Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review & Tour: Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card is:

Zondervan; Special edition (August 21, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***

Flipping through I think this is a great Bible for teens.  It has the basic setup you expect, plus extras like Rock Solid truths which take verses and give teens the truth from those verses in easy to understand ways followed with a question to think about (and the questions are great).  There are also Rock Solid Promises which are features on one verse or two with a brief explanation and question or prayer and Rock Solid Plans which highlight a series of verses and show you what your next step should be in relation to the verses.  There are also other useful features.  The version is NIV which is a very popular translation that is easy to understand and was and still is a favorite of mine.  The Bible has a nice cover, seems sturdy and looks great for either male or female in the teenage age group.  This one will be going to my oldest who will be turning twelve later this year.  I think it's perfect for him and he'll appreciate a more grown looking Bible.

It's that perfect time of year to contemplate a gift Bible for a teenager in your life and the Rock Solid Study Bible would make a great choice!


This all-new, full-featured NIV Bible is great for teens looking to grow their faith, increase meaning in their lives, and find hope for their future. The Rock Solid Bible for Teens is a timely guide for teens grappling with big questions about the world, their future, and their faith. Featuring the complete New International Version text, apologetics helps, hundreds of call-outs, and concrete promises for the future, the Rock Solid Bible provides firm traction for the development of beliefs and behavior rooted in the unchanging love, guidance, and promises of God.

Product Details:
List Price: $29.99

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 1664 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (August 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310723302
ISBN-13: 978-0310723301


Chapter will be placed up here soon.

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Cover Reveal: Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

Follow this link to an ~~~ EPIC CONTEST ~~~ Announcement. You will want to bookmark this page!

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.
Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Giveaway: Olivia Cunning Prize Packs

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To get ready for Olivia Cunning's new release in November Sourcebooks is having a little pre-tour with the band.  And you are the ones that benefit.  Double Time will be releasing November 1st and it's the 3rd book in the Sinners on Tour series.  The first two books, Backstage Pass and Rock Hard will be up for grabs in this giveaway and I will have two prize packs for two lucky winners.  Simply answer the following question in the comments below and fill out the Rafflecopter and you are entered.  Giveaway open to US/Canada, prizes will be mailed from the publisher and the giveaway will end October 1st.

Questions to answer to enter (choose one or more of the following):
What is/was your favorite rock band?  
What is your favorite concert you have been to? 
If you could be a groupie for any band which one would it be?

About Backstage Pass (part of the giveaway):
Five stunning guys, one hot woman, and a feverish romance...

For him, life is all music and no play...

When Brian Sinclair, lead songwriter and guitarist of the hottest metal band on the scene, loses his creative spark, it will take nights of downright sinful passion to release his pent-up genius...

She's the one to call the tune...

When sexy psychologist Myrna Evans goes on tour with the Sinners, every boy in the band tries to seduce her. But Brian is the only one she wants to get her hands on...

Then the two lovers' wildly shocking behavior sparks the whole band to new heights of glory...and sin...

About Rock Hard (part of the giveaway):
An ultimatum can break your heart....

Every night lead singer, Sed Lionheart whips thousands of women into a frenzy with his voice alone. But the stage is the only place Sed feels any passion since he lost Jessica...

If you’re not willing to break all the rules...

It shattered her heart, but law student Jessica broke off her engagement to Sed, determined to be successful on her own terms. But no other man can ever hold a candle to Sed...

Then a chance meeting and tortuously close quarters lead to uncontrollable flares of passion and rediscovery of their unique penchant for public encounters. Now, in addition to the risk of mutual heartbreak every time they get together, they’re in danger of truly scandalous public exposure...

