Friday, June 29, 2012

If you happen to stop by our blog on Wednesday, you saw that I featured Seraphina as my "book I covet" pick of the week. And I've been coveting this book a while. I am convinced I'm going to love it as much as I did Graceling or Finnikin of the Rock and I do not think I am going to be disappointed going by all the rave reviews about it.

But it's all good because I don't have to wait that much longer. It's coming out in less than two weeks (July 10th)! Eeepp!!

Okay, two weeks seems like a long while yet. If you need something to tide you over (or you'll still unsure about the series), why don't you take a gander at the pretty darn awesome book trailer:

And here's an exclusive prequel to Seraphina I found last week (on Entertainment Weekly) to whet your appetite (if you haven't read it yet).

(If the document above doesn't work, go HERE.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

book cover Mass Market: 304 pages 
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 3, 2012
ISBN: 9780446572811
Source of my E-ARC: author
Series: Fitzhugh #2 (standalone)**
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage—and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.
It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabelle, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife…
As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship—or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?

Michelle's Review:
I love reading romance novels in which there's already an established relationship between the hero and heroine and that what drew me to Ravishing the Heiress.

Our heroine, Millie, fell in love the moment she laid eyes on our hero, Fitz. Unfortunately for her, Fitz was in love with someone else. But they have to marry: Millie's merchant-class family desperately wants her to marry into the nobility and the Earl Fitzhugh (aka Fitz, who only came to the title because a distant cousin died) was on the verge of bankruptcy and needs Millie's money to save estates and title. Millie knew Fitz would never love her and to protect her heart, she asked that they wait six years until they consummate their marriage and then only to produce an heir (as was Millie's father's wish--Fitz could care less whether there's an heir or not to succeed the thing he blamed for ruining his life). Fitz insisted on waiting eight years as he was still reeling over the fact that he can't ever be with the woman he loves.

But despite their shaky beginning, over their years of platonic marriage Millie and Fitz became the best of friends. And then just as the moment to consummate their marriage draws near, Fitz's childhood sweetheart Isabelle comes back, newly widowed and wanting to take up where she and Fitz left off in their relationship. And Fitz seems to want the same thing. So, Millie and Fitz strike a new bargain. They will have six months to conceive and after that he will take up with Isabelle and they could finally be together as they were meant to be. But could Millie just let the husband she loves go? Does Fritz truly feel nothing but friendship for his wife?

What I Liked:
I just love how Sherry Thomas can take a typical romance plot and make it her own. Ravishing the Heiress was refreshing in that it's not the usual how-they-fell-in-love story: Millie already loves Fitz but he still had ways to go in realizing that maybe his true love was right under his nose.

Millie was not your typical bold, brassy, outspoken historical romance heroine. She was quiet and tend to stay in the background but she's not weak. She's smart and had a quiet strength and confidence about her--she's the rock that held Fitz together throughout their marriage. But I felt sorry for her. She was feeling a lot of guilt for coming between Fitz and the woman he loved--in the novel, she's sort of the "other woman" despite being the one married to Fitz.

I liked Fitz as well but at times I wanted to shake him and tell him to forget about Isabelle and to really look at Millie!

A few minor issues:
For more than half of the book, the author went back and forth from the past (eight years before when Millie and Fitz just married) and the "present day". Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the scenes set in the past where we see how Millie and Fitz's friendship was developed. I just didn't like being wrenched back and forth from past to present time. I'd be totally immersed in the present and then the next chapter, it flashes back to the past. It was a bit jarring, especially since there would be little cliffhangers at the end of the present-day chapters and you have to read a whole chapter before you can get to see what happens next.

I wish it was a little bit longer. The ending was rushed. I was reading the e-ARC and I was at 98% and they were still not really, truly together and I had my doubts whether the author can pull off a satisfying HEA with just a few more "pages" left. I should not have doubted her. She did. But I still wish that last scene was extended at least one page longer.

In conclusion:
Ravishing the Heiress was very engaging, original and beautifully written. I love Sherry Thomas's sparse yet elegant writing style. I practically inhaled the whole novel as Millie and Fitz's story captured me from the start and didn't let go until the end. I read the last word with a happy sigh and wished there was more. I cannot wait to read the next book, Tempting the Bride--the hero and heroine of that novel was in Ravishing quite a bit and I cannot wait to read their HEA.

