Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gracling - Kristin Cashore

TITLE: Gracling

AUTHOR: Kristin Cashore

SUMMARY: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Pos friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone - From Publisher

REVIEW: So this would be book number 2 of fantasy for this avid reader. I’m a little shocked I’ve never jumped into this world previously. I love “Lord of The Rings”. I think I was worried they’d use old English and confuse the crap out of me, which is probably easier than I care to admit.

Regardless, this book hooked me early on. The character of Katsa pulled me. I loved her hard edges and refusal to let anyone in. She was in a way her own worst enemy, but it was beautiful watching her open to others and slowly morph and take the power back. Of course when she allowed herself to be vulnerable and got hurt it made that dagger just push in a bit deeper and twist more violently.

The plot was intriguing and I liked how the first few scenes set up for the rest of the book. I originally thought it was simply a rescue mission, a way to introduce the reader to Katsa and her Grace. (Sidenote: the concept of Graces was awesome. I loved that each was unique, some sought after by greedy men and others so useless.)

While the plot and pace was kept up through the majority of the book I found when we were almost finished Part 2 that it hit a bit of slump. The plot or something slipped and I found myself struggling to stay focused. I don’t know if it was the addition of Bitterblue, who I liked, and how all of sudden I was suppose to have the same level of love for her as I did for the others. That wasn’t the case. Thankfully the plot and pace was kicked back up and I didn’t finish the book with that ‘meh’ feeling. The ending was perfect for everything that Cashore had previously set up. In fact there are other books to this ‘verse. Not so much a series of following Katsa but using other characters and building the ‘verse.

Generally I enjoyed this book. However, I don’t know that it would be a series that I would follow, mostly because I am more interested in Katsa & Po, what I am sucker for the main characters.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rampant - Diana Peterfreund

TITLE: Rampant

AUTHOR: Diana Peterfreund

SUMMARY: Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one attacks her boyfriend-ruining any chance of him taking her to prom-Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.However, all is not what it seems at the Cloisters. Outside, unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from bone-covered walls that vibrate with terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything. - From Publisher

REVIEW: It had me at killer unicorns. looks around Okay that, is a total lie. I found the killer unicorns a bit ‘odd’ and corny and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read this book. Plus when I think of unicorns I imagine the episode in Supernatural where Dean is rambling about unicorns. It’s hard to take it seriously when Dean Winchester is mocking it. However, putting aside my ‘are you kidding me’ face and deleting all unicorn references from my mind I continued to read about killer unicorns and Alexander the Great.

A brilliant angle, not to mention good use of mythology in having the hunters being virgins in order to kill the unicorns. I like reasons for characters actions and I like tension. I think the build up to any romance is always far more interesting and even when they are together I like the conflict; it gives characters so much depth. With this book Peterfreund mixed the two. Astrid has to remain a virgin in order to fulfill her destiny and that brings in romantic tension, which just makes this ready endlessly happy.

Pacing is something I tend to find with a lot of teen/ya books lacking. Normally the romance is happening quickly, the plot is moving at a constant pace and at times I wish that it would slow down, do some more build up. Of course, the counter argument is that if you only have 288 pages and no deal for a continuation you’ve gotta get stuff done. I found the pacing in this book to be perfect. Lots of information and character build up but at the same time you got plot jumps where something would happen that would take the book to another level.

The book didn’t read as ya, however never did I feel that it took the story to an inappropriate place. The relationships and interactions and reactions to events were spot on. I loved that Astrid wasn’t obsessed with the lead male and that it didn’t distract from the storytelling. That she makes mistakes and sorta bumbles about trying to figure things out. She wasn’t always sure footed and that endeared her to me.

Honestly, this book sums down to one thing and that’s that Peterfreund managed to make killer unicorns into something realistic. There, I said it. Killer unicorns exist. She created a world where at first I was leery and than became a huge fan, not just with the whole killer unicorn angle (though that was awesome) but even the mythology. The girl did research and took things and weaved them brilliantly together. If the whole killer unicorn thing seems a bit odd to you, suck it up. Pick this book up, you’ll love it!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kitty Goes to War - Carrie Vaughn

TITLE: Kitty Goes to War

AUTHOR: Carrie Vaughn

SUMMARY: Kitty Norville, Alpha werewolf and host of The Midnight Hour, a radio call-in show, is contacted by a friend at the NIH's Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. Three Army soldiers recently returned from the war in Afghanistan are being held at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs. They're killer werewolves-and post traumatic stress has left them unable to control their shape-shifting and unable to interact with people. Kitty agrees to see them, hoping to help by bringing them into her pack.

Meanwhile, Kitty gets sued for libel by CEO Harold Franklin after featuring Speedy Mart--his nationwide chain of 24-hour convenience stores with a reputation for attracting supernatural unpleasantness--on her show.

Very bad weather is on the horizon. - From Publisher

REVIEW: This series continues to exceed my expectations. Whenever I go to pick up the new Kitty Norville book I always get some trepidation on whether this book will be the one that leaves me with that uncomfortable disappointment that eats at me. Thankfully it seems with each new installment Vaughn continues to keep up the pace and brings new angles to keep us readers hooked.

What I loved about this installment was that some old characters where brought back. Back in book Kitty Goes to Washington we got to meet the Doctor that exploited Kitty now he's back. While he doesn't make any face time we do get to see his 'work'. I'm so happy that Vaughn tied in previous characters and I loved that angle of using the supernatural in human wars. It adds depth to the book and I'm hoping that we go down this path more and more.

If you haven't picked up the series I highly recommend that you do. The first few books are a bit tedious to get through, however I loved them but I know other reviewers weren't instant fans of this series. Regardless, pick 'em up and enjoy the ride.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to apologize for my absence. I have been reading but had some family emergency's. Everything is good now so I'll be back to writing up book reviews. I'll also be updating my 2010 Page Count list, which is where you will be able to see all the books I've read during my hiatus.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent

TITLE: My Soul to Take

AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent

SUMMARY: She doesn''t see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who''ll be next… - From Publisher

REVIEW: Vincent is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved this series opening, the whole concept feels unique and different even though it really isn't. Gotta love authors that can take a concept and make it fresh and new.

This book starts off with best friends Emma & Kaylee sneaking into a club. I like that while Kaylee isn't an 'it' girl she also isn't a social leper either. I enjoy that she sneaks into clubs and does thing that your average teen does. I found her character to be one that I easily related to and that made this book highly addictive. Yet despite the normalcy I loved that she had a tortured and battered past. That her life wasn't fully average. I do think that considering her stint in a ward that there would be more damage. I found her softness towards her Aunt & Uncle at certain moments in the book to be off, or perhaps I'm just cold-hearted but I wanted to see more of her rage, hopefully in the second book we get more of it. Anger at her father for allowing it and now swooping in. (Yes I realize there is a prequel to this series but I'd still like some backlash.)

