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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Showcase Sunday [45]

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, September 29, 2012

[Review] The Demon Trapper's Daughter (The Demon Trappers, #1) by Jana Oliver

Title: The Demon Trapper's Daughter
Series: The Demon Trappers, #1
Author: Jana Oliver
Pages: 340 (Paperback)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: February 1, 2011

Demon Trapper Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what Lucifer is counting on…

It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by the economic upheavals of the previous decade, Lucifer has increased the number of demons in all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night. Seventeen-year-old Riley, only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing attraction to fellow Trapper apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving citizens from Grade One Hellspawn. Business as usual, really, for a demon-trapping teen. When a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood, she realizes that she’s caught in the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell.

Riley is the daughter of a well renowned demon trapper, and the only female trapper (besides the one on some reality TV show). When her father is killed on the job, Riley must cast a protective circle around his grave and sit vigil until the next full moon or else necromancers will raise his corpse to be a servant to the wealthy. While Riley needs the money to cover the rent, utilities, food and her mother's hospital bills, she does not want her father returned to be a slave. Talk about a unique premise! I loved the premise of this book, and it's nothing like anything I've read before.

I also found the set up to be really interesting. It's Atlanta, Georgia in the near future which has been overrun by demons and is totally bankrupt. There's potholes everywhere with demons lurking in their depths, and school is held in run down grocery stores, old Starbucks, and daycare centers. There's also a black market demon trade. The demon trappers are responsible for responding to demon sightings, while the church provides Holy water for fighting them and healing wounds. I just wondered how the city got to this point, and what the rest of the country is like.

Another thing that I wish was made more clear was why there are no female demon trappers. Is there a historical reason? Old fashion sexism? Or the author's way of having her female lead do something special? I just found it a little frustrating that Riley being the only girl among the trappers is constantly brought up, but with no explanation as to the why of the situation.

The Demon Trapper's Daughter is also a bit more mature than the normal YA, but it's nothing over the top. There's some strong language (a lot more than I was expecting), talk of sex, and violence. But the main character is 17, and the other character that is sometimes followed is in his 20s, so it works.

Unlike many YA paranormal novels, the romance load is very light. Sure Riley gets a boyfriend, but there's no claims of undying love or make-out sessions. This might be because Simon is a "good Catholic boy," but either way, the romance is kind of in the background. However, there does seem to be some hints at a love triangle. In my opinion, Simon doesn't even measure up. He's actually quite a boring character, but he didn't get enough page time to develop. Beck on the other hand is the second POV so we really get to know him. He comes across as a jerk, but underneath that he's a good guy with some emotional demons (in addition to the real demons he fights everyday).

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. If you're looking for something a little different in the paranormal genre, where action outweighs the romance, I'd definitely recommend this one.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Feature & Follow [11]

Q: What is the BIGGEST word you’ve seen used in a book lately – that made you stop and look it up?

Marpiosa: the Spanish word for "butterfly".

Thursday, September 27, 2012

[Review] The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

Title: The Reapers Are the Angels
Author: Alden Bell
Pages: 225 (Paperback)
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
Release Date: August 3, 2010

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

It took me a few chapters to settle into The Reapers are the Angels because of the writing style. There are no quotation marks for dialogue, which made it sometimes confusing to know when someone started speaking. However, Temple, our main character, has a very distinctive, Southern voice, so she was relatively easy to pick out but not as clear on her meaning. I found it very hard to relate to her and to care about what happened to her. I was more intrigued by the world than I was in her, but it was enough to keep me reading.

I'm not sure how things got to where they are, but the world (at least the US from what we witness) is overrun with zombies aka meatskins aka slugs. Temple has been living on a small island for a few years, but at the beginning of the novel she realizes it's time to go. She ends up at a relatively safe place, a community of people held up in office buildings, but she makes enemies with the wrong man and is forced to leave. From that point on she's on the run, since that man, Moses Todd, is out to get her. During her journey she meets up with some very interesting characters and even picks up a traveling companion. Moses is never far behind though.

