Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Words/Topics That Make Me Want To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This feature was crated because they're particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish (and who isn't?).  They're all about creating new lists including a little bit of everything and I've been meaning to participate for so long but always seemed to get behind.  I've decided that's going to chance in the new year.  So here we are and hopefully you'll head over to their page and check out what everyone else put up for this week's Top Ten.

Since just about all hours of the day I'd love to be curled up with a good book I wasn't sure how to go about this list.  But I realized after thinking on it that certain terms, words, or phrases do make me instantly flash to a reading craving, and here's what I came up with.

Word Association #1:  Blog

Of course if someone mentions a blog I think of mine and those I follow and instantly want to get back to reading and formulating new reviews and fun things to post on the site.

Word Association #2:  Vacation

Honestly it could be a few days out of the office or a full out beach/ski trip.  Either way I'm packing the Kindle and charger, or a few titles I've got for review because no vacation is complete without a good book or two.

Word Association #3:  School

For obvious reasons if someone asks me what my major was or what school I went to I remember the reading involved with my English major and want to grab a book instantly.  WVU was a fantastic school to attend and I honestly loved every minute of it.  And while there was always plenty to do, as an English major there was also always plenty of reading to be done.

Word Association #4:  Store

I'm not sure why but I love a good trip to the bookstore whether I've got a title in mind to pick up or not.  If someone says "do you want anything from the store," I'm thinking, yes, a good book would be great, thank you!

Word Association #5:  DAC

I love the challenge.  I'm a list/goal oriented type of person and putting together a list of debut titles I want to read is fun and exciting and makes me want to dive right in.  It's the excitement and hope that new authors are introducing potentially fantastic new work that's just waiting for readers to get their hands on, and I love that feeling.

Word Association #6:  Baby Shower

Weird I know.  But so many of my friends are at that stage in their lives where kids are coming along and the shower invites start coming in the mail.  While buying the baby a cute outfit or something off their registry is always easy and fun, I love adding books to their kids' libraries!  It's my favorite gift and whether or not it's a priority on their list, it's a priority on mine!

Word Association #7:  Decorating

I've decided that books always have been and always will be a part of my life and a big one at that.  I like to be surrounded by them.  It's a comfort to me that I don't think will ever go away.  So just about every space I can manage to cover or consume with books in my apartment....I do.

Word Association #8:  Travel

Again I like to have books with me when I travel but if someone I know is going somewhere unique and different I like to read up on it.  Find out what there is to do in the location, what kind of historic places there are to visit, great recommendations on food, entertainment, etc...  My sister and her husband went on safari in South Africa for their honeymoon this year and I instantly started reading up on what they could expect and what kinds of things they'd be getting to do and see.

Word Association #9:  Reality

It might sound strange but when I've got too much going on in my life or someone I care about does, I look to a good book for comfort and some peace.  It's an escape really and a coping mechanism that hasn't steered me wrong yet.  It's helped me get over a lot of touch situations and deal with a lot of hard times in my own way.  It gives me the break I need and allows me to keep moving.  Everyone has their own ways and what works for them...books are the answer for me.

Word Association #10:  Weekend

As much as I like going out and getting together with my friends and family, whenever someone asks me what I'm doing over the weekend I just cross my fingers mentally that I'll be able to get some quality reading time in no matter what else is going on.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

In My Mailbox (91)

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:

Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller (Thanks to Spencer Hill Press)

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong? 

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Spirit (Elemental, #3) by Brigid Kemmerer (Thanks to K Teen)

With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blog Tour & Guest Post: The Watcher by Lisa Voisin

Millennia ago, he fell from heaven for her.

Can he face her without falling again?

Fascinated with ancient civilizations, seventeen-year-old Mia Crawford dreams of becoming an archaeologist. She also dreams of wings—soft and silent like snow—and somebody trying to steal them.

