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)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kristi Cook Signing

This evening, I had the pleasure of meeting Kristi Cook. It was an intimate event with a small group of fans asking questions. At some points it felt more like a conversation, which I thought was great. Kristi also announced the title for the third book, which she hasn't posted anywhere yet. She said it was ok for us to post if we wanted, so here it is: Eternal. I can't wait to see the cover. I have no idea why, but I think a deep purple would look great next the Haven and Mirage.



We learned that Violet was originally names Ashton, but the publisher was weary of the two main characters both having names begin with A. And they thought the Ashton was a bit gender ambiguous, which could also lead to confusion. Kristi loved Ashton, so it was very hard to change her name. We also learned that the books have released so far apart (more than a year between each) because the publisher acquired the titles one at a time. I love learning more about an author's writing process and road to publishing.



She even had sharpies to go along with each book's cover. I love them!

Review: Darklands by Nancy Holzner

Title: Darklands
Author: Nancy Holzner
Series: Deadtown #4
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/31/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border -- but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human...

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear -- in the realm of the dead itself.


Plot: 4.5 Stars
This series holds a special place in my heart because Nancy was the first author to ever contact me for a review. I have loved each and every installment in this series, and this title was no different. I've learned to expect the unexpected. The author always keeps my on my toes with the twists and turns. I also really enjoy the wide array of paranormal creatures within the world the author has created. All too often, novels feel the author threw in everything but the kitchen sink, but it really works in this series. I also really enjoy the idea of Deadtown and the fight for paranormal rights.

Pace: 4 Stars
The first half of this novel flew by. It felt like I was catching up with old friends. The novel had just enough recap to bring me up to date without dragging the story down. Although at first, I wished the story had begun with a demon extermination like the three previous installments, I quickly changed my mind. This novel started out with an even bigger bang at Tina's career day. Once we were introduced to the Darklands, the realm of the dead, there were points in which the pacing slowed down a bit. But then the book ended with a bang, leaving me excited for the next novel.

Characters: 5 Stars
All of the characters in this series made great appearances in this novel, no matter how big or small. Tina was her usual self in the beginning, when she brought Vicki in for career day. I forget how much I love Tina's snarkiness in between novels, but she's definitely one of my favorite characters. I also really enjoyed seeing more of Maria, Vicki's niece. You get to learn more about the Cerddorion and how they develop their powers as she experiences the changes. It was also amusing to see how Juliet spent her house-arrest. I really liked the new characters introduced in this installment, especially one that was a big surprise. Although I really enjoy Vicki as a strong urban fantasy heroine, I think the cast of characters around her really make this series fantastic.

Cover: 4 Stars
This cover breaks from the pattern of the first three a bit in the angle and stance of the cover model. It's the first cover that zooms in and doesn't include a full body shot. The flaming sword also isn't quite as front and center as the previous covers. But all in all, the cover definitely fits in with the rest. It gives off the same kick-ass vibe as the rest of the series, and the greens in the lower corner stand out. I really love that the title and author are in the same font and the same placement on each cover. It helps give the series continuity.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (14)

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::
Cyber Sparks by Robert Appleton
Ironskin by Tina Connolly [Buy Now]
Stalking the Others by Jess Haines [Buy Now]
Thanks to Netgalley & Carina Press for the first title, Netgalley & Tor/Forge for the second title, and Jess Haines for the third title!

Won:
The Secret Guide to Dating Monsters by Sierra Dean
Thanks to Sierra Dean! I won this through a twitter giveaway and forgot to mention it last week.

Bought:
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown [Buy Now]
Forgotten by Cat Patrick [Buy Now]
The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow [Buy Now]
I'm very excited for Lies Beneath and The Iron Wyrm Affair. I grabbed Forgotten on a whim while we were shopping at Sam's because it intrigued me.

Bargain:
Accidentally Catty by Dakota Cassidy [Buy Now]
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton [Buy Now]
Definance by Lili St. Crow [Buy Now]
Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams [Buy Now]
I hit the jackpot at Books-A-Million. Defiance was $4, and the rest were $3. I grabbed Accidentally Catty for Christen. I finally got myself a keeper copy of Darkness Becomes Her. I still need book #3 in the Strange Angels series but couldn't pass up the deal on Defiance. I almost picked up a paperback copy of Alchemy of Forever last week, and I'm glad I waited because I like this cover more.

