All good things must come to an end . . .

Even the 50K Giveaway Bonanza.

On December 6, 2010 the blog hit 50,000 views. Because of you, dear readers. Since then, to celebrate I’ve been giving away one book each week. Until now.

I can no longer afford the postage to host the weekly giveaways.

I had a great time hosting the giveaways and reading all of the lovely comments for each of them. It was really the perfect way to celebrate this amazing milestone for me and the blog. Thank you for helping me come so far and sharing the celebration with me.

Things at the blog will continue running normally–just without weekly giveaways.

If you are a member of Goodreads I will be listing books there through their bookswap feature. It’s easier for me to manage since I don’t have to pay shipping and it’s easier for people looking for books because you can search by title. (Each book costs the requester $3.50 to $4.50) The book swapping is a fun, clever feature on a fun, clever site and I recommend all of you check it out for books at a fair price. And also, of course, to share some of your own books.

It’s been great and it will continue to be great. Thank you, dear readers, for being so very, very awesome.

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Hush, Hush: A (Rapid Fire) Review

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (2009)

Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickI just couldn’t get into this book, I wanted to but it just wasn’t happening.

Mostly it’s my fault: I’m burnt out on paranormal romances and I have my own problems with angel stories.

But it’s also a little bit the books fault because I’m tired of books with smart, generally reasonable, heroines who seem to completely lose their minds and fall for not only a dangerous guy who spells trouble with a capital T (no, really, Nora says that in the book; his smile spells trouble), but a dangerous guy who spells trouble and starts off by acting like a complete jerk to her. The idea of a girl not being attracted to any of the local boys only to become attracted to an outsider jerk is troubling and problematic on many levels outside of the realm of this actual story. But getting back to Hush, Hush it was just kind of annoying.

Aside from that, and again this is something I should have known already, books about angels are necessarily religious because they borrow (duh) from biblical mythology and lore. Which is fine. But when you are not religious and don’t have that foundation it tends to make for a problematic reading experience. I had similar problems with Halo by Alexandra Adornetto.

Problems aside, the writing here feels solid. There’s suspense, action, romance (obviously and albeit problematically). Nora isn’t completely annoying (except for the whole falling for a jerk thing), the book will have appeal–just not for me.

The book design (aptly done by Lucy Ruth Cummins is also worth mentioning. I don’t love the cover art because it’s a bit, well, scary. But the fonts on the cover and in the book are very attractive*. The book pages feature a reverse design with the title and author name at the bottom with the page numbers instead of the top which also made things interesting.

*I have no idea which is which but if anyone cares the fonts used in the book are Seria, Lunix and Aviano.

From our Gift Cottage: Blue Teardrop Cloisonné Pendant

This is a weekly feature exhibiting different handmade jewelry items available for sale at my mom’s Etsy shop: Diane and Emma’s Gift Cottage. (She’s Diane and I’m Emma. We make jewelry–together!)

This week I’m featuring a pretty Cloisonné pendant:

This stunning Cloisonné teardrop pendant is a very large 3 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches across at the widest part. The flower pattern is done in shades of blue and white with gold details. (The design is the same on both sides of this puffy teardrop pendant.) The bale is hand wrapped gold wire and measures 3/16 of an inch.

Cloisonné is a centuries-old technique that requires skilled artisans to arrange dozens of tiny cells on a brass surface, and layer by layer, fill-in the cells with a durable colored enamel, then fire to finish. Gold-color edges are a beautiful contrast to the bright artwork found on each double-sided piece.

This cameo is available for sale on Etsy. (And so is a pair of matching earrings.)

You can see our full inventory of Cloisonné here.

Don’t forget to check out the Gift Cottage’s full inventory for more great jewelry.

Wicked Appetite: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Wicked Appetite by Janey EvanovichLizzy Tucker’s life finally seems to be back on track. She has a cute nose, a job she loves baking cupcakes, and she just inherited a lovely new house in Marblehead near Salem, Massachusetts. Sure, the house is all saggy and needs a new foundation and no one is eager to publish her cookbook. But things are normal. And normal is good.

Normal is good while it lasts, anyway.

Things go sideways when a man named Gerwulf Grimooire shows up at Lizzy’s work and burns her skin. With his bare hand.

