Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chronicle Books Happy Haul-idays!

The 2nd Annual Happy Haul-idays Giveaway has arrived!
Chronicle books is giving away $500 worth of Chronicle books to one blogger. One commenter on the winning blog post will also win the same haul of books as the blog winner. In addition, this year the winning blogger also gets to choose a charity to receive up to $500 worth of books as well!

For more info about this contest go HERE

If I win I would love for the Portsmouth Public Library Foundation to receive that last set of books. On Christmas Day in 2010 a man set the Main Library on fire causing damage to the building and 150,000 books. Almost a year later and the library is still closed for repairs. I would love for some new books to be donated to the library which will hopefully open early on in the new year.

My Wishlist:
(I've linked to all the books so you can learn more about them)

Skinny Dips
Quick & Easy Mexican Cooking
Cooking for Two
Puff
The Christmas Table
The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever
The Big Book of Casseroles
Cake Simple
Handheld Pies
Tea & Crumpets
The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy
Grilled Cheese
1,2,3 Sew
Paper Cutting
Vintage Craft Workshop
World of Geekcraft
Every Day's a Holiday
Graffiti Art Coloring Book
Boo
My Milk Toof
The Redtone Inkblot Test
F in Exams
Ticket Stub Diary
The Exquisite Book
Weirdo Noir

25 book equaling a grand total of $491.85

Don't forget to leave a comment! If I win then one commenter on this post will also be a winner.


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Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Heart of Steel (Iron Seas #2) by Meljean Brook
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

Return to the gritty, alluring world of steampunk with the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke.

Growing up in the dangerous world of the Iron Seas, the mercenary captain of the airship Lady Corsair, Yasmeen, has learned to keep her heart hard as steel. Ruthless and cunning, her only loyalty is to her ship and her crew-until one man comes along and changes everything...Treasurehunter Archimedes Fox isn't interested in the Lady Corsair-just the captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. When it attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco- and straight into enemy hands.

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Meljean Brook has written another amazing steampunk romance/adventure! I absolutely love the Iron Seas series. The book starts off with correspondences between Archimedes Fox and his sister Zenobia. It was difficult to get into the story reading the letters but once the first chapter started I quickly found myself engrossed in what was going on.

The last time Yasmeen saw Archimedes was when she kicked him off her ship in dangerous zombie infested territory. Of course, Archimedes always comes out on top so it is no surprise that their paths cross again. This time Archimedes intends to fall in love with Yasmeen. They are thrown together on an adventure because of an extremely valuable da Vinci sketch that was stolen from them. This story has quite a bit of action in it with zombies, airships, and assassins. I really loved that history and even some politics helped to make up the meat of the story. It isn't just a frivolous romance although the romance aspect of the story was quite nice. Yasmeen is tough and definitely has no plans of ever falling in love so Archimedes does not have an easy time cracking that shell. I think respect has a lot to do with the progress of their relationship. I think the ending was satisfying but I hope to read more about them in the future to see how they are faring together. Obviously their lives will be full of adventure and it would be great to see what trouble they can get into (and out of).

Although Archimedes and Yasmeen are interesting, Zenobia is actually my favorite character in the series. I was glad that she was present in the start of the book, and of course mentioned throughout. She is terrifyingly intelligent and I hope to eventually read about the man that go head to head with her. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will be featured in the next book. Another intriguing character is the Blacksmith. He is really only mentioned in the story but it gave a glimpse at his history. Learning about his past would be fascinating.

5/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: To Wed a Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (November 22, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

Drowning in guilt over his best friend's death seven years ago, Lord Gabriel Sharpe, the Angel of Death, knows his only hope at redemption is a race against a shocking opponent.

Shrouded in darkness for the past seven years, the infamous racer Lord Gabriel Sharpe is known to accept every challenge to race thrown at him. When his next challenge comes in the form of his late best friend's sister, Virginia Waverly, Gabe is shocked. Yet she presents just the opportunity Gabe needs--marriage to fulfill his grandmother's ultimatum and ensure his inheritance. What he didn't count on was needing her love.
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If you have read the previous books in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series (and you should) then you know that Hetty Sharpe, grandmother to Gabriel and his siblings, issued an ultimatum that they all be married by the end of the year or they will lose their inheritance. The meddling grandmother wants her grandchildren to find love and happiness, but they are against it...at first. 3 of Gabriel's siblings have found love so far and only he and his younger sister are left and their time is running out to meet the deadline.

