Sunday, February 28, 2010



"It's Monday! What are you reading?" was created by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog. It has been since been taken over by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!




Last week I read:
spidersbite

My review for Jordan here.









This week I am currently reading:
instanttemptation


I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book (my first ever!) so I was really excited to begin reading it... I'm also liking it so it's living up to the excitement :)






Next week I plan to read:
Not sure but I want to read a YA for a change.
On the spotlight today is...


Author Bio (taken from Hachette)
USA TODAY bestselling author Susan Kearney is a native of New Jersey and has a Business Degree from the University of Michigan. Her fifty plus books include contemporary, romantic suspense, historical, futuristic, science fiction and paranormal novels. She resides in a suburb of Tampa-with her husband, kids, Boston terriers and iguana. Currently she's plotting her way through her 52st work of fiction. You can reach her through her web site at www.susankearney.com.

Extra: Five fun facts about the two previous books in the series Lucan and Rion.



Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Forever
Language: English
ISBN: 9780446543330
Cover Image from Hachette
Source of my copy: Hachette Book Group
Synopsis
A DANGEROUS MISSION
Vivianne Blackstone devotes herself to her career, putting her love life on hold. Her latest project is a spaceship designed to protect Earth from the deadly Tribes. But its engineer, the alluring Jordan McArthur, now threatens both her job and her wary heart . . .
AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE
Jordan's past goes back to King Arthur, and he must find the ancient artifact that can save the galaxy. Vivianne's ship is his best hope, but convincing the fiercely independent beauty won't be easy. Especially when the passion flaring between them burns through their defenses - and love is the last thing they need to survive.


Michelle's Review:
Jordan is the last book in Ms. Kearney's Pendragon Legacy series. I read the first book Lucan (see my review of the book here) but I didn't read the second book Rion and that's okay because this book can be enjoyed without reading the first two. First off, let me just say that I think this book have the hottest man cover out of the three in the series! Don't you all agree?

That being said, I think I would've enjoyed this book more if it was less busy. There was a lot that went on in this book and the telling became a bit uneven. There were also a bunch of stuff in this book that were a little hard to swallow like the fact that Jordan, the hero, is actually the Merlin from the Arthur legend and when Jordan and Vivianne landed on a planet and met Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere. In this book they are a happy threesome with Guinevere having so many babies one after the other that the men don't who the father is for some of them. That made me pause and go what?!

As for the hero and heroine, I liked them separately, I liked them together and I liked their romance. Jordan is the noble, responsible, take charge hero with a scarred past that I like. Vivianne, who also had a scarred past, is the strong business woman with brains, looks and guts and I thought they were well-matched. I believed in their romance (unlike the hero and heroine of Lucan) and they had some interesting sex scenes in zero gravity. This book focused more on finding the keys to Jordan's ancient Staff for the most part than finding finding the Grail but the last chapters did focus on the hunting down Tredonis and putting a stop to the Tribes from destroying earth plot that began in the first book.

Overall, I give this book a 2.5 (between an "ok but not great" and "liked it") out of 5. If you're looking for a cross-genre book, this is it. It is a romance, sci-fi, fantasy, futuristic, dragon-shifting book with non-stop galactic action--but sometimes I wish it wasn't trying to be all these things at once.

Here are the other books in the series:











**Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My review was based on MY own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries. Any items I receive "in kind" will never be sold. They will either be kept by me, donated to the Hawaii Public Library or given away on contests on this blog.**

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bookmark Day and the Winner of Countess of Scandal

Saturday, February 27, 2010 with
Monica of the Bibliophilic Book Blog (one of my favorite bloggers!) is hosting BOOKMARK DAY! Here's the deets (taken from her blog):
"Bookmark day will be an ode to the bookmark...I will showcase bookmark creators, different kinds of bookmarks and offer sales on bookmarks in addition to an amazing assortment of bookmarks you can win...Oh yes, I know how you love prizes! :) There will also be some book giveaways as well...and maybe a nice signed set of books. When might this illustrious date take place?? 15 March"
Come one, come all!! Go to her blog and RSVP to get in on special bookmark giveaways and deals from sellers. There will also be a giveaway for those who decided to stop by on the day of. Also, if you're an author, a reader, a blogger or an Etsy seller wanting to donate bookmarks, books, make deals for promotions or want your work showcased you can sign up on her blog as well!

