Christmas in July Book Swap

Hey, y'all! I think everyone knows by now that I adore doing blogger swaps. I love the idea behind this one, because Christmas is my happy place. I'll post the important information below. Click the button to go to the sign-up post! Merry Christmas, loves!

Important Dates to Remember: 

  • Sign-Ups End: Monday, June 30th at 12AM 
  • Partners assigned: Wednesday, July 2nd 
  • Packages Shipped: Friday, July 18th & Saturday July 19th 
  • Show-Off Linky Opens: Wednesday, July 23rd and closes Friday, August 1st

Christmas in July Book Swap Rules

  • After you have been accepted to the swap (via email), please post on your blog saying you are a participant in the swap. Your post should include our swap button along with a link back to our sign up post by July 1st.
  • The package you send must include at least 1 book from their wishlist and 1 other item of your choosing.
  • When you are assigned your partner, get to know them, and send items in your package that fit your partner’s wants and likes.
  • All packages should cost approximately $10-$20 before shipping, so that each swap package is fairly close in pricing and no one feels cheated.
  • Please reply to emails from us about the swap in a timely manner.
  • Your packages MUST be mailed on or before July 18th/19th.
  • You must send a tracking number for your package via email to your partner and to us at The Book Monsters when you mail it out.
  • Please post and link up to your swap reveal, which will be posted on July 23rd. Everyone would like to see your goodies after all!

Pretty Little Indies: Shari Sakurai

Demon's Blood by Shari Sakurai

Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, QLTBG

Immortal blood is precious and Kokawa Taku’s
makes him especially unique.

After vampire hunters force them to flee Tokyo, Taku and his lover, Thane, try to make a new life for themselves in England. But three months later Thane is still tormented by nightmares of the fire that almost cost them their lives. This leads to carelessness and the discovery of one of his victims.

When faced with threats from all sides Taku tries his best to protect them although his actions are met with disapproval and anger from Thane. Unknown to his lover, Taku is also struggling to keep hidden the truth of what really happened three months ago.

However, it is only a matter of time before Taku’s past and bloodline catches up with him.
  This is another book that normally wouldn't land on my radar. I'm not a big fan of Japanese culture, I've never watched anime, etc etc. But I was drawn in by Demon's Blood. The biggest draw for me was that Shari portrayed vampires in such a traditional sense. I really enjoyed that aspect and how she wrote her vampires. It was such a nice change from the cuddly, soft vampires that have taken over lately!

  Shari is such a good writer and Demon's Blood is an excellent debut novel. Sure, there are plenty of places for her to grow and expand on her skills. But she has raw talent. All of the characters have very defined personalities and you can just tell that they were well thought out. The romance was also something that I enjoyed. I feel like if I say too much about the characters I'll give something away. But for someone like me who really appreciates good characters, Demon's Blood did not let me down.

  This book felt like it flew by. I was swept away by this unique story in no time. Fans of M/M romance and traditional vampires will flock to this stunning debut by Shari Sakurai!

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.

1. Describe Demon's Blood in one word.

2. Why did you decide to go with a darker type of vampire that's more traditional instead of the romanticized versions that are popular lately?
When reading vampire novels I prefer the vampires to be darker and more traditional. I’m not a fan of the romanticized versions.

For my vampires it’s a very difficult and painful existence really. They are essentially the same people that they were before they were turned, but to survive they have to drink blood and many of them have to kill their victims too. One point made in Demon’s Blood is that vampires, generally, do just kill to survive and that humans will kill other humans sometimes simply because they can. But drinking human blood, or the thought of it, is not something that anyone would be okay with. So this makes them, in their eyes and in the eyes of others, monsters. Some of my vampires adjust to their immortal lives better than others but they all still carry a darkness within them, even if they don’t want to acknowledge it!

3. Which character from Demon's Blood was the easiest for you to write?
Taku. He’s got such a strong personality and writing him comes very naturally to me.

4. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Take your time with your novel. Once you’ve finished it it’s a good idea to have a ‘cooling off’ period of a few weeks/months before coming back to it for the final read through.

5. Choose one character from Demon's Blood that you have to be trapped in an elevator with for an entire day. Who and why?
Koji. He’s seen so many periods of Japanese history and could tell a lot of fascinating stories – the day would pass in no time!

