Feature & Follow Friday {3}

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. The two blogs they are featuring this week: Books Are Vital & Once Upon A Time.

Q: When you’ve read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)

I'm mainly an e-reader so there's nothing to do with it except keep it on my Kindle. I have back ups of every book just in case I do delete it off my kindle. I buy very few actual books these days and if I do, it is something that can not be purchased on Kindle like a bonus pack or a guide that doesn't show up well on e-ink screens so those are collectibles in which I would keep.

The books I do have, I keep, even though I may never read them again. Some I keep for sentimental reasons and all I keep for the reason of me liking to collect books :0) I would love to have a huge collection of nothing but beautiful hard covers one day... to go along with a huge library in my future house lol.

Review: Existence by Abbi Glines

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Existence by Abby Glines
Genre: YA

What happens when you are stalked by Death? You fall in love with him of course. Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, instead, she falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore, has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, they left her alone. Until she steps out of her car on the first day of school and sees an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead. Not only does he not go away, when she ignores him he does something none of the others have ever done; he speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What Pagan doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul. He is Death and he is about to break all the rules.
Does the synopsis just not captivate you? And what of the cover?! Otherwise, that's about all there is to the book that I absolutely adored. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the hype or my expectations.

It's one of those "insta-love" situations which just doesn't do it for me. Call me a masochist, but I'd rather deal with a "frenemy" or love/hate situation. I really love the whole basis of the story (and the cover, let's not forget the cover), but it was paced too quickly. The events that happened in this book could've easily been split into 2 or 3 books. No where is it mentioned that it's going to be a series, but it is.

I just finished reading Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens (which I loved and will review soon) and that was a 500+ page book. When I was reading, I kept thinking that it was a little drawn out, but it was so thorough. It was drawn out because the MC in that book couldn't make a decision which I could understand. However, this book was just mind-boggling because it was so short. You didn't even really get a chance to fall in love with the characters because ...there was no time to!

And let's get to the whole series deal. Yeah, I thought it was a stand-alone, not part of a series. But the ending had a cliff-hanger. Reminiscent of Mara Dyer where you do a double-take and go, "Say what?" and then the book ends. In this case, you're just like, "Huh. Really?" That's it. I've mentioned it many times and I know you can all understand that I do have a love for books. That's why you're here - you love books and this is a book blog. So, even though this book wasn't up to the hype, I will still be reading whatever book comes next. I'll read it because I'm curious and I hope it does get better. I'm just disappointed in this book and that makes me sad because I had such high hopes.

This is one of those don't judge a book by its cover situations that bit me in the butt because I thought that this book would be great... the cover and synopsis drew me in. It just didn't live up to my expectations...

Waiting on Wednesday {4}

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by breaking the spine where everyone mentions a book they are anxiously looking forward too...

Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
Series: Mythos Academy #3
Publication Date: May 29th 2012

No synopsis provided yet...

Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout
Series: Lux #2
Publication Date: May 2012

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies...

Boo on those synopsis being so wonderfully boring >_< Otherwise, yes, I am awaiting two books by two different Jennifer's. I was tempted to put Pure on the list, also by Armentrout, but I like the Lux series better than the Covenant series. I'm reading more and more YA these days because of the people I'm following online are mostly YA readers, lol.

*Sighs* May is so far away though, but it'll be bittersweet for me because that's my son's birthday month as well. I want my books, but not at the expense of my baby getting older :0(

So, anyone else drooling for some Daimon? Or Logan? So many good books are coming out in 2012. Looks like it'll be an even better year than 2011 in new releases :0) What are you waiting on?! I want to know in case I've overlooked it... I need to know my TBR list is set for 2012.

Review: Covenant Series by Jennifer Armentrout

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daimon by Jennifer Armentrout
Genre: YA
Series: Convenant #.05

For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals—pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she'd been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she's pretty much accepted that she's a freak by mortal standards... and that she'll never be prepared for that duty.

According to her mother, that’s a good thing.

But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return—the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she's being hunted by the very creatures she'd once trained to kill.

The daimons have found her.

Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout
Genre: YA
Series: Convenant #1

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

Jennifer Armentrout is a new YA author that everyone needs to check out. She has these two books out, plus another from a different series that are nice, awesome reads. I will be doing a review on the other book, Obsidian from the Lux series, soon. I just finished it earlier today; if I had to choose between the two series, I like the Lux series more.

This series is a bit reminiscent of the Vampire Academy series, but, of course, it's set up a little bit differently in a different world. It's about aether sucking daimons vs. the blood sucking Strigoi. She's the dhampir in the book basically, a half-blood which is the bottom half/slaves to the Moroi or in this case, pure-bloods. The half-blood/pure-blood is referencing how close they are to the Gods who gave them their powers. I recently read Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep and that is of the same story line, but with Greek mythology instead. They are all enjoying reads and are distinct enough that it shouldn't bother you or make you feel like you've read it already. It's not badly written and it wasn't until I was finished with the book that I drew that conclusion. While I was reading it, I wasn't immediately conscious that it's so VA-like. I just read it, immersed myself in the story, and then when I read reviews about it, I was conscious of the similiarities.

Naturally, Alex has fallen for a pure-blood, and she being a half-blood, it's forbidden between the two of them. She goes through training to become a Sentinel (or Guardian in VA), comes across daily obstacles, and tries to not test the boundaries of forbidden love. At the end of the book, she faces a very strong, important daimon and she has to fight her... it's all slightly familiar, right?

The story is enjoyable still and the world is built differently from VA. I enjoyed it and I'm a huge VA fan so for me to enjoy something that resembles the same story line, I think it's a nice feat for the book. If you're a fan of VA - totally loved the strong female character, forbidden love story, and hard obstacles - try the book. It's like reading VA all over again, except you have a different world to immerse yourself in and a new Dmitri, which is Aiden in this book :0)

If you have read it, did you notice the similarities right away? Did it bother you or did you still enjoy the book? I'm a lover of books and I rarely find/read a book I don't enjoy at least enough to give it 3 stars. There are some 2 star books in my GR shelves and I think there's only one 1 star book out of 882 books 0_o. So yeah, my reviews are always biased on a book-lover's opinion, lol.

