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Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 Challenge Progress: May

At the end of each month, I'll make a post showing what books I read for what challenge, along with a link to the review.

This was a pretty slow challenge month, but I still have plenty of the year left to go! Although I did finish the New Author Challenge, and realized I'm pretty close to finishing some of the others.

So here is my progress for May...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [13]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It's so we can show what pre-published books we're anticipating! So what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [13]

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 28, 2012

[Review] Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3) by Amanda Hocking

Title: Ascend
Series: Trylle Trilogy, #3
Author: Amanda Hocking
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: April 24, 2012

Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself. If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe. But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them? The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life—and now all their lives might be coming to an end. Everything has been leading to this moment. The future of her entire world rests in her hands—if she’s ready to fight for it.

Ascend is an amazing ending to a wonderful series! Wendy has stepped up to her role as future queen, and is trying to make her people's lives better. However, it's nearing her 18th birthday, her wedding, and an attack promised by her father. Wendy has a lot on her mind in this book, and while she's struggling to balance it all, I found she was doing the best she could. Besides the fate of her kingdom, there's also the issue of her love life. Wendy has a very supportive fiance (who may or may not be interested in girls), the duty bound Finn, and the charming, enemy, Loki.

Can I just say how much I love Loki?! Ever since he appeared in the previous book, he has charmed his way into my heart. I absolutely adore him, and he seems to really care for Wendy. He's also hilarious, even in the most dire of times. There's an especially awesome scene where all 3 of Wendy's young men are in her wedding chamber. I won't spoil anything, but the awkwardness levels were extreme!

To me, this was the best of the trilogy. There were plenty of laughs (mostly thanks to Loki), heartfelt moments, action, heart ache, and some slightly steamy romance! While I'm sad Wendy's story is over, I think this was the perfect ending.

Was this review helpful? If so, please vote yes on Amazon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Showcase Sunday [27]

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to show off our newest books and book related goods!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

[Review] Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) by Susan Ee

Title: Angelfall
Series: Penryn & the End of Days, #1
Author: Susan Ee
Pages: 255 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Feral Dream
Release Date: May 21, 2011

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

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

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

"There's a strong fear of the supernatural now. Both mortal predators and prey seem to agree on listening to their primal fears and hiding until dawn."

It's 6 weeks after the apocalypse struck Northern California, and 17 year old Penryn is struggling to take care of her wheelchair bound younger sister and schizophrenic mother. While trying to move them some place safe, she runs into a battle between a group of angels. It's 5 against 1, and even though they're the cause of the ruin, Penryn finds it in herself to help the lone angel. Unfortunately, one of the others uses this opportunity to fly off with her sister, and now Penryn must work together with the hated creature she's saved in order to get her back.

This is one of the best, if not the best, self-published novel I've read. It's also the best angel novel I've come across. Angelfall is dark, gritty, action packed, and unlike anything I've read before. This is a superb take on angels. They are not your typical, glowy, beautiful beings who protect you from danger and help you choose good over evil. These angels are dark, violent creatures who you need protection from! Except Raffe; he's pretty sweet and hilarious.

I can't believe that ending! I need more, now! I must know what the angels are up to! Why are they trying to destroy the humans? What are they doing to those kids? What are those things in the giant tubes?! This book is full of so much awesome: street gangs, cannibals, resistance camps, action, adventure, survival, angels of the apocalypse, science projects gone wrong. Parts were pretty darn disturbing and I couldn't help but cringe, but wow, this book is good!

"Besides, she didn't eat him, she just...gnawed on him a little."

I recommend this to...everyone!

Was this review helpful? If so, please vote yes on Amazon.

Pinkindle is 6 months old!

My blog is now 50% of a year old! Yay!

It also has a brand new, amazing look thanks to Jenny of Inside the Kaleidoscope! She did an amazing job, didn't she? I absolutely adore how the Kindle is opened to STRUCK! If you haven't read Struck by Jennifer Bosworth yet, go get it!!!

I even have a grab button now, so grab it if you wish!