Hottie, Nash Hudson is just that a hottie. I naturally liked him and he did some unexpected things that I enjoyed. My biggest issue with him is that for someone with such a play-boy reputation he didn't really act like it. Again, Vincent could be doing her trade-mark zig when I think she'll zag but I do hope we get more back-history on him. Was he that much of a play-boy and if so are his intentions with Kaylee fully honest or is he hoping for something in return??

I love that Vincent does that. That her writing style isn't predictable and that really, she could totally change things. I love that I have another few books to eat through before I'm caught up, because her writing is such an addiction for me! I cannot wait!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Reformed Vampire Support Group - Catherine Jinks

TITLE: The Reformed Vampire Support Group

AUTHOR: Catherine Jinks

SUMMARY: An un-romanticized, irreverent, hilarious look at the blood-sucking life, through the eyes of Nina Harrison, fanged at 15 and still living with her mother. She''s stuck in a support group for reformed vamps that has never had anything exciting happen to them...until one of them is murdered. With the help of a priest and Nina''s mom soon the whole cast of weak misfit vampires bands together to surprise themselves: saving a werewolf, solving a mystery and keeping the world safe from blood-thirsty unreformed vamps. Through it all, Nina learns to stop fighting fate, accepts that she''s a vampire, and realizes she actually kind of does like that cute Dave guy even if he''s a vampire. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A very humorous and completely different look at vampires, which was refreshing and I sorta like how the book poked a bit of fun at the way vampires are portrayed. It was different reading a book where vampires aren't rolling in money and laughing at us walking happy meals and our fragile immortality. The concept of them being frailer than us and struggling to simply survive in the most basic sense took a bit of time getting use to. All the vampires I read about are like Nina's Zadia Bloodstone. Regardless of their struggles with health and finding a way to exist without drawing attention to themselves of blodding an human, I found this story to be enjoyable.

It took some time to get into, but that was more real life barging in and interrupting me every time I got into the book. Had there been no distractions I would've read through this faster. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey Nina went on. From hating her existence and other vampires to finally embracing her vampirism and realizing that she put limitations on herself, not her 'disease'. I liked that little moral issue that was slipped into the actual book.

For fans of the vamps and those looking for a humorous read and willing to laugh and mock at yourself you'll enjoy this.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Two-Way Street - Lauren Barnholdt

TITLE: Two-Way Street

AUTHOR: Lauren Barnholdt

SUMMARY: This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They''re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It''s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney''s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he''s got a secret or two that he''s not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can''t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A perfect ya chic-lit for those days where you want to read something that's easy to sink into and just puts a smile on your face.

From the moment I started reading this I figured I was going to love. I love Barnholdt's style of writing and how easily she makes the story flow. Yes, at times the dialogue and inner dialogue is a bit stiff and I was so happy when Barnholdt quit making Courtney's inner thoughts have point form but those are easy things to look past. The romance between Jordan & Courtney was a delight to read and I think the jumping from previous events to current was well balanced and really assisted the story. I got my information and it never seemed chopping when she bounced.

However, never have I read a teen/ya book before and felt so stinking old! I do not remember guys being like this and nor do I remember girls acting like some did in this story. It's not like it's been decade upon decade that I was last in HS but man, times must have changed. Oddly at the same time I felt nostalgic. My husband and I were HS sweethearts and I remember when he broke up with me how horrible it was. Barnholdt did a fabulous job in giving each person their side through inner thoughts but never letting it pass to the other verbally. It made the story so much better and allowed me to be more invested in them as a couple.

I'm definitely going to have to look into more books by this author as this was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shift - Rachel Vincent

TITLE: Shift

AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent

SUMMARY: Being the first female werecat enforcer isn''t easy. Scars accumulate, but I''m stronger in so many ways.

As for my personal life? It''s complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother''s death and my father''s impeachment, it''s all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option…. - From Publisher

REVIEW: The Pride is under attack from the Thunderbirds, vicious shape-shifters who are avenging the death of one of their cocks. (Yes, the humor and mocking is so easy it's not even worth it.) While we understand their need for vengeance, considering that Faythe and the Pride are planning on attacking Malone for his sole part in the murder of Ethan, the Thunderbirds are after the wrong pack and it's up to Faythe to prove their innocence.

I loved this book, and perhaps because it sets up a lot for the finale installment of this series Alpha coming out in fall. Logically they need some more allies and unknowing Malone has given them just that. I must say, I love that Malone isn't a dumb nemesis. The alpha is smart in how he plays his hand. Attacking but managing to show that he is simply responding to what Sanders, Faythe's father & Alpha is doing. It's refreshing that he's not a dumb foe, makes it more challenging and really sets things up.

Question, am I the only one that hopes Kaci & Jace end up together? I know there isn't even snippets of these two but I feel like they'd be a good fit and oddly this is one of the few triangles where I am not rooting for the 'other' guy. I get Faythe's feelings towards Jace but I have huge love for Marc. He's be strong through out the series and while I think he needs to learn to control his temper I think he brings something out of Faythe that we haven't seen others manage to pull out of her.

Alpha is going to be epic and while I think I know who Faythe will choose Vincent has manage to throw me for loop after loop so who really knows. At this point Faythe could decide neither. What I am sure of is that the final book to this series will be amazing and that I won't get any sleep until I'm finished it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Prey - Rachel Vincent


AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent

SUMMARY: Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game...

Play? "Right." My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother "and" an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.

Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever. - From Publisher

REVIEW: And the plot thickens. Just when you thought it was safe and time for the Pride to get their political ducks in a row after Malone's heavy handed politics more trouble is brewing in the 'free zone' and this time it's out for Marc.

It seems that with this book Vincent decided to let all the proverbial crap hit the fan. It was an endless storm and it seems like Faythe and her Pride are getting attacked on every side. We've got the power hungry Malone vying for the Alpha's spot and hoping to turn everyone against him and his Pride.

With Marc being kidnapped, leaving too much of his blood in his home to look like he survived the attack Faythe is on the verge of collapse. But, with Marc's disappearance we do get to see her step up and plot the demise of those that hurt him. With her hunt for him just discovers some more secrets that while she knows are connected to Malone's plot against them she can't scrounge up any hard evidence. To make things more dire in her world Malone attacks and leaves Faythe in a tail-spin of agony.

And just when I thought she was done with making stupid mistakes she makes another one, one I'm not sure will bode well for anyone. While I could kind of see it coming I was still (seems to be a trend with this series) shocked after it. Especially with the fallout of.

This book doesn't let up for one moment and I couldn't believe everything that was packed into this one. I love Vincent's style of writing and how she weaves so much together and it all ends up cohesive and balanced.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Pride - Rachel Vincent

TITLE: Pride

AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent

SUMMARY: I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend--and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride--along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I'm two for three. A goner.

Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I "think" I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.

"If" I survive my own trial... - From Publisher

REVIEW: When reading Rogue and the fallout from Faythe and her college years I never would've guessed that there as going to be a trial. I don't know why I just figured they'd try to cover it up. So having Faythe fight for her life against a corrupt council was just a bit shocking, but in the best way.