When a horrible creature appears out of thin air and attacks her, she knows Michael Fontaine is involved, though he claims to know nothing about it. Secretive and aloof, Michael evokes feelings in Mia that she doesn’t understand. Images of another time and place haunt her. She recognizes them—but not from any textbook.

In search of the truth, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?

Ancient history is only the beginning.

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon |Amazon.CA |B&N | Indie Bound | Inkspell | Kobo | Chapters / Indigo

Book Details:
Title: The Watcher
Author: Lisa Voisin
Publisher: InkSpell Publishing
Publication date: March 4, 2013
Pages: 541

About the Author:

A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

 When she's not writing, you'll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains to counter the side effects of drinking too much coffee.

 She lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

Find her: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog


Instead of saying more, he brushed his fingertips along my cheek, and his halo glimmered. I could hear the waves slapping the rocks behind us, the wind driving them in. That same wind whipped against my skin, but the touch of his hand on my face was all I could think about. It sent a current through both of us and filled me with longing for something I wasn’t sure I understood.

“I’m sorry.” He stepped back and shoved his hands into his pockets as the light around him faded. “You don’t know what it’s like. Being near you now, remembering those moments we had…” His hair blew into his eyes, but this time he didn’t move. I wanted to brush it back, but I didn’t know how he’d react. Would touching him be bad?

“You want to know who you were?” he asked. “You may look different, but you’re the same. I look into your eyes and see you.” He took in a deep breath, fixing his attention on the horizon. I’d seen and heard so much now that the logical part of my brain had long since given up arguing with me. I could feel what he was saying was true. All of it.

The Trailer:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

I can now fully understand what everyone has been takling about when it comes to Gayle Forman.  Wow...just wow!  For me this book has now been added to the shelf along with Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why, and that's not an easy feat.  It's a book that touched me deeply and had me truly invested from start to finish.  One that I know I'll look back and think on often...there's no way to forget it.

Her writing and style were so capturing and her characters so beautiful and endearing.  I honestly felt like I was losing family members, Mia was that easy to relate to as a character and narrator. The circumstances, the ideas behind her potential choices, and the ripple effect it would inevitably create...haunting!  I have come across many good writers, some even great ones.  Forman, in my opinion takes it to another level.  And knowing after reading so many other rave reviews and comments, means I'm not the only one feeling this way.

I'm of course over the moon to know there's a sequel for me to read and can't wait to see if Forman can put as much force behind Adam's voice as she did with Mia.  I'm just very grateful to have the opportunity to read amazing stories like this one.

I gave If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) 5 shamrocks!!!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Actually Did

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This feature was crated because they're particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish (and who isn't?).  They're all about creating new lists including a little bit of everything and I've been meaning to participate for so long but always seemed to get behind.  I've decided that's going to chance in the new year.  So here we are and hopefully you'll head over to their page and check out what everyone else put up for this week's Top Ten.

This was how my year kind of went.  There were more titles I read than normal that I wasn't sure about but thought I'd give them a shot anyways and was pleasantly surprised with what I found.  Here are a few of the books I'm talking about.

Surprise #1:  A Breath of Eyre (Unbound, #1) by Eve Marie Mont

In this stunning, imaginative novel, Eve Marie Mont transports her modern-day heroine into the life of Jane Eyre to create a mesmerizing story of love, longing, and finding your place in the world... Emma Townsend has always believed in stories-the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates. Perhaps it's because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn't come close to filling the void left by her mother's death. And her only romantic prospect-apart from a crush on her English teacher-is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma's confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre...

Reading of Jane's isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane's body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she's never known-and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own...

I was never a huge fan of Bronte's classic so I wasn't all that optimistic about this spin on the original but I was wrong.  Mont brought new life and light to a book I fear I may have misjudged.

Surprise #2:  Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy Internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Who would have thought aliens could be sexy?  Not me, but I was wrong again.  I enjoyed this series opener so much I rushed to get the next two installments and I'm not waiting on the fourth to hit the shelves.

