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)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Review + Giveaway: The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson

Title: The Weird Girls
Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Weird Girls #0.5
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 12/04/12
Reviewed by: Sara
Buy the Book:
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls -- with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird...

The Wird sisters are different from every race on earth -- human and supernatural. When human society is no longer an option for them, they move in among the resident vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region. Could this be the true home they’ve longed for? Um, not quite. After the sisters accidentally strip a witch of her powers in a bar brawl, they soon realize the mistake will cost them. Because to take on a witch means to take on her coven. And losing the battle isn’t an option.

Review: This novella was the perfect introduction to Celia and her sisters' world. I can't wait to read Sealed with a Curse because I want to learn more about the sisters and their curse. Each sister had such a unique personality and they worked together very well. The plot of this novella was excellent. The witch coven had a number of things up their sleeves that I wasn't expecting, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The cover was nice and simple, while tying into the cover for book #1. I really liked that it was purple because that color just seems to fit the sisters. Anyone that likes magic and curses and interesting takes on the paranormal should pick this novella up immediately!

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

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this novella from the author.

Now, for the giveaway! Cecy has offered up a lovely water bottle, dragon fruit lip balm, and official (well, not really) SEALED WITH A CURSE magnets to one lucky winners. To enter just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address. For extra entries, you can follow Cecy on Twitter or Facebook. The giveaway will be open until 11:59pm on Monday 12/10. I will chose a winner using

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giveaway Winner

There were a total of 27 entries in the giveaway for a mystery book from Suzanne Johnson. Using, I have randomized the entries and the winner chosen is...


Congratulations! Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing information within 72 hours.

And don't forget to stop by Suzanne's blog on December 16th to see if you're a winner of the blog tour long giftcard giveaway.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (23)

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

Her Sky Cowboy by Beth Ciotta [Buy Now]
Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings [Buy Now]
Fated by Alyson Noel [Buy Now]
Echo by Alyson Noel [Buy Now]
I hadn't been able to find Poltergeeks at any local bookstore until I ventured out near the outlet malls with my mom and went to a different B&N. I have been waiting for Fated to come out in paperback because I'm trying to save money where I can, and I'm glad I did since Echo did not come out in hardcover. I like when they match. And I grabbed Her Sky Cowboy on a whim because it sounded pretty interesting and I can't say no to steampunk.

So Close to You by Rachel Carter [Buy Now]
Ocean's Surrender by Denise Townsend
So Close to You was $2.99 when I downloaded it, but it may not still be that awesome price. I really enjoyed Ocean's Touch so I had to pick up Ocean's Surrender.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway: Suzanne Johnson

Today, I would like to welcome Suzanne Johnson to Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog. Her latest book, River Road, released yesterday. She is here today to answer some questions, and if you stick around until the end, there's details about the blog tour giveaway.

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

Suzanne: It’s the second book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, after Royal Street, but it can stand alone. It’s the story of a wizard, DJ, whose job it is to police the borders between the modern world and the world Beyond. Humans aren’t aware of magic in this world, and after Hurricane Katrina opens the preternatural floodgates, she has her hands full! In River Road, she has to deal with feuding merpeople, someone poisoning the Mississippi River, and the attentions of the undead pirate Jean Lafitte.

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

Suzanne: Snarky chaos magnet.

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

Suzanne: My favorite character to write -- and also the most challenging -- is the pirate Jean Lafitte. In real life, he was a famous, very powerful French-born pirate who ruled the Gulf in early 19th-century New Orleans. In my world he’s given physical immortality through the magic of human memory. So Jean is forever up to his neck in whatever chaos is going on. The fun (and challenging) thing about Jean Lafitte is to stick to the nature of the historic figure, to some degree anyway, and make him morally ambiguous as he was in life -- but also sexy and likeable. He’s like cheesecake to my heroine DJ -- addictive, sweet, and very, very bad for you in large doses.

Sara: What sets River Road apart from other urban fantasy?

