Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1), by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten."

My Opinion: I've heard such great things about Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, even though for some strange reason I've never read it myself (don't hate me! I kept meaning to but never found the time), and I loved her book The Immortal Rules, so I jumped at the chance to read The Lost Prince. I was really hoping that I would be able to follow it since I hadn't read The Iron Fey books, and I wasn't disappointed. If anything, The Lost Prince has made me determined to go back and read the other books because if they're half as good as this one (and if the reviews are to be believed, they are), then I'm going to love them too! The Lost Prince was wildly enjoyable, and the world of the Fey has never been as enticing as it is in Ms. Kagawa's very capable hands!

I loved that the book was told from the male POV, and that said male was Ethan Chase. He was the kind of guy that you want to get to know so you can break him out of his outwardly tough shell and find the gooey, soft center that you just know is hiding in there. Enter one extremely nosy reporter for the school newspaper by the name of Kenzie who, no matter how many times Ethan tries to bully her into staying away from him (for her own good of, course), doesn't take no for an answer, add a good sized dollop of major chemistry, and you have a couple to root for! I'm not kidding - they were so cute together! I think it's mostly because Ethan had always had to push people away because the fey are notorious trouble makers, and anyone who gets close to him could, and usually does, get hurt, and Kenzie just refused to accept that, because she saw something in him that was worth fighting for. She was also tough as nails when she needed to be, and Ethan was able to finally let her in because she proved to him that he could trust her and count on her not only when things were easy, but when they were very, very rough. She also rolled with the punches when she found herself in the fairy realm face to face with a sarcastic talking cat, who agreed to lead her and Ethan to the Iron Realm to talk to his sister Meghan, the queen of the Iron Fey, whom he had hadn't seen or spoken to since she left the family behind when he was just a kid to become the queen. He had to find her to let her know that outlaw fairies and half-fae were disappearing from the human realm and that he was being chased by some type of fairy that he had never seen before, and who were really, really bad news. 

I have to say that I absolutely loved this book and my first glimpse into Never Never, and after reading about the Iron Fey, along with all of the other interesting characters, I can't wait to find out more! Not only am I waiting impatiently for the next book in this series to come out, but I'm definitely going to get my hands on a copy of the books in the Iron Fey series so I can find out more about Meghan, Ash and Puck, and find out just what happened to Ethan when he was a young boy to make him hate the Fey as much as he does! This was a very exciting book with likable characters, lots of character growth, and a plot that moves along at a great pace and keeps you wanting more! :D

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Spare Change, by Bette Lee Crosby

Title: Spare Change
Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Format: ebook
Source: Copy from author for review

From Goodreads: "A Woman who is Superstitious to the Core…

A Boy who claims his Parents are Dead…

A Murderer who wants to Silence the Truth of What Happened.

Olivia Westerly knows what she knows—opals mean disaster, eleven is the unluckiest number on earth and children weigh a woman down like a pocketful of stones. That’s why she’s avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she’s a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson.

Spare Change is a quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about the important things in life, the madcap adventures of a young boy and a late change of heart that makes all the difference in an unusually independent woman. 

With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He was counting on the grandpa he’d never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to blazes because the grandpa’s dead too. He’s got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama’s will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him."

My Opinion: I absolutely devoured this book and can totally see myself re-reading it many times in the years to come because I fell in love with the characters! Bette Lee Crosby has quite a Southern voice in her writing, reminiscent of Fannie Flagg in Fried Green Tomatoes. Her characters are very honestly written, with both the good and bad aspects of human emotions being brought to life. 

The story is told from the POV of multiple characters, which can become confusing if not done well, and thankfully, Ms. Crosby does it VERY well! Each character has a very unique voice, so you always know who is speaking. The first half of the book sets up the two groups of characters, Olivia and Charlie Doyle and how they get together, as well as Ethan Allen Doyle, his mother and father, and their lives. This leads us to the halfway point of the book, when Olivia and Ethan Allen finally meet. Olivia is a wonderful character: 58 years old, very superstitious about the number 11, who never wanted to have children and had given up on even having a family until she met Charlie. Unfortunately, their happiness is short-lived, but their marriage completely changes her outlook on life. Enter 11-year old Ethan Allen, Charlie's grandson who he never actually met, following his own personal tragedy. Ethan Allen has witnessed a murder and is running for his life, and the only place he has to go is to Olivia (in Charlie's absence), who doesn't know what to do with him, or how to help him. Along the way, they help each other deal with their grief and heal.

This is an extremely well written and edited book with very likable characters who you grow to care about and root for.  Throw in a murder and the search for the killer - before he can find and silence Ethan Allen, the only witness - and you have one hell of a book! I highly recommend this for all lovers of great Southern fiction :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1), by Gena Showalter

Title: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Author: Gena Showalter
Format: hard cover, 404 pages
Source: Won in a giveaway

From Goodreads: "She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish."

My Opinion: OMG! OMG! OMG! This book was as awesome as they get! I just this minute finished it and I had to get on here and say OMG! And just in case I need to spell out how I feel about it, I LOVED it! I figured I would because I love Gena Showalter's books in general, but I literally read it every second I could because it was just THAT good! I started it yesterday at about noon, and I finished it today at about noon, which is pretty good for me!