Surprise #3:  Ariel (The Ariel Saga, #1) by Aaron Patterson

All Airel ever wanted was to be normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like an incredible ability to heal. Then there’s Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous…and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything. Airel knew change would be an inevitable part of life. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed?

Unfortunately I just couldn't get into this one.  I was super excited to start and was never able to keep that feeling going.  I'm not sure if it was the material or possibly just a reading funk that I fell into.  I'm considering going back to this one and trying to start over from scratch to see if I get a different result the second time around.

Surprise #4:  The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arnston

In this modern-day suburban town, one percent of all fatalities come about in the most peculiar way. Deaths—eight-foot-tall, silver-gray creatures—send a letter (“Dear So-and-So, your days are numbered”) to whomever is chosen for a departure, telling them to wrap up their lives and do the things they always wanted to do before they have to “depart.” When sixteen-year-old Gabriela receives her notice, she is, of course devastated. Will she kiss her crush Sylvester before it’s too late?

Friendship, first love, and fantasy artfully mesh in this magically realistic world that ultimately celebrates life.

Very skeptical to read about eight feet death escorts and wasn't sure I'd be able to take it seriously.  I was wrong and so glad to be. Arnston proved to be witty and fun and his story reflected all that and more.

Surprise #5:  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. 

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. 

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. 

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. 

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. 

A world at stake. 
A quest for the ultimate prize. 
Are you ready?

I was asked to read and review this one long after it's release date and had never heard of it before that request.  For those reasons alone I didn't set the bar high but it blew my mind how quickly and how much I ended up enjoying this one.

Surprise #6:  Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Had seen the cover image around the blogosphere from time to time but never paid much attention to it.  Thank goodness I got my act together because now it's in my top five favorites of all time!

Surprise #7:  A Witch In Winter by Ruth Warburton

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English.

Can't explain it but this book and I just didn't click for some reason so I admitted defeat and raised the white flag about half way through.  I try not to ever do that because I honestly don't think it's fair and have read plenty of books that started out slower than I'd have liked but really picked up after the half way point.  But this time around I just didn't expect that to happen for me and this read.

Surprise #8:  Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

When I found out it was written in prose I cringed...literally.  But it didn't even take me the first couple of pages to know this would change my opinion of this style of writing and it did.  It was my first experience with Schroeder's work, but after falling in love with her writing I wasn't going to stop there, and now pick up everything of hers that hits the shelves.

Surprise #9:  The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1) by Carrie Ryan

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Zombies are just not for me I guess.  Everyone seems to rave about this book and series so I was excited to start and then later let down when I didn't fly through the pages like I thought I would.  I think this time around though it was more a case of the expectations were set very high and possibly unrealistically.

Surprise #10:  Song of the Moon (Artemis Lupine, #1) by Catherine Banks

What if you found out that there was another world inside your own? What if all of the things you thought made you weird, actually made you powerful? 

Artemis's life is changed forever when the mysterious man from her dreams, Ares, comes to claim her as his mate. The seventeen year old girl must find a way to adapt to her true life and accept her fate or run from it. She must overcome her fears and human ideals to give her self to the dangerous world, and man, that is her destiny.

I judge the book by it's cover and figured it would be a bust to be honest.  But once again I was wrong and so glad to be!  I love this series and can't wait to read more from Catherine Banks.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Continuing On (2)

Sometimes I find myself getting so caught up counting down to new releases that I forget about some of the books and series that I'm looking forward to continuing on.  So recently I went back through and checked in with some of my favorites to see what was going on.  I'll admit I was surprised (in a good way) to find that new installments had come out within a series I'd enjoyed.  So rather than counting down in these posts, I decided to list some titles that have come out that I need to back track and read in order to catch up.  Here are just a few...

Catch Up #1:  Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare

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.

