January 31, 2013

REVIEW: House Rules (Chicagoland Vampires #7)

House Rules (Chicagoland Vampires #7), by Chloe Neill
To-be-published February 5, 2013
Publisher:  Penguin
Format:  Paperback - own
Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) In a city full of vampires, trouble never sleeps.

At the tender age of 27, Merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle—and her metal —tested like never before.

It started with two . . . Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the centuries old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined.

In typical CV fashion, Merit is faced with a problem - a mystery to solve. So, she pulls together the Scoobies to get to the bottom of it. The usual gang is all involved, including Gabe. Can I just say here that Gabe is probably my most favorite supporting character in this series? I love his nickname for Merit and the rapport he has with Ethan. And, he plays strip poker. Regularly. Oh, to have a seat at that table.  

Anyhow, I digress. Speaking of shifters, HOUSE RULES is super special for several reasons, but one of the biggest is that we FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY find out what kind of animal Jeff Christopher turns into when he shifts. And, I have to tell you that I was surprised. And delighted.

If there was an Ass-Kicking Chicks Club, Merit would be the president, secretary and treasurer all in one. And, not just because of her fighting skills. There actually wasn't a lot of physical battles in this book - not as many as in previous books, anyway. It's the Merit essence that impresses me the most. She tries to do the right thing, succeeds most of the time, but not always. She doesn't back down from a fight, especially when she thinks she's right. Even when she has to stand up to the people she loves. 

It seems as if Merit and Ethan are finally on the right track. I'm thankful that, even though it's been a hard road and they really do deserve to be together, things aren't all puppies and rainbows. They still screw up and piss each other off. They are like the alpha couple with normal couple problems. It's very refreshing and relatable. 

After taking the front and center stage in the last two books, Mallory and Catcher are supporting characters this time around. It's a good thing - I think I needed a break from all their angst.

The side story is Merit's involvement in the Red Guard. Will she go through with it? Will she tell Ethan about it? And, if Ethan finds out, will he kick Jonah's ass for being her partner? All those questions are ones that have been posed in previous books and are now answered in HOUSE RULES. Many things come full circle, but thankfully, since we have a few books left in this amazing series, more questions and problems are posed at the end. It wouldn't be a CV book without those.

So, have you started the Chicagoland Vampires series yet? If not, you have time before HOUSE RULES is released on February 5. Read up, because HOUSE RULES is icing on this very yummy cake.

January 30, 2013

REVIEW: Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard #1)

Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard #1), by Christina Lauren
To-be-published February 12, 2013
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Format:  e-ARC - Netgalley
Genre:  Adult Romance/Erotica

Rating:  3 STARS

(From Goodreads) An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. Discover the story that garnered more than two million reads online.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other. Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release.

I was really hoping that lighting would strike twice. I loved The Fifty Shades series, even with all its imperfections. And, when I saw Beautiful Bastard on Netgalley and then saw it was another Twilight fan fict, I had to give it a go. How could I not??

Fifty Shades, it was not. 

First of all, Bennett really is a bastard. He's rich, beautiful and a total jerk. Why any woman would want him to come within 10 feet of her is beyond me. And, as a boss? UGH. Horrible. The weird thing is, he seems to change on a dime about halfway through the book. Why is that? There is no major thing that happens - no big epiphany. He just goes from calling her a shrew one day to sweet the next. 

Then there's Chloe. She is everything I find irritating in a female character. She despises her boss. Fantasizes about quitting her job to get away from him. Yet, the first time he sticks his hand up her skirts, she's kind of forgotten all about that. Well... not really. She remembers that she hates him. But, she does the deed anyway. Again and again and again. But, she hates him. With a passion. It seriously made me crazy.

After they get over their hatred of each other, the book improves a lot. It follows a very formulaic pattern, but the ending is no less satisfying. It redeemed itself a little bit. 

One good thing about Beautiful Bastard is that, even though it was originally posted on a Twilight fan fict site, I see no correlation to the popular book series. This is one area where Beautiful Bastard has a leg up on Fifty Shades of Grey. I kept looking for the similarities, and other than the fact that the leading guy has lots of money, there really weren't any. 

I expected more, but wasn't totally disappointed. It was a quick read, so if you have time, give it a try and let me know what you thought.

January 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

1. Ethan Sullivan, Chicagoland Vampire series by Chloe Neill - Ethan and Merit's relationship stutters, then starts, then stops, then starts, then stops... you get the drift. And, pretty much all the speed bumps are due to Ethan and his issues. If he would just get his head screwed on straight for crying out loud, he'd realize that they were meant for each other!

2. Zoey Redbird, House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - This girl finds out she's super special. Like, one in a million. Destined for great things. And to make her life even better, the hottest guy in school decides she's the one for him. So, tell me why she decides to screw around with not one but TWO other guys behind his back? And keep secrets from her friends? Crazy.

3. Will Herondale, Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare - Poor, poor Will. He's lived a life apart from others who would love to love him and he would love to love back, but it's not until Tessa comes along that he decides to try and change things. A day late and a dollar short, unfortunately.

4. Aiden St. Delphi, Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout - It was so obvious from the beginning that Aiden had feelings for Alex. Yet, he pushes and pushes and pushes her away. Even to the point of being mean to her. It absolutely made me want to rip my hair out.

