Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (28)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

For Review

Haunted (Dreaming Anastasia #2) by Joy Preble (thanks to Sourcebooks)

Anne Michaelson is trying to forget everything that happened last year. Spending time alone with boyfriend, Ben Logan, usually helps. But no matter how hard she tries to move on, Anne still misses the spark she felt with Ethan. Anne doesn't dare tell anyone about that...she's got bigger secrets to keep anyway. A mysterious wild-haired woman is stalking Anne, haunting her wherever she goes. Anne's search for the woman's identity exposes deep and startling revelations - including the possible source of Anne's powers. With her heart torn between Ben and Ethan, Anne's life is about to get a lot more complicated. Will Anne discover the truth about her destiny? Or will the longings of her own heart get in the way?

Nocturne by Syrie James (thanks to Vanguard Press)

When Nicole Walker runs off the road in a blinding snowstorm after attending a friend’s wedding at a Colorado ski resort, she wakes up to find herself stranded at the remote mountain house of a handsome, enigmatic stranger. She lives and works in a fast-paced, high tech world; he is cultured and modern yet lives a quiet life in self-imposed exile. They are both powerfully attracted to each other, but there are things about him that mystify her and fill her with apprehension—and Nicole can’t shake the feeling that he really doesn’t want her there.

She soon discovers that he’s a famous, reclusive author, renowned for his highly detailed and authentic historical fiction, and fiercely protective of his privacy. No wonder he was so reluctant to take her in, Nicole thinks. But he hides a far darker secret. As the sexual tension between them builds, the clues mount up.

When Nicole realizes that her host is an ages-old vampire who thirsts for her blood, there’s nowhere for her to run but the blizzard raging outside, and he’s the only one who can save her life. By now there is no turning back; they have both fallen deeply in love, and share several passionate days together while waiting out the storm—a deep, meaningful, and dangerously seductive experience that will change them both forever.

Minder (Ganzfield #1) by Kate Kaynak (thanks to Kate)

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn needs to learn how to use her special abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control.A stray thought can burn a building to the ground.And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads.But it's still better than New Jersey,especially once she meets the man of her dreams?

Adversary (Ganzfield #2) by Kate Kaynak (thanks to Kate)

The second book of the Ganzfield series. Things are more dangerous than they seem at Ganzfield, and not everyone will survive. Does Maddie have what it takes? See what happens next in the sequel to Minder.

Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson (thanks to HarperTeen)

Sixteen-year-old Sophie knows there is more to the story of her parents' death. And she's on a mission to find the truth. To aid her in solving the decades-old mystery, Sophie has enlisted her best friend Mikael, who friendship has turned into something more. It's soon clear that Sophie's future is very much wrapped up in the details of her family's past, and the key lies with information only one man can provide: her parents' former employer, the elusive billionaire Alfred Nobel. As the threat of war looms in Europe, dangers to Sophie and her loved ones grow. While her determination to solve the mystery doesn't waver, forces beyond her control conspire to keep her from her purpose. Then, news of her great-aunt Tabitha's death sets off a chain of events that leaves Sophie questioning everything. The more Sophie learns, the more she realizes that nothing - and no one - in her life is what it seems. And coming to terms with the dark secrets she uncovers means imagining a truth that she never dreamed possible.

Entwined by Heather Dixon (thanks to Greenwillow books)

Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: Sea Glass (Glass #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Student glass magician Opal Cowan's newfound ability to steal a magician's powers makes her too powerful. Ordered to house arrest by the Council, Opal dares defy them, traveling to the Moon Clan's lands in search of Ulrick, the man she thinks she loves.

Thinks, because she is sure that another man, now her prisoner, has switched souls with Ulrick.

In hostile territory, without proof or allies, Opal isn't sure whom to trust. She can't forget Kade, the handsome Stormdancer who doesn't want to let her get close. And now everyone is after Opal's special powers for their own deadly gain....

