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Review + Giveaway: Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson (ends 01/21)
Enter to win an ARC of Sealed with a Curse.

Please Note: New Holiday Review Policy! (extended indefinitely)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Books of 2011

My wanted to do a Top 11 of 2011, but my Top 11 books of 2011 is technically 13 books, but I lumped the three Jennifer Estep titles together so that I could include all of my 5 Stars books for the year. I love love loved Hounded and My Life as a White Trash Zombie SO MUCH that I could not choose an overall winner for the year, so my top read is a tie between them. Here's the breakdown of my top 13: nine Urban Fantasy, one Paranormal Romance, and three Paranormal Young Adult. It's no surprise to me that Urban Fantasy takes up the majority of this list, because it is my favorite genre.

1. Hounded by Kevin Hearne & My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
The reason these two novels were my favorites of the year was their humor. It was just the right balance of giggles for Urban Fantasy. Plus, each novel was a great addition to the genre with their unique paranormal creatures. And don't get me started on the covers. Hands down two of my favorite covers of the year as well.

3. Coyote's Creed by Vaughn R. Demont
This was my first M/M novel, and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. My favorite part was that the main character was believeable as a bisexual, so I related to him.

4. Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay
Awesome take on killer faeries! And the main character's alcohol addiction made her feel very real. I really enjoy novels that take place in New Orleans because it's such an interesting place to read about.

5. Trance by Kelly Meding
I love when authors give us new takes on the traditional super heroes, and this was one of the best. There aren't nearly enough novels like this.

6. Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
This novel had some of the strongest secondary characters of all the books I read this year. Plus, I love when a character's magic takes a physical toll on them. It makes it more interesting, and limits how much they can and can't do with their powers.

7. Spells by Aprilynne Pike
It's not very often that the second book in a series holds up to the first for me. I enjoy the introduction to new characters and worlds so much, that books ones are almost always my favorite. But this novel was just as good as the first.

8. Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
This was by far the best mermaid books I've ever read, and makes me want to add some more to my shelves. It was a sweet love story that I really enjoyed.

9. Tangled Threads/Touch of Frost/Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep
What a year for Ms. Estep! I love both of these series and can't get enough. She's obviously doing something right if three out of four of her 2011 releases are on this list.

10. Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims
The dating service aspect to this novel was very interesting, and the reason I picked it up. It added a bit of humor to an edgy PNR. There was never a dull moment, which is rare for me and PNR.

11. Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn
I think this one may be my favorite Kitty Norville book of the series (although I haven't read the most recent). The reality television aspect to this novel was a great plot. Ms. Vaughn always surprises me by using aspects of every day life and mixing in the paranormal.

Month in Review: December

I was very naughty in December. I really neglected the blog and didn't write a single review. I still have a few from November that need to be written. Working in retail during the holidays is just such a stressful bummer, and I took it out on my blog. I apologize. Tomorrow, I will be putting together a Blogging Resolutions for 2012 post in hopes that it motivates me to catch up and stay caught up.

Outside of my lack of posting, I read a pretty decent amount of books this month. Here's the breakdown of the eleven titles: three Paranormal Young Adult, four Urban Fantasy, and four Paranormal Romance. There were four DNFs this month, but the two with stars are just books that I couldn't finish by the end of the year but plan to pick up again in the new year. I know I don't normally review DNFs, but I may have to make a post about Tyra Banks' Modelland because I just have to talk about it. It was just so ridiculously random. I also read my first M/M this month with Coyote's Creed, and found my #3 best book of the year.

December: 11

Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep ARC (4.5 Stars) review coming soon
The Hunter by Theresa Meyers (4 Stars) review coming soon
Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love (DNF*)
The Rift Walker by Clay & Susan Griffith (DNF*)
Tempest by Julie Cross ARC (3 Stars) review coming soon
That Thing at the Zoo by James R. Tuck (3.5 Stars)
Modelland by Tyra Banks (DNF)
Coyote’s Creed by Vaughn R. Demont (5 Stars) review coming soon
Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims (5 Stars) review coming soon
Ocean’s Touch by Denise Townsend (3 Stars)
Radiant Desire by Inara Scott (DNF)

So what did everyone else read in December?

My Christmas List

First off, I'd like to wish everyone a belated Happy Holidays! I know I kept saying I'd catch up on my days off around Christmas, but it was so nice to just chill out and read. I doubled my total reads for December this past week.

Next, I'd like to explain my Christmas List a little. I use In My Mailbox, and other posts like this to keep track of how I receive all of my books because I'd never remember how I got each and every one when writing my reviews. I would also like to say that this post is not me bragging in anyway. I like to share the titles I find each week, in hopes that readers will come across something new they hadn't heard of yet. Also, I don't know about anyone else, but my favorite part of the holidays is shopping to find gifts for friends and family, wrapping the gifts (except when the cats intervene), and watching them open the gifts (especially if they're surprises).

I was blown away by the generosity of my family this holiday season. My mom went a little crazy because she knows that she won't be able to afford any sort of gifts next year (she lost her main source of income when they downsized at the newspaper). My dad surprised me with three huge giftcards (and surprised everyone else with equally generous gifts). He received a large check from my grandpa, who has been cashing in some of his investments. I don't know if he knows something he's not sharing (health-wise, not finance-wise), but I think it's freaking everyone out a bit.

And lastly, I also found quite a few awesome deals on Kindle, which allowed me to stretch the giftcards much further than I thought I would. I don't know if the deals are still available, so I'm not going to link anything. But Angel Burn was $3.19 and Haunting Violet was $2.45 just to name a few.