Even though Temple is on the run, I never felt a sense of urgency. The narrative was very detached and it seemed as though Temple didn't even care that a man who wants her dead is following her across the country. It was almost like the events were happening separate from her rather than to her, another reason why I just didn't care where she ends up.

There are some very disturbing scenes throughout the book and there is a lot of gore. Temple is good with a knife and takes down many meatskins, and a few...I'm not even sure what they are, mutant humans, I suppose. We're not spared any of the carnage. I kept reading in hopes of learning more about how the zombies got there, but we're basically told it's been that way all of Temple's life, and that's that. Overall, this book just was not for me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday [11]

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, September 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [27]

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, September 24, 2012

[Review] Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 470 (Hardcover)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: March 2, 2010

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High--from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Sam is one of the worst YA characters I have ever experienced. Not that the author wrote her poorly, just the opposite. She is so real and I can definitely picture her clearly. She's just a bad person. She's mean, shallow, dishonest, and a bully. Her friends aren't any better either. Does this mean she deserved to die? Well, no, of course not, but she is truly awful. However, it does take dying for Sam to realize something has to change.

This could have gotten extremely repetitive since it takes place on the same day multiple times, but each time it's a little different. At first it seems like Sam has gotten a second chance at life, to change the events of that fateful Friday and stay alive. Of course there's a twist, but Sam is so self-absorbed that she thinks this all about her. Sure she had a hand in what happened, but her second chance is not about her own life. It's not even about her equally awful friends' lives. It takes her a few days and numerous questionable decisions to finally realize this.

The author has tackled a very tough subject with Before I Fall and in a very interesting way. She shows just how damaging bullying can be, even if you don't think what you're doing is that bad. We all really need to take a step back and consider how our actions affect others. I don't think this book is preachy at all, but a very realistic portrayal of the effects of bullying. Does Sam magically become an amazing person by the end? No, and I think that's okay. She realized her mistakes and tries to make amends, even if her methods are shallow. But that fits her character, and the ending would be completely unbelievable otherwise.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Showcase Sunday [44]

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, September 22, 2012

[Review] God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, #1) by Kate Locke

Title: God Save the Queen
Series: The Immortal Empire, #1
Author: Kate Lock
Pages: 354 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: July 3, 2012

Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.

I was expecting a Steampunk setting, but that is not what I got at all. The only thing "alternative" about this London is that Victoria is still on the throne, women still wear corsets, and men wear cravats. This honestly felt like modern day anywhere with its flashlights, cell phones, motorcycles and alarm systems. Of course, none of these modern commodities are called by their modern names, but they're still there (there's a glossary in the back of the book!). Like I said, the only thing old fashioned is the fashion, and that was not enough to make this Steampunk. In fact, the world building probably would have felt more complete if it had been a modern day London with an undead Victoria as queen.

Once I started thinking of it that way I was able to enjoy it more. I was still thrown off by mentions of Sid Vicious, MP3 players, and television though. Unfortunately, about 200 pages in I couldn't take it anymore: there was a reference to the Die Hard movies. I just could not accept that this "alternate" history somehow ended up being exactly like today, right now. There is no way. Nothing is different except that the fashion is slightly updated Victorian fashion. Maybe this was suppose to be a unique twist in the setting, but it was bothersome and not creative at all.

The way paranormal creatures came to be was interesting though. Basically it's all due to a mutation caused by the Black Plague, and paranormality runs in the Aristocracy (with the occasional lower class woman giving birth to a "halvie," of course). It's a unique idea, a little confusing on the specifics, but still an interesting twist on the origin of vampires, werewolves, and goblins.

The author's writing was fine, but there was a MAJOR over-usage of hyphens - in almost every paragraph. Sometimes it was something important that shouldn't have been an aside - but mostly it was random, useless tidbits. A lot of the time there was simply no grammatical need for the hyphens at all - a simple comma or "and" would do. The book could have been significantly shorter if all of those extra phrases were cut out - they slowed the story way down.