The story starts off with Marc & Faythe still apart due to the previous book and Faythe unwilling to marry. I have to admit that I loved that and loved that things weren't patched as we got into this book. I like that Marc got his 'balls back' and that it forced Faythe to make a choice. I like that things between these two aren't smoothed over and you know that they aren't the happy couple working together to knock back the common foe. Yes, they will fight together for the Pride and because while not together none of us readers think for a moment that Marc doesn't love Faythe or unwilling to do anything to save her. I just like that we don't have a 'happy' couple shoved down our throats. I like when authors do this with a series, sometimes if things are all 'yay' I find myself bored.

While the tension between Marc & Faythe was delicious nothing compared to the events of the trial. So many unexpected issues arose and none of them I predicted. And while I was reading I was constantly thinking, no way will that happen. They'll find a way around it, not gonna happen but it did! The unexpected did happen and while I was thrown, I loved it. This whole book kept me on my toes. I was throwing guesses left and right about how they could fix it and none of my ideas worked.

Love when a book and series can keep you guessing and wondering how things will be fixed. I feel like this is the book where Faythe realizes everything that her actions have caused. It's a slap in her face but it was needed. I don't think she fully understood the concessions her father was making, what it was doing to the Pride.

This book broke my heart, in the best ways and once again Vincent managed to keep the series going strong with new obstacles and some of the same ones.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Rogue - Rachel Vincent

TITLE: Rogue

AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent

SUMMARY: I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I've made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I'm working harder than ever, though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on and off duty.

But not all my mistakes are behind me. We're beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women and that they can all be laid at my feet--two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear.... - From Publisher

REVIEW: Hello amazing sequel that tears things apart and made me full of happy!

In this sequel Vincent deserves lots and lots of cookies and shiny things. For those that have been following me for awhile know I like broken characters and when it comes to any sort of romance I like conflict and choices, hard choices and a path that is full of traps and pain. Vincent delivered all of that in this sequel. The character of Faythe goes through lots and I loved watching the little growth we got to see with this book. Yes, she's flawed but that's how I like my butt-kicking females, flawed. Yet, despite those flaws I didn't find Faythe a character that rubbed me the wrong way. She brings good ideas to the table and while she doesn't always have it figured out she's stubborn enough to not let the issue die until it's remedied.

With the second book of the Shifters series we got some fallout from Faythe's past. I feel like the first book really set us up for this storyline but it wasn't predictable where I found myself bored. There's always a web of complication to keeps things from going stale and the repercussions are heady and often leaves Faythe stumbling about trying to fix things. However, the girl could definitely use a class in explaining and learn to sometimes just suck it up and offer another solution. Of course, then she would've be her and we wouldn't get to the see the perfectly paced changes in her character.

I don't want to dive too much into the plot but I will say that this book sets up the rest of the series (which I've now fully read), which is explosive and amazing. I am so glad I picked this series up, I'm in love and addicted and now cannot wait for the final book of the series to be released this fall.

If you haven't already, go snag this series, you'll love.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Unwind - Neal Shusterman

TITLE: Unwind

AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman

SUMMARY: In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them

Connor''s parents want to be rid of him because he''s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev''s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family''s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can''t be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers'' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Shusterman creates a world that I would never want to see come to fruition. The whole story is a cautionary tale and one I definitely think should be read.

I picked this book up due to a fellow reader writing that if you liked Suzanne Collins Hungry series that you'd enjoy this book. While I suppose they are the same I think Collins series is more fast paced and action, which isn't surprising considering what goes on in those books. Shusterman's Unwind in comparison was... far more depressing? *ponders* Yeah, I think I'd go with depressing & heavy.

Parents choose to have their children unwound, which basically means they are taken apart piece by piece, organ by organ while alive (I view this like having a c-section you can feel them doing stuff and it's not super comfy fun but not really painful either, with that said knowing you are being dismantled would be painful). Once they are dismantled they are passed to those that are in need and deemed worthy of survival. As a parent I cannot even comprehend opting to chop up my child so some kid that can play the piano beautiful would live longer. This is taking organ donors & that CSI episode where that crazy killed people for their organs to the extreme.

That aspect along with 'storking' newborns (the law now states that after you have a child you can leave it at someone's door and it's their job to raise it, by law) just broke my heart and made this potential future so depressing and haunting. There's a scene where they really dive into storking and it just shattered me, actually there were a few aspect of this book that just shattered me.

The book is heavy, but creates some good conversation and if I were an English teacher I'd be all over this for a novel study. After reading I couldn't help but take a look at my life and wonder if I'd be unwound...

I think my biggest issue with this book was that there were a bit too many character storylines going on and while they did all connect and made for a beautiful tale I felt like I could never invest fully in them. Too much switching to fully sink into their stories.

All in all a good book, probably not a book you bring on vacation for a light read but one I highly recommend reading.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Give Away!

Alright, so I'm a bit new to all these giveaway, book contest things. In fact, I never really knew that blogs do these sorts of things until I signed up for BS and realized that it's quite huge. Who knew!? So, here I am jumping into the fray to let my followers (does anyone else feel odd saying that? I feel like I'm calling them my minions and you aren't. I'm so happy to have anyone tracking this book blog, so thank you) know that a fellow Canadian who happens to be an amazing author is doing a Canadian sized give away. Kelley Armstrong, author of my favorite book Bitten, has got some serious loot at Maybe Tomorrow's July Giveaway. Despite the giveaway I'm so happy to have found this blog because YAY for Canadian bloggers!

You should all head over, it's open for Canada, US & International. For those that haven't dived into Armstrong's work I must ask, why? Her writing is brilliant and her book Bitten is probably one of the best for werewolf stories. Ever.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Twice Bitten - Chloe Neill

TITLE: Twice Bitten

AUTHOR: Chloe Neill

SUMMARY: Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit, Chicago's newest vampire. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene-and to spy for the vamps while she's at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She'll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals-not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries-old master vampire. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A fast paced story that once again lands Merit in deep waters as she tries to figure out what side she should be fighting for and how to deal with the politics of Pack & Houses.

I am not sure how Neill managed to take shape-shifters and write them in a way that I wasn't fully expecting. Sure, she kept to lots of what we know but I liked that while much was he same she tossed in little things, like the pack not submitting to Gabriel fully. They seemed okay with showing their rage and potentially attacking. In other shape-shifter books one may challenge the Alpha but it's always done in such a political calm way, these guys aren't quite like that. Even the characters from this Pack were fun and I found myself immensely loving them and wondering if at some point Neill was going to throw a curve ball and have little flirty-flirt between Merit & Pack.

Along with bringing in the Pack we also got some good reveals and within the first two pages my anxiety sky rocketed. We finally find out who has been sending her, Merit, those mysterious letters and what is asked of her is shocking. Plus, it never fully resolves itself until the last moment, so, through out the whole story I was simply waiting for the other shoe to drop. I love that Neill never writes her character as cookie cutter. Merit is a complex character and with each book I love that she not only grows but when she challenges Ethan I love that she often makes a good point. She is independent without it ever rubbing one the wrong way. She's a smart chic. And makes a point of not becoming what others before her have become.

