Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: July 26, 2011
ISBN: 9780373775798
Source of my copy: Planned TV Arts
Series: part of Long, Tall Texans

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Tall, dark and eligible? That’s all that matters to the women of Jacobsville when it comes to handsome and aloof FBI agent Jon Blackhawk. But if it were up to him, he would never settle down. Luckily, Jon has the best gatekeeper: his efficient and reliable assistant, Joceline Perry. Without her help, he’d be at the mercy of husband hunters — but the more he comes to rely on her, the more he notices how invaluable she really is....
While Joceline can’t deny that her boss is attractive, as a single mother with responsibilities she’s determined to be professional. But when Jon is accosted by a criminal seeking revenge, she comes to his aid — fueling the spark that is growing between them.
As the attempts on Jon’s life increase, Joceline stands by his side. But when the smoke clears, will the man who avoided love realize that all he ever needed was right there all along?


Michelle's Review:
This novel was my first Diana Palmer book and I was eager to read it in the beginning. I've been hearing her name for a while but the reviews for her novels were always mixed. So, basically, the story was about Joceline Perry who was a single mom--her story was that she and a man got really drunk one night and the result was her son. The man was in the military and he was shipped to the Middle East but he never came back. Joceline worked for FBI agent Jon Blackhawk as his administrative assistant and there was this long running joke in the book about Joceline's refusal to make coffee in the book. Jon was being threatened by a criminal who was connected to a powerful crime family and Joceline became a target too because she helped Jon investigate the case and put him or one of his relatives in jail--it's been a few days since I read the book and I was already initially a little confused about the whole case thing. It had something to do with Jon's brother, Kilraven and the murder of his wife and daughter.

I felt there wasn't chemistry between Joceline and Jon and I didn't feel the love between the two of them in the end. Jon wasn't also a hero--he didn't do anything or take any action as romance heroes are wont to do. Many of the characters and their dialogue (like the weird World of Warcraft talk in the first couple of chapters) didn't feel authentic to me and it felt cartoonish at times, especially Jon's mother Cammy. She was annoying trying to foist girls for Jon to marry and was total bitch to Joceline in the beginning. But Jon and Kilraven insisted she was good deep down and it's only because of what happened to her when she was younger that she was like that. It was revealed towards the end what had happened to Cammy but you would think that she would be more understanding towards Joceline because of what she went through. Then, she did a complete 360 like that **snap** and then what happened to her next with trying to catch the villain was so convoluted and silly. I could also go on about how the fact that Jon and Joceline were both supposedly being very religious people and the actions and decisions they made in the book was due to that reason but I won't. Suffice to say, it was all nonsensical.

I would liken this novel to a Harlequin Presents book--somewhat ridiculous but it kept my attention the whole time so I can't outright discount it. Merciless was an okay read for me--I didn't like it but I didn't completely hate it either. It did have a couple of good parts like Joceline's adorable son Markie and [I wasn't sure before but] I ended up liking Joceline. I am glad I read this novel because now I can cross off Diana Palmer on my authors-to-read list. If you're looking for a western romance (like the cover implied) this is not it. If you're a Diana Palmer fan, it seems a few characters from her previous books make an appearance here so you may want to check out Merciless.
Why Michelle covets this book: It's a dystopian romance. 'Nuff said.


article 5Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
(out February 14, 2012)
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

For more info and to read an excerpt about Article 5, visit the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.



"Books I Covet" is a 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, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want To Reread

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 with
toptentuesday
"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new Top Ten list topic every week and this week is "Top Ten Books I Want To Reread."

There are a ton of books that I've been wanting to reread but there's just not enough time with school, work, review books and just... life. Here are just ten books that I will reread someday:

jellicoe road1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
'Nuff said.

2. Harry Potter series
It's sad how I don't even remember character names and secondary plots anymore.

3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
It's one of those books that you devour in one setting because it is so good but then you have reread it again and it's a whole new experience.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (and the other books in the series)
jellicoe roadSame as Jellicoe Road. You devour it the first time and then slow down the second time to get all the little subtleties and little details.

5. Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
Because of Hawke.

6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It's tradition.

7. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
I'm going to savor it the second time around.

jane8. The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Wesley. 'Nuff said.

9. Jane by April Lindner
I watched Jane Eyre the movie last night and I have the strongest urge to reread Jane--which is a modern retelling.

10. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
To get ready to read Enshadowed--it's coming out August next year so I have time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Our Mailbox (44)

Sunday, September 25, 2011 with
Leslie and I only got a book each this week but they're awesome surprise books. Leslie got The Fox Inheritance and I got Sweet Venom.


Surprise
The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
(A big THANK YOU to HarperTeen and Macmillan for sending us the books.)


Won
I won a bad-ass Deadly Little Lies (by Jeanne Adams) bookmark from Joan Swan to celebrate the release of the book.
(Thank you Joan!)


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mass Paperback: 310 pages (ARC: 310 pages)
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: September 6, 2011
ISBN: 9780505528735
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Guild Hunter #4

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past...but Dmitri's need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.
Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel's right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality...the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.
As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting...and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more...


Michelle's Review:
I am a huge fan of Nalini Singh's books and I absolutely adore her Guild Hunter series. The first three books of the series focused on Elena and her archangel lover Raphael. The author changed things up in Archangel's Blade as the story focused on Dmitri instead. Since Angels' Blood (the first book in the series), I was intrigued by dark, dangerous and intense Dmitri--Raphael's second-in-command and a powerful vampire. He wasn't a likable character but I wanted to know his history and how he came to be the way he was nonetheless.

I'll just come right out and say that I love this book. Out of all the books in the series, Archangel's Blade is the darkest yet but it's my favorite. Dmitri and Honor are both fantastic, fascinating characters and I loved them both. They have both been through horrific ordeals. Honor, a Guild Hunter whose specialty was ancient language and history, was just starting to put herself and her life together again after being captured and tortured by vampires when she was called by Guild to assist Dmitri with a case. Honor always had this inexplicable fascination with Dmitri and despite of her distrust of vampires after what she went through, she couldn't stop thinking about him. Dmitri, in turn, was drawn to Honor in a way he hasn't with a woman since his beloved wife. We learn about what happened to Dmitri's wife and children and of his forced Making through flashbacks throughout the book--it was wonderful to see how Dmitri was when he was just a humble farmer, before he became a vampire.

There was a lot of blood and violence in this book (much more than the previous books in the series) but the author balances it all out with touching and heartbreaking scenes. I loved watching Honor and Dmitri find each other and come together. I love Elena and Raphael but Honor and Dmitri are something else and their story was breathtaking. I hope the author writes another book with Dmitri and Honor as the main couple again in the future.

There were essentially two mysteries in the novel. One involved strange tattoos on the victims that had ties to Dmitri's tragic past, which the murder case that initially brought Dmitri and Honor together, but the focus of the story became finding the vampires responsible for Honor's capture and torture. The tattoo mystery was not fleshed out--it was mentioned in the beginning and towards the end and it seemed like it was only as a devise for Dmitri and Honor to meet. As for Raphael and Elena, they were in a few scenes (Raphael more than Elena) but I was okay with that because I wanted the story to focus on Dmitri and Honor. Illium, Venom and Holly (she was Uram's only surviving victim for the first book in the series--she's interesting and I'm thinking she may have her own book in the future) also make an appearance.

Archangel's Blade
was an emotional roller coaster ride of a read. The story just sucks you in and won't let go until the end. I devoured this book quickly and will be rereading it in the near future. If you haven't read this series, start with Angels' Blood and work your way to Archangel's Blade. I also highly recommend her Psy/Changeling series. Paranormal romance doesn't get any better than Nalini Singh.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Michelle Covets: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 with
Why Michelle covets this book: I love the premise of this book. It just sounds so lovely and magical and heartbreaking. I also like that it's set in Alaska in the 1920s.


book cover artThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
(out February 1, 2012)
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

For more info and to read an excerpt of The Snow Child, visit the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.



What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a 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, September 20, 2011

book cover art ARC: 307 pages (Hardcover: 320 pages)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: September 13, 2011
ISBN: 9781599906812

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.
Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love-and introducing an exciting new YA voice, Steven Wedel-this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.


Michelle's Review:
I was really excited to start After Obession because 1) it's has a ghost/demon possession premise, 2) it's told in alternating perspective male and female main characters, and 3) Carrie Jones was on my list of authors whose books I've been meaning to check out. This novel turned out to be a very quick read--I've read it all in two days (which hasn't happened in the while since school started).