Xandra is supposedly 22, but from the first few pages I assumed she was maybe 15, with a potty mouth. If you clean up her language some, she does seem younger, but that may be due to her reckless and stubborn personality. I did like how she was fiercely loyal to her missing sister, Dede, and also to her queen, whom she is a guard for. She's also not one to take anything at face value, or believe everything she's told. Although this sometimes makes her look paranoid and ignorant. Oh, and she also proudly states that she's a bigot at one point. Bottom line: she's unlikeable.

As for the plot, I mostly enjoyed it. It starts off as Xandra trying to find her sister and the reasons behind her disappearance. Then it morphs into some conspiracy involving the Aristocracy, and somehow Xandra is unknowingly in the center of it. While I did want to know what the heck was going on and how all of these deaths, disappearances and missing records were related, I was super distracted by my disappointment in the setting. I know I already dedicated two paragraphs to it, but I was really looking forward to vampires in a Steampunk world, and that isn't even close to what God Save the Queen really is - a major disappointment. The last 60 or so pages kept this one being a total disaster, but I can't honestly recommend it.

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

Feature & Follow [10]

Q: What hyped up book was worth all of the fuss?

I decided to choose one book from last year and one from this year. I fell madly in love with both of these after being super duper excited for them. I am soooo glad they lived up to the hype! I didn't choose my favorite read of the year so far, Struck, because I didn't really see it around much before I read it, but that one definitely would have been worth the hype, too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

[Review] Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9) by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Unleashed
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9
Author: J.R. Ward
Pages: 511 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: March 29, 2011

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

The major themes of the previous book were vengeance and healing, but now Lover Unleashed seems to focus on rebirth, or at least people coming back from the dead: Doc Jane returns to her old colleague, Manny Manillo, and Detective Jose de la Cruz recognizes a certain someone's Boston accent during a report of a dead body. Then there's Payne, who is finally free of the Other Side, only to be trapped inside her paralyzed body. Quinn is also questioning past decisions and trying to figure out who he truly is. Finally, there's the arrival of some vampires from the Old Country.

There is a sweet innocence about Payne that I really enjoyed. We know she's a great fighter and that she wants to be independent, but she's also sheltered from most of life's events, including relationships. When she meets Manny, she finally begins to understand what the other Chosen mean when they talk about being with males. Their relationship gives a whole new meaning to "sexual healing." I really liked these two as a couple. They're probably one of my favorites.

Of course Vishous plays a major role in this book. He's super stressed out over his mother's lies and secrets, and his twin's injury, but there is also some tension with Jane. V needs a release in the form of pain, but he's afraid to talk to Jane about it. Wait, what?! Maybe I was reading this wrong, or this was a huge oversight by Ward. But we witnessed Jane step into the role of Dom with Vishous in Book 5, and it was briefly mentioned again in Book 6 when Ehlena materialized outside the wrong penthouse. Now why is he acting like his need is a huge secret from his shellan? She knows. She's done it with him before...multiple times! Maybe not to the extreme that he needs now, but she is aware of this part of him. This shouldn't have created problems between them! It seemed like drama for the sake of having a conflict within an established romance. I didn't like it. Of course, that is just the start of their problems. But I really liked the scene of V and Butch in the penthouse...

I'm still finding that Quinn and Blay's story is my favorite. Although this time it's just Quinn. He knows he made a mistake letting Blay go, but he also knows he can't keep throwing his sorrows into booze and anonymous sex. However, his new coping mechanism may be even more damaging. He only had a handful of chapters, but each of them was charged with emotion. Only one more book, and then woooo!

As for the plot with the Old Country vampires...I just didn't care. I felt like that plot thread served no purpose, especially since the climax was pretty anti-climatic. I much would have preferred if that "Paranormal Investigators" plot from Lover Mine had been continued. That's actually what I was expecting, since the purpose of that plot wasn't revealed until the very end of the previous book. Maybe these new arrivals will be featured in the next book?

