Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Contests at Bitten by Books





Lauren Bickle event - Win an Amazon Kindle

ends Sept. 6

enter HERE






Kelly Gay event - Win $100 Amazon gift cert OR a collection of UF novels

ends Sept. 1

enter HERE





Jeanne Stein event - win prize pack

ends Sept. 1

enter HERE

Books Read in August


5 Stars

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory
Haunted Honeymoon by Marta Acosta
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler
Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead
The Ivy by Lauren Kunz with Rina Onur
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead
Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead


4.5 Stars

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory
Insatiable by Meg Cabot
Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

4 Stars

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti
Bitten by Cupid by Lynsay Sands, Pamela Palmer, and Jaime Rush
To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning
To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott
To Sin with a Scoundrel by Cara Elliott


3.5 Stars

Smudge's Mark by Claudia Osmond

3 Stars

Burning Up by Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, and Meljean Brook

2.5 Stars

Changeless by Gail Carriger
Sleepless by Cyn Balog

2 Stars

Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer

That makes 27 books read in August. I get kind of lazy about posting reviews so I joined the Ultimate Reviewers Challenge to get myself in the habit of posting them. I am pretty proud of myself because I reviewed 22 of the books I read this month. There were TONS of books I loved this month and I know that there will be a lot more in Sept.

Book Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy (September 7, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
****************************

I had no idea what to expect when I opened up this book. What I found was a story that many people can identify with. The DUFF is that person whose friends look better than them...therefore make them the ugly one in the group. I think a lot of us have been there at some point along with Bianca. This book gives a glimpse of what real teenage life is like. It's not easy and it's not pretty. Self esteem issues, sex, parent's divorcing, fighting with friends, etc. All of that is real life and I like how for the most part things aren't sugar coated in The DUFF. Even though I can't imagine dealing with my problems the same way Bianca did, I can see how some people would. She used sex to temporarily forget her problems the way some people used drugs or alcohol. It is about the escape from the real world. Bianca didn't handle most of her problems very well and should have leaned on her friends for more support, but nobody is perfect especially under so much stress. Bianca's relationship with Wesley was pretty interesting, especially considering she hated him in the beginning. Wesley definitely grew on me though and it became clear that he had a lot in common with Bianca. I am very happy with how things turned out in the end even though it was kind of easy to see it coming.

4.5/5

CymLowell

Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (August 31, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

*********************

First let me say that the synopsis does not do this book justice. I thought it sounded like it would be an okay read but could potentially be cheesy or annoying...I was wrong about that last part. A unique take on paranormals, it took what I was expecting and tossed it out the window. Evie is a valuable asset to the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA for short) due to her ability to see through glamours. A glamour is the image a paranormal projects that covers up their true appearance to others. Since Evie can see their true selves she is able to tag the creatures to get them processed into the system basically. This is pretty much the only life Evie knows and she feels so alone. She craves a normal teenage life which includes having a boyfriend. Meanwhile there is something killing paranormals and nobody is safe.

There is a lot of mystery in Paranormalcy. Unfortunately not all of it gets cleared up, but on the bright side there will be 2 more books in the series which I am sure will reveal all. Yay! I was definitely kept on edge through most of the story worried about everyone's safety and also worried about Evie's happiness. I felt so bad for her, she didn't really get the chance to be a kid. I mean, she has had a job since she was 8!

This book was a pleasure to read and I am excited there will be more books to look forward to. Paranormalcy is the author's first novel and I have to hand it to her, she did an awesome job.

5/5

I received this book to review from HarperTeen. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

H.P. Mallory Giveaway!

H.P. Mallory is very generously giving away one e-book copy of each of her books on my blog! I recently reviewed them and can tell you they are both great reads.

There will be 2 winners...One will win Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and the other will win To Kill A Warlock. First name pulled will get first pick, second name gets the book that is left.

MANDATORY:
leave a comment!

You can leave all entries in one comment

Extras (optional):

+2 follower in Google Friend Connect (new and old)
+1 comment on Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble review HERE
+1 comment on To Kill a Warlock review HERE

This giveaway is international.
Giveaway ends Sept. 5 at Noon EST

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Review: To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory

To Kill a Warlock (Dulcie O'Neill, Book 1) by H.P. Mallory

The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the
loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.

Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world. When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim.
Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full. As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.
***************************

This story was a wild ride. Dulcie is a fairy and a Regulator (basically a cop for the paranormal set). Some sick murders happen and she becomes involved in the case. Knight comes in and they act as partners to find the creature and its summoner to put an end to the murders. A number of guys have a thing for Dulcie, including Knight of course. There is a lot of sexual tension between them and their interactions with each other is pretty interesting and even funny at times. The book actually has quite a bit of humor in it in the beginning. The rest of the book seems to be more on the serious side, especially once they really started to investigate and look for the creature. Many times over the course of reading I had aha moments where I thought I knew who was behind it all. In the end I had an inkling about the culprit but was still pretty surprised. I really enjoyed the mystery of the story and can't wait to read what comes next in Dulcie's life.

Read the first chapter HERE
Purchase download for $2.99 HERE

4.5/5

I received this e-book for review from the author, H.P. Mallory. Any opinions expressed are my own.

CymLowell

Book Review: Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (Jolie Wilkins, Book 1) by H.P. Mallory

Description from author's site:

A self-deprecating witch with the unique ability to reanimate the dead.
A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss
and her would-be lover.
A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda;
one that includes an appetite for witches.
The Underworld in a state of chaos.
Let the games begin.

Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend. Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life! Word of Jolie’s incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the Underworld’s most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand.
*****************************

This e-book packs a lot of punch. Although things in the story seem to progress quickly, it does not feel rushed or glossed over. The writing is descriptive and during the moments you find yourself asking "how" or "why" things are explained so you don't feel lost. The first bit of the book is about Rand revealing to Jolie that she is a witch and has a lot of power. She has an ability that no other witch has, which is bringing back the dead, and that makes her a hot commodity in the Underworld. The rest of the book is about her trying to stay out of the clutches of an evil witch and rallying creatures to join the "good" side. There is plenty of sexual tension between Jolie and the warlock Rand, but that is not all...she has werewolves, vampires, and fairies hot for her too. The heat level was just right for the introduction to the series and it seems promising that it will get a few degrees hotter in future installments. Although this book is supposed to be an urban fantasy/paranormal romance hybrid, I think it leans a little more towards paranormal romance. I think readers of both genres will enjoy this one.

Jolie is a pretty admirable lead character. Although she starts out with almost no confidence in herself, towards the ends she has made progress. She also has a lot of spirit and backbone which was nice to see. Yes she does have to rely on men at times, but that does not make her a weak miss. Sometimes a person has to accept help. Another thing I love about her is that she does not immediately fall into bed with a guy just because she thinks he is sexy. I'll admit there were moments I was rooting for her to do the deed, but I think the wait will only make it hotter when she finally caves and indulges.

Read the first chapter HERE
Purchase download for only $2.99 HERE

5/5

An e-book copy was provided for review by the author, H.P. Mallory. Any opinions expressed are my own.

CymLowell

Book Review: Haunted Honeymoon by Marta Acosta

Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula, Book 4) by Marta Acosta
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (September 28, 2010)
Goodreads Description:

THERE’S MORE THAN HER HEART AT STAKE. . . .As the only human to survive vampire infection, Milagro de Los Santos has become quite a celebrity among the blood-drinking elite. Too bad the perks of her condition—increased strength, super-fast healing—don’t pay her condo fees. There are other complications too. She’s feeling guilty about her fling with enigmatic Vampire Council member Ian Ducharme, and pining for her ex-fiancĂ©, Dr. Oswald Grant . . . the fabulous man whose kiss changed her life. It’s when Milagro—irked by Ian’s attentions to his neighbor—travels to London and enjoys a sexy flirtation of her own, that the blood really hits the fan. Suddenly, those around her are dying gruesome deaths and Milagro’s being interrogated. Who would kill to set her up as a murder suspect? Milagro just wants to turn back the clock and have another chance to make things right, but no sooner has she escaped to Oswald’s ranch than an accident obliterates her memory. Will the murderer come after her now? And will amnesia spark a romantic do-over with Oswald—or will she make all the same mistakes before she ever gets to say "I do"?
*****************************

Sadly, Haunted Honeymoon is the final installment of the Casa Dracula series. I will miss reading about Milagro's adventures but all good things must come to an end I suppose. On the bright side, the book is absolutely fantastic! Despite the horrors Milagro has been through she maintains her wit and humor but we also get to see why Milagro behaves the way she does and how she may use that wit to hide her real feelings from others and herself. It is a great insight into what makes her tick. I believe that going through what she did and realizing things about herself results in her know more firmly who she really is and what she wants and deserves.

