Friday, June 29, 2012

I’m Trying Audiobooks. Again.


I’m a reader. I love seeing words and taking my time with them. I like re-reading passages that I really love (this may be the reason that I can only finish two books a week). I’ve tried to get into audiobooks a few times but they did not work for me and honestly, I gave up on them very quickly

I work from home so I don’t have a commute. A lot of people, like my husband, listen to audiobooks in their car and love the experience. I always have at least one of my two children with me and since I spend my time with them, it’s hard to listen to audios at home as well. When I do have free time, the time I spend reading, I prefer to read an actual book than to listen to one.

Well, all that is about to change. Since we are expecting our third child in December, I know the little reading time that I have will be cut or eliminated altogether, at least for the first few months. I want to keep escaping into my books and of course, blogging about them and audiobooks are the best way that I can think of to do it.

I’m trying to incorporate audiobooks into my routine now so when December/January gets here, I’ll be accustomed to them. So instead of listening to music when I take my walks, I listen to my audiobook. I also started listening to them when I’m cleaning or doing chores around the house.  

bloodlines  clockworkangel enclave

I’m currently listening to Bloodlines from Richelle Mead and it’s very good! I also got Enclave by Ann Aguirre and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare in audio format from my library. These are books that I have been wanting to read forever so I think this will be a good way to experience them.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If yes, when do you listen (in the car, at home?) Do you have any tips or suggestions for me on how I may be able to get more reading in after the new baby is born? Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Mundie Moms. This hop runs from June 29 – July 5.

I love Independence Day and everything it stands for so for this hop, I’m giving away not one book, but the entire Torn trilogy (a finished copy of Torn and ARCs of Tangled and Bound) by Erica O’Rourke. These books are awesome, you can read my reviews of Torn and Tangled. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, good luck and have a safe and fun Fourth of July with family and friends!



Congrats to Heather M., the winner of the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop and Kayla, the winner of The Sirenz Prize Pack. The winners were chosen by and have been contacted. I have more giveaways going on right now so make sure you enter. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Book Review: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

maidoffairbournehall Title: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen
Release Date: Jan. 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 412 pages
Genre: Historical, Christian

Goodreads Summary: Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."

The more historical Christian fiction I read, the more I love it and it’s all because of books like The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. I need sweet and swoony books like this to break up the monotony of all the paranormal romance and dystopian books that I read. Plus, its summer and light, fun reading will always win with me on a hot day.

Twenty-four year old Margaret Macy is a privileged, shallow and spoiled woman who will come into a significant inheritance on her 25th birthday. Her stepfather (who married Margaret’s mother for her money) intends to keep that inheritance under his control so he moves his nephew into their house to woo her, plotting to have the couple married before Margaret turns 25. Margaret had unsuccessfully tried to escape her stepfather before but when she overhears a plot to force her into marriage by any means necessary, including having the nephew force himself on her, leaving her no choice but to marry him to save her reputation, Margaret takes desperate measures to hide away until her birthday.

An interesting set of circumstances leads Margaret to work as a maid in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch. Years before, bookish and slightly nerdy Nathaniel had courted Margaret, fell in love with her and proposed. Margaret had liked Nathaniel well enough until she met his dashing older brother Lewis. Hoping for a proposal from Lewis instead, Margaret turned Nathaniel down, breaking his heart. Now that Nathaniel is back from working his family’s plantation in the Caribbean and is considerably more buff and tanned, Margaret gets to see exactly what she missed out on.

While The Maid of Fairbourne Hall shows the harsh way people of means treated their servants, the book is light as it focuses on Margaret’s epic fail as a maid and the lengths she goes through to keep up her ridiculous disguise so she won’t be recognized (notice the bad hair of the cover model? Yep, it’s a wig!). Margaret’s circumstances are rough but she totally deserves it for the way she treated people prior to her going into hiding. Margaret’s character goes through tremendous growth and maturity throughout the book and it is great to see. I love how she gets to covertly observe both brothers and realize just how wrong she was to judge them on appearances. The secondary characters, especially the brothers, are also very well developed.