Anyway, today also marks the end of my very first giveaway, so who won?


Congrats! They'll have 48 hours to respond to my e-mail, or else I'll choose a new winner.

Thanks so much to everyone who reads, follows, and comments! I'm excited for another 6 months of blogging!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Freebie Friday [6]

So, what freebie would I like to share with you today...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

[Review] The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1) by Megan Crewe

Title: The Way We Fall
Series: Fallen World, #1
Author: Megan Crewe
Pages: 309 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 24, 2012

It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you’re dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn’t?

The Way We Fall is definitely a unique addition to the YA dystopian genre. Not because the story is particularly unique or outstanding, but because of the writing style. This is told in the form of letters, which I know isn't popular among writers or readers, but I tend to really like it. In this case, I thought it was a perfect fit for the content of the story. Kaelyn is writing to an old friend while stuck in the midst of a local crisis. A virus is slowly spreading its way around, causing those infected to cough, sneeze, scratch relentlessly, cozy up to everyone around them, and finally succumbing to hallucinations. It was a very good choice to have Kae documenting what's happening around her; it made it feel like a real situation.

The writing is what mainly kept me reading. In the typical first person narrative, it's almost guaranteed that the main character is going to survive, or how else are they narrating? With the letter format, she could stop writing at any time, and someone else could pick up where she left off, or maybe she'd start getting letters in return. It essentially added a bit of suspense for me, an ingredient I thought was lacking in the story itself.

This is not an action filled book, so if that's what you're looking for, The Way We Fall is not it! The story moves at a relatively slow pace, which felt natural given the nature of the situation. The virus slowly appeared, spread slowly, advanced relatively slowly, so a speedy narrative wouldn't work. Despite being slow though, I flew through this book. It was a very easy read, and although there was nothing particularly exciting happening, it was certainly a page turner. I just wish there had been some larger conflict building to make the story more alive.

Overall, this was a pleasant read. I loved the writing and the premise, but it was too slow and flat to really wow me. I did enjoy it enough to want to read the next book though.

Was this review helpful? If so, please vote yes on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday [2]

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper. It's where we get to share books that have been on our wishlists forever or are newly added. I'll be alternating this with Waiting on Wednesday. My Amazon Wishlist is overflowing, so what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Review] Worth Any Price (Bow Street Runners, #3) by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Worth Any Price
Series: Bow Street Runners, #3
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Pages: 383 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: January 28, 2003

Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished - but that was before he met the lady in question.

For instead of a willful female, he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who could destroy her very soul. So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition - one he has never offered before.

He asks her to be his bride.

And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know - that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London's most notorious lover might claim Charlotte's body, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.

After finishing Lady Sophia's Lover, I was excited to read more about the infamous Nick Gentry. He's had a rough life up until his brother-in-law trained him to become a Runner. However, he's still taking unnecessary risks, and has no regard for his own life as he's haunted by his past. In Worth Any Price we go deeper into the events of Nick's history, which is dark and heart wrenching. After his time spent in a prison hulk, he hasn't let anyone get too close.

"No woman could love him...and if one ever did, she would be the greatest fool alive."

That is until his latest assignment, Lottie. Nick is sent to retrieve her after she ran away from the restricted life her parents had planned for her. However, upon their meeting, they agree on a new arrangement. Lottie is innocent, but strong willed and independent and there's no way she could survive the life her parents have laid out for her. Her best bet at happiness is to go with Nick, and have him protect her from her overbearing fiance.

Learning both of these characters' situations makes it easy to become invested in their story. Nick deserves someone to love, keep him grounded, and to take care of him, and Lottie needs someone who will let her be herself. They are a perfect match, and watching them fall in love was amazing. If you thought the chemistry between Ross and Sophia was sizzling, Nick and Lottie will set you on fire! Those two cannot keep their hands off each other, and Kleypas amazingly snuck in a shower scene! That's right, historical shower sex!

