March 29, 2013

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Lonely Souls (Witch Avenue #1)

Lonely Souls (Lonely Souls #1), by Karice Bolton
Published June 29, 2012
Publisher:  Bulldog Press
Format: paperback - provided by author
Genre:  New Adult Paranormal Romance

 Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) It's two weeks before Triss turns 18, and her world is about to change into the most magical one imaginable as she readies herself to enter The Witch Avenue Order... that is until her mother's disappearance. Instead of celebrating her transformation, she finds herself spreading rose petals into her mother's empty grave.

When Logan, her best friend from junior high, moves back to town for college, he vows to help
her find the answers she so desperately seeks surrounding her mother's disappearance. As they
begin uncovering clues, it becomes apparent that the life of white magic they both grew up
loving is not what the majority practices, and their lives are in danger.

With a haunting feeling that her mother may still be alive, she begins to hear a call to the
wilderness. Triss realizes that in order to find the answers she needs, she must learn the ways of
her ancestors and become the hunter, not the hunted before it's too late, and she becomes part of
the lonely souls.

Lonely Souls is a really cool witchy book! It starts off with a bang right away as Triss discovers her mother is missing and has to deal with all the eggshell walking from her friends and relatives, and it rolls from there.

There are a lot of things to love about Lonely Souls. The magic is done really well. A lot of times in witch books, there are weird magic words, finger gestures, complicated potions or amulets, and honestly, it makes being a witch sound like a pain in the ass. In Lonely Souls, you have spell books, you read the words, and POOF. Cool stuff happens. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. And, as a book lover, I love the idea of a big witchy library full of spell books. Couldn't you just lose yourself in a place like that?

Another thing I loved was Logan. I liked that he's an imperfect hero. Although he's always good to Triss, he has done some bad things in his past and that temptation is still there. And he gives into it from time to time. I love a flawed character. Let's face it - we all make mistakes and are all bad sometimes. I expect my book characters to mirror real life (as much as is possible in paranormal books, that is). Too-perfect guys are hard to love. Logan was not.

As much as I liked Logan, I wasn't quite as thrilled with the insta-love. Those who've been hanging out here long enough know of my loathe for insta-love. It was a little hard to believe that these two could be apart for four years and Logan spent the whole time pining for this girl that he hung with as a kid. It's a nice thought, though.

I liked Triss and Logan together. They seemed to complement each other well. I have to say, though, Triss' inner monologue of, "I like him, but I can't be with him because my mom is missing," got pretty old after awhile. The self-induced torment was unnecessary and frustrating. Thank goodness it doesn't last through to the end!

If you like witchy tales, Lonely Souls should be on your list! And, the best news is, it's FREE from Amazon right now (Kindle version), but hurry - it's only going to be free while this tour is going on!


Fill out the Rafflecopters for a chance to win Witch Avenue Series books and swag!

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About the Author

Karice married the love of her life who she met in high school, and she still can't get over how cute and funny he is. They have two English Bulldogs that are the sweetest bullies in the world and they use their cuteness to get what they want. Karice loves the snow and gravitates toward the stuff as often as possible! She enjoys skiing and tries really hard to snowboard, but often makes a nice little area to sit while everyone zips by on their board. She enjoys writing, and she also loves to read just about anything with print.

March 28, 2013

REVIEW: Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies, by Issac Marion
Published October 28, 2010
Publisher:  Vintage
Format: audiobook - borrowed from library
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal Romance

 Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) 'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

I did it! I read my very first zombie book! Admittedly, it was a lightweight zombie book, and I chose it because of all the hype surrounding the movie. I kinda already had a good idea what it was about. But, I had this hang-up about zombie books that I really wanted to get over, so I thought this would be a good one to start with. 

See, I'm a big Walking Dead fan. So, the zombies I'm most familiar with are evil, disgusting, soulless shells with goo dripping from their faces. The idea of a love story surrounding one of them was abhorrent. Although the zombies in Warm Bodies do eat people and some are pretty gross, they do not seem soulless, and not all are so disgusting. Case in point, R.

R was such a great character. He's a zombie with a conscience. When he eats a boy, he absorbs his memories, though which he meets the boy's girlfriend, Julie. R resolves to take care of her and keep her safe, and in turn falls in love with her. 

