Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Being Friends with Boys

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 368 pages
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary: Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl's perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys' band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free...until it isn't any more.

When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl...and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char...being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.
Charlotte is the lone girl in her band, Sad Jackal. She writes their songs and manages them but prefers to keep a low profile and let the boys take the spot light. After being dropped by her best friend, Lish, who starts avoiding Char in order to hang out with more popular girls, Char has only the boys left and that’s okay with her. Things do start getting complicated when Trip, the band mate that she hangs out with the most, quits the band and two new boys join. Being Friends with Boys is an adorable book about how Char handles relationships with several very cool and very different boys and all the complications that go along with them.

I’m a very character driven reader and Terra Elan McVoy is awesome at writing them. I loved Char! She was a normal, likable girl without ever being boring. I loved that she got inspiration from her songs from looking at pictures of family and friends and from her life experiences. Char does have some issues with abandonment but McVoy handles even the angsty stuff so well, it was never annoying, just wonderfully done. I loved the boys as well with the exception of Oliver who I thought was pompous but I guess at least one of them had to be a jerk.

The thing that surprised me that most was Char’s healthy, supportive relationships with her father, stepmother and stepsisters. It would have been easy for McVoy to make this blended family a cause of pain and suffering in Char's life. Don’t get me wrong, Char does have drama (including some from her mom), but the author definitely went against stereotypes and does not vilify the usual suspects.

Overall, Being Friends with Boys was a cute and funny book. The romance in the book was really sweet and made me smile. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves YA contemporary novels or books about music and bands. This will also make a great summer read and is perfect for when you are reading on the beach or by the pool!

Content: Kissing, profanity, underage drinking and drug use.

My Rating: Really Good!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Free E-book: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer

Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 50 pages
Genre: Paranormal

Goodreads Summary: Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they are more than you dream.

As an air Elemental, 17-year-old Emily Morgan doesn’t have much power. That’s okay—she knows what happens to kids who do.

Like Michael Merrick. He’s an earth Elemental, one with enough power to level cities. Which makes him sexy. Dangerous. And completely off limits. At least according to Emily’s family.

But her summer job puts her in close contact with Michael, and neither of them can help the attraction they feel. When forces of nature like theirs collide, one misstep could get someone killed. Because Emily’s family doesn’t just want her to stay away from him. They want him dead.

Last week I reviewed Storm by Brigid Kemmerer in all its awesomeness (read my review here) and now I happy to tell you that Elemental, the prequel novella to the series, is free on Amazon and B&N right now! Elemental is a great start to the series, so make sure you get it before the price goes back up.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Joint Review: Harbinger

Lisa from Read. Breathe. Relax and I did our first joint review last year and are very excited to do another on the dark thriller, Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne. Below are some of Lisa’s thoughts on Harbinger and please check out Lisa’s blog for more of my thoughts on the book.

Release Date: Feb 2, 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Pages: 309 pages
Genre: Dystopia, Paranormal
Goodreads Summary: Girl, Interrupted meets Beautiful Creatures in this fast-paced thriller

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Q1. Is Harbinger what you expected? What surprised you the most about the book (without giving away too many spoilers)?

Lisa: Yes and no. I only read one review of Harbinger, but I think I was pretty well prepared for how dark it was. On the other hand, it did have a ton of twists that took me completely off-guard. The ending is what surprised me the most. I thought the author was taking it one way, but she took it a whole different way I couldn't have guessed in a million years.

Me: I had no idea this book was dystopian before I started reading it. The summary does not even hint at anything like that so it was easily my biggest surprise.

Q2. What did you think of the book’s dark setting (the school, surrounding areas and the world itself)?

Lisa: Although I'm a serious wimp when it comes to super dark/scary books, I actually thought the dark setting was appropriate and interesting. It gave the story an aura of mystery and suspense. Holbrook was creepy and awful, and I admired how consistently horrible Etienne made it. 

Me: I agree! This school was a prison masquerading as a reform school and it was awful! She did a fantastic job writing the setting.

Q3. Faye is an interesting main character? What did you like and not like about her?

Lisa: I liked that Faye was an outcast and that she fashioned a misfit family out of her fellow students at Holbrook. She's rebellious and curious, and I thought she was a well-rounded character.

