Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Revealing Eden (Save the Pearls, #1) by Victoria Foyt

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation. Her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rain forest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.

How to describe this read? With a post-apocalyptic world as the backdrop for this new series, readers are introduced to a world not so far off of what ours used to be with a slight twist here and there. The people of this world are judged and ranked based on their skin tone, among other traits. But Eden hopes for a better life for herself, her father and her fellow "pearls" that she thinks will be accomplished if only she can find a mate. But her ideas of what kind of mate would be the most ideal are as racist and biased as her current counterparts. Only time and a series of Herculean obstacles will show her the error of her ways.

What started out as a simple enough scenario and plot surprised me with its twists and unexpected surprises. Mistakes are made by both Eden as well as others around her, and what better way for Eden to learn than from her mistakes, right? Foyt created a series that may not be like most others out on the shelves today, but I'll admit that while that is true, it's also one of the reasons why this book appealed to me and had me sticking with it right up to the very end. I'll admit that at times it was slightly difficult to relate to Eden or the other main characters, but when it came down to it, I'm not sure anyone can really relate to what these people are going through. Many have described this story as a modern day beauty and the beast retelling, but I think it's more than that.

Far from a plain old retelling, this story takes ideas from others and makes them unique and new all over again. Bramford, Eden, the FFP, the coals and the pearls. They all have something to learn, and we as readers have the chance to experience it all right along with them. Take a chance on this series opener and you may be surprised to discover a new world that will take you on a wonderful journey and have you wondering long after the final page has been turned what will come next for Foyt's characters.

Details for Foyt's second installment in the Save the Pearls series have not been released yet. While we wait for more of that information, be sure to check out the Save the Pearls site and all the fun information that can be found.

I gave Revealing Eden (Save the Pearls, #1) 3 shamrocks!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (39)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

For Review:

New Girl by Paige Harbison (Thanks to HarlequinTeen)
They call me 'New Girl'...

Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.

Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.

Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.

And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.

Halflings (Halflings, #1) by Heather Burch (Thanks to Zondervan Publishing)

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal (Thanks to Whitman, Albert & Company)

It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her free-spirited aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with him. Pilot. He's the lifeguard with shamanic skills. He both saves her and makes her feel lost at sea. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious - almost magical - gifts.

Revealing Eden (Save the Pearls, #1) by Victoria Foyt (Thanks to Sand Dollar Press Inc.)

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her coworker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of the storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scent of a White Rose Blog Tour and Treasure Hunt

A little while back I was lucky enough to get the chance to speak with author Tish Thawer and she was kind enough to include me as a stop on her Scent of a White Rose blog tour! So today I have a special treat for you guys....and interview with Tish (awesome right?), a chance to enter yourselves in her treasure hunt, and a review of Scent of a White Rose. If you haven't picked up this book yet I strongly suggest you get on it!

If you're not super familiar with Tish, here's a little background before we start the interview...

Before becoming a writer I worked as a computer consultant, a photographer, and a graphic designer. I also operate a custom glass etching business, in addition to being a wife and mother of 3 wonderful children.

I've been a fan of the paranormal for as long as I can remember. Anything to do with superpowers, myth and magic has always held a special place in my heart. From my first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the phenomenon that is Twilight, this genre has always been a part of my life. Thanks for joining me on this magical journey.

A common FAQ: "How do you pronounce your last name?"
Answer: Think "Bower" or "Thow-er". It's Persian!

Now let's get to the good stuff....on with the interview!

Katelyn: The paranormal genre has always been pretty popular and lately any book with vampires and werewolves seems to be flying off the shelves. How did you make yours different from the other vampire books out there? What drew you to write about them?

Tish: The first thing that sets my vampires apart is that they experience drifting. Drifting is the action of a vampire's appearance changing from light to dark in correspondence with their impulses and emotions. Also, my vampires are not inherently bad or evil. And, the third thing that sets my vampires apart is that the sire's are the only ones who can create or kill other vampires.

Katelyn: I know from personal experience that when I start to read a book, attachments to certain characters inevitably follow. Do you have a favorite or two among your cast of characters? If so, can you tell us who and what it is about them specifically that made the decision for you?

Tish: This is such a hard question for me because I have definitely developed a connection with quite a few of my characters. But to pick my favorite two...I would say Christian and Evangeline.