From Christen:

Devil Without a Cause by Terri Garey
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston
Legend by Marie Lu

From my grandparents:

Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire
Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison
Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims

From Dad:

Target ($50 giftcard)
Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz
Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Amazon ($50 giftcard)
Blood, Smoke and Mirrors by Robyn Bachar
Prince of Air and Darkness by Jenna Black
No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper
Head Rush by Carolyn Crane
Blood of Eden by Tami Dane
Something Secret This Way Comes by Sierra Dean
Coyote's Creed by Vaughn R. Demont
Bad Blood by Lucienne Diver
True Colors by Thea Harrison
The Zero Dog War by Keith Melton
Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Barnes and Noble ($50 giftcard)
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Night Reigns by Dianne Duvall
All that Bleed by Kimberly Frost
Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead
To Walk the Night by E.S. Moore
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

From Mom:

Being Human Season 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2
The Vampire Diaries Season 2

Amazon ($25 giftcard)
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Ocean's Touch by Denise Townsend
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (111)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

The past two weeks have been nuts at work. I apologize for my lack of activity, but the holiday shoppers have left me completely drained. I find myself not even wanting to read some days. I promise that I'll be back with a review or two later on in the week, once I'm done with work until after Christmas. I didn't particularly want to post an IMM due to my lack of anything else recently, but I wanted to get these out there because next week will be my holiday mailbox.

Anyway, the bulk of my mailbox this week are contest wins. I was really surprised at how huge the bag of books I won from Elizabeth Boyle's blog was. Besides the huge pile of swag (not pictured), there was also eight books (five of which were signed). It was like she snuck into my house to check out my bookshelves because every book that wasn't a first in series, was somehow the next in the series I needed. I didn't buy too much for myself because it's the holidays. But I did find a couple good Kindle deals. I wanted to have more money to spend on family and friends. Plus, I'm sure I'll have giftcards to spend next weekend. I also finally got a copy of Modelland from the library. Everyone keeps laughing at me for wanting to read it, but I just have to know. Tyra Banks is crazy, and I want to see how crazy her YA novel is. It's the next book I plan to read, but I peeked already and the first line is so wrong it's almost right. I read for enjoyment, and a book doesn't have to be a masterpiece to be fun, so I hope I enjoy it.

Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla [Buy now]

Kindle Deals:
StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis
That Voodoo You Do by Jodi Redford (free)

Modelland by Tyra Banks [Buy now]
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey [Buy now]

From Carrie Lofty (half of Ellen Connor) via her Twitter:
Daybreak by Ellen Connor [Buy now] (signed!)
Midnight by Ellen Connor [Buy now] (signed!)
Nightfall by Ellen Connor [Buy now] (signed!)

From Elizabeth Boyle via her blog: (swag not pictured)
Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper [Buy now] (signed!)
Trinity by Lauren Dane [Buy now]
A Tale of Two Demon Slayers by Angie Fox [Buy now] (signed!)
Harvest Hunting by Yasmine Galenorn [Buy now] (signed!)
Ascension by Sable Grace [Buy now] (signed!)
Scarlet by Jordan Summers [Buy now]
Tsunami Blue by Gayle Ann Williams [Buy now]
Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson [Buy now] (signed!)

From The Qwillery, made by Cemetery Cat Jewelry:
Lady Caroline necklace

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Giveaway Winners: Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

First off, I'd like to apologize for my lack of posting recently. Work has been crazy and stressful due to the holidays, and I haven't felt like doing much of anything when I get home. I haven't been sleeping well, so I tend to come home and fall asleep on the couch. The next six days are gonna really suck, but then I'm off again until after Christmas, so I'm hoping to become a bit more active somewhere in there. Anyway, on to the reason you are here: Giveaway winners!

There was a total of 32 participants in the Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie Giveaway. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winners. The winners are...

12.It's a Meow World!

Congratulations! Please respond to the e-mail I sent with your mailing information within 72 hours.

Didn't win? You can pick up a copy from The Book Depository and have it shipped for free! Just click here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (110)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

I was very surprised to get Dead Alert in the mail today. I won that giveaway on Goodreads months ago, and had all but forgotten about it, so it was a great after work surprise. I think I did much better spending wise this week. :)

The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper [Buy now]
The Hunter by Theresa Meyers (Kindle)
Demon Bait by Moira Rogers (Kindle)

Dead Alert by Bianca D'Arc [Buy now]
Thanks to Goodreads and Kensington!

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch [Buy now]
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente [Buy now]
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins [Buy now]

Month in Review: November

So NaNoWriMo was a bit of a bust for me. After about a week and almost 9,000 words, work became a bit overwhelming. I've decided that NaNo being in November is a bit ridiculous for me since I work in retail. I really like what I started, so I think I'm gonna do my own NaNo in January or February when work slows down (and Christen will be keeping me on track). Anyway, November was a pretty good reading month, all things considered. This past month consisted of two Urban Fantasies, one Paranormal Romance, one Steampunk Romance, and five Paranormal Young Adults.

November: 9

Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep 5 Stars
iDrakula by Bekka Black 2.5 Stars
Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst DNF
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 4 Stars
Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn 4.5 Stars
Miss Bramble and the Leviathan by Kristen Painter 4 Stars
Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore 5 Stars review coming soon
Crux by Moira Rogers 3.5 Stars review coming soon
Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie 4.5 Stars (+ giveaway)

So what did everyone else read in November?

Review + Giveaway: Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Title: Unleashed
Author: Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
Series: Wolf Springs Chronicles #1
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 11/22/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.

Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night -- welcome to Wolf Springs.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
There was a cloud of mystery surrounding this entire novel that gave it a fantastically creepy feel. Wolf Springs itself was a pretty mysterious and creepy place filled with mysterious and creepy people. The setting really gave a lot to the rest of the novel, and allowed for some storylines that may not have worked in a more urban setting. Although I figured out pretty early what the paranormal creature in this novel was, it was still interesting to follow Katelyn as she figured it out. And I was definitely surprised by who was and wasn’t said paranormal creature. There were many twists and turns in this novel, many of which I didn’t expect. I really liked how some of the mystery was figured out, but other parts have been left to explore more in future books. It really makes me antsy in anticipation for the next novel. This is definitely a great addition to Paranormal Young Adult.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
This was a fast-paced novel that I read in only a few sitting. What sucked me in so quickly was the weirdness of Wolf Springs and its residents. I wanted to know what was going on and why everyone was so strange. Katelyn’s grandfather’s strict rules about not going in to the woods after dark only furthered my curiosity. Just when things seemed to be getting a bit more normal with schoolwork and parties, something crazy would happen to suck me right back in. Although the novel didn’t end with a cliffhanger exactly, it did end right as Kat had a revelation that could definitely change things. And it left me wanting more. I can’t wait for the next novel in this series to come out.