6. You can only read one book (that isn't one of yours) for the rest of your life. Which is it?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It’s such a beautiful, touching and thought provoking piece of work. It’s one of those novels that stays with you long after you’ve read the last page.

7. Are you more similar to Thane or Taku?
Taku! We have a lot of similar insecurities, which we’re both very good at hiding! We also have the same sense of humour!

8. I'm so happy that Demon's Blood features gay romance. What inspired you to write a M/M couple?
I read a lot of m/m romance and I prefer the dynamics in a m/m relationship to a m/f one so when I write very often my works will feature a m/m relationship.

9. Lastly, what's up next for you? Any projects we should be looking out for?
My second novel, Perfect World, is being released as an ebook on the 19th July. Perfect World is a science fiction/m/m romance set in 22nd Century London. I’m also drafting an outline for another m/m romance/vampire novel, which I’m going to write for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Myself and artist, Zoe Annear, will be exhibiting at Hyper Japan, Earls Court, London on 25-27 July where the print edition of Demon’s Blood will be available to purchase.

This giveaway is open internationally! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Shari Sakurai was born in Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom. After completing secondary school she moved away from further education to work in administration.

  Shari is very interested in other countries’ cultures and mythology; in particular Japan. Japanese themes and influences can often be found in her work.

  Shari's debut novel Demon's Blood was released in ebook format on 25th January 2014. She has participated and won the National Novel Writing Month challenge for the past seven years.

Cover Madness Giveaway Hop

  My most favorite book cover ever is These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. The cover for the next book in the Starbound series, This Shattered World, was recently released, and it's beautiful, too!

  So for my stop on the Cover Madness hop, I'm giving away a hardback copy of These Broken Stars and a pre-order of a hardback copy of This Shattered World. If you already own a copy of These Broken Stars, you may pick a second book to pre-order along with your pre-order of This Shattered World. 

We're All Mad Here

  Whenever I discovered book blogging and started Pretty Little Pages, I truly felt like Alice in Wonderland. ARCs, blog tours, Twitter parties; what?! I truly got swept away by it all. And like a lot of beginners, I abused my blogger privileges to request way too many books for review. On top of that, I had no less than ten review requests in my inbox every day. At first, I thought I had to say yes to each of them. (I'm glad I learned that, that isn't the case!)

  Now that I have a better grasp on book blogging and what I want to do with Pretty Little Pages, I've put together a schedule of sorts. Because I've been trying to catch up on reviews, most posts have been reviews lately. I hate that. Before I ramble any more (seriously, I've written and erased an entire paragraph), here's the official Pretty Little Pages posting schedule!

Sunday: Sunday Post meme. 
I haven't participated in this meme before today, but I think a weekly recap is a good idea. I'm definitely on board.

Monday: Pretty Little Indies.
I will be continuing my weekly feature that showcases Indie/small press authors and their work. This is one of my favorite parts of my blog.

Tuesday: Off day/Miscellaneous.
Tuesdays will be reserved as a catch all. If I have nothing extra, there will be no post. If I have an extra review or a book blitz or something that I can't fit into the rest of the week, it'll be posted on Tuesday.

Wednesday: New Adult Night.
I'm slowly getting more and more into the New Adult genre. Wednesdays will be reserved for reviews, promos, and discussions about the NA genre.

Thursday: Everything YA.
This is the same as Wednesday, but with YA. Reviews, promos, and discussions about the Young Adult genre will be posted on this day.

Friday: Foodie Friday and Friday Fracas.
The first Friday of each month, I'll be posting a book inspired recipe or a recipe from a book. The rest of the month, Friday is reserved for general discussions during Friday Fracas. This could be a list, a rant, or just my general ramblings.

Saturday: Dream Casts or Lazy Weekend Reviews
Because I enjoy making dream casts so much, I will be featuring them on Saturdays. If I don't have a dream cast to share, I'll be posting some quick reviews for the weekend.

Do you have a schedule that you post by? How do you keep your sanity as a book blogger?

Sunday Post: 6.29.14

The Sunday Post meme is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It is a way to recap the past week with all thing bookish.