Edit: I didn't realize until adding my "buy now" links that The Iron Wyrm Affair doesn't release until August 7th. This is the second month in a row my local B&N has had a title from Orbit (and a steampunk title at that) out over a week early. I try my best to buy books after the release date, but I'm not perfect. This book wasn't on my radar at all (no idea how it slipped by), so I didn't think anything of it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mini-Review: Wrecked by Anna Davies

Title: Wrecked
Author: Anna Davies
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 05/01/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
Secrets of the sea have never been sexier than this.
Ever since the death of her parents, Miranda has lived on Whym Island, taking comfort in the local folklore, which claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and in its surrounding waters. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe things are out of your control.

But then a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, and Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy who haunts her dreams. Consumed by guilt from the accident, she finds refuge in late-night swims -- and meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but who is full of mystery: He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway... and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm.

Seductive and compelling, Wrecked brings a contemporary, paranormal twist to a classic enchanting tale.


Mini-Review: I really wanted to enjoy the plot of this novel, but it lacked details. I didn't feel like I learned much about Miranda's friends, both before the accident and through her memories afterwards. We also only learn the basics about mermaids and betwixtmen. Christian's point of view was so few and far between, in comparison to Miranda's point of view, that it was quite jarring when he took over a chapter which in turn led to the pacing being very rocky. Miranda wasn't a very likeable character, especially when speaking to other characters. She wouldn't let anyone finish a thought, and she would abruptly end conversations or switch topics, even if the current conversation wasn't bothering her or bringing up memories. It was infuriating when she would do this after asking a direct question to the other character. Because of this, conversations within the novel didn't feel natural. The cover had some good elements, but was a little dark over all. I really liked the bubbles and the blue title, and I wish the scale pattern on the male model stood out a tiny bit more.

Plot: 2 Stars
Pace: 2 Stars
Characters: 2 Stars
Cover: 3 Stars
Overall: 2 Stars

Disclosure: I bought a used copy of this novel for my own reading pleasure... And an ARC arrived instead. You can read all about My Little ARC Saga for the details.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (63)

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

Title: Dark Light of Day
Author: Jill Archer
Series: Noon Onyx #1
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: 09/25/12
Chosen by: Sara
Summary:
Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow... the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret -- she was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of and some will consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there... or attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine -- who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own -- Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reprieve From the Drama

There has been so much drama going around the blogging community lately in regards to negative reviews and bullying and authors behaving badly, and I'm trying my best to stay out of it. For anyone who needs a little break from all of the negativity, I am here to post some cat pictures. Because cat pictures make everything better. :)


This is my little girl, Riley.



This is Christen's big fluffy boy, Wade.



This is my mom's fat cat, Rupert.

Mini-Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #1
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 11/29/11
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.


Mini-Review: I'm not really a fan of the alien/space sub-genre of science fiction. I kept seeing glowing reviews for this book around the blogosphere, so when I found out the author would be practically right down the street for a book signing, I decided to give it a shot. And I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this novel. The aliens came across as a new and strange paranormal creature, instead of some gross being a la Men in Black. I sped through this novel and can't wait to start the next. My favorite part of the novel was the fact that the main character is a book blogger. It helped me connect with her. I found all of the characters to be interesting and unique. I think the cover models are perfect for Daemon and Katy (although I'm a bit biased since I met them at the signing), and I really enjoy the green. It makes the book stand out on my bookshelf. All in all, I definitely recommend this novel to all paranormal young adult lovers, even if aliens aren't normally your thing.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
Pace: 4.5 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Cover: 4 Stars
Overall: 4.5 Stars

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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (13)

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:
Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse [Buy Now]
The cover intrigued me and the book summary sounded interesting. Plus, the cover (especially the spine) is pretty cool.

Kindle:
The Taken by Vicki Pettersson [Buy Now]
The Tree Shepard's Daughter by Gillian Summers [Buy Now]
I have been meaning to pick up The Taken, and I'm glad I waited a few weeks because it's on sale until the end of the month for only $2.99. The Tree Shepard's Daughter was free as of Friday afternoon.

