Current Giveaways

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)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Great Deals (July 31st)

I was browsing the Book Depository again and found some great deals on recent releases. I ordered Wildefire for myself. Hopefully, there's something here for you guys too. :)

Young Adult:

Title: Texas Gothic
Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Price: $11.99 (33% off)
Release Date: 07/12/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Title: Ripple
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Price: $11.49 (32% off)
Release Date: 07/21/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Title: Wildefire
Author: Karsten Knight
Price: $9.49 (44% off)
Release Date: 07/26/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Title: Undercurrent
Author: Tricia Rayburn
Price: $11.99 (33% off)
Release Date: 07/12/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Title: Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Price: $10.49 (41% off)
Release Date: 07/12/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Title: Supernaturally
Author: Kiersten White
Price: $9.49 (47% off)
Release Date: 07/26/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Urban Fantasy:

Title: Spell Bound
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Price: $15.15 (41% off)
Release Date: 07/26/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Title: Honeyed Words
Author: J.A. Pitts
Price: $19.10 (26% off)
Release Date: 07/05/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Title: Naked City (anthology)
Author: Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Melissa Marr, Holly Black, and more
Price: $10.49 (34% off)
Release Date: 07/05/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

***Please note: Prices may change between when this is posted and when you browse.

Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

Title: My Life as a White Trash Zombie
Author: Diana Rowland
Series: White Trash Zombie #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/05/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Angel Crawford is a Loser

Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the parish morgue -- and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.

Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey -- just when she's hungriest!

Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat.


Plot: 5 Stars
The zombies in this novel are much more complex than the everyday mindless variety that shambles around looking for "BRAAAINS!" They're coherent and don't seem dead (for the most part). It was hilarious and fun to follow Angel along as she figured out what happened to her and what she had become. As the story progressed, she also begins to grow up and deal with some demons. The pills, pot, and alcohol she used to turn to are suddenly less effective and she starts to see things differently. Plus, she really needs to keep her job at the morgue (for obvious reasons), so Angel is forced to take the job seriously. There are a number of twists and turns near the end that caught me completely by surprise, which made the novel even better. Plus, now I really want the next novel to see how the story is going to continue.

Pace: 5 Stars
I couldn't put this novel down. I don't tend to enjoy zombies quite as much as most paranormal creatures, but this novel has changed that. I've also had a bit of bad luck lately with books from DAW (mostly DNFs), so I was happy to find a novel from that imprint that I enjoyed so much. Normally, I would be hesitant to start a novel from an imprint that I've had such a so-so track record with, but I loved Diana Rowland's Mark of the Demon also, so I had a feeling I would definitely finish this novel. I was a bit hesitant because I was afraid I had played this novel up a bit too much with my anticipation, but it exceeded all of my expectations.

Characters: 5 Stars
Angel is one of the most complex characters I've read in a while. She's much more than a pill addict. Her growth throughout the novel is tremendous, but completely believable. Even when dealing with the tough stuff, she still had a sarcastic sense of humor that really resonated with me. I really connected with Angel, even though I am neither a pill addict nor a zombie. There were a number of co-workers at the morgue and cops that Angel met when she started her new job. Some were nicer than others, some were funnier than others, but they were all interested. The job at the morgue gave Angel a fresh start, and really opened her eyes to life outside of pills, alcohol, her father, and her on-again-off-again boyfriend. There were also a few characters along the way that helped her figure stuff out, but not always in the most productive ways. All in all, it was a great cast of characters.

Cover: 5 Stars
This cover is a work of art. In a morbid kind of way, the zombie chick on the cover is hot. She's also a bit of a hot mess, but I'm okay with that. My favorite detail on the cover is the piercings in her ear. Even though Angel is never described as having any of the piercings, I have a soft spot for industrials since I used to have mine until one side started bugging me (that's the bar that goes through two parts of the ear). The hairstyle, cigarette, and blood are great details that really fit the character. The gray color of the skin screams zombie in a perfect way. And the background color is such a strange pink. When browsing in the fantasy/scifi section, any pink you come across (and it's not much) is hot pink, so this pastel pink instantly sets it apart. Plus, it's so wrong for Angel's character that it ends up being right. The font isn't necessarily what I would've chosen, but it's simple and doesn't take away from the gorgeous cover so I really can't complain.

