Current Giveaways

-Tommy Black & the Staff of Light Giveaway: win a print or ebook copy (2 winners, open INT)

My Review/Request Policy has been updated. Please read it before you send a request. Review requests are currently closed, although interview, guest posts, blog tour, and giveaway requests are still open.

Friday, September 30, 2011

NEW MEME: SPECIAL SOMEONE SATURDAY {1}

I'm excited to participate in and share with all of you a brand new Saturday meme...

Special Someone Saturday...is a weekly Saturday meme hosted by Fishy over at The Reading Fish that gives readers a chance to gush about all the awesome book guys and gals they met that week!

You can participate too! Here are all the details from Miss Fishy:
~You can join me and gush over amazing people on your blogs :D

~Just fill out the link on the bottom (over at The Reading Fish) :D
~ We can make this a follow blog hop, so people can jump post to post and visit your amazing blog!
~And lastly add the button (above) if you would like ! Or you can make your own !

Meme Kickoff Question of the Week
Who is your all time favorite character in the world? And why Him(Her)? ( And it would be awesome if you put a picture too, of what you think they look like!)

Eeek! This is a great question! But do I really have to pick only one character?! Ok, I'll try. Well let's see, I have MANY fave characters: Anne of Green Gables, Arya Stark and Jon Snow from A Song of Ice and Fire, Winnie Perry from Lauren Myracle's Winnie series, Fred and George Weasley, and the list could go on and on. BUT, my all time, absolute favorite character is....
Miss Hermione Jean Granger

To me, Hermione is one of the best developed, easily relatable, awesome characters ever! I love her intelligence, courage, compassion, unwavering loyalty, and determination. She is an incredibly positive role model for girls and truly an inspirational character. I want to go to Hogwarts so I can be 'Mione's BFF.

Of course in my head Hermione has always looked like the lovely and talented Emma Watson. Wanna know a secret? I have a HUGE crush on both Hermione and Emma ;) LOVE THEM









WHAT ABOUT YOU?! WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER?

~Make sure you stop by The Reading Fish and join in the Special Someone fun!~



TGIF {5}, BOOK BLOGGER HOP {5}, FEATURE AND FOLLOW FRIDAY {6}





TGIF... is a weekly meme hosted by GReads to re-cap the week's posts & to propose a question for followers. 




Brief Blog Recap
*click on title to read review*
Review
Slayers by C.J Hill: My Rating 4/5 Cupcakes
Fairy Metal Thunder (Songs of Magic #1)  by J.L. Bryan: My Rating 4/5 Cupcakes

Review and Author Interview
The Waking Grove by E.S. Lark: My Rating 5/5 Cupcakes

Review, Author Interview, Giveaway
The Protectors (The Protectors Saga #1) by P.M. Dooling: My Rating 5/5 Cupcakes
You can enter to win ecopies of Books 2 & 3 in the series from Dooling (book 1 is free on Smashwords). Giveaway ends TONIGHT at 11:59pm

Character Interview
Melina the dryad from The Waking Grove


This Friday's Question:

Banned Books: How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books?

I am completely against censorship in any form, especially when it comes to books. No one has the right to tell someone else what they can or cannot choose to read...except for parents and guardians who should have the only say on what their child does or does not read. I can understand why people feel the need to ban certain books and I think they do it out of fear and a naive, misplaced notion that they are somehow protecting children. But really, they are keeping their children from learning valuable life lessons and experiencing the beauty of some of the most powerful, needed books written. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but those opinions should not be forced upon others, including the education system. Again, I think it's ultimately up to a parent to decide what their children are allowed to be exposed to.





Book Blogger Hop...is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books that gives book bloggers the chance to discover, support, and connect with fellow book bloggers and book lovers.







This Week's Question
“In honor of Banned Books Week, what is your favorite “banned or frequently challenged book”?”

Cut
Patricia McCormick

I have a lot of favorite banned books, but Cut is definitely one of my top 3 faves. I talk about this book a lot. Like A LOT! But that's because it's one book that has continued to move me, inspire me, and force me to think. It's a powerful book that explores a topic that is very personal to me and does so with such honesty, vulnerability and beauty. I will never get tired of reading this book or recommending it to everyone, especially teens.