Gabriel, otherwise known as the Angel of Death races. Carrying guilt over his best friend's death for many years he decides that the person he will marry is his late friend's sister, Virginia, who hates him and blames for her brother's death. Obviously, convincing her to marry him won't be very easy. Or will it? I felt like Virginia made things too easy too quickly. Don't get me wrong, there was resistance and distrust throughout the story, but it felt a little to much like once he turned on the charm she caved in to it easily. Of course, Virginia comes across as a sensible person, so her falling so easily for him could just be that she knew deep down that he wasn't the heartless and uncaring person she had imagined him to be. Virginia is a perfect match for Gabriel. She is full of spirit and daring but is able to rein in some of Gabriel's recklessness. I guess they sort of temper each other.

The investigation into the Gabriel's parent's deaths continues. Although there wasn't as much about it as I would have liked, there was enough to keep up interest in it and some new leads. I really can't wait for the next book to find out what really happened that night so many years ago. On a happier note, it seems like Gabriel isn't the only one to find a match in this book. I won't say who, but it is definitely an added treat and I hope to see the relationship unfold even more in the next book.

4.5/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Review: Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz

Lost in Time (Blue Bloods #6) by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (September 27, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

After their beautiful yet brief bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force are forced to separate. To fulfill the Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. But instead of a bitter reunion, he is faced with a choice for which there is no good option.

Mimi, with a most unexpected travel companion in Oliver Hazard-Perry, jets off to Egypt, too, to search for Kingsley Martin, her long lost love. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. But she'll have to put her own feelings aside if she's going to save her crumbling Coven.

Packed with heartache, twists, and vampiric folklore, Lost in Time is sure to satisfy hungry fans' cravings for more Blue Bloods adventure.
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After reading this book I felt like this series should have ended probably a couple books ago. It feels like it is just dragging along. You would think that with everyone going to hell to rescue someone that things would be exciting and interesting, but alas that is not how it goes. I am racking my brain to find something positive about this story but I just can't think of anything I enjoyed about it. I am really shocked by that because I really loved the first 4 books in this series, but either the quality seems to have deteriorated or my taste in books has changed... I'm not sure. Many fans of the Blue Bloods series will probably still be satisfied with this newest book, but I am just not one of them. I am giving up on this series.

1.5/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Review: Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods #5) by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (October 26, 2010)
Goodreads Description:

After inheriting the dark Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler fled to Florence with her forbidden love, Jack. Now the two of them must embark on the mission Schuyler was destined to complete: to find and protect the five remaining gates that guard the earth from Lucifer, lord of the Silver Bloods.

Back in New York, Mimi has been elected Regent of a crumbling coven. Struggling with her heartache over the loss of Kingsley and with her overwhelming desire to destroy Jack, she must focus all of her energy on a perilous new threat. Vampires are being abducted and their captors are planning to burn them alive online…for all the world to see. Help arrives in the form of Deming Chen, a Venator from Shanghai, who must untangle the web of deceptions before the killers strike again.

As the young vampires struggle for the survival of the coven, they uncover a deadly secret, a truth first discovered by Schuyler’s mother during the Renaissance but kept buried for centuries. And as the Blue Blood enclave weakens yet further, fate leads Schuyler to a terrible choice that will ultimately map the destiny of her heart.

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This story was a little confusing at times for me since it has been awhile since I have read the previous books in the series. A glossary of people and terms would have been extremely helpful. Without a glossary I just had to guess at things occasionally which made reading this book a little more like a chore than something pleasurable.

The book is sort of sectioned out in 3 parts. The beginning is about Jack and Schuyler, the middle features Mimi, Oliver, and Deming. and the end is once again about Jack and Schuyler. I found Jack and Schuyler's sections of story to be boring for the most part. They go through a daring escape among other things, yet I remained uninterested in what was going on with them. Also, the way they speak to each other can be a bit nauseating. It is overly formal and they don't sound like teenagers. Yes, I know that Jack is a Blue Blood and has lived many lives but what is Schuyler's excuse for sounding so stuffy? For awhile I was worried I wouldn't be able to make myself finish this book but thankfully the middle of the book was much more interesting.

