Saturday, March 31, 2012

THE PECULIARS by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

The Peculiars
Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Rating: C
Release Date: 5/1/12


Synopsis from goodreads.com:

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena's father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.
My thoughts on the book:
Let me start this review by saying that I was super excited to read this book. I love Steam Punk, and I could not wait to see what kind of world McQuerry had created. I adored the world, and the characters were well-developed. However, the writing really threw me. I did not like how it switched from 1st person POV to 3rd person limited POV randomly throughout the book. It really took me out of the story and made it hard to focus. The fact that this happened when the character was remaining the same made the whole thing even more pointless. Honestly, it seems like some weird plot device just to make a book stand out. I didn't like it at all. Also, the pacing was slow as molasses. I had to put this book back several times and come back to it in order to finish it. If you enjoy a lot of world building and excruciatingly long descriptions, then this book is for you. 
Lena was an interesting character. She didn't feel like she felt in anywhere, and because of that, she was easy to relate to and sympathize with. She made some terribly stupid decisions and wasn't the strongest of characters in some respects (she always wanted Jimson to "save" her, for example), but the flaws simply made her realistic. I loved Jimson. He had a great energy about him, and he was just a really terrific character. I know this was Lena's story, but I wish that if McQuerry had insisted on switching POVs that she'd switched between Lena and Jimson. That would have been extremely entertaining. I also loved Mr. Beasley. He was the sweetest man!
The plot itself was interesting, but not very suspenseful. There were some mysterious parts, but overall, there just wasn't any action or suspense to speak of. The concept kept me reading, and because of the lengthy descriptions, I could most certainly picture the world that McQuerry has created. This was an incredibly slow read for me, though. Also, with all of the descriptions, I felt like we should have known more what a Peculiar was. We learned about a couple of types of Peculiars, but didn't learn many details about them at all. 
Overall, I'd recommend this book to those of you who like a lot of world-building and descriptions. Also, if POV switching doesn't bother you, then this book may be for you. It's a different concept, and it definitely stands out from most Steam Punk and YA novels today. If you're looking for something different, then give this book a try. 
Want to pre-order The Peculiars?

KILL ME SOFTLY by Sarah Cross

Kill Me Softly
Sarah Cross

Rating: B-
Release Date: 4/10/12
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.



My thoughts on the book:
Kill Me Softly is a bit predictable, but it is still a good read. I enjoyed the world that Cross created, and I hope to revisit it again soon in the future. I have no idea if there is a sequel to this book or not, but I feel that some loose ends weren't tied up as neatly as they could have been had this been a standalone novel. However, the ending was satisfying enough that if there is no sequel, I won't feel like the story is lacking an ending. The characters are likable and well-developed, and the plot is intriguing. I'd recommend Kill Me Softly to anyone who likes fantasy novels or would love to read a retelling of fairy tales. 


Mirabelle is a sweet character, and I liked her. She was immature sometimes. Also she was a bit too naive, , and I really wanted to smack her part of the time. Furthermore, every mistake she made was extremely predictable. I knew what she was going to do before she did, I think. Maybe that's because she was so sheltered growing up, but that was a bit annoying at times. Blue and Felix, the two love interests, were both very interesting. They weren't stock characters at all. At first, they seemed like they may be, but as with everything else in Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems. I don't want to go into more detail because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone. 


My favorite part of the book was the world that Cross created within Beau Rivage. This world is unique and mysterious. The world-building in this novel was fantastic. It wasn't overdone, but I understood everything that was going on. I felt like I'd stepped into the book and entered this strange universe that Cross has created. 


The plot was intriguing, but it was predictable. I had everything figured out long before Mira did. Also, there is a bit of insta-love, and I really hate insta-love. I just feel that the female leads need to be a little more independent and a little less boy crazy in most YA books anymore. This novel focuses a lot on the instant romance, and the plot almost revolves around it. I'm assuming that's the reason for the swoony female, and I'm not sure how it could have been done better. I just wish that the relationship had progressed some. The mysterious parts of the story were well done, but as I stated, I did have them figured out long before the big reveals. That's okay though because I do that with most books. The fairy tales stuck more to the original Grimm's Fairy Tales, which I loved. 


Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy, romance, or fairy-retelling. Cross has created a unique and enthralling world that you'll want to see more of. 


Want to pre-order Kill Me Softly?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Follow Friday #8



This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!


If you can't follow via GFC, then please follow via NetworkedBlogs or e-mail! :)


Please state in the post if you're a new follower or old follower. If you don't tell me that you are following, then I don't know that you are. Therefore, I'll not follow you back. I would like to follow each and every one of you back, so it is important that you clearly state that you are following me and not just stopping by. When someone says, "just saying hi!" or "just hopping through!" then I have no idea if you are following or not. That means that I may or may not return the visit, depending on how much time I have. The people who state they are following me will definitely get a visit and follow back. Also be sure to leave a link back to your blog, otherwise I won't know where to go to follow you! Thank you. 


Q: Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?


A: I only read one book at a time when I'm reading for entertainment and to do reviews. Otherwise I get confused with story lines. However, for school, I'm forced to read many books at once. And I do get confused as to which book said what. Especially because of the overlap in upper level major courses.

What about you?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

COVET COVER REVEAL!!!!!

Hey guys, this is the amazingly WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL cover for the next book in the Clann series by Melissa Darnell called Covet. I ADORED Crave, so I can't wait for this book!!!!


Charity Hopping Around The World Giveaway!


I am honored to take part in this blog hop that is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer; Reading Away the Days; and Reading a Little Bit of Everything!

The charity I'm featuring for this hop is a cause that is close to my heart. As an American Indian Studies major, and someone who is planning on getting a PhD in US History with a concentration in American Indian Studies, along with a JD that focuses on Federal Indian Law, I realize how important it is for the American Indian nations to gain more sovereignty and be able to defend their communities. So, without further adieu, here is the information about my featured cause, Safe Women, Strong Nation. I urge you to watch the video below because it explains what is going on much better than I ever could.

From the website:

Safe Women, Strong Nations

One in three Native women is raped in her lifetime.  Six in ten experience domestic abuse. Sadly, the majority of these women never see their abusers or rapists brought to justice.  The complex jurisdictional scheme in Indian country leaves Native women without effective judicial recourse against their perpetrators.
Native women serve as the backbones of our communities, and many strong Native women have shown relentless dedication to ending the epidemic of violence in our communities.  The contributions of women like Tillie Black Gear, Cecelia Fire Thunder, Terri Henry, Karen Artichoker and so many others, inspire hope for the future - that our daughters will face better odds, that our communities will heal, that the violence will cease.
Many of these women have collaborated with the Indian Law Resource Center in creating its Safe Women, Strong Nations program.  The Center’s work builds on the previous grassroots efforts and supplements continuing efforts with a campaign to raise awareness of violence against women as an international human rights issue.

For more information on what the Indian Law Resource Center is doing to aid these women, visit their website
To donate to this important cause, please click here
Thank you for taking the time to read about this important cause and watch the video. Now, here is the giveaway. 
For this hop, I am giving away two prizes to two very lucky winners.

1 winner will receive e-copy (Kindle or Nook) of Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong, which is set in the Darkest Powers world.
Synopsis from goodreads.com:

Kat is a sixteen-year-old vampire, and she's not too happy about it. After an experiment-gone-wrong and a bullet to the heart, she now hungers for human blood, and the worst part about that is the guilt. But guilt isn't the only thing stressing her. Kat is being hunted by the Edison Group, a dangerous Cabal that is responsible for her undead state. Kat is running out of places to hide, and she has no one to turn to—until she meets Chad and Neil. They're on the run like she is, and they offer to help Kat against their common enemy. But the boys aren't all that they seem, and for Kat, deciding whether to trust them may be a matter of life or death. 


Set in the world of Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series, "Hunting Kat" will leave you on the edge of your seat and thirsting for more.

and

Another winner will receive 1 e-copy of The Blacker House by Nicole Mulloy (This will be a coupon for Smashwords). This book is based on a terrifyingly true story, and the suspense is sure to keep you reading until the very end! You do not want to miss this novel!
Synopsis:
Inspired by true events! Sixteen-year-old Kate is shocked when she must suddenly move across the country to Huntington, West Virginia, leaving behind her college-aged boyfriend, Jacob. Dazed and angry, Kate nevertheless tries to find her place in a new school and a new home, a beautiful but eerie southern mansion.

