April 30, 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 Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up a Book

1. New Adult - It's no secret that my latest obsession is the New Adult genre. I have a weekly feature dedicated to it, for crying out loud. So, whenever a book is described as "new adult," my interest is piqued right away. Examples:  Easy, Slammed, Walking Disaster

2. Vampires - I forcefully avoided vampire books for years because I was annoyed at all the Twilight hype. But, since I also can't stand not knowing what everyone else is talking about, I eventually gave in. And, while I had mixed feelings about that particular series, I did develop a penchant for the fanged. Now, some of my most favorite series of all time are all about vampires. Examples:  The Night Huntress series, The Chicagoland Vampires series, The Immortal Rules

3. The Beach - This is a weird one. See, I don't particularly like the beach myself. I hate jellyfish, feeling fat in a bathing suit and getting sand in my crack (and everywhere else). But, for some reason, books that take place at the beach always seem so romantic and exotic. It's my favorite way to experience the beach. Examples:  Fallen Too Far

4. Academy/School/Institute - I love books that take place at boarding-type schools. Usually there's some sort of paranormal aspect, and most seem to involve a bad ass chick in training. I love these books, because there always comes a point where our heroine has to put what she's learned into practice, and that culmination is always so, so sweet. Examples:  Vampire Academy series, Covenant series, Mythos Academy series 

5. Mythology - Mythology - particularly Greek mythology - has been of great interest to me ever since high school. It's so awesome that men came up with such amazing stories so many thousands of years ago, and they're still alive today. And now, we put cool modern twists on them. Even better. Examples:  The Goddess Test series, The Heroes of Olympus series

6. Scotland/The UK - I love to travel. I've been to Europe twice (Spain and Italy), but I've never been to the UK. It's on my bucket list. Until then, I love to read about books that take place there. The locales, the accents, the fun phrases ("Sod off, wanker!") - they make me smile. Examples:  On Dublin Street, Outlander

7. Werewolves/Shifters - I will read most anything having to do with weres and shifters because I absolutely LOVE the pack aspect of the story. There's something so awesome about a group of people who are bonded so closely that they would give their lives for one another. The dominant alpha males are pretty hot too, right? Examples:  The Mercy Thompson series, The Phoenix Pack series

8. Time Travel - Perhaps it's the Trekkie in me, but I do love a story that stretches the boundaries of the space/time continuum. Although they can get a bit mired in detail, the plausibility is intriguing. Examples:  Outlander, The Hourglass series, The River of Time series

9. Assassins - Especially FEMALE assassins. This goes along with the whole I-love-bad-ass-chicks thing I got going on. There's just something so empowering about reading about a girl who puts a serious smack down on a bunch of bad guys. Rawr. Examples:  Throne of Glass, Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph

10. Dual POV/Male POV - I love getting in the guy's head so much. Guys are typically not very vocal about their feelings, so getting to read about their feels as they run through their heads is so satisfying. I love the back-and-forth of the dual POVs, but the all-male POVs are just as awesome. Examples:  The Collector, Elixir, Pushing the Limits

April 29, 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 weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.   

Intermix Nation, by M.P. Attardo
Published March 5, 2013
Publisher:  self-published
Format: e-book - provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Genre:  new adult, dystopian
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Intermix: to mix together, blend

North America, paragon of diversity, is gone. From its ashes, a new nation has arisen – Renatus – where the government segregates the surviving population into races, forbidding interracial marriage, mating, and love.

Eighteen-year-old Nazirah Nation is a pariah, an intermix, born of people from different races. When her parents are murdered in the name of justice, Nazirah grudgingly joins the growing rebellion fighting against the despotic government.

Overwhelmed with grief, consumed by guilt, Nazirah craves vengeance as a substitute for absolution. But on her journey to find the girl she once was, Nazirah must learn the hard way that nothing … no one … is purely black or white. Like her, every human is intermix, shades and hues of complex emotions. And those who can take everything away are also the ones who can give everything back.

Intermix Nation was a surprise. I'm not talking about a, "Oh, hey. That was good! What do you know?" type of surprise. It was more like a, "Holy crap, where has this author been my whole life?!" kind of surprise. Don't let the fact that M.P. Attardo is not only a first-time author, but a self-published author scare you away from this incredible book. This girl has some mad skillz.
In Intermix Nation, Nazirah Nation is having a tough time since her parents were murdered. She's just not passionate about the rebel cause like everyone else is. She's not passionate about anything anymore, really. Yet, when her parents were killed and her devastated face was plastered on news stations around Renatus, she instantly and unwillingly became the face of a movement. And now, her brother - the commander of the rebels - needs her to do a job for him. A job that requires her to work closely with the man who killed her parents and destroyed her world as she knew it. 

