Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blog Hop: July 1-4

This week's question: What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?

For me, what always makes or breaks a book is the characters. If the characters are really layered and interesting and I can connect to them easily, then I pour through the pages as quickly as possible to learn more about them. If I can't get on board with them or they have traits/personalities I find really off putting, then usually not even an outstanding plot can hold my interest for long. I put added pressure on myself to finish a book though, I don't often set them back on the shelf without making it to the end because I keep thinking to myself "maybe it will get better" even though it rarely does. I'm a glutton for punishment that way I guess!

It's been a while since I've done the blog hop, so I'm looking forward to "meeting" a bunch of new bloggers! If you get chance before you hop off elsewhere, check out my 1-year Blogoversary GIVEAWAY, I've got some really fun prize packs!

Review: Ada, Legend of a Healer

R.A. McDonald
Paranormal Young Adult
260 Pages
House of Lore Publishing
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Ada has been bouncing from foster home to foster home ever since her Aunt Jessie gave up guardianship years ago. It seems each home is worse than the one before, so Ada does her best to get herself removed from them and placed somewhere new.

Now that she's fifteen however, placing her is more difficult and her social worker Gretchen is frantic to get in touch with Jessie to come and get her. When she finally does, Ada's not so sure being with her Aunt Jessie, in reality her mom's friend not her sister, is any better than being in the system.

Jessie helps Ada understand that she has the gift of healing, dragging her from one case to the next demonstrating how a simple touch can cure any manner of illness or injury. It turns out this is a dangerous gift to have however, and some very important people want to keep Jessie, and now Ada, as their own personal healers. Forced to separate, Ada goes to Paris in search of her long lost mother, but her gift is not an easy one to keep off the radar and those who are after her will stop at nothing to harness her power.

Though its cover might initially cause readers to balk at the nearly indecipherable and chaotic image, the story that lies in wait is simplistic in the best possible way, progressing swiftly and easily and entertaining us with every page. In the beginning as we are introduced to Ada's healing gift, we quietly chastise her for her attitude and unwillingness to help those so clearly in need as Jessie does. As the story moves forward though we begin to feel how much of a burden such a gift can truly be, questioning ourselves instead of Ada and wondering how we would deal with the weight of deciding between life and death, pain and relief, and misery and euphoria for strangers and friends alike. We quickly come to realize the predicament Ada is in, and our yearning for her gift coupled with our rejection of the responsibility that accompanies it makes for an emotionally enthralling read.

Connecting to Ada in the beginning is a bit of a challenge in and of itself, her seeming disdain for people in general understandable given her experience in the foster care system, but her icy quips and finely honed instincts telling her to push everyone away have the desired effect. It doesn't take long for us to become extremely involved in her life as she goes on the run though, willing the displays of strength we've seen from her thus far to carry her through and help her find a permanent home and family. The more she uses her gift, the more protective of her we become, shifting our disapproval regarding its use from Ada to those around her who risk her exposure and capture by repeatedly asking for assistance. We then have to physically shake ourselves for that reaction, knowing if we were suffering we would seek out any help possible as well. Thus, we as readers see Ada's gift through a variety of different filters, instinctively reacting to each one and learning about a different aspect of humanity through every new instance.

Beautifully blended into the turmoil surrounding Ada's healing ability is a sweet relationship with Daniel, a young man she meets in Paris who helps her learn to defend herself and perfect the art of escape. With each interaction we hope for Ada to find a haven with Daniel, awed by the lessons he gives her in expertly traversing the streets of Paris, and intrigued by the subtle quality to their increasing affection for one another. Though a taste of romance is present, the flavor of the overall story is not consumed by it, and we are continually swept from event to event as Ada searches for answers.

Ada, Legend of a Healer is a pleasantly surprising read, absorbing us into its pages quickly and refusing to relinquish us until the very action-packed end. This story isn't one to linger in one place too long, keeping us constantly on the move with Ada which, while keeping us glued to the pages, can also at times make us feel like we are playing catch-up as we attempt to chase after Ada before she gets too far out of our grasp. Additionally, this tale does end a touch abruptly, kicking us out mid-adventure but leaving us very much looking forward to meeting back up with Ada and Daniel again.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interview: Julie Kagawa

I'm ridiculously excited today to welcome Julie Kagawa to the blog! Her Iron Fey series one of my absolute favorites and I, along with a good majority of the young adult fiction world, am anxiously awaiting The Iron Knight so I can spend an extended period of time with Ash and Puck. If you have yet to read this series, add it to your list immediately :-) Hope you enjoy the interview!

Do you have a favorite line or scene from any of the three books, or a favorite character moment that most stands out in your mind?

“I am a cat.” Nuff said. ;-)

If you were in an emergency situation (of any kind) and could call one of your characters for help, who would it be and why?

Well, if it were something major, like the Zombie Apocalypse, I would call on Ash, because he’d be able to chop through the hoards easily. If it were something like getting my cat out of a tree…I’d still call Ash, because Grimalkin would probably mock the poor cat, and Puck might turn it into a bird or something.

Which of the three published books would you say differs most from its original, unedited version?

All the books have gone through major changes from first draft to final copy, but The Iron King probably had the most changes.

What is your favorite element of the Fey in your novels?

Probably the Iron Fey. It was pretty fun creating an entire new species of Faery.

The world of Faery you’ve created is amazing and has absolutely captivated readers, is there a world from another piece of fiction that has captivated you in the same way?

Harry Potter. I wish I had written that series, only because I love the world so much and want to live there.

If you could turn one stand alone book into a series because you love the story so much and wish it would continue, what book would it be?

There was an adult, sci-fi book called Helm that I loved and wished it could be a series. Sadly, that’s probably never going to happen because the book is now out of print. In newer, YA books, I wouldn’t mind reading more about the characters from Anna and the French Kiss. Though I hear Lola and the Boy Next Door has both Anna and Etienne in the story. (YAY!)

*tries not to break out into embarrassing happy dance but fails miserably - HAPPY DANCE!*

I tend to judge a book by its cover when I’m in the bookstore staring at all the goodness on the shelves (it’s a sickness, I know *slaps own wrist here*), have you ever been sucked in by a beautiful cover alone?

Oh, many times. But the cover is what draws people to the book in the first place; it’s their first impression and what drives them to pick it up and flip it over. Book covers are very important. There are hundreds of books on the shelves; a beautiful, eye-catching cover is a must.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Julie! For more information on Julie and the Iron Fey series, you can find her here:

Iron Fey on Facebook

Book Order:

The Iron King (Iron Fey #1)
Winter's Passage (Iron Fey #1.5)
The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2)
The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3)
Summer's Crossing (Iron Fey #3.5)
The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4)

THE IRON KING (from Goodreads)

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny--one she could never have imagined...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth-- that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Those Who Fight Monsters

Tales of Occult Detectives

Various authors
Urban Fantasy
240 pages
EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy
Available Now
Received from editor for review

This anthology includes 14 individual stories from some of the most well known authors in the urban fantasy genre. Each tale features a character or characters from popular book series working cases where the paranormal is just another normal day at the office.