Feature and Follow Friday... is a blog hop, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, that allows book bloggers to discover and connect with other book bloggers.






This week's featured blogs are:



Photobucket




Q. What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?


I LOVE this question and my answer is Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I adore this series and it would make for a fantastical, fun, thrilling movie on the big screen. I'd love to see all the magical beings and to see the actual Fablehaven sanctuary come to life. Now, I've heard rumors that this book is going to be made into a movie, but there hasn't been any official word that I know of. 

Now for casting, the two most important characters would be Kendra and Seth Sorenson. My dream casting for these two characters would be:

Kendra: Hailee Steinfield 

Seth: Nolan Gould


Thursday, September 29, 2011

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: MELINA FROM THE WAKING GROVE



Last week I shared with you my review of The Waking Grove and my interview with the lovely and talented author E.S. Lark, both of which can be found here


Well today, I am very excited to be sitting here with Melina, the dryad of the Waking Grove herself. She has agreed to talk with me and answer a few questions. So let's get to know this beautiful character a bit more...


Before we begin, I just want to thank you Melina for allowing me into the Waking Grove today. Your home is quite beautiful. And please tell Samara I say hello.

As a dryad you have a very special connection to nature, and especially to your Waking Grove. What do you love best about being a dryad? What do you love most about your home?

I believe the thing I love most about being a dryad is the bond I share with Samara as well as the other trees. With their leaves and roots, I can learn about anyone in the Grove. If someone’s injured, the trees alert me so I can go to them.
As for what I love most, it’s the company I share within my Grove. They don’t have to stay here with me, but I’m eternally thankful to those that do. I’d be terribly lonely without my friends.

I envy your relationship with the trees Melina. It must be amazing to to be able to communicate with such beautiful and wise beings.

Growing up, if you had been given the chance to leave your Waking Grove and not be bound to it for life, would you have left for good? Would you have stayed? Or would you have left occasionally, like going on vacation, but always coming home to your Grove?

It’s difficult to say if I would’ve left at all, if I’d had the choice. I admit there were times when I wanted to see what was beyond my Grove, but at the same time, the druids always warned of the dangers outside. I don’t think I would have left unless I had to.

I understand, the Grove has been your home for so long. It would be most difficult to leave it.

And speaking of vacations, what is a dryad’s ideal vacation? Where would you love to visit? What would you want to do there?

I’d love to visit another’s Grove. It’s rumored there are other dryads out there, much like myself. I think I’d like to meet one and see the kind of forest she keeps. What would I do when I got there? Try not to eavesdrops on her trees and remember that I’m there as a guest, not as the Grove’s dryad.

I'm sure her Grove wouldn't be nearly as lovely as yours.

You are friends with and know many different beings: druids, elves, familiars, humans, trees, animals. Have you ever wished that you weren’t a dryad, but perhaps one of these beings instead? Why or why not?

I’ve always wanted to be a druid because of their beauty, wisdom, strength and transformation. I envy Talakar’s ability of turning into a bear, of staying warm whenever he wants. And I’m jealous of Danae’s gift of turning into a great bird and being able to fly far above my Grove.

It would be amazing to be able to shift into an animal, especially one that could fly.

Your relationship with Talakar is, well kind of complicated. Can you talk about this relationship? Why do you love him? Have you ever dreamt of just running away to be with him? Have you ever found yourself attracted to someone who was not Talakar? One of the elves, or Kithric perhaps?

Complicated is the right word. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know Talakar. He cared for me when I was a sapling and nested with me until I was old enough to nest on my own. I miss feeling his fur against my bare skin as he’d become a bear most nights to keep me warm.
I love him because I’ve never felt so bonded with another. Even if he leaves the Grove for months at a time, no one else has filled his place in my heart. There were times, such as a kiss or just lounging next to one another, where a large part of me would want to run away with him. But I always have my responsibilities and even if I could ignore them all and go with him, he’d never let me.
It’s a very difficult relationship. We both know how important it is for me to remain within the Grove, but he cannot stay here all the time either.

You and Talakar have sacrificed so much, but your ability to love and remain loyal to one another through it all is inspiring.