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare 
Genre: YA 
Series: The Infernal Devices #2

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Wow. That is all I can say about this book. At first, I did not want to read it because I was scared of it ending with a big cliffhanger & then making me wait a year for book #3. I read the first book a long time ago and I barely remember that! I figured maybe I can wait until it gets closer to release date of book #3 so I'll be happier, but I couldn't wait. I kept reading reviews about it so I gave in.

The book started out a bit slow because I was still trying to remember everything from the first book. You do become more and more fascinated about Tessa as the story unfolds. And Will, oh Will, he's as lovely as ever. I'm Team Will if you didn't know. I adore Jem, but Will has my heart. It's obvious this is a love triangle story.

Throughout the story, they're trying to figure more about Mortmain and they run into all these new facts and obstacles. While all that is happening, the friendship between Jem and Tessa blooms, but I do think that's only because he's her rebound. Will rejected her, she needs a shoulder, and Jem's "the nice guy". He ends up falling for her, Will's always been in love with her, but he can't commit. So yeah... ball-busting situation. Who does she end up with?! Who does she choose?! This is determined at the end of the book., but I can't help thinking that it's not really the end. After all, it's just book #2. We still have another whole book to get through so she could still change her mind for some reason. Things can happen, people can die/live/redeem themselves. Who knows?!

{Warning: Spoiler}
I accidentally read a "small" spoiler when I was about 70% done and I was a bit angry and heartbroken because I knew how it would end. I kept wishing it would end one way, but I knew it wouldn't because, again, she needs it to end a certain way in this book so more drama can unfold in book #3.

Ooh, talk about teen angst and love drama. Tessa is a mature, likeable character though so it's not eye-rolling inducing teen angst drama, but rather a lovely book that you can enjoy. I do like this a bit more than the Mortal Instrument series. You can really see how this comes before that series. Everything is unfolding pretty nicely. This book, towards the end, really got my blood flowing. Ack.

Anyways, if you're interested in getting this, dying for it, or just plain curious - get the damn book :0) Cassandra Clare is a great author and writer. She is popular for a reason - no pretentious hype there. So, get the book, devour it, and tell me what you think! Agree with me or are you Team Jem?! (I do adore Jem. Hell, he's half Chinese; I love Asians! I'm a bit biased about Asians, LOL, but whatever. I do adore him. I just love Will.)

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Angelfall by Susan Ee
Genre: Dystopian, PNR
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

This is one of my top favorite angel books besides the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, though that is more adult and UF. Not only does this involve angels, but a dystopian world as well. I have a thing for both dystopians and angels so win-win situation here. It has a beautiful cover too, does it not?

The book captivates you right from the beginning. In fact, you can read the first 5 chapters here. Uh, yes, you read right: FIVE whole chapters. FREE. Once you're done reading the first five, you will quickly realize that you need to buy the book.

I hate when you read a book and you think, "Uh, hasn't this been done before?" Not the case in this book. There will always be similarities between books that have the same genre and characters (such as werewolves, angels, vampires, etc.) Sometimes it's just a nice similarity that happens and it makes you think of other books and sometimes it's glaringly obvious where the author has gotten their inspiration. This is just refreshingly original. There are good and bad angels, but the good angels are mostly absent. The world is deteriorating not because of demons or by (what I think would be at fault one day) humans. Instead, the world is in chaos by the wrath of angels. They brought the apocalypse with them because God told them to or because it was time, which ever. Either way, humans are now living in fear of angels.

Penryn is such a strong character. She has to be, not because of her current situation in a dystopian world, but because of the problem with her mother. The mother's character is so vital in this story. Sometimes when someone gets into a life-or-death situation, they luck their way out. It's been done so many times though. Penryn actually knows how to fight and the reason why she knows how is sad, but believable, and it really works in this story. It makes the story believable and ultimately better because you can tell she is a survivor.

I would definitely recommend this story. I read a lot of books and I like 99% of the books I read. I don't know why, I just do. Either I have good taste in picking out books or I'm just not a picky reader. *Shrugs* I am picky about giving out 5 stars on GR. I reserve those for those really special books. I don't want my shelves on GR to be over-flowing with 5 star books - most of which, I can't even remember the story off the top of my head. The 5 stars are the best of the best that I will want to re-read when I have time, that I'll definitely buy hardcover copies of, and I can remember most of the story off the top of my head because it's that memorable out of all the books I've read. I struggled a bit with the rating of this book and in the end, it got 5 stars from me :0) That should tell you to run out and get this book. It's not available in print yet, but it will be soon. For now, it is available as an e-book.

I can't wait until the 2nd book. Eep!

Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams
Genre: UF
Series: McKenzie Lewis #1

There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war

When I first picked up this book, I didn't expect it to be that good. I didn't have low expectations for it; I just thought it would be a good read and that's it, but it surpassed my expectations. I have not read anything from this author before. I believe this is her debut novel so there wasn't any previous works to draw on. There was no hype around this novel that I know of. I believe someone mentioned in on GR so I checked the synopsis and decided to give it a try since I like reading about the Fae. The synopsis didn't totally grab me 100%, but like I said, I wanted to give it a try. I'm glad I did.

