Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ten - Review

Ten

By: Gretchen McNeil

Published: September 18th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

294 pages

Source: Borrowed from my SNL, Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--SHHHH!

Don't spread the word!

Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.

You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Can I just say up front how much I disliked Minnie? Yeah, yeah, I know she has bipolar disorder in the book and all and come to find out, she's been off her meds for a while. But that doesn't make her any easier to like. I cringed away from her the entire time. Something about my personality rebels against super-emotionally needy people, bipolar disorder or not. I run for the hills. Meg actually makes a comment about how exhausting the weekend is going to be with Vivian (I think it was Vivian, but it might have been Lori) around, but I wanted so bad to scream at her that the exhausting one is her friend Minnie. Guys seriously, you don't understand how much I struggle with this in real life. *sigh* Moving on...

I don't read thriller/killer/mystery stuff very often, but I was pleasantly surprised with Ten. Knowing ahead of time that there's doom and gloom ahead of these teens from the get-go, the beginning felt very ominous. Even from the ferry ride over to the island, Gretchen McNeil does a great job placing some foreshadowing references that gets you psyched from the very beginning.

Despite trying to stay ahead of the game and figure out who the killer is, I was just as confused as Meg was and somehow fell into all the traps of "who-done-it" that she did. Especially when we find out who the real killer is.

Overall, I enjoyed Ten and read most of in one sitting. It did, however, serve to only reinforce my deep fear of emotionally unstable people--as well as emotionally delusional people. (Run away people! Seriously!) Ten gets 3.5 Stars and served up at least one night of frightful dreams where I was on the run from a serial killer.

Have you read Ten? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on The Fiery Heart

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, # 4)

By: Richelle Mead

Expected Publication: November 19th 2013 by Razorbill

416 pages

( Goodreads )

Goodreads description--In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

I love how Richelle Mead puts out some books. The Indigo Spell hasn't been out but like what two weeks and the cover, description, and release date for The Fiery Heart is already out! I love it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top 10 Authors on My Auto-Buy List

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Authors on My Auto-Buy List.

1) Richelle Mead - Granted I haven't read all of her published work--I plan to, but everything I have read by her has been enough to convince me that I'll definitely buy anything I can get my hands on by her. (# of Richelle Mead books I've read: 10)

2) Colleen Hoover - Um yeah, Slammed, Point of Retreat, and Hopeless have all been extremely good and emotional reads. Colleen Hoover is a given for me. (# of Colleen Hoover books I've read: 3)

3) Katie McGarry - Having only read Pushing the Limits, Katie McGarry still makes my auto-buy list because Pushing the Limits was just that good. (# of Katie McGarry books I've read: 1)

4) Priscilla Glenn - Yep. Another author that I've only read one book by, but it doesn't matter. Back to You was good enough for me to need to check out any and everything Priscilla Glenn writes. (# of Priscilla Glenn books I've read: 1)

5) Maggie Stiefvater - I think I've read everything that Maggie S has published. While I wasn't blown away by The Raven Boys, I still love her writing style. (# of Maggie Stiefvater books I've read: 7)

6) Cassandra Clare - While at this point I've only read her Shadowhunter world, she's still written 7 in this world that I've read and thoroughly enjoyed. Cassandra Clare is definitely worth checking out. (# of Cassandra Clare books I've read: 7)

7) Stephenie Meyer - I LOVED Twilight and I was pleasantly surprised by The Host. So yeah, I think I've seen enough to check out her other work--if she ever gets back to writing. (# of Stephenie Meyer books I've read: 6 1/2)

8) John Green - I've only read The Fault in Our Stars, but he's got quite the fan base out there and now I understand why. So I plan to check out his other published work and whatever comes out in the future. (# of John Green books I've read: 1)

9) Carrie Ryan - I loved the writing style she used in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Specifically, The Dead Tossed Waves is one of my favorite books ever, but I have to say that I was disappointed with The Dark and Hollow Places. I'd like to read something that redeems it all for me. But I have to say I'm not completely interested in her latest published book...so.... (# of Carrie Ryan books I've read: 4)

