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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: 17 & Gone!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

17 & Gone
Nova Ren Suma
Dutton Juvenile
March 21st, 2013
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.


Ever since I read Imaginary Girls by Suma, I have been anxiously wanting to read more from her. I recently discovered this new book of her's that will be coming out and it sounds very intense and suspenseful. And how bout that cover? To truly appreciate how much detail has gone into it, it helps to view a larger version. The font, the colors, the image, and the missing person info are all pull together to create awesomeness! I'd love to see this cover in person once the book releases!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review & Giveaway: The Voice by Jennifer Anne Davis

The Voice (ARC)
Jennifer Anne Davis
Lands Atlantic
January 29th, 2013
Young Adult
Source: For review from author.

Synopsis via Goodreads
During her abduction and assault, Audrey begins to hear a voice. She hopes she's not going crazy, because after what she's experienced, that's the most logical explanation. However, as she begins to listen to the voice, Audrey realizes that someone may be telepathically trying to help her.

Unfortunately, rescue isn't all she needs. In order to leave behind the constant reminders, she flees to her Aunt Kate's house in San Diego, and assumes a new identity. It works until the eighteen-year-old twin boys who live next door threaten to break through the protective walls she's worked so hard to build.
Between Caleb going out of his way to befriend her and Justin avoiding her at all costs, Audrey doesn't know if normalcy will ever find her again. But one thing is certain: When a familiar danger resurfaces, it's the same voice that she turns to -- a voice that is not only real, but a lot closer than she realizes.
Gripping and tastefully told, The Voice is a story of healing, trust, and courage.

I received The Voice for review from the author while in attendance at YALL Fest this past November. The author was super nice and I'd reviewed for this publishing house before so I was looking forward to reading this book. While I didn't like it as much as I had hoped, it proved to be a worth while read. 

As per usual, I will begin by discussing the characters. There was a wide variety of both main and supporting characters scattered throughout The Voice, all of whom proved to be at least somewhat significant in one way or another, which I appreciated. One of my pet peeves when it comes to books are pointless characters. Now, onto the heroine, Audrey. I had some mixed feelings about her and while I never disliked her, I never truly connected with her or loved her either. The core reason behind this was a development issue. It wasn't a lack of development, per say, because when I compare the Audrey in the beginning with the Audrey at the end, there was obviously change and progress that took place. My problem was with the actual process of her character development. Audrey, in my opinion, dramatically improved throughout the book, too much even. It all happened too quickly and then the reasons, or cause and effect, for these changes felt a little insufficient. With The Voice coming in at just over 200 pages, I believe this factor to be the culprit, and certainly not the author's lack of know how. That said, I was still glad to see Audrey come so far and I was pleased with her ability to try and move forward in life. She showed a lot of courage and strength throughout her journey, and I admired that. My one true annoyance with her? Her proneness to being completely oblivious to things going on involving Caleb, Justin, and the identity of the voice. Next is Kate, Audrey's aunt. I loved her character and she did a really good job of knowing where to draw the line between being Audrey's friend and being a responsible guardian/parent figure. Then, of course, we have Caleb and Justin. There were times when I liked Caleb and then times when I thought he was a bit of a jerk. As for Justin, well he could be so frustrating, but he was okay and I grew to like him more later on. One thing I was very glad of was that Davis made no attempt to turn this into a love triangle. I was so scared that was the direction things might head in and I was quite relieved when they didn't.  Some other plot influential characters were Bree, Sarah, Drew, and Bret. There was one character, Maddie, whom I really would have liked to have seen utilized more, but because she wasn't, she came really close to being completely inconsequential to the story. 

In The Voice, there are two central plot threads. One is the internal and external conflict that is the aftermath of Audrey's kidnapping and sexual abuse. The other is the mystery of the identity of the voice and the subsequent background information. To me, this book just wasn't long enough to adequately allow both of these elements of the plot to fully develop and reveal their utmost potential. I could have easily seen this book being another hundred pages. The plot tended towards repetitiveness at times, with a lot of the story being comprised of day-to-day events, many of which felt similar. One example is the beginning of several chapters with Audrey having a nightmare. This cycles back to the length of the novel because, if it had been longer, these points in the plot could have been more spread out, dissipating some of the deja vu, redundant feeling. Moving on, there were several things I thought the author did well. First up, the family dynamics of not only Audrey's family, but also Caleb and Justin's. Considering how short this novel was, these were aspects that I thought were quite capably handled. There is also the extreme originality of the plot and how Davis manages to weave the two plot threads mentioned above together into one. I would have liked a little more mystery as to the identity of "the voice", as I basically knew who it was from the beginning. However, there was still adequate suspense once Audrey started to realize that her ordeal was not completely over. There was one event in the plot that really bugged me and that was a situation that Audrey got herself into with a guy named Drew. Technically there were two of these, same guy, but while I thought the latter one to be very plausible and realistic, I found the first to be anything but. I also was not a huge fan of the romance element, subtle though it was. 

