Friday, December 30, 2011

Winners of Write a Holiday Short Story Contest

Happy Friday everybody!

It's time to make a short summary of Write a Holiday Short Story contest. When I posted about the contest, I wasn't sure if authors will have time to write anything because I announced the contest during the first days of December and for most people December is very busy month. Therefore I was extra glad that I received 5 stories. 5 stories!!!!

I know now that next year I will announce it in November already, that there could be more authors who would have time. But, as said, I am happy for even 5 stories!

I checked how many clicks and comments each post had and here are the results:

Finding The Spirit of Christmas by S.G. Rogers - 195 views and 14 comments!
The Flight Before Christmas by Michael Young - 86 views and 3 comments!
Special for the Season by Alison Bruce - 70 views and 4 comments!
Blue Satin and Love by Melodie Campbell - 80 views and 6 comments!
Helping Santa by Nicole Zoltack - 80 views and 3 comments!

Congratulation to the authors, I think the number of views is actually very good!!! Total of 511 pageviews and 30 comments.

I promised 2 winners, one from the readers and the other from me. Winners will have spots on Me and Reading sidebar with ads of their books during the whole 2012.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the winners!!!!!


Winners of one spot at Me and Reading sidebar ads are:

Reader's Choice with biggest amount of views and comments:

S.G. Rogers with her story Finding The Spirit of Christmas

Congratulations!!!!!

Me and Reading's Choice is:

Melodie Campbell with her story Blue Satin and Love

Congratulations!!!!!

I will contact the winners soon and organize that the ads will be up soon.

I loved all the stories which was sent. All of them were nice and well-written. The reason why I picked Blue Satin and Love was very simple - it touched my heart deeply.

Thanks to S.G Rogers, Alison Bruce, Michael Young, Melodie Campbell and Nicole Zoltack for sending and sharing their short stories!!!

Happy reading!

Interview with Rachel McClellan - author of Fractured Light


As a part of Fractured Light Blog Tour by Rachel McClellan I also got an opportunity to interview the author. You can find the first blog tour post I made about Fractured Light here: http://www.ingasilbergbooks.com/2011/12/fractured-light-blog-tour-with-rachel.html

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the author of Fractured Light - Rachel McClellan!



The interview is divided into several sections. First section is about Rachel, second section is about her books, writing them, about characters etc, third part is about her favorites.


Part I

MR: Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?


RM: I am a wife and a mother of four, but deep down I’m just a girl who’s trying to follow a dream despite being in her thirties. I want to live life to the fullest and when I’m a ninety, I want to look back on my life with no regrets.

MR: What inspired you to want to become writer?


RM: It wasn’t really inspiration but more of a constant nagging from the characters inside my head. It’s hard to listen to them all.

MR: Who did you want to become when you were a kid? What did you dream about?


RM: When I was a girl I wanted to be a number of things. The first was a veterinarian. I loved animals. Then I wanted to be a lawyer. I loved to prove my point (though I often failed). Then I wanted to be a psychologist. I loved to get inside peoples heads. Then I wanted to be an actress. I loved pretending to be someone else. But then I realized that through writing I could be it all and more.

MR: What brought you to writing? When did the idea of writing your first book formed?


RM: I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t take it seriously until a trip to Ireland in 2007. Something there made me believe in myself and gave me the confidence I needed to take writing seriously. I began writing my first book in Ireland, a book titled THE DEVIL AND THE FOOL. The idea came to me when I was visiting an extremely old graveyard. That scene I wrote is still one of my favorites.

MR: What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?


RM: I love to play racquetball, volleyball, basketball, pretty much any sport. I also like to cook and dip chocolate truffles. Decorating them, though, is the most fun. When I’m not doing any of those things, I love my TV shows: Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, Being Human, Once Upon a Time.

RM: What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer for you?


MR: Trying to keep everything in balance. My writing can suck me in for hours if I let it, but that’s not fair to my family. They are my priority.

MR: If you wouldn’t be a writer, what would you be and do?

RM: I like working with children and teens. Because of this, I think I’d be a teacher.

MR: Who or what is your Muse?


RM: Music. I can write anything listening to it.

MR: Did you ever experience writer’s block when the writing process just wasn’t moving ahead?


RM: Not yet, thank goodness. And I completely attribute this to music.


Part II

Let’s talk about books!


MR: What went through your mind when the first book you wrote was published?


RM: It was a strange mix of, “No way!” “It’s a mistake.” “This is the coolest!” “People are going to read something I wrote?” “Finally!” “What if everyone hates it?”

MR: How do you write? Do you sketch a plot first, create characters first and then starting to write?


RM: Before I begin any story, I make sure I know the end. Then I monitor my word count to make sure the end comes around 80,000 words. I don’t do any heavy outlining, just major plot points. And I make sure I know my characters well before I begin.

MR: What do you think is the most important thing while writing?


RM: You have to do it every day. Even on busy days, I make sure I write at least one sentence because that sentence always turns into more.

MR: Where did you get the idea for your book Fractured Light from? How was the book born?


RM: My friend and I had bought a writing book and were completing the writing assignments inside it. One of them was about loss. Instantly I pictured a girl with crazy blond/white hair at her father’s funeral. Instead of being consumed with grief, the girl was trying to figure out how she was going to avoid death when it came for her. Llona was born.

MR: Which character do you love most in Fracture Light? Which character can you mostly relate to?