There is a love triangle situation in this book. I love those; I don't know why, but I do. She's in love with one guy most of her life, but they can't be together and she's content with that. Then she gets kidnapped by someone else who's willing to love her even if it is forbidden. Only then does she realize how much she sacrificed for her first love and how he doesn't love her because if he did, wouldn't he drop anything and everything to be with her even if it is forbidden? Is that not what true love requires of you? Then she can't love the second guy because he kidnapped her, he's the supposed "bad guy" and he's challenging everything she's ever been taught about their world (for she's a regular mortal, not a Fae. She just works for them) and it's a bit too much Stockholm syndrome. What does she really know about the world she's been thrown in? Should she trust the one who's kept her safe, but in the dark, for years or someone who's willing to open her eye, love her for who she is, as well as keep her safe from now on? See how interesting it sounds?!

Ooh, I just loved this book. It's a great read and I highly recommend it!

Waiting on Wednesday {3}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by breaking the spine where everyone mentions a book they are anxiously awaiting on...

 Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Series: The Broken Empire #2
Publication Date: August 7th 2012

The Broken Empire burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings battle for the all-throne. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them.

A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg's gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.

I'm actually really into this series. It's dark fantasy; really gory and well, dark. Sort of along the lines of Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle, but of course, very different from each other. I'm not comparing the two, just saying that they are both very dark fantasy books that aren't YA. You may think it's mature YA or along those lines, but no, very dark so be aware of that. But I enjoy the story and the character, Jorg, love to love him though he's so young. He's 14, but in his world he's a man (and he's 6' tall...wth do they eat?!) Only 8 Long freaking months to go.

Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #6
Publication Date: August 7th 2012

Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans.

Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed. No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on

I love my Ethan! If you read Drink Deep, the previous book, you know what happened towards the end. Why isn't that mentioned at all in the blurb? WTH? What kind of "description" is that? I want to know what happens! Is it real, is it for good?
{Warning: Spoiler}
Do they have great make-up sex? What?! Well, I guess it would be less make-up, more catch-up. I want to live vicariously through Merit, damn it.
Anyways, I get that they probably don't want to give too much away especially for those who aren't caught up with the series or whatever. But what about us faithful readers? I don't want to wait 8 whole months to find out. Boo. Bet your ass, I'll be waiting for the midnight release of this :0)

Let me know what you are waiting on. Is it new, a sequel, part of a series, what? I want to know because, you know, obviously I need more books to be added to my TBR list (which currently is about 500+ strong 0_o)

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Genre: YA, UF
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Talk about original. It's refreshing and a new take on what's out there. There's a sense of angels and demons in here with talk of wings and deformity (though not in the sense that we are used to such as mixed body parts and etc.), but it's not the typical upperworld with wings = good, underworld with deformity = bad type of situation. For one, it's not a typical set up as in angels are from Goodness above and Demons are from Badness below. It's more like... different worlds that happen to be in different realms. And humans had a glimpse of it in the past and derived their own religion from it since then; hence the whole wings/angel thing from above and the whole deformed beings from below.

You meet two characters who are from different worlds, Akiva from above and Karou who's actually in-between because she's brought up by those who dwell below, but she lives in the regular mortal world. They eventually tell each other what they were taught about their world and why they are at war with each other. Then you realize... there's not a clear side of good vs bad or black vs white and neither side are "right". We're always told there's always shades of grey; the in-between. This book definitely shows that in this case.

Oh, the twists! I didn't predict what was going to happen at all. I don't run into many books that deal with ...this one Buddhism aspect of our souls/essence/energy never dying. If you've read the book, you understand what I mean. If you haven't, I stated it that way as to not give a spoiler. Readers are the biggest predictor-faces (what my hubby calls me) ever and when we're avid readers, it's easy to see where the book is leading us. So to give you a bigger hint will be giving it away. But wow, the ending and the real story with Karou. Definitely liked this book. It's just refreshing!

Anyways, I can go on and on. If you have not read this book, check it out! I haven't heard the biggest hype about it, but it certainly passed what I initially thought it would be like. Maybe the description didn't do it for me, but I didn't expect so much from this book (as in the case with Angelfall by Susan Ee and Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams - both of which reviews are coming!) So put this on your TBR/To-Buy/whatever-else list. If you are into YA, into the refreshingly new reads, I don't think you'll be disappointed with this. If anything, it'll be a nice read and a good way to spend your free time (whatever those are).

Review: Scanguards Vampires Series by Tina Folsom

There are only 5 books out so far in this series; I've read them all. You can click each individual cover to get their GR's page; it will open in a new window.

These are adult Urban Fantasy books; real vampires living in our society today inconspicuously. They mind their own business until one day they run into their mates. Then they take us on a journey of getting together, having great sex, running into a problem, breaking up, then realizing they do love each other. Yes, a bit similar to every other UF/Vampire story out there. I do enjoy the series though it's not too original. Reminds me a bit about the Darkyn Series by Lynn Viehl. There are definitely tweaks and twists to it that make it original - how/where/why they mate and all that compared to other books. I think every author puts their own twists on that to make it different. But the overall story can be a been-there/done-that/read-it deal if you read a lot of vampire UF/PNR. Nothing new, but worth reading if you're interested or have the time to.

These vampires run a security company that employes both humans and vampires. They do everything from basic bodyguard/security guard work to securing the most important VIP. The first book, you meet Samson, who is in charge of the whole corporation. It's his company; he employs everyone else. The rest of the books focuses on those who work for him, but are also considered close members of his "family". So it's a PNR as well, moving from one member to another to achieve their HEA.

It does have adult content in it so be aware of that. What I like about this series is that there's always a new problem pertaining to that particular couple. It's not one huge problem that never gets solved or goes anywhere throughout the whole series (ex: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Breeds, etc.). It's a different situation for each couple and they have to work through that situation together. It is a bit refreshing because I like new scenery since it can get tiring once you hit a book #X in the series and this villain is still alive doing the same 'ol shiz. My opinion? Definitely try it, at least a book or two :0)

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Series: The Pledge #1

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Yes, another YA/Dystopian book from me. I'm on a roll. I really enjoy them (dystopians) because of the grittiness of the world and the maturity level of the characters in the book. There's no running into immature teen angst here. The story ensures that the character is not a weak character; even if they started out that way, there's a good chance for growth.