While I do enjoy this new direction to the series, I'm starting to really be bothered by the romance taking the backseat to the action. There was plenty of (smokin' hott) sex in this book though, but still not as much as the first few books. I'm hoping there'll be more in the next ones.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [21]

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, September 18, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [26]

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, September 17, 2012

[Review] Florence (Florence Waverely, #1) by Ciye Cho

Title: Florence
Series: Florence Waverely, #1
Author: Ciye Cho
Pages: 336 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Ciye Cho
Release Date: July 1, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.

Florence is completely and utterly ordinary. She not only stays under the social radar, but off of it entirely. Then on a school trip to the beach she's kidnapped by a merman who finds her captivating. She's then thrust into the world of the merfolk, where she must find her place, as each citizen has a role to maintain the community. However, she gets mixed up in a battle between the Niemelans and the encroaching Darkness.

The first half of the book is extremely slow, but there's a lot of great world building happening. The author has created a wonderfully colorful world under the ocean. I really enjoyed how each of the merfolk are each a different color and not human looking at all. It was a nice change to have a human brought into the secretive mer world, rather than human-looking merfolk coming to the surface. The descriptions also make it easy to picture Niemela. It's full of sea creatures, beautiful merfolk, and architecture built from kelp, coral, and jellyfish.

Mermaid books have been pretty disappointing to me so far, but I think Florence has been my favorite so far. Not only because the mermaids are not human-like at all, but because the story was just different. I really enjoyed being in the mermaid world rather than in the human world, and I think that made all the difference. The ending is quite open, so I certainly hope there's a sequel!

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

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Showcase Sunday [43]

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, September 15, 2012

[Mini Review] Texting Orwell by Ian Little

Title: Texting Orwell
Author: Ian Little
Pages: 61 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Ian Little
Release Date: August 13, 2012

Daniel - a delivery driver for a firm in the London Borough of Dedbridge, has a secret. That secret is his crush on Debbie, a route planner who works at the same company. Debbie is unique, she thinks Daniel's hairdo can be saved. Daniel is a ditherer, he needs help. But today, even he has reached critical mass, today he has decided it is about time he cast aside his shyness and let Debbie know how utterly wonderful he thinks she is. He even has a shower before going into work.

Toe curling, mostly funny, a modern rom-com in a Hogarthian style.

Contains adult language, and chocolate. This is love, after all.

What unfolds within Texting Orwell's 60 pages is one man's journey to send a text to the woman he's been crushing on for months. It's an awkward ride as he delivers packages around town (meeting some interesting characters along the way), and constantly writes and rewrites messages until he can form the perfect text. Followed by the stress of replying to her reply, and some random side thoughts about chocolate and bowel movements. Yeah, awkward is probably the best work to describe the story.

The writing style reminds me of those old cartoons where the characters are mostly silent, but there's a narrator telling you each and everything that's happening on the screen. For a full-length novel, that would be extremely annoying, but I think it kind of worked for this novella. However, if you have a strong dislike for "telling" versus showing, this won't be the story for you. It's also very British. Not that that's a bad thing, but there were quite a few times where I had to re-read in order to understand what was meant. What could have been an extremely humorous and cute tale, ultimately fell flat for me.

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

Feature & Follow [9]

Q: What hyped up book do you think was not worth all the talk?

I feel like I read a completely different book than everyone that I'm following. All I'm seeing are 5 star reviews and reading about how funny and awesome it was. Well sorry, but I thought it was pretty awful and at some points offensive. I was definitely part of the group that was super excited for this one, and I was majorly let down. You can read my review for more details.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

[Review] Moonglow (Darkest London, #2) by Kristen Callihan

Title: Moonglow
Series: Darkest London, #2
Author: Kristen Callihan
Pages: 382 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: July 31, 2012
I received an ARC from NetGalley.

Once the seeds of desire are sown . . .

Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .

Their growing passion knows no bounds . . .

Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

I was a little reluctant to read this one, since I only just-liked the first book and wasn't blown away. I was curious though, since I generally love paranormal matters set in historical periods. Well, from the very beginning, I liked Moonglow much better than Firelight! The plot was much more interesting and less confusing, so I found myself wanting to keep reading rather than constantly putting it down.