Alice has led a totally sheltered life due to the fact that her dad sees monsters where no one else does, and to keep his family safe he keeps them pretty much on lock down 24/7. On Alice's 16th birthday she guilts her parents into taking her to her little sister Emma's ballet recital, which means being out after dark, and because of this she loses her entire family at once. She moves in with her Nana and Pops, changes her name to Ali, and vows to fight the evil that killed her family. Add to this the fact that she has to switch schools and ends up with a new best friend and a weird relationship with the hottest, baddest ass at the school, and her new life is off to a roaring start!

I loved the characters in this book. Ali is such an innocent at the beginning of the book, but when she decides to take her head out of her .... umm, I mean out of the sand, she isn't fooling around! And Kat is the best friend that all of us want to have: she's funny, snarky, full of herself in the best way, and totally loyal to a fault. Then there's Cole, the bad boy that we were all attracted to in high school, but who scared the heck out of us! Ali and Cole have a totally unique start, and that's all I'm going to say about that because I don't want to ruin any surprises for you! Suffice it to say, they are meant to be together, if they can just get out of their own way to get there!

Seeing as how this is one of Gena's books, I probably don't have to say that the pacing is perfect and the action is awesome, but I will! The main characters were great, but even better are the secondary characters! Each one has their own unique voice and there's tons of growth from start to finish. I think two of my favorites were Nana and Pops. When they take Ali in, they go out of their way to make her feel comfortable, going so far as learning the slang that all the kids use nowadays, usually with hilarious results! One of my favorite examples is when they're talking to Ali before she goes to a party at her new friend Reeve's house:

"Reeve." Pops pursed his lips. "That sounds like a made-up name to me. What exactly will be crackalackin at this party? Will her parents be there?"

Again with the horrible slang, the adorable man. "We'll swim, talk, probably play video games and Ping-Pong," I said, sidestepping the parents portion of his interrogation. I hadn't heard one way or the other, but I suspected a big fat no.

Pops gave me the evil eye. "You're not going to get chewed, are you?"

I...had no idea how to respond to that. "Chewed?"

"Don't pretend to misunderstand, young lady," Nana said. "Chewed. Cranked. Trashed."

"You mean drunk?" Please, let them mean drunk. This discussion had already taken too many horrendous turns.

They are SO cute!! Overall, I loved everything about this book and can't believe I have to wait until October 2013 to read Book 2 of The White Rabbit Chronicles, Through the Zombie Glass!! Here's to hoping the time flies by :D

How about you? Have you read it yet, and if so, what did you think of it? If not, are you planning to? 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Candlewax, by C. Bailey Sims

Title: Candlewax
Author: C. Bailey Sims
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "An Ancient Prophecy. A Powerful Relic. An Insatiable Evil. When all three converge, the fate of every living thing will be in peril. All her life Catherine had hoped to see a fairrier cat. No book, no scroll provided to her by her tutors had ever mentioned this legend, much to her frustration, and now-at the worst possible time-she was getting her wish. Only, in her wish the cat wasn't about to kill her. Fleeing an arranged marriage, sixteen-year-old Princess Catherine teams up with the legendary 732-year-old fairrier cat Spelopokos to stop the onslaught of omnivorous trodliks that have awakened, and a rejected suitor might just be the one warrior she desperately needs. A medieval fantasy novel of adventure, romance and horror for readers 12 and up, Candlewax won Connecticut's Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children's Literature, Young Adult category."

My Opinion: As a lover of high fantasy, I was intrigued when I saw this book listed on NetGalley, but I was a bit nervous going in because high fantasy can be really tough to get just right, and since this was an author I was not familiar with I didn't really know what to expect, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the story. The characters were well developed and the fantasy aspects of the book were unique and well written. I can't remember reading any books about farrier cats but the descriptions in this book were written so that I could easily picture what they looked like and how they behaved.

The story begins with Princess Catherine running away from home to escape an arranged marriage to the King of Candlewax. Catherine doesn't get far before she has an encounter with a farrier cat, Spelopokos, who informs her that she is the only one who can help him fulfill a prophecy, one that will save the lands of Lackanay. Spelopokos is the last of the farrier cats in Lackanay, and without them, the land will be overrun with creepy little creatures that eat anything that gets in their way, including crops, forests, and yes, people! To ensure this doesn't happen, Catherine and Spelopokos must cross the borders into a dangerous land and find more farrier cats to bring back with them. Along the way Catherine meets Bessie, who I absolutely loved because of her courage and never give up attitude. They also meet up with Cyril, the King of Candlewax, who, much to Catherine's delight, isn't the old man she was expecting him to be! Instead he's handsome and courageous, and promises her that he will help her fulfill the prophecy and save the land, and in doing so they will have the chance to get to know each other better before deciding whether they will end up betrothed or not. The thing I really liked about this book was that there was no instalove here, more like insta-annoy! Cyril and Catherine took their time getting to know each other and their attraction was able to grow naturally. There were also lots of bad guys to fight, with treachery and treason and back stabbing to keep things interesting!