Like I said in the last continuing on post, I think I just needed a break from all things shadow hunter related, but I also think it was because the first installment in the series left me a little sad.  I didn't know who I wanted our leading lady to strike up a romance with but I know that Jem's situation left me very sad.  So hopefully enough time has passed that returning to Clare's spin off series is timed just right.

Catch Up #2:  A Beautiful Evil (Gods & Monsters, #2) by Kelly Keaton

Myth and mayhem inhabit a richly re imagined New Orleans in this sequel to Darkness Becomes Her.After the epic graveyard battle at the end of Darkness Becomes Her, Ari and her friends know what they’re up against: Ari is facing the Medusa curse and is haunted by the image of what she will become. To make matters worse, the heinous goddess Athena has kidnapped young Violet and is threatening to destroy Ari. 

Ari, along with the super hot Sebastian, is doing everything she can to learn more about Athena and to get Violet back. But the battle of good and evil is bigger than she realizes, and she’s about to be pulled into a world more horrific than she could ever imagine....

Any book that takes place in NOLA has my mouth instantly watering for chicory coffee and sugary beignets!  Ugh, you guys have no idea how badly I want some right this minute!  So maybe that's the reason I forgot about this sequel's release...my willpower when it comes to sweets only goes so far before it's all out torture!

Catch Up #3:  Blood-Kissed Sky (Darkness Before Dawn, #2) by J.A. London

There's nowhere left to hide. 

I thought vampires were our enemies - they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood - until I met Victor. With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better. Instead, they're worse than ever. 

Day Walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city. Blood supplies are low, and if Victor's vampires don't get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst - a disease that will turn them into mindless killers. 

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began. I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all... before it's too late.

How did I miss this release?!  There are just too many great (potentially) new titles released all the time.  This was a series where the mother-son writing duo that is J.A. London won me over.  Their series opener, Darkness Before Dawn, hit it out of the park and had me instantly wanting more.  Now I've got to get a move on so I can be ready for the third and final installment in this trilogy, After Daybreak to complete the series.  Hopefully my fast reading habits are still going strong.

Catch Up #4:  Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2) by Laini Taylor

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

I read and reviewed the series opener right around it's release date so I think this was just a timing issues for me.  Regardless of the reason for my being late in the game, it's a series I don't want to fall behind with so I'm determined to keep this read on the top of my TBR.

Catch Up #5:  Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3) by Rachel Hawkins

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

The end of another really fun series.  Now I've already got enough reason to grab this one with her new spin off series, School Spirits in 2013.  I'm not going to pass that series up so I need to be up to speed before that first installment hits the shelves.  Plus I really want to know what happens to Cal!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: Independence (Significance, #4) by Shelly Crane

In the fourth and final installment, Maggie and Caleb must tie up all the loose ends of their lives and make a way to be together completely on their own. With everything that happened with Bish and Maggie's father, she's almost reluctant to move on and move out. And now she must figure out all of this...stuff...with Haddock. But of course, nothing can stay simple for the Jacobsons. Enemies who were thought to be dissolved have decided to not go down so easily. And old flames come calling for more than just Maggie. Caleb is torn between leading his family and personal wants. Maggie is torn between Caleb and being the leader of their people. But neither will let what they need most to be pushed to the wayside. They are determined to make it all work, design a plan toward destiny, and make everything right again for themselves and their family.

And then there's a wedding...

Readers are lucky to find characters within the pages of a novel that they can relate to, sympathize with, and root for as the pages turn.  If you're really lucky, the truly great characters bring out all the emotions you've got because they start to feel like your very own friends and family instead of just fictitious names and faces.  Crane's Significance series has these characters.  The main characters, the side characters, you name it and by the time I got to this fourth and final installment in the series, I really did feel like I knew them and was fully engaged in what they had on their plates and the obstacles they were facing.