Overall: 5 Stars

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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (94)

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

So I've given up on the book buying ban. I hit our closing Borders again (although it was Christen's fault! She was the one that absolutely needed to see if a certain book was still there... Lol). I've also ordered another book from the Book Depository because I'm weak. So I've decided to allot myself only three books per paycheck (every two weeks). Maybe I'll still manage to save some money this way. Also, starting this week, I'll be including the Paranormal books that Christen buys.

Purchased by Sara:
Misfit by Jon Skovron [Buy now]
Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan [Buy now]

Supernaturally by Kiersten White [Buy now 47% off!]
Thanks to Daisy Whitney!

Free Read: (not pictured)
First Frost by Jennifer Estep [Buy now]
(It was free earlier in the week, although it looks like it's now $0.99)

Purchased by Christen:
No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole [Buy now]
Demon by Kristina Douglas [Buy now]

Author Interview + Giveaway: Christina Henry

Last November, I read and enjoyed Black Wings by Christina Henry. So I was really excited to find out I wouldn't have to wait an entire year for the next novel in the series, Black Night (it released this past Tuesday 07/26). I hope to post my 4.5 Star review of Black Night very soon. But first, I have Christina Henry on the blog today answering questions about Black Night (and a giveaway at the end of the post)!

Sara: How would you describe Black Night, for readers who haven’t heard of it before?

Christina: Well, things are not going great for Maddy. Lucifer is manipulating her into a diplomatic mission to the faerie court, and her oh-so-annoying unwanted fiancé Nathaniel is coming along. Unfortunately, the last ambassador was beheaded in front of the entire court for a breach of etiquette and as we know, Maddy has a lot of trouble keeping her mouth shut, especially when she ought to!

Sara: Last time you stopped by I asked you to describe the main characters: Maddy, Beezle, J.B., and Gabriel. In three words, how would you describe some of your other characters?

Nathaniel –- Pompous, jealous, well-dressed
Azazel –- Controlling, demanding, powerful
Amarantha –- Vain, selfish, beautiful
Lucifer –- Crafty. Very crafty.

Sara: Can we look forward to any more novels about Maddy and Beezle?

Christina: Yes, there will be at least six books in the series. The third book, Black Howl, is set to be released in March of 2012. I’m working on the fourth book right now.

Sara: If Maddy could work together with any Urban Fantasy heroine, who would you want her to work with?

Christina: Umm, can we make it a hero? My dream would be for Maddy to meet Harry Dresden, hero of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. The Dresden Files is my favorite urban fantasy series. They both live in Chicago, so it’s possible!

Sara: Beezle is definitely my favorite character in this series. Is there a chance we’ll meet another gargoyle in the future? Maybe a friend or love interest for Beezle?

Christina: I think Beezle is definitely one of a kind. He enjoys feeling superior to humans and he would probably be jealous if another gargoyle showed up on the scene.

Sara: Do you have any other projects in the works?

Christina: I do have an idea for a supernatural mystery series that I’ve been thinking about for some time. Right now I’ve got to concentrate on writing the next Madeline Black book but after that’s done I may have some time to work on this other project and see how it plays out.

Sara: What are you currently reading?

Christina: The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny by Simon R. Green. I’m a couple of books behind in the Nightside series and I’m trying to catch up!

Thanks so much for having me here today, Sara!

Thanks again for stopping by, Christina! And thanks to Ace, I have one copy of Black Night to giveaway to one lucky commenter! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment about why you want to read Black Night.

Giveaway Rules:
1. US/Canada only
2. Must leave a valid e-mail address
3. Giveaway will be open until midnight August 12th
4. Winner will be chosen using August 13th

Title: Black Night
Author: Christina Henry
Series: Madeline Black #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/26/11
Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her...

