Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every Other Day

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Date: December 27 2011
Pages: 352
Genre: YA- Paranormal Fantasy

In a world where paranormal creatures are viewed in the same light as exotic pets it's easy to forget how quickly their true natures can turn humans into prey. For twenty-four hours Kali is human- fragile, weak, vulnerable and hunted. But in the next twenty-four hours Kali will become something else entirely- something inhumanly strong, bloodthirsty and insatiable. Every other day Kali is defenseless against creatures that should only exist in nightmares, but for the next twenty-four hours- she's going to kill them.

With nearly every other book in the YA section being of the paranormal persuasion, it's getting a little difficult to continuously revamp the same old subject matter (vampires and werewolves and angels oh my) into something that's still new and appealing. You don't want to stray too far from the norm for fear of loosing those mainstream followers but you won't gain much street cred if you're an unoriginal sellout (you know who are.) So what's a storyteller to do when you're left walking such a fine line- you cross that sucker and drive backwards in the other lane.

Barnes took a big gamble with Every Other Day- she threw in a bit of everything you've read in recent YA, put in a blender and set it on high. Ruthless in her plot twists and torrents, Barnes doesn't allow her readers a lot of time to focus on just what type of story they're reading. She throws demons, psychics, vampires, mythical creatures, possessions and zombies (you know you love zombies) at you so fast there's nothing to do but roll with it and brace yourself for whatever comes next. Totally unpredictable with a pace set at warp speed, the story never settles before she picks it back up and off she goes again. Reserve a couple of uninterrupted hours for this quick read because you can't stop once you get started.

For me, the supporting characters, whose identities and purposes once revealed, totally sold the story. The main character, Kali and I didn't mesh as much as I would have liked simply because I couldn't take her as seriously as she took herself. I'm all for a bit of brooding when it can be readily agreed upon that YOUR life sucks but I tend to start tuning out an inner monologue that only focuses on the "poor me." Kali's got a lot to carry, bless her, but she's also a lot stronger than even she knows. I'm looking forward to the next book where hopefully Kali will embrace her inner badass. A great cast of characters, nonstop action, and a love interest with a very, very unexpected twist- yeah, you have to read it.

Does it warrant a sequel? Absolutely. Barnes set the story up nicely for a second book and I feel there is enough solid material and a strong enough world to carry another book.

Review copy from Amazon Vine

Happy Hogswatch!

"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"
Everything in the human world has at one point or another, run on pure belief. Once we questioned if the sun would come up again tomorrow as it did today so we decided to believe that it would. We believed in it and into existence popped the spirit of the rising sun, one of many small gods that wait just on the edge of realization for enough belief to give them a purpose.

Many, many years go by and we learn, and we change and we no longer believe that it's our prayers that give us daylight and one small sun god is suddenly without a purpose. So we start to believe in something else. We decide to believe that once a year, a jolly man in a red suit comes down the chimney and gives children toys, and our belief gives that small god a new job. The Hogfather, in his red sleigh, drawn by a team of hogs, visits each house on the Discworld, bringing presents, spreading Hogswatch cheer and bellowing many a "Ho Ho Ho." But one Hogwatch's Eve, there's another change, and people no longer believe there's a Hogfather. The belief isn't replaced, it's just lost and tomorrow, with no Hogfather, no small god, the sun may not rise.

In his great hall of time, Death monitors the hourglasses of each and every life on the Disc. Every living thing has a life that can be measured in grains of sand, even that of immortals. When it becomes apparent that the life of the Hogfather is all but out, Death, false beard on his bare skull, and sack in hand, sets out to visit each and every house in the Discworld in an attempt to drum up enough belief to keep the Hogfather alive. He will break many rules, touch many lives (in a good way) and maybe, just maybe ensure that the sun rises.

It's absolutely no secret that my favorite author is Terry Pratchett. He writes what on the surface appears to be fantasy fiction but carefully interwoven into each story is a very important life lesson, a different way to look at the world and the permission that most of us seek that says it is OK to question what we've always been TOLD we believe. Pratchett always wants you thinking. He wants you to remember to feel everything. But above all, he wants you to be fascinated by the things that make us human because we really are, however you believe, quite miraculous.
“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."


"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"


"So we can believe the big ones?"


"They're not the same at all!"


"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"


It is Death of course, that speaks in ALL CAPS. It's fitting as his word would be, well, final.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four

Author: Pittacus Lore (James Frey and Jobie Hughes)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date: August 3rd 2010
Pages: 440
Genre: YA- Paranormal Fantasy, Science Fiction
Source: I purchased with my own hard earned money.

I was scanning through the movies on Vudu the other night and I ran across a preview for I Am Number Four. There wasn’t a trailer available on Vudu (which is a horrid fail, btw) so I googled it, watched it and yeah, it looked pretty good. I was going to rent the movie but it turns out you can’t. You can only buy it and even if it was good, it wouldn’t be the kind of movie I’d spend twenty bucks on. You can already sense the negativity, can’t you?

So I bought the book.

In hindsight it wasn’t worth those ten bucks either.

Daniel John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith, is hot footing it out of town. About ever six months or so, he and his pseudo-father “Henri” load up the truck and move to a new town and change identities. It’s necessary, seriously necessary in fact because there’s an entire race of killer aliens after them. John is one of nine Super High-speed 4G Bluetooth hero children that escaped from the planet of Lorien in the midst of an attack by said killer aliens. As the last of his race, it’s crucial to his people’s survival that he and his kind stay hidden on earth until it’s safe to return to their home planet. The Mogadorians (killer aliens), having raped Loric for all its resources, have set their sights on the planet Earth and must destroy the nine super kids in order to carry out their evil, villainous plans. *Cue music*

The nine can only be killed in sequential order. Meaning, you can’t kill three before killing one or it JUST WILL NOT WORK. See instructions below:

(Sorry. This is just how my brain works.)

Three are dead. John is number four. Get it?

OK, now to get to the root of my pissiness. I liked this story. It was incredibly entertaining in a Saturday morning cartoon sort of way. The plot was great. The action was intense. All the super hero badassedness was badass. All that. I read it in two sittings because I really did care about what happened and I was into it. I was into it despite the fact that the writing was unforgivably atrocious and seemed, for lack of a better way to put it, to be written by a child…in crayon.