RM: I love Llona. Her sense of humor surprised me, and I liked writing about her. I look up to her and wish I could be as strong as her. I relate to her in the fact that it took me a long time to believe in myself, too.

MR: I’m aware that your book is pure fiction, but I’d still like to ask: are any of the characters inspired by real persons? Do you base your fiction on some experiences you have had and people you have met?


RM: May reminds me of my younger sister. I kept finding myself writing certain characteristics of hers into May’s character. As for other characters, they are all loosely based on someone I know or crossed paths with. It’s true what they say, you write what you know.

MR: How many books have you planned in Fractured Light series?


RM: Three.

MR: I must ask you about next book in the series. What will it be about? Anything you can tell us already?


RM: Fractured Truth is about Llona at Lucent Academy. Even though she is among her own kind, the Aura’s, she’s still considered different because she’s an outsider. Not only that, but she’ll also have to deal with the consequences of what happened at the end of book one. Llona’s going to have to dig deep to over come it. Add this to all the weird thing going on at Lucent. Not everything is as it seems.

Part III – Favorites

Who is your favorite author? I have several. Dean Koontz, C.S. Lewis, Mary Shelley, Joshua Gaylord, Ayn Rand, and many more.
What is your favorite book or series? I love the Chronicles of Narnia, Odd Thomas series, Hunger Games
What is your favorite book blog you follow? There are so many good ones out there. But, honestly, I’ve always enjoyed yours. I was very excited when I saw you were going to be a part of my blog tour.
What is your favorite song? Tough one. So many good ones. I love The lonely by Christina Perri, Highland’s Apparition and Red by Chevelle, The Old Mission and House Carpenter by Hurt, One by Metallica, Trinity and Ira Deorum by James Dooley
What is your favorite season? Fall
What is your favorite food? Depends on my cravings. Right now it would be a rolled up, cream-cheese stuffed crepe with a warm strawberry syrup and a dollop of whip cream Okay, three, no four, dollops.
What is your favorite car? I want Dean’s car on Supernatural – a black 1967 Chevy Impala – although I’d go with a two-door instead of four.
What is your favorite color? Black
What is your favorite movie? I love the newer Batman’s. And Moulin Rouge. And the newest Sherlock Holmes. Oh, and I love the Underworld series.
What is your favorite time of the day? When the kids go to bed. Magic hour is from 9 to midnight.
What is your favorite weather? I love a good rainstorm.


Thank you so much for answering all my many questions, Rachel! I really appreciate it!

I would highly recommend Fractured Light! I really enjoyed reading it and can't wait to the next book in the series! You can find my review, information about the book and other things needed here: http://www.ingasilbergbooks.com/2011/12/fractured-light-blog-tour-with-rachel.html
There is also a giveaway of Fractured Light, so click on the link above and enter!

Happy reading!






Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Giveaway Hop Dec 30 - Jan 3 2012


Welcome to New Year's Giveaway Hop! This event is organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and by Babs from Babs Book Bistro and there are more than 200 blogs participating!! The link for the participating blogs is below, at the end of the post.

Since this is the last giveaway which starts in 2011, then I would like to wish you a very nice New Years Eve!




What can you win this time?

There will be one winner who can pick one January release from The Book Depository. It is an international giveaway as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.

Giveaway Details


In order to participate you need to be a follower of this blog, enter you name and email. That's mandatory entry.

Optional extra entries
+1 if you tweet about my giveaway and leave a direct link
+1 if you "Like" Me and Reading Facebook Page: Me and Reading in FB

All possible entries: 3

Winner will be announced in the blog latest on the 5th of January 2012.

I am posting this slightly earlier than other bloggers due to the time zone. I'm +6 till +12 hours ahead from the most of the participating bloggers.

Fill in the form to participate!









Behind the Screen (14)



Happy Thursday!

It was three weeks ago I last posted Behind the Screen post. Let's see what has happened.

While blogging:

As expected the Christmas week was slow with posting for me. I really enjoyed these couple of days I had with my family!

I was not able to post for two days since I was without electricity, so it influenced my planing a little and I was little delayed with some. This is what can happen - no chance to influence the weather! If I was ever asked what kind of superpower or supernatural I would love to have, it would be control over weather :)

Write a Holiday Short Story contest is over and the only thing, and the most important thing of course, what is left to do, is to announce the winners.

I also started posting the 2012 reading challenges. One post was published earlier and there are more to come.

While reading:

I am reading very fascinating book at the moment - The Sounding by Carri Salo - and even though the book is few hundred pages, it has taken me long time to reading it. It's one of these books which I am not able to read quickly - there are so many details, passages from The Bible, biblical facts. It feels like I am learning half of the history of the Catholic Church while reading. It's very interesting! Can't wait to see what the ending of the book brings.

Facts and numbers:


The most popular post this week has been Best of 2012 Giveaway Hop Post with 277 pageviews, the second popular post is Mid-Winters Eve Giveaway Hop with 246 hits. The third popular post is Write a Holiday Short Story - Helping Santa by Nicole Zoltack with 45 pageviews.
GFC followers increased from 1304 to 1443 during last three weeks. +139 followers.

The biggest number of visitors this week are from US - 667 hits, the second place goes to Germany with 133 hits and third place to Estonia with 111 hits and the fourth to Canada with 81 hits.

Last week there were visitors from 47 countries.

Page views all time history shows 40.988. That is +4960 pageviews! That makes an average of 236 daily views.

And that is it for today!

