Thursday, March 31, 2011

Follow Friday #5

It's time for Follow Friday, once again. :) This meme is sponsored by Parajunkee, so go check her out. :) And the featured blogger is Books Ahoy.

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers -
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog! 
It looks like the question may be the same as last week :

Q. Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you.

 Soooo, check out my answers from last week's post. :) Comment if you stop by. :)

Thanks!! Mandy :) 


Library Unveiled

This is a new meme, sponsored by The Mad Scientist @ Madsteampunkery. I got it from Belinda at  The Bookish Snob . I thought it sounded like fun, and I love looking at pictures of books... Go and check out Bels' pics of her library - impressive!!
Anyway, here's what the meme is:
Don't know what is in your library? Want to share your books with others? Curious to know what is in other libraries?

Library Unveiled
This new meme will allow you to share your personal library, bound or virtual, with the Mad Scientist and other bloggers. Every Thursday stop by and share FIVE books & perhaps a snippet of your thoughts or link to a review.
So, for my five books - I'm going old school... 
So, the first 3 go together - 
The Secret Circle Trilogy by L.J. Smith

These books are from 1992 - I was finishing up my freshman year of high school, moved from Illinois to Wisconsin and began my sophomore year at a new school. I was always interested in the paranormal - witches and vampires especially. :) These books are more worn than I allow my books to get now, but they're almost 20 years old, and I have read them, many, many times... I related to Cassie - the MC, so much - even in physical description, it was scary. And I wanted to BE her... Anyways - these are always my faves, so I'm sharing. :)

#4 & #5 - Witch & Fall Into Darkness by Christopher Pike

What can I say? I loved, loved, loved Christopher Pike and I'm pretty sure I have a nice collection of his books. Again- some paranormal, witches, and suspense, mystery, darkness. These are even older - copyrighted 1990. But show where my paranormal love started and when my library began to grow. :)

Share yours in my comments! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I'm reading...

So I have a pile of books by my bedside that I have started and need to finish... I return to them time and again, but I complete other books in the meantime... Here's that pile...

Here's one of the books I just started:
And here's what came in the mailbox TODAY!!

GAH!! and SQUEE!! Seriously think I had a bookgasm when I opened the Amazon box. :) I already skimmed for Qhuay scenes... ;) I can't wait until their story is told... It's coming, dangit!
I don't know where to start, where to finish.. And check out my TBR page - so many good books --- so little time!! What's your opinion? What should I dive into?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Top 5 Sunday #3 and I'm So Excited!!

Top 5 Sundays are hosted by Larissa @ Welcome to Larissa's Bookish Life
This week's theme is:
UF or PNR Pet Peeves!
Sorry, I don't have fancy pics... I'm not even sure how to grab Larissa's image to post here.. LOL... I'm still learning - but thanks for visiting and putting up with my lameness. :) Here goes my pet peeves...
1. Love at First Sight... Really - I think I may just be cynical, but that all-consuming love they find as soon as they lay eyes on someone... Really? Ugh, I like angst and heartache and conflict... :D I even enjoy a non-HEA once in awhile... 

2. Complex worlds with sooo many characters... Seriously - I love when an author creates a whole new world - but I had to take notes during Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry series so I could keep all her lovers straight... Some authors do characters well, others -you have to dig out the first books in the series to remember who people are. I actually took notes throughout J.R. Ward's series also - on my 2nd read through and noticed some inconsistencies in details... No - I'm not anal at all... :)

3. Dumb, dumb heroines. I like my women tough, smart, and witty. Bella irritates me - stole that from Larissa ;) When they're whiny, too submissive, or otherwise weak- blech. 

4. An inordinate number of sublimely attractive people/beings. Again - I like to fantasize about hot, huge, muscled men, but why do they always have to fall for gorgeous, perfect women? lol That gives me so much hope (sarcasm) :) lol 

5. Quickie meaningless sex that turns into a burning love. Granted - I also like when this happens... lol... but again, Were they that good in bed that after one go round - you suddenly can't live without them? 

Wow, I'm kind of cynical, huh? Why do I read these books? LOL I wonder if the things that bother me are also part of the reason I love these books so much... 
Please comment - if only to say hi. Thanks!! 

Part 2 - Why I AM SO EXCITED!!!
Sooo, this coming week marks the release of LOVER UNLEASHED by J.R. Ward
THE DARKEST SECRET by Gena Showalter, and ETERNAL RIDER by Larissa Ione... All are must-haves for me, so I preordered them from Amazon since I got a GC... I received an email this morning - They were shipped!! I can not wait to get my hands on these books!! We are going to Chicago on Friday- guess what I'll be doing in the car ride down?  LOL  Watch next week for reviews!! I'm sure I'll ignore my monstrous TBR and gorge myself on those books. :)

Thanks for stopping!! Check out Gena Showalter's page by clicking on the countdown widget ---
Also, stay tuned to Reality Bites for upcoming book tours!! I'm excited to be a part of these tours, and hope you stop by! 