Soon, strange occurrences pique Kate’s suspicion. Sounds of a lively party fill the house at night, love letters to Jacob seem to rip themselves to shreds, and Kate’s arm is branded with a heart-shaped burn. One night, she awakens to find herself in the “dirt room,” a mysterious room in the basement almost completely filled with dirt...and she is not alone.

As her relationship with Jacob fades painfully away, she begins to embrace the people of Huntington, including a new boy. Together, they must dig to find the secret of the Blacker House. 
The winner will receive a gifted version of this novel, format of their choice, from Smash Words. What are you waiting for? Enter below!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sneak Peek of THE CALLING by Kelley Armstrong!

Hey guys, I'm excited to bring you the first 67 pages of The Calling by Kelley Armstrong! The Calling is the action-packed second book in the Darkness Rising Trilogy.

Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Maya and her friends--all of whom have supernatural powers--have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness.


Click here for the sneak peek!


Haven't read The Gathering (Book 1 in the Darkness Rising Trilogy)? Order it now!
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository 

Pre-order The Calling here!



Waiting on Wednesday #11

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted at Breaking the Spine. Here are the upcoming releases that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for!




Blood Moon 
By: Alyxandra Harvey


Release Date: 06/19/12


Synopsis from goodreads.com:
When the vampire tribes convene for the rare Blood Moon ceremonies, Solange’s fight with her feral nature, a mysterious stranger, family secrets and forbidden magic put all of the Drakes in danger. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

BREAKING BEAUTIFUL by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Breaking Beautiful
Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Rating: A
Release Date: 4/24/12


Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.
 
When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness. 



My thoughts on the book:
Breaking Beautiful absolutely blew my mind. This novel will break your heart and give you hope all at the same time. This is definitely a book that every teenage girl and every mother of a girl needs to read. Wolf puts the reader into the mind of a girl who survived a car accident that killed her boyfriend. However, she can't remember the events of that night because they were too traumatic. As the story unfolds we learn that Allie is not only the survivor of the car accident, but she's also the survivor of an abusive relationship. Wolf does a wonderful job of showing the long-term effects of abuse while allowing the reader to see exactly why many abuse survivors become defensive once their abuser is finally out of their lives. This is a story that needed to be told, and apparently Wolf was just the person to tell it.

Allie used to be a fearless and happy teenager. She had to move around a lot, so she never got to make friends (other than Blake), but she wasn't miserable by any means. Once her father retires from the military, she and her family move to a small town where her mother grew up in order to settle down. Allie begins dating Trip, and that's when her life starts to fall apart. Trip is abusive and keeps her isolated from everyone and everything. He severely beats her, but she's afraid to tell anyone because she thinks no one will believe her. Trip is the richest guy in town, too, of course.

Allie's character may seem weak to some, but she's actually very strong. She's a survivor, and while she may not have made the best decisions, her reasoning for the decisions she made is understandable. She's flawed, but likable. Blake is a fantastic character, and he, too, is imperfect. However, he has a good heart, and I simply loved him. Andrew, Allie's twin brother is also another surprise. He isn't at all what he seems. He loves his sister immensely, and even though he's in a wheel chair, he still tries to protect her. Allie's parents are pretty stupid most of the time, and they kind of got on my nerves. The towns people, as a whole, pissed me off, but some of them were okay. Overall, all of the characters were unique and well-developed. There weren't any filler characters.

The plot was mysterious and suspenseful. I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book, and I could not put it down. I carried my Kindle around with me for a few days just so I could read in between classes. The pacing is pretty spot on, and other than the very beginning, I didn't find any parts that slow moving. I had a hard time pushing through for the first 10% or so because the dialogue was so choppy. I think that was done to show Allie's state of mind, though, since the narration is first person from her perspective. Once I got past the first little bit though, I was glad I pushed through. I usually don't like contemporary, but this one really grabbed me.