5. Calla Tor, Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer - I have a confession. I didn't actually finish Nightshade. The main reason why was Calla Tor. My girl did some crazy stupid stuff. Made some ridiculous decisions. The story could've been so great - I really wanted to stick with the book. But, when a character is that dumb, I just can't do it.

6. Bella Swan, Twilight series by Sephanie Meyer - Seriously. Do I even need to explain this one?

7. Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Mystery series by Charlaine Harris - I've been a card carrying member of Team Bill ever since the beginning. I loved Sookie with him. And he has tried so hard to make amends for his wrongs. But, she just won't hear it now. And that is so very frustrating.

8. Seth, Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Yes - another Covenant character. What can I say? It's an amazing and frustrating series. One minute you think Seth is a good guy, the next you don't. When you finally figure out what's going on, that's when the real frustration begins.

January 28, 2013


To help spread the word about the fact that Jeanette Battista's LEOPARD MOON, the first book in the Moon series, is available for free at Amazon for the Kindle until the end of the month we've invited the author to the blog to share a guest post about her experience writing the book.

The Moon series consists of four books - LEOPARD MOON, JACKAL MOON, HYENA MOON and HUNTER MOON - and is a series author Melissa Marr says, "... is filled with action and romance, shape shifters and strong heroines."

To check out all the books in the series on Goodreads, CLICK HERE.

The guest post follows below, but first here's some information about the awesome book and author and places you can find them both online!

About the Book

Title: LEOPARD MOON (Moon Series #1)
Author: Jeanette Battista
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release date: March 7, 2012
Pages: 204
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

***Kindle format free at Amazon - HERE***


How do you disappear when you come from a family of predators?

A wereleopard, Kess is forced to flee her home and family in Miami once her brother's obsession with her turns violent. She runs from city to city, trying to stay one step ahead of the investigators her family has dispatched to bring her home. Kess ends up in the mountains of North Carolina and attracts the attention of Cormac, a young man with a secret of his own. As she attempts to live as normal a life as her were-nature allows, her brother Sek continues to hunt for her. He believes she is the key to revitalizing their weakened clan and is driven to extreme measures to ensure their continued existence. As Kess' relationship with Cormac deepens, Sek closes in, threatening Cormac's life and Kess' freedom.

When the moon rises, the hunt is on….

Dimitri Williams Photography
Source: Author's website
About the Author

Jeanette Battista graduated with an English degree with a concentration in medieval literature which explains her possibly unhealthy fixation on edged weapons and cathedral architecture. She spent a summer in England and Scotland studying the historical King Arthur, which did nothing to curb her obsession. To satisfy her adrenaline cravings—since sword fighting is not widely accepted in these modern times—she rode a motorcycle at ridiculously high speeds, got some tattoos, and took kickboxing and boxing classes. She gave up the bike when her daughter came along, although she still gets pummeled at the gym on a regular basis.

When she’s not writing or working, Jeanette spends time with family, hikes, reads, makes decadent brownies, buys killer boots, and plays Pocket Frogs. She wishes there were more hours in the day so she could actually do more of these things. She lives with her daughter and their ancient, ill-tempered cat in North Carolina.

Find her: Goodreads | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

I'll be honest--I wasn't planning to write a book like Leopard Moon. I had an entirely different story in my head at the time, but it just wasn't coming into clear focus. That's the funny way writing works though: there I am, sitting at a red light on my way to meet my friends for a birthday martini and pedicure, listening to Florence + the Machine and WHAM! The song Howl comes on and this whole lovely scene just starts unfolding in my head. There was Kess, running through the woods, ripping off of her clothes as she triggered a change into a black leopard. And there was Cormac, standing in a different part of the woods being beaten mercilessly by the villain. I didn't know Sek was going to turn out to be Kess' brother, but I did know who he was as a character and what he wanted.

It was truly a gift: the entire final fight scene just unspooled itself along with the song lyrics. Each beat of the song matched a key point in the fight. The more I listened, the more I realized that the lyrics could apply to all of the characters in the main triangle at some point in the story I suddenly wanted to tell. And I wanted that story to be more than just boy meeting girl--I wanted that story to be about girl saving boy, but more importantly about girl saving herself. The song Howl gave me Kess first and Sekhmet second, so a lot of what I tried to do with them was to show them as two halves of a whole, two sides of a coin. Howl, at least to me, wasn't a love song at all--it was a song about possession and obsession and all of those things that show up in our animal drives. that we'd like to forget exists.

So when I began to craft Kess and Sek, Howl played on a continuous loop. And though the song speaks of wolves, I knew these two had to be cats. Wolves have a more social nature and are more easily understood by us--I think it comes from them being a a precursor to our beloved dogs. Cats are an unknown quantity, strange and separate, even if they choose to share space with us. I wanted real darkness there, not just a brief bit of danger that would be easily resolved. Obsession and mental illness gave Sek that scariness, but also--I hope--a bit of sympathy. He really does love his sister and wants what is best for her and his clan. I never intended to excuse his behavior, but I did want to try and understand it.

Just like the song made me understand that narrator of that story. I can only hope I did half so well.