Authors featured:
Laura Anne Gilman, Julie Kenner, Simon R. Green, Lilith Saintcrow, Carrie Vaughn, Justin Gustainis, T.A. Pratt, Tanya Huff, Chris Marie Green, Caitlin Kittredge, C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, Jackie Kessler, C.J. Henderson, and Rachel Caine.

Those Who Fight Monsters is an entertaining collection of short stories featuring a strong combination of both male and female protagonists with a proclivity for fighting supernatural crime. As with any anthology, some stories are more intriguing than others with certain authors managing to create a complex and layered tale in just a few pages while others struggle a bit with the short length, leaving us wishing for an extra twenty pages to give us that added depth we're seeking. All of the fourteen individual tales feature characters from already-established paranormal series, and most do a beautiful job of quickly introducing us to the world should we be unfamiliar with it, giving us just enough information to be able to connect easily as we jump right into the action with little prelude.

This collection would be perfect for those on the hunt for some new urban fantasy series to try, each tale giving us a brief taste of the author's style and their characters. Some delight us with humor and wit, some shock us with paranormal twists to standard detective work, and some hint at a darkness and pain we know will affect us more profoundly should we pick up the full length novels. The only complaint would be the length of each story, on average about 15 pages–a challenge that forces us to absorb a lot of details and individuals in rapid succession and never allows us time to fully settle in. Reading this book is akin to ordering a sampler platter–a great variety of tasty morsels are presented but ultimately we find our favorites and try to savor them before moving on to nibble on the next.

Little Better Than a Beast by T.A. Pratt
Marla is a fun, take-no-nonsense chief sorcerer who approaches her monster of a problem with humor and isn't afraid to dispense some much-deserved violence on a man suffering rather impressively from sexism. Mr. Pratt gives us a complete tale that leaves us wanting numerous additional pages and much, much more time with Marla and her smart mouth.

Under the Hill and Far Away by Caitlin Kittredge
Ms. Kittredge is another on who does a spectacular job of illuminating the world from her Black London novels just enough to provide us a proper welcome and introduction to Pete Caldecott while spinning a mystery that, though easily solved, is enough of a taste of her style to spark a potential addiction.

Defining Shadows by Carrie Vaughn
Jessi Hardin is a detective in the world of Vaughn's Kitty Norville series, and she headlines perhaps the most unusual an fascinating story in the book. Focusing on an incredibly bizarre and exceedingly memorable supernatural being, Ms. Vaughn ensures her tale stands out as unique even amidst a plethora of talented writers. The case Hardin is called in to solve is grotesque but undeniably captivating, and Ms. Vaughn makes a spectacular use of every single one of her pages, making us feel like we've read a full novella instead of a short story.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Reunion

Jeff Bennington
Supernatural Thriller
336 Pages
nexGate Press
Available Now
Received from author for review

Twenty years ago David Ray walked into the cafeteria of his high school with a variety of guns and proceeded to dispense his own version of vengeance against those who made his life miserable. Taking out eight of his classmates, he then turned the gun on himself.

Now, those who survived the trauma are dealing with the lasting effects in various ways. A small group of them ultimately decide to get back together at the scene of the crime to face their fears and celebrate the lives they've managed to create for themselves in the aftermath of tragedy.

Though their focus is on moving forward and not looking back, there's a entity at their school intent on making them remember. And not just remember, but live through everything again. It seems David Ray is as evil in death as he was in life, and he's ready to show those who have returned that he will never be forgotten.

Reunion catapults us into a world that is both disturbingly realistic in its focus on the horrifying trend of school violence and also frighteningly fictional as the terror of the paranormal is added to human cruelty. We are exposed to the permanent emotional, mental, and physical scars of a school shooting, our senses kicked into overdrive as we realize the trauma for the survivors is not over, but rather just beginning. The premise of Reunion is solid, the combination of real and concrete events with supernatural intangibility one that is certainly intriguing enough to have us speed-reading to see what nightmares await those who deserve nothing but peace.

While the foundation of Reunion is strong and its characters varied and likeable, there are a few drawbacks in the execution. The dialogue is often forced and lacking in emotional resonance, the words delivered with little intonation and missing the quality that brings flat black letters to life as they flow from the pages into our hearts and take root. The conversations are a bit soap-opera like in nature, sometimes crossing the line of believability to remind us we are dealing with a piece of fiction as opposed to being able to lose ourselves in interactions that feel as though they're taking place in front of and around us. Mr. Bennington provides us with the skeletons of some characters with true potential, they could just use a few additional layers to shift them from shades of gray to vibrant color.

Though the characters suffer from a small substance deficiency, Mr. Bennington does surprise us with an unexpected chain of events toward the end, ratcheting up the paranormal aspect and twisting and molding it in his own unique way. The final pages, as events and characters are wrapped up neatly and tidily (something we are grateful for after all they've survived), do dissolve into a mild case of religious preaching, however it's nothing so extensive as to be overwhelming. Despite my issues with this particular story, Mr. Bennington is an author I would read again, his imagination and ability to push a story in an unforeseen direction enough to earn my continued curiosity.

Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In My Mailbox #29 + Winners

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren and is a great way to see what other bloggers are reading and reviewing. I always love seeing what everyone else got for their week! I haven't done this meme in little while, so the below is what I've received over the past two weeks.

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs (thank you HarperTeen)
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies (thank you HarperTeen)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (thank you TOR)
Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter (thank you Scholastic)
Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers (thank you TOR)
Pearl by Jo Knowles (thank you Teen Book Scene)
She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens (thank you E.J.)
Spirit Storm by E.J. Stevens (thank you E.J.)

Corsets & Clockwork (thank you Julie at That's Swell!)

I have a couple winners to announce from my giveaways the past couple weeks too, thanks so much to all of you who entered! Congratulations to the winners, you have all been emailed:)


Winner #1
Linds from Bibliophile Brouhaha

Winner #2
Stephanie of Once Upon a Chapter


Donna of Book Passion for Life


Denise Z

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cover Critique: Fun with Poses

Let me preface this post by saying that my critiques of these covers are in no way, shape or form a reflection on the author, the content or the publisher. I know the authors have very little, if any, control over the design. These are strictly my thoughts meant simply to be humorous and not insulting.

This week I've pulled together some covers where the models' poses give me pause and maybe, just a little, make me want attempt to re-enact them myself just to see if I can divine the reasoning behind them by getting into position. I think we should all give these poses a whirl so we can attempt to understand just what taking place in the images below. Enjoy!


Believe my friends, believe. Believe that when your butt is thrust out at just the right angle and encircled by monstrous, overgrown sprigs of holly, that you will be worthy of gracing the cover of a romance novel. Believe that when you find yourself somehow stuck in a bush around the holidays in the freezing cold with naught but your flimsy ivory gown to clothe you, that true love is on its way. Trust in true love dear readers. Trust it to warm your half naked form and protect your skin from the scratches and scrapes from the holly you inexplicably find yourself trapped amongst.