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is a well written book with a sweet, wonderful romance, lots of humor and even a bit of action. Reading this book made me happy and kept me thoroughly entertained. I highly recommend it to romance lovers of all ages.

Content: Kissing, some violence.

My Rating: Really Good!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Nightmare Affair

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: Tor Teen
Publish Date: March 12, 2013
Genre: Paranormal
Goodreads Summary: 16-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. The setting is Arkwell.

And then it comes true.

Now the Dusty has to follow the clues--both within Eli’s dreams and out of them--to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Why am I waiting on The Nightmare Affair? The premise sounds so original and cool and I love the beautiful, whimsical cover! What books are you waiting on?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Burning Emerald

burningemerald Title: Burning Emerald by Jaime Reed
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Kensington/Dafina
Pages: 302 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers to Living Violet, the first book in the series.

Goodreads Summary: Coping with loss, keeping secrets from friends, and juggling classes has kept Sam Marshall busy in her senior year. She finds comfort in her unlikely companion, Caleb, as their connection grows to where one cannot survive without the other.

But Sam’s biggest problem is a powerful enemy that wants her for himself and to destroy Caleb and his family. Determined to keep Caleb safe, Sam fights a battle where she is both the enemy and the prize, but victory will come at a deadly price.

Normally, I’m not into books about incubus and succubus, but Jaime Reed really makes this work for young adults and certainly makes it work for me.

Burning Emerald picks up shortly after Samara Marshall’s eventful summer where she finds out that both her co-worker Caleb and friend Nadine are Cambions, people who are born with a sentient incubus or succubus inhabiting their bodies. It’s the same summer that Sam fell for Caleb and Nadine died in Sam’s arms trying to save her life from another Cambion. That’s when Nadine’s succubus left her dead body and took residence in Sam’s instead. Now as her senior year begins, Sam is attracting the attention of the majority of boys in her school and the jealous ire of all the girls. And if this new life of cravings and feeding on people’s energy without killing them isn’t hard enough, there is someone from Nadine’s past that is stalking Sam and will stop at nothing to get her.

As in Living Violet, I loved Sam’s sassy, snarky humor. Her relationship with Caleb is also more intense but still sweet. Caleb is still every bit the awesome, mature boyfriend who is even more caring and protective of Sam than ever. He does get a bit alpha at one point in the book and I loved it! I also liked that Sam’s mother is very active in her life and knows about her new paranormal situation. I’ve read so many books where the parents have no idea what’s going on with their teen who then has to sneak around and lie about their supernatural powers. Of course, I love ethnically diverse characters in YA books and Burning Emerald has a great mix of them.

This is the first YA book I’ve read with incubi and succubi and that’s probably because the sexual nature of these beings is not appropriate for teen readers. Jaime Reed makes this story, interesting, exciting and still keeps an edge to it without it being inappropriate.

Burning Emerald is a really good sequel to Living Violet. The book ends with a heck of a cliffhanger and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Fading Amber, which comes out next year.

Content: Kissing, discussions about sex, profanity and violence.

My Rating: Really Good!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blog Tour: Tempest Unleashed

tempestunleashed Title: Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers to Tempest Rising, the first book in the series.

Goodreads Summary: Tempest Maguire is happy with her decision to embrace her mermaid nature and live among her mother’s clan within the ocean’s depths. Even though training to one day ascend the throne for the aging mermaid queen is rigorous, she finds refuge in the arms of Kona, the selkie who first opened her up to her mermaid side. But when word comes that one of her brothers has been gravely injured on land, Tempest immediately rushes to his side—which also brings her back to her old flame, Mark. And in her absence, a deadly battle begins raging at the hands of Tempest’s old nemesis, the sea witch Tiamat. As the dangerous war erupts, Tempest’s two loves—Kona and Mark, sea and land—will collide for the first time, both to protect her and to force her to choose.