The prose was a bit forced at times, but not enough to detract from the story. I have to mention the amazing world building in this book! You can tell that the author has a very active imagination, much to my delight! I was easily able to picture both the scenes and the people that Catherine and her friends came across, and this allowed me to enjoy the book even more.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit slow at first, but there was a lot of background needed to fully understand the story, and once that was done the pace picked up a lot. I liked the ending and since it appears to be a set up to a sequel (fingers crossed), I look forward to reading more about this land and its people :D

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chapter by Chapter is celebrating their blogoversary with weekly giveaways all through October!!

Congratulations to Chapter By Chapter!! They're celebrating their first year blogoversary with us, and they are quite generous if I must say! They are going to be having a giveaway every week in October, and I know for one that I'll be there to celebrate with them! This week their giveaway is for a mystery box of books, and since I've been following them for quite a while and know that they have excellent taste in books, I'm uber excited! If you want to enter the giveaway, as well as help them celebrate, just go here!! Good luck everyone :D

Monday, October 1, 2012

1000 Follower Giveaway at Sparkles and Lightning!!

I've been a follower of the Sparkles and Lightning blog for quite a while and I'm so happy I am, too, because they are having a very awesome 1000 follower giveaway right now! Big congrats to them for reaching this amazing milestone! How awesome is the giveaway I hear some of you asking? Well, they are giving ten winners (yes, you read that right, TEN winners) their choice of two books each from the Book Depository! Amazingly generous of them, right? Now you see why I've been following them for a while now! Just click on the button below and it will take you there so you can enjoy of their awesomeness as well :D So what are you waiting for? Click the button already!!

Review: The 13th Tribe (Immortal Files #1), by Robert Liparulo

Title: The 13th Tribe (Immortal Files #1)
Author: Robert Liparulo
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Immortals from the time of Moses roam the earth on a quest for justice . . . and heaven.

One man stands in their way.

In 1476 BC, the Israelites turned their backs on the One True God by worshipping a golden calf. For their transgression, forty were cursed to walk the earth forever. Banished from their people, they formed their own tribe, The 13th Tribe.

Now, three and a half millennia later, the remnant of this Tribe continues to seek redemption through vigilante justice-goaded by dark forces in the spiritual realm. They are planning a bold strike modeled on the Israelites' conquest of Canaan: the complete destruction of a major city-only now, they possess the horrific technology of modern weapons to ensure their success.

Jagger Baird is a husband and father…and security guard of an archaeological dig at the base of Mount Siani. Jagger suddenly finds himself in a fight for the future as he discovers the Tribe's plans. But towin this fight, he must overcome his own struggles with faith and self-worth - as well as his anger at God for a past tragedy.

This taut thriller by acclaimed novelist Robert Liparulo fuses tomorrow's technology with faith and non-stop action for a supernatural suspense novel unlike any other."

My Opinion: This book was a blend of a lot of the things that I love to read about: archaeology, fantasy, religion and thriller. The premise was awesome: How did God punish the people who were made to wander the desert and not enter the Promised Land after growing impatient with God when Moses went up the mountain to receive the ten commandments? Was that it, or was there more? What if he made them immortal so they could never enter heaven and be by his side? How would they react? What would they do? Robert Liparulo took this premise and ran with it!

Of the 40 immortals, only a handful remain together thousands of years later, and are known as The Tribe. They believe that after they have killed enough sinners, they will have earned the right to die and ascend to heaven. But therein lies the theological conundrum: The Bible clearly states in the New Testament that grace is freely given and freely received, and that you just have to accept it to be assured of your place in heaven. It goes on to say that you cannot earn your way through deeds, which is what The Tribe is trying to do. But what other choice do they have? Praying for forgiveness hasn't gotten them anywhere, so they believe this is the only other option for them. But what happens if that goes too far and the innocent start to suffer as well? Being a Christian, I absolutely loved all of the theological discussions in this book! For every question it posed, it gave a viewpoint for both sides of the argument, and only when you see both sides do you begin to understand it. 

I loved the characters in the book, too. Jagger, with his Robohand and his anger towards God after his best friend and his family were killed when they were hit by a drunk driver. Beth, whose trust in God never wavers, whose love and devotion to Jagger is the stuff that romances are made of. Tyler, their precocious son, who is teaching Jagger what it means to forgive God and find your way back into His grace. Owen, the doctor who they befriend after tragedy strikes, but who has a pretty big secret of his own. And then there's The Tribe, all of whom we get to know through the course of the book, who truly believe in what they are doing.  

This book has everything I mentioned before, and more! And don't even get me started on the awesome twist at the end of the book! I can definitely say that I will be reading the rest of the books in the Immortal Files series, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly to others who love a good theological discussion, with action, romance, danger, and yes, immortality all thrown in as well. :D

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Frost Moon (Skindancer #1), by Anthony Francis

Title: Frost Moon (Skindancer #1)
Author: Anthony Francis
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "In an alternate Atlanta where magic is practiced openly, where witches sip coffee at local cafes, shapeshifters party at urban clubs, vampires rule the southern night like gangsters, and mysterious creatures command dark caverns beneath the city, Dakota Frost's talents are coveted by all. She's the best magical tattooist in the southeast, a Skindancer, able to bring her amazing tats to life. When a serial killer begins stalking Atlanta's tattooed elite, the police and the Feds seek Dakota's help. Can she find the killer on the dark fringe of the city's Edgeworld? Among its powerful outcasts and tortured loners, what kind of enemies and allies will she attract? Will they see her as an invader, as a seducer, as an unexpected champion ... or as delicious prey?"