From the library:

  Hi! This is my very first Sunday post! Eep. Exciting. So, I'm preparing for my very first author event! I was supposed to go to UtopYA earlier this month but plans had to be changed last minute. Next month, the Tennessee Author Event will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee on July 12th. I only live like an hour away from Knoxville, so I jumped on going to this event as soon as I heard about it! If you're close, come! The event is free, and there will lots of amazing authors there. If you're planning on going, let me know. We can awkwardly smile and look at each other. (Because I'm socially awkward and my staring game is ridic.)

Lazy Weekend Reviews #2

  In an effort to catch up on reviews and indulge in a lazy weekend, I've rounded up a few of my recent reads for quick reviews below. Included are Somerset by Leila Meacham and From Souk to Souk by Robin Ratchford.

Somerset by Leila Meacham

Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

One hundred fifty years of Roses' Tolivers,
Warwicks, and DuMonts! We begin in the antebellum South on Plantation Alley in South Carolina, where Silas Toliver, deprived of his inheritance, joins up with his best friend Jeremy Warwick to plan a wagon train expedition to the "black waxy" promise of a new territory called Texas. Slavery, westward expansion, abolition, the Civil War, love, marriage, friendship, tragedy and triumph-all the ingredients (and much more) that made so many love Roses so much-are here in abundance.
  Somerset wasn't a bad book by any means. But I was entirely uninterested the entire time I plowed through this chunky book. It took me over a month to read it. The story never caught my attention, and I squeezed in a few pages here and there until I was able to finish it. The plot is relatively predictable which always makes it harder to get drawn in.

  I do feel like Leila Meacham is an excellent writer. I loved the way she developed her characters and their dialogue. But I think I would enjoy it if her writing reflected a sense of passion and enthusiasm. It almost felt as if she was just as bored writing Somerset as I was reading it.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.

From Souk to Souk: Travels Through the Middle East by Robin Ratchford

Genres: Nonfiction, Travel

"Most of my friends think my choice of holiday destinations is insane; others joke that I must be a
spy because they think I only go to war zones."

From Souk to Souk is the captivating story of Robin Ratchford’s journeys across the Middle East. It breaks the rules of the traditional travelogue, offering not just an innovate account of his colourful journeys, but a personal insight into the region in a way which is accessible to all.

Determined to discover a part of the world that has fascinated him since childhood, Robin sets off to Istanbul. His travels take him from the historic bazaar of Aleppo in Syria to the street markets of Baghdad. In the course of his journeys he gets lost in the Yemeni capital's maze of ancient winding streets and 'goes round the bend' in Oman, meeting a kaleidoscope of clerics, artists and artisans along the way.

"If I've learnt anything from traveling, it's that most countries are often very different from how we see them through the media. It's by observing the subtleties of everyday life that you really get the feel for a place," Robin explains. In From Souk to Souk, he invites the reader to look at these countries in a different light. By exploring how history and humanity link the cities and people of the Middle East to our shared past, he provides a longer, more human perspective on the region. "I want to show that however volatile the situation is in these countries, much of everyday life simply goes on. Most people there just want a better future for themselves and their children."

With his vivid descriptions, Robin shows us why the Middle East has always caught the imagination of those who visit it. Experience the sights, sounds, flavours and fragrances of these extraordinary places as if you were really there. You might even find yourself checking flights…
  I appreciate the author's honest and sensitive portrayal of the region depicted in this book. As someone with family in Tunisia (where the Arab Spring started and witnessed it through their first hand accounts), I'm rather sensitive about the region and the general view of it. From Souk to Souk was a nice change of pace from that.

  But my fault with From Souk to Souk was the detachment from the author. Whenever I read about someone's travels, I expect to learn about them as well. While the honest depiction of the Middle East is appreciated and the descriptions are so well done, I struggled with not getting a glimpse of the author. Whenever I travel, I always take a piece of it home with me. Each trip changes me and leaves it's imprint on me. I wanted to see that from From Souk to Souk.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.

