Thursday, January 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Meme hosted by Melissa My World in Words and Pages. It's about books that are already on the shelves and are waiting to be read. Go to her website to join in!

by Nancy Holzner
A demon is stalking Vicky's dreams-just as several of Deadtown's zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. And when Vicky realizes she is the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown's living nightmare.

I won this one and nope, I haven't read it yet... why? Because I'm waiting on getting the first one. I know that UF quite often needs to be read in order. Another one I'm waiting on reading in order... and you all thought you knew me...

*evil laugh* 

First book I'm waiting on:

So, what deadliness are you wanting to read this week?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fatal Circle (Persephone Alcmedi #3) by Linda Robertson

There was a time when Persephone Alcmedi thought her life was hard to manage, what with wondering how to make sure she took adequate care of both her grandmother and her foster daughter, Beverley, whether she'd end up in the unwanted position of high priestess of a coven, and whether her werewolf lover, Johnny, would resist the groupies who hang around his band Lycanthropia.

But that was before the fairies started demanding that Seph's frightening, unpredictable ally - the ancient vampire Menessos - be destroyed . . . or the world will suffer. Seph and Menessos are magically bonded, but that's a secret she dares not reveal to her fellow witches lest they be forced to reject her and forbid her use of magic. And, despite the strain this casts on her relationship with Johnny, as a showdown with the fairies nears, she and Menessos badly need the werewolves as allies.

Life, death, and love are all on the line, but when destiny is calling, it doesn't help to turn away. With the individual threads of their fates twisted inextricably together, can Seph, Johnny, and Menessos keep the world safe from fairy vengeance?
Need to say this first... this series keeps on getting better. I think I've enjoyed this book most of all. I will also have to say that there were times when I thought Persephone was being manipulated again, but really in a much smaller way. However, even though it felt like that at times, it really wasn't that way at all. She was still learning and growing... under fire so to speak... so what she decided made sense. She still is ruled by emotions that overtake her, however, I also suspect that will be a growth aspect coming.

As far as Johnny is concerned... I still don't want to spoil anything I've said in the last review of this series, however he is present with his own trial and tribulations. Menessos is also paramount within this book. FINALLY I have to say that I would trust him much more now. His veneer has cracked and some human emotions erupt. However, do not expect this to happen for much of the book. For those that enjoy his arrogance, you will not be disappointed. :)

In the end I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed this one and even gave a tear at one time in the book. It isn't a cliffie ending, but important information is missing. So much so that I had to look at the back of the next two books (which I have) to see what happens. Had to know, but I'm not telling anything. *evil laugh*
I received this book from Pocket Books and no compensation for my review was given.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'Til the World Ends by Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre, Karen Duvall

Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa

Before The Immortal Rules, there was the Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden-as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What's worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she's beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems....

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre

After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside-in the Red Zone-is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they'll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside...for good.

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall

Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms-in the cosmos and beyond. And she's not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She'll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defense, the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world ends.
This is a dystopian anthology by 3 talented authors. I'll review each story, but give only one rating as a whole.

Dawn of Eden (Blood of Eden #.05) by Julie Kagawa

In this story we are given the prequel to Immortal Rules. This tale pulls together 2 different characters than who we meet in the first novel. So, there is no problem reading this one after the first. In this book Kylie and Ben meet up through a friend that has been bitten. Ben is reluctant to tell Kylie what has happened and in fact knows a bit more about the zombie like vampires preying on non-infected people. We know some of what is going on through the first novel and it pretty much stays on track with this one.

I do have to say I was a bit surprised by this story. I reads a bit more adult with a much more graphic scene of sex than we usually get with YA. In fact, I would have considered this prequel adult and had I read it before the novel, I would have thought the whole series was adult and not YA. Still, it works for this story. I do have to admit, I wasn't completely drawn into the romance between the two characters, but was not unconvinced either. Extreme circumstances can heighten emotions, but it just seemed that they needed more down time to really get to know each other to claim each other in a forever way. Still, it was an interesting addition to the series. 

Thistle and Thorne by Anne Aguirre

I have to admit this was my favorite of the 3. Mari is someone of skill and can kick ass when needed. Strong female protagonist? Oh yea, you know I loved that. She meets up with Thorne after a robbery gone all kinds of wrong. He saves her but uses her for his end game. However, since their end games meet up by destroying the bad guy who is in charge goes along with Thorne. Perhaps she even steals his heart, but we are never certain.