Mandy :)    

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review - At Grave's End - Jeaniene Frost

At Grave's End (Night Huntress, #3)
Some things won't stay buried . . . at grave's end
It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.
As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.

Yes. I am so behind with this series... I read the first two books in January of 2009. Yeah, so it's been two years since I've read this series... Two years!! I've had the other books in this series on my TBR for awhile now... Anyway, on to At Grave's End--

So, as I was reading, I had a hard time getting all the characters and their backstories straight - because I didn't remember details from the first 2 books. But I was pulled right back into the world and they did feel familiar for the most part. I was fuzzy on some plot details, but as a narrator - Cat does a good job of reminding us of events from the past, so I didn't feel completely lost.
I was surprised the book almost began with a climax, and the action never stopped.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to read this book - I even read a couple in the meantime, but once I actually sat and was determined to read it - I was engaged and suddenly needed to finish it.
The action pulled the plot along and there were some pulling on heartstrings in the meanwhile. I love Cat and Bones and I love their relationship - all their interactions. I really hope Ms. Frost writes someone for Tate, because he's freaking annoying me. I enjoy a good love triangle, this isn't really a triangle - but Tate needs to back off and realize that if he really loves Cat - he would want her to be happy - it just feels off to me.
Honestly, I like more angst in my relationships - but Cat and Bones are sweet. I will be reading the next installment soon - maybe not right away - but soon. If you are looking for a kick-ass heroine, a hot hero, and lots of action - this series is for you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Follow Friday #4

Time for this week's Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee! The featured blogger this week is
Go check her out!! :)

Now for this week's question:

Q. Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you.

1. My TBR is HUGE!! And I keep acquiring books - it's a disease. :) But I love it... DH does NOT understand.

2. I used to get in trouble for reading at the dinner table... I ALWAYS had a book with me. 

3. I still have books from when I was in middle school -- L.J. Smith, all my Christopher Pike, Fear Street... Oh yeah, be jealous ;)

4. I keep track of all my series in a journal and I methodically write them down - which ones I own, which I've read, which ones are upcoming and when they will be published... 

5. I used to read all historical fiction - anything regarding the Tudors, and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series were my favorites. Now I am mostly paranormal... :)


Thanks for stopping by! Leave me a comment, even if just saying Hi! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 5 Sunday! #2

This is a weekly meme hosted by Larissa over at Welcome to Larissa's Bookish Life

The theme for today is:
Books for an Urban Fantasy 1st Timer!

Hmm.. This one took a lot for me to think about. I'm not always sure exactly what constitutes UF. So, my #1 would have to be...
Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)
Hunky, kick-ass vampire warriors, spunky, independent females - my overall favorite series. 

Dead Witch Walking (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows, #1)
This is a great series! It has a little bit of everything, including humor. And Rachel is one bad-ass witch, but vulnerable, and totally likable!


Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1)
The first book I read where vampires started to become mainstream. I started this series late, but began reading these in the late 90s. It shows a world where vampires are "out" and how the world has adjusted. I like that premise. 

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)
Sorry, but the books are so much better than the series. Read them and love them apart from True Blood. :)
The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld,  #1)
This one has a completely different premise, in that the main characters are the Lords of the Underworld, and they host demons that were released from Pandora's Box. This series combines mythology with hot heroes and women who tame their demons... :)
So there's my 5 for a newbie. They all have something new and different to show someone getting into the genre. I'm not sure if they are all strictly UF - not sure of the definition of the genre. But reading about the different species and worlds may give a newbie an inkling of what they like and what they want to read more of. 
Mandy :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Follow Friday #3! :)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee... :) The featured blogger this week is Jess, at Gone With the Words Be sure to visit them. :)

The question this week is

Q. How did you come up with your blog name?

Well, I love vampires - I have for decades... :) So I wanted something in there that reflected that, and I read to escape, really-- escape reality. I love my book worlds, hence Reality Bites. Because sometimes it does really bite, and it's also a play on the vampire thing. It has nothing to do with the 80s (90s?) movie. I don't even remember much about that movie - except that it had a great soundtrack. :)



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Embrace Your Oddities - 100 Follower Giveaway!