Marta ended the series on the best possible note...we finally get to see who Milagro ends up with. I laughed. I cried (tears of happiness for Milagro of course). I am not an overly sentimental person, but over the course of the series I have fallen in love with these characters. When I read about them I feel what they feel whether it is confusion, happiness, grief, etc. I am there with them. It is hard to say goodbye to these wonderful and interesting people, but everyone is happy and so I am too.

5/5

I received a galley of this book to review from the author, Marta Acosta. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth (Leviathan, Book 2) by Scott Westerfeld
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (October 5, 2010)
Amazon Description:

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.

Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

************************

I am so in love with this series! I got caught up in the story immediately and was hooked. Escapes, captures, sabotage, and revolution...Behemoth is one of the most action-packed books I have ever read. There were some very close calls for both Deryn and Alek, but they are resourceful and tenacious. Alek has found a wonderful friend in Deryn and vice versa, but Deryn is keeping a secret...she is actually a girl. She thinks that if Alek finds out then he will just think of her as a lowly commoner. This situation adds an important quality to this book, which is deep emotion. Although what I really love about this book is the action it would seem empty without something more and that is why Alek and Deryn's friendship and secrets make Behemoth a worthwhile read. I had extremely high hopes for Behemoth because I loved Leviathan so much, and this book surpassed my expectations. Now I will have to impatiently await the next book.

5/5

I received this review copy through Simon & Schuster Galley Grab. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday #12

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tempest's Legacy (Jane True, Book 3) by Nicole Peeler
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (December 22, 2010)
Amazon Description:

After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks that her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl - at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news . . . news that will rock Jane's world to its very core.

After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females -- supernatural, halfling, and human -- Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires.

And she's not sure which she finds more frightening.

Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book 2) by Gail Carriger
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.
***************************

Quite frankly I was disappointed with this book. It was pretty bland and it took me days to slog through it because it just did not hold my attention. Alexia is still most definitely an interesting character in Changeless but the problem is that the mystery was just blah and mostly predictable. That being said, the very last bit of the book was intriguing enough that now I feel that I have to read the third book in the series. I can only hope that it is much better than Changeless.

2.5/5

CymLowell

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Insatiable by Meg Cabot
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
Goodreads Description:

Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does).

But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .

If she even has one.
******************************

Meg Cabot is probably best known for her Princess Diaries series which is why I had no idea what to expect from Insatiable, a book about vampires. I will have to say I was very pleasantly surprised with the book. Bodies of women who have been brutally drained of blood keep showing up in New York which catches the attentions of vampire hunters known as the Palatine Guard as well as the Prince of Darkness, Lucien. Meanwhile, Meena has the ability to know when and pretty much how people are going to die. Meena and Lucien meet and immediately fall in love (which is the only problem I have with the story because I can't stand when people meet and within a few days are madly in love...it makes no sense). After that it is all about fighting evil vampires and trying to stay alive. Well, obviously there is more to it than that but I don't want to give everything away.
My favorite character was Alaric Wulf, a Palatine Guard who wants to kill Lucien and sort of acts like a bodyguard for Meena despite the fact that it seems they can't stand each other. At first he comes off as an arrogant jerk, but once you read more about him you can see that he is also caring and protective. My least favorite character was Jon. He will definitely never win a brother of the year award. Meena's safety is in jeopardy several times and it seems like he couldn't really care. Really he just grated on my nerves.
The ending of the book was surprising and very satisfying. In my opinion Meena made the right decision thankfully, otherwise I would have lost any respect for her character. I found out on the author's website that there will be a sequel which will come out summer of 2011. I am glad the story will continue because I want to read more about Alaric!

4.5/5

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday #11

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Double Cross by Carolyn Crane
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (September 28, 2010)
Amazon Description:

SOME SECRETS COME BACK TO HAUNT. OTHERS COME TO KILL.

Justine Jones lived her life as a fearful hypochondriac until she was lured into the web of a mysterious mastermind named Packard, who gifts her with extraordinary mental powers—dooming her to fight Midcity’s shadowy war on paranormal crime in order to find the peace she so desperately craves.

But now serial killers with unheard-of skills are terrorizing the most powerful beings in Midcity, including mastermind Packard and his oldest friend and worst enemy, Midcity’s new mayor, who has the ability to bend matter itself to his will.

As the body count grows, Justine faces a crisis of conscience as she tests the limits of her new powers and faces an impossible choice between two flawed but brilliant men—one on a journey of redemption, the other descending into a pit of moral depravity.

