Monday, October 31, 2011

Countdown: A Mix

After I scour the Internet far and wide for new reads coming out soon and in the near future, I try to organize the titles I've marked down into their respective genres or at least by authors/series I have come to favor. But inevitably there are still a few stragglers that I've either found after I've already created a few posts or maybe there's just a few that I can't decide where to put in the end. So for this post I've decided just to put a few in a mixture. I'm anxious to read each title for one reason or another and didn't want to wait to post them to a list when I could just post them all at once. The mix has got some great titles that I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to read and I'm hoping you feel the same.

Countdown Pick #1: On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker (10/19/2011)

Claire is struggling to overcome the murder of her childhood friend and secret crush, Daniel. Everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, but she's still trying to cope. The fact that she finds herself alone and drowning on her 16th birthday isn't helping.

Neither is thinking she sees Daniel's face in murky water as she mysteriously resurfaces. But something happened during those four and a half minutes that will make her realize it was not just her imagination.

As Claire and Daniel try to grasp a possible reconnection, other grudge-holding beings have plans of their own. Now, the two of them have to decide if their fleeting relationship is worth the possibility of Claire being trapped on the fringe forever.

Beautifully told, On the Fringe intertwines fresh ideas about devotion, revenge, and the consequences that come with life and death.

I'll admit that this one sounds a little sad, but I'm also hoping there will be a silver lining. If it turns out to be a search to find Daniel's killer than I'm all for it of course. I'm very curious to see if Daniel's ghost has stuck around to right the wrong that was done to him or if something else is going on with Claire. Only time will tell, and reading the book of course.

Countdown Pick #2: Swear (My Blood Approves, #5) by Amanda Hocking (January 2012)

Final book in the My Blood Approves series by bestselling author, Amanda Hocking.

I can only say that I did not see this one coming. Hocking won me over in book one, My Blood Approves, and I flew through the next three installments, Fate, Flutter, and Wisdom, just as quickly. I was so sad when book four ended and I hadn't heard anything about a fifth book being in the works. Needless to say that when I saw Swear was coming out, my day was made! I am beyond anxious to see what Hocking has in store for her characters and readers alike. Now I just wish that they'd provide a synopsis so I'd at least have some clues as to what to look forward to. I will be on the lookout for those and a cover too.

Countdown Pick #3: Irises by Francisco X. Stork (1/12/2012)

Two sisters discover what's truly worth living for in the new novel by the author of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD.

TWO SISTERS: Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. -- if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.

THREE YOUNG MEN: Then three men sway their lives: Kate's boyfriend Simon offers to marry her, providing much-needed stability. Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past. And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own.

ONE AGONIZING CHOICE: Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darknesses in their sudden freedom. But it's Mama's life that might divide them for good -- the question of *if* she lives, and what's worth living for.

I'm excited about this one, but that goes without saying. It sounds tragic and compelling, not to mention irresistible. Without knowing much about these two girls or their backgrounds, the choices they must make sound like tough ones. The three men in the mix sounds pretty interesting as well. While Stork's take sounds sad and potentially heart wrenching, it's one I'm anxious to dig into all the same.

Countdown Pick #4: Elemental (Elemental Trilogy, #1) by Emily White (5/1/2012)

For ten years—ever since she was a small child—Ella has been held prisoner. Now that she has escaped, she needs answers.

Who is she? Why was she taken? And who is the boy with the beautiful green eyes who haunts her memories?

Is Ella the prophesied Destructor… or will she be the one who's destroyed?

Yet another upcoming release that has left me with too many questions. I'm told it's the opener in a trilogy and the synopsis (though to me it's more like a small teaser) sounds intriguing. Who this girl Ella is seems to be the main question and I'd like the answer. With the hard life our heroine has had growing up from the sound of it, I'm thinking she'll be eager for answers. Hopefully the readers will get their answers sooner rather than later.

