Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Book Blast - Guardians Inc: The Cyper


A chance reading of a newspaper ad will send 16 year old Thomas Byrne into the world within our world.

Following the ad he will find Guardians Incorporated. A seven thousand year old organization charged with protecting the balance between Magic and technology.

Through their guidance, technology has kept Magic at bay since the Renaissance, but the balance is shifting and soon all those creatures we've driven into myth and legend will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future and to unlock the future
they need a Cypher.

Book Trailer

Guardians Inc.: The Cypher is FREE on Kindle, Nook & iBooks

USA Book News 2012 Finalist -Young Adult Fiction

"Rosado-Machain brings a light, humorous touch to themes of teenage love, loss and betrayal wrapped up in a tasty package of magical coming-of-age."
~Kirkus Reviews

"It's like Julian Rosado-Machain took everything that I love about middle grade children's fiction and slammed it into one awesome, well-paced fantasy"
~Emi London

"The Cypher hooked me from the beginning. And kept my attention right through to the very end."
- Heidi Roth

Get Your Copy for FREE

Author Julian Rosado-Machain

Julian has enjoyed pizza in three continents, holds a degree in graphic design, built armored vehicles and computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears has seen at least one ghost.

He is the Co-owner of Hacienda de Vega Restaurant in San Diego, California and enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.

Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/13/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, 25 February 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog for the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop and thanks to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Read For Your Future for organizing it.

The Winner is:
Andrea F.
She has won a book of her choice from The Book Depository, up to $15 CDN
I have contacted her by email.

Thanks again everyone for participating in this great hop.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Jill Badonsky, The Muse is In

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Jill Badonsky and her amazing new book, The Muse is In. (I reviewed the book yesterday and you can read that review here.) I am excited to have been able to interview Jill and ask her advise to some of my frequent creativity problems. And, Jill has kindly offered to give away of copy of her fantastic book to one of my readers if this post gets at least 10 comments. So, be sure to leave a comment and include your email address.

Jill, I have to say that I absolutely LOVE this book. I have both of your other books, and as much as I enjoyed them, this one really speaks to me. (Literally too, you talk about being a Creative Adventurer throughout the book. Note the name of my blog.) I am crazy excited to have you here today, to be able to share what you do with my readers.

I’m so honored to be here, Coreena. I love your blog. Thanks for your kind words and these thoughtful questions.

For my readers, The Muse Is In is an owner's manual for your creativity. How great is that? It's a book that you can keep nearby, flip through, dog ear, and use to get inspiration or advice about how to take the next step or get over a block in your creativity. Then there are daily creative prompts to spark ideas and get the juices flowing. 

I want start by asking you about getting in touch with your inner Creative Adventurer. What advice do you have for someone who is feeling a bit unsettled, they know that something is not quite right, that they have something creative inside them, but they don't even know where to begin?

Many people don’t know where to start so they don’t start at all and get caught up in the latest distractions on the internet, TV, or in their busy lives. This is unfortunate because if we have a creative call, following it can lead to a more fulfilling life. We become better people when we engage in creativity. But we have to be vigilant about not letting the world steal us away.
Here are some ways for people to explore where to begin:

    • The creative mind loves questions. Ask questions such as:
      • What small creative steps sound like fun?
      • What is something creative I see others doing that I would like to explore?
      • What would make it easy for me to begin?
The important part of this is asking the question over and over. The subconscious will work on answers.
    • Scan a catalog of creative offerings and make a decision based on what gives you energy intuitively. Make sure you run in the opposite direction if the teacher doesn’t resonate with you. Many of teachers have derailed Creative Adventurers but good classes, workshops, and retreats provide starting points.
    • Break any creative endeavor down so far, it’s hard NOT to begin. Here’s some examples:
      • Daydream about doing something creative.
      • Spend 5 minutes (set a timer) exploring the internet for something to inspire you to begin. Make it a game, pretend you’re a detective.
      • Doodle, paint, write, explore any creative endeavor with permission to be an awkward beginner for just 15 minutes.
      • Go to a creativity workshop. (I happened to have a retreat in Taos in July – sorry for the product place:)

What would you say to someone who loves starting creative projects, but has a hard time finishing or taking them to the next step, always getting distracted by the "shiny, new project" on the horizon?

I’d say, you’re not alone. There are enough unfinished products out there to build a planet (which would be unfinished).

There are a number of reasons people don’t finish. Creative processes inherently have difficult phases; the next step is unclear, something isn’t going as planned, doubts arise, the inner critic says “What were you thinking?”. It’s much easier at that point to start a new project.