Christian because he's loyal, heroic, sensitive, and sexy.

Evangeline because she's motherly, caring, strong, and fierce when she needs to be.

Katelyn: Favorite author/book?

Tish: Again with the hard questions. I would say that one of my favorite author's is Gena Showalter. And as of this past year, my favorite book was A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

Katelyn: With your second book in the trilogy, Blood of a Red Rose coming out in May, can you tell us a little bit about it? Any juicy details you want to give us? :)

Tish: Oh my! Well, let's just say that Rose is faced with some heavy decisions that she doesn't handle very well. And Christian struggles to understand some of her actions. Evangeline starts the hunt for the woman who infected Terrance and let's just say - that woman becomes a major pain in the ass in book two.

Katelyn: Are you working on any other books at the moment? Can we expect another new series after you've finished with the Rose trilogy? ( I hope so!)

Tish: Actually yes! I'm just finishing up Rose and Christian's short story - Rose & Thorns. It will be released March 6th in eBook format only. After that will come the Ovialell Trilogy and then the Towers of the Mist series. You can find more details about each of those on my blog under the "Coming Soon" tab.

Katelyn: And finally, just for fun....if you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and what three things would you bring along with you?

Tish: I would go see Stonehenge and then travel to Ireland. I would bring: my family, my laptop, and my cell phone. (Yes, I'm dependent on technology, but I would make the hubby pack the essentials like clothes and money.)

Katelyn: Tish, thank you so much again for stopping by and answering a few questions for us. I can only say how much I enjoyed the first installment in your Rose trilogy and look forward to the upcoming installments and future work from you!

Treasure Hunt

So before we get to my review...Tish has come up with a fun treasure hunt for everyone to participate in. On each blog stop there will be a graphic of a smoking white rose. You'll need to find the white roses and take note of how many you find and where you are at the time. Click on the smoking white rose image and to link to Tish's page. Once you're there, leave her a comment and tell her how many white roses you found and where you found them. (i.e. "Today I found three smoking roses at The Book Addict.")

This comment will qualify you for the giveaway...and trust me, you want a chance to win this fantastic giveaway Tish is hosting!

On January 28th Tish will be posting a questionnaire at her blog. The first person to answer all the questions correctly, and has already qualified by finding all the roses wins!

So here's my graphic:

Thanks again to Tish for including me on your tour, and to all the readers who stopped by today. Take a look below for my review of Scent of a White Rose and like I said before, do yourselves a favor and pick a copy up for yourselves today!

Review: Scent of a White Rose (The Rose Trilogy, #1) by Tish Thawer

A vampire's love...

An innocent's guilt...

A secret no one could've imagined...

A paranormal romance that entices with a heroine that isn't quite what she seems, a vampire whose love story is filled with dark surprises, and a vampire clan whose Sire has lost the ability to inflict "the change".

~ ROSE ~
I'm Rose Reynolds. I have recently lost my Mom in a "freak accident".
Now everyone sees me as an innocent girl.... a “white Rose”.
But I have a secret that no one can imagine.
I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks…

I'm Christian and I’m in love with Rose. I also have a secret as old as time.
I’m a vampire.
No, she doesn’t know…yet.
But when our new Sire is revealed, I'll petition them to change her.
Because truly, I can't live without her...

Here was yet another book that took me by surprise. It's been happening a lot lately and I couldn't be more excited about that fact. It's looking like 2012 will be chalk full of fantastic reads. Usually I read a synopsis and have already made judgements, we all do it and it's almost unavoidable no matter how hard we try to go into each and every read with an open mind. I'm not sure why, but although I thought this book sounded entertaining and it definitely piqued my interest, I'm not sure I was expecting to like it as much as I did. Thawer's writing keeps a steady pace that I personally enjoyed, and her characters have you relating to them as if they were your friends. She gave me background and got me involved but didn't let that slow down her plot in my opinion.

While Rose became a character I was rooting for, I'll admit to liking Christian and his "family" much more. Their stories and history were exciting and touching all at the same time. I would have liked more details into each of his "family" members but I'm optimistic that with this being the first book, the later installments will provide the information I'm looking for. And in the meantime I've found myself invested in their futures, so to speak. Thawer managed what I thought was an impossible feat. She was able to put yet another new spin on the age old vampire tale. With so many different vampire young adult books on the shelves these days I'm not sure where the creativity stems from, but her world was definitely not one I'd call a carbon copy of the others I've read and become familiar with. She made it her own and in turn made me an instant fan.