I think what helps this story along is the absolutely beautiful writing. Marion is deliciously talented. His words drip from the page like honey. It was almost like poetry. It was a wonderful experience. 

I think my favorite character, though, was M. He was so funny and unexpected! His relationship with R was poignant and fun. I just loved everything about him. 

Warm Bodies has caused me to take a second look at zombies. Is there a zombie book you loved that you think I should try next?

March 27, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Frigid, by J. Lynn

So, by now most of you are familiar with Jennifer L. Armentrout's (writing as J. Lynn) first novel in the New Adult genre, Wait For You. I mean, it has been breaking records all over the place! And, now, I'm so excited to tell you about another New Adult novel of hers, due out in electronic format on July 30, 2013 and in paperback format November 5, 2013. And, so, without further ado, I give you... Frigid.

(From Goodreads) For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

Frigid will be available in digital formats on July 30th 2013
Print release of Frigid will be November 5th 2012

About the Author

J. Lynn, also known as Jennifer L. Armentrout, is a # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

March 26, 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/Series I Recommend the Most

1. Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead - Pro number one, the series is complete. Pro number two, all the characters are so vibrant and exciting, it's easy to fall in love with all of them. Pro number three, the overarching story is so full of win!

2. The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima - This is the first fantasy series that I truly fell in love with. It's one of the best series I've ever read period.

3. Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I went into it picturing E.T. and came out of it picturing Daemon Black. I'd say my first alien book ever was a huge hit with me.

4. Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1) by Chloe Neill - Urban fantasy was never my favorite genre. Ethan and Merit changed my mind.

5. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) by J.R. Ward - I love the way the vampire world in the Black Dagger Brotherhood's Caldwell, NY is portrayed. And the Brothers are such modern day white knights, you can't help but love them all.

6. Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi - This was the best dystopian book I've ever read. The series has just one book left, and I'll be so sad when Perry's, Aria's and Roar's stories come to an end.

7. Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare - The release last week of Clockwork Princess put the exclamation point on this incredible series. I'll recommend it to anyone who will listen.

8. Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost - If I can call a 300-year-old vampire a "book boyfriend," then Bones is it. Not only is he completely awesome, but reading his and Cat's story is so much fun. 

9. Half-Blood (Covenant #1)  by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I've always been a huge Greek Mythology fan, and the Covenant series takes the best parts of it and melds it with our modern world.

10. The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa - This was the series that started my obsession with all things Julie Kagawa. It's the best faery series out there, in my humble opinion.

March 25, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAY: Torn (Torn #1)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a bi-weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Torn (Torn #1), by K.A. Robinson
Published January 25, 2013
Publisher:  self-published
Format: e-book - own
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance

 Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Chloe hasn't had the best life. With a mother who is gone more often than not, she has had to raise herself. After graduating high school, she leaves to start a new life away at West Virginia University with her best friends Amber and Logan, determined to leave her demons in the past.

On her first day, she meets a stranger who takes her breath away at first sight. Until she met Drake, no one had ever sparked her interest. Now this tattooed and pierced bad boy is all she can think about, no matter how hard she fights it.

Falling for Drake was never part of her plans, but when it happens, things seem to do anything but fall into place.

Dealing with a tragic past, Drake has never cared about anyone else but himself and his band. But when Chloe takes the empty seat next to him in class, things start to change. Instantly drawn to her, he begins to wonder if one girl can take a cold hearted womanizer and change every part of him?

Long hidden feelings are revealed and friendships tested to the brink.

It's hard to come up with a rating or even a solid opinion in my mind on a book where there are things that I really, really loved about it and things I really, really didn't love. What do you do in situations like that? Let's look at the things I loved about Torn first.

Drake - Okay. This dude is awesome. He's everything you expect to see in an NA book and more. He's definitely the proverbial bad boy with a soul. Drake is the lead singer and song writer in a band. He's tatted up, pierced, and a total womanizer. But, inside, he's a good guy. He falls for Chloe and never once wavers from his feelings and what he thinks to be the right course of action with her. And, dude - he writes songs for her and about her. How hot is that?