To meet Kess, Cormac and Sek in this first book in the Moon series, head over to Amazon to download the Kindle eBook for free until January 31st.

It can be found HERE!

January 24, 2013

REVIEW: Opal (Lux #3)

Opal (Lux #3), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published December 11, 2012
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Format:  Paperback - own
Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

*fangirl happy dance* I loooooved this book! It's no secret that I love Jennifer L. Armentrout's books. Both her Lux and Covenant series are two of my all-time favorites. So, loving Opal really wasn't a surprise. How MUCH I loved it, was. This was the best Lux book yet. 

The dynamics of the group have completely changed, after the events of Onyx. The characters who were "good guys" are not so good anymore. Some of the "bad guys" don't seem so bad anymore, comparatively speaking. I love that things have been shaken up so much. It keeps the book from being too predictable. 

Daemon's and Katy's relationship has been very up and down until now. So, while I do appreciate a lot of the surprises in Opal, their relationship is one thing that remains constant, and thank heaven for that! It's about time. So far we've seen Crazy Daemon, Cranky Daemon, Angry Daemon, Playful Daemon. But, we haven't seen much of Lover Daemon and Sweet Daemon. Altogether, these Daemons make up one near perfect book boyfriend. I loved seeing him in action. 

The addition of Dawson to our cast of characters was awesome! He's not the same Luxen he once was, and he has tunnel vision when it comes to his girlfriend Beth. He seems like the perfect guy to be BFFs with. I could see he and Katy getting there some day. 

Opal was an incredible book. It has heart and joy and sorrow and despair. And that ending - OMG, that ending. Origin (Lux #4) can't come soon enough.

January 23, 2013

REVIEW: Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6)

Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6), by Chloe Neill
Published August 7, 2012
Publisher:  New American Library
Format:  Audiobook - borrowed from public library
Genre:  urban fantasy

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined.And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans. Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed.

No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.

I know an audiobook is a good one when I literally have to talk myself out of my car in the morning when I get to work. It does something like, "Okay, Krista. Get out of the car. Turn off the radio. Ooo - as soon as this chapter is over. No! You're already 5 minutes late. Get out of the damn car! Okay. Wait! This is getting good! GAH!"

This was one of the best Chicagoland Vampires books yet. Which is really refreshing, because when series have a long run, it's easy for the plots to get tired, the characters to get annoying and the twists to get hokey. Not only do none of those adjectives apply to Biting Cold, this book is actually quite the opposite. Each one just gets better and better. 

*WARNING* Spoilers from Drink Deep are ahead, so if you haven't read it, you might not want to keep going here. 

One would think that Merit and Ethan would have it all figured out by now. Especially after the ending of Drink Deep. I know I thought they would. I was hoping, anyway. But, thankfully, Ms. Neill knows what we need better than we do. The Ethan we've all come to know and love is still an ass from time to time, and thank goodness for that. 

But, Merit has turned a corner in Biting Cold. She has fortified her heart and she knows what she wants. And, damned if she isn't finally ready to fight for it. Man, is it awesome seeing her finally give as good as she gets. And, I think that fire and spirit in her is what Ethan fell in love with in the first place. 

The big reveal is that we finally find out exactly what Mayor Tate is - what type of supernatural being. And, this could've been one of those hokey plot devices used to string us along for another few books, but I have to say that the way in which his nature was revealed, the mythology surrounding it, and how he is used to further the story is so creative. I've never read anything quite like it before. 

I'm so so so glad that Mallory didn't get off the hook easily. I would've been disappointed if her actions were swept under the rug and forgiven in haste in order to move things along. This chick did some very bad things. Things that I don't think that I, personally, could ever forgive her for. Apparently, Merit has the same misgivings as I. 

You know, I mentioned to a friend awhile ago that I thought that the Chicagoland Vampires series has a lot of Buffy-esque qualities to it. A cute, ass-kicking heroine with lots of snarky comebacks; a witchy BFF who tries to destroy the world; a moody quasi-boyfriend who dies, and then comes back. So, if you loved Buffy, then you will most undoubtedly love this series. Heck - even if you didn't love Buffy, you should give Merit and the gang a try. Because, this is the best urban fantasy series I've ever read. (And, I've read A LOT!)

January 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Settings I'd Like to See More Of

1. The Forest - Forests can be magical, peaceful, creepy or desolate, depending on who you are and what's going on. I love books set in the woods. Examples:  Cry Wolf, Under the Never Sky, Born at Midnight

2. Carnivals/State Fairs - Have you ever seen Grease? Carnivals are so super fun and romantic in real time. And, in dystopian settings, broken down carnivals and fairs are the dichotomy. They're scary and make you tense. I love it. Example:  Divergent

3. Faeryland - The great thing about faeries is that they're not real, so authors can do whatever they want with them and where they live. Normal rules don't apply, so anything goes. Sometimes, it can get a little goofy, but most times, faeryland is a wonder. Examples:  The Iron King, Illusions

4. Boats - I think it's the enclosed space with nowhere to run and hide from bad guys or problems. I've always loved boats, no matter if it's a 50 ft. yacht, a submarine or a dinghy. Examples:  Degrees of Wrong

