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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (10)

Thanks to Tynga at Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves and making this awesome graphic!

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! --Tynga



Bought:
Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter [Pre-order]
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers [Pre-order]
I was hesitant to by This is Not a Test at first. I thought it was hardcover and I'm not always a zombie fan. But when I was at B&N and saw it was paperback, I figured I'd give it a shot. And I'm so glad I did because it was amazing.

Kindle:
Eve by Anna Carey [Buy Now]
Tarnished by Karina Cooper [Buy Now]
I was looking on Amazon this yesterday to see when Eve came out in paperback to find it was only $2.99 on Kindle. Sold! And Tarnished was only $4.99 when I purchased it earlier in the week.

Christen:
Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost [Buy Now]
Christen was very excited for this book because she has wanted to learn more about Vlad for a while.

Used:
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris [Buy Now]
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris [Buy Now]
I couldn't say no when I saw these hardcovers in excellent condition on the used book cart at the library for only $1 each. Now we only need From Dead to Worse to have a full set.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mini-Review: Spider's Lullaby by James R. Tuck

Title: Spider's Lullaby
Author: James R. Tuck
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter #1.5
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 06/26/11
Reviewed by: Sara
Summary:
He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities take out any kind of unnatural threat. But between this bad-ass bounty hunter and rescuing the most helpless of victims stands the one evil he can’t defeat...

For Deacon Chalk, loyalty is worth dying for. And now that something has taken were-spider Charlotte’s un-hatched children and one of his closest friends, he’ll tear up the human and supernatural underworlds to find them. But with his allies stripped away by an invincible Yakuza hit man and time running out, Deacon must face down the most ancient of demonic entities. And his last hope means surrendering to the inner darkness waiting hungrily to consume him...


Mini-Review: This novella is definitely a nice way to get your Deacon fix while waiting for book two, which releases in August. I really enjoyed learning more about the were-spiders. They're definitely an underused were-creature in urban fantasy. And of course, Deacon was totally badass. The novella was a quick read (I read it in an afternoon), but nothing about it came across as rushed. I liked learning more about Charlotte, the were-spider we met in book one. She's definitely an intriguing character. My favorite detail of the cover is the web background.

Plot: 4 Stars
Pace: 4.5 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Cover: 3 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a eARC of this novella for review from the author.

Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Dark Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Mythos Academy #3
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 05/29/12
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
I've seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I'm supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I'm just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me -- again.

Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects -- and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I'm also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me? It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can't use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me -- and I'm in for the fight of my life.


Plot: 5 Stars
The world the author has built at Mythos Academy is such an interesting and unique place. Each book shows us a little more of the world, and I really enjoyed the field trips we take with the characters in this installment. Gwen's search for the Helheim Dagger involved her digging into her mom's past and it was great to learn more about her. And it was fun trying to puzzle it out alongside Gwen. The Reapers always end up sneaking up on me, and this novel didn't disappoint.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
I don't think I've read a book by this author that hasn't had a terrific pace, and this novel didn't disappoint. There is enough backstory and recapping that I feel comfortable jumping right in, which is great because I have way too big of a TBR pile to be re-reading everything. There was never a dull moment while following Gwen and company around Mythos Academy on their latest adventure.

Characters: 4.5 Stars
Gwen is such a fantastic character. She's had a lot thrown at her throughout this series, but she has stayed strong. I really liked how she learned more about her powers in this novel. A few characters from book two that I wasn't expecting came back and I really enjoyed what they brought to the story. We met a number of new characters in this novel, and many brought along some surprises that I definitely didn't see coming. All in all, this series has a fantastic cast.

Cover: 4 Stars
I like that they went back to the cover model from the first novel. It gives the covers a bit of continuity. But her hair blends into the background a little too much, leaving too much blank space and leaving me wondering if the cover model is bald. But other than that, the cover is spot on. I love the lit up building in the background. And the snowflake necklace is a nice detail. My favorite detail is the sword that is always in place of a "t" in the title. The yellow text complements the purple eyes and stand out against the dark background.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (59)

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

Title: Cursed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release date: 09/18/12
Chosen by: Sara
Summary:
Dying sucks -- and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things -- including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Top 5 Sundays (2)

Top 5 Sundays is a weekly blog meme hosted by Larissa's Bookish Life.

