Cover Madness Giveaway Hop

Xpresso Reads

The Cover Madness Giveaway Hop is hosted by Xpresso Reads and runs from July 1-14th, 2014.

As a participant, I am giving away one (1) hardback or paperback copy of the books listed below, depending upon availability.

Golden Son
Poison Fruit
Henna House 
The Mime Order
The Magician's Land
Waistcoats & Weaponry
How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back

One lucky winner will get to pick any of the books listed above OR choose the first in series as an alternate, if the cover shown is a sequel.

I specifically chose these books as they are all upcoming reads for the Casual Readers book club group on Goodreads.

US ONLY / Must be 18+ to enter.

Sorry, I couldn't afford international shipping at this time.

Please, read the Terms & Conditions listed in the widget below before entering.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Rafflecopter widget is not working. There is no way for me to check how many entries were not calculated properly. Winner will now be selected from the following entry form ONLY. My sincerest apologies for the inconvenience.

"Earlier this morning, there has been an issue that has been causing giveaway entries that were submitted after 2am EST to essentially get stuck in a queue. From your entrant’s perspective, it would look at first as if they entered and then after refreshing the page / giveaway widget, it would seem their entries didn’t in fact go through. Entrants wouldn’t see their entries “done” as they should.

The good news is that *all entries were collected, saved, and are currently being processed*. No entries were lost. All entry submissions that were sitting in line, waiting to be tallied, are being tallied now.

We calculate all entries to be completely processed in the next 1-2 hours. At that point, things will be back to normal." 
That being said, I have transferred all of the prior entries from the alternate widget to Rafflecopter. Therefore, none of your entries were lost during this unfortunate fiasco.

Make sure to visit the other participating blogs for more chances to win!

Swashbuckling Summer: A Pirate Books Event

It's time to celebrate EVERYTHING pirate-y...

Thanks to Oh Magic Hour & The Broke Book Girls, there are all kinds of bookish events taking place for the Swashbuckling Summer event.

There will be giveaways, guest posts, book reviews, author interviews and MOAR.

Make sure all you landlubbers stop by to check out all the loot!

Library Discovery #SLChallenge

This is the fourth week of the Summer Library Challenge hosted by The Book Monsters.
What have you discovered about your local library lately?

Here are a few interesting things about mine...

Best Children's Program = Dial-A-Story

Dial a story 

Terrific Teen Event = Star Wars Afternoon

Fantastic Family Fun = The Magic of Science


Read. Learn. Connect.

Wishlist Wednesday #2

My wishlist is always growing, and I update it frequently.

Here are a few first-in-series that I really, really want!


So what do you need to do to join in?
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to put on your shelves.
  • Post your wishlist telling your readers about the book(s).
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the host post.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post noting that they are hosting the meme.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

International Fairy Day

Happy International Fairy Day!

Yes, it's a real thing. I checked.

Not sure what to read for this joyous occasion?

Fae is a new anthology to get you started...

 One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother's fairy tales.

Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They've dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. Fae is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies and modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis.

Fae covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters. Enjoy the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale alongside urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist.

What are some of your favorite fairy reads?

The Book Blogger Test

I've seen this floating around for quite some time and wondered how long it would take before I got tagged.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a post by Laura Plus Books that brilliantly tagged all readers by saying,
"Literally, just say I tagged you!"

Wait, this is a test?

Just kidding!

It is impossible to pass or fail. There are no wrong answers.
The point is to learn more about your fellow book bloggers and have some fun.

Here goes...

What are your top three book pet (peeves) hates?

Bodice ripping. Grammatical errors. Love triangles.

Describe your perfect reading spot.

I usually just curl up anywhere comfy. This, however, would be more than perfect:

Tell us three bookish confessions.

I can't remember most of the classics that were required reading.
Shocker, I have never read Harry Potter.
I rarely read romance novels.

When was the last time you cried while reading a book?

Recently, at the end of We Were Liars.

How many books are on your bedside table?

Right now, ten.

What is your favorite snack while eating?

I never eat or drink while reading. Weird, right?

