Monday, September 30, 2013

Inheritance ~ Malinda Lo (earc) review

Inheritance (Adaptation #2)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 24, 2013
480 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The triangular spaceship hovered motionless in the sky above Reese Holloway’s house, as inscrutable as a black hole. It had seemed like a good idea when they were inside: to tell the truth about what happened to them at Area 51. It didn’t seem like such a good idea now.

Reese and David are not normal teens—not since they were adapted with alien DNA by the Imria, an extraterrestrial race that has been secretly visiting Earth for decades. Now everyone is trying to get to them: the government, the Imria, and a mysterious corporation that would do anything for the upper hand against the aliens.

Beyond the web of conspiracies, Reese can’t reconcile her love for David with her feelings for her ex-girlfriend Amber, an Imrian. But her choice between two worlds will play a critical role in determining the future of humanity, the Imria’s place in it, and the inheritance she and David will bring to the universe.

In this gripping sequel to Adaptation, Malinda Lo brings a thoughtful exploration of adolescence, sexuality, and “the other” to a science fiction thriller that is impossible to put down.

The beginning scene of Inheritance is a continuation of the scene at the end of Adaptation. The first book Adaptation introduced us to the characters -- to Reese and David and to Amber and the Imrians -- and how Reese and David were adapted to save their lives. In Adaptation, they learned what had happened to them, how they were given Imrian DNA and became something not quite human, but at the end of the novel everyone else was finding out as well.

Now we get to see how the general public is going to react when Reese and David come out to tell what happened to them. It's not just people's feelings about the aliens they have to deal with, either. Soon, besides the government, Imria, conspiracy nuts, and people fearing invasion, there are also racists, homophobes and generally absurd people making the teens life harder. None of it helping Reese with what be an already difficult problem: figuring out her feelings.

I liked the way other's comments on race (David is Chinese, Reese is white) and sexuality - both through reactions when Reese and David took their story public and more locally through friends, school played a role in Inheritance. It was something that was very honest, both that it would happen, sadly, and that it would impact the characters. It also allowed the characters to have to think through, say or perhaps even do things that they perhaps might not have without that outside motivation or influence.

It brought an interesting layer to the story. At times, when the Imrians were explaining their society or ways in contrast, it was as if they aliens were going to show the humans how to really be human.

Where I did run in to a problem with Inheritance was the pacing. It's not short at 480 pages, but it's not epically long, either. It does, though, take a long time to read. The story is one that's easy to want to stay with, but it's easy to get weighed down in all the detail about Imria or whatever is happening. It doesn't move forward or read easily at a good speed.

Rating :6/10

 thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my digital galley for review

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Six Months Later ~ Natalie D Richards (arc) Review & Giveaway + Dream Cast (tour)

Six Months Later
Sourcebooks Fire
October 1, 2013
336 pages

Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can't she remember?

I have to admit that Six Months Later surprised me.It sounded like a fun read but ended up being so much more.

For most of Six Months Later, I really was not sure what was going on  - or even what genre the book would ultimately fit in. All of which I mean in the best way. Sometimes a book is confusing in a bad way, but sometimes it's confusing in a good way which is what happened here.

Chloe wakes up having lost six month --  instead of it being almost summer, it's almost Christmas -- and her life has transformed tremendously. As readers we're lost as to what has happened right along with Chloe.  Author Natalie D Richards does this really well, too. While the not knowing could, potentially, lead to frustration and turn someone away from the story, here it pulls you in instead. Things are uncovered at just the right pace to keep you guessing, keep you wondering, and hungering for more . . . all while likely battling confusion.

The characters also keep things moving very well. The little glimpse we get of the 'before' Chloe makes the 'later' Chloe seem that much more drastic. It's a short introduction but it sets up the relationship between Chloe and Maggie very well. It has you pulling or them through the rest of the book and hoping they can overcome whatever it is that's come between them.

There is a lot more of the plot I do want to mention because I loved the twists it took but I loved working it all out, especially finding out the ending. I don't want to risk any spoilers and ruin your fun!

Full of fantastic suspense and mystery along with great characters and relationships, Natalie D Richards debut, Six Months Later is one not to miss, no matter which genre you usually prefer.

Rating: 9/10

Dream Cast:

I think this is the first time I've done a 'Dream Cast' - at least as part of a post, I've tried to match characters up with real people in my head before.