Where Opal once thought she was without talent and useless to the keep and magical society, she now finds herself the center of attention, every one's attention. Her glass magic is unique and everyone is wary of her new siphoning powers. They're all so shaken that they've placed her on house arrest within the keep and given no indication of when freedom will be hers.

Kade and Ulrick no longer need to duke it out for Opal's attention because Ulrick (the real one) is still M.I.A. With Devlen as her prisoner Opal hopes to go in search of the real Ulrick so that their souls can be switched back. She just needs to get out of the keep first. While she is slightly better equipped to protect herself, she still manages to get foiled again and again. Snyder is a genius at getting readers to root for her protagonist with barely any effort. That's how good her characters are. She's also an expert at presenting readers with characters who at one moment you can loathe and then the next minute she can get you to sympathize with them at the next turn. It's amazing and I've got no idea how she pulls it off.

Another typical trait I've come to expect from Snyder is an action packed ending. With all that takes place throughout her her tales, I'm always impressed by how much she still manages to throw at readers in the end. With yet another intense wrap up I'm once again itching to dig into the next Glass installment. Sadly it will spell the end to her Glass series. I'm reading Spy Glass now, but is it too much to hope that readers will get to see the world and the characters we've come to love so much again in the future? I really hope not!

I gave Sea Glass (Glass #2) 4 shamrocks!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Storm Glass (Glass #1) by Maria V. Snyder

As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it's time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal's unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she hadn't known she possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she's ever known.

I have not picked up a book by Maria V. Snyder yet that I did not absolutely adore. Her wonderful writing, fun characters and thrilling action scenes were in full swing with her first installment in the Glass series. Opal Cowan takes the lead in the series and we start out five years after readers first met her in the Study series. She's studying and using her unique magic at the keep and is asked to help on a mission for the master magicians. Her mentor, Master Zitora Cowan escorts her to the Stormdance lands where trouble has arisen.

Alon the way there are storms (of course), kidnappings, battles and ambushes and a little romance thrown in, all at the same time. Snyder brings new characters into her world, both good and bad. Kade the Stormdancer will win you over with his weather analogies and you'll find yourself forgiving his prickly personality. Ulrick makes a nice addition to a growing love triangle, which always makes for a good read. Devlen plays our villain and he piqued my curiosity on more than one occasion.

But right along with the new characters, came some of my old favorites as well. Yelena, Leif, the master magicians, they're all back for bits here and there. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to them when the Study series ended so I was very excited and happy to see them again.

In typical Snyder fashion she managed to keep me on the edge of my seat with anxiety but also didn't kill me with anxiety. It's always a perfect mix. I immediately wanted to start the second installment in the series to see what came next for Opal and the rest of the gang.

I gave Storm Glass (Glass #1) 4 shamrocks!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Wisdom (My Blood Approves #4) by Amanda Hocking

For her eighteenth birthday, Alice Bonham takes a vacation to Australia only to have her trip cut short by an unexpected murder.

While Alice tries to understand what happened, she regrets some of the choices she's made, especially the more permanent ones.

On top of that, the child vampire is running loose, and its attracting some very unwanted attention...

This turned out to be a very quick series for me to read, but one I really enjoyed. I was disappointed when I finished this fourth installment. Not because of the writing but because it was over, all the loose ends tied up. It was a very exciting and suspenseful conclusion though. So much was going on in this last book that I don't really know where to begin.

All the characters that readers came to know in the series came back for this one and we got to learn more about all of them. Alice was of course still making me dizzy with her feelings and emotions all over the place all the time but I couldn't really blame her either. She spent more time with Milo's boyfriend Bobby and I enjoyed getting to know him better. Jack...poor Jack was kept in the dark about a lot of things and this took a toll on him in Wisdom. He struggles with himself and the decisions he's made, with his family and the secrets they've kept from him, and of course with Alice because he can't seem to make her happy or give her what she wants...because even she doesn't know what that is yet. But he muscles through it the best he can.