The only thing I didn't really like about Faye was that at the end of the book, she seemed to change too rapidly. Although it fit with the plot, Faye was acting completely differently than she had the entire book. It just didn't make sense to me.

Me: I have to agree with you on this as well.

Q4. What did you think of the relationship between Faye and Kel?

Lisa: Following the rest of my responses, I really loved Faye and Kel 80 percent of the book. Their relationship was fraught with delicious tension and attraction. Then at the just got weird.

Me: LOL! I thought there was a lot of weirdness about their relationship throughout the book. It was this sort of insta-attraction/weird connection that they shared that was, well, different. Not bad, but different.

Q5. What did you think of the secondary characters, especially the family?

Lisa: I seriously loved them!! They're all so quirky and funny. I loved their back stories and how they formed a real bond over their shared misery. (Bummer). 

Q6. Harbinger has an environmental theme running through it that I find unique in paranormal YA books but more common in dystopia. What did you think of this theme? Would you like to see more or less of it in YA?

Lisa: In general, I think the theme of environmentalism can seem a bit forced and a little political. But, in Harbinger, it fit in with the overall ideas presented in the book: the world ran out of resources and struggled to keep going. It only makes sense that there were activists who wanted to cut down on wasteful consumption.

I think this theme also feels less pushy in paranormal and dystopian books because it's set in a fictional world and doesn't seem to read like a commentary on the current state of affairs in our country.

Q7. What were you overall thoughts on the book? Who would you recommend it to?

Lisa: This book was unputdownable for me. I read it in 2 days, which is pretty fast for this 9-to-5er. I was riveted the entire time!! The combination of intense mystery and action with a side of romance made this a well-balanced book.

However, the end of the book felt rushed and incomplete. In the last fourth of the book, the reader is hit with a tidal wave of new information. It's so much to process that I found myself drowning in the details. The final twist at the end just left me confused and a little let down. It wasn't the shocking reveal I was hoping for.

Harbinger passed the class but failed the final. The whole build-up of the story was enough to carry me through the patchy ending.

I would recommend this to fans of dark fantasy, paranormal YA and people who just love a good mystery (and staying up late nights).

Me: I read this very much wanting to find out what was behind the mysteries and Faye’s visions but the rushed ending left me confused and I still have questions that went unanswered. If you like dark and original YA books, I think this may be one for you, but it can be confusing. Harbinger does appear to be a standalone book which is a good thing for those tired of waiting a whole year to find out how the story ends.

Thank you for doing another joint review with me, Lisa! Don't forget to stop by Read. Breathe. Relax. to see Lisa's questions for me on Harbinger.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Congrats to Sarah Palo who won the finished copy of The Immortal Rules! The winner was chosen by and has been contacted. I have another giveaway going on right now so make sure you enter. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and vvb32reads. This hop runs from April 26 – May 1.

For this hop, I’m giving away an ARC of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This book is an awesome retelling of Cinderella, you can read my review here.

This hop has a twist! For the fairy tale aspect of the hop, I will name fairy tale villains who have been unjustly given a bad name and the books they appear in.

1. The three bears from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Technically, Goldilocks broke into the bears’ house, ate their food and vandalized their property. Goldilocks is clearly in the wrong but seems to gets a pass because she is pretty and apparently hungry and tired. The bears should have pressed charges.

 2. Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Beast has a lot to be angry about. First a witch puts an ugly spell on him then a man he helps steals from him. Under similar circumstance, I would probably be surly too.

3. The witch from Hansel and Gretel. When kids try to eat your house, it’s only fair to catch the kids and eat them, right? Technically, they vandalized her property, so…. Okay, maybe the witch should not have gone that far but let this be a lesson to kids: don’t take candy from strangers and definitely don’t try to eat a stranger’s candy house!

Are there any fairy tale villains that you are fond of? Who are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Lost Prince

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:

Title: The Lost Prince (Iron Fey #5) by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: Oct. 23, 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Summary: Set several years after the events of the first, this trilogy will star an older Ethan Chase, Meghan's brother.

Why am I waiting on The Lost Prince? I adore Julie Kagawa’s books and the Iron Fey series is one of my all time favorites! I am giddy about the fact that Ms. Kagawa is doing a spin-off series featuring Megan’s little brother Ethan! While the cover is a little more adult paranormal romance that I expected, it does not matter. The cover of this book could be blank and I would still be anxiously waiting for it. I don’t even need a full summary to know it will be awesome. I really like how certain elements like the font and the swirls tie in to the rest of the series. What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So Many Awesome New Releases, So Little Time!