I'm going to attempt to be crafty and make a couple bookmarks to donate for this day so one of you might even win a Michelle original! :-D So please go check it out. Here's the link.

And now... The winner of countessscandalis Lisa R (alterlisa@y)!

I already emailed you. Please reply back with your shipping address in 48 hours so I can pass it on to Hachette. Thanks for entering everyone! :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's midday right now instead of midnight. It's only a little past eleven and I have a few minutes free so I thought I'd talk about my favorite romance themes or plot lines. But before I do that, an update on my Project 20 Books challenge. I won a $20 from the Bibliophilic Book Blog and a $10 amazon gift card from The Bradford Bunch earlier month! There was a lot of squeeing when I found out because that meant I finally got to buy books! And so I did and I'll do another post once they arrive in the mail!! :-D About time too because my wish list was getting longer and longer as the weeks go by... Okay, back to romantic plots...

StarflowerI was looking at my bookshelf the other day and deciding which books I am going to donate to my local library as I gotta make room for the new additions when I got distracted (as I am wont to do whenever I decide to clean my shelves). I started reading favorite parts in some of my keepers and I noticed a frequency in the books I own. Most of the romance books I own have a hero and heroine that have a history even before the story in their book began--whether they grew up together, were married but estranged or divorced, were best friends, went to school together, were former lovers and whatever else. There is just something about a second chance at love or finding a romantic love where you least expect it (as in finding it in someone you've known for a while time) that's terribly romantic to me. I can't get enough of these romantic plot lines.

icedancingmedalMaybe this is why after I watched the Olympic ice dancing competition, I keep imagining some kind of romance between the partners, especially in the U.S. and Canadian medal winners. Many of these competitors trained respective partners since they were young kids. And did anyone else see their performance? So much chemistry there! Also, when they were waiting for their scores and how they both sat nervous and holding each other... Oh the romance of it all makes my romantic heart flutter!! You can't help but imagine there might be something more between them than friendship and shared hard work. Their story definitely has the makings of a romance novel don't you think? Am I being weird with this? (Image taken from NYDaily News; no infringement intended)

Anyway, those romantic plot lines I mentioned above are ones I love reading best. However, there are some romantic plot lines I tend to stay away from. One is a brothers or best friends fighting over the same girl or guy (doesn't matter if these three characters grew up together) because those stories always leave someone broken hearted. Or if not broken hearted and they decided to become a menage then I don't read those either. I don't find menage or menage-esque stories romantic. Others that doesn't appeal to me much are guardians falling in love with his/her charge (which happens a lot in historical romances) stories and May-September romances and stories featuring widow heroines. For some reason I tend to stay away from widows, especially ones who's had a great relationship with their dead husband. Maybe because I can't relate? Or I like the idea of having one soul mate--you just have to find and recognize him? Hmm... I don't know.

So, what are you're favorite romantic plots or themes? Anyone read any romances lately with a plot I mentioned above that I like? Recommendations are always welcome ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why I want to read them: I've been coveting a lot of YA books lately and I discovered these two from the blog reviews. I especially want to read Ice because it's based on one of my favorite fairytale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." I also included Wake because I'm a sucker for series books and this one sounds interesting and scary/creepy.

iceBlurb:
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

Ice is out in stores. Here's a link to the author's website for more info.

*******

wakeBlurb:
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...

Wake is out in stores. Here's a link to the author's website for more info.



"Books I Covet" is a new weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!