Book Review: Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Juno Books (April 1, 2008)
Amazon Description:

A steampunkish romantic fantasy set in Ondinium, a city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart. Taya, a metal-winged courier, can travel freely across the city's sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. A daring mid-air rescue leads to involvement with two scions of an upperclass family and entanglement in a web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and secrets.
***************************

If you enjoy steampunk then you will definitely enjoy Clockwork Heart. Taya is an Icarus who flies throughout the skies of Ondinium carrying messages regardless of castes. She manages to become involved in uncovering deception, treason, and murder as well as finding a little romance.

Clockwork Heart felt like two books rolled into one. At one point when I was a little over halfway through I thought the book was coming to an end because the story seemed to be wrapping up, but then I realized there were so many pages left and it turned out the story was just gearing up for another problem that needed to be solved. It definitely could have been broken up into two separate books. The setting and the characters in the book are so interesting it is easy to it being the start of a series. On the author's website under projects it does list Clockwork Angel 2 being in the hands of Dru Pagliassotti's agent's hands. I really hope that it gets published soon because this is a world I would love to see more of.

The whole concept of the Icarus is very intriguing but the character that actually interested me most was Cristof. He left his caste to live life the way he wanted even knowing it was scandalous and that choice alone makes you wonder about him. I really like that he isn't suave and full of flattery...it makes him seem more trustworthy, like he is the kind of guy who will tell it like it is. With the way the book ended it makes me anxious to see how his life will end up with the choices he made.

4/5

CymLowell

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review: Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

Tracking the Tempest (Jane True, Book 2) by Nicole Peeler
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (July 1, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and Ryu - Jane's bloodsucking boyfriend - can't let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. An overwhelming dose of boyfriend interference and a last-minute ticket to Boston later, and Jane's life is thrown off course.

Ryu's well-intentioned plans create mayhem, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings. All the evidence points towards another Halfling, much to Jane's surprise...
************************
While Jane was in Boston visiting Ryu they were attacked with serious fire power. Apparently a serial killer is on the loose and he has developed in interest in Jane. Ryu and his team (as well as Jane) are on the hunt for the dangerous killer.

Nicole Peeler's wit and humor really shines through in Tracking the Tempest. Jane is one sassy half-selkie. Numerous times I found myself laughing or giggling, but I also found myself caught up in the action and drama which included some very near death experiences.

I was VERY excited to read more about Anyan, who is my favorite character (other than Jane of course). I am 100% Team Anyan! I am keeping my fingers crossed that in the end Jane will end up with him.

I absolutely love the cover of this book (as well as the first book in the series). The artwork is amazing and I love the little details incorporated into it that come from the story. Knowing that it is not just random stuff on the cover really makes me appreciate the art, artist, and author even more.

5/5

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Larissa's Bookish Life Giveaway

1027 Followers Giveaway

Larissa's Bookish Life: 1027+ Followers and Bday Blowout!

There are TONS of prize packs being given out!

ends October 11
enter HERE

Read-A-Thon Update #1



I got a late start but I managed to finish 2 books yesterday, Smudge's Mark and Bitten by Cupid. I just started Tracking the Tempest and I'm sure I will finish it today. After that I might start Sleepless because it seems like a pretty short book. We'll see.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Book Review: Smudge's Mark by Claudia Osmond

Smudge's Mark by Claudia Osmond
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simply Read Books (March 2, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Simon is an OWNO (Orphan with No Options). He lives with his deranged grandfather and a horrible housekeeper, Griselda, who punishes him by making him trim her toenails with his teeth. Unable to remember anything about his mother or father, Simon is haunted by a dream of an eagle, a serpent, and an angel that smells like bubblegum. Then one night, his dreams change. The angel gives him a special object that is still with him when he wakes up — an object desired by many, but destined only for him, that will change his life forever.
**********************************
Simon has a problem with his memory, and according to his grandpa it is because he was in a terrible accident. One day while his grandpa was at work, Griselda sent Simon off to a school for orphans. There he meets and befriends Gil and leads his new friend into trouble and another dimension where they have to battle evil and save the world.

Smudge's Mark started off kind of slow and kind of weird. I felt that there was so much going on that it was just a mish mash of people and things, which caused me to dislike the book at first. Eventually things picked up and came together to make more sense. I really got into the story about midway through and was glad I stuck with reading it. With the way it ended it seems like this might be part of a series which would be great because I would love to get to know some of the characters better.