5. Greek Mythology - I adore Greek mythology. It's so alive and vibrant and... wacky sometimes, really. I go for anything mythological in nature, especially if it's Greek. Examples:  The Lost Hero, The Goddess Test, Half-Blood

6. Pre-1800s - The picture of chivalry is a gorgeous guy decked out in armor prepared to do battle to save a damsel's life. What is more romantic than that?? Example: Waterfall, Grave Mercy, Outlander

7. College - I've developed an addiction to the new adult genre. I really like stories with older characters facing serious issues and overcoming major obstacles. Examples:  Beautiful Disaster, Ten Tiny Breaths, On Dublin Street

January 21, 2013

REVIEW: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2)

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2), by Veronica Rossi
Published January 8, 2013
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Format:  Hardback - own
Genre:  Young Adult Dystopian

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

This one is a freshie. I just finished Through the Ever Night, literally, about 10 minutes ago, so if I seem a little stream-of-consciousness, I apologize. But, this book was so damn good, I had to talk about it right away. 

When I compare the first and second books, it seems that, although both are told from dual POVs (Aria's and Perry's), Under the Never Sky was really Aria's coming of age story, and Through the Ever Night is Perry's. Aria's already come into her own and she's on a mission to help Perry right some wrongs. Meanwhile, Perry is just starting to figure out his place in life and how to fill some very big, very grumpy shoes. And, how not to lose himself in the process. 

Aria, Perry and Roar are like the Three Musketeers. Them against the world. One of my favorite parts about this book is seeing how close Roar and Aria have gotten. Aria finally has a real BFF. One who would probably do anything for her. It's an amazing relationship - one we all should be envious to have. Roar is an incredible character. He loves Aria and Liv in completely different and perfect ways. You have to love him for that.

Perry has a rough time of it. In this crazy, dangerous world that Veronica Rossi has brilliantly created, it's hard enough to keep yourself alive, much less a few hundred others. He struggles with finding his rightful place among the Tribe, and with figuring out who he wants to be apart from his brother and his father. Not to mention his relationship with Aria is complicated beyond measure. 

There is a wonderful mix of tender moments and tense moments in Through the Ever Night. Those sweet times temper the stress that everyone is constantly under. 

Through the Ever Night, thankfully, didn't suffer from second book syndrome. Not by far. Not by a damn mile. This was an amazing book full of colors and life and heart. It's about finding yourself and finding out who the people in your life are that really, truly love you. Do not let this gem of a book pass you by.

January 18, 2013


Dirty, by Megan Hart
Published September 4, 2012
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA
Format:  Paperback - own
Genre:  Adult Romance/Erotica

Rating:  3 STARS

(From Goodreads) I met him at the candy store. He turned around and smiled at me and I was surprised enough to smile back. This was not a children's candy store, mind you—this was the kind of place you went to buy expensive imported chocolate truffles for your boss's wife because you felt guilty for having sex with him when you were both at a conference in Milwaukee. Hypothetically speaking, of course.I've been hit on plenty of times, mostly by men with little finesse who thought what was between their legs made up for what they lacked between their ears. Sometimes I went home with them anyway, just because it felt good to want and be wanted, even if it was mostly fake.

The problem with wanting is that it's like pouring water into a vase full of stones. It fills you up before you know it, leaving no room for anything else. I don't apologize for who I am or what I've done in—or out—of bed. I have my job, my house and my life, and for a long time I haven't wanted anything else.

Until Dan. Until now.

Erotica isn't usually my first choice, but I do like a saucy tale from time to time. I was a big fan of the Fifty Shades of Gray series; I've read all three books twice. *blushes* What? It's good stuff! 

But, if I'm going to be honest with myself, my favorite part of books like the Fifty Shades series and the Crossfire series is not the hot sex. It's the romance. It's the rehabilitation of the conflicted guy, or sometimes, girl. It's the sweetness and tenderness that end up occurring in between the hot sex. 

Dirty had plenty of hot sex. Pa-lenty. But, it was seriously lacking in all the other stuff. There was no romance. No sweetness or tenderness. There was a girl who was completely messed up, and rightly so. She had some horrible things happen to her in her life. Then she meets an infinitely patient man who, very quickly (and very curiously) grows to love her. But, she spends the entire book pushing him away (in between ripping his clothes off). And, not even at the end does she allow herself a chance to be vulnerable and love him back. How disappointing. And, so very sad and depressing. 

I can handle sad and depressing. I can handle many levels of messed-uppery. But, if I'm going to put time and effort into reading a book, I want to walk away from it feeling like I got something out of it. And, I didn't feel like I got anything out of Dirty. There didn't seem to be a plot arc, really. The story started out, then grew, then... nothing. No major climax (pardon the pun). Definitely no resolution. 

If you want to read about sex, then this is a good book for you. If you want to read about neuroses and psychoses, then this is a good book for you. If you want a romantic story about two people who meet by chance and fall madly and passionately in love, then look elsewhere.

January 17, 2013

REVIEW: Reached (Matched #3)

Reached (Matched #3), by Ally Condie
Published November 13, 2012
Publisher:  Penguin
Format:  Hardback - own
Genre:  Young Adult Dystopian

Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

I waited a little while before writing this review, because I just wasn't quite sure what to say. I knew that when I read the last page and closed the book, I was slightly disappointed and unfulfilled. Usually when I feel that way after finishing a book, I can point to one or two specific reasons why. And, there just wasn't one this time. 