Some people have inner dynamics that make finishing things challenging.

And some projects aren’t MEANT to be finished. Something was learned or experienced and now you can just let go of it.

To finish a project, often structure is needed. A creativity coach who understands the non-linear process of creativity, a class, or even teaming up with others that are wanting to finish projects and holding the space and time for each other to do that.

For me, deadlines work, if set by another person. I have last-minute surges of “completion juju”… but there’s no last minute if there’s no deadline.
I also dedicate projects in my mind to others. Saying, “This is for all the people who believe in me” gives it a purpose higher than myself.

How about when a person really enjoys doing something creative, they are loving the process, but the result is less than perfect and they get a lukewarm or negative reception from family and friends?

If we tie our happiness to the opinions of others we will always be forever on a roller coaster especially in the creative process because what appeals to one person is trash to another person. Undaunted creativity allows us to practice the spirituality of enjoying the process and being unattached to the result. What gets a lukewarm response from one person is life changing to another person. Imagine the liberation of believing in your own work to the exclusion of what others think. Many artists and writers live that life listening only to criticism that makes intuitive sense and persevering through anything else. It’s vital to the creative person to believe in her work.

We need to learn from children who proudly present gifts that are raw and beautiful but not perfect. This takes practice.

Creativity also requires that we are confident and trusting of the process, let go of what people think, and use the “So what, I’m going to do it anyway” attitude. These qualities are not adopted over night, but once practiced imperfectly over time they fuel us with the courage to throw ourselves into life’s richest experiences and help us in every area of our existence.

Do you have any examples or good stories of having to use your own techniques to do a creative project, maybe even in writing this book?

This book brought up incredible resistance, distraction and procrastination in me. It was an ironic journey of writing about the very blocks I was experiencing – so I KNOW that the tools work. My editor completely rejected my first draft saying it was way too long, esoteric, and flowery. I found this humorous and made fun of myself on Facebook. To break through this challenge I had to center my distractible mind on a sense of dedication to something I love doing, lighten-up about trying to make it perfect, and MAKE IT FUN and concise.

The Preface is an example of going from four pages of blathering on and on about who I am, the struggles I went through, and the value of the creative process to one page that simply says “I wrote this book because I love the creative process.” It was so much fun to do that and defy the that expectations people have for prefaces.

My journey involves defiance, mischievousness, play, effortless joy, and funny inspiration and freedom. Once I break through the resistance this world is my joy and I don’t want to leave it.

I equate making time for the creative process as making time to love myself. Procrastination is punishment. I give myself permission to deserve love, and I give that permission to you and all your readers too.
Thank you for these wonderful questions, Coreena!

Thank you, Jill. I've really enjoyed having you on my blog and good luck with your book.
Now, remember everyone, please leave a comment and if we get 10, then there will be a random draw for a copy of Jill's new book. Don't forget to include your email address.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Book Review: The Muse Is In

Book: The Muse Is In: An Owner's Manual to Your Creativity by Jill Badonsky, 2013 by Running Press, 238 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Following her perennial-seller The Awe-Manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder, Jill Badonsky returns with a fun new book that will help her readers get their creativity working like a well-oiled machine. As a creativity-coaching pioneer, Jill knows that many people feel distracted, blocked, and overwhelmed.

The Muse Is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity outlines how to power up one’s genius, take it for a test drive, troubleshoot problems along the way, and offers tips for proper care and maintenance. With her dazzling illustrations and quirky humor, Jill Badonsky delivers the operating instructions for helping her fans spark their creative passion.

Special Note: Come back tomorrow for an interview with Jill and for a chance to win this amazing book!

My Thoughts:
I have to say that I'm biased toward Jill's books. My own road to writing and exploring my creativity took a huge leap a few years ago when I participated in a course based on her first book, The Nine Modern Day Muses. Reading that book and taking that course changed so many things for me.

So, I was crazy excited and honoured to participate in the blog tour for Jill's new book, The Muse Is In, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. I eagerly opened the package when it arrived in the mail, savouring the feel of the book - I love it's size and weight of it, the clear way it's presented, the peppering of brilliant quotes throughout, and all of the great artwork. Yes, not only is this a book about creativity, it is copiously illustrated.

The Muse Is In is an owner's manual for your creativity, and is full of baby steps and advice designed to help with common creative problems like procrastination, fear, perfectionism, and not enough time. There are also steps for finding your passion, focus, and courage. She covers so many topics that I can't list them all here. The second half of the book is the maintenance section and has a day by day guide of creativity prompts. And she presents all of this in a light hearted, funny way.