Mimi is the Regent of the New York Coven. She is bent on seeking revenge on her brother Jack, but before she can get around to that she must deal with the kidnapping of a Blue Blood. Her position as Regent is in jeopardy and she is desperate to find out who is behind the kidnapping. She calls in help from a venator names Deming who goes undercover at the school to investigate. Deming was by far the most interesting character and I wish there was more about her in the story. Oliver actually helps Mimi out with everything that is going on. I wasn't sure how that would work out but I liked the dynamic between them that was developing.

This is probably my least favorite book in this series so far. I don't think I really like the direction things are going. It has a different feel from the other books which kind of threw me off. I am hoping that it will get better in the next book.

3/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt

Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane #3)
by Elizabeth Hoyt

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Original edition (October 24, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

Can a pirate learn that the only true treasure lies in a woman's heart?

Widowed Silence Hollingbrook is impoverished, lovely, and kind--and nine months ago she made a horrible mistake. She went to a river pirate for help in saving her husband and in the process made a bargain that cost her her marriage. That night wounded her so terribly that she hides in the foundling home she helps run with her brother. Except now that same river pirate is back...and he's asking for her help.

"Charming" Mickey O'Connor is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London's criminal underworld. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be manipulated. And yet he's never been able to forget the naive captain's wife who came to him for help and spent one memorable night in his bed...talking.

When his bastard baby girl was dumped in his lap--her mother having died--Mickey couldn't resist the Machiavellian urge to leave the baby on Silence's doorstep. The baby would be hidden from his enemies and he'd also bind Silence to him by her love for his daughter.
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I knew that Silence and Charming Mickey would meet again and I have been eagerly awaiting that moment. Finally that time has come! Of all the characters introduced in this series I have come to care for Silence the most. Her life isn't a very happy one especially after Mickey disillusioned her of her husband's love and her husband goes back out to sea and dies. She is alone until a sweet little child is left on her doorstep. Silence cares for the little girl and considers her as her own child. One day the little girl is taken and she confronts Mickey to get her back since she has suspected that he is the girl's father. It turns out that his enemies have become a threat to both his daughter and Silence and he wants to keep them protected.

Silence and Mickey continually butt heads. Mickey is used to getting his way and Silence refuses to give in to his every whim.The transformation Mickey takes over the course of the story makes it impossible not to fall in love with him a little bit. He is a criminal and has done some bad things but there is more than one side to a person. Silence and Mickey's relationship develops over time and isn't instant happiness which I can appreciate. This has been my favorite in the series so far. I am used to reading trilogies when it comes to historical romance series so I just automatically assumed this was it. When I reached the end of the book (which had a shocking surprise that I LOVED) I was pleased to realize that there will be more to come.

5/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Giveaway: Destined by P.C. & Kristin Cast

About "Destined":


"...Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet – which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together – if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow…"


Website:
HouseofNightSeries.com

*****GIVEAWAY*****
US/Canada only
Ends 11/3/11 @ 11:59 pm EST

Easy entry, just fill out the form!




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Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: A Novel Seduction by Gwyn Cready

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star; Original edition (October 25, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

When snobbish book critic Ellery Sharpe screws up at Vanity Place magazine, her boss assigns her the ultimate punishment: write an ode to romance novels, a genre she considers the literary equivalent of word search puzzles. To make matters worse, he hires her sexy former party boy ex, Axel Mackenzie, to shoot the photos. Axel really wants the project to succeed. For one, the magazine will double his fee if he convinces strong-willed Ellery to write a story no woman can resist. Besides, getting Ellery to fall for romance novels might be just the push she needs to believe people can change . . . even him. At his sister’s advice, Axel gives Ellery a copy of Kiltlander, a much-adored romance whose warrior hero is utterly irresistible. To her dismay, Ellery finds herself secretly falling in love with the story—and with Axel, who’s drawing his own lessons from the book’s compelling hero. With her carefully crafted image of herself crumbling and her dream job on the line, will Ellery risk it all to make the leap from tight-lipped literati to happily-ever-after heroine?
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I have read a couple of this author's time travel romances and didn't really care for them much. I really liked the idea of this book though and thought that I would give it a chance. Unfortunately, I didn't really care for this book either. There were moments that I had to set the book down and walk away from it for awhile because I was confused about how I felt and what the author's intentions were. The romance was boring and didn't interest me at all and I never really liked the main characters.