If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy's being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves -- her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle-have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer's granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (37)

This book blog meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: The Hour of Dust and Ashes
Author: Kelly Gay
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: 08/30/11
To save her sister, she must stop a silent killer...

Protecting Atlanta from the off-world criminals of Underground is tough enough, but now Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner, Hank, learn that the addicts of the offworld drug ash have begun taking their own lives. Ash makes humans the perfect vessels for possession, and something or someone is leading them to their deaths. Charlie is desperate to save her addicted sister, Bryn, from a similar fate. As New Year’s Eve approaches and time runs out, Charlie makes a deadly bargain with an ancient race of beings and embarks on a dangerous journey into hellish Charbydon with Hank and the Revenant Rex to save Bryn and make it back before it’s too late. Only, for one of them, coming home means facing a fate worse than death...

I absolutely loved books one and two in this series, and can't wait for the next installment!

Guest Blog + Giveaway: A.C. Ruttan

Today, I'd like to welcome A.C. Ruttan to Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog. She's here to talk about her new novel, Incarnate, which is her first Urban Fantasy.

First let me say a HUGE thank you to Sara for letting me invade her blog. I’ve been a lurker for quite some time. When I sold Incarnate to Samhain I knew I would eventually have to de-lurk and ask for a guest spot.

To celebrate I’m giving away two e-books of Incarnate. So be sure to leave a comment. I’ll let Sara pick the winners. :)

I knew I had to say something, but for the first time in my life I couldn’t figure out what to say, which can be quite horrific for a writer to tell you the truth.

The post hit me last night, in the middle of the night. Talk about how Incarnate came to be. Well, it started with a panic. I was going through a spell of writer’s block. It was terrifying. I had just had a baby and didn’t write anything for a year. Scary. It was then that old adage came back write what you know. Only I don’t totally agree with this. If I wrote what I knew at that time it would be recitation of the content of diapers. So I began to write down some things I seemed to know a lot about and then manipulated the information in my head for my own wicked devices. Muwahahaha.

Writing Incarnate took tidbits of several things I knew:

1. A lot about the fabled Celtic queen, Boudicca
2. Religion. (Which I won’t talk too much about because I don’t want to bore you)
3. Northern Canada
4. The ice roads

All these things came together and created Incarnate.

The POV character, Cia walked into my brain fully formed when I was worrying about my dry spell from writing. She had this calm persona on one hand and then this voice in her head. The voice of ancient Celtic Queen Boudicca and a big sword. I just didn’t know what to do with her, and the character kept talking in my head. I thought what kind of kick ass rough job could she have? The answer was playing right in front of me on the television screen. Season One of Ice Road Truckers. I loved this show. I was recuperating after my third C-section and had a new born baby I was feeding, so I was locked to the couch and was totally enraptured with the show. So my ice road trucking inspiration not only took care of her occupation, but helped settled on location.

I know Canada. I am Canadian after all. I know Northern Canada. I’ve never been, but I’ve researched it for years. Planned trips. Heading to the top of the world has always been my dream. My parents had a decorative plate, sent to them by my uncle from Frobisher Bay (now Iqaluit in Nunavut) and I would stare at the plate for hours. I was fascinated by the igloo shaped church and wildness to the land. My Dad also had lots of stone carvings made by the Inuk people. I couldn’t believe that animals like polar bears and seals were everyday animals for them. I grew up on the outskirts of Toronto and if I was lucky would some time spy a big fat raccoon meandering down the street. So my obsession with the top of the world began. I also have cousins who are Inuk and it would be nice to meet them. So I know the North, I just have yet to experience it.

In a total backwards way I wrote the ending first and the rest of the world came falling into place. This was also a first for me, I wrote backwards. Another first was the genre, urban fantasy and non-romantic. It surprised me. My alter ego, Amy Ruttan, has been writing spicy romance since 2007. This book came totally out of left field and to be honest I am thoroughly enjoying this genre and plan to delve further into the little offshoots and branches. I am a huge fan of Steampunk, so hopefully one day I can turn my muse to it.