Needless to say, this was a great ending to this series. I enjoyed all of the characters, and their journeys towards love and becoming the best version of themselves. It was fun, sexy, and heart warming. I cannot get enough of Kleypas' wonderful writing, and will definitely be checking out the rest of her historical series.

Monday, May 21, 2012

[Review] Lady Sophia's Lover (Bow Street Runners, #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Lady Sophia's Lover
Series: Bow Street Runners, #2
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Pages: 380 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: April 1, 2003

Lady Sophia has one goal: to ruin Sir Ross's perfect reputation. But first she must gain his trust. After sensual dinners and passionate stares Sophia is sure she has won his heart...but she never counted on falling in love with him....

Lady Sophia Sydney would do anything to ensnare the unattainable Sir Ross Cannon. Her goal to ruin his reputation and cause a scandal that would be the talk of all London. So she insinuates herself into his life by gaining his trust and living in his house.

Every morning, her lush presence tempts him beyond all reason...the way she bends over the table to serve him the meals she has prepared...the way her hands oh, so gently yet sensuously brush against him. Every night, she promises with her eyes and her body that the hours before dawn could be spent in unbridled passion instead of restless sleep if only he'd let her share his bed.

She knows he is falling more in love with her each day. But she never counted on falling in love with him. And she never dreamed he might very respectably ask for her hand in marriage...

Revenge! Lady Sophia's Lover brings another fun revenge plot from Lisa Kleypas. However, this time it's the woman who seeks vengeance. Sophia Sydney's brother was killed and she holds Ross Cannon responsible. Her plan: seduce him then rip his world apart. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, her plan falls through when she finds herself in love with Ross herself. Plus there's the added complication of a mysterious admirer. Sophia begins receiving expensive gifts, but does their provider mean her harm?

This one moves at a faster pace than the previous Bow Street Runners, which I was glad for. I'm sure I've said this before, but Kleypas' writing is so easy to get into, and is full of humor, wit, and sensuality. I just could not get enough of Sophia and Ross. The chemistry between them is sizzling, and they have a few close encounters that were quite hot. It was funny to watch the tables turn as Ross seduces Sophia instead. He's such a reserved man, and a workaholic with no time for fun and passion, but when he lets loose...woah!

The mystery plot wasn't that great, but it added some nice emotional scenes for Sophia and Ross. But their relationship was so steamy that nothing much else mattered! I'm beginning to think that cravats should come back in style....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Showcase Sunday [26]

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to show off our newest books and book related goods!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

[Review] Someone to Watch Over Me (Bow Street Runners, #1) by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Someone to Watch Over Me
Series: Bow Street Runners, #1
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Pages: unknown (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: May 1, 1999

Grant Morgan is one of London's most eligible and unattainable bachelors. He's also a powerful member of the Bow Street Runners, and when he's called to the waterfront late one night to investigate a drowning victim, Grant is stunned to recognize the face of Vivien Rose Duvall, a well-known woman of the night. He's even more startled when he realizes that she's alive. With no one to care for her, Grant carries Vivien to his home and revives her, only to learn that she is suffering from amnesia.

Vivien hesitantly accepts her handsome rescuer's claim that she is his mistress, despite her misgivings about her true identity. Nevertheless, she can't deny the marks on her throat that prove her near-drowning in the Thames was not an accident, and now she must trust the man who claims her as his paramour, for her life is in danger. As Grant searches for Vivien's attacker, the two find themselves falling in love, all the while struggling to stay one step ahead of the evil forces that will stop at nothing to see Vivien dead.

Grant Morgan is a workaholic and doesn't have time or the need for love. Then he's called to the scene where a woman was pulled from the water, takes her home, and things start to change inside the man who's described to be as "unloving and unmovable as granite." At first it seems like he's doing his lawful duty, until we find out that he knows her and wants revenge! I like revenge plots, especially when it's obvious that they'll become lovers in the end. So this one reminded me a bit of Again the Magic, also by Kleypas, in that regard. However, I was a bit put off by Grant, because he was plotting revenge on a woman who was obviously almost killed and was currently unconscious and half-frozen in his bed! Sure she's a renowned courtesan who had embarrassed him publicly, but getting pay back while she's in that kind of state? Horrible! The worst part is, he's still planning on it even after she's revealed to have amnesia!