Turns out her encounter with Wulf is just the beginning.

Before she can say “buttercream icing” another man with weird abilities (and really good looks) named Diesel has wandered into Lizzy’s life and enlisted her to help find a a magical stone before Wulf can get his hands on it. Then she also acquires a one eyed cat. And a monkey.

Lizzy’s normal life has suddenly turned into chaos, most of which she can handle–except maybe for Diesel in Wicked Appetite (2010) by Janet Evanovich.

Wicked Appetite is the first book in Evanovich’s new Unmentionable series. Diesel was previously seen in the author’s “Between the Numbers” novels alongside Stephanie Plum.

My mom is a huge fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books. I like them but I stopped reading after the latest one*. When I heard she had a new series out, I got the book immediately for my mom. She enjoyed Wicked Appetite but thought it might be more my kind of book. She was right.

Wicked Appetite has all of the things readers loved from the Stephanie Plum books including humor, romance, wacky situations, and a clever story. But it also has fantasy elements. The premise isn’t the best (I cracked up every time the word SALIGIA appeared in the story) but it’s pretty good. So far there’s not an annoying love triangle although there is a massive amount of tension between Lizzy and Diesel. The side characters are funny and not quite as cartoon-y as the crew from the Stephanie Plum books. It feels strange to say it about a fantasy but in a lot of ways Wicked Appetite felt like a subtler, somewhat more plausible (except for the magic parts) premise.

If you don’t like Stephanie Plum, you won’t like this book. If you don’t like “soft” fantasy where magic bleeds into an otherwise normal world, you won’t like this book. If you don’t like snappy writing that is all about the story and less about coming off as literary prose, you won’t like this book.

BUT

If you want an exciting story with fun characters, you might like it. If you want a book that will leave you not just smiling but laughing out loud, you might really like it. If you want a book that does all of that and is a good bridge into the wider world of fantasy books, you might love Wicked Appetite.

*I was also rendered apopleptic after hearing that Morelli–the Italianest Italian in New Jersey–is being played by an Irish-from-Dublin actor. But that’s another story.

Blog Book Giveaway: Swoon at Your Own Risk[CLOSED]

This giveaway is for one advanced reader copy (ARC) of Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter.

Want to know more? Read my review.

The giveaway is open to US readers only (sorry!) and will end January 30. The winner will be notified via email on January 30 .

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below (with a valid email in the form area) saying why you would like to read the book.

 

The winner will be selected via random number generator by Maple the Palm Pre.

Congratulations to the winner!

Coming Soon: Rapid Fire Reviews

I’m completely backed up with books to read and review. I have books that have, literally, been on my shelves for two years. It’s driving me nuts.

In an effort to get this back under control you might see some reviews that I am calling “rapid fire” reviews which instead of being complete reviews will feature my immediate thoughts and . . . nothing else (no summary, no pairings, nothing). Because I’m trying to write them quickly. Also because most of the books are so old that the plots are already common knowledge.

Some of the reviews will be unpolished. Some will not have anything nice to say. But they will be honest. The rapid fire ones are books I literally must review but also need to get out of my house for my own sanity. And, of course, I will continue with regularly scheduled reviews.

From our Gift Cottage: Cameo with Pensive Woman

This is a weekly feature exhibiting different handmade jewelry items available for sale at my mom’s Etsy shop: Diane and Emma’s Gift Cottage. (She’s Diane and I’m Emma. We make jewelry–together!)

This week I’m featuring a unique cameo pin:

This resin cameo measures a large 1 1/2″ by 2″. The setting is antiqued silver plate and include a bale and a pin so the cameo can be worn as either a pin or a pendant.

This unique piece features a woman staring pensively to the side of the cameo. She is dressed in 18th century attire. The cameo is finely detailed so that you can see the nuances of her expression and even the ruffles on her sleeves. Many cameos feature woman in a bust style (from the shoulders up), this cameo is one of the few I’ve seen that shows more of the woman. The girl’s expression makes this a fun cameo and an original piece to add to your jewelry collection. It’s also sure to be a conversation starter!

This cameo is available for sale on Etsy.

You can see our full inventory of cameos here.

Don’t forget to check out the Gift Cottage’s full inventory for more great jewelry.