3.5/5

Book Review: Bitten by Cupid by Lynsay Sands, Pamela Palmer, and Jaime Rush

Bitten by Cupid by Lynsay Sands, Pamela Palmer, and Jaime Rush
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Original edition (January 12, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Vampire Valentine by Lynsay Sands

Mirabeau LaRouche knew she had a job to do, but she never expected her assignment to take her through New York City′s dark, dank underground-in her bridesmaid gown, no less! And when her partner turns out to be mortal private investigator Tiny McGraw, Mireabeau knows it′s no ordinary Cupid′s arrow that has struck her heart this Valentine′s Day.

Hearts Untamed by Pamela Palmer

Ten years ago Zeeland left D.C. to join the Therian Guard, needing to put some distance between himself and the still-too-young Julianne. Now he′s returned, in the midst of a Valentine′s celebration to find Julianne more beautiful than ever, still angry at him for leaving, and up to her lovely eyebrows in an intrigue that threatens both of their immortal lives.

Kiss and Kill Cupid by Jamie Rush

Kat Morgan has no use for Valentine′s Day, since hearing other people′s thoughts puts a real damper on any kind of intimate relationship. When she overhears the Killer Cupid serial killer targeting her for his Valentine′s Day murder, Kat is terrified. But is Adrian, the one man whose thoughts she can′t hear, her savior, or killer?

**********************************

Vampire Valentine by Lynsay Sands

This is part of the Argeneau series, which I have never read before. Reading this story has definitely made me want to read more of Lynsay Sands' books. Vampire Valentine is basically about Mirabeau and Tiny finding a connection with each other during a mission. The story lacked on action and drama, but it was still very enjoyable to read.

4/5
..............................................

Hearts Untamed by Pamela Palmer

This is part of the Feral Warriors series. After reading Hearts Untamed I think that this is another series I need to pick up. This is about Julianne being in danger and trying to protect everyone she loves, but without being able to tell anyone about it. Zeeland comes back into her life after 10 years and even though he has been gone for so long he can still read Julianne like an open book. He knows something is wrong and he tries to find out what is going on.

4/5
..............................................

Kiss and Kill Cupid by Jaime Rush

There is a serial killer loose who kills a woman every Valentines Day and Kat is going to be his next victim. One advantage she has though is that she can read minds and she overheard his thoughts singling her out. Now she has to find a way to put a stop to him so he won't kill anymore. I really enjoyed the mystery of who the killer is. Jaime keeps the readers guessing and going back and forth between people.

4/5


OVERALL:
4/5

Read Your Own Books Read-A-Thon



The Read-A-Thon starts Friday Aug. 13 at 9 am and ends Monday Aug. 16 at 9 am.

Some of the books I plan to read:

  • Bitten by Cupid by Lynsay Sands, Pamela Palmer, and Jaime Rush
  • Smudge's Mark by Claudia Osmond
  • Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti
  • Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler
  • Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday #10

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (October 5, 2010)
Amazon Description:

First in an all-new series where seductive danger and steampunk adventure abound in the gritty world of the Iron Seas.

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power-and fear-of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review: Barely A Lady by Eileen Dreyer

Barely A Lady (The Drake's Rakes series) by Eileen Dreyer
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (July 1, 2010)
Goodreads Description:

Olivia Grace has secrets that could destroy her. One of the greatest of these is the Earl of Gracechurch, who married and divorced her five years earlier. Abandoned and disgraced, Grace has survived those years at the edge of respectability. Then she stumbles over Jack on the battlefield of Waterloo, and he becomes an even more dangerous secret. For not only is he unconscious, he is clad in an enemy uniform.

But worse, when Jack finally wakes in Olivia's care, he can't remember how he came to be on a battlefield in Belgium. In fact, he can remember nothing of the last five years. He thinks he and Olivia are still blissfully together. To keep him from being hanged for a traitor, Olivia must pretend she and Jack are still married.

To unearth the real traitors, Olivia and Jack must unravel the truth hidden within his faulty memory. To save themselves and the friends who have given them sanctuary, they must stand against their enemies, even as they both keep their secrets.

In the end, can they risk everything to help Jack recover his lost memories, even though the truth may destroy them both?
********************************

I REALLY wanted to love this book but I just kept getting frustrated with it. There were some lengthy boring parts but what really bothered me was that I didn't really feel that Jack deserved Olivia. It didn't seem like Jack really earned his redemption from Olivia and yet she was crawling all over him. She got moody with him some and gave him the cold shoulder...for all of a minute...and then went back to pretty much forgiving him for some unforgivable behavior. It really made Olivia seem like a pushover. What I did enjoy about the book was the secondary characters Lady Kate and Grace. Both are very interesting and even though I didn't quite like this book I would not hesitate to read their stories. As a matter of fact, the next book in the Drake's Rakes series is Never A Gentleman, which is Grace's story. At the back of Barely A Lady is an excerpt from Never A Gentleman and it really intrigued me so I plan on giving this series another chance when that book comes out in the Spring.