Release Blitz: Flame by Alicia Michaels


Presented by:
Sparkle Blog Button

new release

covergifTitle: Flame
Series: The Bionics # 5
Author: Alicia Michaels
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Dystopian/Sci-Fi/Romance
Formats: E-book and Paperback
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Cover by: Strong Image Editing
Editor: Cynthia Shepp Editing and Review
Pages: 109 pages
Publishing Date: June 27, 2014


War has come to the United States. It’s been brewing for years as the government and Military Police wage war on the outcasts known as the Bionics. It’s spilling out into the streets as the militant Rejects continue to wage war against the ‘inferior’ humans, the M.P.s are raiding neighborhoods and putting Bionics to death, and I am fighting alongside the Resistance to save our kind from extinction. To top it all off, the president has now declared martial law, and the rights of American citizens are being stripped away one by one. Together, with the vigilante known as The Patriot, and my Resistance family, I am prepared to fight the impossible fight, to stand up for what’s right. From a single spark, our little rebellion has grown into a revolution, a roaring fire that will envelop the nation. At the same time, things in my personal life are finally turning around. I’m in love with a beautiful girl who loves me back, and we might have a shot at a real future … unless the enemy manages to snatch away from me everything that I hold dear.

book links

A weapon’s muzzle suddenly comes up to the back of my head and I freeze, lifting my hands and the CBX with it. An M.P. in white, fiberglass armor circles around me, the gun now focused on my forehead. I can see just by looking that he has it on the kill setting. “Look, man,” I say calmly. “I’m not one of them. I’m on your side here.” He raises the face shield of his helmet, and I’m face to face with a fresh recruit. He can’t be any older than eighteen and skinny as a rail, shaking like a leaf. “Don’t come any closer,” he says, his high-pitched voice trembling with the force of his fear. Around us, the fight rages on. “You’re all the same, just a bunch of freaks.” I shrug. “Come on, dude. We both know I could have killed you by now. But I’m not here to fight you. We just want justice. Look around you and you’ll see the real killers, the real freaks. Turn your gun on them, and I’ll do the same.” He frowns. “Fight with you?” “With me, next to me, behind me, whatever. What’s your name, kid?” He swallows noisily, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. “Ethan.” I nod. “Okay, Ethan, I’m Dax. You got a girl, Ethan?” Ethan lowers the gun. “Yeah… I mean, kind of. She doesn’t really know I like her.” I smile. “Been there, man, done that. I got a girl too, back home. I kind of told her I loved her a few days ago.”
Ethan’s eyebrows shot up. “Whoa, that’s huge.” “Right? Big stuff. Plus, I promised her I’d try to make it back alive. The way I see it, I stand a better chance of that if we can try to fight together, even if it’s just for today. What do you think? Let’s end this shit so we can get home. You have a girl to win over, and I’d rather not piss mine off by coming home in a body bag.” Ethan nods. “Yeah. Yeah, okay, sure.” My hand grasps his shoulder just as a flying metal disc comes whizzing at his head. He cries out as I take him to the ground, just barely saving him from being decapitated. I’m not quite as lucky. The metal disc slices into my cheek as it flies by, laying it open. Pain explodes along the left side of my face, leaving a trail of fire that goes from my jaw to just beneath my eye. Another inch and I’d be sporting a falsie like Blythe. Behind Ethan, one of the Rejects has some sort of makeshift gun mounted on his shoulder. It’s the size of a small cannon, and it is shooting another disc at me. Dropping for cover and avoiding another gash, I grab Ethan’s shoulder again. “You good?” He stares at me with wide eyes and nods. “Yeah.” “Cool. Stay down while I kill this dickhead.” This time when he fires at me, I’m ready. The pistons in my leg joints fire rapidly and I jump, my boot connecting with the disc and kicking it back the way it came. I give Ethan a hand up as the Reject’s head slides from his shoulders, taken off by his own disc. “Can dish it out but can’t take it,” I grumble as I help Ethan to his feet. He smiles at me appreciatively. “You saved my life, man. Thanks.” “No need to thank me. Now, let’s go save some others.”

clip_image004Title: The Bionics
Series: The Bionics # 1
Pages: 96 pages
ISBN: 1940534313