Vanessa Marano
as Chloe
Claudia Lee
as Maggie
Luke Benward
as Blake
Callan McAuliffe
as Adam
Sasha Pieterse
as Julien

author Natalie D Richards 
Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes.) She later misplaced her writing dreams in a maze of cubicles and general office drudgery. Natalie never forgot about Barbara or those dishes, and eventually she found her way back to storytelling, following the genre of her heart, teen fiction. When she's not writing or shopping her manuscripts, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom. Natalie lives in Ohio with her amazing husband and their three children, who inspire her every day to stick with her dreams.

She can be found online:
Facebook@NattDRichards on Twitter; Website; Blog; Goodreads

Enter the giveaway below . . .

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Icons ~ Margaret Stohl (arc) review

Icons (Icons #1)
Little, Brown Young Readers
May 7, 2013
428 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.
Icons is a set after what is now referred to as 'The Day' when Earth suffered an invasion from the Lords, a still faceless, mostly unknown enemy. A day that killed most of the world and left the Icons towering over the world's major cities. Icons - giant, machine like things - no one can approach and everyone fears.

I wish that Icons had been explained better or somehow built more fully from the beginning because I was never quite able to get into it. The Lords, Icons and everything never quite made complete sense to me. I understood that there was a day that something big happened where so many simply died, but it continued to seem abstract in a way.

The different locations, the different worlds of Icons from the Grass Mission where Dol and Ro live, to the Embassy , to a later location, are very well imagined detailed and easy to picture. Each place, especially that later place (which may or may not be spoilery to name), was very easy to picture but didn't feel bogged down in detail. I really loved that.

It was harder somehow, though, to picture them all in the same larger world.  They were separate and distinct, to be sure, but it was hard to connect them at all, to bridge them them.

Likely because they whole Lords and Icons thing never really clicked for me, Icons did not ever, all come together for me. How the characters, their similarities, the Embassy, what everyone might have been planning, it lacked the impact I wanted it to have.

Three of the characters did seem to develop well as the story progressed. If the story had clicked for me, I think I would have really enjoyed their story. I do wish that Tima had more of a part in things. She had didn't feel like as much a part of things as Dol, Ro and Lucas but I liked her in the beginning and end so I wish she had been.

Despite the issues I had with the story, the possibility of things promised by the ending has me hopeful for the second book and what may happen.

Rating: 6/10

thank you to the publisher for the arc and digital galley for review

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
 • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser:
"It's just a word," Jon replied, "You don't mind being called a claver. Why should they mind being called grubs?"
-pg 10 of The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It #4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

add it to your Goodreads shelf or buy on Amazon

. . . still figuring out what I think about this one; it's a lot different than I was expecting.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dead Girls Don't Lie ~ Jennifer Shaw Wolf (arc) review

Dead Girls Don't Lie
Walker Childrens
September 17, 2013
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Rachel died at two a.m . . . Three hours after Skyler kissed me for the first time. Forty-five minutes after she sent me her last text.
Jaycee and Rachel were best friends. But that was before. . .before that terrible night at the old house. Before Rachel shut Jaycee out. Before Jaycee chose Skyler over Rachel. Then Rachel is found dead. The police blame a growing gang problem in their small town, but Jaycee is sure it has to do with that night at the old house. Rachel’s text is the first clue—starting Jaycee on a search that leads to a shocking secret. Rachel’s death was no random crime, and Jaycee must figure out who to trust before she can expose the truth.

In the follow-up to her powerful debut, Jennifer Shaw Wolf keeps readers on their toes in another dark, romantic story of murder and secrets.
Jennifer Shaw Wolf's Dead Girls Don't Lie, her second novel after last year's fantastic Breaking Beautiful, deals with a lot. Jaycee's best friend since grade school, Rachel has just been murdered. Only, she and Rachel have not been very close in the past few months, something Jaycee will now never be able to change.

In Jaycee's small Washington town is one that experiences a great divide between the Mexican migrant workers and the other residents. Something that left Rachel, living with her Mexican, single mother, in a confusing place -- especially recently.

As the town cries out against the gang violence they're sure is responsible -- brought to their idyllic town by the migrant workers -- Jaycee works to find out if that's the truth. While possibly putting herself in danger.

Jaycee is both the perfect person to uncover Rachel's secrets and the secret of her murder and, nearly, the last person you wish were doing it. We learn about their friendship, from its inception to its disintegration and a bit in between, while Jaycee investigates. While it's clear that Jaycee really should be able to not have to look at all of this detail and go through all of this, its also obvious she has to. Both because no one else will - or can - but also because she needs to know what happened to Rachel.

