Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ARC Review: StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

STARCROSSED
(Thief Errant #1)
by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Courtesy of Star Book Tours

High in the snow-covered mountains of Llyvraneth, in a castle full of the country's elite, Celyn Contrare serves as a lady-in-waiting to shy young Merista Nemair. Her days are spent dressing in velvet and brocade, attending Lady Merista, navigating court gossip, and charming noblemen over lavish feasts.

And at night, she picks locks, steals jewels, forges documents, and collects secrets. Because Celyn isn't really a lady-in-waiting; she's not even really Celyn Contrare. She's Digger, a sneak-thief on the run from the king's Inquisition, desperate to escape its cruel instruments and hatred of magic. If she's discovered, it will mean her certain death . . .

. . . But life as a lady-in-waiting isn't safe either. The devious Lord Daul knows her secret, and he's blackmailing her to serve as his personal spy in the castle. What she discovers - about Daul, about the Nemair, even about her own Lady Merista - could signal civil war in Llyvraneth. And for a thief trained never to get involved, taking sides could be the most dangerous job yet.


My Review
Digger is a common thief - well, maybe not so common, as she's actually very good. But after losing her partner and nearly getting caught by the Greenmen at her latest job, she knows she has to get out of Gerse. Catching a ride with a boatful of spoiled nobles' kids seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it seems she may be stuck with them for some time, pretending to be someone she's not, all while serving as a lady's maid. Except someone does know who she is, and he is blackmailing her into doing his dirty work. The more she digs into the family's secrets, the more she realizes that the secrets she discovers may be best kept hidden.

I had a hard time getting into this book at first, but by the end of Part 1 I was completely sucked in by the story. Digger got so in over her head that I just had to keep reading to find out how she pulled herself out of the situation. Bunce does a great job of handling the fantasy aspect of this story so that it doesn't jump out at you if it's not quite your cup of tea, but it's still enough if it's something you enjoy. Digger is a likable character, and it was a fun ride to discover secrets along with her. Probably the only thing I didn't like about this book was that it has a sequel - I can't wait to find out what happens next!



Digger will be back in Elizabeth C. Bunce's next novel, Liar's Moon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Stork by Wendy Delsol

Stork
by Wendy Delsol

Moving from L.A. to nowhere Minnesota, sixteen-year-old Katla Leblanc expected the local fashion scene to be frozen in time. What she didn't expect was induction into the Icelandic Stork Society, an ancient order of women charged with a unique mystical duty. Not only is Katya the youngest member, but Hudla, the society's omen-guided leader, immediately bestows the coveted Second Chair on her - a decision that ruffles a few feathers.

As if that weren't enough, Katla also has to deal with her parents' dicorve and the social aftermath of a bad date with popular but creepy Wade. Katla, however, isn't one to sit on her designer-jean behind, and soon she's assigned the fashion column for the school paper and making new friends.

Things would be looking up if it weren't for editor-in-chief Jack. Even though they argue every time they meet, Katla is inexplicably drawn to him. Juggling her home life, school, and Stork duties, will Katla be able to unravel the mystery surrounding Jack? More importantly, will she find a dress in time for Homecoming?

Folktales collide with reality in Wendy Delsol's debut novel, in which one girl finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life.

My Review
Katya is a sweet girl who is just trying to make it in a new town, separated from her father, her friends, and everything she has ever known. After a chance encounter with Hulda, the old woman who owns the shop across from her Afi's, Katya discovers the Aslendigas Stork Society and soon begins to understand that all is not as it seems in this small town.

Stork is a real breath of fresh air in the young adult market. I have never read anything else like this book before, and I am so happy to have found it! Every aspect of this story was so unique that it's a little hard to explain what makes it special without giving too much of the story away. I would recommend Stork for anyone who is looking for a great read that bucks the current trends in young adult literature.



Delsol's next book, The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls, will be released in August 2011.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankfully Reading: Wrap-Up Post

This long holiday weekend was a lot of shopping, chores and Christmas decorating. I didn't get a whole lot of reading done, but it wasn't horribly unsuccessful, either. Final tally is 2 books and 968 pages read.

Books read                                                    Books in progress
Wither (Chemical Garden, #1) Holiday With A Vampire: Christmas Cravings\Fate Calls (Silhouette Nocturne)                  Afterlight (The Dark Ink Chronicles, #1) Blood & Flowers




How did you do?

Thankfully Reading: Day 3 Updates

Today is the last day of the Thankfully Reading Thanksgiving Read-A-Thon.
Head on over to Jenn's Bookshelves for details. I will be editing this post with all of my updates for today.

