Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has had a restful and joyful Holiday. We are still away visiting with family so I fear the blog has been neglected. Last post was on my birthday!

Hoping for a year in review post soon and also a wrap up of the Sherlock Challenge. If you haven't linked your reviews yet be sure to get it done by Tuesday night. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

X Generation Book Blast and GIVEAWAY

About the Author:

Brad Magnarella grew up in North Central Florida. As a boy he discovered Marvel Comics, text-based gaming, Bruce Springsteen, and Stephen King, roughly in that order. The prize, however, was a creek that wound through his neighborhood, providing him and his friends a wooded sanctuary in which to lose themselves, while discovering natural Florida.

A graduate of the University of Florida and American University, Brad has long aspired to write the kind of fiction that colored his childhood. His books include The Prisoner and the Sun trilogy and the first in his new young adult series, XGeneration.

Brad lives in Washington, D.C. When he's not writing, he's somewhat hard to find.
His latest book is XGeneration 1: You Don’t Know Me.

Sign up to Brad's mailing list for new releases:
Connect & Socialize with Brad!


About the Book:

In the fall of 1984, Cold War tensions between Washington and Moscow are close to breaking.

But in sleepy Gainesville, Florida, fourteen-year-old Janis Graystone is mainly worried about starting high school, earning a spot on the varsity soccer team, and keeping her older sister from running her life. And then there are her nighttime experiences. Experiences where she awakens in her backyard—out of her body—with the disturbing sense that someone is watching her.

For Scott Spruel, the start of high school means the chance to start over. And he’s willing to ditch everything—computer hacking, Dungeons & Dragons marathons, even his comic book collection (well, except for his X-Men)—if it means getting closer to Janis, the secret love of his life. But will Scott’s past be so easy to shed. And what about the eerie delay on his telephone, a delay he senses through powers he is only beginning to understand?

Welcome to the gripping new series, XGeneration: part The X-Files, part Freaks and Geeks, and totally '80s.

Rated 16+ for language.

Book Excerpt:

“Do you ever think we’re being watched?” Janis asked.

She lifted her head from her soccer ball and squinted past her toes, still slick with sunblock, to where the beach crowd thinned near the crash and rumble of the ocean. For the first time, she and Margaret had the beach blanket to themselves, and she knew it wouldn’t last. Beyond her feet and off to the right, her sister’s three friends squealed and pranced from the water’s edge, breasts bobbing inside new bikinis. The bright pastel colors made them hard to miss. They would probably be running back this way any minute.

“Well, we are at the beach,” Margaret said. 

Janis turned onto her elbow. In contrast to her airhead friends, her older sister lay in quiet repose, brunette hair tucked into a neat bun that cushioned her head and opened her lithe neck to the sun. Black Wayfarers hid her eyes. When the breeze stirred, the strings of her apple-red bikini fluttered against her hip.

“Not here, I mean,” Janis said. “In the neighborhood. At home. I keep having this feeling that we’re—”

“Being watched? Like the song?”

Janis groaned. She had walked right into that one. “Somebody’s Watching Me” had played on the boom box a half hour before, the deejay at I-100 FM using a creepy ghoul’s voice when he recapped the song and artist. And it was a creepy song. The video was even creepier. But no, that’s not what Janis was talking about.

“Not funny,” she said.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON for 99 cents during his book blast!


Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Literary Advent Calendar

Instead of hanging my advent calendar and filling it with treats, the little girl and I will be choosing one book from my very large selection of Christmas and winter themed books to read each night before bed. A different book each night until Christmas! I am very excited about it. I am sure she is, too. 

I first heard of this idea at Joyful Abode awhile back and absolutely loved it. What a great way to get the little girl excited for the holidays and to help foster her love of reading. She also has absolutely no need for extra treats! 

I have a large collection of books from teaching prekindergarten, so we are all set for the whole month. The only thing I didn't do was wrap each book like Emily did. I am so not a fan of wrapping. It would never have gotten done. A basket of unwrapped books to choose from works fine. ;)

Our first book was Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. It was the perfect read to start the season, especially since we got our tree, and it was also too tall for our house. I didn't allow our top to be cut off, though. 