2012 Challenges (1) - 2012 Debut Author Challenge

Happy Thursday!

As promised, I am starting to post about the Reading Challenges I am participating during 2012.

First one I decided to participate was 2012 Debut Author Challenge which is organized and hosted by The Story Siren.

CHALLENGE OBJECTIVE:

•To read & review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels between the dates of January 1, 2012 – January 31, 2013.*
*The 2013 extension is so that December Debuts can be read and count toward the challenge.

•Any advance reader copies you read from 2012 BEFORE the January 1st start date DO NOT count toward the challenge!
•You can read twelve books in one month, or one book a month. It doesn’t matter as long as you have 12 read by the end of the year!

RULES & GUIDELINES:

•You must have a Blog to post your reviews or be a member of Goodreads. Youtube Book Reviewers count too!
•Your blog/video must be written in English.
•Deadline to join is May 31, 2012.

BOOK GUIDELINES:

•Must be a young adult or middle grade title.
•Must be the author’s YA or MG debut, released in 2012.
•If an author has a previous novel published for adults or children, they can still qualify for the challenge.
•If an author has a previous YA or MG title, they do not qualify for the challenge.

(All objectives, guidelines and rules are created by The Story Siren. Link is here: http://www.thestorysiren.com/2011/11/sign-ups-for-the-debut-author-challenge.html )

I am not yet sure what these twelve books will be, there are so many of the YA books which will be published in 2012 and which I would like to read. One thing is sure, there will definitely be 12 books!

Happy reading!





Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winner of Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop

Happy Wednesday!

It's time to announce the winner! Before I do that, I would like to thank I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Oasis For YA for organizing the giveaway hop!
There were 184 participants - thank you all for your good wishes!!!! I am sure that I will turn back to this giveaway's comments several times to read all what you wished for me! I wish you all the same, just triple it!!! Thanks for participating and having fun!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the winner!


The winner of Mid-Winters Eve blog Hop is:

Name: Irika

GFC: R.

Irika, now it's you turn to make a wish to me and I will send it to you from the Book Depository!

Congratulations!!! winner was picked by using random.org and has 48 hours to reply to my email. If no reply, I will pick another winner.

Thanks again for all participants!

Happy reading!




Wednesday Wonderings (9) - Year 2011 highlights


Happy Wednesday everybody!

Today I would like to share the highlights of 2011. Actually, the whole blogging has been an adventure for me, I really love it! It has given me so many new contacts, friends, experiences, joy, so it's even difficult to explain the feelings!

I started my blog in February 28 this year and the first post was called - The Very Beginning. Before that I have been blogging about my life generally in Estonian language, but I had many friends in US who shared my love for books and who encouraged me to start posting my reviews in the blog too. So the result is what you see today - a book blog.

This post today will be post number 320. I checked how many posts I have had during the year and this is how the numbers look like:

February - 1
March - 12 (At the end of March I had 4 followers!)
April - 32
May - 54
June - 29
July - 26 (approximately 700 followers)
August - 48
September - 11
October - 26
November - 47 (Reached 1000 followers!)
December - 33 (More than 1400 followers!)

In February I had no idea what my blog's content would be and I think during the summertime I already had a very clear picture. In the beginning I had no idea what is an ARC, what is a galley - I had to google it! :) Now it seems funny, but you have to start from somewhere! And I did and have no regrets what so ever!

In March I posted the first reviews and got knowledge to authors like Kristie Cook, Lisa Sanchez and Kate Kaynak.

In April I was participating in the very first giveaway hop which also brought lot of new followers because there were many blogs participating in this giveaway hop. I also joined in at Parajunkee's Follow Friday Blog Hop which was very useful for me to widen my horizon of other bloggers. Mid-April I found The Story Siren with her In My Mailbox where I have also participated gladly. I implemented Monday Look Forwards series and started to participate in Should Be Reading's Teaser Tuesday posts. I also had my very first author interview with the author of Six Moon Summer - S.M. Reine. I was so extremely happy when Sara agreed to interview and after that I think I got more courage, because I started to make more interviews. Next interview was with Lisa Sanchez which was followed by interview with Kristie Cook. I am still very grateful for these authors, because they were so friendly, so helpful, so kind. My respect towards the authors grew sky high after the experience with Sara, Lisa and Kristie. I will always have a special place in my heart for them!

As you can see, April was a month, when I started to understand what it meant to be a book blogger. In May I was posting a lot and as you saw above it was the record of monthly posts in May - 54. I learned about another wonderful author - Brenda Pandos - through her Talisman Series and thanks to her also posted my very first Cover Reveal post. It was another new experience for me. Since BEA 2011 was in May, I joined with BEA Armchair blogs and had several posts about BEA and blogging. I was also eagerly reading all blog posts posted by other bloggers to get as much information about BEA as possible. Through BEA Armchair I also gave my first interview to the fellow blogger and also dared to write my first guest post for Astrea Press' blog. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed writing something to other blog, especially to publisher's blog!!! In May I got acquainted with another very good author - Suzy Turner who made interview with me (my first interview given to an author as a blogger!) and Suzy is also one of the authors whom I dearly appreciate.

I June I started writing Wednesday Wondering posts and had first guest bloggers posting in Me and Reading.