The love triangle was resolved the way I wanted it to. Everyone who mattered had a happily-ever-after. There were some twists at the end, too, to make things more interesting. All the elements for a great book were there. Honestly, when it comes down to it, I wanted to love this book. I expected to love this book. And, I just didn't. 

My favorite part about Matched was Cassia's budding relationship with Ky. I loved how he taught her things and was patient and kind to her. And, I loved how they loved each other. When they found each other again in Crossed, it was so sweet and satisfying. It was a wonderful moment. And, in Reached, when they were reunited once again, it fell so flat. No hugging. No kissing. No pretty words. Granted, there were some extenuating circumstances, but this was supposed to be a big moment, and it was SO not. 

There was tons of buildup around The Pilot. I expected him to be larger than life. And, he ended up being just a guy with blue eyes and a bit of a cranky disposition. I wanted The Pilot to be someone who we already knew - someone significant. Big letdown on this one. 

Some of the things that made this a great series were still present. The writing was so pretty. Condie uses poems to help tell her story, and the writing itself is so much like poetry that it really does flow so nicely. And, I really did love the three different POVs. I didn't know if I would; I thought it might be confusing. But, it was a nice touch since Cassia, Ky and Xander were apart for much of the book. 

I just felt like so much more could've been done with this book. There was so much potential. So much opportunity to do some truly great things with these characters. It's sad that it just didn't happen that way.

January 16, 2013

REVIEW: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1), by Katie McGarry
Published July 31, 2012
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Format:  Kindle e-book - own
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Talk about an emotional roller coaster. Whoo-doggie. 

I had such a hard time reading this book at times. Oh - it was good. Really good. But, you know, funny thing about trying to read through tears - it doesn't work so well. LOL.

What Echo went through is so sad. What I love the most about this book is that Katie McGarry had me discover what happened to her just a little bit at a time. We learned along with Echo. And, that little bit at a time was so enticing. I think Pushing the Limits would've been a great book anyway, but the mystery just made it oh so much better.

Noah's situation is equally as tragic - perhaps even moreso because unlike with Echo, you knew about all the awful things that had happened to him, and you could see the best solution staring him in the face, and he was completely blind to it. It was frustration to the enth degree. 

Does it amaze and impress anyone else that there are some people out there that can elicit such strong responses from people with mere words on paper? I wish I had that ability. It's amazing how the characters and their stories have come to life. I love my paranormal books - weres and vamps and witches are my bread and butter. But, these contemporary romances are so real, and usually so tragic. It's a different experience entirely when I read them.

This was a really fantastic book. I love books that suck you in and make you care about the characters. Pushing the Limits was one of those books. McGarry was masterful at building suspense and creating emotion. The world was well constructed and the supporting characters well developed. So much so that the next book in the series, Dare You To, follows Noah's friend Beth. I can't wait to see what McGarry makes me feel next. 

January 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Debuts of 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To

1. The Archived, by Victoria Schwab

2. Splintered, by A.G. Howard

3. The Collector, by Victoria Scott

4. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by April Genevieve Tucholke

5. Gameboard of the Gods, by Richelle Mead

6. Pivot Point, by Kasie West

7. Reboot, by Amy Tintera

January 14, 2013

REVIEW: Slammed (Slammed #1)

Slammed (Slammed #1), by Colleen Hoover
Published January 5, 2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Format:  Paperback - own
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope. 

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

I don't know what it is about the New Adult genre, but it really has me hooked. After reading Beautiful Disaster last month, I knew I wanted more, so I started researching the more popular NA authors. I kept coming across Colleen Hoover's name. She's written several NA books, with Hopeless being her most recent release. I asked for Slammed for Christmas, and was so excited to receive it, it was the first of my Christmas books that I read. 

One thing that seems to be most prevalent in the NA genre books is emotion. And, I'm talking emotion with a capital E. The main characters may be only slightly older than those in YA stories, but their problems are much more grown up. Slammed is a perfect example. Layken is still reeling from the sudden death of her father when her mother pulls up hers and her brother's roots and moves them hundreds of miles away. Will is a 21-year-old trying to fill some very big shoes when he meets Layken. 

Although they have an instant connection (it really is very nearly love at first sight), the two are soon faced with some really tough situations, both as a couple and as individuals. Without giving too much away, I'll say that although I saw some of these problems coming, that didn't make them any less impactful. Hoover's writing and story progression had me frustrated and confused for the characters involved, and, more than once, in tears along with them. 

Honestly, I'm not a very big fan of poetry. I just don't "get it" usually. Although I didn't think that the poetry featured in Slammed was as convoluted as some I've read, it didn't really move me like I think it was supposed to. I don't think that's Hoover's fault - it's me. I just don't have the poetry bone, I guess. But, I did understand what it was supposed to lend to the story, and it was a unique touch - a good way to reveal secrets and perspectives. 

I liked Slammed so much that I've added Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) as well as Hopeless to my TBR list. My NA list is growing by the day.

