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Rout of the Dem-Shyr

Rout of the Dem-Shyr by Raine Thomas (Ascendant #2)

Genre: New Adult Sci-Fi Romance

Audience: Ages 17+

 Cover Design by MaeiDesign

Review:

From Goodreads: Touted as the future ruler and savior of worlds, Ascendant KyrVawn is ready to put her growing power to good use. She intends to begin with her home planet of Alametria, where hints of corruption have infiltrated the highest levels of the palace. It’s a monumental task, but one she won’t undertake alone.

By her side is her personal bodyguard and secret lover, Dem-Shyr TaeDane. Together, they’re determined to uncover the truth behind the changes that occurred while they were off-planet…changes that violate long-standing Alametrian laws.

But it’s hard for them to champion the rules when they don’t live by them. Their love is forbidden by official decree, and with every illicit touch, they edge closer and closer to discovery and disaster. Despite their good intentions, they’ll find out that sometimes love doesn’t conquer all.

In fact, it might just be the very thing that destroys them.

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If you’re looking for an intense, sexy, powerful series that will leave you breathless, look no further. Raine Thomas’ Ascendant series is the perfect blend of action, romance, thriller, and mystery as readers are taken on a ride throughout the galaxy.

Fraught with tension, Rout of the Dem-Shyr definitely made my heart hurt as I read—especially with the opening of the story, a jaw-dropping revelation that put me on pins and needles through to the conclusion! Thomas is indeed a master storyteller, building up each scene in a way that grips readers and holds us on betted breath, and I found myself 100% invested in the storyl and its characters as it unfolded. Though my heart broke on numerous occasions, rest assured that Thomas has a rhyme and a reason behind every seemingly closed door, and in order to become stronger and ultimately win against evil, both Ty and Kyr must endure unspeakable evil and heartache.

At one point, I threw my kindle down, frustrated that the world was crashing down on my two most favorite characters in the world—evil is triumphing in this novel, and it’s a hard pill to swallow, especially because everything that Ty and Kry stand for is beautiful. Of course, I picked my Kindle back up immediately because this novel is so drawing that I just HAD TO KNOW what would happen next for Ty and Kry.  They are perfect together in every single way, and their society’s prejudices and backlashes drove me insane with hatred, and yet, it had to happen. While I wanted nothing more than for everything to work out perfectly for my hero and heroine, it just isn’t feasible, and the story would not have been as realistic should only good triumph. I had to repeat this mantra as I read, knowing that ultimately Thomas would fix it all, but the wait almost killed me.

The last few pages of this novel did, indeed, having me rejoicing, pumping my fist in the air, and squealing because… though Ty and Kry aren’t out of the woods yet, the sun is rising in the distance, and I am so excited to see them come back in book three, Rise of the Faire-Amanti, and kick evils butt once and for all. Five glorious, amazing, gut-wrenching, perfect stars.

5 stars

If you haven’t yet read book one in the series, Return of the Ascendant, be sure to scoop it up and read it first. It’s a must!

  I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Buy the Book:

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And be sure to check out my 5 star review of book 1, The Return of the Ascendant!

The Ascendant SeriesBook 3, Rise of the Faire-Amanti is coming FALL 2014

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Watch the Ascendant Series Trailer:

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Excerpt:

“Welcome back, Ma’jah Kyr,” Zasha greeted her as she and Ty entered her chambers.

Kyr smiled. Per her request, the Wrym who worked with her every day had recently started speaking to her, though they only did so if Shaya wasn’t around. Zasha seemed the most comfortable with this change.

“Thanks, Zasha. I’m ready to get refreshed after that training session.”

“Would you like some tea, Ma’jah?”

“No, thanks.” Kyr headed straight to the bathing chamber. “I really just want to have a bath.”

Zasha hurried ahead, signaling to Heshi and J’li, the Wrym waiting to draw the bathwater. They added scented foam that filled the air with musky hints of wild tilly blossoms as the central cascade of water filled the pond-sized tub. Kyr stood compliantly so the Wrym could help her remove her lightweight armor. She noted that Ty was the only Mynder keeping watch over her bath and barely contained her smile.

“Thank you for preparing my bath, ladies,” she said once she had been completely disrobed. “But now I would like for you to give me some privacy.”

The three Wrym in the room looked at her with wide, unblinking eyes. They obviously didn’t know how to respond.

“As I’ve mentioned,” Kyr explained as she entered the scented water, “I still retain my memories from my time on Earth. I’ve found that I miss taking care of certain personal tasks on my own, including bathing. Since it’s my Day of Life celebration today, I would like to ask that you please give me the gift of privacy. I’ll call you back in here the moment I’m ready to be prepared for today’s event.”

The silence stretched for so long, she didn’t think they’d do it. Zasha was the first to recover.

“Of course, Ma’jah,” she said with a bow. “As you wish.”

She took the arms of her still-befuddled companions and hurried out of the room, closing the door behind them. Ty watched them go before turning back to her.

What was that all about?

Rather than answer him, she walked back out of the water. She had only gone in far enough to reach her waist, so it didn’t take more than a few steps to leave the water and cross the room to him. He showed no reaction as she stood naked before him, but she sensed his uncontrollable surge of desire.

It’s your Day of Life celebration, too, Dem-Shyr, she thought, reaching for the fastenings of his tunic. Others may wish to ignore that, but I refuse to. We were born on the same day, at the same time, under the same star. We’re fated to be together. That deserves celebrating.

He held her gaze as she bared his chest. This is a risk, he warned.

We live every day with risk. If we were still on Earth, we’d be celebrating with my college friends, enjoying some drinks and having a good time. I don’t see why we can’t enjoy ourselves at least a little just because we’re on our home planet.

She didn’t have to convince him any further. He took over for her, disrobing in swift, efficient movements that made her lips turn up at the corners. There was no denying he was just as excited about this daring tryst as she was. Even if his body didn’t betray him, she could read his thoughts loud and clear.

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About the Author:

Raine ThomasRaine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream.

When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Follow Raine

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Pinterest ~ Linkedin ~ Website ~ Blog

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 And now for the giveaway:

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The Truth About AliceFrom Goodreads: Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

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This novel follows suit of the game telephone, showing just how much gossip promotes rumors and distorts the truth.  It’s a great novel depicting a form of bullying that’s not addressed as much as the physical or taunting kind, showing how lies for selfish gain, or to protect oneself, can ruin another, whether intentional or not.