Countdown Pick #5: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (12/18/2012)

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have been cursed with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby has spent nearly half her life desperately trying to hide the fact that she’s outwitted the camp’s sorting system—that she isn’t powerless, or safe. She’s one of the dangerous ones… and everyone knows what happens to them.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of teens who escaped their own camp, pursued along the way by terrifying bounty hunters. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close to him. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Before the end, Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

As you can see no cover has been revealed for this title yet, but I'll be on the lookout and will post a picture of it as soon as I find one. If you're familiar with Bracken's first book, Brightly Woven, than you can understand my excitement over her new title. Her first was magical, exciting and felt like one giant adventure that ended way too soon. So not only does the synopsis have me counting down the days, but it's more her writing in general that I'm looking forward to more of. Bracken writes at a quick pace, and keeps readers reading well into the night just to see what happens next.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Review: Shadow of the Moon (Dark Guardian, #4) by Rachel Hawthorne

I can feel every Shifter's emotions except Daniel's—
the only one whose heart I long to know.

HAYDEN was born a werewolf, a Dark Guardian. But her ability to sense the feelings of fellow werewolves has made her life unbearable. She runs away, only to be tracked by charming, mysterious Daniel, a newcomer to the pack and the one Shifter immune to her powers. As she reluctantly follows him home, Hayden finds herself falling dangerously in love. . . .

But even as her feelings for Daniel deepen, Hayden begins to wonder if he is who he claims to be. Where did he come from and why has no one ever seen him transform? When they stumble upon the body of a Shifter still in wolf form, her worries grow. Someone is killing her kind. Is her handsome tracker really a hunter? And is Hayden now his prey?

Rachel Hawthorne's Dark Guardian series had me entertained from the start of book one to the very end of book four. And now I'm wondering if and when she'll produce a book five.

Hayden and Daniel were just as much fun to get to know as the rest of the Dark Guardian gang. A tab bit more doom and gloom followed these two along the way when compared with the other couples, but it only had me rooting for them all the more. As always I was glad the old favorites were still a part of this story, but I also enjoyed the time when it was just the two of them.

I liked Daniel from the start when Hawthorne introduced him in Dark of the Moon, but Hayden was a new addition. An addition I loved. She was brave and strong and with her added ability, a unique character who fit in well with Hawthorne's world.

I can only hope Hawthorne has more installments planned for this series because I for one am not quite ready to say goodbye.

I gave Shadow of the Moon (Dark Guardians, #4) 3 shamrocks!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Countdown: Dystopian Dynamos

I'm not sure when these titles moved over into their own genre, but I do know that I was slightly behind in the game when I eventually found them. I've said it before and I'll say it again I owe Suzanne Collins big time for introducing me to a genre that I've come to really enjoy. The Hunger Games trilogy introduced me to the genre and I've been a big fan ever since. There's something about a book where the characters are faced with a world at it's worst and the people struggling to survive. I know that it's a lot easier to get invested in the characters when they're trying their best to cling to whatever small amount of hope they can right from the get go. I'm not sure I'll ever really be able to explain to others why I've come to enjoy dystopian novels so much, but I certainly have at that.

Regardless of why, I've found two new titles that fit nicely into this genre that are coming out next year and I'm super excited to read them. Have you guys heard of these titles yet? Are there any teasers out there to give readers a little more insight in to what we can expect from these books? If you can think of any others that are expected to hit the shelves soon be sure to let me know.

Countdown Pick #1: Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1) by Veronica Rossi (1/3/2012)

Exiled from her comfortable home in the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. In Reverie, she spent time with her friends roaming virtual environments called Realms. But in The Death Shop, even the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage. He’s also her only hope for survival.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry sees Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he also needs Aria’s help; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, they come together reluctantly, and embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by cannibals and wolves. Their unlikely alliance will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

The Hunger Games may have created a place in my heart for dystopian novels, but there are several others out there that have made sure I remain a fan. Before Collins' series I wouldn't have known what the genre even contained. But now I've come to really enjoy them and I'm hoping Rossi will provide another that I can add to my new favorite genre. I'm anxious to learn what Rossi's world is like and why Aria was exiled from her home. Goodreads said it was a tantalizing romance and it's without a doubt one that I can't wait to start.