January 11, 2013

December Book Report

Well, the end of the year has come and gone, and I've finally caught up on all my December reviews. And, wow - look at these totals!

Books Read - 11
Books Read To Date - 145
Total Pages Read - 54,994
Favorite Book of the Month - Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)

I've read so many great books in 2012, and I've tried to be very judicious in handing out 5-star ratings. I wanted to make sure that those books that achieved the highest echelon of praise really deserved it.  Under the Never Sky definitely deserved it. The characters were colorful, the world was damaged and beautiful, the story was captivating. I'm so glad I read this book this year. I re-read several books this year, so my total is actually 154 books for the year, and my word count is actually closer to 58,000. I'm so proud of me!

January 10, 2013

Book #142 - The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1)

The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1), Gena Showalter
adult paranormal romance
379 pages
Started 12/30/12
Finished 12/31/12

You know how you have a favorite series, and in between the release of the books, you search high and low for a replacement to fill the void? That's what The Darkest Night was for me - my Black Dagger Brotherhood space filler. And, I got a pleasant surprise. This book ended up more than filler - I actually really loved it!

Ashlyn hears too many voices in her head, so she seeks the help of the Lords of the Underworld to help her silence them. The first Lord she meets is Maddox, who carries the demon Violence inside him. Although they try and deny their connection, it's soon too strong to sever.

My favorite part about this book was the story surrounding how the demons escaped and ended up riding on the backs of these gorgeous immortals. Such an interesting twist to the story of Pandora's box.

The insta-love that I hate so much was there, but for some reason, I gave it a pass here. In contemporary romance books, it's far less forgiveable. Perhaps since the setting here was so much more mysterious, as was Maddox with his temper and his demon, and Ashlyn with her own power, the insta-love that happened between the two of them was understandable and maybe even expected.

I liked that the bad guys were and weren't who you expected. I thought the addition of the four women were a bit distracting at times - they seemed non-essential to the story overall. I realize they will probably play a part in later books, but in this one, alone, their scenes slowed the story down.

Overall, I really liked The Darkest Night and the Lords of the Underworld. I look forward to checking out the rest of these hotties. 

January 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

1. Read 150 books this year
2. Read at least one book every night with my kids
3. Read all the books that I have on my shelf that are signed
4. Add reviews to Goodreads consistently
5. Write reviews within 48 hours of completion
6. Reduce the number of pages of unread books on my Kindle to two (currently stands at four)
7. Read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
8. Read at least one biography
9. Complete the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent (I've read the first two)
10. Complete the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine (I've read the first two)

Blog Tour Excerpt & Giveaway - Fallen (Guardian Trilogy #1)

Fallen (Guardian Trilogy #1), Laury Falter
YA paranormal romance
Release date - April 1, 2009
Event organized by AToMR Tours

Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.

As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.

Praise for Fallen
Best Paranormal Romance Books Of All Time, Books That Should Be Made In to Movies, Books I Became So Obsessed With I Stopped Everything Else In My Life To Finish, Best Break Out Author Novels, Best Unknown Young Adult Books, Books Good Enough To Read Again, Best Inspiring Books, Young Adult Romance. (Goodreads Lists)

"Fast-paced, the story starts off strong and retains a tight rein on the momentum throughout. This book mixes humor, mystery, and the supernatural into a satisfying blend that should appeal to both young and more mature readers." (Coffee Time Romance Review)

"Great flow of interest and most unusual characters (that you will love as I have). I have laughed out loud at some of them. Good, simple, fast read that has a great hook, line and sinker." (Great Minds Think Aloud Review)

"A very good read with interesting characters and a quick pace." (Life Is Better With Books Review)

"While I was given the first book I just bought the 2nd one, Eternity, and plan to start it tonight." (The Book Hookup)


“So you’re warning me away from you?” I was appalled. “Then why are you doing this…guarding me at all? Why the torment? Why watch over me when you know that…that we should be more?” I felt on the verge of tears, which amazed me. How could pain be so sharp in the afterlife? “Answer me, Eran. Why?”

He sighed. “Because it is my job.”

I gasped, more offended than I’d ever been. “I’m a job to you?” I stared at him and waited for his head to rise but he refused to look at me.

“Yes,” he said weakly, defeated. His beautiful, rugged voice released as a whimper and the pain inside me grew. “You are just a job.”

I didn’t think it was possible but the emptiness I’d felt with Eran being gone those many weeks held no comparison to the magnitude of what I was experiencing right now. I felt as if I had been gutted.

“No…” I shook my head. “I don’t believe you because you see, Eran, I can feel your emotions run through me. Whether you want to admit them or not, I know how you feel about me.”

Stunned, his head jerked up, his brilliant blue-green eyes drilling into mine. “You feel me too? How can that be?”

“I don’t know. But I do know that I feel in you the same emotions I have.”

He groaned and turned away. “That’s not possible…” he muttered, pausing. When he spoke again his voice was strained, determined. I drew in a breath as the intensity of these emotions ran through me. “It doesn’t matter. I won’t let this happen. This will not happen…I will not let us be together.”

“Because you are my guardian? Then let me make it easy on us…You’re fired.”

“It doesn’t work that way, Magdalene,” he said, quieter but still resolute.