The Band Angle - I've read books with guys in bands before, and this one was done pretty well. The band wasn't the focal point of the story, but when the band members were there, I appreciated their presence. I liked the band members a lot - Jade, Adam and Eric. They were personable, and it seems as if a future book in the story could be about one of them. 

The Setting - West Virginia isn't all mountain men and rednecks. I love all these books set in West Virginia lately. It's a beautiful state. 

And, now for what I didn't like:

Chloe - It's always hard when you love one main character and hate the other. This is one of those instances. Chloe made me so mad for most of the book. She was really dense and self-absorbed. She treats her BFFs like crap. She strings along both the boys involved in her little love triangle. She knows what she wants, and instead of taking it, she sits around and whines about her lot in life. She's really everything I don't like in female characters.

Cheating Without Consequences - One of my biggest pet peeves in books is cheating. It bothers me so much that I usually avoid reading books if I know ahead of time that cheating is a part of the story. There is cheating in Torn. A lot of it, actually. But, what bothers me the most is that there doesn't seem to be any real consequences for doing it. Everyone is sad and miserable for a few pages after it all comes out. But then, all is forgiven. No hard feelings. In fact, those that had the most right to be pissed and hurt in this situation are the ones that do the most groveling. It's pathetic. And frustrating. 

Torn ended a little abruptly with a lot of question marks, specifically regarding Chloe's mother and what impact her presence will have in Chloe's life, especially now that it seems that she's finally gotten it straightened out. I liked enough of Torn to want to see what happens next, so I do think I'll add Twisted (Torn #2) to my TBR pile. Hopefully, it will be easier to organize my thoughts about that one. 

So, have you read Torn? What did you think? 

March 22, 2013

REVIEW: Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices #3)

Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices #3), by Cassandra Clare
Published March 19, 2013
Publisher:  Margaret K. Elderry Books
Format: e-book - own
Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance

 Rating:  5 STARS


A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.
Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.
As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

It has been two days since I have finished Clockwork Princess, and I am still nursing a wicked book hangover. You know that feeling. The one where you just can't get the characters and events out of your head no matter what you do. You have a hard time picking up another book because your mind is still there. You want to talk to everyone or anyone about what you read in an effort to work out your feelings and unscramble your thoughts. Luckily, I have this blog and you all to help me with that last one.

Tessa is engaged to Jem. Will is crushed, but resigned to his fate of living a life without the woman he loves. And Mortmain is closing in on them and the rest of their friends. Happy times in London. Half the Shadowhunters are trying to find Mortmain and the other half are trying to cure Jem before he runs out of time.

Honestly, I'm not sure when I've read a book that affected me so much. There were several points in this book that I was crying so much that I had to take a break because I couldn't see the words on my Kindle through my tears. I went through no less than a half dozen tissues. And, my husband rolled his eyes at me more than once. Yes, I cry at movies, and I've been known to cry over books before too. But, this? This was different.

I've grown rather attached to these characters - Tessa, Will and Jem. I read the Infernal Devices series before I read any of the Mortal Instruments series. These three introduced me to the world of the Shadowhunters. Will was one of my original book boyfriends. I think part of my sadness was because it's all over now. Their story has now been told.

Those of us in the book blogosphere know that the events surrounding the end of Clockwork Prince and then subsequent cross-over events in the Mortal Instruments series have created tons of fodder for message board and blog discussion. Team Will or Team Jem? Is Jem the Silent Brother Zachariah or is it Will? Does Tessa really love Jem that way? It's been debated ad nauseum for the past 15 months. I will tell you that, of course, all these questions are answered. No matter whether you are Team Will or Team Jem or Team Tessa, you should be satisfied with the ending. I didn't think it was possible, but Clare found a way to make everyone happy. Brilliant.

One of the most fun things about Clockwork Princess is seeing all the Moral Instruments references. We see Isabelle's whip in action. We find out how Church came to be in New York instead of London. We see The Mortal Cup used properly. And, we do indeed meet Brother Zachariah for the first time. It was so clever, the weaving of these two tales.

The ending - that ending... I just can't find the right words. I have a feeling I'll be thinking about Clockwork Princess for a very long time.  

March 21, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Two Novellas from HarperTeen Impulse!