Name three books you would recommend to EVERYONE.

The Hobbit
A Game of Thrones
To Kill a Mockingbird

Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.

I do not have shelves; I have piles. Most of my library is in the cloud.
This is what I wish my bookshelves looked like:

Write how much books mean to you in just three words.


What is your biggest reading secret?

Spreadsheets! I would never be able to keep track of all my scheduled ARC and book club reads without one.

Now, it's your turn...

I am choosing not to tag anyone. Consider yourself officially tagged. Almost always the response to this type of meme is that those tagged have already participated. If you haven't had the pleasure of answering these questions yet, feel free to just jump right in. Please, remember to comment here. I would hate to miss out on reading all of your fabulous answers!

Wishlist Wednesday #1

My wishlist is always growing, and I update it frequently.

Here are just a few that I really, really want!

  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to put on your shelves.
  • Post your wishlist telling your readers about the book(s).
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the host post.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post noting that they are hosting the meme.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

REVIEW: The Line

The Line (Witching Savannah, #1)

Mercy Taylor, the youngest member of Savannah’s preeminent witching family, was born without the gift of magic. She is accustomed to coming in a distant second to the minutes older, exquisite and gifted twin she adores.

Aunt Ginny, the family’s matriarch, is murdered which compromises the line that separates humankind from the dark forces that once ruled our realm.
Mercy, entangled in the blood magic of a love spell, fighting for her family's trust, and hopelessly without even a smidgen of her own magic, struggles to protect those dearest to her.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is true Southern gothic wrapped in highfalutin Savannah sass. And, oh, is it wicked! 

If you're not into love triangles, you're probably not into love pentagrams either. Therefore, this might not be the right book for you. It gets a bit saucy with the swapping, if you know what I mean.

Some things were predictable. Other things made me facepalm. 

Overall, it was a very enjoyable and entertaining read.

I feel that the author anchored the story with this first book, and I have even higher hopes for the rest of the series.

Moving right along to...

*I purchased this copy myself, and opinions are mine alone.

Summer Read-A-Thon #SLChallenge

This week's Summer Library Challenge post is about my goals.
I plan to read at least 10 books before the end of the challenge on July 31st!

Granted, none of these are actually from my library, but does that really matter?

If didn't already have these books in my possession, I might have time to check out a few more.

I am in desperate need of therapy for my horrible 1-click habit at Amazon, and my NetGalley reading list is OUT OF CONTROL!

I'm not sure if I'll finish the entire MaddAddam trilogy, but I'm still gonna give it a go.
What are you reading this summer?

A Novel Giveaway

 Whenever I find new (to me) and really awesome stuff, I like to share this information with my readers.

0s & 1s Novels is a digital publisher for truly independent, pro-author, green & above all, ambitious books.

PRIZE = Gift voucher as pictured below for three (3) books from 0s & 1s Novels.

Hurry, this giveaway ends soon. Good luck!

Top 10 Summer Reads of 2014

These are the books we can't wait to read this summer!
  1. Highlander Avenged
  2. Rogues
  3. Fool's Assassin
  4. Unwept
  5. The Glass Kitchen
  6. I Am Livia
  7. The Girl with All the Gifts
  8. How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back
  9. Henna House
  10. Landline 
Each week, The Broke and Bookish inspires a Top 10 Tuesday list.
  Our responses are group member generated.

BOOK SWAP: Christmas in July


Send at least one (1) book and something else fun for your partner that they would like.
The package must include a book from their wishlist.
If you want to send them a second, that is at your discretion.

  • Sign-Ups Start: Monday, June 16th at 12AM
  • Sign-Ups End: Monday, June 30th at 12AM
  • First Post MUST be Posted by: Tuesday, July 1st at 12AM
  • Partners assigned: Wednesday, July 2nd
  • Packages Shipped: Friday, July 18th & Saturday July 19th
  • Show-Off Linky Opens: Wednesday, July 23rd
  • Show-Off Linky Closes: Friday, August 1st

Christmas in July Book Swap Rules
  • After being accepted, you must post on your blog saying you’re participating. Post must include the button/link back to the sign-ups and must be posted by July 1st.
  • Packages must include at least 1 book and 1 other item from your partner’s wishlist. 
  • Send things that fit your partner’s preferences.
  • Packages must cost $10-$20 before shipping, to ensure relative value.
  • You must respond to emails from the swap hosts within a timely fashion.
  • Packages MUST be mailed on or before July 18th/19th.
  • You must send a tracking number for your package to your partner and to us at The Book Monsters.
  • Please post and link up your swap reveal post. 