Okay, seriously, what is going on here? I have no explanation for this pose whatsoever. Was she running away and got snagged by the biggest holly bush ever grown? And why is her backside being so oddly framed by the leaves? Is there something special about her rear end that we should know about? Should we believe in it? Does she have a pair of magical cheeks? She does appear to be craning her neck around to check on that posterior, so it must be important if she's making sure it's okay instead of trying to work her way out of this absurd situation she's found herself in.

Tell me something friends - if you were driving down the road and found a woman wearing I'm-not-sure-what with her hair dramatically blowing in the ice cold breeze and her butt protruding from a holly bush she can't seem to find her way out of, what would you do? I, for one, have no clue. I feel like maybe this situation should get added to one of those survival manuals though, people should know how to escape from foliage with their butts intact. It could save lives.

And lastly, I just want to talk about type placement for a moment. Why, oh why, when they've made her arse such a focal point, would they line it up with a tall, pointy letter like the "l" in believe? Now it just looks like she's trying to impale herself on it and that takes my mind straight into the gutter and creates a whole new set of issues I'm positive I want to know nothing more about. Plus, she seems absolutely blissful over it. Whuh.


At first glance this pose looks okay. A tad dramatic maybe, but we're all kind of used to that when it comes to romance covers. Upon closer inspection however, I find myself with a few questions. First, what is he standing on? Apparently part of what makes whichever one of them is the twin daring is that they have the ability to fly. How wonderful! This gift has obviously come in handy on this cover as they appear to be suspended in mid-air with the mountains far below them and the sunset-tinged clouds all around them. Ah, romance.

It looks like maybe the cover designer thought of this little problem after everything was photographed, designed, and ready to go and sought to remedy it by tossing in the world's tiniest plant way down there in the bottom left corner. You've not fooled us my clever friend! Your attempt to ground him has failed epically. "A" for effort though, right? Right.

I'm assuming this is supposed to be a passionate embrace - that she's run and flung herself into his waiting arms and he's hoisted her up over his knee like the sexy semi-naked embodiment of magnificence he so clearly is. However, her facial expression is completely vacant. She's just hanging out, twirling her hair and wondering what's going on with life. She might even have a mild curiosity as to where her right leg has gone, but that's not really a source of worry when her kilt-wearing, long-haired flying Scotsman is taking her for a ride. She could also be trying to figure out how to breathe through her nose as opposed to through her wide-open mouth, but we'll have to cut her a little slack what with the high altitude and all. Either way, she seems somewhat less than enthused at this man's so-called "daring". Better luck next time you shirtless superhero you.

Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Ashes, Ashes

Jo Treggiari
Young Adult/Dystopian
343 pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Lucy's been on her own in the wilderness of Central Park since the plague wiped out her entire family and almost the entire human population. Now, she just tries to survive day to day, braving unpredictable weather and rabid dogs just to stay hidden and out of reach of the Sweepers.

When a young man named Aiden comes to her rescue as she's running from a canine hunting party, she begins to remember just how much she enjoys social interaction. Deciding to join the fairly large group of people with whom Aiden has made his home, Lucy throws herself into her daily chores and the comfort of companionship.

Her brief respite is shattered however when the Sweepers repeatedly attack their camp, taking select individuals as though they are searching for something or someone in particular. When too many of their friends get taken, Lucy and Aiden decide to attempt a rescue, but what they don't realize is that's what the Sweepers have been hoping for all along since Lucy is the person they need most.

Though Ashes, Ashes presents us with a bleak outlook with regard to the physical state of our world in the future–cities and enormous groups of people decimated by disease, starvation, and forces of nature–we are also given a story lined with hope as we watch the survivors carry on in the face of so much death. First, we get to meet and watch young Lucy spend her days completing tasks we'd like to think we'd be capable of in her situation but yet are not entirely convinced the strength of our resolve would even begin to rival hers. Her commitment to survival helps bolster us against such a desolate environment, her will as a single individual against an empty and frightening world earning our respect and admiration. Then, we are also granted access to a small commune of people after our initial more solitary time with Lucy, able to bear witness to not just the strength of one human being but of humanity as a whole. Where there was a lone survivor before there now stand many, and reading as Lucy starts to recall what it's like to have family lets light filter into the gray and black of a once vibrant city.

Lucy is an incredibly strong young woman, fighting each day to live in a world that could so easily kill her either through an outright attack or by denying her the things she needs to make it through each day. We get brief flashes back to her life before the plague, these little snippets letting us know there's something of great importance about a girl who's been the one out of every 999,999 to live. Her relationship with Aiden is sweet though not overly emotional; their moments together providing a nice warmth but not necessarily setting us on fire or branding us with the memory of their time together. This is a story that seems a bit stronger in plot than in characterization, our connection to any of the characters more superficial reactions to the tragedy of their circumstance than deep-rooted and gut-wrenching attachment, but we are certainly involved in their lives and concerned for their future nonetheless.

While the survival element of this tale is thoroughly engrossing, the Sweepers themselves and the events surrounding the final showdown with them present just a few minor drawbacks. It becomes glaringly obvious to us at the end, once we learn how vital Lucy is to the continuation of humanity should the plague ever mutate and return, that the end goal of finding a cure has become paramount to the doctor in charge of the Sweepers, and the means by which she achieves that goal are irrelevant provided progress is made. Because of this, we think we're going to have a major confrontation between Lucy and a woman who feels science is more important than a handful of human lives no matter how few of them remain, yet she escapes fairly easily and returns home with Aiden seemingly unworried about any future attacks even knowing her importance to the doctor's research.

Additionally, the doctor and her team are extraordinarily well-stocked with food and supplies while everyone else has resorted to primitive hunting and gathering methods, and we are given no explanation as to how they are maintaining their quality of life and receiving shipments of food and medical equipment. Overall, the buildup to the conclusion is well done and keeps us glued to the pages, the events at the end just seem to get resolved with more ease than we are expecting given the fanatical nature of the doctor, and we are left just a little off-kilter as we wonder if she really is going to let Lucy go with so little fight.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

1 Year Blogoversary Mega Giveaway

Hey everyone! I'm going to keep this short and sweet otherwise I'll prattle on and get all blubbery and snotty and all-around ridiculous about everything I've loved about starting the blog and building it over the past year. I really just want to say thank you to all my readers and to all the wonderful people who take the time to comment on my posts each day. You have no idea how much this blog has positively impacted my life, and I can never put into words how much I appreciate each and every one of you. So, instead of using words, I'm going to use the gift of books to say what I can't.

I've got some absolutely fantastic books to give away today and I've broken them down into three groups of four books each, so there will be a total of three winners. I like things to be simple and easy, so please just follow the blog and fill out the form (link below) and you're in the running! You can also tweet about this giveaway for an extra entry if you'd like. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (I'm so sorry international readers, I have all the books in my hands already so I can't use the Book Depository for shipping! Please check back July 15-17 for Blogfest as I'll be having an equally large international giveaway then:) and will run through midnight EST on Friday, July 1st after which time the 3 winners will be chosen and announced on the blog. Below are all the prize packs, good luck everyone and thank you again!