06/24/12: Books You're Most Looking Forward to (2nd Half 2012)!




What is Top 5 Sundays? Here's how Larissa explains it on her blog:
Every Sunday I will post a TOP 5 list on the blog. It can be about anything and every week I'll have a new theme {You can vote on next week’s theme on my left sidebar!} and I will ad the Mr.Linky below the post so you can do a list with the theme and add you link to it.

Rules:
1.Write a post listing your TOP 5 choices within the theme I chose (or was chosen on a poll) for the week.
2.Mention this Blog on the post and link back to it.
3.Feel free to use the Feature's image (there is a smaller size version of it below).
4.After you've finished your post, add you link (of the post, not your blog's main page) to the Mr.Linky at the end of that week's post.
5.If you don’t have a blog to post, just leave your list in the comments. =)


1. Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland 07/03/12
Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over. Her felony record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she’s beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia. Yeah, that’s right -- the zombie mafia.

Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel’s going to need all of her brainpower -- and maybe a brain smoothie as well -- in order to get through it without falling apart.







2. Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson 09/11/12
It's not easy being a girl. It's even harder when you're the only girl in a family of werewolves. But it's next to impossible when your very existence spells out the doom of your race... Meet Jessica McClain -- she just became part of the pack.

In the vein of Kelley Armstrong and Patricia Briggs, a new urban fantasy that rewrites the werewolf myth...









3. Boyfriend From Hell by Jaime Quaid 09/25/12
They say justice is blind. But Justine isn’t.

Justine (Tina) Clancy is just an ordinary law student with a faulty arrest record, a part-time job in Baltimore’s radioactive Zone, and a family secret so bizarre even she doesn’t believe it. That is, until in a fit of fury she damns her boyfriend to hell -- and it’s exactly where he ends up.

Much to her surprise, Tina is apparently one of Saturn’s daughters, with the power to wield vigilante justice. But poor Max didn’t deserve to go up in flames, even if he did almost run her over with her own car. Tina’s convinced someone cut the brakes -- and now a relentless nemesis is stalking her through the Zone’s back alleys, where buildings glow, statues move, and chemical waste exposure comes with interesting consequences. Tina’s usually a loner, but now she needs a posse like no other: a shape-shifting kitten, an invisible thief, a biker gang, a snake-charming private detective, a well-meaning cop, and her sleazy, sexy boss. But in between freeing Max from hell, saving her own neck, and solving a mystery that threatens the Zone and her newfound friends, how is she ever going to study for finals?


4. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter 09/25/12
She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave.

Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.


5. Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter by Jessica Sims 10/30/12
Following the page-turning debut Beauty Dates the Beast, this is the second novel in the fresh and funny new series about a paranormal dating service.

Sarah Ward, the werewolf sister of Bathsheba from Beauty Dates the Beast, and co-owner of their paranormal online dating agency Midnight Liaisons, is voluntarily traded to a wolf clan in exchange for a kidnapped female were-cougar. Fearful of what might happen to her while with the wolf clan, she and Ramsey, a were-bear who’s part of the were-cougar alliance, pretend to be engaged so he can stay with her for protection. The last thing either of them expect is for their pretend engagement to lead to a very real love affair...


Special mention to the following titles I have received eARCs for, but still can't wait to dig into:
Widow's Web by Jennifer Estep 08/21/12
Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings 10/02/12
Velveteen by Daniel Marks 10/09/12

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (9)

Thanks to Tynga at Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves and making this awesome graphic!

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! --Tynga



Review:
Hearts of Fire by Kira Brady
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan [Pre-order]
Spider's Lullaby by James R. Tuck
Thanks to Netgalley/Kensington for the first, Netgalley/Random House for the second, and James/Kensington for the third.