Of course we get lots of Merit & Ethan moments, which are wonderful. Not so much Morgan in this book but I'm okay with that, only because I'm not sure what side he's on at the moment. Celina is still a worry for me and while I loved the moments we got with Merit & Morgan (in this book & previous ones) I worry that his allegiance is still to the old Master of the House and if push came to shove he'd support Celina and that it would crush Merit if they were involved. Of course with that said Ethan can be such a douche at times that I just want Merit to find someone who isn't into playing games or using her as a weapon. Neill is one author where there was a potential love triangle and still is but I don't feel like either guy could win and who knows, another one could come in and steal my heart. She's done a fabulous job at balancing and not having one fully win, which in my opinion is smart. I hate when in a series you instantly get a pairing and they are just happy happy. Again, Lisa like tension, pulling and pushing and longing but refusing... *le sigh*

Oodles to twists & turns and I naturally loved the fight sequences, especially when Merit is in training. There's nothing about this series that I find irksome. Neill has really found a fabulous rhythm and has created a 'verse that I just want more and more of.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, July 9, 2010

Raised by Wolves - Jennifer Lyne Barnes

TITLE: Raised by Wolves

AUTHOR:Jennifer Lynn Barnes

SUMMARY: Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn''t mean that she''s averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian''s basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents'' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she''s shaped? - From Publisher

REVIEW: A definite must read for Were fans.

I stumbled across this book over at Katie's Book Blog and decided that due to my love for the werewolf genre I should request it from my library. I'm so glad I did!

The story kicks right off with establishing that Bryn is a bit of a trouble maker and definitely not one to submit to her Alpha, in fact she seems to enjoy pushing him as much as she can, especially since she's not actually a were. I think that element is what I found so intriguing about this book is how Barnes meshed her humanity with what she knew from being raised in a pack. The blend wasn't anything like I've ever read and really made for some crazy twists. However, at times Bryn's annoyance at the Pack grated me on, especially when she flipped from one side to the other. After reading the book I understood where Barnes was going but for a bit there it seemed OOC for what we knew about Bryn.

I would love a best friend like Devon. He's theatrical, good in a bind and very protective of Bryn. At the beginning I though for sure he would be the potential love interest OR that he'd be the "Jacob" of this ya/teen story. Thankfully that never happened and I applaud Barnes for not having to make me choose. I would love to read a short story about him & if Barnes does continue this then I'd be up for some Lake/Devon shippy-ness.

My biggest complaint with this story would be near the end. Without giving too much away I felt that Barnes was on the ledge of poorly written super-hero stuff. You know, like if you read BAD fanfiction and the character is so extremely awesome you automatically cringe. Thankfully it was just for a moment and one could over-look it, but it did sorta irk me a bit.

All around I really enjoyed this book. There's a few dull spots but after finishing it I'm really glad I listen to Katie and picked this one up.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

To The Brink - Cindy Gerard

TITLE: To The Brink

AUTHOR: Cindy Gerard

SUMMARY: Working on highly sensitive diplomatic affairs, Darcy Prescott is a natural target for terrorist kidnappers. But when she's mysteriously plucked off a street in Manila one sultry night, Darcy's disappearance isn't what it seems.

The moment Special Forces soldier Ethan Garrett laid eyes on Darcy, he knew she was the woman he would marry-and he did. But when their marriage fell apart, Ethan never really recovered. Now a highly paid bodyguard, Ethan quickly slips back into combat mode when he learns of Darcy's disappearance and calls in old favors to assemble a rogue rescue team..

Tracking Darcy all the way to the jungles of the Philippines, Ethan knows every move he makes could mean the difference between life and death. His love for Darcy burns stronger than ever. But when he learns the true reason for her abduction, it may be too late to save her-or himself. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Finding romantic/suspense writers that become addictive are a rarity for me. I find myself often cringing at some of the cheesy lines when it comes to the characters declarations of love. Anyways, I've been wanting to read Cindy Gerard's The Bodyguard series for awhile. I like bodyguards, they fit into my alpha male love so I was eager to read this series. Got my hands on this book through my local used bookstore and now I must track the rest of this series down. Immediately.

Gerard most definitely did her research. When it came to Ethan and his team I felt that the dialogue and actions where true to life, that the men could easily be non-fiction rather than fiction. I love when an author does their research, they end up adding those little details that, for me, make a story pop and often suck me into the world they've created. Along with all those fine delicious details that Gerard added for reading the books out of order I never felt lost. Each character was given a little back history to make a new reader become in the loop, yet at the same time I never once felt like I was getting an over-whelming amount of information. Enough that I wasn't scratching my head wondering why Ethan trusted this group of guys. Each was unique and I'm looking forward to getting the two previous books read before I continue on with this series.

Even the plot was engaging. Gerard did bounce back and forth from present to past, but it was always clearly marked, which I loved (sometimes I just don't want to get pulled out of rhythm wondering where I am in the time-line of event). I think the fact that we were shown past events make Ethan & Darcy's connection and love much stronger. Plus, it really showed how much each of the characters had grown during the time apart and made me fall more into what they were going through. Generally I find when authors jump around in the time line I get confused and can't seem to get my rhythm, I'm glad that didn't happen with this book. Gerard pulled it off flawlessly.

Definitely a perfect book for an enjoyable fast past read that will keep you hooked until the very, very end.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, July 5, 2010

unchartered terriTORI - Tori Spelling

TITLE: uncharted terriTORI

AUTHOR: Tori Spelling

SUMMARY: Welcome to Los Angeles, birthplace and residence of Tori Spelling.

It's not every Hollywood starlet whose name greets you on a Virgin Airways flight into la-la land. But Tori Spelling has come to accept that her life is a spectacle. Her name is her brand, and business is booming. Too bad when your job is to be yourself, you can't exactly take a break.

Tori finally has everything she thought she wanted-a loving family and a successful career-but trying to live a normal life in Hollywood is a little weird. With the irresistible wit, attitude, and humor that fans have come to love, the New York Times bestselling author of sTORI telling and Mommywood is back with more hilarious, heartwarming, and candid stories of juggling work, marriage, motherhood, and reality television cameras.

Tori comes clean about doing her time on jury duty, stalking herself on Twitter, discovering her former 90210 castmates' "I Hate Tori" club, contracting swine flu, and contacting Farrah Fawcett from the dead. Like many mothers, she struggles to find balance (Stars, they're just like us!)-only most women don't have to battle it out with paparazzi at the grocery store. She talks openly about the darker side of life in the spotlight: media scrutiny over her weight and her marriage to Dean McDermott, her controversial relationship with Dean's ex-wife, and her unfolding reconciliation with her mother.