One of the things I did like about it was the character of Alan. His Native American background was interesting, he was sensible and practical and his character was just different in a good way. I though his character was better developed and it stood out more than Aimee's character. Nothing about Aimee really stood to me. She just your typical young adult paranormal female character with nothing to really distinguish her from the rest. Moreover, I wasn't feeling the romance between Aimee and Alan. The way Aimee broke off her relationship with her boyfriend and her feelings for Alan, things just happened too fast for it to be believable.

The story's pacing was fairly fast-paced and I was never bored while reading it. I really liked the alternating perspective and enjoyed reading what Alan and Aimee were thinking and how they felt. I also liked the premise of two special teens with unique gifts having to fight a demon who not only was possessing Courtney, Aimee's best friend and Alan's cousin, but was also basically infecting the whole town with its evil. Despite that, the execution wasn't as solid and the writing, overall, had an uninspired, mainstream quality about it that I wasn't a fan of.

The last fourth of the book was especially exciting and that was when the characters, the plot and substance of the novel finally came together for me. I really liked how the authors ended the novel. I had some issues with After Obsession but for the most part I would liken this novel to an ABC Family movie--it's fairly entertaining, enjoyable and a quick read.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Forever Texas Blog Tour GIVEAWAY

Monday, September 19, 2011 with

Now that you're read our interview with Christie Craig and Jane Graves and we got you all excited for their books, here's your chance to win the books featured in the Forever Texas Blog Tour.

Thanks to Brianne and Hachette, I have 2 sets to give away. Yup, that means two lucky readers will win Don't Mess with Texas AND Heartstrings and Diamond Rings!

Giveaway Details:
  • Two (2) winners each get a set of books that includes Don't Mess with Texas by Christie Craig AND Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves
  • Gain extra entries by commenting on Christie Craig's interview post
  • Gain extra entries by commenting on Jane Graves's interview post
  • End September 30, 2011
  • US or Canadian mailing address only
  • Fill out the form to enter:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!
As part of the Forever Texas Blog Tour, we are delighted to welcome author Jane Graves--she is the author of Heartstrings and Diamond Rings (don't you just love how the title just rolls off the tongue?)...

heartstrings and diamond rings
HE'S THE MAN OF HER DREAMS . . .

In a world full of frogs, Alison Carter is determined to find her prince. Maybe her dating past is more Titanic than Love Boat, but she's seen enough happy marriages to know that true love is possible. No matter what, she won't give up on happily-ever-after. If she can't find Mr. Right, she'll simply hire someone who can.

SHE JUST DOESN'T KNOW IT YET

When Brandon Scott inherits a successful matchmaking business, he thinks his prayers have been answered. Set up a few lonely ladies, collect the fee, how hard can it be? No one needs to know he's not really a professional matchmaker-especially not his first client, the beautiful, spirited Alison. Soon he's falling for her-and her dreams of kids and carpools. But Alison is getting close to figuring out his secret, and if she learns he's deceived her too, she'll walk right out the door, taking Brandon's heart with her.

We asked Jane to share with us random facts about the heroine and hero of Heartstrings and Diamond Rings, among other things. Check out her answers:

5 songs in the Heartstrings and Diamond Rings soundtrack.
I wish I could tell you even one song, but I'm just not a music person. I know…that's really weird. The only sound I can listen to when I write is white noise. The neighbor can be running a chainsaw next door, and it doesn't bother me a bit. But put on music, and I can't concentrate on writing. I wish I could use music to put me in the mood for my story because it works so well for other writers, but my brain apparently runs on only one track at a time!

4 random facts about Alison Carter.
She lives in a brand-new condominium, but it's filled with antique furniture.

She has three cats. Four, she says, is the cutoff between normal pet owner and crazy cat lady. In truth, the crazy cat lady cutoff is the number of cats she has at any one time…plus one.

She's a fairly traditional person, yet she owns a pair of hot pink pumps with heels so stratospheric she could peek into a third story window.

She once had a date with a man who grew marijuana in the backseat of his car. It was a short‑lived relationship.

3 random facts about Brandon Scott.
He spent most of his teenage years as a pool hustler.

He spent years flipping houses, making a fortune as a real estate investor. Now the market has gone south, leaving him essentially broke.