If you're looking for a smart historical romance with layered, multidimensional characters, Ravishing the Heiress is it.

**Although Ravishing the Heiress is book two in the Fitzhugh series, I can be enjoyed without reading the first novel in the series.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book I Covet: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 with
Why Michelle covets this book: I love high fantasy book. Ever since I've read Graceling, I've been looking for another fantasy read that will be just as amazing. I think Seraphina is it.

Beautiful cover too. 

book coverSeraphina by Rachel Hartman
(Random House; out July 10, 2012)
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

For more info and news about Seraphina, visit check out 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, June 26, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 346 pages 
Publisher: Little Brown
 Release Date: February 6, 2012
ISBN: 9780316090573

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Mockingbirds #2 (possible standalone)
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

When Alex Patrick was assaulted by another student last year, her elite boarding school wouldn't do anything about it. This year Alex is head of the Mockingbirds, a secret society of students who police and protect the student body. While she desperately wants to live up to the legacy that's been given to her, she's now dealing with a case unlike any the Mockingbirds have seen before.
It isn't rape. It isn't bullying. It isn't hate speech. A far-reaching prescription drug ring has sprung up, and students are using the drugs to cheat. But how do you try a case with no obvious victim? Especially when the facts don't add up, and each new clue drives a wedge between Alex and the people she loves most: her friends, her boyfriend, and her fellow Mockingbirds.
As Alex unravels the layers of deceit within the school, the administration, and even the student body the Mockingbirds protect, her struggle to navigate the murky waters of vigilante justice may reveal more about herself than she ever expected.

Leslie's Review:
My sister really liked The Mockingbirds and has urged me to read it for a while. I still haven't picked it up but when we were sent a review copy of its sequel The Rivals, I decided to read it instead. It turned out to be such a great read that I'm making it a goal for myself to read The Mockingbirds this summer as soon as I get the chance.

I loved this book. It was unputdownable (I'd begrudgingly put it down only when necessary--for food and sleep) and when I finally finished reading it, I was blown away by the book's overall amazing-ness, awesomeness and honesty. The meaningful and relevant themes had left me pondering. The surprising plot twists kept me at the edge of my seat. The great characters (both the good and the bad) were so living-and-breathing kind of real and true.

While I hadn't read The Mockingbirds, I could tell from just reading this book that Alex, the main character, must have grown and developed a lot from that first novel. I loved and rooted for her all throughout The Rivals as she kept on being the bigger person, overcoming her demons, and persevering until the very end, and then coming out strong and beautiful--the person she was meant to be. She was such a relatable character--smart, talented, and passionate. I admired her boldness and bravery, how she didn't give up or get discouraged when everything around her seemed almost unfixable. She truly was a great heroine and role model. She's the type of heroine I hope and aspire to be.

Although The Rivals is a sequel to The Mockingbirds, it can be read as a standalone and still be enjoyable. It is absolutely a must-read for everyone. Alex is now one of my all-time favorite YA characters. I'm so happy I got to read this book. I am looking forward to reading  The Mockingbirds very soon.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Today I thought I'd feature some of the romance novels that I am looking forward to the most in the latter half of 2012. I am super excited because books from a lot of the romance series I am following come out in the next six months!

But let's start the list with My Lady Mage, book one of the new fantasy series by Alexis Morgan (author of the Paladin of Darkness series). I fell in love with this book because of its cover but it sounds like it'll be a great series to follow too.

book coverMy Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan
(Signet; out July 3, 2012)
A cursed destiny. A band of warriors. And one troubled kingdom.

It is whispered in Agathia that the legendary warriors of the mist—cursed by the gods—can be summoned only when a champion is needed and the cause is just. Gideon, their captain, knows this to be the one path that will lead his men to redemption—lest they face an eternity of damnation.

Years have passed since anyone has journeyed to the river's edge, but times are desperate. Oppressed by a cruel guardian whose dark magic threatens to destroy her people, the beautiful and courageous Merewen calls upon the bespelled warriors. In Gideon she finds more than a champion, and in his arms, more than protection. However, their enemies are fighting with a power darker than anything than they imagined, and should Gideon fail, she will lose everything she holds dear—including her heart.

