Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren (Litfuse Tour)

Series: Grand Tour, #1
David C. Cook (June 2012)
Source: from publisher for Litfuse blog tour

It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father's health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her.

 Cora is invited to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person's education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she's never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King-a Father who is the only One who can truly heal.

Lisa Bergren is one of my all time favorite authors. I loved her Homeward Trilogy and can't get enough of her River of Time series. The characters she creates are so easy to fall in love with and her descriptions of their surroundings make everything leap from the pages and come to life. When I got the chance to review Glamorous Illusions, I had no doubt in my mind that it'd be another favorite of mine. I was so right!

I actually liked Cora a lot. I loved her attitude and the way she handled herself in the tough situations she found herself in. I also liked seeing how well she adjusted to this new life and how she tried so hard to still be who she was before all the drastic changes. I kind of felt emotionally attached to her. I was so sad when she left her mother and father. I got nervous along with her every time she was around her siblings. And I couldn't help but sigh every time she was around Will. He was so sweet and I loved the interaction between the two. As of now, I can't tell where their relationship is going but I do hope they end up together!

Before this, I never heard of the Grand Tour. It sounds like it'd be an amazing experience to travel through Europe and see the famous sites and attend the fancy parties. It was pretty easy to envision all the places the characters got to visit because Lisa adds so much vivid detail of everything around them. It was kinda like I got to go on the Grand Tour along with Cora and the rest of the characters! It was really neat to read about.

Glamorous Illusions is an intriguing story that draws you in from page one and leaves you anxiously awaiting what's next! Yes, the ending was a bit abrupt, but it made me even more anxious for the release of Book 2, which can't come soon enough! I absolutely loved reading about everywhere these characters traveled to and all the excitement that comes with navigating through Europe. It was a fantastic story and I can't wait to get back to Cora and her new life when Grave Consequences comes out next year. This truly was a satisfying read!

About Lisa

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. She just finished writing a Colorado historical trilogy (the first book, Breathe, Sing and Claim), and has begun a teen series called River of Time.

Lisa's time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She's married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphic designer and musician. They have three kids-Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7).

All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For more information on Lisa and to view other books written, please visit her website:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Swipe by Evan Angler

by Evan Angler
Tommy Nelson (May 2012)
Source: Publisher
Amazon | Goodreads

Logan Langley is just months away from his thirteenth birthday and the biggest day of his life- the day he will finally be Marked. The Mark lets people get jobs, vote, and even go out to eat or buy concert tickets.

Becoming Marked means becoming free. Or so he is told. Five years ago when Logan's sister went to get her Mark she never came back. Now Logan can't shake the feeling he's being watched...

And then he finds the wire.
Swipe is Evan Angler’s debut novel, and let me tell you… it was great! This fast paced dystopian mystery is one that its targeted middle grade audience will love. There’s tons of action and suspense to keep you flipping through the pages, and there are a few neat twists along the way. The beginning did start out slow and I had a bit of a hard time getting into it, but it wasn’t long before the pace picked up and the story really took off.

One thing I really liked was all the mystery. Throughout the majority of the book, there’s the mystery of who the kids of the Dust are and why they’re following Logan around. Once that’s all revealed, we still have the big mystery of what really happened to his sister, Lily, the day she was supposed to be Marked. Another thing I liked was how there was always a sense of danger looming just around the corner. It never felt safe for logan and I was constantly feeling as if something was about to jump out in front of me. Something about that feeling I got made me not want to stop reading because I didn't want to miss a thing.

When I think about how things are in Logan’s world, it’s a bit frightening because I can totally see our society going in that direction and just accepting it. The mark takes the place of money, credit cards, paperwork, etc. and once Logan receives it he can buy things and find a job. He can't do much without it, so that freedom is very appealing to any 12 year old who's sick of needing their parents around to buy ice cream or something. It's scary to think about!

The ending both surprised and upset me because we're just left hanging. I wanted so bad to continue on with the story and see what happened next! I guess I'll just have to be patient in waiting for book 2, Sneak, to be released later this year. Overall, I think Evan did a fantastic job on his first novel. It's well written and completely age appropriate for it's targeted audience. I think older teens and adults could even enjoy it. I can’t wait to read more of his work in the future.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Guest Post with Evan Angler

Why Differ? by Evan Angler

We live in a world where things can be easy. Tablet computers that fit in our pockets and make calls for us and tell us where we are. Globalized digital networks that connect us effortlessly, all the time. Modern medicine that works wonders. News that arrives the moment it happens. Food that stays fresh forever.

This isn’t science fiction. This is reality. And in the American Union, all you need—for any of it—is the Mark.

So what’s wrong with that? The Pledge unifies us, does it not? Just as its Mark protects us? No one could argue that it hasn’t brought us together, that it hasn’t created peace . . . that our allegiance to the Chancellor hasn’t bound us and given common ground from which all our ideas and ideologies may grow. Together. Compatibly.

