Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Monstrous Beauty

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publish Date: August 21, 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Historical
Summary: Monstrous mermaids, ghosts, and a century-old curse feature in this beautifully crafted, compulsively readable thriller.

In 1872, mermaid Syrenka falls in love with a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

One hundred thirty years later, 17-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger and feels drawn to him in a way she can't explain or resist. For generations, love and death have been inextricably linked for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect...or a curse? Hester's investigation of her family's strange, sad history leads her to the graveyard, the crypt, and the bottom of the ocean--but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of long ago.
Mermaid books have been hit or miss for me in the past but there are several coming out next year that I am hoping will be hits. Monstrous Beauty is one of them. I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover and this one is gorgeous! Plus it sounds dark and twisty and did you see the word thriller in the description?!? This is on my TBR list for sure! What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Release Date: Sept. 20, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 423 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Library
Goodreads Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns is an original, wonderfully written fantasy novel that I did not see coming. I'm not sure what I expected from this book but it exceeded my expectations. I more of a character than a plot driven reader and this book has both a great main character and a fascinating plot.

I love Elisa! Her character experiences a tremendous amount of growth and maturity throughout the novel, probably the most of any character in a book I’ve read recently. Elisa, because of the Godstone in her bellybutton, knows she is destined for greatness but has no idea how she will achieve it. I know the idea of the Godstone, a living jewel placed by God in someone’s bellybutton, is kind of weird but the fantasy elements and world building are so well done, it works and works very well.

Elisa is sheltered, coddled, has never been responsible for anything but she is educated and book smart. She is an emotional eater with low self esteem and no self confidence. The story is told in first person and you really feel sorry for her especially when she is hastily forced into an arranged marriage to Alejandro and feels so inadequate and unworthy of him. Through the course of the novel, Elisa is put into situations where she could have allowed her lack of confidence to undermine her but she completely steps up and even though she is afraid, she steps out on faith and does what she prays she has been destined to do. Speaking of faith, religion plays a big part in The Girl of Fire and Thorns and this too is handled very well.  

The romance in the book is a little complicated as Elisa marries one man who does not see her worth but she learns love from another man who does. With all that going on, I was really pulling for a third guy (Team Hector over here!) and I hope to see a lot more of him in the sequel.

Some may see the beginning of The Girl of Fire and Thorns as being a little slow but all of it was necessary for the fantastic world building. The book picks up nicely and the adventure is awesome. The novel reads like a standalone book (no cliffhangers!) but I’m happy it’s the first in a series as I loved the writing, the characters, the political intrigue, the fantasy elements, the setting that invoked Spanish and North African influences, all of it. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Content: Kissing, some adult themes and violence.

My Rating: Really Good!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review: The Name of the Star

Release Date: Sept. 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 372 pages
Genre: Paranormal, Thriller
Source: Library
Goodreads Summary: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
The more paranormal thrillers I read, the more I love them and The Name of the Star is a really good paranormal thriller! Maureen Johnson puts a southern American girl in modern London and successfully manages to invoke all the gothic creepiness you would expect from a story about Jack the Ripper.

Rory is a great character, a girl from Louisiana who is attending an elite London boarding school for her senior year. Rory is quirky and her descriptions of her family and hometown are funny and entertaining. I love the secondary characters, especially Rory’s friends Jazza, Jerome, Boo, Stephen and Callum. I also love Johnson’s descriptions of London and especially Boo’s cockney accent. I wish I were better about audio books, I would have loved to hear this story through a narrator.

The first portion of the book deals with Rory getting settled into her new school and making friends while Ripper terror reigns over London. There is a turning point in the novel where the paranormal elements take over and the book becomes vastly different. The twist in the story works very well.   

While there is romance in the book, it is not the central focus and more of a side story. I love this because when I read this, I was in the mood for a thriller (not a paranormal romance) and thriller is what I got. Thankfully, The Name of the Star also lacks most of the other juvenile high school drama that boarding school books are known for.