Don't forget to enter our 100th Post Giveaway where you can win: greatterriblebeauty OR somethingblue

Monday, February 22, 2010

100th Post Giveaway (Closed)

Monday, February 22, 2010 with
Labels:
**CLOSED**
We just realized that Leslie's Leviathan review was our 100th post! WOW!! We didn't think we'd come this far and couldn't believe it! To celebrate this momentous occasion we are going to put on a small


and you could win either:

greatterriblebeauty OR somethingblue

To enter:
  • Must be a confirmed/visible follower of our blog.
  • Leave a comment and let us know which book you'd like to win!
  • +1 entry every time you advertise (tweet, sidebar or blog) this giveaway. Just leave the link(s) in your comment.
  • Open to U.S. addresses only.
  • Ends March 15, 2010 and the winner will be chosen by random.org.
Know that both these books are gently read. Sorry international peeps but we're a little broke and can't afford international shipping right now--but we promise there will be other international giveaways in the future.

Good luck!


"It's Monday! What are you reading?" was created by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog. It has been since been taken over by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!




Last week I read:
spidersbite


I really enjoyed this book! My review here.








This week I am reading:
spidersbite


I started this last week and I'm halfway done but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I like the cover though... I think he's the best looking one out of the three Pendragon Legacy series covers.






Next week I plan to read:
I can't decide but most likely a review book.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Olympics
I've been watching and following the Olympics since it began and this is unusual because I don't watch sports on television. Being in a stadium and cheering my team on is different--I yell my head off, stomp, jump and cheer for my team then, but I lose interest fast if I am just watching a game on TV. Anyway, I think the reason why I like the Olympics so much is because they show these segments about the athlete's life and their journey to get to where they are now. Some are really emotional and I get caught up in their stories, which makes me root for them more to succeed and get a medal.

The one story that really touched my romantic heart though was the one about the married couple in pairs figure skating, Shen and Zhao from China. They have never won a gold medal in the last two Olympics they participated in before Vancouver. In 2007, they announced their plans to get married and their retirement from the sport. But last year they decided to come out of retirement and try to win that elusive gold medal in this year's games. I watched their performance last Tuesday and was cheering for them to win... and they did, which was amazing! Their story is definitely worthy of a romance novel!


Guest Posting
Leslie and I are all over the blogosphere this weekend! Leslie was interviewed by the Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century (one of our favorite YA blogs) for her weekly Sunday Spotlight feature. Leslie is talking about what else... blogging and books! I am guest posting on the Borders True Romance blog where I share three of my favorite romance novel hero quotes and one of my all-time favorite romantic scene--go over and share your favorite quote as well! On Friday I am a guest reviewer at the Royal Reviews blog. I'll be reviewing Meredith Duran's debut book Duke of Shadows, so please stop on by there as well!


Images from NBC 2010 Winter Olympics website.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hardcover: 440 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Language: English
ISBN-10:
1416971734
ISBN-13: 9781416971733
Source of my copy: borrowed from local library
Cover Image from GoodReads
Synopsis

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.


Leslie's Review:
When Aleksandar Ferdinand's, the prince of Austria-Hungarian, people turns on him, he runs away with four loyal men who helped to protect him from the terrible war arising. Then, you'll meet Deryn Sharp who was preparing for her test to be part of the British Air Service and disguised as a boy. Their countries are part of a great war between the Clankers (large iron machines supplied with "guns and ammunition") versus the Darwinists ("fabricated animals" used for defense). Alek was sided with the Clankers and Deryn with the Darwinists. The plot was very exciting--filled with the action of war, the growing friendship of Alek and Deryn, and staying alive and protected. Overall, I really liked this book for its adventure and how the two main characters become friends even though they are from opposing sides.

Westerfeld wrote back and forth from Alek's point of view to Deryn's every two chapters. I thought that Deryn's chapters seemed more exciting and her character was smarter than Alek's. Alek would make mistakes that puts him in danger because then someone would find out his true identity while Deryn would think fast and plan to get herself out of her sticky situations. However, Alek had his brave moments and they were equally enjoyable to read as well.

The character I admired the most was Deryn. I liked how brave, aware, smart, fast and she thinks like a soldier. It made me wish I had those qualities. But in the book you'll also see Deryn's girly side and you'll understand when you read the book. About the friendship between Alek and Deryn, I liked how they made promises to each other for their own protection in the war and they trusted each other when they were on opposing sides! They both kept those promises no matter what danger it may put them in and that was a great read because I always enjoy a good friendship story.