The dynamic between the migrant workers and the other residents of the town creates a very interesting element in the story. Especially when Rachel and her mother are added to the mix. Prior to Rachel's death, we see that the tension was already there and, as the story unfolds, we see how much of a role there being two communities played in her life.

After her death we're able to see it through more obvious portrayals -- the town's reaction and gossiping. Much of this happens through Jaycee's eyes. While she can be naive, almost annoyingly so, at times, it's possible to see why.

The mystery bit of Dead Girls Don't Lie seemed a bit easy to figure out, but only some of the larger parts. The intricacies of it all, how everything all came together and what everyone's role was, in the end, was still quite surprising. This is somewhere else I actually liked Jaycee's naivete or stubbornness even as it aggravated me. While something about a character may have been obvious to me, a refusal to believe it on her part made things believable in an interesting way. And gave the story interesting twists.

Jaycee's investigation into Rachel's death forces her to look back at parts of her past she'd rather forget and examine things she'd rather not. As well as a bit of mystery, thriller Dead Girls Don't Lie is also a sort of coming of age. Jaycee has to figure out some of who she is, what she thinks about things she's been presented with her whole life and who she trusts and believes.

You can't help but wish she and Rachel could have gone through the process at the same time or that she didn't have to lose her best friend to 'grow up.'

Rating: 8/10

Other books you may also enjoy: Shine by Lauren Myracle and Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital galley for review -- and Bridget and the publisher again when the NG one was wonky!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Program ~ Suzanne Young review

The Program (The Program #1)
Simon Pulse
April 30, 2013
416 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

In the past day have you felt lonely or overwhelmed? (pg 8)

That's the question that starts the mini survey Sloane takes every day. Every day she answers 'no.' Whether the answer is no or not. Everyone who doesn't want to be taken away to The Program knows what their answer needs to be, how they need to act.

With teen suicide now an epidemic, her area has found the only solution: The Program. Parents welcome The Program because it keeps their children alive. And it does heal them - in a way. They return free of their depression.

And of their memories.

With someone watching whether it's at home or at school, Sloane knows she has to keep her real feelings hidden. Even when one of her best friends commits suicide, she knows she can't cry . . . Not if she wants to stay out of The Program. The one person she can be herself with is James. Sloane believes when he says he'll keep them safe and believes in their love. But, with more around them dying, she knows they're getting weaker. And The Program is coming.

I wanted to read The Program because of the idea that Young came up with in The Program and of teen suicide being an epidemic, along with the lengths that some parts of society was going to to prevent it. That part of the story was done very, very well, adding fantastic tension -- and even fear -- to the novel. The Program was incredibly well thought out, from how it worked both with those who had been involved in it and with those were trying to avoid the 'sickness.'

I liked that it was just enough science fiction-ness to it to make it work but also little enough that it seemed very real, too. It was more like a very realistic Twilight Zone episode, where almost, almost everything looks the same, yet the result is so drastically different. It's great.

While The Program was why I wanted to read The Program, it's actually not why I'm so, so, so happy that I did.

I am in love with Sloane and James. Like madly, so.

When you hear of the romance they've had paired with how things are currently, you ache for them to have more of those moments. There's something really beautiful about their relationship along with what they're trying to overcome together. It was also great how their past was integrated into the story.

After reading this, I need to bump Just Like Fate which Suzanne Young co-wrote with Cat Patrick up my TBR list. Though, now I'll have even higher expectations for any romance in it!

Rating: 9/10

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Natural Selection ~ Malinda Lo (earc) review

Natural Selection (Adaptation #1.5)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 3, 2013
40 pages (ebook novella)
add to Goodreads/buy Kindle version

I was born on Earth, not Kurra. I'm not human,even though I try to be. My people, the Imria, think I'm a little unusual because of that. They call me an Earthsider: as if I've crossed a line, chosen a side. Gone native.

Before she met her girlfriend Reese, before she knew the role she would play in the fate of two worlds, Amber was a fifteen-year-old Imrian torn between two identities. Imrian by blood, Amber was forced to hide her true self to pass as human during the time she spent on earth. And even when she returns to Kurra, her human experiences, including first love and heartache, still separate her from her fellow Imrians. But when Amber undergoes kibila, a traditional Imrian coming-of-age ceremony during which Amber will choose her name and identity for the next fifteen years, she will be forced to either accept her role in both worlds or forge her own path.