The entire novel, save the last chapter, is told from the perspective of Alice’s former friends/frenemies.  Loner Kurt, football player Josh, former best friend and outcast Kelsie, and popular diva Elaine alternate chapters, spinning their tales and giving readers their “expert” take on events that, for the most part, none of them witnessed.  And as they slowly work towards the truth of the matter, admitting to lies and other deceits for the sake of their wellbeing, it becomes clear that the events Alice is blamed for are not quite the truth at all.

Everyone in this novel has secrets.  They hold grudges, make rash decisions, lie to protect themselves, and ultimately destroy Alice one way or another, and while some of them do it intentionally, others mean no harm, but their secrecy does just as much damage as those spreading lies.  It is said that sticks and stones can break our bones, but words… can never hurt us.  And yet, I think most people would agree that words do hurt, and they leave an unseen mark that can strip away one’s soul, and that is exactly what Alice is experiencing throughout the course of the year as the school runs rampant with gossip.

As much as I hated Josh, Kelsie, and Elaine (Kurt was perhaps the nicest and most understanding of all the characters), I loved the multiple perspectives.  And the theme, the bullying, makes this an intense read. While no one technically physically bullies Alice—they don’t even really talk to her—ostracizing someone and spreading rumors about them is just as bad, if not worse, than saying it directly to their face.  It’s a powerful statement that today’s generation really needs to hear and internalize, and I highly recommend this novel to tween readers and beyond.

The final chapter is told from Alice’s perspective, and it’s just… a perfect conclusion.  I love that the novel ends on a positive note, that there is hope, yet it doesn’t undermine the effects that bullying and ostracizing had on Alice, and it doesn’t sugarcoat anything.  It’s realistic and, in my mind, the perfect conclusion to a great story.  Four stars.

4 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Roaring Brook Press have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on June 3, 2014.

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BreakableFrom Goodreads: He was lost and alone. Then he found her. And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

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This second novel in the Contours of the Heart series, by Tammara Webber, focuses on that of heartthrob Lucas, the young man who stole my heart in Easy, and who continues to draw my love in Breakable.  If you’ve read Easy, then you already have the foundation for Breakable, but whether you have that foundation or not, Webber’s latest novel stands all on its own, telling the story from the masculine perspective, which is just as much fun as its predecessor, and all the more captivating as Lucas takes readers on an in-depth journey to his soul.

Webber is a master storyteller, and her characters are implicitly real.  It’s as if they walk right off the page and into your life as you read, and I absolutely adore her writing style.  The story itself is poignant and raw, and it’s impossible not to feel for Lucas as he works through the loss of his mother and his feelings for Jacqueline.  While this novel does follow the storyline of Easy, readers are given an in-depth analysis of Lucas, and the narrative jumps between past and present as the novel unfolds, giving us glimpses into this past experiences in school, with girls, and with his family as he slowly begins on the road to recovery after the night that forever stole his mother from him.

The juxtaposition of past and present is one of my favorite narrative styles, as it that of duel perspectives, and Webber has done a superb job not only bringing to life her characters, but also creating a believable scenario that entices readers to keep turning the pages. I read this beautiful novel in one sitting, and I absolutely adore it–Lucas will melt your heart and stay with you long after the final page!

I highly suggest lovers of NA novels pick up this enticing read as it depicts life on a college campus, the ups and downs it encompasses, and the intensity of finding your soul mate.  Five stars.

 

5 stars

In exchange for an honest review, I received an ARC of this awesome novel from the publisher.

Amazon | Kindle (only $5.12) | Barnes and Noble

and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Easy today!

Easy 2

Amazon | Kindle (only $5.12) | Barnes and Noble

(Read my 5 star review of Easy HERE)

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Interview with the amazing Tammara Webber:

What was your inspiration for your novels Easy and Breakable?

Though there are some deeply personal issues in these books, the stories aren’t autobiographical. I am an acquaintance rape survivor (friend/classmate), but I never intended to write about that experience. It took me several years to even tell anyone because I was so ashamed of my bad judgment. I thought I should have been more careful, or I should have known that guy was untrustworthy. I finally confessed what happened to a friend, and began the healing process. Years after that, I woke up with Jacqueline’s story in my head, and she insisted on it being told. Lucas’s story stems from a particular fear of mine, based on a news story I heard years ago. When my husband left town on business trips, particularly when my kids were small, I was often so terrified that it was hard to sleep. I took the emotions from those real-life experiences and deep-seated fears and gave them to my characters.

How difficult/easy was it to write Lucas’ point-of-view in Breakable, and what made you decide to tell his story?

It was the most difficult thing I’ve written, from a technical standpoint. I didn’t think I’d ever write Lucas’s story, because he didn’t “talk” to me much when I wrote Easy. I knew the facts before she did, but I saw him through Jacqueline’s eyes – I didn’t always see or completely understand his emotions or reasoning, especially when it wasn’t logical. It was months after publishing Easy before he started speaking to me. Once he did, I had to write it. There would have been no way to integrate the stories. His would have overshadowed hers – and I felt (and probably always will feel) that her story was the most important thing I’ll ever write.

Will there be more to the Contours of the Heart series, or is this a two book series?

I’m finished with Lucas and Jacqueline, but there are possible spinoff stand-alones for other characters in my head. We’ll see what emerges.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

I wrote three shelf novels and notebooks full of poems and short stories before I wrote Between the Lines. Easy was the seventh novel I wrote. You’ve probably heard this before – that often, people thought to be overnight successes are people who’ve been working at their particular craft for a long time. There is absolutely a place for right-place-right-time (which I credit for some of my success) and who-you-know (I didn’t have a single friend who wrote – I had to seek out strangers on the internet to find critique partners and reviewers. As an introvert, that was completely outside my comfort zone!). But working continually to become better at what you do is as important – more important – to a career as an author. If I hadn’t kept working, I might not have had a book ready when the digital book + self-publishing revolution took off. I allowed myself to be knocked off kilter by the craziness that went along with moving from being a wholly self-published to a traditionally-published author, and I know I lost some momentum. For me, that’s water under the bridge. For an aspiring author, it’s a lesson – always be working on the next thing. Seek to become better and better at what you do. Allow projects to come to completion so you can move on to the next thing. I’ve seen many authors get stuck in the writing, revising, querying or marketing (if self-pub) stage – of one book – sometimes for years. Nothing will ever be perfect. Do your best work and move to the next thing. The more you write, the better you’ll write.

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tammara webberAbout Tammara Webber:

Tammara Webber is author of the New York Times bestselling New Adult novel Easy, the first novel in her Contours of the Heart series, and the Between the Lines series.  She is a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life.  Before writing full-time, she was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon.  She married her high school sweetheart, and is a mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.

Connect with her online at tammarawebber.blogspot.com, twitter.com/tammarawebber, and www.facebook.com/TammaraWebberAuthor.