It's giveaway time again!

I love novellas. While not essential to the overall main story arc, they do add so much extra depth to the characters we already know that I consider them necessary reads in the series that I really love. Impulse is the arm of HarperTeen that's dedicated to short stories and novellas, and recently they have offered two novellas from two of my favorite series. And, now I'm offering them to you, too!

Wow - it's like, the purple cover parade! :)

The Prince (The Selection #0.5)
I read The Selection last year and absolutely loved it. You can check out my review here. I'm totally and completely on Team Maxon at the moment, so learning that The Prince (The Selection #0.5) is told from Maxon's POV made it a must-read for me.

Die For Her (Revenants #2.5)
Anyone that's been hanging around my blog for any amount of time knows what a total fangirl I am about Amy Plum and her Revenants series. Check out my reviews for Die For Me, Until I Die and If I Should Die. Yup - 5 stars for every one. Owning Die For Her is a no-brainer. Plus, it's told from Jules' POV, and after Vincent and Kate, he's my favorite character. Any extra insight into his psyche is a plus.

So, up for grabs is a copy of both these e-novellas. You will get The Selection right away and a pre-order for Die For Her (due out April 2). As long as you have a way to read e-books, keep going and fill out the Rafflecopter. Good luck!

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March 20, 2013

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Strength (Mark of Nexus #1)

Strength (Mark of Nexus #1), by Carrie Butler
Published March 7, 2013
Publisher:  Sapphire Star Publishing
Format:  e-book - obtained from publisher
Genre:  New Adult Paranormal Romance
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation--and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do--even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

I read a lot of books. So, eventually a lot of them end up sort of running together. It's hard to surprise me. And, it's rare that I find something that's unique. So, on one of the occasions that I find one of these special books, it's such a treat. 

Butler does a really nice job of creating an air of mystery around Wallace. She makes him seem scary and evil and very mysterious. From that aspect, I was sucked into the story almost immediately. Rena literally runs into him in the hallway and gets bruises all over her. The "why" of that was intriguing and made me want to read more.

Wallace himself was really well developed. The mystery surrounding him notwithstanding, once Rena has an opportunity to interact with him some, he becomes even more interesting. He can be sweet and chivalrous and caring and passionate, but still manages to keep most people at arm's length. It isn't until Rena meets his family that she begins to see what a multi-faceted person Wallace really is. And what all his "otherness" is all about.

The Mark of Nexus was my favorite part of the whole book. What a cool concept! Even if I hadn't enjoyed Wallace and wanted to see where his and Rena's relationship goes, this one thing would've kept me reading to the next book in the series. It's a really unique idea and one that I can't wait to see developed further.

Bottom line, Strength was a unique book with a fresh concept and really likable characters. It's classified as New Adult Paranormal Romance - honestly, it's a very light New Adult. There's not much bad language and there's only one very mild sex scene. Nonetheless, this is a really good book!


Enter to win one of five e-copies of Strength.

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About the Author

Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Find Carrie on Goodreads * Twitter * Facebook * Website

March 19, 2013

March 18, 2013

REVIEW: One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #2)

One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #2), by Jeaniene Frost
Published April 29, 2008
Publisher:  Avon
Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Adult Paranormal Romance

Rating:  5 stars

(From Goodreads) You can run from the grave, but you can’t hide…

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She’s still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.

Being around Bones awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline rush of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head – wanted: dead or half-alive – means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard Cat tries to keep things professional between them, she’ll find that desire lasts forever … and Bones won’t let her get away again.

I honestly didn't think that the series could get any better than the first book. How many times has that happened? The best book in the series is the first one, and they all sort of slowly drop off after that. Halfway to the Grave was so damn good, I honestly thought it couldn't be topped. I was wrong.

*Warning - there may be spoilers from Halfway to the Grave in the review below*

Four years after Cat left Bones in order to protect him, she's a bad ass special agent and a complete mess without him. A chance encounter with a vampire puts her back in his sights, though, and I have to tell you, the reunion was all I could've hoped for and more. It was poignant and funny and unnerving and in a completely inappropriate setting for them to catch up. It was perfect. 