I was very sad to have to say goodbye to them for good, but enjoyed how Crane wrapped things up and what she included in their journey this time around.  Normally even if things aren't left hanging, there's usually a few elements that I always wish authors would have touched on or elaborated so I'm not left wondering after the series ends; not in this case.  I really felt like everyone's stories were left at a good point and sure readers can use their imaginations and think about what else could have been in store for each of them, but for the most part I do think Crane hit all the key components.

If you haven't had the chance to check this series out, now is the time to do that with all four installments out there so there won't be any waiting or counting down until the next one hits the shelves, because this is it!  And if you have started the series, I can only hope that you end up feeling the same way I did; with a sense of contentment with how things ended, and worked out for everyone involved.

I gave Independence (Significance, #4) 4 shamrocks!!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blog Tour & Review: The Space Between (The Book of Phoenix, #1) by Kristie Cook

I couldn't be more excited to be a part of Kristie Cook's latest release The Space Between Blog Tour!!!  We've got a giveaway for a $5 gift card to Amazon...fill out the form at the bottom of this post for your chance to win.  Second we've got Kristie Cook hosting her own giveaway, and this one is just too good to pass up you guys!  Head over to her site at the end of the tour for a chance to win a $200 gift card or a swag bag full of goodies!  Can't help being excited over that one right?  So get pumped and hit as many tour stops as you can along the way because you won't want to miss out on all the fun and great content these bloggers have put together with the help of Kristie and the tour coordinators!

And now I'm passing the torch over to Kristie who was kind enough to stop by and give us some insight into where the inspiration came from for The Space Between!!!

On a warm October Saturday in 2011, The Man and I and some friends went on a long-distance/overnight motorcycle ride. We live on the West Coast of Florida and there’s a highway called Alligator Alley, which is the part of I-75 that connects the West Coast with the East Coast. It runs through Big Cypress, the Everglades and an Indian reservation, but you don’t see much from the road because it’s, well, highway.

But the old Alligator Alley is a two-lane road a little farther south, lined by marshes, swamps, saw grass and amazing wildlife. You can definitely see alligators from the road and during mating season, they’re actually on and crossing the road. Not the best time to be riding a bike, but October isn’t mating season, so we were fine.

We headed to an Indian casino at the far end of Alligator Alley in Homestead (where Hurricane Andrew hit, for those who remember). I was at the tail end of writing Devotion, Book 3 in the Soul Savers Series, and really looking forward to the ride. I sit on the back of The Man’s bike, which allows my mind to wander to wherever it wants to without having to pay attention to the road. There is a major scene in Devotion that takes place in the Everglades, so I was excited to soak in some detailed imagery to use in the book. The ride was beautiful, with lots of alligators far enough away to be cool but not scary. It had served me well for Devotion.

What I hadn’t expected on this trip was to be slammed with an idea for a totally new book that had nothing to do with the Soul Savers. We spent the night at the casino’s hotel, and the room was decorated in Native American décor with bright reds, oranges, yellows, blues and turquoise in Aztec designs. On Sunday morning, I’d taken my shower and gotten dressed and everything and came out of the bathroom to find The Man standing next to the bed, pulling his shirt over his head.

Yes, I remember this all very clearly, because he declared with great enthusiasm, “I had the coolest dream!”

He excitedly told me about it, but as happens with dreams, the details were already fading. We were the main characters and he couldn’t remember the why of what we were doing, but I wrote everything down that he did remember. After the ride home that let my mind play with the idea more, I had the inspiration for what became The Space Between. You’ll know when you get to the place in the book that gives it its title – that scene was The Man’s dream with the pool, the clicks and the ultimatum, but not the explanation.

Over the next few days, the characters began coming to me, one-by-one. And then the why, which The Man hadn’t known but I had begun to work out on the ride home, came clearer and clearer. The hardest part was figuring out the best way to write it, knowing that the 1980s story needed to be told just as much as the present-day one. But I sat down to write, figuring it would work out as it was supposed to.