 

 



NightcrawlersFrom Goodreads: 200 years ago, the village of Clavitt Fields was burned to the ground. It was hoped that what lived there had perished in the fire. But they did not perish. They went underground…

For generations, they lived and bred in darkness, adapting themselves to a subterranean existence. Now they are rising to the surface, and what they’ve become is a horror beyond belief, a crawling nightmare of evil and bloodthirsty violence bent on destruction.

The night is alive…and it belongs to them.
NIGHTCRAWLERS, the horrifying new novel from master of suspense Tim Curran.

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What started out as a freaky horror novel complete with the creep factor ended a little anticlimactic for me. I was expecting some big reveal, something awesome that would explain it all, but what I got instead was a revelation that just didn’t… sit well with me. I wanted curses, or ghosts, or even zombies, but that’s not it. What it is just struck me as odd, and for me, the revelation and the ending took a lot of the steam right out of the novel, which is unfortunate.

The blood, and guts, and the creepy pale bloated bodies… I loved it. It’s not too graphic, just enough to send chills down your spine, and I loved how it opened up with the police digging up the bodies in the abandoned field. There were a ton of events that made me really curious, and were just a tad bit scary as well, especially when the police go off looking for the shapes they see coming out of the fog… and it really kept me on my toes, to a point. However, there was absolutely no character connection for me. I think the focus was so much on the chill factor and the heart-pounding events that the characters remained static. And perhaps that’s a good things, since they basically all die, but even so, no connection with characters leaves me feeling a little desolate; as is, I don’t really have much feeling about them, or their story, one way or another. Had a tighter ending been put on this, I think it could have been a real gem, but as is, it fell just a little flat for me. Three stars.

3 stars

DarkFuse has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 4, 2014, in exchange for an honest review.

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The Tyrant's DaughterFrom Amazon: THERE: In an unnamed Middle Eastern country, fifteen-year-old Laila has always lived like royalty. Her father is a dictator of sorts, though she knows him as King—just as his father was, and just as her little brother Bastien will be one day. Then everything changes: Laila’s father is killed in a coup.

HERE: As war surges, Laila flees to a life of exile in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Overnight she becomes a nobody. Even as she adjusts to a new school and new friends, she is haunted by the past. Was her father really a dictator like the American newspapers say? What was the cost of her family’s privilege?

Far from feeling guilty, her mother is determined to regain their position of power. So she’s engineering a power play—conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to gain a foothold to the throne. Laila can’t bear to stand still as yet another international crisis takes shape around her. But how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

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Throughout history, there have been many dictators and tyrants leading their countries into war, be it with other countries, or within the boundaries of their own. Civil wars and bloodshed have been on the rise throughout the world, especially within recent years, and J.C. Carleson’s novel, The Tyrant’s Daughter comes at such a time when the world’s eyes are glued to the events currently unfolding in Syria, while also reminding us of the civil unrest that is still occurring in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the list goes on.

While I have read many novels about genocides, civil war, and the memoirs of those affected by civil unrest, Carelson’s novel is the first I’ve come across focusing on the life of a dictator’s wife and children.  And though fictional, Carleson gives readers a glimpse into the family life that we rarely hear about, but have always questioned.  I remember a few years back, I was flipping through the TV Guide channel and saw that a station, perhaps the history channel, was going to run a special about Hitler’s children, a “where are they now” kind of documentary, but didn’t watch it because it was scheduled to run in the dead of night.  I’d forgotten about it until now.  I wish I had watched it.

The Tyrant’s Daughter focuses on the life of Laila as she acclimates to her new life in the U.S.  A place of immense freedom, where she doesn’t have to cover herself and she can interact with the opposite sex without being shunned or beaten.  It’s a brand new world for her, and as she soon finds out, a safe-haven from the worn-torn country she left when her father, a tyrant by every definition, was murdered. Having been subjected to limited access to the internet within her country, Laila now sees the truths about her father and her family as the news reports flood in concerning the uprisings, death toll, and the new tyrant (her uncle) running her country.

Carelson’s novel is extremely powerful and I was glued to the pages as I read.  Laila’s story is poignant and believable, and as she attempts to understand the new knowledge she gains about her father’s actions, everything in her life is upended.  Believed by some to have inner knowledge of her father’s actions, she is shunned by refugees from her country, while her mother refuses to back down from her queen status and moves invisible pawns in order to grant her 7 year old son, Bastien, Laila’s brother, the right be rule his country.  It’s an intense read, and really made me stop and think; just how much do the children of dictators know?  And while society has a tendency to lump a family in with the sins of the father, wondering how they couldn’t know the reality, is there more truth in the fact that children, and sometimes even wives, have limited or no knowledge of the extent of the atrocities their fathers/husbands/parents commit?

This is a fictional tale, as I’ve said, but derives itself from the many true events that surround dictators, both past and present, and it’s a must read.  Although slated as a YA book, this novel is riveting and one I highly recommend for adults as well.  Five stars.

5 stars

Random House Children’s and Alfred A. Knopf BFYR have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on February 11, 2014, in exchange for an honest review.

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Pre-order your copy today!



P7280057From Goodreads: Twenty-two year old Faren Mitchell hears the two words that change her abbreviated life forever. They’re so final Faren decides she has nothing to lose by seizing every remaining moment of what life has to offer.

Until Faren collides with a motorcycle ridden by billionaire Jared McKenna.

Even the dark secret of her past and catharsis as a physical therapist can’t save Faren from the sexual spiral that waits for her in the arms of a man who commits to no one. When circumstances force her to get a second job as an exotic dancer, Faren never imagines how close that choice will bring her to the brink of a new reality she is unequipped to handle.

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With two small, quick words, Eros immediately hooks her readers at the beginning of this novella, causing a series of successive thoughts to rampage through our heads as the story takes off. It’s impossible not to be intrigued—even though we don’t know Faren Mitchell at all, we understand the words, we understand their all encompassing meaning, and we understand the pain, fear, and heartache that stands behind them.  We know, and Faren knows, and so we are quickly united from the very first page. It is a great beginning.

Faren is a strong character.  She is a fairly broken person, in more ways than one, but her heart is in the right place, and though I don’t necessarily agree with her final choice for work, I understand how she feels and why she chooses to do what she does.  Told from her point of view, we learn her thoughts, regrets, desires, and wishes for the future, especially where her mother is involved, and as this story unfolds, we also learn the harsh reality that engulfs Faren’s past, putting us eye to eye with her on an even deeper level.