Received:
Cursed by Benedict Jacka [Buy Now]
Ace/Roc Sampler featuring Benedict Jacka, Alex Hughes, Jacqueline Carey, Steve Bein, Jill Archer, and Anton Strout
I received a second copy of Cursed. There must've been a mix up in regards to my giveaway win. I'm either going to hold on to the second copy for a future giveaway or pass it on to a co-worker who may enjoy it. I received the sampler from Jill Archer.

DNF Books of 2012 So Far

I personally do not write reviews for books that I don't finish. I personally don't like reviewing something I haven't finished because it feels like I'm judging the entire book, even though I did not read the entire book. I often keep a sticky note on the page where I stopped, just in case it intrigues me to finish it in the future. Sometimes I put a book down for a little because I'm not into it and pick up another with the intent to go back to that one, and then a couple months goes by and it doesn't happen. So instead, I'll just explain why I put these titles down.

January
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (YA)
Reason for picking up: It had been getting a lot of buzz and I was starting to get into dystopian more at the time.
Reason for DNF: I could not connect with the main character because of the way she narrated. There were a lot of strange half sentences and I didn't understand the passages that were crossed out. Also, it seemed like nothing had really transpired after a good chunk of the book.

After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel (YA)
Reason for picking up: Impromtu grab at the library.
Reason for DNF: Another disconnect between me and the main characters. Neither point of view was really doing anything for me. In books that swap between the hero and heroine, I'll stick around as long as I connect with one, but I wasn't connecting with either.

February
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins (YA)
Reason for picking up: Another impromtu grab at the library. The cover drew my eye.
Reason for DNF: The beginning of the year was really hit or miss with me and YA. I don't have a specific reason for this one other than, not my cup of tea.

Prince of Air & Darkness by Jenna Black (PNR)
Reason for picking up: I've enjoyed this author in the past.
Reason for DNF: The hero and heroine's interactions felt a little forced to me.

March
Curses! A F**ked Up Fairy Tale by J.A. Kazimer (UF)
Reason for picking up: I received this for review. It was unlike anything I had read and sounded like a fun read.
Reason for DNF: My sense of humor and this book's sense of humor didn't match. Plus, some of the names of people/places/things were too corny or cutesy for my taste.

April
Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day (PNR)
Reason for picking up: Christen bought this a while ago and it's been sitting on the bookshelf. I grabbed it on a whim because I wanted something completely different from what I was reading at the time (because I couldn't get into that book).
Reason for DNF: My dad being in the hospital at the time probably played a role in me not being about to get into this novel. I didn't read much this month because my mind wasn't in it.

May (none)

June
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander (UF)
Reason for picking up: I was intrigued by nursing aspect because I knew that was the author's profession.
Reason for DNF: The balance between the main character's job and the paranormal aspect weren't balanced for me. It was a bit too focused on the nursing aspect and the paranormal parts weren't unfolding fast enough. I tend to like books in which you can tell the author has actual experience (the best example being Diana Rowland), but this was just a bit too much detail and not enough paranormal.

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens (UF/PNR)
Reason for picking up: Christen enjoyed it in the past, and I had seen sooo many rave reviews around the blogosphere.
Reason for DNF: Sometimes when a book is crazy hyped, I get my hopes up. So when the book is only so-so, I feel let down. Had I found this on my own, it may have been a different story, but I wanted to love it because everyone else loved it and it just didn't happen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (62)

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

Title: The Unnaturalists
Author: Tiffany Trent
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: Steampunk Young Adult
Release date: 08/14/12
Chosen by: Sara
Summary:
In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s -- and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London -- and the world.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mini-Review: Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter

Title: Wicked Nights
Author: Gena Showalter
Series: Angels of the Dark #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 06/26/12
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
From the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld comes a dark, seductive new series featuring angels poised on the brink of destruction....

Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless -- and if he isn't careful, he'll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions, at any cost... until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he's never known before.

Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation -- or her ultimate damnation?


