Monday, September 30, 2013

Too Much Cake Isn't Good For You

Published:  September 15th, 2013
By: Lauren Dane
ASIN:  B00D45018E

She won’t be satisfied with just one bite...

Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren’s gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.

But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she’s determined to show him that just one taste won’t be enough...


     Wren Davis has been working as a bike messenger just to make some extra cash while she's in art school.  While on her rounds she meets and becomes friends with famous artist Gregori Ivanov, who has a bit of  a reputation.  Wren decides she wants nothing else more than Gregori, but first she needs to get him to leave behind all the women who burned him in the past - namely his crazy ex-wife who always comes crawling back again.  Can Wren get Gregori to give a relationship with her a chance, or will all they ever shared just amount to tea times and fond memories?
     I honestly never saw the attraction of Gregori in this book.  He's got tattoos, piercings and a mohawk.  He's oh-so misunderstood.  Give me a break!  I did like Wren who seemed very self-assured, but after awhile her inhuman confidence got on my nerves.  It seemed a little like she never had any doubts about herself.  Gregori was the opposite and despite being a famous artist had zero confidence in his relationships.  I would have liked to see more interaction between Wren and her roommates/friends Kelsey & Lindsey.  I felt like their relationship was more interesting to me than the "romance" between Gregori and Wren.  To me the whole famous artist and student dynamic came off different from anything I've read before, but only because Wren wasn't the cliched bubbly ingenue.  I don't know, something about this novella just felt really forced to me and the third person narrative was used in a way that kept the characters at a distance from me as a reader.  I just didn't connect and though it was well-written for a novella, it still wasn't the best I've ever read.  Overall, I wouldn't even recommend it to anyone honestly because I wasn't a very big fan of the story and over $3 is a bit much for a novella that isn't even 100 pages.

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published September 15th, 2013.*

Thursday, September 26, 2013

So Hard to Say Goodbye, To Yesterday

Published:  September 3rd, 2013
All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1)
By: Cristin Terrill
ISBN-13:  9781423176374

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.


     Marina is experiencing the joy and heartache of first love, possibly unrequited.  Four years later, Em is imprisoned and tortured endlessly to give up her secrets, with only one true recourse - to go back in time and kill the man responsible for the destruction of the world.  She must kill him before he creates the time machine, as it causes the world to become unrecognizable and for him to become evil/power mad.  The only problem is that Em has a vested interest in making Marina's life one free of pain and suffering.  Of course the guy she needs to kill just happens to be Marina's next door neighbor, best friend and first love, James (whom they now call the Doctor).  With the help of her friend Finn who is in the cell next to hers, Em escapes and makes it back in time, four days before the turning point that will make it impossible to succeed.  But can she manage to go through with it, even with her and Finn's own lives on the line, when it could destroy things in an entirely different way?
     OH. MY. GOSH.  This book went beyond all expectations!  It's the time travel/alternate reality fiction that I've been waiting on all this time, while I've been drowning in a sea of mediocre books!!!  But for me as much as I enjoyed the theory behind this particular sort of time travel (I really prefer my principles a bit vague and the book to be not very scientifically oriented, to be honest about it) and the intricacies of the plot, for me it was all about the characters.  Anyone who reads reviews on this site knows that I am nuts about character development and detail.  For me it's one of the main focuses when I read.  If the characters are truly awesome and the plot only good, I can get past that and end up loving the book anyways.  The other way around, it's not as easy for me as a reader.  This book definitely had what I've been wanting in terms of characters to fall in love with.
     Ms. Terrill writes this in alternating points of view between Marina four years earlier, and Em who is living in the aftermath of Marina's reality and decisions.  That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to give away any really major spoilers, but the dynamic between the two and the way their lives affect one another absolutely crushed me.  Em wants nothing more than to protect Marina and shelter her, the way she speaks of her almost sounding like a Mother about a daughter at times.  It makes the revelations about their connection to each other all the more crushing and chilling when it comes.  Marina's relationships with James and her new friend Finn are especially fraught, because she's unsure of how to behave or feel when James' older brother is shot and everything begins to crumble.  In the beginning Marina is kind of spoiled, shallow and has her head in the sand quite a bit.  Throughout the novel we get to see her evolve and grow as a person, learning her own heart and mind better than she ever has.  Especially her bickering/tension filled relations with Finn, who has a life situation completely opposite of her own, and is a better friend that Marina ever could have known. 
     The development of Em is different, in that for her developing means coming to terms with her past and what it has formed her into.  Em is trying to hide from herself, the decisions she's made and even the life she's living.  By the end she has come to love herself, which lets her open herself to loving Finn as well.  James and Finn are two different sides of the same coin.  They are best friends, both inherently good but making plenty of mistakes in their lives.  Mainly what separates them is James' downwards spiral into a quest for power, a rationale of "for the greater good" and a blindness to the evil he's inflicting.  James becomes unable to see the truth between right and wrong and teaches everyone involved in his past AND future that not everyone can be saved, with some second chances not being for the best.  I did like the political aspect woven into the narrative, with the assassination of James' brother Nate serving as the (apparent) catalyst for everything that happens in regards to the time machine.  It really is a scary thought to think of what a major government could do with a time machine.  I also enjoyed the reference to Greek mythology (or so I'm assuming) in the name of the time machine.  
     The plot was well-paced, with the action never becoming too much or too little as the book got deeper into the narrative.  There were a couple of side characters I think weren't very well fleshed out (such as Marina's housekeeper/surrogate Mother and her actual parents), but as this is the first in a series maybe more will be expanded on later on.  Overall, one of my absolute favorite books of the year and I definitely want my own copy for keeps!  It was a beautifully written, very thought-provoking novel and I highly recommend it even to those who are wary of time-travel infused narratives.