As a novella, events within move rapidly, and while chapters do tend to jump from scene to scene, it keeps readers guessing.  I actually really enjoyed that Faren would suddenly be somewhere else after a chapter break, with Eros using Faren’s thoughts and actions to explain the time lapse and what happened in between. While initially jarring for me the first time it happened, I realized what Eros was doing failry quickly and it works very well for this type of story, especially as so much happens to Faren throughout.

Now, this novella does deal with strip clubs, but it is relatively clean–at least, not explicitly graphic, for which I am thankful.  Eros toes the line very gracefully, and as we learn Faren’s true reasons for taking on this line of work, we begin to understand exactly why she chooses to do what she does.  That, and the two little words at the very beginning of the story…

Of course, Eros leaves readers hanging in the worst possible way, which is exactly her style, as it were, and I wouldn’t expect anything less, though I am indeed dying to know what’s going to happen next for Faren as her situation is quite dire, to say the least.  Thankfully, The Token is the first of a novella series with monthly release dates—novella number two is already 71% complete with a pending release in mid January, and the third in the series is slated for release on February 1. Good reads are ahead.  I can feel it.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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18039069From Goodreads: London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches.

Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine.

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This novel actually started off slowly for me. At 30% in, I was thinking that I really didn’t want to finish it–I just wasn’t hooked, but I always give books the benefit of the doubt, as I did with this one, and as I went on, it got much better, and by the end I was turning the pages so quickly I would have had whiplash had I not been reading on a stationary Kindle.

The way Rosa’s family treats her and those around them is disgusting and very hard to stomach. There is a scene with a puppy that horrified me, and I nearly put the book down right then because I hated the heir so very much, but I kept going, because by that point, I was very interested in the plot.  And, this novel tackles some great topics for younger readers, such as racism and abuse, two aspects that are rampant within the text, stemming from the Brotherhoods hatred of all “witches” and the abusive relationship between Rosa, her brother, and her “fiancé.” Through it all, the novel shows how clouded one’s judgment can be based on hatred, and how entitlement and greed can ruin families. They were great lessons for readers about refusing to take abuse, though for a while there I was afraid Rosa was just going to roll over and take it.

While it may sound like Rosa is a week character that needs saving, in truth she is not. She is the subject of abuse on many levels, from physical to mental, and as a 16 year old without a friend in the world, she struggles on a very real level with her own wants and needs versus pleasing her family. At times I did want to reach through the pages and shake her, but then again, she must contend with the lesser of two evils–abuse from her family, or the death and destruction of others. Her selflessness is very real, but when it comes down to it, she refuses to stand on the sidelines and allow others to be terrorized. I really did like her and Luke (and they’re the only characters I really did like, save Cassie, the fiancé’s sister, but she was extremely miniscule).

The love relationship in this novel was slow between Luke and Rosa, and I liked that he saw her for what she was, a young girl abused and afraid, versus a witch worth killing. His attempts on her life were extremely interesting to see unfold, especially as his conscious plays a huge part in it all, and his attempts to finally stand up for what is right, along with Rosa’s make them vivid and real.

I can’t wait to see where the sequel of this one takes us because, while not ending on a cliffhanger per se, we are right in the middle of the action and you just know there is so much more to be told.  Four stars.

4 stars

Hodder Children’s Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on January 2, 2013.



18052849From Goodreads: If I Stay meets the movie Ghost in this first book in a teen duology about a teenage-girl-turned-ghost who must cling to the echoes of her former life to save the people she left behind.

Ashes to Ashes is author Melissa Walker’s sweeping, romantic, and emotionally rich story about the things that torment and tempt us, even from the Great Beyond. This book is perfect for fans of Die for Me and Imaginary Girls, and its breathtaking ending will leave readers anxiously awaiting the series conclusion, Dust to Dust.

When Callie’s life is cut short by a tragic accident, she expects to find nothingness, or maybe some version of heaven.

Instead, her spirit travels to the Prism, an ethereal plane populated by the ghosts she thought were fictional. Here she meets a striking and mysterious ghost named Thatcher, who is meant to guide her as she learns to haunt and bring peace to the loved ones she left behind.

However, Callie uncovers a dark secret about the spirit world: The angry souls who always populate ghost stories are real, dangerous, and willing to do whatever it takes to stay on Earth, threatening the existence of everyone she ever cared about.

As she fights to save them, Callie will learn that while it may no longer beat, her heart can still love-and break.

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While I had high hopes for this novel, especially with its claim to be a mix of the novel If I Stay and the movie Ghost, I felt like Ashes to Ashes moved much too slowly for me.  Likewise, I didn’t really feel any connections with the characters.  Callie dies before we really get to know her, or her friends, for that matter, and once she’s dead, she behaves very much as you would expect a young child to behave when told they can’t have something.  She throws some tantrums and goes off and does whatever she wants, pushing caution to the wind, over and over again.

In truth, I spent much of the novel highly annoyed with Callie because she continues to make the same stupid mistake while ignoring not only her inner conscious, but also her guide, Thatcher.  The fact that Thatcher continually keeps Callie in the dark, refusing to supply answers or clarification, did little to put him in my good graces, either.  Instead, he only frustrated me because there seems to be a disconnect and readers don’t know why.  And, instead of answers, the same scene plays out many a time, nearly lulling me to sleep: Callie messes up and is really sorry.  Thatcher is angry; he tells her not to do it again without really giving any concrete reasons why.  They make up.  Then, Callie does it again and is really sorry….  By the third time this sequence occurred, I was ready to put the book aside.  I just felt like nothing was truly happening in the novel; I had no connections with anyone, and we rarely saw Callie attempting to comfort anyone still left on earth—the aspect I really wanted to see.

And then? Walker surprised me with her quick and fast ending—one I wasn’t expecting but that, in retrospect, makes sense.  I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t, and this surprise actually brought this novel up a notch in my esteem, clarified a lot of my original issues, and interested me to the point that I actually would like to read the sequel when it comes out.  So in the end, while I did finds it someone trivial and stagnant, Ashes to Ashes did throw me for a loop, and as it only takes one small event to really change a person’s perspective of a novel, I liked it, overall.  Three stars.

3 stars

HarperCollins Publishers has been extremely gracious in giving me an ARC of this novel, during NCTE, in exchange for an honest review prior to its release on December 23, 2013.



19073822From Goodreads: Alex Cronlord has failed.

The zombie apocalypse that she foresaw months ago has come to pass–in part because of her visions. Trapped in the now-quarantined city of Dallas, Alex struggles both with the undead and with her own guilt. She blames herself for the fall of Dallas, for leaving FBI Agent Moira McBain to die, and for the lies she’s still telling her father. When Zach, her friend and fellow superpowered fighter, makes a startling confession, it only increases Alex’s inner turmoil.