Malinda Lo's digital exclusive novella companion to Adaptation and Inheritance takes readers on a journey through Amber's past, giving fans a glimpse into her life on Kurra and a deeper understanding of one of Adaptation's most compelling characters.
I may be the odd one here, but I'd forgotten the role of Amber in Adaptation -- at least by her name -- when I read 'Natural Selection.' While I couldn't figure out how these Imirian characters fit in the world of Adaptation -- aside, of course, from the general -- I still really enjoyed it.

I'm actually quite happy I didn't know how they were a part of the novels as I was reading; it was nice taking in their story on its own, not trying to fit it into the bigger picture at the same time.

'Natural Selection' gives a great glimpse of life on Kurra. We learned just a little bit of what the Imirians were like in Adaptation but here, we get a real 'at home' look. It's especially great if you're going to read Inheritance, the second book in the series. Not only do you get a fuller picture of what it's like on Kurra and Imirian society, but of Amber, as well.

The story alternates between Amber's life on Earth, posing as a human and her life back on Kurra. The back and forth could get a bit confusing at times, with the transitions not always entirely clear. However, the parallels between what she experienced on Earth prior to returning to Kurra and what's happening during the ceremony line up perfectly. Both story lines flow very well and work incredibly well together. They work better told concurrently, rather than consecutively.

While not remembering who the character of Amber was, I really liked this digital short story. I liked that background on the Imirians, it gave me a leg up - upon starting Inheritance - on Reese and David. As they're figuring things out, trying to understand things, I already had some of that understanding.

Once I did remember who Amber was -- also upon starting Inheritance -- I really appreciated the character development she received in 'Natural Selection.' She's an intriguing character after both Adaptation and the short story and I couldn't wait to see what happened with her in Inheritance.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy to review

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Dream Thieves ~ Maggie Stiefvater (earc) review

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
Scholastic Press
September 17, 2013
448 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...
This is one book where I needed to use the publisher's synopsis because, with the way the plot progressed, I couldn't figure out one of my own. At least, not one that wouldn't be spoilery in some way.

I remembered really enjoying the first Raven Cycle book, The Raven Boys when I read it last year, but knew I'd forgotten some things. Thankfully, the first book was one of the titles SYNC offered for download this summer so I listened to it again before starting Book 2 and I'm really glad I did. There were some smaller things, both plot and character-wise that I'd forgotten and knowing/remembering made The Dream Thieves better. The more of The Raven Boys you know, remember the better but having read it at all is almost necessary. (Check out a recap here.)

The Dream Thieves is definitely a second book in a series. Things from the first book are built on, without those things always being revisited enough for someone unfamiliar with them to understand the significance.

I expected more of the Cabeswater search to unfold in The Dream Thieves than did. While, what did happen, will likely impact Gansey and the others' search in the next book(s), it felt almost removed here. There were sections where it was as consuming for Gansey as it was in The Raven Boys but the story involving other characters, including new characters, was more of the tale this time.

I did love that we learned so much more about the different characters, Ronan in particular. They didn't just stay secondary characters to Gansey and Blue and her family They became fuller characters in this novel, with information about not only their past but more about their present and what it s that makes them special.

One new character, who was a pretty big part of the story, fit in a bit oddly with the other characters. I think I was expecting something more on the part of the other characters who he told who he was, or at least what he did.

Though it's easy to point out several big events that happened, I think I was expecting more progress in the Cabeswater search. Possibly, with so much transpiring in the first novel, it felt more stagnant here. Despite that, it was obvious that everything that did occur, needed to and will also make the rest of the series better.

The Dream Thieves was more of a character book than an action book and while I was expecting more action or, possibly, more results, I really enjoyed this story. It set things up very well for the rest of The Raven Cycle.

Rating: 8/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my egalley for review

Monday, September 16, 2013

You Look Different in Real Life ~ Jennifer Castle review

You Look Different in Real Life
June 4, 2013
355 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.

The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.

Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.

But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.
After loving The Beginning of After so much, I didn't read the synopsis for You Look Different in Real Life -- even after reading Playing Keira. Sometimes it's nice reading a book without knowing what it's about or what's coming as you read it. After having read Playing Keira, the original, digital short story in the same world as You Look Different in Real Life not reading the synopsis did lead to some confusion, though.

Keira, who is the main character in the short story is a secondary character in the novel. The short story really pulls you in to Keira's story and leaves things with her at a point where things could really go so many ways. You really want to know what happens.