Okay so this is where things are going to get a little interesting. I know how I felt about the writing but it is actually putting it into words that is going to be tricky. First off, overall, I liked the writing pretty well. It wasn't amazing but definitely above average, exhibiting potential to be more. The key area of the writing in which I felt the potential wasn't fulfilled was the emotion. I should have been feeling all kinds of emotion throughout this book, and unfortunately, I didn't. Whenever it came to Audrey's thoughts, feelings, and discussion of what she went through, it all felt very...textbook. It was almost too blunt and straightforward, like something you'd find in a guide to understanding rape victims. In other words, I felt that there was a lot of 'telling' and not near enough 'showing' of the emotion and trauma that Audrey was going through. As a result, I was left feeling disconnected when I should have been feeling sympathy and sadness. Note that this is a very subjective observation and one that someone may feel the complete opposite about. Some people can easily experience emotion whilst reading, and for others, it takes some very seriously legit writing ability, among other things, to trigger a state of genuine, say, sadness. I fall more towards the latter category.

Davis wrapped The Voice up in a suitable manner that I quite liked. However, the ending did feel very rushed, another problem that I felt came from the short length of the novel.

In Essence

Characters: Nice variety of characters but a little less developed than I would have liked considering the subject matter.
Writing: Pretty well written overall but weak in the "emotion" department.
Plot: Refreshing and unique but a bit repetitive.
Ending: Rushed but tied up well.
Enjoyment/Likability: I liked reading it fairly well.
Recommendable: If it sounds interesting to you then I would say give it a shot. Despite its flaws, there is some real merit there as well. Also, many people appear to have loved this book, including a close friend of mine. So take this review with a grain of salt. 

Overall: A good read with a unique plot that could have benefited from being much longer, allowing for more development, as well as more 'show' and less 'tell' in the writing. Not too heavy and not too light in the handling of a difficult topic. 

Cover: Meh, okay.


I'm giving away two ARCs of The Voice by Jennifer Davis, so if you are interested in giving it a shot, this is the perfect opportunity!

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While He Was Away Special Edition Cover & Guest Post!

While He Was Away
Karen Schreck
Sourcebooks Fire
May 1st, 2012
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
One year--he'll be gone for one year and then we'll be together again and everything will be back to the way it should be.

The day David left, I felt like my heart was breaking. Sure, any long-distance relationship is tough, but David was going to war--to fight, to protect, to put his life in danger. We can get through this, though. We'll talk, we'll email, we won't let anything come between us.

I can be an army girlfriend for one year. But will my sweet, soulful, funny David be the same person when he comes home? Will I? And what if he doesn't come home at all?...

"A tender and honest examination of love, longing, and loyalty in the face of modern war."--Laura Ruby, author of Bad Apple

"While He Was Away is a wonderful love story with writing that is skillful and true."--Amy Timberlake, author of That Girl Lucy Moon


While He Was Away Walmart-Exclusive Cover Reveal
and My Top Tips for Writing
Even When the Writing Gets Tough

By Karen Schreck

My birthday falls in January, just a few days after New Year’s Day. This January, I received an incredible gift from my publisher, Sourcebooks Fire. My young adult novel, While He Was Away, is being released nation-wide into Walmart with a brand new cover!

When my editor at Sourcebooks, Leah Hultenschmidt, graciously asked if I’d be open to this possibility last fall, I blinked, breathed deep, confirmed I wasn’t dreaming, and said, “Yes!” I held on to the possibility until it became a reality. Then, and only then, did I celebrate.

I won’t speak for all writers, but for me, writing is an act of faith. I love the work deeply, or I wouldn’t do it. I’ve generated a lot of pages that have never seen the light of day, written multiple novels that I’ve relegated to folders on my laptop. Keeping the faith in anything, especially writing, can be hard.

The fact that Sourcebooks believed enough in While He Was Away to bring it to life the first time felt like a much-needed confirmation of years of hard work. The fact that they are standing behind my book again in this way . . . well, it feels like a miracle. I’m truly grateful.

Without further ado, here are my Top Writing Tips (they’ve help me a lot; I hope they help you in some way):

1. Read a lot. Read voraciously. Read like a writer. Read some more. Read people who write in your genre or in a style that is similar to yours and take note of how they do what they do. Read people who write in a completely different way to keep your head clear and give you new ideas. Just. Keep. Reading.

2. Develop a ritual for your writing. I wouldn’t think of telling you what to do. You need to find what works for you, and sometimes that changes with your circumstances. This year, I’ve been working at an ad agency in the city. My ritual is to hunker down in the quiet car on the train and GET A LOT DONE. Previously I’ve written in the very same quiet corner of my local library. In basements. On couches. In bed. By candlelight. I’ve found that consistency and ritual can trigger my creativity. Ring the bell and I’ll salivate. Kind of like that.