Ellery is a book critic who thinks all romance novels are drivel...even though she has never read one. She offends someone important and is forced to write about how great romance novels are. Her ex Axel is a photographer assigned to do the article with her. He picks up a few romances for her to read, one a paranormal, another a Highland romance, and the last one is a typical historical romance. Although she is a very professional writer she is surprisingly reluctant to do the research and actually read any of the books. When she does she just flips it open to random parts and occasionally skips ahead to get to the sex scenes. That really annoyed me. It is a pet peeve of mine when people skip around parts of a book. Even more bothersome is when she would just flip to the intimate scenes. I love romances but I don't think romances are about the sex. I think it is about the building of a relationship. The paranormal romance and Highland romance bit were laughable. They were so over the top and extreme, yet a self proclaimed romance hater ended up enjoying these books. What!? I found it to be confusing because I didn't know if the author meant it to be ridiculous or was she being serious. Since Ellery ended up enjoying them I felt like the author must have been serious but I just can't imagine why she would make the books seem so terrible.

As I previously said, the romance was boring. I found it predictable. Based on the synopsis I felt there was pretty good potential for excitement and an interesting romance but sadly it didn't turn out that way. Others my enjoy this book, however it just wasn't for me.

1.5/5
I received a copy of this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Winner Announcement!

The winner of My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody is...

Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity

Congrats! I have sent the winner an email and they have 48 hours to respond.

***Patricia is having a Halloween Bash with lots of giveaways, reviews, and guest posts***
*** Check it out!***


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Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Ghost Trackers by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Tim Waggoner

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (September 13, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

In this spine-tingling new series, the stars of TV’s GHOST HUNTERS introduce readers to a team of paranormal investigators who reunite to defeat a sinister force they unleashed long ago. . . .

For fifteen years, Amber, Drew, and Trevor have barely been able to recall—let alone explain—what happened the terrifying night they decided to explore the old, abandoned Lowry House. According to local legend, the house was cursed by a dark past and inhabited by evil. It burst into flames on the night of their visit, leaving the friends traumatized and nearly dead with only vague memories of the frightening events they had witnessed inside. Now, on the eve of their high school reunion, they have gathered to reopen their investigation and figure out, once and for all, what took place that fateful night . . . before the supernatural entity they escaped threatens to overtake them again.

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First I have to say I had no idea really what to expect from this book. I enjoyed Jason and Grant's books in which they recount investigations they have been on but I wasn't sure if they could pull off a story of total fiction. Ghost Trackers really surprised me because it turned out to be such an excellent story. Usually this isn't a genre I read because I am a wuss when it comes to spooky stories, but I am glad I read this one. Ghost Trackers is the first in a new series and I can't wait to read future installments.

Amber, Drew, and Trevor used to be friends until the night they entered the Lowry house. Since then they lost their memory of what really happened and they drifted apart. Cut to fifteen years later at their high school reunion. Strange things are happening and they decide to put together the missing pieces to figure out what happened that night so long ago. The story is kind of like a spooky mystery, which is what I really liked about it. It wasn't too over the top with the horror aspects, but there was enough scary parts to get the point across.

I really liked the characters and that they each brought something different to the table. Drew is a psychologist so he is the rational one and is able to get a lot of insight into the mental aspects; Trevor travels around collecting ghost stories to write about so he is a true believer in the paranormal already and is able to compare things that happen to other paranormal phenomena he has heard about; Amber basically has PTSD over what happened that night so long ago and is kind of a mess. Like the others she does bring a special element to their investigation into the past but it is difficult to put into words what that really is. Amber seemed to be more in the forefront of the story than the others but Trevor is my favorite of the three. I like his personality and humor and I hope that all that comes through even more in the future.

If you are looking for a typical ghost story this isn't it, but if you are willing to give it a chance you just might find that you like Ghost Trackers.