The topic of this novel is dark, but it's something that needs to be talked about. I truly believe that if a dialogue is opened up about things like this, then that will help put a stop to at least some of the cases of abuse. This is an important novel, and I'm glad that Wolf was brave enough to take on this topic. I applaud her for her bravery and amazing writing skills. You're an inspiration, Jennifer Shaw Wolf. Thank you for this novel.

Want to pre-order Breaking Beautiful?

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Top Ten Books I'd Play Hooky With

Hey everybody! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week, I'll be listing the top ten books on my shelf that I'd play hooky with.




10. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
"Frisky...Tells a rather sweet love story, and suggests that being a wolf may be more comfortable for a strong, smart woman than being human." -The New York Times Book Review

Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She's also a werewolf.
Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel.
9. Dead To the World by Charlaine Harris
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
"With the sure touch of a master" (Crescent Blues), Charlaine Harris delivers "the sort of vampire thrills that make Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake novels so popular" (Locus). In Sookie Stackhouse—a Southern cocktail waitress with a supernatural gift—Harris has a created a heroine like few others, and a series that puts the bite back in vampire fiction. Now the hit series launches into hardcover for Sookie's biggest twist-filled adventure yet. When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire—but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.


8. Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal.

Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.


7. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Starting over sucks.When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.And then he opened his mouth.Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me.You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.


6. Die For Me by Amy Plum
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.



5. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...



4. Crave by Melissa Darnell
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.
For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….


3. Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit, Chicago's newest vampire. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene-and to spy for the vamps while she's at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She'll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals-not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries-old master vampire.



2. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer- and son- of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf- a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.



1. Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Release Day Jill, Cara, and Aimee!

Well, this has some of the best new releases of the year so far. Go get your copies of these books TODAY!


Slide by Jill Hathaway

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

This debut author has written a thrilling start to a new series!

Check out my review of Slide here!

Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again. 




Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository


Shultz has written a compelling follow-up to Spellbound!


Check out my review of Spellcaster here!


Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Finding your eternal soulmate - easy. 

Stopping a true-love-hungry evil - not so much… 

After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems. Although...it's not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close.... 

But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan's deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma's crash course in ├╝ber-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own. 



Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Carter has written an enthralling sequel to The Goddess Test!

Check out my review of Goddess Interrupted here!

Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it.Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.Henry's first wife, Persephone. 

UNRAVELING by Elizabeth Norris

Unraveling
Elizabeth Norris

Rating: A+
Release Date: 4/24/12


Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life. 

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process. 

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming. 




My thoughts on the book:
Unraveling is one of the best novels I've ever read from a debut author. Norris will take you on an adventure that will have you breathless and on the edge of your seat from the first page until the very last sentence. I could not put this book down. Norris masterfully weaves her way through a story that is equal parts mystery, action, and romance. I was captivated by the world that she created, attached to the realistic characters, and enthralled by the plot. Unraveling is a book that I won't soon forget. 


Unraveling is set in present-day San Diego and is told from Janelle Tenner's first person POV in the present tense. You guys know that I don't really like present tense novels most of the time, but for this book, it just worked. I can't imagine it being told any other way. The present tense narrative served to make me feel like I was right there with Janelle, in real time, fighting to save the world from utter destruction. Needless to say, that added to the suspense of the novel. 


The characters in this novel are perfectly done. They are flawed, believable, and you can't help but feel for them (whether it's love or hate). Janelle is brave, strong, and selfless. She's everything a heroine should be. She constantly puts others' needs before her own, and even when her own life is falling apart (which it is almost constantly), she still fights for the good of everyone instead of laying down and wallowing in self pity. She's more mature than many adults I know, and I really admired her for that. She's the kind of person that I think most of us strive to be, but she's not perfect by any means. She has her defenses, she's temperamental, and she's impatient. 


Ben is the guy that I think almost every girl wants. He's intelligent, caring, and has morals, for lack of a better term. Still, he's rough around the edges and isn't afraid to kick some ass when needed. He doesn't fit in with society's idea of normal, and that made all the more intriguing. He's also a selfless character, but at the same time, he's driven by his own emotions and desires. He's secretive, but not to the point that you want to bash his face in. It just adds an air of mystery to his overall character. He's also extremely loyal, to his friends and to Janelle, but he won't stand by someone when he knows they did something wrong. I admired that about him. 