Do you have a favorite memory from your childhood?

When I was about the size of a young human child, Talakar would lift me into his arms and throw me in the air. After he was done, he’d pull me in close, rumble under his breath and turn into the bear I’m so fond of.

I have fond memories of my father doing the same when I was child...except for turning into a bear of course. Although, he sure could snore like one!

What do you like to do for fun? Do you have any hobbies?

Even though it requires a bit of energy, I enjoy growing things within my Grove. I like to weave flowers along the banks of our stream or around the trunks of my trees. Unfortunately, there’s never as much time as I’d like for having such a hobby. I do it as often as I can without putting myself or the Grove at risk.

After seeing your flowers in person, I can understand why you love to grow them so much.

If you were to throw a party here in the Waking Grove- which would make for an awesome party venue- say a surprise birthday party (my birthday is Oct. 23…just saying), what kinds of food would you serve? Is there a Waking Grove specialty? And what kind of music would you play? Do you have a favorite song?

*The dryad cants her head to one side and smiles softly* You mean outside of the Dryad Ceremony? The few celebrations we have here are always a delight. The elves hang such beautiful lanterns all around the Grove’s clearing. Large torches stand above the ground, lighting paths from every corner of the forest.
The meals include the deer outside the Grove, dewberries, nuts and other fruits. Sometimes the druids bring fish from their homes, but it also depends on the season.
As for our songs, they are never shared with those outside the Grove, but since you’re here…*she leans over to whisper in your ear.* That is my favorite song.

Oh your parties sound like so much fun! I do hope to receive an invitation to next year's Dryad Ceremony. And don't worry you secret's safe with me.

What is your deepest fear and your most precious wish?

My greatest fear is of losing my Grove or my people, both of which have come close to happening in the past. With the threat of fire and of greed from those outside the Grove, it’s a fear I’ll always have.
My greatest wish is to raise a family of my own, to watch my daughter grow and for her to know the truth about who we are.

Oh Melina *hugs Melina*, we share the same fears and wishes. I'm afraid of losing the people dearest to me and I hope to raise a family of my own someday too.

Is there anything you want humans to know or understand about dryads? About your purpose?

Humans still hold greed in their hearts, but those living within the Grove have begun to understand and follow my laws. Only take from the Earth what you need and replace what you’ve stolen. Long ago, this land was filled with Groves like mine, but the human species has scarred most of those Groves—some of which were destroyed in the process.
You may not know it’s a Grove when you stand under the branches of a forest, so please, call out to the Keeper of the Grove. Explain your reasons for being there and ask for her permission or for her aid. We’re willing to help, so long as you aren’t there to tear down our forests.
The dryads are responsible for keeping the land green, which is becoming more difficult by the day. The trees you cut are left in pain, transferring that pain to me if I were to get near. Not only does this make it difficult for me to do my job properly, I also cannot travel outside my Grove, to other forests that need me, without putting my own life at risk.

Thank you so much Melina for sitting down and talking with me today. I’ve really enjoyed my time here in your Grove. I think we have all learned some valuable lessons from you today. Now, umm, how exactly do I get down from this *peeks over branches and squeaks* very high tree?!
*Melina takes out her reed and pipe a small tune. The branches surrounding you begin to snap, slowly making a bridge from the canopy down to the forest floor.* Whew, thank you!

The Waking Grove is truly a beautiful book that I loved. I gave it 5/5 Cupcakes. You can purchase this book as an ebook on Amazon for only $2.99 and it will soon be available in paperback. I cannot recommend this book enough!







REVIEW: SLAYERS BY C.J. HILL



TITLE: Slayers                                      AUTHOR: C.J. Hill
PUB.: Macmillan                                    PUB. DATE: Sept/ 27, 2011
FORMAT: eARC                                   SOURCE: Netgalley.com
Slayers
Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.
The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?



I am a huge dragon enthusiast. I love dragon lore, myth, and art. I even have a dragon tattoo. So I was both excited and wary when I read the synopsis for Slayers. Excited because it was about dragons but wary because it was about ferocious dragons that needed to be slayed. I tend to prefer my dragons to be like Saphira from Eragon or Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon-good and loyal. But, despite my personal dragon preference, I chose to read Slayers anyway, and I’m very glad I did. I found it to be a fun, original and entertaining book that really surpassed my expectations.