April 24 is a huge release day and there are tons of books out today that I am very excited about! Here are only a few of the many new books out today:

The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
The Temptation by Alisa Valdes
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Eve of Destruction by Patrick Carman
Blood Born by Jamie Manning

Have you read any of these? How were they? What books being released today are you excited about?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: Storm

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 353 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Goodreads Summary: Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn't want. 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 . ..

When I first read the summary for Storm by Brigid Kemmerer, I really, really hoped it was going to be good. It had all the ingredients for a fantastic paranormal story, namely hot boys with cool super powers and I simply could not wait to read it. I’m happy to tell you that Storm delivered and then some! Think The Outsiders with the Merrick boys being like the Curtis brothers but having the ability to control the elements. Yes guys, it’s like that!

When our main character, Becca, sees Chris Merrick being beaten up by two older boys, she steps in to help him and inadvertently becomes caught up in an ongoing feud involving the Merricks and some other families in their town.

I started reading Storm expecting very cool paranormal elements and I got them. Chris controls water and Kemmerer does an awesome job describing how he communicates with his element. This book focuses on Chris so we learn the most about his ability but we do get to see his brothers use their powers as well. What I did not expect were some subplots in story involving sexual assault and bullying. The issues were handled well and made the story more rounded.

Becca is a strong main character who has made some poor decisions but is doing her best to deal with them. Chris, the youngest brother (think Ponyboy) is a likable male lead. There is a love triangle involving new boy Hunter (don’t worry, it’s well done), so technically, Storm actually has five swoon worthy boys instead of four.

While I don’t have brothers myself, I can’t help but think that Brigid Kemmerer captures the conflicts and issues that come up among brothers, especially when an older brother is the one doing the parenting. I don’t usually like bad boys but Gabriel (who controls fire) is my favorite brother in all his hot headed, rude, snarky, jerky glory. I’m so happy that the next book in the series, Spark, will focus on him. 

Storm is very fast paced, filled with a lot of action and awesome paranormal elements. I raced through this book and cannot wait to read Spark which thankfully comes out in September. Even though Storm does not end with a cliffhanger, it’s the type of book that makes you want to read the sequel as soon as you are done with the first! This is a great start to an exciting new series and Kemmerer is definitely one to watch.

Content: Kissing, sexual discussions, heavy profanity, underage drinking and violence. Due to the issues of sexual assault and the nature of the bullying, I would recommend this book to older/more mature teens and adults.

My Rating: Really Good!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Upcoming YA Books by Authors Know for Writing for Adults

I’ve noticed that quite a few established authors who are known for writing books geared toward adult audiences are coming out with YA novels over the next few months. This is not surprising considering that the YA market is booming right now and these writers obviously have talent and name recognition so I guess this is the next step for them.

Recently, I’ve read the Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep and Partials by Dan Wells – all books that I have loved and both authors started out writing books for adults. While I’m not sure if the authors’ experience helped or hurt them in the YA market, the books are very good. Here is a look at some upcoming releases that I think look interesting.

Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of the first-ever teen series from #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.

Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days. 

Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape. Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq.

The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon. The first in a series, this epic and richly detailed drama is grounded in historical communities and their mythic beliefs.

It includes a medieval map of Europe that will track their journey; and the interior will include relevant decorative elements as well as an interior line illustration. And look for a QR code that links to a note from the author with additional, detailed information about the setting and the history that informed the writing.

With Philippa Gregory’s trademark touch, this novel deftly brings the past—and its salacious scandals—vividly and disturbingly to life.

Title: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

Title: The Arcana Chronicles: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Release Date: Oct. 2, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

Release Date: Oct. 2, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Things get turned upside down for sophomore Lorelei MacAlister when the Angel of Death starts high school in her small town. What she doesn’t know is that she has been slated to die. It’s simply her time. And Death has been sent to do the deed. But when he touches her, when he peers into her eyes and reaches into her heart, he realizes she is more than what he was led to believe, and he disobeys his orders. He brings her back from the brink of death when he was supposed to push her into it. Because of this, he gets trapped on this plane. And that’s when all hell breaks loose. Literally.