The pictures by Keith Thompson were totally amazing and adds to the awesomeness of the book. For me, it helped me imagine what is going on in the story and how the author wanted it to play out in your head.

Overall, this book deserves 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait for the next book!


**Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my local library. My review was based on MY own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing and reading this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the spotlight today is Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep...

jenniferestep Author's Bio: (taken from the author's website)
By night, Jennifer Estep is an author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Jennifer is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series for Berkley. The Bigtime books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love. Titles in the series are Karma Girl (2007), Hot Mama (2007), and Jinx (2008).

By day, Jennifer is an award-winning features page designer for a daily newspaper with a wide range of media and journalism experience. She’s also a certifiable fangirl and an authority on fantasy literature and culture. Jennifer is a member of Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and other writing groups.

Jennifer’s books have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, and a variety of other publications.

You can also find Jennifer on Facebook and on the Simon & Schuster site.

spidersbiteestep
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Pocket
Language: English
ISBN 10: 1439147973
ISBN 13: 9781439147979
Cover Image from Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster
Source of my copy: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way -- good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.


Michelle's Review:
I started reading this book unsure whether I'd like it and if I can even finish it. I had judged the cover (which is wrong by the way because Gin's hair was blond in most of the book), read the blurb and found it not very appealing. But, man oh man, was I ever wrong! I loved this book and I have found a new addicting series to obsess about. I am going to be counting down the days until the next book comes out for sure!

This uncompromising urban fantasy is very dark and violent. It is very well-written with memorable characters and the world building in this book is great. Set in the city of Ashland where humans, vampires, giants, dwarfs and elementals all co-exist--magic does not guarantee you an easy life and many magical and non-magical alike have fallen on hard times and the city is overrun by poverty, corruption, greed and violence.

Spider's Bite is the first book in Ms. Estep's new Elemental Assassin series, which features the kick-ass heroine assassin Gin Blanco (aka the Spider). Orphaned after a fire elemental killed her family, she was taken in by Fletcher Lane, the owner of the restaurant Pork Pitt, who trained her to become the deadliest assassin in the city of Ashland. When she was double-crossed on a job and Fletcher was tortured and killed in the process, she goes out to avenge his death as well as discover who dared to play her false. Gin is a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic as well. While she doesn't necessarily like to kill, she'll do it for the job and takes pride in the fact that she does it very well without the aid of her magical abilities. She kills for a living, but she has her standards and very loyal to those she cares for. I also like that the author gave her little quirks--she's a great cook and likes working at the Pork Pitt and likes to take random fun classes at the community college. Gin is a flawed character but a very likable one and I like her voice (the story is told in first person).

In addition to a great lead you will root for, the book also features great supporting characters. We have Finn who was Fletcher's son and a banker. He is like a brother to Gin and they have great sibling-like banter. Then there is Detective Donovan Caine, one of the last honest cops in the city and Gin's love interest. In normal circumstances, Caine would've prosecuted Gin for killing his partner but was forced to work with Gin and Finn to catch the psychotic elemental--there is great sexual tension between the two!

My only gripe with this book, which annoyed me throughout, was the author's use of the phrase "my gray eyes" every time Gin's eyes were mentioned all throughout the book. Maybe this is just me personally, but when an author tack on a descriptor or keep mentioning something over and over again, I want to scream "Yes, I get it! So and so is/has ___" This is minor though and doesn't take away for the story. Anyway, those in the mood for a fast-paced, no holds barred urban fantasy will love this book. I give it 5 stars out of 5 (see more about our ratings here). This book is great start to the series and the next book, Web of Lies, can't come soon enough!

webofliesestep

Book 2 in the series! It comes out on May 25, 2010.










**Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My review was based on MY own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries. Any items I receive "in kind" will never be sold. They will either be kept by me, donated to the Hawaii Public Library or given away on contests on this blog.**

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Books I Covet: Aurelia and Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 with
Why I want to read them: I was over at amazon the other night browsing books (something I often do when I'm bored) and I ran across these two books. I'm a sucker for pretty covers and both these books have nice, intriguing ones. I also like the blurbs on both and they sound like my kind of books.

