Bloggiesta! Ole!!

Bloggiesta starts tomorrow.   This wonderful blogging event is happening at a perfect time for me; I am prepping the blog for my upcoming vacation to OKC, and  Bloggiesta gives me a great excuse to stay home and do nothing but blog!  Perfect!!  Here’s my list of activities I plan to tackle:

Clean up sidebar

Catch up on interview posts

Send out questions for planned interview posts

Get current on reviews (I have 4 to write)

Schedule posts for October and have everything ready to go for when I’m on vacation

Prep some of the giveaways I am planning  (I love to recycle books this way!)

Organize TBR mountain before it falls on me and kills me (this is on my list every time!)

Plan my reading list for October

Squeeze in a few volumes of manga (I haven’t been reading enough of these)

Research Feedburner conversion. I don’t like the email subscription aspects of Feedcat

Work out an exercise schedule (because a healthy blogger is a happy blogger! Yes, that was also on the last list, and since I finally have my asthma under control, I need to get back on some kind of exercise routine )

Participate in some of the mini-challenges (this is a great way to learn some new blogging tips and tricks)

Are you participating in Bloggiesta? What are your goals for the weekend?

Update and Sale

I am a bit behind on reviews, and probably won’t be able to catch up until the weekend.  I returned home from vacation to a broken well, and let me tell you, not having water is not pleasant.  All of the little things you take for granted are suddenly no longer possible – flushing the toilet, washing your hands, taking a shower – even cooking and making coffee!  Thankfully we had it repaired in a few days, but now I have piles of laundry and a billion other things I had to put off until it was fixed. 

In the meantime, one of my favorite 2012 releases, Under the Never Sky, is currently discounted to $2.99 for the Kindle.  If you haven’t read this yet, give it a try.  I am counting down the days until the release of Through the Ever Night.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi will be discounted at Amazon until Sept 17, so grab your copy soon!  Click the cover for the Amazon product page.

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

In her enthralling debut, Veronica Rossi sends readers on an unforgettable adventure set in a world brimming with harshness and beauty.

August Wrap-up and September Reading Goals

In order to help myself tackle more review books, both print and digital, once a month I will be posting a list of books that I hope to read during that month.  I work more efficiently when I have a game plan, so hopefully these monthly posts will keep me focused on my goal of reading and reviewing more books, and will make my TBR not seem so intimidating.  By breaking away chunks of the TBR mountain, I can better manage my reading. In theory, anyway!

Ugh! Once again I had a slow month.  I only managed to read 12 books.  I have been busy at work, I was out of town the last week of the month, and my reading time was therefore  reduced.  Boohoo!  I also managed to read hardly anything on my reading list!  My favorite reads in August were The Hallowed One by Laura Bickle and Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins.

Here are some books I hope to get through in September.    What’s on your reading list?

Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe

Blades of Winter by G T Almasi

In a Fix by Linda Grimes

Blaze of Winter by Elisabeth Barrett

Body & Soul by Stacey Kade

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

When You Wish Upon A Duke by Isabella Bradford

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

Three River Ranch by Roxanne Snopek

Library Wars Vol 7 by Kiiro Yumi

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Scandal’s Mistress by Bronwyn Stuart

Jiu Jiu Vol 1 by Touya Tobina

Dark Light of Day by Jill Archer

The King’s Damsel by Kate Emerson


Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

The Night Is Mine by M L Buchman

Shift by Kim Curran

The Dark Unwinding by Stella Cameron

What’s on your reading list for September?

Ready! Set! READ!!

Julep Maven Review and Giveaway!

I have been enjoying some of the subscription beauty boxes, and when I learned about Julep, I was excited to find out more about their products.  They offer nail polish and nail care products.  Here is a description of their service from their website:

Based on the results of your Julep Maven Style Quiz, we’ll personally select products every month to best complement your unique style profile. Each box will feature over $40 worth of never-before-released polishes, cutting edge treatments and cult favorites, including at least two seasonal and style-specific nail colors.

For $19.99 a month, you can subscribe to their service.  After taking the quiz to discover your special style, you will be shown the boxes available for the month.  If you don’t like the style Julep suggests for you, don’t worry! You can choose from any of the styles available for that month, you can choose to have your box sent to a friend, or you can skip that month altogether.

I actually received this box in July, but with the craziness of that has been my summer, I haven’t been able to post about it until now.  I chose Classic with a Twist, because I love the fun colors.  I was excited to receive my Julep Maven box, and when I did, I wasn’t disappointed.  Here is a shot of the box.  It is a nice, sturdy cardboard, with distinctive branding.


I opened it, and was delighted to discover how well the product was packaged.  The polish and the Pedi Crème were wrapped in pink tissue paper, with a ribbon keeping the foam toe separators in place on top. 

I wasn’t impressed with the toe separators.  They were flimsy, but I did like the colors.  Yeah, I will forgive a lot of things if there is good presentation!

Here is a shot of the polish and The Best Pedi Crème Ever!  It is.  The first time I used the foot lotion, my significant other was walking by.  He stopped and told me that it was stinky.  It is.  Only not in a bad way.  It smells strongly of cucumber, which I didn’t mind.   In fact, after it had soaked into my dry skin, I liked it.  I always have dry skin, and this lotion made it soft and smooth.  Props for The Best Pedi Crème Ever!

The colors in my Classic with a Twist Maven box  were Robin and Rose.  These are fun colors, and they compliment each other well.  The polish is creamy, and it glides on smoothly.  It also dried relatively quickly.  Here are some pictures. 










I wanted to say a big Thank You to my nieces for helping me with this post.  They generously donated some of their time to be hand models and to help take some of the photos.  They ROCK!