3. Don’t be afraid to be messy in your work. Don’t be afraid to push forward even though it isn’t perfect. Nothing is perfect! Embrace that reality, and be kind to yourself. And forgiving of the words on the page.

4. Fall in love with revision. “I’m not a writer,” I once heard a writer say. “I am a re-writer.” I LOVE that. I love the word revision. Re-vision. Seeing again, anew, as if for the first time. Revision gives great perspective. And I think it’s where the real work gets done.

5. Never give up. Keep the faith. Years may pass. But the more you write, the more the very act of writing becomes rewarding. Writing is soul-work; it lends meaning to life. That’s what I believe, and that’s what sees me through. Publication—well, that a wonderful thing. But the writing—that’s where it’s at.


So there you have it folks. As a writer, myself, I'm always looking for tips and tricks of the trade. Thank you, Karen!

Interested in reading While He Was Away? Check out your local Walmart and /or Bookstore or order it online:

Amazon / B&NBook Depository

Giveaway: An ARC of Shadowlands by Kate Brian!

Shadowlands (ARC)
By Kate Brian
Jan. 8th, 2012
Shadowlands, #1
Ages 14+ (YA)
For Review from Publisher

Synopsis via Goodreads
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?


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Friday, January 25, 2013

Shadow Falls: The Beginning Book Release News!

Shadow Falls: The Beginning
C.C. Hunter
St. Martin's Griffin
March 5th, 2013
Shadow Falls Books #1 & #2
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

“Kylie’s journey of self-discovery and friendship is so full of honesty, it’s impossible not to fall in love with her and Shadow Falls…and with two sexy males vying for her attention, the romance is scorching. This book has me begging for more, and I love, love, love it!” –Verb Vixen

Now available together for the first time, don’t miss books one and two in C. C. Hunter’s spectacular Shadow Falls series!

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, but it soon becomes clear that the kids at Shadow Falls are far from ordinary. They’re supernatural—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world. Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason...if she can only figure out why, and what her burgeoning powers mean.

As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half Fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart. As Kylie struggles to make sense of her feelings and her new abilities, the dark side of the supernatural world emerges and makes life a whole lot harder. An evil enemy lurking in the shadows is about to threaten everything she holds dear…and bring her closer to her destiny.


On March 5th, 2013, St. Martin's Griffin will be releasing the first two books in the Shadow Falls series, Born at Midnight & Awake at Dawn, in one volume for only $9.99. That's two books for the cost of only one! If you have been wanting to give this series a try, or maybe this is the first you've heard of it, then this is the perfect opportunity to get started reading C.C. Hunter's great Shadow Falls series! You can check out my review of Born at Midnight, the first book, HERE!

Pre-order Shadow Falls: The Beginning
Amazon / B&N / Book Depository (Ships Internationally)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Shadowlands (ARC)
By Kate Brian
Jan. 8th, 2012
Shadowlands, #1
Ages 14+ (YA)
For Review from Publisher

Synopsis via Goodreads
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

When Shadowlands arrived randomly in my mail, I didn't know anything about it. When I saw Kate Brian was the author, my interest was sparked as I had heard so much about her various books. After reading the synopsis, I was anxious to get started on this one. Unfortunately, I remain disappointed. Not to say the book was bad, because it had some great qualities, but alas, the characters...*sighs in frustration*...they dragged it down for me.

Let's get the worst over with first. I was so frustrated with Rory as a protagonist. In the beginning, she was almost what I would call spineless at times and then later on she'd stand her ground, but border lining on bossy. There was no apparent development that brought on this change. Her personality was definitely more of the quiet nerdy type, which was fine. However the geek qualities almost felt forced and I really didn't feel like I saw much depth in her character. I just couldn't bring myself to feel anything for her. Well that is until she starts to realize something is going on in Juniper Landing and no one believes her. I felt her pain then, because that always sucks. Her sister Darcy, omg, I just wanted to slap her upside the head. She was such a...not nice sister. At all. Mean, selfish, careless. Every now and then she would show a slightly more tender side, and then gone in a flash. She was a little better towards the end but I still don't like her. I would have liked to have seen more of Rory and Darcy's father, especially considering the nature of the plot. Olive and Aaron were probably the only characters I felt any connection to but sadly they weren't around much and I found myself desperately wanting more from them. Then there were Krista, Tristan, Joaquin, and some others, all of whom had different personalities but felt underdeveloped. Last but not least is our villain, Steven Nell/Roger Krauss, whom I actually found somewhat interesting, though very creepy. I thought Brian's decision to do brief chapters from his perspective scattered throughout the book was a keen way to help distinguish this story.