Intermix Nation was a really passionate book. And, I'm not talking about the sexy passionate (although, there's some of that too!). It was more the passion you feel when you feel so strongly about something that it spurs you to action. Nazirah goes through a big change through the course of the book. In the beginning, she's actually the opposite of passionate. She's numb. She's been shattered. And now she has to share air with the man who caused those feelings. And, it's like that lights a fire in her. 

Adamek Morgen, the guy - boy, really - who killed Nazirah's parents, is on a journey of his own. He's done horrible things to try and please his awful father, and it's done nothing but bring him pain. So, he is looking for redemption. Salvation. Forgiveness. Even though he doesn't think he's worthy of it. Interestingly, the one he really needs those things from is the one girl who can't stand to be in the same room as him. 

With the backdrop of war, these two sad people have to make conscious, hard decisions in order to continue to put one foot in front of the other one. And, they do. 

I saw a lot of influence from other popular dystopian books such as Divergent and The Hunger Games in Intermix Nation. Through those nods, though, a lot of uniqueness shows through, too. Attardo wrote a gripping, inspiring story about equality, love and forgiveness. 

The romance was a slow-burn, but when it caught fire finally, WHEW! Was it hot! The side characters were alive. The world - Renatus - and all its territories were built up well and felt very solid. My only complaint is that I wished for a bit more at the end. The build up for the big battle was huge. When my Kindle registered 95% done and the battle wasn't here yet, I started to get nervous. But, then it did happen, and it was fast and furious. It would've been nice to see a bit more of that, and a bit more from Adamek and Nazirah at the end. *sigh* Guess that just means that Attardo will have to write a sequel. 

Read on and check out an interview with M.P. Attardo, and then enter a giveaway for an e-copy of Intermix Nation so you can check out this great book for yourself. 

Author Interview

Tell me a little about yourself. Do you have a day job? A pet? A favorite flavor of ice cream? Your biggest pet peeve? 
Wow, this feels like a first date! My name is Mary. I’m twenty-three. I like coffee and long walks on the be…oh wait, wrong site. Basically, all you need to know about me is that I’m a loud New Yorker with even louder ideas. For my “real” job, I do executive search … which is a lot funner than it sounds! My burgeoning list of pet peeves includes people who snap instead of clap, getting tickled, and the word redonkulous. It’s redonkulous.

There’s a lot of messages in INTERMIX NATION – the strive for social equality, the need to give and receive forgiveness, the constant love of family, friends and country. Which issue resonated most with you while you were writing this book? 

Forgiveness, most definitely, forgiveness. 100%. It is the idea that sparked the entire story, that made me even want to write. Everything else was secondary.

If you had to pick one of Renatus’ Territories in which to live, which would it be and why?
Definitely not Zima! Way too cold for me there! If I had to pick … probably Eridies, because I love the beach. But how can I resist the spiciness of the Deathlands? Maybe if I could live at Solomon’s …  

Which of the characters in INTERMIX NATION was your favorite to write?
Writing Nazirah was my catharsis. For months, I ate, slept, breathed her. I almost felt myself turning into her, becoming snarkier, more impatient. I swear, for awhile, I couldn’t tell if I was writing her … or if she was writing me. But my heart, and my favorite character, still resides in Adamek Morgen.

What is your next project? Is there a chance that we’ll be taken back to Renatus to see what happens next with Nazirah, Adamek, Cato and the rest of the rebels (please say yes, please say yes…)?
Well, I definitely won’t say no! Right now, I’m starting to work on a completely different story … it’s just in the beginning stages so I’m being very coy about it at the moment (if only I had more time to write!). I go back and forth about whether or not I should write a sequel to Intermix Nation. I would want to make the follow-up just as strong, if not stronger, than the first book alone … and I’m not quite sure how to do that yet. But, I’m ruling nothing out!

What is the last good book you read?
Clearly, I love dystopias. I just finished re-reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth. That book is so fun!! Before that, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Did you have a particular playlist while writing INTERMIX NATION? If this book would have a theme song, what do you think it would be?
I LOVE this question! If Intermix Nation had a theme song, it would definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, be Bad Romance. I’m borderline obsessed with Lady GaGa! Runner up is Feel Again, OneRepublic.

About the Author

M.P. Attardo is a twenty-something, part-time writer, full-time daydreamer. She has a college degree ... is still trying to figure out what on earth to do with it. She loves amateur baseball commentating, heckling, and overindulging.

M.P. Attardo's Website * Twitter * Facebook


Fill out the Rafflecopter for a chance to win one (1) e-copy of Intermix Nation from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 

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April 26, 2013

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise #1)

I'm so happy to be a part of the Deeper We Fall, by Chelsea Cameron blog tour. This book was so captivating and heartbreaking! Read on for my full review, plus a chance to win copies of Chelsea Cameron's books and a Kindle Paperwhite or a Nook Simple Touch Glowlight!

Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise #1), by Chelsea Cameron
Published January 24, 2013
Publisher:  DRC Publishing
Format: e-book - provided by author and Xpresso Book Tours
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Two years after her best friend was involved in a car accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, Lottie Anders is ready to start her freshman year of college. Ready to move on. Ready to start forgetting the night that ripped her life apart.

Her plans come to a screeching halt when not one, but both brothers responsible for the accident end up back in her life again.

Zack is cruel, selfish and constantly rubbing what happened to her friend in Lottie's face.

Zan is different. He listens to her awkward ramblings. He loves "To Kill a Mockingbird" as much as she does, and his dark eyes are irresistible. His words are few and far between, but when he does speak, she can't help but listen.

The trouble is, Zan was the driver in the accident, and now Lottie's discovered he lied to her about what happened that night. Now she must decide if trusting him again will lead to real forgiveness, or deeper heartache.

Deeper We Fall was a fantastically heartbreaking book. Like many books in the new adult genre, it addresses a really tough issue - what happens when one drinks and drives in this case - and speaks a lot about forgiveness and love.

Two years after a horrible accident changed her best friend's life forever, Lottie is still reeling from it. She has come to college along with her twin brother Will to try and run away a little bit from what has become her reality. She still harbors such hatred and resentment toward the brothers who caused the accident, that when the brothers turn up, not only at the same college, but in the same dorm building as Lottie, she doesn't even know what to do with herself.

Zack and Zan are as different as night and day. Zan, the driver of the car that caused Lottie's best friend's permanent brain damage, has done his time and is now looking for any kind of redemption he can find. Zack, the real reason Lexie got in the car that night in the first place, is an even bigger douchebag than he was two years earlier. He uses people, abuses them and then throws them away without a care.

Lottie's path to forgiveness was the most captivating part of Deeper We Fall. When she first sees Zan and Zack, the familiar loathing sets in. But, as Zan slowly chips away at her hatred, Lottie starts to experience other feelings - mostly guilt for actually liking him and wanting to be with him, despite what he has done. The development of these characters was done so well. The reader really has no choice but to feel so badly for both Zan and Lottie. And, it's easy to understand how they both feel the way they do and to see Lottie struggle with her confusion.

Thank goodness for Will and Simon! There are so many deep issues and feelings being thrown around in Deeper We Fall. There is an intense need for some comic relief, which we get in the relationship between Lottie and Will and Will's BFF Simon. I especially appreciated all of Will's corny Star Wars references. If Will was a real person, I'd definitely want to be friends with him.

The romance between Lottie and Zan is very slow to develop, but in this case, that's a very good thing. Given the circumstances in their history, I would've called BS if there had been some sort of insta-love or quick fix. It takes Lottie a long while to get to a place where she can even comprehend some sort of relationship with Zan. And, it takes equally as long for Zan to feel worthy of her love. The pacing was just right.

Although I didn't review Faster We Burn (which is the story of Skyler, Zan's BFF, and Katie, Lottie's BFF), it's already on my wishlist. I hope both these books are on yours now too.

I also hope you check out the other blogs on the tour for more reviews, interviews and giveaways!

The Giveaways

Enter to win one (1) e-book set of both Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise #1) and Faster We Burn (Fall and Rise #2). Also enter the tour-wide giveaway of either a Kindle Paperwhite or a Nook Simple Touch Glowlight

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About the Author

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is. Find Chelsea on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.  

April 25, 2013

REVIEW: The Elite (The Selection #2)

The Elite (The Selection #2), by Kiera Cass
Published April 23, 2013
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Format: hardback - I own
Genre:  YA dystopian
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

I pre-ordered The Elite a little more than a month ago. I wanted to make sure I had it in my grubby paws the day it came out. So, it's little wonder that it took me less than 24 hours to read it from cover to cover. I finished it only a few hours ago, so the book hangover is still going strong. Perhaps now's not even the best time to write a review with all the feels still so fresh. Then again, maybe it's the perfect time.

The Elite starts just a week or so after the close of The Selection. Things between America and Maxon are good, despite the constant presence of Aspen in the castle. What kind of great book would this be, though, without conflict and drama? It doesn't take long before the proverbial shit hits the fan and America's and Maxon's supposed perfect future is completely thrown for a loop.

There is no "second book syndrome" here. Oh no. On the contrary. Without the burden of backstory and world building, we're thrust into the story immediately. To say that it was gripping was putting it mildly. I started The Elite while I was waiting for my car to be inspected. I was actually irritated when it was done, because I knew that I would actually have to put it down for the 15 minutes it would take me to get home!

The main focus of The Selection was, well, on The Selection. That isn't the case in The Elite. The thrust of the story is on America's seemingly impossible choice between her childhood love and the new feelings blooming for the prince of her world. Truly, America waffles back and forth several times during the course of this book, for, what I thought were very good reasons. I can't imagine it's an easy choice to make, no matter which "team" I'm on (which would be Maxon's, by the way).