Rose and Christian and all their friends and family are faced with a unique situation that had me tense, anxious, and gripping my seat until the very last page. I'll admit that while the ending wasn't entirely predictable, I was hoping for one that was slightly different. She left her readers with a cliffhanger of course, what else would she do with two more books in the trilogy scheduled to come out, but my nerves and the romantic side of me was still crossing my fingers that a few of the loose ends would have been tied up. Oh well, I'm the reader, not the author so I'll just have to wait until the second installment, Blood of a Red Rose comes out in May 2012. That makes for a long countdown but I'm hoping a few teasers might come out in the meantime to keep my nerves in check.

I gave Scent of a White Rose 4 shamrocks!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Countdown: 2012 Releases (5)

As big of a reader as I am, I can never seem to get caught up on all the books I've decided to add to my collection. No matter what I do, there just always seems to be more titles that get added to my list and more authors that become favorites that I constantly find myself following up on. Don't get me wrong, this is not a problem that I'm complaining about, but at some point my organizational skills only go so far when it comes down to making sure these titles I've added to my "list" don't fall through the cracks. So most of you know by now that I've come to be a big advocate of the countdown posts. It's the only way that I've been able to manage my ever growing TBR lists. And on top of all that, it's gets me excited all over again each time I do further research on certain titles and authors, or get another look at exceptional covers that act as more than that, they become works of art that are ingrained in my head. So here's another round of books that I've been or will be counting down towards their releases dates.

Countdown Pick #1: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (05/08/2012)

It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.
The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?
Doesn't this sound adorable? I've always been a fan of fairy tales from the start. Reading them as a little girl was inspiring and had me brimming with hope that I'd find my own white knight in the future, and even now I can't help but adore them. If not just for their optimistic outlooks on impossible situations, but also because who doesn't enjoy a happy ending? We don't always get a lot of those in real life, and with reality not always been the most fun or inspiring, books like these often give me just the break I need in order to get past some of the obstacles we all face on a daily basis. Now I'll admit that there is no guarantee that Kontis will deliver a happy ending with her version of this tale, but regardless she can count me on board for this one and I'll be rooting for Sunday to find her white knight and live happily ever after.

And as an extra bonus, if you're planning on adding this title to your lists of countdowns, take a minute and check out the giveaway for your very own copy on goodreads!

Countdown Pick #2:
Swift by R.J. Anderson (03/01/2012)

Ivy sensed the stone hurtling towards her and rolled - too late. Heat scored across her back in a blaze of dazzling pain. The ground spiralled to meet her, and she knew it would only be seconds before she hit...

Ivy is a determined young faery, living in an abandoned tin mine with her clan. In a cruel twist of fate she was born without wings, and she longs to fly like the others. When she meets an enigmatic stranger, he seems to offer an answer. But there is more to him than meets the eye...

I'm a supporter of the paranormal genre and all the creatures that come with it. Fairies are one of the branches in the genre that although are popular and definitely are featured in more than their share of titles, haven't been overdone in my opinion. Every once in a while no matter how much I love a good vampire and werewolf story, deviations and unique qualities can be hard to find. While I'm sure the same can be said about fairies depending on who you're asking, I'm still at the point where every once in a while they're able to provide a refreshing change of pace and scenery for me. So when I came across Anderson's story and heard a little bit more about the main character Ivy, I added the title to my list and am looking forward to it's release in March. I'm hoping the girl gets her wings and doesn't get into too much trouble along the way...or maybe I'm hoping for the opposite...a little bit of trouble makes things exciting and never seems to hurt right?

Countdown Pick #3: The Falconer by Elizabeth May (2013)

Humans will be the hunted. Love will be tested. Vengeance will be had.

The Falconer begins in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1844. We meet 18-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, who was destined to live a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events — until a faery killed her mother.

Now, between the seeming endless parties and boring dances, Aileana has a new hobby: she secretly slaughters the fae who prey on humans in the city’s dark alleyways, and is determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother.

Vengeance has become Aileana's life . . . so she never anticipated her growing attraction to the magnetic Kiaran MacKay, the faery who trained her to kill his own kind. Or that there was a world beyond hers, filled with secrets which affect her past and have the potential to destroy her present.