About The Bionics Series:
The year is 4010. Nuclear war and the wasteful nature of humans have all but destroyed the United States. A new government regime rules the day with strict laws, rationed food, and careful control. When those injured in the nuclear blasts that rocked many of the nations largest cities are offered another chance by the Restoration Project, how could they refuse?
Little do they know that the robotic additions to their body will paint targets on their backs once the government decides that they are dangerous. At the forefront of the resistance is a girl with a bionic eye, Blythe Sol, who wants nothing more than to be a normal girl. Blythe has yet to realize that normal will never exist again for her, or anyone else.
About The Bionics, Book 1:
All I ever wanted was to be a normal girl. I had dreams of joining the ranks of the Military Police and making my family proud. But the nuclear war that laid waste to our country destroyed any hope I had of being normal ever again. They took everything away from me, including my humanity. I am now half-human, half-machine, part of the never-ending freak show that is the Restoration Project.
They hate what they created and they fear us for being powerful.
And so they hunt us, destroying our lives so that they can bury what they built. What they don’t know is this: there is a Resistance out there and The Bionics aren’t going down without a fight.
book links
clip_image006Title: Titanium
Series: The Bionics # 2
Pages: 153 pages
ISBN: 1482577968

We stand on the brink of a double rescue mission, a plan so foolhardy that even our bravest men are quaking inside with fear. Storm the capitol, free the prisoners, don’t get killed. It seems like a suicide mission, but not a single one of us has anything to lose.
In my past life, I was a scoundrel; a drug peddling street thug who cared nothing for anyone because I had no one to care for me. The nuclear blasts of 4006 reminded me of the value of life, and a girl with the saddest eyes I’ve ever gazed into gave me someone to care for. Now, as we embark on our most dangerous enterprise, I can only hope that we make it out alive and that those we have lost can be recovered.
Foolishness … fear … hope … These are the elements that threw our revolution into motion. As the momentum of the Resistance continues to build, we can only pray that hope continues grow larger than our fear.
book links

Title: Secrets
Series: The Bionics # 3
Pages: 152 pages
ISBN: 1940534348

Before The Resistance, my life was one of privilege and comfort. Before The Resistance, mine was a mindset of naiveté and blind trust in a broken and corrupt government. Before The Resistance, I’d never stood up or fought for anything in my life.
Now, there is everything to fight for and everything to lose. All for a glimmer of hope in our future. It may seem a small thing but with the smallest bit of hope, men have risen against their oppressors with fists raised, even when they knew they stared into the face of death.
Now that I have found something to fight for, I can only hope that my past will not become a roadblock to my future and that the secrets I’ve kept from those whose trust I’ve gained will not come back to ruin the new life I’ve made. If they do, I fear that I will not only lose my place as part of the Resistance, but the heart of the girl I am slowly coming to love.
book links

clip_image010Title: Spark
Series: The Bionics # 4
Pages: 160 pages
ISBN: 1940534437

Most nineteen-year-old girls are thinking about college, stretching the wings of newfound adulthood, and boys. Well, I’ll probably never go to college, and all my dreams of the future are gone. I’ve been adult for much longer than I should have been, and my girlhood was stolen the minute the North Koreans dropped their nukes over the United States. As for boys … well, that’s pretty much out of the question now. My love life is too messy to even talk about.
I have nothing.
Except, maybe, my cause—my mission—The Resistance. It is the hope I have to cling to. I am counting on it to pave the way to my future. As things heat up and the terrorist sect known as The Rejects make themselves known opponents of society in this war, the choice to be on the side of good is harder than ever. My friends are broken; Olivia is a shell of her former self, and Jenica is barely hanging on. Dax and Gage … well, we’re not talking about my love life, remember?
The Rejects, the government, President Drummond… they are pressing in on us from all sides, and the weight is tremendous. Still, when given the choice to crumble or stand, I’d rather stand. Times are dark, but we are here, a rebellion, a whisper in the dark, a spark that lights the flames of change.
book links
about the author
clip_image012Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. With seven Fantasy and Science Fiction titles under her belt, Alicia strives to write multicultural characters and stories that touch the heart. V-Card is her first Contemporary Romance.
The mother of three and wife to an Army sergeant, she loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.

media links

blogs join release
June 27
Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom -
Coffee Books & Art -
Bound 2 Escape -
Books, Brownies and Barkers -
Portals to new Worlds -
June 28
Pretty Girls Read Books -
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! -
Our New Generation for Reading -
Angee's After Thoughts -
Blushing Divas Book Reviews -
A Book Junky's Obsession -
June 29
Fiction Dreams -
Kimber Leigh Writes -
Consuming Worlds -
My Paranormal Book Review -
For The Love of Books -
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