Kate Brian doesn't hesitate to dive straight into the action. Shadowlands starts out at a fairly swift pace and maintains it smoothly throughout, even when the action slowed. With plot elements consisting of: an attack by a serial killer; an eerie mystery surrounding Rory's strange new island home and its residents; and some other very interesting tid bits that I can't discuss further without spoiling something, Brian has crafted a truly original and suspenseful story that was unlike anything I'd ever read before. The setting of Juniper Landing was vividly imagined and did a nice job of setting the overall tone for the story. This is one of those stories where the less you know about it going in to it, the better. I think my only problem with the plot was that in the first part of the book, I got this slight feeling of repetitiveness. Other than that, the plot was by far my favorite aspect of the book.

The writing style was good. Very good, even, and I liked it well enough. However nothing really stood out to me about it as being particularly great. Of course, there wasn't anything that I particularly disliked either, so that's good at least.

Okay now about the ending. There are several reviews dancing about on Goodreads that say little more than "WTF?!" in regards to the ending for Shadowlands. I'm sure that would have been my exact reaction too. That is, if I hadn't flipped to the back of the book--to see how many pages there were--and accidentally read the very last sentence. *face-palm* Whoops. That said, yes the ending is a huge, shocking cliffhanger. But I liked it. Brian definitely left me wanting to know more.

In Essence

Characters: Underdeveloped, leaving me feeling quite indifferent.
Writing: Pretty good, though nothing really stood out one way or the other.
Plot: Twisted and suspenseful. Very inventive and original.
Ending: I'm sure if I hadn't accidentally spoiled it for myself, shocking!
1st in Series: Nice set up. Hoping to see more character development later on.
Enjoyment/Likability: Liked it pretty well but characters really kept me from liking it more.
Recommendable: I'd say it is worth the read. Especially for Kate Brian fans.

Overall: An exciting plot and good writing that were brought down by the static characters. I will be reading the next book in hopes that the characters start showing some dimension. Keep in mind, my opinions of the characters seems to be a less popular one than most.

Cover: Eerie and pretty.

Buy Shadowlands
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Giveaway: Notes From Ghost Town & The Butterfly Clues!

Notes From Ghost Town
Kate Ellison
February 12th, 2013
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it's only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There's a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there's a good chance she's losing her mind completely--just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn't really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It's the only way she can save herself.

The Butterfly Clues
Kate Ellison
January 8th, 2013
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.


Thanks to Media Masters Publicity and EgmontUSA, one lucky winner will receive a hardcover of Note From Ghost Town and a paperback of The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison!

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Murmurings!

The Murmurings
Carly Anne West
Simon Pulse
March 5th, 2013
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

A teen girl starts hearing the same voices that drove her sister to commit suicide in this creepy, suspenseful novel.

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…


This sounds completely creepy and suspenseful! And that cover? *shivers* I'm really looking forward to this one and thankfully there isn't too much time left before it releases.

So, what do you think?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: Witch's Brew & The Gleaning by Heidi R. Kling

Witch's Brew
Heidi R. Kling
Publisher: Coliloquy
Pub. Date: January 11th 2012
Series: Spellspinners of Melas County, #1
Age Level: 13+ (YA)
Source: For Review from Publisher

Synopsis via Goodreads
The Spellspinners of Melas County is a fantasy YA romance series about a witch, a warlock, and their fight for their forbidden but prophesied love.

Once soulmates, the witch and warlock covens of the California coast have been estranged for a century. Raised to hate each other, their teenagers meet in the Solstice Stones, a magical battleground where they draw energy from each other to maintain their balance. 16 year olds Logan and Lily have spent years training for their first Stones…only to discover just days before that the enemy may not be what either of them had thought.

In Witch’s Brew, Lily is torn between her feelings for Logan and her coven’s need to know who—or what—he is. The young lovers race against time, their distrust for each other, and the powerful influence of their elders to unravel the mystery of their pasts before their future is destroyed.

This is an Active Fiction title
"Active fiction" is a new type of e-reading experience that allows the reader and the author to interact with each other and the text in new and different ways.

In Witch’s Brew, Lily and Logan's fate is already decided, but Heidi explores several different possible pathways for how they get there. She shares scenes that wouldn’t normally fit in a book format and gives readers more precious moments between the two young lovers. As the series progresses, you'll see some normal narrative forms, interspersed with smaller scenes, alternate points of view, and a lot of "what if" scenarios.

The Gleaning
Heidi R. Kling
Publisher: Coliloquy
Pub. Date: Oct. 2012
Series: Spellspinners of Melas County, #2
Age Level: 13+ (YA)
Source: For review from publisher.