This started off seemingly like a mystery and suspense, with Grant working to find out who tried to kill Vivien, while getting his revenge on the side. But then the story slows way down for a long time. Nothing really happens with either of those plot lines. It's just a lot of Grant going back and forth about how he feels about Vivien: She's a lying whore, so he's going to lie to her since she doesn't know anything about herself. Then she's so alluring and beautiful and he wants to care for her. But wait, she might be lying and playing some kind of game, so he'll continue to plot his revenge! BUT what if she really does have amnesia? In that case, he really likes the woman she is now, even though she was a self-absorbed bitch before. He seriously could not make up his mind on what he wanted to do!

But the midpoint makes a switch from slow and boring, to fast and exciting, in more ways than one! The second half of this book is significantly better than the first! The mystery and the romance both seem to take off and there's a twist that I was not expecting at all. I had my suspicions early on, but I felt like it was too obvious to be what actually was going on. I could hardly put this one down once the story really got going! This definitely isn't my favorite of Kleypas' books I've read so far, but I thought the second half was great, if obvious, and I enjoyed it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Freebie Friday [5]

So, what freebie would I like to share with you today...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

[Review] Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay
Series: The Hunger Games, #3
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 455 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: August 24, 2010

Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.

Katniss is out of the arena and done with the Hunger Games, but now she must still outsmart and bring down her toughest opponent: the Capitol. Unfortunately, she's so utterly broken, physically, mentally, and emotionally. She is a completely different person in this book. I was so nervous throughout the whole book, waiting for Katniss to just lose it completely. Everyone has their own Agenda for Katniss in this battle, but what about what she wants? Can she still keep her promise to keep Peeta alive? There's a lot of responsibility that has been dropped on her shoulders, and at first it looked like she was going to break under the pressure. And as the book moved forward I just kept anticipating the worse possible scenarios for her, and some came true.

For the most part, the first half of this didn't fully hold my attention. Everything seemed to just go in circles, and whenever some action would pick up, it would be interrupted by Katniss being sedated or otherwise being knocked unconscious. It made it difficult to stay in the story. I did loved the Peeta plot. I felt awful for him, and can't even imagine what he's been going through thanks to the Capitol. It made me root for team Mockingjay even more!

This ended up being my least favorite of the trilogy. I was really disappointed in how it all wrapped up. I couldn't believe that the fall of the Capitol happened while...Katniss was unconscious! All of this buildup, and then the main even happens off the page. I also would have liked to see more of Katniss and Peeta reestablishing their relationship, rather than them just ending up together after all of what they've been through. Overall this book was pretty good, but the ending was unsatisfying.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [12]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It's so we can show what pre-published books we're anticipating! So what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [12]

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 14, 2012

[Review] Cathing Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
Series: The Hunger Games, #2
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 396 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 28, 2010

Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy.Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Even though they're out of the arena, the games are still not over for Katniss and Peeta. They must now go on tour and keep up their lovers routine, in order to placate the Capitol, who views their triumph as an act of rebellion. And Katniss is now the face of this rebellion even if she didn't mean to.

Catching Fire didn't immediately draw me in like the previous book did. Katniss' life is so different, with the endless supply of food, money, and luxuries. She's still her same fierce self, for the most part, but now she's being dragged down by uncertainties. Can she keep up her charade in front of the cameras? Can she keep her family and Gale safe? Can she even keep herself alive? While the conflict in this book is much different than the previous, it was still interesting. It didn't have that same wow factor, or make me cringe with the violence, and at times it just felt slow. That is until around the halfway point...

I had a feeling Katniss would be thrown back into the arena. It didn't seem right that this book would lack the excitement and violence of the games. It definitely didn't disappoint. This Hunger Games is so different than the last one. Not only is the scenery completely different, but so are the other tributes and their strategies. Katniss is determined to stay alive as long as possible, but not to win, to make sure Peeta wins! I'm actually not sure how I feel about Peeta. He's a sweetie, but he's also kind of bland. I was cheering on Katniss to protect him though.