I am extremely excited about Changeling, cautiously optimistic about The Arcana Chronicles and Between the Lines and not sure about Death and the Girl Next Door (even though I love the cover!). Are you planning on reading any of these books? Do you think the experience these authors have will pay off in the YA market?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: The Accidental Bride

Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction
Goodreads Summary: Two high-school sweethearts, a wedding reenactment, and one absent-minded preacher. Is it a recipe for disaster or a chance for a new beginning?

Shay Brandenberger is a survivor. She's lived through a crazy childhood, a failed marriage, and single parenthood-with her confidence intact.

 But not for long. Because when Shay participates in her town's Founder's Day wedding reenactment, she finds herself face-to-face with the one man who takes her breath away and leaves her weak in the knees: Travis McCoy.

Travis is back in town after years way on the rodeo circuit. His one regret in life is breaking Shay's heart when they were high-school sweethearts. He's determined to get it right this time.

So when their Founder's Day "marriage" is accidentally made official, Travis seizes the day. Can Shay put aside her pride to let Travis help her, or will their accidental marriage be dissolved before it can begin?

As much as I like Christian fiction, cowboy stories are not my thing so reading The Accidental Bride was stepping way out of my comfort zone. Apparently, I need to go out there more often because this book was really good!

The novel is set in breathtaking Montana and Denise Hunter does a great job of taking you to the beautiful, wide open spaces in the book. While it’s hard to imagine how a couple could accidentally get married, this is fiction, I went with it and it worked. 

There is a lot of really good tension between our main characters Shay and Travis. Shay suffered horrible heartbreak and humiliation after Travis left her at the altar and more humiliation after the man she ended marrying (on the rebound) leaves her as well. As a character, Shay is very likable. She is a woman who is struggling financially and emotionally but strives to make a good life for her daughter and herself. Travis, on the other hand, had nothing but success since leaving Shay and even though she is ridiculously tough on him when he comes back into her life, it’s hard to feel sorry for him. I did end up liking Travis a lot and rooting for these characters to be together.

The Accidental Bride is a sweet, contemporary romance about second chances and forgiveness. The novel is the second in the Big Sky Romance series but I read it as a stand alone and it worked just fine. I recommend this one to anyone who likes a really good love story.

Content: Kissing and implied sex.

My Rating: Really Good!


Congrats to Lisa Smith who won the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza, Kimberly Lim who won the Galahad series and Kelly Grant who won the signed ARC of Partials! All winners were chosen by and have been contacted. The Kindle Fire giveaway and the finished copy of The Immortal Rules giveaway are still going on so make sure you enter. Congrats to all the winners and thank you to everyone who participated!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview with R.J. Larson, Author of Prophet

I am very happy to welcome R.J. Larson, author of the new Christian fantasy novel, Prophet. Welcome to the blog, R.J.!

R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre. Visit her on her blog or on Twitter.

How did you come up with the idea for Prophet?

I woke up one morning, about two years ago, after a brief dream of a young woman in a dark chamber trying to make a difficult, dangerous decision. In the dream, I also saw a glowing piece of vinewood. I’m used to vivid dreams and figured this one would fade as my day progressed. Instead, the young woman soon had a name, Ela. Furthermore, I was hearing voices. Dialogue between Ela and her Creator…Ela being asked by the Infinite to become His prophet, and Ela agreeing. The catch? As she agrees, Ela knows she will die young, because all of Parne’s prophets die young. Indeed, the elders of Parne warn, “A silver-haired prophet has failed.”

I was so drawn to Ela’s story, and her Creator’s words…they were impossible to ignore.

How did you decide to write fantasy?

I never expected to write fantasy. My favorite research topics are ancient history, Biblical history, medieval history, and the 1800’s. I was working on an 1890’s novel when Ela’s story hit me, and I did NOT want to abandon my fictional Victorian-era family for some “out-there” fantasy epic. I love fantasy, but to write it? No, not me.

I resisted the notion for days. Weeks, actually. Until I realized that my Biblical and early medieval studies played right into building Ela’s world. Moreover, Ela refused to leave me in peace. She was so persistent that I knew I’d be unable to finish my cherished Victorian novel if I didn’t clear Ela’s story from my thoughts. I finally emailed my agent, explained the situation, and begged permission to write fantasy—a genre my agent doesn’t usually handle. Thankfully, my dear agent humored me and agreed to present Ela’s story to publishers. 