Suzanne: I think it’s depth of the world-building -- not only the world of magic and the different species, but also how the characters are grounded in the culture and history of South Louisiana. You couldn’t pick up the story in River Road, set it in any other place on earth, and have it make sense whatsoever. The mermen are Cajun aquatic shapeshifters who work in the South Louisiana fishing industry, for example. (And a portion of author royalties from this book goes to the Greater New Orleans Foundation for its oil spill relief fund, by the way, to help the people of Southeast Louisiana who continue to be impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.)

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

Suzanne: The whole idea for the series came from my own experiences as a New Orleanian during Hurricane Katrina. I’ve spent my career in editing and feature writing for magazines, and hadn’t really thought about writing fiction until the storm. Afterward, I needed some way to exorcise my own demons, and that’s how it all started. It was all built around the what-if: What if, when Hurricane Katrina pushed the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans, the storm also tore down the “metaphysical levees” between the modern world and the world Beyond?

Sara: Hurricane Katrina played a big role in the first novel of this series, Royal Street. Is there a significant event that River Road is based around?

Suzanne: Not really. Much of River Road is set in Plaquemines Parish, which lies just southeast of metro New Orleans. Plaquemines was badly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 (then took another hard hit from Hurricane Isaac this year), but the first draft of River Road had already been written when the spill occurred. My editor and I debated whether to change the timeline of the book to reflect the disaster, but decided not to. So it’s really coincidental. Plaquemines, which is about half wetlands and tied to the Mississippi River more than any other Louisiana parish other than perhaps Orleans, is an area I love and find interesting.

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

Suzanne: I’m definitely a plotter. I have a full-time day job at a university, and do a lot of blogging in addition to writing a couple of series, so I have to maximize my limited writing time. I usually write from about 7:30-11 p.m. every evening, and pretty much all day on Sunday.

Sara: Are there any genres you would like to branch out to in the future?

Suzanne: I think historical fantasy would be fun to write, but I’d have to find a historical event or era that fascinated me enough to immerse myself in all the research that would be required. But it could happen...

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

Suzanne: Outside of urban fantasy, I’m a big fan of the nonfiction writing of Rick Bragg, especially his memoirs All Over But the Shouting and Eva’s Man. He knows how to tell a story in such evocative (and funny) language that you forget you’re reading nonfiction. In urban fantasy, I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series and Kim Harrison’s Hollows. Both funny, sharp series that have kept it fresh even after a lot of books.

Sara: What are you currently reading?

Suzanne: I’m reading Cynthia Eden’s new Angel in Chains, a paranormal romance, and am on book five, Wolves of the Calla, of an online read of Stephen King’s entire Dark Tower series that I’m leading for We started about a year and a half ago!

Thanks Suzanne for stopping by! Now, for the giveaway details. Suzanne is offering two $25 gift cards to an online bookseller of choice to two commenters throughout the River Road blog tour. Plus, a mystery book from her stash will be awarded at each stop. Suzanne will be choosing the gift card winners at the end of the blog tour, and I will announce the winner of the mystery book on Saturday November 24th. To enter, just leave a valid e-mail address and answer the following question in the comments:

What is you favorite type of paranormal character and why?

This giveaway is open internationally and will close at midnight Friday November 23rd.

Title: River Road
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something -- or someone -- from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who -- or what -- is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

Waiting on Wednesday (72)

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

Title: Opal
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #3
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release date: 12/11/12
Chosen by: Sara
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Review Policy

Last year, the holiday season kicked my butt. By the time Black Friday rolled around, I was exhausted and it didn't let up until New Year's. My reading and blogging took a major hit. So this year, I will be updating my review policy for the holiday season.

From now until January, I will be closed to review requests.

What does this mean? I will not be taking any review requests that will require me to read and review the novel between now and New Year's. Basically, if you have a book releasing between now and February, I will not have the time or resources to read/review in a timely manner.

The only exception will be authors that I have previously worked with who have a release within the holiday season, although I will be taking those on a case by case basis.

This does not affect requests I received prior to today, and I promise I am working my hardest to catch up.

Also, if you have a review request for February or later, feel free to e-mail me before New Year's. But these will also be taken on a case by case basis, and will mostly depend on what my hours look like after the holiday season and how well I caught up over the holidays.

And just an FYI, somewhere between February and April, I will be moving so this may factor into my decisions as well.

