Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Review Day!

Written by: Kelley Armstrong, L.A. Banks, Lucien Soulban and more
Edited by: Kevin J. Anderson
Short Stories
Publication date: September 28, 2010 by Gallery Books (first published 9/11/10)
Released in Paperback
439 pages
Given to my by my special someone :)

3 stars

Synopsis: From the Horror Writers Association comes a brand-new collection of darkly humorous tales!
The Big Questions of Life (and Death) 

Can a killer’s basement blood-feast be a tax write-off (under Entertainment)? Not if Vlad the IRS agent nails him first in Heather Graham’s "Death and Taxes." 

What does a pack of hungry she-wolves do to solve their man troubles? Ladies Night Out takes a wicked turn in "Dog Tired (of the Drama!)" by L. A. Banks. 

How far will an elite call girl go to beat a murder rap? Stuck with a dead client in a luxury L.A. hotel room, she might strike a costly bargain with a woman of unearthly powers in Allison Brennan’s "Her Lucky Day." 

Who actually writes those tabloid stories about Bigfoot? Meet a journalist of the unexplained (she’s 50 percent demon) and her boyfriend (he’s 100 percent thief), as they heat up a museum exhibition that’s also a soul-snatching battleground in "Lucifer’s Daughter" by Kelley Armstrong. 

Plus tales from:

My Review: Some of these were true horror stories told in such an imaginative way that it isn't scary at all, they're more realistic, as if you could really have a neighbor that keeps spare body parts in his basement. Others are so creative, have such disturbing creatures that I couldn't even fabricate them in my head! Almost all of the stories leave your mouth on the floor at the end with suspenseful cliffhangers, you just can't believe they left you hanging like that!

There were characters that you could like instantly...the way they think or their sense of humor. My favorite was a call girl named Vi. She caught the bad end of a deal, poor girl. And she had her life all figured out, too. But it was her attitude that I liked - not that I have much in common with a call girl! Another likable character was Filimeala O'Grady (American Banshee), a kick-ass bean sidhe that can use her scream to get what she wants. *wicked smile* I like her.

There was a story titled "Eight Legged Vengeance" that I absolutely could not read for the fear that it was about spiders. *shivers*

I enjoy short story books like this because it's fun switching characters every 15 pages or so. One right after another, a different place, a different time, a different narrator, tone and feel. It keeps me on edge and I never get bored. And if I do, I just skip that story and move on to the next. It's as easy as that! That's the true beauty of short stories, you feel like you've just completed a reading marathon but you get to skip the parts you don't like! It might be cheating, a little - still 26 out of 30 stories is pretty good.

Overall: This book and it's prequel Blood Lite (The Dresden Files #10.1) [my review here] are very entertaining and extremely creative. I don't think there was one story between the both of them that gave me the feeling that I've read something like this before. Thumbs up for originality!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Review Day! *Minor Spoilers*

Written by: Aprilynne Pike
Publication date: May 3, 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published April 28th 2011)
Released in Hardcover, ebook and Kindle

5 stars

Synopsis: Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

My Review: By the third page, I had my mouth wide open, my hand over my mouth and my eyes popping out of my head! No time was wasting getting this story started! The whole book was suspense. Who is Yuki? Who is Klea? Which is really the one in charge here? And what does any of it have to do with Laurel??

I think Laurel was extremely selfish in this book. It took another girl to show interest in Tamani for Laurel to realize that she didn't want anyone else that close to him but her. But she felt the same way about David. She wants to bounce between them for as long as she can because she isn't strong enough to let either of them go. I think three books is waaay too long for Laurel to decide who she truly loves and wants to be with. I think she felt obligated to love David in return for everything they've been through however, nobody is really winning in that situation. Neither of them benefit from loving or being loved for the wrong reasons. I did love the exchanges between Tamani and David, though. It adds humor and tension and it will split readers between Team Tamani or Team David.

At the end we discover that Yuki is a Winter faerie but what does it mean? Is she an enemy to Laurel and if so, why? The synopsis told us of a hidden enemy and waiting to find out the who and why is the fun part. No way am I going to complain about getting another book with more of Tamani! I feel as much as this is Laurel's story, Tamani is the star of the show. Yeah I feel a little bad about David but I'm just being realistic. Holding onto somebody for the wrong reasons is just as unhealthy for you as it is for them.