Bought:
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke [Buy Now]
I had been seeing this novel on every other blog, so when I saw it at the bookstore I didn't think anything of it and purchased a copy. It wasn't until I got home that I realized the majority of the sightings were from those who went to BEA and that I purchased the book about 17 days early. I felt horrible. Had I known beforehand, I would've given them to an employee to take off the shelf. I understand a couple days early, but more than two week? And this is a store that normally doesn't have new releases out on Wednesday or Thursday... Anyway, I'm currently reading it in hopes that getting my review up before the release date will balance out the whoopsie.

Kindle:
Angel of Darkness by Cynthia Eden
After Midnight by Lynn Viehl
I've been wanting to read these titles for a while now, so when I saw their sale prices, I couldn't resist. These titles were $2.99 and $1.99 respectively when I purchased them. They may or may not still be those prices.

Library:
Serpent's Kiss by Melissa de la Cruz [Buy Now]
Revived by Cat Patrick [Buy Now]
I had Serpent's Kiss on hold since I enjoyed the first book, and I'm really intrigued by Revived.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mini-Review: Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Daimon
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #0.5
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 04/19/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
"Love in my world usually ended up with someone hearing 'I smite thee!' as she was cursed to be some lame flower for the rest of her life."

For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals -- pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she'd been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she's pretty much accepted that she's a freak by mortal standards... and that she'll never be prepared for that duty.

According to her mother, that’s a good thing.

But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return -- the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death... because she's being hunted by the very creatures she'd once trained to kill.

The daimons have found her.


Mini-Review: This title had been sitting on my Kindle for a while, and it wasn't until I went to the author's book signing that I decided to pick it up. And I'm glad I did. This novella was the perfect prequel: it introduced me to the world and the main characters, and made me so thankful that I have book one on my Kindle also. I read this novella in one sitting. Once I was sucked into the world, it didn't let go. Alexandria was a strong young woman, and I can't wait to learn more about the mysterious covenant. The cover is simple, but very elegant and catched the eye.

Plot: 4 Stars
Pace: 4.5 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Cover: 3.5 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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

Mini-Review: Torn by Amanda Hocking

Title: Torn
Author: Amanda Hocking
Series: Trylle #2
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 02/28/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story...

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined -- and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers -- and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits... and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.


Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted... in both worlds.


Mini-Review: I almost always enjoy the first book in a series the most, and while that holds true with this series, this novel was a very strong follow up. The plot progressed easily from the first book to this one, and I really enjoyed getting to see more of the Vittra. Wendy also learned more about her heritage. The pace of this novel was a bit slower than its predecessor. There were a couple chapters in the middle in which mothing much besides training happened. But we did get to learn more about a number of characters, including Tove and Matt. We also got to meet Finn's family and more members of the Vittra. Although the blue of this cover is gorgeous, it softens the image a bit, whereas the red of the first novel was more striking.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
Pace: 4 Stars
Characters: 4.5 Stars
Cover: 4.5 Stars
Overall: 4.5 Stars

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (58)

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

Title: Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter
Author: Jessica Sims
Series: Midnight Liasons #2
Publisher: Pocket
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release date: 10/30/12
Chosen by: Sara
Summary:
Following the page-turning debut Beauty Dates the Beast, this is the second novel in the fresh and funny new series about a paranormal dating service.

Sarah Ward, the werewolf sister of Bathsheba from Beauty Dates the Beast, and co-owner of their paranormal online dating agency Midnight Liaisons, is voluntarily traded to a wolf clan in exchange for a kidnapped female were-cougar. Fearful of what might happen to her while with the wolf clan, she and Ramsey, a were-bear who’s part of the were-cougar alliance, pretend to be engaged so he can stay with her for protection. The last thing either of them expect is for their pretend engagement to lead to a very real love affair...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

Title: Royal Street
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans #1
Publisher: Tor
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 04/10/12
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.


Plot: 3 Stars
I really enjoyed the idea of Old Orleans and the historical dead. They were definitely interesting ideas that were unique to the city. The wizards and their different sets of powers were also interesting, but I wished their powers could've been explained a little more. DJ's powers were explained throught the novel as she needed to use her powers, but we didn't learn nearly as much about the other Congresses. I enjoyed how the plot of the novel was woven into the events of Hurricane Katrina, although there were a couple parts in which the historical details overshadowed the fantasy.