*If you have trouble with the form for whatever reason, you can email me at with 1-YEAR GIVEAWAY as the subject and I'll enter you.



Variant by Robison Wells
Undercurrent (Siren #2) by Tricia Rayburn
Eve by Anna Carey
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Enthralled by Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong and various amazing others - signed by Melissa Marr
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely #5) - signed by Melissa Marr
Misfit by Jon Skovron


The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout
After Midnight by Lynn Viehl

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Angel Burn

ANGEL BURN (Angel Trilogy #1)
L.A. Weatherly
Paranormal Young Adult
464 pages
Available Now
Received via NetGalley for review

Most of Willow's life has been spent caring for her convalescent mother, a woman who drifts in and out of lucidity but more often than not seems content to stay in her own head. Willow has an uncanny ability to see into the future, often giving psychic readings in order to earn a little extra money to help her grandmother support her and her mom.

When giving one of the girls at school a reading, Willow sees a male angel draining the young woman's life force, and knows instinctively that he and creatures like him are a danger to humanity. Shortly after this shocking vision, Willow is visited by the angel in question, forcing her on the run with a young angel-killer named Alex who wants to know why she is suddenly attracting so much angel attention.

Willow is quickly given a crash course in the history of angels as far as Alex knows, and while he tries to keep his emotional distance from her because he knows her gifts are potentially linked to the angels, a begrudging attraction begins. Now made aware of Willow's existence however, the angels are more focused than ever on finding and destroying her, especially when the full truth about Willow is revealed and their plans for the future start to unravel.

Darkly fascinating, Angel Burn refuses to placate and comfort us with a familiar tale in which angels are paragons of goodness and light, but rather rips us from our previous notions and shows us how the beauty of these beings is merely a mask for villainy. Though they have the wings and the radiant light we are expecting, those elements are simply pretty distractions with which these parasites lure their prey, feeding on human life force while their victims' faces gaze upon them in awe and wonder. While most of humanity is blind to the otherworldly threat, we as readers do not share in the bliss of their ignorance, eyes riveted to the page as this new breed of predator is introduced to us, and we are taken aback but undeniably intrigued by such a shockingly different interpretation of angel lore. We want to shake our heads in denial of this reality, but simultaneously need to read as quickly as possible in order to absorb every detail we can, ready to battle with Alex and Willow against beings we would typically be rooting for in other stories.

In the beginning the alternating points of view take a bit of getting used to–the switch from third person Alex to first person Willow a bit jarring and disruptive–but once the story picks up and we find ourselves fully involved with their story, the change in perspective becomes significantly less noticeable. The relationship between Alex and Willow is fraught with tension, the revelation about Willow's half-angel nature creating an impregnable barrier between them we want nothing more than to bang our fists against as they travel together, wishing desperately for them to admit aloud what we know is churning within. There is nothing hurried or unbelievable about their connection, and by the time that barrier finally falls we are practically sweating with anticipation, wanting to luxuriate in the moments of happiness for we know they will be only fleeting.

The story itself is paced well after a slightly slower start, action interspersed with more quiet, emotionally powerful moments. Those few lulls can drive us a bit stir-crazy though–our skin feeling too tight and itchy as our impatience to know more about Willow and Alex, more about the angels, and more about what the future holds almost reaches its breaking point. The closer we get to the end the more we realize this story is nowhere near over, and we devour the last several chapters hoping for as many answers as possible before our exposure to a world that has become important to us vanishes with the turn of the final page. The wait for the next installment in the trilogy is going to be an excruciating one, and we can't help but peek in the back of the book days after finishing with the silly hope that maybe more chapters will have been written when we weren't looking, and perhaps there will be more Willow and Alex waiting for us if we just keep checking.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review + Giveaway: Forgotten

Cat Patrick
Young Adult
304 pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

London Lane has no memory of any of the days that came before the one she's currently living. Every morning her memory of the previous day is wiped clean, and she is forced to rely on detailed notes and messages she writes to herself each night in order to have a semi-normal existence.

Even more unusual is London's ability to remember the future. She knows what's going to happen to those around her, she knows who will be a part of her life and who won't, and she knows what certain actions in the present will lead to weeks, months, and years down the line.

One person she desperately wants to remember in the future is Luke. Luke, who she meets over and over again each day but whom she can't see as part of her life in the future no matter how hard she looks. While she decides to be happy with him each day despite her worries over their relationship long-term, he helps her learn that the future is fluid, and just maybe she has the power to chart a different course than the one she's already seen.

Forgotten is one of those stories that progresses quietly–no huge dramatic gestures, tragically epic romances, or intricate mysteries–just the day to day life of a young woman in a extraordinarily unique circumstance. There's something inherently fascinating in such a simple premise however, and the subdued quality to London's tale gives us a great deal of time to think as we let the questions raised by her ability to see forward but not back slither into our subconscious, coiling themselves around our minds until we find ourselves thinking about them more often than not. Even when there are powerful moments and serious revelations, the overall feeling is one of tense tranquility, holding us suspended in a state of curious anticipation as we dare not move a muscle for fear of shattering the peaceful chaos and creating a ripple effect we might never be able to undo.

London is a truly sweet girl with a fairly dry sense of humor that tends to pop up at unexpected moments, eliciting a grin from us as we are humored by her cute awkwardness. She approaches her situation with full acceptance, sparing us the drama of any "why me" musings as she organizes her life into select memories she wishes to take with her each day. Despite her rather trite and cliched reaction to Luke on his first day at school, their relationship is adorable and touching, made all the more interesting by the challenges of her condition. There is one moment of extreme melodrama that forces an eye roll from us, but her young age leeches some of the heat of our irritation as we remember the mature approach doesn't often come easy when dealing with first love (and especially a first love that begins anew each day) when in high school.

The ending of Forgotten is much the same as the rest of the story in it's sedateness, presenting us with some interesting information about London and the memories long gone from her mind, but not shifting the story into a sudden frenzy of enlightenment. Instead, we are left to draw a lot of our own conclusions about what the future holds, acutely aware that London possesses the ability to change her memory of the future, and wondering if and how she might fight to alter what we've already witnessed as a temporary truth. This book is an enjoyable read, but not necessarily one that will be forever ingrained in our minds as some others are. It has a lulling quality to it that is a nice change of pace from all the angst and action so prevalent in other tales, though this same quality prevents it from leaving an indelible mark as well.

Rating: 3.5/5


Thanks to the amazing people at Big Honcho Media and Little, Brown, I have 2 copies of Forgotten to give away today! To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run through midnight on Friday, June 24th after which time 2 winners will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!

Forgotten website
Be sure and check out London's video diaries!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Guest Post: Melissa Lemon + Cinder and Ella

Author Melissa Lemon is stopping by the blog today as part of the Cinder and Ella Blog Tour to talk about two of my very favorite things: books and movies. Give me either of those two things or a combination of both and I'm pretty much the happiest girl ever. Take it away Melissa!