Where did you get the inspiration for the characters?

Ela, of course, showed up on her own. The Infinite—her beloved Creator, and ours—was also in the plotline from day one. As I wrote, and consulted the scriptures to research Prophet, the other characters each stepped into place, so real, so vivid, I felt as if I’d been watching a movie. The most difficult part of the whole process was finding time to pour the book from my thoughts into my computer. I work almost full time, so I wrote on my two days off per week.

Which character from the book is your favorite?

Ela. I loved her strength and dedication to her calling as the Infinite’s prophet. However, Kien and Pet were close seconds!

Can you tell us a little about your road to publication?

My husband is an editor, and my sister-in-law is an editor and a writer. I’ve been a book fanatic since learning to read at age five, so writing is natural to me. I wrote a few short devotionals for my sister-in-law, Kathi Macias, and gradually built my writing resume.

I’ve had a number of works published, devotionals and Biblicals, but Prophet is my debut in the fantasy arena. Fantasy! I cannot believe it’s true. *Pinches self.*

Do you read the same genre as you write? What are you currently reading?

I do read fantasy, but I also read many other types of books. My latest read is a cookbook—crockpot recipes! (I depend on my crockpot to cook dinner while I’m writing. I had to buy a new one while I was writing this series.) I’m also reading The Hobbit, and I am eagerly awaiting Donita K. Paul’s next book, Realmwalker!!!

What other projects are you working on at this time?

After working full time and writing on my days off for the past two years, I’m taking a brief break. Currently, I’m awaiting edits for Judge, the sequel to Prophet! I admit I am looking forward to visiting with Ela’s counterpart, Kien, again—he’s been fun to write. I do have two fantasy plots running through my brain right now, but I’m also tempted to return to my 1890’s book. I miss those characters as well. Once you write a story and meet your characters, they become almost family, and it is difficult to ignore them. J

Thank you R.J.!


Title: Prophet by R.J. Larson
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Christian Fantasy
Buy: Amazon, B&N, Christian Book

Goodreads Summary: Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she's much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne's elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can't imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite's voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite's word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Splintered

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: Amulet Books
Publish Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Summary: For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell -- the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers ... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before.

When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of heirlooms and a moth tied to an unusual website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place more twisted and eerie than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

There, creepy counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head.
Why am I waiting on Splintered? The cover is so gorgeously creepy and perfect for a story involving Alice in Wonderland! The summary sounds awesome and fantastical. I can’t wait to read this! What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April Multi-Cultural Book Challenge with Jolene Perry, Author of Night Sky

This month, KM at One Page At A Time is hosting Jolene Perry, author of Night Sky for the Multi-Cultural Book Challenge. Click on over there to read an excerpt from this beautiful YA contemporary novel and enter the giveaway to win an electronic copy of the book!

Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Tribute Books
Pages: 247 pages
Genre: YA Contemporary

Goodreads Summary: Girl I’ve loved, girl I’m falling for. Now that they’re both in view, the problem is clear.

After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her.

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast.

But Sky’s need for honesty somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior year.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: Fallen

Title: Fallen by Lauren Kate
Release Date: Dec. 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 452 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Goodreads Summary: There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Let me start by saying that I don’t like writing negative reviews but if I don’t like a book, I’m going to honesty state that. I know that the Fallen series has a ton of fans, but this was just not the book for me. I have no problems with Lauren Kate’s writing, my issues are with the characters and the plot.

After an accident that left her crush burned to death, Lucinda “Luce” Price is court ordered to attend a reform school in her home town. Once at the creepy, run down school, Luce sees Daniel, a boy that seems very familiar to her and one that she just can’t get out of her head.

There are several reasons that I don’t like Fallen and while I won’t list them all, I will point out a few.

This book is A LOT like Twilight! Girl shows up at a new school. She is inexplicably drawn to a beautiful boy who, for no apparent reason, treats her badly and tells her to stay away from him. Girl is confused because boy is hot and cold to her. Boy saves girl from accident that would kill her. There is a love triangle involving another beautiful boy. Both boys have superpowers and are enemies. I could keep going but I won’t. I know Stephanie Meyer did not originate the supernatural boy hates girl publicly but loves her secretly/love triangle plot in a book, but this feels too much like Twilight with angels to me. I found it unoriginal and quite frankly, unappealing.