Pace: 2 Stars
The first half of this novel dragged. While I enjoyed the information about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, it sometimes overshadowed the plot. Some of the details involving the storm, the aftermath, and the clean-up could've been worked into scenes a little more seemlessly. Plus, I felt DJ went a little too long in her search without getting a break. Don't get me wrong, I definitely wouldn't want the answers to all of her problems handed to her with no work, but I also don't want her to flounder with no new information for so long that I want to put the book down. Once DJ started getting a couple leads in her search for Gerry, the pace of the novel picked up and kept me hooked until the end.

Characters: 3 Stars
DJ is a likeable heroine still trying to figure things out. She's young, still training, and hasn't been given missions of merit. After Gerry disappears during the hurricane, she was a bit out of her element without his guidance. Some of her decisions were a bit hasty, but she does start to get the hang out being on her own. I wish I could've learned more about Gerry because the picture DJ painted intrigued me. Alex, the enforcer sent in by the Elders, was definitely rough around the edges socially. He rubbed me (and DJ) the wrong way when he showed up. They worked together, even if their goals aren't exactly the same, and got along better as the story progressed. My favorite characters were definitely the historical dead, and I wished their parts could've been a bit bigger.

Cover: 3.5 Stars
There are many elements about this cover that I enjoy. I think the choice of cover model was a great match for DJ, and I really enjoy the way her hair is blowing about. The staff and the glowing details are a great touch, especially since I enjoyed how the staff followed DJ around throughout the book. The orange hues of the cover somehow convey the effect of magic very well. Although the streetlight and building in the background are a nice touch, they are a bit generic. Considering this novel doesn't just take place in New Orleans, but New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, I kinda wish a little bit of the hurricane's distruction could've been captured.

Overall: 3 Stars

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

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (8)

Thanks to Tynga at Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves and making this awesome graphic!

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! --Tynga



Review:
Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings [Pre-order]
Thanks to Netgalley and Strange Chemistry for the eARC.

Won:
Regret by Elana Johnson
Endlessly by Kiersten White ARC [Pre-order]
Thanks to Christine Fonseca for Regret and Clean Teen Blog for Endlessly.

Gift:
Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout ARC [Pre-order]
It was so cool that the publisher had ARCs to give out at the book signing.

Bought:
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout [Buy Now]
Rapture by Lauren Kate [Buy Now]
Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick [Buy Now]
I'm so excited that Disappearing Nightly is finally out. I've wanted them to re-release it forever. When I saw in the Target ad that they would have exclusive signed copies of Rapture, I knew where I wanted to get my copy.

Kindle:
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness [Buy Now]
Earlier in the week, this title went on sale for $2.99. I had been a bit hesitant and was probably going to wait until I got a copy from the library, but I couldn't beat the price.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Never Surrender Blogfest

Elana Johnson is currently celebrating the release of her latest novel, Surrender, and this week is the Never Surrender Blogfest. Everyone taking part in the blogfest is blogging about a time they did not surrender. You can find more information, including a list of those participating, here.



I signed up to be a part of this blogfest without really knowing what I wanted to write about. There have been moments in my life that could've gone completely different had I given up, but nothing really stood out and screamed "blog about me!" Even as I'm typing this, I'm still unsure exactly what I'm going to talk about.

I wasn't a happy kid in high school. My parents were going through one of the longest divorces ever. To give a little history, my dad moved into the den when I was nine and into an apartment when I was thirteen. My parents didn't actually divorce until I was nineteen when my dad got re-married. Anyway, I was shy, awkward, and never really felt like I fit in. I never really felt like I knew who I was. Everyone else fell into a clique, but I kind of floundered at the edge of many. I had friends from a bunch of different groups and found myself bouncing from one to the next, never getting really close to anyone.

I don't really know what possessed me to try it the first time, but sometime during my senior year I started cutting. I'll never understand how harming myself helped me release some of the pain I was holding inside, but it did. Somehow it helped me cope. Looking back, I'm surprised more people didn't question how a girl who always complains about being hot could wear hoodies and jackets in the spring/summer in Florida, but only one friend ever noticed. She saw some of the cuts on my arm one day at lunch, although I brushed her off and said my cat had done it. After that, I got a little paranoid that everyone would find out. I tried my best to stop, and soon I was swept up into the craziness of a new job and then going off to college.