Countdown Pick #2: Hollow by Richard Denney (5/8/2012)

Welcome to the house of Hollow.

In a dystopian future, sixteen year old Leah Munro has been sold to a rich woman in a crippling mansion. Soon Leah discovers that there is something mysterious going on around the home, and with the help of three other girls, she attempts to uncover what is truly happening... what lies beyond all of the plexiglass windows and the hideous screams in the middle of the night? Leah will soon find out.

Now this is one I don't know much about. The book's description leads you to believe a large mystery or secret is at the center of it all but not much else is let on to readers. Girls are sold, but what for and why? This future world is a mystery itself and I'm curious how much the upcoming teasers will tell us when they're released, or if they'll clue us in before the book's actual release next year. I'm told a fifty page novella is something to be on the lookout for come December, so we can only hope it clears some things up and gives some more details. The author's blog features a post where he casts actors to play in a movie version of his novel if in the future one is ever made. Cool right? Check it out if you want a preview of what the author says his characters look close to, head on over and report back what you think.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Countdown: Romance Anyone?

It's no secret here on the blog that I'm a sucker for all things romantic. It probably started from the moment I was born and I'm hoping to never grow out of it. Whether it's a sweet Disney movie where the prince and princess defeat the odds and all evil beings trying to keep them apart, just so they can be together in the end, or something more realistic. I love it all. So when I get wind of titles that are soon to hit the shelves and there's even a hint of a romance within those pages, you better believe that there's a very good chance I'll be adding that book to my TBR list.

Recently I found some great new reads that are coming out in the near future and they've got romance written all over them. Some are sounding slightly more subtle than others, but I'm already over the moon excited to check each and every one of them out. Chivalry, manners, courting a lady, cherishing one another and never wanting to be apart from your soul mate, all of these traits and elements are very much alive and well within the pages of books. Though the majority might be on the fiction shelves, I like my little trips and breaks from reality while I take some time to immerse myself in these titles all the same.

Countdown Pick #1: Illuminated by Erica Orloff (12/8/2011)

An epic romance full of mysteries that transcend time—fans of Romeo and Juliet and The Time Traveler’s Wife will rejoice!

Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story—and hers—takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary—and that of Heloise and Abelard’s ancient romance—their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can’t last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history?

An epic romance is the description that stood out the most for me. There was no way this title wasn't going to make my TBR list, not a chance. It does worry me that it's being compared to Romeo and Juliet and The Time Traveler's Wife, because readers all know that nothing ended well for those characters. But I'm going to cross my fingers that comparisons only refer to the unstoppable force and love that brought the characters together.

Countdown Pick #2: Fateful by Claudia Gray (9/13/2011)

In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship they’re sailing on reaches the United States, she’ll strike out on her own. Then she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets....

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and they’re stalking him—and now Tess, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

Featuring the opulent backdrop of the Titanic, Fateful’s publication is poised to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s doomed maiden voyage. It is sure to be a hit among Titanic buffs and fans of paranormal romance alike.

A romance on the Titanic is a story we're all familiar with, but I'm thinking with Gray throwing in a werewolf twist that it'll be hard for readers not to be a little curious at the very least. I know I am. And since I love a good romance as well as any kind of paranormal element thrown in and is going to be a title I have to check out. I'm just going to hope that Tess and Alec have luck on their sides, because if you're on the Titanic, you're going to need it and then some.