The Name of the Star is a really well written story. It is creepy, fast paced and thrilling. When I finished the book, I wanted to spend more time in this world with these characters, so I am happy that this is the first book in a series. The Name of the Star also throws a huge twist at the end that has me anxious to get my hands on the next book! 

Content: Kissing, underage drinking, some gory descriptions and violence.

My Rating: Really Good!


I hope everyone had an awesome weekend and congratulations to Ashlyn Williams (ashlyn_jai) who is the winner of the Gratitude Giveaway Hop. The winner, chosen by, has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond. Thank you to everyone who participated! I have at least two giveaways coming up in December so make sure you stop by to enter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: So Close to You

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, and specifically spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:

Title: So Close to You by Rachel Carter
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: July 10, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: So Close to You brims with the compelling “what if” mysteries surrounding The Time Traveler’s Wife and all of the the action and creepy government experiments of The Maze Runner—and, in a new twist, presents a piercing look at a dark period in history and imagines what changes could have produced an utterly different world...and what one girl would do to stop it.

Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the experiments that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who’ve disappeared over the years. When she stumbles into a vessel that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, Lydia realizes that all the stories she’s ever heard about the Montauk Project are true—and that she’s in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside Wes, a darkly mysterious boy whom she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices. And if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them...and herself.
So Close to You sounds like a really cool science fiction novel and so different from anything I’ve been reading. I'm loving time travel books right now and this one has some nice twists to it. Plus, I love the beautiful cover! What books are you waiting on?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Joint Book Review: Modelland

Lisa from Read. Breathe. Relax and I were very curious about Tyra Bank’s first YA novel, Modelland, so we decided to do a joint review (our first!) of the novel. Below are some of Lisa’s thoughts on Modelland and please check out Lisa’s blog for my thoughts on the book.
Title: Modelland by Tyra Banks
Release Date: Sept. 13, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 576 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Library
Goodreads Summary: No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation. Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams.

But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.

Only seven extraordinary young women become Intoxibellas each year. Famous. Worshipped. Magical. What happens to those who don’t make it? Well, no one really speaks of that. Some things are better left unsaid.

Thrown into a world where she doesn’t seem to belong, Tookie glimpses a future that could be hers—if she survives the beastly Catwalk Corridor and terrifying Thigh-High Boot Camp. Or could it? Dark rumors like silken threads swirl around the question of why Tookie and her new friends were selected . . . and the shadows around Modelland hide sinister secrets.

Are you ready? Modelland is waiting for you. . . .
Q1. What are your overall thoughts on Modelland?
Lisa: Although I didn't end up finishing Modelland was very confusing to me. It has a weird sense of naming (Forgetta-girls, SMIZEs, Tookie, etc). That really threw me off. Also, the writing is honestly atrocious. It's obvious Tyra Banks didn't use a ghostwriter. It was just weird overall. 

Me: I feel exactly the same way. Modelland is the most bizarre book I have ever read, and yes, it is painfully obvious that Tyra wrote it herself.

Q2. What did you like and not like about Modelland?
Lisa: Hmm, that's actually a tough question. I liked the whole idea of a young adult novel about inner beauty that had fantasy elements, but the execution was just strange. Also, the beginning of the book just dragged on and on, and I'm not why Banks would waste the first 20 crucial pages of the book on describing Tookie's awkward looks every 5 words.

Me: I agree and what’s even stranger than Tyra continuously describing Tookie’s awkward looks is that Tookie is described as looking a lot like Tyra herself….

Q3. Modelland is a “did not finish” for both of us. Why couldn't you finish it? Do you think you will finish it at some point? Why or why not?
Lisa: For me, I think it ultimately came down to time. As a book blogger, I try to keep to a certain schedule (posting reviews every Thursday). Modelland was a time suck that didn't give anything back. Long, emotionally-satisfying books are worth reading. Long, vacant ridiculous books, sadly, are not.

Weirdly enough, I do want to try to finish the book, if only to satisfy my curiosity about how Banks' decides to develop the story.