Heidi R. Kling frequently teased us readers with the mentions of a "sexah magic book" on twitter when she was writing Witch's Brew. Needless to say, I was excited to get to read this one. Since The Gleaning picks up right where Witch's Brew leaves off, and they're short, I decided to just review them together. (No spoilers, I promise)

The Spellspinners of Melas County features a wide array of characters, both major and minor, all with their own distinct personalities. The heroine, Lily, gave me so many reasons to love her.She followed her heart and instincts, was strong, not afraid to go against the grain, and had a sharp wit about her. She doesn't really feel deserving of her chosen role as a future leader, and I could kind of understand this, but she more than proved herself capable and fitting for the position throughout the first two books. I enjoyed watching her grow in confidence and as a character. Then there is Logan. At first, I was a little worried he'd be the brooding type, but thankfully he wasn't. He was smoldering though and when Kling hinted that he looked like  a certain uber sexy CW TV show character, well, I was ready to surrender my current life and high-tail it to Melas County. Many of the qualities that I liked so much in Lily were reflected in Logan and I loved the two together! The relationship development happened a little quick but for once I didn't really mind. The chemistry between the two of them was just terrific. Then there is Orchid, Lily's best friend. I really liked her at first, but then I started growing a bit wary of her throughout. There is also Daisy, Lily's little sister, whom I'd really like to see more of. Iris, Lily's mom, was another great minor character and I always love when I see a parent taking an important role in their teen's life in YA books. Jacob, well, I just hated him. Some other characters that contributed were Chance, Jude, Jonah, and, last but certainly not least, Camellia.

When I started Witch's Brew, I wasn't sure how I was going to like it. Yes, it grabbed my attention, but it read kind of young for a "#sexahmagicbook". But the further I got into it, and then The Gleaning, oh did the sexah come out to play. *waggles eyebrows* It wasn't long before I was completely wrapped up in the enchanting plot and setting of this series. It was definitely a fresh take on witches for me. The separation of Daughters of Light and Sons of Darkness, the history between them, and the whole concept of the Gleaning were all great defining elements and pulled together to create an epic battle of the sexes. While there were some predictable twists, there were equally as many, if not more, that totally weren't. The short, fast-paced nature of these books had me finishing them in no time and left wanting to gobble up more. Action, magic, betrayal, romance, and an atmospheric setting...*sings "these are a few of my favorite things"*. In Melas County you have everything from the beautiful ocean, to a cool coffee shop, and...wait for eerie castle academy with dungeons and creepy ass guard monsters dogs. I love me some well rounded world building, and Kling gave me just that. The closest thing I have to an issue is that I really wish there had been more of the interactive choices throughout the books, a problem I had with another interactive book I read from Coliloquy. 

Kling's writing was both beautiful and simplistic, kindling my growing fondness for her as an author. So far, both books have been written in alternating perspectives between Lily and Logan. Since they are both of two completely different worlds, so to speak, and each have so much to tell, I really liked this aspect.

The endings of both books were very cliffhanger-y. With Witch's Brew, I didn't mind at all because I knew I had The Gleaning waiting for me. However, I am waiting for the third book's release, so when The Gleaning ended on a cliffhanger, the claws came out. I must admit though, cliffhanger endings have never really bothered me so long as I know I can expect there to be answers.

In Essence

Characters: Full of personality and distinctive.
Writing: Simple and straightforward, in a good way, with some great pizzazz and style!
Plot: Enchanting, original, and quick!
Ending: Cliffhanger-y but I don't mind.
1st in Series: Lays good foundation for the books ahead while also being exciting.
2nd in Series: Things get more intense and development continues. No sequel syndrome!
Enjoyment/Likability: So fun to read!
Recommendable: Yes! Read them!

Overall:  Sassy and absolutely captivating, this is a sexy and fun series from a very talented author.

Covers: Faces are kind of odd looking but overall, very pretty!

Buy Witch's Brew

Buy The Gleaning
Kindle / Nook

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nobody & Every Other Day Giveaway!

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub. Date: January 22nd , 2013
Pages: 393
Age Level: 13+ (YA book)

Synopsis via Goodreads
There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

Every Other Day
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub. Date: December 27th, 2011
Pages: 336
Age Level: YA

Synopsis via Goodreads
Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She argues with her father. She’s human.

And then every day in between . . . she’s something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her, and unfortunately she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive . . . and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.


Thanks to EgmontUSA, you can win a Hardcover copy of Nobody and a paperback of Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Open to US & Canada only. Must be 13 or older to enter.

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Live-Action Book Trailer for Mindjack Trilogy and eBook Sale!

The Live-Action Mindjack Book Trailer Reveal
(from the bestselling Mindjack series by Susan Kaye Quinn)

With the help of over 20 cast and crew members, award-winning director Beth Spitalny has brought the concept of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy to life on the screen.

When everyone reads minds,
a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Please share!

Ways you can share the trailer:

1) Watch the trailer on YouTube (or here)!
(more views=higher visibility)

2) Post it to Facebook (copy & paste below)

Check out the live-action Mindjack Book Trailer (from the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn): When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

3) Post it to Twitter (copy & paste below)

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. Watch the live-action Mindjack Book Trailer

4) Share to Google+, Tumbler, Pinterest, and more
Go to the trailer on YouTube and click the "share" button. Click the arrow to expand and see all the options. Easy peasy. (While you're there, click "like" on YouTube, or leave a comment!)

