Current Giveaways

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

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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (19)

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

Before I get to the books, I would like to apologize for my lack of posting. I have had some personal mayhem recently, and the result has led to no blogging and almost no reading this past week. I may expand on the subject in a post at some point in the future, but for now I'll just say that the next couple of months are going to be tough for me. But enough about me, on to the books!

A Reason to Believe by Diana Copeland eARC
Moonlight by Katie Salidas
Thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for the first title and Katie for the second.

Dark Light of Day by Jill Archer [Buy Now]
The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle [Buy Now]
Adaption by Malinda Lo [Buy Now]
Boyfriend from Hell by Jamie Quaid [Buy Now]
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter [Buy Now]
Tons of great books came out these past two weeks, and I seriously had to pace myself. I grabbed the ones I absolutely had to have, and will hold off on a few until my birthday next month. I was unsure whether I wanted Alice in Zombieland in print or Kindle, but when I saw all of the detailing, I knew I had to have it in print.

Blade Song by J.C. Daniels [Buy Now]
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey [Buy Now]
Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble [Buy Now]
Grabbed these titles because of the prices. When I purchased them they were $2.99, $1.24, and $0.99 respectively, and may not still be those prices.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Excerpt + Giveaway: Gini Koch

I would like to welcome Gini Koch to Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog to promote her new self-published book The Night Beat, Book #1 in the Necropolis Enforcement Files. Today, I have an excerpt from The Night Beat, and stick around to the end because there will be a giveaway!

Thanks for stopping by on the Necropolis Enforcement Blog Tour of 2012! If you haven’t read the first chapter of The Night Beat, hit Deathless Prose over at my website ( and check it out. Then, hit each stop along the way to get more of the story. Missed a stop? Check the website for the Tour Page and get caught up.

And don’t forget to get entered to win a copy of The Night Beat at EVERY blog tour stop along the way! Plus, follow the Tour ‘til the end and get entered for a mega-prize! So, grab your badge -- it’s time to join Necropolis Enforcement!

Title: The Night Beat
Author Gini Koch
Series: Necropolis Enforcement Files #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 06/08/12
The majority of Prosaic City’s residents don’t know that their town exists on top of another place -- Necropolis, City of the Undead. For the most part, the two planes of existence manage to remain separate. And when they don’t, Necropolis Enforcement has beings in place to ensure the general human population remains blithely clueless.

Victoria Wolfe is more than just a policewoman. She’s an undercover werewolf assigned by Necropolis Enforcement to work Prosaic City Police’s Night Beat. Victoria’s comfortable working the shift where all the weird comes out to play, especially since her partner is also her perfect man. Or would be, if Victoria could ever work up the nerve to tell him she isn’t like other girls.

It’s hard enough being a werewolf in disguise, but when a creature from the Depths of Hell shows up in an alley preferred by junkies, bums, and hookers, it’s going to take more than just Victoria’s special gun and werewolf skills to subdue the ancient Sumerian demon. Especially when the demon is merely the start of what appears to be a major takeover attempt by the Prince of Darkness.

Soon all of Necropolis Enforcement’s Undead Brigade is involved in the fight to stop the Prince’s Major Minions from taking over Prosaic City and the rest of the human plane. But it’s Victoria who has to face the Adversary and figure out what intricate plan Lucifer has up his wings before everyone she cares about is destroyed.

In other words, it’s just another day on the Night Beat.

I went over to watch Ken work and Jack came with me. Ken had one hand on a dead hooker’s head, thumb and forefinger on the temples, with the other on the heart. He was concentrating.

“What’s he doing?” Jack whispered to me.

“Seeing if they’re worth reviving.” Ken had a perfect track record so far -- he’d never brought back a potential minion.

“But they’re dead.”

“Yeah, well, there are ways. I mean, they won’t come back as human, but being a zombie’s not as bad as it’s cracked up to be. And there are other options. Hookers usually come back as succubae. It’s typecasting, but it works.”