Countdown Pick #3: A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) by Beth Revis (1/10/2012)
Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

While Revis' characters aren't your typical lovey dovey duo, love is definitely in the air. But there was so much working against them in the first installment that I can only imagine this second book will be no different. But who doesn't root for the couple that's either torn apart or are constantly trying to stay together, right? I'll always be that kind of cheerleader for Elder and Amy. Let's see what obstacles are put in front of them next.

Countdown Pick #4: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis (11/14/2011)

Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. The fact that she has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather doesn’t help. But Holly has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, reach out to help Holly with her grandfather—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. Is his best friend really falling for his girlfriend?
As Holly wonders whether to open her heart to Jason, the past comes back to haunt her. Her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side?

Told from the perspectives of Holly, Jason, and Rob,Wherever You Gois is a poignant story about making peace with the past, opening your heart to love, and finding the courage to move forward into the light.

This one may require tissues to be on hand throughout reading. It's bad enough to imagine two people in love being separated by death, but the fact that the deceased loved one has to watch everyone move on with their lives...cruel. I was getting sad just reading the synopsis. Davis will hopefully be able to deliver some hope and optimism in this story of love and hardship. Otherwise, I won't make it to the final pages. Cross your fingers with me for a somewhat happy ending.

Countdown Pick #5: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (5/8/2012)

Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor's dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

While this one might not be your typical romance, I do see hints at summer love and teenage crushes. It obviously revolves around a family that has grown apart and are trying to fix and change their current situations. Either way, love seems to be the key element in this story and hopefully these characters find a way to get to know the real people in their lives and find a way to be a part of those people's lives before it's too late.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Countdown: New Series (3)

These last few books will wrap up my new series countdown lists....for now at least. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to all of these release dates. I have quite a few books in my collection and that are close to my heart that are stand alones. But there is just something about a series that always pulls me in, as long as it's one I've enjoyed of course. I've always felt sad if you find new characters and plots, worlds and scenarios that readers can get excited about only to be cut off once the stand alone book ends. I enjoy a series because readers get the chance to come back and visit with all the elements they've fallen in love with and enjoyed so much. Characters grow, plots continue to twist and turn, and honestly it makes me appreciate authors all the more. It's an incredible feat to write a book and have it published. But to be able to continue to come up with new ideas and keep the readers' attention all the's nothing short of a miracle and it's an accomplishment that impresses me every time I pick up a new installment in a series.

Countdown Pick #1: Shattered Dreams (Midnight Dragonfly, #1) by Ellie James (12/2/2011)

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.

Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.

But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.

Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

One for the Christmas wish list, I think so. We've all seen enough movies and read enough books to know that when a character has a special gift like Trinity does, it's best to keep it under wraps. But alas, these characters always seem to be hell bent on using their gifts to help people despite the consequences to themselves. You have to love them for it...even if you're yelling at them to "don't do it" at the same time. Sign me up James, I'm ready to scream and root for your characters all at the same time.

Some Things are Pretty. Some Things are Black. Love is both.

Ellie Piper

She wanted to die. He arose from the grave. He was sent to kill her. She was trained to kill those of his kind. But fate had other plans. He searched for 119 years to find her. & There's no way in hell he's letting her go. Dead or Alive. They're fated.

Marcus Marble

How far would you go to be with the one you love? Would you die for her? Would you kill for her? What if the only reason you're still alive is because of her? What if the reason you came back from the dead, was to be with her? But what if your job was to kill her, but you fell in love instead? And now you're being hunted by your own kind?

Destroy? Or be Destroyed?

I'm thinking these two characters have a lot of things that they're going to need to work out. I can't even figure out if there's going to be romance or just an all out "I love you but I also hate you" kind of atmosphere. Romance is great but sometimes I enjoy the build up more if characters fight their feelings and attempt to resist temptation. I like it as long as their feelings and love win out in the end of course. So I'm hearing the drumroll and looking forward to seeing which way this one goes.

