Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Review: After the End by Amy Plum

Book #1 of the After the End series
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication: May 2014 by HarperTeen
Acquisition: gift

Synopsis:
She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
(from Goodreads)
4 / 5 Stars

Dystopian pretext with out the actual dystopia. How in the world was Juneau and her clan secluded from the rest of the world for so long! Needing an answer to this question was the main reason I read After The End.

Did I get my answer? Yes - but I also got a whole lot more!

I absolutely loved Juneau. She is the epitome of the strong female character. What makes her so perfect is her sense of herself. She knows who she is, she knows her strengths and weaknesses and even when she doubts herself she never looses who she fundamentally is. She doesn't let people tell her what she can and can't do - and she doesn't need to argue the point, or push back . She is 100% confident in her abilities and when faced with something she knows she can't handle she doesn't turn into a whinny mess. She figures it out and she gets it done!

Seriously - I love her!

Some of the science stuff was a little off - and the logistics of some other things didn't really mesh together for me. Overall though, I really enjoyed After the End and I started reading book 2 pretty immediately after finishing.

There is something about Juneau's story that seriously propels you forward - wanting more and more answers. And again, maybe the answers themselves weren't neat and clean but the journey was what was important -the driving force of Juneau needing to save her tribe and searching for answers.

A great dystopian pretext story (new genre here? ;) -- highly recommended!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Birthday First Second! #10yearsof01


First Second is celebrating their 10 year anniversary!
cue confetti and balloons!!!

In the past decade they have published 157 books including some of my favorite graphic novels.

To help celebrate, today I'm sharing some recommended YA titles.

If you haven't yet plunged into the fantastic world of YA graphic novels, these are some great ones to start with.


I've read In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang and Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol and loved them both!

The celebration lasts all year and if you want to join along, you can share a pic of yourself with your favorite :01 graphic novel using the hashtag #10yearsof01

What do you guys think? Are YA graphic novels your thing? Thinking of giving them a chance? Absolutely love them? Let me know in the comments - I wanna know :)

Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Out of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hi guys!

Today is my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday :)

I wanted a meme that would tax my creativity a bit but also was fun and easy going. Top Ten Tuesday fits the bill perfectly!

This week's topic is books that I've enjoyed outside my typical genre / type / comfort zone.

My comfort zone falls squarely in the middle of a paranormal, dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy world. But, I'll give just about anything the chance if the timing and circumstances are right.

Here are my top 10 - or rather 5 - books that took me out of my comfort zone and made me glad for it.


An adult contemporary rom-com. So very much NOT my thing. When it showed up in my mail box I was very much, thanks publisher for thinking of me but oh man, what am I going to do with this now!

It sat next to my computer for a bit and then one day I went to move it to a more convenient location and flipped through it a bit.

The format of emails and text messages intrigued me a bit and then I read the Author's Note and saw that it was written basically in real time, with each author in the dark about a lot of what the other was writing - I was more intrigued and then I read the first page / email correspondence and finally said, 'what the hell!' - and pretty much finished it in one sitting.
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre and I really really didn't like Jane Eyre so it wasn't looking good for Jane Steele

So many people were excited for this one so I though, before I pass on the ARC I got at ALA Mid Winter I would read a few pages to see just how much like Jane Eyre it was - aka - how much I just knew I wouldn't enjoy it.

I was wrong wrong wrong!

I started reading and couldn't stop and it's nothing like what I usually read and it was fantastic!

It comes out next month and I highly recommend it!
Hello? by Liza Wiemer

I met Liza Wiemer once at a blogger/ author party during BEA one year and she was the nicest person!

My reading / blogging slump caused me to miss out on a lot in the world of books and the fact that she had written a novel was one of them.

Hello? is a contemporary romance and I try to stay far away from contemporary in general and romance specifically.

But! It was Liza's book and there was lots of hype and it popped up on NetGalley and I hit that request button and the rest they say, is history!