The secondary characters, especially Alex (Janelle's bff), Struz (Janelle's dad's bff), Janelle's dad, her mom, Jared (Janelle's brother), Kate (Janelle's ex-bff), and Elijah (Ben's bff) are very well-developed. I feel like we knew the least about Reid and Cecily, but we still knew enough that they seemed real and not just like filler characters. I also enjoyed how Janelle threw in random memories of herself with these characters so we felt like we got to know her and them better. It also made the whole story seem more real because her mind worked like a human's mind naturally works, randomly remembering the past. These memories obviously didn't drive the narrative forward, but they did make the story more complex, believable, and realistic, which in turn made it more enjoyable. 


The plot of Unraveling is ridiculously intense. I don't think poor Janelle and co. get a moment's rest throughout the entire 464 page narrative. Janelle has so many things to overcome, as do the secondary characters, and they all grow so much because of all of the adversity. There are funny parts and happy parts. Those points in the story ensure that this novel isn't a depressing read because there are a ton of heart-shattering sad parts, as well as intense action scenes. There is a lot of mystery surrounding what's going on in this novel, and as the story progresses, more questions are added to the list. However, the ending wraps everything up nicely while leaving room for the sequel (which I can't wait for!). Thankfully Norris doesn't leave us with a cliffhanger. I really hate cliffhangers. And I will be buying both this book and the second book as soon as they come out. I tend to be more likely to buy a second book in a series if the first one didn't leave me hanging with no answers at the end. 


The pacing of this book was pretty spot on, though I did feel like it dragged in places. The chapters have the countdown at the top, which is a nice touch. It makes you feel like you're going through this adventure in real time, right along with Janelle. I'm assuming that's why there were normal parts included in the narrative as well, to give the story a real-time feel to it. It was kind of cool, but it also made the book kind of long. I have nothing against long novels, but when I read a long novel, I have a hard time not "cheating" and skipping to the end to see what happens before I go back and finish reading the rest of the book. I admit, I did that with this book. But the ending was kind of weird when I hadn't read but a little over half of the novel, so it didn't satisfy any of my curiosity. That's a good thing, though, because I was enable to enjoy the entire book that way. Yea, I know. I'm a giant child sometimes, and I'm as impatient as they come. 


Overall, I'd recommend Unraveling to anyone. I'm normally into paranormal more than sci-fi, but this book blew me away. This novel has it all, intense pathos, extreme suspense, challenging mysteries, and terrific characters. You do not want to miss out on this one. 


Want to pre-order Unraveling?


Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Sunday, March 25, 2012

SLIDE sneak peek!

Here's a little something for those of you who are (like me) counting the days until the release of Slide by Jill Hathaway! It comes out this Tuesday, March 27, in case you were wondering. Be sure to pre-order your copy today! This book is amazing and you do not want to miss out on the mystery, suspense, and adventure!

Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again. 


Click here for the sneak peek! (First two chapters)

Click here to read my review and see how much I loved this book!

Check out the Super Slide Book Tour here!

Also, check out Jill's iPod Nano/$25 iTunes gift card contest here!

And don't forget to check out the trailer!


In My Mailbox #10

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren. 




Hey guys, it was a great week at the library this week AND it was an amazing week for my mailbox!



Friday, March 23, 2012

Follow Friday #7


This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!


If you can't follow via GFC, then please follow via NetworkedBlogs or e-mail! :)


Please state in the post if you're a new follower or old follower. If you don't tell me that you are following, then I don't know that you are. Therefore, I'll not follow you back. I would like to follow each and every one of you back, so it is important that you clearly state that you are following me and not just stopping by. When someone says, "just saying hi!" or "just hopping through!" then I have no idea if you are following or not. That means that I may or may not return the visit, depending on how much time I have. The people who state they are following me will definitely get a visit and follow back. Thank you. 


Q: What is the longest book you’ve read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

A: I don't really like books that are that long because I always feel that the plot is being dragged out simply for the length. I actually did read War and Peace, and it was okay. Nothing to write home about. I got bored long before it was over.