Anyone read either of these two already? What are your thoughts? If you reviewed them, let me know so I can check them out. Thanks!



aureliaBlurb:
Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king’s former royal spy and one of Aurelia’s oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line—her life, her kingdom, her heart—Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.



*******

academy7Blurb:
With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin—son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance— consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship—and romance—begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. . . .


Both books are out in stores. Here's a link to the author's website.



"Books I Covet" is a new weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Leisure Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0843962968

ISBN-13: 9780843962963
Source of my copy: I bought it
Cover Image from GoodReads
Synopsis

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Hidden in the dark heart of Victorian London, the Romanesque school was dreadfully imposing, a veritable fortress, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met its powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadows, of the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She saw simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gift. This arched stone doorway was a portal to a new life, to an education far from what could be had at a convent-and it was an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death...

Michelle's Review:
I first heard of this book when a few blogs I follow reviewed it last year and it pique my interest. I went on the author's website and when she said it's a cross between Harry Potter and a Jane Austen novel, and being a die-hard fan of both, I had to read it then. This book is different and a welcome respite from all the urban fantasy I've been reading lately. I have to say, though, I see it more of a cross between Jane Eyre and Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy--but that's just me and I like this book just the same.

Yes, it was well-written. I love the whole feel of it and definitely transported me to the Victorian Era--I can almost feel the fog, the shadows, the wet cobblestones under my feet when reading it. I also like the ghost busters and magic aspect of the book--six friends (called The Guard) given the task of keeping the ghostly population of Victorian London well in hand while they await for their prophesied seventh member--which makes for an interesting story. I liked the friendship the six group members had and their banter and the love (or unrequited love) between them. I did want to shake them for their stubbornness in not even considering that Percy could be the seventh but other than that I liked them, especially Elijah and Josephine.

However, I wasn't sure what to make of our heroine Percy Parker in the beginning. She was an oddity in that she was an albino and painfully shy and timid. I don't mind shy and timid heroines, but her cowering, whimpering, apologetic attitude and basically lack of self-confidence annoyed me a little, especially when she is around the broody and mysterious hero Professor Alexi Rychman who does a lot of pacing, prowling, stalking about in his long, dark coat. I don't know what I feel about him either because I feel like he could have been... for the lack of a better word, nicer to Percy in the beginning. But I guess without his pushing her, she wouldn't have grown as a character and gain that self-confidence in the end. Despite my minor annoyances between these two characters, there were a lot of lovely moments between the two of them (my favorite being Alexi teaching Percy how to waltz) and I do like their love story. I thought it sweet and I feel Alexi and Percy balance each other out. The characters of Percy, the swooning heroine and Alexi, the dark and brooding hero, are definitely classic Gothic novels characters.

There were a lot of ghostly action in this book and I gave a sigh of relief when The Guard finally recognized Percy as their seventh and not the evil Ms. Linden. I'm very interested in reading the next book of the series and see what comes next for Percy now that she's with Alexi and unquestionably the seventh member of The Guard. Percy grew as a character in this book and I'd love to see her grow more and evolve in the next book as she comes into her power. Maybe in the next book, we'll also see a change in Alexi? Percy did soften him towards the end of Strangely Beautiful and I want to see more of that change. I give this book 4 stars (see our rating system here) and recommend it to those looking for a good classic Gothic/paranormal read. I am going to be handing over this book to Leslie to see what she thinks of it--this book can pass as a young adult book.



Extra:

I have to include this picture of Percy I found on the author's website. At first I thought it was a painting but believe it or not, that's a picture of the author dressed as Miss Percy Parker for Halloween! Awesomeness!! Click on the picture for a larger image.








**Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. My review is based on my own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing and reading this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**

Monday, February 15, 2010

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595141758
ISBN-13: 978-1595141750
Source of my copy: borrowed from my local public library
Cover Image from Richelle Mead's website
Synopsis
Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians--including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks....This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

Leslie's Review:
There isn't much to say about the book since it was almost like the first book, Vampire Academy. The only difference between the two is that Frostbite had a more intense conflict.

When I got to the conflict, I just couldn't stop reading. When it seem to be that Rose was going to get out of her mess, she doesn't and has to continue fighting to escape. I think the reason this book's conflict was better was because there were more events that led up to it, unlike the first where the conflict catches you by surprise.

Rose gets hurt a lot in this book, so she tries to cover up her feelings with rebellious acts, which adds to the rising action. It was sort of different with Rose getting tied up with all her problems and get hurt enough to runaway to be alone. But (and this is what I admire most about her character) is that no matter how bad things are with her, she always put Lissa, her best friend, first and not get her worried about her problems. Reading this book, I wish I had that selfless quality Rose has. But then again, if I did, I'd probably go crazy with all that hurt bottled up. I'm glad this book lived up to the first in its series and turned out to be better. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I give this book 5 stars. (Learn more about our new rating system here.)


**Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my local library. My review was based on MY own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing and reading this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**


"It's Monday! What are you reading?" was created by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog. It has been since been taken over by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!





Last week I read:





I've been a little lazy. I still need to write a review for this one.







This week I am reading:
spidersbite


This one has a kick-ass assassin heroine and set in a paranormal world. Something a little different than what I normally read but I'm really liking it so far.








Next week I plan to read:
Not sure, maybe a review book if I get my copy this time around... I never did receive my copy of Countess of Scandal :'(

Saturday, February 13, 2010

FYI: New Cover to Nalini Singh Psy-changeling Series

Saturday, February 13, 2010 with
Labels:
WOO-HOO!!
The cover of Max's book! It'll be released on July 2010.

Friday, February 12, 2010

**CLOSED**

On the spotlight today is Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee...


Michelle's Take:
There is a problem with the shipping of my review copy of this book and I haven't received it yet. I'll be contacting my local USPS later in the day when they open and hopefully the problem will be resolved. Right now I don't know if I'll be doing a review for Countess of Scandal, which is a shame because it looks really good and my favorite kind of historical romance--a hero and heroine reunite for a second chance at love.

But lucky for you, I'm still hosting a giveaway of this book. Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I can give away a copy of Countess of Scandal.

countessscandalAs children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess.

Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.

When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.




Disclaimers:
VERY IMPORTANT! Please read before entering!
1. This giveaway is being sponsored by Hachette Book Group and NOT Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks. If you win, you'll receive your book directly from Hachette.
2. Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks is NO way for responsible for prizes that are not honored by the sponsor, dispersed in a timely manner, stolen, lost and/or damaged during transit.
3. Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks have the right to change or cancel this giveaway at any time without a prior notice.
4. Please make sure you understand the above disclaimers before entering and good luck!


Rules:
1. Only residents of the U.S. or Canada are eligible to win.
2. No P.O. Boxes.
3. Leave your email address in your comment entry--no email no entry.
3. This giveaway will end two weeks from now and the winner will be selected using random.org. The winner will be announced soon after.
4. I will be emailing the winner and they will have 72 hours to email me back with their shipping address. If they fail to do so, I will select a new winner. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS.

To enter:
We'll keep it simple this time, just leave a comment below with your email address and your name is in for the draw.
spidersbiteI'm in the last few chapters of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (review coming in the next few days). Next up is Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep, a paranormal romance and a review book from Pocket. I'm a little apprehensive about this one because I don't remember the last time I read a romance novel in first person and it's also the first book of a series that will be ongoing--meaning all the books to come after the first will follow that same couple. I've come to realize that Strangely Beautiful is also going to be an ongoing series but it doesn't really bother me because it reads like YA. For some reason I don't mind ongoing series in the YA genre, but I find myself avoiding it in romance based on past experience and here are three reasons why:

There is no happily ever after.
I read romance for the happily ever after ending. I've always preferred romance series where there are different but related leads in each book because at the end of the book is that guarantee happily ever after. There is a conclusion to the story. We may see the characters again in the next book but the focus is now on a different couple. With an ongoing series with the same couple in every book, we don't get that happily ever after, only a happy for now until the next book.

