Monday, January 30, 2012

It Happened One Autumn

 The Synopsis:
Four young ladies enter London society with one necessary goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So they band together, and a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

It happened at the ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden...

When Marcus shockingly—and dangerously—swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed...thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It happened one autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly his bride?

 My Review:

This is the second in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower Series. I fell in love with the characters last summer, and when I get a moment or two I find myself rereading this one more than the others. I simply love the play between the characters.

Lillian is a pistol. Her American upbringing so sets her apart from the English girls she's competing against. Kleypas does an excellent job of distinguishing between the two. Also, Westcliff is truly a man's man, but deep down he's gentle and sensitive. Kleypas does an amazing job of making his character strong, arrogant, and a bit pious at times, but not obnoxious. We get to see his complexity, and I love that we get to see him grow. There is one part toward the end where I think that his character would have gone a little darker. I hate spoilers, so I won't give it away, but let's just say I doubt Westcliff would have let our villain get away with what he did unscathed. I think he would have killed him, or at the very least seen him spend quite a bit of his life in prison. If you've read it,I'd love to hear if you agree with me!

Despite the bit at the end, Kleypas has hit another one out of the park. I highly recommend this book!
Posted by: Chi

Thursday, January 26, 2012

YA Giveaway!

Click on the pic above to see all the sites that are participating in the giveaway. We are excited to offer a hard cover of the book Unearthly as our prize for this month's giveaway! Isn't the cover amazing?!

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy. Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

If you'd like to enter, please fill out the rafflecopter form. Oh, this is the first time we've used rafflecopter and so we'd love some feedback. Let us know if you like it or hate it. Thanks! :-D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. (From Goodreads.)

I have conflicting emotions about this story. Certain aspects are beyond incredible, while others made the read barely tolerable. I laid it down for two weeks about halfway through and didn't give it a second thought. I did pick it back up, but it didn't exactly "stick" with me. For that reason, I don't feel I can fairly rate the story, but here are my thoughts.

The Good: I've never read a story quite like this. It's completely unique in every way. The pictures and ideas behind them are brilliant! They really added a special touch to the plot. Another plus, I appreciated reading a story from a guy's POV. It adds a different flavor that's much appreciated. The time travel/sci-fi feel was a neat idea, and it worked well to fall under a multi-genre kind of story. The writing was witty and Riggs has a humorous way with descriptions. I loved the quirky, Tim Burton-esque feel of the story. The settings were just phenomenal! Riggs nailed the eerie factor on this one. A scarcely populated island. An enormous, creepy manor. The "bad" guys … Just perfect. And his lead-ups into scary scenes were very well done. 

The Mediocre: Some of the characters lacked depth. I found it frustrating to want to know more or expect more in a certain scene, only to be disappointed. Explanations fell short in some places, leaving me confused or unsatisfied that everything had played out fully. There were times where the story stalled, as if he'd run out of ideas and was just looking to fill the white spots in the pages. In the end (as much as I hate to say it), I don't feel like the story lived up to its potential. I think Riggs would've benefited from a little more exploration in the characters a little bit at a time as opposed to this is xxx and their power and this is what xxx can do. It felt rushed. A picture isn't enough to truly see a character. It would've been nice to have Riggs show us with writing versus relying on the photographs. More often than not, opportunities were missed to really make it sing. 

All in all, it's a decent read. Fans of Burton and all things eclectic will like it. I did enjoy Riggs writing style and would recommend Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ... just don't get your hopes up too much.

By: Izzie

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Summer Nights Sizzle!

Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband.So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing—and persistent—admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition . . . but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon—and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses . . . and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

This is the first in the wallflower series and sets the stage nicely for the next three books. The four main characters are distinct, yet they share the common bond of being hindered by their inability to conform to society at large, forcing them into wallflower status.

The prologue introduces the Annabelle and Simon Hunt in a unique way, which explains so much the animosity she shows him in the first few chapters. Annabelle is a ravishing beauty with her classic English looks, but she has no dowry as her father died unexpectedly leaving the family no means of a steady income. Kleypas does a great job of showing the struggles of women of the late 1800's while keeping her characters strong and in control.