Please do not sign up for this swap if you cannot fulfill your obligation to the rules above.

We don’t want anyone to be left out and not receive a package, especially after sending one. 
If for any reason you become unable to participate YOU MUST CONTACT US ( immediately so we can work out another arrangement. 

*Failure to send a package, contact us, or to link up a reveal post, will result in blacklisting for all future swaps.

Please note: Non-US-based swappers can only be accepted if we have enough folks willing to ship internationally (it’s an extra expense that not everyone can cover). We appreciate your understanding and patience, and we truly do hope to accommodate all swappers!

MISTRESS OF LIES: Cover Reveal Giveaway

Mistress of Lies
Mistress of Fortune #2

London, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.
Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.
Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried—especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

Holly West is a crime fiction author based in Los Angeles. She’s the author of the 

Mistress of Fortune series, set in late 17th London and featuring amateur sleuth Isabel 
Wilde, a mistress to King Charles II who secretly makes her living as a fortuneteller. The 

first in the series, Mistress of Fortune, was published by Harlequin’s Carina Press in 
February 2014 and its sequel, Mistress of Lies, is forthcoming in Fall 2014.


Giveaway is open Internationally.
Must be 13+ to Enter

Enter Rafflecopter Giveaway

Bookish Throwback Thursday Explained

Some of you have been asking me about the Throwback Thursday meme for the bookish.

It's fairly simple, here are the rules:

  1. Feature a book that was published more than a year ago, the older the better.
  2. It must be a book that you have re-read at least once.
  3. Explain to your readers why this book is worth reading over and over again.
  4. Tag four people in your post to share their favorite throwback the following week.

The goal is to discover new books and find the awesome ones we may have somehow missed along the way. 

Most of all, have fun!

REVIEW: Annihilation

Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy, #1)
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the strangest eco-thriller that I've ever read! Okay, the only one. 

If you liked The Ruins, you'll love Annihilation.

You should know that everyone in this book remains nameless. Weird, right? Don't worry, it only gets weirder.

 There are living words, rogue spores, invisible borders and otherworldly doors.

There are many unidentified creatures, too. 

Some crawl, some molt and others just run through the reeds shrieking.

Is it a tower or a tunnel? Only you can decide.

This was a very disturbing read for me but a quick one. If not for the superb writing, the story itself probably wouldn't have kept me so engaged. I am still unclear about pretty much everything about this book (but in a good way). The narrator is unreliable and verbally reminds the reader of this frequently.

Overall, I honestly liked this book. I will at least try to read the next in series. My curiosity always gets the better of me. Will I make it to book three? Only time will tell. My secret self hopes there is some dramatic twist that completely blows my mind.

*I purchased this copy myself, and opinions are mine alone.

Liebster Award Nomination #2

Casual Readers has again been nominated for the Liebster Award!

We were actually nominated TWICE this week by Craving Books & Bookality.