I went to college two hours from home. I remember the crazy mix of feelings when my family drove away that first day. I was scared and excited and overwhelmed. I tried not to cry as my parents were saying goodbye. I didn't know how I was going to survive all by myself (and my mom admitted later that she was afraid I was going to have trouble making friends). I was still shy, quiet, and awkward, but forced myself not to stay holed up in my dorm. I actually made friends a lot quicker and easier than I thought I would, thanks to parties and the drinks at said parties. I never thought I had a drinking problem, but it was always in the back of my mind because there is alcoholism on both sides of my family.

One day during my freshman year, my friend pulled me aside to ask me an innocent question. She wanted to know if what I told her the night before at a party was true. I didn't remember the conversation at all and had no idea what she was talking about. She bluntly told me that I confessed to being bisexual. It blew my mind. I had never really contemplated my sexual orientation up until that point, and had only had crushes on guys. But the moment she said it, a lightbulb went off in my brain and I just knew: I was bisexual. All of the pieces starting fitting into place. Although I never consciously thought about my sexual orientation growing up, some subconscious part of my brain had been figuring it all out and just waiting for the right moment to drop that bomb. And apparently the best time to drop that bomb was while I was smashed and wouldn't remember. Go figure.

As corny as it sounds, at that moment, I finally felt like I knew who I was. It was scary and exciting. When I moved into my new dorm for my sophomore year, I met Christen. We were both figuring ourselves out and started a relationship. It almost didn't happen because we are both very shy and quiet and awkward, and neither of us wanted to make the first move. Thank goodness we did, because we're still together five and a half years later.

I'm so glad I never surrendered to all of my negative feelings during high school. I could've easily used a sharper object to cut deeper, and never made it to college. I could've done something rash and scared my parents enough to keep me closer for school. I could've wallowed in my confusing search to know who I was and never left my dorm room. Had I let any of this overwhelm me, I may not have met and fell in love with Christen.

Every time I look down at my wrists and the blue stars I got tattooed on them, I remember the choices I made and the choices I could have made had I surrendered to my inner turmoil in high school.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jennifer L. Armentrout Book Signing

This summer seems to be the summer of awesome book signings in my area! I've never seen so much book-related action in central Florida! Anyway, yesterday Jennifer L. Armentrout was at a local B&N for a stop on her Daemon Invasion Tour. I will admit, I was hesitant at first to read Obsidian. I've never been a fan of the space/alien portion of science fiction. But I kept seeing reviews that included something along the lines of "I don't normally like aliens, but..." so I decided I could give aliens one more chance.

The signing started at 3:00pm and I didn't get off of work yesterday until 2:30pm, and had to drive like a madwoman to get to B&N on time. I think I slipped in about seven minutes early. I got a great spot near the magazines, and totally rocked the red and khaki since I didn't have time to change out of my work clothes.



Jennifer started out by telling us a little about the book. I was one of maybe three people who had not read Obsidian yet. She told us that her editor asked for a book about hot aliens, and at first she said no. Then an idea started to take shape. She also explained that her first thought when she hears aliens is insect-like creatures, and those just aren't hot. There were a good amount of questions from the audience, and off of twitter. I really enjoyed hearing about the book trailers. The cover models, Sztella and Pepe were adorable. I, of course, forgot to take pictures during the Q&A. I have had my phone for over a year, and I always forget it has a camera.



When everyone lined up for the signing, ARCs of Onyx (book 2) were passed out. This was awesome and completely unexpected. Thanks Entangled! I do not know if everyone got one because I was near the front of the line and didn't get a chance to linger afterwards. I had to get back to work by 4:30pm to pick up Christen after her shift (since we share the car), so I couldn't hang around to get a picture with Jennifer, Sztella, and Pepe. It felt kind of like a book-signing-and-dash, but that's what I get for not taking the day off in time. All in all, definitely a fun afternoon. Plus, these are the only books I own that are signed by the author AND the cover models.