But when her own world is about revenge, and when she holds Kiaran’s fate in her hands, how far is Aileana prepared to go to avenge her mother’s murder?

Romance potential? I think so. While I'm a fan of fairies as I just mentioned with my second countdown pick, these fairies don't seem to be in the same boat. With May's spin on this branch of the paranormal genre, it looks like we're going to be rooting for the humans and not so much for the fairies. I'm looking forward to seeing how May is going to spin this one, and it sounds to me like it won't end up being so cut and dry if we have our main character being trained and helped by a fae in order to eliminate the rest of his race. I'm hoping for a little romance in this tale, as I usually am, but only time will tell. Hopefully the official covert art will come out soon, but in the meantime we'll have to draw from our imaginations...I'm already picturing what these characters will look like.

Countdown Pick #4: Devotion (Soul Savers, #3) by Kristie Cook (02/12/2012)

With powerful abilities gained from the Ang’dora and Tristan back by her side, Alexis thinks she’s ready for the next challenge—protecting her son from what appears to be the inevitable. But she has so much to learn about her powers, her new world and the people in it. Nothing is what it seems to be on the surface, including the Amadis. Having believed the secret society to be definitively good and righteous, she discovers she couldn’t have been more wrong.

Power-hungry politicians comprise the council and make impossible demands. A traitor lurks among them all, inciting trouble that could destroy the Amadis and, ultimately, humanity. The Daemoni wreak havoc in the human world, with the ultimatum that they’ll continue attacking innocents until Alexis and Tristan are expelled from the Amadis’ protection. The couple’s own society begins to shut them out. But that’s not all.

There’s a secret. A big one. And faith and hope in Alexis and Tristan will be restored if she can uncover the truth in time.

But the search for answers leads only to the discovery of more betrayals by those closest to Alexis. Her devotion is put to the test—devotion to her husband, to her family, to her people and to her beliefs—leaving her to question whom she’s fighting for and why she should even bother. But if she won’t fight … who will?

Oh this series has put me through the ringer. I don't think it's possible for me to be a bigger fan of Kristie Cook and her Soul Savers series. I just love everything about it. Her writing is fantastic, her characters are endearing, and her storyline is addicting. The world she has created within this series is magical and worthy of infinite praise. While she keeps her readers on the edges of their seats and often times has them laughing, crying, screaming, and sometimes all at once. Cook has the ability to draw her readers in and get them so invested that they take each part of the story personally. If a positive outcome is the result, readers end up feeling like they've gotten lucky, if something happens to one of the characters on the other end of the spectrum, we end up feeling the loss or injustice as if it's been done to us an not a fictional set of characters. So as the days are dwindling down to the release of this third series installment, I'm preparing myself for yet another wild and action packed ride.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Falling Under (Falling Under, #1) by Gwen Hayes

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

What a dark horse in the running this one turned out to be. The synopsis had me interested but I had no idea what I'd really get into within the pages of Hayes' new series. Haden was what kept me interested in this one. While there wasn't anything that stands out for me that I didn't like about Theia...she just wasn't one of those characters that goes up there on my list of top favorite heroines. It may have had something to do with the way Hayes describes her upbringing, but her personality was just a little too docile for me to relate to I guess. Not sure what that says about me, I've never needed an extremely aggressive female lead character in order to find myself rooting for her, but I just found it strange that I was more interested in Hayden and his story, than I was about Theia's background.

Now with that being said, it was one of the only complaints that I found to have with this book. All in all I thought it was an interesting story and for the most part I didn't want to break from reading or to have it end at all. The surprises and revelations were just that....and I enjoyed not knowing what to expect at every turn of the page. So I've downloaded the sequel, Dreaming Awake to my kindle and I'm looking forward to seeing how Hayes is going to pick things up where she left off. This series opener came with an interesting cliffhanger, and I'm anxious to see how life for these two pans out. No idea where this sequel will take me but I'm about to find out.

I gave Falling Under (Falling Under, #1) 3 shamrocks!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: The Secret of the Keepers: Kailmeyra's Strength (Kailmeyra, #2) by Elizabeth Isaacs

The Kailmeyra Chronicles: Book Two--

Life for Nora couldn't be better; she has married the man of her dreams and loves living in the pristine land of Kailmeyra.

That is, until the darkness threatens her perfect world.