A lot of side characters make a more permanent appearance in this book. Leif flits in and out of the scenes and his mysterious demeanor grows, but Hocking does enlighten readers more where he's concerned. Violet enters the picture again and I was surprised how easy her character was to like once we learned more about her. And finally Olivia has become close with Alice and helps her out whenever she can. She still manages to be on the strange side but great fun as well.

Hocking had me so in knots with her last few chapters that I thought I'd be sick. I realized that despite flying through these pages I had grown attached to these characters and was very concerned when it came to what would become of them. So thanks Amanda for the anxiety attacks with this book and please consider writing more about these characters in the future.

I gave Wisdom (My Blood Approves #4) 4 shamrocks!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: The Hungers Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I know I'm not alone when I say this was and is by far my favorite series ever. Suzanne Collins will forever be among my favorite authors because of this. I've read other books that I couldn't get enough of, but none of those compare to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. It was a genious idea and executed to perfection. Despite how high I hold these three I've never reviewed them for fear I wouldn't do the titles justice. I still don't think I can but I still decided to give it a shot and share my favorite moments in each. Now if you haven't read this series, (yes I think you're crazy) but I'm also seriously impressed with your will power! But I also think you might want to stop reading at this point because I don't want to be a spoiler. It's your decision, but you've been warned.

So favorite moment #1 - The Hunger Games: Peeta and Katniss in the cave. I know, I know it's so predictable but I don't care! When Katniss is nursing Peeta back to as close to healthy as possible I melted. But when he talks to her about her singing and how he's loved her for years I just didn't think you could get more romantic than that. He's not corny but shows Katniss how much he loves everything about her! Not who she lets others perceive her to be but the real her. Her flaws and all. He doesn't care and it's unconditional. Katniss pulls through for me her or very soon after when she kisses him and for the first time really means it. It's not for show, she's risked her life and understands Peeta means something to her too, she's just not quite sure what exactly yet. I was swooning big time!

Favorite moment #2 - Catching Fire: After Katniss and Peeta realize and accept that they're going back into the arena they are truly there for each other. So it's not really a moment but a span of time from when they're whisked away on the train bound for the capital to entering the actual arena. Peeta once again cares for Katniss and shows this when he stays with her night after night to protect her during her nightmares and comfort her when she wakes up. Katniss really got my vote when she finally decided that it was Peeta that needed to survive and win the games. It was selfless on her part and very brave. Her stock definitely went up in my opinion in book two.

Favorite moment #3 - Mockingjay: Now Mockingjay made me wait and drove me crazy until finally the end. The last chapter of Mockingjay satisfied me, thrilled me and left me completely content and okay with how things worked out. All the characters were forced to deal with so many tragedies and grief throughout all three books that I wasn't sure there was a way to make this happen but of course Collins proved me wrong. Lives were definitely lost that I wish didn't take place but at the same time I understood and believe they made the story stronger and more powerful.

The Hunger Games trilogy will be around and massively popular for years to come. While I'm not sure Collins can top this trilogy (or anyone else) but I am looking forward to the movie adaptation and I hope her future books are equally addicting and brilliant!

I gave The Hunger Games trilogy 5 shamrocks!!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (27)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board.

This week I fell behind on my posts and I'm sorry for that. Work kept me busy, I was so excited to have my new blog design up this week and the ARC tour site constantly keeps me buzzing all over the place, but I've been trying to get everything in order and hopefully this week I'll be able to start fresh. Here's what I got this week, did you guys get anything good? Anything you think I should add to my TBR list....I'm always looking for you guys to give me some good recommendations!


Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem (thanks Ellen)

Mellie has been trying, unsuccessfully, to live down the day she told her kindergarten class she had a fairy living in her bedroom. Years later she is still called Fairy Fat. But when her parents inherit an inn and their family moves to a new town, Mellie believes she'll leave all that fairy nonsense behind. Little does she know that the inn is overrun with... you guessed it. Oh brother.