About Double Time (out in November):
Trey’s love life is about to get twice as steamy… and twice as complicated…

Olivia Cunning delivers the perfect blend of steamy sex, heartwarming romance, and a wicked sense of humor in this menage story featuring the hottest guy in the Sinners band. Trey Mills, the notoriously sexy Sinners rhythm guitarist, gives up his bisexual lifestyle and is swept into a hot, heady romance with Reagan Elliot, a female rock star sensation. But when Trey encounters Reagan’s sexy bisexual roommate, Ethan Conner, he can no longer deny who he is or what he wants. Reagan heartily agrees to a solution that opens up a hot new world of sexual experience—and love—with the two men she wants the most.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why do I have a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews?

There has been a lot of hubbub in the blogging and reviewing community lately about reviewers and what we do and whether we are helpful.  Should we post bad reviews.  Are we only out to place good reviews.  Are we paid, do authors expect good reviews.  Do we feel we should give good reviews.  I don't know the answers as a whole, but I thought I would give mine.

I started this blog to keep up with what I read.  I read over 200 books a year and I would frequently pick up a book, look at the back cover, think I had read it but not remember if I had or not.  So I got the bright idea that I would start putting up my thoughts about the books I read from my bookshelf and the library and hopefully I could remember what I read better.  That was March of 2009.  By that summer I was receiving my first review copies.  Oh the thrill.  Now I am on several publicist's lists and I love them.  I am on several publishers lists, I love them, and I have several authors that also email me personally when they have a book coming out.  I love them.  Now I have a choice to pick and choose what I read.  I like that.

So what am I rambling about?  Since I can now pick and choose, I am really careful about what I choose.  I pick authors I am familiar with for one.  And then with new authors, the description of the book has to really jump out to me.  And so far I am very lucky.  That is why most of my reviews are 4 star and up.  I like books.  I don't tend to pick them apart for little errors.  I will mention editing if I think it needs work, but I don't make a big deal about it, unless it takes me out of the story.  I'm in a book for the story.  If I love the story then I will write a good review.  Most books I love.  A few I am ho-hum about, they typically get the 3.5 rating.  If I can't get into it, I just pass on the book and never review it since I didn't finish it.  It just didn't suit me, but it will probably suit someone else.  If I flat-out don't like a book, I may or may not review it.  I use to review it and caveat it with it's my opinion, because the truth is, that's exactly what it is.  I may hate a book and you love it.  I may love a book and you wonder what is wrong with me.  Thankfully there are lots of authors and lots of books out there to please all of us.  So most of the time now if I just didn't click with the book and can't really find anything great to say I won't write the review, but then again that rarely happens because if I'm not clicking with the book, I now put it down.  Life is too short to waste it reading something I don't like.

So there, I don't feel like I have to write good reviews for all the authors, my reviews are genuine and from my heart.  I just happen to really like books.  You can tell which ones I like more because they will be rated closer to 5 and the ones I like a little less will be closer to 4.  But anything in this range is a winner to me, again my opinion.

Am I wrong?  Should I be more critical?  I'm not sure, but honestly I started this for me, I still enjoy it most of the time so I will keep it the same.  I'll offer reviews, guest blogs, interviews and giveaways from the authors, publicists and publishers (it's too expensive for me to offer my own giveaways now).  Let me know what you think.  Do you like things the way they are, or do you think I should change things up a bit?

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: The Good Woman by Jane Porter

The Good WomanThe Good Woman by Jane Porter
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publish Date: September 4, 2012
Trade Paperback, 368 pages
ISBN: 9780425253007
Brennan Sisters #1

My Review:
I will get this out of the way first. I don't usually read books that involve a spouse cheating. And yes I knew that this was a major theme in this book, but I am a huge Jane Porter fan and this sounded like it was going to be a wonderful trilogy, so when I was asked to review this book, I said yes. I had a little trepidation, but I set it aside, because it was Jane Porter. I am so glad I did. Yes the affair features prominently but this book is about so much more and it's handled in a way that I really love. It's realistic and interesting. And I was right, this will be an amazing trilogy if this first book is any way to judge. So if you think the cheating angle will bother you, think twice, this book is so much more, Ms. Porter is an amazing writer and this book handles this exceptionally well.