Tempest Maguire is finding out that the grass is not always greener on the other side. After making the painful but solid decision to leave her life on land and embrace her mermaid heritage in the sea, Tempest is now having doubts that she did the right thing. Life in the mermaid kingdom is not going the way she thought it would: Tempest is constantly at odds with Hailana, the scheming mermaid queen she serves, mer politics are treacherous and she has started having arguments with Kona, her selkie boyfriend.

Tempest Unleashed, the sequel to Tempest Rising, takes place about eight months after the first book and is set mostly underwater which is awesome! Deebs’ world building is really cool and I enjoyed reading about the places and creatures she created. Like Tempest Rising, this second book is no fairytale. It is dark with war, death, nightmarish creatures and of course, Tiamat, the sea witch who has gotten even stronger since Tempest last battled her.

Tempest is a girl torn in two. When she is on land, she can’t resist the ocean’s pull on her and when she is in the sea, she misses her family and craves to be with Mark, her ex-boyfriend. It does not help that she and Kona are having problems stemming primarily from his wanting to protect her. Tempest, insisting that she can take care of herself, chafes at Kona’s warnings about her hot new trainer: a merman that Kona knows and justifiably hates. There is a huge love triangle involving Tempest, Mark and Kona. Thankfully, Tempest does choose by the end of the book so we are not left hanging!

Tempest Unleashed has lots of action and for the romance lovers, lots of kissing! Its fun to see Tempest come into her powers and use them in such a kick butt way. There is definitely more to explore in a third book in the series which will probably come out next year.

Content: Kissing, profanity and violence.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: Dreamless

dreamless Title: Dreamless by Josephine Angelini
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 487 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers to Starcrossed, the first book in the series.

Goodreads Summary: Can true love be forgotten? As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.
Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out--a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology and when I read Starcrossed last year, I devoured the book. It was so good (you can read my review here) and so I was afraid that the sequel, Dreamless, may fall victim the sophomore slump that many YA books tend to suffer from. Guys, I loved Dreamless just as much if not more than Starcrossed! It’s just that good!

Dreamless picks up shortly after where Starcrossed left off with Helen descending into the underworld in an attempt to stop the furies so that Hector can be safely reunited with the rest of the Delos family. Unlike in Starcrossed, Helen’s support system is practically non-existent in Dreamless. Hector had to leave the family, Lucas is avoiding Helen because of the attraction they feel to each other and Helen’s mortal friends, Claire and Matt are so busy comforting and trying to impress their crushes Jason and Ariadne that Helen is left out in the cold. Going to hell every night takes a horrible toll on Helen physically and emotionally, especially since she has no one to lean. That’s when Orion comes into the picture.

Normally, I’m a character over plot driven reader but Dreamless is all about the plot. Don’t get me wrong, the characters are very well developed but Angelini’s incorporation of various stories and themes from Greek mythology (such as The Iliad and The Aeneid) into the plot are awesome! Angelini’s description of the underworld is fantastic. If this book does nothing else, I hope it draws people back to originals so they can discover them (or rediscover them, as the case may be) for themselves. She also includes characters from mythology like the swoon worthy Morpheus, Ares, Hades and Persephone. I especially love how Persephone is described and I really want to thank Angelini for that!

The characters go through a lot of growth and change in Dreamless, some of it great, some less so. I wanted Helen to be emotionally stronger, especially when it comes to Lucas and I really wanted the other Scions, especially Jason, to get out of their funks and be more supportive of Helen, especially since her quest benefits them all. Hector, on the other hand, is even more awesome in this book! I just love him and love that his character is growing into the leader that we know he will be. Orion, a new character, is so swoony and fantastic. Easily, Hector and Orion are my favorite characters in Dreamless.

Greek mythology is like candy to me and while reading Dreamless, I felt like a kid in a candy store. There is tons of action, plot twists and a heck of a cliffhanger ending that has me clamoring for the next book in the series, Goddess, which comes out next year. I love this book and recommend the series to both teens and adults. 

Content: Kissing, profanity and violence.

