Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

Hey, minions! Cue in holiday music..."It’s the most wonderful time of the year" blog hop, better known as the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop” (Pause for happy dance!) 

Now that we have that out of our system...once again, over 300 blogs are participating for a full week of BTS book giveaways. Wow! That’s huge, huh? Thank the gods too, cuz my Free Sh** Fairy had to work HARD to get this latest giveaway.

Since last year, fans of the beloved Vampire Academy series drank their last fill of the delicious YA vampire series and were sadly wandering aimlessly, searching for other YA tales that would measure up.  Let’s not kid ourselves, there's a ton of great YA books out there but this series is on its own planet. Yes, it’s clearly that good because it's out of this world.  

Best selling author, Richelle Mead, as you know, recently launched her Vampire Academy spin-off series called, Bloodlines. Trust me, its sooooo goooooood! But if you need more convincing, see this EW post where it exclusively features the first four chapters.
And since my Free Sh** fairy has some serious connections, we now have a copy to give away to one lucky winner (pause for shrieks of joy.)
I know. I know. It’s hard to stay calm with news like that. Breathe. Again. Once more. Good. Now...want to know you can win?  Stupid
Okay. Let me clarify again: One (1) lucky winner will win one (1) copy of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines, Book 1 in the Vampire Academy spin-off series. 

The Back to the Books Giveaway Hop runs from 12:01 AM on Sept. 1st on through Sept. 7th, midnight so you’ll have plenty of time to enter! Yahoo!
To enter…
You MUST be a follower of my blog and MUST fill out this entry form. (And yes, I do check GCF)

Extra entries…
+2 For Becoming my Fan/Like on Facebook/MinaBurrows
+2 Subscribing via email to my blog
+1 if you Retweet this on Twitter (limit 1 retweet)

Again, the giveaway runs from 12:01 AM on Sept. 1st on thru Sept. 7th, midnight. Contest is for US residents only. Want to see who else is participating? Visit I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and check out all the links and hop on by.

Mina B.

(Note: The Winner will be notified by email and will have no more than 72 hours to respond before another winner is drawn. Winners are selected by the reputable

Creepy Classic: Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher

This month’s creepy classic is Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and it's astoundingly freaky.  Poe is one of my favorite authors, which is no surprise, since practically everyone with dark sensibilities loves him.  For those that don’t know, I posted a review of three of his classic creepy tales last November here. 
The cliché of “a friend in need is a friend indeed” comes to mind when I read this classic.  The unnamed narrator describes Roderick Usher as his childhood friend and ventures to visit him after receiving a distressing letter.  The beginning sets to tone of this popular tale.  As the visitor rides towards the withering estate, he eyes the dilapidated and eerie surroundings and the reader instantly feels the creeping sensation of despair permeating from the Usher house.  When he finally sees his friend, Usher, it’s no surprise that his disposition mirrors the image of its master’s home; all frail and deteriorating. 

Upon visiting Usher, he learns just how sick he is – not just physically but mentally.  Naturally, the creepy classic has a sinister doctor who’s completely useless.  Usher ails from serious mental issues, which affect how he treats others, including his sister, Lady Madeline, who’s sick too.  Despite his visit and the many days spent comforting Usher, the narrator witnesses Usher unravel. 

Only the wealthy would sit idle day after day in a bizarre state of nothingness until the inevitable doom arrives.  God forbid the narrator suggests a different doctor for his sickly friend.  But he doesn't and so he witnesses his friend’s sister die and agrees to bury her with Usher.  Creepy, indeed, but intriguing, nonetheless.  The vivid descriptions and build up alone was what captivating me throughout this tale.  My favorite part is right before Usher’s destruction, at the climax, when the narrator reads Usher a classical story.  While he reads various verses in the tale, spine-chilling clamorings happen simultaneously.  Usher starts ramblings incoherently, and admits he's buried his sister alive.  And then, of course, once Lady Madeline comes back from the dead, all hell breaks loose.

