Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Banned Books Week Giveaway Winner!!

The winner's name has been drawn but before I announce it, here is a little breakdown on the titles people said they might pick if they won. This is by no means scientific results, I just thought it would be fun to see which books are more popular.

The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 and the number of people who said they might pick them are:

  • 46 votes - Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • 14 votes - Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • 14 votes - The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • 8 votes - A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  • 7 votes - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • 6 votes - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • 4 votes - Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
  • 4 votes - Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
  • 2 votes - Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  • 2 votes - The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

And the winner is

Stacy Renee!!

Whoo hoo! Congrats Stacy! 
I will be sending you an email soon and you have 48 hours to reply. 

Everybody, be sure to check out my
1000th post ginormous giveaway!

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Release Day: The Curse Defiers by Denise Grover Swank

The Curse Defiers 
(Curse Keepers #3)

The Curse Defiers by Denise Grover Swank
Kindle Edition
Publication date: September 30th 2014 by 47 North

For centuries the gods have waited—for the betrayal that will release them, for the traitors who will defend them, for the warrior who will challenge them. Now at long last the gate between the human and spirit worlds is open, and with it, an army of vengeful demons poised to swarm the earth. Only the Curse Keepers, Ellie Lancaster and Collin Dailey, can stop it…if they can break free from a tangled web of treachery, jealousy, and lies.

Torn between two men—her heart belongs to David, yet her soul is bound to Collin’s—Ellie no longer knows who she can trust. Demons slipping through the gate are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake, each death a chilling reminder of the power of the ancient spirits to bring humanity to its knees. Faced with an unimaginable future, Ellie realizes the time has come to turn her back on prophecy and choose her own destiny—even if it means defying the gods themselves.

In the thrilling conclusion to the Curse Keepers trilogy, humanity faces its final battle for survival!

About the author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period.

Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn't lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

Connect with Denise

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1000th post ginormous giveaway!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

First Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn

First Daughter 
(The Dharian Affairs #3)

First Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn
ebook, 366 pages
Expected publication: September 29th 2014

Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue... 

With the war begun, Aniri, Third Daughter of the Queen, has to battle not only a prince with a deadly skyship, but her own sister, the First Daughter, who finally sees her chance to become Queen. With their mother gravely ill and the Second Daughter kidnapped along with Aniri's husband-to-be, Aniri embarks on a desperate mission to save the people she loves from a war that will tear all three countries apart.

First Daughter is the third book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.

This is the third book in the Dharian Affairs Trilogy! (steampunk fantasy romance) (releases 9/29)

The Dharian Affairs is now optioned for virtual reality by Immersive Entertainment!

My thoughts about First Daughter ~~ 

Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! I loved the first two books in this series and was so excited to see where the story would go and how it would end. I was not disappointed and First Daughter is the perfect end to an exciting story.

We first meet Aniri in Third Daughter. She is the third daughter of the Queen, so she is rather far down the line as far as obligations to the country. Her two sisters are expected to take on the responsibilites of their people and the nation. Aniri is a free spirit of sorts but has more spunk, loyality, and bravery than either of her sisters. She knows what she wants for herself and knows what is best for her country. And she goes after it!

The reader can not help but just love Aniri from the very first book and she stays the main character throughout the whole series. We really learn so much about her and we get to watch her grow in her love for her country, her husband-to-be, and her family. But she is tough and holds her own when her country or those she loves are in danger.

This has been a fabulous series with drama, action, and love that kept me reading late into the night - just one more chapter! You know how that goes. I loved every bit of it. And lucky you if you have not started this series, you'll be able to devour it all at once! You can start reading Third Daughter and you will not be able to stop until you read the end of First Daughter. So wonderful!!

Read my thoughts about Second Daughter here
(originally posted July 6, 2014)

Read my thoughts about Third Daughter here
(originally posted March 6, 2014)

About the author

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times.

Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way.

She doesn't have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.

Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle.

Connect with Susan 

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1000th post ginormous giveaway!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cruise Pics and the Winner of My 1000th Post Giveaway!

I am overdue picking a winner for my 1000th post giveaway. The one thing I hate about vacation is coming back and having to play 'catch up'. Oh well, it was so worth it. 

Hubby and I went on a week long cruise to Alaska. 
It was AMAZING!! 

This was our home for a week. Isn't she beautiful!! 

I want to thank everyone who shared the items from their bucket list with us here. I have some great ideas of more adventures we should try. Even if you don't have an 'official' bucket list, you should have some things that you are wanting to do in your lifetime. Don't give up - dreams can come true! 

So.... on to the winner announcement! 

But wait, what does everyone want to do after they get home from vacation? 

That's right..... share their pictures!! 

So bear with me and take a peek at our wonderful week! 

This is the skyline of Seattle as we were leaving port. 

