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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mini-Review: That Thing at the Zoo by James R. Tuck

Title: That Thing at the Zoo
Author: James R. Tuck
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter #0.5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 12/27/11
Reviewed by: Sara
Shredding monsters is his stock and trade. He sniffs them out, tracks them down, and corners them. End of story. But when the tables are turned, expect the unexpected...

Knowing his enemy is a rule Deacon Chalk swears by. But he's never seen anything like whatever is leaving the Atlanta Zoo's most dangerous predators bloodless, skinned, and hanging high in treetops. And he’s only got till sunrise to keep it from turning the entire city into a slaughterhouse. Now Deacon is in zoo lockdown with a handful of staffers to save. His zookeeper backup has more guts than monster-hunting experience. And the only chance Deacon has to run this thing to unholy ground is to risk unleashing his darkest, most uncontrollable instincts...

Mini-Review: This short story was a great introduction into Deacon Chalk's world. It was also very unique that the paranormal creature in the story was attacking large animals at the zoo instead of people. Although the story was fairly short, it never felt rushed. I learned a nice amount about Deacon before jumping into the first novel of the series. There weren't many other characters besides Deacon, but the few secondary characters were interesting as well. The cover is a bit simple, but the colors make it stand out. And I really liked how they used the same font as book one because it gave them some continuity.

Plot: 3.5 Stars
Pace: 4 Stars
Characters: 3.5 Stars
Cover: 3 Stars
Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received an eARC from the author for review.

Mini-Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Title: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Series: Tempest #1
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 01/17/12
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy... he’s in college, has a girlfriend... and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies –- nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors –- it’s just harmless fun.

That is... until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit... or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly... and possibly the entire world.

Mini-Review: I really wanted to love this novel, but there were so many aspects to the time travel that wasn't explained, or just glossed over. And with all of the time jumps, it was a bit confusing at times. Jackson wasn't a very likeable character, and I would've liked to have learned more about present Holly and Adam than the ones he interacts with more in the past. While the cover is a very striking image, it doesn't acurately portray how the characters travel through time. The biggest disappointment is that the ending of the novel led me to believe that book two is going to follow the New Moon Effect, meaning Jackson will have to leave Holly to save her. It's just a bit too predictable.

Plot: 3.5 Stars
Pace: 2.5 Stars
Characters: 2.5 Stars
Cover: 3.5 Stars
Overall: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I won an ARC of this novel through Goodreads.

DNF Reads of 2011 (Part 2)

Key to Conflict by Talia Gryphon (UF)
Reason for picking: It caught my eye at the used bookstore.
Reason for DNF: I didn't connect with the main character.

Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson (YA) & Entwined by Heather Dixon (YA)
Reason for picking up: More library grabs.
Reason for DNF: They just didn't grab my attention. Vacation may have played a small part, but I read and enjoyed three other books on the trip.

Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeliene Roux (UF)
Reason for picking up: Zombie story told through blog posts.
Reason for DNF: Zombie story told through blog posts. I thought it would be interesting. It ended up just being a bit annoying.

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (YA)
Reason for picking up: I enjoyed Sisters Red.
Reason for DNF: It was due back to the library. I plan to pick it up again.

October (none)

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Reason for picking up: The blurb included the main character being stabbed by a unicorn.
Reason for DNF: The main character's attitude rubbed me the wrong way.

Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love (UF)
Reason for picking up: It had been on my TBR shelf for a while. I started reading it while waiting in the long line at the signing.
Reason for DNF: I had too many review commitments at the time (and should've brought one of those to the signing). I put this book aside so I wouldn't fall behind, and I plan to pick it up again.

The Rift Walker by Clay & Susan Griffith (steampunk)
Reason for picking up: I enjoyed The Greyfriar.
Reason for DNF: The beginning dragged and bounced between POVs a bit too quickly and often. I hope to go back to this one as well.

Radiant Desire by Inara Scott (PNR)
Reason for picking up: It sounded like an interesting take on faeries.
Reason for DNF: I didn't connect with the heroine or the hero.

Modelland by Tyra Banks (YA)
Reason for picking up: I had to know.
Reason for DNF: It was beyond ridiculous. I made it over 200 pages (and I think it clocks in at 600+), but couldn't take it anymore. There was too much detail, not enough happening, flat characters, and did I mention the ridiculousness? Plus, many details were very unoriginal, such as SansColor being the city where the albinos live or Canne Del Abra being the city where candles are made.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (114)

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

This week was pretty quiet until we hit the used bookstore today. We met our downfall at the clearance shelf. Seven books for $5! And many were only $1 from the overstock sale. Although, I did get home to find I already owned a copy of The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson... Whoops. I also picked up a finished copy of Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin. I already have a signed ARC, so I'm gonna pass that one on to a co-worker. Christen also grabbed a couple historical romances I'm not including in this post.