Characters: 4.5 Stars
In a small town like Wolf Springs, everyone knows everyone, so it was the talk of the town when Katelyn showed up after her mother’s death to live with her grandfather. She had a lot of her plate: dealing with her grief, leaving her home and best friend, starting at a new school, and trying to make new friends. I think she dealt with everything pretty well, especially when thrown into weird positions. I would have liked to learn a bit more about her late parents and best friend, Kimi, and hope more information about them appears in future books. I also don’t feel like I learned that much about her grandfather, considering Kat was living with him. But the air of mystery surrounding him made him an interesting character. Trick was Kat’s ride to school, and kind of a weird dude (in a good way). He didn’t always make sense and didn’t get along with some of the other kids, but he was a great character. Cordelia, on the other hand, was a very frustrating character. Her moods flip-flopped constantly and she was always very vague when answering questions. She was hiding a big secret, but sometimes it was too frustrating. And her family was all kinds of dysfunctional.

Cover: 4 Stars
The top half of the cover works a lot better than the bottom half. I like the full moon in the woods. It gives the cover a mysterious feel that really fits Wolfs Springs. It also hints at the paranormal aspect of the novel. The bottom half comes across very over-dramatic vampire movie to me. The hands gripping the cover model’s head, along with the way she leans her head back to expose her neck, just screams vampires instead of werewolves. There’s also a bit of dead space around the cover model and the mysterious arms. But I absolutely love the font chosen for the title, and really like when the series title is included. The way the title splits the cover in half is very unique, and really draws the eye. The navy blue color chosen for the cover is a great choice because it really fits the mood of the novel.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for review from the publisher.

I have three (3) copies of Unleashed to giveaway! To enter, just answer the following question: Would you rather live in a tight-knit small town, or a large urban city?

Giveaway Rules:
1. Must leave a comment answering the question.
2. Must leave a valid e-mail address.
3. Giveaway is open to the US only.
4. Giveaway is open until midnight on Wednesday 12/14.
5. Winners will be chosen on Thursday 12/15 using

Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: Miss Bramble and the Leviathan by Kristen Painter

Title: Miss Bramble and the Leviathan
Author: Kristen Painter
Genre: Steampunk Romance
Release Date: 10/19/10
Reviewed by: Sara
The last thing she planned to steal was his heart.

The Company. Military institution, protector of Praeton and the nation of Grand Isle. Dirty rotten thief.

When Pandora Bramble steps aboard the Company’s premiere airship Daedalus it’s not for the exclusive VIP tour. It’s to secure proof that the Company stole the regulator valve her father designed -- even if it means tearing the engine apart. Foiled by the unexpected appearance of a handsome crew member, she despairs of ever getting another chance -- until he kisses her.

Captain Theolonius Hatch, sentenced to engine room duty for refusing to take part in the Company’s fleet week activities, never dreamed a woman like Pandora existed. Her brains match her beauty, a combination that adds up to more trouble than he ever expected.

As Pandora allows Theolonius to sweep her into a whirlwind courtship, her wildest dreams come true. As do her greatest fears, leaving her to decide what matters most. Loyalty... or love.

The clock is ticking.

Warning: This book contains airships, mechanical owls, women who are good with tools, men in and out of uniform, steam generated by engines and people, and some hot carriage scenes.

Plot: 4 Stars
My favorite part of this story outside of the romance was the Steampunk details. I liked the scenes in which the inventions were involved and I got to learn more about the world the story took place in. The inventions and gadgets are almost like their own brand of paranormal creature to me, which is probably why I like Steampunk more and more with each story I read. The romance in this story had its ups and downs, even in the short amount of time. There was a couple twists and turns at the end that took me by surprise. All in all, this novella was a great story for romance and Steampunk lovers.

Pace: 4 Stars
Although this novella was on the shorter side, it never felt rushed. There was great character development in the beginning, along with great information about the technology of the world. It didn't take long for the two main characters to meet and get to know each other. The synopsis of the novel describes it as a whirlwind courtship, and I think that's the perfect way to describe it. There are parts of the relationship that seem a bit rushed, but in a realistic way that can happen when two people instantly connect. There were no dull moments in this novel, and even a couple surprises.

Characters: 4 Stars
Pandora Bramble was a great character. She didn't fit into gender norms. She had to work at her father's shop fixing things due to his drinking and gambling. It made her more interesting than the rest of the female characters in the story. I really connected with her since I'm definitely not a girly-girl. Captain Hatch was also an interesting character. He definitely met his match with Pandora. Pandora's father, although a very small character, affected the story in a number of ways. It was his invention that the Company stole, and it was his invention that Pandora was trying to steal when she met Captain Hatch.

Cover: 4 Stars
Is it me, or does the cover model look a lot like Kirsten Dunst? Probably does now that I mentioned it... Anyway, besides the possible celebrity look-a-like, the cover model is a great representation of Miss Bramble. Although you can’t see a lot of detail in her clothing, what you can see definitely gives off a Victorian feel which fits perfectly with the Steampunk aspect of the story. My favorite part of this cover is the background details. The clock, the light posts, the bridge all fit in very well with the story. There’s also a bit of fog layered over the cover that gives it a mysterious vibe. I wish the cover hadn’t been quite so monochromatic, but the blue is a very striking and lovely color. The font choice for the title worked very well, except I would have made “Leviathan” a more masculine font to play off of the cursive of “Miss Bramble”. But this is definitely one of my favorite covers from Samhain Publishing.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this novel for my own reading pleasure with a gift card I received for my birthday.