This last one is kind of iffy. I thought about listing JK Rowling because Harry Potter was the epitome of epic, and while I do plan to read The Casual Vacancy at some point, I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

10) Dan Wells - I've only read Partials so far by Mr. Wells, but that was enough to hook me into the series. And enough to have me interested in checking out his other stuff. (# of Dan Wells books I've read: 1)

I've learned that while I've got series that are on auto-buy, apparently, I'm less trusting of the authors themselves when it comes to moving on to something new. Which authors are on your auto-buy list? Let me know!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Iron Daughter - Review

The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, # 2)

By: Julie Kagawa

Published: August 1st 2010 by Harlequin Teen

359 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Boy oh boy...where do I start?

Does every paranormal series follow the same basic patterns? No one answer that, I already know. The answer is no, not EVERY paranormal series follows the same patterns. However, MOST, or at the very least SEVERAL do. And that is...um...annoying. That being said, if I had read The Iron Daughter this time last year perhaps I would not have been so sick of this pattern and I would be frustrated with a completely different book. *Sigh* But that's not the case. So here goes.

I'm sick of situations where the leading boy has to act like he doesn't like the girl in order to protect her. And because leading girl is so daft and insecure she doesn't realize what's going on and believes that leading boy no longer cares about her which leads to a bunch of whining and moaning. And eventually because it appears that no leading girl must really be in love, she always seeks revenge. Hurt boy because boy hurt me.

I completely understand the instinct to make someone who has hurt you hurt in the same way they hurt you. Because I believe this is actually a self-preservation technique. One that says "if you could possibly understand how I feel and how much this hurts then there's no way you could ever hurt me this way again." But we will and we do. And retaliation is not true love.

I was frustrated with Meghan and Ash to the point of being done with them. I totally understood what Team Jacob fans felt in this moment. And I rooted for the underdog (who as I predicted in my review of book 1, The Iron King...whoops no spoilers).

Then about 65% through I came to another stumbling block. We realize something awful has happened to Ash. OH NO! He's not himself any more. He's under some kind of possession/mind control thing. And it's up to the only person who cares enough about him to risk it all to save him. Um...yeah...shoot me now!

Of course, things do get worse from there. What's the only thing worse than an Ash who's not himself? An Ash going after Meghan's family--the only thing people do the stupidest things EVER over. Family. Loved ones. And it's doubly bad if it's a loved one going after family. Can you guys understand why I'm frustrated here?

But we're not done. Once Ash is broken out of his mind control/possession state, he's all "I can't believe I did that. I can never be forgiven. I'm a horrible, evil faery even though I was possessed and had no control over my actions." BLAH BLAH BLAH!

Surprisingly, I still feel like I can give The Iron Daughter 3 stars. I know from the sound of this review, I hated it. But I didn't. And like I said before, had I read The Iron Daughter before tons of other books that followed this pattern I wouldn't be ranting about any of these things. And because The Iron Daughter was published before a good portion of the books I've read recently, I'll give The Iron Daughter the benefit of the doubt. Not that Julie Kagawa invented these patterns and everyone else followed her example. But still. Something has to be said for timing.

The ending frustrated me too if only slightly. Faced with an ultimatum, Ash and Meghan both make a decision that involves finality with their relationship with either each other or the faery world of Nevernever. But considering there are still more books to come in the series that I haven't read, what do you want to bet that ultimatum is broken? (That is, if I were a betting woman.)

I did enjoy the cast of characters again. Puck of course was a favorite of mine. Grim was sneaky and awesome because I can't completely figure him out. And then we had a surprise character join the group that I very much enjoyed.