The romantic lead, Simon Hunt, is a self-made man, which I love. He doesn't care about the opinions of they aristocracy. He was born a butcher's son, and he is proud of the fact that he came from humble beginnings. It's obvious from page one that he is taken with Annabelle, but the complexities of social status puts him at a distinct disadvantage. At times his pride makes him seem like a jerk, but then we are shown his softer side which makes him even more attractive. I also love that Kleypas allows the reader to grow with Annabelle as she discovers that there is life beyond the English peerage.

There where times that I felt the story dragged a bit. I'm used to stories that move at lightning speed, and Kleypas' style of writing is to languish, allowing the characters to move slowly through an experience. I've come to appreciate that and hope to explore that type of writing in my next project.

If you love settling in on a cold winter's night with a cup of coffee and a great romance novel, then Secrets of a Summer Night is just the book for you!

Posted by: Chi


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Plea-ssure of Being a Writer

I often hear writers talking about their creative lives. We both love and hate this ceaseless obsession. It can be one of the most pleasurable parts of our existence. The chance to create worlds and characters with no more than a flicker of imagination is a journey few people experience. And having an outlet to express your dark, whimsical, or insane side is a gift ... but it can also be a curse.

So much pressure surrounds the lives of writers. There are the ever-looming doubts that swirl around in our minds. The fear and likelihood of rejection. The pressure to live up to some (spoken or unspoken) expectation. Not to mention the fact that we see other writers who seem to have their crap together while we're out scraping around for our last few morsels of sanity. It hardly feels fair at times. 

So, why is it writers struggle? Why do we end up suffering over our desire to create? It causes so many to give up on something they love to do, and that's just wrong. I've seen it time and time again. They get beaten down and lose their passion.

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat. Pray. Love. Here she gives a speech about writing, inspiration, and actually enjoying the process without suffering the fear of failing. It's a little long, so watch it when you have time to sit and really digest what she's saying. It's very eye-opening. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kleypas Mania!

Last summer, Rennie (AKA Italia Trent, or better known as the ren in Chirenjenzie :- ) and I had a discussion about male leads in romances. At the time, it seemed that the men in books were stereotyped. In YA, the all-knowing bad boy seemed to dominate. Contemporary ran with the experienced as well, but these men had serious baggage. And then there was the men of the historical romance. These are virile men who know their place, and kept their woman right by their side.

A lively discussion ensued about creating one character that held great traits of each genre. It would be interesting, wouldn't it?

I hadn't read historical romance in years, but what I did remember of them I didn't like. The brutish you-are-my-woman type didn't appeal to me, but Ren insisted that I read a historical romance or two to broaden my understanding of the male psyche. I balked at first, hating the idea of sifting through pages of submissive English waifs being used as doormats. But I had to fly to Chicago that weekend, and so, determined to keep an open mind, I picked up a Lisa Kleypas book from the airport bookstore.

I almost missed my flight. :-)

Oh, mylanta! While Rennie was right about the complexity of the male leads, I didn't fall in love with the genre, I fell in love with the writing!

Kleypas has a way of bringing well rounded characters to life. She uses subtle inflections and mannerisms to make each character distinct, naturally weaving their personality into each paragraph. The stories move at a leisurely pace, but not so slow that the reader becomes bored. Descriptions are woven in at just the right times as to not become tedious, but what I really love is that after reading over twenty of her books, she has the ability to make each story fresh.

And so, my posts in the month of January and February are going to be dedicated to Kleypas's Wallflower series, and her Bowstreet series. The first will be posted in a few days, so be sure to check back!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Winners of the YA Faeries and Fantasy Giveaway Hop!

What an amazing turn out for our 1st giveaway! We want to thank each of you for your support and participation. Chirenjenzie wouldn't be here if it weren't for readers and writers like you!