4.5/5


I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

CymLowell

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (October 1, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

His greatest battle is just beginning . . .

Captain Harry Lidge has done his duty. After losing too many good men on the battlefield, he's ready to put his responsibilities behind him and live a life free of care. But first he has one last mission: find out what the most outrageous woman in London, the same woman who betrayed him nearly a decade earlier, is concealing, before her secrets take down the crown.

Her heart is the only thing she won't risk . . .

Surrounded by ardent admirers and a few loyal friends, Lady Kate Seaton glides through the ton on a confection of couture gowns and bon mots. No one suspects that beneath her lighthearted façade Kate hides a sorrow so scandalous she'll do anything to keep it hidden. But only when she trusts Harry with the truth and only when he trusts her with his heart can they stop the villains all too willing to kill Kate to attain their ultimate goal: destroy England

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Finally it is Kate's turn for a happy ending! I have been eagerly anticipating this story since it has been obvious that Lady Kate Seaton and Captain Harry Lidge would butt heads eventually. There have been hints of bad history between the two in the previous books in the series and it has been a mystery just what the issue is. Of course that history is revealed eventually in the story and although it was interesting enough I was expecting something more from it. I do think that Kate's family (and their secrets) was the highlight of the story (other than the romance of course). It was totally unexpected.

Drake's Rakes are still trying to defend England by tracking down the Lions, which is the group trying to destroy England. Although I have thought this plot line to be interesting in the other books things really pick up speed in this book. It felt like quite a bit of progress was made toward uncovering the traitors but by no means enough to put an end to the conspiracy. I wish more of the story was dedicated to this part of the plot because I really enjoy the action and mystery aspects a lot in addition to the romance.

In typical romance novel fashion, the relationship between Harry and Kate is rocky at the start. The bad history between them causes a lot of distrust which is difficult for them to overcome, but even with these obstacles I couldn't help but feel that it still came a little to easy for them. True love conquers all I guess. Still, the story was very enjoyable and is a great addition to the series. It fits in perfectly. I can't wait for Drake's Rakes to thwart the Lions plans completely. One thing I am very curious about is who the next book is about. Up until now I have known which woman each book would be about but now I don't know...maybe Schroeder? I Think she deserves a happy ending of her own.

4/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

Succubus Revealed (Georgina Kincaid #6)
by Richelle Mead

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (September 1, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

In Georgina Kincaid, succubus and she-demon, #1 New York Times bestselling author Richelle Mead has created one of her most enticing characters. But with a shot at love, and maybe even redemption, is the ultimate seductress finally going soft? Like hell she is. . .

Georgina Kincaid has had an eternity to figure out the opposite sex, but sometimes they still surprise her. Take Seth Mortensen. The man has risked his soul to become Georgina's boyfriend. Still, with Lucifer for a boss, Georgina can't just hang up her killer heels and settle down to domestic bliss. In fact, she's being forced to transfer operations. . .to Las Vegas.

The City of Sin is a dream gig for a succubus, but Georgina's allies are suspicious. Why are the powers-that-be so eager to get her away from Seattle—and from Seth? Georgina is one of Hell's most valuable assets, but if there's any way out of the succubus business she plans to take it—no matter how much roadkill she leaves behind. She just hopes the casualties won't include the one man she's risking everything for. . .

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I can't believe the Georgina Kincaid series has come to an end...an excellent one, but an end nonetheless. I can't help but feel that there are so many possibilities for future books with the secondary characters of this series. One person in particular I am left wondering about is Kayla, Seth's 5 year old niece who has psychic abilities. I would love to read about her and how she deals with her powers as a teenager or adult. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the author isn't finished with these characters and will write about them in the future.

The book description really sums up the plot perfectly without giving to much away so I won't go into that but I will say that Georgina's story couldn't have ended better. I shed a few tears (from both happiness and sadness) and in the end was left with a sense of satisfaction at how things turned out. There were a number of unexpected twists that blew my mind which really helped this story along since there really wasn't much action in this book like there is in some of the others. I can't imagine fans of this series being unhappy with how things turned out. Like me though, everyone will most likely be left wanting more. It is always difficult to say goodbye to characters you have gotten to know and come to love over time. I know that I will be revisiting them again and again though by rereading this series and I will just have to be satisfied with that, but it won't keep me from hoping for more from this incredible author in the future.