I want to live in Lucky Harbor... my next pick is Grace and hot doctor Josh's book!

book coverForever and a Day (Lucky Harbor #6; Chocoholics #3) by Jill Shalvis
(Forever; out July 31, 2012)

Grace never thought she’d be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh’s loveable mutt to caring for his rambunctious kids. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad…

With so many people depending on him, Josh has no time for anything outside of his clinic and family–until Grace arrives in town. Now this brainy blonde is turning his life inside out and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “good bedside manner.” Josh and Grace don’t know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day…

Nalini Singh. 'Nuff said.

...What?! You haven't read her books yet? Run to the store or download either Slave to Sensation (book 1 of the Psy-Changeling series) or Angel's Blood (book 1 of the Guild Hunter series). You can thank me later.

book coverArchangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5) by Nalini Singh
(Berkeley Sensation; out September 4, 2012)
Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly beautiful world of archangels and immortal power, as a pact is sealed between two souls bound by blood, stirred by desire, and driven by vengeance…

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.
I practically inhaled Ravishing the Countess (which is book 2 of the Fitzhugh series) and I cannot wait to read Helena and Hastings' book. They did a lot of circling around each other in Ravishing--can't wait to read their road to their HEA.

book coverTempting the Bride (Fitzhugh #3) by Sherry Thomas
(Berkeley; out October 2, 2012)
Helena Fitzhugh understands perfectly well that she would be ruined should her secret love affair be discovered. But when a rendezvous goes wrong and she is about to be caught in the act, it is only with the greatest reluctance that she accepts help from David Hillsborough, Viscount Hastings, and announces that she has eloped with David.

For Helena has despised David since they were children—the notorious rake has tormented her all her life. David, on the other hand, has always loved Helena . His pride, however, will never let him admit the secrets of his heart.

A carriage accident the day after their “elopement,” however, robs Helena of her memory. The slate is wiped clean. At last David dares to bare his love and she finds him both fascinating and desirable. But what will happen when her memory returns and she realizes she has fallen for a man she has sworn never to trust?

Laura Griffin is the queen of romantic suspense. Pick up any of her Tracers books (no worries, they can be read as standalones)--they're as deliciously suspenseful as your favorite crime dramas on TV. Heck, more so sometimes imho. Cannot wait to read Kelsey's book which is set in the Philippines [awesome!].

book coverScorched (Tracers #6) by Laura Griffin
(Pocket Books; out October 30, 2012)
Kelsey Quinn has traveled the world unearthing heartbreaking secrets, but nothing prepares her for the trauma of her latest discovery. While on a human rights dig in the Philippines, the forensic anthropologist uncovers a set of human remains, touching off a chain of deadly events back on American soil. After a terrifying attack, Kelsey goes into hiding while she tries to unravel the mystery of two seemingly unconnected murders. The odds are stacked against her, but Kelsey has the help of her colleagues at the Delphi Center crime lab…  and the unexpected protection of the only man she ever loved. Navy SEAL Gage Brewer knows his relationship with Kelsey is over and done. But when he learns she’s being targeted by a killer, he risks everything—including his career as a spec ops warrior—to keep her safe. Gage tracks down Kelsey and believes he’s accomplished his goal. But as the threats against her escalate, it becomes clear that the enemy they’re fighting is more lethal than anyone ever imagined. And their most dangerous mission is only beginning.

I'm a HUGE fan of the Highland Pleasure series featuring the MacKenzie family. I cannot get enough of them. Read book 1, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, if you haven't already and fall in love with the MacKenzies too. This series is hands-down one of the best written historical romances.

book coverThe Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures #5) by Jennifer Ashley
(Berkeley Sensation; out December 31, 2012)
Elliot McBride is brother to Ainsley Douglas from The Many Sins of Lord Cameron.