This book was much more emotional than the first. I felt horrible for Katniss and Peeta having to reenter the arena after such a short time. Again, I couldn't figure out how this was going to end, other than Katniss surviving (or who else would narrate the last book?!). I definitely wasn't expecting things to go the way they did, so now I must jump straight into Mockingjay!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Showcase Sunday [25]

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to show off our newest books and book related goods!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

[Review] The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Series: The Hunger Games, #1
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 388 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 1, 2009

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

There's a lot of hype surrounding this series, and I kept putting off reading it, but I couldn't avoid it anymore. I'm so glad that I finally read it! The Hunger Games has one of the best first chapters that I've read. We get a peek into everyday life in District 12 of Panem, and we get quite a bit of information about the state of this nation without being bombarded with facts. Katniss is a wonderfully, real feeling character. She's a great narrator, and I feel like we get to know her inside and out. She's strong, brave, caring (especially of her little sister), smart, feisty, and stubborn. I couldn't help but root for her from the very beginning.

The writing is very easy to get into, since it flows well and moves at a nice pace. The first third is a little slow, but not dragging. It gives us a very clear picture of exactly what is happening to Katniss, almost like we're there with her. Then when we enter the arena, and the games get started, wow! The attention to detail is spectacular, like we're watching the games on TV with the rest of the nation. I was on the edge of my seat (figuratively, since I was mostly laying down) the entire time. I felt myself becoming nervous for Katniss whenever things seemed to calm, expecting someone to jump out and stab her.

I seriously could not put this down for the last third. I had no idea how this book could possibly end well with all of the twists and turns of the games and the events immediately following. There's no real closure at the end, and I have no clue what to expect from book two!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Freebie Friday [4]

So, what freebie would I like to share with you today...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

[Review] Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Pages: 324 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 22, 2012
I received an ARC from NetGalley.

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

Of Poseidon was a major disappointment. I was very excited for my first mermaid novel, and I was sadly let down. However, it wasn't a case of having too-high expectations. I truly just did not like this book from the writing to the characters. I'm glad it was a quick read.

First, I was immediately put off by the writing style and had trouble getting into the book. It has an alternating POV, which I normally love, but in this case I hated it. Emma's chapters are in first person, which is my favorite type of narrative, but then Galen's chapters are in third person. Why?! I always have trouble adjusting to third person after finishing a first person narrative book, but with this book, I had to get use to it every other chapter. Flip-flopping between two completely different narratives, seriously disrupted the flow and made it hard to stay in the story.

The second thing that bothered me was Emma's best friend Chloe. Well, not Chloe herself, but how she was portrayed. She's black, which is great, since there seems to be a shortage of people of color in fiction. Unfortunately, her brief appearance is hindered by lines such as:

"I pinch the bridge of my nose and count to ten-Mississippi, but fifty-Mississippi seems more appropriate. Fifty allows more time to fantasize about ripping one of Chloe's new weaves out. (1% eARC)"

"Great, Emma! You got my new hair wet! (4% eARC)"

They're at the the water...surfing! Why does she have a "new weave" at the beach?! If she didn't want to get her hair wet, then she should have stayed out of the water! This made it seem like the author just wanted to make sure that we knew that Chloe was black, but she resulted to using frustrating stereotypes and lack of common sense! But we don't have to worry about Chloe's new weave after about 5% since she gets killed by a shark. My third issue with this book was how Emma handles her best friend since childhood's death.