What you get from reading that you cannot get from film and vice versa:

Reading is brain exercise. With each sentence, you have to think about eight times as much as when you watch a movie.* (That statistic is entirely made up, but you get the point, right?) It’s kind of like comparing running at a steady 5mph rate to a stroll in the park. You have to imagine what characters look like, sound like, and where they are at, even if the author is great at description. The picture in your head ultimately comes from…you. You also get a deeper character and setting experience. With film, the actors are putting on a show that is often set on a stage. I never seem to be able to get over this when I’m watching a movie. I’m always thinking things like, I bet they couldn’t stop laughing when they were shooting this part, or That’s a stunt double right there or That bridge is so not real. But with reading, and maybe this is a result of having to do more work, it can be as real as if you are actually there. The characters become your friends. They seem so real sometimes it’s hard to believe the book they’re in is fiction. It’s sad to say goodbye at the end of the book. Usually. That is the power of the written word.

Not that this is meant to make you choose between the two, because watching movies is pretty awesome, too. One of my favorite things that we get from movies that we can’t get from reading is music. Honestly, can you imagine the world without soundtracks, John Williams or that amazing guitar solo in the movie Uncorked, which is obviously NOT played by Rufus Sewell? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve got to see it.) Then again, with technology, who’s to say that books and music won’t be a package deal someday? Hmmmm. Another thing we get with movies is special effects. My brain has yet to produce on the fly something as incredible as the worlds and creatures shown us in the movies Avatar and Lord of the Rings. Yet, some computer genius can throw it all together for me and I can see it. That is the power of film.

Reading a book and watching a movie are both activities that come with a personalized experience. One may come while you’re curled up in your favorite chair and wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. The other may come with popcorn and 3-D glasses. Reading is done best while the lights are on and movies are much better when the lights are out. Each gives us something valuable and entertaining and has the power to make us feel something.

So this weekend, I hope you get the chance to read a good book or watch a great film.

*Not that some movies don’t make you think so hard that your brain wants to explode, because that has happened to me a time or two.

Thanks so much for popping in Melissa! I have to say music is one of my favorite parts of a movie too, it adds so much to my reactions and is instrumental (ha! I amuse myself) in whether I'm happy/sad or about to jump out of my seat or falling totally and helplessly in love. *cue sappy romantic music as I go off on a tangent* For more information on both Melissa and her upcoming young adult novel Cinder and Ella (releases November 8th), you can find her here:


Friday, June 17, 2011

Review + Giveaway: The Hypnotist

(Reincarnationist #3)

M. J. Rose
416 pages
Available Now
Received for review via TLC Book Tours

Normally, I write my own synopsis for every book I review, but due to the complicated nature of this book I'm not sure I can adequately sum up the story in a way that won't royally confuse you all, so I've taken the description from M.J. Rose's website:

An FBI agent, tormented by a death he wasn't able to prevent, a crime he's never been able to solve and a love he's never forgotten, discovers that his true conflict resides not in his past, but in a…Past Life.

Haunted by a twenty-year old murder of a beautiful young painter, Lucian Glass keeps his demons at bay through his fascinating work as a Special Agent with the FBI's Art Crime Team. Currently investigating a crazed art collector who has begun destroying prized masterworks, Glass is thrust into a bizarre hostage negotiation that takes him undercover at the Phoenix Foundation—dedicated to the science of past life study—where, in order to maintain his cover, he agrees to submit to the treatment of a hypnotist.

Under hypnosis, Glass travels from ancient Greece to 19th century Persia, while the case takes him from New York to Paris and the movie capital of world. These journeys will change his very understanding of reality, lead him to question his own sanity and land him at the center of perhaps the most audacious art heist in history: the theft of a 1,500 year old sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Hypnotist is a story that combines an interesting array of elements–from murder and mystery to robberies both past and present to a touch of the paranormal with the possibility of past-life regression and reincarnation. We are undoubtedly intrigued by the number of storylines presented, infinitely curious to see how all these seemingly separate characters and events will prove to be linked in either the smallest or most profound of ways. That being said however, the constant shuffle from one set of characters to another in the beginning is a bit overwhelming. We want to know more about the characters we meet, but with each chapter someone new is introduced, a new storyline begins, and we often don't return to already familiar individuals for several chapters, giving us plenty of time to temporarily forget the specifics of their piece of the puzzle and have to backtrack to get caught up.

The concept of reincarnation is one of the more fascinating aspects though, spiriting us away to places and events that keep our eyes riveted to the pages as we wonder how what we're experiencing is going to tie into the present. We get tiny snapshots of the past–little clues to help us paint a clearer picture of the characters we know in the current time period–that force us to question whether we believe in such a possibility as past lives and, if we do, what ours might have been like. The only drawback to this particular element is again the complex nature of it, adding so many dots to the picture we're not sure we'll ever be able to connect them all by the time we're done reading or even after. Those who have an abundance of patience for detail-oriented stories will likely revel in this elaborate tale, but for others like me who enjoy a plot that makes you work but not to the extent where you begin to feel defeated by the immensity of the puzzle, this book might be a bit of a challenge to find your way through.

Overall, The Hypnotist will appeal to fans of complicated mysteries and thrillers, with the lack of strong character connection in favor of intricate plotlines being less problematic for those who are used to it. A few less brush strokes used to create the final piece of artwork might have allowed for an easier relationship with the book as a whole, but there's no denying Ms. Rose's writing skill or her creative ability.

Rating: 3/5


Thanks to TLC Book Tours and M. J. Rose I have one copy of The Hypnotist to give away to a lucky commenter today! To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, June 24th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Tempest Rising

Tracy Deebs
Paranormal Young Adult
352 pages
Walker Books for Young Readers
Available Now
Received via Teen Book Scene for review

Tempest Maguire has a decision to make. With her seventeenth birthday rapidly approaching, she knows her mermaid heritage is going to make itself known and she will need to choose between a life on land and a life at sea. For her, the decision is simple. She's human and she wants no part of the world her mother abandoned her and her family for years ago.

The pull of the ocean is incredibly strong however, and with the arrival of Kona, a young man who seems to know what she's going through, her easy decision becomes increasingly complicated. When Kona is threatened, Tempest doesn't even consider not coming to his aid by staying on land, instead diving into the water and temporarily embracing her mermaid half.

While in Kona's world, Tempest learns more about her mother and the life she returned to those years before, causing her anger over the abandonment to slightly abate as she finds herself in the middle of the same battle her mother left to fight. With each day, life as a mermaid feels more like home, but Tempest struggles more than ever with her decision, not wanting to be the second woman in their family to leave those she loves behind.