The Vampire Shrink by Linda Hilburn (ARC) [Buy now]

The Twisted Kiss by Anya Bast (e-book)
Thanks to Anya Bast!

Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James [Buy now]
Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate [Buy now]
Fury by Elizabeth Miles [Buy now]
Thanks to Cindy from Princess Bookie for Fury!

Used (Sara):
Bite the Bullet by L.A. Banks [Buy now]
Desdaemona by Ben Macallan [Buy now]
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer [Buy now]
Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin [Buy now]
Birth of the Pack by Petru Popescu [Buy now]
Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick [Buy now]
Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab [Buy now]
Blood Red Road by Moira Young [Buy now]

Used (Christen):
Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione [Buy now]
Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister [Buy now]
Love in the Time of Dragons by Katie MacAlister [Buy now]
Me and My Shadow by Katie MacAlister [Buy now]
You're So Vein by Christine Warren [Buy now]

DNF Reads of 2011 (Part 1)

I was bored the other day and started thinking about the different reasons I decide to DNF a book (mostly because I was contemplating DNFing my current read at the time). And I realized that I never really mention them outside of my month in review posts. So I decided to compile my DNFs from 2011 just to give them a little shout out. Who knows, my reasons for disliking a book could be a reason someone else will like it. I know that I have contrary tastes to some bloggers that I follower, and therefore am often tempted to pick up a big they dislike because I know that their pet peeves aren't a dealbreaker for me.

Anyway, on to the books. I DNFed 19 books in 2011. That may seem like a lot, but I'm actually kinda proud of myself. I have a problem putting books down sometimes, especially if it was one I anticipated, and often try to force myself to continue. (Edit: I posted January through July. Blogger ate the other half, so I'll probably post it tomorrow or whenever I feel like typing it again...)

His Darkest Hunger by Juliana Stone (PNR)
Reason for picking up: I'm always looking for interesting PNR, even if I don't read them as often as UF or YA.
Reason for DNF: After about sixty pages, I just hadn't connected with the heroine or the hero. That's kind of a big deal for me when it comes to PNR.

Manifest by Artist Arthur (YA)
Reason for picking up: The blurb on the back was interesting.
Reason for DNF: The main character and her friends were a bit too immature for me.

February (none)

License to Ensorcell by Katherine Kerr (UF)
Reason for picking up: The cover intrigued me and the blurb sounded like my kind of UF.
Reason for DNF: After about 150 pages, nothing had really happened. Also, considering how far into the novel I got, a number of paranormal items weren't explained well.

Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck (YA)
Reason for picking up: I just tend to grab anything that grabs my eye when I'm at the library. I often leave with more books than I can hold.
Reason for DNF: The characters were super catty for no reason, and the main character confused me.

Deadworld by J.N. Duncan (UF)
Reason for picking up: I had my eye on this novel for a while. I picked it up while waiting in a long line for a movie (we got there really early), and started reading right there.
Reason for DNF: There were some crazy twists and turns in the first 100 pages, but after that the plot stalled.

Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman (UF)
Reason for picking up: Another library grab. Plus, I love reading about main characters in or just out of college
Reason for DNF: Being on vacation may have played a role in this novel not keeping my attention.

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell (YA)
Reason for picking up: Another library grab.
Reason for DNF: I didn't connect with the main character. As I get older, I find this happening a bit more often with YA.

Hunted by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (YA)
Reason for picking up: I enjoyed the first four books in the series.
Reason for DNF: I was listening to this as an audiobook while driving to and from TN (I can't read in the car). I didn't finish before we got home, and didn't really want to continue listening. I do want to go back to this novel and the rest of the series in the future.

Dead Iron by Devon Monk (steampunk)
Reason for picking up: I wanted to love this novel so much. It sounded amazing, and I enjoyed other works by the author.
Reason for DNF: This novel just moved sooo slow. I took a couple breaks from it and am holding on to it just in case.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Kiss of Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Mythos Academy #2
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 11/29/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Logan Quinn was trying to kill me. My Spartan classmate relentlessly pursued me, swinging his sword at me over and over again, the shining silver blade inching closer to my throat every time. A smile tugged up his lips, and his ice-blue eyes practically glowed with the thrill of battle...