July was important because I started to participate in blog tours and the first blog tour I participated was Jennifer Laurens' overprotected and my post was an interview with Jennifer. Short after that I got hooked with other blog tour organizers - Cedar Fort Publishing, The Bookish Snob Promotions and suddenly I had scheduled quite many blog tour posts. In July I also launched another weekly meme - Behind the Screen which I always enjoy writing. July also brought me to Lady Blogger Social Online Conference, which was an event for three days where I met other bloggers and which was very interesting for me. All the sessions where online. In July I had approximately 700 followers already. Besides all the above, I found another wonderful person through Twitter, it was Cheryl Kaye Tardif, the owner of Imajin Books. Cheryl is Canadian bestselling author and also a publisher. Thanks to Cheryl I got contacts to two other wonderful authors - Melodie Campbell and Alison Bruce. These two authors are also very close to my heart - they are wonderful persons and writers! Melodie, Cheryl and Alison actually brought me to Canadian contemporary literature and I am happy about it. I still keep a very close eye on Imajin Books' new releases!

August was a month of many reviews and guest bloggers. The biggest change in my blog was new design. I was finally ready to change the look of Me and Reading. I was so lucky, that it was Parajunkee's Design who designed my blog, because I was very very satisfied with the outcome. I still am! 

September and October were the months of travelling for me, first two weeks of vacation in Egypt and then business trip to Turkey. That is also the reason behind few posts in September, I simply did not want to spend my vacation behind the screen. October brought again many blog tour spots in my blog.

The biggest event in November was reaching 1000 followers and I managed to organize a big giveaway with 52 books and 23 authors. I really enjoyed making other people happy - that they can win books which I have been devouring in 2011. Besides that there were lot of blog tours again, I hosted 8 tours, which is so far the monthly record for me.

Even though December has still couple of days left, it has been lot of fun with several giveaways and I organized Write a Holiday Short Story contest. I need to post the winners during this week. I think it's nice that authors took time to write a story. I will definitely organize it again next year!

These were the highlights of Me and Reading's 2011. Don't get me wrong - there were a whole lot more of the highlights during the year, but these included "first of the first" experiences and events which were bigger than I expected.

I know for sure that 2012 will be also filled with blogging adventures! And I am sincerely looking forward to that!

Happy reading!



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday Look Forwards (20)

Happy Tuesday!

Since i did not have electricity yesterday, then my usual Monday post is coming today! Let's see what the week will bring!

Giveaways:

There are still two giveaway hops running, one of them ends today at midnight and the other just started today.
Mentioned giveaway hops are Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop and Best of 2011 Blog Hop 27-31 December. Loveswept Holiday Hop is continuing until 8th of January, so there is time to enter before it ends!

Besides giveaway hops, there is Fractured Light by author Rachel McClellan giveaway.
On the 31st of December I will launch another giveaway hop, I'm participating - Happy New Year Giveaway Hop which runs from 31st of December until 3rd of January 2012.

Blog Tours:

Today I posted a blog tour post - Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan which includes review of the book and giveaway. The link is above. Rachel McClellan also promised an interview so it will be posted within this week, as soon as I have answers from her. Looking very much forward to that!

Next blog tour stop will be on the 2nd of January and it will be Familiar Light Blog Tour by Sarah Ballance - review and excerpt from the book.


Write A Holiday Short Story Contest:

It is closed! I will announce the winners during the coming days. I am so happy that there were 5 authors who took time to write their stories. You still have time to comment the stories - at least until I have picked the winners! One of the winners is coming through the comments and the other I will pick myself.

Reviews:

I will do my best - that is a promise!

Challenges of 2012:

I will start posting Challenges of 2012 from tomorrow on, there are more than one that I will be participating in 2012 and I can't wait to start!

That's it so far!

Happy reading!

Christmas 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Today I would like to share with you how my Christmas went. I drove to my parents, who live on the West-coast of Estonia, Friday evening. It was nice to be home again, home at the place we I grew up. I always love visiting my parents. Friday evening was very nice, we just relaxed and talked about coming Christmas Eve.

On the 24th I did the last wrapping of Christmas presents and then helped my dad to carry all things needed to my sister's place which is almost next to my parents' apartment. My family always visit our ancestors, so we made a visit to the graveyard where my grandparents are buried and put some branches of Christmas tree and candles to their graves. I know that some people it is weird tradition, but I enjoy the peace and thousands of candles lit  in the graveyard during Christmas. It's like paying our respects for them and wishing them also nice Christmas.

Since I knew that it's going to be a long evening with Santa coming and opening all the presents and eating long dinner, I got my son to take a long nap before the Christmas Eve could start. You see, we celebrate Christmas on the evening of 24th, not on the 25th like in many other countries.

Christmas dinner was really nice. My sister and her husband had cooked a whole lot, so it was delicious and tasty! we agree every year, that we will not do many gifts, but again, there were LOTS of presents under the Christmas tree! Lots!!! The tradition in our family is, that you have to read a Christmas poem or sing a Christmas song in order to claim your presents, so it took very long time until the presents were given out. I got so many nice presents!!!!

On the 25th me and My sister went to the spa together with our kids. We spent several hours in different saunas and pools. it was so nice and relaxing after the previous night's dinner. Kids also enjoyed it a lot. After the spa I was so tired... but had no time because the family gathered again at my parent's home. so the eating and talking and enjoying the Christmas continued.

On the 26th I was driving back home. When I arrived, there was no electricity and no water. There was only 15 degrees of Celsius inside the house, so the evening continued with heating the house!

I really enjoyed my Christmas this year!!!