Tempest Rising is a deceptively dark read, those of us going into it with memories of cute Disney characters sure to be both surprised and pleased by the grim quality of Tempest's tale. There is no singing or fun crustacean sidekicks, instead we are faced with rather profound and intense emotional issues surrounding Tempest's mother's choice of duty over family and the lasting effects that decision has on Tempest's own impending choice between human and mermaid. Ms. Deebs beautifully illustrates both sides of Tempest's nature–effectively cleaving our hearts in two as we find ourselves as split in our thinking as young Tempest. We are grounded on land with her, enveloped in the comfort of home and family, but we are also simultaneously intrigued as Tempest is by the fanciful and unknown world beneath the waves beckoning us to explore.

While the epic decision Tempest is faced with is heart-wrenching in its depiction, Tempest herself is a bit difficult to connect with. We absolutely feel her pain and sense of betrayal at her mom's absence during a time when she most needs her guidance, but she has the frustrating tendency to expect things of others she's not willing to give herself. Her human boyfriend Mark desperately tries to get her to confide in him when she's thrown off-kilter by the emergence of some of her mermaid traits, but she continually shoves his attention away and denies him the trust he so desires. However, when Kona enters the picture and has information and answers she wants, she gets angry at him for keeping her in the dark as she did Mark, at times recognizing the parallel between Kona's actions with her and hers with Mark but somehow expecting different results when she's on the receiving end of the silence.

Additionally, the final battle between Kona, Tempest, and the sea witch leaves just a little to be desired. We are told of a prophecy in which a girl matching Tempest's description defeats one of the sea witch's greatest monsters and presumably destroys her as well, but there are so many questions we want answered only to find few of them are by the time we finish, almost as though we are merely being asked to believe what we're told as opposed to being made to believe with a little more history and detail. Tempest has extraordinary power, but we have no idea where it came from or why she is the first to possess the abilities that have made her a target for the sea witch, leaving us a bit detached from the action as our complete involvement is blocked by a lack of information.

Overall, Tempest Rising is an entertaining read, its subject matter a nice diversion from the vampires, werewolves, and fae, and its world one we certainly wouldn't mind returning to visit again. Tempest is a bit bothersome at times with her attitude and behavior, but as an older reader of young adult fiction, it's easy to forget that all my reactions and decisions at her age were not always rational and completely mature. Ms. Deebs is an author I will be watching in the future though and will read again if given the chance.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guest Post + Giveaway: Robin DeJarnett and Whirlwind

Today as part of the Whirlwind Blog Tour hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader I have author Robin DeJarnett stopping by to provide us with a comparison between contemporary and paranormal romance. She's also generously offered up a copy of Whirlwind for one lucky commenter, so be sure and check the bottom of the post for details on the giveaway. There are giveaways at every stop of the tour, so just follow the above link to see the list of participating blogs and enter to win as many times as possible!


As an author of contemporary romantic suspense and a reader of paranormal romance, I enjoy both the realism of contemporary stories and the fantasy of a good undead or shape-shifting hero. I’d never really thought about comparing the two genres until recently – until I wrote a paranormal romance short story. What surprised me were the similarities between the two types of writing. What challenged me were the differences.

Really it’s Superman vs. Batman vs. James Bond

You may think that the biggest difference between contemporary and paranormal romance would be the hero. In many paranormal romances, it’s the hero who’s of some other species, while the heroine is human. No, this isn’t always the case, but judging by the number of covers that contain bare-chested, tattooed men, I think it’s a good place to start our discussion. CAUTION: I’ll be generalizing a lot here, so bear with me. What I found was the heroes in the two genres aren’t necessarily that different. The hero, no matter what species, may be a leather-wearing alpha male or a refined gentleman. The ghosts in his past may be real or a figment of his imagination, but his heroine is always able to accept his flaws. And whether he’s a supernatural bad-boy with the ability to incinerate you where you stand (Superman), an ex-Navy Seal who can kill with his little finger (Batman), or suave, smart, and looks great in a tux (Bond), his girl (and his readers) swoon for him.

Rewriting History…or Creating Mythology

For me, the hardest part of writing paranormal is creating the mythos surrounding the paranormal aspects of the story. The setting isn’t so hard – so many paranormals are set in contemporary times that I expect to see a werewolf running around my neighborhood one of these days. But coming up with the hows and whys is easier said than done. Here’s where you get a little sneak peek into my upcoming story**. It’s a vampire story, so I had to decide which features I wanted my vampires to have. Do they bleed? Do they read minds? Do they sparkle? And since my story is short – just over 10,000 words, how much of the mythos do I need to reveal? What made sense in this case? My story, Concessions, takes place in Las Vegas. You’d think the issue of sunlight wouldn’t be that big a deal in Sin City – half the population is nocturnal. But my story takes place in the summer, during the day, so I had to decide how my vampires would react to the sunlight. Having them catch fire would make my short story a little tooshort, so I had to think of something else (and sparkles were right out). Here’s what I came up with when one of my vampires got caught in the sun:

[The vampire] turned to face me just as a car drove by. Sunlight bounced off the windows, lighting up his scowl with a flash. Instead of bursting into flames, his face shimmered and vanished, leaving an empty hood staring at me for a split second. What the hell? I rubbed my eyes. … It was a trick of the light—it had to be.

The Conflict’s the Thing

While inventing the mythology for my paranormal world was hard, the obstacles the hero and heroine had to overcome were easier to come up with. When writing (or reading) a contemporary story, the barriers the lovers must overcome have to feel real – but not too real. One of criticisms of contemporary romance in general is it's too close to reality. Reading should be an escape, but reading about a divorcee who’s concerned her lover will walk away when he finds out she has a child may be too close to home for some. It may be simplistic, but an interspecies relationship has that barrier built in. One or both of the lovers has to sacrifice some part of themselves, be it their immortality or their soul or something else, in order for the couple to be together. It’s compelling, don’t get me wrong. But creating an obstacle for a contemporary couple to face that isn’t too real can be a challenge. That’s probably why I enjoy adding the element of suspense. Having a serial killer stalking the heroine definitely gives the couple something to overcome that most people don't face everyday. And, as you can see from this little excerpt from my romantic suspense, Whirlwind, it can also bring them together:

“I know what [he] took out of my purse. … He is coming after me.” Paranoid, I checked my mirrors, as if [the killer] could be right behind us. Jason leaned over and put his arm around me. “He won’t get near you, Melissa. I promise. He doesn’t know where you are, and you said yourself there’s no way he can find you. It’ll be okay.” His voice was low and calm. Only a hint of fear lurked around the corners of his eyes. “Let’s get something to eat, and then why don’t you let me drive for a while? You can call Detective Clark and tell him what you remembered.” He cradled my cheek in his hand and kissed me very softly. “It’ll be fine, trust me.” I let my head fall onto his shoulder and closed my eyes, trying to muster my common sense. Jason was right, of course. How could [the killer] find me? I took a deep breath. “Thanks,” I said, wishing there was a better way to tell him how grateful I was he’d stayed. Somehow I’d make it through this mess, with Jason’s help. I tried not to think about what would happen when he left on Friday. What would I do then?

In the End, it’s about Love

The truth is, both contemporary and paranormal romances are just that: romances. The lovers do manage to overcome their obstacles, be they manmade or supernatural, and find their happily ever after. And whether they live forever or grow old and gray, the key is that they are together.