Mini-Review: Angels are a hard sell for me because I think of them as being like any other paranormal creature, and don't like when a lot of religion is mixed in. The last thing I want is a lecture or sermon when I'm reading. This novel is a great example of angels being tied to a higher power, without it being overly religious. I really enjoyed the lore of the different types of angels, and demons. Most of this novel flew right by while reading, but near the end it slowed a bit. As I got closer and closer to the end, I wondered when the plot was going to come to the climax/resolution. As the pages were slipping away, I worried the epic battle at the end would be quick and rushed. But I shouldn't have worried. The author wrapped everything up at the perfect pace. I really enjoyed both Zacharel and Annabelle, and got sucked into their story. Their interactions seemed very genuine, especially when things weren't perfect. I was also intrigued by some of Zacharel's warriors, and hope to see them get their own book in the future. My favorite part of the cover was that the female cover model looked like she possibly had some Asian heritage, therefore she felt more like Annabelle instead of random cover model. I also liked the body language of both models. The way they are embracing intrigued me.

Plot: 4 Stars
Pace: 4 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Cover: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Top 5 Sundays (4)

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


07/15/12: Favorite Names of Female Characters!




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. Riley
Why Riley? Well, when I was trying to figure out what to name my kitten, I started looking at all of the books on my shelves and seeing what their main character's names were. When I got to Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen series, I knew I had found the name for my kitten (and I hadn't even read the book yet).
Books: Full Moon Rising (Riley Jensen, Book 1) by Keri Arthur











2. Charlie/Charley
Why Charlie/Charley? I love when a strong female character has a first name more commonly given to guys.
Books: The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Book 1) by Kelly Gay & First Grave on the Right (Charlie Davidson, Book 1) by Darynda Jones




3. Violet
Why Violet? I'm not really sure. I don't normally like really girly names, and what's girlier than being named after a flower? There's just something about Violet that kept coming back to me while making this list.
Books: Haven (Winterhaven, Book 1) by Kristi Cook, The Body Finder (The Body Finder, Book 1) by Kimberly Derting, & Possession by Elana Johnson




4. Rhine
Why Rhine? It's a very original name, but it doesn't come off a pretentious the way other out-there names sometimes do.
Books: Wither (Chemical Garden, Book 1) by Lauren DeStefano















5. Harper
Why Harper? I just like it. There's really no reason, except I just really enjoy this name.
Books: Grave Sight (Harper Connolly, Book 1) by Charlaine Harris & Greywalker (Greywalker, Book 1) by Kat Richardson

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (12)

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:
Darklands by Nancy Holzner [Buy Now]
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink ARC [Buy Now]
Thanks to Ace & Michelle Zink! I was super excited for A Temptation of Angels because I had totally forgotten it was on its way. Plus, I got a cool bookmark.

Won:
Cursed by Benedict Jacka [Buy Now]
Tainted Night, Tainted Blood by E.S. Moore [Buy Now]
Thanks to Ace/Tynga's Reviews & E.S. Moore. I also got a cover flat for the next book in E.S. Moore's series.

Bought:
Wrecked by Anna Davies [Buy Now]
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan [Buy Now]
I ordered a used copy of Wrecked and received an ARC. If you want the whole story, you can click through to read My Little ARC Saga.

Kindle:
The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood
These titles were $0.99 and $1.99 when I purchased them. They may or may not still be at those prices.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mini-Review: Haven by Kristi Cook

Title: Haven
Author: Kristi Cook
Series: Winterhaven #1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 02/22/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
Violet McKenna isn’t a normal girl with normal teenage issues; she has more to contend with than most people could handle. Violet thought she was just crazy when she had a vivid vision of her dad’s murder. Her life started falling apart when her premonition came true. She’s had flashes of other events too -- the problem was nobody believed her until she found a new school: Winterhaven.

At Winterhaven, Violet finally feels like she belongs. She quickly finds a close group friends and discovers that they too have psychic ‘gifts’ -- as do all the students at Winterhaven. But as soon as she feels settled she discovers the most intriguing and alluring boy she has ever met, and things quickly go awry. As the attraction between them grows, intense visions of the boy’s death start to haunt her. In her premonitions, the secret he is unwilling to share begins to reveal itself.