“What do the junkies and bums come back as?”

“Bums usually opt for zombie. Junkies…well, junkies rarely come back.”

“Why so?”

“They’re already too close to the Prince.” This was true. There were so many sins out there, and everyone indulged in at least one of them, even if they thought they didn’t. But junkies were among the most willful, more so than alcoholics, adulterers, or murderers. Pedophiles, rapists and junkies rarely got a second shot at life from us. We had standards and we also had history to back up our decisions.

“Who’s the Prince?” Jack asked as Ken shook his head and moved on to the next body.

“The Prince of Darkness.”

“Oh. The Devil. Or is that Count Dracula?”

“Neither.” I struggled to put the right words around what the Prince really was.

“Count Dracula gets a bad rap for no good reason,” Ken offered. “He’s one of the main reasons the Prince hasn’t taken over.”

“And the Devil’s really Yahweh’s servant,” Maurice added as he joined us.

“Yahweh?” Jack sounded confused.

“The entity most humans call God’s real name.” I was very fond of Yahweh, some because he was strong and righteous, mostly because he was the strongest god fighting against the Prince and it paid to support your boss.

“God has a lot of names, but --”

Ken interrupted Jack. “Yes, he does. But there are also more gods out there than you can count. And they all have a variety of names. But each prefers the name he or she feels is truly theirs. The one you’re talking about is named Yahweh. He likes his name used, by the way, though not in vain.”

“So, what does he do when someone says ‘God damn it’?” Jack sounded ready to sign up for H.P.’s Gods and Monsters for Beginners class at Necropolis U. I was getting worried.

“He laughs,” Maurice replied. “If he even hears it. ‘God’ is a general term. Now, if you cursed using his real name, then he’d be taking an interest. But when someone goes, ‘Oh God, oh God’ and then orgasms, it’s just a general statement, sort of like ‘the sky is blue’ or ‘demon kind are scary’.”

“So, the Prince isn’t Count Dracula and he isn’t the Devil,” Jack said. “So, what is he?”

My wrist-com came to life as the Count calmly answered. “Evil incarnate.”

Authors Bio:
Gini Koch lives in Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, AZ), works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files series, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. As G.J. Koch she writes the Alexander Outland series for Night Shade Books. She also writes under a variety of other pen names (including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch), listens to rock music 24/7, and is a proud comics geek-girl willing to discuss at any time why Wolverine is the best superhero ever (even if Deadpool does get all the best lines). She speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business. She can be reached through her website at

Buy Links:
[Amazon] [Amazon Paperback] [Smashwords] [Barnes and Nobles]

And now for the giveaway! Gini has graciously offered one ebook to one lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address. The giveaway is open internationally and will last through midnight EST on Saturday, September 29th. Winners will be chosen using on Sunday, September 30th.

Waiting on Wednesday (69)

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

Title: The Shattered Dark
Author: Sandy Williams
Series: Shadow Reader #2
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: 10/30/12
Chosen by: Sara
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows...

McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends -- and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war between the fae.

With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mini-Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 05/22/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help -- no matter what the risk.

Mini-Review: This is one of those novels that I was really excited to read, especially as I saw more and more about it around the blogosphere. In the end, I think my expectations were a bit too high given the hype and sadly the story fell a bit short for me. Although I really enjoyed the lore surrounding the Syrena, and those who were Of Poseidon and Of Triton. But there were small things that didn't completely make sense to me. Emma could hold her breath for extremely long periods of time, but couldn't breath underwater, and yet somehow she could still converse. Normally I enjoy chapters with alternate points of view. What threw me was the fact that Emma's chapters were present tense and in first person, while Galen's were present tense but in third person. The jump between first and third person pulled me out of the story at some points. The characters were definitely my favorite part of this novel. I really enjoyed getting to know each and every character. The cover is striking and beautiful in its simplicity, but the cover model definitely was not how I envisioned Emma. Overall, the story didn't quite live up to my expectations, but it was still a great summer read. And I'll most likely pick up the next novel after the revelation at the end.