My Opinion: When I read the synopsis for this book, I just knew I had to read it! Magical tattoos? I'm there! What I got was so much more than I was expecting!

The MC, Dakota Frost, is bad ass, 6'2", not including the height her mohawk adds, and covered in tats - how could I not love her? She dresses to show off her "assets" and barges into danger without thinking twice if her friends need her help. She owns a tattoo parlor in the Little Five Points area of Atlanta and is best known for her "magical tattoos", tats that actually move, including butterflies that rise up off of your skin and fly around! I love it! She also hangs out with a very eclectic group: vampires, werewolves, magicians, and a blind witch (one of my favorite characters). She's called in by the cops to help find a serial killer who is removing the magical tats from people's skin while they're still alive. She's also helping the DEI (Department of Extraordinary Investigations), which includes a very special man in black. 

The world building is awesome in this book! When Dakota starts asking around and goes beneath the city to question the Edgeworlders who hang there, I could feel the menacing atmosphere. The pace was quick but not so quick that you didn't have time to get to know the secondary characters. One of my other favorites was a stray weretiger named Cinnamon who attached herself to Dakota! She was so cute and energetic, and she brought out the protective mama bear side of Dakota that seemed to round out her personality. 

All in all, I loved this book and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I highly recommend it to fans of paranormal/fantasy with awesome kick ass heroines:D

Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1), by Jennifer Estep

Title: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Format: ebook
Source: I bought it myself

From Goodreads: "My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died..."

My Opinion:  Have you ever bought a book that sounded SO good and that everyone was totally loving on but for some reason didn't get around to reading it right away, and then when you finally did you can't figure out why you waited so long because you absolutely LOVED it? (Does that make any sense?) Well that's what happened with Touch of Frost! I have no idea why I haven't read it before now because I've been really psyched about it since I read the first promo for it - mythology, magic, and monsters? I was hooked from the beginning, but I kept getting books I had to read for review and as I'm sure you reviewers out there know, the books you want to read just for you can get pushed to the back of the bus. I finally just made myself take the time to read it and you know what? It only took me a day and a half because I couldn't put it down!! I loved it, loved it, loved it! Jennifer Estep is a goddess herself to me because of her ability to write in such a way that you fly through the book without realizing that you've totally lost a day or so in your life, and you don't mind at all because the book was totally worth it!

Gwen Frost loses her mother and her normal life at the same time. Her mother is killed by a drunk driver and she is taken out of her routine and plopped down in Mythos Academy, a place where the students and teachers actually believe that the gods and goddesses in the myths are real, and that the God of Chaos, Loki, is trying to escape from his prison to wreak havoc on the world that we live in. Nuts, no? Sure, Gwen has a gift, but it's a Gypsy gift, psychometry, which Gwen describes as the ability to touch an object and immediately know, see and feel its history, but in a school that is filled with Spartans, Valkyries and Amazons, she doesn't really stand out at all. Nor does she fit in at all. She has no friends because all the other students are rich, beautiful, powerful and pretty much full of themselves. They've also been trained to be warriors their whole lives, and Gwen can't figure out what the heck she's even doing there. No one will give her any answers either, they just keep telling her it will become clear in time. Extremely frustrating for a teenager!

One of my favorite things about this book is the world building. I've always loved mythology and reading about the gods and goddesses and such, and Jennifer Estep puts such a fun twist on it all. She really brings it to life for you, the reader, so much so that I really, really want to go to school there myself! The characters, other than Gwen, start out kind of two dimensional but are quickly fleshed out and come into their own personalities. There is definite character growth through the course of the book, especially with regard to Gwen, but some of the secondary characters really change a lot too. The pacing is excellent and the book is very easy to read. As noted above, I finished it in a day and a half, and with a hyperactive 6 year old at home who wants all of my attention, that's really saying something! I was constantly trying to find things for him to do just so I could pick up the book and read a few more pages! That hasn't happened to me with a book in a while, and I've really missed it! That NEED to read a book, because you've been so drawn into the story that you HAVE to find out what is going to happen next! I already have a copy of book 2 on my shelf waiting for me, and I'm going to start it as soon as I finish typing this - and spending some time with my poor, neglected son of course:)

I give this book a very enthusiastic 5 stars and since I've heard that book 2 is even better than book 1, I can't wait to get reading! I highly recommend this to all fans of YA fantasy, especially mythology related fantasy :D

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1), by Anne Greenwood Brown

Title: Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)
Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "The lore of mermaids and mermen is real! As Gretchen McNeil, author of Possess, says, "Riveting! A cold-blooded tale of secrets, revenge, and forbidden love that will leave you terrified to go in the water."

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually, they select their victims at random, but this time around, the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother's death.