The center deck with pools, hot tubs, 
restaurants and bars, oh my!

The view from our cabin window. 
Isn't that an awesome sight?

This beautiful flower was carved out of watermelon. 

And this beautiful vegetable flower arraignment.
Loved the 'carrot' bird! 

Every night we had a different towel animal on our bed. 
Meet Mr. Bunny. 

And... the ship had a library, so of course I had to go visit. 

Thank you for your attention. 
I won't bore you with the videos we recorded. 
Maybe some other time. hehe

So now it time! 
The winner of my 1000th post giveaway is.....



An email has been sent. Watch for it! 

Thanks to everyone who entered. Sorry you couldn't all win. 

But you do have a good chance of winning if you enter my 1000th Post Ginormous Celebration Giveaway! 

There will be 50 prizes, donated by 24 awesome authors!! 
Go check it out! 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison - Paperback Launch Day and a Giveaway!

The Banks of Certain Rivers

The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
Paperback, 366 pages
Publication date: September 23rd 2014 by Lake Union Publishing
(first published as e-book March 19th 2013)

In the lakeside resort town of Port Manitou, Michigan, dedicated teacher and running coach Neil Kazenzakis shoulders responsibilities that would break a lesser man: a tragic accident has left his wife seriously debilitated, he cares for his mother-in-law who suffers from dementia, and he’s raising his teenage son, Chris, on his own. On top of all that, he’s also secretly been seeing Lauren, his mother-in-law’s caregiver.

When Neil breaks up a fight one day after school, he doesn't give the altercation much thought. He’s got bigger issues on his mind, like the fact that Lauren is ready for a commitment and he has to figure out a way to tell Chris that he’s in a serious relationship with someone other than the boy’s mother. But when an anonymous person uploads a video of the fight to YouTube, the stunning footage suggests Neil assaulted a student. With his job, his family, and his reputation suddenly in jeopardy, Neil must prove his innocence and win back the trust of the entire community—including his son’s.

Jon Harrison’s The Banks of Certain Rivers is a powerful tale of family, loss, and the meaning of love.

My thoughts about The Banks of Certain Rivers ~~
(originally posted April 13, 2013)

This is a story that grabbed me from the prologue. I love when that happens! I just couldn't read this book fast enough. This is a very well written story and I immediately cared for the characters. Neil is a school teacher who really cares about his students and his family. There are troubled times on the horizon for everyone but the reader really is rooting for the good to overcome the bad.

This story has it all, enough variety to keep everyone happy. Let's see, there's tragedy, family bonds, love, drama, action, suspense. Something there interest you? I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves a fast-paced read with great storylines and fabulous writing.

This book is Jon's first novel but it reads like an experienced novelist's work. I can hardly wait to see what he writes next!

It is soooo good!

About the author

A native of the Midwest, Jon Harrison currently lives with his dog, Jasper in the Northern Rockies. When not writing, he enjoys skiing, running, and climbing. The Banks of Certain Rivers is his first novel.

Connect with Jon

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Cover Reveal: Cupcakes & Kisses by Heidi Garrett and Billie Limpin and a Giveaway!

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 18, 2014

Doesn't this cover look yummy? 
This series is going to be so much fun to read! 

ABOUT Cupcakes & Kisses:

One bite of her luscious cupcakes and you just might fall in love…

Nineteen-year-old Glynna Balcora’s super power is baking. A young witch, she’s lived her entire life tucked away in the quaint city of Spokane, WA with her domineering aunt and sweetheart of a grandmother. It’s not an ideal situation. Although Glynna loves her grandmother dearly, and treasures the special times they spend in their magical greenhouse, Glynna’s aunt keeps her niece on a tight leash using threats of vague enemies.

Since Glynna graduated from high school a few a months ago, her aunt’s be-home-before-dark curfew seems more ridiculous every day. It isn’t doing much for the young witch’s social life, either. With encouragement from her best friend, Glynna sneaks out one night to go to a bonfire party at the lake. There she has an unexpected encounter with Spokane’s most eligible bachelor, Ashton Bass. Glynna’s been crushing on Ashton since she was five years old. But when they share their first kiss, thunderstorms and lightning follow… and Glynna’s aunt realizes it’s time to tell the young witch the truth about who she really is.

Cupcakes & Kisses is the first book in a playful New Adult Romance trilogy…


“Hey, watch it.” A dark figure looms in front of me. With the bonfire behind him, his face is all shadows, but the voice sounds vaguely familiar.

“Oh, sorry,” I yelp. “I didn’t mean—”

“To give me a shower?” The guy offers an amused smile.