The first third of this book sets up Meg's life and the trilogy introducing us to the Brennan family and the sisters that will be involved in the rest of the trilogy. I love them all, even Bree who is a little difficult. Meg is the focus of The Good Woman and I believe Kit will be the focus of The Good Daughter. I am assuming Bree will be the focus of the third book, but that is only my assumption. I am guessing that Sarah and the sister-in-law Cass will figure prominent in the other two books like they did in this book and I love that. I love that I get to see all the sisters and their dynamics with each others and their lives in each book. I can't wait to see Meg again in the next book as well.

So suffice it to say I love the characters. Meg is easy to relate to for me as a married woman and a mom of kids of varied ages. I am thankful that my husband is more attentive though. But I will admit to feeling some of Meg's feelings (not the cheating ones, but the tired, overwhelmed, why doesn't he help ones). The characters are very realistic, the situations are realistic and I think the family dynamic is realistic. I love the sisters, the love, the fights, everything.

I think Ms. Porter creates wonderful characters who change and grow through situations they are presented. And in The Good Woman, Meg, Kit and Sarah are all in some tough situations. Meg and her family is the focus of The Good Woman. This story never slows. I was absorbed by this book from the beginning. The pacing is perfect and the book was hard to put down. I became very engaged in the story and wanted to know what decision Meg would make next and what would happen next. It was just perfect. And the outcome did not disappoint. The book had emotional ups and downs and the ending was perfect for this book. However I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.

If you enjoy books with emotional depth and deal with real issues then The Good Woman is for you. This promises to be a wonderful trilogy and you will want to be introduced to the Brennan family with this book. Meg is a wonderful character and her and her family make a wonderful cast for this first book. I can't praise this book enough, I could almost start it again even though I just finished it, and I already miss the Brennan family.

My rating: 5.0/5.0

About The Good Woman:
In THE GOOD WOMAN, Meg Roberts is the eldest of the Brennan sisters and she is used to being in control and presenting an image of perfection to those around her.  But Meg’s life isn’t perfect and lately it’s been feeling out of control as well.  As she approaches her 43rd birthday and reflects on her 17 years of marriage, Meg realizes she wants more out of life.  More love, more passion, more something.  She embarks on an affair that shatters her world and her family relationships.  Meg is forced to come to terms with the person she was, and who she has become, as well as learning that happiness isn’t something she has to chase, but rather a choice she must make for herself.

With her newest novel, Porter tackles issues all women face—strained family and marital relationships and the struggle to find happiness and peace when life doesn’t turn out as planned—with a strong sense of authenticity.  Porter sheds light on the difficult and sometimes painful consequences of the choices women make.  Readers will find comfort in Porter’s revelation that real life is messy and that while every woman’s choice to find happiness and self-acceptance may take a different path, many experiences and feelings are universal.

About the Author:
Jane Porter is an award-winning novelist with over 5 million books in print.  She grew up in central California, graduated from UCLA and holds an MA in writing from the University of San Francisco.  Porter writes full time and lives in southern California with her family.  Visit her website at

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Monday, September 17, 2012

Author Interview, Book Review & Giveaway: Nicky Wells and Sophie's Turn


Today I welcome Nicky Wells, author of Sophie's Turn, the first book in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy to My Reading Room.  She's stopping by for an interview, then I have a book review of Sophie's Turn and you have a chance to win a copy of Sophie's Turn (and you'll want to win a copy or buy your own!)  So welcome Nicky!

First of all, I just want to say “Thank You” for inviting me here today. It’s so much fun stopping off for an interview, and I really enjoyed your questions, so: Thank you for your time and interest! Rock on! Now, without further delay, let’s delve in…

What three things do you need in order to write?

Great question! I’m assuming I can take things like laptop and paper for granted, so I’m going to offer you three other things.

One is tea, in copious amounts. Milk and two sugars please. Intravenously would be great, that would cut down on drinking time and definitely keep me awake. (Just kidding!).

Next are post it notes. I’m forever coming up with different nuggets, new ideas, or remembering things I need to do with the kids later, and I’d be lost without post it notes.