When I got the ‘call’ (or email) from my editor, Jennifer Miller she helped me brainstorm a stronger, more urgent GMC for Cia. Jennifer helped me polish my diamond in the rough, my convoluted story which didn’t seem to fit anywhere except, Samhain and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Thanks to Sara for letting me share how Incarnate came to be.

For an innocent man, she’ll go to her grave. Again.

The Portal Keepers, Book 1

Cia is serving her sentence in the Canadian Arctic, guarding one of the many portals that seal off Earth from Heaven and Hell. She doesn’t mind the cold. What she does mind? Someone’s bumping off other Incarnates, the dual-souled beings who hold the Apocalypse at bay. And she’s next on the list.

Worse, she learns the prime suspect is Arthur, her ex. Arthur is many things, but despite their history, he’s no murderer. Cia has only thirty days to find him and prove it before the Wrath is unleashed to mete out justice.

It’s no relief when he shows up in her truck’s headlights on the side of the ice road. He stirs turmoil between her volatile old soul and the younger one that keeps it in line. Worse, he shows all the signs of turning into a demon.

The closer they get to Yellowknife, the more rogue demons pour out of Hell, dragging with them a past she thought would never haunt her again. Another murder, and the elders prepare to summon the Wrath ahead of schedule. A move that will, literally, let all Hell break loose. Unless Cia makes a soul-tearing choice.

Product Warnings
Ice, frigid temperatures, lots of Poutine consuming and a mention of blubber. Many demons were harmed in the writing of this book, but the polar bear really is okay.

Can't wait? Need a copy now? Just click here!

Thanks to A.C. Ruttan, I have two (2) e-books of Incarnate to giveaway!

Giveaway Rules:
1. Must leave a comment or question for A.C. Ruttan.
2. Must leave a valid e-mail address.
3. Giveaway is open until midnight on Wednesday 08/03.
4. Winners will be announced on Thursday 08/04 using
5. Winners can choose the format they'd prefer.

Meet Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog's New Reviewer!

I talked my girlfriend Christen into writing some reviews for the blog. Of course, now the name of the blog doesn't fit exactly, but I'm OK with that. Anyway, we share a similar love of the paranormal, but lately she has been reading a lot more Paranormal Romance while I've veered off into Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Young Adult. This seemed like the perfect way to make sure all three genres were represented equally. And don't be confused if you think the reviews sound very similar... Christen will sometimes dictate while I type until it becomes more natural. So without boring you any further, I'll let her introduce herself.

(Ignore the goofy chick on the right... You already know her!)

Hello everyone,

My name is Christen (not Kristin) and I am a book mooch. Recently I have been purchasing a lot of Paranormal Romance books and wanted to give a go at writing a review or two. So, here is a little bit about me... I am a glass artist and Sara's girlfriend. I almost always figure out the surprise twist and turns at the end of a book or movie. Most of my free time is spent wither reading or soaking in a tub... Or possibly at the same time (if the book does not belong to Sara). Right now I am really digging Jennifer Ashley, both of Richelle Mead's series, and Jean Johnson's Sons of Destiny series. I'd prefer werewolves over vampires and zombies over witches, but I'll give anything a shot.

And check out Christen's first review, How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper, right underneath this post!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Title: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Author: Molly Harper
Series: Naked Werewolf #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 02/22/11
Reviewed by: Christen
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham -- who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska -- has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated...

Plot: 3.5 Stars
This novel introduced an interesting take on werewolves. Albeit not completely original, but I liked the addition of the "dead-liners," humans who do not inherit the werewolf genes. This book was witty and funny, although the mystery element was pretty obvious to me. It was a light and fluffy romance. Plus, the chapter titles were hilarious.

Pace: 4 Stars
I became so engrossed in this book that I gobbled it up. The pace kept my attention and made it really hard to put down. I never found it tedious or boring. There were moments in the book in which Mo and Coop's story slowed down, which left room for the cooky background characters to steal the spotlight for a few laughs.