Here is what else we have read this week:

Happy Holidays!

This post was checked and found to have three issues, which were explained and then fixed by me. There were two missing commas and a problem with mixed tenses. That last one is always something I have to check.

This really is a great service for any writer. Even for the casual book blogger like myself. Check it out. They have a 7 day free trial.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Broken by CJ Lyons

Broken by CJ Lyons
336 pages, Hardcover
Published November 2013, Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Sent by publisher for review

Scarlet knows she is dying but wants the chance to be a normal girl and experience high school even if just for a little while. And she is willing to take the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with it.

Scarlet is an interesting character. She is strong and weak at the same time. I was amazed at her tenacity and need to feel like a normal high school student. She quickly makes friends, stands up to a bully and falls for a boy. All exactly what she was looking for.

It is really too bad that the high school she attends seems full of more bullies and drama than most. The racing of her heart when a cute boy touches her seemed very real, the kids teasing her and making threats all because she has a weak heart and could die seemed terrible and unrealistic. Of course, I haven't been in high school for a very long time, perhaps kids have gotten meaner. The real threat, though, isn't the bullies.

Really, a good read for any YA enthusiast, both contemporary and thriller.

For more info about the book and author visit her WEBSITE.

Also, check out CJ Lyons guest post here for more insight into her inspiration for the character of Scarlet.
Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Guest Post by CJ Lyons

Please welcome CJ Lyons, author of Broken to the blog. Her new book is about a young girl named Scarlet who has a heart condition called Long QT. 

"The long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a rare inherited heart condition in which delayed repolarization of the heart following a heartbeat increases the risk of episodes of torsades de pointes (TDP, a form of irregular heartbeatthat originates from the ventricles)." Wikipedia

Scarlet is loosely based on CJ's niece, Abby, who has Long QT.

MariReads: How is Abby coping w/ Long QT?

 CJ: Abby’s great, thanks for asking! She’s totally opposite of Scarlet, fiercely independent and refuses to let her heart condition hold her back from anything she wants. She rides horses, raises Rottweilers, is a straight A student, and a budding fashionista.

You can see for yourself in this video my publisher produced:  
Abby has never allowed her heart condition to define her life. I think a large part of the credit for that goes to her parents—they were always open and up front with Abby about her Long QT. By the age of three she could explain what Long QT was (including a short summary of the genetics!) to anyone who asked about her MedAlert bracelet.

Since then, she’s grown into a smart, independent young woman who is the first to jump in to defend a friend (or tell them they’re making a mistake), confront a bully, or lead a cause she’s passionate about.

If I sound like a proud aunt, it’s because I am!

About CJ:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.
Winner of the International Thriller Writers’ coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).
Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at

You can find my Review of Broken here.

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Gift of Reading

 Post written by me, sponsored by ebooks by Sainsbury's.

Along with the usual knitted hats and photo books of the little girl, I will be giving books for Christmas.   It's tradition. I always give books.

The gift of reading is an important one and traditionally I have given books to everyone in my family. Unfortunately, not all of them love to read as much as I do and the books go unread. Sad, I know. So this year, only those who love to read, and will read what I give them, will be getting books.

My mom will read anything I recommend. She loves YA, thrillers, classics and biographies. Also, children's books. She actually introduced me to the Harry Potter series. So I am thinking, why not give her the gift of JK Rowling as well? She will be getting a copy of The Casual Vacancy.

I love giving my niece YA books that I have discovered through book blogging.  There are so many out there, I want to make sure she is reading some really great ones. She has just finished reading The Hunger Games series and loved it, so I am thinking she will enjoy Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy as well.

My sister likes enjoys fun books. Think, YA supernatural, urban fantasies and thrillers but has recently been asking for some good history books. So, why not give her something that  blends the two? Going to get her 11/22/63 by Stephen King.

What books will you be giving this Christmas?

All books mentioned are available in ebook format at