"In a few weeks, they won't even realize something's missing. They'll just move on. Forget about Chloe. (10% eARC)"

"I'm not in any danger of crying today. [...] Funny how a little sleep, a little makeup, and a lot of contemplation can make you feel like a different person- a stronger version of yourself. (17% eARC)"

I'm glad Emma accepted her friend's death and is moving on, but seriously?! She watched her friend get her leg ripped off by a shark, right up close and personal, but there seems to be no lasting effects from that. She puts on some makeup, and her biggest problem becomes trying to convince her mom that she's not having sex with Galen. In fact, the few additional times Chloe is mentioned is only in relation to Galen in some way. I had trouble accepting that Emma is that callous, and it made it hard for me to care about anything that happens to her. I also felt like Chloe's death was just included in order to have Emma go through something tragic, rather than having any important impact on the story.

"Emma, you threw my sister through hurricane-proof glass. (35% eARC)"

Yep, she did, and Galen does NOTHING to stop it and yet he scolds her for it later on. That just doesn't make any sense. He just stands around talking about maybe stopping the fight, but ultimately just hangs out. Sure he knows for sure that his sister wouldn't be hurt, but what if Emma wasn't also Syrena? Things would have ended quite badly, but Galen knows everything, so no worries.

"So what if he thinks I'm some sort of peasant fish who has to obey him? Why shouldn't I use him the way he used me- to get what I want. It's just that what I want is holding me in his arms... (37% eARC)"

"I've turned into "that girl." [...] That girl who exchanges her dignity and chances for happiness for some possessive loser who beats her when she makes eye contact with some random guy working the hot dog stand. Not that Galen beats me, but after his little show, what will people think? He acted like a lunatic tonight, stalking me to Atlantic City, blowing up my phone, and threatening my date with physical violence. (89% eARC)"

I don't like Emma, at all. I also didn't like Galen too much either, although some of his ignorance about humans was kind of cute. Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about those above quotes. Either Emma is spineless and is willing to do whatever he says, or she's trying to take matters into her own hands and "use him." She also doesn't like Galen's behavior, but at least he isn't violent toward her. I just don't get it. She says everyone thinks she's sweet, but she completely forgets about her best friend for a boy and tries to murder said boy's sister (and boy wanted to murder her date, double tempers!). She's a very inconsistent character and extremely unlikeable, and Galen isn't much better.

However, the scene of Emma talking to the whale was really cute, and I loved how Galen earned money by finding treasures and pieces of history in the depths of the ocean. His surprise for Emma was also pretty darn awesome. While I did like the set up of the Syrena lifestyle, I was a bit confused about the political situation and what exactly was going on there. I did really enjoy the parts about their history though. The twist on mythology was pretty clever. The Syrene biology lesson was also pretty interesting.

So, in short: I did not enjoy this book at all. The narrative didn't flow, and the characters were unlikeable. While the ending was a major cliffhanger, it was also extremely predictable; the hints dropped throughout the book were not subtle at all. I'm still not even sure what the point of the story is. Is it the question of Emma's heritage? Who's suppose to be queen? The mystery of Nalia? This book felt like it was a really long prologue and that the main story is still to come. I probably won't be continuing to find out what that story is.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday [1]

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper. It's where we get to share books that have been on our wishlists forever or are newly added. I'll be alternating this with Waiting on Wednesday. My Amazon Wishlist is overflowing, so what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

[Review] Struck (Struck, #1) by Jennifer Bosworth

Title: Struck
Series: Struck, #1
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Pages: 373 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: May 8, 2012
I received an ARC from NetGalley.

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

I was completely amazed by and in love with Struck from page one! I was first intrigued by Mia and her self-proclaimed addiction to being struck by lightning. That's crazy, but I had to know more about her! Then the setting completely captivated me. It's Los Angeles 4 weeks after the next major earthquake. The city is in ruin, there's looting, tons of homeless people, not enough food, water or medicine to go around. But most interesting of all is the emergence of an extreme religious group led by Rance Ridley Prophet. He apparently predicted the earthquake, which left so many dead and injured, right down to the minute, so his following has grown exponentially! It's amazing what people will believe and cling to in desperate times! As a Californian who knows all about the impending "Big One," I couldn't help but be drawn into this possible future.