It's going to take a concerted effort to lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the water. Calder's job is to gain Hancock's trust by getting close to his family. Relying on his irresistible good looks and charm, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter Lily. Easy enough, but Calder screws everything up by falling in love--just as Lily starts to suspect there's more to the monster-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined, and just as the mermaids threaten to take matters into their own hands, forcing Calder to choose between them and the girl he loves.

One thing's for sure: whatever Calder decides, the outcome won't be pretty."

My Opinion: Awesome! That's really all I can say about this book - Awesome! Unfortunately, that's not really enough words to write a review so I'll try to expand on that a little bit. First off, I LOVE stories about mermaids! Most of them are about nice, friendly, beautiful mermaids who go out of their way to help humans, but this one sets itself apart from the others from the get go. As Calder (the male narrator, which I also loved) explains it, "She seriously did not get this at all. She obviously had some Disney version of mermaids in her head. I wondered how she'd respond when I told her the truth. That we were murderers, monsters, fiends. That I'd lured her out here to kill her. That I was doing everything within my power to fight against nature."

Merpeople can't produce their own emotions apparently, so to prevent them from going into a deep depression, they "steal" the good emotions from humans, killing them in the process so they can "wring out" every last drop of happiness! I really love that the author took a much darker look at merpeople and made them predators. It really worked for this story and I was hooked almost from the beginning. 

I have to admit that Calder and his three sisters, Maris, Pavati and Tallulah, weren't really likable at the start of the book, but that made Calder's transformation and growth stand out even more. There was definite character development there! I also thought the pacing was great, and there were just the right number of action scenes vs. emotional ones. 

In summary, I really enjoyed this book and find it very hard to believe that this is a debut novel, but it is! I will definitely be reading more from Anne Greenwood Brown in the future, and can't wait to read Lies Beneath #2 to find out what happens with Lily and Calder :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Pure (Pure #1), by Julianna Baggott

Title: Pure (Pure #1)
Author: Julianna Baggott
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again."

My Opinion: Wow! That's my impression in a nutshell! This novel was so much more than I expected it to be! The world was a very dark and scary place to even imagine - easily the scariest dystopian world I've read of to date. I think it was mostly because of the people who were left after the detonations that scarred the world in Pure. People weren't just scarred from the heat or the radiation following the detonation of the bombs. They were actually fused to whatever had been near them at that moment in time - a dolls head fused to a girl's fist, a boy who had live birds fused to his back, which still lived for years after that and fluttered under his shirt, or a man who was near a fan and fused to it, causing him to breathe in and out through the fan that fused into his neck. The author went to some very ugly places to write this, but there were also moments of beauty and compassion to bring you back from the brink when you felt that you couldn't read any more about this desolate place.

Now compare that world to the world in the Dome - the people who live in the Dome were safe when the bombs went off, but that doesn't mean their lives are perfect now. The kids are being genetically modified to  be faster and stronger than normal teens, and only the strongest and fittest are allowed to survive.

Into these two worlds Pressia and Partridge are born - Pressia to the darkness of the real world, and Partridge to the Dome. You may wonder how they could possibly meet since no one is ever allowed to enter or leave the Dome, but when Partridge finds out that his mother may not have died like he's always thought, and may in fact be alive in the world outside of the Dome, he finds a way to do just that, and during his travels he crosses paths with Pressia.

I thought this book was very well written - the plot was strong and the characters were amazing, but the best thing about the book was the world building. I can't even begin to imagine how Julianna Baggott thought this up, but my hat is off to her! I highly recommend this book to all lovers of dark dystopians, and I can't wait to read the next installment!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles #2), by Kady Cross

Title: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles #2)
Author: Kady Cross
Format: eGalley
Source: I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion

From Goodreads: "In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. 

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. 

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens."

My Opinion: When I read The Girl in the Steel Corset I loved it so much I was a bit nervous about reading The Girl in the Clockwork Collar because the second book in a series is rarely as good as the first book. I am very, very happy to say that I was wrong to be nervous!! I absolutely LOVED this book! I was also a bit nervous about changing the setting from England to the US as I was afraid this move might change the group's dynamics, but again ... totally wrong! It worked wonderfully!

Finley is finally combining both sides of her personality and is learning how to control her more aggressive side, which was really nice to see and very well done. All of the characters stayed true to themselves, even though they were in a very strange location for them. In England Griffin was a  big deal because of his title and could do pretty much anything he wanted and get away with it, but in the US, especially during that time period, things were completely different, so the group has to be extra sneaky to get away with anything, which was a lot of fun  for me as the reader! We got to know Jasper Renn better, which was a definite plus, and all of the characters had their own moments to shine, just as they did in The Girl in the Steel Corset. 

In summary, I completely and totally loved this installment in the Steampunk Chronicles, which is fast becoming one of my favorite series, and I will be waiting anxiously for the next book to come out! Hurry Kady! I'm on the edge of my seat here! I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all fans of steampunk:D

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: A Touch of Crimson (Renegade Angels #1), by Sylvia Day

Title: A Touch of Crimson (Renegade Angels #1)
Author: Sylvia Day
Format: eGalley
Source: I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion

From Goodreads: "Adrian Mitchell is a powerful angel leading an elite Special Ops unit of Seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen-angels who have become vampires-and command a restless pack of indentured lycans. But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals- losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her-Shadoe-her soul once more inhabiting a new body, with no memory of him. And this time, he won't let her go."