There's a werewolf loose on the streets of London, and he's oddly attracted to a certain fragrance. This of course is bad news for his victims, except for Daisy Ellis who managed to get away. Now she's under the protecion of the sexy lycan, Ian Ranulf. However, Daisy is a strong-willed woman and refuses to be under any man's thumb after recently being free from her abusive marriage. This causes them to bump heads, but not necessarily become aversaries. In fact, they do like each other...a lot. The tension between those two is electric from the very beginning!

I also really liked the distinction between werewolves and lycans. Although the history isn't 100% clear (Ian acknowledges this, actually), it was still very interesting. Of course, Daisy has some power of her own, which while I was expecting it, I didn't guess that it would be what it was! Then we learn the truth behind Daisy, Miranda, and Poppy and it made me eager to get Poppy's book!

The one thing that still bothers me about these books is the wordy writing. I did find myself skipping around a bit, since some scenes are just too detailed and slow for my liking. This author also has a habit of being especially descriptive of gorey scenes, which will be fine for some readers, but I'm a bit more squeamish. Despite that, Moonglow was a huge improvement over Firelight. The romance was sweeter, the sex was hotter, and there's plenty of surprises within its pages. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one!

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday [10]

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, September 11, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [25]

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, September 10, 2012

[Review] Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) by Kristin Cashore

Title: Graceling
Series: Graceling Realm, #1
Author: Kristin Cashore
Pages: 471 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Harcourt
Release Date: October 1, 2008

In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graces with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I don't have much experience reading High Fantasy, but I can tell it's a genre that I'm going to end up loving, especially thanks to Graceling. I absolutely loved the idea of Gracelings: humans with "Graces," or heightened talents and gifts. These talents can range from extreme smarts in a particular subject, increased strength, to mind reading. Our main character, Katsa, has the Grace of killing. She could kill a grown man with her bare hands since childhood. Needless to say, she's pretty feared among the Seven Kingdoms. The king of her home kingdom is using her as his own personal assassin, but Katsa tries to incapacitate rather than kill when she can.

Katsa is truly a kick ass heroine! Not just because of her talent for killing, but she also refuses to conform to society's ideals of femininity. She wears trousers and loathes the gowns and jewels she must don for royal dinners. She'd rather run and practice her various fighting skills than take up lady-like pass times. She'll also pass on the tradition of marriage, and ignores all of the suitors her uncle brings to the castle. She reminds me a lot of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Both are skilled fighters, brave, stubborn, and generally unlikeable except by those closest to them.

Normally third person narratives are missing something for me, but in this case it really works. I couldn't imagine it told any other way. The author's writing has an almost fairytale-like quality to it, but I suppose that comes partially with the genre. I was easily engrossed in this story from the very beginning. The plot in the first part of the book is slower in comparison to part two, but I still loved getting to know the characters and trying to figure out who kidnapped Po's grandfather.

The second half is fast paced and exciting! There's a puzzle to be solved, a blossoming romance, plenty of action, and survival elements. It was a lot of fun to see Katsa and Po work out the extents of their Graces and practice on each other. Their romance was also sweet and steamy, although I always had this nagging feeling that it would not end well. Katsa is too stubborn, but Po is super understanding, so maybe they can make it work?

I really enjoyed this one! It has an imaginative world, action, adventure, and romance. All things I love in books. I am sad to learn that the following books don't continue with Katsa and Po, but I am very eager to read more about little Queen Bitterblue.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Showcase Sunday [42]

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, September 8, 2012

[Review] Unlovable (Port Fare, #1) by Sherry Gammon

Title: Unlovable
Series: Port Fare, #1
Author: Sherry Gammon
Pages: 307 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Wordpainting Unlimited Inc.
Release Date: January 19, 2011

Port Fare, New York, has fallen into the clutches of true evil. The Dreser brothers have arrived with a scheme to increase drug sales in the area by whatever means possible. Seth Prescott is part of MET (Mobile Enforcement Teams) a branch of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). He's been assigned to work undercover at Port Fare High, and things aren't going very well, until senior Maggie Brown enters the equation. He's harbored a secret crush on her from day one, and now that she is in the center of the case, he's trying to stay clear and objective while walking the line between business and unrequited love.