Now war is upon the land. She and Gavin must strengthen their clan and prepare to fight. But the enemy has an ally—one that not only wields power, but holds knowledge of the ancients' secrets. Secrets that could destroy creation itself.

As the darkness grows, doubt seeps in ... protectiveness hinders progress ... and the unthinkable comes to pass.

Bewildered and alone, Nora shoulders the responsibility of leading an entire race to war. As she struggles with decisions that seem impossible to make, she is haunted by one choice.

"No one has ever doubted that you would die for those you love. The question then becomes ... would you live?"

Elizbaeth Isaacs is one of those authors that in my experience have this uncanny ability to sneak up on you and take you by complete surprise. When I came across her first book after it was recommend to me I'll admit it sounded interesting but I never would have guessed just how much I'd come to appreciate Isaacs' writing and the world in which she created. Even knowing how much I enjoy her writing style and the characters I was introduced to in her series opener, The Light of Asteria, when it came time to finally get the chance to check out her sequel I was once again surprised by my enthusiasm. The further I got into the book, the more intense the plot became and the more invested I realized I'd become.

Her characters, her writing, her world, and just about everything that went into this second installment was even better the second time around. Everything I loved about her first book, I came to love all the more, and everything she set her readers up to be angry about or the characters I was originally hoping wouldn't prevail...those feelings only got more amped up. She's got talent and her stories are the only evidence needed to back that statement up. This time around, there is still background given for readers with any new characters that are introduced, and a little more history on Asteria is also available, but other than that, the plot flies by without getting too hampered down with an overload of useless details. No sluggish moments in this novel, that I will say is a fact.

This sequel was so chalk full of big events that I'm afraid to reveal anything for fear of giving away some of the best twists and turns Isaacs could come up with. So all I can really say is that while I was admittedly surprised by how much I enjoyed Isaacs' writing and the world she has created for this series, it was without a doubt a very pleasant surprise at that. So like I always say, do yourself a favor and pick this series up if you haven't already done so, and if you have gotten the chance to read her opener, you're going to really love the continuation of this story.

I gave The Secret of the Keepers: Kailmeyra's Strength 4 shamrocks!!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) by Amanda Hocking

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

It's not very common, but sometimes readers get very lucky and manage to find an author that just captures their attention and refuses to let go. I've come to realize that Amanda Hocking is one of those authors for me. Her previous series, My Blood Approves gripped me from the very beginning and four books later, I still couldn't get enough of her writing, her characters, or the massively unique and creative worlds she designed. I was worried that her Trylle series would not live up to my expectations (because they were already so high) but I should have known better. Once again Hocking got her hooks into me and once again when I finished her last page, I was far from content. I needed more. More of her writing, more of her characters and more of this new and fascinating world. How does she do that?

I know people talk and rave about her being an overnight self-published success, but she claims that her accomplishments stem from years of hard work, and who wouldn't believe that? Readers instantly can appreciate the details that go into her writing and plot lines. She allows her readers to use their imagination for some things while filling our heads with creations I had never believed possible. It's addicting and I'm not silly enough to believe that she's anywhere close to reaching her pique. It's a gift (her writing ability) and she's on a roll.

If someone would have told me that I would enjoy a book revolving around trolls I would have rolled my eyes and paid them no mind. But I was once again proven wrong and couldn't be happier about that fact. Hocking takes trolls and gives them a makeover like no other. We're not talking about horrible green, gigantic monsters that could crush you on site. They're not helpless by any means (or at least most of them aren't) but they're vastly different from the tales I grew up with. And that's one of main reasons I'm drawn to Hocking's writing. She takes age old stigmas and twists them around until she's created something entirely her own. Vampires received her own twist of detail in her My Blood Approves series, and this time around, the Trylle trilogy helps the trolls be seen in a new light.

If you've never taken the time to check out Hocking's work, correct this mistake immediately and pick up both her My Blood Approves series (the fifth book will be out soon) and then grab a copy of Switched....you won't regret it!

I gave Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) 4 shamrocks!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Countdown: 2012 Releases (4)

You guys know the drill by now...I'm always on the lookout for new finds and exciting new reads and below are just a few that I've come across this week. With how busy everyone gets if I don't write the titles down immediately I'll never be able to remember them later when I'm ready to download a new book to my kindle, or pick one up in the store wondering which shelf to look through first. So by posting these countdowns I give myself one more place to look when I need to be reminded of the titles I've been looking forward to.