Review: Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn

Title: Kitty Goes to War
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville #8
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 06/29/10
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Kitty Norville, Alpha werewolf and host of The Midnight Hour, a radio call-in show, is contacted by a friend at the NIH's Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. Three Army soldiers recently returned from the war in Afghanistan are being held at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs. They're killer werewolves -- and post traumatic stress has left them unable to control their shape-shifting and unable to interact with people. Kitty agrees to see them, hoping to help by bringing them into her pack.

Meanwhile, Kitty gets sued for libel by CEO Harold Franklin after featuring Speedy Mart -- his nationwide chain of 24-hour convenience stores with a reputation for attracting supernatural unpleasantness -- on her show.

Very bad weather is on the horizon.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
There's never a dull moment in Kitty Norville's life. My favorite part of every novel is the beginning, when she's doing her radio show. It's such a great concept and the reason I fell in love with this series in the first place. I really enjoyed her radio show this time around, as she did a segment on Speedy Mart, a convenience chain, and whether or not there was something paranormal happening with the business. And of course, this gets her into a bit of trouble with the CEO. Before much can come of the libel suit, she is asked to help with a group of military werewolves. The alpha of the military werewolves was killed and in Afghanistan, and the now the pack is unable to function. It was very interesting to see how Kitty and her pack dealt with these newcomers to their territory.

Pace: 4 Stars
This book took a bit longer to get into than the past couple of the series. Given the two main story lines being so different, there was a bit more introduction than the average novel from this series. Although the two story lines came together in the end, for the majority of the book they seemed to be happening parallel to each other, with Kitty bouncing from one to the other as needed. This isn’t a bad thing; it just led to a bit more explaining before we could get to the action. But once the metaphorical crap hit the fan, this novel was action packed and kept me on the edge of my seat. It was definitely one of those novels in which I seriously did not know how the good guys were going to come out on top. I have to remember not to bring any books in this series to work because I end up taking longer than I should for lunch because I can’t put them down.

Characters: 4.5 Stars
The past couple novels had focused a lot on Ben and Kitty and the growth of their relationship, so I was glad to see this novel focus a little more on their pack, Cormac, and some newcomers. Kitty didn’t try to deal with everything on her own, which allowed members of her pack to come into the spotlight a bit. If it wasn’t for her pack and their reach, the bad guy would have ended up with much more power. It was also really fun to read about the pack dynamic after the last couple novels focusing more on Kitty. My favorite part of this novel was that Cormac was back and ready for action, although he did seem a bit different than the last time we saw him outside of a jail cell. He’s very quiet and seems to know a bit more about certain supernatural things. When Kitty finally got some answers out of him, it definitely wasn’t anything I expected, but it makes his character even better. The military werewolves that the story kind of centered around were a very interesting concept. The dynamic between them and Kitty was probably the highlight of the book.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
I’m glad that Tor kept the same feel to the covers after acquiring the series. It was easy for me to know that it was the next novel in the Kitty Norville series, and not something similar but random. The addition of the small “first time in print” also helps with any confusion. My favorite part of the cover is the camouflage tank top Kitty is wearing, playing off of the title. I also like how the cover model is proving her dominance by standing over the three wolves on the cover. The three wolves are also very important to the novel, so it was great to see all three and not just one or two. The different textures in the background were a nice touch and gave the cover a bit more depth. I’m not sure if yellow was the best color for this cover, especially since the series already had a yellow cover, but the oranges mixed in allow it to stand out against the other yellow cover.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this novel for my own reading pleasure.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (109)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

Although Christen's birthday was two weeks ago (she turned 25!), I waited until this week to include all of her birthday gifts so that they could all be together. And because she took about a week to decide if she wanted her own Kindle. I think she's going to enjoy it even more than me because she was like a kid in a candy story when I showed her the Samhain Publishing website. She found so many books she wanted. I probably shouldn't have purchased quite so many books this week, considering I went a bit DVD crazy at work on Friday (I couldn't help it, they were so cheap). So I'm gonna try my best to tone it down between now and Christmas, especially since I haven't started Christmas shopping yet. So what did everyone get this week?

Avenger's Angel by Heather Killough-Walden [Buy now]
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi [Buy now]
Bad Blood by Kristen Painter [Buy now]
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff [Buy now]

Motor City Fae by Cindy Spencer Pape

A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans [Buy now]
The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans [Buy now]
Ashes of a Black Forest by Chris Evans [Buy now]
Thanks to Pocket Books and Books, Movies, Review! Oh my!!

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan [Buy now]
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey [Buy now]
After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel[Buy now]

CHRISTEN'S BIRTHDAY The new Kindle + cover
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks [Buy now]
Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks [Buy now]
Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks [Buy now]
Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray [Buy now]
One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost [Buy now]
The Poison Diaries: Nightshade by Maryrose Wood [Buy now]

Ravenous by Abigail Barnelle
The Pearl at the Gate by Anya Delvay
Dark Sins and Desert Sands by Stephanie Draven
Ready to Run by Kinsey W. Holley
Little Red and the Wolf by Alison Paige
Dangerous Magic by Alix Rickloff

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 09/27/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Mara Dyer doesn't believe life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

Plot: 4 Stars
This novel did a fantastic job of keeping the reader in the dark, while giving away just enough to keep the wheels turning. As peculiar events continued to transpire as I read, I couldn't help but wonder what the paranormal element to the story was. There were a couple scenes that seemed more like random tangents, and it was great when they tied together later on in the timeline. Although I'm not sure I completely understand the mysterious paranormal element of the story, it was very interesting and definitely not something I've come across before. I hope to learn more about it in the next novel, especially after the cliffhanger at the end.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
I could not put this novel down. There was just something about it that kept me coming back for more. The author did a great job of weaving everything together. Every now and then, bits and pieces of the past were brought in to give the reader more background. It was also very interesting to try to figure out if a scene was actually happening as I read, or if it was just a hallucination due to Mara's PTSD.

Characters: 3.5 Stars
Mara was a very strange character. Given the events leading up to the start of the novel and her PTSD, there were times when Mara wasn't sure what was going on. It was very interesting to be along for the ride as she tried to figure out if certain events were actually happening. Noah seemed a bit too interested in Mara a bit too fast, like many Paranormal YAs, but he grew on me as the story continued. Besides Mara and Noah, none of the characters really interested me. They were either a bit flat, or I didn't feel like I learned enough about them.