5/5

CymLowell
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Review: Ghost Files by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Michael Jan Friendman

Ghost Files: The Collected Cases from Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits
by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Michael Jan Friedman

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (September 13, 2011)
Some intriguing cases readers will find in GHOST FILES include:
  • What did a paranormal investigation uncover at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the hotel built in 1903 that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining?
  • What is the chilling history behind the Rolling Hills Asylum in Batavia, New York?
  • What happened when a man was overcome by an evil entity as Jason and Grant surveyed his home?
  • How can a Connecticut woman seem to exist in two places at once?

In this hair-raising omnibus, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, founders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.), reveal the memorable and spine-tingling cases featured in their smash-hit collections, Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits. From their never-seen-on-television adventures as budding paranormal investigators to the behind-the-scenes accounts of heart-pounding supernatural encounters featured on their popular show, these fascinating and frightening real life tales that will keep readers up at night. GHOST FILES is a paranormal adventure led by two seasoned guides that will grab readers’ attention from beginning to end.

Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are the stars of the hit SyFy television show Ghost Hunters and the cofounders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.). They are the New York Times bestselling authors of two books of true stories about paranormal phenomena, Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits. They are also authors of Ghost Trackers, the first novel in a new series. Jason and Grant live in Rhode Island with their families. Michael Jan Friedman lives in New York.

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If you enjoy the Ghost Hunters television series or just stories of hauntings in general then you will probably enjoy this book. It is actually an omnibus of 2 already released books, Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits, so if you haven't read them already you can get this 2 in 1 version that I find to be convenient. The lengths of each recounting of investigations vary but are generally between 2-5 pages long. With 560 pages total, that means there are A LOT of stories. Many of them I recognized from episodes of their show, however the second half of the book is filled with stories that weren't on the show, including a "lost" episode that was taped but never aired (one of my favorite stories).

I 'm a fan of Ghost Hunters and now I am a fan of their books! For the most part there is a good variety of stories including hauntings, background information on the T.A.P.S. , the crew members, and equipment and investigative techniques. There is a lot of good insight into what it takes to be a ghost hunter. I do wish that there were more hoax stories though. The lengths people go to to get on the show probably get ridiculous sometimes and would be amusing to read about. Some of the stories were short and to the point with not much happening; others are full of evidence of possession, demonic entities, human spirits, etc. Occasionally it turns out that instead of a ghost the person who contacted the guys from T.A.P.S. has a medical problem or some bad plumbing. Those stories are interesting to me because I don't get how they didn't consider that before jumping to the conclusion that there must be a supernatural explanation. As much as I am a skeptic I do have to admit that some of these stories are creepy and make me wonder if ghosts really do exist. Dark masses, moving furniture, voices that seemingly come from nowhere... if not ghosts then how could some of these things be explained?

4/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Giveaway: My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

About 'My Life Undecided':


"...Brooklyn Pierce, a fifteen year-old girl notorious for making bad decisions, enlists the help of the online blog reading population to vote on how she should live her life. But some things in life simply aren't a choice...like who you fall in love with."




LINKS:


Website with latest news, book excerpts, blog and the chance to win a signed copy:

http://www.jessicabrody.com/index.html


"My Life Undecided" website, inspired by the book:

Would you put your fate into the hands of blog readers? http://mylifeundecided.com/


See Jessica Brody on tour now:

https://www.facebook.com/penfataletour


*****GIVEAWAY*****
US/Canada only
Ends 10/14/11 @ 11:59 pm EST

Easy entry, just fill out the form!





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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Winking Witch Spooky Reads Challenge


Stories and Sweeties is hosting a challenge for the month of October. The goal is to read (and review) 3 spooky reads. It can be about ghosts, witches, vampires, etc.

For more information about this challenge head on over to Stories and Sweeties.

The books I plan on reading are:

1. Ghost Files by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Michael Jan Friedman
2. Ghost Trackers by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Tim Waggoner
3. Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

***UPDATE***
I my 3 spooky book goal! I will probably try to fit in another 1 or 2 books before the challenge ends though.