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

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book for my own reading pleasure.

Author Interview: Alex Hughes

Today, I’d like to welcome Alex Hughes to the blog to promote the recent release of Clean, the first book in the Mindspace Investigations series from Roc which came out on September 4th. You can read my review here.

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

Alex: Clean is a book about a guy with telepath who is recovering from a drug addiction. He and his partner-slash-love interest Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino are solving crimes for the future Atlanta police and are currently tracking a serial killer who kills with the mind.

Sara: In three words, how would you describe your main characters?

The main character: tortured brilliant telepath
Cherabino: talented haunted workaholic
Swartz: wise calm mentor
Paulsen: no-nonsense competent policewoman

Sara: Do you have a favorite character to write? Is there a character that’s a bit harder than the rest to write?

Alex: I love writing Paulsen –- she’s the boss I never had but always wish I did. Stern and ready to kick you in the ass but also reasonable, well thought-out, and competent. Sometimes Cherabino can be tough; she doesn’t like sharing a lot of her personal stuff even with me, so getting her out on the page correctly is a process.

Sara: What sets Clean apart from other urban fantasy?

Alex: If the definition of urban fantasy is an urban setting where the paranormal elements and the larger-than-life clash with normalcy and real life, then Clean is definitely an urban fantasy. It has telepathy in place of the usual magic and ghoulies, but it definitely clashes them with more normal life in cool ways. Clean has at its heart a science fiction tale instead of the usual fantasy, though. Telepathy takes on the rules of science and technology sits uncomfortably in the background, and mystery and science play big roles. The hero is dark, almost an anti-hero, but he’s making his way and trying to do the right thing. The book will definitely appeal to the urban fantasy reader (I’ve gotten lots of emails from fans of urban fantasy saying they like the book a lot) but it’s very different than the typical one.

Sara: Where did the idea for Clean come from? Is it a novel you have always wanted to write or did it sneak up on you?

Alex: This one definitely snuck up on me. I’d just read Joan D. Vinge’s Catspaw, a story about a tortured telepath, and loved it enough to try to do something similar. A friend of mine at the time was really struggling to move towards health and away from anorexia/bulimia, and her struggle really impacted me. I wanted to talk about that struggle, but I knew I’d need something that was a little easier to understand. I also loved cop shows on TV and thought it might be cool to have a detective type. Thus was born the idea of a tortured telepath who’s struggling towards health from an addiction while solving crimes.

Sara: Can we look forward to anymore novels in the Mindspace Investigations series?

Alex: Absolutely! I have nine books sketched out for the series in total. Book Two (Sharp) will be out in April, and a novella in the same series (Payoff) will be out in March.

Sara: Tell us a little about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Alex: By nature, I am definitely a pantser, but in the last few years I’ve been trying to train myself to be a plotter with outlines. The result is something in between; I know where I’m going, but I go off-book a lot. Sometimes that’s my best work, and sometimes that just puts in a lot of fat I need to trim out –- but there’s no way to know until I have an entire draft and can see the shape of the book as a whole.

Sara: What are your influences both in and out of urban fantasy?

Alex: Oh, wow. Big question. I read widely and I’m always influenced by what I read, big-name author or unknown. I’m also influenced by television, the news, and real life. To name a few UF influences, I love Laura Anne Gilman, Tanya Huff, early Laurell K. Hamilton, and Michelle Sagara. Outside of the genre I love C.J. Cherryh, Robert Heinlein, David Weber, Anne McCaffrey and Mercades Lackey, and of course Andre Norton.

Sara: What are you currently reading?

Alex: I’m rereading David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Learning how to promote the book on top of writing and editing has been a little intense, but I’m figuring it out, and Allen’s system seems to work pretty well.