Me: Ha! I like “time suck,” and yes, Modelland was a huge time suck! Every time I tried to finish the book and had to battle through lengthy and bizarre names and descriptions, I would think about other books that I would enjoy and wanted to read more. I try to finish two books a week and the tedium of Modelland was not letting me get any other reading done. I won’t be going back to finish it.

Q4. Tyra has said that Modelland is loosely based on her own modeling experience. Do you think that helped or hurt the book?
Lisa: I have to admit, I think that her experience did help to a certain extent. There were some really fun descriptions of clothes and the types of girls who want so desperately to be chosen to go to Modelland.

That being said...being a model didn't help Tyra write. I really believe that not everyone is born to be a writer. And when know...WRITE a book, being a writer sort of helps....

Q5. How do you feel about celebrity authors? Did reading Modelland affect your opinion of them in any way?
Lisa: Honestly, I wasn't ever really sure what to think. I heard some really bad things about Hilary Duff's book but a few good things about Lauren Conrad's. I figured I shouldn't judge something I didn't know much about...except now I have! :)

Modelland affected my opinion, but only really toward Tyra Banks. I would hate to judge all celebrity authors by her work, but it does seem they do it just to make money another way- not really for the love of writing. I promise to try and reserve my judgment in the future...however hard that may be.

Me: I have not enjoyed other YA books by celebrity authors so at this point, I am swearing them off altogether.

Q6. Despite poor reviews, Modelland spent a week on the New York Times Best Seller List which I think will only encourage more celebrities to write and more publishers to publish the books. Which celebrity would you like to write a YA novel and why?

Lisa: I love this question!! Let's see- I would love for a really interesting celebrity to write a book, like Conan O'Brien, Charlize Theron, Jude Law or Natalie Portman. Still, like I said earlier, they should actually be able to write. I think Natalie Portman might fit that bill!

Q7. Modelland is the first in a trilogy. Are you planning on reading the other two books?
Lisa: Maybe. Only if I finish Modelland and see a shred of potential for the next book. So far, though, it's not looking too likely...

Q8. What’s next on your “to be read list?”
Lisa: I'm in the middle of reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. It. is. amazing!! I am so thankful to be reading an interesting, well-written novel. It's a great way to shuff off my frustration and get back into reading some stunning writing.

Me: I have heard amazing things about Shatter Me and I can’t wait to read it! I’m looking forward your review. Thank you Lisa!

Don't forget to stop by Read. Breathe. Relax. to see Lisa's questions for me on Modelland!

Book Review: A Reluctant Queen

Release Date: July 5, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads Summary: An inspired re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Biblical story of Esther, how an ordinary girl could rise up to become queen of Persia and save her people from genocide. While A Reluctant Queen mirrors the main highlights from the Biblical account, it is important to point out that this book is VERY loosely based on the biblical book of Esther.

In order to properly enjoy and review this book, I decided not to compare it to the real story in the Bible. Standing on its own, A Reluctant Queen is very romantic, hopeful and filled with political intrigue.

Esther is a beautiful girl of mixed heritage (her mother was Jewish while her father was Persian) living in Susa with her uncle Mordecai. Fearing a plot to annihilate the Jewish people, Esther, at the request of Mordecai and other Jewish leaders, goes undercover into the King of Persia’s harem and competes with other girls to become his wife.

Young and scared, Esther never expects to actually like the handsome King Ahasuerus and is even more shocked when he chooses her to be his queen after only meeting her once. Ahasuerus is gorgeous, smart, kind, noble and completely swoon worthy. In other words, he is a perfect leading man. What starts out as a physical attraction grows into an awesome love between these two. The characters are very well rounded, especially Esther and Haman (the villain of the story). I loved getting to know Esther and seeing how she worked through her fears to get to the point of knowing that she was going to save her people or die trying. The political storyline in the book is very interesting as well.

I liked A Reluctant Queen and I think readers who like Christian fiction and romance would enjoy it as well. Just keep in mind that it is a retelling and there are significant differences between the historical account of Queen Esther and this book. 