I had to put the book to the side several times, though, so I could finish the next book in the Soul Savers Series. For National Novel Writing Month in November 2012 (yes, a full year later), though, I decided I was going to put everything on hold and write it for my first-ever NaNoWriMo project. Because by that point, it was all I could think about. The Soul Savers characters would just have to wait – I couldn’t focus on them anyway.

So now we have The Space Between, the first part in The Book of Phoenix series, all because of a dream my husband had in a strange hotel. And it’s even cooler than his dream. He even said so. *grin*

***Thank you so much for taking the time and stopping by Kristie!  You're the best and I couldn't be more excited for you and your new series....and for all the readers out there who have been eagerly anticipating the next series you'd put out there on the shelves.

So don't forget guys, hit up Kristie's site for the HUGE giveaway she's got going on at the end of this tour, fill out the form below for the Amazon gift card giveaway, and last but not least...my review of The Space Between...I'm warning you now...I enjoyed it so much I couldn't resist gushing a little more than usual...enjoy!

When Life Falls to Pieces, Answers Lie in the Space Between

After a month-long dance tour through Italy, 20-year-old Leni Drago returns to Georgia to care for her great-uncle, only to find him gone, the home they shared empty and any evidence he ever existed wiped out. All that’s left is a journal she can’t open.

Jeric Winters has been searching for a piece of his past for over a year, only to reach a dead-end in Georgia. When an urgent and magnetic pull draws him out of his hotel room, he comes face-to-face with the beautiful dancer who’s been haunting his dreams day and night.

Jeric’s one to stay away from—a bad-boy, hit-it-and-quit-it type—but Leni can’t escape the fervent feelings between them. As their own existences begin to crumble around them and shadowy forms that are more monsters than men attack, they realize there’s more to the connection between them than physical fascination.

To solve the riddle their lives have become, they must embark on a journey that requires them to face their pasts and release their true souls. And they must do it fast—dark ones from another world are closing in, intent on killing them. Permanently.

Some books just pull you in right from the start.  I should have come to expect this type of opener from Cook's work, but each and every time I crack one of her books open I'm still excited all over again when I find myself immediately pulled into the worlds that she's created with each new title she puts on the shelves.  Not really knowing what to expect out of this book, when asked to check it out for review before it came out to the public I figured why not?  I've loved all of her work in the past, and was looking forward to seeing her venture into a new series filled with new characters and scenarios to follow along.  I'm so grateful now to have been given the chance to see for myself what this new title and series would be like, because as always, Cook has come up with something fantastic!

Completely unique and like nothing I've read before or probably will again, I had no doubt that even though I had only made a little headway into the book, that there was no going back....it was just that good!  I was thrown off course so many times while reading that I couldn't believe Cook was able to keep up the high level of excitement and anticipation from start to finish.  Leni and Jeric are two characters with so many layers that there was never a chance to get bored with them, or even feel like you've known them enough to anticipate what they'd do next.  They were fresh, unpredictable, easy to relate to on some levels and intriguing on others.  Just when I was starting to feel like I'd gotten into the flow of their story, Cook switched things up and introduced two additional main characters...I was skeptical.  Again, I'm not sure why I continue to even have a shred of doubt where Cook is concerned.  It only took minutes and a few pages of their story to fall in love with them just as much as Leni and Jeric.  And wouldn't ya know...Cook would change things up at that point too.

Her writing and the stories she weaves for her readers are fun, fresh and impossible to resist.  Put aside some solid quality reading time when you pick this one up....because you're not going to want to put it down...it's just that good!  I can't wait to see what Kristie comes out with next and this time around I'm promising myself that there will be no hesitation or worry that it won't live up to her high quality work already out there. I'm already predicting this series is a smashing success, because I just can't imagine anyone not loving it.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what the second installment brings to the table.

I gave The Space Between (The Book of Phoenix, #1) 5 shamrocks!!!!


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