My Opinion:  I wasn't sure what to expect with this book since I hadn't read any of Sylvia's work before, but I had heard good things about her so my expectations were high. I'm happy to say that she didn't disappoint! I found A Touch of Crimson to be very easy to read, with good characters who were easy to like  for the most part. There was a lot going on in this book, and thus a lot to remember while you were reading it, and I felt that the Glossary at the beginning of the book was a big help. You have the angels, including the Sentinels and their subgroups, the vampires, and the lycans (not to be confused with werewolves - they're more like shape shifters who change into wolves), among others. Each group is explained in detail - how they were made, what their job is, etc., so it didn't get too confusing while reading it. I did find that I had to go back and double check the glossary for a while, but it didn't take too long before I could figure it out without help. I thought the relationships and interactions between the groups were very interesting, and added a lot to the story.

I enjoyed the pairing of Adrian and Lindsay, especially when you consider their whole back story (Adrian is the head honcho angel in charge of policing the Fallen angels, and is supposed to be above reproach, but he was seduced by the head vampire's daughter, Shadoe, a long, long time ago, and is now facing the possibility of being turned into one of the Fallen himself, and Lindsay is the reincarnated soul of Shadoe, who feels inexplicably drawn to Adrian but doesn't know why). The only problem that I had with the story was the fact that Adrian is totally consumed with thoughts of sex and even though he knows it could lead to an eternity of suffering and the very real possibility that he would lose his soul, I didn't feel that he really wrestled with himself as much as I would have expected him to. I realize that he's had thousands of years and many reincarnations of Shadoe to come to terms with it, but something just didn't  gel for me there. I was glad that Lindsay really tried to be the moral compass with regards to Adrian's soul, though. I also liked that Lindsay's reincarnation of Shadoe was different from all of her previous incarnations, and that that threw Adrian for a loop! 

One other area I had trouble with was all of the major cursing that the angels, especially Adrian, did! I mean, come on! They're angels for Pete's sake! You'd think they would be worried about getting struck by a lightning bolt or something the way they talked! Sailors on shore leave have nothing on these guys!

Other than those two small things, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. One of my favorite characters in this book was Elijah, the alpha lycan, and I hear that the next book is going to be his, so I'm definitely looking forward to that! I had read that nobody does a sex scene like Sylvia Day and I can tell you that that is 100% true! Steamy doesn't even begin to describe it! I give this book an enthusiastic 4 stars :D

Review: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1), by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Format: eGalley
Source: I received a copy free of charge from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion

From Goodreads: "In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. 

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for."

My Opinion:  When I got approved by NetGalley to read and review The Immortal Rules, I think it's the first time I actually cheered out loud to get an ARC of a book! I even did my own version of a happy dance, which luckily only my dog saw since I tend to look a bit spastic when I'm dancing all by myself! I haven't read Julie's Iron Fey series yet,  but I'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard how awesome it is, and I couldn't believe I was getting the chance to read The Immortal Rules because I LOVE vampire stories! Then I got worried because maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself to like the story, and maybe it wouldn't be able to live up to the hype - but I shouldn't have been worried, because it was everything I had hoped it would be ... and MORE! I loved it! I actually read it about a month ago but life got in the way (it has a way of doing that, doesn't it?) and I wasn't able to write the review until now. I have a bit of a review list going on, but as soon as I got word I'd been approved to read it, I jumped on it and started reading it right away - and I didn't put it down until I was finished! Yes, it was that good! You know how sometimes when you're reading books for review, you keep checking to see what page you're on because no matter how much you're enjoying it, you're trying to get through each book as quickly as you so you can mark it as read and move on to the next one? Well, I definitely kept checking to see what page I was on, but not because I wanted to get it finished quicker - it's because I kept hoping that I wasn't very far in because I didn't want it to end! I even tried to read slower so it would last longer, but the writing was so well done that I couldn't read it slowly if I wanted to! The characters were well developed, and there was definite character growth from start to finish, the pacing was excellent, and there was just the right amount of action and emotion. I felt like I was invested in the story from the get go, and I really cared about the characters.

One thing that I really loved about this book was the fact that not only is it a vampire story, but it has a dystopian/post-apoc setting as well. A virus has swept through the human world, wiping out a fair number of them, which allows the vampires to come out of hiding and take over. Humans now have to register to donate blood regularly, and they work for the vamps. Some humans try to stay off of the grid and live in hiding, including Allison Sekemoto, who harbors a strong hatred of vampires after watching her mother die and blaming the vampires for it. Unfortunately, one night she's out after dark and is attacked by a band of rabid vamps. Another vampire finds her and offers her the choice: die there and then, or be turned into one of the things she hates most in the world. Her survival instinct kicks in and she opts to be saved, even though being a vampire goes against everything she believes in. The vampire who saved her, his name is Kanin, is a loner who agrees to teach her what she needs to know to survive. In time she finds out that there's a lot more to Kanin than meets the eye! Allie sets out to learn what it means to be a vampire and what her place is in the world now, and she ends upon a quest that will take her far from her home and way outside her comfort zone!

