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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Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood

Author:Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date: August 30th, 2011
Series: Anna Dressed in Blood #1
Pages: 316
Genre: YA- Paranormal Romance, Horror
Source: Purchased @ Lemuria Books

From Goodreads:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

I've had ridiculously good fortune in reading here lately. I haven't read a single thing I didn't like and pretty much everything I've read I've sorta loved. In fact, it's the slew of good books that I've happened upon that has taken me away from the blog. I've been reading like mad and I haven't wanted to stop long enough to talk about it. But I just HAVE to tell you about Anna.

I've been looking forward to this book for a good while. It's a YA, ghost/lurve story about a murderous dead girl and the ghostbuster who falls for her. Add a male main character to that mix and you have a whole handful of win. Take that all you sappy Romeo and Juliet wanna be star-crossed love stories! Cas is in love with a dead girl who kills people! And, AND it's dark, twisted, a little graphic and kind of (wee bit) scary. You're hooked already. I can see it.

Theseus Cassio Lowood is a ghost hunter. Urban legends, the kind told by giggling girls at slumber parts to see who cries first, had to have gotten started somewhere and if you trace the rumors back far enough you might find that they held more truth than you would ever be comfortable knowing. That's what Cas does. He tracks down the hook-handed ghost that supposedly got those silly horny teenagers who were making out in that abandoned barn, and kills it. The restless dead never know that they've died. They just keep repeating the events that lead up to their own untimely deaths by carrying them out on unsuspecting victims. Cas has followed in his father's footsteps and travels the world murdering the dead. When a lead brings him to Thunder Bay and an old abandoned house that has claimed an unknown number of victims, he meets an angry, powerful phantom that knows that she's dead....and she kicks his ass.

Isn't it romantic? No not really, but it's going to be and you'll be Team Dead Bloody Ghost Love before you know it.

I started this book one evening and spent the whole of the next day answering questions at work with "I want to go home and read my book." How are you today, Laura? "I want to go home and read my book." Is that patient breathing, Laura? "I want to go home and read my book." Nothing mattered but getting back to this book. There are so many cool, wonderful and horrible things that happen in this story that I couldn't stand to be away from it for a second. Blake is a unique, bold new voice in YA, who's not afraid to dirty paranormal romance up a bit. The story is twisted but never sick. I didn't lay awake dreading things that go bump in the night but after I got to know Anna, I kind of wished they did.

Sequel? Why yes, there will be one. Girl of Nightmares sometime in 2012. Want. Need.

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