Thanks so much for stopping by Robin! For more information on Robin, Whirlwind, and her other works, you can find her here:

Watch the Trailer


Concessions will be released this July as part of Omnific Publishing's Summer Lovin’ Anthology: Heat Wave. All profits of this limited release will benefit Save the ta-tas, an organization fighting to stop cancer.

Lindsey Colton leads a lonely life running the concession stand at a Las Vegas movie theater. When a dark, mysterious man ducks in one afternoon, Lindsey is introduced to a new world: one of vampires, princes, and fiery sex. Her seductive lover, Devon, has grand plans to steal her away, but only if she is willing to give up her humanity and he is willing to give up his future as king. Lindsey is more than eager to start anew with her immortal love…but the concessions Devon has to make could cost Lindsey her life.


Whirlwind is also available from Omnific Publishing in print and e-book formats, and is can be purchased directly through the Kindle and Nook stores.

Love at first sight is a myth to aspiring journalist Melissa Williams, but when she meets Jason McAlister at a friend’s wedding, a Cinderella-like fantasy turns her no-nonsense world upside down. She sees in his penetrating blue eyes not just an evening, but a lifetime together that includes much more than a glass slipper and a kiss.

Realizing she shared a few salacious emails with Jason months ago, a humiliated Melissa loses herself in the crowd, thankful he doesn’t know who she is. But he does know—and with a gentle touch and a steamy kiss, he soon picks up their flirtation right where it left off.

As midnight strikes, Melissa succumbs to Jason’s sexy pull, unaware that a woman’s body has been discovered in the wake of the party. When evidence points to Melissa as the killer’s next target, the lines between fantasy and reality blur. She goes into hiding, charmed by one mysterious man and hunted by another.

Cinderella lost a shoe—Melissa could lose both her handsome prince and her life.


I have one paperback copy of Whirlwind to give away today! To enter, please just leave a comment on the post and include a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, June 24th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Need So Beautiful: Excerpt

As part of the promotional tour through Teen Book Scene, I'm very excited today to present to you a deleted scene from Suzanne Young's upcoming paranormal young adult release A Need So Beautiful. This title releases on June 21st from Balzer + Bray, so be sure and mark your calendars! The angel theme in young adult fiction is really starting to grow on me, so I'm eager to get my hands on this one. Enjoy!

“I wish I could help you,” Onika says, picking at the fingers of her black gloves.

I jump, startled. “What are you doing here?”

“Observing. Your friend looks awfully sick, love. Too bad you can’t help her.”

“Can you help?”

“No. But I can bet money that if you leave her now and she dies, you’ll never forgive yourself.” She smiles. “Go with her, Charlotte. The Need will wait for you, right?”

“I can’t,” I say, clutching my stomach. “It’s too painful.”

“Don’t you think you’re strong enough?”

And it’s then that I wonder if I am.

A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL (from Goodreads):

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.

Okay, who's excited? This girl. For more information on Suzanne and A Need So Beautiful, you can find her here:

Watch the Trailer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Ruby Red

RUBY RED (Ruby Red Trilogy #1)
Kerstin Gier
Paranormal Young Adult
322 Pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Gwen's been having dizzy spells for days. If she didn't know better, she might assume they were a symptom of her family's time travel gene, but that gene is prophesied to fall to her cousin Charlotte who is due to make her first leap in time any day now.

Because everyone in her family is fussing over Charlotte's impending journey into history, no one notices when Gwen suddenly finds herself making multiple spontaneous trips to the past. When she finally works up the nerve to tell them she causes quite a stir, and no one is happy about the new revelation. Perhaps least enthused is Gideon, a young man also in possession of the time travel gene who has been working with Charlotte for months on an important mission.

Now stuck with arrogant, infuriating Gideon as a time travel partner, Gwen finds herself a member of an elite group–one of only twelve people throughout history with such an ability–and part of a mystery that's bigger than any one person or time period. The more Gwen and Gideon learn about the past and the importance of Gwen completing the circle of twelve, the more complex things become until Gwen doesn't know who to trust, what to believe, or where she will end up next.

Ruby Red is a story that instantly captivates us and sparks our imaginations to roaring life as we read on in wonder at the possibilities a time travel gene presents, thinking of all the extraordinary sights and events such a biological improbability would place at our fingertips. While the plausibility of organized time travel sends our minds spinning, we are also given a heavy dose of reality with this extraordinary notion, a complicated century-spanning mystery rising to the forefront to illuminate the dangers of such an activity when any one person's minute actions could greatly affect the outcome of events both past and future. Such an ability also raises some intriguing questions for us as readers–can we trust what we're seeing and experiencing in the present with Gwen, or are things unfolding according the the plans of others who have defied the time barrier before her, orchestrating and manipulating things to see their desired outcome achieved? We find ourselves willingly drawn into the splendid chaos with Gwen, breaching the fictional plane to lock minds with her as we attempt to shed the bonds of normalcy to which we are so accustomed and embrace the impossible.

Gwen is a strong young heroine, left almost entirely in the dark about matters concerning her family's unique gift, but we are eternally grateful for her bewilderment when she's suddenly propelled into the inner circle of those who are already familiar with time travel, taking comfort in the fact that we will learn the ropes with her as we go. She has the amusing ability to shock a laugh out of us, seeming fairly quiet and reserved as she digests the scope of her new ability, only to suddenly think or speak a thought aloud that catches us off-guard with its humor and wit. We find ourselves enchanted by a girl who can create levity and inspire laughter amidst the strangeness of her circumstance, and we can't help but hang on every word just waiting to see what she'll let slip next.

Gideon, dark, arrogant and oh-so irritatingly attractive, keeps us on our toes emotionally, his initial coolness toward Gwen raising our hackles since we are already fully connected to her by the time he decides to grace us with his presence. While his frosty demeanor begins to melt under the formidable weight of Gwen's understated charm, the thaw does not fully extend to us and we remain wary of his motives, becoming increasingly curious as to how much he knows about what will happen when the circle of twelve is finally closed. Is his slowly developing interest in Gwen genuine, or has he, having years of experience with time travel behind him, been instructed to play a certain part? The uncertainty with regard to his intentions, as well as those of everyone else involved both in the past and present, keeps us hypervigilant while reading, constantly hypothesizing and questioning motives and actions while hoping Gideon is as he appears to be–a pawn like Gwen in a larger game we can't wait to understand better.

Because this is part one in a trilogy, we are left with quite a few questions we know will constantly needle us until the release of books two and three. There is so much about the world of time travel Gwen, and therefore we, don't know even at the conclusion of this tale, and we can only hope we will find the answers moving forward. Ms. Gier certainly has piqued my curiosity and I am now anxiously awaiting the release of Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More Winners!

I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who entered my recent giveaways, you guys are all amazing. I've picked a couple winners via and they have been emailed and are also listed below. Congratulations to them and thank you again!