I really enjoyed Hello? and honestly, if it wasn't Liza's book I don't know that I would have read it so jokes on me cause I would have missed out on a fabulous book!
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

It's non fiction, which I do read. But! It's an autobiography which, no way! I never, ever, never, ever, never, never read!

Seriously, I couldn't even tell you were the autobiography section in my very small local bookstore is! And I practically live there!

But, it's Felicia Day and I love her! She's weird and crazy and amazing and such a geek and she's totally my role model :)

So, I knew I had to have this but I was still supper duper scared I was going to hate it - or even worse - hate HER after reading.

I should not have worried my pretty little head one bit because I gobbled this one up.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Ok, so I do read adult mystery thrillers. I own quite a few actually and I very much enjoy them.

However, I tend to stay far far away from super hyped up 'bestsellers'.

Anything with an Oprah's Book Club pick or from NY Times Bestselling author - not my thing. I just don't trust the hype and I've been burned in the past.

The one though - it wasn't going away quickly.

Tons of requests came in for it at the library were I work. A few of my co-workers had read it and so, when it became available around the time of the last Dewey Readathon I thought, why not?

I don't know exactly what it was about this one...but I really really liked it. It's a murder mystery but a really really well done murder mystery. Very glad I gave into the hype!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Reivew: Amity by Micol Ostow

Genre: YA Horror Thriller Paranormal
Publication: August 2014 by EgmontUSA
Acquisition: read a free eARC via NetGalley

Synopsis:
Here is a house of ruin and rage, of death and deliverance.
Here is where I live, not living.
Here is always mine.

When Connor's family moves to Amity, a secluded house on the peaceful banks of New England's Concord River, his nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons. destruction, and revenge. Dreams he kind of likes. Dreams he could make real, with Amity's help.

Ten years later, Gwen's family moves to Amity for a fresh start. Instead, she's haunted by lurid visions, disturbing voices, and questions about her own sanity. But with her history, who would ever believe her? And what could be done if they did?

Because Amity isn't just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a violent end as she's done before. As she'll do again. And again. And again.

Inspired by a true-crime story, Amity spans generations to weave an overlapping, interconnected tale of terror, insanity. danger, and death.
(from Goodreads)
4 / 5 Stars

Amity was good, predictable and creepy.

The good -- the writing, the characters, the setting -all very solid and all very well developed and laid out. I'm one of those, movie in my head, types of readers and the imagery in Amity was fabulous. Even now, after having finished it a while ago, I can still clearly see it all - the house, the river, the backyard, the second floor hallway, the basement - it's all still there.

So, predictable? Yeah. I mean, I knew there was a haunted house, and bad things happened, and were going to happen. I knew there were 2 sets of characters and they had some type of horrible connection. There isn't much surprise in Amity but at the same time, there doesn't need to be. A horror story without any twists isn't any less horrific.

Oh - and creepy, let's not forget creepy! I love love love a good haunted (or cursed or dammed or what have you) house (or location or person). It's sometimes a crap shoot though because haunted house + evil doesn't = automatic great thriller. Amity, however, packed a punch - actual cliche 'chills running down my spine' moments.

So yeah, If you like YA thrillers, you'll really enjoy Amity. And if you don't like thrillers Amity is a good one to try if you're looking to be pushed out of your comfort zone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Book Review: The Detour by S.A. Bodeen

Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller
Publication: October 2015 by Feiwel and Friends
Acquisition: bought

Synopsis:
Livvy Flynn is a seventeen-year-old bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. People in the industry kiss up to her. She’s rich, she’s famous, and she’s full of herself.

When she’s invited to an A-list writers’ conference, she decides to accept so she can work on her next book and enjoy the admiration—and envy—of the writer wannabes. Plus, she has a new, cute sports car, and it’ll be fun to drive there by herself.