Finally, I couldn’t write without a blanket, except in the height of summer. I get desperately cold when I’m typing away and have been known to sit here wrapped in a couple of blankets in addition to wearing a thick woolly jumper and two pairs of socks.

What's your favorite season?

Fall! I was going to say spring, because I love the new life and the greenery and delicate flowers announcing that winter is over, but usually my hay fever sets in very quickly and I’m reduced to sneezes and wheezes. Fall, on the other hand, is a riot of warm, comforting colors but no attendant hay fever symptoms for me. You get those glorious sunny days with the leaves blowing off the trees, and the nights are drawing in making you long for toasted marshmallows and cups of hot chocolate. You can take the kids to fly their kites, and it’s still warm enough to have an occasional picnic and dry your laundry outside. Yes, I would have to say, Fall is my favorite season!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Anywhere? Like absolutely anywhere? The world is my oyster, and all that? Well, I’d love to see the Great Barrier Reef. I don’t know why, I just have this irrational desire to go and see it. I’d also love to visit the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. Maybe one day…

What's the first sentence of Sophie’s Turn?

“Would you marry me?”

How’s that for an opening? The ‘would’ is deliberate and has some significance later on. Hooked? J

Crystal: I know about the would :)  But I'm not telling.  It's so subtle I didn't notice when I read it in the prologue, but I love it!

Tell us what is Sophie’s Turn about.

Sophie’s Turn is the funny, charming and occasionally bittersweet story of one young woman’s entanglement with a rock star. One fine day in Paris, Sophie Penhalligan suddenly finds herself engaged to her teenage crush and love-of-her-life-from-a-distance, rock singer and star extraordinaire Dan Hunter. But there is the small matter of her very recent, but very prior, engagement to Tim. Reliable, honest, trusting Tim, her boyfriend of two years stashed away safely in his mews house in South Kensington while Sophie is drinking rather too much champagne with Dan in Paris. This glamorous and contemporary fairy tale describes how Sophie gets into her impossible situation and how she turns it around.

Dish, who’s your favorite character?

Oh, Dan, the rock star, definitely. I have a huge soft spot for rock singers myself and I am very envious of Sophie and all her experiences and romance. I tried to make Dan as gorgeous and desirable and likable as possible… with a few foibles, of course. **Swoon** Oh for it to have been me… LOL!

Crystal:  I have to say you succeeded with Dan.  I pretty much gave up my rock star fantasies as a teenager, but after this book, I think I may pick them up again, lol!

How did you feel when you finished Sophie’s Turn?

Do you know, nobody’s ever asked me that! I felt elated. Tearful. Bereft. And confused. Elated, because I’d done it, I’d really done it, I’d pulled it off. I’d written a book. Tearful and bereft, because I didn’t want the story to end, didn’t want to part ways with Sophie, Dan and Rachel. And confused, because the story didn’t end how I’d planned it. Sophie had other ideas and ran away with the ending, which was a good job because it’s a great ending (if I say so myself) but it left me very disorientated. I realized that I would simply have to continue the story in another book!

Crystal:  I've never had an author tell me they were confused when finishing a book, but I can definitely understand.  You did end the book great but I can see where it wouldn't be what you planned, it definitely was not what I expected, but I like it a lot! 

When you started Sophie’s Turn did you know you were writing a trilogy or did you figure that out along the way?

Following on from the end of last question… No, I had no idea I was going to write a Trilogy when I started Sophie’s Turn. It wasn’t until I started planning book 2 in earnest that I recognized that there was much more to tell than could possibly fit into a single sequel, and I mapped out the second and third books together. Thus when I started writing Sophie’s Run, the sequel and book 2 in the Trilogy, I already knew that there would be a third book and what that would look like. I’m writing that one now, by the way…

What can we expect next from you?