I still haven't decided on a 3rd title to read, so I will update this post once I do decide.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (October 18, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
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Immediately after I finished reading The Scorpio Races I tried to describe it to someone and found that I just couldn't. This book is difficult to sum up. There were paranormal elements to it but I would hesitate to call it paranormal; there is a little bit of romance, but I definitely wouldn't call it romance. There is a bit of bleakness and desperation similar to the mood of dystopian but it can't be classified as dystopian. Although I can't categorize this book, I can definitely say that it is amazing.

The writing style of the author is very distinct. If you have read her Mercy Falls series you will definitely recognize it. But where I found it depressing and boring in her werewolf books I found it to have an almost musical or poetic quality in The Scorpio Races. It really fit well with the content and the atmosphere. Although I am not really a fan of the author's previous series I found myself intrigued by the very vague description of the book. I wanted to know what the Scorpio Races are. I am not a horse person. I don't like horse books and I don't like horse movies. You would think because of that I would have been deterred from reading this book, but no, I HAD to know what the Scorpio Races are. I am so very glad I gave this book a try. I wasn't sure what to expect but it blew me away. I've read a lot of books and I can honestly say that this book is now in the top 5 best books I have ever read in ANY genre. When I finished reading the book I was so excited about what I had just read. I also am so glad that this is a stand alone. It does not need a follow up. It is perfect the way it is.

I don't want to really write about what happens in the story because I think the vagueness of the book description helped me to enjoy the story. Basically, I liked that the whole plot wasn't given on the back of the book. I do however want to address the romance part of the story. Yes, this is a YA book and yes there is a romance. It isn't annoying though (something I find a lot of YA romances to be). The story's focus isn't really on that. In my opinion it is kind of in the background.

Who would this book be perfect for? I don't know. Everyone? This story can't be defined or categorized. Teenagers, adults, male, female...it doesn't really matter because this is something so many people will enjoy. Hopefully, most will read it and walk away with the same feelings as I did.

5/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.


CymLowell
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (October 4, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction

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Let me start by saying that although I can understand the appeal this book will probably have for many people, it just wasn't for me. I was expecting something a little more unique but it pretty much followed the typical formula for YA. The instant love and devotion between Megan and Adam is what soured me the most on this book. I understand that there is some inexplicable connection between them but I feel like it was just a little too easy and convenient. The only thing that kept me from quitting the book was that at least there wasn't the standard love triangle in addition to the instant love thing. Since the author didn't throw that in there too I figured I should give it a chance.

I had a difficult time connecting with the characters. I didn't dislike them but I also didn't really care about what happened to them. Adam's brother was the most interesting character to me. His power is the most volatile so he has to really stay in control. An issue that I have with him though is that he starts off stand-offish and not easily trusting but then does a 180 and is extremely nice to Megan. I think the sudden change was too drastic and would have been much more believable had she earned his grudging respect or trust over the course of the story. Overall, I think the problem I had with the story was that everything happened so quickly and easily...not enough distrust and disbelief.

Many people who enjoy paranormal YA will probably enjoy this book. I'm feeling a bit burnt out on this type of story at the moment because it is beginning to feel stale and easily predictable. That has most likely colored my opinion of this book some. It is what it is though and at the moment I am just not into this story. I haven't written this series totally off though, and would read the second book in the series when it releases to give it another chance.

2/5

I received this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Surrender (Lords of the Underworld #8) by Gena Showalter
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (September 27, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. For him, nothing stands in the way of victory. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor's edge of surrender.Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can't afford because he has an agenda of his own-steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named. But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter-the love neither had thought possible...
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As expected this book was is an excellent addition to the Lords of the Underworld series that I love. Book number 8 and still going strong. I'm sure it can be a difficult task for an author to keep a series fresh and exciting for so long but Gena Showalter has not disappointed.

This is Strider's story, and his union with Kaia feels long in the making. When the Skyhawk harpy sisters were introduced to this series I was instantly enthralled. They are spitfires and fun to read about. Kaia has been the most interesting to me so I was glad to finally read her story. Strider wasn't one of the Lords I was absolutely dying to read right away until I got a taste of what was to come in the last book, The Darkest Lie. His story is now one of my favorites.