Characters: 4 Stars
Mo is a fiesty, independent Southern woman who finds herself neighbors with Cooper Graham, a wilderness guide with a case of the grumps. I really enjoy Southern characters, and Mo did not disappoint. Her Southern generosity was higlighted in the small, Alaskan town of Grundy. On the other hand, I didn't connect with Coop right away because he was a bit too negative at first. But once I learned more about his past, I was able to figure him out and enjoy his character more. Grundy was filled with a number of crazy townspeople, including a seventy year old man begging Mo to marry him and a postal worker obsessed with her little dog.

Cover: 4 Stars
This cover is so adorable! Plus, the originality of the title really sparked my interest. I have to admit, cartoon covers appeal to me much more than traditional romance covers, and this is no exception. This cover in particular tells you everything you need to know: a remote wilderness, a sassy heroine, and a very interested werewolf hero.

Overall: 4 Stars

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

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (93)

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

In the wake of the bad news about Borders, I got depressed and went to say goodbye... Which involved picking up five books. I'm so naughty. And then, at Jeannie Holmes' signing today, I found Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (hardcover) for $6 and couldn't stop myself. I've been pretty bad about my book buying ban this week, and it may be easier if I limit myself to one to two must-haves per paycheck. That seems a bit more reasonable.

Demons Prefer Blondes by Sidney Ayers [Buy now]
Sirensong by Jenna Black [Buy now]
Bloodlands by Christine Cody [Buy now]
Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes [Buy now]
Eye of the Tempest by Nicole Peeler [Buy now]
Darkness Descending by Devyn Quinn [Buy now]
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld [Buy now]

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell [Buy now]
Insatiable by Meg Cabot [Buy now]
Overbite by Meg Cabot [Buy now]
Entwined by Heather Dixon [Buy now]
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney [Buy now]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Giveaway Winner: Signed Blood Law OR Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes

There was a total of 16 participants in the giveaway for a signed/personalized copy of Blood Law OR Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winner. The winner is...


Congratulations! Emily has chosen a copy of Blood Secrets! Please respond to the e-mail I sent with your mailing information within 24 hours.

Didn't win? You can pick up a copy from The Book Depository and have it shipped for free!
[Blood Law] [Blood Secrets]

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: Witches of East End
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Beauchamp Family #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 06/21/11
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
The three Beauchamp women -- Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid -- live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret -- they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.

Plot: 3 Stars
For the first three-quarters of this novel, I was left thinking at the end of every chapter, "Where is this story going?" It seemed like a lot of nothing was happening in this small town on Long Island. The three main characters had their own mostly separate storylines, and they didn't seem to be going anywhere. There was some mystery elements here and there, but no progress was made for the majority of the novel. And then, with about seventy pages left, everything started to tie together. I wish the author hadn't waited so long to tie all of these plotlines together, because it left the end feeling a bit rushed. Also, I was completely confused why a couple characters from the author's Blue Bloods series needed to crossover. Their appearances seemed completely arbitrary to the story, but maybe it'll make more sense in future books.

Pace: 3 Stars
Every time the pace would start flowing really well, the author would change points of view. I understand that the point of view needed to change between the three main characters due to their separate storylines (that would eventually come together). But the actually points in which the point of view would change was like a mini-cliffhanger over and over. Sometimes they were even less like cliffhangers and more like cutting a scene in half into separate chapters, and then pushing a chapter or two from a different character's point of view in the middle. It took a while to get used to the jumping around that the author did throughout the novel.

Characters: 3 Stars
Freya could have been a very likeable character if it wasn't for some of her actions. I just couldn't get past her trangressions, even when we learned a bit more near the end of the novel. Ingrid, her sister, was probably my favorite character. She was a librarian and I really resonated with her love for and care of the books. Joanna, their mother, was a strange character. I never connected with her, but I think it's because she had a lot less face time as compared to her daughters. There was a lot of family history that was alluded to, but never explained all that much, which I found kind of frustrating.