I really enjoyed Mari. A bit of an optimist despite the circumstances, you really have to admire how she takes care of her siblings and close friends. She has become a reluctant leader in her area and this adventure will destroy her ability to be covert. So, when the ending of unanswered questions happens, I admit I wanted to start tweeting Anne Aguirre and begging her to finish it or give me a novel of these characters! Don't leave me like this!! Think that would work? ;)

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall

With this story you will have to suspend things you know with the world she has created. The sun creates storms and has baked the world. How people survived such harsh conditions has me baffled (especially the frail and infirm)... but then suspension of belief comes in so I can go on with the story.

I also have to say that I didn't completely buy the romance in this one, but it had it's sweet moments. I think if it was longer it would have been easier for me to see the two become inseparable, but that is sometimes the problem with short stories. You have so much to share in such little space. Still, it was an interesting concept even if the ending was a bit contrived. Perhaps this would have been better at novel length.

In all I give this anthology 3 1/2 stars. If you want to get your dystopian on, this might just fit the bill. Although the situations are bleak, you will find the light within each of these stories.
I received this eARC from NetGalley and the publisher an no compensation for my review was given.

Monday, January 28, 2013

In a Dog's Heart by Jennifer Arnold

Jennifer Arnold has come to a unique understanding of the human-dog bond over the two decades she has spent raising and training service dogs for Canine Assistants. She developed a methodology—Choice Teaching—that pairs scientific and behavioral knowledge about dogs with gentle incentive and encouragement to extraordinary effect. 
Here Arnold shares
• how to choose the puppy that’s destined for you and what to have on hand before you bring that puppy home
• best practices when it comes to teaching your dog essential and even lifesaving commands• what to stock in your doggie first-aid kit• how to keep your pet safe from dangers at home and in the outside world• how to help your dog overcome anxious behavior, from separation anxiety to thunderstorm phobia• the challenges and rewards of adopting an older dog 
Throughout the book are captivating stories of the extraordinary ways in which dogs prove themselves worthy of our care and devotion—and how we can, and why we should, help them achieve what they so deserve.
This seemed to me to be a book for first time owners of dogs. I'm always curious about these books and want to see if I can glean things that I may have not thought of before. However, after reading the chapter, "Keeping Our Dogs Healthy", I would not recommend this book to a first time dog owner. I don't just sort of disagree with what was said, but disagree to an extent that it bothered me.

One of the things I disagree with is soy. She says that dogs can become vegetarian if you provide a complete protein in the diet. This is true, however she suggested soy as the substitute. Dogs cannot completely digest soy, so therefore it is not a good substitue for the protein. Second, she actually advocated synthetic preservatives. That was the huge NO to me. Ethoxyquin, a common synthetic additive and is used as a pesticide and a agent in making rubber. It is not allowed in any human foods we consume. BHA is also commonly used and is allowed in human food, however, it is currently under attack and is on a possible list of those that may be removed one day. She made the point that natural preservatives have a much shorter shelf life and that you should be aware of dates and how often the foods either sold or refreshed on the shelf. That is true, but not a reason enough for me to even consider the synthetic preservatives over natural, especially ethoxyquin.

She also suggested that the brands she listed and any others who are large dog food companies are safer than a local brand. Not sure what those local brands are since the ones I see are all big or med companies. She suggested that the big brands are safer because they manufacture the food and ingredients. This is false. Big companies buy from other companies parts of their ingredients like most packaged foods. Some of these companies they buy from are very bad. There have been recalls because some of these ingredients were manufactured in China and had rat poison (which is legal in China) traces in the ingredients. There is also a recall of some treats because of antibiotic residue which is not allowed in America, but is, again, in China. So what she claims is completely not true and the foods she recommends are ones I stay away from.

The other thing in that chapter she attacked was raw diets. It is a huge commitment to do a raw diet but it is not dangerous as she suggests. Her biggest complaint was the possibility of salmonella poisoning (I'll specifically talk about that one although it can apply to other things she said). Samonella is a consideration especially if you have small children or do not like washing your hands and dog bowls. Second, you can get that same poisoning from even dry dog kibble. There was a recent recall of dry dog food and treats because it contained salmonella. It's one of the reasons very small children are discouraged from handling/eating any dog food. So, again, her reasoning is faulty if that is her main complaint. It is false to suggest that commercial foods are extremely safe in comparison. She had suggested learning from a nutritional veterinarian about cooked home diets (I actually have consulted one about raw food diets). I think she should have done the same before writing that whole chapter.