It read about like this:

I woke up. I walked to the refrigerator. I opened the refrigerator door. I took a moment to brood about how much it sucked that I might get killed by aliens. I really want to just be human and eat fruit loops. I can’t be human because I’m so badass. MAN AM I BADASS! I’m still going to eat fruit loops.

That was the reenactment. Here's an actual quote:
"I go to the bathroom, enter an empty stall, and latch the door behind me. I open my hands. A slight glow in the right one. I close my eyes and sigh, focus on breathing slowly. A minute later the glow is still there. I shake my head. I didn't think the Legacy would be that sensitive. I stay in the stall."

It brought to mind a traffic jam, with cars lined up for miles and miles behind each other, moving at the speed of one bumper length every fifteen minutes. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Short, clipped little sentences written for the ADD afflicted in mind.

Still, all in all, it’s a great story, and I hope it made a better movie. If “Pittacus Lore” would like to send my back my ten bucks, I’ll throw in the other ten and watch it.

Waiting on Wednesday (25) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi

Publisher: HarperCollins
Date: January 3rd 2011

From Goodreads:

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

Oooooh a little sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian novel with a dash of lurve? Alrighty, sign me up. Don't you just love that cover?

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Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Personal Demons

Author:Lisa Desrochers
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date: September 14, 2010
Pages: 365
Genre: YA- Paranormal
Source: ALA

This one was a little tough for me. I was completely into this story up until the point where I wasn't. Right out of the box, it's fast, suspenseful and oh so sexy. Then it's kind of like, if you divide the book exactly in half, the first half was totally captivating and the last half was, eh, well- it just wasn't.

Riddled with YA cliche, (In insta-love with the new boy who is now her class partner, new boy is smoldering hot, girl is clueless as to why all the guys want her, enter the love triangle, yada yada) this story could have very easily been a disaster. Surprisingly, the aforementioned elements worked in this scenario, again, up until the point where they didn't.

Frannie is a normal high school girl, with average everything- including an average soul. It seems that Heaven and Hell have been playing a rather nasty game of dodge ball, and each side is trying to claim the best players before the other team lands them. Frannie's soul has been firmly on the fence for years. Having lost a brother at a young age, she has some serious issues with the guys upstairs. Her strong Catholic upbringing has kept her on the straight and narrow but with her doubts and one really dark, painful secret she could just as easily tip towards the other side. Heaven and Hell each send their individual ambassadors to entice Frannie toward their side. And of course, Hell sends Luc- that smoldering, wicked looking new guy who just exudes dark hotness. Heaven counters by sending Gabe, a tall handsome blonde who threatens to make Frannie feel the one thing she has sworn off since her brother died- love. The battle over Frannie's soul begins and quickly turns dangerous, and neither side is playing fair.

Let me point out, that even with all the heaven and hell goings on, this is not some underhanded attempt by an author to sneak a little God into your reading. In fact, given the elements, it was delightfully surprising to find not one ounce of religion in this book. So don't run screaming.

My issues where never with the plot, because well, a demon and an angel fighting over your soul- that's just hot. Where Desrochers drops the ball is in her attempt to balance the players in her love triangle. Gabe seems to have been randomly thrown in without ceremony and almost written as an after thought. He has very little dialogue or presence and Frannie's feelings for him just have to be assumed because Frannie said so. Her constant struggle against her feelings for Luc was where the real action was. The front cover asks the question:
"If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be? Are you sure about that?
which would lead you to believe that you're in for some serious friction. Nope. Frannie never even made it a choice- Luc does, because he's awesome like that. So I got a bit turned off in the second half of the book when the only chemistry was between Frannie and Luc but Gabe was still considered to be a contender and we're suppose to believe that Frannie still doesn't know which one to choose. Why didn't Gabe get any chapters from his point of view? That would have made me feel a bit more connected to him.

Frannie annoyed the hell out of me. If she said "Whatever" one more time, we were going to have words. I can think of a lot of people more deserving of a hot demon lurver (pick me! pick me). But don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike this book, the actual story was amazing and I was hooked on the heat from page one, she just lost me in the second half when everyone was so decidedly vague- which should be near impossible to pull off.

Will I read the sequel? Yeah. I will.


Monday Mini (9): White Cat by Holly Black

It's Monday morning, the alarm clock just went off and everything is rush rush rush to get ready for the work week. Unfortunately there's limited time for book talk, and even less for blogging, but we still MUST share some book thoughts before we dive into the day. A Monday Mini is a quick little review typed with one hand, while coffee is made, makeup is applied and car keys are found with the other. Have a great Monday morning!

White Cat

Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Date: May 4th 2010
Pages: 310
Genre: YA- Paranormal
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads:

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a while now but for some reason I had yet to pick it up. Maybe it's the seriously creepy cover. Those gloves alone are enough to send me running. It wasn't until recently that I've gotten in to darker YA so I guess it was just time to read this one. I'm so glad I did because it's positively fabulous!

This is my first Holly Black book and I had no idea how awesome she is. White Cat was fierce. Even with its dark, nasty magic performed by wicked evil doers I was immediately rooting for the bad guys. Curse workers have formed a sort of magical mafia where they're still busting knee caps in an old school way only in Black's world they do it with their minds. I loved Cassel from page one. Believing that he lacks the powers that the rest of his family has, he still engages in the same manipulation and subterfuge that his twisted kinsmen do but with his wits alone. Oh and then, THEN there's the part where he turns out to be the biggest badass.

I'm liking YA books from male points of view. They're rare enough to make them a real treat whenever they're stumbled upon. The sequel, Red Glove, was released this past April and I need to get my grubby little hands on it.

(Damnit, Janet.) Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

Explosive Eighteen

Author: Janet Evanovich
Publisher: Bantam
Date: November 22nd 2011
Pages: 320
Genre: Fiction- Mystery
Source: Purchased and I want my effing money back

**This rant (this is in no way a review) contains spoilers, pissiness and general hate and discontent.**

Stephanie, Janet, and I have been friends for eighteen books now so I've earned the right to say whatever the hell I want to about this series. I have YEARS vested with the Plum company and well, frankly I'm pissed that its stock value has plummeted most drastically

Stephanie Plum, laid-off lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter has a habit of getting herself caught in the stickiest situations. She's been threatened, kidnapped, assaulted, and car bombed more times than she can count and usually in the most humiliating of ways. She's well, not very good at her job and relies heavily on luck to catch her skips and make the rent money. While her job has frequently placed her in a less than ideal position (usually the dangerous kind) it's her personal life that really scares the hell out of her. Stephanie is in love (or lust) with two men- two men that can be equally as difficult to deal with as the bad guys she plays at tracking down. Joe and Ranger have an unspoken pact to not acknowledge Stephanie's romantic attachment to the both of them, but they readily agree that it takes two of them to keep her safe. But when the time comes for Stephanie to finally decide if she's playing for Team Cupcake or Team Babe, Joe and Ranger may have both decided to give their bounty hunter the slip.