I met a couple bloggers briefly while in line: Christen from Goldilox and the Three Weres, Laura from Little Read Riding Hood, and Jenese from Readers Confession (if you click on the links, you can read their recaps of the events as well). This was my first time meeting other book bloggers, and it was great to be around other bookish people.

And in case anyone was wondering, I started reading Obsidian as soon as I got home. I was so intrigued after the event, that I just had to jump right in. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (57)

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

Title: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues
Author: Diana Roland
Series: White Trash Zombie #2
Publisher: Daw
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: 07/03/12
Chosen by: Sara
Summary:
Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over. Her felony record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she’s beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia. Yeah, that’s right -- the zombie mafia.

Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel’s going to need all of her brainpower -- and maybe a brain smoothie as well -- in order to get through it without falling apart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Giveaway Winners: Dark Frost & Evil Dark

There was a total of 15 participants in the Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep Giveaway. Using random.org, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winner. The winners is...

Barbara E.!

There was a total of 7 participants in the Evil Dark by Justin Gustainis Giveaway. Using random.org, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winner. The winner is...

donnas!

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 one of these links: [Dark Frost][Evil Dark].

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Top 5 Sundays (1)

Top 5 Sundays is a weekly blog meme hosted by Larissa's Bookish Life.

06/10/12: Fave Books from 1st Half of 2012!




This is my first time participating in Top 5 Sundays. When I saw that this week's Top 5 theme, I knew I wanted to join in. I was planning some sort of post like this, and figured this was a great way to showcase my favorite reads so far this year.

What is Top 5 Sundays? Here's how Larissa explains it on her blog:
Every Sunday I will post a TOP 5 list on the blog. It can be about anything and every week I'll have a new theme {You can vote on next week’s theme on my left sidebar!} and I will ad the Mr.Linky below the post so you can do a list with the theme and add you link to it.

Rules:
1.Write a post listing your TOP 5 choices within the theme I chose (or was chosen on a poll) for the week.
2.Mention this Blog on the post and link back to it.
3.Feel free to use the Feature's image (there is a smaller size version of it below).
4.After you've finished your post, add you link (of the post, not your blog's main page) to the Mr.Linky at the end of that week's post.
5.If you don’t have a blog to post, just leave your list in the comments. =)


1. Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen
I don't do dangerous.

Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha -- that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me... something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing -- and I don't know if I can get it back.

Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me...

This book was absolutely amazing. It surpassed all of my expectations, and was definitely everything I look for in a Paranormal YA involving angels.

2. Black Howl by Christina Henry
Something is wrong with the souls of Chicago's dead. Ghosts are walking the streets, and Agent of Death Madeline Black's exasperating boss wants her to figure out why. And while work is bad enough, Maddy has a plethora of personal problems too. Now that Gabriel has been assigned as her thrall, their relationship has hit an impasse. At least her sleazy ex-fiance Nathaniel is out of the picture -- or so she thinks...









Normally, I enjoy the first book in a series the most, but this installment is the best yet.

3. By a Thread by Jennifer Estep
When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.

Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider -- me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand -- permanently.

Jennifer can do no wrong. She's on my "best of" lists every year, sometimes multiple times, and this installment was no exception.

4. Switched by Amanda Hocking
When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel -- all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken... though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth -- and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become...

I was originally hesitant to read this novel. I tend to not enjoy a novel as much as everyone else is it's super hyped before I read it. But this definintely lived up to my expectations.

5. Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson
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?

One word: bludbunnies. This is the most unique, strange, and mind-bending novel I've read all year.

Runner's Up:
Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck
Blood of Eden by Tami Dane
Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff
Legend by Marie Lu

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Thanks to Tynga at Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves and making this awesome graphic!

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process! --Tynga



Bought:
Dark Kiss of the Reaper by Kristen Painter [Buy Now]
Vengeance Moon by Lee Roland [Buy Now]
Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen [Buy Now]
For anyone who didn't check out my post earlier in the week about the signing I went to last Sunday, these are the books I picked up. The Painter/Roland titles are signed. Although Michelle Rowen was not at the signing, this was the first time I found a copy of Dark Kiss and had to grab it.