Then, You Look Different in Real Life starts the story at a very different (earlier) point.

When things to reach what happened in Playing Keira, it's actually very nice having that alternate perspective, that extra information on what happened.

I'm happy that part of the tale was not all of the story or even where it started, though. You Look Different in Real Life is a great contemporary, realistic fiction novel. The 'Five At' films are a really unique way to have brought the characters together -- and an interesting stressor for them to be dealing with, both individually and as a group. It allows the dynamic of how they've changed over the past five years -- from eleven to sixteen, when a lot can happen -- to be looked at differently and, perhaps, more than most anything else would.

We find things out about the characters that we wouldn't if there hadn't been cameras there before, or if there weren't again. And they find things out about themselves, as well.

The five characters who are being drawn back together are a pretty perfect assortment. They all have something that makes them different; different from the standard character you'd expect, different from who the other characters think they are, different even from who they think they are. How Jennifer Castle has imagined and written them is fabulous. I love that they all have things that make them real.

They're not perfect, yet they're also, somehow perfect in their imperfections.

The Beginning of After, Jennifer Castle's debut novel was great, Playing Keira was fantastic and now You Look Different in Real Life is superb -- I love them all.

Rating: 9/10

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Thanks to I.O. Book Tours, I have a Cover Reveal & Giveaway for you today:

Welcome to the Cover Reveal and Release announcement of Give Me Reason by Zoey Derrick.  Don't miss the Awesome Kindle Fire and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!
Vivienne Callahan has known only hardship. As if growing up with an alcoholic, drug addicted mother wasn’t traumatic enough, she’s escaped from her physically and verbally abusive boyfriend only to struggle every day to make ends meet as a waitress in a Minneapolis diner. Along comes Mikah Blake, a handsome stranger who quickly takes an unexpected and persistent interest in her. On the surface, “Mr. Suit” seems to be Vivienne’s opposite: rich, well-fed, successful. As Vivienne will learn, Mikah is more than he seems, and for reasons unknown, he’s determined to be her knight in shining armor. But after having finally found her own two feet after years of abuse, it’s difficult for her to accept Mikah’s help. Will her body’s unexpected response to Mikah’s touch be reason enough to overcome her pride and traumatic past and learn to love and trust? Or will her past, refusing to be left behind, come back to claim her?
Book Trailer:

Buy Now: Amazon / B&N EXCERPT:
He’s looking down at me, making me feel small at five feet two inches. He has to be at least six feet tall. Broad shoulders. His suit today is gunmetal grey with blue or black pin striping—I can’t tell which. His shirt is a beautiful lavender color with a darker purple tie. "How do you know I'm not an addict?" I ask, softly. He smiles at me, warm, genuine. "Because, you've come to return the money I left you last night as a tip." My jaw falls open. "How"—I swallow hard—"did you know?" His smile fades a little. "Because, why else would you come down here?" I close my mouth and look down at the floor. His ability to read me is really scary. "Since you haven't eaten since last night, I'm going to take you to lunch." I feel my face flush bright red, both in anger and complete irritation. "That is not why I'm here. I've survived for my entire life fending for myself, I don't need some rich hot shot business mogul buying me food." I reach into the pocket of my bag and pull the folded up paper from it. I thrust it towards him. He refuses to take it. Tears of frustration trickle down my cheeks. "Damn it Mikah, take it." I push it at him again and again he refuses. "I'm not a damn charity case. I don't need your money or your food." The bell chimes. We’ve finally reached the skyway. As soon as the doors open, I drop the folded up paper with his money in it and bolt from the elevator, turning left, hoping and praying I can get away. "Vivienne, stop." I hear him say behind me. I keep going, walking quickly but not running. Yet. I'm trying hard to not make a scene. But he doesn’t seem to care about that. He catches me quickly, spins me around. I grab hold of his arm to catch my balance so I don't go sprawling onto the floor.

It is from Glendale, Arizona that Zoey Derrick, a mortgage underwriter by day and romance and erotica novelist by night, writes stories as hot as the desert sun itself. It is this passion that drips off of her work, bringing excitement to anyone who enjoys a good and sensual love story.


Not only does she aim to take her readers on an erotic dance that lasts the night, it allows her to empty her mind of stories we all wish were true.
Her stories are hopeful yet true to life, skillfully avoiding melodrama and the unrealistic, bringing her gripping Erotica only closer to the heart of those that dare dipping into it. 