Maggie is truly the poster child for Heroin Chic, complete with jutting bones and dark-ringed eyes, but is she an addict, or is there another reason for her appearance? She struggles with her feelings for Seth, fearing he is just another person who will eventually let her down, as everyone in her life has done thus far.

Maggie has spent her life caring for her alcoholic mother. A task that has left her heavily burdened and alone. Before long, her mother's health takes a turn for the worst, sending Maggie's life into a tale-spin. While Seth works relentlessly to inject fear into the dealers and flush them out into the open, Maggie fights to stay alive as the hunt turns deadly. Seth and Maggie's romantic journey is one of humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery.

I had read plenty of rave reviews for this one, and I really like grittier young adult (actually, this one probably fits better into the New Adult category) books, so I decided to give it a try. The preface immediately pulled me in! It was more intense than I was expecting. Unfortunately, it was followed by Chapter 1, which was extremely boring, and the following several chapters weren't much better. It was pretty slow going, since there was nothing that kept me hooked into the story.

This is told in alternating POVs. We have Maggie and Seth, and the occasional chapter from Ben and Allan. I really liked Maggie. Her life is anything but easy, but she makes due. Her mother is an alcoholic, and whenever she's sober enough she's sure to tell Maggie how much she doesn't want her around and how useless she is. Maggie puts on a tough front, but she's definitely hurting. She's such a sweet girl, and tries do her best. Seth, an undercover cop, is a little too perfect. He's intelligent, extremely good looking, considerate, rich, chivalrous. and a master chef. He has no obvious flaws except for his cowboy boots, but he wears them to hide his gun, not because he likes them. Bill and Alan are the sources of the mystery aspect in the novel. They're drug dealers, and one is a murderer of young women. He's also obsessed with Maggie, and they're out for revenge. Not a good combination.

The romance is very sweet, and I loved watching it develop. There's no insta-love here, but Maggie and Seth are extremely into each other! It did overshadow some of the darker elements of the book though, so I was a little disappointed in that regard. I was expecting something more intense, since there's murderers and drug dealers on the loose, but that plot thread kind of fell flat for me. Overall this was a good book, but just different than I was expecting. I do think I'll read the following two, since they're about Cole and Booker, who are fantastic characters. They're both men with hearts too big for their chests, but no one to give them to.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Feature & Follow [8]

Q: What book(s) are you reading right now? What do you think of it?

Totally melodramatic.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

[Excerpt] ReAwakened (Angel Creek, #2) by Ada Adams

Title: ReAwakened
Series: Angel Creek, #2
Author: Ada Adams
Release Date: Fall, 2012

Excerpt "Meeting Razor"