My favorite long book, though, is actually one of my favorite books of all time... Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon, which had over 700 pages. I didn't get bored during it at all. That book rips out your soul and then gives it back to you.

What's the longest book you've ever read?

BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked
Jessica Spotswood

Rating: D


Synopsis from goodreads.com:
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. 

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. 

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other. 




My thoughts on the book:
I was so excited for Born Wicked to come out. I waited patiently for whoever had it checked out to return it to the library so that I could read it. I don't like buying books before I try them out first, and I am super that I got this one from the library first. This book was such a disappointment. The pacing was slow, the plot was boring, the characters were all brats, and the world-building was non-existent. I wanted to love Born Wicked so much, but it fell completely flat for me. The only thing that redeemed it was that the writing was good, even if it was boring. That's what saved this novel from an F rating. 

Let's start with the characters. I think Cate was supposed to be a strong woman in an oppressed society, but instead, she just came across as a whiny brat who's too weak to stand up for what's right. Oh she thinks she's noble, but she's not. She's a coward and she's weak. Maura is a temperamental brat, and I wanted her to get shipped off to the nuthouse or something. I really couldn't stand her. Tess was a pushover, but still the strongest of the three. The Sisterhood and the Brotherhood are both bunches of bullies. Finn was weak and Paul was just annoying. Basically I didn't like anyone in this book.

The plot was supposed to be a mystery, I think, or suspenseful, or something. I'm sure there was some point to this book other than to serve the author's purpose of preaching a message, but I'm not sure what, exactly, it was. I mean I guess it could have been a romance, but the ending kind of killed that for me. Sure, Finn and Cate were fine together, but I've seen better couples in YA. Of course, if I had been able to tolerate Finn and Cate, that may have helped. Also, I never felt like anything bad was really going to happen. This is the most anti-climactic novel I've ever read. I was completely bored the entire time. I had to make myself finish this book, and the only reason I did was because I kept hoping it'd get better at the end.

The pacing was slow-as-molasses, and the smallest and most insignificant things drag out FOREVER. There was also no world-building to speak of. I think this was the Victorian era, but they talked in modern colloquial phrases sometimes, so I can't be sure. I mean if she hadn't stated she was in New England and talked about carriages, I wouldn't have know where this book was taking place. And for all the history about horrible witches, Brotherhood, male dominance, etc., I still don't feel like I know anymore about the world than I did to start with.

As I previously stated, the only redeeming factor about this novel was the author's writing. Spotswood has a good writing style, but style alone isn't enough to make me pick up the next book in the series. This is one that I won't be continuing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

SERPENT'S KISS by Melissa De La Cruz cover reveal!

Hey guys, here's the amazing cover for the new Witches of East End novel by Melissa De La Cruz called Serpent's Kiss!



Interview with Robin LaFevers, author of GRAVE MERCY!

Hey everybody, Robin LaFevers was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me about her new book, Grave Mercy. You can check out my review of this awesome novel and a mini guest post by Robin in which she talks about the use of poison in the novel by clicking here.

Grave Mercy is due to hit stores on 04/03/12.


Pre-order your copy today!


Click here to read an exclusive excerpt!

Don't forget to check out the book trailer below.







Question: I love the Brittany Coast! What made you decide to set Grave Mercy there instead of elsewhere in modern-day France?
Answer: Well, aside from Brittany just being awesome, there were three things: 
1. As you mention below, Christianity came late to Brittany, which served the mythology of the story. 
2. It truly was inherited by a twelve year old girl, who had to try to defend it from France while she fought off a number of suitors, which made a great backdrop for a YA novel.
3. The last nine known druidesses were said to reside on the Ile de Sein, off the coast of Brittany, which gave sort of an historical anchor for the mythology of the story as well.

Q: The High Middle Ages is a time period that's very different from our own. How much did you have to research in order to make things historically accurate?
A: I did tons of research! Luckily, I am a total research geek and loved doing it. I researched everything from the politics of the duchy, to the young duchess, her councilors, the geography, the customs of that time period, as well as the clothes and furnishings of the day. I tried to  make things as historically accurate as I could. However, history is not an exact science by any means, and there are often conflicting opinions on or interpretations of events and customs. One of the things I adore about research is that often when I am stuck in the story or stalled out on the plot, if I dive into the research books, there is often a very cool answer to my story problem there. 