The intimacy of her fantasies that she shares with her readers is thrilling and encouraging, climactic yet full of suspense. She is a loving mistress, up for anything, of which any reader is doomed to return to again and again.


CAMERON ENDERS seems to have it all: a brand new condo in a city she loves, a top executive position at an international entertainment firm, an insane amount of money, and a gorgeous boyfriend. But when Cami catches the boyfriend in the act with another woman, it triggers all the anguish from years of neglect by her parents, and she realizes she never learned how to love or be loved. Cami flees to the remote tropical island of Tarah, but she can't avoid facing her problems any longer when she meets the man of her fantasies...

TRISTAN MICHAELS, one of Hollywood's hottest new stars, has come to Tarah to ride out a storm. His girlfriend of five years has been caught on camera cheating, and she's determined to make Tristan stop the story from breaking. But Tristan's done cleaning up her messes. He needs to escape all things Hollywood for a while--and especially the firm that represents him--until the whole thing blows over. What he doesn't count on is meeting an irresistibly beautiful woman, a woman who just so happens to be the CEO of the firm he's trying to avoid.

Can Tristan and Cami help each other learn to trust and love again, or will their histories of betrayal tear them apart?

Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi 

Amazon Gift Cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Earthbound ~ Aprilynne Pike (arc) review

Earthbound (Earthbound #1)
July 30, 2013
388 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

(Review may contain some spoilers)

Tavia Michaels is working to rebuild her life after the plane crash that killed her parents, that killed hundreds. The plane crash that she was the sole survivor of.

She's now living across the country with every aspect of her old life behind her when she starts to, literally, see a boy. He's no one she knows, but she feels inexplicably drawn to him. On a near desperate quest for answers about the boy and other strange things that start to happen, Tavia starts to question everything -- including her aunt and  uncle, the plane crash that brought her to them and whether she was the intended victim.

On the run now, from just who she's still not sure, Tavia heads to the town in Maine where the mysterious boy told her to go.

As Tavia uncovers more and puts herself more in danger, she continues to feel impossibly torn between the boy she can't explain and the one who's always there for her, even still, her best friend and crush, Benson.

Earthbound was a strange read for me. It started out really slow and took a while for me to get into it. I kept waiting for more . . . more drama, more danger, more romance, just more.

The story surrounding Tavia was interesting enough to keep me reading.  Things moved into the 'paranormal' realm rather quickly, or perhaps it was just how well the characters took the developments. For characters living an ordinary, mundane human existence these magical, not-ordinary things should be more than, "Oh, hunh, that's interesting. We can deal." Yet, that seemed to be the reaction. I don't need breakdowns or major freakouts but something would have been better than the blase, almost non-reactions.

Which goes along with my other issue with the novel. I was sure that a character was going to turn out how they did from all but the beginning of the novel due to their reactions. Hints in Earthbound are not subtle. From characters reactions to plot developments, 'little hints' are actually rather big and heavy handed, you can guess a lot of things early on.

Yet, I only partially understood the whole mythos (and quarreling) between the different factions. Some of the 'what' maybe but not much of the 'why.'

The love triangle isn't really a triangle as one character is present and we're 'shown' that character and the other we only get 'told' of Tavia's feelings about them. It wasn't very equal.

Quinn, the boy she begins to see, though, did remind me the tiniest bit of Caspian from Jessica Verday's <a href="">The Hollow</a>.

Despite all of the issues I seem to have with this book (it does seem like a lot when I write it out, no?), it is very readable. Once you get into the story, it's one that will keep you turning the pages.

Rating: 5/10

arc received from publisher through LibraryThing's ER program 

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Man Made Boy
by Jon Skovron

Love can be a real monster.

Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.

Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.

This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster—and a man.
The son of Frankenstein's monster and the Bride -- who, along with his family, "live[s] in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square" -- goes on a road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde?

Sign me up to read this one ASAP.

Man Made Boy will be out October 3 and published by Viking Penguin - add it to your Goodreads shelf or pre-order from Amazon

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
 • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser:

"But I'm not ready for Christmas. I'm ready for jean shorts and sweet tea and long, sticky nights with cicadas singing in the grass."
- from Six Months Later earc by Natalie Richards
(out October 1 from Sourcebooks Fire)

Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can't she remember?

My review -- as part of the tour -- is coming at the end of the month.