Cover: 4 Stars
The cover is a striking image that immediately grabs the eye. The murky colors along with the titled overlaying the majority of the image adds to the mystery surrounding the novel. The two floating bodies are entangled, and you cannot tell the reason. You can't tell if someone is being saved or drowned, or if they're just floating for the heck of it. As striking as this cover is though, it doesn't depict a scene from the novel and doesn't seem to be relevant. As much as I'd like the cover to be a bit more relevant, it was also refreshing against many other Paranormal YA covers. It doesn't include a close up of the female cover model, and it doesn't include the cover model running away in a overly dramatic gown. I'm also a really big fan of the font choice for the cover.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this novel for my own reading pleasure with a gift card I received for my birthday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep

Title: Spider's Revenge
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 09/27/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Old habits die hard for assassins.
And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.

Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very, very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters Mab hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Ice and Stone magic -- and my irresistible lover, Owen Grayson -- to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a good chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me... no matter what I have to do to make that happen.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
The epic showdown that all readers of this series have been waiting for: Gin vs. Mab. I could not wait to dig into this novel because I've wanted this showdown to happen since I read the first book. I had pretty high expectations going in, and it definitely didn't disappoint. There were some twists and turns before the epic battle that left me gaping at the pages as I read. Even knowing that the sixth book in the series comes out in January, I was worried for Gin and company when the time came. There was a moment near the end that was a bit reminiscent of the last Harry Potter, but it really worked. It gave the reader a bit of insight into Gin. I also loved how this book continued to fill in the gaps in Gin's history.

Pace: 5 Stars
I could not put this novel down. This is definitely my favorite Urban Fantasy series, and the latest installment didn't disappoint. I haven't read a full-length novel as fast as I read this one in months. It was so refreshing to not want to put a book down. Even when the characters were planning their next move, it was anything but boring. Normally, the downtime between action scenes where the characters plan their next move can drag by a bit, but the author definitely has a way of leaving me on the edge of my seat before the action even begins. I also really enjoy how the author weaves in details of previous books. No matter how much time goes by between books, I'm never lost because each new novel includes the perfect amount of details.

Characters: 5 Stars
Although things are still tense, Gin and Bria are making progress. I really enjoyed their interactions in this novel as they tried to move forward. And with Bria hanging around more, Finn also got to know her more. The interactions between Bria and Finn were very entertaining. I was really excited to see more of Owen in this novel, especially when he was helping defend Gin. He was definitely a badass, and it was great to see him as more than just Gin's lover. This novel also involved a bit of growth for Gin. Normally a calm and cool assassin, she had a few moments that led to situations getting a bit out of hand. It was definitely a wild ride as she tried to get out of some sticky situations.

Cover: 5 Stars
My favorite part of this cover is how it embodies the epic showdown between Mab and Gin, fire and ice. It makes the cover stand out in the series. The first four covers were a bit more monochromatic, but this cover is a nice mix of complementary colors. The grayish-blue of the sky and stones really makes the orange of the fire stand out. I also really love the pose of the cover model. I just wish one of her spider runes were visible. This is the first cover in which neither of her palms are showing off the spider rune. This series has some of the best covers around because of the details. The setting of the covers are always specific scenes from the book, and this one is no different.

Overall: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this novel for review from the author, and also received a finished copy as a gift from my girlfriend.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Dark Hunt by Naomi Clark

Title: Dark Hunt
Author: Naomi Clark
Series: Urban Wolf #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 10/16/11
Reviewed by: Sara
Ayla Hammond is taking on Paris.

Hoping for a romantic getaway in the City of Lights with her girlfriend, Shannon, she finds a city under the dark thrall of Le Monstre.

Getting caught up in mystery and murder was the last thing Ayla and Shannon expected to find in the City of Love, but as the body count grows and tension rises between Parisian werewolves and humans they find themselves stalked by an unknown terror.

What is Le Monstre and why does it make Ayla's wolf want to turn tail and run? Can it be stopped before they become its next victims?

Plot: 4 Stars
I love that this is a story about a female werewolf and her girlfriend, and it doesn't include a coming-out story or tons of gratuitous sex scenes. As a bisexual woman in a relationship with another women, I love that Ayla and Shannon's relationship is a focus without being the entire point of the novels. Instead, it is a fantastic Urban Fantasy that just so happens to include GLBT characters. This addition to the series takes place in Paris, where Ayla and Shannon have decided to take a vacation together. The vacation definitely doesn't go as planned, between dealing with a pregnant werewolf, getting caught in a fire due to people who are anti-werewolf, and being hunted by a creature so mysterious it is only known as Le Monstre. There are a lot of surprising twists and turns as Ayla and Shannon explore Paris, and I can't wait for the next novel in the series. I also really enjoyed the short story at the end because I really enjoyed reading about how Shannon and Ayla met.

Pace: 4 Stars
This was the first book I read on my Kindle. Since I was reading it as a PDF, the font was pretty small, but it didn't affect my reading at all. The story sucked me in and wouldn't let go. Once the mayhem hit Paris, there was no downtime between all of the action (although Ayla and Shannon probably could've used a little here and there). For a vacation, there wasn't much rest and relaxation. Instead, it was noon-stop action and a race for their lives against a scary creature unlike anything they had ever seen before. All in all, I'm glad this was the first book I read on my Kindle. Had I read a book that didn't hold my interest as much, it may have brought my opinion of the device down. Instead, I can't wait to read another e-book and I hope it's just as great as this one.

Characters: 4 Stars
The author's depiction of Ayla and Shannon's relationship is fantastic. They've been together for a while, and you can feel the love they have for each other as you read. I also really enjoy that it isn't a picture perfect relationship; they have their disagreements. Shannon doesn't always understand Ayla's decisions or the werewolf pack, but they try their best. I also really enjoyed the characters they met in Paris. Sun, a pregnant werewolf, waffled between wanting to be independent and needing their help. Shannon and Ayla didn't always agree on how to deal with her. Clemence was my favorite character of the book. She was a spunky little werewolf that stood up for herself and the other wolves. Although Shannon and Ayla are headed back to England, I hope Clemence makes an appearance in a future novel.