Unknown to Alex, Moira is still alive. Imprisoned in an alternate dimension and facing certain death, Moira receives help from an unlikely source. To get home, she must fight her way past both the soul-sucking Xorda and a frightening and mysterious group of werewolves. She knows who her enemies are. But can she trust her only ally?

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This novel had me on pins and needles as I read, jumping back and forth between the perilous adventures of Alex Cronlord as she battles the zombie apocalypse she unwittingly released on Dallas based on a Weaver premonition, and Agent Moira as she attempts to escape the confines of the Xorda world.  Complete with soul sucking demons, lycanthrope monstrosities, harrowing escapes, sorrowful deaths, and time warping, this novel has a little bit of everything for everyone.

So much has happened to Alex in the past few weeks, and with the weight of the zombie apocalypse and the death of Agent Moria on her shoulder’s, Alex has had about enough.   This young woman can’t seem to catch a break, so it comes as no surprise that she’s willing to give up her own life in more ways than one if it means putting a stop to it all, even if it means she’ll erase her entire existence from the world.

I loved the deeper glimpse readers obtain through the past events that happen at Pinnacle with Alex’s mother, Ainsling.  In book two, The Void, we begin to learn about the events at Pinnacle that started it all, with Sigmund, Xorda extraordinaire, targeting Ainsling from the very beginning.  But in this third installment, we learn even more as Alex stumbles onto an ability that has the power to stop Sigmund and the zombie apocalypse forever.  But will she succeed?

Abramowitz keeps his readers on edge with his perfectly timed cliff hangers interspersed within the novel. Jumping from one point of view to another, readers find themselves at the climax of an important scene only to be whisked away and dropped into the thoughts and adventures of another.  I absolutely adore this type of writing style as it keeps the reader on their toes.  Expertly crafter, readers experience an emotional rollercoaster as they jump between characters, and what makes it work so seamlessly is that each time readers are dropped into another character’s experience, it picks up exactly where the original cliffhanger left off a few chapters prior.  So, while readers may groan as the shift in character takes place, leaving them hanging, they are quickly thrown right back into the story as a previous cliffhanger begins to resolve itself.  This is ingenious and I highly enjoyed it and can’t wait for the fourth and final novel.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review prior to its release on December 10, 2013



13138635From Goodreads: It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
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I really enjoyed this novel in the beginning.  It caught my attention right away and drew me in—the spacecraft, the elegance, the social rift between Lilac and Tarver—I really enjoyed it all.  However, as the novel went on, I began to feel like their time on the planet was dragging on a bit too long for my liking.  It almost felt like Cast Away or The Life of Pi in that there were limited characters and little action as the story went on.  I tend to need constant interactions to stay focused, and there were definitely times that I felt this novel was lagging, but on the other hand, there were many times that it was fast-paced and interesting as well, especially when the phenomenon began to happen to Lilac.  I can’t go into much detail here without giving anything away, but know this: there is a creepy paranormal element that makes its way into this story, and it’s really unique and interesting.  I’m afraid it’s a little beyond my comprehension, as it were, because at the end there, I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening anymore, but even so, this curve in the story definitely took me by surprise and, when all’s said and done, I enjoyed it, even if I’m not 100% sure what exactly happened there at the end.

What I loved the most about the novel is that it’s a flashback.  We learn early on that Tarver is being questioned by higher ups about his time on the planet with Lilac, and as Tarver responds in clipped and sarcastic manners, we learn what he is attempting to hide from society, including his feelings for Lilac and exactly what happened on the planet.

The end leaves a little to be desired, which makes me wonder if there will be a sequel?  I didn’t feel like it resolved much, but in truth, it’s not a bad place to end their tale, either, so I guess we shall have to wait and see.  If you’re looking for something completely different with a side of creepiness, then I suggest you pick this one up.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

Disney Hyperion has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on December 10, 2013



{November 30, 2013}   {ARC Review} Demonica by Will Davis

18811785From Goodreads: When spoilt eighteen year old Miranda suffers a terrible accident she survives, but her face is hideously scarred.

Unable to bear what has happened to her, she locks herself away. Her only companions are Veronica, her cruel and beautiful mother, and Nelly, the sympathetic housekeeper.

As time passes Veronica inflicts cruelty after cruelty on her disfigured daughter. Lonely and filled with despair, Miranda is astonished when Bernard, Veronica’s handsome younger boyfriend, takes an interest in her circumstances.

For Bernard believes there is an operation that can restore Miranda’s face. But it will involve committing an unspeakable crime. A decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life…

In the tradition of Angela Carter and Daphne du Maurier, Demonica is a terrifying modern fairy tale.

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This is a novel of betrayal that runs deeper than any other I can think of. A mother who torments her daughter due to a lack of beauty; a daughter to obtains the ultimate revenge in the worst possible way against her mother. Any yet, neither find happiness in their evil ways, and it’s impossible not to hate them, but also impossible not to pity them as the story unfolds. The characters in this novel are awful, absolutely awful, but readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away as they learn of the tragedy that befalls Miranda, watching as she attempts to cope with her lot in life, especially as her mother torments her more each day. One would think that a tragedy like this would change a person, but in the end, it doesn’t, and like the bad accident that starts it all, readers just can’t look away.

I cringe to think that people really do harbor so much selfishness and hatred within themselves that they’d be willing to so utterly destroy another, and yet that’s exactly what Veronica and Miranda do to one another. It’s appalling; but so well written that it pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go until the very end.

Miranda’s very matter of fact way of telling her story adds a depth of poignancy that allows readers to truly see her heart, and though it’s hard to understand her actions and her hurt, her soul is bared wide for the reader.  In truth, the story is superbly written. I loved obtaining Miranda’s insights about the accident, and the fact that she knew how petty she was, and commented on it many a time, made her very real to me as a reader. Would I like to get to know her in real life? No. I’d probably be one of those people on the sideline that quietly thought to myself that she got what she deserved, but in the end, no one, not even evil, despicable Veronica–a woman not fit to be a mother—or Miranda—a selfish, unrepentant young woman—deserve what befalls them in the end.

This is a story that will haunt you as you read it, and keep you up way into the night wondering just how far a human can fall to allow these things to happen.  Five stars.

5 stars

Hashtag Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release tomorrow, December 1, 2013, in exchange for an honest review.  This is a MUST READ.

Find it on Amazon.



GameFrom Goodreads: Follow the rules and everybody gets hurt . . .