Aspen is safe, comfortable and a sure thing. He claims to have never stopped loving America and that he still wants to marry her. He says he supports and understands her continued involvement in The Selection, however, his support seems to have a limit. He has a lot of confidence in his feelings and abilities, but not in America's.

Then there's Maxon. He's the prince, for goodness sake. He's romantic and noble and seems devoted to America, despite having five other girls to entertain as well. But, then, that's the real problem, isn't it? He still has to pretend he's interested in the others, which gives America pause. That and her lack of confidence in her own abilities.

I felt so much frustration as I was reading The Elite. It's that good bookish frustration you get when the characters you love are doing things that are stupid. You can see the disastrous results from their poor choices coming a mile away, yet you're powerless to stop it. All three of our main characters did things like this in The Elite, and it made me nuts! It also made me want to keep reading page after page to see if they were going to be able to right their wrongs.

The only thing that I felt was missing was the lack of new information about the rebels. They weren't mentioned much, and I was hoping for more about them. I have a feeling, though, that their presence will play a key part in the last book.

The ending, although not a cliffhanger, left me wanting so much more! There are so many questions to be answered, new conflicts to be explored, and so many threats to my favorite characters' happiness. Waiting a whole year to find out what happens is going to be so difficult!

Check out my review of The Selection.

April 24, 2013

Boston Charity Book Giveaway

I am helping to spread the word about  this amazing book giveaway that was created to aid the victims and families of the 2013 Boston Marathon Attack. Many best-selling authors have donated books  in response to this cause. The books are grouped into bundle packs and a winner will be selected randomly through Rafflecopter for each bundle. Visit the book giveaway site for more details and how to enter.

If you do not want to enter to win a bundle, please feel free to make a donation using this link. It will take you directly to the organization donation site. The auction will run from April 21-April 30th.

Book Bundle #1
In the Name of Love

SIGNED copies of:
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Easy by Tammara Webber
Fallen Too Far & Never Too Far by Abbi Glines
FATE by Elizabeth Reyes
CRUSH by Nicole Williams
Disastrous by EL Montes

Book Bundle #2
Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

SIGNED copies of:
Slammed & Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
What a Boy Wants, What a Boy Needs and Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn
Sleep My Child by Eyvonna Rains
ebooks: Shark Bait & The Other Fish in the Sea by Jenn Cooksey

Book Bundle #3
Just the Way You Are
SIGNED copies of:
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
Inhale Exhale by Sarah Ross
Destined to Change by Lisa Harley
Music of the Heart by Katie Ashley
Wide Awake by Shelly Crane

Book Bundle #4
I Walk the Line
SIGNED copies of:
The Thoughtless Series by SC Stephens
Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Until I Break by M. Leighton-ARC
Collide by Gail McHugh

Book Bundle #5
Stand By Me

SIGNED copies of:
Love Unscripted & Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber
Collide by Gail McHugh
Love Em’ or Leave Em’ by Angie Stanton
On The Island byTracey Garvis-Graves

Book Bundle #6
I Wanna Hold Your Hand

SIGNED Copies of:
Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
Naked, All In by Raine Miller
Collide by Gail McHugh
Signed Wreck Me, ebook Restore Me by JL Mac

Book Bundle #7

SIGNED copies of:
Awaken and Avenged by Sarah Ross
Darkride and Crossfire by Laura Bradley Rede

Book Bundle #8
Whole Lotta Love

SIGNED copies of:
Fall Guy & Perfectly Unmatched by Liz Reinhardt
Lengths & Depths by Steph Campbell
Charade & Freeing Carter by Nyrae Dawn
Destined to Change by Lisa Harley
A Prior Engagement by SL Scott

Book Bundle #9
Maybe I'm Amazed

SIGNED copies of:
A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter
Inescapable, Intuition, Indebted and Incendiary by Amy Bartol

Book Bundle #10
Ain't Too Proud to Beg
SIGNED copies of:
The Proposition and The Proposal by Katie Ashley
Chocolate Lovers Series by Tara Sivec
His Perfect Passion and The Undoing of a Libertine by Raine Miller


The Autumn Review

All the amazing authors who donated their books

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Showers of Books Giveaway Hop, sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Books a la Mode! Prepare yourself for an awesome giveaway!

As I've been reading comments and looking at other blogs during recent Top Ten Tuesdays, I noticed that there are still so many of you out there who haven't been introduced to the awesomesauce that is Jennifer L. Armentrout.You all recognize her amazing ability to conjure up the best book boyfriends any of us could ask for (*cough*Aiden*cough*Daemon*cough*), yet there are still some of you who have yet to experience these stories for yourself.

I'm giving you that chance right now.

The winner of this giveaway gets to choose one of the books in the Covenant series, and I will send it to you via The Book Depository. Aiden. Seth. Leon. Trust me, girls. You do NOT want to miss this opportunity.