5) Post the trailer on your blog
Grab the embed code from YouTube or email me for a copy of the HTML for a complete post announcing the trailer and ways to share!

Thanks so much for sharing!

To celebrate the release of the trailer,
I'm putting Open Minds on sale!
$2.99 now $0.99
for one week only

$9.99 now $7.99
for one week only

THANK YOU to everyone who is sharing the trailer today!

everyone involved in making the trailer a reality, including Director Beth Spitalny, Producer Angel Acevedo, Director of Photography Lance Kaplan, lead actor Nikki Flemming (Kira) and the many fine actors, crew members, and post-production staff who donated their time and talent to the project.

For the making-of the trailer, see the Mindjack Trilogy website.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Series, which includes three novels, three novellas, and a trailer. She's currently writing a steampunk fantasy romance, just for kicks. When that's out of her system, she has ambitious plans to embark on a series about the Singularity (the time when computers become more intelligent than humans) that should appeal to fans of the Mindjack novels. Or possibly play on Facebook all day. Could go either way.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub. Date: January 22nd , 2013
Pages: 393
Age Level: 13+ (YA book)
Source: For Review from Publisher

Synopsis via Goodreads
There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

I had never heard of Nobody until I received an email asking if I wanted to review it. I'd seen a lot of good things about Barnes' books and I had been wanting to read them for a while so I figured I'd give this one a shot. 

At first, I didn't mind the characters. I thought Claire was quirky and amusing and Nix, well, I felt sorry for the poor guy and he was so intriguing. Needless to say, I liked them well enough in the beginning. But then they met. I understand that their emotional issues were pretty justified. I mean hey, they'd both lived their whole lives around people who barely even knew they existed, if that much. And Nix had spent his life being trained and used to kill people, some who deserved it, a couple who didn't. However, that didn't stop them from being frustrating to no end. Claire basically fell in love at first sight to a pretty blue-eyed boy...pointing a gun at her. I swear, every time he tried to kill her, it had the opposite effect one would expect. As for Nix, how did you fail to figure out Claire was not a null sooner? Once they got past him trying to kill her, it didn't take long, they were head over heels in love with each other. I felt empathy for them, really, but omg they got on my nerves. I think it is important that I mention now that I did not hate them, they had their moments, I just didn't particularly like them either. As for the secondary characters, well, there weren't really any. I mean, when you have two main characters whom can illicit zero emotion from people, leave no impression on them, any other characters are going to be pretty...static. Ione was probably one of the more involved minor characters. *cough* What a bitch! *cough* Two others were Natalie, a little null girl, and a sensor. 

The plot for Nobody was truly unique, presenting a whole new spin on the concept of invisibility. I loved the fact that there was a relatively scientific explanation for it all. The concept of energy's role in Nulls, Nobodies, and Sensors was truly imaginative. While it had a few predictable moments, it had some surprises as well. Even with my problems with the characters, I flew through this book in no time as it was both fast-paced and compelling. The beginning portion of the book was a little repetitive but the rest was pretty great.    

The writing was arranged in frequently shifting points of view between Claire and Nix. Surprisingly, I didn't find it all that disruptive and if I had of liked the characters more, I'm sure I would have loved that aspect. That said, I got to constantly go back and forth from being annoyed by one character's thoughts to being annoyed by the other's. The writing style overall though was refreshing and enjoyable. 

The ending, despite my not loving the characters, was perfect and I was very pleased with how things ended up pulling together for Claire and Nix. I couldn't help but be happy for them.  

In Essence

Characters: MCs not bad apart, but absolutely annoying together. Supporting characters almost non-existent.
Writing: Different, but in a good way, and fast-paced.
Plot: Inventive and compelling.
Ending: Loved!
Enjoyment/Likability: Liked pretty well but characters definitely decreased my enjoyment overall.
Recommendable: If you like the sound of the book, I'd say give it a shot. My only real problem were the characters and I wouldn't suggest avoiding this book on that basis alone.

Overall: Characters were disappointing but everything else was pretty good. I'd like to give some of Barnes' other books a try.  

Cover: It's okay.

Buy Nobody
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

GP: Why My Character is Comic Book Cool by Laurie Crompton!

Why My Character is “Comic Book Cool”
By Laurie Boyle Crompton

Blaze’s character showed up in my mind like Blam! Pow! “Tell my story!” She’s really into comics and is sort of stuck in her life as an outsider, but she isn't ashamed of being a geek. She displays her superhero buttons proudly and is constantly drawing and reading comics. I couldn't wait to write about her. Of course, working on a project where studying comic books counted as research was a bonus!

My step-father has this Ah-mazing! collection much like the one Blaze’s dad has in the book and I remember staying up late at night reading through stacks of them as a kid. I would try to tell my friends about these awesome characters like the Silver Surfer and Iron Man, and I’d even try to imitate Thor’s Norse God way of speaking. This was before the movies made these guys more mainstream and I was definitely on the fringe with my obsession, but when I’d find another comic book nerd we had an instant bond.