When Juliana finds herself stranded at the altar, she turns to an old friend, Elliot McBride, to help her out. Elliot rises to the challenge, but Elliot has recently returned from many years in India, where he acquired injuries, both physical and emotional, that have not yet healed. He has purchased a tumbledown house, sight unseen, has no idea how to be a proper Scottish laird, and brings with him a string of Indian servants, who themselves are having trouble adjusting to life in a new world. Juliana soon finds her hands full, especially of the delectable Elliot, whose thoughts turn often to seduction. But Elliot is a broken man now, Juliana still the lovely young woman he fell in love with as they were growing up. Can he prove himself worthy of her, or will Juliana believe, with everyone else, that Elliot is irredeemably mad?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

We got new books! (5)

Saturday, June 23, 2012 with
Contemporary, dystopian, romance... oh my! Ha! Awesome books this week...
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger (review)
[[Eeeeppp!! I ♥ Kody Keplinger's books. So excited to read her newest release.]]
A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis by Jillian Stone (unsolicited) 
Eve by Anna Carey (review)
Once by Anna Carey (review)
[[We thought we were only getting Eve but the lovely Deb also sent us Once. Yay!! **We will be hosting a giveaway of BOTH books in July!**]]

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Friday, June 22, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 448 pages 
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
 Release Date: February 8, 2012
ISBN: 9781455503063
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Pure #1

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters...
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers... to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash...
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Cherry's Review:
Pressia was once an ordinary girl until the detonations happened and she, along with other survivors, became deformed with her hand fused with a doll's head. She has reached the age where she has to join the militia or become their target. Instead Pressia, with the help of her grandfather, decided to run away (leaving her grandfather and only living relative behind). But unlike Pressia, Partridge was unharmed because he was one of the few who were chosen to live inside the Dome. However, when Partridge finds a clue that his mother could be alive outside the dome, he takes a huge risk to venture out and find her. When the two meet by accident, they soon discover that they are connected in a very big way and are very much in danger.

This book was very exciting, full of action and mystery. I could not put the book down (no matter how tired I was)! There was a new clue that brought some light to Pressia and Partridge's past or a life-or-death situation that I wanted to read to make sure that my characters stay alive. I've never read this type of story before. It's a weird but fascinating world that Baggott created.

I have no real criticisms with this book except that it is book one of a series! I'm glad that their story continues because there were a lot of unanswered questions in the book but it's a bit frustrating because I have to wait until the next book comes out to find out what happens to Pressia and Partridge. I need to know what happens to them now! Haha!

Overall, it was a great book and I hope the author continues the excitement and action in the second book as she did in Pure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book I Covet: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 with
Why Michelle covets this book: This book had me at "Norway."

I also love the mix of Norse legend and mystery this book promises. And a brother's best friend love interest?! Count me in!

book coverValkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
(HarperTeen; out October 9, 2012)
Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.

For more info and news about Valkyrie Rising, visit check out 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!

Monday, June 18, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 336 pages 
Publisher: Greenwillow
 Release Date: May 12, 2011
ISBN: 9780446572811
Source of my copy: author
Series: Mistwood #2 (standalone)
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Here be ghosts, the maps said, and that was all.
In this haunted kingdom, ghosts linger--not just in the deepest forests or the darkest caverns, but alongside the living, as part of a twisted palace court that revels all night and sleeps through the daylight hours.
Darri's sister was trapped in this place of fear and shadows as a child. And now Darri has a chance to save her sister . . . if she agrees to a betrothal with the prince of the dead. But nothing is simple in this eerie kingdom--not her sister, who has changed beyond recognition; not her plan, which will be thrown off track almost at once; and not the undead prince, who seems more alive than anyone else.
In a court seething with the desire for vengeance, Darri holds the key to the balance between life and death. Can her warrior heart withstand the most wrenching choice of all?

Michelle's Review:
I picked up Nightspell because Leah Cypess was on my list of authors-to-read, I love fantasy books and I enjoy stories with siblings. In the end, I am glad I read Nightspell--the writing was fantastic and the plot intricate--but it is not a re-read type of book for me.

Callie, a very young Raellian princess, was sent to Ghostland to eventually marry Prince Kestin. Four years later, her older siblings Darri and Varis arrive at Ghostland. Darri will marry Kestin instead as they cannot afford to wait for Callie to come of age and form a crucial alliance. Darri, who had lived with the guilt of not stopping her father from sending Callie away, sees this as an opportunity to rescue Callie from the land where ghosts (abominations in the eyes of Raellians) roam freely. However, Callie might not want to be rescued and Varis may have a different agenda himself.

Nightspell is told through three (3rd person) point-of-views (Darri, Callie and Varis) so the narration switches off a lot. I did not really mind it for the most part because then I got the whole picture. However, I did not feel for or connect with any of the main characters (or any of the secondary characters). There was nothing wrong with Darri, Callie and Varis but nothing really stood out to me either. I didn't empathize or care enough to root for their success.