And then she hits the detour. Before she knows it, the car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s trapped in a basement, with no idea where she is. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go.
(from Goodreads)
4 / 5 Stars


This one was weird! Sort of a Stephen King's Misery meets...angsty teen after school special.

So...I really shouldn't have liked it. I mean, I'm all for a good, scary, strange King like read but I tend to stay far away from whiny teenage angst.

Oh, and Livvy is a whiner! And she's obnoxious and conceited and a bit ridiculous. But, that's kinda the point - we aren't suppose to like her. So, when she hits that detour and gets kidnapped - I didn't really care what happened to her.

Except, I did! I really really wanted to know what was up with this crazy women and her crazy daughter. I wanted to know why Livvy was the way she was and how everything fit together.

In a world, this book really was thrilling -- a true thriller from start to end.

It's a quick read too, and pretty realistic - disturbing sure, but realistically so.

If anything I wish Livvy didn't....yeah - not gonna spoil it for you ;)

I highly recommend this one!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hello? by Liza Wiemer SALE and GIVEAWAY!




This book was by far my favorite YA Contemporary of last year. And I don't tend to like contemporary - in any form. So for a contemporary to stand out? It must be fabulous!

And! It could be yours for only $.99!!!

Believe me, you won't regret it!

AND!

If you do purchase a copy today or tomorrow - you can enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card -- how fabulous is that?!

Click your way to your retailer of choice and then come on back and fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 8, 2016

Blog Tour: Starflight by Melissa Landers GALAXY NAILS + GIVEAWAY


Hello and welcome!

I'm supper excited!

Why, you ask?

Let's see. Is it because:
a) I get to share some fabulous book love (Hello! It takes place in SPACE!)

b) NAIL POLISH ALL THE THINGS

c) I love love love getting books in the hands of readers and if you stick with me through ALL the wonderfulness below you'll have a chance to win your very own copy of Starflight

d) all of the above

Did you answer d?

Well, you should have!

Seriously guys, putting together this post has been THE MOST fun I've had in a while :)

On with the show!

ABOUT STARFLIGHT:
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe...

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

ABOUT MELISSA LANDERS:
Melissa Landers writes romantic sci-fi for teens and the young at heart. ALIENATED and INVADED are now available from Disney Hyperion, and UNITED, the third book in the trilogy, will release in August, 2016. The first novel in her new series, STARFLIGHT, launches February 2, 2016.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To celebrate the release of Starflight, I'm sharing with you my latest Galaxy Nail Art :)

I like to do things simple and when I first came across pics of galaxy nails on Pinterest I was like - "No way! I could never do that!" But then I tried it and now I love it!

Below is my latest creation - with some how tos and notes and what not. Polish types and color names at the end.

Prep your nails and you normally would. I used one coast of my favorite base coat to start.

Next apply full coverage of a very dark color.
Most tutorials I've found say start with black but I like using a dark blue - the more shimmery the better.

Now comes the fun part and it's all about the layering!

Drop a few plops of polish onto a paper plate or paint pallet of your choice.

Using a makeup sponge, you're going to dab lots of colors, in really any pattern you like over as much of each nail as you like.
I like doing a slight diagonal line from top to bottom. I've also seen spirals and full coverage.

Start with white.

Add blue -- especially important if you start with black. I used only a little in a brighter hue.

Next, I used some pink.
I was skeptical at first about using such a bold color but it really brings out the darker shades well.

Added a glitter orange and a deep purple to smooth out the edges.

Now, it's time for some stars!
I first applied a very thing coat of a super fine silver glitter polish.
For the bigger starts, I used both a supper fine stripe polish along with a dotting tool but a toothpick or the head of a pin works just as well.

For some final touches, I went over a few spots again with light dabs of white and pink.

Top coat added.
It's hard to tell from the picture but a really good top makes all the difference. The dabbing and blotting dulls the finish but a clear coat brings out all the shine!

And - that's it!