Again, I'm giving The Iron Daughter 3 Stars. Have you read The Iron Daughter? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Post - 34 & Stacking the Shelves - 7

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Yesterday my family traveled to Mobile (Alabama) to celebrate my grandparents' 65th wedding anniversary. We had a party for them at a local restauraunt and had quite the turn out. 65 years is definitely something to celebrate and it's something that we don't see too terribly often these days. They've been through a lot, but they've always come out of the storm together. Praise God.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (4 Stars)

Tuesday: Top 10 Favorite Secondary Characters

Wednesday: Waiting on Plastic Hearts

Thursday: Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, # 2) by Julie Kagawa

Tuesday: Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Authors on My Auto-Buy List

Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday

Thursday: Review of Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

A Shade of Vampire

By: Bella Forrest

Published: December 14th 2012

147 pages

Source: From the author in exchange for an honest review

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cinder - Review

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, # 1)

By: Marissa Meyer

Published: January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

390 pages

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

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

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

I'm not accustom to reading too many fairy tale re-tellings, but after reading, Cinder I might have to make that more a part of my norm. Even knowing how the fairy tale goes and how it ends, I still found myself wondering with intense curiosity how Marissa Meyer was going to pull all of the fair tale aspects that can't be overlooked into this modern re-telling. Specifically for Cinderella: the carriage, the crystal/glass slipper, the fairy-godmother, crazy stepmother and stepsisters. And I was impressed with it all.

Cinder did have a smidgen of a slow start for me. I'm not sure if I'm burning out from this stretch of books I've blown through recently, or if it was just a slow starting book. But the pacing was steadily increasing throughout the novel and culminated in an ending that I wanted to skim through any sort of description whatsoever just to see what happens. That's a good thing.

Marissa Meyer did a wonderful job of making the world of the Commonwealth simultaneously historical and futuristic. And this fabulous world building has started my 2013 year off with high expectations for any other book worlds to come. I wasn't sure about the concept of Cinderella being a cyborg and all, but it works wonderfully with the world created by Marissa Meyer and would have fallen completely flat without the setting to back it.

Cinder herself was an extremely likable character. The fact that she's honed a skill of which she can be proud of even when she's not proud of herself for being what she is--cyborg. It allows her moments of self-deprecation not to take over completely and takes a unique spin off Cinderella being basically a servant of the evil stepmother.

Prince Kai was equally likable--though I keep running the phrase Charlotte Lucas makes in Pride and Prejudice over and over in my head. "There are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement." And Cinder truly gave zero encouragement. I mean I understand why, but it makes it hard to believe that Kai was able to develop too strong of an attachment to her himself.

The ending was left wide open for the continuation of the story. Though I am somewhat disappoint to hear that the main story of book 2, Scarlet, deviates somewhat from Cinder and Prince Kai, it sounds like they will have active roles in book 2.

Cinder gets 4 stars from me. Have you read Cinder? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Waiting on Plastic Hearts


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

 Plastic Hearts
By: Lisa De Jong
Expected Publication: March 1st 2013
( Goodreads )

Goodreads description--My life has always been safe. I like it that way. I grew up in a fake society where plastic hearts rule. If our hearts are made of plastic, they can never be broken. My parents have expectations and I do everything I can to meet them, even if it means giving up on my own dreams.

Now, all I want is to be free to make my own choices.

Dane Wright is everything I have been warned to stay away from. We met one night while I was with my perfect, parent-approved boyfriend and I haven’t stopped thinking about him. I don’t want to like him. I am doing everything I can to ignore his pull, but my heart seems to want what it cannot have, what it has never had.

Can he measure up? He may think I am too good for him, but maybe he is too good for me.

Life is a series of choices and I have never been able to make my own. Until one day, when my heart decides to make a choice for me.

What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Characters in X Genre

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Favorite Characters in X Genre.

Ok guys, I'm doing a little twist to this topic. I'm doing Top 10 Secondary Characters. Secondary characters never get as much attention as they should, and since I'm limited to 10, I'm sure I'm going to end up leaving some great characters off this list. Also, there were a few I wanted to add to the list that aren't the most prominent character in a specific book, but they're too prominent for me to label them as secondary--I'm not sure there's a real rule about what's primary and what's secondary, but I'm going with my gut on this one. This is going to be fun, here goes....

1) The Weasley twins from Harry Potter & 2) Lee Jordan from Harry Potter - I had to list these together here so that I can discuss them at the same time. The Weasley twins are quite hilarious, but when JK Rowling would throw Lee Jordan in the mix as well, I'd find myself laughing out loud. Lee Jordan's narration of the games and the radio program from The Deathly Hallows, well just cracks me up.