When I first heard that we were getting another Plum novel right on the heels of Smokin' Seventeen I was a little perplexed. We get one Plum book a year right? THAT IS THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS. So why is Janet throwing a curve ball and giving us Explosive Eighteen a few short months later? When we left Stephanie in June she was boarding a plan for Hawaii and she knew exactly who she was going to take with her. Did she take Joe? Did she take Ranger? So maybe we're getting Eighteen so soon afterwards because SOMETHING HAPPENED IN HAWAII!

Wrong. I don't know what their reason was for pushing Eighteen so soon after the last one but it wasn't to showcase what happened in Hawaii. It wasn't so that Stephanie could finally choose between Joe or Ranger. It wasn't so that after 17 books of her screwing both of them she could finally commit to only screwing one of them. It wasn't to finally show Stephanie as adept at her job. It was published so soon so that:

  1. Something could get blown up.
  2. Someone could break into Stephanie's apartment
  3. Stephanie could take Grandma Mazur to a viewing at the funeral home.
  4. Stephanie's parents could hang their heads in shame and embarrassment at the dinner table and Stephanie could brown bag leftovers.
  5. Stephanie and Lula could eat at Cluck-in-a-Bucket.
  6. Stephanie and Lula could make several unsuccessful attempts to capture a skip and be thwarted over and over again in the most humiliating ways.
  7. Stephanie could toss Rex a few hamster crunchies and have him scurry out, shove them in his cheeks and go back into his soup can.
  8. Stephanie can shamelessly sleep with both Joe AND Ranger all the while saying that she's not going to sleep with either of them.

You know, the same thing that happened in Seventeen....and Sixteen...and Fifteen....and Fourteen...shall I keep going or do you get the picture? Here's what happened in Eighteen: NOTHING. NOTHING NEW HAPPENED. No decisions were made, no changes in plot line or formatting, it was just copy/paste the last seventeen books and changing the type of excrement that Stephanie gets covered in. She doesn't "pick" anyone and the ending was left just as ambiguous as it has been for 17 books. I could possibly, if I wanted to, draw some inkling that a point was scored for Team "_____" but it would be mostly wishful thinking.

Where Sizzlin' Seventeen was hysterically funny to the point of convulsions, Eighteen was dry, dry. I actually marked the three (only three) pages that made me laugh, and only one of those was loud enough to draw attention- of course that one came from Grandma Mazur.
     "It got better after you left," she said. "Melvin Shupe came through the line and cut the cheese right when he got up to the casket. He said he was sorry, but the widow made a big fuss over it. And then the funeral director came with air freshener, and when he sprayed it around, Louisa Belman got a asthma attack and they had to cart her out the back door to get some air. Earl Krizinski was sitting behind me, and he said he saw Louisa's underpants when they picked her up, and he said he got a stiffy."
     "Louisa Belman is ninety-three years old."
     "Well, I guess to Earl underpants are underpants."
So what the hell Janet? Seriously? If you want to continue to rake in the dough with your cash cow by reproducing the same book over and over again, I AM OK WITH THAT. I DO LOVE THE SERIES. But come on! Nothing? Nothing!? Sorry if that's a spoiler but truth is truth.

Janet Evanovich, author of eighteen Stephanie Plum novels who I still love with all my heart but currently want to throw things at:

Waiting on Wednesday (25) Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

by Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date: Janurary 3rd 2012

From Goodreads:

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life...and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last....

Sarah Ockler is the awesome that brought us Twenty Boy Summer and now she's gifting us with this! I love love love this cover and I predict greatness!

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Happy Book Birthday to The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff!!

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Date: November 15th 2011

From Goodreads:

Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanoff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.

Want, want, want, want.....going to get it this morning and will have, have, have, have. So excited you're finally here! I loved her writing in The Replacement and this book will undoubtedly contain equal amounts of awesome.

Interview & Giveaway with Anna Carey author of Eve!

Today we're chatting (and doodling) with Anna Carey, author of the new YA dystopian novel Eve. Anna was nice enough to answer a few questions about her novel, share a bit of gossip (pssst, it's about the sequel) and donate a priceless work of art.

     Some of the events in your book touch on some really scary subjects, particularly what happens to the girls after they graduate. Did you find some of the more extreme aspects of their society difficult to write?

Parts of the book are very sad, and I found myself tearing up while writing those moments. It was hard to write the scene where Eve leaves the dugout, or the times when she's thinking about her mother's death. I was really on edge while writing many of the scenes that happen while she's being chased on the road (and the one you mention--where she sees the graduates). In some ways, writing in first person made the whole experience more intense.

     I can see the influence of The Handmaid’s Tale in your story, but there’s also a little loooooove happening in the book as well. Is there a romance novel or a novel with a little romance in it that inspired you?

I haven't read many romance novels, but I'm a lover of love stories. Anna Karenina and Romeo and Juliet both captured me (they're actually part of the curriculum at Eve's School). Love in the Time of Cholera and The History of Love are two of my other favorites.

     Can you tell us a bit about the sequel? That information won't leave this blog. Promise.

The sequel is primarily set in the City of Sand--a restored city in the middle of the desert. Soon after Eve is brought there she meets the King and discovers her role in the New America. I better leave it at that--I've already said too much!

     I hear there's talk of a T.V. show based on Eve. I'm sure you were ecstatic when you heard the news. Now be honest. When no one was looking...you did a really ridiculously embarrassing happy dance, didn't you? By all means, feel free to recreate it in a stick figure drawing.

I did indeed! See stick figure reenactment below (I'm known for my very long arms).

     A large chunk of YA readers are not actually young adults. We fibbed a little bit, flashed a fake id and now we get to hang out in the teen section of the bookstore. What do you think makes YA books so appealing to ahem...those of us who are a bit more advanced in years than the age group these books are actually aimed at? I'm not referring to myself, mind you because I'm only 21. The same age I was last year.