I am thoroughly confused about Shar, Tamani's best friend. He seems loyal enough to be considered one of the good guys, but when he claims he is neither Seelie or Unseelie but determined to protect Avalon - I don't know what to think. I would hate for Tamani to have to make a difficult decision about his best friend fate.

Aprilynne Pike did an excellent job of creating her own faerie world. She really did her research and created a world with its own hierarchy, its own science and mythology. She explains how their magic works in ways that you have to remind yourself that, "Oh yeah. This is fiction." 

Overall: More faerie goodness. This is a can't-miss series. It took the entire book to get to this killer cliffhanger and the wait for book #4 is going to slow and painful. I will love and hate every minute of it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hey Everyone!
I have a great offer to share with you guys.
Ava O'Brian is dealing with more than a teenager's typical temptations of right versus wrong. Ava is unaware she possesses a rare and unique gift, a soul with the ability to influence. Unfortunately, Satan will stop at nothing to gain control of her special ability.

Ava's faith is seriously shaken when she is the sole survivor of the car accident that kills her father and twin brother. When she relocates and faces the ultimate temptation in Samuel Perry, her mysterious classmate living on earth since 1798 to tempt and damn mankind, Ava isn't sure she can resist.

Sam must decide if he will lead Ava straight into the devil's trap or place his immortal existence on the line in order to keep her alive.
What ultimate price is Ava willing to pay for love? What if it means giving up her life or turning over her soul straight into Satan's hands for the boy of her dreams? 
Sounds good, huh? And I love the cover! The book was released May 23, 2011 in ebook  format (257pgs) by Noble Romance Publishing - Young Adult.
If you would like to enter to win a free Kindle, go to lisakuehne.com and click on the "e" in the top (by facebook/twitter/etc). This is the everybizbook site where the contest tracking is being held. Click to register and it will ask you to describe your first kiss in 500 words or less. It will list all the entries (with only first name and last initial. Contestants will be able to log in and see how they are doing with votes.
The winner (first kiss with the most votes) takes home the Free, brand new Kindle; 2nd place gets a FREE True Intentions e-book.
The contest will end July 31st. On Aug 3rd the winners will be announced.
Sounds like a win-win situation to me! Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Twilight: The Graphic Novel Volume 2

I don't know about any of you guys, but I was not expecting this to be the next cover for Volume 2, although now I feel like I should have expected it. Either way, I absolutely LOVE it!!

It's expected publication date is October 11, 2011 by Yen Press.

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Blogger Hop #10

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs they  never knew existed!

Each week, participating blogs are asked questions to post and answer on their websites.

This week's question

   "How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile?"
My Answer: Without actually sitting here and counting them, I'd say my TBR pile is about 100 books. That won't stop me from adding to it though! I think having a large unread pile is fun because it gives me a ton of options for my next read.

How big is your pile?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Review Day!

Written by: Aprilynne Pike
Publication date: May 4, 2010 by Harper Teen
Released in Hardcover
359 pages

4 stars

Synopsis: Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

My Review: There was finally good TV on this week and all I wanted to do was read this book! Of all the other unread books on my bookcases, I knew I wanted to pick this series back up for one reason: Tamani. Whenever Tamani was in a scene, I couldn't help but smile and be excited the whole time! This is a character I really liked and I just wanted more of him.

Laurel is a great character as well (with a great name, by the way). She is strong, decisive and humble. But she's also very stubborn. She refuses to leave her human life behind her, feeling the need to protect her parents, human boyfriend, David and other friends. She also denies her feelings for Tamani. She is needed in Avalon and vulnerable in the human world. I don't assume it would be easy to do such a thing, but the truth is that Avalon was her home long before California was. Just because she can't remember that part doesn't mean it isn't just as important.

The love triangle between David, Laurel and Tamani is spiraling out of control! Spoiler Alert: When Tamani kissed her at the festival and then again in front of David? That  was SO intense! I could almost feel Tamani's need for Laurel to finally give in and let him love her, the way it was always meant to be. I thought for sure that when it really came down to David or Tamani, that she would choose Tamani. Like I said, she's stubborn. I don't doubt that David is a great boyfriend, what with remembering to open the door for her every time without fail. But love is about what you feel with this person, at the sight of this person, or at the mere mention of this person. Love is pure instinct, if it's true, it requires no thought. I wish Laurel would ditch David and be with Tam and live in Avalon the way it was always intended and live happily ever after, the end. The best part of Avalon is that you don't pay for anything!! Instead of money, compliments are their from of currency. If you see something you like at the market, you simply tell the faerie who made it how much you like it and then you just...walk away! Amazing!