I just entered a contest from Mandy over at Embrace Your Oddities -- She's headed toward 100 followers and is celebrating with a giveaway with some great book-related swag! Head over there and follow her blog, then sign up for your chance to win!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review - Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #1)
Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.
After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.
Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

I received about six books in the mail yesterday- all I had bought from a fellow book blogger. As I was looking through them- reading the backs, checking out the covers-- I opened Leaving Paradise and read small excerpts here and there. Before I knew it, I was reading the book, then I was staying up to finish it, and then it was done and I was craving the sequel.

I had never heard of this Simone Elkeles before. And why the heck not? This book was amazingly written! It switches between the POV of Caleb and Maggie- so you really get to know each of the main characters. And I mean get to know them. I found myself even psychoanalyzing their actions because I felt I knew them well enough. The character development on those 2 is awesome. Meanwhile, that leaves all the secondary characters as quite shallow. I wish we could have gotten to know Mrs. Reynolds more. I feel like there was more to her story- but you had to infer a lot from the dialogue.

Maggie and Caleb are both dealing with the aftermath of the accident that put Maggie in the hospital and physical therapy for the last year, and Caleb in juvey. Going back to their lives, they think everyone around them has changed, but really they have changed - and for the better, I think.

The struggles they go through are so raw, and I felt every emotion in this book. They come to realize they are the only ones who can really understand each other and rediscover their friendship, and begin a romance that is so sweet, so heartwarming. The way Elkeles wrote their scenes was beyond words.

I laughed in this book, I was scared, I had tears running down my face. My heart soared, and it ached. This book made me feel. It's not my usual fare, but I loved it, and I need to go out and get the sequel, Return to Paradise because the ending of this one leaves you heartbroken and hanging.

There is strong language, underage drinking, some talk about sex, some making out, and fight scenes.          

Follow Simone Elkeles: Website

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review - Evernight by Claudia Gray

Evernight (Evernight, #1)

"She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed."

 Beware - I will probably have plot spoilers in here...
Okay, I took a break from all my longer, adult books I was reading and read Evernight because it was YA and would be a quick read. It started out good. I was enjoying it, getting to know the characters. I was a little frustrated that Bianca never questioned the way her parents were so old-fashioned. The boarding school scene was very Harry Potter slash Vampire Academy slash House of Night... But if I had read this series first, then they would be very Evernight-ish.

Anyway, halfway through the book - BAM! Suddenly you realize the narrator knew a huge plot point that she never let us in on!! I guess I just assumed when a book was told in the first person, we'd know all about them... Not in this book. It was quite irritating, and I even had to stop and look back to see if I missed clues - nope, they were never ANY clues that she knew.

The scenes between her and Lucas were fun at the beginning, although he was quite volatile, but became a little mushy for me by the end. Although, maybe being in life-threatening situations makes people mushier? I really like Balthazar, too - another guy who likes Bianca. I hear he's getting his own book... Nice. :)

So, I would rate this book 3 out of 5 whatevers, because the whole not knowing a huge point irritated me. I'm sure the next 3 books in the series will be better, because hopefully, there aren't any other secrets Bianca is keeping from us.

I have Stargazer on my TBR and will be reading that soon. That is book 2. Book 3 is Hourglass and book 4- Afterlife is just out.

Ooh, and I get a book for my Vampire Challenge!! Woohoo! :)

Follow Friday #2!

Welcome to my 2nd Follow Friday!

Sponsored by the great Parajunkee, her blog is amazing, so you need to follow her. The Featured blogger this week is Bookaholic Does Blogging and you need to check her out too.

Q. Who are You the Boy/Girl, instead of You the Blogger?

My name is Mandy, I'm in my early 30s, married for 6 years, and have 2 beautiful kids. I live in small-town Wisconsin, so blogging and stalking following other blogs and authors on twitter, etc, has become my way of expanding my world. I've loved reading since I was little, I've loved writing almost as long. I recently went through some intense personal change that was forced upon me and it's made me reevaluate everything. I think it was overall a positive.

Anyway, welcome to my new followers! I hope I don't bore you too much. I am just starting out and have a review to post tonight after work. Happy Friday!! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Top 5 Sunday!

My first Top 5 Sunday. This comes from Larissa over at Larissa's Bookish Life
The theme this week is Favorite Urban Fantasy Cliches...

Sorry, my post will be boring, as I'm not sure on legality of using pictures of books and stuff, yet.
So, here are my top 5...
1. The Love Triangle...
Yes, I love Love Triangles. I can't explain why, it just makes things so much more interesting. I love the struggles and the heartache and the fact that sometimes I want someone to just throw their hands up and say "I love you both!"

2. The Forbidden Love...
Think vampire falls in love with slayer, or demon falls in love with demon slayer, etc... The love that is against all rules, yet it happens anyway. Gotta love the forbidden fruit!