Stupid, weak willed main character. Yes, stupid is a strong word and one that I ask my kids not to use (especially to describe people) but I can’t think of another word to describe Luce’s actions in Fallen. It does not matter how poorly Daniel treats Luce, she can’t stop obsessing about him left me feeling like she was a doormat. Luce also continues to accept Cam’s advances even after she knows she is not interested in him because she doesn’t have the courage to break it off. The final straw for me was when Cam prevents Luce from going to Daniel, she kisses him so he will let her go. Really? How about trying to fight him off or screaming for help? Making out with the guy holding you against your will is just not the way to go.

Underdeveloped characters. I’m at the point that I will be avoiding all books that the main character is INEXPLICABLY drawn to a love interest. I get that the characters in Fallen have a history together and ‘know’ each other from before but it all felt underdeveloped to me, especially Luce’s attraction to Daniel. I feel like I need to know why he fell for her in the first place and vice-versa. Maybe I missed this explanation while reading the book which leads me to my next point:

Unexplained plot points. How did the accident at Luce’s first school happen? Why are all these angels, immortal beings with so much power, in high school and such a run-down reform school at that? Why was Cam so insistent on Luce wearing the necklace with the snake charm? It’s possible I missed these explanations in the book, let me know if I did.

Stereotypical characters. Cam, Molly and Roland, the ‘bad’ angels, all have black hair (in Roland’s case, he is of Africa American decent). Daniel and Gabbe, the ‘good’ angels, are blond. Arriane would be the exception of course since she is a ‘good’ angel with brown hair. Still, the whole dark being bad and blond being considered good really annoyed me. I also need to mention that Roland, the only ethnic character in the book, is the guy that can sneak anything into the boarding school including alcohol and drugs. The idea of the black kid being the hustler is offensive and also annoying.

I have other issues with Fallen and I have not even touched on how silly the religious aspect of this book is portrayed, but I will stop here as I think you probably get my point. The Fallen series has been optioned by Disney and I think the first movie from the series will be in theaters this fall. Undoubtedly, we will hearing a lot more about these books as the year progresses.

Have you read the books in the Fallen series? If yes, how did you like it? Do the sequels offer answers that I missed in Fallen? Are you interested in seeing the movie when it comes out?

Content: Profanity, kissing, underage drinking and violence.

My Rating: Disappointing

Friday, April 6, 2012

Kindle Fire + $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Twenty-five awesome book blogs have joined together to bring you one great giveaway: a Kindle Fire + a $50 Gift Card to buy ebooks!

From April 6th to 22nd you can enter to win! One winner will receive a brand new Kindle Fire plus a $50 Gift Card to purchase content for their new Kindle Fire.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

Brought to you by:
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Ereading on the Cheap
Good Choice Reading
Once Upon a Twilight
Bookish Babe
Hippies Beauty & Books
Bookhounds/Bookhounds YA
Reading Lark
Stuck in Books
Reading Teen
Bookworm Lisa
Fire & Ice
Uniquely Moi Books
Lady Readerstuff
Rex Robot
Books That Tug the Heart
The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Truly Bookish
The Book Pixie
Better Read Than Dead
Refracted Light

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hoppy Easter Eggstravag​anza Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Hoppy Easter Eggstravag​anza Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Once Upon a Twilight. This hop runs from April 6-12.

For this hop, I’m giving away an ARC of Awkward by Marni Bates. This book is a really sweet and funny contemporary YA novel, you can read my review here. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck. I also have a bunch of other giveaways going on including The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, Partials by Dan Wells and the entire Galahad series by Dom Testa. Have a safe and blessed Easter weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Friday Society

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: Dial
Publish Date: Dec. 6, 2012
Genre: Historical, Steampunk
Goodreads Summary: Be your own hero . . .

Set in London at the turn of the last century, the novel follows the stories of three intelligent and very talented young women, all of whom are assistants to very powerful men: Cora, lab assistant to a member of parliament; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant to a martial arts guru; and Nellie, a magician's assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder—and the crimes they believe may be connected to it‐‐without calling too much attention to themselves.