Having it all isn't always easy-especially when you're a perfectionist-but with the help of her unconventional family and friends, an underwear-clad spiritual cleansing or two, and faith in herself, she's learning to find her happy ending. Because when you're Tori Spelling, every day brings uncharted terriTORI.***

Just when you thought sTORI time was over, the beloved Hollywood starlet has so much more to say. ***"My life has changed dramatically in the past several years. I married Dean; we moved several times; we had two children; we created a show that has gone into its fifth season on the air. I have love. I have a family. I have a home. I have work. It's all I ever wished for. But trying to be a perfect wife, mother, and mini-mogul has its challenges, especially if, like me, you want to be perfect at all of them at the same time." -from uncharted terriTORI - From Publisher

REVIEW: I can't seem to get enough of this girl. I find her writing so amusing and I adore how honest she is. It's funny to read about the missteps she's made and that she's okay with sharing them.

The tone of this book is very different from the tone of the first one. You can tell that her popularity has spiked with doing the show and her various projects she's dived into. It's not often that a married celebrity couple admits to faults and rifts between them. I liked that she didn't try to project that they had a perfect marriage, of course at the same time portions of this will fuel the paparazzi but at least she's being honest with her fans. Marriage is hard and it is work and after having kids and diving into projects it can put a strain on the marriage, in fact more often it does than not. However, she still has a positive attitude and it's real. It felt like talking to a friend. Having a girls night out and just dishing and venting and being able to walk away knowing that I'm not the only one.

All around another enjoyable book from her and I'm looking forward to more.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead

TITLE: Spirit Bound

AUTHOR: Richelle Mead

SUMMARY: Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong.

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true, Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he won't rest until Rose joins him; forever. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Clearly the most epic and riveting book in this series thus far. It grabbed me from the start and refused to let go even after I finished. In fact I'm tempted to try and break into Mead's computer just so I can know what's going to happen. In fact, December 7th cannot come fast enough for this avid fan.

Doing this review without spoiling the crap out of you all is going to be impossible. So, perhaps if you haven't read this book yet, don't read further. If you've never checked out this series I must ask why the frak not? Go pick it up, don't read this, just go to the nearest bookstore/library and start reading, you won't regret.

Rose just can't seem to help herself when it comes to Dimitri and trouble. Admittedly I'm cheering for Adrian, which I know is now turning into an epic argument just like who Buffy should end up with is, but I seem to like cheering for the one that is least likely to occur (oddly I was all about Angel & Buffy). I love how Adrian never hides how he feels, he's willing to make concessions and compromising to make the relationship healthy, he's head over heels for Rose and I find him just book hot. Of course, I'm not blind to that fact that by the time this series wraps up I'm sure Rose will be with Dimitri. *sigh* Not that I don't love Dimitri, because I do I just can't help it. I'm a Jacob lover as well, so you can see my problem.

So much happened in this book Rose's journey in trying to discover if it's possible to turn Strigoi back was intense and I loved that it wasn't the only huge issue going on in her world. Mead has done a beautiful job of balancing all the various HUGE exciting plots all at once. There's lots going on and I never got confused or felt like she was trying to fit too much in. And while some issues were wrapped up others weren't. This book is complex in the best ways. Nothing fits in its peg properly and just when you think you've got a character figured out Mead pulls the rug out from under you.

The next book is going to be so intense. With the fallout from Rose losing Vicktor; I'm sure that guy isn't just going to disappear into nothing, he's a major player and I can't wait to see what all happens with his plot line. You've got accusations for murder, which really? *dies* Is clearly going to be epically awesome especially with Mr. Mobster himself in the folds. Then you've got Adrian & Dimitri and you all know how I feel about that little triangle.

I cannot say enough about my love for this book. While I was reading it there were moments where I had to get up and step back because I didn't want it to end and I was just eagerly searching for someone to squee about it with. I may have to get my sister-in-law hooked in this series.

Pick up this book, read & the comment and we can gush about it together. EPIC people EPIC!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Succubus Shadows - Richelle Mead

TITLE: Succubus Shadows

AUTHOR: Richelle Mead

SUMMARY: From the author of the hugely popular Vampire Academy series comes this sexy, suspenseful, and witty urban fantasy that features Seattle-based succubus Georgina Kinkaid who discovers that her dreams are not what they seem. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I've loved this series, until this book. I felt like nothing really happened and I sorta feel like we've hit a slump. *ducks flying objects*

Before you start a mob, let me explain and please keep in mind that I adore Mead's work, I think she's brilliant and a fantastic writer with a unique voice. The whole drama with Seth is done. I've past the delicious tension portion of these two and am now just over them. I think the next book or two needs to have Seth barely mentioned and for us to focus on the real excitement, *SPOILER WARNING* the double contract... well and maybe the whole relationship with Roman, who I'm just really loving more and more with each book, so I'm just waiting for that to never happen. (Oh sarcasm, my lovely friend) *face palm* But seriously, I'm done with the Seth drama and he needs to just sit back, get his crap in order and our beloved Succubus needs to get the full 411 on the shifty details.

This book just felt so repetitive. Even the flashbacks weren't all that exciting and more often than not I found myself bored with them. Perhaps this was a filler for what's to come but I felt like the majority of this book didn't bring anything new to the table until the end and a certain kiss.

Maybe I'm the only one that felt this way and others loved the back history, and yay for you all, I wish I was one of you. As for her romance interests I just feel like I've been beaten over the head with Seth (much like how I'm beating my opinion about him in this review) and I want something new. Give her Roman, of course I've got a theory about that. *THEORY SPOILER WARNING* Her and Roman will end up together cause she'll realize that Seth needs to be with his family and sort through that whole drama. I'll fall more in love with Roman and then when she gets out of her contract due to having two... blah, blah, blah and she becomes human she'll got for Seth and I will be mad. So... maybe Roman could die in the fight(?) and then I wouldn't have to know he's suffering while watching the two of them together. Love triangles are EVIL especially when generally they never end up how I'd like them to.

That's my two cents on the book, if you are reading this series, you probably should read this because yay for Mead but also because the teasing with the 'stuff' and Roman is really well written and you may enjoy all the back history and creepy ways of torture (I did enjoy the torture and pain and heartbreak that this book did provide, shocking, I know) that Georgina endures.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stray - Rachel Vincent

TITLE: Stray

AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent

SUMMARY: I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays--werecats without a Pride--constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back...for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever--and whoever--I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays--'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them.... - From Publisher

REVIEW: I've seen this book on various friends shelf over at Shelfari but for some reason never wanted to pick it up. I don't know my full reason for. I remember being worried that it was going to be a bit over the top. Female shape-shifter a bit ditzy, perhaps I should blame it on the summary, which I don't think does the book justice and makes it sounds bad. Or it could be that I'd read a review and combined with the summary I cringed and continued on, who knows what goes on in my crazy mind. Whatever had stopped me from initially picking up this book is obviously evil because I loved this book, in fact, I chewed through this book in a night and it was awesome!