How did your Christmas went? Got some good presents? Enjoyed the time with your family? :)

Fractured Light Blog Tour with Rachel McClellan




Welcome to my stop at Fractured Light blog tour! Fractured Light blog tour is organized by Cedar Fort and by the author Rachel McClellan and it runs until 31st of December. My stop includes a review of Fractured Light and a giveaway.



Author: Rachel McClellan

Title: Fractured Light
Release date: 8th of February 2012
Published by: Cedar Fort Publishing
Imprint: Sweetwater Books
Reading level: FICTION – YA: Paranormal Romance
URL: http://www.rachelmcclellan.com/
Pages: 313 pages in PDF
Source: Book provided by the author and Cedar Fort for reviewing and blog tour

Summary:


I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.


Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.


As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.


In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

My review:

When I saw the book cover for the very first time, I thought that this looks interesting. When I got the invitation to the blog tour by cedar fort publishing and got to read the blurb, I was even surer that this is a book I want to read.

Rachel McClellan has created an interesting world of Auras, Vykens and Guardians. I enjoyed the book very much- it was easy to read, the characters were pleasant and interesting and the story was good!

Regarding the plot:

Llona seems like ordinary high school girl, but she has a secret that only her closest family knows: She is an Aura, a person who can manipulate and use light. Auras a supposed to use the light only for doing good and healing, but Llona needs to protect her from the shadows and needs to learn how to use her ability to fight and protect her.

The story starts with a school year in Bountiful where Llona is starting her last year in senior high. She has been keeping distance from other students because she is trying to hide who she really is and has promised that she will not reveal to anyone that she is an Aura. Llona’s mother died because of the ability of using light, and that has made Llona extremely careful.

As the story goes, Llona starts to make new friends. Step by step she starts to open up and by that making her more vulnerable. Llona also meets a young man – a new boy in the school – Christian who seems to take a special interest in Llona. When Llona falls in love with him, he turns her down, even though he keeps following Llona wherever she goes or whatever she does.

After strange things start to happen to Llona – people murdered around her and weird shadow following her – she knows that she needs either to move again or learn how to use her light to protect her.

The plot was captivating and interesting; I read the book in one sitting. I was getting more and more curious about who is the person in the shadows and what will happen to Llona. The story has a clear ending, but it seemed that there will be more books in the series. Fractured Light at least built up to that the author could write more books about Llona and Auras and Vykens.

Regarding the characters:

I really loved Llona. She had courage what was admirable. While other Auras never fight and learn how to hide you from Vykens, then Llona found the will and courage to start learning how to be different and how to protect her from the enemy. She had a spark and I think that Rachel did a very good ob with the main character!

I did not understand Christian in the beginning. I was annoyed by his way of overprotecting Llona and not knowing exactly what he wanted. After he reveals who he is to Llona, his character started to grow on me.

The supporting characters were wonderful! I absolutely adored May, Matt and James! They were well written and they did not just helped to develop the story, but they had a big role to carry in the book. They had their own stories and I sincerely hope that fractured Light is not the only book about them!

Generally:

Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan was a very good book. It had everything you would want to have in a paranormal and fantasy book for young adults – romance, action, interesting world the characters live in and last, but not least, a wonderfully created dialogue!
5 Flowers!
5 stars.

Information:

Author Blog: http://www.blackbirdinmywindow.blogspot.com/

Author Website: http://www.rachelmcclellan.com/
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelMcClellan
Publisher Blog http://www.cedarfortbooks.com/
Publisher Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cedarfortbooks
Publisher Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/cedarfortbooks
Publisher GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4202252-cedar-fort
 
Giveaway:
 
 
Cedar Fort Publishing and author Rachel McClellan have been so nice and agreed for giveaway. There will be one winner who wins Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan. In order to enter you need to leave a comment why you would like to win the book! Please remember to add your name and email!
 
Giveaway runs until 31st of December and the winner will be announced at the 1st or 2nd of January.
 
To participate in other stops, please visit following site where you can find all other participating blogs: http://www.cedarfortbooks.com/fractured-light-blog-tour/
 
Happy blog touring!
 

Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop 27 - 31 December


Welcome to Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop! This hop is organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and it runs from 27th - 31st of December. There are more than 100 blogs participating, it will be fun to read what are their favorites and at the same time have possibility to win books, too!

So, what were the best reads in 2011 for me? There were lots of them! I looked through all the 5 star reviews I have written during 2011 and there were 31 of them. Since I still have several reviews from 2011 which are not posted yet, then the number would be even higher - close to 40 I'd guess. Still, there are so many good books out there and it is very difficult for me to pick just one of them. I decided to go for a list out of which you can win books.




What can you win this time?


There will be three winners, each winner can pick one book from the list below. Books will be sent to you through The Book Depository!

List of the books where from you can win from:

The Picture by Stephanie Taylor
True Grime by Natasha Deen
Indivisible by Jessica McQuinn
Genesis by Kristie Cook
Consumption: A Novel by G.S. Johnston
Awaken Highland Warrior by Aneta Clenney
Fate fixed by Bonnie Erina Wheeler
Taboo by Casey Hill
Everblue by Brenda Pandos
Lancelot's Lady by Cherish D'Angelo
No Evidence of A Crime by S. Connell
Heartsight by Kay Springsteen
Rowena Through the Wall by Melodie Campbell
Scarlet Nights by Jude Deveraux
Raven by Suzy Turner
Bella by Steven Piacente

Giveaway Details

In order to participate you need to be a follower of this blog, enter you name and email in the comment area. That's mandatory entry.