There is usually a love triangle.
If there's one plot line I hate in romance, it's love triangles. I'm a traditionalist in that I prefer one hero and one heroine. None of that one hero and one almost hero and the heroine have to choose between the two, a plot line that's been really popular lately I've noticed (like in Jennifer Haymore's A Hint of Wicked--which is not an ongoing series but the only example I can think of and I book I haven't read so I can't make judgments). There can't be two heroes in mainstream romance--there's always going to be that "better" one you know the heroine is going to eventually end up with. Maybe it works sometimes but I just stay away from it because love triangles usually goes hand and hand with infidelity (whether physically or emotionally) and I can't stand reading about infidelity in any genre.

Unanswered questions that keep piling up.
An ongoing series can keep going on and on and on... After a while, the books become not so good anymore but you're still compelled to read the books because you want to know what will happen. You keep hoping that final conclusion will come and all your burning questions will be answered. But only a few unsatisfying ones are answered and you have more questions than before.

archangelskiss Other than Spider's Bite, I also won a book from a giveaway that is part of an ongoing series: Nalini Singh's Archangel's Kiss, the second book in her Guild Hunter series (but I won't read it until I get my hands on the first book). Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, that I featured on my last "books I covet" post, is also an ongoing series. All these books I really want to read. I guess it's time I step out of my happily-ever-after box and try some happy-for-now books.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FYI: Cover of Book 3 of the Hunger Games series

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 with
Labels:
SQUEEEE!!!

Not really liking the title but love the cover art! August 24 can't come soon enough...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why I want to read them: For a while now I've been seeing the button that says Proud Member Bones is mine club with a couple kissing. At first I was thought, Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan from the show? Because the woman on the button kinda looks like Brennan from Bones. Then, I "walked in" on a twitter conversation between some of the people I'm following and they were discussing a character called Bones from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series and everything clicked. Although what finally pushed me into coveting this series was a tag line I read today on a blog (sorry, I forgot which one) that says "Bones can chapter 32 me anytime." Heh? What happened in chapter 32? And what's all the fuss about this Bones character? I gotta read this series!

halfwaygrave onefootgrave atgravesend destinedgrave










The first four books of the Night Huntress series shown above are already published and available for purchase.




"Books I Covet" is a new weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Paperback: 391 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's

Language: English
ISBN 10: 1416989412

ISBN 13: 9781416989417
Cover Image from GoodReads
Source of my copy: my sister's book that she won from Cherry Mischievous (thanks Cherry!)
Synopsis (from GoodReads)

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.


Leslie's Review:

Hush, Hush
was really good and it was much more suspenseful then Twilight--not that Twilight suspenseful a book but I guess what I mean to say is that Hush, Hush is a more exciting read.

Usually I skim through the book before reading it but I didn't for this book and the story's "secrets" weren't revealed to me. One of the reasons I got addicted to this book so much was the whole question of who was the bad guy in the book.

The other reason was how it was filled with uncertainty and I don't know what's going to happen next. I loved how the main character, Nora, got caught up in danger or had that feeling someone was watching her. As I kept reading, I'd get so sucked into the action that I'd have to stop reading but I didn't want to. I loved that feeling.

Now, the characters. I'll start with Patch. He's that bad boy that a good girl would find herself attracted to him because they can't help it. Patch was dangerously sexy, mysterious, but would make you feel strangely safer. He was the most exciting character in the book. Now, the most interesting character was Nora Grey. She was a good girl and I totally related to her. I can imagine how hard she tried not to get attracted to Patch. But I'm glad she got together with him because I think she and Patch balanced each other out. I liked how Patch guarded and protected Nora and they were the perfect couple.

I give this book a 4.75 stars out of 5. Although I really liked this book, it doesn't feel like five-star material for some reason.


**Disclaimer: My sister won this book from Cherry Mischievous Christmas giveaway. My review is based on my own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing and reading this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**