From the Dead by John Herrick (thanks John)

A preacher's son, a father in hiding, a guilty heart filled with secrets: When Jesse Barlow escaped to Hollywood, he hungered for fame--but eleven years of failure result in a drug-induced suicide attempt. Revived at death's doorstep, Jesse returns to his Ohio hometown to make amends with his preacher father, a former love, and Jesse's own secret son. But Jesse's renewed commitment becomes a baptism by fire when his son's advanced illness calls for a sacrifice--one that could cost Jesse the very life he regained. A story of mercy, hope, and second chances, From The Dead captures the human spirit with tragedy and joy.

Blood of Gold by B.V. Larson

Her young man stepped out of nowhere onto a mountaintop... Her high school counselor came from Hell. Literally... Haley learns she has a unique gift. She normally lives her life escaping notice, but now two gorgeous strangers are interested in her. Very interested. Seth is the best-looking young man she (or anyone else) has ever met. Every girl in school is after him and the competition turns strangely vicious. She soon realizes that he is not fully bound to this world. Although they both feel the mutual attraction, there’s something holding him back...

The second stranger is equally attractive, but more frightening. When she is with him, she somehow loses her self-control. To say more would give away too much, but Las Vegas will never be the same...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review: Fire (Seven Kingdoms #2) by Kristin Cashore

Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...

As much as I loved Cashore's Graceling it didn't stand a chance once I got my hands on Fire. Chasore switched gears and decided to make this installment more of a prequel to Graceling. We're taken out of the seven kingdoms and transported to another realm filled with monsters instead of gracelings.

Cashore brings up all types of monsters: raptors of brilliant colors to attract their prey with, blood thirsty leopards that are a sight to behold, but none so amazing as Fire. A human/monster girl in her teens who's beauty is unmatched. She bewitches both men and women with her looks and can enter their minds as well. Control is completely hers. But Fire (named because of her brilliant colored hair) doesn't want to hurt people or use her powers at all if given the choice. Her father was not a good man/monster and she is forever living in the memory of his wicked reputation.

Fire is approached by the royal family and asked to help them with an upcoming war. As hesitant as she is she still decides to try and erase her reputation. Prince Brigan (love him) and Fire start off to a rocky beginning. He doesn't trust her and Fire can't blame him. His brother the king is the polar opposite and tries everything in his power to get Fire to marry him ever chance he has. I adored the royal family as well as Fire's dear childhood friend Archer. Brigan made my top 10 list of favorite male leading characters and I couldn't get enough of his and Fire's interaction.

I loved everything about this book. The world, the characters, the excitement and surprises. It made me laugh, cry and want to read it again and again. I would love nothing more than to see more of these characters in future books.

I gave Fire (Seven Kingdoms #2) 5 shamrocks!!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms #1) by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight — she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme, and in her case horrifying, skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace — or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I can't begin to describe the amazing talent Kristin Cashore brings to her readers. Her world she created in Graceling is like nothing anyone has ever heard of. Kingdoms, gracelings, power struggles and true love are only a glimpse at what she brings to the table. With this being her first installment in the Seven Kingdoms series I'd say she started with a bang!

Katsa is what is knows as a graceling. Rare people born in Cashore's world with extreme talents. Be they simple like cooking expertise, sewing, or more of the radical like mind reading/control, or in Katsa's case, killing. Graceling's can be identified visually by their two different colored eyes. But Katsa's in no danger of being overlooked. She's the king's thug in most people's opinions. Her uncle uses her graceling and reputation to horrible ends. Katsa has few friends and not a very sunny outlook on life until she meets Po.

I of course fell in love with Po. He's the prince of one of the other kingdoms and has come to Katsa's home on a mission of the utmost importance. Katsa finds a friend in Po and decides she must help him on this adventure. These two are the embodiment of good and right. They want to stop the evil that is being spread among the kingdoms and at great risk to themselves.

Cashore sends Katsa and Po on a wonderful, thrilling adventure filled with surprises, revelations at every turn and there's even some romance to appease those out there like me. With a fearless and lovable heroine and a noble sweetheart of a guy by her side, a handful of great side characters, readers will fall in love with Graceling!

I gave Graceling (Seven Kingdoms #1) 5 shamrocks!!!!!


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