While we'd love to give books to everyone who entered, we just can't. Though you guys should stay tuned as we'll have another giveaway before you know it! So, without further ado, the winners are as follows:

 The Light of Asteria by Elizabeth Isaacs:

April -- Ramblings and Adventures with April


The Willows: Haven by Hope Collier:

Kayla -- Bibliophilia, Please

Michelle -- Book Briefs

The Secret of the Keepers by Elizabeth Isaacs:

Erin B.

Stephanie -- My World

Bridger by Megan Curd:

Krysta -- Because I Said So

Beverly -- Watercolors by Beverly Post-Scmheler

Forbidden by Megan Curd:

Ashley A.

Mortal SinN

To the winners, be on the lookout for an email with further instructions. Thanks again for being a part of our blog giveaway! We hope you enjoy your reads :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Massive Fantasy Giveaway!

I'd like to take a moment and introduce you to our new blog. The name Chirenjenzie comes from a group of twitter friends that love to read and write. After almost two years of laughter and friendship we decided to create a site dedicated to book reviews and blog tours. While most of us love YA, we also read romance, non-fiction, and the occasional steam punk, so if you like variety be sure to check back.

To start off the year, we've joined I am a reader not a writer's blog hop. Take a look below to see the ebooks we are giving away. We will select two winners for each title. The blog officially ends at midnight on the 12th, and we will contact the winners on the 13th. If we don't hear back within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.

Entering is easy! All you have to do is follow this blog and follow the fanpage. :-)

If Nora Johnson hadn't been on campus that day she would have never known her true destiny. Helping her friends move into the dorm that she wanted to call home, Nora accidentally collides with mysterious stranger, Gavin Frey. His very first touch sends flames through her heart. The world seems different-something within her has changed.
Nora tries to resume her mundane life, but she is now consumed with the one whose very presence ignited her soul, the one with eyes of emerald. Nora soon learns that an energy buried deep within has been unleashed. She now wields unimaginable power and has become Gavin's source, his strength.
Her newfound joy is shaken when she discovers that Gavin is not who he appears to be and she has been thrust in the middle of a war of mythical proportions. Negativity has allowed all things evil to flourish, the earth is under siege. The fate of creation hinges on the power within her heart. Will she be strong enough to survive?

When tragedy strikes, seventeen year-old Ashton Blake sets out on a cross-country road trip, leaving the comforts of Malibu for the mountains of Kentucky. Along the way, she encounters Gabe Willoughby—the mysterious drifter with eyes like the sea and a knowing smile. Getting to know Gabe raises questions about her past. But no secret can be buried forever, and Ashton soon finds herself in a world where water is air and myth becomes reality.

Just as Ashton comes to accept her newfound heritage, she’s summoned to fulfill a treaty laid down centuries before — a treaty that will divide her love and test her loyalty. In the end, her future isn’t her biggest concern, her humanity is. To run may mean war, but is she strong enough to stay?

Life for Nora couldn't be better; she has married the man of her dreams and loves living in the pristine land of Kailmeyra.

That is, until the darkness threatens her perfect world.

Now war is upon the land. She and Gavin must strengthen their clan and prepare to fight. But the enemy has an ally—one that not only wields power, but holds knowledge of the ancients' secrets. Secrets that could destroy creation itself.

As the darkness grows, doubt seeps in ... protectiveness hinders progress ... and the unthinkable comes to pass.

Bewildered and alone, Nora shoulders the responsibility of leading an entire race to war. As she struggles with decisions that seem impossible to make, she is haunted by one choice. 

Ashlyn McVean doesn't believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn't enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what's most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.

Levi's job is to protect his human until it's their time to go. That's what a Guard does. He's done it for years on end, and he'll spend his eternity doing the same, mundane thing, following the same, mundane rules.

...Watch from afar.
...Never share your name.
...And above all, never touch a human.

What Levi doesn't know is that his newest human to protect, Hannah, just might be the catalyst to tipping the scales between good and evil, and he will be forced to decide which side he belongs to. Which friends will he side with, and who will he ultimately protect: his human, or the delicate balance that hangs on stopping the heartbeat of the person he has sworn to protect?

And, when you're already condemned, what's there to lose by breaking the rules?

Thanks so much for stopping by! We look forward to seeing you again soon!