Used:
Touch of Madness by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp [Buy Now]
The Devil's Playground by Jenna Black [Buy Now]
Timeless by Gail Carriger [Buy Now]
Wait for Dusk by Jocelynn Drake [Buy Now]
Enemy Lover by Karin Harlow [Buy Now]
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones [Buy Now]
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski [Buy Now]
Angelology by Danielle Trussoni [Buy Now]
I only paid about $14 for all of these! One local bookstore has an overstock sale every Saturday, so I got five of them for $1 a piece. The Darynda Jones copy was $4 and it looks brand new. Overall, great finds on this trip.


Library:
The Mane Event by Shelley Laurenston [Buy Now]
The Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie Viguie [Buy Now]
Variant by Robinson Wells [Buy Now]
Home Improvement, Undead Edition anthology [Buy Now]
Christen picked up The Mane Event because she wanted to read the first of the series before the one further along on her Kindle. I think we showed a lot more restraint than usual on this library trip.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (56)

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

Title: God Save the Queen
Author: Kate Locke
Series: The Immortal Empire #1
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Steampunk
Release date: 07/03/12
Chosen by: Sara
Summary:
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key -- the prize in a very dangerous struggle.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mini-Review: Viper Moon by Lee Roland

Title: Viper Moon
Author: Lee Roland
Series: Earth Witches #1
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 07/05/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
Cassandra Archer is the Huntress. She has faithfully served the Earth Mother for years, rescuing kidnapped children from monsters -- both human and supernatural -- dwelling in the ruins of the Barrows District. But when two children are kidnapped under similar circumstances, all clues point to a cataclysmic event on the next dark moon. Now Cass must race against the clock and prevent a sacrifice that could destroy the entire town...


Mini-Review: I really enjoyed the idea of the Earth Mothers and the powers she gives to those who serve her. I also liked the Barrows District and how only those who knew about the horrors within could actually see it. There was a point in the middle where the pace slowed down a bit, but overall the pace was pretty steady. Cassandra was a great character. She was strong and fought for what was right. I also enjoyed the way she interacted and communicated with her pets. Flynn was a nice match for Cassandra. Michael intrigued me, and I can't wait to find out more about him in the next book. The cover model is a great depiction of Cassandra, and the blues give off a slightly creepy feel reminiscent of the Barrows. My favorite aspect of the cover is the snakes wrapped around her arm.

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

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

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 04/24/12
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked -- and given the ultimate choice. Die... or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend -- a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what -- and who -- is worth dying for.


Plot: 4 Stars
I've been reading a lot of dystopian novels lately, but I find myself wishing they had paranormal elements, since that's mostly what I read. This novel was exactly what I have been looking for: a dystopian world filled with vampires. I liked the idea of the vampire cities, and human citizens being forced to donate blood. My favorite part of the vampire lore in this story was that the vampires would go mad if they went without blood for too long. The one aspect I wish could've been elaborated on is the rabids. They came across as zombie-like, but are made when a human is changed by a lesser vampire. They were creepy, but I wish more details had been shared about them. I assume they're going to tie into the possible cure for the disease that caused the vampires, and hope to learn more in the next novel.

Pace: 3.5 Stars
This was a long book. For the most part, the length of a novel will never keep me from reading it. Although I prefer short chapters, long chapters will also not keep me from reading. But this novel could've been a bit shorter in some parts. In the first half of the novel, there were a couple of scenes that could've been a bit streamlined to move the plot along a little better. A few scenes had a bit more details described than absolutely needed. Normally, I enjoy the first book in a series the most, because I love the world-building. I guess this novel was an example of a bit too much world-building too fast. Once I hit the second half of the novel, the pace sped up quite a bit and I gobbled it up. Hopefully the next novel will jump right in and keep up this pace.

Characters: 4.5 Stars
This novel would full of great, well-rounded characters. Allie was a great main character. She was strong and independent given her circumstances. I really enjoyed her journey in becoming something she abhors: a vampire. It was something she struggled with, especially when pretending to be human while travelling with nomads in search of Eden outside of the city. Zeke was an interesting character that I immediately wanted to know more about. As Allie got closer to Zeke, I found myself both rooting her on and hoping something would happen to keep them apart in fear of him finding out her true identity. I also really enjoyed Allie's vampire sire and mentor. He intrigued me, even if he wasn't present for a lot of the book. I hope to learn more about him and his motivations in the next installment.