There's something inherently compelling about "firsts". First love, the first time you get into a fight with a friend, the first time you experience rejection or recognize just how cruel people can be. The first time someone close to you dies. These things can feel like the end of the world. It can feel like you can't possibly survive beyond that moment. Though I no desire to return to high school, I sometimes miss the excitement and terror of it, and I wonder if other adults do too. The character's in YA fiction are in the throes of their 'firsts', oftentimes with life or death consequences. We all remember what that feels like--how can you forget?. Maybe some of us want to go back.

     Finally (because it really is the most important thing), what is your favorite Jane Austen novel?

I wish I was more out of the box on this one, but I have to go with Pride and Prejudice (Fitzwilliam Darcy, be still my heart).

You can follow Anna on Twitter, like Eve on Facebook or visit her blog!

Eve by Anna Carey

Eighteen-year-old Eve has grown up isolated from boys, and has been taught to fear them. It isn’t until the night before the graduation from her all-girls school that she discovers what really happens to new graduates. To avoid the terrifying fate that awaits her, Eve flees the only home she’s ever known, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rebellious young man living in the wild. Eve knows she shouldn’t trust him, but Caleb slowly wins her confidence and heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between life and love.

Contest Rules
  • Must be 13 years of age or older
  • Open to US only
  • Contest ends November 28th
  • One entry per person please
  • Fill out the form below

*Special thanks to Alloy Entertainment for providing the prize!

Retro Friday Review: Miss Suzy by Miriam Young

Miss Suzy

Author: Miriam Young
Publisher: Parent Magazine Press
Date: June 1964
Pages: 44
Genre: Children's, Picture Book
Source: Muh heart

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie @ Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I don't know why, but I've been thinking about this book a lot lately. Maybe it's because it's almost the end of the year or Christmas is around the corner and I'm getting nostalgic or maybe I've just gotten old. This was -MY- children's book when I was a wee one and I've never forgotten it.

It's the story of a little squirrel who lives a very simple, happy life in the top of an oak tree. She takes care of her house, all content and satisfied in her domestication and leads what is almost an ideal little life.

"I love my house, oh, yes-sir-ee,
My own little house in my own oak tree."

One day Miss Suzy is driven from her oak tree by a group of troublesome red squirrels. They smash her acorn cups and break her little twig broom and cause general hate and discontent. Miss Suzy runs away and seeks shelter in the attic of an old house, where she finds a beautiful dollhouse. This dollhouse is very dirty so what does our very domestic minded house-squirrel do? She cleans it!

"My, what a lovely house!" thought Miss Suzy. "It is fit for a queen. But it needs a good housekeeper, so it is just the place for me."

The next day, Miss Suzy is exploring her new domicile when she comes across a box of toy soldiers. Lonely in her big new house, Miss Suzy invites the soldiers to stay with her. Our little Donna Reed squirrel was all too happy to cook and clean for the soldiers and care for them like a good little mother squirrel. But though her new house was very beautiful and her new friends very good company, Miss Suzy missed her little house in her oak tree. So that night, the soldiers set out to reclaim Miss Suzy's tree.

Late that night the captain woke his men and gave them their orders. There were only five of them, but the were very brave, and their hearts were full of love.

The soldiers find the red squirrels still in residence at Miss Suzy's house, fighting and breaking things as troublesome red squirrels are wont to do. The soldiers wave their swords and vow vengeance for Miss Suzy and the squirrels go a runnin'. Miss Suzy is able to return to her little tree house, which is understandably a mess, and she cleans it! Of course she does! And she makes the soldiers promise to come to dinner once a week. All is blissful once again at the top of the oak tree. She makes a new twig broom and new acorn cups, all the while singing as she works.

At night Miss Suzy climbed into her bed and looked through the topmost branches at the sky. She saw a million stars. And the wind blew gently and rocked her to sleep. It was very peaceful.

Now I'm older and in a house of my own. On particularly bad days I say to myself "This will be over soon, and then I can go home to Tara." in an exaggerated southern accent (not difficult for this southerner at all) but most days, just the normal, tired ones, I go home to "my own little house in my own oak tree."

Dear Santa Claus: A Christmas Wishlist

Dear Santa,

I know it's only the 10th of November and this letter might seem a bit premature but I want so very many books that I knew you would need extra time to round them all up- especially since some of them don't really even exist yet. It is OK to send some of these early as I can imagine if you carried all of them at once they would be much too heavy. I ask for these books for a several reasons:

1. They are pretty and shiny and I like pretty, shiny things.
2. I'm very much addicted to stories and these sound like remarkable ones to add to my collection.
3. The zombie apocalypse IS COMING and I need to strengthen the walls of my book fort.

I can assure you that I have been a very good girl this year and can provide references if needed. I'm well aware that I made the same claim last year and I heard a rumor that you nearly choked on a cookie when you got the message and I'm sorry if this caused your airway any undue stress. I pinky-swear that I am not guilty of doing any of the things I did last year- not that I admit to being guilty of them last year either. If you could please bring me the books on the enclosed list (I'm attaching it as a zip file due to size) it would make me very happy indeed. I know I'm asking a lot but I'm also not asking for anything other than books for Christmas and I think that should count for something.

Most Sincerely,

P.S. Clicking on the titles will take you to Goodreads where you can add them to your wishlist too.

Away by Teri Hall
By Royal Decree by Kate Emerson
Destined by P.C. Cast (Wishing for this book probably qualifies me for the "bad" list but can't you overlook it just this once Santa?)
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (THIS WILL BE EPIC, SANTA. EPIC.)
Folly by Marthe Jocelyn
Endlessly by Kiersten White (Please bring a box of tissues with this one because I fear it is the last in the series.)
Frost by Marianna Baer
Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (Jane Austen wants me to have this book and you mustn't disappoint Jane.)
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (I want all of the books listed but if you can only bring me one, please make it this one.)
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (Just touching a Kagawa book infuses you with awesome, Santa.)
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (I love her so.)
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
The Shifter by Janice Hardy
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
Snuff by Terry Pratchett (I will probably go ahead and get this one, Santa but feel free to bring me an autographed copy to love.)
Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (You should just bring everyone a copy of this. Just FYI.)
At the King's Pleasure by Kate Emerson
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Not to be confused with anyone else with the last name Meyer.)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (I know I never sat down and reviewed Unearthly but it was an absolutely freakin' fabulous book.)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (These books could very easy bring world peace so feel free to pass them out to everyone.)
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (Because who doesn't like book titles that conjure up Billy Idol songs.)
Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick (And could you bring one to my friend Donna as well?)
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich (I like to think that you are Team Morelli too, Santa.)
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff (Another one that I'll probably get before hand but please go ahead and bring me one that is signed if you can.)
Little, Big by John Crowley
A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
The Selection by Kiera Cass (I know she and I got off to a rocky start with her first book but LOOK AT THAT COVER, SANTA! LOOK AT IT!)
Grave Mercy by R.L. LeFevers
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen
The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
Every Book Ever Written by Neil Gaiman (I'm fairly certain that you can't get into heaven without reading them. Oh but I don't need The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Stardust, Coraline or The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes. But I need EVERYTHING ELSE.)
The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith (I know they differ from the show but bring them to me anyway- if for no other reason than seeing Damon's name written over and over again.)