And to Violet’s horror, she learns that their destinies are intertwined in a critical -- and deadly -- way.


Mini-Review: I love a good Paranormal Young Adult involving a boarding school, and this one definitely didn't disappoint. I really enjoyed that Winterhaven was a school for kids with psychic abilities, and loved the wide range of powers that the students possessed. There was also some other paranormal aspects lurking around, and it was a great twist. The bits and pieces of Violet's visions we get throughout the novel are spaced in a way to make the story flow very well. I enjoyed Violet's friends and their interactions a bit more than the love interest, but I really enjoyed how they all came together to help each other when needed. I personally enjoy object covers because the simplicity grabs my eye.

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

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

My Little ARC Saga

Last week I was on Amazon looking at mermaid YAs because I'm in a bit of a mermaid kick at the moment. After finishing Forgive My Fins, I realized that I didn't have any mermaid books on my shelves. I'm trying to be a bit better about buying books due to my finances, so I decided I would buy the mermaid books I wanted one at a time. Each one would be the reward for finishing the before. The three I was trying to choose between were Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown, Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (I'm also holding out hope she'll venture over to my end of Florida for a signing), and Wrecked by Anna Davies.

Although I don't usually buy through the Amazon Marketplace because I've gotten "Like New" books in the past that looked like they had been run over by a car, I couldn't pass up the price I found for a copy of Wrecked. So it was decided. I had a couple dollars in credit card rewards to cover shipping, so I was really excited for the price.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday. I open up the mailbox to find my copy of Wrecked has arrived. I immediately notice the envelope seems a bit too slim (I had looked at the book at B&N) and the book inside feels too soft. I went inside, changed out of my work clothes, and opened the envelope...

To find an ARC. My first thought was WTF?! My next thought was Son of a b*tch?! I may or may not have said these out loud... I couldn't believe that I had purchased an ARC. Nothing in the product or condition description from the seller led me to believe I would be receiving anything but a hardcover. Even the packing slip said hardcover.

An overwhelming feeling of wrong-doing overtook me. Even though I knew I hadn't done anything wrong on my end, I still felt guilty and dirty. I didn't want to return the book, because I didn't want the seller to just turn around an sell it to someone else. I logged on to Amazon with the intent to find a way to alert them of the seller. I was also going to leave feedback, but it was too early since the delivery window hadn't closed yet. But I did see a button for filing a claim.

So I filed a claim. I explained that I did not get the product as described, and went on to tell them that the ARC should never have been up for sale, seeing as it says "Not for sale" on it (although it is much smaller and less noticable than many ARCs, but that's not the point). I almost ended the claim with "Shame on you" but decided to keep it unconfrontational.

Now I just had to wait and see. I got a response the next afternoon, much sooner than expected. Here is the response I received:

"Dear Sara, Thank you for notifying us of the ARC of the book you had ordered. I am sorry that we had over looked the item, and I assure you we do not intentionally mislead our customers. For this I have refunded you the price of the item. Please feel free to discard the item or do what you wish with it. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you."

First, they refunded the purchase price, but not the shipping. So it ended up being the same as if I paid for another blogger to ship an ARC to me. But it still feels dirty to me. Second, while I applaud them for apologizing for sending the wrong version of the product, they never once acknowledged specifically selling ARCs is wrong. It makes me wonder how many people who aren't aware of what an ARC is have received one and just shrugged and gone with it.

So now that I got the majority of my money back (since the rewards covered most of the shipping), I'm left wondering what to do. I have a co-worker with a twelve year old daughter, and he's been using my book knowledge to help decide what books to let her read. I can pass the ARC along to him for his daughter, but I'd like to read it first to make sure it's appropriate by his standards. And if it's not appropriate, I can have a giveaway right here or donate it to my local librarian. I'm just left wondering what book to order with the refund. Should I go with another copy of Wrecked, because what are the chances of having issues again? Or should I grab a copy of one of the other mermaid books if I find a better deal?