Bones is such a perfect hero. When he is faced with a threat, he is ruthless, lethal and a little crazy. But, my can he be witty and charming when he wants to be. And with Cat, he is sweet and loving. How can one character wear so many faces so believably? 

Cat is pretty much the toughest chick I've ever read about. She willingly takes a beating on a nearly regular basis. She puts herself in harm's way without a second thought, especially if it means that it will protect her friends. It would make her a little too unbelievable, except that she's definitely not infallible. She does some really dumb crap sometimes (like, leaving Bones - um, HELLO??). She says the wrong thing a lot and has a not-so-good relationship with her mother. Frost does a great job balancing the heroics with the theatrics. 

The best part of this series is the relationship between Bones and Cat. There's a lot of give and take there. It's so passionate and raw. I think this is the best part of the series. 

Oh, and one more thing. Chapter 32? WAY better than anything you've read about it. Read it and find out for yourself. 

March 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Crimson Hunt (Eldaen Light Chronicles #1)

Crimson Hunt (Eldaen Light Chronicles #1), by Victoria H. Smith
Published November 8, 2012
Publisher:  Self-published
Genre:  New Adult Sci-Fi

(From Goodreads) College junior Ariel Richmond is working on year three of Project Normalcy.

Her house reeks of keggers past and her bestie is just a slight bit vulgar. But the thing is—they both aid in making life refreshingly uneventful.

So much for hard-earned mediocrity when Luca Grinaldi appears on the scene.

Luca’s sudden presence on campus is hard to ignore. Those bright eyes act like a beacon to unsuspecting females, and with features like his, he’s got to be moonlighting for GQ. Luca hopelessly captivates Ariel with his confidence and charisma, but the mysteries surrounding him make him nearly untouchable. And just when Ariel grows close enough to unlock his secrets, a tragic event sends her life in a downward spiral.

That steady life is no longer an option and allies quickly become scarce. The mysterious Luca seems to be the only one willing to help her—but with that trust comes the burden of his secrets. He has a dark mission of otherworldly proportions, and is willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes to see it completed.

Gone are the days of simply maintaining normalcy, and if Ariel isn’t cautious with her trust, so soon may be her future.


Grabbing my cup, I forgot myself and indulged in a sip.
Luca watched me, his gaze hard.
Note to self: brown tea + white shirt + GQ model = bad idea. I placed my cup on the table’s surface and wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans.
He continued to watch me. His stare was so deep it could be mistaken for analyzing.
Gosh, he stared hard. Like his eyes were trying to unearth some secret he wanted to know from mine. Since I wasn’t skilled in the art of mind reading, I figured I should make an attempt at formulating some sentences. “So, who is ‘I am Luca?’” I asked, mimicking his original introduction to me. Nice, Ariel, real nice. Making fun of him will definitely score you points.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, what do you do in your spare time? Besides helping girls save cute, baby deer in the middle of vacant woods, of course.” I laughed. It was getting easier to be more natural with him. I liked that.
He laughed, too, breaking his analysis. “School and work takes up the majority of my time.”
Something told me there had to be more to him than that. No one who looked like that graced the world with their beauty in such a mundane way.
“What about you?” he asked.
“I guess the same as you. Just work and school.”
“So why did you find my answer odd?”
Was he skilled in the art of mind reading? “What do you mean?” I laughed in nervousness.
He smiled and rested his finger to his delicious lips. “You looked a little underwhelmed by my answer, is all.”
By God, he got me. “I just thought that … I guess I didn’t know what I thought.” Oy vey.
He laughed gently. 

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About the Author

Victoria H. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She puts it to good use writing romance all day. She resides in the Midwest with her Macbook on her lap and a cornfield to her right. She often draws inspiration for her stories from her own life experiences, and the twenty-something characters she writes give her an earful about it.

In her free time, she enjoys extreme couponing, blogging, reading, and sending off a few tweets on Twitter when she can. She writes new adult fiction romance in the sub-genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and contemporary, but really, anywhere her pen takes her she goes. Her new adult science fiction romance, The Crimson Hunt, will be published November 2012. 