3) Helen from Jane Eyre - Having recently read Jane Eyre I fell in love with Helen. Not only do we not see friends like this in today's literature, we don't see characters like this in today's modern literature. I find it quite sad.

4) Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice - Now sure Jane's naivete can be annoying, but it's really important to know and have people in your life who only see the good in people until utterly proven otherwise, and even then try to give them the benefit of the doubt and offer more kindness than people deserve. I think I do know a Jane Bennet and I love that girl. Always a smile on her face and giggle close behind.

5) Christian Ozera from Vampire Academy - I do love some snark and Christian's got plenty of it.

6) Emmett from Twilight - I loved his relationship with Bella. The big brother who teases her. Emmett was fully of jokes and teasing and I loved it.

7) Vee from Hush, Hush - I have a friend who Vee reminds me of very much, so I really adored her character.

8) Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone - So innocent and perky. Witty as well. Zuzana would do anything for Karou. Loved their friendship and her loyal character.

9) Lula from Stephanie Plum - Okay so maybe Lula's more like a main character, but I have never laughed out loud so repetitively than when I read (or listen to) the Stephanie Plum books. Lula takes the cake as one of the funniest characters I've ever read.

10) Abe Mazur from Vampire Academy - Abe is also one of those characters that make me laugh out loud. Most of the time I'm laughing at his outlandish, pimp/mob gangster wardrobe choices, but he's also witty and I love it.

I've got a huge smile on my face just remembering the goodness that these characters add to the books I love. The main characters get so much of the glory, but these secondary characters deserve their time in the spotlight and deserve my applause.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Anna and the French Kiss - Review

Anna and the French Kiss

By: Stephanie Perkins

Published: December 2nd 2010 by Dutton

372 pages

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

First off let me say that I enjoyed this book. However, I don't think that I enjoyed it as much as many other people have. I can't give it a 5 star rating.

I've read SEVERAL books recently that really blew me away, and whenever that happens sometimes books that I'd normally like more just don't end up measuring up to the ones that exceeded my expectations. Anna and the French Kiss was kind of that way for me.

I can't blame Anna for not actually being thrilled about going to Paris for her senior year. I have to be honest and say I'm quite terrified of new places and new experiences like this. And so I related to Anna in that way. Where her friends kid her for staying in her room and never leaving campus early on...yeah, that would SO be me. I'm not venturing out unless I have a guide.

Anna lucked out by getting sucked into a group of friends almost immediately. St. Clair being one of them. And of course feelings begin to develop. I liked the fact that Anna doesn't have a perfect appearance (neither does St. Clair), but they both overlook these imperfections and see beautiful people in each other anyway.

Sometimes I found myself really frustrated with Anna and St. Clair, both individually and as a collective. And the name swapping thing--one minute he's St. Clair and the next minute he's Etienne--really irked me. Maybe it was because I'm not a fan of the name Etienne anyway. It just seemed really unnatural to me. I don't know. It's one thing to have a pet name for someone, but this felt completely different and utterly awkward to me.

On the other hand, I very much enjoyed the character growth that both Anna and St. Clair have to go through. The book became about learning a lesson and using the multiple experiences around you to flesh out those life lessons. And I really loved how Stephanie Perkins used the Bridget and Meredith situations to bring about this character growth. Truthfully Bridget and Meredith also grew from the situation and so bonus points for secondary character growth.

All in all, I enjoyed it. I'm giving Anna and the French Kiss 4 stars. Have you read Anna and the French Kiss? If so, what did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Post - 33 & Stacking the Shelves - 6

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

This past week my husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day (early) by going out to dinner, going to see Les Mis, and dropping by the books store so I could pick up The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead on it's release day. When we get home he surprises me by telling me that he's bought me a dishwasher for Valentine's Day and our anniversary. We ran our first load of dishes last night, and I cannot tell you how excited I am about this dishwasher! Best husband ever! Last night we also celebrated my father-in-law and sister-in-law's birthdays. Blog wise, I broke 500 GFC follows and 300 Facebook Likes! Thank you guys so much for that! So as you can tell, it's been a good week all around!