Cathy at Total Book Nerd


Ash from Smash Attack Reads!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cover Critique: Title vs. Imagery

Let me preface this post by saying that my critiques of these covers are in no way, shape or form a reflection on the author, the content or the publisher. I know the authors have very little, if any, control over the design. These are strictly my thoughts meant simply to be humorous and not insulting.

Hey everyone! It's been a few weeks since I've done a cover critique, I apologize. I should be back to a normal schedule with this segment with the exception of next Friday, so be prepared to giggle (hopefully) with more regularity in the coming weeks!

I find I'm often amused when I read a title for a romance novel and then look at the cover of the book to see an image that doesn't quite match what the title seems to be suggesting. When this happens, I just sort of stand there in the aisle trying to figure out how the discrepancy could be remedied but often come up with absolutely nothing. This failure on my part usually only makes me love the covers even more as I continue to smile stupidly amidst the bare chested men and crazy flexible women in various embraces on the shelves. With that in mind, I found a couple covers this week to illustrate my point. Hope you all enjoy!


An accidental seduction, huh? I'm not entirely sure how I would visually represent this title with a single image, but I'm pretty sure the above is not it. She seems to be pretty purposefully groping him doesn't she? I guess she could have stumbled on something we can't see and suddenly found herself plastered up against the back of a conveniently placed shirtless gentleman. Lucky he was there right? All half-naked and tan and ripped and just patiently waiting for a clumsy seductress to smack into his back and stick like sexy, sexy glue. Look at his expression–it's one that clearly says "Yep, this happens all the time when you're me. What of it?"

Now, based on the look on her face, it's entirely possible she's asleep. Is this why it's accidental? In her sleep she randomly wanders about, finds the first topless man available, suctions herself to him like a horny spider monkey and just lets those hands wander? Hm. This book is getting more interesting by the second isn't it? So many options!

I would also just like to point out that he seems to be awfully prepared for the seduction. Where did his shirt go? Did she rip it off while in her sexual dream state? Or does he go through each day secretly hoping a sleepwalking woman will see him and turn into a spontaneous nymphomaniac, so he therefore opts to never wear a top in preparation for such an occurrence? That takes some serous forethought on his part I think, thereby completely negating the possibility of it being accidental. What are the odds of that happening really? Slim my friends, slim.


Let's just start with the definition of elusive shall we? Here we go:

1. Eluding clear perception or complete mental grasp; hard to express or define: an elusive concept.

2. Cleverly or skillfully evasive: a fish too elusive to catch.

I would like to focus on the second part of that definition. *stares at cover* I interpret the title to mean the couple has trouble finding their moments of passion, whether they continually get interrupted or there are other factors that contribute to the sexy time remaining just out of their grasp. *stares at cover harder and longer* This couple does not seem to have any trouble in the passion-locating department do they? I mean look at her! She's gone positively limp with the strength of her desire hasn't she? Her hair is blowing backward with the force of her lust and she can't keep her feet because the romance is just too overwhelming! It's all very dramatic.

There just doesn't seem to be anything elusive about the passion visually represented here. We have a field full of blooming roses (um, I didn't realize roses just sporadically popped up mid-field), we have our hero primed and ready with no shirt and snug pants, and we have our heroine who has gone completely boneless at the mere promise of a kiss. Passion has been found people, fear not!

I think her pose is perhaps my favorite part of this cover. She's just leaning her entire body weight up against him. Awesome. And super, super sexy. I think we should all try this with our respective significant others as part of a "passion finding experiment". Walk up to them (please make sure you have roses covering the floor wherever you are, it's a necessary element), look at them longingly, and then throw yourself against them while adamantly refusing to take back control of your appendages like a child once they grab hold of you. If you could also position yourself in front of a fan or open window with a breeze, I think it would only be to your benefit. The sexy time is sure to ensue don't you think? Oh yes. It's fail proof.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Fairy Bad Day

Amanda Ashby
Paranormal Young Adult
336 Pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Emma Jones is going to be a dragon slayer. Her mom was one of the best, and Emma has been training to follow in her footsteps since she was little. With her mom's sudden death a few years before earning the title of dragon slayer is even more important, and all she needs is that little slip of paper from her principal to make it official.

When he finally hands her designation over, for a few brief moments Emma feels nothing but bliss. Until she looks at what it says. She's been assigned to fairies. She's a fairy slayer. Tiny, irritating, not-threatening-in-the-least fairies. And Curtis Green has been given her dragons.

Angry, upset, and generally wallowing in self pity, Emma attempts to learn about fairies and how to kill them since all the books at her school are maddeningly devoid of information about them. To her shock, one day Emma sees an enormous creature she thinks is a dragon but is actually a fairy, except no one else can see it and only her two best friends, and surprisingly Curtis, believe her. Soon the boy she's supposed to hate for ruining her life becomes something more, and the two of them team up to destroy a fairy bigger and badder than any dragon.

Fairy Bad Day is a charming story full of humor and general hilarity, leaving us thoroughly entertained and earning itself a place on our shelves among those stories that are go-to reads when we need a big smile on our faces. The characters are all adorably quirky and have sharp wits they put to good use on a regular basis, their antics making for a fun, light read that succeeds in being memorable despite not being a story that elicits a potent emotional reaction in us. Each chapter brings a delightful coupling of elements–silly humor with serious mystery, giddy attraction with tragic loss, and ridiculous mischief with intense responsibility–thereby undeniably satisfying us on a multitude of levels as we shut the back cover tingling with the pleasant warmth of having finished and all-around good read.

Emma is a young woman with admirable drive and determination, bent on honoring her mother's memory by becoming a dragon slayer and living the life she's always wanted. Unfortunately, the school's tests indicate Emma is to be a fairy-slayer instead, a designation with far less danger and prestige, and one she believes takes considerably less skill. Though we understand her initial extreme disappointment and anger, her whining to anyone who will listen about the injustice of the slight she's suffered begins to get old fast, as does her openly hostile treatment of Curtis. Luckily for us though, Emma does climb her way out of the pit of selfish despair she so dramatically throws herself in at the beginning, shoring up her resolve and embracing her new status as the world of fairy-slaying suddenly proves to be much harder and much more dire than it first appeared.

Curtis is an outstanding male lead, a young man with a talent he doesn't choose to flaunt but rather remains exceedingly modest, his more quiet nature drawing us to him easily as we seek to shield him from Emma's impressive wrath with our affection. While we can tell he's attracted to Emma we're also very aware he's keeping secrets, and though he has fairly perfect looks, the imperfections and vulnerabilities lurking beneath the pretty face are what hold our interest and pique our curiosity. Their relationship is plagued with little misunderstandings, the kind that set our nerves on edge as we puff up in vicarious outrage on behalf of one or the other, and we find ourselves fully vested in every tense silence, every almost kiss, and every casual touch.

Overall, Fairy Bad Day is sweet and funny, taking us on a quick journey through a world of mythical creatures but very human emotions, and is sure to be a joy to read for all those looking to grin foolishly and giggle uncontrollably as evil is fought and love is found.

Rating: 4/5