There are so many things about this book that I loved! The setting, which I've already mentioned, was perfect! It's horrible, but that's what happens after a natural disaster. It makes me nervous for when that earthquake actually hits. Mia's home life was directly effected by the quake, because she must now take care of her mother who is struggling mentally after being trapped beneath a collapsed building for three days. Their relationship is strained, and it was really sad watching how things developed between them throughout the book.

Rance Ridley Prophet, or Prophet as he's called, was a super interesting, and disturbing character. He's somehow managed to get hundreds of Followers, who believe he is a conduit for the word of God. But I suppose, it would be hard to deny someone who can predict a devastating earthquake and heal those who were injured. I had a theory about him, which is probably obvious, but I was happy to learn I was right. I wanted to know more about what had happened to him and what he was up to by collecting Followers.

In opposition to Prophet and his Followers are the Seekers, another kind of cult. They want Mia to join them, because she has "the Spark." This is where the supernatural elements really come in. I loved the idea of the prophecy, even though I wasn't 100% clear what it was all about. Lightning plays a pivotal role in their beliefs, but are they trustworthy? Or are they just trying to take advantage of Mia? According to Jeremy, she should stay far away. Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy. There's always gushing over the love interest in YA romances, but in most cases I haven't seen the appeal. They just haven't been my type until Jeremy. He wears Clark Kent glasses. That's ALL I needed to know. Seriously. That's how you draw me into a guy; slap some nerdy glasses on him. BUT he was also completely intriguing if also completely evasive and frustrating, until we really get to know him.

I can go on and on about what I loved about this book from the ruined LA, to the possible true prophet, to human lightning rods and apocalyptic prophesies, to roving parties and supernatural abilities. Struck really has it all! This was a fantastically unique debut novel and I can't wait for more from this author! I was never bored for a moment of this. It moves fairly fast, since it covers a span of only 4 days. A lot can happen in 4 days. I am a little bummed that this a series; I thought the ending was absolutely perfect.

As much as I loved this book, I still had some nagging questions: Where did Mia get the $10 for the fortune teller if all of her cash was burned up? How are people getting gas if trucks can't make it into the city? What is Mia's family's real last name? Did the earthquake damage extend to Anaheim and is Disneyland still operable?

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Monday, May 7, 2012

[Review] Death Whispers (Death, #1) by Tamara Rose Blodgett

Title: Death Whispers
Series: Death, #1
Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett
Pages: 354 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Tamara Rose Blodgett
Release Date: March 30, 2011

Almost fifteen-year-old Caleb Hart is a Cadaver-Manipulator in the year 2025.

When teens receive a government-sanctioned pharmaceutical cocktail during school, paranormal abilities begin manifesting... making the teens more powerful than the adults.

After Caleb discovers he has the rare, Affinity for the Dead, he must do whatever it takes to hide it from a super-secret government agency whose goal is exploitation. Caleb seeks refuge in his new girlfriend, Jade, until he realizes that she needs as much protection from her family, as he does from the government. Suddenly, Caleb finds that hiding his ability while protecting Jade and his friends is a full time job; can he escape the government, protect Jade and lose the bullies that are making him miserable?

The first thing that stood out to me about Death Whispers is that it's told from a male point of view! It was very interesting and different to be in the mind of a teenage boy. Even though I myself have never been a teenage boy, I thought the author did a great job capturing the teen boy essence, complete with smelly socks and an insatiable appetite! But Caleb isn't a normal teenage boy, even among those who develop paranormal abilities. He has a rare ability to raise the dead!

I loved the setup of scientists finally unlocking the human genome and discovering latent supernatural/paranormal abilities coded there. These abilities now manifest at puberty due to some kind of shot all kids get, and Caleb has got the rarest of the rare of abilities. One that he must hide, or else the government may take him away to use his abilities for "political" purposes. Of course, Caleb is a bit careless with his power as the book moves along. Using zombies to fight off bullies and help build a hideout is not the smartest of moves. The zombie-gopher army was pretty awesome though!