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (3.5 Stars)

Tuesday: Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Romances in Books

Wednesday: Waiting on Recalled

Thursday: Review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (4 Stars). Also, the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop ended.

Friday: Destiny Cover Reveal Giveaway

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Tuesday: Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Favorite Characters in X Genre

Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday

Thursday: Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, # 3)

By: Richelle Mead

Published: February 12th 2013 by Razorbill

401 pages

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

Already finished it and spoiler alert, it was SO GOOD!

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, # 2)

By: Marissa Meyer

Published: February 5th 2013 by Feiwel and Friends

452 pages

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Safe Haven

By: Nicholas Sparks

Published: September 14th 2010 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2010)

340 pages

Source: Borrowed from my sister

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Love hurts. There is nothing as painful as heartbreak. But in order to learn to love again, you must learn to trust again.

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Destiny Cover Reveal Giveaway

Gabriella is a witch. The problem is, she doesn't remember. She repressed the memories of her powers years ago when her mother was murdered. Now, the warlock who was responsible for her mother's death has set his sights on Gabriella. He is determined to use her fear to turn her to the dark side of magick…even if it kills her. Her mother's spirit is reaching out to warn her, but even that she pushes away. Desperate to save her daughter, the spirit finds a male witch–one that just happens to be in love with Gabriella. Darron is more than willing to help but the two young witches will have way more to battle than just an evil warlock. There are overbearing jocks and petty rich girls who get tempers flaring and often set Gabriella and Darron at odds.

( Amazon | Barnes & Noble )

Gabriella and Darron thought their magickal battle was over when they defeated the evil warlock, Richard. When her Aunt Donna seeks Gabriella's help in rescuing her catatonic daughter from the Dark Coven, Gabriella discovers that her cousin holds a power within her that would be catastrophic in the hands of the evil witches. Gabriella's coven sets out on a journey that may be their last. Along the way, they meet new allies, face devastating treachery, and battle not only the Dark Coven, but the darkness within themselves. When Gabriella finally comes face to face with the cousin she never knew existed, her true destiny is unveiled, and the fate of the mortal world is in her hands.

( Amazon | Barnes & Noble )

About the Author

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama.  Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Demon and Player.

The Giveaway

To celebrate the release of the new covers, Author Laura DeLuca is giving away a prize pack that includes a oil diffuser, incense and burner, decorative wooden keepsake box, lavender scented drawer liners, a crystal point, stone pendant, and signed copies of Destiny & Destiny Unveiled with the original covers.

The Whimsical Pixie Etsy Shop is also donating a beautiful altar set inspired by the original cover of Destiny Unveiled.

The book's cover was recreated on the altar box lid; the design was first set in pyrography, painted, stain and given a protective coating of high gloss polycrylic. The flower Celtic knot pentagram is worn by Gabby and her friends as a symbol of unity and has been pyrographed on the altar tile. Red paint was floated around the perimeter to coordinate with the Blood Moon of the cover. A red rose in full bloom was used on both millefiori* pieces; the censor and charcoal tongs. It symbolizes the Gabby's destiny being unveiled.

A scene in the book tells of the young hero doing spell work on the beach using a drift wood wand to cast a circle and sea shells to form a pentagram. Both of these have been included as well as censor sand and a roll of charcoal disks so you can perform your own ritual. Whether you're just starting to walk the path or have for years, this kit makes an attractive addition to your ritual tools.

One lucky winner is going to receive both these fabulous prize packs. To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will end on 3/28/13. Open to the US only. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to reply. Thanks again to The Whimsical Pixie and the author for offering this fantastic prize.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Days of Blood and Starlight - Review

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, # 2)

By: Laini Taylor

Published: November 6th 2012 by Hachette Audio

Read By: Khristine Hvam

517 pages

Source: Received Audiobook version for Christmas

( Goodreads | Amazon )

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

This is not that world.

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

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

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

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

So I listened to Days of Blood and Starlight on audio at work. Sometimes I can listen without too much difficulty, but this past week I needed my brain to think much more than I expected to so I'm quite sure I missed a good bit in this book. I kept having to re-start the tracks over and over again because I knew I hadn't heard anything that was just said. That being the case, it was slow going for me to finish. And as a result, this review will probably be just as discombobulated as my listening experience. I apologize in advance.