“I didn’t want you to watch over me, Eran. I never asked for it.”

As if he’d become an entirely new person, his reply was flat and detached. “You’re a messenger. You require a guardian. It’s as simple as that.”

“Then we’ve just solved the issue, didn’t we?” I said causing him to finally look up. “This will be my last message. It’s from me to you…goodbye Eran.”

Turning swiftly, I walked away just before the tears came.

Buy Fallen
To buy in print or on Kindle through Amazon.
To buy on Nook through Barnes & Noble.


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About the Author
Laury Falter is the bestselling author of the Guardian Trilogy (Fallen, Eternity, & Reckoning). When she isn't writing, she likes to take her two stray dogs for walks and enjoy date nights with her husband.

Laury's debut novel, Fallen, hit Amazon's Top 100 list in three genres and the remaining two books in the trilogy made showings in the Top 100 of the same genres as well. With a new series available, Residue, about a teenage girl who learns she is a witch and falls in love with a boy from a feuding family, her reader following continues to grow rapidly.

Find out more news and information about Laury and her novels.

January 7, 2013

Book #141 - Scent of Magic (Healer #2)

Scent of Magic (Healer #2), Maria V. Snyder
high fantasy
400 pages
Started 12/28/12
Finished 12/30/12

Do you like a good mystery? Intrigue? Mistaken identity? Romance? Ooooooh yeah - I thought so. So, why haven't you read Scent of Magic yet?

Avry has cheated death, and she wants to take her second chance and do something with it. Help people. Save them. But, in order to do that, she needs to be separated from her love and her friends. She has to go back to being alone again.  But, while Avry is fighting the good fight and missing Kerrick, he is trying to do the same in his own home land.

I've been reading a lot of books lately with dual POVs, and I realized something - I REALLY love them. Most books are told from the female character's POV, and I'm often times left wondering what is going through the guy's head. Scent of Magic is a dual POV book, and I'm so, so glad. I loved knowing what was going on with Kerrick and what he was thinking. Especially since he and Avry were separated for nearly the entire book. 

Avry is one ballsy chick. She's willing to stick her neck out in order to try and take out the big nasty bad guy. She's protective of her friends and her family and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. And, Kerrick is the same. Those two really were made for each other.

This was a really captivating book! The mystery is a good one, keeping me interested and involved at all times. The supporting characters are some of the best I've ever seen - Belen, the monkeys, Jael - bad or good, they are interesting.

So, what do you think of dual POVs? Do you like high fantasy? If so, then you should start the Healer series today!

January 6, 2013

Book #140 - Drink Deep (Chicagoland Vampires #5)

Drink Deep (Chicagoland Vampires #5), Chloe Neill
urban fantasy
352 pages
Started 12/24/12
Finished 12/27/12

*WARNING* This review may contain spoilers from previous books. 

The only reason I'm not giving this book five full stars is due to a distinct lack of one particular person. Ethan. Freaking. Sullivan. Other than that, once again, Chloe Neill has delivered another fantastic book in the Chicagoland Vampires series.

Merit would really like some time to grieve. Just a few months to wallow and sulk. But, some freaky things start happening in her city - things that do not bode well for the supernatural community. The humans are freaking out, the new mayor dumps her grandfather and to make matters even worse, the GP's receiver is in town and making life miserable for all the Cadogan vampires. So much for wallowing. Merit has to go to work again, and this time with a new partner.

One of the things I love the most about Neill's CV series is the world and how all the different types of supes interact and live together. I've read plenty of books before that had vamps, weres and faeries all in the same place, but these are some of the best. In Drink Deep, we get a view of the elusive faery queen, and man, is she nuts. We also see more of the river nymphs, the lake siren, sorcerers, shifters, and of course, vamps. It sounds like it would be confusing, but somehow, it's not.

Merit is full of her usual piss and vinegar, but the events of the previous book have given her a softer, sadder edge. It's a new side to her. This was a much more emotional book than the previous ones. For both our characters and for the reader. Some events were so frustrating that I wanted to cry from being so mad. Some were so sad that I wanted to cry from being so... well, sad. Thankfully, Neill's characteristic snark and witty dialog were still present to give the reader a bit of a lift from the decidedly somber mood.

After Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #4), I Tweeted that I didn't know what to do next. Chloe Neill's response was, "Read Drink Deep!" How right she was. It was the cure for what ailed me.

January 4, 2013

Book #139 - Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1), Veronica Rossi
374 pages
Started 12/16/12
Finished 12/26/12

I tend to approach dystopian novels with some amount of trepidation. I've read some I really loved. I've read some that were just a little too far past the weird line for my taste. This is why I waited this long to read Under the Never Sky. I had heard lots of good things about it, but always found myself putting other books ahead of it in my reading queue. Big. Mistake.

Aria has lived a sheltered life. Literally. After she angers the wrong people in her enclosed society, unjustly I might add, she is dumped in the wild world outside her pod and is forced to try and survive on her own for the first time ever. Peregrine is on the outs with his brother after his nephew is taken by the "moles" from the pods. Perry leaves his tribe vowing to get the kid back. Aria and Perry meet under the most difficult of circumstances, but with each other's help, they each try and accomplish their goals despite the lot that fate has thrown at them.