Like I mentioned, the plot was complex. It's one of those where you have to read until the end to get the whole picture or to understand what is really going on. Sort of like Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road but set in a unique, fascinating fantasy world. I thought the author did a wonderful job with the world building. But the itself plot was slow-moving; it takes a while for something to happen to push the plot along. It was slow reading for me because of this.

And some of you all know how much I like a good romance in my reads. It doesn't have to be the main focus of the story but I like having even a hint of one somewhere. There is none in Nightspell and I can't help being a little disappointed about that.

Nightspell was interesting enough that I finished it but it wasn't one I was especially eager to pick up again after I put it down. Fantasy readers who do not mind that it lacks a romantic element may enjoy it as it has great world building, a unique and complex plot, and the overall the writing was lovely.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

We got new books! (5)

Sunday, June 17, 2012 with
We got a bunch of awesome books this week, some we are not expecting.
Changeling (MetaWars #2) by Kelly Meding (unsolicited)
At Last (Lucky Harbor #5) by Jill Shalvis (review)
Starlight by Carrie Lofty (unsolicited)
The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams (won)

I also got the following in my Kindle:

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill (review)
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (bought; only $0.99!)
Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas (review)
[[I already read Ravishing the Heiress and I really enjoyed it--it renewed my love for the arranged marriage trope and it spurred me to buy The Devil's Love!]]
The Devil's Love by Julia London (bought)

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Friday, June 15, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 218 pages
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: April 24, 2012
ISBN: 978-0316182461
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order.
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex. Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.

Leslie's Review:
My sister, being a fan of Jackson Pearce's books, has always recommended her novels to me. We are both fans of her YouTube videos yet I have never read any of her books until Purity. I was really excited when her publisher sent us Purity. After reading this novel, I must say that now I am a fledgling fan of her too--I have to read her other books to be a true fan (ha!).

Purity was an honest, wonderful, meaningful read. I loved it all. Pearce's writing style is simple, understandable and touching. The narration of the book, which was in the POV of Shelby, was humorous and candid. Shelby herself, as well as the other characters in the book, were brilliant and relatable. I enjoyed reading about them and almost felt like I was actually interacting with them as I read. And of course the plot and themes were great--when I first read the synopsis, I thought that the book would be more of an emotional, sober read but it turned out to be not so.

I loved reading about Shelby and her friends' plot for Shelby to loose her virginity before the Princess Ball in order for her to keep the promises she made to her mother. All the funny mishaps, embarrassing experiences, and thought provoking dialogue were all great and made this book an overall wonderful read for me. And then I came to the ending--this was my impression of it when I read it: beautiful.

I recommend Purity to anyone in the mood for a light and genuine read. Purity is a must-read for fans of Jackson Pearce's books. Her first contemporary novel is a winner! I don't know why I waited so long to read a book by Ms. Pearce--I am looking forward to reading her paranormal/fairytale retellings (my sister has all her books!). Any recommendations to which of her other books I should read first?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

book cover Trade Paperback: 352 pages 
Publisher: Kensington Books
 Release Date: February 22, 2011
ISBN: 9780758246844
Source of my copy: borrowed
Series: none
Synopsis (from author's website)

In love and war, nothing is as it seems...
Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn't need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she's set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief conversation - cut short by the soldier's evident interest in Betty - but Liz can't forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.
Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from "Betty" are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn't know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.

Cherry's Review:
I was excited to read this book because I thoroughly enjoyed (and cried when reading) McMorris' sophomore novel Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. Like Bridge, Letters from Home is also set in the middle WWII but it begins with a new recruit Morgan McClain meeting Liz Stephens in a USO club dance. They instantly connected, but with Morgan being shipped out (and found dancing with Betty, Liz's friend) and with Liz currently with her childhood sweetheart, they parted believing they would never see each other again. However, as fate would have it, they were in contact again with Liz writing letters to Morgan under Betty's name while he is out fighting in Europe.

This book truly exemplifies what it means to fall in love at first sight: an instantaneous connection and electricity between two people. Even though almost every love story I've read begins with love at first sight, few books describe the experience as beautiful as McMorris did. On the other hand, this book isn't just the story of Liz and Morgan. It also told the story of Liz's best friends - Betty and Julia - who each have their own unique love stories.