+1 For optional entry write what was the best book of 2011 for you!
+1 For optional entry please write which book(s) from the list you would like to win.
All possible entries: 3

Winners will be announced during the first couple of days in 2012!

Happy reading!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review of Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon







Author: Melissa Lemon

Release date: 1st of November 2011
Published by: Cedar Fort
Imprint: Bonneville Books
Reading level: FICTION – YA: Fantasy, Fairytale
Pages: 208 pages in hardcover
Source: Won from the author through giveaway

Summary from Goodreads:



After her father's disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn't long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself. What Ella finds there starts a quest that will change her life and the entire kingdom. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other, and one you'll never forget.

My review:

I was very happy when I won Cinder and Ella and when the book finally popped into my mailbox. I had previously followed Cinder and Ella’s blog tour which was organized by Cedar Fort and saw quite many good and very good reviews. My expectations to this book were quite high. When I ended the book, I was little disappointed.

Be aware, that there are some spoilers below.



Regarding the plot and characters:

The plot was very good, it was retelling of Cinderella story from very different perspective, and actually it had only few things in common with Cinderella fairytale. I enjoyed the narrative even though there were some questions I did not get the answer while reading. Idea of the Cinder and Ella was very good.

Melissa Lemon turns the Cinderella into two sisters – Cinder and Ella. After their father disappears, Cinder is taking a job as a maid in the castle. She is loved, appreciated and noticed by the evil prince. Ella leaves home too and finds a job as a babysitter and caretaker of children of a nice and sweet family. When Cinder returns home, she finds out that Ella has left and neither her sister nor mother know where Ella is. Cinder is turning back to the castle and after one of the knights hears Cinder’s screams during her nightmares, he offer to help finding Ella.

This is how the story starts and it develops unpredictably. Both Cinder and Ella are put through several difficulties and adventures. But…

And now we come to the aspects which I had difficulties with. The story did not convince me. I was not drawn into the story even though the idea itself was very good. It was written in a way, that made characters superficial and superficial characters usually are unbelievable. I did not connect with any of the characters; I did not experience any feelings or emotions while reading. It seemed that the writing was technical and not able to convince me as a reader. The characters did not get life into them. They did not become alive and this was something that made an otherwise good idea into mechanical experience – the story was there, but no emotions. That is also the reason why I was disappointed.

Cinder and Ella gets 2 stars out of 5 from me and these two stars are for the idea of the plot. Brilliant idea with poor implementation.

5 Flowers!

Happy reading!



Write a Holiday Short Story - Helping Santa by Nicole Zoltack

Happy Thursday!

Time to post next Write a Holiday Short Story Contest story! Today I would like to welcome author Nicole Zoltack. Nicole is visiting my blog with her stories and books for the first time, so welcome, Nicole, to Me and Reading!!! I have actually visited Nicole's blog several times, if you are fan of fantasy, you will find lots of interesting things at her blog. Below the story you will find more information about her. 



Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Nicole Zoltack!
 

Helping Santa

By Nicole Zoltack



“Hey, Mom, what’s up?” Rebecca Williams asked through her blue tooth.

“Just calling to see how you are. Are you sure you want to be all alone for Christmas?”

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “Mom, I’ll be fine.”

“But Christmas is about spending time with loved ones.”

And Rebecca’s list of loved ones had shortened recently. She'd broken up with her boyfriend, Derek, last week. They were better off as just friends. “I’ll stop by on Christmas Eve to give you two your presents. Listen, I’m driving, gotta go. Love you, bye.”

Rebecca pressed the disconnect button and made a left turn, on her way to the mall to buy her parents’ said presents. Up ahead, a car was pulled over to the side, its four-ways on. She had to giggle when she saw the driver was dressed in Santa garb, complete with a beard, although he was far too lean to be a convincing Santa.

She pulled up behind him and parked her car. “Do you need any help?” she asked, even though she doubted she could do anything.

He glanced at her. “Ho ho… hello, Becca.”

His jovial laugh changed into a familiar voice.

“Jason?” Rebecca couldn’t believe it, but there was no mistaking the twinkling blue eyes. Jason Carter had been her high school sweetheart. “I mean, Santa?”

Jason had started to remove his beard but snapped it back into place. “Someone’s trying to get off my naughty list by helping me out.”

She laughed. How long had it been? Once or twice after graduation, at parties, when it had been strained and awkward since she had decided to go to a school across the country. She’d thought about him on and off over the years, and always compared her boyfriends to him. Didn’t all girls do that with their first love?

Rebecca cleared her throat. “Well, first, Santa, it’s Rebecca now. And what’s wrong?”

“I’m waiting for a tow. Got a flat.”

“Santa doesn’t know how to change a tire?”

He grimaced. “If only it was that easy.” He pointed to the frame, which was horribly bent, cutting into the tire, rendering the car undrivable. “The tow should be here any minute.”

“That’s good at least.”

“Yeah, but I have to get to the mall in a fifteen minutes.” He shook his head, and a dark lock of hair peeked out from beneath his white wig. “I don’t know how I’m gonna make it in time.”

“I’ll—”

Just then, the tow truck arrived. The driver, a short, pudgy man who would have made a great looking Santa if not for his dour expression, spoke with Jason for several minutes before hitching his car.

Jason walked over to Rebecca, who leaned against her car. “I’m sorry, I should have told you to leave. I’m fine.”