2/5

CymLowell

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Book Review: Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; First Edition Thus edition (October 1, 2008)
Amazon Description:

Some days, a girl just can't catch a break. . .

. . .especially when the girl in question is Georgina Kincaid, a shape-shifting succubus who gets her energy from seducing men. First there's her relationship with gorgeous bestselling writer Seth Mortensen, which is unsatisfying on a number of levels. It's not just that they can't have sex in case Georgina inadvertently kills him (generally a turn-off for most guys). Lately, even spending time together is a challenge. Seth's obsessed with finishing his latest novel, and Georgina's under demonic orders to mentor the new (and surprisingly inept) succubus on the block.

Then there are the dreams. Someone, or something, is preying on Georgina at night, draining her energy, and supplying eerie visions of her future. Georgina seeks answers from Dante, a dream interpreter with ties to the underworld, but his flirtatious charm only leaves her more confused--especially as the situation with Seth reaches crisis point. Now Georgina faces a double challenge--rein in her out-of-control love life, and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind. Otherwise, Georgina, and the entire mortal world, may never sleep easy again. . .
**********************************


This is the third book in Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid series. I have enjoyed every book so far, but I would have to say this has probably been my favorite. Emotions run high in the story and I found myself on the verge of tears multiple times. Georgina is a character that I have come to know well and care about...I feel a real connection, so when she goes through terrible things I truly sympathize with her character and wish things would go right for her. She definitely needs a break. It is kind of funny that the author is writing about this person who basically works for hell, but the readers root for her.

In Succubus Dreams, Georgina keeps having these vivid dreams that leave her drained. She has no idea what is going on but she decides to investigate. Of course this isn't the only messed up thing going on in her life because with her, when it rains it pours. Her life just seems to be unraveling. Just a warning to readers, you should have Succubus Heat (Book #4) already when you go to read this book because the second you finish you are going to want to continue on immediately.

5/5

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Review: Burning Up by Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, and Meljean Brook

Burning Up by Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, and Meljean Brook
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (August 3, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Angela Knight pairs a vampire warrior and his seductive captor in a battle against demonic predators.

Nalini Singh returns to the world of her Psy-Changeling series as a woman in lethal danger finds an unlikely protector-and lover.

Virginia Kantra continues the haunting tales of the Children of the Sea in her story of a wounded soldier rescued by an enigmatic young woman.

Meljean Brook launches a bold new steampunk series about a woman who strikes a provocative-and terrifying-bargain for freedom.
******************************
Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh

I liked this story right from the start, mostly because the male involved is a leopard shifter. I haven't read about one before so I found it pretty interesting. The shifter, Emmett, is protecting Ria, who is human, from the thugs of a crime wave that has hit the city. She had been targeted but the crime was botched. Once the criminals mark a victim they won't stop until that person is dead. Emmett and his fellow shifters are looking for the crime boss to put an end to it all. Meanwhile things heat up between Emmett and Ria. I enjoyed this story a lot.

4/5
...................................................................................
Blood and Roses by Angela Knight

Honestly I did not like this story. I don't like the history of how the vampire knights and Blood Roses were created. Besides the vampire knights and Blood Roses (who all have magic) there are wizards and reptilian monster things as well. It just felt like to much.

1.5/5
...........................................................................................
Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra

This was a pretty decent story. I have never read the Children of the Sea series before so I think I would have liked it a bit more if I had. Major John Harris just inherited an estate in Scotland. One day he comes across a woman living just on the outskirts of the village. It devolves pretty quickly into sex and not to long after that, love. Things felt a bit rushed but I like the idea of the Finfolk.

2.5/5
.....................................................................................................
Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook

By far my favorite of the 4 stories in Burning Up, Here There Be Monsters is a steampunk romance. The world is a dangerous place with megalodons (giant sharks), kraken, pirates, and slavers among other things. Ivy is part of the Blacksmith's guild and can build incredible things with her talent including limbs made of mechanical flesh. Mad Machen is captain of a ship and has a terrible reputation of killing men and stealing cargo...a pirate. The captain has his sights set on Ivy and is determined to get her. I love that the story does not feel rushed and I appreciate the fact that the romance was given a chance to build of slowly. The plot was very well rounded and thorough considering that the story was only 102 pages. This is actually the first book in a new series. The next book is The Iron Duke, which will be out in October.