UPDATES - 10:00 PM
I started my ARC of Blood & Flowers by Penny Blubaugh, but otherwise it's been a slow day.
Books read: 2
Pages read: 968

My Week in Books (14)

Credit for IMM goes to The Story Siren
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Books received for review

THE LYING GAME
by Sara Shepard
Released: December 7, 2010

Courtesy of First Reads

I had a life anyone would kill for.


Then someone did.


The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.
Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?


From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.


WITHER
(Chemical Garden #1)
by Lauren DeStefano
Released: March 22, 2011

Courtesy of Star Book Tours

In the not-too-distant future, because of genetic engineering, every human being is a ticking time bomb - males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. To keep the population from dying out, girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriages.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine is taken, she enters a world of wealth and privilege that both entices and terrifies her. She has everything she ever wanted - except freedom. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to escape before it is too late.


DEAD IS NOT AN OPTION
(Dead Is #5)
by Marlene Perez
Released: May 2, 2011

Courtesy of Star Book Tours

Graduation and Goodbye

It's springtime of senior year, and psychic sleuth Daisy Giordano is preparing to say goodbye to Nightshade High. But no college acceptance letters have arrived yet, and she's beginning to worry about where she'll end up come fall - and if it will be anywhere near her boyfriend, Ryan. But that's not the only uncertainty Daisy's dealing with. There's a vamps versus shifters war going on in Nightshade, and things are so tense that there is talk of cangelling the prom. The conflict is carrying over to the Giordano home, since Rose and Daisy are both dating werewolves and Poppy's new boyfriend is a vampire.

Daisy's investigations involve mysterious new folks in town - and some old familiar faces, like her nemesis, celebrity chef/sorceress Circe Silvertongue. Can Daisy convince Circe to free the spirit she trapped in a jukebox long ago, and to change her pet pig, Balthazar, back into the man he once was? Can the paranormal community in Nightshade finally find peace? And will Daisy and her friends survive graduation? All of these questions and more are answered in the explosive fifth installment in the Dead Is series.


BLOOD & FLOWERS
by Penny Blubaugh
Released: March 1, 2011

Courtesy of Star Book Tours

A mesmerizing tale of family, faeries, and finding a place to call home.

Three years ago, Persia ran away from her drug addict parents and found a home with the Outlaws, an underground theater troupe. With time, this motley band of mortals and fey, puppeteers and actors, becomes the loving family Persia never had. And soon Persia discovers a passion for theater and also falls in love with one of the other Outlaws. Life could not be more perfect.

Until an enemy makes an unfair accusation against the group and forces them to flee their world and hide in the neighboring realm of Faerie. But in Faerie, all is not flowers and rainbows. With bloodthirsty trolls, a hostile monarchy, and a dangerous code of magic, the fey world is far from the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for . . .


Books bought

Girl Parts Firewalker (Stormwalker, #2) Thirst No. 3: The Eternal Dawn (Thirst, #3) Sweep: Volume 2 (Dark Magick; Awakening; Spellbound)

What I read this week

Entwined StarCrossed Wither (Chemical Garden, #1) Holiday With A Vampire: Christmas Cravings\Fate Calls (Silhouette Nocturne)

Books I started but haven't finished (yet!)

Burning Up (Includes: The Iron Seas, Prequel; Children of the Sea, #3.5; Psy/Changeling #8.5) Afterlight (The Dark Ink Chronicles, #1)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankfully Reading: Day 2 Updates

All right, everyone, up and at 'em! It's time for Day 2 of the Thankfully Reading Thanksgiving Read-A-Thon!

If you haven't already, head on over to Jenn's Bookshelves to sign up. I will be editing this post with all of my updates for today.


UPDATE - 11:00 AM
I finally finished my first book for this read-a-thon last night at 1 a.m.! Wither was even better than I had anticipated, and it will be a long, impatient wait for the next installment in this trilogy. We're eating breakfast now, then should be back to reading. Probably will pick a short story out of one of the anthologies first, then get back to Afterlight.
Books read: 1
Pages read: 436

UPDATE - 6:30 PM
Well, we ended up making today an errand day. Long weekends are apparently not the best time for me to actually be able to participate in a read-a-thon! I did get the first story in Holiday with a Vampire, "Christmas Cravings" by Maureen Child, read, and also knocked out another chapter of Afterlight. However, it's dinner time, and we're going to be marathoning some more Dharma & Greg, so it might be a while before I can get back to reading.
Books read: 1
Pages read: 603

UPDATE: 11:30 PM
I finished up "Fate Calls" by Caridad Pineiro, the second and last story in the Holiday with a Vampire anthology, and knocked out another chapter of Afterlight. Now, off to bed. Goodnight, everyone!
Books read: 2
Pages read: 785

Read-A-Thon by Jayne's Books

Melissa over at Jayne's Books will be hosting her very first read-a-thon on December 4th and 5th. This is another one with no set rules, but she does ask that you donate either money or toys to your local Christmas charity. Click here to sign up!