“Oh really? Is Grumpy gonna give you a ride to the mall?”

He shrugged. “I haven’t asked him yet.”

She snorted. “I don’t think he’ll be willing to. Doesn’t strike me as having the Christmas spirit.”

Jason winced. “The poor kids…” he muttered.

Rebecca’s heart warmed. The Jason she had known had thought all kids were terrors. The few times she had convinced him to help her babysit neighborhood kids had done nothing to change his mind. How else had Jason changed in the past almost ten years?

She smiled. “Santa, where’s your Christmas spirit? Hop in.”

“I don’t want to inconvenience you.”

“It’s not a problem, I was going to the mall myself.”

His grin was barely visible through his bushy white beard. “Great, hold on a sec, let me make sure that everything is squared away with Grumpy.” He winked.

She laughed and watched him walk away. The Santa suit, although precious, gave her no indication as to whether or not Jason still had the same athletic form he had had in high school. If only he would take off the costume…

With a blush, she returned to her car and started it, and the heat.

A minute later, Jason sat beside her, and they were on their way.

***

Jason snuck glances at Becca. Whoops, Rebecca. Her hair was just as bright a blond as it had been in high school, her brown eyes that same spark. Her heavy winter coat prevented him from seeing the rest of her, and his mind kept providing examples.

He coughed to clear his thoughts.

“Oh no, don’t tell me Santa’s getting sick,” she teased.

“I’m fine,” he said, his voice a little tight. “How have you been?”

“I’m fine,” she parroted, her voice still teasing.

“Good.” He wanted to pummel her with questions—when had she moved back home, was she living here now, was she seeing anyone…. But so much time had passed, he had no claim on her now.

Hell, he should have fought harder, changed her mind or gone out there with her. But he hadn’t been as smart as her, and although athletic, he hadn’t gotten a full scholarship anywhere, and had to go to a state school. Becca—Rebecca—had gotten into her dream school with several scholarships, and her parents had paid the little balance that remained.

“Quarter for your thoughts?”

“A whole quarter?” He yanked his beard down. It was scratchy and unbearable in the heat of the car, although he welcomed the warmth; he’d been waiting for the tow car for a good fifteen minutes before Becca—Rebecca—came along.

“Yes. I’m in a giving mood today.” She glanced over and smiled at him.

“Just thinking you’re an angel for helping me like this.” He winced. Could he sound more desperate?

“Just one of your helpers.” She pulled into the mall parking lot but instead of parking, she stopped at the front entrance. “Here you go.”

Dropping him off. So sweet, and yet he regretted the extra minute they could have had. “Thank you so much.” He readjusted his beard and then reached for the door handle.

“Wait a second.” She undid her braid and pulled out a few bobby pins. “Come here.”

Jason leaned over.

She lifted his wig and secured his hair back with the pins. Then she pulled his wig down. Cupping his cheeks, she moved his face left and right. “There,” she said with a satisfied nod. “Can’t have you destroying little ones’ dreams.”

He grinned. They were so close he hardly had to move to kiss her.

He glanced down at her hands. She was wearing gloves, making it impossible to know if she were engaged or married.

Jason gulped and pulled back as a large knot formed in his stomach. “You’re one helpful helper,” he said, his voice a little rougher than he intended. If Rebecca was married, she might even have a child by now, could be here to buy for him or her.

What the heck was wrong with him? He had loved Becca once, but they hadn’t spoken in almost ten years. How could his feelings for her still be so strong? “Now as long as you don’t do anything naughty, you can expect some nice presents from me on Christmas,” he said, prolonging their time together as long as possible.

She smiled but said nothing, and Jason opened the door and climbed out. After a wave, he said, “Thanks again,” turned around, and entered the mall.

***

Rebecca waited until he walked inside to drive away and find a parking spot. She turned the car off. With a groan, she pressed her forehead to the steering wheel. “Why?”

Jason had never left her tongue-tied before. That was some of the reason why they had been so perfect together in high school, despite their traveling in different circles, her a brain, him a jock. Lots of other crushes had left her stammering and red-faced, but not Jason.

“Does that mean you’ll be sneaking into my house?” she should have said to him. Light and flirty without being too over the top. “Or even, so I’ll be seeing you again?”

She banged her head into the steering wheel again, and her car honked. “I’m pathetic.”

Get it together, girl.

Rebecca walked into the mall. A blast of warm air hit her, and she untied her pea coat.

She rounded the corner, and there before her was Santa’s workshop. Tall, with a chimney, lots of garland, and a huge Christmas tree with presents beneath it, it looked every part of a magical scene.

A large line of excited children waited to see Santa. Rebecca walked around them. Hiding behind yet another Christmas tree, she spied Jason. He sat on a black chair, looking impressively heavy, a pillow most likely. A mom was trying to convince her little girl to sit on his lap.

Jason said something, and the girl laughed. She gave a shy smile and climbed onto his knee. He whispered into her ear, and the girl smiled widely. A flash and the mom exclaimed, “It’s perfect!”

Rebecca pressed a hand to her chest. She was nearing thirty, and she’d thought she would have started her family before now. Although she loved working as an accountant—math had always been her favorite subject—she had never wanted to only have a career. She’d returned home to start her own business, and it was flourishing nicely. What had Jason done since graduating?

Rebecca shook her head and walked away. She had shopping to do. Reminiscing and wishing wouldn’t change anything.