I don't like Klea Wilson, self-proclaimed bad-ass troll hunter or whatever. Yeah, so what she saved David and Laurel's lives a couple times when it really mattered and not knowing who she really is adds mystery to the story. I still would have liked it to be Tamani that was swooping in to save the day, instead of leaning against a tree, miles away, the whole time. I do like that everything is out in the open now: Chelsea knows Laurel's secret and her parents know about the true danger Laurel is in.

There was one line in this book that really made me stop and think...and feel. First let me try to set the scene a little here. If memory serves, Laurel is in Avalon studying how to be a Fall faerie when Tamani comes to visit her. She hugs him and when it was time to let go and step away, she describes it with this amazing analogy: "It's like trying to make a river reverse its flow." When I read that I stopped because I really wanted to think about that. I mean, imagine? Imagine what it would take to do such a thing. You would need nothing less than something powerful. It reminds me of the whole in Bella's chest without Edward. Devastation. Laurel feels the loss of being with Tamani.

Speaking of loss, major cliffhanger at the end! 

Overall: It was a pretty slow until about halfway through the book but not enough to deter me. This is a great series with strong characters and an interesting plot. The romance is consuming. I love everything about this series!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Caster Chronicles 2.5!!

Prepare yourself! On (or about) August 2, 2011, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will be releasing Dream Dark, a prequel to the third and HIGHLY anticipated book in the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Chaos in Kindle/ebook format only

Synopsis: When Link joined his best friend, Ethan Wate, on a quest through a mysterious network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, he knew the journey would be dangerous. But returning home to Gatlin, South Carolina was just the beginning... 
Wounded during a climactic battle, Link discovers that tending his injuries won't be as simple as visiting a doctor and that healing his arm should be the least of his worries. For being bitten by a Supernatural does more than break the skin -- it changes a person, inside and out, turning Link into someone more and more like the dark creature who injured him. 
In this never-before-seen short story by New York Times bestselling authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, readers witness Link's heart-racing transformation. Dream Dark is set before the much-anticipated third Beautiful Creatures novel, Beautiful Chaos, and as a special bonus includes an exclusive sneak peek at the first five chapters. 
I think it's amazing that they are giving this little tid-bit to us! Authors love to tease us and I, for one, am a sucker for punishment! I can't wait!

Happy Reading! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reading Survey

I found this tho other day posted by Ashley at The Book Labyrinth. It was fun to take, so copy and paste or answer one of questions in a comment below!

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?
Definitely my crime books, both fiction and non-fiction. Before I really got into young-adult, I read a lot of mystery/crime books and true crime, serial killers in particular. May sound strange, but I guess it was for the same reasons that I watch CSI and all those shows. They're interesting.  
2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you'll read next?
I just finished Blood Lite II: Overbite by multiple authors - short stories. I have a strange way of picking my next read. Sometimes I know. When I don't, I stare. I just stare at my bookcases and contemplate every unread book, feel them out, and the one I keep going back to is the one. Lately I've been looking at Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith. 

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?
The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Of course I wanted to like whatever book the author of Twilight wrote but I just couldn't get into it. I didn't even finish it. My intention is to make another attempt if it is to become a movie one day. If not, I probably won't pick it back up any time soon.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?
Dracula. I have it because I'd like to experience the original for myself and be able to make comparisons and know when a Stoker reference is being made. However, I think the time for this book will be when I have run out of other books to read first. Which might take a while.

5. Which book are you saving for "retirement?" 
Lucy by Laurence Gonzales. I'm intrigued enough that I want to read it but I'm in no rush to do so.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end? 
I can usually resist the temptation to peek at the end but sometimes I give in, just a little. Never enough to spoil anything, just enough to get a name or last words.

7. Acknowledgments: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
I like to read acknowledgments of my favorite authors, to get a glimpse into their lives and the process they went through for that book. Sometimes they get help in unexpected areas which make for interesting shout-outs. 