Cover: 3 Stars
This cover had aspects that worked and aspects that didn't. My favorite part of the cover is the Eiffel Tower because it tells you right away that the characters are travelling to Paris. The moon and the werewolf are great additions too, considering the novel. The purple background is a great color that seems to be showing up more and more in Urban Fantasy covers. The part of the cover that didn't work for me was the white glow around the images and the slight effect used to make the images look like they were made of light. I think it would've worked better if the images looked more realistic and were blended together a bit more cohesively. Although I like the color and font choices, I think the placement of the title and author could've been better. Overall, the cover could use a couple tweaks but it's a good edition to the series.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this novel for review from Queered Fiction.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Guest Reviewing Today

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams from Fantasy & SciFi Lovin' News & Reviews, one of my most anticipated novels of the fall. And today, I'm guest reviewing over at Fantasy & SciFi Loving' News & Reviews. You can read my review here. I hope you'll check out the review because it was a really great Urban Fantasy debut.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (108)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

What a crazy week! First, I went to Jaclyn Dolamore's signing today. You can see my post about the event here. She was handing out Magic Under Stone ARCs. After the event, I went across the street to the used bookstore because they were having an overstock sale. I liberated some ARCs. The four ARCs I have listed under used books I purchased were all chilling out at the overstock building. I already own a finished copy of Legacies and don't read a lot of SciFi so Across the Universe doesn't appeal to me too much, but I grabbed all four because I didn't want anyone else making a profit off of them (ie, a regular consumer purchasing them and then selling them back somewhere in the future). I know not everyone will agree with me, but I felt like I needed to do something. I've never seen an ARC for sale in the actual store where they would be priced to make a profit (the overstock sale is in a separate building where they store extra books), but it definitely has me thinking about looking for a new used bookstore to shop at. I'll definitely be stalking RAK lists in the future, or maybe put together a giveaway. The six books from the overstock sale came to $5, so I don't think the bookstore made a profit perse on the ARCs if that makes anyone feel better. Anyway, after I got home, the mail man showed up at 6pm (crazy!) with lots of packages. All in all, it was definitely an interesting week to say the least.

Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck ARC [Preorder]
That Thing at the Zoo by James R. Tuck eARC [not pictured]
Thanks to James and Kensington!

Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore ARC [Preorder]
Thanks to Jaclyn!

Crossed by Ally Condie ARC + poster [Buy now]
Thanks to The Reading Geek!
Living Violet by Jaime Reed ARC + swag [Preorder]
Thanks to Jaime and Kensington Teen!

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting [Buy now]
Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore [Buy now]
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore [Buy now]

Kindle Purchases: (not pictured)
Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout [Buy now]
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout [Buy now]

From Michelle G:
Witch Heart by Anya Bast [Buy now]
Ghost of a Smile by Simon R. Green [Buy now]
Unleashed by Sara Humphreys ARC [Buy now]
The Goblin King by Shona Husk ARC [Buy now]
Crossroads by Jeanne C. Stein [Buy now]

Personal Demons by Kelley Armstrong ARC [Buy now]
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong ARC [Buy now]
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray [Buy now]
Clarity by Kim Harrington [Buy now]
Legacies by Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill ARC [Buy now]
Across the Universe by Beth Revis ARC [Buy now]

So what did everyone else get in their mailboxes?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Author Signing: Jaclyn Dolamore

This afternoon, I headed over to our local Books-A-Million to meet Jaclyn Dolamore. She was signing copies of her latest release, Between the Sea and Sky, along with copies of Magic Under Glass. The coolest part of the afternoon was how Jaclyn signs books, because she includes doodles of her characters.

I picked up a copy of Between the Sea and Sky and Magic Under Glass. I had an older copy with the original cover art, but I'm a really big fan of the new cover and had to get one. I had Jaclyn sign my old copy for my brother's girlfriend. The only thing better than books for Christmas is signed books for Christmas!

Jaclyn also had a great surprise... Magic Under Stone ARCs! I was so excited and would've given her a big hug if I wasn't so awkward around new people. I don't know if everyone who stopped by for a signed book got an ARC. I couldn't stick around too long because I had to pick my mom up from work. But I know she definitely made some Orlando-area readers very happy today! (We don't get a lot of author events around here...)

And totally un-book-related... The cafe at this particular Books-A-Million has both almond and Irish cream syrup for lattes. We haven't been able to find these flavors anywhere since Borders closed, and the Barnie's by my dad closed. Yay!

About Me (Better Late than Never!)

I just realized that I don't have an About Me page, just the little paragraph on my sidebar. So here it goes... I love to read (obviously!) and I tend to stick to paranormal things. I've been reading Paranormal YA since I was around 16, when it was slim pickin's. It wasn't until I was 19 that I ventured over to the adult Fantasy/SciFi section. I had run out of choices in Paranormal YA (at that moment). I picked up Dead After Dark by Charlaine Harris and Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready, and my love affair with Urban Fantasy began. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost had me venturing over to the romance section a couple months later. And somewhere in there, the Paranormal YA market exploded, and I still can't get enough. Since then, I've broadened my horizons a little to include Steampunk, Dystopian, and the occasional SciFi (although I'm quite picky about the SciFi).

I recently turned 24. I have a Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Finance from Jacksonville University. I currently work in retail in a non-management position. While I'm technically working in my field of study, I'm not at the level I expected to be over two years after graduation. But I try not to let it get me down.

My girlfriend, Christen (who posts reviews occasionally), and I recently celebrated our fifth anniversary. We met our sophomore year in college because we lived a couple doors down from each other in the dorms. She majored in Art with a concentration in Glass Blowing (I know!) and a minor in Marketing. She works at the same store as I do, in a different position. We both live with my mom at the moment, with three cats. Rupert belongs to my mom, Wade belongs to Christen, and Riley belongs to me.