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

I'm puzzling it out, or at least trying to figure out how exactly the author is going to get her readers to empathize with man eating mermaids? Any ideas? Me neither. I'm assuming it'll be interesting to see if she's able to do it and if so how long it will take. It sounds like an intriguing tale and I'll admit that mermaids are right up there with witches for me right now. There's just something about them that has piqued my interest and has me clamoring for any and all titles that have them in their pages. Looking forward to this read, but I'm thinking a dip in the lake will bring out a whole new host of phobias...yikes!

Mira Johns is pretty much like any other teenage girl. Except that she knows how to harness electro-magnetic energy to communicate without words. And she's really, really far from home. Her assignment as an emissary to Earth sounds fairly simple: blend in, observe, and stay away from the planet’s primitive males. But after she finds one mysterious boy too irresistible for stupid rules, she realizes the real reason she's supposed to keep her distance: mates from her world can die if separated. But a series of serious accidents make it clear that someone wants to force her return. Mira decides her only hope is to uncover the truth to why she, the most mediocre of candidates, was actually chosen for this assignment—before the agency discovers her secret and sends her back home.

Oooo do I love a futuristic setting that doesn't always equal an apocalypse of some kind. Mira's mission seems to be simple enough (as they usually do) but turns out to be anything but simple. Someone from Mira's world is not her friend and I'm wondering how far this individual or persons will go to see to her ruin. Will she find her mate in this Earth boy, and if she does will she stay with him to survive or take him back with her? It's all so mysterious and exciting that I'm practically already on the edge of my seat. This futuristic society might not be so bright after all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Countdown: New Series (2)

Since I managed to find so many great new reads the other day while I was exploring and searching for new authors, new titles and most especially new series....I couldn't fit them all onto one list without a doubt. So I'm back with another batch of great new books that I'm too excited to get the chance to read and hopefully will find myself falling in love with a few more series that I can follow for a good time to come. As always, if you've got any titles or authors that have caught your eye and you haven't seen me mention them here I'd love to hear about them. I can't even count how many of your recommendations have been the reason I've added to my collection and I'm always grateful for the points in the right direction.

Countdown Pick #1: Incarnate (New Soul, #1) by Jodi Meadows (1/31/2012)


Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.


Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

This is one that I just came upon but wish it was already out on the shelves. I would have downloaded it to my kindle instantly to start reading it if I could have. The idea of reincarnation is not one I ponder very often, but Meadows has me enthralled. What would it be like to be like one of these characters knowing that you'll always come back (with all your previous memories no less) and be able to reunite with previous family members and people you loved? Like I said...I'm enthralled.

Countdown Pick #2: Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1) by Jessica Spotswood (2/7/2012)

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

I love anything witch related lately. I'm thinking 2012 will be their year in books. And Spotswood's tale seems like one I could really dig in to. I'm curious to learn more about the sisterhood the synopsis refers to, not to mention this deep, dark, family secret. As if a family of witches wouldn't be a big enough secret. So Spotswood has me intrigued and I'm so glad that she has more installments in the works, because if this series opener is as good as it sounds, I'm going to want more.

Countdown Pick #3: Hemlock (Hemlock, #1) by Kathleen Peacock (2012)

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Lupine there's one I've never heard before. HarperCollins is teasing readers with buzzwords like spellbinding, and questions revolving around love and lies, etc... It's totally working for me. I'm eager to see how the main character Mac treks her way through murder, nightmares, werewolves and violence. I so don't envy the girl her predicament. Author Kimberly Derting said she was, "biting [her] nails with anticipation." That's a good enough endorsement for me.
Countdown Pick #4:
Scent of a White Rose (The Rose Trilogy, #1) by Tish Thawer

A vampire's love...

An innocent's guilt...

A secret no one could've imagined...

A YA paranormal romance that entices with a heroine that isn't quite what she seems, a vampire whose love story is filled with dark surprises, and a vampire clan whose Sire has lost the ability to inflict "the change".