I prefer the strong, independent, responsible characters who are will to put themselves into dangerous situations to survive or to provide for others. They don't wallow, mope, or give-up just because there's a huge obstacle (that may extend to life or death situations) in their way. I admire that so I like reading about it. I don't know, I think it just puts things into perspective for me when it's that kind of misery in a totally pathetic atmosphere - a dystopian world.

If you haven't picked this up yet, do it. There were some twists in here and there that I didn't quite get until I got towards the end of the book. Sometimes, it's just so easy to see the way the author is going with a book, but this was entertaining, riveting, and it kept me on my toes guessing what was going to happen next. I loved the story and it didn't have a cliff-hanger at all, which I really appreciate. It just left us off... well, wanting more, which is understandable, but it left us off at a good ending point of book one in the series.

I honestly don't know where it can go from here. I mean, there must be more twists and turns to make this good book into a great series. But so much has been unfolded from this first book already. Where to now? I can take a guess it will be about the war in the book and the current leaders... but yeah, we'll see.

I would recommend this book. It's a good, enjoyable read :0)

Feature & Follow Friday {2}

Friday, December 2, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. The two blogs they are featuring this week: Lauren Gets Literal & Fic Book Reviews.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don’t like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

My biggest pet peeve is when the character development and/or plot falls short. I do not like it when I can't relate or understand the character's reasoning. It's different from a well-developed annoying character vs. a shallow character because you just don't like him or her period. If the character has no growth from the beginning to the end of the book, I want to know why. It's the author's world, the author's creation. They should be able to make us envision it through their words. But if their words, their explanations, fall short, well then our visions work up crap. No fun, I tell you.

I also hate the "love at first sight" plots. It causes me seizures from rolling my eyes too many times when they fall in love right away. I can understand it if it's a were-animal situation where it's the mate recognizing one another. Just give me something to work with; preferably something believable.

And there's nothing worse than a novel with no plot at all. I understand that if I pick up a short novel, it will be short. I  just don't prefer short novels to be short because it's missing the whole middle part... and then some. But love triangles, those I love :0)

Waiting on Wednesday {2}

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by breaking the spine where everyone mentions a book they are anxiously awaiting on...

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #2
Publication Date: December 6 2012

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

It's almost time! I really loved the first book and I think I'll enjoy this series more than the Mortal Instrument Series. I'm not quite sure yet. I'm just in love with both Will and Jem. I can't wait to see where this book takes us, but I'm also quite scared that there will be a cliffhanger leading to the last of the trilogy (if it stays a trilogy.) And that book will be at least a year away. Ugh, I hate the wait, but I do love the story. I can't wait to read them all. Oh, and I love the cover too.

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Genre: YA

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

Wow. I was hearing many great things about John Green's book around the book blogging community. I do tend to live under a rock (or books rather) and sometimes, things fly by, over, or around me and I don't realize what's "in" these days. I didn't know who he was and what the hype was all about. So I looked into it. It was highly recommended by a plethora of followers and "followees" that I read it asap so I did.

And I'm so glad I did. I really didn't know what I was getting into. As you can see from the summary, it's still a bit vague. All I knew was the main character was going on a life-changing journey to get his "Great Perhaps." That journey is basically what the book was all about.

In the beginning, it counted down in days to a "before the big event." As I read more and more, it became very obvious to me what that big event was going to be and it was confirmed when I got halfway through the book. The second half was the aftermath of what had happened to Miles or Pudge, as he is often called in the book (the MC) after he lives through the event.

This book encourages deep thoughts beyond the norm of the usual YA books these days. You may not think so while you are reading about it when it's prattling on about normal teens in normal teen situation with normal teen angst, but at the end of the book, you realize how much it made you think. Because these are not just normal teens, but intelligent, normal teens. The things they do, the things they say, the things they spout are all philosophically deep and interesting. It certainly made me want to go out and get some biographies and a book about "last words."

All I can say is that I'm glad I read it. It's a great book that I do recommend. It is YA, but don't forget that the "A" stands for "adult." This is not a kids book or a pre-teen book. It's a YOUNG ADULT book. I would recommend this to older teens who read YA even though there are controversial topics (sex, drugs, drinking, etc), but that's just me. It wasn't that long ago that I was in high school and all these were normal topics then and personally, I'm not really strict about things like this. To me, at least they're reading and maybe they can come away with something from the book. Being young doesn't mean that someone is intellectually incompetent to understand the book, but know that there are controversial content in it. Read it first before passing it on to a teen to determine yourself if it is appropriate.

Review: It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars #1

The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville -- the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises -- a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.

So why is he drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied....and ready to fight?

The sexy, heartwarming, and hilarious "prequel" to Susan Elizabeth Phillip's This Heart of Mine -- her sensational bestsellng blockbuster -- It Had To Be You is an enchanting story of two stubborn people who believe in playing for keeps.

I took a break from what I was currently reading to check this book out. I'm not a huge fan of football; I'm more of rink bunny (LOL). For those of you who are like huh? That means I'm a huge hockey fan... huge female hockey fan who wouldn't mind playing with a hockey player :0) But I liked this book good enough. I picked it up because I thought it would be a bit like Rachel Gibson's Chinooks Hockey Team series except with football players instead of hockey players. It does remind me of it a bit except I don't care to dive into the football lingo and game scenes that much.

The pacing is so different from what I've been reading. It really is a love/hate relationship for the longest time. I don't know, maybe it's all those YA, PNR, and UF's that I've been reading where girl meets boy and falls in love right away that has me used to the fast falling-in-love pace. They don't end up together at all until towards the end of the book. No, that's not a spoiler. We all know that these type of books are the HEA type of books. The joy of reading this book is reading about the couple's journey to getting to their HEA.