On My Wishlist (10)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City every Saturday in which we list books we desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. The books can be old, new or forthcoming.

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Both of these books will be released November 30th!



BLACK WINGS
(Madeline Black #1)
by Christina Henry
 
Meet Maddy Black.
 
She’s an Agent of Death who really needs to get a life.

Escorting souls into the afterlife leaves Maddy little time for socializing—until devilishly handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in her building. But when demons start appearing on Maddy’s front lawn, she realizes there’s more to her new tenant than meets the eye.





LOVER MINE
(Black Dagger Brotherhood #8)
by J.R. Ward

Now in paperback!

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. Long divided as a terrifying battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankfully Reading: Day 1 Updates

It's time for the Thankfully Reading Thanksgiving Read-A-Thon!


If you haven't already, head on over to Jenn's Bookshelves to sign up. I will be editing this post for all of my updates for today.


I am hoping to use this weekend to get some books read for All About {n}'s Holiday Reading Challenge in addition to the next couple of books I've got lined up for review, so this is my tentative list for the read-a-thon:






Holidays Are Hell Let It Snow Naughty or Nice? Holiday With A Vampire II: A Christmas Kiss\The Vampire Who Stole Christmas (Silhouette Nocturne) Afterlight (The Dark Ink Chronicles, #1) Sapphique (Incarceron, #2)


UPDATE - 12:00 PM
Boyfriend and I just got back from Black Friday shopping, so now I am officially beginning the read-a-thon! I'm going to start with Afterlight but may end up switching partway through.
Books read: 0
Pages read: 0

UPDATE - 4:30 PM
Change of plans! This always happens when I try to plan what I'm going to read, and you'd think I'd know better, but of course that's not the case. Anyway, I've sort of stalled out on Afterlight. It's a great story, but the chapters are long and it's taking a while to get to the action. Boyfriend and I ended up watching Romancing the Stone - which is why I love him. :) Then the mail came today and in it I received three books for review - one of which was Wither by Lauren DeStefano! I need to read this one now! I also got Dead is Not an Option (Dead #5) by Marlene Perez and Blood and Flowers by Penny Blublaugh. Those I may wait to read, or just read stories from the holiday anthologies in between chapters. Either way, I'm not getting as much done today as planned, but now I have some definite motivation.
Books read: 0
Pages read: 78

UPDATE: 10:00 PM
I am so behind on this read-a-thon! I'm now 173 pages into Wither, which is just as fantastic as I thought it would be. Now Boyfriend and I are marathoning Dharma & Greg for who knows how long. I hope to finish Wither before going to bed, but it's hard to tell at this point how much reading time I'll have for the rest of the night.
Books read: 0
Pages read: 251

Are you participating in the Thankfully Reading Weekend Read-A-Thon? How's it going so far?

Unfinished Friday: Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

CATE OF THE LOST COLONY
by Lisa Klein

Courtesy of Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours

One of the greatest mysteries of all time . . . and a love triangle that spans two continents.

Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens - until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate when he sails for the settlement with supplies, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists - and Cate - increasingly turn to. Yet even as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh begin to fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World . . .

Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest novel is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love kindled by a real life mystery: the fate of the Roanoke colonists, who disappeared without a trace into the pages of history.


My Review
Cate of the Lost Colony is the first of [what I hope not will be not too many] my Unfinished Friday posts. I tried, really tried, to get into this book, but there was too much in the way of court life for me to get interested. After spending my last semester of college reading La Princesse de Cleves, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, and other books of the sort, apparently I have developed an aversion to anything related to court life. Readers who are interested in this period of history may enjoy this book; however, it just wasn't for me.




Lisa Klein is the author of a few other historical novels: Ophelia, Two Girls of Gettysburg, and Lady MacBeth's Daughter.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of you who are celebrating today,
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all get to spend some quality time with the ones you love and, of course, get to eat some great food.

I am trying out a couple of new cookie recipies this year - maple sugar cookies with maple icing and chocolate brownie cookies - so here's hoping they go over well!

ARC Review: Angel by L.A. Weatherly


ANGEL
(Angel Trilogy #1)
by L.A. Weatherly
Released in the UK: October 2010
Released in the US: Sometime this summer

Eoin Colfer reinvented the fairy.
Stephenie Meyer reinvented the vampire.
L.A. Weatherly reinvents the angel.

Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from . . .

But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous - and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

Utterly intoxicating and deeply compelling, Angel is an epic tale of love, destiny, and sacrifice.