5/5

Overall for Burning Up:

3/5

Thank you to Meljean Book for the copy of this book. I won this at vvb32 reads. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review: The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (August 31, 2010)
Amazon Description:

Congratulations! You have been admitted to the most prestigious university in the world. Now what are you going to do?

Callie Andrews may not have money or connections or the right clothes, and she may have way too many complications in her love life, what with—

Gregory
the guy she loves to hate

Evan
the guy she'd love to forget

Clint
the guy she'd love to love

and Matt
the guy she really should love

—all vying for her attention.

But she has three fantastic roommates (best friends or her worst nightmare?) and a wholesome California-girl reputation (oops) and brains and beauty and big, big dreams.

Will it be enough to help her survive freshman year at Harvard?

***********************************

Wow...seriously...wow. This is not the type of book I typically read but I thought the cover was interesting and the blurb was intriguing so I decided to try something new. I am so glad I went out of my comfort zone and read The Ivy because it blew me away!

Callie is a freshman at Harvard, which is a long way from her home in California. When she gets to Harvard she feels out of place and alone. Pretty soon, though, she become close with her roommates who are an interesting bunch of characters. Dana is super religious and conservative, Mimi is a French socialite who likes to drink quite a bit, and then there is Vanessa, who is all about appearances and making friends with the right kind of people. There are also the guys across the hall who they all hang out with. Adam is religious and a lot like Dana, OK is an African Prince who likes to have fun, Matt is a cute and somewhat nerdy guy, and Gregory is extremely hot but seems to be a major jerk. There are parties, classes, exclusive clubs, alcohol, sex, and betrayals in this book (Definitely not something for the younger set, it is more appropriate for older teens). Early on in the book readers find out the Callie is involved in some sort of scandal which has a major impact on her behavior throughout the book. In the end it makes you wonder how things would have been for her had that not happened. The biggest question for me is who would she be with?

When I reached the end of the book I practically screamed in frustration. It ends on a cliffhanger. This is good news and bad news. Obviously the bad news is that I don't know what happens next and I will have to wait for the next book. The good news, however, is that there will be a next book!! I honestly had no idea that it would be a series so I am very excited to find this out. I definitely love reading series because it means the story doesn't get rushed. I will be keeping an eye out for when the sequel releases so I can continue to read about what is going on with Callie and her friends.

5/5

I received an e-book copy for review from Greenwillow Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
Goodreads Description:

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
*******************
AMAZING! That is how I would describe this book and so far the series. There are so many curve balls in the story that I really can't say much without revealing some, and I think it is best for everyone to find out themselves as they read the book. I still can't get over what has happened. My mind is reeling. I will say Katniss is having a hard time dealing with what happened in the games. Peeta is as well although he has found a kind of outlet to help him cope. Going through something like the sick and twisted Hunger Games will definitely change a person. How could it not? After a number of months, Peeta and Katniss have to go on tour, making speeches in each district, knowing that these people lost children in the games...some even by their hands. That's as far as I will go because after that things get intense and I don't want to give any away. Catching Fire will keep you on the edge of your seat in suspense. If you haven't read this series then you should get started! The third book in the series, Mockingjay, will be out this month so thankfully I won't have to wait too long to read what happens next.

5/5

And the winner is......

The winner of the $50 CSN Stores promo code is...........

Mountie9

Congratulations!!!!!!!
I am emailing you right now. Please respond withing 48 hours or I will have to pick a new winner.

Thank you CSN Stores for providing me with a promo code to give away


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (September 14, 2008)
Goodreads Description:

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
**************************
I FINALLY had the opportunity to read The Hunger Games, the first book in the series that everyone seems to be talking about. It is a favorite for many, and that now includes myself. North America is in ruins, but from those ruins arises Panem, a new nation, a capitol that is surrounded by 12 districts. At one time their were 13 districts but there was an uprising. After the Capitol quelled the rebellion and destroyed the 13th district they created the Hunger Games as a reminder to the people of just who was in control. There are 2 competitors from each district, one boy and one girl, who are chosen from a lottery. All the competitors are taken to a location where they are released and expected to kill each other off because there can only be one winner. All the while they are being filmed so that everyone can watch the bloodsport on their televisions. The winner will get a life of ease after the games and their district will be showered with gifts.
The story follows Katniss and her progression through the games. I instantly liked her character. She is intelligent and has a great survival instinct that gives the reader hope for her to win. I am going to have to immediately delve into Catching Fire, the second book in the series, to read what happens after the games. I sense a possible love triangle and am anxious to see how that pans out.