Thank you so much for understanding and enjoy the holidays!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Birthday Books

Today, instead of doing my normal Stacking the Shelves post, I will be highlighting only the books I received for my birthday. I apologize for how long this post took to put up (considering my birthday was October 26th), but the package from B&N took longer than expected due to the hurricane. Normal Stacking the Shelves posts will be back next weekend (hopefully).

As I showcased in an earlier Stacking the Shelves post, I received a number of giftcards to Amazon and B&N. I kept track of which giftcard each book was purchased with so that I could thank everyone for specific books. (A few didn't add up completely perfectly, but I'm sure I'm the only one that bothers...) I also got a couple checks from my grandparents, and although I did buy some clothes, I also bought a couple more books. Don't act like you're surprised...

I ended up buying a LOT more YA than UF or PNR, but that's probably because I do not wait to buy new UF releases. I pretty much purchase them every Tuesday. YA on the otherhand, I don't always buy right away because hardcovers are more expensive.

From my Dad

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Starling by Lesley Livingston
The Tourist by Clare London **
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
After the Crux by Dani Worth **
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Phantom Shadows by Dianne Duvall
Black Lament by Christina Henry
The Blessed by Tonya Hurley
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

From Christen

The Darkest Day by Britt Bury
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Blood of Innocence by Tami Dane
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer *
The Given & the Taken by L.A. Witt **

From my brother

Wake by Amanda Hocking *
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas *
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr *

From my grandparents

Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake
Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter by Jessica Sims
The Shattered Dark by Snady Williams

*I'm sure the titles marked with one asterisk seem familiar. I had already purchased these titles in print. I ran into a bit of a cash flow issue, so I returned them knowing my birthday was coming up. The cats thank me for this, because one of the things I needed to buy with this money was cat food.
**The titles marked with two asterisks are titles I have already read and enjoyed, and should be posting some reviews soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Second Chance by Heather Brewer

Title: Second Chance
Author: Heather Brewer
Series: Slayer Chronicles #2
Publisher: Dial
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 10/16/12
Reviewed by: Christen
Buy the Book:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
The stakes are life or death.

The summer after Joss failed to kill the vampire Vladimir Tod, he gets a second chance to prove himself as a Slayer. He is sent to New York City to hunt down a serial killer that the Slayer Society believes is a vampire. It is up to Joss to lead his Slayer team, and through their detective work, they discover that there are actually four vampire brothers who are on the killing rampage. Joss must use all his skill to save the innocent people of New York City from the murderers. Joss's status as a Slayer depends on it.

The Slayer Chronicles can be read alongside The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod or entirely on their own. This second installment gives readers even more insight into the nightmares that drive Joss the Slayer.

Plot: 3 Stars
To save his neck for the screw up that happened between the first and second book, Joss must take the leadership role in his very first mission with the Slayer Society. I get it on a superficial level, but if you actually think about it, why would anybody think that holding a fifteen year old responsible for the lives of his five team members is a good idea? Why would they also expect a fifteen year old boy to take on super fast, super strong and mind-reading vampires without a weapon of any kind? I know, I know, it's just a book, plus Vlad kind of needs a foe his own age, but taking this series as a stand alone, it doesn't give you enough of a glimpse into why Joss is so bothered by what happened between books and why Dorian's character is so important. But that very well may be elaborated on in the next book.

Pace: 3.5 Stars
I found the pace to be a bit slow in places when there was a lot of inner dialogue, but all in all it was a steady read.

Characters: 4 Stars
I find Joss to be a wonderful character. I really feel the sad, lonely little boy he is deep inside. You can also get a sense of the psychological issues he has dealing with the guilt over the death of his sister. I am also glad that he was given a friend in Morgan. And although Morgan has his own demons, I felt that Joss' character grew from the interaction that happened between them. On the other hand, Uncle Abraham I do not understand. It's like he wants Joss to suffer even though he claims he loves him. In the first book, I understood his behavior but in this book all I got were mixed signals when it came to him.

Cover: 5 Stars
I love the covers to this and the Vlad series! I love that the match each other, I love that each one is a different color, and I love how the two series play off each other.

Overall: 4 Stars

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