Kaia has had a thing for Strider for awhile but he has been pushing her away because right before they met she had slept with Paris and he didn't want to be compared to him in bed. Strider's demon is Defeat, so if he can't pleasure Kaia more than Paris did then he will feel excruciating pain for not "winning." Obviously this sets up a major roadblock for any kind of relationship for them. Not to mention trust doesn't really come easily for either of them. However, when the Harpy Games are resurrected and Kaia is in danger Strider is there for her. They face a lot of conflict, but it is those types of situations that seem to bring the Lords and their women together. The brutally violent Harpy Games makes for a thrilling setting. Harpies are fierce and value that ferocity and strength greatly which was something I already knew but was reinforced by reading about the games. I hope to read about more of the harpies in future installments of the series.

5/5

I received a copy of this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

The next book in the series, The Darkest Seduction is the very much anticipated story about Paris, the Keeper of Promiscuity. This is my favorite book cover in the series so far:



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Book Review: Alterant by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (September 27, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love comes the second book in the Belador series—featuring a league of international warriors with extraordinary abilities who rise up to save mankind from supernatural terrorists.

On the heels of saving mankind from destruction at the hands of the Medb coven, Evalle attempts to convince the Tribunal that she is an Alterant who can be trusted around humans. But the gods and goddess ruling over this Tribunal twist words she’d uttered in the heat of combat and hold her responsible for three dangerous Alterants that escaped their prisons. She is given a choice to either recapture those three who will lose their freedom forever or face the same sentence. Unsure that she can condemn another Alterant to a life she’d die before accepting, Evalle takes on an impossible task only to learn that the entire future of the Beladors rides on her success—and the only person who can help her is the one who wants to gut her.

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For those of you who read the first book in the Belador series, Blood Trinity, you will not be disappointed. The story picks up where the last one left off so just to be sure I didn't miss out on anything I reread Blood Trinity right before I started Alterant...a wise decision in my opinion as so much that happens in this story is related to what happened prior. I probably would've been a little lost had I not refreshed my memory.

I really enjoyed the direction the story took with Evalle basically trying to defend her race and prove that they aren't just a bunch of animals. The gods have charged her with the task of bringing in Alterants. She is in a race against time to save herself and others like her. The identity of the person who Evalle has to seek help from shouldn't have surprised me but it did. I'm glad that I was able to see another side to this person who I really didn't like in the first book.

While Evalle is handling her business, Quinn and Tzader have to deal with their own problems...many of them involving the opposite sex. I felt like I missed them in this story.They definitely had their roles to play but it felt more like they were in the background. In the end I am worried for them both as their issues are not really resolved yet. Hopefully everything will work out for them in the next book.

Storm is present in the story which made me very happy. He is so mysterious and not much is really known about him. Thankfully, some of his past is revealed so we can get a better understanding of him and his motives. Although this isn't a romance novel (which I am totally fine with), I still can't help but want a little bit of romance thrown into the mix. Watching what unfolds between him and Evalle reveals even more about Storm's character. He is caring, gentle, and very aware yet at the same time he strong, hard, and dangerous.

5/5

I received a copy of this book for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Contest Craze Mini-Challenge #4

Scariest Word

This challenge is hosted at The Non Reluctant Reader

How it works:
  • Grab a book you're currently reading)
  • Go to the 13th Chapter
  • Scan the chapter for the scariest word
  • Using Google/Yahoo images randomly pick on picture that comes up when you search the word
  • Write a blog post that has the book's cover, title, your word and your image
Here is mine:
The Pearl Wars by Nick James

My word: WAR

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Contest Craze Mini-Challenge #3

One True Pairing

This challenge is being hosted at My Cute Bookshelf

The objective of this challenge is to create a blog post with your One True Pairing (your favorite couple from young adult books) and explain why they’re your favorite YA couple.

My pick:


I picked this couple because their relationship grew out of respect and not instant attraction based on looks. There was a realness to it. They are smart, strong, and brave as individuals and even more so together. This couple is absolutely one of my favorites.

As for my "casting" choices I think that Saoirse Ronan is almost exactly how I pictured Tris in my mind. Logan Lerman doesn't have quite enough of a tough edge but I think that could be taken care of with hitting the gym to muscle up a little. Other than that I think he would be great.
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