But wait! The name of the giveaway implies more than one book, right? I mean, it wouldn't be much of a shower if you only got one measly book, right?

The winner will ALSO win one of the books from Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series. I will even include a pre-order of Origin (Lux #4) as one of your choices! Daemon. Dawson. Who can pass up hot aliens, right?

So, to recap, the winner will choose one book from the Covenant series AND one book from the Lux series, and I will send you both books via The Book Depository. Pretty awesome, right?! Enter below, then hop to the next blog. Good luck!

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April 23, 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 Liked More/Less Than I Thought I Would

Today, we're going to look at the books that either didn't meet my expectations or far exceeded them. Luckily, it was harder to come up with the books that I liked LESS. But, I've narrowed both lists down to five apiece.

Books I liked MORE Than I Thought I Would

Urban fantasy isn't typically what I go for in a pinch. I've found some of the books in this genre confusing and without a romantic entanglement, they don't really grab me. I read Moon Called when it was gifted to me by a friend. Despite the lack of romance (that comes in later books), it most certainly did grab my interest immediately, and not only was the world not confusing, I found it utterly fascinating. The Mercy Thompson series has become one of my favorites. 

Although I enjoy watching sci-fi (Trekkies unite!), I didn't really think I'd enjoy reading it. I was in need of a new audiobook and saw Across the Universe at my library. I decided to try it. From the very first chapter, I was hooked. This is a fascinating series that I can't say enough good things about. 

3. The Demon King (The Seven Realms #1), by Cinda Williams Chima
High fantasy is my least favorite genre. I picked up The Demon King for two reasons - first, I had just finished Chima's The Heir Chronicles and loved it. I wanted to read more by her. And, second, I loved the cover. I was so surprised when I loved it as much as I did. I fell in love with all the characters and the story - wow. It was absolutely incredible. 

I just finished this last week, and was shocked at how awesome it was! I liked Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), but I did have some problems with it. I wanted to see the series through, so I picked up Dark Triumph, albeit a bit reluctantly. It was so amazing, I'm still thinking about it a week later. 

I had heard a lot of mixed reports about The Selection. It seemed that readers either loved it or hated it, and I had no idea which side of the fence I would fall on. Then, I was gifted a copy of it by a friend. Even then, I was reticent. Finally, after two other friends read it and liked it, I gave it a go... and found myself firmly on the "loved it" side of the fence. I absolutely fell in love with America and Maxon (go Maxon!), and already have The Elite (The Selection #2) pre-ordered.

Books I liked LESS Than I Thought I Would

The reason I picked this book up to begin with should be self-evident. It's THE WARDEN. And, I'm a gi-normous fan of her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I knew that her Fallen Angels series was a spin-off that also takes place in Caldie. I figured it would be a slam-dunk. But, I don't know. The magic just wasn't there. Maybe it's the lack of the Brothers' presence (although there are a few cameos by a few different Brothers). Maybe it's the lack of anything vampy. It just was most definitely not the same and not what I had expected.

I loved Matched (Matched #1) and Crossed (Matched #2). So much so that, as soon as Reached was available for pre-order, I clicked that button. And, although Condie's beautiful writing was still present, the story just fell so flat for me. I was kept wanting so much more at every turn. I wanted more emotion, more action, more character development, and more of an epic, sweeping ending to the main love story. And, since it ended the series, I didn't think that was asking too much. 

Look at that cover! You would expect passion and blistering heat and a great love story. Meh. Not so much in the passion and blistering heat department. There is quite a love story there, and yes, it's touching most of the time. But, after awhile, I kinda wanted Gabriel and Julia to get mad at each other and say some things they didn't mean. Because it got a little sickeningly sweet after awhile. I wanted them to have mad sex. Or make-up sex. Hell, any sex at all would've been great. Instead, I just got "meh."

Spell Bound suffered the same fate as Reached. It was the final installment in a series that I had grown to love. So, I put it atop a pedestal and expected very great things from it (which I had ALSO pre-ordered after finishing Demonglass (Hex Hall #2)). Instead, we were left with an extremely unfulfilling resolution to the love triangle. Some very interesting characters who were introduced in books 1 and 2 were barely mentioned. And all of it just left me feeling completely cheated.

Oh yeah. I went there. I know this is a beloved series. I know it's also now a blockbuster movie juggernaut. But, let's be serious for a minute. The Hunger Games - EPIC. Catching Fire - AMAZING. Mockingjay - erm, not so much. It was so rushed, that I felt that so many important things were left out. It was the most depressing, with Katniss being a zombie most of the time. She did things completely out of character that I didn't buy for a second. And that epilogue?? So frustrating (and I was totally Team Peeta all the way, so it wasn't that).

April 22, 2013


For my New Adult Mondays post today, I'm pleased to be opening the tour for Victoria H. Smith's new adult contemporary romance, The Space Between. Read on for my review, check out the other tour stops, and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of The Space Between, a The Space Between necklace and a The Space Between keychain (U.S. only)!