Waiting on Wednesday (24) Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

Explosive Eighteen
by Janet Evanovich

Publisher: Bantam
Date: November 22th 2011

From Goodreads:

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

Damnit, Janet. She's caused quite a bit of a stir, giving us two Plum books in one year. I just hope it doesn't mean that we'll be short one next year. Or maybe this book following so closely on the heels of #17 means that something VERY BIG AND IMPORTANT is going to happen.

I have one question for you Steph- who's the daddy?


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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

Author:Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: October 18th 2011
Pages: 404
Genre: YA- Fantasy
Source: Purchased

It's very easy to talk about a book you didn't like, or one you only had lukewarm feelings for. It's easy because there's no attachment to the story so you don't feel compelled to try and recapture and recreate any feelings you had for it. It's the opposite when the book is one you like and it's next to impossible when it's one you really, really love. I really, really loved this book so you'll forgive me if I ramble about with little direction here and know that my heart isn't in this little book thought because it's quite fixedly locked in the story.

The autumn waters usher in the capaill uisce to the island, the waves crashing relentlessly upon the shore, revealing these majestic water horses with each break. It marks the beginning of the week of festivities and challenges that will end with the much anticipated Scorpio Races. It is a long standing tradition and one that must be upheld. The races are as deadly as the horses that run in them. Only one person can win, but many will die trying. The capaill uisce openly despise their captors, these would be jockeys that seek fame and fortune on their backs, denying the freedom that returning to the water would bring. Men will die trying to catch a water horse, torn limb from limb or their bodies broken in the powerful jaws of these flesh eaters. Men will die racing them, the horses making no distinction among humans, all men are captors and all men can die. The races happen once a year and the winner, if he's lucky enough to survive the race will receive a handsome reward for his bravery. Since the beginning of the races it has been men who catch the horses, men who ride the horses and men who enter the races. Puck Connolly isn't a man and her horse is not one of the capaill uisce but she's determined to race. She's determined to win.
     Every so often, I can see the head of a capall uisce in the water, far out from shore, driven toward the sand by the November current. The ones we have caught struggle against us in bridles hung with bells and red ribbons, iron and holly leaves, daisies and prayers. The water horses are hungry and wicked, vicious and beautiful, hating us and loving us.
     It is time for the Scorpio Races.
     I am so, so alive.
First, let me openly admit that I have not, up until now, been a Stiefvater fan. I read Shiver with no desire to finish it, follow up on the series or dive into a Stiefvater book again. I felt completely detached from her writing and that was that. When I read the synopsis for The Scorpio Races, something clicked. Something in me knew that despite my dislike for the only Stiefvater novel I'd read, this book was mine. It is perhaps one of the most moving stories I've ever read, beautifully written, and so very much more than I ever could have anticipated. It is a harsh story, set in a harsh climate in a world that is all at once our own and yet not. I was cold while reading it, craving a warmth denied me by the story until the very end- where I cried like a freakin' baby. I cried great big giant crocodile tears, the kind where you gulp and hiccup afterwards. I wanted that ending but I didn't see it coming and when it did, after all the story puts you through, it's the greatest gift. BIG GIANT SLOBBERING SNOT FEST.

My beloved is a real find. He's grown accustom to my book induced crazies and doesn't even flinch when I lose it over a book. I throw books, I yell at books, I dance with books, I cry over books and still he takes me back to the bookstore for more. I was a happy-sad mess over this book and the good book hangover lasted for days. I know everyone always says, the day after a good hard drunk, that they will never ever do it again but I'll drink myself into a stupor with this book many, many times over. Even if Maggie and I never cross paths again, this one book means so much to me that I'll never be able to praise her enough.

Taking a cue from Angie once again (I'm kind of a groupie), I attempted to make November Cakes using Maggie's recipe. November Cakes were a kind of sticky bun enjoyed during festivities that proceeded the races. They were wonderful but be warned, they are very, very, very sweet.

November Cakes!

**Capaill uisce is apparently water horses in Gaelic, where as capall uisce is water horse. Stiefvater covers this in the book but I just found it neat to google because I'm a big dork like that.

Northlander by Meg Burden


Author:Meg Burden
Publisher: Brown Barn Books
Date: October 24th 2007
Series: Tales of the Borderlands #1
Pages: 280
Genre: YA- Fantasy
Source: Purchased

This little gem of a book was actually mentioned, and if I recall, only in passing, by Angie @ Angieville in a post about various goodies that she read last year. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm old and forgetful. Anyway, I found a copy and for some reason I stuck it away on the shelf and forgot about it. It wasn't until I was craving a bit of traditional fantasy fiction that I went looking for it again. I'm oh so glad that I did.

Ellin and her father find themselves in the precarious position of healers to the king of the Northlands. Normally, being in the employ of a king would be a position of some honor but not if you are from the Southlands. It is a crime for a Southlander to lay hands on the king, let alone use their much feared magic to heal him. When the deed is done and the king has recovered, Ellin and her father are arrested, for the king fears their magic more than he appreciates what they sacrificed to save him. With the help of the most unlikely accomplices, Ellin will have to learn to harness the magic that evokes such fear in Northlanders. Ellin is powerful, much more powerful than anyone imagines, powerful enough to be feared by her own people as well.

I fell instantly instantly in love with little Ellin. She's headstrong, stubborn and at times a bit reckless- just the traits I look for in a heroine. Rather than feel compassion for her plight, Ellin's strength did not allow for any pity. You want to cheer for her, not caution her. When the story began, Ellin had no idea about her powers, or that such a talent even existed. A nice, tidy set up for a good fantasy. I like to grow with my characters, especially the ones that encounter things that are in sharp contrast to reality. Rather than being thrown in the middle of a story where the fantastical was already underway, discovering the magic along with Ellin allowed for better understanding of her world and more importantly, how it viewed her powers.

