review: Magic Under Stone (Magic Under #2) by Jaclyn Dolamore

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 304
Series: 2nd in a series
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Goodreads page

My thoughts:
I was so fully taken in and captivated by the fantasy world and characters Jaclyn created in Magic Under Glass (book 1) that I was a little worried about this second book. Book 2s don't always work for me. Fortunately I had absolutely nothing to worry about! I didn't think it was possible but I loved Magic Under Stone even more!

Picking up right were book 1 ends, it didn't take me long to get caught up with the story. And what a story it is! Part adventure, part mystery, part romance and ALL fantasy! Throw in magic and characters that I really connected with and Magic Under Stone was pretty much a perfect win for me.

Almost everyone we meet in Magic Under Glass makes an appearance in book 2, along with a few new characters. One of which is Ifra the Jinn. I can't remember the last time I was captivated by a character the way I was with Ifra. I would gladly read a dozen books solely about him and his life.

There is a lot of back story in Magic Under Stone and I really loved how it helped me understand Erris better. I didn't love him as much in this book...but I understood why he did the things he did. Nim's determination is as strong as ever and it was really heartwarming to see the lengths she would go for the people she cared about.

Final verdict:
If you like young adult fantasy, you have got to read this series. I absolutely love Jaclyn's writing and her ability to fully pull me into a story and keep me wholeheartedly engaged with these wonderful characters she has created. I'm sad that it looks like Magic Under is only a 2 book series but I'm hopeful that maybe Nim and her world will make another appearance in the future.

Magic Under Stone is a book I would not hesitate to recommend. It's rich and captivating without being heavy and overbearing. Another great book by a great author!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Magic Under Series:
Magic Under Glass
Magic Under Stone

Linkage Love:
Author's website
IndieBound

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

***2011 Debut Author***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Random House / Del Rey
Pages: 470
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Love can never die.
Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.
But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
A zombie story unlike any other. A dystopian, steampunk world where the walking dead are just as likely to save your life as they are to eat you. I was captivated from page one and found it extremely heard to put this book down for even a minute. The futuristic Victorian setting, the unconventional romance, the secrets and mystery - I loved it all!

Dearly, Departed takes place in the year 2195 in New Victoria, somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Society is both high tech and rooted in the past. Young girls like Nora are expected to listen, smile and find a suitable husband that will do her family proud. Nora has other ideas. Especially after she discovers 'The Laz' - a deadly virus that has the nasty habit of bringing people back from the dead.

I really loved the zombies in this story. They are both typical and wholly original. When you die from The Laz you either return as a mindless drone attacking everything living in site, or...you don't. Some zombies are actually (almost) fully functioning people. Their nature and their upkeep was fascinating. So very different from other zombies books I have read.

Final verdict:
There was so much of this book to love but I think my favorite part was it's characters. They hold secrets and they surprised me a couple of times and I could relate to them. Love when that happens!

There's a little something for a lot of different people here. The dystopian environment could stand on it's own, the steampunk aspect was just fun and really worked with the story and the zombies top everything off perfectly!

For fans of YA that are looking for something a bit different, a bit odd. Dearly, Departed was an excellent read for me and I absolutely can't wait for book 2!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Zombie Novel series:
#1 Dearly, Departed
#2 Dearly, Beloved (September 2012)

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Saturday, February 25, 2012

On My Reader (2) - February 25, 2012

On My Reader is a new feature where I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection.
Inspired by In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren,
I'll post on Saturdays and you can leave your own post link below if you'd like to join in!

Book links are to Goodreads
Any download links are to where I got my copies

For Review from NetGalley
Transcendence by C.J. Omololu - June 5, 2012 from Bloomsbury
Tempest Unleashed (Tempest #2) by Tracy Deebs - June 5, 2012 from Bloomsbury
The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes - May 15, 2012 from Tanglewood Press

Free Download
Clockwork Fagin by Cory Doctorow -- A story from Steampunk!  / Kindle  

Bought

Friday, February 24, 2012

Contest! Win Embrace by Jessica Shirvington


DETAILS:
* 1 winner from the US or CANADA
* Book will be shipped by the publisher
* Contest ends March 9, 2011 at 11:59pm EST
* Fill out form below to enter

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

***2012 Debut Author***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury / Walker
Pages: 262
Series: no
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?
For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
It's been hard for me to classify this book. It's not purely devoid of the paranormal but at it's core it's more a story of love, friendship and hope then it is a freaky tale of things unknown. Delaney should be dead. Her doctors are stumped, her family is on edge and her best friend is a mess. Everyone is treating her differently. She feels different and soon she begins to fear that dying actual did change her. There is something wrong. Very very wrong. And the only one who seems to be ale to help is the mysterious Troy. A boy that in all good conscience, Delaney should stay far away from. But she can't. He's the only one who knows her secret and the only one she thinks can help. That is as least until Troy's true colors are revealed and then things start to get really interesting.

A bit of a roller-coaster of a ride at times, I found myself unable to put Fracture down. This unexplained 'gift' that Delaney finds herself with is just that - unexplained. We never really get a full explanation as to why it is these things are happening to her. I don't think this lack of closure, however, took anything away from the story.

My absolutely favorite thing about this book is the character Decker, Delaney's best friend. OMG I love him! His loyalty and his love for Delaney and the way his heart almost breaks in two because of everything that happened and is happening - OMG I love him! Did I say that already? Needs to be said twice ;)

Final verdict:
Fans of paranormal YA will love this one, fans of YA romance will love this one but I also think that readers who don't usually read paranormal stories would really love this one as well. The weird and unexplained elements are subtle and at the core of Fracture is a story of friendship and love, not of strange and unusual happenings. It's both these elements, the abnormal and the realistic that drew me in.