My Rating: The Best!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Revel

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:

revel Title: Revel by Maurissa Guibord
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: Feb. 12, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology

Goodreads Summary: There's an island off the coast of Maine that's not on any modern map. Shrouded in mist and protected by a deadly reef, Trespass Island is home to a community of people who guard the island and its secrets from outsiders. Seventeen-year-old Delia grew up in Kansas, but has come here in search of her family and answers to her questions: Why didn't her mother ever talk about Trespass Island? Why did she fear the open water? But Delia's not welcome and soon finds herself enmeshed in a frightening and supernatural world where ancient Greek symbols adorn the buildings and secret ceremonies take place on the beach at night. Sean Gunn, a handsome young lobsterman, befriends Delia and seems willing to risk his life to protect her. But it's Jax, the coldly elusive young man she meets at the water's edge, who finally makes Delia understand the real dangers of life on the island. Delia is going to have to fight to survive. Because there are monsters here. And no one ever leaves Trespass alive.

Why am I waiting on Revel? I’m always excited about books with Greek mythology so even the hint of mythology in this description is enough to hook me! What books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Uniquely Moi Books. This hop runs from June 20-26.

For this hop, I’m giving away an ARC of Fated by Alyson Noel. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

Book Review: Breath of Eyre

breathof eyre Title: Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 342 pages
Genre: Historical, Social Issues
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary: Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…

When I first read the summary for Breath of Eyre, I was expecting some literary time travel, sweeping romance and honestly, a light, fun YA fantasy novel. Breath of Eyre is a well written, unique story that instead tackles some heavy issues that took me by surprise.

Emma has a poor relationship with her father and stepmother. She attends a prestigious boarding school where the scholarship students (including Emma) are bullied by the rich girls. Emma’s new roommate (another scholarship student) has a major chip on her shoulder and the boy Emma likes just so happens to date the meanest of the mean rich girls. Needless to say, things in Emma’s life are not all that great.

Emma is a very sympathetic character. She is smart but has a lot of real issues in her life and she is trying to sort them all out. In Breath of Eyre, relationships are very complicated. At home, Emma wants to have a close relationship with her father and be able to talk to him about what’s going on in her life, but she doesn’t know how. At school, Emma tries to blend into the background and not attract the attention of the mean girls. I’m a character driven reader and am happy that the characters are well written and complex.

What surprised me the most about Breath of Eyre is that the book is more of a contemporary story than a paranormal one. Most of the story is told in the present with short sections being set within the Jane Eyre novel. The story deals heavily with themes of loss, grief, depression, mental illness, suicide, classism and discrimination: weighty issues that I did not see coming.

If you like contemporary YA novels or issues books, Breath of Eyre is definitely for you. The issues are handled well and the book has a satisfying ending but still leaves you looking forward to the second book in the series, A Touch of Scarlet which comes out in April of next year.

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

My Rating: Just Fine



Congrats to Kelly, the winner of the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop and Kenia, the winner of The Hunt (Multi-Cultural Book Challenge for May). The winners were chosen by and have been contacted. I have more giveaways going on right now so make sure you enter. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: Sixty Acres and a Bride

sixtyacres Title: Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 366 pages
Genre: Historical, Christian

Goodreads Summary: With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only three months to pay. Though facing eviction, Rosa can't keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can't help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future?

I love the biblical story of Ruth and Boaz. It’s a perfect illustration of finding love and happiness after loss and devastation. Regina Jennings takes Ruth’s story and weaves a wonderful historical novel that delivers with a great plot and well developed characters.

Rosa Garner was only married for a month before her husband and father-in-law died in a mining accident in Mexico. Now a year later, she and her American mother-in-law, Louisa, return to the Garner’s Texas homestead hoping to start over and make a life for themselves. Unfortunately, they find out that they owe years of back taxes on the property and only have three months to pay it before the ranch is sold at auction and they are homeless.