So, what did I think of the Julep Maven box?  I liked the polish and the pedi crème.  I liked them a lot.  The boxes are priced just a little too high for me to purchase one every month, but when I need a treat or a pick me up, I will surf over to Julep to browse their fun nail colors. 

If you would like to check out a Maven box for yourself, you can purchase an introductory box for just a penny! The introductory box is similar to the one I shared above. If you would like to order one, just click HERE and enter this promo code: MAVENINTRO

Now, thanks to Julep, I have one Maven box to give to one of you!  Just fill out the widget to enter!  US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reading Road Trip Giveaway! Win Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Welcome to my Reading Road Trip Giveaway!  Hosted by I Like These Books & IceyBooks, the goal of the Reading Road Trip is to spotlight all 50 states with giveaways.  Think of this as the ultimate in armchair travel.

Today I want to present my state to you.  Welcome to Michigan!  The Great Lakes State, we are surrounded by beautiful state parks and lots and lots of water.  Lakes, rivers, ponds, and even a swamp or two.  While this means high humidity in the summer, it also means water skiing, swimming, boating, fishing, and hanging out at the beach, and skating, snow mobiling, and snow angels in the winter.

Michigan has four distinct seasons, and though I hate our long, cold winters, I love the change in scenery that occurs year round.  Here are some fun Michigan facts (to see more, visit this website) –

The Mackinac Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It spans 5 miles over the Straits of Mackinac.

The painted turtle is Michigan’s state reptile. (There was a painted turtle in my backyard a couple of weeks ago!)

The Detroit Zoo was the 1st zoo in America to feature cageless, open-exhibits that allowed the animals more freedom to roam.  (This is still a cool place to spend an afternoon!)

Standing anywhere in the state a person is within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes .  (That’s only, like, an hour away at the speed most people around here drive!)

Isle Royal Park has one of the largest moose herds remaining in the U.S.  (Moose!  In Michigan!)

Michigan has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska.

Click below for a larger view of Michigan.  Our state is shaped like a mitten, which is something you will need if you visit in the winter.  It gets cold here!

View Larger Map

What else do I like about Michigan?  I live in an area with lots and lots of horse farms.  I am only 10 minutes from where I board my horses.  I am only a short drive from a state park, where I can go trail riding.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Now for my giveaway!  I am giving away a copy of Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire.  Courtney lives in Michigan, and she is a horse enthusiast, too!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter widget.  Extra entries for following.  US shipping addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July Reading Goals and June Wrap-up

In order to help myself tackle more review books, both print and digital, once a month I will be posting a list of books that I hope to read during that month.  I work more efficiently when I have a game plan, so hopefully these monthly posts will keep me focused on my goal of reading and reviewing more books, and will make my TBR not seem so intimidating.  By breaking away chunks of the TBR mountain, I can better manage my reading. In theory, anyway!

I only managed to read 12 books in June, and I think my favorite was Burn Mark by Laura Powell.   I am still trying to get my asthma under control, and the medication I’ve been prescribed makes me tired.  Once I start feeling like myself again, I know I’ll be rockin’ out the books again.

I probably will not get through half of these, but I will try my best to clock in more than 12 books for July!

Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe

The Marked by Inara Scott

The Taker by Alma Katsu

Last Real Cowboy by Donna Alward

Body & Soul by Stacey Kade

The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone

Horse Camp by Nicole Lea Helget

Rodeo Rebel by Debra Kayn

The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert

Library Wars Vol 7 by Kiiro Yumi

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott

Jiu Jiu Vol 1 by Touya Tobina

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

The Drops of God vol 1 by  Tadashi Agi & Shu Okimoto

Chase Me by Tamara Hogan

Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina

Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half  by Samantha Grace

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

What’s on your reading list for July?

Ready! Set! READ!!

Armchair BEA–Introductions




While I would love to go to BEA, unfortunately, the timing never seems to work out for me.  I actually had everything but the plane ticket booked last year, but had to cancel to due to a family illness.  Once again, the book lovers Mecca is out of reach this year, so I decided to participate in Armchair BEA again.  You can learn more about this event by clicking this link.

To get things rolling this year, participants are asked to answer five questions, and then hop around and visit other participating blogs, so here goes:

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I am Julie, aka Manga Maniac.  I have been blogging for about 7 years, and when I started the blog, I mostly reviewed manga and graphic novels.  I started blogging as a way to keep track of the storylines for all of the all of the series I was reading, and I enjoyed doing it so much that I haven’t stopped!

2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012? 

I am currently reading Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill.  It’s a zombie western with some steampunk elements tossed in for good measure.  I am enjoying it so far, but the pacing is faltering near the end.

Some of my favorites so far this year include: The Song of Achilles, Lies Beneath, Storybound, The Marriage Bargain, The Stubborn Dead, and Born Wicked. 

3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I am terrified to speak in public!  This is kind of funny because I don’t mind sharing my writing, and I live to show my horses.  I just have a really, really hard time speaking in front of even a small group of people.

4. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

I love to interview authors!  I enjoy learning about how they came up with their stories and characters, and what they like to read when they aren’t working. 

5.  Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

When I first started blogging, I was only reading manga and graphic novels.  Now I find myself reading everything but graphic novels.  I became burned out on them, especially when my favorite series were canceled or my favorite publishers shut their doors (CMX, I still miss you desperately).  I hate not knowing how things end, so it was discouraging to have so many series left dangling.  There are several that I still love, but I’m letting a few volumes pile up before I start getting invested in them again.

What about you? If you are participating in Armchair BEA, please link your posts so I can drop in and say “hi.”