The only thing I didn't like about the book was the poor ending. After building up such a colorful story, the ending seemed rushed and incomplete. Julia and Betty didn't really have a proper resolution in their stories after all that had happened to them in the book. On the other hand, Liz and Morgan's first meeting fell flat of the anticipation that I felt in the book for their meeting. I don't mind if she extends the book to however many pages she needs, I just want a proper ending for these characters.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. McMorris is such a vivid writer. The way she writes is so picturesque that I had hard time writing this review because it's hard to describe the details and color she brings to her stories. So, I hope that this review encourages you to read Letters from Home and her book, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, despite my very minor issues I mentioned.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 422 pages 
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
 Release Date: May 29, 2012
ISBN: 9780425247563

Source of my ARC: publisher
Series: Psy-Changeling #11 

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 
Adria, wolf changeling and resilient soldier, has made a break with the past--one as unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a new territory, and a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant already sworn to a desperate woman who belongs to another.
For Riaz, the primal attraction he feels for Adria is a staggering betrayal. For Adria, his dangerous lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It consumes her. It terrifies her. It threatens to undermine everything she has built of her new life. But fighting their wild compulsion toward one another proves a losing battle.
Their coming together is an inferno...and a melding of two wounded souls who promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Too late, they realize that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.

Michelle's Review:
I admit that the biggest draw of Tangle of Need for me initially was my favorite Psy-Changeling series couple Hawk and Sienna--I heard that we're going to see a lot of them in Tangle of Need and I wanted to read more about them as a couple after Kiss of Snow. I was definitely not disappointed there. Hawk and Sienna indeed got a lot of page time. I was very happy that Nalini explored their relationship further, from their mating ceremony to their everyday life as a couple to their discussions of their future. LOVE!!

But as I read on, I ended up enjoying Adria and Riaz's journey to their happily ever after too.

It didn't start out that way though because Riaz was a jerk in the beginning and Adria was a little prickly. Riaz, a lone wolf, found his intended mate too late (she's already married and happily so) and Adria's long-term relationship with a less dominant male just ended. Both has returned to the pack to heal and neither were expecting the powerful attraction that they feel for each other, which eventually grew to respect, friendship and deep affection. However, without the possibility of the mate bond (and we all know how important the mating bond is), what kind of relationship can they form? Will they have a future together? The chemistry between Adria and Riaz sizzled with great turn-up-the-fan scenes but there were also a lot of sweet moments between them that I liked just as much. I especially loved the scenes when Riaz was courting Adria and all the sweet things he did for her. Sigh.

The overarching storyline of the tension between the Psy and the Changelings and the inevitable Psy war continues here. The Arrows also get a lot of page time and we gain more insight about them. We also see a lot of the mysterious Kaleb--this novel ended Kaleb finding "her" and I cannot wait to see what will happen next with him.

Tangle of Need is the eleventh book in the Psy-Changeling series. I do not suggest you pick this book up if you have not read the earlier books as there is just too much back-story that will leave you confused. Start with book one, Slave to Sensation, and work your way to Tangle of Need. Trust me, you won't regret it. Besides the excellent writing, intricate world building, a twisty overarching plot that will keep you guessing and multidimensional characters that you will grow to care about, each novel features a hero and heroine to die for. And with each book Nalini just keeps getting better and better. 

If you're following the series, you gotta pick up Tangle of Need. Some questions from the previous book were answered, there were some surprising revelations here, more clues to fuel your theories and a cliffhanger ending with Kaleb finding "her." OMG!! Who could this "her"/his heroine be? (I have theories of course!)
Why Michelle covets this book: I have had my eye on Touching the Surface for a while now. The synopsis just intrigues me. I have so many questions stemming from that I want answered.

The cover is very lovely as well. I really like the purple and white contrast.

book coverTouching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
(Simon Pulse; out October 30, 2012)
Life altering mistakes are meant to alter lives…

When Elliot dies for the third time, she knows this is her last shot. There are no fourth-timers in this afterlife, so one more chance is all she has to get things right. But before she can move on to her next life, Elliot will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed… and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the mistakes of her past, Elliot must earn the forgiveness of her best friend and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

For more info and news about Touching the Surface, visit check out 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!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

We got new books! (4)

Sunday, June 10, 2012 with
It's another great week for us in books!