The love/hate relationship is mostly believable in this story. I understand everyone deals with trauma and secrets differently, but there have been books where I've yelled or induced a mini-stroke by rolling my eyes too much because I just couldn't believe their actions or reactions in a certain situation. This book isn't like that at all. Like I said, I think it's just me getting used to a nice, slow, realistic pacing of falling for someone vs. something that happens quite quickly in other books.

I don't have any quips about the character developments at all. There were times this had me chuckling out loud. It definitely does remind me of Rachel Gibson's fourth book in the Chinooks Hockey Team series where, instead of the daughter, it's the widow who inherits the hockey team. Her husband was quite older. And of course she has to deal with this guy who thinks she's just a bimbo and was in marriage for the money and etc.

If you're a fan of football and/or you enjoyed Rachel Gibson's books or Jaci Burton's Play by Play series, I think you will enjoy this. This isn't one of my top books, but I liked it enough. I just prefer hockey vs. any other sport and I think I just prefer Rachel Gibson's writing as well. Do I think you should pass up this book? No, give it a shot. I think it's a good story and was well worth my time. Check it out and let me know what you think! If you've read it, do you like football or sports in general? Is that why you liked or disliked this book?

Review: Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Lords of Deliverance #2

Sexy, powerful, and immortal, Limos is on a crash course with destiny. She’s been marked as Satan’s bride and her jealous fiancĂ© wants her all to himself. The only way this Horseman can keep herself—and everyone else—safe is to keep her distance. But not even Limos can save herself from the secrets she’s kept . . . or resist the seductive allure of one very brave human.

Arik Wagner knows the saying “love hurts” better than most, yet he never thought stealing a kiss from Limos would land him in Hell. Literally. It takes all his military training to survive the demon torture, but once he’s topside, Arik realizes that the agony has just begun. With the Apocalypse looming and Satan demanding his bride, will Arik and Limos surrender to the desire smoldering between them? Or will giving in to their passion unleash hell on earth?

This is the second book in the series and is a spin-off of Ione's Demonica series. I'm a big fan of her works. I was definitely looking forward to the book before it came out. At the end of the first book in this series, Eternal Rider, Ione provided a small teaser chapter and it definitely teased! But by the time I got the book, I had other books I was more interested in reading. But you know, being a popular book that's newly released, I went ahead and read this even though I wasn't in the mood for it. Just so I can join discussions and review it and whatnot.

I've read multiple reviews saying that it's hard to want to relate to the female character in this story. The character, Limos, is selfish, hotheaded, and often times, immature. I agree; the only thing that interested me was the story itself and Arik, the male character. Now he was yummy and made the story worth it.

There was so much going on in this book. I usually never reacquaint myself with previous books in a series because I figure I can get the gist of it or it'll stir my memory once I start. I like to think I've got a great memory. Ha, I got confused a few times because of all that was happening and the author didn't reference what she was talking about previously. So I wouldn't think it's great as a stand-alone. Obviously it wouldn't be if you wanted the overall story, but even if you just wanted to read about Limos' and Arik's relationship, it would still be a bit confusing at times. At least Ione's not one to repeat the same information from book to book to book like some authors do. That, too, can get annoying.

Though I don't like the female character much, it was still a great book which is unsurprising because, I mean, it's Larissa Ione! Her style of writing, in my opinion, stays consistent. What you get from the Demonica series, is the same type of writing and style as you get throughout this series. No inconsistencies where stories aren't as riveting as before or in some cases, the books get better further into the series. No, she's great through and through. Some say that, for the Demonica series, it gets better further into the series, but I personally think it's just a matter of whose character you like more in these type of books.

So while the story was great, I'm sure it's not going to be a favorite of mine from this series because she's not a character I'm crazy about. If it does happen to be one of the best books from the series, it would only be because of Arik's character. Huh, I wonder if I am bashing her because of the fact that she gets to end up with Arik. Lol. The book does have major events happening in the book that foreshadows into Thanatos' character, which is titled on GR as Lethal Rider. That will be released around June 2012. Booooo! So long :0(

If you have not read this series, I would highly recommend it. It is a spin-off from the Demonica series so it's not required to read that series before this, but I would recommend it. The characters do make reappearances in this new series and there are some references that may fly over your head or confuse you a bit if you don't read the Demonica series first.  It's nice to know most of the character's background, why they are the way they are and where they stand in the overall grand scheme of things.

For those who have read it, I just wanted to let you know.... I can't wait until Reseph's story. Or O.M.G., Reaver's story! Reavie-Weavie :0)

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Series: Shatter Me #1

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

This was a highly anticipated novel that was just debuted this year. The author is 24 years old, same age as yours truly. Can I just say I'm jealous of how eloquently she can weave those words? I love, love, love her writing. The only part I did not like in the book was the stroked-out words. It interrupted the flow of the sentence and at times, I had to go back and re-read to make sure I was comprehending everything. Besides that, it was a really great, enjoyable book. I think it lived up to the hype. I was certainly engrossed in it even though I really had no clue what the book was about. Sure, I read the summary, but I just didn't know what the hype was about before picking up the book. I didn't follow all the discussions. I'm glad I chose to read it though.

I'm not saying that this is life changing or up to par with Hunger Games (though they are two completely different books and each is worthy of the attention it is receiving, in my opinion), but it's new, it's fresh, and it's somewhat original. I haven't come across anything similar that I can remember or think of as of yet. It's not a deep thinker nor is it superficial. The heroine, though quirky at first, is easy to identify with. She's someone you can invest in and therefore, you genuinely want to read the whole book and find out what is going to happen. I really like all the characters in this book and the character development is just great! Perfect pacing for me.

Okay, and the "bad" guy in this book, um, yum. I don't know if it's the bad boy factor that makes me want to jump his bones or what, but seriously? It makes me so confuzzled (yeah, confuzzled) because I want to root for both him and the other guy. Very reminiscent of my Vampire Academy days where Adrian and Dmitri were both yum-yum factors, but it was a one-or-the-other kind of deal. Well, in that world, it was one-or-the-other. In my world, it'd be a whole 'nother story.