My throat catches. Ashton Bass is standing in front of me. I’m too embarrassed to meet his gaze, so my eyes travel south. He’s wearing a dark fitted t-shirt with three white buttons at the top. God. I can’t believe I’m counting the buttons on his shirt. Or that I gave him a beer shower.

I glance around for a stack of napkins, a roll of paper towels, anything to dry him off. I find nothing. Desperate, I try to wipe off the spray with my bare hands... Huh? I press with one finger. No give. None. When did Ashton get wash-board abs? I slide my finger down. One… two… three… eight?! Eight?! Not even Leif has an eight-pack, and he’s a brick wall. I freeze. I can’t believe it. I’m actually counting his abs. My gaze travels back up only to be trapped by Aston’s startling azure eyes—and his famous panty-dropping boyish grin.

“Oops!! So-sorrry,” I stammer, and take a step backwards. “Not sure what that was all about.” His eyes will not let go of mine as the warm feelings heating my insides build. In fact, they’ll betray me, shortly, if I don’t watch out.

“Oh, I don’t mind at all. Besides, you seemed to be enjoying yourself.” His white teeth shine in the moonlight as another blush-fest attacks by face. Thank god, it’s the middle of the night and not the middle of the day.

“You have to forgive my friend, Ashton. She doesn’t get out much. And, well, her encounters with the male chest have been severely limited.”

Kristeen’s intervention is no help at all, and I don’t miss the lingering look she gives Ashton’s well-toned chest. A bitter pinch grips my heart as I imagine strangling my BFF.

Oh. God. Of. Cupcakes! My emotions are totally out-of-control. “Kristeen!” I half-whisper, half-scream.

“No?” Ashton’s one-word question leaves his lopsided grin firmly in place.

This is becoming all shades of awkward. I squeeze my eyes shut. I’d give anything for a cupcake that could make me disappear after just one bite. Boy! That would be some recipe.

How I wish, wish, wish my magical abilities went beyond baking. Way beyond.

“No worries.”

I open one eye. Ashton’s grin has grown, if that’s possible. His perfect white teeth gleam in the firelight. I open my other eye. He brushes his hand over his forearms and shirt. “Just glad to see you out, Glynna.”

“You can thank me,” Kristeen says.

“Thank you, Krissy.”

“Please, everyone stopped calling me that in elementary school.”

Ashton digs around in one of the ice chests. “Sorry, didn’t mean to offend.” He hands me a wine cooler. “This might be more to your taste.”

“Thanks,” I mumble.

He grabs a couple more bottles of beer and gives each of us a half bow. “Enjoy the party, ladies.”

He walks away, backwards, smiling, firelight reflecting from those perfect chops. He must have his teeth whitened regularly because no one’s teeth are naturally that bright. When his left foot sinks into a low spot, his whole body dips, and he almost falls. Almost.

“Nice recovery,” Kristeen whispers.

I nod. Whenever Ashton Bass is within twenty yards of me, my tongue ties in knots and my heart races pell mell around my ribcage.

About the Authors

Heidi Garrett is the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole. She's also the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

Heidi is collaborating with Billie Limpin to write The Magic Cupcake series, a special blend of magic, romance, and humor.

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle. Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow.

Connect with Heidi

Website | Facebook | Pinterest |  Newsletter

Billie Limpin lives in the Philippines where the sun always shines and people always smile!

A  hopeless romantic inside and out, when Billie’s not swooning over a book boyfriend (which she often does!), you’ll probably catch her daydreaming (over a fictional character!). A reader by heart, and now a writer for the first time, she’s thrilled to put her daydreams into written words.

Connect with Billie

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1000th post ginormous giveaway!

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop 2014

I want to give a big shout out to the hosting blogs of this awesome hop, Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Bookhounds. Libraries and books have been a huge part of my life for my entire life. Growing up, I was a regular at our small town library and as an adult, I have worked in libraries for over 22 years now.

Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2014 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 21-27.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported.

The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:

Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

The fine print:
The Book Bag's giveaway will be any book (up to $20) from the top 10 list of challenged books from 2013. So, one of the 10 books above. This giveaway is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to you. If the challenged book is part of a series, the winner can select any one of the books in the series. The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond or another name will be drawn.

Good luck!

Now start hopping!

Be sure to check out my
1000th post ginormous giveaway!

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My 1000th Post Ginormous Giveaway Celebration!!

It's time to celebrate reaching 
1000 posts here at The Book Bag!!

I started this little ol' blog back in 2009 as a work project. When that project was completed, I was wondering what I could do this blog thingy that I had created. Well, I decided to use it as a way to keep track of the books I read and I'd add a little note about what I thought about each book. I really didn't think anyone would even see my posts and I had no idea it would become what it is today. I have read some amazing books and have met some really wonderful authors. 