Maybe she would call her mom and tell her she would be coming over for Christmas after all. Being lonely never felt so lonesome before.

***

A couple of hours passed, and Jason stood and stretched.

Heather, the photographer, nodded. “The line’s not bad. Want a ten minute break?”

He nodded. “Please.”

He walked away after Heather put out the signs that said Santa was feeding his reindeer and would be back in a few minutes.

His back was sore but he couldn’t complain. The delighted smiles of the kids as they whispered their Christmas wish list to him more than made up for a little discomfort.

When his older brother had asked him to fill in this year because he was too busy with his newest family addition, Jason’d scoffed at the idea. To humor Jeff, he’d donned the suit for his nephews. After seeing little Rick gasp and believe, Jason readily agreed.

It wasn’t until Rick had been born three years ago that Jason loved a little kid. He even entertained the idea of becoming a father one day himself, if he could ever find the right woman.

That is, if he hadn’t already had her and lost her.

After high school, Jason studied and became a reporter. For the longest time, he struggled at the bottom of the ladder, but in the past two years, he had finally made some headway and earned the promotion of investigative reporter. His editor-in-chief had given his blessing for the Santa project, and Jason had been writing several seasonal pieces, ever since Thanksgiving had passed.

“Quarter for your thoughts?”

His heart skipped a beat as he whirled around.

Rebecca stood behind him. She held out a Cinnabon and an extra fork. “Santa needs some fattening up.”

He grinned. She wasn’t wearing gloves anymore. Even better, she wasn’t wearing a ring. After he shoved some cinnaminny goodness into his mouth, he said, “Actually, what Santa needs is a Mrs. Claus.”

“Excuse me?” Her eyes grew wide as saucers as they sat on a nearby bench.

“For pictures. On the weekends.” He nodded toward the workshop.

Her cheeks stained a bright pink. “I…”

“You don’t have to, Becca,” he rushed to add. “I’m sorry. Rebecca.”

“You can call me Becca.” She smiled, and her cheeks turned from pink to red. “Or Mrs. Claus on the weekends.”

He ho ho hoed as he pulled her close for a hug. She whispered something about this Christmas not being a lonely one after all.

Oh no, he definitely didn’t think it would be lonely. Santa and Mrs. Claus were made for each other, just like he suspected he and Becca were.



Author Bio:
Nicole Zoltack writes fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror, historical, for adults, YA, MG, and PB, novels, short stories, and flash pieces. She's also an editor for MuseItUp Publishing and eTreasures Publishing, and a freelance editor for Passionate Writer Publishing.

When she isn't writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending their unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb.

To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her website at http://www.nicolezoltack.com/ or her blog at http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/

Nicole's Links:

Website http://www.nicolezoltack.com/
Blog http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/
Twitter http://twitter.com/NicoleZoltack
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-Zoltack/93384618347
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2887586.Nicole_Zoltack
Her books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/mn/search/?ref_=nb_sb_noss&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nicole%20zoltack&x=0&y=0&rd=1

Woman of Honor:

Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.


Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.


The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.


Thank you so much, Nicole, for taking time and writing a short story! It is highly appreciated!


Dear readers, let's give some feedback to Nicole in the comments!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cover Reveal - Six Moon Summer and All Hallows Moon by S.M. Reine

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

I am so happy to share some news with you today. S.M. Reine, an author of Six Moon Summer and All Hallows Moon released her books with new covers. And I missed it! Sara, I know that you will be reading this, I am so terribly sorry! Better late than never, right?!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to present you the new covers of Six Moon Summer and All Hallows Moon! The new covers are absolutely stunning!




Congratulations! I think these new covers are beautiful! Second editions of these books with the new covers and new short stories will be available on January 6th, 2012.

Happy reading! And read Six Moon Summer and All Hallows Moon, because the next book in the series - Long Night Moon - is already on its way!


Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop 21-27 December

It's here! Welcome to Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop! This hop is organized by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Oasis For YA. There are more than 250 blogs participating and it runs from Dec 21st - 27th. My stop should be number 102 in the hop. 



What can you win this time?


Since this giveaway hop is running during the Christmas, I am making 1 of you wishes come true!!!
One person will win his or her Christmas wish from The Book Depository. You wish, pick a book and I will send it to you! It's kind of being Little Santa after Christmas time for you! :)

Giveaway Details

In order to participate you need to be a follower of this blog, enter you name and email in the comment area. That's mandatory entry.

+1 In case you wish something for me for the year 2012 in your comment, it will give you an extra entry. You have a chance to win a book, I have a chance to get lots of good wishes for 2012 :) It's a win-win situation, don't you think?!!

All possible entries: 2

I tried to make it as easy as possible, so use the comment area and add your email and if you want an extra entry, wish something good for me for 2012! You are allowed to be creative with your wishes, too. I don't mind at all!
 
The winner will be announced before 2011 ends!
Have fun and in case I don't see you here for the rest of 2011, then:
 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and to your beloved ones!!!
 
(Of course, I hope that you will come and visit my blog every day for the rest of 2011, because I will keep blogging!)
 
Happy hopping, happy winning, happy reading and Merry Christmas!
 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (18)


Time to tease! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week:

As far as I was concerned, this man had only one flaw: he was my math teacher. Mr. Steele. His name couldn’t have been more perfect, like a shiny metal gun sculpted for my hand. I shivered and continued to stare.

From Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan, page 20.

Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.



Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.


As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.


In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Happy reading!

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