You can pre-order Six Months Later on Amazon and add it to your Goodreads shelf


Monday, September 9, 2013

The Sound & The Furry ~ Spencer Quinn (earc) review

The Sound and the Furry (A Chet and Bernie Mystery #6)
Atria Books
September 10, 2013
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

my reviews of the series: Dog On It #1, Thereby Hangs a Tail #2, To Fetch a Thief #3, The Dog Who Knew Too Much #4, A Fistful of Collars #5

In the sixth installment of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, the private investigator duo head to Louisiana on a missing person's case. One that came their way when they ran into an old -- criminal -- acquaintance of theirs while he was on a roadside work crew and he asked for their help.

Now Bernie Little, of the Little Detective Agency, and his partner the canine Chet are in for a more complicated -- and possibly dangerous -- case full of twists than they could have imagined.

As they investigate the disappearance of Frenchie Boutette's brother Ralph (the only law abiding member of the family (Frenchie they sent to prison), family rivalries, the bayou and Big Oil will all come into play. It becomes clear, rather quickly, that its not a simple missing person's case.

And at times, Chet just may get ahead of Bernie . . . though, that's impossible because, as Chet will always tell you, Bernie's the smartest guy in the room. Or boat.

The Sound and the Furry may be the sixth book in this mystery series, but its just as much fun as the first. Quinn maintains the elements from the previous books that make for such an enjoyable read -- the humor, the good mystery, the characters -- while keeping the plot fresh and unique.

Chet continues to be a fantastic storyteller. Yes, he's a dog but that he is a dog, not a person is really used to its fullest extent in these books. It's not cutesy or pat. Chet is able to pick up on things through smell that only a dog would, things that add to the case -- and the story. He also sometimes doesn't really listen to what Bernie is saying, gets distracted by things or just forgets what happens or was said. This allows the readers to be left out of certain elements of the plot in a way that makes its own, strange, bit of sense.

Yet, readers also gain insight thanks to Chet that the human characters (Bernie included) do not. In addition to what he smells, he also sees -- and sometimes hears -- things on his own. While he may not always understand their significance, having that extra information adds a lot to the unfolding of the mystery. It can even give insight into the characters and their feelings, apart from the 'mystery' of the book.

The mystery in this book was not quite as strong or fun as in the previous ones, at least not the last, A Fistful of Collars. How the characters worked within the mystery was really good but then didn't quite all come together as well as I had hoped for at the end. The 'what' seemed pretty clear, pretty early on except for one part that I seem to still be missing.

It was, however, enjoyable to see Chet and Bernie in a new locale with new things to deal with, new things to encounter. This is easily a go-to series for me, one where I cannot wait for the next installment -- to see what Chet gets up to next. I love reading his interpretations of things! Spencer Quinn does a great job.

Rating: 8/10

 The Series:


thank you to Atria for the egalley through Edelweiss for review

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Eternity Cure ~ Julie Kagawa (earc) review

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)
Harlequin Teen
April 30, 2013
434 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

** contains spoilers for Blood of Eden #1: The Immortal Rules - find my review here **

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.
Allie's helped Zeke and the rest of the surviving humans reach safety in Eden; not welcome there because she's a vampire, she's gone her own way, though. Racked now with nightmare visions of Kanin in pain, tortured and experiencing overwhelming hunger Allie plans to rescue him.

She only hopes she can get there in time.

The Eternity Cure had a lot to live up to after The Immortal Rules which blew almost all other contemporary vampire novels out of the water. By keeping aspects that made the first book so great -- including Allie's being a real, dangerous vampire who still has a 'human' side, some fantastic action scenes, the complex relationships -- and developing other things, The Eternity Cure was just as good.

We learned more in this second book about characters and backstory presented in the previous novel. It not only added to the characters' stories, but made the world feel fuller and more developed.  The characters themselves also seem to have grown from the events of The Immortal Rules, seeing who they are now and how they interact differently was great.

The narration in The Eternity Cure is still first person, with Allie being the narrator, but at times it seems to be impersonal - and not as a trait of her character, but due to the writing. There were passages, particularly without dialogue, where I would get into the story and then there would be an 'I' and it would throw me for a second realizing that it wasn't a third person narration. The sections with dialogue that involved Allie's reaction to others statements seemed the most first person, but in other places, it was really only the 'I's that would remind me. And they seemed out of place at times.

While it didn't always 'click,' first person does seem the only way for this series to be told. I'd hate not having Allie's thoughts and the inner turmoil she feels at times -- that a third person narration couldn't present as well.

It was interesting to see a different side of New Covington this time around -- with a different cast, of sorts. What everything leads up to is certainly something. Whether it's something good or bad, for those in the novel, will have to be seen . . . and I can't wait!