The Space Between, by Victoria H. Smith
Published March 2, 2013
Publisher:  Createspace
Format: e-book - provided by author and ATOMR Tours
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy:  Amazon

Rating:  3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) When Drake started the night at his father’s campaign fundraiser, he never imagined he’d end it being conned into buying drugs on the West Side. Losing high-stakes poker has its consequences, but he’d repeatedly face them just to hear Lacey Douglas sing. Drake sees Lacey light up the stage, and he has to have her. But his intentions for being on her side of town turn out to be the reason he can’t.

Chicago native Lacey has dreams of the opera, but life has its obstacles. Lacey has come to know her hardships as part of living in the real world and accepts them fully. When Lacey meets the intense and invigorating Drake, a fire is lit inside her, unleashing those dreams again.

Two paths that should have never crossed prove to create the exact pairing the other needs. But when their worlds take time to catch up, everything they have is tested. Finding the space between the two sides that challenge them will be hard, but it’s the only place that will keep them together.

To date, I've read... well, A LOT of books in the new adult genre. I guess you could say that it's become my new favorite thing. There's a lot of elements that make them all very similar to each other - a "bad boy," a big problem, a fast and furious romance. After reading Victoria H. Smith's The Space Between, I realized something else they all have in common. The main characters are white. In The Space Between, the main characters are not. It was a refreshing and eye-opening change from the norm.

Drake was my favorite character. He's Asian (Korean, to be exact). He was adopted as a baby by a woman who wanted a child and her politically-minded husband. He was raised in a very affluent home, never wanting for anything except for time, attention and affection from his parents. I liked Drake because he was a go-getter. He wasn't happy with the crap hand life dealt him, so he made lemonade out of lemons. He sees something he wants, he goes after it. And, despite lacking a lot of love growing up, when it crosses his path, he knows enough to recognize it for what it is and do all that he can to keep it. Rock on, dude.

Lacey is half black and half white. She lives in the ghetto with her sick mother and works at a theater to make ends meet. She has nothing, but she is loved by her family and her friends. Lacey is the exact opposite of Drake. She's developed pretty thick skin because of her circumstances, which is good since, when she gets a job as an assistant in Drake's home, his family and friends don't make it easy on her.

I really appreciated Victoria Smith's attempt at creating a non-traditional romance. Despite the big differences between Drake and Lacey (and, I'm not just talking about race), I believed their relationship. It was sweet and refreshing and hot and sexy. It was fraught with problems and rife with complications. Would it be a good book without those?

The one thing I would've like to see more of was Lacey's singing. It's what drew Drake to her in the first place, then wasn't mentioned too much after that. I thought it might be a major plot point, but other than Lacey having to decide whether to go to Paris to be in an opera there, and her singing one time for Drake, it wasn't talked about. I thought this aspect of her character could've been exploited a bit more.

The Space Between is a new kind of new adult novel. It's well worth a read!

This blog tour is sponsored by ATOMR Tours. Check out the tour schedule for The Space Between for more reviews, guest posts, and interviews.

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.

Social Media links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Now is your chance to enter a giveaway to win:

(1) Signed Print Copy of The Space Between – US Only
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April 19, 2013

Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant

By now, if you're in any way connected to the world of books, whether as a blogger or an avid reader, you know that yesterday Veronica Roth announced the name of the third Divergent book. The name and the cover design have been kept under very tight wraps, leading to tons of fans throwing out suggestions, both realistic and ridiculous:

Resurgent -- Convergent -- Reemergent -- Detergent

The wait for at least the name of the book is over. And, the winner is...


I have to say, it's not a name I ever thought of, but I really love it! I think it's perfect when you think about all that has happened in the first two books (and speculate about what MIGHT happen in the third book).

So, now, we are left to wonder what the cover of the third book will look like. I see another circle-type image made up of a combination of all five faction logos. Or, perhaps it will be all Abnegation - an abstract set of hands in the middle of a circle. Hand holding indicates allegiance, after all. I mean, we've had the Dauntless fire and the Amity tree. But, nothing solidly Abnegation yet. What do you think? Any predictions?

The awesome thing is, it's widely speculated that Veronica Roth will reveal the cover at the Children's Author Breakfast at BEA this year. And, guess which girl is going to be there when it happens? Yep. This girl. OMG!

In other Divergent news, filming started on April 1 on the Divergent movie, scheduled to be released in March 2014. Although the roles of Tris and Four will be played by actors that are not well-known (at least, I've never heard of them, but I realize that doesn't necessarily mean anything), there are some faces that you will recognize. Actors like Kate Winslet (Jeanine Matthews), Ashley Judd (Natalie Prior) and Mehki Phifer (Max) will be there with bells on, and I can hardly wait!

So, are you a big fan of Divergent? What do you think of the new name? Do you already have plans to go see the movie with friends?