He doesn't have a clue about how to be a matchmaker, but that doesn't stop him. If he decides to be a success at something, get out of the way, because he's going to make it happen.

2 things you must have while writing (besides the essentials).
A cup of coffee and a scented candle. We have one of those cool Keurig coffee makers—I just love those little K-Cups you stick in there, flip the lid, push the button, and voila, a cup of coffee. And it must be Butter Toffee coffee from Gloria Jean's. I also have about a gazillion candles. Every time I go shopping with my daughter, I plant myself in the candle aisle and start sniffing. She's actually been known to call my husband and say, "Mom's smelling candles again! Find more cabinet space!" If I can't kick the habit on my own, one of these days she's going to do an intervention.

1 favorite scene from Heartstrings and Diamond Rings.
Brandon makes several attempts at matchmaking on Alison's behalf, and the dates go a little…well, awry. Okay, a lot awry. After match number three, which sets the record for Worst Date Ever, Alison finds Brandon at their favorite bar and confronts him, determined to fire him once and for all. In her frustration, though, she starts tossing back one martini after another. The dialogue that comes next was a blast to write. Hope readers enjoy it!


*****
A big thanks to Jane for stopping by our blog today and for answering our questions. Heartstrings and Diamond Rings will be out in stores on October 1st. To learn more about Jane's books, check out her website, Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


**Check out our Q&A with Christie Craig. Then, look for a post later today for a chance to WIN both Don't Mess with Texas and Heartstrings and Diamond Rings.**

(Tell us your thoughts about the interview and/or Heartstrings and Diamond Rings to gain +3 extra points in the giveaway.)
We are delighted to welcome author Christie Craig. Christie is the author of the super fun Don't Mess with Texas...

don't mess with texas
Nikki Hunt thought her night couldn't get worse when her no-good, cheating ex ditched her at dinner, sticking her with the bill. Then she found his body stuffed in the trunk of her car and lost her two-hundred-dollar meal all over his three-thousand-dollar suit. Now not only is Nikki nearly broke, she's a murder suspect.

Former cop turned PI, Dallas O'Connor knows what it's like to be unjustly accused. But one look at the sexy-though skittish-suspect tells him she couldn't hurt anyone. The lead detective, Dallas's own brother, has the wrong woman and Dallas hopes a little late-night "undercover" work will help him prove it...
We asked her to tell us more about Don't Mess with Texas and to share with us her favorite scene in her novel.

5 songs in the Don't Mess With Texas soundtrack.
1. Long Tall Texan By Murry Kellum
2. Crazy Texas Woman By Jonathon Edwards
3. All my Ex’s live in Texas By George Strait
4. I fought the Law and the Law Won By Bobby Fuller
5. Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song By B.J. Thomas

By the way, I chose these for their titles.

4 random facts about Nikki Hunt.
1. Nikki has a bad habit of muttering to herself and that little flaw ended up making her a murder suspect. Or maybe it wasn’t so much the fact that she’d spouted off about killing her ex, as it was more about the fact that his body was found in the trunk of her car.

2. There are two things Nikki can’t forget: One, bailing her grandmother out of jail for buying weed. And two, finding her one-time husband bumping uglies with her part-time employee on her office sofa. By the way, she fired the employee, divorced the husband, and gave the sofa to Goodwill. The only thing she misses is the sofa.

3. Nikki learned the hard way that there is no proper etiquette or guidelines in place to deal with the fact that you just puked all over the best looking guy you’ve ever seen. Thankfully, puking all over her ex didn’t bother her as much because he was dead.

4. Nikki learns that sometimes even a dozen cupcakes can’t make a heart stop hurting.

3 random facts about Dallas O'Connor.
1. Dallas has a bad habit of burying his head in the sand. And if he can’t learn to stop doing it, it might not just be his head in jeopardy, it could be his heart.

2. Dallas learns the hard way that you should never feed your bull dog broccoli.

3. Dallas will tell any man who will listen, though, he’s pretty sure none will, that having two naked woman in your bedroom at the same time isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

2 things you must have while writing (besides the essentials).
1. My sense of humor—without it, I can’t write.