In Slayers dragons are very real, very ferocious beasts who eat humans. However, slayer-knights with special powers killed most of them off in the middle ages. Centuries later, there are two dragon eggs being guarded by power hungry bad guys, and it is up to the descendants of the slayer-knights, a group of super powered teenagers, to destroy them once again. Dr. B runs a special summer camp where he has trained these Slayers and this is where Tori Hampton, the newest camper who is drawn to this camp by her deep fascination and fear of dragons, learns that she too is a Slayer. Tori, along with her fellow Slayers, must learn to control their powers and work together in order to defeat their enemies- Overdrake and his dragons- while dealing with romance, betrayal, and flaming fireballs.

I think the premise of this book is quite fresh and original. Hill has taken dragon lore and myth and created something new and fantastical.

I was expecting more of a lighthearted MG story because the book is marketed to the 12 and up crowd, but I was surprised and delighted to find that it didn’t lack any edginess or smart, sharp wit. The main setting, a summer camp used to train special kids, reminds me of a more mature Camp Half-Blood from the Percy Jackson series…which is a very positive comparison in my eyes. I like how the main characters are isolated from the outside world while at camp, which keeps the fantasy elements from being too restricted. And the fantasy elements themselves are pretty cool. Each Slayer has heightened abilities- super strength, sight, and reflexes- plus each Slayer has their own special power. Some Slayers can heal wounds made from dragons, some can put up shields, some can extinguish fire, and some can even fly. These powers make for really fun, vivid scenes and images.

There’s a big cast of characters, most of whom I really like. Dr. B makes a great mentor/teacher type of character, the mean girls are fun to hate, the bad guy is devilishly charismatic, and the hot, romantic male interests are swoon-worthy. But I did have issues with the main character Tori Hampton. Tori is a spoiled, rich Senator’s daughter who is a bit shallow; vain; and catty. She’s also quite funny, sarcastic, and surprising. I can appreciate how much her character grows in such a short amount of time, but I found it hard to really connect with her. It really took me until the end of the book to develop a genuine affection for her. But the other characters, who are so likable and Charming, made up for any lack of connection I had with Tori.

You can’t have a YA book without romance, and Slayers has a delicious love triangle between Tori, Jesse, and Dirk. Jesse and Dirk are both gorgeous, mysterious, athletic leaders amongst the Slayers. And Tori develops a real connection and attraction to both guys. The romance and chemistry between Tori and both boys feels very real and organic, and not forced or overly clich├ęd. I’m definitely anxious to see who Tori ultimately ends up with in future books in the series…and FYI, I’m totally Team Jesse right now.

In some ways the storyline is a bit predictable, but overall the story kept me guessing and anxiously turning pages to see what happened.  With fast paced action, charming characters, enticing romance, and plenty of twists and turns, Slayers is a real page turner. I’m hooked and will definitely read future books in the series.

My Rating
4 out of 5 Cupcakes

This book can now be purchased from the following


DAILY HAIKU: DINO'S ROCK!

'TIS THURSDAY CUPCAKES

So the new show Terra Nova- the one about humanity being forced to travel 85 million years into the past because we've basically destroyed our home because we suck- premiered on Monday and I just now finally got a chance to sit down and watch it. I liked it. It had cute guys and dinosaurs, so yeah a win win in my book. Who else watched it? What did ya think?

Today's haiku as been inspired by Terra Nova, or specifically my love of dinosaurs, including the wee little T-rex and Brontosaurus sitting on my nightstand, just chilling there, looking cute;

Until They Bite Your Head Off
With big sharp teeth and
Feet that make the Earth go boom
Dinos are so cool


AND IN UNRELATED NEWS, THIS IS MY 100TH POST!!!
YAY! THERE REALLY IS NO REAL REASON TO CELEBRATE THIS MOMENT OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT 100 IS AN AWESOME, ROUND NUMBER...AND IT GIVES ME A CHANCE TO USE THIS IMAGE:
It's a cupcake...doing a happy dance *teeheehee*


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A FEW CUPCAKE UPDATES: GIVEAWAY, REVIEWS, BLOG TOURS

Hi Cupakes *waves enthusiastically*
I hope you are all well and in the company of some awesome people and/or fictional characters today.