This is a relatively short little novel, and a quick read but that doesn't mean that it hasn't been nicely detailed. Burden fully develops each and every character that comes on the page making the supporting cast just as alive as Ellin. I loved, loved, loved the king's sons. They were all so very unique and likeable. I caught of hint of Alaric maybe becoming troublesome in the future but I'm going to hold out hope that he pulls through. And though it might be a little premature- I'm Team Finn.

I have the sequel The King Commands sitting right here next to me, begging to be read. It has the most awful cover perhaps in existence but I'm already in love with the story so I'm not deterred.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines

Author:John Green
Publisher: Dutton
Date: September 9th 2006
Pages: 227
Genre: YA- Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Colin Singleton is struggling with his lack of genius. As a child prodigy rapidly approaching adulthood, he's in danger of outliving what has always made him special. So many child prodigies spark early and then fade away into normalcy never having accomplished anything remarkable enough to earn the title of genius. The only thing special he can lay claim to is having been dumped. Being dumped is something Colin is extremely proficient at, in fact, he just got dumped again. Colin has been dumped nineteen times by girls named Katherine.

"But monotony doesn't make for painlessness. In the first century CE, Roman authorities punished St. Appollonia by crushing her teeth one by one with pliers. Colin often thought about this in relationship to the monotony of dumping: we have thirty two teeth. After a while, having each tooth individually destroyed probably gets repetitive, even dull. But it never stops hurting."

True to John Green form, this story is dripping with wit, originality, nonsense and a lot of stone cold reality. It's beautiful enough to make you appreciate math. Yes, math. Using his nineteen failed relationships with Katherines, Colin has come up with a mathematical formula to determine the end of a relationship. He thinks that quite possibly, his formula could be a stroke of pure genius. More importantly, it's a great distraction from the fact that he's pretty much heartbroken. Colin, and the story are both instantly likeable. I loved every silly word of it.

“The problem exactly is that she dumped me. That I'm alone. Oh my God, I'm alone again. And not only that, but I'm a total failure in case you haven't noticed. I'm washed up. I'm former. Formerly the boyfriend of Katherine XIX. Formerly a prodigy. Formerly full of potential. Currently full of shit.”

That's pretty much becoming the norm with me and John Green. He writes something and I fall madly in love with it. Looking for Alaska, Will Grayson, Will Grayson- both were everything I could every want out of a story in entirely different ways. Where my last two Green reads were clearly tackling serious issues (and expertly done mind you) An Abundance of Katherines was a purely for fun read.

I feel confident claiming that this is one of those wonderful YA books that truly makes it impossible to not love YA. All the paranormal crap and silly vampire nonsense, it's just mindless entertainment that means absolutely nothing, but John Green's writing is a reminder of why I love YA stories, and stories in general. The way an author can manipulate language, twist words and recreate an already established world in such a new and exciting way, never ceases to amaze me. With YA you have the added element of possibility, of a completely open and limitless future that has even an old fart like me believing that the whole world is still out there waiting for me and it is going to be a great adventure. I'll read this book over and over again until it finally sinks in that I shouldn't try to grow up so fast.

Waiting on Wednesday (23) The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

The Gathering Storm
by Robin Bridges

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Date: Janurary 10th 2012

From Goodreads:

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.
The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

I heard about this little gem from Emily @ Lemuria Books when she happened to mention it on Twitter. Robin Bridges is, get this, a new YA author from the MS Gulf Coast, just down the street and around the corner from HOME and, AND, she is a NURSE. Yes. I'm so very excited about her upcoming series and can't wait for The Gathering Storm to be released!

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Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien


Author:Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Date: November 8th 2011
Series: Birthmarked #2
Pages: 368
Genre: YA- Dystopia
Source: Provided by publisher (ALA)

**Hi there. If you haven't read the first book in this series then this review will spoil it for you and you won't be able to have any pie. None for you!**

Gaia has fled the Enclave after discovering the horrible truth about the elite society she has been serving her whole life. With her parents gone and the entire Enclave searching for her, Gaia has no choice but to leave the city. She must escape for her own protection and for that of her newborn sister, a baby she delivered with her own hands as she watched their mother die. Guided by the belief that her grandmother is still alive somewhere beyond the reach of the Enclave, Gaia discovers an entire community of people. While a new city could mean a new life and safety for Gaia, she only trades one form of servitude for another. In Sylum, women have nearly ceased to give birth to females and their entire community is in danger of dying out. A female child is a rare and much sought after gift and Gaia's little sister is immediately taken away from her. Forced once again to serve as a midwife, Gaia struggles to obey her new captives in hopes that she can get her sister back.

So I really liked Birthmarked, the first book in this series. It was different, edgy and I liked Gaia because she wasn't the run of the mill, gifted beautiful leading lady that everyone fell instantly in love with. But where I found Birthmarked uniquely gritty and disturbing, I struggled with the sequel's predictability. I really, really felt as if I'd read this story before- only I can't remember where. So much of what was included seemed irrational, even for a dystopian story where anything can go. I seriously doubt that nearly 2000 men would let a handful of women completely control them, even if they do have bows and arrows and the proverbial "thing that all men want." I just couldn't wrap my mind around it. I mean, a community of mostly men and a blind pregnant woman is in charge? I mean it sounds ideal, I'll give you that, but not very realistic because even in a fictional future- men are still men.

Gaia is the new girl in town, she's unattached, possibly fertile and one of the few remaining females, so of course her milkshake is bringin' all the boys to the yard. I liked that O'Brien could see the silliness in her "love square" and even acknowledged it through Gaia. Still, there were some very sweet, romantic moments, though not with the initial love interest from the first book- he's still just a flaky as he was before (and now he apparently has like ten different personalities). I'm Team Peter all the way.

     "I have wanted to hold you my whole life," he said.
     She closed her eyes against his shoulder, breathing in the smell of sunlight in his shirt... "You've only known me since yesterday."
"That's my whole life."

I'm still on board for the next book. O'Brien puts a lot of detail into her world and it's an extremely interesting place to visit. Just please, please do something with Leon as he is so very unlikeable.