2. A scheme to commit murder—or one to solve. I’ve learned nothing can liven up a party or plot more than a dead body.

1 favorite scene from Don't Mess With Texas.
This is hard one, because I really have several favorite scenes, but I think I’ll go with the one where Nikki’s problems come to an all time high.
“I’m killing him,” Nikki muttered again fifteen minutes later as she pulled out her already over-drawn debit card again.

The grocery cashier scanned the Pepto-Bismol, Tums, Rolaids, and anti-diarrhea meds before looking at Nikki. “Kill who?”

Why did people think just because she was talking, she was speaking to them? Was she the only one who talked to herself? Nevertheless, with the cashier’s curious stare, Nikki felt obligated to answer. “My ex.” She placed a palm on her stomach as it roiled.

Holding her purchases in a plastic bag, Nikki couldn’t escape quickly enough. She darted out the door. The ball of orange sun hung low in the pre-dusk sky. Her eyes stung. She almost got to the car when the smell of grilled burgers from the hamburger joint next door washed over her and the full wave of nausea hit. A woman with two kids dancing around her came right at Nikki. Not wanting to upchuck on an innocent child, she swung around in the opposite direction, opened her bag and heaved as quietly as she could inside it.

Realizing she’d just puked on her medicine, she lost her backbone, and tears filled her eyes. Only the weak cry. The words filled her head, but damn it, right now she was weak.

She rushed to her car, wanting only to get home. Tying a knot in the bag, she grabbed her keys, hit the clicker to unlock the doors and then popped open the trunk.

Tears rolled down her cheeks. Her stomach cramped so hard her breath caught.

She got to her bumper, was just about to drop the contaminated bag into the trunk when she saw . . . She blinked the tears from her eyes as if that alone would make the image go away.

It didn’t.

There, stuffed in the back of her car, was a body.

She recognized the Armani suit first. Then she saw his face. His eyes were wide open, but something was missing.

Life.

Jack was dead.

Jack was dead in the trunk of her car.

Her vision started to swirl.

She tried to scream. Nausea hit harder. Unable to stop herself, she lost the rest of her two hundred dollar meal all over her dead ex-husband’s three thousand dollar suit.
Thanks you guys so much for having me today. It’s always a pleasure to talk about my writing or my books.

CC

*****
A big thanks to Christie for stopping by today and for the fun answers. Don't Mess with Texas is already out in stores. To learn more about Christie's books, check out her website, Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


**Check out our Q&A with Jane Graves. Then, look for a post later today for a chance to WIN both Don't Mess with Texas and Heartstrings and Diamond Rings.**

(Tell us your thoughts about the interview and/or Don't Mess with Texas and gain +3 extra points in the giveaway.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In Our Mailbox (43)

Sunday, September 18, 2011 with
I didn't think it was going to be an IMM-worthy week for me here in my new address (I recently moved because I'm back in school) but then I got these pretties yesterday. Dark Eden I was expecting but Everneath was a wonderful surprise.

For Review
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (EEEPPPP!!!)
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
(A big THANK YOU to HarperTeen for sending us the books.)

I finally spent my B&N giftcard (which I won a few months ago) last week. Coincidentally, along with the review books, the books I ordered came on Saturday too. I'm super excited for these--I'm a sucker for a good YA contemporary.
Bought
You Against Me by Jenny Downham
Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mylnowski

Meanwhile, back home with Leslie...
She got these in the mail--books that I won in a giveaway from Lisa Desrochers a couple of months ago. Leslie is especially excited because she's a Nightshade series fan.
Won
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
(A big THANK YOU to Lisa!)

I was also sent a finished copy of Flawless and a duplicate copy of Heartstrings and Diamond Rings (look out for a giveaway for these books in the future).
Surprise
Flawless by Carrie Lofty
Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves
(A big THANK YOU to Pocket and Forever.)


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

One of the books we have on our shelf that we're super excited for is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. We were lucky enough to get an early copy of it and I've actually started reading it. I have read a couple of chapters and I really, really like it already. Daughter of Smoke and Bone comes out later this month on the 27th and I highly suggest you add it to your "to-buy" list.

This novel is getting quite a lot of [well-deserved, it seems] buzz but if you've never heard of the book or haven't read the blurb:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

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

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

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

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
Doesn't that sound awesome?! What is more awesome is that there's a chapter sampler being offered on Netgalley where you can read the first 14 chapters for free!! Just click the link below:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Chapter Sampler)

Laini Taylor will also be on a 9-city US tour beginning September 27th. See the complete tour schedule on Laini's website. If you live in the Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle or LA areas lucky you! Laini will talk about her inspiration for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, answer questions from the audience, sign books and give out special prizes (with maybe even a special treat for bloggers)!