Rating: 9/10

thank you to HarlequinTeen & NetGalley for the egalley for review

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown ~ Holly Black (earc) review

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 3, 2013
432 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon
8 Chapter Free Preview

Tana has grown up knowing up about vampires. They're dangerous monsters but, at least presently, to those in her town, they're otherworldly beings that live in Coldtwons and exist in on reality TV.

Coldtowns are walled-in, secluded cities where vampires and humans both live -- still predator and prey. Only, once you're inside, it's incredibly hard to leave. Nigh impossible.

Vampires haven't impacted Tana's town in years, until one night changes things in a big way.

Waking up after a night's party, no different than any other, Tana finds all of her friends dead. All except for her ex-boyfriend and a boy she doesn't know. With the danger of her ex being infected and thirsty for blood and a vampire who's keeping a secret, Tana knows she only has one option: to take them all to the dangerous, extravagant Coldtown.

Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a great new addition to the collection of vampire tales -- both YA and not. Black created an original, new twist in a genre that seems, at times, to not have all that many left. How vampires are created is different here and not only makes sense but works incredibly well within the plot. That people are 'infected' if they are bitten instead of the typical vampire 'turning' allows things to take longer but also allows readers to have some insight into the characters and their thoughts during that period.

The jumps in time were a little strange in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, sometimes seeming sudden. Yet, each of them told of something that added to the story, in the place it was inserted. They helped to understand the characters and their states of mind more clearly. It also helped paint the picture of how the world came to be how it was, without a lot of exposition.

The Coldtowns are pretty fantastic. They're different from anything I've read about before--  opulent, hedonistic while at the same time almost dystopian -- yet they seem so logical. They make a perfect setting.

I love that the vampires in Coldest Girl are the big, bad monster, but also not thoughtless, evil beings. They're complex and complicated (but not broody).  In a lot of ways this novel reminds me of older paranormals and vampire books -- possibly Annette Curtis Klause and Robin McKinley -- more than it does present day ones. (In the best way possible.)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is dark, with interesting and complex characters and a very well developed plot, backstory. I really, really loved this one. (Read the first 8 chapters in teh ebook preview and see if you're not hooked!)

Rating: 10/10

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Boy on the Porch ~ Sharon Creech (earc) review

The Boy on the Porch
September 3, 2013
160 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

From Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech comes a singular story that reminds us of the surprising connections that bloom when unconditional love and generosity prevail. For when a young couple finds a boy asleep on their porch, their lives take an unexpectedly joyous turn.

When John and Marta found the boy on the porch, they were curious, naturally, as to why he was there-and they didn't expect him to stay, not at first, but he did stay, day after day, until it seemed as if he belonged, running and smiling and laughing his silent laugh, tapping and patting on every surface as he made his music, and painting-with water, with paint, with mud-those swirly swirls and swings and trees.

One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of person would leave their child with strangers? All they know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. And as their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, and John and Marta and the boy begin to see the world in brand-new ways. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech delivers a poignant story of finding family when you least expect it.
Fifth grade me was in love with Sharon Creech's Chasing Redbird and Walk Two Moons and then oddly/stupidly didn't read any of her other books. The Boy on the Porch not only shows how right I was to love those books, but gave older me a book to love as well.

While The Boy on the Porch is a middle grade novel, it is one that can very, very much appeal to readers of not just just that age, but just about any other, as well.

The boy and his appearance are the focus. Yet, through that, we really see so much more of the other characters and who they -- John and Marta and, even, the animals. The boy is a catalyst as much as, if not more than, he is an actual character.

The setting of The Boy on the Porch is fantastic, one that I love for certain stories. It's one of those stories that doesn't take place in any particular time or place, it's not necessarily now, but not necessarily not.  The 'where' helps the 'when' to work in this instance, too.

As the ending was approaching, I worried at how little was left and how much I hoped was yet to happen. Yet, when everything concluded, I was pleased with how it wrapped up. The ending kept the focus on what the boy brought to John and Marta's lives. Who they became after his appearance.

It's short and oh so sweet. Subtly told; a tale that hits you before you realize it.

Sharon Creech's The Boy on the Porch is a really beautiful tale of family -- unconventional, unexpected -- found where you least expect it for anyone from middle grade to adult readers. Whether you're a fan of Creech and whether or not you read children's books, do read this.

Rating:  9/10

thank you to Harper for my review copy via Edelweiss
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