*Quote taken from an ARC of Prized and may differ in the finished copy.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

When Beauty Tamed the Beast

Author:Eloisa James
Publisher: Avon
Date: February 1st 2011
Series: Happily Ever Afters #2
Pages: 372
Genre: Historical Romance

Linnet Thrynne has just thoroughly botched up her debut first season. What started as a harmless flirtation with a prince has ended in her being the talk of the ton. Of course she knew that a prince could never marry the daughter of a lowly viscount but it was just a bit of kissing- a bit of kissing witnessed by the Duchess, mind you and now Linnet is ruined. Ruined, thanks to the kiss, the refusal of the prince and well, a ball gown that had far too many ruffles around the middle for people to believe that it was just a kiss. Now she's to be bundled off to Wales, rumored royal bun-in-the-oven and all, and given in marriage to a Duke's son. This would seem like a fortunate turn of events if it wasn't for the fact that the only reason the Duke desires the match is because his son is incapable of siring a child and he wants an heir with a tinge of royal blood. But there's no baby, and soon Linnet will have to break the news to her new fiancé, a man everyone refers to as The Beast.

I fell in love with Eloisa James when I read the first book in this series, A Kiss at Midnight. It was so witty and funny and wildly romantic that I ran out and picked up a few more of her books. Her writing is gorgeous and she writes the most adorable characters! She makes even the bad guys loveable.

This little story was so much more than I expected. With all the Beauty and the Beast overtones, I was expecting something much more predictable than I got. I adored Piers, The Beast, instantly. He's a remarkably gifted doctor with the very worst bedside manner and where one would expect that he'd fall face first under the spell of his new Beauty, it's quite the opposite in fact. He openly mocks her coquettish behavior and refuses to be another of her ballroom conquests and why shouldn't he? After all, he is completely unaffected by her, having suffered a debilitating injury that has left him, ahem, immune to her charms. Linnet is forced for the very first time to rely on something other than her beauty to get her out of her most unfortunate situation. I laughed and laughed at this story, until I started crying like a big burbling idiot towards the end where it takes a most unexpected turn.

I plan on reading each and everyone one of Miz Eloisa's books because I just love her characters and her excellently crafted little worlds. If you are a fan of happy romances, regency ones at that, you'll fall just in much in love with this book as I did.

I have a whole stack of her books right here and you can't have them. They're all mine. :)

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

When we last left our heroes...LOTS OF THINGS HAPPENED THAT WILL SPOIL THE FIRST THREE BOOKS IF YOU DON’T TURN AROUND AND STOP READING THIS NOW...Megan had become the queen of The Iron Fey and Ash, her prince, lurver and champion was unable to join her in the Iron Realm. Ash being a fairy and inherently allergic to iron sets out to find a Benadryl strong enough to combat the death rash and the anaphylactic shock caused by exposure to the metal that dominates his beloved’s queendom. If Ash wants to be with his Megan (and he really, really does) he must change the part of him that cannot survive the Iron realms. He must give up his immortality and find a soul. Ash must sacrifice his strength, his magic, his life and become mortal.

I have absolutely loved this series and thoroughly enjoyed it, even the parts of it I didn’t like- which would include this book. Now wait, wait, wait. I didn’t say I hated it. I didn’t say it was awful and I really don’t even have a bunch of reasons to support why I didn’t like it. I have just one- Ash. The story, setting and world were in typical Kagawa fashion- made out of win and covered in awesome. Her imagination astounds and I love living in her world, but Ash…dear Ash was a huge disappointment. He was so very indecisive, wavering, wishy-washy and other words for flake that I found myself drifting whenever he’d start his “questioning” again. I know that what he was doing was a major decision and I could almost understand his constant reflection, but Ash, my Ash- that headstrong, daring, valiant and devoted Unseelie Prince, would never hem and haw his adoring fan into disbelief. I wanted him to SHUT UP because I couldn’t stand the sound of his inner monologue one second more.

Looking back, I think one of the story’s greatest powers has always been Megan’s voice. Megan was Kagawa’s character and she really knew her. Ash, leading man that he is and all, was still merely a supporting character in Megan’s story. When it came down to him flying solo as the star of his own spin off show, it was almost as if Kagawa had no idea who he was. The story was there, and it was lovely, but Ash had absolutely no substance.

“Do not be deceived by the politeness of the fey. Fey are almost always polite. This does not mean they will not happily remove your head.”

Maybe I’m wrong. But what I’m not wrong about is the fact that even with my mild dislike of this last book, this series is absolutely phenomenal and I’m going to miss it with all of my heart. I'm quite fixedly a Kagawa fan and I eagerly await whatever she comes up with next. (Vampires? I haven't had a sensible and respectable relationship with a vampire in awhile. Oh and little Ethan? All growed up?)

Matched by Ally Condie


Author:Ally Condie
Publisher: Speak
Date: September 20th, 2011 (first published November 30th 2010)
Series: Matched #1
Pages: 400
Genre: YA- Dystopian

From Goodreads:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

So I read this, rather quickly, with interest and I liked it enough but it was lacking something. Something was missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. I couldn't tell you why Cassia's world was like it was, nor could I say that it didn't draw me in. Cassia was both a weakling and a warrior, defying the system as her belief in it started to dissolve yet never doing much of anything. I honestly liked both of the love interests but it was a typical love triangle with one of them being the bigger man about it and well, it was sweet but boring. I just don't know why I wasn't crazy about it. The writing was decent and the concept was enticing but the story didn't make me feel anything. Maybe that's the kicker right there. I read the story, but I couldn't get involved with it.

Some of the rules and regulations of Cassia's society are the stuff of nightmares. In this future, the government has decided that having too many cultural options breeds discontent. They take the same view on choices and education. For instance, they decided that 100 books, 100 poems, 100 paintings, 100 songs and so forth were all that was needed in their world and they BURNED the rest. Yes, they burned everything except the agreed upon 100. Can you even imagine? Members of this society are placed in the position that they will most likely be in for life. They are taught to do one thing, and one thing only, so that one person could never take it upon his or herself to do it all on their own. Scary stuff this and not all that far-fetched. I can see this version of the world happening and I liked reading scared.

I also couldn't get excited about the ending which ended just the way I thought it would and left me with little to hope for in a second book. The sequel, Crossed, is set to be published November 1st and while I'm not on the edge of my seat about it, I know a lot of people are and I hope it blows you all away.