3. The hot and sexy scenes...
Going off of the last one, the forbidden love is always overcome by some intense attraction that inevitably ends up in hot sex scenes, which I'm a huge fan of. :)

4. The bad guy who might not be ALL bad...
I'm thinking Trent in The Hollows series... You know, the guy who is supposed to be bad, but there's just something about him that a little part of you is rooting for? Yeah, I love that.

5. The secret agency...
Isn't there always some secret government, or other, agency that regulates beings of the paranormal variety? I love when an author builds a world so involved that there are rules and enforcers...

So there's my first Top 5... I hope I did okay. :) Let me know what you think and link your Top 5 so I can check it out!! :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Follow Friday

I'm new to this, obviously. I'd love for you to follow and if you see anything I can fix, let me know!
I think I'm doing this right...A way to find new blogs and make new friends. So I'm trying it. :)
I haven't really done anything embarrassing on cold medicine. So that's a boring story. In college, once, I was on pain medication after a surgery, though, and I had a Shakespeare class. The words seemed to be literally moving around on the page and I had a heck of a time trying to read out loud...
That's the best I got. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March = So Many New Books...

I can't believe how many great books are coming out this month! And these are only the books in the series that I actively read! I'm not even talking about any releases of great books that I don't know about. :) So here's my list of books coming out this month that are must-buys for me!

March 1
Afterlife - Claudia Gray
Pale Demon - Kim Harrison
This Side of the Grave - Jeaniene Frost
March 15
Shimmer -Alyson Noel
March 29
Eternal Rider - Larissa Ione
Ghost Town- Rachel Caine
Lover Unleashed - J.R. Ward - probably my most anticipated release this year!

Feel free to add to my March release list!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sweep by Cate Tiernan

My first official review! Well, official according to me. Anyway, I just finished book 8 of Cate Tiernan's Sweep  series, Changeling. I read book 1 last year in February and have been slowly acquiring the books over the year. I have 9 and 15, now I just need to get the ones in between so I can finish. :)

I love this series. It revolves around Morgan Rowlands, a high school junior who discovers she is a blood witch, a witch with true magick. Of course, it is a handsome, charismatic blood witch, Cal, who introduces her to the world of Wicca. The series follows Morgan's struggles as she discovers how powerful she is and that not everything is strictly good or evil, Wicca included.

I really enjoy books about witches and Wicca, beginning with L.J. Smith's The Secret Circle trilogy I read in the early 90s. I put off beginning the Sweep series for awhile because, honestly, the cover of book 1 did not look very exciting. :) I am so glad I finally read it. The books are fairly short and and easy to read, yet the plot pulls you in and you get caught up in the lives of the characters. I don't always like Morgan, she has an irritating trait to be stubborn in her thoughts and not always find out the information from all sides. She is also a little naive, which I suppose is part of her growth.

I can't help but feel in The Changeling that there is more to the story that Morgan is not taking the time to discover. I don't want to talk too much about the plot, because it will give away spoilers from early books if you haven't read this series, yet. This series has everything- magick, friendships, complex familial relationships, romance, frustrated romance, betrayal, even shape-shifting.

I know these books have been published for awhile, and I wish I had found them sooner. They are now being re-published in threes as omnibuses, but I am working on getting the individual books, I'm not a big fan of omnibuses. That being said, I did just get the Balefire Omnibus, also by Cate Tiernan, which has all 4 books from that series in it. I enjoy Cate Tiernan's writing, and while the subjects are YA, she writes in a way that I, as an adult, can enjoy and get into. The reader becomes fully invested in the lives of the characters and I can't wait to start the next book! If I had a star rating, I'd give the series 4 out of 5 stars, because, really- sometimes Morgan has me rolling my eyes in exasperation, dangit! She's supposed to do things the way I want her to. LOL

I'm one of those readers who flips through the book to see what is going to happen, and sometimes, I even read parts of the end before I finish. :) I don't mind spoilers and actually go looking for them! I like to know what's going to happen, it keeps me reading. I found a timeline of the events of this series on a website somewhere, so I kind of knew the major events and plot reveals that were going to occur throughout the series, but I still enjoyed seeing how they unfurled. 

Cate Tiernan's website:
and you can follow her on Twitter! @CateTiernan

the books in the Sweep series:
1. Book of Shadows
2. The Coven
3. Blood Witch
4. Dark Magick
5. Awakening
6. Spellbound
7. The Calling
8. Changeling
9. Strife
10. Seeker
11. Origins
12. Eclipse
13. Reckoning
14. Full Circle
15. Night's Child - which is told from Morgan's daughter's POV

If you know of any other great series with witches in them, let me know! I love Rachel Morgan, of course! And I mentioned L.J. Smith's witches.

I am new to this, so if you have any suggestions, I would gladly appreciate them. :)