Days of Blood and Starlight gives us everything we've come to expect from this world of seraphim and chimera. And more.

Karou truly does have this battle within herself over how far she's willing to go for revenge and redemption. The man she loves has now become her enemy and she's helping a man she hates create an army. How far will she go? And what's it going to take for her to realize she's making a terrible mistake?

There were several major events toward the later half of the book and the ending that really made this book for me. And I'm so completely intrigued to know what's going to happen next. I want so bad to discuss some of the twists and see what everyone who's already read it thinks, but that's now how I roll. Spoiler free people!

Karou's best friend, Zuzana, is one of my favorite characters in this book. She's so adoringly innocent of the stark truths that exists in Karou's world. Yet the more she discovers, the more she respects and loves her friend. Plus Khristine Hvam gives her such an adorable voice that I just want to squeeze and pinch her.

Days of Blood and Starlight gets 4 stars from me. Have you read Days of Blood and Starlight? If so, what did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waiting on Recalled

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Recalled

By: Cambria Hebert

Expected Publication: February 15th 2013 by Cambria Hebert

306 pages

( Goodreads )

Goodreads description--Love or Death? A simple question really. The choice seems obvious. But. What if you never knew love, what if your life was spent just trying to survive? What if you knew your fate before you were fully grown?

And then you died.

And you were given another chance. A better chance.

This new life depended upon one thing: your job. And so you agreed. You thought it would be simple. You thought it would be cut and dry.

It never is.

And now you are left holding the fate of someone else in the palm of your hand and you have to make the ultimate choice.

Love or Death?

What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Top 10 Romances

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Romances.

First off, sorry I didn't get this published yesterday. I had a hot date with Husband. We went to Mellow Mushroom (a pizza joint), to see Les Mis, and a trip by the book store to pick up The Indigo Spell because I HAD to buy it on release day.

Because I don't read many romance novels (if any at all), I'm going with Couples....

1) Always will be Lizzie and Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Recently re-read this in honor of the 200th year of publication. Oh and I've fallen in love with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

2) Love how their relationship has spanned almost 10 years and how love never fades. I'm talking about Anne and Captain Wentworth - Persuasion by Jane Austen.

3) One of my favorite reads from 2012, Will and Layken - Slammed by Colleen Hoover.

4) Even though they've not together (currently) Will and Tessa - The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

5) Hazel and Augustus - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

6) Always a favorite with me Rose and Dimitri - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

7) Just purchased The Indigo Spell and having only 3 books out of 6 in the series published, I don't know how this is going to end, but I'm rooting for them, Adrian and Sydney - Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

8) Also spanning the test of time and achieving forgiveness Lauren & Michael - Back to You by Priscilla Glenn

9) Helping each other overcome trials/obstacles in their lives and moving forward and letting go, Echo and Noah - Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Can't wait to read Dare You To....looking forward to Beth's story).

10) I've got a tie for # 10 (which is a sneaky way for me to actually get more than 10 on my list, hehe!!!) for the same reasons of falling for someone who has the ability to see the world in a beautiful way through art (graffiti or music and poetry) Sam and Grace - The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater or Ed and Lucy - Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love and Other Perishable Items - Review

Love and Other Perishable Items

By: Laura Buzo

Published: December 11th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

256 pages

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Love is awkward, Amelia should know.

From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It's problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.

Amelia isn't stupid. She knows it's not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia's crush doesn't seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?

Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up.

Love and Other Perishable Items is basically about this girl, Amelia, who starts working at this grocery store and falls into a majorly huge crush on a co-worker, Chris. Problem is: Amelia is 15 and Chris is 21.

Now, I personally can't say anything against relationships that span a significant age difference. My husband is 12 years older than myself. That means he was a senior in high school when I was in first grade. He was driving unsupervised when I was 4. We met when I was barely 18 and he was just turning 30. But compared to his sister who's husband is 20 years older than her, our age difference isn't so bad either.) It's all relative. But it's true that 15 is VERY young and while the 6 year age gap between Amelia and Chris might not be a problem when she's 20 and he's 26, there's quite a gap between 15 and 21 (just as there's quite a gap between 4 and 16 or 6 and 18).