I love Rosa! She is easily one of my favorite characters in Christian fiction. Rosa is beautiful, smart, spunky, hard working, resourceful and determined. She is also flawed and has issues with doubt and rejection stemming from experiences with her Mexican family and her first marriage. I did not like Louisa. She is the kind of woman that leaves all the tough decisions, especially the financial ones, up to her husband and since her husband was dead, the burden fell to Rosa. Louisa also made some inconsiderate decisions throughout the novel that really annoyed me.

Weston, our Boaz in the story, was the swoon worthy, tortured hero and I loved it! The relationship between Weston and Rosa is very well developed and filled with lots of romantic tension. The author writes the couple’s chemistry well and I could not wait for them to work through their issues and be together.

The story is a wonderful mix of romance, cultural differences, missteps in etiquette and a beautiful illustration of how God provides and redeems. I highly recommend Sixty Acres and a Bride to anyone who loves romance, historical or Christian fiction. This is Jennings’ debut novel and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Content: Kissing and some violence.

My Rating: Really Good!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Fated

Title: Fated by Alyson Noel
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Source: Won from Goodreads First Reads Program

Goodreads Summary: Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

While I have not read Alyson Noel’s Immortals series (I have seen lots of mixed reviews about it), I was very excited to read Fated. The summary is awesome and the cover is gorgeous. Fated is a cool mix of South American and Native American mythology with interesting characters and a little romance mixed it.

While Daire has always experienced interesting phenomena like stopping time for a few minutes, it’s on her sixteenth birthday that she has an episode in Morocco where she sees things and lashes out violently at the people around her. After several more episodes, her mother has to either have her committed to a mental hospital or send Daire to live in New Mexico with a grandmother she has never met but who promises to treat Daire with natural remedies. Daire grandmother tells her she is not crazy but descended from a long line of Soul Seekers, and while Daire responds to this new information with a healthy dose of skepticism, she begins to have otherworldly experiences that make her realize her grandmother was telling the truth all along.

I love the Southwestern setting, it’s perfect for the mythology in the book. There are some very cool aspects to this story such as the way Daire descends into the Lowerworld and the spirit animals. I also really liked the portions of the book where Daire shifts her consciousness into various animals and insects, especially the cockroach. 

I like Daire. She has a cool sense of style and I love how tough she is and the way she stands up to the mean girls at school. I also like the secondary characters such as Daire’s grandmother and her friend, Chay. Daire’s mother is flighty, childlike and completely unaware of what’s going on with her daughter and even though I’m not a fan of absentee parents in YA books, the circumstances here are well done as Daire’s grandmother is very active in her life. Of course, there is a bad guy: the gorgeous Cade who just happens to have an identical twin, Dace. Cade and Dace and complete opposites: evil twin and good twin and not surprisingly, Daire falls for good twin Dace.

I don’t really like the relationship between Daire and Dace. It’s not exactly insta-love because Daire had been dreaming about Dace before they ever met but their relationship is not exactly well developed either. Additionally, Dace comes across as being so good, he just seems naïve to me. Just like his brother and Daire, Dace also has powers and I feel he should have a clue about what his evil twin was up to.

Despite my issue with the romance, I enjoyed the mythology in Fated and look forward to the next book in the series.

Content: Kissing, violence and underage drinking.

My Rating: Just fine

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Archived

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:

thearchived Title: The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Publish Date: Jan. 22, 2013
Genre: Fantasy

Goodreads Summary: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

Why am I waiting on The Archived? The summary had me at the very first line! This sounds dark, eerie and so good. The cover also adds to the awesomely spooky factor and I cannot wait to read this. What books are you waiting on?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Interview + Giveaway with Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

I am very happy to welcome Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman, authors of the two books in the Sirenz series. Welcome ladies!

About the Authors
Natalie ZamanWhen not playing with pointed objects, Natalie Zaman is usually writing. She lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens. Visit her on her website or on her blog.
Charlotte Bennardo
Lover of sparkly things, Char doesn't have as many shoes as she'd like, but wouldn't have time to wear them anyway with her three boys, husband, cat with issues, demented squirrels and insistent characters all demanding her time. She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency and is hoping to get all her characters into print just so they'll be quiet. Visit her on her website or on her blog.
Me: How did you two become writing partners?