Oh my goodness, I loved this book.

First, the world in which these two teens live is awful and wonderful and exciting. It always amazes me when authors imagine up these worlds so different from the one in which we live now. How do they do it?? The pods and the SmartEyes and the Sciers and the aether storms - they're these otherworldly things dropped in the future America. The strange married with the familiar. So creative and interesting.

I have to say, Aria threatened to bug me at first. There's nothing I hate more than weak female characters who are nothing more than lemmings. From the beginning, Aria tried to break from the mold in which her society cast her. And, when she was dropped in an unfamiliar, savage land, she tried to find the beauty in it and in the people she met.

My heart ached for Perry right from the start. He's a noble guy just trying to live in a hard world and do right by his family. Aria represents everything he detests. And, yet he helps her, and even starts to care for her. He finds it in him to find the good in her.

Great, well-rounded characters. A stunningly harsh and beautiful world. A unique mystery and problem to be solved. And, even a twist at the end that I didn't see coming. Oh yes - I loved this book. 

January 3, 2013

Book #138 - Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4)

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4), Jennifer Estep
YA urban fantasy, paranormal romance
378 pages
Started 12/23/12
Finished 12/24/12

I was so excited for this book to come out that I couldn't wait, and I got it from NetGalley before its release date (which was December 24, 2012). I'm a huge mythology fan, especially Greek mythology. So, this series in particular has been one of my favorites for awhile now.

Gwen is in a sticky situation as she is wrongly accused of a very serious crime. All of a sudden, the tenuous hold she had on her social life at Mythos comes crumbling down as her classmates think she now works for the enemy and their torment is particularly harsh. The only thing for Gwen to do is try her hardest to clear her name and continue on with the mission that Nike gave her.

Of all the Mythos books, this one was, by far, the most emotionally charged. Jennifer Estep hasn't shied away from tough situations for these teens. They have gotten into battles. Kids have died. Kids have been tortured. But, even through all that, there were plenty of lighter moments to temper the emotion. Not so much in Crimson Frost. Gwen starts out conflicted, frustrated and angry and stays that way through the end. There are very good reasons why, and I felt all of that as I was reading, which is a good thing. It just would've been nice to have a few happy scenes to balance it all out.

The other thing that I felt was lacking was LOGAN. He was there, but took a definite backseat to all of Gwen's drama. And, this was when I was finally hoping for some major forward progress in their relationship. Not only was there not much of that, but the events of the book cause a major misstep in the progression of their relationship. It was a bit of a bummer, because I really love that Spartan. I wanted much more of him.

But, even with that in mind, I'm a sucker for books that elicit strong emotion from me, and this one most certainly did that. I felt so frustrated for Gwen and the trials she very literally had to face. And, once again, the mythology is great. I really love all the references to Greek, Roman, and even Norse mythology.

Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy #5) will be coming out this summer, and I can't wait to see what Jennifer Estep does next with Gwen's and Logan's story.

January 2, 2013

It's My First Blogoversary! Celebrate With a Giveaway!

Can you believe that it's been a whole year since I started this whole blogging thing? Crazy, I know. It's been so much fun! I started this whole thing so that I would have an outlet to talk about books. And, because I really enjoy writing, and I don't have an opportunity to do enough of it in my day job. For fun, anyway. Here's where I stand today:

374 GFC followers
188 posts
56 Linky followers

In honor of this most esteemed occasion, I'm giving away a new release from January 2013. I don't care what it is. Pick any book that makes you happy, whether it's YA, adult, sci-fi, romance - whatever floats your boat. If you win, it's yours as long as it was released in January 2013. AND... if I hit 500 followers, there will be TWO WINNERS! Here is a small sampling of what you could choose if you win.

So, what are you waiting for? As long as the Book Depository delivers to your country, mosey on down to the Rafflecopter and do your thing. I can't wait to meet you!

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January 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This is one meme I can get on board with - I LOVE lists! I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

1. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1), by Maggie Steifvater - This is a series that many have recommended to me, but I've never gotten around to reading. I want to fix that.

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1), by Michelle Hodkin - This books has been on my TBR list for more than a year now.

3. Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson #7), by Patricia Briggs - This is the final book in the Mercy Thompson series; the ending will be bitter sweet for me.

4. Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1), by Kami Garcia - I really want to read this book before I see the movie.

5. Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices #3), by Cassandra Clare - I (and the rest of the world) have been waiting for the final book in the Infernal Devices series for a VERY long time.

6. Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11), by J.R. Ward - I became a huge fan of the BDB series in 2012. I am so excited to read the next book in the series.

7. If I Should Die (Revenants #3), by Amy Plum - I fell in love with Vincent in 2012, and I can't wait to find out what happens to him in the last book of the series.

8. Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers #1), by Tara Sivec - Some of my very best Goodreads friends absolutely loved this book. I need to find out what all the fuss is about.

9. Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2), by Tahereh Mafi - Shatter Me was one of the best debuts I read in 2012. The follow up will be, I'm sure, nothing short of amazing.

10. Gabriel's Inferno (Gabriel's Inferno #1), by Sylvain Reynard - I was a huge fan of the 50 Shades of Grey series, and I'm loving the Crossfire series. I know I'll love this series too.