After the years of slaughter, after the decades of political and environmental devastation that forced more and more of us to fight over less and less land, water, food . . . was this unity not a welcome change for all of us?

It isn’t even compulsory. No one has to Pledge. But who wouldn’t? In the years since its implementation, the Mark has rightfully become the capstone of a childhood well spent, the crowning achievement in a young man’s or woman’s life, the opened door to citizenship, adulthood, independence . . .

Every schoolchild knows that in the wake of the Total War, this Mark has become the very symbol of our commitment to patriotism and peace. It is the constant reminder of our loftiest intentions.

To be Markless is to reject these ideals. To be Markless is to be different. So why would anyone choose to be different?

In a world of absolutes, of black and white, of right and wrong, why would anyone choose “wrong”? My name is Evan Angler. I may have answers to these questions. But I can’t risk writing them. Not here. Not on the Internet, for anyone to see.

And you wouldn’t risk reading them.

But if you are determined . . . if you are determined to learn the truth, no matter the cost, then what I can tell you is this: I’ve put what I know onto paper. Old-fashioned, obsolete—paper. Where it can’t be copied and pasted with the stroke of a stylus, where it can’t be sent around the world at the press of a button, where it can’t be recorded and stored forever in a million irretrievable pieces across cyberspace and time for any watchful eye to see. Paper is intimate. It is between you and me. It is fragile. It can be destroyed.

And when you find it, if you find it . . . once you’ve read it . . . I do encourage you to destroy it.

Swipe is the first volume in the chronicles of Logan Langly, Erin Arbitor, and the Dust. Their account is dangerous; the information within it is forbidden.

I wrote their story for everyone. But if you are not yet thirteen, if you have not yet Pledged to the Chancellor in exchange for his Mark of citizenship, if you have not yet made that choice to conform to given definitions of what may be easy and what may be “right” . . . then I have written this story especially for you.

For I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’m still afraid of the dark. And if you too have ever turned out the light only to feel that tinge of panic, that inkling that someone, somewhere, might possibly be watching . . . I’m here to tell you that they are.

At its heart, Swipe is a book about friendship against the odds. It’s a book about a group of boys and girls who stick together to stand up for one another and for what they believe in.

But why would they choose to be different? Why would they choose “wrong”?

Are you ready to learn the truth?
About Evan Angler
Evan Angler is safe, for now. He lives without the Mark, evading DOME and writing in the shadows of Beacon.

As a kid he was quiet and well-behaved, having grown up in a town not unlike Spokie, where he enjoyed music, drawing, hover-dodge, astrophysics, hiking, virtual reality . . .

None of that matters now.

Evan Angler is the author of SWIPE. But if anyone asks, you know nothing about it, and you didn't hear anything from him. Don't make eye contact if you see him. Don't call his name out loud. He's in enough trouble already.

And so are you, if you've read his books.

About Swipe
Logan Langly is just months away from his thirteenth birthday and the biggest day of his life––the day he will finally be Marked. The Mark lets people get jobs, vote, even go out to eat or buy concert tickets.

Becoming Marked means becoming free. Or so he is told. Five years ago when Logan's sister went to get her Mark she never came back. Now Logan can't shake the feeling he's being watched...

And then he finds the wire.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's my Birthday!


Today's my birthday! I've been anxiously waiting for this day to come because of this super fantastic completely amazing giveaway(IMO) I'm about to announce. Are you ready?? 

Ahhhh!!! I'm so excited =D

I'm giving away a custom blog design by Lori from Imagination Designs! She always makes beautiful designs and one lucky winner will get a new look for their blog by her! The design package you could win includes: Custom Header, background, a blog button, ratings, signature, page links and color styling, and installation.

Sound good to you?? Then enter using the rafflecopter below. This giveaway is for anyone with a blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 4, 2012

A short update

Hi everyone! It's been about 2 weeks since I last posted, but it feels like so much longer. I had a lot going on and I didn't have a chance to post as many reviews as I planned. I'm hoping to get them all up in the next few weeks. Let's see how that works out =D

I wanted to help out a blogger friend and post about a giveaway she's having. You can win one of three copies of The Next Target by Nikki Arana. And if Melanie is one of two bloggers with the most comments, she'll win a Kindle Fire! Isn't that neat? So if you'd like you can head on over to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, enter the giveaway, and then leave a comment to help her out :)

I hope you win, Melanie!

I also wanted to give you a little heads up on what I'll be posting tomorrow. As some of you may know, tomorrow is my 21st birthday! To celebrate, I'm having a special giveaway for you all. I don't think you're gonna wanna miss it :) Make sure you stop by tomorrow to see what you can win!
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