I’m Gwen Frost, a second-year warrior-in-training at Mythos Academy, and I have no idea how I’m going to survive the rest of the semester. One day, I’m getting schooled in swordplay by the guy who broke my heart -- the drop-dead gorgeous Logan who slays me every time. Then, an invisible archer in the Library of Antiquities decides to use me for target practice. And now, I find out that someone at the academy is really a Reaper bad guy who wants me dead. I’m afraid if I don’t learn how to live by the sword -- with Logan’s help -- I just might die by the sword...

Plot: 4.5 Stars
When I first read that this novel was going to center around the school taking a ski trip for a winter trip, I immediately thought of Frostbite by Richelle Mead. While the two novels share that one plot idea in common, the two are far from the same, and I admit that Kiss of Frost is definitely better. Although the winter trip seemed straight forward in the beginning, Gwen soon found herself mixed up in a possible Chaos plot. There were twists and turns around every corner, and I was left guessing until the very end.

Pace: 5 Stars
My favorite part of any of the author's novels is that she does a great job of reviewing key points from past novels in a way that flows with the current novel. I'm never left trying to remember what exactly happened previously, regardless of how long I go between novels. This one was no exception. There was also never a lull in the action, once the story picked up.

Characters: 4.5 Stars
I loved the character development in this novel. Not only do we learn more about Gwen and her powers, but we learn more about her friends, classmates, and teachers also. There's also the addition of students from other Mythos Academy campuses added to the mix. Some characters had ulterior motives that surprised me, and some characters showed their true feelings that also surprised me. All in all, I was very excited with the characters in this novel and their actions.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
Although the cover model on this cover doesn't seem to be the same as the first book in the series, I really enjoy her pose and the snowflakes. The act of blowing a kiss is a play on the title, and I think it's an unusual pose that will stand out against many of the paranormal young adult novel it's shelved with. The snowflakes are a nice way of alluding to the winter holiday that the novel centers around. The gargoyle in the background and the sword in the place of the letter "t" in the titles bring continuity to the covers, while still allowing them to be unique. The choice of pink for some of the text was a very interesting choice and went well with the faint purple hue of the cover.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a signed ARC of this novel for review from the author.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

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

Title: Wicked As They Come
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Blud #1
Genre: Paranormal/Steampunk
Release date: 03/27/12
Chosen by: Sara
Have you ever heard of a Bludman? They’re rather like you and me—only more fabulous, immortal, and mostly indestructible. (They’re also very good kissers.)

Delilah S. Dawson’s darkly tempting debut drops her unsuspecting heroine into a strange faraway land for a romantic adventure that’s part paranormal, part steampunk... and completely irresistible.

When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Coppers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (113)

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

Curses! A F***ed Up Fairy Tale by J.A. Kazimer (ARC) [Buy now]
Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson (eARC) [Buy now]
Thanks to J.A. Kazimer and Netgalley!

Devil's Kiss by Zoe Archer (signed!) [Buy now]
Thanks to Zoe Archer via Moira Rogers' blog!
Hammer Down by Moira Rogers (e-book)
Thanks to Moira Rogers via the Deadline Dames blog!

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan [Buy now]

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley [Buy now]

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mini-Review: The Hunter by Theresa Meyers

Title: The Hunter
Author: Theresa Meyers
Series: Legend Chronicles #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 11/01/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Colt Jackson has gotten his name on many a wanted poster with success in the family business: hunting supernaturals across the frontier. Lately, though, there's a sulphur stink in the wind and the Darkin population is exploding. A rift in the worlds is appearing. To close it, Colt will have to do the unthinkable and work with a demon to pass arcane boundaries no human alone can cross. Except when he summons his demon, he doesn't get some horned monstrosity: he gets a curvy redheaded succubus named Lilly, who's willing to make a bargain to become human again. He also gets Lilly's secret expertise on the machinations on the dark side of the rift. And her charm and cleverness help to get them out of what his silver-loaded pistol and mechanical horse can't. Of course, when all hell breaks loose, he might have to sacrifice his soul. But what's adventure without a little risk?

Mini-Review: This novel was a Paranormal Romance with Steampunk elements, most of these elements being the weapons and tools Colt used in his fight against demons. He ran into many different demons throughout this novel, and each was unique and interesting. Although there were a few points in which the plot slowed down, overall the pace of this novel flowed very well. My favorite part of the novel was the succubus Lilly and how she interacted with Colt. And I can’t wait for the next novel so that I can learn more about his brothers. The mechanic horse on the cover was one of the main reasons I picked up this novel, so I was very excited to find he was an important part of the novel. I also really loved the cover model’s outfit and accessories because they really rang true with the novel.