Content: Kissing, drinking, some violence and implied sex but nothing even remotely graphic. 

My Rating: Really Good!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and co-hosted by All-Consuming Books. This hop runs until November 27th. I have been blogging for almost one year and have had the pleasure to meet the most awesome book lovers in the world. For this hop, I wanted to do something a little bit different. Sometimes bloggers giveaway books that many of us have already read, so I thought I would change things up by offering one winner their choice of one of the following pre-publication books:

New Girl by Paige Harbison
Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes
Switched by Amanda Hocking
Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne
Truth (XVI, #2) by Julia Karr
Fated by Sarah Alderson

This giveaway is international and open to anywhere The Book Depository delivers. As soon as a winner is selected by, I will pre-order the book but it will not be shipped to you until it is published. These books will be published in December or January. Follow the Rafflecopter instructions for the form below and good luck!

Waiting on Wednesday: Storm

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, and specifically spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:

Publisher: KTeen (Kensington)
Publish Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Paranormal
Summary: Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her.

Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all. The storm is coming . . .
I’ve wanted to read Storm since I read the summary a few months ago and have been eagerly anticipating a cover ever since. I was pleasantly surprised that cover features the four brooding Merrick boys instead of either a close-up of a girl’s face or a girl in a prom dress! This is a nice change that definitely makes Storm’s cover stand out in the YA market. What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: The Pledge

Title: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Release Date: Oct. 15, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy
Source: Publisher through GalleyGrab
Goodreads Summary: In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
The Pledge combines two of my favorite genres, dystopia and paranormal, and actually reads more like a fantasy novel. For me, this is a good thing as I loved reading about the world where an evil queen uses magic and cunning to rule and the special girl who can stop her.

Kimberly Derting has created a fascinating world were language is used to separate the people into an oppressive caste system. The caste you were born into determines your education, vocation, friends and pretty much the rest of your life. Charlaina, or Charlie, is born into the vendor class of people. Her family owns a small restaurant and Charlie is fiercely loyal to her parents and four-year-old sister.

While Charlie is passionate about her family, friends and then about Max after they meet, that seems to be the extent of her character development. I don’t really feel that I got to really know her or the other characters. You know that moment in the novel where the main character, even if they have been cruising through the story, makes a determined decision that’s do or die? When they get it together and commit to a course of action that may even cost them their life? In The Pledge, it was such a small thing, such fast event that you almost miss it. I waited for this moment because I thought it would be a huge turning point for the flatness of Charlie’s character and I was let down. There is some insta-love between Charlie and Max and I wish their romance was more developed. Also, there are some plot twists in the story that are very predictable.

While I’m being critical of The Pledge, I did enjoy it, I just wanted more from the story. The fantasy elements are awesome but the book feels like it needs to be longer and much more detailed. I do think this is a good start to a new series and I am very much looking forward to the sequel to see where Derting takes the story.

Content: Kissing, violence, drug use, underage drinking.

My Rating: Just Fine.


Congratulations to Michelle (geekdgirl) who is the winner of the November Giveaway Hop. The winner, chosen by, has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond. Thank you to everyone who participated! I have the Gratitude Giveaway starting tomorrow night and it’s international so make sure you stop by to enter.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: There You’ll Find Me

Release Date: Oct. 4, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Goodreads Summary: In a small cottage house in rural Ireland, Finley discovers she can no longer outrun the past.

When Finley travels to Ireland as a foreign exchange student, she hopes to create a new identity and get some answers from the God who took her brother away and seems to have left her high and dry.

But from the moment she boards the plane and sits by Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to Finley's plan.

When she gets too close to Beckett, a classmate goes on a mission to make sure Finley packs her bags, departs Ireland-and leaves Beckett alone.

Finley feels the pressure all around. As things start to fall apart, she begins to rely on a not-so-healthy method of taking control of her life.