Already, my copy is dog eared and pasted with sticky notes, marking places I want to go back to when I have more time or highlighting places where I found something particularly helpful for me. That is the kind of book this is - one that is hard to read cover to cover because you want to stop and get creative or flip around to the section that covers the topic that helps you out the most.  It is a book that begs to be fondled and flipped through over and over again.

And that is why making this book into an owner's manual is absolutely genius. It is a book you keep on your desk, flip through for inspiration, say to yourself: what did she say about getting started again? Or, I'm feeling overwhelmed, what was Jill's advice on that?

Then there is the maintenance section for a quick daily prompt that can get the juices flowing when you are feeling stuck, to try something new, or as a part of a daily creative routine.

I can't recommend this book enough. Really, everyone is creative, whether you write, paint, do pottery, reiki, or solve mathematical problems. If you are feeling stagnated, you will be able to use the gentle approaches that Jill suggests. She has a way of breaking down big concepts into baby steps that anyone can do.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way impacted my review.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Blog Tour & Review: The Secrets of As A Man Thinketh

Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for The Secrets of As A Man Thinketh by Adam Mortimer & James Allen.

Book: The Secrets of As A Man Thinketh by Adam Mortimer and James Allen, 2012 by Cedar Fort, 64 pages.

Purchase: Amazon


Achieve the ultimate in health, wealth, and happiness. This modern update on a timeless classic will teach you how to direct your mind to get exactly what you want in life. By applying the life-changing principles in this book, you'll discover how your everyday thoughts can open up a new and exciting world and ensure you a life of true abundance! 
About Adam Mortimer:
Adam is an executive personal development coach at Prosper, Inc. He bases his coaching philosophy on James Allen’s statement, “They themselves are makers of themselves.” He has coached many people all over the world. He loves to travel and considers himself fortunate to be able to do what he loves and at the same time help people achieve their dreams.  Adam is the CEO of Blufish LLC, a successful technology-based business. He has dedicated his life to understanding the power of the human mind. He is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur.  Adam and his wife, Moana, live in Utah and are the parents of twin boys.
My Thoughts:
I've always been curious about As A Man Thinketh by James Allen, but have never read it, so thought this was a great opportunity. In this book, Mortimer takes the original text by Allen and annotates it, putting notes throughout that explain Allen's concepts in modern terms.

First off, even though I only had the pdf version of this book, I could tell that it was beautiful, from the colour and size of the pages, to the subtle illustrations and variations in colour for the text, to how certain key points and quotes were blocked off. This makes it an easy book to read, thumb through, and savour.

When I started the book, I did get confused. I thought is was Mortimer's insights supported by Allen, but it is actually the opposite. The main text is actually Allen's, with Mortimer putting his comments in periodically in blue. I am also unsure if the entire work of As A Man Thinketh was included, or just select parts, so it would be nice to have a bit of explanation at the beginning about the history of As A Man Thinketh and how the book is structured.
That being said, once I figured it out, I enjoyed the book. It is a funny one to review because most of the book is Allen's iconic work. I did find, however, that Mortimer's annotations did help to clarify several points and make them relevant. He gave specific examples which made it easier to take in what was being said.

The underlining message that our thoughts become our reality is, I think, an important one, and one that I have believed for many years now. I love the ideas around taking responsibility for myself, that I have the power to make changes, that I can create what I want for myself and am not limited by circumstance.
Reading Allen's work left me torn, however, because sometimes he talked about joy and dreams and at other times he talked about right thoughts, sacrifice and rigid discipline. I feel like there is a piece missing, maybe about being gentle with ourselves when our thoughts are not perfect, or how to get started... It is intimidating (and I would argue, impossible) to control our every thought and emotion. Sometimes we need our emotion to guide us to what it is we truly want - we need that negative emotion to create the contrast of what we do and do not want. I was also curious to know what he would recommend a person do who is struggling with their thoughts, what baby steps could be made to go in the right direction or what to do when you fail. Allen acknowledges that you will fail, but doesn't say what to do when that happens.

Having said all of that, this book does do, I think, what it set out to do, which is to be a short (it is only 64 pages long) introduction to Allen's work and Mortimer's modern updates of it. I only mention all of the questions that stirred up in me because I think it may be part of the book's purpose - to make the reader curious for more. However, the book may have benefited from more annotation or one more chapter by Mortimer gently coaching people on how to get started. Overall, though, this is a great introduction to how our thoughts create.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop

Hello Everyone. Welcome to my stop in the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop, a hop to celebrate the kind act of giving away books, sponsored by Read for Your Future & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

My giveaway if for a book of your choice from The Book Depository up to $15 CDN. It is International (so long as The Book Depository ships to you).
Rules: International; the winner will have 2 days to respond to my email when they win or I will be forced to choose a new winner; I am not responsible for books lost in the mail.

So, fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter, then hop on to the other great blogs in this hop (listed below). a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Book Review: The Lost Prince

Book: The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa, 2012 by Harlequin Teen, 379 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My Thoughts:
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this return to the Nevernever. In this book, Ethan Chase, Meghan's younger brother, has to go, reluctantly, into the faery realm and take his classmate, Kenzie, with him. It was great to go into this world, one which Kagawa has created so beautifully, with new characters and a new adventure. However, we also get to catch up with old favourites, like Grim the cat and Puck, Meghan and Ash.

Ethan is a good character, though I did get tired of his brooding and moaning about his hatred of Faery. He also has some good traits, which he does his best to keep hidden. I liked Kenzie. She is spunky, determined, and bright. I only wish she were in less need of rescuing sometimes. They make a cute couple and there are some great twists as they break down their defenses.

Keirran is a great new character in this book as well, by far my favorite. I really liked him and would love to read more about him.  I love how he encompasses all the parts of Faery and the human world and has a mind of his own.

Overall, this was a fun book with lots of action, new bad guys and a fresh story line. It fits well into the rest of the Iron Fey series, but also stands on its own, which is quite a feat.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Follower Love Blog Hop Winner

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog and entered the Follower Love Giveaway Hop.

The winner of the $15 CDN from The Book Depository is:
Despina V.!!!
 I have contacted her by email and look forward to ordering her book for her soon.

Thanks again, everyone. I so appreciate all my followers!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Book Review: The Darkest Minds

Book: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken, 2012 by Disney Hyperion, 488 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

My Thoughts:
I ripped right though this book - I loved the premise of the kids all getting strange powers around the age of 10 and that Ruby was one of the dangerous ones. It was horrifying to think of how people had reacted to the situation. It shows how people can deteriorate and do horrible things they never thought possible in scary situations.

I liked Ruby and really felt for her. I could see why she stayed quiet and tried not to attract attention, even when she disappointed others. Then she escaped and things changed. Ruby evolved. She became almost a new person, though she still kept her old self with her, kind of like most of us when challenged. Sometimes her lack of confidence or the fact that she was hiding a big secret did get frustrating, however.

Her relationship with Liam, Suzume and Chubs. These were definitely some of the best parts of the book. These were all great characters. And the romance between Ruby and Liam was nice - it was great to have a romance where the boy is not moody and controlling, even though his is gorgeous and tough.

I also enjoyed some of the twists in the book - they were clever. And the ending... I won't say anything, but I can't wait to read the next in the series.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Monday, 4 February 2013

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

February 5th - 11th

This is such a great hop and a perfect opportunity to thank all of my amazing followers.

I'm giving away a book of your choice up to $15 CDN from The Book Depository. This giveaway is International (so long as they ship to you).
Rules: You must fill out the Rafflecopter below. I am not responsible for books lost in the mail. The giveaway is international. I will notify the winner by email and they will have 2 days to respond to me or I will pick a new winner.

Don't forget to check out all of the other great blogs participating in this hop.

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Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends, 390 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Thoughts:
I'm not sure why I put off reading this book for so long. Maybe because Cinderella isn't my favorite fairy tale. But I'm glad I succumbed to all of the hype and picked it up because I tore right through it.

Cinder takes place in a distant, dystopian future, where the world has had to reinvent itself after World War 4. There are cyborgs and a very powerful civilization living on the moon, wanting to take over the earth. There is a terrible disease running rampant, threatening the future of humanity.

The twists on the Cinderella story are great. Meyer is able to keep up the suspense, even though everyone knows how the story goes. She has a great ability to freshen up an old story and to take it to new places.

Sometimes it did get frustrating how confused and down on herself Cinder was, but that was also true to her character and how she was brought up. However, she has great relationships with the other characters (even the people she hates provide good contrast). I especially love her little robot.

I enjoyed Prince Kai and how conflicted he is - not a straight forward romance. In fact, there are lots of great twists and turns in this book, some expected and some not.

Overall, I loved Meyer's retelling of this tale and can't wait to get my hands on Scarlet, especially because it is based on another fairy tale (as are the rest of the books in this series).