Sorry for climbing on my soapbox. Not the forum for that, but a book review. So, let me continue on with that...
*gets off soapbox*

I also have to question her methodology she supposedly created called "Choice Teaching". It is a good methodology, but not one she created. It is basically positive reinforcement. Karen Pryor has a great website and training articles that are great for anyone wanting to learn this method of training. I do like what she says and how she trains, it's just not original. She also bashes dominance training. I don't disagree with her about that, but I could do with a little more information and less bashing is all. It wasn't her examples and then what she thought was wrong with it but how she continually bashed one particular well-known person. It was the continual bashing that got old quickly.

Now if you think I hated this book (aside from the nutrition chapter) then you are wrong. I actually loved the stories she had about the canine companions. The dogs who assist people with disabilities and how they came together. This is where the book shines. It also had a great story of one of the Vick dogs that I really enjoyed. I actually think she should have made it a book about those stories and have her positive training tips for the average dog owner. I think the book may have then made it to one of my fave dog books. However, as it is, I have to say that I have to give it 2 stars. The stars are for the stories because they are stellar. I can recommend it for those stories which are quite moving and will often put a smile on your face.
I received this book from the First Reads program at Goodreads and no compensation for my review was given.

Friday, January 25, 2013

AimeeKay Review: Letters in Cardboard Boxes by Abby Slovin

Winner of the First Horizon Award for superior work by a debut writer, Letters In Cardboard Boxes tells the story of an eccentric grandmother and her granddaughter alongside a series of fantastical letters they once exchanged. Their letters once traversed the East River to help Parker escape the loneliness of a childhood without her globe-trekking parents and communicate during her turbulent teenage years. Now, nearly a decade later, Parker begins to rediscover this letter writing tradition, as well as the family’s untold stories and, unexpectedly, letters from her grandmother’s own youth that paint a very different portrait of the woman who raised her. 
Letters carries us through the universally-shared experience of loss and the process of coping with life’s unexpected twists and turns. Through unusual and bold characters, the story moves through some of its heavier themes with honesty and humor.

Letters in Cardboard Boxes tells the story of Parker and how she handles her grandmother’s descent into dementia. Another main part of the story is that Parker finds herself struggling to figure out exactly who she herself actually is.

I’m kind of in limbo with this one. The beginning of the story was slow. Really it just seemed to be taking forever to get to where it was going. Near the middle, though more towards the end, it seemed to pick up a little steam. I guess my whole issue was that there was no clear climax or defining moment in the book, just as the ending just ends. I guess it mirrors real life in that way, but still it feels as if something is missing.

I also had a hard time connecting with Parker. She just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was the fact that she just let everything happen to her, she never seemed to be willing to step in a take charge of her own path. *shrug* Not really sure what the exact reason was…I just know that she grated on my nerves. In fact, I felt more concern and interest in some of the other characters in the book then I did in her.

However there were some very moving scenes in the book. Especially between Parker and her grandmother as the book progressed. Some almost brought me to the point of tears. If more of the book had pulled me into it in this way I would be raving about it right now. However it didn’t, instead it just left me feeling slightly annoyed that it hadn’t gotten better earlier on and wishing it had had a more complete ending.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Meme hosted by Melissa My World in Words and Pages. It's about books that are already on the shelves and are waiting to be read. Go to her website to join in!

This week's submission:

The Diviners
by Libba Bray
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies." 
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

I won this book from Jenny of Supernatural Snark and I can't wait to dive into it.
So what is waiting for you this week?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Audio Review: Tricked by Kevin Hearne

Druid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.
But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he’s got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won’t be fooled again. Famous last words.
Another great audio voiced by Luke Daniels. In this one Atticus is again in hot water helped by Coyote, the Diné trickster. Helped as in tricked into getting rid of shapeshifters bent on wrecking havoc on the community. Plus, it doesn't help when Atticus's past deeds inflame the skinwalkers into action. 

This was a funny book. Atticus is a bit out of his element since he hasn't had much dealings with the Native American spirits but as always he does his best. The secondary characters were so great in this book. LOVED Frank and of course Coyote. Also great in this book is the way things were researched. Most of it felt very authentic and I felt there was care taken to be fairly accurate. Of course, this being a work of fiction, liberties were taken, but in the best way.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed my time here and the way Atticus got frustrated with Coyote. Of course Granuaile rocked and still was sharp and smart even for being someone still in the learning stages. And not to forget Oberon. That dog cracks me up. Hound 10000, Druid 1... ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Off Tuesday

I have been enjoying this meme on Felicia's The Geeky Blogger's blog and have finally found some time to join in. The other players are Amanda from On a Book Bender, Christi from Smitten with Reading. Button made by Missie at The Unread Reader

My submissionS this week are...