April 18, 2013

REVIEW: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2), by Robin LaFevers
Published April 2, 2013
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Format: ARC - on loan from Around the World ARC Tours
Genre:  YA, historical, romance
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.

What an incredible follow-up to Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)! Dark Triumph does not suffer from the dreaded "middle book syndrome." Far from it, in fact. I thought it was BETTER than Grave Mercy.

We can now see that the trilogy is following three best friends and, in a sense, sisters who meet as novitiates at the Convent of St. Mortain - Ismae, Sybella and Annith. Ismae was the subject of Grave Mercy. Annith and Sybella were introduced, but not discussed at length. From what was mentioned of them, I have to say that I wasn't a big fan of Sybella. She was wild and uncontrollable and cranky. Quite unlovable. I admit to deciding to read Dark Triumph only as a means to an end. I hate not finishing series, and I wanted to see it through. 

I was most definitely not prepared, however, to develop such an affection for Sybella. She is wild and uncontrollable and cranky. But, she is also loyal, compassionate, and brave beyond measure. Dark Triumph lived up to its name, for it was most definitely darker than Grave Mercy, and that was due in large part to the horrors that Sybella had to endure in her past. It was difficult to read, but did much to explain why she was the way she was when she arrived at the convent. 

One definite plus about Dark Triumph is that it is not forced to bog us down with pesky details and paragraphs of world building - that was all taken care of in Grave Mercy. And, when a book takes place in the 1490s, in another country,  and centers around some fantastical mysticism, there's A LOT of explaining that needs to be done. I'd guess that roughly the first third of Grave Mercy was mostly taken up by background story. 

Dark Triumph, however, starts off with an event in Grave Mercy that happens toward the end, only this time, told through Sybella's eyes. I LOVED that. It gave me a good frame of reference as to where we were in the over-arching story. It also gave me a glimpse of Ismae right off the bat, because who doesn't want to know what's going on with their favorite book 1 characters, right? Starting in this way was brilliant. There was immediate action and intrigue and succeeded in sucking me in from page 1. 

One of my biggest gripes about Grave Mercy is that, for a story about an assassin, there weren't a whole lot of assassinations. Not so in Dark Triumph. Luckily, Sybella takes great pleasure in killing bad men, and she takes a ton of them out. Fighting by her side is the awesome Beast of Waroch who we met in Grave Mercy. I loved that guy then, and I loved him even more at the end of Dark Triumph. He's ugly, scary and fierce, yet he has such a big heart and he gives it to Sybella. This was a match made in Heaven. 
I was so ready to accept my fate - this time for the right reasons. Out of love, rather than vengence. And once again, this...man, this...mountain...has destroyed my hard-won resolve with a careless flick of his wrist. 
After reading Dark Triumph, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the third and final book in the Fair Assassins Trilogy, Mortal Heart, when we will finally find out what is going on with Annith. In addition to that, I'm so excited to see these three women reunite to go medieval on the baddies' asses.  

Check out my review for Grave Mercy.

April 17, 2013

REVIEW: Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3)

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3), by Beth Revis
Published January 15, 2013
Publisher:  Razorbill
Format: hardback - borrowed from the library
Genre:  YA, sci-fi
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


I will admit that I had Shades of Earth in my hands for about four weeks - I had to renew it once - before I got up the guts to crack it open and start reading. Why my reticence? Honestly, I just really didn't want it all to end. 

Of course, my procrastination couldn't last forever. I just HAD to find out what happened to Amy and Elder!

The ships lands on Centauri-Earth and the frozens are thawed and immediately start taking charge. Conflict starts from the very beginning as the two leaders clash and Amy is caught in the middle. Adding fuel to the fire, people start dying and no one can figure out who is behind it. Soon it becomes clear that they are not the only sentient beings on the planet. 

Shades of Earth was a deliciously, frexing frustrating book. Frustrating in the best of ways. The source of most of my frustration was Amy. GAH - AMY! My girl needs to learn about c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n. Like, communicating to her dad all that she learned during her three months on the ship. And, communicating to Elder that she loves him. And, communicating that she's not just going to forgive someone for something so heinous just because the peace needs to be kept. This was the one thing that bothered me the most. I didn't agree, nor quite get, some of Amy's actions at the end of the book. 

The best part of this entire series are the mysteries within the mystery. I have story ideas - most bibliophiles do. My problem is how to create drama, intrigue and passion with my words. How to create these wicked cool plot twists that readers wouldn't be able to see coming a mile away. Well, Let. Me. Tell. You. Beth Revis not only has generated some serious drama, intrigue and passion in Shades of Earth, but as was the case in Across the Universe and A Million Suns, I did not see that ending coming. At all. Being surprised is cool. Beth Revis - what a crazy, beautiful mind you have.