The story kicks off with a good jump kick in regards to plot. I loved how we were tossed into our leads world, we got information but there was so much left up in the air. Kudos for authors not laying down the full 411 within the first 20 pages. There's gotta be some intrigue and mystery in regards to characters past that keep a reader engage. It's a tricky balance to keep us in the loop but at the same time not showing the full hand.

Generally I enjoyed the character of Faythe, there were a few times that I felt like she flipped and flopped a bit too much. However, I notice that often with the first book in a series the female leads aren't fully established and I'm always willing to give a little for what I consider to be missteps. All in all I enjoyed her, I liked how stubborn she was and how that often ended up getting her into trouble. The romance in the book was well written I only hope that as I read this series Vincent stays clear of the guy that Faythe ends up with doesn't become boring and mooshy. I loved all the tension in this book, the push & pull. (For those that have read my reviews know that I love tension and am always okay if the decision isn't made within the first book of the series. I love the tug-of-war.)

The biggest argh moment I had with this one was some of the heavier content, not that it was included in the book just that I'd like there to be more repercussion for them. I believe Briggs (author of the Mercy Thompson series) has been the only author that has really followed through with any sort of assault issues. I'm okay if an author treads there but I want it to be written properly and I felt like some of the characters bounced back too quickly. With that said I suppose one could argue that being a were gives a different take on it, but since I'm not a Were I hope in the second book we get a bit more of the consequences from this book.

All in all I loved this opening book and I've already got the rest of the series in my possession and I'm eagerly awaiting to read them. The series is sorta reminding me of Mercy Thompson series & Kitty Norville series, both of which I love.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Bro on The Go - Barney Stinson

TITLE: Bro on The Go

AUTHOR: Barney Stinson

SUMMARY: From the mind of New York Times bestselling author Barney Stinson comes the ultimate companion to The Bro Code - a handy reference guide crafted for today''s active Bro. With new rules, inspirations, and wisdom, coupled with classics staples from the original Code, Bro on the Go is designed to quickly aid a busy Bro in any situation he might face - at the beach, on the job, at the game, or with the ladies. Plus, it looks good stuffed in your pocket. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Another humorous read for fans of "How I Met Your Mother". While much of the content is the same from the first book it's still enjoyable and still very Barney Stinson. Which is why I love these books. I can never seem to get enough of Mr. Stinson and his Bro Code.

So, for those of you that haven't read The Bro Code what are you waiting for? And once you're finished it please pick up the Bro on the Go.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, June 21, 2010

Voices of Dragons - Carrie Vaughn

TITLE: Voices of Dragons

AUTHOR: Carrie Vaughn

SUMMARY: On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.

But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter­actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

In her young-adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a distinctly twenty-first-century tale of myths and machines, and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Alright, it's no secret that I love Vaughn's Kitty Norville series. I think for an adult series she's done such a good job of written character driven stories and while in her adult series there is romance it's never the sole focus of the books. So I knew going into Vaughn's first dive at a YA book that I was going to love it. And, I did!

The story starts off with giving us some general information for the book but pretty soon we are pushed into action and really, it doesn't slow down. The pace was even, spiking at certain key points and going back to a steady enjoyable stride. I loved that at no point while reading this did I get bored or bogged down. Vaughn managed to give us history and knowledge while never it turning into a history lesson and I loved that she pulled some unexpected twists.

When a story is character-driven I feel like it can't go wrong. And Vaughn has grown so much as an author that focus' on characters. Kay was the sort of girl that I'd like my daughter to read about. She was strong willed in a non-bratty way and yes, because I'm traditional I loved that she wasn't following her BFFL's lead when it comes to sex. I know it's a big topic with authors, readers & parents but I felt like Vaughn wrote it so well and really, with everything that she had going and what we knew about Kay any crazy focus on romance would have seemed out from left field.

The book had some beautiful scenes and I found the story to be extremely compelling. A delight to read and I really hope Vaughn decides to continue with this 'verse and makes a series out of it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, June 18, 2010

American on Purpose - Craig Ferguson

TITLE: American on Purpose

AUTHOR: Craig Ferguson

SUMMARY: In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark-as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: success on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, and later as the host of CBS's Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008.

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared. - From Publisher

REVIEW: "Alright, my cheeky little monkeys!"

I adore Ferguson. I think he's a gem among the late night talk shows and is hands down my favorite among them. I knew the moment I watched his monologue about Britney Spears that he was different. I loved that he shared his story and was willing to be real with the viewers.

That made reading his story that much better. I knew he was talented and had struggles but in this book he was honest and real. I cried and laughed and was filled with joy that this man who had been so lost had been saved.

While diving into his dark and hazing from booze past I found Ferguson to be refreshing. Yes, he was telling us his story but never did it feel like a look what I've accomplished, I'm so amazing! Never did it get self-important. It was simply his story, with humorous portions, hitting the bottom of the barrel (I know I shouldn't laugh at the killer ducks but my mental comedy picture of it just causes me to chuckle) and painful ones. Probably the most honest biography I've read that didn't seem like a neon sign of "I'm Awesome".

For those that like his show you must read this book!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Mercy Thompson Homecoming - Patricia Briggs

TITLE: Mercy Thompson Homecoming

AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs & Illustrator: Francis Tsai, Amelia Woo

SUMMARY: Mercy Thompson is a walker, a magical being with the power to transform into a coyote. She lives on the fine line dividing the everyday world from a darker dimension, observing the supernatural community while standing apart.

When Mercy travels to the Tri-Cities of Washington for a job interview, she quickly finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a gang war between rival packs of werewolves. And as if fangs and fur weren't bad enough, Mercy must deal with the scariest creature of all: her mother, who is convinced that Mercy is making a mess of her life and determined to set her daughter on the right course.

The thrilling adventures of Mercy Thompson-Moon Called, Blood Bound, and Iron Kissed-have topped the New York Times bestseller list. Now Mercy makes her comics debut in an exclusive new story created by Patricia Briggs. Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is sure to please longtime fans and capture new ones with its mix of unforgettable characters and thrilling supernatural intrigue. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I love Mercy. It's one of my favorite series and having the graphic novel just makes me deliriously happy. Is it my favorite Mercy installment? No. But I still enjoyed. It was fun going back to the beginning and seeing Z in his state and Mercy meeting Stefan and Adam. It was just all so much fun.

The graphics were well done. Not 100% how I view Mercy or Adam in my mind but they in no way looked foreign. If you haven't jumped into the series I recommend starting with the books and then jumping into the graphic novel. There's something about knowing the characters that makes learning about some of the previous events much better.

I want more!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Neighbor - Lisa Gardner

TITLE: The Neighbor

AUTHOR: Lisa Gardner

SUMMARY: From a master of suspense comes a chilling new novel that explores the dangers lurking closer than you think. Because even in the perfect family, you never know what is going on behind closed doors….

This is what happened…

It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy-a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect.

In the last six hours…

But from the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses' snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create. On the surface, Jason and Sandra Jones are like any other hardworking young couple raising a four-year-old child. But it is just under the surface that things grew murky.