Biography of the Author:
Alex has written since early childhood, and loves great stories in any form including scifi, fantasy, and mystery. Over the years, Alex has lived in many neighborhoods of the sprawling metro Atlanta area. Decatur, the neighborhood on which Clean is centered, was Alex’s college home.

On any given week you can find Alex in the kitchen cooking gourmet Italian food, watching hours of police procedural dramas, and typing madly.

You can find out more about the author and Clean at and, along with following on twitter @ahugheswriter.

Title: Clean
Author: Alex Hughes
Series: Mindspace Investigations #1

I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars.

My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it -- real scary.

Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city -- and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: Clean by Alex Hughes

Title: Clean
Author: Alex Hughes
Series: Mindspace Interrogations #1
Publisher: Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Science Fiction
Release Date: 09/04/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

I used to work for the Telepath's Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn't entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars.

My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it -- real scary.

Now the cops don't trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn't trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city -- and I'm aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I've just had a vision of the future: I'm the next to die.

Plot: 4 Stars
This novel was a nice mix of urban fantasy and science fiction, with a touch of dystopian. I really enjoyed the Guild and it's network of telepaths and teleporters working separately of the normal population. They have a lot of secrets, and I hope to learn more of them in the next novel. This novel was filled with twists and turns as the police department came face to face with the Guild as a serial killer plagued the city. It was very interesting to see how the main character dealt with balancing his addiction and his telepathy with his job with the police and his old contacts at the Guild. The author created a very intricate and fascincating alternate Atlanta that will definitely appeal to both urban fantasy and science fiction readers.

Pace: 2.5 Stars
The pace of the novel is really the only criticism I had when reading. In a world as intricate as the author's alternate Atlanta, there was a good deal of worldbuilding involved. Now, I love worldbuilding as much as the next reader, but it got a tiny bit overwhelming at times. Some parts of the worldbuilding could've been introduced a little more organically, instead of inbetween major plot points. There was also a moment near the end in which there was just a bit too much build up for the final conflict/resolution. I found myself anxious to get to the final showdown and figure the case out. Overall, the pacing was a bit uneven and bit slow at times, but was just one small criticism of an otherwise great book.

Characters: 4 Stars
The main character of this novel is a recovering drug addict, but his addiction doesn't overwhelm the other aspects of the story. Besides his inner conflict in regards to the drug, Satin, he also has to work to keep from reading everyone's thoughts. Cherabino was a bit grumpy, but a very hardworking detective. I really enjoyed her character, especially the few moments in which we see her vulnerabilities. I liked how the author laid just the bare bones in regards to Cherabino being the love interest. It was the perfect amount of relationship-related plot for this novel, and I'm excited to see where it goes. There was a very strong cast of secondary characters, and I enjoyed the majority of them.

Cover: 4 Stars
The cover seemed a bit out of focus, but that really worked given the main character's telepathy and drug addiction. I really enjoyed that the cover model was facing away from the reader, hiding his face, since he tends to keep everyone at arms length. I also really enjoy the perspective of the image, and how the buildings are all around the cover model. It gives the cover a very gritty, urban feel that fits the novel perfectly. My favorite part is the big, bold, yellow title. It stands out really well against the blues and blacks, and there's no mistaking what the novel is called, or who wrote it.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

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

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (18)

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

Broken by A.E. Rought eARC [Preorder]
Thanks to Netgalley and Strange Chemistry for this title.

Embrace of the Damned by Anya Bast [Buy Now]
A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious by Mary Wine [Buy Now]
I have picked up the Anya Bast title numerous time, only to put it back down because I found something else I wanted more, so I finally picked it up. The other title was something I hadn't heard of before, but am really intrigued by.

A Bad Day For Voodoo by Jeff Strand [Buy Now]
Christen got stuck at work really late and was having a bad day, so I picked this up for her before I picked her up. She had been eye-balling it every time we went shopping, but always ended up picking something else up to buy.