On a final note, I LOVE LOVE these book covers they are 100% dead on in terms of the story and I hope it means Cassia will be breaking out and busting some ass in the second book. If this happens let me know and I'll read it.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Author:Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Date: September 27th, 2011
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Pages: 420
Genre: YA- Fantasy, Romance
Source: Provided by publisher (ALA)

From Goodreads:
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Karou had a most unusual upbringing. Unbeknownst to the human world in which she lives, she is the foster daughter of a fantastical family of creatures known as the Chimera. Since she was a little girl, she has spent a large portion of her life in the Chimera's workshop, a place that exists just between their world and our own. It is in this worship, with its jars and shelves filled with teeth from just about any animal imaginable (yes, even that one) that all of Karou's wishes come true. Literally. Frequently the Chimera call on their foster daughter to perform duties within the human world that are beyond their reach and they pay her in wishes. Mostly small, harmless little wishes, as big wishes cost more than most can humanly afford, but wishes none the less. And while a wish can take a girl far in the mundane world, they can't give Karou everything. They can't tell her who she is, or give her back her past.

This story and I have had a rather rocky romance. It was love at first sight and perfection for most of the first half of the book. Then it was as if the three month grace period was over and the book started to scratch its butt in public and do other things that had me believing that it wasn't as wonderful as I first thought it was. The transition from Karou's present to her past was the hardest thing for me to get through. There were some cliche YA elements at work that made me groan as I thought the approach was beneath Taylor's ability as a storyteller (it's a bit of a spoiler so I won't go into detail...email me and we can chat.) But it was love that brought me that far and it was love that got me through it and I'm so happy that I did because the story as a whole turned out to be absolutely remarkable. So much imagination! So much wonder! Oh to spend a day inside Miz Taylor's brain and see in a world what she see can. I was so firmly entangled in Karou and Madrigal's worlds that the story was over before I was ready to give it up.

The story goes in so many directions, and while I wasn't a fan of some of them, the overall effect was unreal. What she created with Madrigal and Akiva, the chimera's world, the workshop that deals in teeth, it's all so unbelievably fantastic and for the reader, very much alive. I'm truly and utterly amazed.

The detail! I mean, Taylor paints her world on each page with bold, vibrant colors, heavy and thick with textures you just want to run your fingers over so that you can feel the story. I can forgive the plot faux pas and I'll just blame it on the genre. I feel confident that Taylor could write anything she wanted to and I'm looking forward to seeing her break out of the box.

This is another one of those books that has more bent corners than straight ones. I've marked whole passages, page after page of awesome so that I can go back and visit my favorite parts. Rumor is we'll get an as yet untitled sequel sometime next year. If anyone has any gossip about the sequel you can tell me....I can keep a secret. Promise.

Oh plus five hundred million points for using the word "susurrous."

     Unearthly, the wail rose, wavering and violent, to break like a wave and become language--susurrous, without hard consonants. The modulations suggested words, but the language was alien even to Karou, who had more than twenty in her collection. She turned, seeing as she did that the people around her were turning, too, craning their necks, and that their expressions of alarm were turning to horror when they perceived the source of the sound.
     The she saw it, too.
     The thing on Izil's back was invisible no more.

*Quote taken from an ARC of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and may differ in the finished copy.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author:Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Date: September 27th, 2011
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Pages: 452
Genre: YA- Paranormal, Romance
Source: Provided by publisher (ALA)

From Goodreads:

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't expect to fall head first into this book because I did. You've heard all the hype. It's got you psyched. You can't wait to read it because everyone says "It's sooooo good!" and yeah, it was. So when I came up for air 452 pages later, it was no surprise that I loved it as much as I did. I just knew about this one. Hodkin pulls out all the stops in this very dark, mind-twister of a story and I'm ready for more.

Mara wakes up from a terrible accident that claimed the lives of three of her friends. She has no memory of what happened, nor does she remember why or how she even came to be at the scene. In an effort to distance her from the horrible event, Mara's parents move away in hopes that a new location may mean a new life for Mara. She's damaged both emotionally and mentally. She's also more than a little unstable and well, things are happening. Somehow, the things Mara envisions come true and everything Mara sees is dark and deadly.

Mara has, shall we say, talents. Scary ones. But as powerful as her abilities seem, there's still the possibility that none of it actually happened. This story has your brain working overtime; nothing is real- except for everything. Are these things really happening to Mara or are they hallucinations? I couldn't get a handle on what was fact and what was potentially fiction and I absolutely loved that. Even at the end of the story, when we are given the biggest blow to the psyche- did it really happen?

While there is a strong romantic element, the story stands out more to me as a psychological thriller than as a romance. But what romance there is, well it's the kind you want- a hot playboy with an English accent who has ruined more reputations than a supermarket tabloid.

Does it warrant a series? Absolutely. There's a solid setup for a sequel and Hodkin gives you the very worst kind of cliffhanger there is- and that's a good thing.

In My Mailbox (35)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

I think these covers sold me even more than the synopsis. Is it odd that I get ridiculously overexcited by a stack of really pretty hard back books? I just like to sit and look at them.

Eve by Anna Carey

From Goodreads: The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

From Goodreads: In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

From Goodreads: It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

What lovelies found their way to you this week?

Giveaway: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (Audiobook)

Author:Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: September 13th, 2011
Series: Skychasers #1
Pages: 307
Genre: YA- Dystopian, Romance
Review:My Review

The fabulous people at Macmillian Audio were gracious enough to offer up a copy of the audiobook of Glow for one very lucky person. This is a sensational story that I just know you're going to enjoy. Who doesn't like having someone read to them?


  • Must be at least 13 years of age
  • Open to US only
  • Contest ends October 15th
  • One entry per person please
  • Fill out the form below

Waiting on Wednesday (22) Destined HoN #9 by Team Cast

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

Destined (House of Night #9)
by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: October 25th 2011

From Goodreads:

In Destined, the forces of Light and Dark collide as their epic struggle focuses on Tulsa's House of Night. Zoey is home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side and preparing to face off against Neferet. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, he and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together if Rephaim can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow.

But is Zoey really safe? Does she truly know those who are closest to her? And will love win when it is tested by the very soul of Darkness? Find out what s destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.

It's time, once again, to get ridiculously overexcited about the 1 millionth book in the absolute worst vampire series of all time- and my personal favorite. I have the most intense love/hate relationship with this series. I have everything both good and bad to say about it and I freely admit that I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS BOOK.

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Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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