I have five tattoos and eleven piercings. I went a little crazy when I turned 18 in college (since my birthday is late and I started school up north, I graduated high school/started college at 17). I'm definitely not a girly-girl and tend to shop in the men's section just as much as the women's. I wear flip-flops 24/7, even during our one week winter in January.

I'm a pretty shy person, even on the internet. But feel free to follow me on Twitter @sara_UFblog. I tend to lurk on there more than anything, but I occasionally come out of my shell.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In My Mailbox (107)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

I think this week was even crazier than last week. I hadn't planned to purchase as many books as I did. But when we were in Sam's I saw great prices on the books and couldn't stop myself from blowing the rest of my birthday money. I got Beautiful Chaos, The Iron Knight, and If I Die for around $23. It also seemed like there was at least one book at the door every single day. I was really excited to finally get the presents from my dad. I love love love the cover her got me for my Kindle. And I also found some great deals on Kindle. Diary of an Urban Panther was $0.99 yesterday, although it's now back up to $3.99. Jacob is still $1.79. I also used my first Kindle deal to get a horror title for $1, and I got Once Bitten. I'm just glad I stayed away from the library, or this post would be a mile long.

Heart of Darkness by Lauren Dane [Buy now]
Crave by Melissa Darnell [Buy now]
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl [Buy now]
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa [Buy now]
If I Die by Rachel Vincent [Buy now]

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto [Buy now]
Thanks to Princessbookie!
Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey [Buy now]
Thanks to Susan Adrian and Scott Tracey!

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie [Buy now]
Thanks to Delecorte Press!
A Demon Does it Better by Linda Wisdom eARC [Buy now]
Thanks to Netgalley!

Kindle Purchases:
Diaries of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista [Buy now]
Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank [Buy now]
Once Bitten by Kalayna Price [Buy now]

Kindle Free Reads:
Wild & Steamy by Meljean Brook, Jill Myles & Carolyn Crane [Buy now]
I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell [Buy now]

From my dad: Green Fleur de Lis Kindle cover
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake [Buy now]
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs [Buy now]
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel [Buy now]
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton [Buy now]
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin [Buy now]
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor [Buy now]

Review: Trance by Kelly Meding

Title: Trance
Author: Kelly Meding
Series: MetaWars #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 10/25/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Kelly Meding’s war-ravaged Los Angeles is ground zero for the ultimate Meta human showdown in this sexy, action-packed new series.
Fifteen years ago, Teresa “Trance” West was a skilled telepath and a proud member of the Ranger Corps. But ever since the Rangers were inexplicably rendered powerless at the climax of the devastating Meta War, she’s bounced from one dead-end job to another. Now her powers have reappeared just as mysteriously as they vanished -- only they’re completely transformed and more potent than ever. And they’re threatening to destroy her.

Trance heads to Los Angeles to track down the surviving Rangers and discover who restored her powers -- and why -- but a phantom enemy is determined to kill them before they can reassemble. As they dodge his deadly attacks and come to terms with their new role as heroes, Trance and the rest of the team set out to annihilate the sinister madman... only to discover their own powers are his greatest weapons.

Plot: 5 Stars
I love a good urban fantasy that mixes in superheroes and superpowers instead of the paranormal. They only comes around every once and a while, and I've been waiting for a great one like this since I read Black and White by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge. The powers that the characters had were very interesting, and I really enjoyed how they often had physical characteristics to match. I also really loved the codenames that the author came up with. Codenames are something that could easily become corny or cliche, but the author really made them fit each character and his or her powers. I also loved how the author wove the history of the MetaWars into the novel. It never felt like a history lesson. Instead, little pieces were brought out just when the reader needed them. And the twists and turns in this novel were epic. I was completely flaberghasted to find out who the bad guy was at the end. I totally didn't see it coming, and I totally can't believe the author went there.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
This novel started out really strong and reeled me right in. The first chapter acted kinda like a prologue, giving the reader a glimpse into the past when the MetaWars originally ended. It was great to see Trance as a child, using her powers to help the other kids as they fought for their lives. There were a few moments that seemed a bit repetitive throughout the novel. There were only so many times the remaining Meta humans could be attacked before you started to see the next attack coming. But even if I had a feeling something bad was going to happen, I was still completely shocked by what actually happened. Once the group started making a bit more progress in finding Spectre, the pace picked up and it was non-stop action until the very end.

Characters: 5 Stars
After the MetaWars, the kids were left without powers and shipped across the country to start over with new families. Many didn't have the greatest times, although some could blend in better than others. When their powers unexpected return, these kids that have now grown up are thrown for a loop but now have a sense of purpose. Trance kinda falls into a leadership position as the Meta humans make their way back to headquarters in LA. She wasn't always comfortable with the position, but she did what needed to be done. Gage was there to back her up every step of the way. I really liked how the two of them interacted throughout the novel. They had a past together as kids and just returned powers to bond over, but it was almost like they were meeting for the first time. The author did a great job of reintroducing the Meta humans to each other and allowing them to bond throughout the chaos.

Cover: 5 Stars
My favorite part of this cover is the orange title, and how it stands out against the purple. The two colors stood out against each other without clashing. The purple was a great choice for the cover considering Trance has natural purple streaks in her hair, and the color starts to take over more of her body after she regains her powers. Normally, I'd want the cover model to keep her natural colors, instead of blending in with such a monochromatic color scheme, but this time it fits the plot perfectly. I also really loved the glowing ball of energy in the cover model's hand. Not only does it give you a superhero/superpower vibe, it's also a power that Trance has. The skyscrapers in the background were a great touch, considering the majority of the novel takes place in Los Angeles.

Overall: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this novel for review from Pocket Books.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness: October Wrap-Up

First, I would like to start by saying that I won't be participating in RAK this month. November really snuck up on me. I'm behind in reviews, have way too many books to read, and am participating in NaNoWriMo. I just received a bunch of great books for my birthday, and I have to start saving money for the holidays.