Unfortunately, we'll have to live vicariously through you guys. Le sigh.

Going to an author signing is on my and Leslie's "things to do" list. But, alas, not many YA [or romance] authors come to Hawaii for author signings. We are always a little jealous of mainland bloggers who get to go to fun signing.

So, umm... if any of you guys are planning to go to one of Laini's stops... can someone maybe get us fun swag from the event (or a signed copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone would be great too wink wink) pretty please?? **puppy dog eyes and batting eyelashes**

Anyway, for more Daughter of Smoke and Bone updates follow @LainiTaylor, @lbkids and the hashtag #smokeandbone. And show off your excitement by sporting the countdown and book excerpt widget on your blog.

So, just a little FYI about Daughter of Smoke and Bone. We hope everyone's having a lovely Saturday. Happy reading! :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Don't forget to check out our stop of The Unwanteds blog tour where Lisa McMann shares with us her favorite scene in the novel through a vlog!

theunwanteds Hardcover: 390 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 30, 2011
ISBN: 978-1442407688

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: #1 book in The Unwanteds series
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime. In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation. But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.


Leslie's Review:
My sister and I were really excited when we heard about The Unwanteds and given the a opportunity to review it and be part of the blog tour. We've heard great things about Lisa McMann and her Dream Catcher series (which we have all three books waiting on our shelf). I'm glad to finally have read a book by her. I have pretty high hopes and expectations for The Unwanteds and I am happy to say they were very well met and now I am excited to read more books by Ms. McMann.

This book is a mix of both fantasy and dystopian which I thought was quite interesting and unique. I really liked the storyline--it was exciting, unpredictable and fantastic. The rising action of the plot was great because it kept me interested. It was well paced and I was able to read it steadily without feeling bored or in a rush to read it, which made it all the more enjoyable for me. Throughout the book I marveled at the fantastical dystopian world, Artime. It was so amazing that I wanted to live there! I thought the world-building throughout the story was great albeit a bit confusing at times. There was a lot to take in when the story first began but that's probably just me because I can get easily confused when I begin reading a new book.

As for the characters, I liked how each character of the four friends--Alex, Lani, Meghan and Samheed--had their own special talent and ability. However, I wish that they have had been more distinctive from each other. The protagonists didn't seem to stand out to me as individuals and, therefore, I couldn't connect or care about with any of them like I should. The ones that did stand out were the antagonists but that may be because they were the bad guys so their actions were different from Alex, Lani, Meghan and Samheed. I do have high hopes that the characters will be better developed throughout the course of the series and I'm excited to read and learn more about them in the books to come.

Overall, The Unwanteds was a terrific fantasy/dystopian middle grade novel that can be enjoyed by everyone [middle grade, young adult and adult readers] who loves to read books set in magical fantasy worlds where magic and creativity blossom in every person, creature and thing. For the book being almost 400 pages, it was surprisingly a quick read for me. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dreamland is the third book in Alyson Noel's Riley Bloom series. The series is a middle grade spin off of her young adult series The Immortals. Check out the awesome book trailer for Dreamland:

Alyson Noël continues the bestselling story of Riley Bloom as she learns how dreams are made and tries to make contact with her sister, Ever. And in case you haven't seen the book cover or read the blurb (from Goodreads):

abandon
Riley’s finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer’s dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it’s her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who’s been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.
For more information about Alyson Noel and her books, check out her website, Facebook page, and her Macmillan author page.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to Zeitghost Media we have a copy of Dreamland to giveaway. Whether you've read series or not, try your luck! Remember, it's always good to have the next book in the series on hand (for many reasons).

Giveaway Details:
  • One (1) winner gets a copy of Dreamland (Riley Bloom #3) by Alyson Noel
  • End September 24, 2011
  • US or Canadian mailing address only
  • Fill out the form to enter:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



Leslie and I are really excited to be part of Kismet Book Touring's The Unwanteds blog tour. Leslie finished reading it yesterday and enjoyed it--look for her review on Friday.