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Laurel of Aprilynne Pike's Spells. She's a faerie that grows a giant flower out of her back once a year and has special abilities. Plus this super great guy is madly in love with her. She practically lives between the human world and the faerie world. Best of both. 

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?
The Collected Poems of Sara Teasdale. It reminds me of a friend I had in the fourth grade. She gave me this book and it sparked my love of poetry. I started writing my own. If she never gave me that book, I wonder who I'd be.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
Wicked Nights by Nina Bangs. My bestie and I were in the dollar store, tossing through books in a bin when she picked one up and laughed at its corny title and told me to "look at this one". I said, "I need that one!" It was part of a series I only had one other book to. Lucky find!

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
I wish I could say yes. I only buy people books I know they want - I'm not gonna spend good book money on something they may or may not read! And I do NOT give away my books. Uh-uh.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?
I don't like to travel with my books for fear that they will get ruined. However, I did take Liar by Justine Larbalestier to Aruba with me, thinking I'd clock in some good book-on-the-beach time. I did not. And I just slept on the plane.

13. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad ten years later? 
I haven't re-read anything from high school but I don't remember hating any of it. I particularly enjoyed Of Mice and Men and To Kill A Mocking Bird

14. What is the strangest item you've ever found in a book?
Nothing interesting. Probably just old bookmarks.

15. Used or brand new?
My YA books have to be new. I'm picky with my covers. I like them to be in good condition. I also love really old books. The look, the smell, the sound of crinkly pages.

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?
I've never read a Stephen King novel and his movies usually scare the crap out of me.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
There have only been four (three of them Twilight books) and all the books were better.

18. Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?
I can't think of one in particular but any time a character mentions eating a piece of chocolate or having steak and potatoes for dinner, my mouth waters.

19. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?
My bestie. No one else reads what I read and it's just one more thing we have in common. If she says a book is good, it's good.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Review Day!

FINALLY!! I have finally finished this book and I have to explain that I honestly do not believe it was because of the story that it took me so long to finish (about two months). I've been so busy and preoccupied that I haven't been dedicating much time to my reading, which I hope to change soon. Anyway, I finished it, so here it is:

Written by: Shawn C. Sproatt
Publication date: March 11, 2011
Released in Kindle and ebook
248 pages

3 stars 

Synopsis: 15-year-old Wanda Windsor is not the most popular student at Hecate High. In fact, amongst her fellow witches, the fairies, the shifters, the vampires, and the werewolves, she's one of the least popular students. However, she never thought anyone hated her enough to try attack her. During her sophomore year someone uses mind control on other students to force them to hurt Wanda, and she manages to just barely escape each attack. Wanda isn't sure who would want to hurt her, but she's fairly certain it has to do with the introverted new student who has visions of the future.

When she isn't dodging death, Wanda spends her time trying to pass Geometry, avoiding (unsuccessfully) the subject of boys, and getting into mischief with her friends.

My Review: Right from the start, things take off which I loved because that means no drawn out intro about scenery and character or history. Not that a background story isn't good, however in this case it wasn't particularly necessary.

Wanda (hate the name) is being attacked by unknown assailants and the suspense is held out until the very end. The first attack is right in the first chapter and it immediately gets your mind reeling with "whoddunit". The supernatural community created in this story is so detailed as they had a supernatural version of everything for everything; yet I had a hard time remembering who was who, who was what, and what was what. There were witches, vampires, fairies, werewolves, shifters and more. Equally difficult to remember were the different rules and taboos between all the different races. Not everyone felt that dating outside of your race was acceptable. Wanda and her small group of friends consisted of a witch, Wanda, a fairy, Ari, Dean was the group vampire, Lu is a shifter and Alec a werewolf. They are all fiercely loyal to each other. Although they are in high school, you can tell that Wanda is the last of her friends to mature. As far as characters go, some stuck out more than others, even though the characters were all consistent, as in frequently changing or new ones being introduced. One character in particular, Lu, I kept forgetting if she was a guy or a girl and if she was related to Alec (another main character) or if she was romantically interested in him.