But anyways, for those who are wondering about the hype of this story, its popularity, the interest it is garnering, just get it. I don't think you will regret it. If anything, the style of writing may may not may not may not piss you off at times (see what I did there?) but the overall story is great. It is a bit along the story lines of Delirium, but the heroine has another love interest that is yummy and she has this weird ability/curse. But that's the only similar story I can think of right now that wouldn't really give away the whole book.

Do let me know how you like it... or don't like it.

Feature & Follow Friday {1}

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm hopping on real quick to do this Feature & Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. I'm late, but darn it, I'm squeezing in!

Q: It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we all want to know what you are Thankful for - blogging related of course! Who has helped you along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?

This is my first Follow My Blog Friday I'm doing so I'm thankful for being able to participate in it! I'm thankful for all the bloggers out there because there are so many books that I wouldn't have thought of picking up or come across if it weren't for their suggestions.

As for books that I'm thankful for reading this year, Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James comes to mind right away. I've read over 400 books this year and there are some great memorable ones, but this by far is my favorite trilogy. The last and final book is not out yet, but I read the fan-fiction version of this whole series. I absolutely love it. I can't even go through most of my books to list the top ones because I am a lover of books. There are very few books that I don't like or can't finish from beginning to end. To name a few favorites: Fever & Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning. Blood Sword Legacy & L.O.S.T. series by Karin Tabke. Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones. ANY series by Lora Leigh. Rough Riders series by Lorelei James. Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt. Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Chinooks Hockey Team series by Rachel Gibson. Certain books by Megan Hart... and that's just 2-3 pages worth of authors from my GR list. I can go on and on and on... you get the idea *wink*

So, I'm thankful for books in general whether it was a good reading or not because either way, I come away with something at the end of the book. I'm also thankful for GR because that is a lovely site to meet authors and readers :0)

Waiting on Wednesday {1}

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday is a a weekly blog hop hosted by Breaking the Spine where everyone mentions a book they are anxiously awaiting on...

Sacrifical Magic by Stacia Kane
Series: Downside Ghosts #4
Publication Date: March 27 2012

When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.

Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.

As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice 

I love this series! I was so stuck on it for a while. It's more of a mature YA book that is set in the future with a dystopian theme. The heroine is not your typical "good" heroine, but her qualities makes you like her even though she does deal with a drug problem. She's easy to relate to, loveable, and strong. I love the world that Kane has created; the characters are so understandable and I just love Chess, Lex, and Terrible. I can't wait for this book to be released!

I've read that she is contracted for six books. Woot! But I seriously hate waiting for books. I read the first three in quick succession because they were already all out by the time I heard about it. Thank goodness for GR and the people on there because it was there that I came across these books. I might have missed out if not for GR. Eep, how scary.

Review: Bound By Night by Amanda Ashley

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bound by Night by Amanda Ashley
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Series: Bound #1

A Vampire's Kiss Is Forever. . .

Once featured in a horror movie, the crumbling Wolfram estate is said to be haunted by ghosts, witches, and worse. But Elena doesn't believe a word of it—until she spends the night and wakes up in the arms of a compelling stranger...

Tall, dark, and disturbingly handsome, Drake is the most beautiful man Elena has ever seen. For centuries, he has lived alone, and Elena is the first woman to enter his lair—and survive. And Drake is the first man to touch her heart and soul. By the time she discovers who he really is—and what he craves—it's too late. Blood lust has turned to love, and Elena is deeply under Drake's spell. But forever comes at a price for each of them. . .

I know vampire books can get a little repetitive and the whole "been there, done that" thought comes up. But this one has a new twist to it. Not one of my favorites, but definitely a series that I will be continuing with. If only because it somewhat holds my interests. The type of vampires with their abilities, powers, myths and all that are different than others.

My one big gripe is the pace. The characters didn't really have time to develop much. You find out a little about each character, they run into each other and suddenly love pops up into the equation. The circumstances against them could certainly speed up their decision to be together or not. But it's not 100% believable to me. It seemed too fast and a bit too forced. I like the characters most of the time. There just wasn't enough development so I don't feel as if I know them, I can't relate to them, nor am I invested in their happiness. The other characters mentioned in the story (siblings of Drake's) were interesting, but this book wasn't focused on them so, again, not too terribly interesting for me.

I think if the book was longer and the story more paced, it would've been much better. It seems very PNR and not so much UF. The book setting doesn't really specify what century we're in, but it's not historical. It's still a modern setting so thus the UF genre, but has PNR qualities in that it focuses on one couple per book and usually has the HEA. But it feels very historical at times, like they are not in an urban setting. The setting is mainly in Romania, I believe. That could be the "historical" feeling I sense from the book. *Shrugs* 

Anyways, I wouldn't run to get this book, but if you have time and it sounds interesting, give it a try. I will continue with the series just to see if it does get better though.

Review: Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Georgina Kincaid #6

Georgina Kincaid has had an eternity to figure out the opposite sex, but sometimes they still surprise her. Take Seth Mortensen. The man has risked his soul to become Georgina's boyfriend. Still, with Lucifer for a boss, Georgina can't just hang up her killer heels and settle down to domestic bliss. In fact, she's being forced to transfer operations. . .to Las Vegas.

The City of Sin is a dream gig for a succubus, but Georgina's allies are suspicious. Why are the powers-that-be so eager to get her away from Seattle—and from Seth? Georgina is one of Hell's most valuable assets, but if there's any way out of the succubus business she plans to take it—no matter how much roadkill she leaves behind. She just hopes the casualties won't include the one man she's risking everything for. . .