Each of the participants in the blog tour got to ask the author, Lisa McMann, a question. We asked her to share and read us her favorite scene in The Unwanteds and she did:

Wasn't that awesome?! I can't wait to read this book. Thank you for sharing, Lisa!

About The Unwanteds novel

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

About Lisa McMann


Lisa McMann lives and writes in the Phoenix area. Her books include the NYT bestselling paranormal WAKE trilogy, CRYER’S CROSS, and the dystopian fantasy series beginning with THE UNWANTEDS (coming Aug. 30, 2011).

For more info about Lisa and her books or to chat with her visit her website, Facebook and Twitter.


Remember, we are but one stop in The Unwanteds Blog Tour. For more of Lisa's videos and blog tour fun, check out these other tour stops:

Monday August 29th - Danny and Pushy, Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, August 30th (The Unwanted's Book Birthday!) - Katie, The Mundie Moms
Wednesday, August 31st - Alyssa, Teens Read and Write
Thursday, September 1st - Heidi, YA Bibliophile
Friday, September 2nd - Becky, Stories & Sweeties

Monday September 5th - Jill, The O.W.L
Tuesday, September 6th - Mary, Book Swarm
Wednesday, September 7th - Reading Teen
Thursday, September 8th - Melissa, I Swim For Oceans
Friday, September 9th - Sab, YA Bliss

Monday September 12th - Cynthia, A Blog About Nothing
Tuesday, September 13th - Nancy, Amusing Reviews
Wednesday, September 14th - Michelle and Leslie, Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks
Thursday, September 15th - Darkfallen and Greta, Paranormal Wastelands
Friday, September 16th - Alice, Alice Marvels

Tuesday, September 20th - Grand Prize announcement on Lisa McMann's Blog


GIVEAWAY: Are you Unwanted?
Contest Info: Are you Unwanted? Enter to win the grand prize book club class pack (20 copies of The Unwanteds!) by explaining which camp you’d be in: Wanted or Unwanted

You can earn:
+1 entry by leaving a comment
+2 entries by providing a picture of you that shows what you'd be (be creative)
+5 entries by making a video and tell us what you would be!

Links can be provided in the comments of this post, on the Kismet Book Touring Facebook page or on Lisa's Facebook page. Open US/Canada. Contestants under 18 years of age must have parental consent to enter.
Why Michelle covets this book: Graffiti Moon my kind of contemporary YA novel. It has a mix of romance, friendship and adventure with a guy the main character has some kind of history with.


graffiti moonGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
(out February 14, 2012)
Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.

For more info and to read an excerpt about Graffiti Moon, visit the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.



What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a 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, September 13, 2011

toptentuesday
"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new Top Ten list topic every week and this week is "Top Ten Books I Read Because Of Another Blogger" in honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

Many of the books that became my favorites I initially picked up because of one blogger or a bunch of bloggers raving about it.

jellicoe road1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
A few bloggers (and I don't remember who they were) did special posts about this title so I had to read it to see for myself.

2. Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
Rowena of Book Binge was always raving about Julie James's books so I picked up Practice Makes Perfect. After reading it, I immediately bought more books by Julie James and now she's go-to author for contemporary romance.

3. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Alyssa of Teens Read and Write wrote an awesome review of Ice that made me read want to read it. I did, I loved it and now it's one of my all-time favorite books.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (and the other books in the series)
After all the rave reviews of bloggers, I finally picked up The Hunger Games.

graceling5. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
I wanted a fun contemporary read so I was browsing on Goodreads when I ran across this book. After reading Steph's (of Steph Su Reads) review, I just had to pick it up.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Another one I picked up after all the rave reviews from numerous book bloggers.

7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Yet another one I picked up after all the rave reviews from numerous book bloggers and it became an instant favorite of mine after I read it.

8. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
There was a lot of rave reviews of this book so when I ran across it while browsing at Borders, I just had to buy it. I didn't like it as much as I thought I would but I still enjoyed it.

lady isabella's scandalous marriage9. Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage (Highland Pleasures #2) by Jennifer Ashley
I discovered this romance novel and the author when a blogger (and I don't remember who) featured this book on their "Waiting on Wednesday" post. I love the reunited lovers premise so I pre-ordered it. I ended up loving it and now Jennifer Ashley has become my go-to author for historical romances. I'm currently obsessed with her Highland Pleasures series and I'm counting down the days until the next book is out.