Cover: 3 Stars
Everything about this cover works... Except for the cover model. There are a number of instances in the novel in which Allie is described as having Asian features, and yet the cover model does not appear to be of Asian descent. There are three things I'd like to see more of: main characters that are college student, LGBT characters that play bigger roles, and covers that accurately depict the main character, especially when said character is a person of color. That being said, everything else about the cover is great. I love the little bits of red against the blue cover. It gives the cover a very dark feel that works well with the book. The font choices are great, and I especially love when a cover included the series name. Normally I find covers that zoom in on the cover model's face a little boring, but the bloody tear sparked my interest and made me want to know more.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received an eARC via Netgalley.

B & L Books Anniversary Signing

Yesterday one of my local bookstores, B & L Books held a very cool signing to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. (They're only months older than me!) They opened their doors on a Sunday to let readers in to meet eleven authors (most local, but not all). Here's a list of the authors in attendance:
Karen Rose (suspense)
Roxanne St. Claire (contemporary)
Nancy J. Cohen (mystery)
Karen Hawkins (historical romance)
Robin Kaye (contemporary)
Lee Roland (paranormal romance)
Erica Ridley (historical romance)
Kristen Painter (urban fantasy)
Sherley Modesir-Prescott (childrens)
James C. Gillen (horror)
Shauna Hart (adult)


A couple authors have books releasing tomorrow, and the bookstore got special permission from the publishers to sell them two days early. One of these was Vengeance Moon by Lee Roland, the second book in her Earth Witches series, which I picked up since I recently finished book one. I picked up the last copy of Dark Kiss of the Reaper by Kristen Painter. I had been contemplating grabbing this title on Kindle, but I'm glad I waited because now I have a signed copy. Plus, I liked buying it from the bookstore since I already had copies of the three books in her House of Comarre series. She signed books two and three for me. I had gotten book one signed during a different signing last fall and it was great seeing her again, even if it was brief. When the employee that was directing the line asked if I was getting anything from Roxanne St. Claire signed (who was right next to Kristen Painter) and I said no thanks, she said it was because she "Doesn't write enough vampires!" Unrelated to the signing, I also grabbed a keeper copy of Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen, which I had been having trouble finding.

Christen found an old pirate romance by Jennifer Ashley while we were waiting in line. She grabbed a copy of If Your Shoes Could Speak by Sherley Modesir-Prescott and got it signed for her nephew. (He loves getting mail, so I'm sure he'll love a book signed to him!) She was also going to grab Karen Hawkin's latest release, but the crowd mixed with the heat cause her to develop a migraine, so we had to leave a little early. She hasn't read anything by Hawkins yet, but she thought the blurb for her new release sounded good (She did get a couple titles from the library). Plus, Karen Hawkins lives around here and if the last signing we went to at B & L Books is any indication, she isn't a stranger to the bookstore. I'm sure we'll be able to catch her again.

B & L Books went all out in celebration of their 25th anniversary, along with a couple publishers. When we walked in the door, we were given numbers for the line along with a reusable bag (decorated with cats) filled with goodies. Each bag had a Harlequin pen and pad, a Penguin poster, and a free book. Between me, Christen, and my mom, we got three large mass markets (those tall ones) from Harper. All three titles are mystery/suspense, so my mom will definitely enjoy them. After all of the craziness of getting books signed, the fun didn't stop when we checked out. There was a raffle for a $25 giftcard. And everyone that made a purchase got to draw a "coupon" from a box and get another prize. I got a Harlequin purse holder, Christen got a Harlequin money clip, and my mom got an old historical romance ARC (from August 2011) that Christen will enjoy. Also, there was punch and cake. The cake was even decorated with the flyer for the signing. It was pretty cool.

All in all, I think B & L books is my new favorite used bookstore in the area. It's a little further away than the other two I frequent, but I'll definitely be making the journey out there more often.