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

**I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published September 3rd, 2013.**

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dying of Book Excitement!!!!!

        I used to participate in a meme called In My Mailbox.  This is something similar, except let's just call it a HOLY FREAKING, OH MY STARS moment!  I frequent Edelweiss, a review site for media professionals, bloggers, librarians, etc. where you can request e-ARCs of books from publishers.  I went on my account today because I have about ten requests I was waiting to hear about.  Having not received an email yet about any of them, I wasn't expecting anything.  What I got was this: APPROVED, APPROVED, APPROVED, etc. and so on!!!  So I am super excited about all the new titles that just flooded my Kindle and needed someone to share them with.  I am one lucky bitch and here are the awesome books I got:

Hopeless For You - Release Blitz and Giveaway!!!

Release Date:  September 19th, 2013
Purchase: Amazon


"If I am more alive because love burns and chars me, as a fire, given wood or wind, feels new elation, it's that he who lays me low is my salvation, and invigorates the more, the more he scars me."
― Michelangelo

Ash Jensen, a squeaky-clean sophomore at the University of Tennessee, has a trail of baggage a mile long―she buried her fiancĂ© only a year and a half ago. She swore she'd never love again but when she finds herself interned to a yummy Canadian conservation officer that promise is tested big-time. Kade Gyllenhahl sports wild tattoos, a rebellious attitude and a fohawk to die for. He's definitely the wrong man for her and she knows it.

Kade doesn't have time for a girl like her. She's a pretentious, unreadable princess who lives her life by her parents' rules. Kade knows nothing about her past and he'd prefer to keep it that way. Besides, he'll lose his job if he sleeps with Ash. Now if only he could get his mind off her.

When the two of them end up alone and isolated on a routine field trip in the woods, things get a little complicated...

One man afraid of commitment.
One woman afraid to love again.
Two lives.
Two hearts.
One life-changing journey.