Well, first of all I’m going to finish the Trilogy, so look out for Sophie’s Run on 7 February 2013 and book 3, Sophie’s Encore, on 7 September 2013, both to be released by Sapphire Star Publishing. After that, I’m going to continue writing romance that rocks your world and I have a particular story line in mind that’s intriguing me. It involves long lost love… unawares it found itself again. Very much a rough notion at this moment so I won’t share any more just now…

Thanks Nicky!

You are welcome, I had great fun chatting with you today! Rock on! J

Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star
and the girl next door. Her debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, is the first part in her Rock Star Romance
Trilogy. Not unlike Sophie, her heroine, Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters.
When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and teaching assistant. Nicky is also a featured
author on the innovative reader/author project,

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives
in Bristol with her husband and two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a
researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in
London and Washington, D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course,
an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star
Romance Trilogy. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook.

Twitter Handle: @WellsNicky

Date to be Published: 9/6/12

Slapper. Slut. Adulteress. These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would
normally use to describe herself. Yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered,
even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet. And it’s all happening because her past is coming to
tempt her! Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, up close
and personal. Well, almost. Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life. How could Tim ever
stand a chance against the charming, handsome singer? How could she?

My Review:
I'm not sure what I expected from Sophie's Turn, but I got so much more than I expected from the book.  I received entertainment for an afternoon an evening.  I was taken to a world that was different from my own.  But I also watched a woman deal with her issues by first not dealing with them and then tackling them.  I watched a romance bloom.  I toured with a band around Europe and stayed at 5-star hotels.  And I enjoyed every minute.  Ms. Wells knows how to write a story that fully immerses you in the experience of her characters and makes it very enjoyable.

Sophie was a great character.  She is funny, witty, has a great best friend, a good boyfriend and a good life, so why are memories of a night spent with a band ten years ago coming back to her?  And then the happenstance meeting with one of those band members in an airport that lands the band back in her life.  Is it what she wants and will it turn her life upside down?  Well of course the book needs some tension and conflict to proceed and this has it.  But it also has great friends, romance, heartfelt insight, tender moments with parents and so much more.  Sophie has a whole range of emotions and she goes through all of them.  But not on a whim. Sophie is not a silly girl that you just want to slap, at least I didn't.  I felt that she had a reason for each thing she did and each time she went through a range of emotions she had good reason.  I just loved her, she was so real.  She battled decision-making.  Nothing was easy for her.  Every time she thought it was, something else came up and showed her something else.  Rachel also made a great supporting character and best friend.  Rachel just wants the best for Sophie and she wasn't one of those mean girl friends that you get in some books.  She honestly had Sophie's best interests at heart through the whole book.  I loved her and I'm interested to see more of her in the next book.  Tim, I'm not sure I can say I liked him, but he serves his purpose.  Dan, now Dan is the man that could make me want the rock star fantasy again even though I'm pretty sure I got over that as a teenager.  Dan is hot, he's sweet and he's the whole package.  No he's not perfect, but his good seems to make up for the bad.  I also can't wait to see more of him as well.

Sophie's Turn was a very hard-to-put-down book.  While the plot was character-driven and I have gone over the characters, the plot move along at a fast pace.  The book is divided into sections and nothing is dwelt on too much to make any part of the book drag on.  I pretty much flew through the whole thing dying to know what would happen next.  Ms. Wells has the timing of the book down to the science to keep the reader engaged with the right amount of information, romance and action.

I loved Sophie's Turn and cannot wait for Sophie's Run.  Ms Wells expertly weaves a story based around Sophie and decisions she needs to make in her life and the two men in it, without making Sophie into a completely wishy-washy annoying woman.  The dialog is witty and fun, the places and scenes keep the story fresh and Sophie herself kept me interested in the book the whole time.  I loved the characters, the plot, the book as a whole.  I think Ms. Wells did an excellent job and think that if you enjoy chicklit, romance or a good general fiction book that Sophie's Turn is a great choice for your next book.

My Rating: 4.75/5.0

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win an ebook copy of Sophie's Turn courtesy of the author and the tour. Ends Oct. 8.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*