And as always if you guys hear of any that you haven't seen me post let me know. Like I said, I only have so much time to search for future reads on my own, and to be honest, the majority of my favorite titles I owe to friends/bloggers/author recommendations. So leave a comment, shoot me an email, etc...if there are any books or authors you think I should have on my radar.

Countdown Pick #1: City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments, #5) by Cassandra Clare ( 5/8/2012)

The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series continues - and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon. Can the lost be reclaimed? What price is too high to pay for love? Who can be trusted when sin and salvation collide? Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

I just adore Clare's writing and her Mortal Instruments series had me hooked right from the beginning of book one, and four books later, she's got me counting down and craving book five, just so I can find out what happens next to Clary and the rest of the shadowhunter gang.

I'm still not sure how she does or how she manages to continuously come up with new plot lines and twists that leave readers reeling, but regardless I'm grateful. She's one of those authors that has the gift of an addicting voice, writing that flows so fluidly that you don't even realizing your reading a book, rather you feel like you've been transported into the pages of her world and are interacting with the characters themselves.

Countdown Pick #2: The Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices, #3) by Cassandra Clare (11/1/2012)
In Clockwork Princess, Tessa and her companions travel all over the world as they race to stop the clockwork army before it's too late. As Jem's health worsens alarmingly and his friends search desperately for a cure, can Tessa choose between the two boys she loves - even if it means never seeing the other one again?

Sticking with the Cassandra Clare bandwagon on this one, if you're a fan of her Mortal Instruments series, than I'm sure if you've discovered her Infernal Devices series, the same can be said. It's impossible to stay clear of Clare's writing once you've gotten a taste. I was skeptical as to whether her Infernal Devices series could stand up to the clearly awesome Mortal Instruments series, but it does just that. And to be honest, as much as I love Clary, Jace and Simon, along with everyone else in her other series, there's something about this series that trumped it for me. When I figure out what that something is, I'll be sure to spread the word, but in the meantime, I just want Clare to continue to churn these masterpieces out as quickly as she can manage, because I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to get enough.

Countdown Pick #3: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (1/10/2012)

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs...for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Now if there's anyone out there reading this synopsis and isn't already feeling protective about Hazel, I'm not sure how you did it. One read through of this description and I was invested. I've yet to read anything of John Green's but everyone I talk to seems to say the same thing; he's a genius! His writing seems to speak to people on a level unlike what we're all used to or have come to expect. This story might not be a laugh out loud kind of read, but if you can prepare yourself for an emotional and probably difficult to get through kind of read, than to be honest this one sounds like it would be well worth it. No need to countdown on this find since it came out earlier this month, but I couldn't resist adding it to the list so that I'd be able to remind myself not to let this one slip through the cracks.

Countdown Pick #4: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer (1/3/2012)

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl...

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother, and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

I wasn't sure how I felt about this one originally. I had gotten wind of it a while back but moved on quickly for what reason I don't know. I've always been a fan a remakes and retellings, but it might be because while I enjoyed Cinderella as a kid, it was never my absolute favorite fairy tale. So I didn't give this take a fair chance. So when I came across the title again this week on several blogs and was hearing positive feedback, I figured I should probably look into it one more time. Now that I've got a more open frame of mind, I think this one sounds kind of cool. Retellings can always go in any number of directions, but I really think this spin that Meyer's is working with sounds more unique than most. So if you've had the chance to get into this one, let me know what you thought, and in the meantime, I think it's about time I got myself a copy of my own.

Countdown Pick #5: The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (1/2/2012)

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything? Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second changes and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

I'm already picturing major romance here and the excitement is building. How could I have missed this one? I'm not familiar with the author, but I will be soon. This read sounds like one of those stories that no matter what happens with the main characters, you can't help but walk away feeling a little bit more optimistic than when you first started. Sounds crazy right? Regardless of what transpires between Hadley and Oliver, just as the synopsis says, just the idea of true love find everyone when they're not expecting it, possibly not even believing in it, well how can anyone not think that sounds like a winner? So it's been added to the list, and I think I might just need to turn my kindle on a.s.a.p. and have this one beamed over to me right away, because who doesn't need an excuse to feel a little bit more optimistic on a daily basis?


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