I just wanted to let y'all know that I've had a bit of a slow week, or I suppose I've been a bit slow this week...but I do have several reviews that I'm working on and will be posting later this week. So keep an eye out for those. I am also excited to be participating in several upcoming blog tours! These should be really fun and awesome giveaways may be included in a few *wink wink*.

Also *jumps with excitement* I'm getting my prize packages ready for my Happy B-day To Me & My 100+ Followers Giveaway that I will be having in Oct. I have some really awesome things already (things of the signed nature!) and a few more things that I will be getting soon! As of right now I am at 136 Fantabulous Awesome followers and I will be giving away two fabulous prize packs...BUT if I get to 200 followers by the time I post my giveaway (in about 2 weeks) I will add another lovely prize pack...so that would mean three prize packs and three lucky duck Cupcake winners!!! So spread the Word Spelunking love and cupcakey goodness.

Have a fabulous rest of the week y'all!
Happy Reading,
:) Aeicha


WAITING ON WEDNESDAY {5} and WWW WEDNESDAYS {6}


"Waiting On" Wednesday... is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Eve
(The Eve Trilogy #1)
Anna Carey
Pub Date: October 4, 2011
From Goodreads:
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.


WWW Wednesday... is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?


WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING

Slayers
C.J. Hill
Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?
WHAT I RECENTLY READ

The Protectors
(The Protectors Saga #1)
P.M. Dooling
Every 16-year old thinks they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. For Avery Kimball this was actually true…she just didn’t know it yet. Life for Avery was completely normal, attending school, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her family. Until the day she finds out that she and her four closest friends have a destiny that will take them far away from their comfortable and safe lives on Earth. Avery learns that she and her friends are actually a group of powerful warriors known as the Protectors, who were charged with protecting the planet of Orcatia, but were killed by the evil Emperor. To save their lives, their magical mentor sent them to Earth to be re-born. It is now their duty to return to the planet and life they have no memory of, and once again serve as its Protectors, fighting the very Emperor responsible for their deaths. Along the way, Avery must contend with battling malevolent creatures, her sometimes fragile relationships with her friends and fellow Protectors, her attraction to the mysterious King of Nightfell, and her own doubts and fears about who she truly is and who she can become.
I LOVED this book and gave it 5 out 5 Cupcakes! You can read my review, author interview and enter to win Books 2 & 3 in the series here and you can download Book 1 for FREE on Smashwords here


Fairy Metal Thunder
(Songs of Magic Book #1)
J.L. Bryan
Jason, Erin, Mitch and Mildred (“Dred”) are the Assorted Zebras, a teenage garage band in Wisconsin with no fans and no gigs. 

Then Jason sneaks into the fairy world and steals four magic-fueled musical instruments, the kind fairies use to enchant and trick humans. 
The new instruments make the band a huge overnight success, on their way to rock stardom. But the band members aren’t exactly ready for fame, fortune, or the supernatural creatures sent by the fairies to track them down.
This is a fun, delightful book. I gave it 4 out of 5 Cupcakes. You can read my review here

WHAT I'LL BE READING NEXT

Savor
(Warm Delicacy #1)
Megan Duncan
When Claire Miller turned eighteen all she wanted to do was celebrate her birthday, but after a night on the town with her best friend she awakes to a visitor she never expected. The rulers of her region, a vampire royal family, have chosen her to be turned as their new heir and vampire princess. Claire quickly discovers the royal family is not what they seem and that she has secrets in her past, she never knew existed

The Sleepwakers
J. Gabriel Gates
A chilling and masterfully crafted teen horror novel guaranteed to keep the pages turning, the mind reeling, and the lamp on any reader's bedside table on long after midnight. Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. Caleb's childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine's long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an a.m. radio. The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Sixteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT UPCOMING RELEASES ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT? WHAT ARE YOU READING...RECENTLY READ...PLAN ON READING?