I can't say enough how much I loved this book! After reading it I've decided that I'm definitely going to read Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, and I will be waiting impatiently for the next installment in the Blood of Eden series, which can't come soon enough for me :D

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review: Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes, by Jonathan Auxier

Title: Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes
Author: Jonathan Auxier
Format: eGalley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves. As you can well imagine, blind children have incredible senses of smell, and they can tell what lies behind a locked door- be it fine cloth, gold, or peanut brittle- at fifty paces. Moreover, their fingers are so small and nimble that they can slip right through keyholes, and their ears so keen that they can hear the faint clicks and clacks of every moving part inside even the most complicated lock. Of course, the age of great thievery has long since passed;today there are few child-thieves left, blind or otherwise. At one time, however, the world was simply thick with them. This is the story of the greatest thief who ever lived. His name, as you've probably guessed, is Peter Nimble."

My Opinion:  I absolutely LOVED this book! Yes, it is an MG book, and yes, I am an adult, but I enjoyed every minute of this book and couldn't put it down! I'm so excited for my sons to read it because it has everything they could want in a book: action, adventure, heroes and villains, fighting and thieving!! What boy wouldn't want to dive into it! 

Peter Nimble has had a very difficult life. He is found abandoned as an infant, with his eyes having been pecked out by the crows who are found with him. He scrounges out a life as best he can, until he is taken in by a cruel man who teaches him to be the best thief in the world so he can steal for him in exchange for the meager food and board he provides. All that changes when Peter steals a box with three pairs of eggs in it - and magically, each pair of eggs has a pair of eyes in it. When Peter puts in the first pair of eyes he is transported to an island where a kind man takes him in and explains that these eyes are meant only for Peter, to help him on a quest to save a damsel in distress. Peter sets off on the adventure of a lifetime, where he finds his destiny. 

This was such a fantastic, magical book, and I definitely recommend it to all fans of fantasy and adventure, who love a good underdog to root for :D

Why I've been absent lately ...

I realized that I haven't been posting for a while now and I thought I would take this opportunity to share the reasons for this with you. I was really sick with a very nasty bug for a few weeks that knocked me off my feet, so much so that for the first time in a very long time I didn't even feel like reading, let alone reviewing! I was just so tired all the time and felt so crappy that I couldn't concentrate on anything for very long, which makes reading kind of difficult. Thankfully, I finally started feeling better, but then something awful happened to my oldest son's girlfriend. My son is 26 years old and is dating a girl who was working in Dubai for about 3 months. She was about 2 weeks from coming back home when she went out with some friends of hers to a bar they had frequented many times in Dubai and where they had never had any problems. Unfortunately, on that night, she was walking to the bathroom alone when a young lady who worked at the bar asked her if she could help her with something in another room, and since Angel had seen her there on a couple of occasions before, she didn't see anything wrong with this. When she went into the other room, she was grabbed from behind by a man and dragged out the back door. This man had 2 friends with him, and they all pushed her in a car and drove her to a nearby beach, where they brutally beat and raped her. When her friends realized she was missing, they drove around for hours looking for her, and finally found her laying on the beach, beaten, bruised and bleeding, with her clothes torn from her. They took her to the hospital, thank God, and she was examined and treated there. They determined that all 3 men had raped her, probably repeatedly, over the 6 hours she was gone. Luckily they were able to obtain semen from all 3, and we are all praying that they will be able to find these monsters and put them away since they have their DNA. Angel was kept in the hospital for about a week and a half, treated with antibiotics, pain meds, and medication to help her sleep since she was having awful dreams and would wake up screaming and fighting anyone who came into her room to help her, and was finally released to come  home yesterday. This has been an awful time for my son because he wasn't able to be with her, and we did a lot of praying for both him and Angel. Needless to say, it has been an awful four weeks and I haven't even thought about reading or reviewing. I'm going to try to catch up over the next week or so, but I'm sure it's going to be slow going since I have so much on my mind right now. I also got served divorce papers, finally, and can look forward to a lovely court case starting next month. Ain't life grand? When it rains, it definitely pours! They say God doesn't give you more than you can handle, but sometimes I wonder! Prayer has gotten us through this far, and I'm sure it will get us through anything else life throws at us, and I would ask that anyone reading this who believes in prayer would say a short one for Angel, to help her get through this as best as she can. Thank you for taking the time to read this :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: This is Not a Test, by Courtney Summers

Title: This is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads: "It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?"