For the story to take place in a supernatural high school and town, there really was not a lot of magic going on. There was a lot of description about places and things but not enough about events. At one point Wanda is teaching herself defensive spells and practicing them on her friends but we don't get to see what she's doing or even hear the spells she's casting. I think the mystery part of this story was well written but the paranormal part was lacking. The author mentions witches having 'familiars' as though it were everyday knowledge and I was already supposed to know what that meant. I didn't. Their purpose, their powers and the advantages of having one were still a mystery until very close to the end of the book where they came into play more, because Wanda had two familiars, which is rare and reserved for especially powerful witches.

What I didn't like was how clueless Wanda was at a lot of critical times in the story. I understand that when you are in the eye of the storm, it is easy to miss things but I still felt that she should have been able to figure some of these things out. She would blindly walk into traps without even considering the possibility that it was a trap in the first place. I found myself getting frustrated and yelling at Wanda, "Oh come on!"

The end result, the big secret, the big reveal or whatever you want to call it can only be described with one word: flat. I was all excited to find out who was behind this whole grand scheme (and what the grand scheme was since it was such a well guarded secret), but when everything was laid out before me, I was just left feeling like "That's it? That's what I waited for all this time?" The person behind it all was no surprise either. Introduced early in the story as a potential villain so you are already given the feeling that this person was going to be guilty in the end. There was a whole lot of misdirection to make the reader believe it really could be anyone else, but it wasn't, and I think it would have been better if it was a completely different character. It would have made all my detective work feel worth it.

The writing was riddled with typos and spelling errors. I don't necessarily blame it on the author but I'm pretty sure the editor missed a few things.

Overall: Even though I wasn't in love with this book I did like it a lot and I'm glad I finally finished it and I look forward to the sequel. There were a lot of unresolved issues like inter-racial/species couples being seriously frowned upon. Racism is intolerable, period, and I would like to see that aspect of the story changed in the next book. And what about Wanda and Patrick (potential love interest and vampire)? Are they going to finally admit their feelings for each other and be together? If Wanda really is strong enough to require two familiars than are we going to get to see her powers develop? Let's not forget about Rose and Stephanie, (school jerks) I'd really like to see Wanda put them in their place for good!

Witches in the Holy City is the beginning of a new series set to debut in ebook on June 28, 2011 with the hopes of a Mistfit sequel in July!

Click here to visit Shawn C. Sproatt's blog.

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1 Trailer

In case you missed it or you're just looking for another excuse to watch it, here is the Official Trailer! 


Do you get chills? Because I get chills. Every time. The headboard breaking was perfect but I want to see some feathers flying. Then some egg making =]

I can't wait to see every single part of this movie. I'm equally excited about everything. What I don't like is that Edward's hair is WAY to short. It doesn't make him any less delectable, it's just the principle.

Then I worry. Where will they cut the movie off? At what point will they leave us shocked with our jaws hung open and stuck to the sticky theater floor?

Damn the suspense!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Name Your Top Vamps!

After reviewing The President's Vampire this week, I starting thinking about the toughest vampires I've read and I thought it'd be fun to share my Top 3 and why.  I decided to narrow it down to three because, frankly, I felt these three were in a league of their own compared to the others on my shelves. I'd really love to know who your top 3 (or 5) toughest vampires are! 

1.  I have to start with Nathaniel Cade from The President's Vampire. He is unstoppable. Whatever monsters come at him are struck down. He's lightening fast, super strong, fearless and no longer thinks, feels, behaves or does much of anything like a human. You know what that means? He's an animal. A beast. Controlled, maybe. But never tamed.

2.  The Twilight vampires. Haters can say what they want, but they were invincible; fast, strong, they walk in the sun and they never sleep. Even Cade had to go to ground or risk burning in the sun. I can't think of a single thing that could hurt them aside from the werewolves and other vampires.

3.  This last vamp may be the baddest of them all. Sita of Thirst No. 1, 2, 3 and 4. She can see the craters on the moon. Imagine how enhanced everything else is after 5,000 years. You can't surprise her. She can smell the gunpowder in your bullets and the steel of the gun before you even pull it out. Her senses don't miss a thing. She can't be killed. Indestructible is the word I'm looking for.


So those are three of my favorite vampires though I love all of them. Who are yours? Maybe you think it's Rose from Vampire Academy or Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse novels, or one I've never even heard of!


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