As I was writing, Blaze surprised me when she fought back against Mark the way she did and I knew at that point I could just allow her character to take over. Of course things don’t go as she plans, but no matter what tight spots she finds herself in, she uses comic books to guide and empower her. Readers who aren't into comic books will definitely still enjoy Blaze, but my hope is that she will inspire them to check out comics for themselves, too!

© 2012 Anne Cain


Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Sourcebooks Fire
February 1st, 2013
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She's desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark's feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her "sext" photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now...

Preorder Blaze
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Review: Amber House by Kelly Moore

Amber House (ARC)
By: Kelly Moore; Tucker Reed; Larkin Reed
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pub. Date: October 1st, 2012
Pages: 368
Series: Amber House Trilogy, #1
Source: For Review

Synopsis via Goodreads
"I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."

Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.

But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.

When Amber House arrived in my mail, I had never heard of it before. But when I read the synopsis and saw the cover online, as my copy was an ARC without the official cover, I knew this was going to be the book for me. Turns out, I was right.

One of the many great aspects of Amber House was its wide and varied cast of characters. First is the main character, Sarah. I admit, there were times when she really annoyed me but as a whole, I thought she was very witty and came off as genuine and real, like she could be someone I actually knew. Her relationship with her little brother, Sammy, was sooo sweet and it really helped make this book something special that would stand out in my memory. Seriously, Sammy was an adorable little kiddo and I absolutely loved him! Now on to the part you all really care about, the romantic interests. ;) Well unfortunately, I wasn't really in love with either of them. Jackson could be brooding, somewhat mysterious, caring, etc. You know, the typical romantic interest. I felt pretty indifferent to Jackson, with him getting emotion out of me only a couple of times during the whole book. Richard was a little different. I periodically went from disliking him and thinking he was a d-bag to thinking he actually wasn't so bad underneath that spoiled rich boy exterior. I did feel pretty bad for him towards the end. Now, onto Sarah's mom. I felt much like Sarah did when it came to her. Just when she would do something that made you think she had a heart, she'd turn around and say something cold, insensitive, or just straight up mean. She did show some growth throughout the book, though, and I really liked that. Some other minor characters were Sarah's dad, Rose, and Kathryn, all of whom I liked.

The plot for Amber House was intricately crafted, possessing many intriguing elements. First there is the unique atmosphere and setting of Amber House, an ancient borderline mansion that is just overflowing with history and mystery. Then there are Sarah's dreams and the echoes, flashes of the past brought on by her touching or connecting with certain things or places in the house and on the property. Throw in some complex family drama and secrets and you have one heck of a compelling plot. There were a few areas where the plot seemed to lag somewhat, but overall, it was terrific.

The writing was simply beautiful. The authors' use of imagery throughout the story really helped to build and create the perfect setting from the ground up and painted such a vivid picture in my mind of how everything looked. There was also a pleasant amount of dry humor and sarcasm. Yay!

The ending wrapped things up nicely for a first book in a series. Only, I didn't think so initially. There was a new thread subtly added to the plot and when it wasn't knotted up with an answer, or even a nod of acknowledgement, I was confused and mad. It was after that when I realized this book was going to be part of a series. Then I was all, "Oh, well, that explains it." All of that being said, I thought the ending was rushed and I'd have liked to have seen the author(s) take more time with it.

In Essence

Characters: Memorable and plenty. Great cast of major and minor characters.
Writing: Lovely.
Plot: Full of mystery and twists. Excellent atmosphere.
Ending: Tied up the first book nicely but felt rushed.
1st in Series: Excellent beginning.
Enjoyment/Likability: Very enjoyable. Not too heavy, not too light.
Recommendable: Yes! Highly.

Cover: Gorgeous! Like, seriously!

Buy Amber House
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Defy the Stars
By Stephanie Parent
Publisher: Stephanie Parent
Pub. Date: July 30th, 2012
Pages: 596
Age Level: YA (14+)
Source: For review from author

Synopsis via Goodreads
Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.

You know how every now and again you pick up a book and, for one reason or another, you really really hope that you like it? This was one of those books for me as I was reading it with plans to review it for the author, Stephanie Parent, who is a twitter buddy of mine. Having read her short story, I was pretty optimistic but still, no one likes having to write a negative review of a book for an author they like. So thankfully, even though it started out a little rough around the edges, Defy the Stars turned out to be quite a gem. I'm going to try my best to express all of my feelings about this book without giving away too much of the plot, as I feel this is one of those books where you don't want to know too much going in, especially since, well, you kind of already do. A consequence of being a retelling of an epic love story. 