I have a partial bibliography listed on my website for anyone else who is as big a research geek as I am.  http://www.robinlafevers.com/history/a-selected-bibliography/

Q: I'm a historian, so I'll definitely be checking out that bibliography! You created strong female characters, but somehow managed to keep them within what society would expect of a woman in the Medieval time period. Was it difficult to  balance historical accuracy with strong female characters?
A: It was a challenge to strike a balance between a heroine a modern reader could relate to, but still keep true to the roles (or lack thereof!) that women had in society back then. Some of the limitations on them are just so hard for us to grasp! But one of my goals in writing in historical time periods is to capture the worldview of the people who lived then, so it was really important to me to stick to those limitations and then find a way to make them interesting and relevant to today's readers. The truth is that noble women did not have any more say over their lives--and sometimes less!--than women of the lower classes. They were more sheltered and had more luxuries, but their ability to make their own choices about their lives was just as limited. Many women joined convents precisely because living in a convent often gave them more freedom to pursue their own interests than marriage!

Q: That's interesting because I know in contemporary times, women view convents as prisons. The fact that it was reversed in that time period lets us know just how oppressed women were. The next question is about the mythology. I know that Bretagne was the last place in modern-day France to have Christianity forced upon it. Is the Breton mythology used in this novel actual Breton mythology (the Saints, etc.), or did you come up with it yourself?
A: It was an amalgam of Breton folklore, Celtic mythology, and then a generous seasoning of my own imagination. The Christian Church did make a very calculated decision to incorporate earlier gods and goddesses into the church as saints so that the people would be more comfortable converting to Christianity. They did this with holy sites as well as festivals and holidays. And people very much worshiped patron saints and prayed to them to intercede on their behalf. Some of the nine Breton saints in the book are taken directly from Celtic mythology, Saint Arduinna, for example, was a Celtic goddess of the hunt, and Saint Camulos was a Celtic war god. Dea Matrona was based on the mother goddess present in so many pantheons. But the twin goddesses of love for the two very different sides of love were my own contribution. Breton tales of the Ankou, a death figure, and stories of the Night Rowers who were called upon to row men's souls to the otherworld were additional inspiration.

Q: Did you visit Bretagne before writing this book?
A: Sadly, no! But if it sells enough copies, I might be able to visit in the future!

Q: If you could have coffee with any of the characters from Grave Mercy, who would you choose and why?
A: Sister Serafina, hands down. I not only lust after all her poison and herbal knowledge, but I suspect she knows some really juicy secrets about the other nuns at the convent, so I would buy a bottle of wine and see how many of those I could get her to spill. :-)

Q: I know that the sequel covers Sybella's journey. Will it pick up where Grave Mercy left off, time-wise, or will it start at the beginning of Sybella's journey?
A:  That is a question I have been wrestling with for the last nine months! It's always one of the hardest parts--knowing where exactly to start the story. I have settled on (I think!) staring where Grave Mercy stopped as opposed to going back to Sybella's time at the convent, but nothing is certain until it's sent to the printer.

Q: Can you tell us what other projects you're currently working on?
A: You know, I used to juggle a number of projects at once, but these books are just too big and complex and multi layered, and involve too much research, to be able to hold anything else in my head. So the His Fair Assassin trilogy and I are in a monogamous relationship. :-)

Q: As complicated and historically accurate as these novels are, that is completely understandable! If you could give Ismae one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: To trust her heart.

Q: Will we ever return to Ismae's story, or has she completed her journey?
A: We will see Ismae briefly in Book Two and Book Three as she reconnects with Sybella and Annith, and learn a bit about how she is doing, but the story won't be told through her eyes again. She had a fairly complete journey in Grave Mercy.

I agree that her journey seemed complete, but I'm glad we'll get to see how she's doing in the future. 

Thank you so much, Robin, for taking the time to answer these questions! I loved Grave Mercy, and I cannot wait for the sequel!