Shades of Earth was an extremely fulfilling ending to an amazing series. The characters - all of them - have so much life. This new world that they all live in was described in such wonderful detail, I felt like I could smell the rain and feel the air and taste the gross military rations. 

Read this series. Even if you don't think that sci-fi, spaceships and aliens are your bag. READ IT. Then, let me know how much you loved it so I can tell you I told you so. 

Check out my reviews for Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) and A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2).

April 16, 2013

Abbi Glines Birthday Bash & Giveaway!

Today is Ms. Abbi Glines' birthday! I've only recently discovered her books, and Let. Me. Tell. You. I devoured three of them in the span of a week. Talk about engrossing. What is it about her books that just grab you?

1. Hot Guys - Seriously, this is a no-brainer. In addition to being ridiculously sexy, they are so romantic in the manliness of ways.
"She's amazing. No... she's perfect. Everything about her is fucking perfect," I said aloud then shifted my gaze back to Meg. "I don't just love her, she owns me. Completely. I'd do anything for her." - Rush, Never Too Far
“She started walking toward me and perfect white teeth caught her full bottom lip between them. I’d fantasized about those lips way too many times. She’d barely covered up her long tanned legs with a pair of shorts that made me want to go to church this Sunday just to thank God for creating her.” - Beau, The Vincent Boys
2. Ballsy Girls - The girls in these books face some sticky wicky situations, and they don't always keep their heads, but they always try to do the right thing, and in the end, the prize is an awesome guy.
“I know I’m doing something wrong and I feel guilty but neither of those things matter enough to make me stop.” - Ashton, The Vincent Boys
 “He wasn't what sent me running. He was what made me want to stay.” - Blaire, Fallen Too Far
3. Fun locales - Abbi's books take place in some really fun places that make me want to go there TODAY. (I only mention the books of Abbi's that I've read so far, but I'm sure her other two series are no different!)
The Beach - Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far
The Deep South - The Vincent Boys, The Vincent Brothers
Now, in honor of Abbi Glines' birthday, you have the opportunity to experience her awesomeness for yourself! Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win 1 print copy of The Vincent Boys, 1 print copy of Fallen Too Far, and 1 of 5 copies of a 'Vintage' Swag Mini-Packs: includes the original promotional bookmarks for Predestined and The Vincent Boys, plus an Existence book plate, all signed by Abbi. Exciting, right?

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About Abbi
Abbi Glines was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up in the small town of Sumiton, Alabama where she left the summer she turned eighteen. She didn’t get far… she chased her high school sweetheart down to the coast and she’s been there ever since.

Abbi now lives in the quaint southern town of Fairhope, Alabama with her three children and husband Keith (the high school sweetheart she chased after). Her life is never dull and Keith always makes sure there is another “experience” for them to explore.

Books published by Abbi include The Vincent Boys and the USA TODAY bestseller The Vincent Brothers, Breathe, Because of Low, the USA TODAY bestsellers While It Lasts and Just For Now, The Existence Trilogy that includes the USA Today Bestseller Ceaseless, andThe New York Times bestseller and Wall Street Journal bestseller Fallen Too Far. Currently she is working on Never Too Far, the sequel to Fallen too Far.

When Abbi isn’t locked away in her office typing away she is hauling her kids to and from their many social activities. You could say her second job is the Glines Kids personal chauffeur. It’s a rather illustrious job.

Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Pintrest


April 15, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAY: After Math (Off the Subject #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 weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

After Math (Off the Subject #1), by Denise Grover Swank
Published March 12, 2013
Publisher:  Createspace
Format: e-book - provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Genre:  NA
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him.Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?

In a lot of ways I could relate to Scarlett, which made After Math a great book for me. Although I wasn't gripped with social anxiety at the same level that she was when I was in school, I can appreciate her stress of social situations and the desire to just want to blend in and not do anything to draw attention to herself. Unfortunately, I didn't know any super hot guys in college who found that particular characteristic sexy. 

Tucker is your proverbial jock. He's a soccer star who really gets around, if you know what I mean. He employs Scarlett's talents as a math whiz to help him pass algebra and keep his scholarship. Scarlett thinks she knows exactly who he is, and she knows that she doesn't want anything to do with him. 

As it turns out, Scarlett had a small pair of brass ones tucked away. Which was such a nice surprise. 

Scarlett is quite possibly the only female on campus who is not willing to take Tucker's crap. She sees through his tough guy facade, and to her surprise, discovers that there's something real underneath it. And, she likes that part of him a lot. Understandably, for someone like her, that scares the crap out of her. 

I didn't find it quite believable that Tucker got over himself as quickly as he did. Most guys - even the innately good ones - don't give up the front that they allow everyone to see just because one girl told him off one time. But, as is usually the case in books like these, there's more than meets the eye with Tucker, as well as with Scarlett. 

After Math was a good read. A quick read. I enjoyed Scarlett and Tucker both. The supporting characters were fun. There was a lot here to love.