 Finley tries to balance it all-disasters on the set of Beckett's new movie, the demands of school, and her growing romance with one actor who is not what he seems. Yet Finley is also not who she portrays to Beckett and her friends. For the first time in her life, Finley must get honest with herself to get right with God.
I don't read a lot of contemporary fiction. I’m more of an escapist reader who prefers fantasy, paranormal romance and science fiction but my friend KM from One Page at a Time raved about this book and recommended that I read it, and since she has never given me a bad recommendation, I thought I would give it a try. I loved There You’ll Find Me so much. It made me laugh, made me cry, made me think about all the things in my own life that I try to control when I should really just let go and let God handle it. While I did not know it at the time, There You’ll Find Me was exactly the kind of book I needed to read. 

Finley, heiress to a hotel chain and recovering party girl, cannot get over the death of her beloved older brother, Will. She is angry at God for not saving Will, a devout Christian and humanitarian who was working to rebuild schools in Afghanistan when he was killed by a bomb. Seeking closure and peace, Finley follows in her brother’s footsteps by going to Ireland for her senior year of high school, just as he did.

Finley is smart and snarky. She is also loving, kind and oh so flawed. I found her to be such a realistic and likable character. She considers Ireland a fresh start but for a girl who has felt that her life is out of control, Finley strives to control what she can (her diet, weight and her relationships with others) with disastrous results. There is an awesome romance in this book that is so sweet! Beckett is a teen heartthrob movie star (along the lines of Robert Pattinson) and the dialogue between he and Finley is hilarious. While I loved seeing the relationship between Finley and Beckett develop, it is not main focus of the book. There You’ll Find Me is really about Finley’s healing and finding her way back to a loving God who never left her in the first place.

The main characters and the secondary characters in this book are very well developed and I must point out that Ireland itself is like a secondary character. The descriptions of the country are breathtaking and makes me want to get there and see it for myself! I also love Jones’ subtle but effective writing, mainly the steady way we see Finley’s issues spiraling out of control. The pacing in the book is perfect, it’s never rushed and not too slow either.

There You’ll Find Me is not your mom’s Christian fiction. It’s fresh, funny, entertaining and extremely appealing to anyone who wants to read really good contemporary YA fiction. I want to thank Ms. Jones for showing me that a book about heavy issues can be sensitively written with humor and light. I’m really, really hoping that she plans on writing more books like this.

Content: Kissing.

My Rating: The Best!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday – For Darkness Shows the Stars

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, and specifically spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: June 12, 2012
Genre: Dystopia
Summary: Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.
This book sounds and looks amazing and the cover is beautiful! While I like dystopian covers with the girl in the high fashion dress, I love artsy covers even more and this combines the two wonderfully. What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review: Obsidian

Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pages: 226 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Goodreads Summary: Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth.

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

The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.
Jennifer Armentrout is quickly becoming known as a hot writer in the YA/paranormal/urban fantasy market and with good reason. Her novels are very exciting and highly entertaining. Obsidian is no different.

I am a character driven reader so I will talk about the story a little and the characters a lot. While Obsidian is science fiction, it is light on the sci-fi and heavy on the romance and action. I have not read a lot of YA paranormal romance that involves aliens so Obsidian provided a nice change for me. Armentrout gives you just enough back story on Dee and Daemon to answer basic questions but I am hoping the next book will give us more history on them.

The story is told from Katy’s perspective and she is a very likable character. Katy is a quiet girl who likes to read, blog (yes guys, she has a book review blog!) and garden. She is also, loyal, brave, spunky and fights back when someone tries to put her down (love that). Her father’s death from cancer three years before left her sad and lonely and created distance between her and her mom. The family dynamics in this book are interesting. While the main characters are all teenagers, parents or guardians of any sort are rarely around. Katy spends a lot of time by herself so when she meets Dee, Daemon’s twin sister who seems just as lonely as she is, the two form an instant bond, much to Daemon’s chagrin.