As you can imagine, things don't always go as Amelia hopes and plans. At the beginning of the book, I remember thinking that she sounded very young and immature, and still throughout the book there were moments when her age really shined through like this towering beacon.

Upon finishing Love and Other Perishable Items, I was tempted to question whether I'd just wasted the last day and a half reading this. But ultimately I settled upon no. While Love and Other Perishable Items probably won't stand out to me as an epic read that I must return to over and over, it was a nice take on coming of age, growing up, and first crushes that are easily mistaken for love.

I will note that Chris's abundance in the use of alcohol, drugs, and other general maleness was quite annoying to my 26 year old self. 15 year old me would have probably been in love with him too (as sad as that is to say).

I'm giving Love and Other Perishable Items 3.5 stars. Have you read Love and Other Perishable Items? If so, what did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Post - 32 & Stacking the Shelves - 5

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Nothing out of the ordinary has really happened this week. I had a slight sinus infection of the majority of the week, but it seems to be better now. And yesterday was an extremely productive day. I managed to get my house relatively clean. I feel good about it. Now I can blog and read to my hearts content and not feel guilty about it.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Power of a Praying Church by Stormie Omartian (3.5 Stars)

Tuesday: Top 10 Best Bookish Memories

Wednesday: Waiting on The Trouble with Flirting

Thursday: Review of The One that Got Away by Kelly Hunter (3.5 Stars) also, I posted my Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop enter to win 1 of 9 books!

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Tuesday: Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Best Romances (maybe, I might jump off topic...we'll see)

Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday

Thursday: Review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor; Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop ends.

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, # 1)

By: RL LaFevers

Published: April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

549 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, # 1)

By: Rachel Hawkins

Published: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH

323 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Unearthly (Unearthly, # 1)

By: Cynthia Hand

Published: January 4th 2011 by HarperTeen (first published January 1st 2011)

435 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence, # 1)

By: Jessica Sorensen

Published: December 13th 2012

296 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library ($0.99 on Amazon right now)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--There are those who don’t get luck handed to them on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don’t get saved.

Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe.

For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him.

Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved.

Rule (Rule, # 1)

By: Jay Crownover

Published: December 30th 2012

327 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library (Currently $1.99 on Amazon)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--I had loved Rule Archer since the first moment I ever laid eyes on him. He was everything I shouldn't want and the only person I went out of my way to not try and please. He only saw me as a brat, and an entitled, stuck up princess but worse than that all he saw when he looked at me was his deceased twin's girl. It broke my heart because as much as I had loved Remy Archer there was never anything romantic between us and no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that loving Rule was a terrible idea, my poor heart just wouldn't listen. We tolerated each other, barely and had forged an uneasy alliance until one night I had too much to drink and changed the way we were forever. Suddenly life long secrets were no longer hidden and the one thing I always wanted for myself seemed obtainable as long as I was willing to go through hell to hold onto it.

Shaw Landon was a class act and I had no idea what to do with her. She was tied to my family, tied to the person that was my other half so I tolerated her and her haughty attitude when I didn't have any other choice. What I didn't know was that a short skirt and too many cocktails on her birthday was going to change my outlook on her for the rest of my life. Some people thought I hid behind all my tattoos and piercings, that I tried to distance myself from my dead twin, Shaw saw through it all and wasn't scared of what was underneath. We weren't supposed to be together, weren't supposed to be anything but uncomfortable acquaintances but that all changed in the blink of an eye. Now I had to figure out just how a girl like her and a guy like me were supposed to be in love without destroying each other. Add in her custom made ex and two disapproving sets of parents and the whole situation sounded like it was more trouble then it was worth.

Recommended for mature readers due to sexual content, language and drinking

The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret, # 1)

By: Jessica Sorensen

Published: October 4th 2012 (first published October 2nd 2012)

316 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library (Currently $0.99 on Amazon)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Goodreads description--Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.

(New Adult Contemporary)

*Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!