What I loved so much about the characters that Parent created, more specifically, Reed and Julia, was how realistic, flawed, and innately human they were. Their emotions were raw and tinged with the extreme passion with which teenagers tend to feel things at that age. Every now and again, Julia's mind would take off on this rambling train wreck of thought and I loved it; it was so much like how my mind tends to work at times. There was definitely a naivety to her character, especially when it came to the role that drugs played in the story and her life. She was so full of heart, though, and even when she did some really stupid things that had me wanting to wop her upside the head, I still cared for her. Then there was Reed. Oh Reed and his blue eyes. Honestly, a part of me hated him for dragging Julia into his world, but it wasn't like he took her kicking and screaming. Another part of me found myself pulling for him to persevere and get his act together. His character had so much untapped potential that his circumstances kept locked away within him. I just kept hoping that he'd discover that he, and he alone, held the key to unlocking a better future for himself. Furthermore, I would have liked to have gotten to know his character more and I think this is where a dual narrative could have benefited this book. The relationship between Julia and Reed, doomed though it was, was at times very tender. That said, it was equal parts destructive, as well.

There was a small cast of supporting characters that accompanied our star-crossed lovers. First there was Perry the pervert. He was one of the more active minor characters, unfortunately. Oh my goodness I just hated him so much! This may sound bad, but I was really hoping he'd end up dead by the end of the book. Or maimed for life. Either one. Sara, Julia's best friend, was a character that I felt rather indifferent towards, as was the case with most of the supporting characters. There was, however, one time when she really left my mouth gaping wide open with disbelief and that was when Julia decided to tell her everything. I would have liked to have seen a little more concern for her best friend than what she showed. Toby, Julia's cousin who was more like an uncle, was a good supporting character that I would have liked to have seen more of. Other characters were Julia's parents, her piano instructor, Reed's friend that I can't remember the name of but I remember liking, Reed's brother Cary, and last, and least in my book, Rachel a character that I absolutely didn't see the point in. I would have liked a little more involvement and depth from the supporting characters than I got but considering the nature of this story, it didn't really bother me all that much.

Defy the Stars had so much to offer in the way of its plot. First off, it was utterly compelling and almost impossible to put down. There was just something about it that kept me constantly wanting to turn the next page, or in my case, click the page-turning button on my kindle. And the emotion, oh there were so many emotions jam-packed into this story and its characters, all of which felt genuine and masterfully rendered. As far as retellings go, this is my favorite and my mind made a game of finding and drawing all the parallels between this book and Romeo & Juliet. As you might have already guessed, this was far from a light read as it contained some very serious subject matter, the forefront of which was drugs. I thought Parent handled the integration of drugs into her story quite skillfully. From Julia's lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation, to the detailed highs and lows that came with doing meth, to the inevitable consequences that would follow. There was nothing 'encouraging' in the way Parent wrote about the use of drugs, it managed to avoid being preachy in any way, and was also very purposefully wound in with the plot, versus just being there for the sake of edginess. Yet, for all the severity and harsh, cold truth that was woven throughout, so was hope and the preciousness of life and love. The musical incorporation of Julia's piano playing really brought to life a certain atmosphere for the story that I thought was lovely and provided a sense of balance with the other aspects of the plot. All of this bled together with romance and tragedy to create quite an intense and darkly enticing story.

When I first began reading Defy the Stars, I admit, I questioned Parent's decision to do it as a verse book. I absolutely love books written in verse, but something felt...stilted about the writing and format, not seeming to have much reason behind it other than for the sake of saying it was in verse. However, there would then be these bits of brilliance, where everything seemed to make sense and the writing flowed on smoothly. The further in I delved, the more common these moments became throughout the writing and it all started to pull together and level out as the organization of the prose began to show purpose. Once it did, it was beautiful!

Let's not pretend that we don't all know how Romeo and Juliet's story ends, which lends to the fact that I had no expectations for a happy ending with this story. I mean, let's face it, this isn't a story you retell with an ending that's all fluffernutter and rainbows. But that didn't stop me from wanting everything to work out for Julia and Reed, even though I knew, deep down, that there was no way it could. Of course, Defy the Stars is merely a retelling, and with a title like that, you can't help but expect Parent to have given herself some wiggle room. This meant that I couldn't be sure how Julia and Reed's story would end. That said, I thought Stephanie did a remarkable job on the ending. It was tearfully bittersweet in its harmony of both tragedy and hope, something I feel can be said about the book as a whole, too, not just the ending.

In Essence

Characters: Main characters realistically flawed and well developed. Supporting characters, rather lacking.
Writing: A little inconsistent but beautiful overall.
Plot: Refreshing, compelling, and gritty.
Ending: Bittersweet.
Enjoyment/Likability: Couldn't put it yeah...
Recommendable: Definitely! Even for those who aren't big fans of verse.

Overall: An amazing and emotionally raw retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Best $0.99 you'll ever spend.

Cover: I like the colors. It's pretty but nothing spectacular.

Buy Defy the Stars (Like, right now!)

About Me

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Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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My Partner in mean reading. :P
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