Of the world as I knew it….

With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and the media firestorm building, Jason Jones seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than on searching for his "beloved" wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt-or just trying to hide? And will the only witness to the crime be the killer's next victim? - From Publisher

REVIEW: I adore Lisa Gardner, she writes spine tingling, lock & double lock your doors, sadly this book didn't quite do that to me.

Yes, there were moments in this book, specifically when it's moments about people's last moments before death and some back history in Sandra's past. And of course, it always gets to me when children are involved.

Still, with all of that said I didn't find myself in the grip of this book. I wasn't waiting to get errands and chores done so I could sit and read. That makes me sad because normally when I pick up a Gardner I can't put it down.

RATING: ♥ &hearts &hearts &hearts ♥

The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks

TITLE: The Last Song

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

SUMMARY: Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller''s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone''s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie''s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.

The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Nicholas Sparks once again writes a strong book that spins you around and makes you hit all the emotions. That's something I love about his work and I feel like throughout his book he's gotten strong and more refined.

His characters are always so vivid and within moments I often feel like I already know the cast and understand their reasoning's for their actions. All of them become alive and Sparks seems to consistently add nice little details that round them out even more and give the beginning glimpses of their characters.

Reading how Ronnie & her father interacted throughout the summer was brilliant, especially with the Sparks-twist that he enjoys torturing us with.

With his books it's all about the journey and with this one especially I thought he captured a young girls journey into adult hood. While I know some readers don't enjoy the pain that Sparks seems to drag his readers through, I'd highly recommend reading this one. Sure you may have to reach for the kleenex but it's worth it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages - Kristen Chenoweth

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

AUTHOR: Kristen Chenoweth

SUMMARY: A lively, laugh-out-loud journey from Oklahoma beauty queen to show biz sensation."Life's too short. I'm not."You might know her as a Tony Award-winning Broadway star who originated the role of Galinda the Good Witch in the smash musical Wicked. Or you may recognize her from her starring roles on TV-The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, and Sesame Street. At four foot eleven, Kristin Chenoweth is an immense talent in a petite but powerful package. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and (she's quick to add) the grace of God, Kristin took Broadway and Hollywood by storm. But of course, into every storm, the occasional drizzle of disaster must fall, and Kristin reflects on how faith and family have kept her grounded, even in tough times.Filled with wit, wisdom, and backstage insight, A Little Bit Wicked is long on love and short on sleep. It's essential reading for Kristin's legions of fans and an uplifting story for anyone seeking motivation to follow his or her dreams-over the rainbow and beyond.FEATURING CHENOLICIOUS RECIPES, KRISTIN'S ADVICE FOR YOUNG ACTORS, AND MUCH MORE! - From Publisher

REVIEW: Chenoweth is adorable and this book is adorable. Her writing voice and style is just like her personality and it made it a joy to read.

I loved the little insights of her life and how open she was about everything. I think what endeared me to her was that while she has her beliefs she's not judging others. I find that refreshing.

All around a good book. For those that love her you'll enjoy this biography.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Silver Bourne - Patricia Briggs

TITLE: Silver Bourne

AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs

SUMMARY: All-new action in the #1 "New York Times" bestselling urban fantasy series

When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secret knowledge-and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side-leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live... - From Publisher

REVIEW: This series never gets old or boring and kicks ass over and over again.

I need to start off by saying I have such a hard time reviewing this series because I love it so much I just want to squee and write incoherent sentences because my brain is all over the place in excitement. I hope that for those that love this series understand. So, please bare with me as I try to settle my squee.

What I love about Briggs is that while the romance is there it's never the driving force. I feel like it drives the characters into directions and gives them more to fight for. There are scenes in this book that are just so potent and brought tears to my eyes and no words are exchanged it's just Briggs' style of writing. She's the master at conveying emotions and struggles without the words, just body language.

I feel like the plots as the series has continued have just gotten stronger. I like that the main plot is there but you still get so much more. The packs interaction with having a coyote as their alpha's mate is wonderfully written. I love that Mercy is still struggling with the aftermath of Tim. That alone makes me love Briggs so much more. That she's written it all so tastefully and hasn't swept it under the rug and watching Adam struggle with how to deal is beautiful. His struggle with not wanting to frighten her but his wolf being, well, his wolf was so perfectly well written and well balanced.

The story with Sam was strong and it makes me wonder if Briggs is going to do a little side story with him. I hope she does, I'd be all over that!

Such a fantastic book and a wonderful addition to a strong series.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong

TITLE: The Reckoning

AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong

SUMMARY: Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I''m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We''re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We''ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we''d left behind and take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A perfect ending to a thoroughly enjoyable trilogy that had me hooked with each book.

Armstrong has such a strong style to her writing that seems to always keep me engaged her works. I never feel like skimming over a page out of boredom and when she's giving what would normally be yawn worthy information, that you sorta need to know, she keeps it spicy so you don't lose interest and it doesn't ruin the flow of the book. Never do I hit a spot where I feel like she lost her way. Everything she puts in this book is required and while she does play with the card of 'who dun it' she never gives too much information where it spoils the mystery. She builds it all up and you wonder if there are spies and she keeps you guessing, which I love. I think it's because she doesn't put it at the front that it's always in your mind but not. She's a crafty one.

Her characters are so driven and so strong. I have fallen in love with them all and I've got to say, I was sad to see this story end. I'm happy with the various outcomes and how much they've grown through this journey. Chloe has finally gotten that backbone and when Derek is pushing her I love that she'll push back and won't let him get away with some of the crap he tries to pull.

For those that haven't bothered to pick up this trilogy what is wrong? If it's the whole teen/ya angle don't worry. These books are not written simplistically and... basically you must read these! Now. Go!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Kiss and Tell - Shannon Tweed

TITLE: Kiss and Tell

AUTHOR: Shannon Tweed

SUMMARY: "By the time I was 24, I was pretty jaded--I thought I''d seen and done it all. Then I met Gene. My life is divided into two sections: PG (well... maybe R) and AG (after Gene)." Shannon Tweed--model, actress, - From Publisher

REVIEW: Tweed bares all (and in the case of some of the pictures I mean literally) in this humorous and exposing biography.

I enjoy the show Family Jewels I find the various antics that the family goes through humorous and the interviews with Nick (their son & oldest child) are always a sure bet for some laughter. This book was a really in-depth look into Shannon's life. I loved the way she wrote her childhood, which was funny but informative without getting stuck on the small details. After reading it I feel like I know lots about her childhood but it didn't take 300 pages to get there. Her days in the Mansion with Hef was insane. I never knew she was actually one of Hef's girlfriends and while I've watched the Playboy Bunnies Reality TV show I got more info from this book. Life at the Mansion is definitely in its own genre.

Some of my favorite portions of the book was when Gene entered her life. Those two amuse me. And again, I learned so much about him and their life, which is really the point in reading biographies.