Nat: Serendipity.

Char: Picture book flopped. Next project- a YA book.

Me: How did you come up with the idea for the Sirenz Series?

Nat: Started feeling a little nostalgic for Xena Warrior Princess (<3 Ares--before Ian Somerhalder, that's who was on my mind...)

Char: First it was vampires, but everyone doing vamps. "Sirens' popped into head.

Me: Where did you get the inspiration for the characters?

Nat: Loved the idea of the mythology being fun, somewhat modern, and a bit campy--LOVE camp!

Char: Hades, Persephone, etc. all from Greek myth, we added the twist.

Me: What can we expect from Sirenz Back In Fashion?

Nat: Look for some new characters and different issues...

Char: More hot Hades, more laughs, more romance. And more trouble.

Me: Why do you write young adult novels for and how did you get started?

Nat: Teens have a lot of potential and power--it's a great age and a challenge to try to write about and for.

Char: Started in PB but I talk too much. Work in MG & YA so I don't have to count words.

Me: How familiar were you with Greek mythology before writing Sirenz? Was a lot of research required?

Nat: There were things I thought I knew, but research showed there are many nuances, many versions to the myths we learned in school!

Char: Knew the basics from literature, but had to research about sirens, lesser known tales of gods.

Me: How did you get your first publishing deal and how did that feel?

Nat: It's still kind of surreal...

Char: We sold Sirenz without an agent, just submitting wherever we could/it fit. The neighbors heard us screaming.

Me: What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?

Nat: Easy--REVISIONS!!!

Char: I LOVE starting a new project, writing that first draft. HATE numerous edits/revisions.

Me: What is your favorite thing about writing? Least favorite?

Nat: Who said "I hate writing, but love having written" or something like that. Yes--that sums it up!

Char: I love the characters coming to life, when it all flows. HATE having to re-envision a story.

Me: What is your favorite book and what are you currently reading?

Nat: I have no all around favorite--it's whatever I'm into at the moment, and I usually have multiple spines cracked. Today: Chime, The Vintage Tea Party Book, My Favorite Dress

Char: The Lord of the Rings is all-time fave- has everything. Reading: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (J Foer), Underworld (M Cabot) and Innocent Darkness (S Lazear). (Depends where I'm sitting.)

Me: What other projects are you working on at this time?

Nat: Am planning revisions for a YA Victorian Fantasy out on sub, and finishing the draft of a somewhat historical, paranormal reaper tale :)

Char: I have a MG animal fantasy out on submission, and am working on 2 YA's; a scary ghost story and a paranormal/reincarnation story.

Me: Thank you, Natalie and Charlotte!

About the books, Sirenz (Amazon, B&N, Indiebound) and Sirenz Back In Fashion (Amazon, Indiebound):
Two frenemies and roomies, Meg and Shar, find to-die-for designer shoes--with tragic consequences. Only Hades, seductive Lord of the Underworld, can get the girls out of a terrible situation, but for a price... They must become his sirens, and complete a task before they kill each other- or have to go back to school.

In Sirenz, boarding school roomies Meg and Shar learned the hazards of making a deal with Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The wearing of a Tiffany's diamond ring in Sirenz Back In Fashion reactivates their contract, they find themselves back in his employ as sirens. And things are a little different this time; Shar is whisked off to the Underworld to play hostess as the dark god attempts to win her affections, while Meg is stuck topside, obligated to send spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson to the Underworld. Hot gods, mere mortals and the Underworld have their secrets. Will Meg and Shar ever ditch Hades, and keep their wardrobes and souls intact?
And now for the giveaway! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Interview + Giveaway with C.J. Omololu, Author of Transcendence

I am very happy to welcome C.J. Omololu, author of the YA novel, Transcendence. I reviewed Transcendence yesterday, click here to read my review.
cynomolu-thumb C.J. OMOLOLU majored in English at U.C. Santa Barbara because she liked to read, not because she liked to write. She later discovered that the voices in her head often have interesting things to say. Her YA novel, Dirty Little Secrets, is about hoarding and family secrets, came out in early 2010 and her most recent novel, Transcendence, is out now. Visit her online at

Me: Welcome to the blog, C.J.! Tell us about your latest novel, Transcendence.