Above by Leah Bobet [Buy Now]
Just for Fins by Tera Lynn Childs [Buy Now]
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins [Buy Now]
Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink [Buy Now]
The last three are all books threes in which I have only read (and enjoyed) book one. I am hoping that grabbing them will help motivate me getting caught up since I now have a time limit.

Mini-Review: Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Title: Ripple
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 07/21/11
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
A siren must choose between the curse that defines her and a chance at love

Lexi is cursed. Following in the footsteps of every woman on her mother's side of the family, she's a siren whose song lures unsuspecting victims to their watery deaths. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim to stay alive. Lexi wants desperately to be a normal girl, but she cuts herself off, becoming an ice queen to keep from hurting the people she cares about. Then she finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision of her life. Will she learn that love finds a way to overcome even the strongest of curses?

Ripple is a sea-ravaged tale of melancholy beauty, and the choices one girl makes between land and waves, love and freedom, her future -- and her heart.

Mini-Review: I have been waiting for a chance to borrow this book from the library for a while, and it definitely didn't disappoint. Even Christen enjoyed it (she read it before me), and she is harder to please when it comes to Paranormal Young Adult. I really enjoyed the siren lore in this novel, and how Lexi coped. It was very interesting to see her interact with the other kids at school after the events leading up to the story. Once I was hooked, I couldn't put this book down. It was a quick read, but definitely in a good way. As Lexi was put into certain situations at school, I got to learn more about the students she used to be friends with. All in all, this was a great paranormal read with some interesting twists and turns. The cover was a bit simple, but really worked well with the story.

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

Disclosure: I borrowed this book for my local library.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (68)

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

Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release date: 01/22/13
Chosen by: Sara
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous -- it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hardwon redemption.

Title: Poison Princess
Author: Kresley Cole
Series: Arcana Chronicles #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release date: 10/02/12
Chosen by: Christen
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future -- and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mini-Review: Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Onyx
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #2
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 08/14/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks...

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town...

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes...

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them -- from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies...

Mini-Review: This novel was a great follow-up to Obsidian. I really enjoyed delving back into this world and learning even more about the Luxen and their powers. This installment also opened up a world of intrigue as it delved deeper into the Department of Defense's involvement in the Luxen. Just like the first novel, I couldn't put this one down. A few new characters were introduced that intrigued me. But I wish Kati and Daemon's relationship could've taken a bit of a backseat in a few instances because I missed Dee and some of her other friends a bit. The color choice for the cover looks great, especially next to Obsidian.

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

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this title at the book signing.

Review: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Title: Innocent Darkness
Author: Suzanne Lazear
Series: Aether Chronicles #1
Publisher: Flux
Genre: Steampunk Young Adult
Release Date: 08/08/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
A hoverboard appeared in her rearview mirror. “This is the Los Angeles Air Patrol,” a voice boomed. “I command you to land your vehicle in the name of the law.”

Noli Braddock and her best friend V’s incident with a flying auto have landed them in a heap of trouble. And when Noli is sent to a spirit-squelching reform school in San Francisco, she’s sure that her rebellious adventures are over.

Meanwhile, Kevighn Silver has been ordered by the Faerie Queen to bring a mortal girl back to the Otherworld. The magic requires a blood sacrifice every seven years, and only a mortal girl who shines with the Spark -- a girl like Noli -- will keep the Otherworld from complete destruction.

When an ill-timed wish sends Noli tumbling into the Otherworld, she’s more homesick than ever... until V arrives to save her from an untimely demise. But who exactly is V? And if he helps Noli escape, who will save the realm of Faerie from utter annihilation?

Plot: 4 Stars
I'm really starting to love steampunk novels that also have paranormal elements, and somehow faeries really mix well. I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this novel, and it was a really big part of the novel since the author intoduced the reader to two worlds: the steampunk world that Noli knows and the faerie world that she falls into. The author had an attention to detail that really made the worlds come to life without bogging the reader down in tons and tons of description. It was a great balance and I loved learning the ins and outs of each.