My opinion: Before I read This is Not a Test, I had heard good things about Courtney Summers' books, but I had not yet had the pleasure of reading them. Therefore, I was really excited to get the chance to read this one because I am a huge fan of zombie books and I figured this would be a great introduction to Courtney's work for me. I can honestly say that I was not disappointed! This is Not a Test is really so much more than just a zombie book. It deals more with the emotional aspects of the six kids trapped in the high school - how they got there, the toll that it has taken on them physically AND psychologically up to that point, and what they have had to do to survive. Our main character, Sloane Price, has already had a tough life, dealing with abuse and abandonment issues after first her mother and then her sister left her. She has already decided that she doesn't want to live through this horror any longer, she just has to decide how and when to die, while keeping her fragile emotional state from the other kids in the school. Be prepared when you read this book for the emotional toll it will take on YOU! What these teens go through is heart wrenching and, although it sounds a little far fetched given that we are dealing with zombies and the end of the world as we know it, it feels so real! That is the true mark of a good author - one who can take an idea that is so far from reality and make you feel the emotions of the characters as though you are going through it all yourself - and Courtney Summers has that in spades! Her writing style is terrific as she makes her characters come to life for you. The characters, even the secondary ones, are very well written and there is marked character growth from beginning to end.

In summary, I totally enjoyed this book as it was different from other zombie novels I've read, but amazingly good! If you love a good emotional story that happens to be set during a zombie apocalypse, then I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you :D

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cover Reveal for To Ride a Puca by Heather McCorkle!!!!

How gorgeous is this cover!! I'm madly in love with it myself! Here's the book summary from Goodreads:

Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again. 

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone. 

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

Sounds great, doesn't it?!! I can't WAIT to read it!! If you want to see what all the commotion is about, head over to Goodreads and see for yourself :D

Friday, March 30, 2012

ARC Giveaway : Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, on Pages From My Thoughts

Pages From My Thoughts is having an awesome international giveaway for a signed ARC of Enchanted!!

Here are the details as listed on the blog:

Giveaway Open: Internationally
Date of Enter: 29/03/2012 to 14/04/2012
Winner Announcement: 15/04/2012 on Announcement section. Winner will be notified within 48 hours by email.
Copy Available: One
Format: ARC Paperback
Note: The book will be directly sent to you by the author.

So head on over there and check it out!! Just go HERE to enter :D

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Sacrilege (Giordano Bruno #3), by S.J. Parris

Title: Sacrilege: Giordano Bruno #3
Author: S.J. Parris
Format: Print copy, bound manuscript
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

From Goodreads: "A gripping historical thriller set in sixteenth-century England and centered on the highly secretive cult of Saint Thomas Becket, the twelfth-century archbishop murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.
London, summer of 1584: Radical philosopher, ex-monk, and spy Giordano Bruno suspects he is being followed by an old enemy. He is shocked to discover that his pursuer is in fact Sophia Underhill, a young woman with whom he was once in love. When Bruno learns that Sophia has been accused of murdering her husband, a prominent magistrate in Canterbury, he agrees to do anything he can to help clear her name.
In the city that was once England's greatest center of pilgrimage, Bruno begins to uncover unsuspected secrets that point to the dead man being part of a larger and more dangerous plot in the making. He must turn his detective's eye on history—on Saint Thomas Becket, the twelfth-century archbishop murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, and on the legend surrounding the disappearance of his body—in order to solve the crime.
As Bruno's feelings for Sophia grow more intense, so does his fear that another murder is about to take place—perhaps his own. But more than Bruno's life is at stake in this vividly rendered, impeccably researched, and addictively page-turning whodunit—the stability of the kingdom hangs in the balance as Bruno hunts down a brutal murderer in the shadows of England's most ancient cathedral."

My opinion: I was asked to read this by the publisher who knew that I hadn't read the first two books in the series, Heresy and Prophecy, as it can be read as a standalone. I loved this book SO much, though, that I'm going to get my hands on a copy of the first two books as soon as possible so I can devour them the way I devoured Sacrilege! I LOVED it! I do enjoy historical fiction, but this went beyond your regular historical fiction - it had one heck of a mystery in it, too! Bruno is contacted by a woman from his past, Sophia, who is on the run after being accused of murdering her husband, a cold, cruel man. She insists she is being set up, so Bruno, who happens to have feelings for Sophia, agrees to go to Canterbury to investigate. As he works for the French embassy to the court of Elizabeth, queen of England, he also volunteers to investigate possible missing funds from the Church of Canterbury. Little does Bruno know, he's going to become involved in so, so much more! He's embarking on a journey that takes many twists and turns before reaching its final destination, including a massive twist at the end of the book that totally took me by surprise! I was delighted that I didn't see it coming because it made it just that much better!

I loved the characters in this book, even the ones you love to hate. Every one of them is well fleshed out and carries the plot along to its conclusion. Bruno has a knack for getting himself in trouble, even when he's trying to avoid it. Part of the fun is collecting the pieces of the puzzle along with Bruno as you try to solve the mystery yourself! The plot is tight and, although filled with historical facts, I found it to be an easy read. 

Notable quote: "I laid a hand over his and a silent tear trickled down his hollow cheek. His words reminded me of Helene's, and I felt suddenly overwhelmed by the weight of their grief and bewilderment; all over our bloody continent, Catholics and Protestants alike went on dying at one another's hands, all looking up to heaven and crying out to their God, whose side are You on? While their God remains deaf and says nothing, because on both sides they have failed to understand who or what He is, as they spill more blood in His name."

I can't get across how much I loved this book and can't WAIT to read the other two books in the series, as well as any other books S.J. Parris has written or will write! :D