C.J.: Transcendence is a book about a group of people who remember all of their past lives and how that changes what you do in this one. It’s a love story, but also a story about fate and destiny and looks at the question of changing them.  Just as my main character realizes that she’s becoming one of these people (called Akhet) she also finds that someone might be out to right a wrong that they felt she did to them in a past life. Mostly, it’s a lot of fun.

Me: I’m a character driven reader so I always ask authors about characters in their books. Where did you get the inspiration for the characters? Which character from Transcendence is your favorite?

C.J.: Me too – I always get the characters first.  The first character I had was Griffon. He’s named after a friend’s son who died a few years ago, and my thoughts about his death and the point of it all were what started me on the topic of reincarnation in the first place. The rest of them just basically appeared out of thin air, although my good friends tend to pick out characteristics that either have things in common with me (I hate tomatoes – it comes up in the book) or things they do.  My favorite character…I’m probably a little in love with Griffon, because I think you have to be in order to write a realistic romance. Of course, I adore my main character Cole, but she does things that irritate me sometimes. I really like her best friend Rayne because she’s fun, supportive and a little ditzy – all things that I want in my own best friends.

Me: I love that you feel this way about this way about your characters!

Me: I saw on your blog that you are working on a sequel to Transcendence. How many books are planned for the series?

C.J.: Two for sure. We’re just finishing up the second book and I have to say I really, really love it – it was my first time doing a sequel and it was so great to get back with these characters again. I end the books with a hint of what might come next, but there are no major cliffhangers. I hate those, and people seem to appreciate that. If people like the books enough, we may do a third – that possibility is always out there.

Me: Why do you write novels for children and young adults? How did you get started?

C.J.: My first published book was actually a picture book about time zones. One of my critique partners started writing young adult novels and it looked like so much fun that I gave it a try. Turns out, I have a pretty natural young adult voice, but that may mean I’m stunted in my emotional development around the age of 16.  It’s such a great time of discovery and starting to figure things out – I can’t imagine writing for any other group now. Plus the other young adult authors are insanely supportive. I’m a little afraid of adult authors.

Me: Why do you think it’s important to write young adult novels featuring characters of color?
C.J.: Because that’s who’s out there. My husband is black and we have two teenage sons, so for me it was natural to write a love interest that wasn’t white because honestly, that’s what I was attracted to at that age. I like to say that Transcendence is an interracial love story that isn’t an interracial love story. Cole is white and Griffon is biracial, but the story isn’t about race at all – in fact, one aspect of being Akhet is that you are reborn crossing gender, race and economic lines all the time.  I think there is a definite need for stories about racism and discrimination, but I love stories that include characters of color or characters who are gay ‘just because’ and don’t make it a thing of it in the text. My publisher got Griffon exactly right and I’m beyond thrilled they decided to put him on the cover. He’s so cute.

Me: I love the cover of Transcendence! Both Griffon and Cole look just like how they are described in the book and yes, Griffon is very cute!

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

C.J.: I pretty much read nothing but YA these days. I’m finishing Holly Black’s Black Heart and Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler right now. Next up is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, although my son says it’s too scary for me. I’m a wimp.

Me: What other projects are you working on at this time?

C.J.: We’re putting the final touches on the sequel to Transcendence (we don’t have a firm title yet) and I’m also working on a super secret project that I love. Kind of a contemporary thriller, but that’s all I can say right now.

Me: Thank you, C.J.!

About the book:
transcendence Title: Transcendence by C.J. Omololu
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Walker & Company
Buy: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound
Goodreads Summary: When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.
As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet - an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.
And now for the giveaway. As a part of the 2012 Muti-Cultural Book Challenge, Bloomsbury was wonderful enough to offer a finished copy of Transcendence for giveaway. If you take part in the challenge, you will have more entries in the giveaway. You can sign up for the challenge here. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blog Tour + Book Review: Transcendence

Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Goodreads Summary: When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.