This is the final book of this terrific series. When I initially read the summary of the first book in this series, I was not that interested. Little did I know that this would turn out to be one of my top series. The main character is a succubi and throughout the whole series, you find out about how she becomes one of Hell's minions. You will also come to the conclusion that she wasn't meant to be on the "dark" side and that she's worthy of redemption. As a succubus who is supposed to lure all these men into sinning with her, she ends up falling in love with a mortal. Obviously, it's a complicated relationship.

Sometimes, when a series ends, they don't wrap up every loose thread and that bothers me, unless it's for a spin-off. To my knowledge, no spin-off here though I wouldn't mind it for Carter or, if possible, Roman. The ending for this particular series was fantastic. It closed up all the loose ends and answered most of the questions we have. Now it does leave us with a question or two, but it's mainly a "what did/will happen to them?" type of question; a possible continuation of certain characters, if you will. But the basis of the story, Georgina's story, that is, every question is pretty much answered. I loved it and it made me happy.

As I mentioned, it's one of my top favorite series. I mean, I have quite a few, but that's because there are many books in the world with many great authors. But I really fell in love with Georgina's story and even though she's on the side of Hell, you can't help but root for her. It is a series you have to read in order. I didn't find too much action in the book, but a lot was still going on. I did find myself skimming some paragraphs, but I think that was me getting anxious to finding out something. I absolutely recommend it!

Review: The Dragon Who Loved Me by G.A. Aiken

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Dragon Who Loved Me by G.A. Aiken
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Dragon Kin #5

I was raised for battle. And as the first daughter of a warrior family, I've earned my reputation the hard way. Yet now I fight alongside uncivilized male Northland dragons who think a female is only good for breeding and waiting back home in the cave. But it's the foolish and foolhardy who would try to stop me, Rhona the Fearless, from doing what I do best—destroying the enemies of my kind.

So the smartest thing wily barbarian Vigholf the Abhorrent can do for me is stay out of my way as we risk all on a deadly mission in enemy territory. I don't care if he's fascinated by me, even though he is as attractive as he is resourceful. He's having far too much fun putting me in difficult situations and testing my sense of duty to the limit. And I'm going to enjoy challenging his insufferable confidence, outwitting his schemes, and making him surrender in the wildest ways. . .

I love this series. It's my favorite dragon-shifter series so far. Now, I wasn't really looking forward to the particular couple focused in this story. I was looking forward to these two other characters', Izzy and Eibhear, story instead. However, because of the plot, this story was essential before getting to Izzy and Eibhear's story. Because of that, I understand the developmental time-line the author is writing towards.

The couple that was focused on in this story was Rhona, the Fearless and Vigholf, the Abhorrent. As I said, I wasn't too interested in this couple, but the story was still great. I still enjoyed it and it was still interesting to me. It didn't detract me from wanting to continue the series; in fact, it did the opposite. Aiken spent a lot of time developing the whole story, world and characters, and you can tell all that from the flow of the story within one book to another. It's an excellent series that I highly recommend. I loved the new characters introduced in this book; especially this one-eyed hunk of a rebel dragon. Annwyl, the original and first female in this series, is as funny as ever! The characters in this story, along with the writing, just makes you wish this world was real and that you were a part of this dynamic family. This book does include a huge turning point and some key important moments so I wouldn't recommend reading this series out of order. Some series you can because they can be read-alone books, but this series is not. You'd be a bit confused.

Overall, get this book. It's a great book. The romance is hilarious because it's one of those "you annoy me, I hate you" type of relationships that just become what they are and they're all the better for it. The nookie scenes aren't many, but they're good.

Review: In Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Highlander #1

Bestselling author Maya Banks’s beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

I love books to do with the Highlands and Scot history and all that. Men in kilts, um, YUM. So I had high hopes for this book because really, how can you go wrong when a book is written about sexy highlanders in kilts?

It was great, it met my expectations though it fell a little short in some places. I loved the beginning when boy meets girl and they dance around each other for a while before falling for each other. The nookie scenes were okay, could've been better. The pace was good in the beginning, but towards the middle, it started fizzing. Obviously, it's one of those HEA ending books which I enjoy tremendously because they brighten up my day. Mind-blasting nookie + Happy ending = Nice and easy read. *shrugs* But like I said, towards the middle, the pace and the story line fizzled a bit. There were places in which it got sort of cheesy and I just skimmed through. Obviously there's some type of drama or villain that prevents the character from falling in love with one another right away. In this story there's this evil male character, Duncan, who tries to force Mairin, lead female character, into marriage so he can claim her dowry (lots of money and prime piece of land in Scotland adding to his power). He's power hungry and just plain greedy and evil! So he really does come off as someone you hate in the book; you despise him and you understand Mairin's feelings towards him and you totally root for Ewan. Well, let's just say this book is anti-climatic for me. It builds up so great in the beginning, starts to level out in the middle, and then pbbbt towards the end.

This is the first book in the series so I can see the continuation from this point on, but I still think it should've wrapped up a bit better and more climatic or so. But with all that said, I enjoyed the series. I wished the storyline was a bit different towards the end but still... I will continue on. I think it's worth reading and I do recommend it to those who are into this type of story. I wouldn't say it's up to par with Karen Marie Moning's Highlanders (ooh, those are great), but it's a good read.

Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Friday, September 2, 2011

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Series: Mythos Academy #1
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. . .
I actually didn't want to start a YA novel because I've been on a PNR/UF roll. I didn't want to pick up a new genre and run into a story that's too cheesy or childish compared to my more adult books. I do like a lot of YA plot lines; they have these great ideas and stories, but it just bothers me when it's limited to something so PG13ish. That's just me; I like lots of bookie nookie and I hate the whole teen angst deal. With all that said, I really enjoyed this book. It did remind me of Percy Jackson & The Olympians. It was a different touch because not many books are about mythology whether it be Roman, Greek, or what have you and I like that. It's not just vampires and werewolves and all the other more "common" supernaturals this time. I like that the female character is not weak nor stupid! I can't stand it when there's a great story line and the female character lacks intelligence and/or strength. She has her insecurities just like most teen girls would, but she has valid reasons. Valid, not vapid. She's modest and real, really easy to relate to and makes you just want to root for her. When she does something extraordinaire, it's believable and not total bullshit like some of the books I've read where I proceed to have a seizure from all the eye rolls I'm doing. The character development is great; I loved the pacing of the book. I always wish things were a little longer because I fly through books so easily, but this is a good length. It's the 1st of the Mythos Academy series. As far as I know through Goodreads, it is meant to be a trilogy.