Plot: 4 Stars
Pace: 3.5 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Cover: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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

Mini-Review: Crux by Moira Rogers

Title: Crux
Author: Moira Rogers
Series: Southern Arcana #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: E-book: 03/03/09, Print: 01/05/10
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life... and her heart.

Southern Arcana, Book 1

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack... until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

Mini-Review: I love shapeshifter books, so I was intrigued by this novel. The stalker element added a dark and creepy feel to the book as Mackenzie is introduced into this world of paranormal creatures. The cast of characters Mackenzie meets when she arrived in New Orleans are a varied and interesting bunch of paranormals, and a very strong cast of characters. Although this novel was a little slow in the beginning, once it picked up it was a race to the end. Although the cover is a bit simple, it really gets the point of the novel across with its little details.

Plot: 3.5 Stars
Pace: 3.5 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Cover: 3.5 Stars
Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book as an anniversary gift (yes, we gave each other books).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Most Anticipated Books of 2012

First off, not every book I'm eagerly awaiting made this list. The main group that were left off are the next books in series I'm not up to date on. For example, although I've only read Hounded by Kevin Hearne so far, there's no doubt I'll be picking up Tricked the day it comes out regardless of whether or not I've caught up. The other group is the novels that either don't have final titles, covers, and/or release dates. I'll most likely highlight these using Waiting on Wednesday as more information is available. Anyway, on to the list!

Urban Fantasy:

To Walk the Night by E.S. Moore (01/03/12) **purchased
By a Thread by Jennifer Estep (02/28/12) **received eARC
Black Howl by Christina Henry (02/28/12) **received review copy
Blood on the Bayou by Stacey Jay (03/27/12) **purchased
Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson (04/10/12) **received review copy
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander (05/22/12)
Boyfriend from Hell by Jamie Quaid (05/29/12)
Blood of Innocence by Tami Dane (06/05/12)
Changeling by Kelly Meding (06/21/12)
Darklands by Nancy Holzner (07/31/12)

Paranormal Romance:

Alpha Instinct by Katie Reus (02/07/12) **purchased
Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson (03/27/12) **purchased
The Slayer by Theresa Meyers (04/01/12)
Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent (05/22/12)

Young Adult:

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton (02/21/12)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth (04/28/12) **pre-ordered
Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep (05/29/12) **received eARC
Wake by Amanda Hocking (08/21/12)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Title: Between the Sea and Sky
Author: Jaclyn Dolamore
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 10/25/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren -- the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood -- a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship... and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
I absolutely loved the world that the author created in this novel. Between the underwater world of the mermaids, the high flying world of the Fandarsee, and the humans in between, there was always something new to learn while reading. While the different races interacted at times, they were all very inclusive. I loved how the author worked in all the little details about the different groups of people as Esmerine and Alan were on their journey.

Pace: 5 Stars
This novel was a very quick read. I got home from the book signing really excited to read it and jumped right in. I only put it down to eat and sleep (and possibly work), which I don't do very often anymore. Although Esmerine was on a journey to find her sister, none of the events of the novel came across as rushed. The story unfolded very naturally as Esmerine and Alan first reunited and then began the journay to find her sister, Dosinia.

Characters: 5 Stars
My favorite part of this novel was watching Esmerine reunited with her childhood friend, a Fandarsee names Alandare. I loved watching their relationship change and morph as they got to know each other once again. They were so different, and yet very similar. Between Esmerine's parents and younger sisters, Alan's family, and the humans they meet along the way, there was also a very strong cast of supporting characters. Although some of them had smaller parts than others, the author did a great job of introducing each character.

Cover: 5 Stars
This novel was blessed with a beautiful cover. The image of Esmerine bursting out of the water is very striking, and the wave around her frames her in a great way. You can't really tell where the water ends and the sky begins. The pose of the cover model works well considering that Esmerine becomes a siren. The blues and greens of the cover are very serene and definitely gives the feel of mermaid. The tail fin detail on the title is actually the only part of the cover that actually says mermaid, and does so in a way that doesn't take away from the rest of the cover.

Overall: 5 Stars

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

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In My Mailbox (112)

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

Spending-money-wise, this past week was pretty chill. But in regards to books I didn't pay for, this past week has been epic. I won a huge box of UF/PNR from Anna's Book Blog, and there were even a couple surprise books. The three with asterisks are books that I already have and enjoyed, and I will be passing them a co-worker that enjoys UF. We swap books occasionally, and recommend books to each other (and I've been trying to get her to read Spider's Bite for like two years). I picked up Switched by Amanda Hocking this week and absolutely loved it (review to come, eventually). I've been very hesitant to read self-published work. I'm new to the e-reader scene and I have way too many books on my TBR pile. But when I saw Switched at my local Target after work, I knew it was a sign. And yes, I do realize it's technically not self-published anymore. I don't know if I'll be venturing out into the world of more self-pubbed books anytime soon, but there will definitely be more books by Amanda Hocking in my future.