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins (review; unsolicited)
Maximum Ride by James Patterson (review)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (won)
Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh (review; unsolicited)
[Some of you know how much I LOVE Nalini Singh. There was a lot of happy dancing when I found out I got Archangel's Storm in the mail. Many, many thanks to Berkley Sensation for the surprise!!]
Soulbound (Legacy of Tril #1) by Heather Brewer (won) 

Seeing Cinderella by Jenny Lundquist + swag (won)

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (review)
The Reckoning (The Taker trilogy #2) by Alma Katsu (review)

Did YOU get any new books? Let us know! We'd love to see your new bookshelf additions.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Giveaway: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Friday, June 8, 2012 with
Yesterday, I posted my review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and if you had the chance to read it you know how much I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And I think you might enjoy it too.

Therefore, I am giving away my ARC** (advanced reader's copy) to a reader of our blog. Hopefully the winner will enjoy it as much as I did.
book cover
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Open to US residents only. Ends June 30th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**The ARC has a different cover from the one pictured above. Click HERE to see what the prize looks like.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

book cover ARC: 358 pages 
Publisher: Henry Holt
 Release Date: June 5, 2012
ISBN: 9780805094596
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Grisha Trilogy #1

Other title: The Gathering Dark (UK)
Synopsis (from Goodreads) 
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.

Michelle's Review:
When I first heard of Shadow and Bone I knew it was a book I had to read. It just sounded so good and I was especially excited about the Russian influence. I am very happy that this novel did not disappoint. I did have some minor issues but overall it was a fantastic start to the Grisha trilogy and I cannot wait for the next book.

Initially, the thing that drew me to this book was the Russian aspect of the novel. For some reason, before reading the novel, I thought the novel was set in an alternate magical Russia and that we'll see familiar Russian historical figures. But that is not it at all. Ravka is a unique world with Russian influences in fashion, food, furnishings and language--which was still fun to read about but I was expecting something more

I liked Alina's character. Before her power was revealed, there's nothing really special about her and she can easily get lost in the crowd. She's an orphan, lonely and not sure of her place in the world. The only person she can talk to is her best friend Mal but lately she feels awkward around him because she likes him as more than a friend but he did not seem to share her feelings. I like the way her character grew from that unsure girl to a more confident, strong (both personally and physically) woman.

However, Alina was hardly the most interesting character here. There were a lot of dark and mysterious characters in this novel like the Darkling and the Apparat (in my mind he looks like Rasputin) and you are not quite sure what they're about. Are they good and trustworthy? Or do they have a different agenda? I like not knowing and having to figure them out along with Alina.

There is a sort of love triangle and usually I dislike them but here it is not your typical love triangle. I don't want to elaborate because it will be spoiler-y but I am curious if the author will do something more with it in the second book. (Read the book and you'll see what I mean!)

The novel did start a little awkwardly. I didn't quite know where the author was going to take the introduction of the characters and the world. It also took me a little while to work out and understand what the Grisha army was all about and its hierarchy (the chart included in the beginning of the novel did help). However, once you get past all that it was pretty much smooth sailing. I couldn't stop reading and kept on until the wee hours of the morning.

Shadow and Bone is immensely readable. The ending is satisfying yet you definitely want more. This novel is an excellent start to a new addicting fantasy series. It will leave readers hooked and eagerly awaiting the release of book two.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book We Covet: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 with
Why we covets this book: We have had our eye on Level 2 it was announced on Publisher's Weekly last year. We often lurk on Leonore's blog and we love her posts, especially the ones about her cat. We are super excited to read her book.

book coverLevel 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans
(Simon & Schuster; out January 15, 2013)
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours downloading memories and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place. Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: a rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.

Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but then he promises what she wants the most—to be with Neil again—if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

For more info about Level 2, click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page. And if you don't already visit Lenore's book blog, Presenting Lenore, check it out!

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!