Told with Adrienne Kress's sharp wit and a great deal of irreverence, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike--well, relatively ladylike--heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

Why am I waiting on The Friday Society? I love the cover of this book! It reminds me of a steampunk Charlie’s Angels. Additionally, the story sounds really fun, original and exciting. What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: The Faerie Ring

Release Date: Sept. 27, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Historical
Goodreads Summary: Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger. 

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood - Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched - and protected - by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief - all must work together to secure the treaty…

The Faerie Ring is historical YA fiction with a fantastic setting and exciting paranormal elements and since this is all stuff that I adore, I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book!

Kiki Hamilton does an excellent job of transporting the reader to the dirty, poverty stricken streets of London and the opulence of Victorian Buckingham Palace. He world building is awesome and my favorite aspect of this book which is saying a lot because the plot of The Faerie Ring is really good too.

Tiki is an interesting character, one that took me a few chapters to get warmed up to. Tiki and her band of orphans are thieves and not the Robin Hood sort who steal only from the rich. They steal what they need from anybody, rich or poor and are completely unremorseful about it. It just didn’t sit well with me at first but as I continued to read, I realized just how little options these children and teens had. It was either go into an orphanage and be forced into back-breaking child labor, prostitution or stealing. Under these circumstances, I would have become a thief too. The abject poverty and desperation these kids are in very well described and so when Kiki steals the ring, you understand her motivations behind her actions.

At 16, Kiki is the mother figure for the group of orphans and she takes care of them through any means necessary. While providing for her ‘family,’ Tiki keeps running into another thief, the handsome and enigmatic Rieker. Rieker always seems to show up when Kiki needs help and becomes her protector, but who is he really and what are his motivations? Hamilton’s smooth writing kept me guessing about Rieker throughout the entire book.

Secondary characters in the book are also very well done. The fey are appropriately vicious and I love how Hamilton weaves real people from history like Princes Leopold and Arthur into the story.

The Faerie Ring is an exciting, sweet and satisfying book and best of all, no cliffhanger! I loved the end and cannot wait to read the next book in the series. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves historical, fantasy or sweet love stories. If you have not read this book yet, do it! It’s definitely worth your time. When the sequel, The Torn Wing, is released in October, I will be reading it right away.

Content: Kissing and violence.

My Rating: Really Good!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted

Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Mythology
Source: Publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads Summary: Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it. Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future. Henry's first wife, Persephone.

I love mythology and really enjoyed the modern twist Aimee Carter put on her debut novel, The Goddess Test. I have been looking forward to Goddess Interrupted to see where Carter would take the story and what twists she would put on this second book in the series. While I have some issues with this second book, it is still really entertaining and a treat for mythology lovers.

At the end of The Goddess Test, Kate leaves her new husband, Henry, to spend her six months above on a vacation as per their agreement. While Kate is disappointed that Henry never visited her while she was above, she is very excited to get back to him and start their life together. Unfortunately, scheming gods and goddesses have other plans for Kate and Henry.

Goddess Interrupted is set almost entirely in the underworld and I loved the setting. Kate moves into the dark but beautiful palace but soon after, she goes on a quest with James and Ava that takes them through the underworld, which is great because Aimee Carter’s setting is both dreamy and hellish.

Goddess Interrupted is very similar to other middle books in a YA series in that the couple who fought so hard to be together in the first book now face numerous relationship problems in the second book, problems that could be quickly resolved if they just sat down and had a mature conversation with each other. I know, I know. If they did that, then most of the conflict and tension would be gone from the plot.

Instead of being the warm, loving husband Kate yearns for, Henry is cold and distant. I hate that Kate spends a good portion of the novel wondering if Henry will return her affections and being jealous of his ex-wife (and her half sister), Persephone. I was frustrated by Kate and Henry’s lack of communication and felt that all the progress that they made in the first book went out the window as soon as the second one began. It was like they were starting their relationship all over again. Additionally, Kate is made to sit out most of the fighting and so the reader is left out of a lot of the action as well.

While I’m being critical of this book, there is plenty to love. The family dysfunction that Greek myths are known for is very present in Goddess Interrupted and the addition of Cronus as another antagonist in the story was great. Additionally, the book is very fast paced and I had a hard time putting it down. Despite its issues, Goddess Interrupted is totally worth reading but I have to warn you that it ends with a heck of a cliffhanger. I am dying to read the next book in the series to see what happens.

Content: Kissing, sexual situations, profanity and violence.

My Rating: Just Fine


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