5/5

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book Review: To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning

To Tame a Highland Warrior (Highlander, Book 2) by Karen Marie Moning
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (December 1, 1999)
Amazon Description:

Only her love could gentle his savage soul--

He was born to a clan of warriors of supernatural strength, but Gavrael McIllioch abandoned his name and his Highland castle, determined to escape the dark fate of his ancestors. Hiding his identity from the relentless rival clan that hunted him, he called himself Grimm to protect the people he cared for, vowing never to acknowledge his love for ravishing Jillian St. Clair. Yet even from afar he watched over her, and when her father sent an urgent summons, "Come for Jillian," he raced to her side--into a competition to win her hand in marriage.

Why had he run from her so many years before? And why return now to see her offered as a prize in her father's manipulative game? Furious, Jillian vowed never to wed. But Grimm was the man she loved, the one who urged her to marry another. He tried to pretend indifference as she tempted him, but he could not deny the fierce desires that compelled him to abduct her from the altar. She was the only woman who could tame the beast that raged within him--even as deadly enemies plotted to destroy them both....
****************************

I actually enjoyed this book a little more than the first in the series. In this book we find out Grimm's true nature that he has hidden from almost everyone...he is a Beserker. He gets a letter calling him to a place from his past and a women who loves him. The relationship between Grimm and Jillian is pretty intense. I think that most women in Jillian's position would have given up on Grimm a long time ago, especially with the way he treated her, but I suppose love perseveres. Grimm's past before he even came into Jillian's life is extremely interesting and I wish in the end when he faces his past that there was an even more in-depth look into it with more details. I'm hoping that Grimm will appear in other books in the series because I would love to see how his life progresses. There is a little glimpse of Hawk and Adrienne in this story which was nice. I enjoyed To Tame a Highland Warrior and read it in no time because I didn't want to put it down. I look forward to reading the next book!

4/5

Waiting on Wednesday #9

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula, Book 4) by Marta Acosta
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (September 28, 2010)
Amazon Description:

THERE’S MORE THAN HER HEART AT STAKE. . . .As the only human to survive vampire infection, Milagro de Los Santos has become quite a celebrity among the blood-drinking elite. Too bad the perks of her condition—increased strength, super-fast healing—don’t pay her condo fees. There are other complications too. She’s feeling guilty about her fling with enigmatic Vampire Council member Ian Ducharme, and pining for her ex-fiancĂ©, Dr. Oswald Grant . . . the fabulous man whose kiss changed her life. It’s when Milagro—irked by Ian’s attentions to his neighbor—travels to London and enjoys a sexy flirtation of her own, that the blood really hits the fan. Suddenly, those around her are dying gruesome deaths and Milagro’s being interrogated. Who would kill to set her up as a murder suspect? Milagro just wants to turn back the clock and have another chance to make things right, but no sooner has she escaped to Oswald’s ranch than an accident obliterates her memory. Will the murderer come after her now? And will amnesia spark a romantic do-over with Oswald—or will she make all the same mistakes before she ever gets to say "I do"?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

Beyond the Highland Mist (Highlander, book 1) by Karen Marie Moning
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (March 9, 1999)
Amazon Description:

He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . .

An alluring laird...

He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart--until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length--but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.

A prisoner in time...

She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side. . . .
************************

Beyond the Highland Mist involves a sexy man in a kilt, time travel, fae mischief, and romance...what more could a girl ask for? I do feel that some parts of the story were rushed but despite that I couldn't put the book down. The author has created characters that are easy to fall in love with and that is what truly makes this a great book. Hawk has a reputation as a sex god. He is gorgeous and that is the reason the fae mischief maker (Adam Black) chose Adrienne to be Hawk's bride. Why? Because she loathes gorgeous men. She fights her feeling for Hawk and even goes so far as to make him think she has a thing for the smithy. Hawk is determined to make her feel for him what he feels for her.

I was excited to read this since I love Karen Marie Moning's Fever series and had a feeling I would enjoy this one too. I can't compare it to the Fever series because that would be like comparing apples to oranges, but this book was a great start and I can't wait to read more.

4.5/5

CymLowell