As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet - an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.

I love YA novels with ethnically diverse main characters so when I saw the (gorgeous) cover of Transcendence, I knew I had to read it. I’m happy to tell you that the pretty cover is matched by an action packed story with a unique mythology.

The story starts in London where Cole starts having strange visions and eventually passes out while site seeing with her sister. A swoon worthy American boy helps her and while she feels a strange connection to him, he is nothing but polite, not showing any romantic interest in her. After Cole returns home to San Francisco, she can’t stop thinking about Griffon and it’s not long before their paths cross again. Griffon knows that like him, Cole is Akhet: a group of people who remember their past lives every time they are reincarnated. While all this is new for Cole, Griffon has been Akhet for centuries and since Cole is starting to have memories of her past lives, he decides to help her with the transition.

I liked Cole’s character. She is a cellist and a prodigy and I liked that the cello plays a huge part in the story. I was worried that there would be insta-love between Cole and Griffon but even though Cole is quickly attracted to Griffon, the relationship develops well. I’m very happy that Ms. Omololu addresses the issue of Griffon’s age in the story. Even though Griffon is physically a 17-year-old boy, being Akhet means he remembers living several previous, full lives. Griffon’s character is more mature than the average teenage boy and the author does tackle the issues with him being so much older than Cole, mentally speaking of course. I’ve read so many YA books where the guy is some paranormal creature who is hundreds, even thousands of years old and still acts like he is 13, not to mention the relationship with the female character can take on a pervy nature. Not the case with Transcendence and kudos to Ms. Omololu for addressing this age difference up front.

Transcendence has romance, mystery, action and the Akhet mythology is cool and very interesting. I am looking forward to the next book in the series to find out more about it. Transcendence is June’s book for the Multi-Cultural Book Challenge so be sure to come back tomorrow for an interview with C.J. Omololu and a chance to win a copy!

Content: Kissing, profanity and violence.

My Rating: Really Good!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Blog Tour + Book Review: Dead Reckoning

Title: Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Steampunk, Horror
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Goodreads Summary: Jett is a girl disguised as a boy, living as a gambler in the old West as she searches for her long-lost brother. Honoria Gibbons is a smart, self-sufficient young woman who also happens to be a fabulous inventor. Both young women travel the prairie alone – until they are brought together by a zombie invasion! As Jett and Honoria investigate, they soon learn that these zombies aren’t rising from the dead of their own accord … but who would want an undead army? And why? This gunslinging, hair-raising, zombie western mashup is perfect for fans of Cowboys vs. Aliens and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. 

Interested in a fun summer read that stands out from the sea of paranormal and dystopia books out there right now? If you are then Dead Reckoning, a steampunk western with zombies, may just be the book for you. This book is original and entertaining, just what I needed to kick off my summer!

Dead Reckoning is set in a western town where Jett, our feisty gunslinger who dresses as a boy so she can make her way around without too much trouble, has stopped find out if anyone knows anything about her lost brother. Jett’s visit is short lived as the town is attacked by zombies and Jett barely escapes with her life. The book’s setting is very well done and Honoria Gibbons’ steampunk inventions are very cool to read about.

Jett and Gibbons are very opposite characters: Jett being very rational and a fighter and Gibbons being a dogged scientist who throws caution to the wind when it comes to her experiments. While Jett dresses like a boy, I liked the fact that she liked girly things but her circumstances dictates that she be disguised as a boy. The two girls strong personalities are balanced out by White Fox, the handsome Anglo boy that was raised by Native Americans.

Dead Reckoning is a quick read with great characters, action and mystery. The ending is completely satisfying (no cliffhangers!) and while this could easily be a standalone novel, I’m hoping there will be a second book to expand on the storyline, especially the one involving Jett’s missing brother. Dead Reckoning is a clean read and is appropriate for both older and younger teens.

Content: Violence and drinking.

My Rating: Really Good!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...