The rules are pretty simple...
  1. List 11 facts about yourself. 
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked by whoever nominated you. 
  3. Nominate 9 bloggers with less than 300 followers and leave them a comment saying they've been nominated. 
  4. Ask 11 new questions for your chosen nominees. 
  5. You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you.
Here goes...
  1. My name is Amber.
  2. My favorite color is purple.
  3. My teenage son is a genius!
  4. My eyes are actually amber-colored.
  5. My favorite place to read is at the beach.
  6. My favorite city in the world is Florence, Italy.
  7. My husband thinks I'm crazy but loves me anyway.
  8. My family and I live on a farm, but we aren't farmers.
  9. My favorite snack is tortilla chips with fresh guacamole.
  10. My parents are deceased, and I miss them both every single day.
  11. My favorite guilty pleasure is watching reality shows about gypsies and little people.
    Craving Books Q & A
    1. If you had to be the main character of a book, what genre would you want it to be? FANTASY!
    2. Which character are you most alike?I get this question a lot but still haven't formulated an answer.
    3. If you had the chance to slap one character, who would it be and why? Joffrey! Doesn't everyone?
    4. If you could revive one character, who would it be and why? I refuse to answer this question on the grounds of extreme spoilery.
    5. What book really let you down? I don't really read many buzz books so am rarely disappointed in those I choose to read.
    6. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation? The Princess Bride! And the one you dislike the most? Twilight. I still haven't seen all the movies as I lost interest after reading the series.
    7. What book would you want to be made into a movie/TV show? Daughter of Smoke & Bone!
    8. Who is your favorite author and why? It is impossible to choose just one! You can find a list of most of them here.
    9. What is the book that made you cry the most? The Book Thief made me bawl like a baby.
    10. What do you like to do when you read? Nothing, I don't like to have any distractions when I'm into a good book.
    11. Ebooks, hardcovers or paperbacks? My Kindle is my best friend.
    Bookality Q & A 
    1. Why did you start blogging? Let's just say before social media existed.
    2. What do you want to get from blogging? I blog for sheer pleasure. My goal is to have fun and get more people to interact with one another in our Goodreads group. I love to talk about books!
    3. What is your favorite book series? Hmm. Of all time, The Chronicles of Narnia. Currently, A Song of Ice and Fire.
    4. What is your favorite book genre? FANTASY!
    5. What is your favorite TV or movie adaptation of a book? Answered above.
    6. Do you buy books or do you borrow from your local library? I get most of my books through NetGalley, but I also have a horrible Amazon addiction. I only checkout books from my local library digitally.
    7. What book do you recommend the most? One of my favorite reads (so far) this year was We Were Liars.
    8. What book do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time reading? This is the only book I've abandoned in a very long time. I'm being nice and not mentioning it by name, but the curious can click if necessary.
    9. When you don’t like a book you are reading, do you finish it or bear through it? I almost always push through until the bitter end with futile hopes that it will get better.
    10. What is your favorite thing about blogging? Making new friends like you guys!
    11. What is your favorite kind of book to relax with? I read just about everything. Usually, I don't read books deemed relaxing as that would totally put me to sleep. The more action the better!
    And the nominees are...
    1. Christina @ Booksniffer
    2. Christine @ Bibliophilic Madness
    3. Tina @ Pages of Comfort
    4. Laura @ The Book Junkie
    5. Amanda @ Go Book Yourself
    6. Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
    7. Ashtyn @ Wonderland's Reader
    8. Christy @ Captivated Reading
    9. Sarah @ Words With Sarah
     Congrats, now answer these questions...
    1. What is your favorite book from childhood?
    2. What are you reading right now?
    3. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
    4. What is the best book you've read so far this year?
    5. What is the worst book you've read so far this year?
    6. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
    7. What is your favorite genre?
    8. Has hype ever ruined your reading experience?
    9. What is the most intimidating book that you've ever read?
    10. How do you organize your bookshelves?
    11. Has a book ever made you so mad that you found yourself yelling at the characters?

    Whew, that was fun! I can't wait to read what the other nominees have to say.

    A huge thank you to Craving Books & Bookality for the nominations.

    Make sure to check out BOTH blogs, because they're awesome!

    Feature & Follow: Armchair Travel

    The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read.

    The goal is to increase blog followers and make friends.

    Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow those featured.

    You must also follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy.


    Tell us about your favorite book in a setting you’d like to visit (a real place for this question).


    Oh noes! A real place? That's a hard one as I read a LOT of fantasy.

    I recently finished reading the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, so the non-fictional place I would love to visit is Prague.

    Laini Taylor makes it sound so magical, especially in the Night of Cake & Puppets.

    I simply adored Mik & Zuzana's love story!

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