~ ROSE ~
I'm Rose Reynolds. I have recently lost my Mom in a "freak accident".
Now everyone sees me as an innocent girl.... a “white Rose”.
But I have a secret that no one can imagine.
I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks…

I'm Christian and I’m in love with Rose. I also have a secret as old as time.
I’m a vampire.
No, she doesn’t know…yet.
But when our new Sire is revealed, I'll petition them to change her.
Because truly, I can't live without her...

I'm wondering what Rose will think about Christian's vampire revelation? Is it that easy for vampires in Thawer's world to change people over? Do those people get a say in it? I'm also wondering what Rose's secret is? Did she kill her mother? Lots of questions rolling around in my head over this series. I'll be on the lookout for this title in 2012 and hopefully Thawer will provide me with a lot of answers.

Countdown Pick #5: Halflings (Halflings, #1) by Heather Burch (January 2012)

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Give me a story involving angels (or at least I think it's about angels) and I'm on the band wagon. With no real concrete details about what kind of trouble our heroine is in or why she's the focal point for such malice, my imagination is running away from me. But the girl gets three gorgeous, hulking me to protect and look out for her! A little danger might be worth their company, you just never know. It looks like January might turn out to be a busy month of reading for this girl.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Countdown: New Series (1)

As always my TBR list continues to grow in length each day. I love discovering new books that will be hitting the shelves soon and having the time to let the excitement build until I can't take it any more...I've just got to get my hands on a copy of each book for my very own collection. So once again I found myself exploring the net in search of any new titles that I've missed recently and any new books that are coming out in the next year or two. Well I definitely found some.

I'm always amazed at how many titles hook me from just their covers and short descriptive write ups. Teasers can even be enough some times. I'll admit that while long time favored authors coming out with new series and standalones are always looked into, mainly because if they're previous books were near and dear to me I can almost always count on their future works to hold the same quality I've come to hope for out of these writers. But while favorite authors add to my TBR list, I'm also always anxious to add debut authors or authors I haven't had the chance to experience yet to put on my list as well. So after some fun exploring I'm once again excited all over for another great round of books that I'll be on the look out for when they hit the shelves. Here are just a few...

Countdown Pick #1: Fury (The Fury Trilogy, #1) by Elizabeth Miles (8/30/2011)

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...
Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

It has been said that one look at this cover and you'll be dying to get your hands on a copy of your own. I completely agree. Add to that the fact that there are two other books in this series and I had no hope of resisting. As a fan of the author, Lauren Oliver, when I heard these two were best friends I just couldn't help but hope that their writing was on an equal level as well. So with a lot of anticipation and a greater amount of hope, I'm adding this to my list of must reads.

Countdown Pick #2:
Blood Song (Lharmell, #1) by Rhiannon Hart

I wanted to turn but I was held captive by the song on the wind. I’m coming, I told the voices. Please, wait for me.

When her sister becomes betrothed to a prince in a northern nation, Zeraphina’s only consolations are that her loyal animal companions are by her side – and that her burning hunger to travel north is finally being sated.

Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king’s advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more.

Zeraphina must be willing to sacrifice everything if she’s to uncover the truth – but what if the truth is beyond her worst nightmares?

I'm digging the mystery and suspense that goes hand in hand with this title. And when it comes to the fantasy genre I'm almost always on board. I love that anything is possible. It's been called enchanting and magical...what author wouldn't love that kind of praise? And what reader wouldn't want to jump right into the pages of a world like that? I for one want to very much. A world of royalty and unanswered questions, I can't wait to meet and take a journey alongside Zeraphina.

Countdown Pick #3:
Blood Rights (House of Comarre, #1) by Kristen Painter

The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers.

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarrĂ©—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

How authors continue to come up with unique takes on vampires I'll never know, but Painter has done just that. Vampire nobility and humans destined and bred to feed them...crazy cool. So when the death of Chrysabelle's vampire is blamed on her, trouble quickly follows. I'm interested to see how her relationship with a vampire outcast comes into play and how it all pans out. Not to mention that I'd like to know what kind of behavior gets a vampire exiled to begin with. Reviews have been saying that Painter takes age old stereotypes and turns them on their heads to create something above and beyond. Sign me up.