Pace: 3 Stars
I think the novel was both helped and hindered by the multiple points of view. There were points in the novel in which the POV jumps were needed for the reader to get the full picture. Then there were times that the POV jumped in the middle of a scene, and by the time the novel got back to that POV to finish the scene, it seemed like more time should have gone by. As much as I loved getting all of the information from the different points of view, there were times that it slowed the novel down a bit for me. There was also a bit of repetition in the middle of the novel, but I'm glad I didn't put it down because the ending was a race to the finish.

Characters: 4 Stars
Noli is a fantastic character. She was strong and independent, yet vulnerable. She was a bit of a troublemaker, but had good intentions. She was riding hoverboards and fixing flying cars while most girls her age were learning how to tend to the home. I really enjoyed Noli and all of her layers, and was definitely invested in what happened to her. V, Noli's best friend, was another interesting character. I liked how he complimented many of her qualities, kept her from getting into too much trouble. Kevighn was a mysterious character, and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about him. As much as he came across as the bad guy, there were some moments in which he was sweet and caring towards Noli.

Cover: 3 Stars
There are so many things about this cover that I love. The font choice and the details around it immediately drew my eye. And the zepplin in the background told me immediately that this was a steampunk title and sealed the deal. The buildings in the background and the cover model's outfit just added to the steampunk goodness. The colors worked really well with all of the images and the overall feel. But I just can't get over the cover model's expression. She looks bored as she plays with her hair, and I cannot reconcile this cover model with the lively girl I met while reading this novel. Noli was full of life and spunk and mischief, and I just wish I could've seen a little of that in the cover model's gaze.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

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

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (17)

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

Fathom by Merrie DeStefano eARC
Revelation by Erica Hayes eARC [Preorder]
Clean by Alex Hughes [Buy Now]
Dead Mann Running by Stefan Petrucha [Buy Now]
These review titles are a nice mix, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading all four. I just started Clean, and am enjoying it so far.

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson [Buy Now]
Immortally Yours by Angie Fox [Buy Now]
Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster [Buy Now]
I've been seeing great reviews for all three of these titles, so I can't wait to dig in.

Virals by Kathy Reichs [Buy Now]
Trick or Treat anthology [Buy Now]
Christen and I found these titles in the bargain section at Books-A-Million.

Carnical of Souls by Melissa Marr [Buy Now]
This is the last title I purchased using the giftcards I got through my employer for health care related things.

Veil of Shadows by Jennifer Armintrout [Buy Now]
Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughn [Buy Now]
I found both of these titles in the $1 clearance bins. I have book one of Jennifer Armintrout's series on my shelf already, so now I just need book two. And Christen enjoyed Elizabeth Vaughn's other titles, and is looking forward to this one.

First Kill by Heather Brewer [Buy Now]
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock [Buy Now]
A trip to the library is always exciting these days. YA has definitely become more of a priority and I like it.

Excerpt from Dead Mann Running

Interesting in Dead Mann Running by Stefan Petrucha, but not sure if you want to buy a copy? Well, the author has posted a free excerpt that you can read here.

Title: Dead Mann Running
Author: Stefan Petrucha
Series: Hessius Mann #2
Publisher: Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 09/04/12
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Just because a bullet has your name on it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t duck...

Either I’m stubborn, or it’s rigor mortis, but being dead didn’t stop me from being a detective or finding my wife’s killer. But it’s tough out there for a zombie, and lately it’s been getting tougher. These days the life-challenged have to register and take monthly tests to prove our emotional stability. See, if my kind gets too low, we go feral. I’ve been feeling a little down lately myself...

So when a severed arm -- yeah, just the arm -- leaves a mysterious briefcase at my office, my assistant, Misty, thinks figuring out where it came from will keep me on track. But this case goes deeper and darker than I imagined, and my imagination gets pretty dark. Turns out the people after it know more about my past life than I can remember, and even more about what I’ve become.