By A Thread by Jennifer Estep (eARC)
Thread of Death by Jennifer Estep (eARC)

Switched by Amanda Hocking [Buy now]
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay [Buy now]

Free Kindle:
Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos

Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett [Buy now]
Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall [Buy now]
The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier [Buy now]
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar [Buy now]

From Anna @ Anna's Book Blog:
Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur [Buy now]
Spider's Bite* by Jennifer Estep [Buy now]
Adam by Jacquelyn Frank [Buy now]
Hunter of Shadows by Nancy Gideon [Buy now]
Night Rising by Chris Marie Green [Buy now]
Black Wings* by Christina Henry [Buy now]
Blood Trinity* by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love [Buy now]
Secret Life of a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks [Buy now]
Sexiest Vampire Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks [Buy now]
Covet by J.R. Ward [Buy now]
Angels of Darkness anthology [Buy now]
From Mandy @ Smexybooks:
Flashfire by Deborah Cooke [Buy now]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Blogging Resolutions: 2012

For 2012, I have decided to come up with some blogging resolutions for the year. My blogging kinda waned near the end of 2012, and I want to kick myself into gear this new year. I don't do New Year's Resolutions for my real life (I actually made a New Year's Resolution in high school to never make one again...) because I can never stick to them, but I feel like these six blogging resolutions will be fun and productive for this blog.

1. Keep Up With Reviews
There was a time when I reviewed books right after I finished reading. This kind of fell by the wayside after being computer-less for a month due to virus things. Every time I get caught up, I fall behind again. This past holiday season was especially harsh, so I have quite a bit to catch up on. In order to catch up and continue to keep up on reviews, I want to set up two days a week in which I write the reviews needed. I haven't decided which days these will be because I don't have a set schedule at work. I do know that it won't be Monday or Tuesday, I always work on those days. But I'll definitely have the days picked out after jury duty next week (yay!).

2. Reading Goal = 104 Books
I know 104 probably seems like a completely random number, but it averages out to two books a week. I've been able to obtain this goal two out of the last three years, so I'm gonna go for it again.

3. Read More Evenly Between Genres
I tend to read an overwhelming amount of Urban Fantasy. While the name of the blog is Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog, and Urban Fantasy is my favorite genre, I want to try to read more evenly between my favorite genres because I books more evenly than I read them. Although I only tend to read one to two Paranormal Romances a month, I tend to buy three or four, so I have a lot more of them laying around waiting to be read.

4. Read More Steampunk and Dystopian
I really enjoy what I have read of these two genres and have bought a number of titles, but I tend to pass on them for Paranormal novels when choosing what to read next. So I want to try to read a couple more of each this year.

5. Read More Sequels.
I have a crazy bad habit of reading the first book in a series and then never going back. Even after I absolutely loved book one, and even after I've bought the next two or three or five books in the series. I'm particularly guilty of buying all three books when a series releases books one through three in consecutive months. I always tell myself I'll go back, but them I start another new one. Most of the series in which I've read past book one are series that I've continued to receive for review. I think it's because I tend to enjoy book one the most, because the introduction to the world building and the characters are my favorite parts. But I really need to go back to some of these great series, both because I really enjoyed book one and because I own through at least book three of the majority of them. So I'm going to break them up by genre and makes lists of the four in each genre I absolutely have to read this year.

Urban Fantasy
Shadowglass by Erica Hayes
Hexed by Kevin Hearne
Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter
Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

Paranormal Romance
Scoundrel by Zoe Archer
When Pleasure Rules by J.K. Beck
Storm's Heat by Thea Harrison
Firewalker by Allyson James

Paranormal Young Adult
Shadowspell by Jenna Black
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
Betrayal by Gillian Shields

6. No Review Requests of Author Events During the Holidays
This resolution is only to be followed if I am still working in retail next holiday season. This past year has shown me that I can't juggle everything during these crazy months, so if I'm still in retail I'll be closed for requests between Black Friday and New Year's. You may still e-mail me during this time with a request if the book releases after this time, or to schedule something after this time. The only exceptions will be author's that I already have a relationship with that may have books releasing during this time period, but it won't be a guarantee. I know this is eleven months in advance, but it's just a precaution.