"You like vodka?" Kade said.
"What?" I glanced at him uncertainly. "That's kind of an odd question. From way out in left field."
"You're half Russian." He was staring at me intensely. "You must like vodka."
"Oh, no." I returned his gaze with equal intensity. Had he felt that tingle when our hands touched, too? Our conversation was all innocent on the outside but I could sense the sexual tension seething on the inside. Neither of us broke eye contact. He wasn't sitting all that far from me. It wouldn't take much to close the gap and wrap my lips around his. "I had vodka once when I was in tenth grade. Almost threw up. Scotch is more my thing."
"Scotch? That's a man's drink."
I shrugged, but didn't break eye contact. "Not really."
"Any preferred brands?" His voice sounded deeper, more sexual. I was starting to lose myself in those eyes.
"I don't know." My voice sounded strange, too. A little breathy. "All kinds of brands. I don't like Jack Daniels, though."
"That's not even scotch. That's whiskey."
"Same thing."
Kade stood up now and edged a little closer. His eyes never left mine. "How can you not like Jack Daniels? That's, like, a Tennessee institution. They make it there, don't they?"
"They do." My heart was beating fast. "But Collier and McKeel is more my thing."
"How do you know so much about all these drinks, anyway?" he said in that deep, slow voice. "The legal age is twenty-one in Tennessee."
I knew my eyes were broadcasting sheer want. He felt it. I'm sure he did, because his eyes fed that want right back at me. "I'm a delinquent."
"You are." He took another step closer. I could hear his breathing now. Deeper. Faster. "Collier and McKeel... remind me to let you try Seagram's 83 sometime. Canadians make the best whiskey. Perfect for a delinquent like you."
"I'm actually more of a wine person. At least I used to be." We were so close now, barely a hand-span away. Those green eyes never left mine, and consumed me.
"Wine? I can see that. I'd peg you as a fan of white. You speak Sauvignon Blanc?" The way he said those French words sounded so sexy.
"I speak champagne," I said huskily. "Dom Perignon makes the most amazing Cristal. White Gold is--" I choked off the words, feeling suddenly like I was drowning, and I turned away from Kade. I couldn't hold back the sudden tears.
After all this time, something so simple as the name of a drink still affected me. I almost hoped Kade would wrap his arms around me and carry me away from the horrors of the past and save me from the guilt, but when I looked at him I saw he'd retreated to the shade again. He was sitting on the log with his arms crossed, facing away from me, staring at the river.


Hayden Hill is a New Adult Romance author. Her debut novel, Hopeless for You will be released in September 2013.
Writing HOPELESS FOR YOU was an emotional rollercoaster for Hayden. It started out as a rosebud of an idea which grew into this all-consuming tree. She poured everything into the book, heart and soul. It was a labor of love that’s for sure. They say that great art comes from pain. Well then Hopeless For You is her greatest work yet.
Thanks for giving the book a chance!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #10

      Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, which allows bloggers to share lists of some of our favorite (and not-so favorite) things.  This week we’ll be highlighting the top ten best sequels ever!  We all know that series easily can start out as some of the best things we've ever read and devolve into pure and utter, unreadable junk.  It hurts my heart when that happens, so the BEST EVER sequels are a wonderful thing in the life of a reader!  I can't wait to see your lists and see what books we have in common (or not).  Happy Tuesday and have fun everyone! :)
Top Ten Best Sequels Ever (No Specific Order)
So yeah, I'm unsure how many people are actually as into this series as me.
I'm a pretty big fan, but while I like the first book, it's the sequel/companion novel that makes it for me as a reader.  I honestly feel like Cypess gets into her groove and it's even better than the first!
Once again, this is a sequel that to me is even better than the first book.  I almost didn't read Hunger Games, because of the stark style of the first book.  But once I got to the second one, the deeper characterization and fiercer action/plot was impressive and appreciated.  Can't say the same for Mockingjay really, but this one surpasses the first book in my opinion.