You can also check out my review of Dead Mann Walking, book one in the Hessius Mann series here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (67)

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

Title: Level 2
Author: Lenore Appelhans
Series: Memory Chronicles #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Release date: 01/15/13
Chosen by: Sara
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost -- family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian -- a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life -- comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake... but the salvation of all mankind.

Mini-Review: Cyber Sparks by Robert Appleton

Title: Cyber Sparks
Author: Robert Appleton
Series: Cosmic Sparks #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 08/27/12
Reviewed by: Sara
My name is Allegra Mondebay, and this is the story of my last days on Earth...

Unlike my sparsely populated home, on Earth everything and everyone is plugged in. As a blacklisted model who needs to reboot my career, I can no longer resist the ultimate in virtual-reality networking: the omnipod. At first, altering the sights, sounds and scents around me seems harmless. Then I hear the voice.

Do not adjust your headset. You are in danger...

He says I must help him warn the public about the perils of the omnipod. I think he's just a hacker -- until innocent people start dying, and the police want to hold me responsible. Now, I'm on the run in a stolen shuttle, trying to figure out why he needs me. And if I don't do as he says, he'll kill the woman I love.

Mini-Review: I was really excited to read this title becasue it was fell under the Gay & Lesbian label on Netgalley. So I was a bit let down when this turned out to be a science fiction novel with just a hint of a possible F/F relationship. Although I was very intrigued by the technology in the novel and how everyone was using virtual reality to escape, the ending wasn't quite the conclusion I had hoped for. There was a bit of a cliffhanger, and the relationship is still in a fledgling stage. Even the cover gives a F/F romance vibe. All in all, this story would definitely work for fans of Sci-Fi, but would probably leave those looking for a good F/F story a little let down.

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

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this title via Netgalley.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

Title: A Temptation of Angels
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Dial
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 03/20/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance.

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

Plot: 4 Stars
This novel left me wondering slightly about the time period and if it was an alternate universe. I got Victorian and Steampunk vibes, but never really got a definitive answer. Normally things like this would bother me, but the worldbuilding was great and didn't need to be defined. It was the world Helen knew, and I enjoyed being along for the ride. The idea of the Keepers was a fresh addition to the long list of paranormal elements that are a part of YA right now, and I really enjoyed their powers and how they were tied to light.

Pace: 3.5 Stars
This novel started out with a bang. Although the events at the beginning of the novel were devastating, Helen kept her head and followed her mother's directions right to the Channing Brothers' doorstep. There were a few slower parts in which Helen learned all about the brothers and the Keepers, but the action was never far behind. This novel was a great balance of Helen learning things through explaination and through action. There were many twists and turns as the world unfolded and I was excited to learn more.

Characters: 4 Stars
Helen was a strong character that I look forward to reading more about in the future. I really enjoyed how she toed the line between ladylike and tough girl. Griffin was the good cop to Darius' bad cop when Helen first showed up, and it was interesting to watch them all get to know each other. Griffin was very sweet and likeable, while still being a bit of a badass. I liked how thoroughly he taught Helen the skills of the Keepers. I really enjoyed how different Darius was around Anna, and hope to see more about the two of them in the future. I'm also interested to see what happens with Raum. He was a bit of a wild card, and I'm a bit unsure how I feel about him at the moment.

Cover: 4 Stars
I really enjoyed the darkness of this cover. It was a great indicator of the mood and feel of the novel. The smoke also lends a great touch and keeps with the atmosphere of the story. Although the cover seems to blend in with a lot of other YA covers at first glance, the hood and broach that the cover model is wearing really intrigued me. I was also drawn in by the emotion on the cover model's face. I wanted to know what she was thinking. The font choice is simple but works well with the rest of the cover.

Overall: 4 Stars

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