Katy and Daemon have an immediate physical attraction to each other, but thankfully, no insta-love. As a matter of fact, these two are at each other throats (and not in a good way) throughout most of the book. Daemon is very attractive but such a jerk! Normally, I not a huge fan of this type of male lead but Daemon is, well, complicated. While he never mistreats Katy, he is very rude and mean to her verbally. Hot or not, no girl should put up with a guy like Daemon but to Katy’s credit, she does not stick around because of him but because she values her friendship with Dee. 

Daemon attempts to push Katy away from him and his family are understandable under the circumstances but I will admit that I did not fall for him right away. Katy is no pushover and matches his insults with her own. The snarky verbal tennis match between these two is one of my favorite aspects of the novel. In the hands of another writer, I would have hated Daemon but somehow, Ms. Amentrout worked him under my skin and I’m happy to say that he has grown on me.

While Katy, Daemon and Dee and well rounded characters, there are secondary characters that I would love know more about in upcoming novels. Obsidian is a fast paced, exciting, sexy and fun read and I am really looking forward to the other books in the Lux series.

Content: Sexual situations, heavy profanity, violence and underage drinking. Obsidian is one of those books that walks the fine line between YA and adult urban fantasy. There is a ton of sexual tension between Katy and Daemon and their steamy scenes are definitely more appropriate for older teens and adults.

My Rating: Really Good!

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the November Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and co-hosted by Tristi Pinkston. This hop runs from Tuesday, November 8th through Friday, November 11th.

For this hop, I am giving away a copy of Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep and a cool matching bookmark! This book is really good (read my review here), you should definitely read it before the sequel comes out later this month. Follow the Rafflecopter instructions for the form below and good luck!

Book Review: Dark Inside

Title: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Horror, Apocalyptic
Source: Publisher through GalleyGrab
Goodreads Summary: Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everyday people into hunters, killers, crazies. 

Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.
I have seen Dark Inside described as a combination of 28 Days Later and The Road. I would agree with this description plus a bit of The Stand thrown in. While Dark Inside is a more appropriate read for a YA audience (or squeamish people like me), it does maintain the horror of those other stories but without the excessive gore. If you like your horror/zombie novel bloody, don’t worry, while this book may not be extremely gory, the body count is still very high. Personally, 28 Days Later gave me the worst nightmares and I have avoided zombie books and movies since then but Dark Inside may just bring me back. 

The story follows four teenagers who try to survive after the world is rocked by several extremely destructive earthquakes. The death toll after the disaster is high, but nothing compared to what happens to people afterwards. The quakes unleash an evil that posseses some people but does not affect others. The affected become zombielike, filled with rage and bent on brutally killing anyone in their path, especially those who are not infected. While the four teens, Mason, Aries, Clementine and Michael, don’t know each other initially, we read as they struggle to stay alive and see how their paths intersect.

The teens are all very different and struggle with different issues. The characters are very well written, some are filled with guilt and regret, some more streetwise that others and almost all finding it hard to come to terms with family and friends they have lost due to the disaster. The idea that anyone, friends and family, could be a monster waiting to strike makes Dark Inside even more suspenseful.

The horror element, however, may be the best thing about this book. The Baggers, people who are infected with the evil, are absolutely terrifying. The way they hunt the normal people and the traps they set really scared me. The way the teens have to hide and travel by night to avoid viscous hordes of Baggers had me on the edge of my seat.

Dark Inside is a fast paced, action packed nail biter all the way to the end and it does end with a cliffhanger. This is a really good horror novel and I am looking forward to the sequel.

Content: Kissing, heavy violence, mild profanity.

My Rating: Really Good!


A bunch of my giveaways just ended, so now I have winners to announce. All winners have been notified by email. Huge thank you to everyone who participated and I am planning at least two giveaways this month, the first starts tonight to make sure you enter. The winner of the following giveaways are:

Spooklactular Giveaway Hop: Temara

Halloween Queens Book Giveaway - Anna Dressed in Blood: Shae Carcar

Halloween Queens Book Giveaway - Darker Still: Story Seekers

Halloween Queens Book Giveaway - Dark Eden Prize Pack: Nicole Sender

The Fear Test CD Roms: Angie, Marcie, Cassy, Tanyaw1224, Brooke DeSpain, Kaylyn Waters, Isamar C. Hernandez, Lisa Parkin and Crista.