One Sunday morning after a long night of partying, Henrik “HP” Pettersson, a slacker with a lot of ego and very little impulse control, finds a cell phone of an unfamiliar make on a commuter train. Through insisting and slightly uncanny messages that refer to him by name, the phone invites him to play a game. HP accepts without hesitation.

The rules are that HP must complete tasks that range from childish pranks to criminal acts, as allocated by the mysterious Game Master. HP is the perfect contender & alienated from society, devoid of morals, and desperate for fame. His completion of the assignments are filmed and uploaded onto a protected server where viewers rate the Players performances.

The Game starts out innocently enough and then becomes increasingly risky, threatening the safety of someone close to HP. He is determined to become a superstar, but when the dark and tragic secrets of his family’s past are at stake, HP must make a choice. Will he suffer the humiliation of defeat, or will the need to win push him to the limit no matter the cost?

First in a fast-paced and riveting trilogy, Game will leave you guessing. Follow the rules, and everybody gets hurt . . .

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I’m sorry to say that this novel didn’t captivate me as I’d hoped.  With the beautiful cover and the intriguing synopsis, I went into this novel with high hopes.  Unfortunately, I came out of it a little less than impressed.  It started out really interesting, but as the story unfolded, it began to lose steam. While HP was in the game, I was highly interested in the outcome and the scenarios happening around him, but once he was out of the game, which happened all too quickly, if you ask me, everything just sort of petered out.  HP became extremely petty and hard to digest.  His character is quite obnoxious, and as the story mainly follows him, it became difficult for me to care because he was such an awful person.

The novel also through me for a loop as is also follows HPs sister, who is also a cop.  Initially I confused myself thinking they were lovers, but then realized they were brother/sister and that there was another man involved in her life, which made more sense, but also proved to be a little less than interesting as her life somewhat droned on and I didn’t really care for her, either.  Overall, this novel wasn’t exactly for me as it lacked likeable characters and lost my attention fairly quickly.  I am hoping that it picks up in the second novel, which I do plan to read, and its outcome will determine if I read the third installment.  Two stars.

2 stars

Atria Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on December 3, 2013.

The Game TrilogyUpdate: I have read all the books in this trilogy AND I really enjoyed BUZZ and BUBBLE.  I suggest you try this series and see–books two and three definitely made up for book one.



17863025From Goodreads: Not much could drag Jim Booker out of a peaceful, if lonely, retirement and back to late nights, crime scenes, and chases. Jim Booker is done with detective work and would just like to enjoy a cup of coffee on a sunny day. But when an old friend shows up with a case about an old flame, Booker can’t say no.

What starts as a missing persons case soon delivers more than he bargained for, and when Booker’s own past offers clues, it’s clear that no one else can solve this mystery. But there’s a catch: Booker was given six months to live eight months ago.

Author J.R. Rain shows us that when it seems there’s nothing left to live for, there’s also nothing left to lose. His characters will take a chance on danger, doubt, even an unlikely romance—as long as they get a cup of coffee first.

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I think this novel had a lot of potential, but I was highly annoyed by the main character, which made reading it rather anticlimactic for me.  Jim Booker is dying, and I do understand that, but it seemed that every other page found him talking about his impending death, and not in a way that readers are able to sympathize with him, either. Truth be told, he was a jerk to everyone around him, so he never really endeared himself to me, and in the end, I couldn’t have cared less what happened to him, which is unfortunate.

The mystery itself was well done, and it took me a while to figure out who the murderer was, though looking back I think I should have picked up on it a lot sooner than I did.  In this respect, I think Rain did a good job presenting his murder mystery, and having a main character willing to take any and all chances due to their own impending death was a great idea.  Overall, I was highly interested in the mystery aspect of the novel, but I really would have liked to have been able to care about the main character a little in order for this to be truly enjoyable. Two stars.

2 stars

Kindle First was extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel for free, prior to its release December 1, in exchange for an honest review.



No Dawn for MenFrom Goodreads: In 1938, Nazi Germany prepares to extend its reach far beyond its borders. The key to domination lies in a secret that would make their army not only unbeatable, but un-killable.

MI-6, knowing that something potentially devastating is developing, recruits scholar and novelist John Ronald Reuel Tolkien to travel to Germany to find out what this might be, using the German popularity of his children’s novel THE HOBBIT as cover. Joining him there is MI-6 agent Ian Fleming, still years away from his own writing career but posing as a Reuters journalist. Together, Tolkien and Fleming will get to the heart of the secret and they will face a fury greater than even their prodigious imaginations considered possible.

Both an astounding work of suspense and a literary treasure trove to delight fans of either author, NO DAWN FOR MEN is a nonstop adventure.

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It took me a little while to warm up to this novel, and I’m not 100% sure why.  In all honestly, I don’t feel like it’s written in any different fashion than LePore’s other novels, and I’ve always been able to jump right into those.  But this time, it took me a little while to wrap my head around everything that was going on in this novel, and I actually put it aside for a few days thinking I might just not have been in the right mood.  That seems to have done the trick, because when I picked it up again, I was able to glide right into the story, which is awesome, might I add, and the story flowed seamlessly together, which is what I’ve come to expect from a LePore novel.

Though it took me a little while, I really enjoyed this novel and once I was able to begin making connections between the story and The Lord of the Rings series, I was in heaven.  I was a little curious about how much of the novel was based on fact and how much on fiction though, because it’s quite obvious that some is fiction, but other elements made me wonder, so I asked James LePore himself.  And this is his awesome response:

“The book is a mix of the real and the fictional. Tolkien was in Berlin in 1938 to talk to a German publishing company about publishing The Hobbit in Germany. The book actually was believed by many ardent Nazis to support their ideology. He turned them down when they asked him to sign an oath saying he was not a Jew. He wrote them a famous letter which you can see here. This letter, when I first came across it, was one of the inspirations for the novel.”

“Fleming was a Reuters correspondent in the thirties covering events in pre-war Europe. There is no  record of his being in Berlin in 1938 but there is a consensus among his biographers that he was doing more than reporting, likely doing political and military assessments for MI-6.”

“Tolkien was actually in the Somme offensive in WWI as a signalman, and did lose three very close friends there. Fleming’s dad, Valentine, was also in France in WWI. The meeting between the two described in the Prologue is fictional. The adventure regarding the amulet, raising the dead, etc., is wholly fictional, but gave Carlos and I a chance to have Tolkien and Fleming experience things that would one day end up in their work. For example, the scene at Gestapo headquarters where Fleming is nearly tortured is a fictional precursor of the actual scene in Casino Royale where James Bond is tortured. We believed as we wrote that both Tolkien and Fleming fans would have fun recognizing these inspiring moments.”