What I really like about this style is that every time you do it, it will be a little different.
It's also so easy to add in different colors. Yellows, greens, gold - the galaxy is full of amazing colors so you can really go all out.

For reference, below are the specific colors I used.
Orly Royal Velvet
Sinful Colors Snow Me White
Essie Aruba Blue
Delia's no name pink
Orly Charged Up
Julie Beach Bonfire
It's So Easy Stripe Rite White
(not shown)
China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat 
Finger Paints Top Coat
Orly Winter Wonderland



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GIVEAWAY

3 winners - US only. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Schedule:
Week 1:
2/1: Fiction Fare - Review
2/2: Rebelle Reads - Galaxy Inspired Nail Colors
2/3: Polished Page Turner - Review
2/4: Paperback Princess - Starflight & Firefly
2/5: Supernatural Snark - Review

Week 2:
2/8: Red House Books - Galaxy Nail Art
2/9: Two Chicks on Books - Review
2/10: What Sarah Read - Top 10 Spacecrafts In SciFi
2/11: Ex Libris - Review
2/12: Novel Heartbeat - Review

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ALA Books: Upcoming Titles I'm Really Excited For Part 3

Hey guys!

~Last batch of lovelies I can't wait to read from ALA Mid Winter~

Attending ALA Midwinter was such an amazing experience. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw all the books I managed to drag home. Some went to work, some went to a certain young reader, some will be heading to my local librarian and some are all just for me! For now anyway :) I'm still looking over the piles and there is a chance some will make it into a giveaway (or 2, or 3 or 4 ;)

Below are June, July and August titles I'm most excited for.
Links are to Goodreads so you can add them to your wishlists! (do it!)

June Releases

With Malice by Eileen Cook
Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
Unplugged by Donna Freitas
Never Missing, Never Found by Amanda Panitch

July Releases

What the Dead Want by Norah Olson
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

August Release
The Secret Sea by Barry Lyga

What do you guys think? Any of these on your radar already?
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ALA Books: Upcoming Titles I'm Really Excited For Part 2

Hey guys!

~Some more lovelies I can't wait to read from ALA Mid Winter~

Attending ALA Midwinter was such an amazing experience. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw all the books I managed to drag home. Some went to work, some went to a certain young reader, some will be heading to my local librarian and some are all just for me! For now anyway :) I'm still looking over the piles and there is a chance some will make it into a giveaway (or 2, or 3 or 4 ;)

Below are April and May titles I'm most excited for.

Links are to Goodreads so you can add them to your wishlists! (do it!)

April Releases
Once Upon A Dream by Liz Braswell
The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

May Releases

The Blood Between Us by Zac Brewer
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
Everland by Wendy Spinale
Savage by Thomas E. Sniegoski

What do you guys think? Any of these on your radar already?
Happy Reading!

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Wrap Up: The Where Did I Go? Edition

Hello hello!
It's February! Happy Leap Year!

January is done and gone and bye, bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

I did...a lot of stuff...

Holiday hangover (which lasts ALMOST all month),
de-decorating (why does it take so long!),
birthdays (woo hoo! yeah baby!),
ALA (never been before - it was so much awesome!)

and blogging!....Blogging? Um...yeah...no....not so much.

Yeah - I had a whole lotta 'aint got time for that' laying around and thought it would be fun to smear it all over January ;)

The books though, people! We can't forget about the books!
I read all of them and it was fabulous! (p.s. all = 10)

:)

Link it up over at Feed Your Fiction Addiction - cause she was my OTSP Secret Sister these past months and it was so so so much fun spoiling her and I'm going to miss her so much! Thanks for putting up with me as your secret sis Nicole!!

Alrighty then!

THE REVIEWS
Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz | REVIEW 4/5 Stars
My Second Life by Faye Bird | REVIEW 4/5 Stars

JANUARY READS
Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns
My Second Life by Faye Bird
The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
Until The Beginning by Amy Plum

Hope everyone had a great
January!
Happy Reading!