All around I thoroughly enjoyed this bare all biography.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting

TITLE: The Body Finder

AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting

SUMMARY: Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies-or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer-and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A kudos to Derting for writing a strong female lead.

Violet has captured my heart and she's the sorta female lead that I love. The struggle she has with these new-found feelings for her best friend Jay was beautifully written and so realistic. The push and pull and fear of 'outing' herself and ruining their lifetime friendship was a thrill to read. There were so many aspects that made me love their story. How long they'd been friends and the comfort they had with one another along with Jay knowing her secret ability and him never viewing it as creepy or doubting it. Finally, we had a female that wasn't going to be walked on. There are scenes where Jay and her are arguing and I love that Violet didn't back down. She wasn't annoying stubborn or written in a way that rubbed you the wrong way, she just wasn't a pushover or a lovesick puppy. What clinched my love for this character was that when Jay was being obtuse or they was friction between the two she didn't allow him to walk over her or push her into anything. Often, I feel like the female lead allows for poor behavior because she loves him. It was refreshing to see how healthy and strong a female she was. To appreciate what he did but still not excuse bad behavior.

The plot itself was amazing! It had a far more adult feel to it and that often came from chapters being written from the villains point of view. It gave it a grittier, darker edge to the book, which I loved. Plus, Violet and her family had already come to terms with her special skill. It wasn't a taboo topic or something they shunned. In fact her parents worked around to try and discourage her searching out some of the 'echos' but at the same time finding answers (the little cemetery) to give her peace. The parent child dynamic was very refreshing. They were as normal as you could be considering that their child could hear the echos of those (human and animals) that were murdered. The way the book started off with Violet (at a young age) going for a walk with her father and her discovery was chilling and the perfect answer to set the stage of her skills. I love when an author shows us rather then tells us.

All the characters were well rounded. I enjoyed that Violet wasn't an outcast with one or two friends, but rather she was like most kids in school. She had her own group of friends, she wasn't in the 'it' group but she wasn't the kid that got picked on. It gave the book a far more realistic feel to it and it allowed for you to connect with the characters.

Derting's debut novel knocked it out of the park! I'll be eagerly awaiting her second book Desires of the Dead and highly recommend that you all pick up The Body Finder.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fallen - Lauren Kate

TITLE: Fallen

AUTHOR: Lauren Kate

SUMMARY: There''s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price''s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He''s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can''t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I was sadly disappointed with this book.

I found it to be far too much like other books I've read. The whole school being more than it appears has been done and in my opinion done much better. I found the way the school was set up and controlled far too dramatic and sorta felt like a ploy to make the kids isolated. I think Kate could've found a way to bring this group of troubled kids together without the school or maybe doing the school in a way that hasn't been done.

The characters themselves bored me and were really predictable and cookie cutter. Each character filled the 'formula' and nothing about them was really unique. And then we hit the major pot hole that always rattles me.

Yes, I do realize that I am not a teen and so my view on relationships is naturally different. With that said while I understand that teen books will have a relationship occur far quicker and not with the same layers and detailing that an adult book will I don't think that means that the female should be weak minded. Can someone please explain to me why so often in teen/ya books the female lead is written as a smitten kitten who will forgive any slight and the male lead always has some excuse as to why he flops on and off on the girl. Why in the world are we teaching young females that it's okay if the guy goes hot and cold and to just keep going back for more? I know this is just fictional but I feel like it's setting up unrealistic expectations for girls or that they should stick with a guy that does that whole yo-yo thing and that he'll have this 'reason' for his behavior.

Okay, I'll put that rant on the shelf... for now.

The story/plot was interesting but I felt like it took ions before we got to the meat of it all. I wish we'd gotten more of Luce's back-story and the events of the 'incident' that brought Luce to the school. I'm all for being shown the events rather than told for important plot points. I think in this case it would've added to her character.

This first book is definitely a set up for the next book and sadly nothing about this book really makes me want to pick up the second book. All around I think the younger age group will enjoy but for those adults that enjoy reading teen/ya books I'd venture to guess you won't.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult

TITLE: Nineteen Minutes

AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult

SUMMARY: Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of My Sister''s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.

Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens--until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state''s best witness, but she can''t remember what happened before her very own eyes--or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show--destroying the closest of friendships and families. Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether anyone is ever really who they seem to be. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A must read!

This was one of those books where I loved but at the beginning it had some lull moments. I liked that Picoult jumped back in time to give us history but at the beginning I was so desperate to get into the actual shooting that I was a tad frustrated that I was being pulled out of the present to be in the past. However, this could also just be my small level of patience I have. I did enjoy the past segments as it got closer to the shooting. I found those more relevant however; after reading the book those early years of Peter showed events that happened that morphed and changed him and tied things together.

Content. This book was heavy. It broke my heart in more ways than one and just sorta rammed home the after effects. Often the news covers the current and you sorta forget that for the victims the sound of a loud bang will send them falling to their knees looking for cover long after the camera crews have packed up. That's heartbreaking and Picoult gave us so many moments of the after. Of Peter receiving letters, the court description and pictures and how it shook up the town. It was all overwhelming and Picoult never shied away from the content. I feel like if you're writing about such heavy issues that you need to fully dive in because not and skimming or glazing over takes away and trivializes the events.

As always Picoult writes in detail and definitely not one that you can sorta breeze through. Every page has important information and the characters go through lots of changes and there's twist and upsets and you end up feeling for people that you wouldn't normally feel for.

A potent and beautiful book about events that are horrific and painful. One of the best books I've read and a must read for all, especially if you're in a book club.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

TITLE: Hush, Hush

AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick

SUMMARY: For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She''s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora''s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can''t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A brilliant start to this new series!

The character of Nora Grey sorta fell into the cookie cutter shape that seems to be drifting about in teen/ya genre. And I've got to admit I didn't really like that. I don't like reading about the same character in book after book and that makes me wish that perhaps things were changed up. That Nora was a bit different and wasn't the typical teen that was clumped in the reject group of HS. I do have to say that I liked that Nora's Mom wasn't what I expected. I expected her to be distant and not really take an interest in Nora's life but I enjoyed reading that her Mom was there, just simply trying to make ends meat for the family. Was a refreshing change, but didn't make up for Nora being the expected.

Patch, thankfully was not what I expected. He was probably the most refreshing of them all. I sorta popped him into dark/brooding sort and while he did have some of those qualities as the book progressed things were just exposed and I ended up loving him. I don't want to give too much away because no one likes spoilers in reviews but I am most looking forward to this series due to his character. Fitzpatrick wrote him full of angles and edges and while reading this I was never quite sure who he exactly was and what his motives truly were. She kept me on my toes and I love when the unexpected happens with a character that you feel will be expected. Make sense?

The story itself I found to be an enjoyable read. The plot was laid out nicely with a good pace. Things were in constant motion but I never felt like she tried to put too much into this book. She set the stage beautifully and left enough loose ends that her second book Crescendo is going to be eagerly anticipated by this reader.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