Author Links:

March 14, 2013

REVIEW: A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2)

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2), by Beth Revis
Published November 21, 2012
Publisher:  Razorbill
Format:  paperback - borrowed from library
Genre:  YA Sci-fi

Rating:  4.5 STARS


It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. 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 act on his vision--no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder learns shocking news, he and Amy must race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed, all the while dealing with the love that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

Beth Revis catapulted readers into the far reaches of space with her New York Times bestselling debut, Across the Universe. In A Million Suns, Beth deepens the mystery 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.

The best thing about the Across the Universe books is the story within the story. Each book is part of a bigger picture, but within those beautiful covers is a separate mystery to be solved that keeps the reader totally engrossed. It's like those cute little Russian nesting dolls. There's a surprise within a surprise within a surprise. And each one is more clever then the one before. 

In A Million Suns, we see that the Godspeed is in total anarchy since Elder took the inhabitants off the drugs that were making them calm and compliant. He's desperately trying to keep control while at the same time trying to figure out how to get to Centauri Earth. Meanwhile Amy is following the bread crumbs that Orion left for her, hoping to figure out how to save her parents and help Elder. 

For once in a YA book, the romance is not at center stage here. It's a background prop for the rest of the story. It's obvious that Amy and Elder love each other, but she's still not ready to come face-to-face with that realization. Although Amy and Elder have a few moments in A Million Suns, they're short and far between. 

The real star of the show here is the mysteries that Elder and Amy have to solve. Amy is trying to discover Orion's secrets and what they mean. She's following a scavenger hunt of clues hidden throughout the ship. To what end, she doesn't know, but she knows it has to do with the planet and her parents. Meanwhile, Elder is trying to find out who is killing the citizens of the Godspeed and why his good friend is leading the mutiny. 

The creative moxie that Beth Revis displays in A Million Suns is impressive. The trail of clues that both Elder and Amy follow kept me hanging on to each page, straining to see if I could figure out the big secrets before they did. It was such a fun read. 

Beyond that, the level of emotion displayed in A Million Suns is in direct contrast to that which we saw in Across the Universe. In Across the Universe, there was very little emotion because of the use of drugs. In A Million Suns, emotion bubbles over and floods the pages. The citizens are scared and angry. Elder is so, so frustrated and worried about Amy. Amy is worried about Elder and determined to save her parents. I felt all of that as I was reading, all the way down to the incredible last page.

If the successful formula holds, Revis is sure to deliver an explosive conclusion to the series. I wonder what the next mystery will be. I do know that, even before I finished A Million Suns, I went to the library and took out Shades of Earth.    

March 13, 2013

REVIEW: Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1)

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1), by Jeaniene Frost
Published October 30, 2007
Publisher:  Avon
Format:  audiobook - borrowed from library
Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father--the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner--are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Oh. Em. Gee. 
When I think about characters that resound with me - characters that really speak to me - I find that they represent strength, purity of the heart, bravery, and lots of bad assery. I love a girl who stands up for herself and doesn't let others walk all over her. She fights bravely and loves fiercely. I love a man who defies all he knows to save the woman he loves. A real warrior. 

Which brings me to Cat and Bones. 

Cat's had a rough life. She has serious mommy issues, doesn't know her father, and she puts herself in mortal danger every weekend. It's like she was just waiting for someone like Bones to walk into her life. But, one of my favorite parts of this book is that Cat didn't just swoon and fall into his arms. In fact, she kind of hated his gorgeous guts for quite awhile. There was no insta-love here, which made their inevitable pairing all that much sweeter.

In actuality, Bones is the one who swooned first. But, he's just so damn snarky and unruffled that it's hard to tell when it happened. I love that Cat is the one to undo him. It's very satisfying to see an unmovable mountain crumble, don't you think? 

Ugh - I know I've probably activated your gag reflexes by now. I'm sorry. I guess I'm still feeling a little swoony myself, even a week after finishing Halfway to the Grave. I really did just love it that much. 

From a bit more of a technical aspect, this Night Huntress world is one of the best yet. The rules that govern this world of vampires, ghouls and ghosts is so alive. It almost makes me believe that they could really be out there somewhere. I love that Jeaniene Frost goes into such detail to describe the vampire hierarchy and how Cat as a half-breed might fit into it. It all came to life in a way that few books do. 