One thing that I didn't like about this book was that it took place in "our world." Everything related to the paranormal abilities, and AP testing, came about because of President Obama's health care reform. It was only mentioned once, but I would have preferred this to have been set in a fictional government. I did like how some of today's stuff was considered old school (Hinder, phone numbers, books, etc). It's something I often think about, since technology and trends are always evolving. I thought those aspect were added in nicely.

This may be random, but I absolutely loved Caleb's mom! She's a cookie baking environmentalist, and doesn't let Caleb get away with using "gay" and "retard" as derogatory terms. You go, Alicia Hart!

While this book for some reason seemed longer than its 354 pages (there was a lot going on), I really enjoyed it. I loved how the different paranormal abilities were categorized and ranked based on strength. Watching Caleb discover all he can do was fun, exciting, and sometimes a little scary (Great Grandma!!!). There were themes of how much the government should be involved in our lives, and that great power needs to be used responsibly!

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Showcase Sunday [24]

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to show off our newest books and book related goods!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

[Review] Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Parks, #1) by Jennifer Rardin

Title: Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Series: Jaz Parks, #1
Author: Jennifer Rardin
Pages: 208 (Paperback)
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: October 8, 2007

I'm Jaz Parks. My boss is Vayl, born in Romania in 1744. Died there too, at the hand of his vampire wife, Liliana. But that's ancient history. For the moment Vayl works for the C.I.A. doing what he does best--assassination. And I help. You could say I'm an Assistant Assassin. But then I'd have to kick your ass.

Our current assignment seemed easy. Get close to a Miami plastic surgeon named Assan, a charmer with ties to terrorism that run deeper than a buried body. Find out what he's meeting with that can help him and his comrades bring America to her knees. And then close his beady little eyes forever. Why is it that nothing's ever as easy as it seems?

Once Bitten, Twice Shy reminded me of a cliche action movie with a supernatural twist. There's car chases, explosions, people falling of buildings, exciting escapes, terrorists, deadly viruses, but minus the romance in the midst of life threatening situations.

Jaz was a bit of a mystery to me in the beginning. Even though this is told from Jaz's point of view, in first person, I don't think she expressed herself that well. She kept bringing up something from her past that was having a major effect on her present. Anything happening after that event she referred to as "after," but after what? She never says for about 100 pages. It just kept coming up over and over again, and it started to get annoying. I wanted to know what was bothering her! And why she has these seemingly random blackouts and what happens to her during them. Jaz is a pretty likeable, slightly neurotic character with an odd sense of humor, but her refusal to share important episodes from her past made her difficult to care about.

However, she does eventually share her past and much, much more with...a guy she meets once in the ladies' room! In fact, upon their first meeting he openly tells her that he's a PI hired to investigate the same terrorist Jaz is after. Then on their second meeting, Jaz completely over-shares about herself and her mission. I find it very hard to believe that a PI and a CIA assassin would just spill that kind of information to someone that they know nothing about. Sure they could work together since they have the same target, but neither one knew that about the other until it was blindly offered!

This is another one of those series where vampires are "out of the coffin" but aren't completely accepted into society. I tend to really like when the supernaturals are known to humans, but it didn't seem to have much of an impact on the story. The few exceptions are that vampires are in the CIA, such as Jaz's boss, Vayl, and humans can be split into two groups: normal and Sensitives. Jaz is in the latter group, since she can "smell" vampires. Of course, there's more to this ability than Jaz originally thought...

Overall, this moved at a decent pace with plenty of action scenes. The plot gets a little confusing as it moves along, but everything comes together nicely in the end. It was a pretty fun read, despite some of my complaints. I'll probably continue this series, because I really liked Jaz's abilities and would love to see more of them in action!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Freebie Friday [3]

So, what freebie would I like to share with you today...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pinkindle Reads but no Reviews: April, 2012

I read a lot, but review less. Sometimes I just don't feel like writing something, or I just don't have much to say. Either way, it doesn't seem fair to leave these books out. So once a month I'll present the books that I read, rated, but didn't review, and give a quick few sentences about what I thought of them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [11]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It's so we can show what pre-published books we're anticipating! So what title am I featuring this week...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [11]

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!