So, I went into this series warily to begin with and burned by all the vampire obsession in popular culture at the time I read it.  The first was promising and full of world-building and series foundation.  I liked the characters.  The second one completely sucked me into the world of Claire, Shane, Eve, Michael and the rest of crazy Morganville!
All I need to say is that this book almost single-handedly renewed my faith in YA series, versus just stand-alone novels.  It completely avoided the sophomore slump, which is damn near impossible (or at least you'd think it is from all the mediocre books I've read).
With the first book being like a 40s/50s noir novel (only for young adults) and with very little character growth on the part of Iris, the main character.  Book two raised the stakes in quality, plot and deeper characters.  Plus, I didn't feel cheated by the ending of the mystery.  Much improved on the first one, surprisingly enough.
Whereas the first book gave me feelings, this book SMASHES MY HEART!  The writing is gorgeous, the teenagers are real and the plots are well developed.  And it's a contemporary European setting with slang, etc. I can actually understand.  *Hallelujah Chorus Sings*
Every one of these books is just as good as the others.  But then again, maybe I'm just extra partial to the epistolary form in novels! :)  I do think that each book has something important and beautiful to say about love, friendship and growing up.  And as someone whose parent has depression (and who struggles with it themselves) seeing Bee struggle with it in #2 added serious depth to the book.
Honestly, as if I could have a list without HP being on it!  Really this represents all of them (including OoTP) except Deathly Hallows, of which I'm not really a major fan.  But Azkaban is definitely the prime example of what a sequel should be and it's a great exercise in balance of all the different writing elements - plus it's just kick-ass!
Probably one of the creepiest series I've EVER read in my life!  The second book in the trilogy is no exception to this opinion.  If anything the action is more terrifying and the main characters have ever more problems to overcome.  This series keeps me on the edge of my seat.
This book is #4 in a series that can technically be read as stand-alone novels.  But as the fourth book in the series, this one is actually my favorite (tied with Book One).  As someone who loves character building and focus above all else, this one has it in droves.  Also the sense of humor is awesome and the battle between the characters and the driving force called "The Tradition" keeps the plot truly interesting.  Highly recommend it!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Candy and the Cankersaur - Review

Published:  June 17th, 2012
Candy and the Cankersaur
Story and Illustrations by: Jason Sandberg
Jason Sandberg eBooks
ASIN:  B008CG1S96
This is the sweet and funny tale of a young girl named Candy and a Cankersaurus Rex! Candy receives a dinosaur as a gift and is determined to train him to be a good pet.
      Candace Courtney Wellesley Wellington, who everyone calls Candy, lives in a really big house with her Father.  He never has any time to play with her, so he always gets her the best, most unique presents.  This time he has gotten Candy the last known dinosaur, a cankersaur to be precise, as her playmate!  Now if only she could train Cank not to bite!  Candy's neighbor Chucky is very competitive though and when he can't get a dinosaur of his own, Chucky gives Cank to the circus.  When he sees how sad Candy is, can Chucky help her get Cank back home?
      Jason Sandberg e-mailed me himself, asking for a review.  And while picture books are really NOT my normal fare, I agreed due to how cute it sounded and the awesomeness of the illustrations.  It immediately reminded me of the Sid Hoff books I read as a kid (it turns out he was inspired by Hoff and this is an homage to him!) and I was excited.  It's just a short book about a lonely little girl, a dinosaur and a neighbor boy with a jealousy problem who becomes a friends.  Very well executed it will definitely hold the attention span of the age group it's meant for.  I spent the whole time I was reading it smiling at the story and the character's reactions.  Cank being unable to be trained not to bite comes into play near the end in a really logical way.  Good book to teach kids about sharing and being friends with others. 
     The one thing I would say is this could be read to younger ages, but only older kids (7-9ish) could probably read it to themselves and fully comprehend some of the larger words.  This is dependent on the child's reading level and comprehension skill though as well.  Overall, a cute book for young children (ages 5-9ish) and adults will enjoy it too.  The artwork is very well conceived.  Maybe a sequel is needed with Candy, Cank and Chucky's further adventures? :)
VERDICT:  4/5  Stars
*I received an E-book Copy from the author.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published June 17th, 2012.*

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dawn of the Apocalypse - Scavenger Hunt, GIVEAWAY and Review!

     So guys I am involved in yet another fun event, this one hosted by the lovely Diane, at Oops! I Read Again Tours.  Me and some other bloggers got together under her direction to bring you this fun scavenger hunt/giveaway and reviews of an awesomely terrifying book, Dawn of the Apocalypse by E.S.P.  Be sure to click on the banner above to be taken to the tour page, so you can visit all the stops and get the clues for the giveaway!  To join the scavenger hunt, all you need to do is collect two words from each tour stop and form three sentences out of them. The first sentence has 11 words, the second one has 2 words and the last sentence has 15 words. Once you collect all words you can try to solve the puzzle and enter the giveaway.  My two words that you will need will be bolded and in red in my review.  I am the last stop for this tour!!!  Good luck and happy hunting! :)

January 1, 2000.
May 21, 2011.
December 21, 2012

These are just a few of the days humans prophesied as bringing catastrophic events that would end the world. We predicted nuclear warfare. Drastic climate change. A call from God.

We were wrong.

Cue the gargoyle invasion—laboratory bred mutants designed to slaughter humans. When the government goes AWOL and gargoyles are swarming by the hundreds, it's up to the citizens of the United States to regroup and save themselves.

Meet Cliff Matthews, a teenage boy separated from his entire family with the exception of his younger sister, whom he is desperate to keep alive. Along the quest to save their lives, he encounters people who aren't all that they seem. Everyday's a battle, but if he can't trust his own species, where does that leave his family?

And we can't forget the man who may be willing to sacrifice Cliff's life, if it means world domination.

In terms of doomsday, no one could've seen this coming. The dawn of the apocalypse…

     I can safely state that I have never read anything like this before!  When I first became a tour host for Oops! I Read Again and was looking at the list of available tours, this immediately caught my eye.  Killer gargoyles created from mutated genetic material in a laboratory?  Sign me up!  I'm glad that I participated.  This is definitely an example of the exception to the general rule of junk in the self-publication pile.  This was a book full of rich descriptions, heart stopping action and really sympathetic characters.  It begins in Mexico with a visit by El Presidente to a small village, where they are all attacked by the killer gargoyles.  It's a pretty horrific spectacle.  Then it goes to 15 year old Cliff, at the subway station with the rest of his family.  When his little sisters Angel and Andy have to use the bathroom before they board the train, Cliff is the one to take them.  Fifteen minutes later their entire world is in ruins, half his family is missing and it's up to Cliff to keep his remaining sister safe when Andy disappears with their older brother Todd.  Along with the mysterious Hunter, a girl with some major problems who helps save him in the bus stop, it's up to Cliff to find a way to stay alive in a danger zone.  But when the government's lying to you, the news is reporting bullshit and everything outside is chaos, who do you trust? 
     I honestly had such a great time reading this and I think a big part of that is the fact that NO ONE WAS SAFE.  That's the problem with a lot of mainstream, big publishing house YA nowadays.  If an apocalyptic book makes it to the market, there is one character who is the main focus.  They are guaranteed survival through the whole novel/series.  Maybe they'll die at the end, but no matter what happens during they will be alive.  With E.S.P.'s novel I had no clue who was going to live or die at the hands of the terrifying, flesh-eating gargoyles roaming the New York city streets.  And that's a great feeling to have when reading a book - that you can still be surprised by what's going to happen next!  The multiple points of view from Cliff, Hunter and a few others kept things fresh and especially unpredictable, but there were moments when I really thought Hunter and little Angel, or even Cliff might die.  Thanks for that Ms. ESP!  It made the experience awesome. 
     There were some minor grammatical/spelling errors, but nothing really annoying or obvious.  Plus my copy was an ARC, so maybe they're corrected in the final version.  The ending left things wide open for a sequel and had me wanting one right away.  I have to know what really happened to Cliff, Hunter and Angel dammit!  Plus there has to be more to the main villain than what we were shown.  I wish there had been a little more development on him but overall, a entirely enjoyable reading experience.  I wish there were more like it.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*I received a review copy for my Kindle, courtesy of Oops! I Read Again Tours and the author, E.S.P.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review (I promise, I'm still poor! :).  This book was published August 9th, 2013.*
About E.S.P.

Being the daughter of an accomplished author, E.S.P. grew up listening to stories and telling her own to classmates. After writing for several years and even publishing some short works, she finally decided to take the plunge to write (plus finish!) a full length novel. Thus, Dawn of the Apocalypse was born. When she's not writing, she's either reading books, blogging at, or watching eighties movies

Purchase Links:  Amazon

The Demon Mistress (An Eva Prim Novel) by Jordan K. Rose - COVER REVEAL!!!

     So, I am doing my first cover reveal today you guys! *SQUEALS*  Jordan contacted me awhile ago and asked if I would be interested in participating.  I said sure, cause the book sounded really funny, even if not quite my usual fare.  I will also be posting a review in October, once the book has been published!  I highly encourage you to check out the website her main character, Miss Eva Prim, runs as well.  It is absolutely hilarious!  Without further adieu, I give you our gorgeous cover:

The Demon Mistress
What’s a girl to do when she discovers her husband, who happens to be the Master Vampire for the New England Region, has been lying to her for, oh, say a hundred and eighty years?

Well, it all depends. If she’s accidentally released forty demons from some creepy old book, unintentionally announced the existence of vampires on The Internet, kidnapped a werewolf, enraged a lovesick vampire by stealing his approved mate, and attracted the attention of The High Commander for The Vampire Federation, not to mention gotten stoned and mastered the forbidden art of demon calling, she might be willing to call it even.

Or, she might plead her case at an Inquisition and hope like all hell, she isn’t staked before sunrise. Eh, a slightly busier night than usual, but nothing Eva Prim can’t handle.

About The Author
Jordan loves vampires. But if you know anything about Jordan, you already knew that detail. What you didn’t know was it wasn’t long ago that she began writing about them.
A few years back Jordan received a copy of Twilight from her husband as part of her anniversary gift. By the end of that week she’d read the entire series and moved onto Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Eight weeks and eighteen vampire books later the idea for her first book, Perpetual Light came to her followed very quickly by Eva Prim.
In October of 2013 The Demon Mistress, the first Eva Prim Novel is available along with four short stories. For continual updates on Eva please join the Snack Of The Week Club at
Coming November 2013 Black Magic Rose, Book One of The Alliance Series. Join Jordan’s newsletter for updates. 
Jordan is a member of the national Romance Writers of America organization and several chapters.
When she’s not writing about one vampire or another Jordan enjoys spending time with her husband, Ken and their lovable Labrador, Dino on the beautiful beaches of New England. 
Find Jordan on her website at
Jordan K. Rose

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Follow Me Friday #28 - Picture Book Favorites

     So, Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead. It's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest, helping to support out endeavors as a community. Also, do it just because it's fun! :)
Q:  What were some of your favorite picture books as a kid?  If you have kids, what are your favorite books to read to them?
A:  I was crazy about books in general, but there are some that stand out for me as a kid.  I do not have kids yet, and never was much of a babysitter, so these ones are all my own bucket of nostalgia.  Here's some of the particularly vivid ones that have stuck with me:

      My especial obsessions were probably Corduroy, Piggie Pie, Stellaluna, and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.  Anything Franklin, Little Critter, or Clifford as well!  I can't wait to see your childhood favorites and I hope you have a great Friday!  Thanks so much for stopping by! :)  I do prefer Bloglovin' follows, but am also trying to build up my Facebook and Twitter followings (especially my Facebook page).  All the links are on the right sidebar! <3  Also, please vote on my October Read-Along Poll!  Thanks! :)

More Conspiracies, Draped In Petticoats

Expected Publication:  November 5th, 2013
Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
By: Gail Carriger
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13:  9780316190114

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.


     When we last saw her Sophronia had just managed solve a mystery about a stolen device and a traitor within her school for girls training to be assassins/spies (and debutantes).  With a penchant for curiosity Sophronia is in trouble again, this time because she has become entangles in another mystery surrounding a valve that has malfunctioned in the school's testing machine - and why they are going to London.  The harmless class trip to see an event with a dirigible may not be everything it seems, especially when Sophronia uncovers some shocking things while sneaking through the teacher's quarters, eavesdropping and using situations to her advantage.  With the help of her friends Soap, Vieve, Dimity, Sidheag, and Agatha can she figure out what's going on before it's too late.  Also, when will Lord Felix Mercer learn to take a hint, that she is just not interested?  And what is Monique planning now, that could direly affect everyone aboard the ship?
     Don't mistake me: I enjoyed this book, just as I did the first one in the trilogy.  But I feel that it's written more for established fans of Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series than newcomers.  The feel of it is very established, in that I went in feeling like an outsider looking in through my little bookish lens.  Those kinds of books don't necessarily make a new reader feel like they are very easily approached.  That said, Sophronia is an amusing, precociously nosy young girl who has found her niche in training to be a spy, even if the horrendous debutante training is necessary right alongside it! :)  I found her to be very loyal, genuine.  I love her curiosity; there is nothing worse to me than lack of curiosity on the part of a heroine in a weird/off-kilter situation.  Don't you want to know what's going on?  Sophronia always wants to know, and it gets her into trouble sometimes.  When the teachers announce the progress report results of each girl out loud, Sophronia was ostracized which made for an interesting plot twist.  A decent portion of the novel is spent with Sophronia trying to solve the latest mystery all on her own mostly (with only help from boiler room friend Soap and inventive, little scamp Vieve).  It definitely helped the reader, as well as Sophronia, to realize that she is at her strongest when she has the help of her friends.
     Carriger also introduces the possibility of a love triangle between Sophronia, Soap, and semi-racist, classist (but entirely charming) rich Lord Felix Mercer.  It's an interesting dynamic to say the least.  Sophronia is only just starting to realize her own identity as person old enough to feel romantic interest in another.  Soap is from the opposite end of the class spectrum, works for her school and is of a different race as well.  Yet Soap challenges her and keeps Sophronia grounded in reality.  He's a true friend and she values him for it - precisely the reason she's trying to avoid anything beyond harmless flirtation.  She knows it would most likely lead to heartache.  Felix Mercer is intelligent in entirely different ways, has loads of social connections and is within reach societally.  But his family is also prejudiced against supernaturals and has opinions opposite of her on their civil rights.  It's the beginning of  a fascinating inner-struggle on the part of Sophronia to stay true to herself.
      The main storyline about the mysterious valve, the habits and politics of vampires, the attempted kidnappings of Sophronia's friends Dimity and Pillover, and the further exploration of everyone's true loyalties was really well carried out.  I did find myself losing interest a few times when it started moving fairly slowly, but it picked up again so I kept going.  I was not disappointed and liked the way the book resolved, even if there were a couple of lingering questions still to be answered (I assume in the final installment of the trilogy).  Overall, I had fun and got to stop thinking for a couple hours - and Carriger managed to keep me by staying light on the steampunk, of which I am NOT a fan.  I would recommend it to fans of supernatural adventures and spy stories (more middle grade than YA in my opinion), but I still feel fans of the adult series this is an off-shoot of would be better suited to truly fall into effusive declarations of love with it.

VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars

*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication is November 5th, 2013.*

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Eyes Ever To The Sky" Blitz, Excerpt, & GIVEAWAY!!!


When Hugh wakes up in a smoldering crater—no memory, no clothes—a single thought echoes in his head…trust no one. Frightened and alone, with no memory of who he is, he stumbles upon a grisly murder scene and is fatally shot. He wakes, only to find he can heal himself. He has superpowers, and he’s going to need them.
Desperate and bleeding, Hugh stumbles upon fifteen-year-old Cece, who’s got enough troubles of her own. Between caring for her bipolar mother and trying not to get evicted from her run-down trailer, Cece may be the only person struggling as much as Hugh. Drawn to Hugh, Cece finds a love she’s never known. But  when the real killer—a man-hunting beast—chooses another victim, Hugh and Cece realize they must unlock the clues to their past if they have any chance at a future.

About The Author

Katie French imagined herself an author when her poem caught the eye of her second grade teacher. In middle school she spent her free time locked in her room, writing her first young adult novel. Though her social life suffered, her love for literature thrived. She studied English at Eastern Michigan University, where she veered from writing and earned an education degree. She spent nine years teaching high school English. Currently she is a school counselor, doing a job that is both one of the hardest things she's ever done and the most rewarding. In her free time she writes, reads great books and takes care of her two beautiful and crazy children. She is a contributor and co-creator of Underground Book Reviews, a website dedicated to erasing the boundaries between traditional and non-traditional publishing. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.

Official Links:
He woke knowing only pain.
His bones ached like they'd been shattered and glued haphazardly together. His head buzzed like a tuning fork. A bitter taste coated his tongue. He searched for the word and it swam sluggishly up before him. Blood. He tasted blood.
He peeled his eyelids open to a sea of gray. As his eyes focused, he realized he was lying on his back looking up at the night sky. A few thin clouds streaked across a yellow crescent moon. A fringe of leaves and branches stood out black against the sky above. He lifted his head and a stab of pain needled through his skull. He winced, waited and propped himself up on his elbows. He looked down at his body and drew in a sharp breath.
He was lying in a large trough gouged into the earth, a crater from the look of things. The damp dark soil splayed up on either side, freshly uncovered. He reached a trembling hand into the dirt. It crumbled into flecks on his fingers, dark brown and loamy. Frightened, he brushed it away and sat up.
He scanned his body for injury: broken bones, dislocated joints, flayed skin. But as his eyes traced his limbs, covered in moist earth, he seemed intact. There was, however, one fact he'd previously overlooked.
He was naked.

Panic snapping through him, he pulled himself upright, digging his fingers into a nest of dangling roots. He had to get out of this hole, this… grave. His other senses were awakening now: a gripping hunger,

like he'd never eaten a meal in his life, and an overwhelming sense that everything was very wrong. Like the world had been flipped upside down and he was sent tumbling through space unanchored. Why couldn't he remember how he'd gotten here? Why couldn't he remember… anything?

The cold, raw panic crept up his limbs as he scrambled out of the crater, sending showers of earth into the hole. He laced his fingers into the grass and pulled, dragging his naked chest over the coarse, dewy lawn. A puff of wind drove goose bumps over his damp skin. Then he stood and looked.

A park stretched out before him: long sections of grassy plain, cut into squares with chain-link fence. Signs were posted, reading, “Keep Our Park Clean” and “Dogs MUST be kept on a 6 foot leash.” Century-old trees, tall and gnarly, skirted the grassy areas. Branches shifted in the wind making a soft stirring sound. Directly in the center of this quiet and tidy park was a path of destruction cut like a scar through the face of the earth. It was as if something had plummeted from the sky and skidded along the ground, snapping off trees, burning branches, bouncing once at the back of the park where the grass still smoldered. Whatever it was had come to rest here, boring this eight-foot-deep, twenty-foot-across crater into the earth. He peered down into the hole looking what had caused such destruction. Finding nothing, he shivered and threw his arms around himself. 

     How had he ended up here?  He stumbled to a picnic table and sat. His head thrummed. His stomach clenched. He’d throw up if he had anything in his belly. He turned his thoughts from his roiling stomach and to the questions stirring in his brain. How did he get here? Where was he? He put his head in his dirt-caked hands.  Who was he?
  Doesn't this sound like a completely awesome book?  I don't know about you, but I am super psyched to read this one and find out what happens to Hugh and Cece, with all the craziness in their lives.  Plus, I always enjoy supporting local authors and I feel like there are never too many authors from Michigan!  So without further adieu, here is the giveaway! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that you've entered the giveaway, don't forget to visit the other tour stops, and check out the other hosts' blogs at this link:

I know everyone is having a great time, so thanks for joining us and supporting an author! :)  Good luck!