In all truth, I find this amazing, and the amount of research that went into LePore and Davis’ novel just floors me, because it was a lot! And being able to pick out the connections was amazing, especially for me as a fan of The Lord of the Rings.  I’ll admit I’m not as familiar with Fleming’s work aside from a few of the James Bond movies I sort of watched once upon a time (never did read the books), so I didn’t make many connections with Fleming’s side of the story, but I really honed in on Tolkien, and the novel is just amazingly written.  I loved the characterization, the sleuthing, the mystery, and the fear that at any moment they could be caught.

If you are a fan of Tolkien or Fleming, then I highly suggest you pick up a copy of No Dawn for Men.  It’s very well written and a sequel in which Tolkien and Fleming are tracking down a secret atomic bomb formula in France in WWII is already in the works.  I can’t wait.  Four stars.

4 stars

Story Plant has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.



17679542From Goodreads: YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked – surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

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As I started this novel, I became a little bit wary as I realized that the main character, Kitty, was contemplating becoming a prostitute, a subject I don’t want to read about, ever.  And I just had a really tough time understanding her choice here, especially because she had a boyfriend who wanted to marry her. As Kitty came closer and closer to her first “night,” my stomach began to twist in very uncomfortable ways, but thankfully, prostitution is not what the story is about at all.  While I was ill at ease for a little while there right in the beginning of the novel, Carter pulls a complete 180 and changes direction so fast that I nearly had whiplash—in a good way.  The prostitution gig was left unfulfilled and out of mind, allowing me to breathe a sigh of relief and really get into the story.  And this is where the story took off for me: as Kitty wakes up to herself Masked.  Asked for the performance of her life, the only way to survive is to pretend to be one of the elite, and while that does sound kind of awesome, Carter aptly exposes all the evils that come with such a job.  Suddenly, Kitty has lost what little control she thought she had over her life and must pretend to be the niece of the Prime Minister, a sick and twisted man set on ruling the country indefinitely.  And from here, it’s one plot twist after another, and the events that unfold will leave readers glued to the pages and desperately wanting more when it’s all said and done.

Kitty Doe is a very strong female lead, and while I disagreed with her decisions in the beginning, I really liked the person she became as the novel progressed.  Surrounded by a family full of deceit and lies, her life hanging by a thread, Kitty is pulled in multiple directions at once as “family” members push, cajole, and demand her obedience or resistance.  Fast paces and full of life, this story is one I’d definitely love to see on the big screen, especially as there are so many characters I love to hate.  Throughout it all, it was a constant guessing game as I tried to figure out who was truly evil, and who was acting out of love, and I found it just as hard to trust those around Kitty as she did, especially as the characters seemed to change allegiances daily.

Overall, this is a breath taking read that will leave readers full of emotion, yearning for more, and hoping against hope for a revolution like no other.  Five stars.

5 stars

Harlequin Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on November 26, 2013.



{November 18, 2013}   {ARC Review} Sia by Josh Grayson

18482726From Goodreads: When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.

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This is a very lighthearted and ultimately happy story, but seems to lack a bit in terms of character building and climax. It starts off extremely riveting, and watching Sia struggle to understand her identity and live with the homeless caught my attention right away—it’s interesting and there are struggles and hardships that abound.  However, as Sia is reunited with her family, I felt that the story lost steam, plateauing and focusing on all Sia’s good deeds. Suddenly, there really aren’t any true threats or adversaries standing in Sia’s way as she begins to make changes in her life, and she’s an all around good girl, which is great, but not so interesting.

It is almost as if Sia has a magical touch, changing everyone and everything she comes into contact with as she turns over a new leaf, having no memory of her previous misdeeds.  But the problem with this is that there is no adversary standing in her way to make it difficult. Sia wakes up not knowing who she is, she’s told about her past, revolts against it, and everything falls into place for her as she changes not only her life, but that of her family and entire school, as well.  Sound a little far-fetched?  Well, it is.  Sia tends to have an all too easy time of it all, making up her mind to do something and everything working out; even her issues with her former best friend aren’t really hardships because Sia drops her easily since there’s no true ties between them that she can remember.  Truth be told, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for everything to come crashing down and the antithesis to take over, but that never really happens.  Instead, Sia accomplishes everything she sets her mind to, which in the end makes this a very happy go lucky story, but doesn’t add much in the area of real character development or hardships, which in my opinion, is what really makes a story. It seems, instead, that the biggest opposition Sia comes up against is that her newfound crush, Kyle, can’t commit to Sia’s changes as quickly as everyone else, but that’s not really much of an opposition, as far as I’m concerned, and so I thought it fell a little flat.  Two and a half stars.

2.5 stars

I received this an ARC of this novel from the author, via Netgalley, prior to its release on November 20, 2013



18176657From Goodreads: In the city that never sleeps the Chronicles continue…

Serving coffee is temporary, just like Casey’s year off from school. She’s going to come up with a plan to stay in New York City and go back to college, and that plan does not involve dating a paranormal creature—let alone two.

Running the supernatural society of New York is not as fun as it sounds, especially when you still have to answer to your ex-girlfriend’s fiancé. Toby doesn’t mean to bring Casey into the chaos of his life, but he can’t resist the girl who makes him smile when he thought no one else ever could.

Jared’s in New York checking out a security risk for his best friend, the king. He plans to return to New Orleans quickly, but not if it means losing his chance with the brunette who pretends she wants nothing to do with him.

In over her head with a bunch of winged creatures who most definitely are not angels, Casey has to figure out who to trust with her life and maybe her heart.

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Readers are happily thrust back into the world of the Pterons in this spin off series to the Crescent Chronicles, meshing together new and old characters alike.  Casey, the new heroine of his novel, is in much the same boat as Allie was when she first learned of the Pterons, yet she’s vastly different.  I like Casey, but I also found her wishy-washy attitude between Toby and Jared a bit jarring. She had a hard time making up her mind about who she liked more, and it made me mad. I have a tendency to want my heroines to go with the first good guy that captures their heart, so when it’s a battle between two lovers, it takes me time to change allegiances, and I don’t always do so, even though the characters do. I am kind of miffed about Casey’s final choice, truth be told. However, I have a feeling that it’s all going to change for both Jared and Toby based on the final few pages and their twist of events, one I never saw coming!

I feel kind of bad for Toby in this novel, which I wasn’t expecting going in.  He is stuck missing Allie–and while I admit he didn’t handle things too well in the first series and I kind of hated him, I do feel sorry for him just the same, which is why I was hoping he’d catch a break in this novel, especially because he seems so much nicer. And while the break does seem to come, the appearance of Jared muddies the waters and it seems that Toby may never meet his other half.