I've read her other series: Elemental Assassins. From the author, I should've guessed that her female character wouldn't be so weak. I love Estep's work and I love her Elemental Assassins series. But when I found out this was a young adult vs. an adult PNR/UF book, I started out with good hopes for the book and not high hopes. That's due to my preferences for more adult books/topics/content/what have you. But all in all, I really did enjoy this book. It tied up some ends, but left some major ones open, of course, due to it being a trilogy and the 1st in a series. You can expect more to come. The teaser at the end of the book was very enticing. It made me want to read it asap! I will finish with the fact that the rest of this series will be added to my To Be Read list. I am definitely continuing with the series because I do believe it's worth my time. I liked it, but not more than that.

Review: First Frost by Jennifer Estep

First Frost by Jennifer Estep
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Series: Mythos Academy #0.5
I am Gwen Frost, and I have a Gypsy gift. It's called psychometry - that's a fancy way of saying that I see images in my head and get flashes of other people's memories off almost everything I touch, even guys.
My gift makes me kind of nosy. Okay, okay, maybe a lot nosy--to the point of obsession sometimes. I want to know everything about everyone around me. But even I don't want to know the secrets my friend Paige is hiding or the terrible loss that will send me to a new school - Mythos Academy, where the teachers aren't preparing us for the SATs, but to battle Reapers of Chaos. Now I have no friends and no idea how my gift fits in with all these warrior whiz kids. The only thing I do know is that my life is never, ever going to be the same. . .

So this is the prequel to Touch of Frost which is the 1st book in her new young adult series: Mythos Academy. I love her other series: Elemental Assassin. I do like young adult books, but many of them turn me off because of the immaturity level of the characters. It just brings back all the negative of my high school years. We've all been there. I'd rather remember the good times like the boys and not the backstabbing girls, you know?

I think this was a good prequel to the first book which I'm currently reading right now. The first book does go over many of the same things, but as a prequel, this goes into more depth of what happened in the past and how she found herself in her new situation in book one. It's a short novella so it doesn't get into character development much because it's supposed to be a glimpse of the past. It could've been longer so it allowed a better pace. But overall, for a prequel and a novella, it was a good, easy read. It was okay.

Review: Once and Again by Lauren Dane

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Once and Again by Lauren Dane 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Petal, Georgia #1 
This time, he plans to do it with class. Style. And more than a little groveling… Petal, Georgia, Book 1 Seven years ago, Lily Travis was only too glad to see her hometown of Petal, Georgia, in her rearview mirror. Thanks to her father running off with a twenty-year-old, though, here she is, trying to pick up the pieces. First order of business: meet with her brother’s teacher in a quest to pull his grades out of a downward spiral. Nathan Murphy is pretty much resigned to his bachelor status—until he looks up from his desk to see an all-grown-up Lily walking into his classroom. Of all the women who turned out to be totally wrong for him, she’s the only one who felt right. At least until his foolish, immature mistake drove her away. Lily has to admit that time has been more than kind to gorgeous, sexy Nathan. Except there’s no room on her full plate for another complication. Especially with a man who broke her heart once before. With a little help from his friends, Nathan has a plan to rekindle the flame. It isn’t long before they’re burning up the sheets. Winning her heart? That’s another matter.
It was a good read, not great. The book starts out interesting and keeps the same pace throughout the book. It doesn't get more complicated or interesting as you read on. Sure, the female character's life gets more complicated but it's the same old bullshit from before to after. There's just more shit and less paddles to go around. Same difference. It just gets you more frustrated as you read on because of her inability to handle the situation even though she's supposed to be portrayed as an independent, successful, young woman who's made it from a small town. She's suppose to have backbone. But then when her ex comes into the picture, someone who broke her heart to so many pieces it took years for her to get over him, and he tries to maneuver his way into her heart, she's unable to say no. Seriously? I mean, let the guy crawl and beg a little!

The story goes into why and how they broke up even though things happened when they weren't officially together (makes me feel so 7th grade to say that). I understand why she was hurt and it was a good enough reason to dump him and hell yes, it was a good enough reason to have her heart broken. But what I don't understand is there's no reasoning beyond that. Okay, he did what he did and you still can't get over it. *shrugs* Shit happens. Either move on or let it go. Hell, hash it out. But they really don't besides some simple post-coital conversation. It didn't move me, it didn't give me a breaking point where I was like "Oh, so that's why! Yes, it's fixed now!" or whatever. I will say that the nookie scenes are great. The book was good as I mentioned. Just not something that I would want to re-read nor will it make my favorites list. Beyond those frustrating points, I enjoyed the book enough to want to finish it. The pacing is a bit fast for me probably due to it being a short book, but yeah. If you're interested, read it. If you don't have it, put it on hold and grab the books you are interested in first. This can wait.

My book blog!

I've decided to start a book blog because I love to write and read. I read about a book per day and sometimes, I forget what I thought and felt about a certain book I read 6+ months ago. I also love to discuss books. Well I love to discuss all things photography, book, cats, or computer gear related. Let's hope that with the change in my schedule coming this Fall with school, college and possibly a new employment, I will still be able to dedicate myself to this blog as well as my regular blog, photographing my life and kids, and scrap booking those photos. Oh, and let's not forget my regular household duties. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Well, bear with me while I design my website and figure out how I want to present my reviews and whatnot.
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