 Thanks again everyone!

In My Mailbox #4

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren. I got some really great eARCs (thank you NetGalley!) this week for review and I am very, very excited about all of them:

For Review:
Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout (thank you, Entangled Publishing!)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (thank you, HarperTeen!)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (thank you, HarperTeen!)
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (thank you, HarperTeen!)

What did you get this week?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Review: Variant

Title: Variant by Robison Wells
Release Date: Oct. 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads Summary: Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
I’ve been reading a few really good ‘boy books’ (written by male authors featuring male main characters) lately and Variant is definitely one of them.

Variant has a certain Lord of the Flies feel to it only as far as both books involve a group of young people who are stuck in an isolated situation where their efforts to form a society produce interesting results. Make no mistake, Maxfield Academy is no deserted island, it’s a really nice boarding school that offers its students many luxuries except the most important of all, freedom. Additionally, the school dictates all their activities and has strict rules that are enforced through a horrendous punishment and reward system. In short, the place is a nightmare, a pretty prison where the threat of death looms constantly the students.

Variant is an original addition to the YA thrillers out there and I really enjoyed it. I could not wait to find out who or what was behind the school’s existence and what its ultimate purpose was. I love that Variant has two sets of villains: the school itself and the kids who run it. While I can’t describe Benson Fisher as a typical nice guy, I liked him. He is a foster kid that is rough around the edges but ultimately, very strong willed and exactly what the other kids need in order to see just how wrong things at the school are.

While I classified Variant as a ‘boy book,’ it’s a book that will appeal to everyone who loves a great thriller with a nice dose of science fiction. YA books tend to be a bit predictable but there are some awesome plot twists in Variant that I did not see coming. Fast paced, action paced, suspenseful and so exciting, Variant ends in a heck of a cliffhanger. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Content: Kissing, mild swearing, heavy violence.

My Rating: Really Good!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Underworld

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, and specifically spotlights upcoming novels we can't wait to read. This week’s choice is:

Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publish Date: May 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Mythology
Summary: Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead. Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey. Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies. And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.
I love mythology and book one, Abandon, was a great start to the series. I am eager to see how Pierce and John’s relationship develops. Additionally, Scholastic has been has produced the most gorgeous covers for the books in this series! I am definitely excited to read Underworld. What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: Darker Still

Release Date: Nov. 8, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebook Fire
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Historical, Horror
Source: Publisher
Goodreads Summary: The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...

Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.
Darker Still is such a unique novel, in a very good way! After witnessing her mother’s death at a young age, Natalie Stewart stops talking. Now 17-years-old, Natalie communicates with other people through sign-language and writing on notepads. The story is told through Natalie’s journal entries which is very appropriate for this story. While it may seem odd to read an entire book made up of journal entries (a first for me), Ms. Hieber makes it work very well and the story flowed wonderfully.

I am a character driven reader and Natalie is a very likable character. She is brave, spunky and smart. People don’t expect much of her because she is mute, but she proves them wrong. She stands up for herself and refuses to be bullied or put down for her short comings. The women in Darker Still, Natalie and Ms. Northe, are the heroes of the story, the ones who do the sleuthing and the saving. I liked Denbury’s swoon worthy character and I hope we get to know him better in the next book.

The setting of Darker Still is perfectly Victorian and the story is awesomely dark and gothic. The circumstances that got Denbury stuck in the painting and keeps him there are scary. Filled with dark magic, a gorgeous man trapped in a painting and an evil, possessed body, this is a great creepy read for this time of year when the weather is cold and gray. If you enjoy gothic stories like the Picture of Dorian Gray, you will love this book.

The ending of Darker Still is satisfying with no cliffhanger but there is more there to explore. I was very happy to find out that there will be a sequel coming out next year. I can’t wait to read it! If you have not done so yet, enter to win a copy of this great book here.

Content: Kissing, violence.  

My Rating: Really Good!


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