My two-story fall was cushioned by the intruder’s body. He—a vampire, I realized—groaned as I landed on top of him, forcing his body into the muddy ground. I reached for my dagger, but he was quicker. Before I had a chance to pull it out, he slipped out from underneath me, flipping me over so that he was on top. His firm, muscular body pressed tightly against mine as his hands pinned my wrists to either side of my head. His face was covered by shadows, but I could make out a mischievous smirk dancing across perfectly-shaped full lips.
“You’re quite feisty, aren’t you?” he chuckled, bending forward to examine me. Deep, charcoal eyes overflowed with amusement.
He was actually enjoying this.
“I don’t wanna hurt you,” he whispered in a deep, throaty voice. “I’m gonna release you now. Don’t do anything stupid.”
He lifted his arm, removing his right hand from my left wrist. The moment I felt some freedom, I leaped forward, attempting a left hook at his jaw. He blocked my hand, once again pushing it toward the ground.
“I said I wasn’t going to hurt you!” he growled, pinning me even further into the soft, wet earth.
“Yes, but I never said I wouldn’t hurt you,” I snapped.
He brought his face toward mine. “I’d like to see you try,” he whispered.
Challenge accepted.
I raised my head—the only part of my body that wasn't restrained by the stranger’s body—inching my lips closer to his. He tensed for a moment, his eyes searching mine, as if surprised by my sudden change in behavior. Drops of rainwater slid down his chiseled jaw, pausing briefly on his lips before they plummeted onto mine. Then, a slow, smug smile spread across his face. I felt his body relax and he leaned even closer. His breath caressed my skin as his lips drew near.
It was exactly what I needed. Summoning all my strength, I twisted my hips to the side, shooting them up and out, then launching my legs from the ground. Thrown off-balance, my captor groaned and released one of my arms to brace for the fall, giving me the perfect opportunity to reach for my dagger. In one smooth move I darted behind him, placing him in a secure headlock—the blade of my weapon aimed directly at his heart.
“Who are you?” I demanded when I was certain he couldn’t escape my grip.
“I’m a twenty-four-year-old Taurus who enjoys long walks on the beach.” Even though I couldn’t see his face, I could feel his arrogant grin.
“You have ten seconds to explain yourself,” I ordered. “And then I’m really going to hurt you.”
“Oh, come on! Can’t we get back to kissing? You can’t tease a guy like that.”
“Ten, nine…” I pressed the dagger deeper into him, nicking the leather of his jacket.
“Hey! Watch it!”
“Oh, alright. You’re no fun,” he sighed. “My name is Razor.”
“What kind of a name is that?”
“It’s a nickname.”
“What kind of a nickname is that?”

“Spike, Blade, Fang—all the good, pointy objects were already taken by fictional characters. It was the best I could do.”

I need this book, like now!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [20]

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, September 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [24]

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, September 3, 2012

August Recap

This month I wanted to try something new. I like seeing other bloggers' monthly recap posts, so why don't I do one? I've also been wanting to track how much I spend on books compared to how much "value" in books I actually read. For this I'll be noting the Kindle price of each book I read (that's most likely the edition I'd buy) and what I actually paid, so I can see my savings. These posts will also included my "No Reviews" for the month, and a special spotlight for my favorite book that I read during the month.

What I Read:

Total Value: $120.83
Total Paid: $0.00
Savings: $120.83

All of the books that I read this month were from the library, from, or were ARCs. Babe in Boyland was actually a gift from the author, and The Ylem was an Amazon freebie.

 Reviews Posted:

Never to Sleep (Soul Screamers, #5.5) by Rachel Vincent [4 Stars]
  Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6) by J.R. Ward [3 Stars]
  Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7) by J.R. Ward [4 Stars]
  Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8) by J.R. Ward [4 Stars]
  Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) by Beth Revis [5 Stars]
Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1) by Patricia Briggs [2 Stars]
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella [3 Stars]
The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa [4 Stars]
Diva (Flappers, #3) by Jillian Larkin [3 Stars]
Glitch (Glitch, #1) by Heather Anastasiu [4 Stars]
Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires, #5) by Rachel Caine [3 Stars]
Carpe Corpus (The Morganville Vampires, #6) by Rachel Caine [4 Stars]
Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman [4 Stars]

Read but No Reviews:

Fate (My Blood Approves, #2) by Amanda Hocking

While this one had a lot more going on in it, I didn't quite enjoy it as much as the first. There was an "external conflict" that seemed kind of random, and just there to provide some action outside of Alice and Jack's relationship. It just fell flat though. I loved the ending, so I'm definitely excited to continue the series.

The Ylem (The Ylem Trilogy, #1) by Tatiana Vila

I like this one, but I also felt like it was too long. There were too many scenes that seemed to drag on and on, and plenty of random info-dumps! I did really enjoy the mythology behind werewolves, especially the connection to water. The forbidden romance was also pretty good, but too similar to Twilight's. I'm not sure if I liked this first book enough to want to read the following two though.

August Spotlight:

This book is fantastic and I think all YA and Sci-Fi fans should give this a read!