10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Another one I picked up after all the rave reviews from numerous book bloggers.
Reader friends, just a little FYI: Walker Childrens is releasing a bind up of Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles series! Check out the really pretty cover.

The Ruling Passion bind up contains Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud and Out for Blood (books 1-3 in the series). So, if you missed the series the first time around here's your chance to get all three books at a bargain price--Ruling Passion is $9.99.

I read Alyxandra Harvey's stand-along novel Haunting Violet (see my review here) back in July and I really enjoyed it. I've been wanting to read this series since then so I'll definitely be on the look out for Ruling Passion myself. I love bind ups because it's like getting a number of books for a price of one book!

Anyway, it comes out on September 27th. For more info about the series, check out the author's website. If you're new to the series, here are links to excerpts of the three titles included in the bind up:


Have thoughts about the Drake Chronicles series, how pretty the cover is (and how it reminds you of the Iron Fey series covers... no? Just me then?) or bind ups? Please share.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mass Paperback: 336 pages (ARC: 400 pages)
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: September 6, 2011
ISBN: 9780505528735
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Eternal Guardians #3

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
DEMETRIUS—He’s the hulking, brooding warrior his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length.
Isadora is missing. The words pounded through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius had done all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she was gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he’ll have to go to the black place in his soul he’s always shunned. As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.


Michelle's Review:
Tempted is the third book in Elisabeth Naughton's Eternal Guardian series which which follows seven eternal guardian warriors descended from the greatest heroes of Ancient Greece. They were cursed by the goddess Hera to a soulmate. This novel was Isadora and Demetrius's story.

I did read the first book in the series, Marked, when it came out over a year ago but I didn't get a chance to re-read it or read the second book in the series before starting Tempted. As a result I was confused in the beginning of this book, not necessarily on who is who but of the over-arching storyline involving the prophecy, why Isadora and her half-sisters were important, Isadora's connection to Hades and Atalanta, among other things. After the first five or so chapters, I caught on somewhat. When the story became more about Isadora and Demetrius, I was able to enjoy the story more.

I enjoyed the all action most of all in this book. Ms. Naughton can write really great action scenes that I can picture in my head. Besides the fighting and battle scenes, I also really liked the characters of Isadora and Demetrius--both were secondary characters in the previous books in the series and when I read Marked, I thought Isadora's hero was going to be someone else (**ahemNickahem**). But I'm a glad Isa and D ended up being paired together because I think they needed each other. Demetrius was a tortured hero. He had dark secrets and he didn't really feel he belonged with the Argonauts (aka the eternal guardians warriors). Isadora was seen by others as a fragile princess and weak and she believed herself to be. Demetrius had always known she was his soulmate but he knew he was all wrong for her and always pushed her away. It wasn't love at first sight for Isadora. She didn't like Demetrius in the beginning because he was a jerk to her but when they got stuck on an island together she realized that there's more to Demetrius than meets the eye. Watching these two come together and Isadora become a stronger, more assertive character was great. I didn't think I was going to like Demetrius in the beginning but I did--both he and Isadora were likable characters and their romance satisfying.

Tempted has action, a steamy romance, great characters and wonderful world building. If you're tired of vampires and werewolves in your paranormal romances, then you should definitely pick up the Eternal Guardian series. However, I recommend you start with Marked (book one) or Entwined (book two) before picking up Tempted that way you'll be familiar with the characters and the series plot. Overall, Tempted was a fun read and a great addition to the series. I'm eager to read the next book in the series, Enraptured (Orpheus's story).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Our Mailbox (42)

Sunday, September 11, 2011 with
We are so excited for the books we got this week.


For Review
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Damage by Anya Parrish
(A big THANK YOU to Simon & Schuster and Flux for sending us the books.)

Won
Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
(Thank you Rachel and Hachette!)


Borders Haul

Siren by Tricia Rayburn
I Kissed An Earl by Julie Anne Long
Hot As Sin by Bella Andre
(Our last Borders haul. Goodbye Borders! You will be missed.)


Amazon Haul
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Vanish by Sophie Jordan
Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Stork by Wendy Delsol


Swag
Bookmarks, signed bookplates & temporary tattoo from Inara Scott
(Thank you!)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.