With one book, this series has become a favorite. I'm already working on collecting my own copies of all six books printed so far. Then I can read them whenever I want. And this first book in the series is definitely one that will be re-read again and again. 

March 12, 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 On My Spring 2013 TBR List

Dark Triumph (Grave Mercy #2), by Robin LeFevers

Reboot (Reboot #1), by Amy Tintera

March 11, 2013


The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a bi-weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Wait For You, by J. Lynn
Published February 26, 2013
Publisher:  self-published
Format:  e-book - own
Genre:  New Adult

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her? 

Wait For You is Jennifer L. Armentrout's (writing as J. Lynn) first turn at the New Adult genre. I expected a good read; both her YA series rank among my most favorite of all time. Thankfully, she did not disappoint. This was a good book. It was an easy read - I finished it in only 24 hours.

The characters were very likable - especially Cam. He not such a bad boy as many are in this particular genre. In fact, he very much seems like he has a hero complex. He seems to always be ready to save the day, and boy, does he do it with flair. From an act as simple as just making breakfast (and not "morning after" breakfast - just breakfast) to being willing to beat the crap out of people who threaten her, Cam quickly becomes Avery's knight in shining armor.

Avery is the frustrating one in this story. You know how there's always a part in every book (especially these NA books) where a character - usually the girl - does something stupid? And you find yourself yelling at her and ready to throw your book across the room because you know that all she needs to do is just SPEAK UP and she doesn't because of some silly reason or another? Well, that happened many times over in Wait For You.

Avery had several terrible things happen to her years ago. Yet, despite Cam's complete awesomeness, she says nothing. Her terrible things follow her to the present. And she still says nothing. All of these decisions lead to some serious relationship problems (no DUH). It makes you nuts.

There was nothing particularly unique about Wait For You. It follows the NA formula pretty closely. But, despite that, the dialog was witty and believable (they definitely sounded like college kids), the characters were interesting and likable, and the resolution was satisfying. I'm glad I added it to my NA library.

March 10, 2013

Blog Redesign!

Wait! Don't go anywhere! You ARE, in fact, in the right place (unless you were looking for new shoes or to book a trip to Panama - can't help you there). I'm finally able to cross another item off my 2013 Blog Goal list. I'VE BEEN REDESIGNED!

Hope you like it!

March 8, 2013

BEA Newb Notes: Books I Need to Read

I'm headed to BEA 2013!

I've got my registration confirmation and my hotel room. So, now what?? This will be my first time there, and I always approach new experiences the same way - research, research and more research. And, the more research I do about this amazing event, the more overwhelmed I feel. So, I plan to break down my schizo thoughts in an attempt to:

A.  Get organized
B.  Gather comments from seasoned BEA professionals

So, today, I want to talk about books that I NEED to read before I leave.

Books To Read Before I Leave for NYC

1. The Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan - I'm signed up to attend the Children's Author Breakfast on Friday morning, at which I will hear Rick Riordan speak. I'm so excited for this event because I LOVE Rick Riordan. I've read all his Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. I've read all his Kane Chronicles books. And I've read all his Heroes of Olympus books. Except the most recently released one. I even own it - it's been sitting on my bookshelf since November. I just haven't gotten to it yet.

2. Down To You, by M. Leighton - I just found out last week that M. Leighton will be at BEA. I've been meaning to read one of her books since I started reading more New Adult. And, I keep hearing about her Bad Boys series and how good it is. I feel like I need to see for myself.

3. Ten, by Gretchen McNeil - Gretchen McNeil will be at BEA signing copies of her new book 3:59. I have never read anything by her, but I have a copy of Ten that I haven't gotten to yet. I've heard good things, so I look forward to catching up.

4. The Goddess Inheritance, by Aimee Carter - Although it hasn't been confirmed yet, there seems to be a strong feeling that Aimee Carter will be attending. I've read The Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted and loved them both. I'm a sucker for anything related to Greek mythology. I'm dying to see how Kate and Henry's story ends, and The Goddess Inheritance just came out last week.

I'm sure this list will continue to grow as I learn of more authors that will be attending. Have you read any of these books? Which books are on your TBR-Before-Leaving -For-NYC list?