Below are just some of those amazing authors that I have met (albeit virtually) over the last few years. I have loved all of their stories and they have each been so supportive of me here at The Book Bag. They have all generously come forward to help me celebrate this 1000th post milestone and they have donated some fabulous things for you to win. 

But before you scroll down to the giveaway, I want you to take at look at this list of some of my very favorite authors, these are all definitely my 'must read' authors. I love each of these authors and absolutely love the work that they create. Take some time to check out their stories. Who knows, you may just find some that you'll want to add to your 'must read' author list. 

I am not going to gush over each individual author and their books. If I did that, this post would never end. Just know that all of these authors are very special to me. I have read so many of their books and I wait with baited breathe for their next published work so that I can get lost in some more of their wonderfulness! My dream is to be able to meet some of them in person! Maybe someday! 

My huge thanks go out to each and everyone one of them, not only for their suport of me and this blog but also for their willingness to share their work here today and for continuing to write such great stories! 

So, to all you wonderful authors 
whom I have come to know 
over the past five years, 
let me just say....

Deanna Lynn Sletten

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Memories is the very first book of Deanna's that I read. I have been hooked on her books ever since. Deanna donated a $20 Amazon gift card.

Deanna's webpage - http://www.deannalynnsletten.com 

Kelly Cozy

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Kelly donated a copy of The Day After Yesterday.

Kelly's website - http://kellycozy.blogspot.com

Susan Kaye Quinn

Click to cover to read my thoughts
Susan donated a copy of Second Daughter.
Hint: You can get Third Daughter free here.

Susan's website - http://www.susankayequinn.com

Catherine donated an ARC of her new book, The Language of Hoofbeats, due out in December.

Catherine's website - http://www.catherineryanhyde.com

Bette Lee Crosby

 Click here and here to read my thoughts

Bette donated a copy of Spare Change and Jubilee's Journey.  

Bette's website - http://betteleecrosby.com

Joanne DeMaio

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Joanne donated a copy of Whole Latte Life.

Joanne's website - http://www.joannedemaio.com

Stephanie Elliot

Click here and here to read my thoughts

Stephanie donated 3 copies of A Little Bit of Everything Lost and The Cell Phone Lot.

Stephanie's website - http://www.stephanieelliot.com

Catherine McKenzie

Click here to read about Hidden and here to read my thoughts about Spun 

Catherine donated a copy of Hidden and Spun.

Catherine's website - http://catherinemckenzie.com

Jason Sandberg

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Jason donated 10 copies of Candy and the Cankersaur.

Jason's website - http://www.jasonsandberg.com

Theresa Rizzo

Click here and here to read my thoughts

Theresa donated a copy of He Belongs to Me and Just Destiny.

 Theresa's website - http://www.theresarizzo.com

Lori Verni-Fogarsi

Click the cover to read about the book
Lori donated 10 copies of Momnesia.

Lori's website - http://www.loritheauthor.com

Gaelen VanDenbergh

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Gaelen donated a copy of Running Against Traffic.

Gaelen's website - http://gaelenvandenbergh.com

Victoria Simcox

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Victoria donated a copy of The Warble.

 Victoria's website - http://victoriasimcox.blogspot.com

Lisa Becker

Click here, here, and here to read my thoughts

Lisa donated a copy of Click, Double Click, and Right Click.

Lisa's website - http://www.lisawbecker.com

Heidi Garrett

Click here to read my thoughts about Half Faerie
and here to read about The Girl Who Coudn't Sing 

 Heidi donated a copy of Half Faerie and The Girl Who Couldn't Sing.
Heidi Garrett and Billie Limpin

Cupcakes & Kisses (The Magic Cupcake Series # 1)

Heidi and Billie donated 2 copies of Cupcakes & Kisses, to be released in November.

The Magic Cupcake Series Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/FrostingandBeans

Karen Amanda Hooper

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Karen donated winner's choice of any of her e-books.

Karen's website - http://www.karenamandahooper.com

Cami Checketts

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Cami donated an audio/ebook combo of Blog This.

Cami's website - http://www.camichecketts.com

Aaron Paul Lazar

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Aaron donated a copy of Devil's Lake.

Aaron website - www.lazarbooks.com

Dina Silver

Dina donated audiobook copies of One Pink Line and Finding Bliss

Dina's website - http://www.dinasilver.com

Phoebe Fox

Click the cover to read my thoughts
Isn't this adorable? 
Phoebe donated The Breakup Doctor tote bag
and a copy of The Breakup Doctor.

Phoebe's website - http://www.phoebefoxauthor.com

Elana Johnson

Elana donated a boxed set of the Elemental Series
Candace Koebel

Click on the cover for more information
Candace donated a copy of Everlasting (Night Watchman #1).

Candace's website - http://candaceknoebel.wordpress.com

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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