Countdown Pick # 4:
Pure (Pure, #1) by Julianna Baggott

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.

Yet another dystopian novel I can't wait to check out. The book's description of the resulting remains of the people who survived the destruction is gruesome to say the least. And to think that no sign of hope awaits them either, just death in one form or another...awful. It's an exciting idea that Pressia takes matters (and her life) into her own hands. And I'll admit that I'm hoping that when she runs into Patridge, sparks fly.

Countdown Pick #5:
Touch of Power, (Healer, #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

Every book Snyder has written has taken me on an adventure that I don't want to ever end. I was so excited to hear that she was starting a new series, I couldn't contain my enthusiasm. This may not be exactly like her other series' exactly but it rings pretty close to the mark and I can't wait. Mysteries, power unexplained and feared, and a band of rogues at the center of it all. Oh yeah! I haven't heard any hints of a romance, but I'm crossing my fingers that Snyder delivers a love story to rival all her others.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review: Isle of Night (The Watchers, #1) by Veronica Wolff

Is life offering fewer and fewer options? Then join the dead.

When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she's whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she's determined to do so, because to fail doesn't mean dishonor-it means death.

I was so excited to start this series that I think I expected too much at first. The first two or three chapters just didn't grab me right away. Slow moving and hard to stay with was my initial impression. But... after that initial slow start, it changed and the pace of the plot right along with it. So looking back I think it was more me than the writing itself.

So once I was off and running I found myself truly engrossed in this plot. The gladiator style fighting theme, and mysterious surroundings kept things entertaining. It was like the girl version of Peter Pan's lost boys. Only these girls didn't ask or choose really to be brought to the Isle of Night. Girls with no family and nothing to return to at home, and their options were gone. Once these girls arrived it was survive or die. There is no leaving... only survival. Tough doesn't even begin to describe it.

These girls were no wall flowers, but nor were most of them ruthless killers to start with either. It kept this Darwinian theme of survival of the fittest right to the end. Scary stuff. This of course became another series I want to continue and am looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

So if you enjoy a good suspense and action packed adventure, you might want to look into this one. But it doesn't stop with the physical contests, mental fitness and agility were just as intense. I'm looking forward to seeing more in Vampire's Kiss (The Watchers, #2) coming out on March 06, 2012.

I gave Isle of Night (The Watchers, #2) 3 shamrocks!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Secret Society (Secret Society, #1) by Tom Dolby

Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone. . . .

An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York's wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.

They didn't ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything—even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they're forced to get on the nape of their necks. Once they're part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It's all perfect—until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo.

Tom Dolby knows how to write for all audiences. Throughout the book readers get to hear from multiple points of view. Guys and girls and I've got to say, he pulled it all off. He talked about NYC nightlife, fashion and the boutiques to hit up that have the best vintage finds, politics, etc... It was a good mixture for all audiences. I enjoyed the descriptions and throughout the experience I felt as though I was taking a unique tour of NYC and all it has to offer from a local's perspective.

When combined with the mysterious society it was an exciting ride. The suspense and all out stress had me on the edge of my seat. I loved it all. Lauren, Patch, Nick, and Phoebe were a great mix of characters and I enjoyed getting to know each of them. All different but with a common thread...the Society. I went back and forth throughout it all, not sure what I would do in their positions. And honestly I still don't know what my decision would be. It's all so glamorous and irresistible one minute and so horrible and terrifying the next. It would be hard to turn away from but also readers will see, it turns out to be just as hard to find a way out.

So needless to say, by the end of this series opener, I couldn't wait to get started on book two, The Trust.

I gave Secret Society (Secret Society, #1) 3 shamrocks!!!


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