Update: In browsing Amazon as I contemplate my decision, I found that the same seller has another copy of Wrecked at an even lower price. Is this the hardcover they meant to sell me? Is it possibly another ARC? Am I curious enough to find out? I'm gonna go check their feedback to see if others have received ARCs...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (61)

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

Title: Alchemystic
Author: Anton Strout
Series: Spellmason Chronicles #1
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: 09/25/12
Chosen by: Sara
Summary:
AN OLD FRIEND OF THE FAMILY...

Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name... Lexi's great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason -- an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor's most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis. Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mini-Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Title: Forgive My Fins
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Series: Fins #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 06/01/10
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but for Lily Sanderson, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily has a secret, and it’s not her huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid -- she’s a Thalassinian princess. When she discovered three years ago that her mother was actually a human, Lily finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been going to Seaview High ever since. Living on land has its problems -- like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher -- but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type -- when they bond, it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.


Mini-Review: It's summertime and I really wanted to read mix things up and read a book about mermaids. I don't have that many on my shelves, but I'm glad I grabbed this one. I really liked the mermaid lore within this novel, especially how the mermaids interact in and out of the water. This novel was a fast and fun read, perfect for summer. Although I enjoyed all of the characters, there were a few moments in which Lily came across a little shallow and immature for me. But as the story progressed and she was forced to deal with certain circumstances, she definitely grew up a little. The bright colors of this cover have a very fun feel that fits this novel. All in all, this was a fun summer read.

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

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

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Top 5 Sundays (3)

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

07/08/12: Favorite Book Covers (1st 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. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig 04/24/12
Why I love it? It looks like a piece of art. The hundreds of birds coming together to make the cover model was genius.
Miriam Black knows when you will die.

Still in her early twenties, she's foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.

Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can't save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she'll have to try.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Touch Of Death | The Future Is Written | Free Way | Surviving ]


2. This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers 06/19/12
Why I love it? The hair over the cover model's face is so mysterious and the blood splatter hints at something bad. But most of all, the simplicity.
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life -- and death -- inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


3. Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen 05/22/12
Why I love it? This wings. They look like ink floating in water.
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...


4. By A Thread by Jennifer Estep 02/28/12
Why I love it? The colors are bright and vibrant, plus I love that Gin is showing off her rune, her weapon, and her face.
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.


5. Wicked As They Come by Delilah S. Dawson 03/27/12
Why I love it? This cover has so many small details that make it more interesting the longer I examine it.
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?


Special mention to two covers that just missed making the list, as they were both 07/03/12 releases:
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (11)

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:
Changeling by Kelly Meding [Buy Now]
Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland [Buy Now]
Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt [Buy Now]
I'm so excited for Meding and Rowland's new books! The first in each series were both some of my top reads last year. I picked up Chosen Ones on a whim after seeing it on the shelf. Hadn't heard of it before, but it sounds great.

Kindle:
Possess by Gretchen McNeil [Buy Now]
Variant by Robinson Wells [Buy Now]
These were both $2.99 yesterday when I purchased them. I'm not sure how long the sale will last, so grab them while you can.


Library:
Surrender by Elana Johnson [Buy Now]
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund [Buy Now]
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma [Buy Now]
I've been patiently waiting on hold for my copy of Surrender from the library. And the other two novels intrigued me while I was browsing.


Won:
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter [Buy Now]
Kiss of Pride by Saundra Hill [Buy Now]
Thanks to whatchYAreading and Harlequin Teen for Goddess Interrupted. Thanks to Anna @ Anna's Book Blog for Kiss of Pride and all of the swag.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mini-Review: This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

Title: This Is Not A Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 06/19/12
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Summary:
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life -- and death -- inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


Mini-Review: This novel was so much more than a zombie book. It was a book about teenagers dealing with life and I wish I had had this novel when I was in high school. The zombies were used in a way to force the characters into situations that they wouldn't normally deal with, and I enjoyed every second. I could not put this novel down. Even when the zombies weren't an immediate threat, the book kept me on my toes. Each character brought his or her own baggage to the high school, and their interactions really made the book for me. The cover was just as stunning as the rest of the novel. The simplicity drew me in, the hair over the cover model's face made me want to know more, and the blood splatter added the perfect dose of morbidity to make me pick it up. All in all, this is a great novel for zombie lovers and overall YA lovers.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
Pace: 5 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Cover: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars

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