In the end, I was frustrated when the tale ended too abruptly - just when it was getting really good.  Obviously I wanted more.  Alas, that will ever be.  If you get a chance to read this brilliantly written tale, please do.  You won’t be disappointed.  I picked my up a - you should too.

Mina B. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Writer Platform-Building Campaign

Rachael Harrie is hosting a cool campaign for writers to help build their online platform.   I love this concept but not just for the platform-building, but for the networking with other writers.

Most of the people that signed up are writers/bloggers looking for a way to connect and support each other in their endeavors.   Rachel references this campaign as a “pay it forward” concept which is awesome.   It’s not easy coordinating these types of online efforts so my hat’s off to her.  While I muddle my way through this campaign, I wanted to take a brief moment to inform my followers, in case they want to join in on the fun.   It’s not terribly complex, but in order to sign up, you need to read Rachel’s post on how to get started.   Click here for more details.  Sign up deadline is 8/31/2001. 
There’s lots of planned activities, and I hope to have the time to join in on all the fun.   Either way, I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two.  Questions?  Comment below and I’ll see if I can help or find the answers on Rachel’s blog.

Happy Campaigning!

Mina B.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fridays with Fred: Hanging Out

Happy Friday, minions.  Fred’s just hanging today.  His favorite place to sit is on top of the couch, so I thought I get a shot of him doing so.  I love the way his paws dangle.  Only JRTs can pull off that look off.   And catch that leg hanging off the side too.  He looks comfy, eh? 
Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend.

Sup, minions?
Want to see more of Fred?  Click here  and here.  Also, visit, Schatze over at Bookhounds. Mary has a new look too and it's adorable.

Be sure and stop by next week for the blog hop. It should be fun, fun, fun! I’m giving away a copy of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines.

Mina B.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: Hungry For You by Lynsay Sands

I recently read Hungry For You by best selling author, Lynsay Sands, which is Book 14 in the Argeneau series.  I loved this book from beginning to end.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with Lynsay Sands or her novels, take a moment to read the author interview I did last year.  She’s amazing, truly.
In Hungry for You, Cale Valens another family member of the Argeneau clan is summoned to Canada to meet one of the Willan sisters, Alexandra.   If you recall, we first met Alex along with Jo and Samantha in Rogue Hunter when the three sisters were on vacation and also when Samantha met the love of her eternal life, Garrett.   It’s in that story where we learn Samantha’s quest to find her sister’s lifemates before turning an immortal (vampire) herself.   You would think that it would take several lifetimes to find the one," but no.   If not for Marguerite Argeneau’s matchmaking abilities, these girls and the extended family of Argeneau men, would never have found true love.

This book had me in hysterics in the beginning; I’d swear I’d recommend it alone just on that.   To me, one can never laugh enough and Lynsay brilliantly peppers her novels with witty real-life scenarios that are too hilarious for words.   I love her for that. When Cale arrives, he finds Alex is, indeed, his lifemate.   The telltale signs are he’s unable to read her and then suddenly - after a millenium or so of not eating food - his appetite is reawakened.   It’s a good thing too, because Alex is not only his lifemate, but also one of the premier chefs in her town.

Despite all the matchmaking Samantha and Marguerite orchestrate, Alex can’t be bothered with men since her career is finally flourishing, and she’s on the verge of opening up a second restaurant.   Excuses, excuses…I know, we’ve all heard them.   But the truth is Alex has been burned so bad in the past from a previous relationship with a mad chef, that relationships have left a bitter taste in her mouth.

In order to woe his chosen lifemate, Cale agrees to impersonate a chef, taking a job as the head chef in her restaurant.  With help from a zany cast of characters, Cale slowly wins Alex over until her past finally catches up with her.   I won’t tell you what happens, but this book is classic Lynsay Sands.  If you haven’t read the Argeneau series, you are completely missing out, and that’s just sad.  

For me, Hungry For You was a 4.5 and will forever bring a smile to my face.

Mina B.