I enjoyed that our main characters from series one are also side characters in this novel, so even though it’s a new heroine, my faves are still there in the background, helping to make sense of it all for Casey. And, again, based on the twist here at the end, it looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Levi and Allie in the next installments in this lovely spinoff series, too, which is a huge plus because I really enjoy them.

One aspect that really intrigued me in this novel is the appearance of the shapeshifters; I really want to know what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it, but Ivy doesn’t give too much away, leaving me yearning for the next installment already… especially based on the twist at the end.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the publicist in exchange for an honest review.



Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00015]From Goodreads: Eliza Monroe has been traveling the United States for three years, immersing herself in the towns she visits as she searches for the mother she’s never known. She hopes returning to her grandmother’s inn in Sage Springs, Mo., will provide the break she needs to evaluate her lonely life.

What Eliza isn’t expecting is to have two men enter the picture, not making her decision to stay or leave any easier. One has been her foundation, while the other is as comfortable as she is hopping from city to city. Throw in a kooky grandmother, a cheerful best friend, a sarcastic guest, a town where residents and spirits interact like neighbors, and Eliza has little time to contemplate her future.

Friendships grow, webs are spun and lies are revealed before Eliza comes to terms with what she wants in life and learns what’s really important.

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Whispers and Wishes is a sweet tale of love and redemption as Eliza Monroe learns what’s really important in life.  Having spent the better part of the last three years on the road looking for the mother she’s never known, leaving behind a potential love relationship and the ghosts that peacefully haunt Sage Springs, Eliza is finally home for a short reprieve.  Her grandmother’s inn is in danger of closing, and Eliza can’t help but feel that this is where she belongs, but at what cost?

Westring has a created a cute and interesting story that revolves around the choices that we must make and how we know when enough is enough.  With the revelation that Jake, the boy she left so long ago, still loves her, and the attentions of the gorgeous and mysterious drifting handy man, Gavin, Eliza isn’t sure what to do, but one thing is clear, she has to make a choice.  Pulled in both directions, Eliza must decide where her loyalties lie, and as events come to a head and Eliza finds that not everyone is who they say they are and that not everything is what is seems, everything Eliza’s been working toward these last few years begins to crumble.  But, with great friends and a strong home base, Eliza is ready to face her fears, the truth, and love.

If you’re looking for a charming story and a quick read that will leave you with a smile on your face and a renewed belief in the goodness of people, then this is the book for you.  Four stars.

4 starsI received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review prior to its release on November 7, 2013.

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DSC04689About the author:

Hollie Westring hails from Kansas City, Mo. She used to be a journalist, which probably explains her extreme dislike of the serial comma and her preference for AP style.

After realizing the hours of journalists were not productive to any type of social or family life, she settled into a job at a publishing syndicate. She worked with comics, astrology columns, word puzzles and feature columns for six years. Although she enjoyed her time there, Hollie decided to leave the nine-to-five world and join the twenty-four/seven world of motherhood. Now she edits from home.

When not writing, editing or reading, Hollie can be found baking cookies or watching more than her fair share of crime TV. She’s a loyal Royals and Chiefs fan.

Links:

Blog: www.holliewestring.com

Twitter: @holliewestring

Facebook: facebook.com/authorholliewestring

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6622356.Hollie_Westring?from_search=true

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17392996From Goodreads: Adopted as babies by two different families, Simone and Hannah have never known they are identical twins. Simone has been raised as a dancer, but she hates performing. Hannah loves nothing more than dance, but her parents see it as just a hobby. When the two girls meet for the first time at the age of fifteen, they decide to swap places to change the role dance plays in their lives. Yet fooling their friends and family is more challenging than either girl expected, and they’re both burdened by the weight of their lies.

How long can Hannah and Simone keep pretending? What will happen when the truth is revealed?

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This is a great MG read for anyone who absolutely adores The Parent Trap and/or ballet.  When I was a tween, The Parent Trap was one of my favorite movies and it made me wish I, too, had a twin sister.  I wanted that same bond and to be able to do awesome switch tactics like the girls did in the movie.  Now, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been less enamored with the movie, but it’s still my childhood favorite, so when I saw the synopsis of Pirouette, I couldn’t wait to read it in hopes of evoking my inner child, even though ballet was never my thing.

I think that younger readers will feel the same way about this novel as I did about The Parent Trap when I was their age.  It’s a cute story that brings about all kinds of childhood fantasies about being a twin, and I truly believe MG and YA aged readers will enjoy this novel.  As an adult reader, however, I found it somewhat juvenile. But I’m also an adult with an adult mindset, and from the get go, I couldn’t shake the feeling that what Simone and Hannah were doing was a very bad thing, switching families, schools, friends… but I know that if I had read this as a young teen, I wouldn’t have been so judgmental, and that’s why I really recommend it for the MG and YA age group.

Like I said before, it’s a cute story, and it has some amazing themes and morals that remind readers that Simone’s and Hannah’s antics aren’t the best, though they are somewhat funny and we all secretly wish we could pretend alongside them.  While the ballet portion of the novel was a bit over my head because I never took ballet as a child, I think it was the perfect backdrop for this story, and I highly recommend it to those who are more familiar with ballet.  Three stars.

3 stars

Fluz has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release on November 1, 2013.



15811405From Goodreads: In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice.

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as “normal” as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he’s forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, “normal” simply isn’t to be. For Ethan’s nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan’s and Keirran’s fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan’s next choice may decide the fate of them all.

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This is another fantastic novel in the Iron Fey spin off series, and I must say, it’s utterly perfect.  Kagawa has a way with words and her storyline is enticing, energetic, and breathtaking all at once.  Of course, she leaves us with a rather awful cliffhanger that will have readers biting their nails and dying to know what happens next, especially as it seems the prophecy is about to swallow all those we’ve come to love.

I was floored by this novel—it was absolutely wonderful!  From the characters to the plot and all that came in between, Kagawa’s world is stunning and almost makes me wish it were real—though I’m not really sure I’d want to be surrounded by the fey, if you know what I mean.

Ethan Chase once again finds himself on the wrong side of reality, trekking through the fey underworlds in order to try and locate and save his nephew, Keirran, as Keirran defies all those around him in attempts to save his beloved.  The twists are even more sinister in this novel, especially as Keirran refuses to listen to logic and is set on doing things his way, regardless of the cost to those around him.  There are some jaw dropping scenes, especially toward the end as it all comes to a head, and I just adored it, even though it’ll be another year until I can find out what’s next for Ethan and Keirran, because right now, things aren’t looking up.  Five stars.

5 stars

Harlequin Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release on October 29, 2013.



et cetera
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