A fantastic debut! Megan Miranda is on my watch list and I can't wait to read more from her in the future.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

***2012 Debut Author***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (US)
Pages: 367
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: received an ARC for review

Summary:
It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”
Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.
Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.
A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden… (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
If I had to pick one word to describe how I felt after reading Embrace it would have to be breathless. The tension in this book is fantastic. Emotional and physical and everything in between. There is such a raw sense of feeling behind this story that I dare you to read it and not be swept away.

Part love story part myth - full of action, suspense and mystery. Also full of love triangles! Ok, only 1 but 1 is enough. Now you have to understand, I absolutely hate love triangles. Being completely honest, books with love triangles stand a better chance of being thrown across the room then they do earning a place on my bookshelves.

So! All I have to say is that Jessica must be some type of magician. Because not only did I love Embrace, I loved the entire story - love triangle and all.

It was really the myth behind the story that really drew me in. The angel hierarchy Jessica created is intriguing and I loved the ways in which angels have played a part of human history. The whole concept of bad or dark angels has always fascinated me and Embrace, for me at least, takes this concept to a new level.

Along with a fantastic storyline, Embrace also has strong characters. I loved some and I hated others and it was wonderful.

Final verdict:
A refreshing read for me. While I love paranormal stories, they can be a bit over the top at times. Embrace was a perfect balance for me - believable situations mixed with unbelievable realities. I highly recommend Embrace and I can't wait for it's sequel. I really don't know if I'll be able to hold off ordering a Australian or UK copy!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

These covers are all beautiful!
The Violet Eden Chapters
US Release by Sourcebooks Fire
Embrace (March 2012)
Entice (September 2012)
Emblaze (March 2013)

Originally released in Australia by Hachette
Embrace (October 2010)
Enticed (March 2011)
Emblaze (October 2011)
Endless (2012)

Released in the UK by Orchard Books
Embrace (October 2011)
Enticed (March 2012)

Released in Germany by Random House
Erwacht (April 2011)
Verlockt (February 2012)
Gebannt (August 2012)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

On My Reader (1) - February 18, 2012

Inspired by In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren,
On My Reader highlights recent ebooks I've added to my e-reader :)

Would love to make this a regular feature if there is interest. I put a linky up this week for others to share their "On My Reader" posts if anyone else wants to join in! Let me know in the comments what you think? And also if anyone else already has a feature like this - TELL ME! Not looking to do any feature swiping!

As this is my first On My Reader post the following is a couple of months worth of e-books and therefore a little long!

Book links are to Goodreads

For Review from publisher
Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt - April 12, 2012 from Entangled 

For Review from NetGalley
White Witch by Trish Milburn - March 1, 2012 from Bell Bridge Books
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - June 5, 2012 from Henry Holt (no cover)
Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso - May 8, 2012 from Flux
Spellcaster (Spellbound #2) by Cara Lynn Shultz - March 27, 2012 from Harlequin Teen

The Weepers: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker - May 1, 2012 from Marshall Cavendish
Erebos by Ursula Poznanski - January 2012 from Annick Press
Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter - March 27, 2012 from Harlequin Teen

Halflings by Heather Burch - February 2012 from Zondervan Publishing
The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry - May 1, 2012 from Amulet Books
Precious Bones by Mika Ashley-Hollinger - May 8, 2012 from Delacorte Books

The Wednesdays by Julie Bourbeau - August 14, 2012 from Random House

Free Downloads


Bought

Bonus - not on my reader but read on-line
Eleven Minutes: A Fracture Short Story by Megan Miranda -- Facebook
Chapter 16 of Half-Blood from Aiden's POV by Jennifer L. Armentrout -- Jennifer's Blog
Glitches (Lunar Chronicles #0.5) by Marissa Myer -- Tor


Friday, February 17, 2012

NetGalley Review-a-thon at Adventures 2.0


Have you gotten behind in writing your NetGalley reviews? I know I have. 

Lisa will be hosting these events the first full weekend after each of my NetGalley Months (in January, April, July and October).

I'm going to aim at at least 5 NetGalley Reviews completely written...I have more but I'm wondering how much time my family will really let me have in front of the computer this weekend ;)

And if you haven't already, there is still time to sign up for my 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J Bick

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2012
Publisher: Lerner Publishing / Carolrhoda Books
Pages: 352
Series: no
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)
Jenna Lord's first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.
There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)
Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain...magnetism.
And there are stories where it's hard to be sure who's a prince and who's a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)
Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules. (from Goodreads)

I was: draw into the telling of a relationship that needed to be told. Taboo or not, Drowning Instinct will leave you breathless.

My thoughts:
My heart is in my throat! I just finished this book and I can't believe what I read. God it was so good! And that ending! I cannot find the words to describe how I feel right now. Holy crap! There is no way my words could do this book justice. Truly a fantastic read for me. Extremely hard to put down!

I love the way in which this story is told. Our MC Jenna is sitting in a hospital room talking into a digital recorder that her friendly neighborhood police detective just handed her. She proceeds to tell Officer Bob her story. She tells US her story and wow - it really feels like she is talking right to you as you read.

And her story? It's not for the faint of heart. Her actions are questionable. The people she is suppose to trust aren't the best role models. The things she does in for the people she cares about don't really show her at her best. And, these people? Not the best types to have in your life.

Jenna sounds like a mess, doesn't she? Well, she is. But she's also very real. Do I agree with what she did? Maybe not, but I understand how it could happen. I understand that people are capable of so many different things and even when you think you have it all figured out, one act, one word and your world can fall apart.

Final verdict:
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. Drowning Instinct will get under your skin and it won't leave you alone. You'll carry around these characters with you for a very long time.

My first Ilsa Bick book and surely not my last!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound