Friday, March 28, 2014

Winner Takes It All

Published: March 4th, 2014
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
By: Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN-13:  9780374384685

Winning what you want may cost you everything that you love.

As a general's daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married.  But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.  Arin's eyes seem to defy everything and everyone.  Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him -- with unexpected consequences.  It's not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she has paid for a fellow human is much higher than she could have ever imagined.


     This is probably one of my most anticipated books of the year.  Just because I felt like everyone else was talking about it, even though I really wasn't even sure what it was really about!  Let me tell you right now, this book basically defies any sort of classification.  It's set in a world with no connection to ours, but it's not science-fiction, fantasy, or an alternate history of some sort.  I'm thinking that it's only defining characteristic is its base structure around the political intrigues, wars and slavery struggles of the fictional society.  There really isn't a genre for that!  So, that's issue number one.  Issue number two, would be the slow and somewhat contrived pacing and plot of the first half of this book.  We get glimpses at the smart, strategic mind of Kestrel, a general's daughter, who is trapped in between two choices (neither of which she is okay with).  She has no real say in what happens to her future, other than who to marry or whether or not to join her father in the military.  We get to see Kestrel's inner struggle, her daily miniature rebellions and her connections with the others in her society, including her best friend Jess who definitely isn't bucking the system.  Not to mention, Jess' brother Ronan, who wants to marry Kestrel.  One day Kestrel buys a slave.  He acts nothing like a slave, orders her around, ignores her and they have a mental battle for each others' secrets.  They play games with each other, and are developing feelings.
     Things start to pick up in the second half, with the discovery of the slave, Arin's, secret activities and Kestrel's own plans to subvert society in regards to her future.  By the end, everything the reader thought they knew is in shredded ruins and the cliffhanger has left them reeling.  Especially when the slaves turn the tables of the war on their oppressors almost completely around.  There was superb world-building, and I could picture everything that was being described for me.  I could see the rich society houses, the slaves, the bustling marketplace and all of the individual characters.  I was stuck in this book.  But instead of feeling like I was lost completely in it, I felt like the author was consciously manipulating my emotions with calculated scenes, twists, etc.  That's not a fun feeling to have when reading a book.  
     This book was downright bizarre at times, especially with the whole plot revolving around slavery and war.  Not your average YA romance.  I liked that and the second half of the book was phenomenally written.  Yet there was something about these characters that left me cold.  I never really connected with Kestrel, who is withdrawn, scheming and kind of bland.  Arin was very stereotypical and you could see his "tragic" back story coming a mile away.  But the plot execution was a thing of brilliance and the character interactions were vicious in the best kind of way.  If you want a serious mind-fuck, I'd recommend this one.  Something off the wall, and completely new in a strange way (and yes, I'm being purposefully vague, because I don't want to spoil the surprise and weirdness of this one for you).  I will probably read the next one, just to see where she goes!

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 was published March 4th, 2014.*

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lurking Around the Corner

Published:  January 28th, 2014
Will O' The Wisp
By: Tom Hammock (Author), Megan Hutchison (Illustrator)
Archaia Entertainment
ISBN-13:  9781936393787

After her parents' accidental death by mushroom poisoning, young Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her estranged grandfather on Ossuary Isle, deep in the southern swamps.  Joined by her grandfather's pet raccoon Missy, Aurora explores the fog-covered island of graves.  Along the way she meets its sinister residents who care for the tombstones and mausoleums, living out their lives by the strange rules of Hoodoo magic.  When ghostly things start happening out in the swamp and island residents start disappearing, Aurora thrusts herself into the middle of the mystery, uncovering secrets that might be better left buried.


     When Aurora Grimeon's parents die from eating poisonous mushrooms, she is sent to live with the Grandfather she has never met (the only living relative she has), deep in the swamps of the South, on an isolated track of islands.  Aurora feels lonely, with her Grandfather immersed in his research and only a pet raccoon named Missy for company, other than the suspicious and superstitious natives.  She begins to take comfort in the hoodoo rituals of the locals, striking up a relationship with the local Priestess, Mama Noonie, and becomes friends with a local boy as well (possibly more).  However, Aurora's sense of belonging is interrupted by violent, unexplained deaths taking place.  With a connection to the past and surprisingly to her Grandfather's own tragic history, its up to Aurora and Mama Noonie to solve the mystery of who the killer is and how to get rid of him - once and for all.  But can they do it before its too late?
     This whole graphic novel has a very Southern Gothic-style to its artwork, story and overall feel.  I very much enjoyed it and it kept me reading straight from the beginning to the end!  I think what I really enjoyed was how dark and creepy this one was.  The style definitively matched to tone and the plot completely.  The story wasn't the most original of the bunch, with a ghost of a killer being the culprit of the present day murders, but it made sense for this particular book.  Also, I enjoyed the journey to put a stop to his spirit walking the earth and the scenes that showed him talking with the Devil himself.  Probably my biggest regret is that we never do find out if Aurora's young friend (verging on boyfriend), and his family, survive the burning of their home by the spirit.  We see everyone wondering, but then the story skips on to the next point of interest.  Other than that, and an unfinished feeling I had at the end of the book, I really enjoyed myself.  It's one that I think teenagers and people with a slightly morbid streak will appreciate.  

VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars

*I received this book from Diamond Book Distributors, on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on January 28th, 2014.*

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Broken Skies Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway!!!

Series: Broken Skies #1
Release date: March 2014

Thirty years ago, there was the Collapse. A massive war fought with biological weapons and followed by plague. Almost everyone died. 

Ten years ago, the aliens showed up. They made one of our cities their own and that's where they stay, for the most part anyway.

One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.

Today, the aliens took my brother and I will do whatever it takes to get him back even if it means partnering up with the enemy, an alien boy who makes me think things I shouldn't and makes me feel things I don’t understand.


The only person she knows who had a subscription to Writer's Digest at eleven and was always excited to write research papers, Theresa has been putting words to paper since a young age. She writes predominantly in the sci-fi and urban fantasy genres. Residing in central Virginia, she juggles two kids, a husband and a full-time job in addition to her writing and in her free time she reads almost anything she can get her hands on.


     So, I was completely unsure what to expect when I initially started reading this book.  I knew that is was some sort of post-apocalyptic novel that involved aliens.  I definitely got a whole lot more than I was expecting!  I always feel like I have to re-iterate this every time that I read a self-published novel, but I have been burned so many times in the past when giving my time and energy to self-pubbed books.  This book is so much more than just one thing - it has sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, adventure, romance, family secrets, drama and a hint of cultism going on as well, with the society that Jax and Jace join to stay alive.  The book starts out with the two of them living in that society (Bridgelake), abiding by the sexist and domineering rules of Dane (the leader).  Jax is chafing under his reign, in a place where a girl like her, who was raised to be independent, has no basic human rights and is a bargaining tool of the men around her.  One day when Jace goes out to hunt and Jax follows him, they witness the landing of an alien ship.  Jace is taken away by the intruders, and Jax is only left with an alien boy they abandoned to help her find him again.  Lir is stubborn, somewhat mysterious and has his own motivations.  But as they journey together and overcome many obstacles, some of them deadly, Jax builds a bond of trust with him - and maybe some other feelings too.  Once they reach the city where Jace is being held, will Jax have their new bond shattered by the secrets tainting their fragile connection?  Or will they be able to save each other?
     Jax is a heroine who has been through a lot.  It becomes obvious after reading this for a little while, that she is struggling to live normally in the aftermath of an assault.  Jax was catatonic for some time afterwards, which forced Jace to make some harsh decisions.  The domino effect from his decisions is still happening, even months later.  I loved that the twins, while they happen to love each other, do not have a perfect relationship.  Jace is trying a little too hard to protect Jax, dominating her every waking move and keeping important secrets from her.  Factoring into this as well is their best friend, Flint, who also happens to be the son of Bridgelake's villainous leader.  At first, I thought this was going to be another love triangle with Jax, Lir and Flint.  I was like, "Oh great.  Another one."  But then Theresa Kay pulls a surprise out of left field, that fits completely in with the story mind you, that shears off the Flint corner of the triangle!  Leaving a still very complex, and beautiful romance between Jax and Lir.  Hats off to Ms. Kay for that!  Their journey is wonderful and exciting, with never a dull moment.  All the way from her breaking him out of jail in Bridgelake, to an incident at a trading post that threatens to break Jax, to a rattlesnake bite that changes both of their perspectives.  Not to mention all of the stuff that happens once they reach the city where Jace is being held captive!  
     The world-building in this book was wonderful, and I always felt like I was trekking alongside Jax and Lir in the woods.  Also the idea that humanity nuked itself into oblivion, while not exactly new, is definitely effective and believable.  The thing I was curious about was just how many people survived in other ares of the world.  Especially after an encounter with Lir's cousin Rym, who gets his slang from "British vids" according to himself and his sister (and who is kind of hilarious - I'd love to see more of him)!  The brutality of humanity is emphasized, but also the secrets and betrayals of the E'Rikon alien society as well.  There are political, inter-familial power struggles going on and the aliens have some major issues that could lead to the end of their race as a whole.  They are unable to sustain themselves on Earth, without finding some way to fuse their DNA with the humans'.  Let's just say that there is more to that particular endeavor than anyone originally thought...  And the secondary characters were interesting as well.  Peter, the ex-Priest, who is living on his own and gives shelter to Jax and Lir on their journey.  Emily, the seemingly good Bridgelake girl, who has a hidden rebellious side and is desperate to change her restrictive society.  Also, Lir's parents and uncle, who have motives that are unclear until the end of the novel.  Lir himself is a mystery until it seems that he's chosen his side in the struggle - opposite of where you thought he was!  Probably my one problem with this book, was the presence of some seriously distracting spelling errors near the very end.  But this is an advance copy, so hopefully they are fixed in the final release.  Other than that, I absolutely loved it beyond all measure!  SO DYING FOR THE SEQUEL!  I NEEDS IT NOW!  The pulse-pounding action from start to finish was breath-taking!  In other words, pick this one up and be destroyed by the cliffhanger in the best way possible.  You'll fall in love!

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received an ARC from the author and tour host for the purpose of this blog tour. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published March 14th, 2014.*


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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bite Sized Reviews: Most Eligible Sheriff

Published:  March 4th, 2014
Most Eligible Sheriff (Sweetheart Nevada #3)
By: Cathy McDavid
ISBN-13:  9780373755110

A Reason To Stay

Las Vegas casino manager Ruby McPhee needs to lay low while the police deal with a stalker at work.  So she's trading in her high heels for cowboy boots and assuming her twin sister's identity at the Gold Nugget Ranch.  Ruby only plans on staying in Sweetheart, Nevada, until the threat back home has passed.  But then she discovers a detail her sister forgot to mention -- the handsome sheriff she's dating.

It only takes a single kiss for Cliff Dempsey to realize the woman in his arms is someone entirely different...and completely irresistible.  To protect Ruby's secret, Cliff mantains her ruse, but soon the lines between duty and desire begin to blur.  Ruby and Cliff know they have a once-in-a-lifetime connection, but will they have a chance to let their love grow?


     Ruby McPhee is on the run, to take over her sister Scarlett's life while her stalker is in jail in Las Vegas.  She needs to get away until the trial is over, and Scarlett is trying to reconcile again with her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Dimitri.  So Ruby goes to fill in at work for her, so Scarlett won't lose her job at the ranch where she works.  Of course her sister left out a very important detail when she was giving Ruby the lowdown on her life - she's been dating Cliff, the local sheriff!  Imagine Ruby's surprise when he shows up at the ranch, starts talking about going out on a date, and kisses her!  Cliff immediately knows that she's not Scarlett and after some skepticism and anger, he decides to help Ruby pretend to be Scarlett until her stalker is put away.  But when the danger finally comes to town, can everyone escape unscathed?  And can Cliff and Ruby ignore their attraction to one another, or are they simply meant to be?
     I for the most part really enjoyed this small-town romance!  I didn't realize that it was #3 in an on-going series, but it definitely works as a stand-alone as well.  The history of Sweetheart, the town Cliff lives in, was very adorable and I loved how it played into his romance with Ruby.  Also, the differences between her and Scarlett, and the mishaps they caused were pretty funny at times.  The attraction between Cliff and Ruby definitely rings true throughout the book, and I liked that this one wasn't all about the sex between two people.  It was more about the falling in love part of love, than the lust factor in the equation.  I totally understood why Cliff was hesitant to get involved with Ruby, after having gotten involved with a witness to a crime in Reno and being burned by the relationship.  Plus, it ruined his standing with the police department he worked for.  Probably my least favorite things about this one were the selfish, flaky attitude of Scarlett, who is stringing along Cliff as a placeholder until she can be with Dimitri, and the attitudes of Cliff, his family and the other townspeople after the showdown with the stalker.  Yes, Scarlett made a bad decsion to go off on her own with Cliff's cousin's children, when a crazed freak was after her identical twin.  But it was Cliff's fault for leaving the kids with Scarlett, when he knows she's an undependable, opportunist who has not a brain in her head most of the time!  
     The way they blame Ruby for everything and how they treat her about it, is completely abominable.  The ending resolves very sweetly after Cliff and his Aunt (the mayor) take their heads out of their asses and Ruby swings a high profile wedding to jumpstart the town's economy.  Overall, a very cute and fast-paced romance, with a slight thriller element to it.  But that ending just left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth.  If you're looking for a quick, romantic read and you might enjoy it.

VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars

*I received a print ARC of this book from a representative (thanks Anna!) at Harlequin, as part of their Just Can't Get Enough campaign (March Theme: Weddings).  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on  March 4th, 2014.*

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Far, Beyond the Blue

Published:  January 28th, 2014
Into The Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)
By: Veronica Rossi
ISBN-13:  9780062072092

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate.  Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do - and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation.  Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities.  Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission.  Cinder isn't just the key for unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival -- he's also their friend.  And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.


     When Into the Still Blue begins, Aria and Perry have just been reunited after being separated for what seems like forever.  Aria is recovering from a serious injury to her hand, which may never be able to work the same again.  But things aren't better now that they're together.  Their best friend Roar is turning into a stranger, because of his grief over the loss of Liv, the love of his life (and Perry's sister).  This throws Perry off balance, with one less person to lean on.  Also, all of them are trying to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in an attempt to join forces, and gather strength for a last attempt at the Still Blue - and survival of some sort.  But to do that they must team up with unlikely people to rescue Cinder, the only one with the power to find the Still Blue, from Hess and Sable.  Can they make it in time, or will it be too late?
      Considering how many times I've been disappointed by the last book in a series, I was REALLY reluctant to read this initially.  I am so glad that I did!  Unlike other disappointing final installments in trilogies, this book respected its characters and didn't do anything ridiculously trite or unbelievable to them.  There were no 180 degree shifts in character, for a reason inexplicable other than to shoehorn in a specific plot/ending.  The romance between Aria and Perry, while definitely strong in its presence, didn't monopolize the book and detract from the action.  Plus, the major thing Rossi has my respect for, there is no love triangle anywhere in this one!!!  How rare is that in a Young Adult novel nowadays?  Perry is strictly friends with Brooke, and has no deeper feelings for her.  Also, Aria is close to Roar and they understand each other better than almost anyone else (they both have the Aud gift, share a lot of them same thought processes and reactions, etc.) but they are entirely platonic.  
      As for the plot and the writing, the prose was just as gorgeous as ever and the plot didn't have any out of the blue, bait and switch tactics going on.  We got to see all of the loose ends pretty much tied up, including whether or not the Dwellers and Outsiders get to the Still Blue, what happens to Cinder in the process, who lives and who dies, and everything else.  Probably the biggest surprise in this one was the character development and worth of Soren, the son of villainous Dweller leader Hess.  Soren starts out as a completely despicable, untrustworthy character that you love to hate.  But then he turns into something more, as he starts to connect more to the people around him, and realize that Hess betrayed him - he obviously isn't interested in his son or doing the right thing.  So Soren has to make a choice - does he want to be useful and redeem himself, or keep self-destructing?  We also see Brooke moving past her lingering feelings for Perry.  An understanding develops between her and Aria, also the banter with Soren and Brooke is hilarious.  She definitely puts him in his place!  Probably the only thing that was even slightly a surprise, was the identity of Aria's father, which is revealed in this book finally.  I liked the realistic emotions of this book.  I always felt that the grief, frustration, fear, love and hope were true to the characters.  There was never a false note.  While not completely resolved, the ending hints at a somewhat brighter, happier future for the characters.  And I am glad for them.  Probably my only complaint about this book, is that the steady pace of the first two books has been traded in for breakneck speed, and non-stop action.  It's good at times, but it also feels rushed and like it's over too fast because of it.  Overall, I loved this book and I highly recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a consistently well-written, awesome series! :D

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received this book from HarperTeen, on Edelweiss.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on  January 28th, 2014.*

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Impossibly Forever Book Blitz - Excerpt and GIVEAWAY (Tour Wide, INTL, $15 Amazon Gift Card)!!!!!!!


Impossibly Forever: The Complete Impossibly Duology
Includes: Impossibly Love & Impossibly True
by Shane Morgan
Publication date: February 24th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Discover the love story of Moya and Branden; from the very first kiss, to the moment where forever begins.

Includes the first and final book:

Impossibly Love:

All Moya Douglas wants to do is study hard, maintain her scholarship, and make her mother proud while attending college. She doesn't have time for a boyfriend or going on dates arranged by her best friend. Moya doesn't believe in love. And she has no intention of ever finding it.

Branden McCarthy is determined to change her views.
A selfless romantic who's had his heart broken in the past, Branden is fascinated with Moya's personality and hopes to develop something real with her—a connection so strong it'll open her heart. But just when things start to work between the two, Branden’s secret threatens to get in the way.

Will Moya finally do the impossible and give love a chance with Branden, or will fear keep them apart?

Impossibly True: 

Moya is finally listening to her heart.
She’s ready for love and willing to bask in all the joy it brings, but still, she insists on taking things slow. After all, her relationship with Branden isn't the only one that needs a chance.

With his health scare behind him, Branden wants nothing more than to get his life back on track—play hockey again, catch up on school, and get things moving with his girlfriend.

In the middle of strengthening their relationship and sorting out their individual lives, trouble begins to brew, testing the depth of their feelings for each other.

Can Branden and Moya once again overcome their trials and prove that their love is indeed true, or will past ghosts and new temptations drive them apart forever?



SHANE MORGAN is the Amazon Bestselling author of Impossibly Love, and Unresisting. A book fanatic at heart, Shane currently lives in Narragansett, RI. where she spends her days blogging and writing young adult and new adult fiction. 

Visit her online:

Impossibly Forever Teaser

Moya stayed in the room the rest of the evening. I knew she was upset after seeing Samantha’s text, so I wanted to assure her again that it meant nothing. 
I knocked twice on the door then let myself in when she didn’t respond. She sat down on the loveseat by the window, appearing deep in thought as she picked at her jeans. I sat down next to her.
“Moya, there’s really nothing to be jealous about.”
Slowly, I placed my hand at her back. “Come on, babe don’t let that ruin our weekend.”
“I’m not jealous. I’m fine.”
She rose to her feet, walking over to the window. “Yes. Really.” 
I got up as well. “You should talk to me when you’re upset, and don’t walk away like you did earlier.” 
Her expression relaxed as I took her hand. Turning slightly to meet my gaze, she said, “I’m not used to…being like this. I don’t like it. It makes me feel…”
“Vulnerable,” I finished for her. “I understand, babe.”
She faced me fully, her chocolate brown eyes craving for me. “I hate that another girl loved you that much, before me.” She laughed at herself. “It makes me seem possessive, but I want to love you more…so much more than she did.”
“That’s intense,” I teased. 
Scoffing, Moya rolled her eyes and spun away from me, staring out the window again. I edged closer and cloaked my arms around her. “I like how passionate you are, because I’m the same. I want to be your first and your last. I want every part of you, Moya.”
Seconds later, I was peering into her mesmerizing eyes again. My heart started to race just as her breathing strengthened. There was something rising between us. Heat circulated in the air, making it difficult to control my thoughts. 
Unexpectedly, Moya pushed into my chest, biting on my bottom lip as she kissed me hard.
We continued for a while, burning up in desire, until Moya yanked on my shirt and guided me over to the bed.


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Friday, March 14, 2014

We Cannot Make Amends

Expected Publication:  May 13th, 2014
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend (Broken Hearts and Revenge #1)
By: Katie Finn
Feiwel and Friends
ISBN-13:  9781250045249

Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour.  This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated.  She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer -- which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier.  Do people hold grudges that long?

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she's someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.  

Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it kind of hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrasing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that?!).  Is it coincidence, or is someone trying to expose her true identity?  And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?


     Gemma has been going out with Teddy for almost two years now.  She thinks they have the perfect relationship - so imagine her surprise when he dumps her in the candle aisle at Target.  And when she sees him less than a week later, and he's already with some other girl.  Her best friend Sophie is trying to pull her out of her funk, but things only get worse when Gemma has to spend the summer with her Dad in the Hamptons.  She hasn't been back there in five years, and doesn't want to go back now - especially after the horrible way she betrayed her (then) summer-best-friend Hallie.  So Gemma is not excited to go back, at all.  Then she meets Hallie's brother Josh, who mistakes her for someone else due to her new short, red hair and the name on her coffee being that of Sophie, and he introduces her to Hallie that way.  Gemma thinks she's been given a chance by the Universe to start over and make amends for all the wrongs she committed.  Instead it seems like the universe is out to get her and karma is getting its revenge, when nothing goes right (how was she supposed to know that bathing suit would fall apart?!).  But are things really as simple as that, or is there something more sinister behind all Gemma's mishaps...say, a little revenge?
     I will be honest - I read the first thirty percent or so of this book, and after that spent most of it skimming.  This book was extremely shallow.  I knew right when Gemma's bathing suit fell apart in the swimming pool (after she borrowed it from Hallie, who embarrassed her by telling her to dress formal to a pool party), that Hallie was behind it.  I mean seriously, like no one is going to recognize Gemma just because she dyed and cut her hair?  Yeah, right.  The whole thing with Josh was annoying because the first part of the book is all about how devastated Gemma was by the break up with Teddy and then the next thing you know, she's lusting after (and half in love with) Josh.  Honestly, the whole time I was reading this it felt like a Gossip Girl wannabe.  It had a bit more likeability and relatability to it than that, but at its core it was a shallow, revenge centered piece of fluff.  I was disappointed because it did show some moments of heart, especially in the scenes between Sophie and Gemma.  But I think Gemma stealing Sophie's identity kind of axed that out.  Overall, I majorly disliked it and didn't really find anything worthwhile in it.  Won't be reading the next one.

VERDICT:  1/5  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 May 13th, 2014.*

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Let Me Choose My Fate

Published:  February 11th, 2014
Fates (Fates #1)
By: Lanie Bross
Delacorte Press
ISBN-13:  9780385742825

One moment.  One foolish desire.  One mistake.  And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world.  Her punishment?  To make sure people's fates unfold according to plan.  Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller.  His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tinge of doubt.  It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again -- this time for a boy she knows she can never have.  Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die.  In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?


     Why the FREAKING HECK do I do this to myself???  I took one look at this book, and knew from the start that barring a miracle, it wouldn't be higher than a three star rating for me.  But being the eternal optimist, I went ahead with it anyways.  Predictably, it was a complete and total mess of a book.  Let's see what I can unravel for you in this "review" of mine.  The book centers around Corinthe, who was one of the Fates in a place called Pyralis Terra.  She sorted the Fates of the world, until she committed a horrible mistake in the name of curiosity.  Exiled to Earth, for the last ten years Corinthe has been trying to earn her way home by carring out the will of the Universe.  Or at least that's what she's been told by her "guardian", Miranda.  In reality, Miranda has been using Corinthe for her own purposes for the last decade and is an enemy of the Fates.  She tells Corinthe that her last assignment is to kill a boy named Lucas Kaller.  It will set off a chain reaction of events, that will bring Pyralis Terra crumbling down.  Then the Radicals (Miranda's faction of beings) can take over everything.  But when things spiral out of control, and Luc ends up on a quest to save his sister alongside Corinthe, the fate of her world hangs in the balance.  Can they do the right thing and still save their hearts?
     From what I managed to gather, there are a bunch of different realms and the way in is through the crossroads.  I was completely unsurprised by any of the "major" plot twists in this book (Miranda being evil, Luc's sister being kidnapped, picking the magical flower they need equaling death, etc.).  The whole thing was entirely confusing with terms like Radicals, Unseen Ones, Fates, and Executors being used with no real explanation ever given.  I guess she was expecting the plot to explain them.  Well, it freaking DIDN'T!  More than half of the book was spent in our world with Corinthe drifting around, closing out fates (getting people killed in accidents, breaking up couples, etc.), and whining about how much she wants to go home again.  I was able to empathize a bit more with Luc, who has a home life similar to my own growing up.  Alcoholic father, out of control younger sibling, and absent mother (mine was just emotionally absent).  It puts the pressure on, to get as much done as possible, bring in money, and save everyone around you.  
     I get that Luc's intrigued by the crazy looking chick (Corinthe) when he first sees her, in the midst of a car-wreck.  But you don't go directly from curiosity, to hatred, and to dreamy, unexplainable insta-love!  The romance in this mad absolutely ZERO SENSE!  Honestly the more intriguing romance was the star-crossed one between Miranda and Rhys.  I adored the whole matching compass thing with the archer and the ballerina.  Their love kind of made me want to cry.  That said, their love story and the reasons they were apart were confusing as well, because what they were (Radicals) was never really explained.  Why do they do the things they do Lanie?  I WANNA KNOW!!!  The entire conflict with the blood nymphs, Luc's sister Jasmine being kidnapped and given to them, and the gnome who almost kidnaps Corinthe for good, felt like they belonged in a completely different book.  They were high fantasy/mythology, when the rest of this book was boring, slow-moving, contemporary insta-love.  Overall, this book was a gigantic mess.  The ending was a poorly done cliffhanger and I am definitely NOT reading the next one!  I don't recommend it unless you like being extremely confused and pissed off by badly plotted story, riddled with holes.

VERDICT:  1.5/5  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 February 11th, 2014.*

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When Audrey Met Alice Blog Tour - Review and Guest Post!!!

Published:  February 4th, 2014
When Audrey Met Alice
By: Rebecca Behrens
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN-13:  9781402286421

First daughter Audrey Rhodes can't wait for the party she has planned for Friday night.  The decorations are all set, and the pizza is on its way.  But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute - citing security breach, and squashing Audrey's chances for making any new friends.  What good is being "safe and secure" if you can't have any fun?

Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt's hidden diary.  The former first daughter gives Audrey tons of ideas for having fun.....and more problems than she can handle.


     This book is a half and half, between modern times and a hundred years ago.  It is a cultural snapshot of what it means to be the First Daughter, to the United States President.  For Audrey Rhodes, ever since her Mom became President, her life has sucked.  She was forced to leave behind all her friends, her school and her extended family to move to D.C. and into the White House.  And now that she's there, Audrey doesn't fit in at her new school, where being the First Daughter just makes her different from her classmates, difficult to hang out with and somewhat unapproachable.  Her parents don't have time for her anymore with their official duties and Audrey feels beyond lonely and alone.  After a failed party attempt, Audrey finds Alice Roosevelt's diary hidden beneath a floorboard.  Suddenly, there is someone who understands the harsh public scrutiny, expectations and stifling nature of being the President's daughter.  Alice's on the edge, adventurous style of living inspires Audrey to make some choices (maybe not the best kind) to spice up her life, and rebel against all the new rules she's under.  But when her decisions hurt others, her parents especially, can Audrey turn things around?  WWAD (What Would Alice Do)?
      I did feel really badly for Audrey.  Having that much attention on your daily life, and having so many imposed rules would definitely be difficult to adjust to.  Also, she's alone at school (except for a friend named Quint, who she may like as more than just a friend) and Audrey feels like her parents are ignoring her, other than to be a showpiece for them at events to boost approval ratings.  Alice's "journal" entries (all fabricated by Behrens, though inspired heavily by real events and much research) were very interesting to read about.  Alice led a very scandalous life, supporting gay marriage before it was socially acceptable, smoking (unladylike), visiting with foreign dignitaries, betting at the race track, carrying a flask and speaking her mind.  There was never a dull moment with Alice Roosevelt around.  That said, the book gives a nice contrast of how it takes some time for Alice and Audrey both to grow up, see the perspectives of those around them and be responsible for the consequences of their actions.  Throughout the book, the characters grow side by side, becoming more mature people.  But I felt like the secondary characters were extremely one-dimensional and only served to move the plot along.  The feel of this novel is very middle grade, and I feel like it would really appeal to middle-schoolers, who are still deciding their identities.  Audrey is a strong protagonist, who makes mistakes like the rest of us - a great role model for young girls.  I feel like because of my age though, I had a difficult time connecting to a protagonist who was fairly naive.  I'd recommend it to younger, middle school aged readers.  It could open some very interesting discussions about the changes in the focus of the media, celebrity privacy, and behavioral consequences.

VERDICT:  3/5 Stars

*I received this book from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on February 4th, 2014.*


I’ve always been fascinated by first daughters. As a kid, I remember seeing old photographs of little Caroline Kennedy dancing in the Oval Office and messily playing with rubber cement on a White House carpet. I couldn’t stop wondering what it would be like to grow up in the White House. It seems like such a serious, powerful place—not one where you can have tea parties or build a tree house or play hide-and-seek with your siblings. But people really live there, and from the second I made that connection, I was obsessed with the idea of kids in the White House.

Before I began researching When Audrey Met Alice, I assumed most First Daughters would have to be pretty well behaved. It surprised me when I first started reading about Alice Roosevelt’s crazy exploits. If there was a rule, Alice would break it: from getting speed tickets while driving her runabout around town to smuggling contraband (often whiskey) in her elbow gloves. She got in trouble for letting photographers catch her placing bets at the racetrack and for dancing on the roof at a party. Alice was the original wild child, but there are other presidential daughters who got into trouble: Amy Carter for bring a book to an important state dinner; Susan Ford for ditching her Secret Service detail for a joy ride; Luci Baines Johnson for getting B grades in school; Jenna and Barbara Bush for getting underage-drinking tickets. And Chelsea Clinton recently revealed that she sneaked into the President Clinton’s inauguration wearing a too-short skirt, which she hid from Hillary under a long coat, until it was too late to change. It’s fascinating to figure out the ways in which First Daughters have misbehaved.

With two First Daughters at 1600 Pennsylvania right now, it’s interesting to think about how the Internet age affects their life in DC. For the most part, the media has respected the “unofficial agreement” to not report on the girls unless it’s part of official White House business (i.e., they can be photographed at a holiday event, but not on their way to school). A few stories have sneaked out, such as Malia attending a concert with her Secret Service agents incognito. Around the time I started writing When Audrey Met Alice, a photo of Sasha ran in one of the tabloid newspapers. It showed her in a rainbow-colored bathing suit, crouched on a beach in Spain during a trip with her mom. Sasha was drawing something in the sand, and looked like any other kid at the beach—except for the massive crowd of gawkers and paparazzi cordoned off behind her. That photo became my emotional shortcut while writing Audrey’s and Alice’s stories—because it illustrated that for all of the wonderful opportunities that come with being a First Daughter, there is a lot of scrutiny, and maybe a little loneliness. I hope When Audrey Met Alice makes readers think about how living in the White House might be challenging—but that it shows the fun of being a First Daughter, too!


Rebecca Behrens grew up in Wisconsin, studied in Chicago, and now lives with her husband in New York City, where she works as a production editor for children’s books. Rebecca loves writing and reading about girls full of moxie and places full of history. When she’s not writing, you can find her running in the park, reading on a beach, or eating a doughnut. Visit her online at


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Memory Witch Blog Tour - Book Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!!!

Series: The Memory Witch #1
Release Date: December 15th 2013
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Purchase: Amazon


Ten years ago, Quinn Jacobs’ mother made a bargain with a local witch—steal away Quinn’s memories from the first eight years of her life and in return, Quinn would spend a year in servitude to the witch.

On Quinn’s eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to leave her home and friends behind. For the next year, she’ll live at the Chadwick House, learning everything she needs to know about being a spellcaster. As her powers grow, Quinn begins to unravel the secrets of the past and the reason her mother was so desperate to conceal the horrifying truth.


Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the paranormal romance Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl .

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today,, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.

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