But back to October's wrap-up. I didn't receive any RAKs for October, but it was still a great month. I got a Kindle from my mom and a giant pile of books from everyone else. I did send out one book. At the beginning of the month, I went to Kristen Painter's signing. Although I bought myself a finished copy of Blood Rights for her to sign, I also brought along my ARC to be signed and passed it along to Michelle G. @ Michelle's Book Blog. I really loved Blood Rights and hope Michelle does too. :)

Month in Review: October

October was a weird month. I didn't finish a single novel until about the 15th. I was bouncing between two books for the first two weeks, but they were taking forever to read and put me behind in review requests. So I put them aside to read some review requests. They aren't on this list because I put bookmarks in them and am going to get back to them ASAP. I had also planned to write a couple reviews for the past couple days, but NaNoWriMo took over a bit. I started out pretty strong with almost 5500 words in the first two days, and am hoping to keep that pace going. Work is gonna be nutty for the first half of the week, but I hope to have a couple more reviews up soon, especially since I enjoyed the books so much.

October: 8

Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha 3.5 Stars
The Summons: A Goblin King Prequel by Shona Husk 3.5 Stars
The Strange Case of Finley Jane by Kady Cross 4.5 Stars
Slayers by C.J. Hill 3 Stars
Trance by Kelly Meding 5 Stars review coming soon
Fury by Anya Bast 3 Stars
The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams 4.5 Stars review coming soon
Dark Hunt by Naomi Clark 4 Stars review coming soon

So what did everyone else read in October?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: Slayers by C.J. Hill

Title: Slayers
Author: C.J. Hill
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 09/27/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it –- these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

Plot: 3 Stars
I really wanted to love this novel. The premise was fantastic. There aren't nearly enough urban-fantasy-esqe novels that include dragons. But I found the lack of details a bit disappointing. The reader get the basics as to how the slayers came to be and what the different abilities are, but many of the hows and whys were left unanswered. A few too many details are just taken for granted by the characters. Even while Tori is still learning about her destiny and questioning things, there are some details and history that I wanted her to question, but she did not. Those details aside, this novel was still very interesting. The different powers the slayers possessed and the training they went through were interesting. My favorite parts were the prologue and the last chapter. The prologue gives a glimpse of how evil the dragons can be and leaves you wanting to know more while Tori is finding her way. And the last chapter drops a bit of a bomb. It's not quite a cliffhanger, but it did leave me wanting to know what happens next.

Pace: 2.5 Stars
This novel moved a bit slow for my taste. Life at camp moved at a pretty slow pace while the slayers practiced and showed Tori what was going on. There were entire chapters dedicated to smaller, more trivial events that could've been wrapped up much quicker, like when Tori runs off to get her hair fixed after getting the majority of her ponytail burnt off. There were quite a few times in which the smaller details of every day life were blown up into much bigger scenes than they needed to be. It also threw me off a little when the point of view of the novel changed. The majority of the book was from Tori's perspective, but every now and then there would be a chapter all in italics that was a different point of view. It was normal enough the first couple times, when the point of view only changed to Jesse. But it seemed a little forced when the point of view jumped to a couple other characters.

Characters: 3.5 Stars
Some of the characters in this novel were definitely developed more than others. I really enjoyed the more developed characters, like Tori and Jesse. I wanted to like the less developed characters, but I really didn't get to learn that much about them. Many of the slayers tended to stay in the background, only coming into the spotlight when their powers were needed. Tori was a very interesting main character. She straddled the line in regards to being a bit spoiled. The author did a good job of making sure the reader could still relate to her and not think of her as a spoiled brat. I really enjoyed that she was vulnerable as she began to practice with the slayers. She didn't learn how to use her powers and fight overnight, which made her feel a bit more real.

Cover: 3 Stars
The dark green of this cover is my favorite part. The color really fits a novel about dragons. The yellow color of the title pops against the dark green and continues the dragon feel. But the font itself chosen for the title is a bit too masculine considering about half of the slayers are female, and the novel is mostly from Tori's point of view. The dragon egg used as the focus of the cover fits the novel, but doesn't really draw the eye. It's a little hard to tell what the item is or to distinguish details at a quick glance. I would've rather the cover included a real dragon and maybe a couple characters. This cover is just a bit too generic and doesn't give off enough of a dragon vibe to grab your attention.

Overall: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for review from Authors on the Web.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (106)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

This past Wednesday was my birthday, so this IMM is a bit bigger than usual. And it's not even as big as it could be, because some books that I ordered aren't here yet. I finally got a Kindle! I have been really hesitant to buy myself one because I've looked at the displays and they make my eyes water a little when the page turns, but I still wanted one. Between the two giftcards I received, I spent $85 on books (both print and Kindle) in less than an hour. I was also very surprised when I got the package from HarperCollins with my giveaway win this week. The giveaway had been just for a copy of Den of Thieves, but the publicist threw in a copy of book two that just released.

Darker Still by Leanne Renee Hieber [Buy now]
Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter [Buy now]

Free Read:
A Dark Kiss of Rapture by Sylvia Day [Buy now]

Den of Thieves by David Chandler [Buy now]
A Thief in the Night by David Chandler [Buy now]
Thanks to HarperCollins and Bastard Books!

From my mom: The new Kindle + charger

From my brother: $25 Amazon Giftcard
Bound by Night by Amanda Ashley [Buy now]
Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane [Buy now]
Dead Girls are Easy by Terri Garey [Buy now]
The Business of Death by Trent Jamieson [Buy now]
Miss Bramble and the Leviathan by Kristen Painter [Buy now]
Wilder's Mate by Moira Rogers [Buy now]
Incarnate by A.C. Ruttan [Buy now]

From my dad: $60 B&N Giftcard
I've already ordered six YA hardcover novels that I've been eagerly anticipating, and hopefully they'll arrive sometime next week. My dad also got me a pretty cool Green Fleur de Lis cover for my Kindle, but the shipping was delayed a bit so it didn't arrive until today. I'm hoping to be able to pick it up tomorrow.