Monday, June 4, 2012

book cover ARC: 282 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: June 26, 2012
ISBN: 978-0062008269

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: A Need So Beautiful #2

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
After that episode, her life takes a bizarre turn. She’s experiencing unexpected flashes of insight into people’s lives—people she’s never met before. Strangers frighten her with warnings about the approaching Shadows. And although Elise has never had a boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself torn between two handsome but very different young men: Abe, the charming bad boy whose affect on her both seduces and frightens her, and the mysterious Harlin, who’s new to town but with whom Elise feels an urgent, elemental connection—almost as if they are soul mates. Now Elise begins to question everything about her life. Why do these guys both want her so desperately? What are the Shadows? Why does the name Charlotte inspire a terrifying familiarity? And who is Elise, really?

Leslie's Review:
Having loved A Need So Beautiful I couldn't wait to read A Want So Wicked and was so excited and happy when I got an early copy (I love it when I don't have to wait long!). I had many high hopes and expectations for this book and now I am very happy to say that they were all met!

 A Want So Wicked was just as good (if not better than) as A Need So Beautiful. Its plot was exciting, surprising, and fantastic; the same characters were back, including a few new ones--all of them well-developed and real to me. But one thing I liked better in this book than the previous book was the main character. Elise, I think, was a better heroine than Charlotte was in the previous book. In that book, I thought Charlotte was a bit frustrating at some points for not fully trusting in what she was bound to do in the end. But as for Elise, she was more likable, accepting (of her destiny), and acted more rational and level-headed to situations. I also really liked figuring out her past along with her. And of course the romance between Elise and Harlin is fantastic (although a little insta-love but I didn't mind it here because there's a reason).

I can't express how much I enjoyed reading this book. It truly was a great and awesome read! It is so, so, so GOOD!! I recommend the series to anyone and everyone.

According to my sister this series is a duology but I think there's going to be a third book as A Want So Wicked ended kind of in an open ended way. Well, I really hope there's a third book.

Friday, June 1, 2012

book cover Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Release Date: February 28, 2012 (1st pubbed in 1983)
ISBN: 978-0765352877
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Seed #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Ship hurtles through space. Deep within its core, it carries the seed of humankind. Launched by the people of a dying Earth over a century ago, its mission is to find a habitable world for the children--fifteen-year-old Zoheret and her shipmates--whom it has created from its genetic banks. To Zoheret and her shipmates, Ship has been mother, father, and loving teacher, preparing them for their biggest challenge: to survive on their own, on an uninhabited planet, without Ship's protection. Now that day is almost upon them...but are they ready to leave Ship? Ship devises a test. And suddenly, instincts that have been latent for over a hundred years take over. Zoheret watches as friends become strangers--and enemies. Can Zoheret and her companions overcome the biggest obstacle to the survival of the human race--themselves?

Leslie's Review:
I'm not much of a sci-fi fan, but Earthseed sounded like an interesting read so I decided to give the novel and the genre a chance.

When I was reading the novel there were quite a few things that bothered me but after I finished it and thought about it, it was an okay read overall. I am going to break down my review into three parts to explain my thoughts:

First, let's talk plot. It was interesting and different--obviously I kept reading and finished the novel. However, I had a like/dislike relationship with it throughout. Some parts I would be excited and interested, but in other points of the book I'd be confused and restless. The pacing was uneven and there were events that happened that came out of nowhere without warning. However, there was a lot of action and unexpected plot twists.

Secondly, the characters. There was a lot of different personalities aboard Ship. I thought their actions were logical to their persona and the situations they were in. Together, the group dynamics of the characters were fascinating. But another reason why I couldn't really get into this book was because I couldn't relate to any of the characters, even the main character Zoheret. When I read I like having that character (usually the main character) I can get behind on and root for and sympathized for and I wasn't able to do that here. I think there's no true character development if you look at the characters individually.

Lastly, the writing. It took some getting used to and I honestly couldn't get into it for most of the book. Maybe it's because the novel was written and first published in the 1980s? Although that's not a good excuse. However, I wish it was written in the perspective of Zoheret instead of it being in third-person limited omniscient, or written in third-person but centered on Zoheret. Maybe then I'd be able to empathize with her more.

Overall, despite my problems with it, believe it or not but Earthseed was an admittedly okay read for me. Not great, but not bad either. The main story was fascinating and that's what kept me reading. I think those who love their science fiction novels will enjoy and appreciate this book. They'll easily get into the action-packed, twisty story with an intriguing plot line. Also, I heard Earthseed was recently Paramount and I am interested and excited to see how a movie version of this novel will turn out.