Cover: 3 Stars
This cover looks too much like the covers for the author's Blue Blood series. While there was the tiniest bit of crossover in regards to characters and the two series are in the same world, I think this novel could've had a cover that stood out against her YA books a little more. Since this cover looks so similar, some may confuse it with a YA novel and it's definitely not. Otherwise, I do not have a problem with the cover. The angle of the cover model is unique, and her eyes really draw you in. The pink leaves were a very rich, saturated pink that draws the eye away from any book it's shelved near. I do not know which sister the cover model is depicting, but maybe future covers will help clue me in.

Overall: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I borrowed this novel from the local library.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Spell Bound
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #12
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/26/11
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
At last, in the novel every Kelley Armstrong fan will need to own, all the major heroines and heroes of Otherworld are united.

It's been ten years since Bitten, the first novel in Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Otherworld series. In that time hundreds of thousands of fans have ravenously devoured the adventures of Armstrong's witches, demons, and werewolves. Now, in Spell Bound, she brings them all together for her most sweeping tale yet.

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell-casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

Plot: 4 Stars
Every other chapter had this twist or that turn. Every time I thought I had figured something out, WHAM! a new twist had smacked me in the face. I've never read a book that made me feel like I was on a roller coaster until Spell Bound. It was non-stop action and mystery and danger and suspense around every corner. It was a wild ride, and I had a lot of fun reading it. Besides all of the shocking twists and turns, I really enjoyed how all of the characters came together. The mystery of the plot had escalated to a much larger scale, so it was great to see that Savannah wouldn't be facing everything by herself.

Pace: 4 Stars
Armstrong is the master of the not-quite-cliffhanger. It drove me crazy when I read The Summoning (although that was right on the edge of cliffhanger), and it drove me crazy after finishing Waking the Witch. And guess what? She's driving me crazy again with the ending of Spell Bound. It's diabolical. She wraps up the conflict at the end of the novel in a satisfying way, and then at the last second, she drops a bomb on the reader. It's not quite a cliffhanger (in my opinion) because it doesn't leave you hanging in the middle of the action. But it leaves you wanting the next book ASAP because now there's this new crumb of information that could snowball into something epic.

Characters: 4 Stars
Although I had only read Bitten and Waking the Witch before starting Spell Bound, I was not overwhelmed by all of the characters that came into play throughout the novel. I had not met all of the Women of the Otherworld, so there were bits and pieces of backstory I was missing, but I still felt like I learned a lot about each new-to-me character. It was also nice to see Elena again, because Bitten is one of the novels that originally drew me out of reading just Young Adult and got me venturing into Urban Fantasy. It was very interesting to follow Savannah as she dealt with things in a more mundane way. She's very stubborn and strong-willed, and definitely tough, which is how I like my Urban Fantasy heroines.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
I've seen many different styles of covers for this series, including multiples covers for some of the earlier titles. This latest trend of covers for the series has only hit the first two and latest two titles, but they are my favorite. They really capture the essence of the character, especially compared to the older covers that included faceless cover models or random objects. This cover focuses on Savannah, and the cover model chosen fits the character perfectly. I really enjoyed the reds and oranges used in this cover, because it fits some of the events that take place very well. I'm also glad they kept the cover model small. I like seeing more than just a huge face on the cover, makes the cover seem more real and less like a photoshoot to me.

Overall: 4 Stars

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

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (92)

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

I was bad this week. On Monday, I broke down after a horrible day at work and got both a venti white chocolate mocha and a mass market (Viper Moon). Books and coffee are my go-to items when I'm in a bad mood, so I couldn't help myself. But I'm back on track now. The books purchased from Princess Bookie were from a couple weeks ago (we're both plagued by slow local post offices), and two others were pre-orders. I wasn't expecting to get Touch of Frost nearly so soon (its release date is 07/26), but Borders is apparently shipping. o_O

Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis [Buy now]
(Thanks to Justin Gustainis & Angry Robot!)
Black Night by Christina Henry [Buy now]
(Thanks to Christina Henry & Penguin!)

Purchased from Princess Bookie:
Uncommon Crinimals by Ally Carter [Buy now]
Eternity by Heather Terrell [Buy now]

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep [Buy now]
Viper Moon by Lee Roland [Buy now]
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater [Buy now]