My Review
Willow has always known she was different. Not only is she a bit of a tomboy, which automatically turns her into an outcast in her small town, but she has a special ability to see people's futures. After a classmate runs to the Church of Angels after a Willow does a reading for her, Willow tries to follow her to get her to come back home. Somehow, though, everything goes horribly wrong, and she ends up on the run with a strange, mysterious boy named Alex.

The tagline on the cover perfectly sums up this book: The only good angel is a dead angel. Weatherly's take on angels is incredibly unique, and I think it's perfect. There were very few things I didn't like about Angel, and they mostly centered around how quickly the romance developed between Willow and Alex (I hate to say it, but it was very Twilight-ish). It's probably fine for its target audience, but I found it a bit hard to swallow. All of that is overshadowed, however, by the story surrounding the angels. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fresh take on an age-old tale.



The next book in the trilogy, Angel Fever, will be released in the UK in July 2011. Hopefully the publisher won't take too long to release Angel Fever to those of us waiting for it in the US!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

25 Followers!

Today is a day to celebrate!

At least for me, anyway. Thanks to all of you fantastic readers, I have finally reached 25 followers! To show my gratitude, I have decided to host my first contest. As soon as the prize lands on my doorstep, I will put up a post so that you can enter. I don't want to tell you all what it is, but I think it might make you deliriously happy . . . :)

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights the books we just can't wait to read.
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VESPER
(Deviants #1)
by Jeff Sampson
Released: January 25, 2011

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely—something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?




NIGHT BETRAYED
(Envy Chronicles #4)
by Joss Ware
Released: January 25, 2011

The Change that devastated the earth made Theo Waxnicki something more than human-eternally young and beautiful...but not immortal. When he dies on a mission against the Strangers, he is lost to the darkness...until a miraculous healer brings him back.

Born as the world fell to ruins, Selena has dedicated her life to easing others' pain. Her tender touch awakens new life in Theo-and new desire. But joined together in a world of terrors, the lovers' secret pasts make them vulnerable to danger. And love is the deadliest trap of all.





SUBJECT SEVEN
by James A. Moore
Released: January 25, 2011

Impossibly strong, brutally violent, and smarter than his captors: Subject Seven has escaped.

Years ago, scientists began developing the ultimate military weapon: deadly sleeper assassins housed within the bodies of teenagers. Now, Subject Seven, the dangerous alter ego living inside a fifteen-year-old boy, has escaped the lab and is on a mission. His objective? To seek out others like him and build an army capable of destroying their creators.

Hunter. Cody, Gene, Tina and Kyrie: Five teenagers leading typical lives, until the day they each receive a call from a mysterious stranger--and learn that their destinies are intertwined. Subject Seven holds the key that connects them all. And a battle for their lives is just beginning.




RAZIEL
(Fallen #1)
by Kristina Douglas
Released: January 25, 2011

A sizzling paranormal debut featuring Raziel, a sexy fallen angel, and Allie, a mortal whose death catapults her into a supernatural world filled with angels, demons—and true love.

Raziel is part of a group of fallen angels cursed to drink blood and ferry the dead to heaven and hell for all of eternity. One thing they aren’t supposed to do is interfere, and when Raziel rescues Allie Watson from hellfire at the last minute, he is injured and must rely on his brethren for help. After the Fallen carry both Raziel and Allie off to their remote compound, they inadvertently set off a chain of events leading to a rebellion against the last archangel and his evil, flesh-eating sect of minions called the Nephilim. Now, Raziel and Allie must restore the balance of power between the forces of good and evil—and only their love can save them.




A BRUSH OF DARKNESS
by Allison Pang
Released: January 25, 2011

A fun and exciting dark urban fantasy debut featuring a young woman who finds herself involved in a series of supernatural kidnappings and must work with a sexy incubus to keep the victims—and herself— from vanishing forever.

Six months ago, twenty-six-year-old Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod and a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer. With her lack of OtherWorldly knowledge, Abby needs all the help she can get. So when her Faery employer and some of her friends go missing, she must team up with the sexy and mysterious incubus who’s been haunting her dreams. As Abby’s sucked deeper and deeper into this dangerous world she barely knows—filled with daemons, angels, and faeries—she finds herself trapped at the center of it all. And she might not be able to escape…




BURNING DARKNESS
(Offspring #4)
by Jaime Rush
Released: January 25, 2011

Fonda Raine lives for one thing: killing Eric Aruda out of revenge for slaying her lover. But she'll have to be careful Eric can set fires with his mind. Seconds from accomplishing her goal, an assassin tries to take them both out. Now, two adversaries must go on the run together, bound by hatred, drawn by passion, and hunted by a vicious and powerful enemy.