Hell on Wheels
by Julie Ann Walker
Black Knights Inc.--Behind the facade of their tricked-out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Hold On Tight... 
Ex-Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cool--and his distance--which makes him one hell of a sniper. It's also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she's his best friend's baby sister...and totally off limits. 
Rough Road Ahead 
Ali's never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley--or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she's in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she's become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible--but her heart is another story altogether.
In Rides Trouble
by Julie Ann Walker
Rebel with a Cause
Becky "Rebel" Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys-she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.
Man with a Mission

Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank's way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants is for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it's just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back-whether she says she needs him or not.
Rev it Up 
by Julie Ann Walker
He Never Misses a Target 
Jake "the Snake" Sommers earned his SEAL codename by striking quickly and quietly - and with lethal force. That's how he broke Michelle Carter's heart. It was the only way to keep her safe - from himself. Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance. But to steal back into Michelle's loving arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow. Real slow... 
She Aims to Make Him Beg 
Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to "love her and leave her." But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake's hands. No matter what they call him, this man is far from cold-blooded. And once he's wrapped around her heart, he'll never let her go...
Unfortunately no eyes to get lost in... somehow they don't need to see... Still a nice view. :) Just some fun books I read last year. I know 2 of the 3 don't have their tops off, but still... :D

So what is in your top off Tuesday view?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.
The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.
Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.
This is a book I have no doubt will get mixed reviews. It's a book that in some ways is hard to take and depressing. It's also a book that is uplifting and encouraging. It's very psychological and that is why I think it will be a hit with some and a miss with others.

It does start out quite depressing. We have all had the feeling that no one cares, that we are invisible (or want to be), that we just can't be seen by the people we care the most about. Take that emotion and multiply it by at least 100. That is a Nobody. Someone who cannot be seen, heard, or even remembered. Claire is a Nobody but she hasn't learned it yet. However, with her assassin's help, she is about to find out and find a whole new world open to her.

Now there are 3 different kinds of unusual people in this book besides the "norms". All of it has to do with energy we produce and impress upon another person. Besides the Nobody which was described above, we have the Nulls. These are dangerous people. These are those people who are psychopathic in nature, quite enigmatic, and manipulative to the core. They have no compassion or morals and are quite willing to do what they can to get what they want. This group often includes politicians and serial killers. These are the groups Nix, Claire's assassin, thinks he is only targeting. The other group is sensors. These people have the capability of seeking out Nulls and Nobodies but are susceptible to both. These differences between the types of "other" is important in the book.

Now for the uplifting part. I won't go into the whole story, but I have to say that as depressing as Claire was in the beginning, I felt she was stellar throughout the book. Things that would have crushed the average person did not crush Claire. Sure, she felt unsure and even incapable of doing anything (if you were unable to affect anyone, how much self-esteem would you have?), but she always pressed on using self-made techniques to get her through any situation. She found courage she never had and also helped Nix find who he was and break through his broken-ness. I found this part interesting and enjoyed it. However, you must read a bit more into the book before you get there and the beginning might almost be too depressive to some. You DO get there and really it doesn't take too long.

The story, especially with Nix reminds me of a Buffy, TVS tv show, Out of Mind, Out of Sight. Where the girl was ignored so much she became invisible and the government took her over an made her an assassin. Unlike that story, this one has a romance within the storyline that I think will thrill some. I really enjoyed this romance and even though they were young, it didn't feel like that. In fact, it felt more mature than some YA romances but it makes sense because these characters had to grow up so fast.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed the psychological aspects of the story, but I realize that it may not be for everyone. I recommend it to those that also enjoy these aspects as well as those that like sci-fi flavored romance as well as Ms. Barnes writing. I really enjoyed the way she wrote. I also recommend it to older YA crowds as well as adults. I just think it would fit with them better. However, if a younger person reads it, I think it would be fine. It has some violence in it, but less than most programs.
I received this book from Media Masters Publicity and no compensation for my review was given

Media Masters Publicity is giving away a nice prize package:

*The giveaway is one hardcover copy of Nobody and the new paperback release of Every Other Day, which pubs on the same day as Nobody (January 22nd)
*Media Masters Publicity will ship to the winner.
*US and Canada only please

Can't wait? Get Nobody here:
Curious about the other book Every Other Day? This might help:

Okay, want to enter? Just fill out the rafflecopter form below:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hallowed Circle (Persephone Alcmedi #2) by Linda Robertson

And you think beauty pageants are scary? 
Persephone Alcmedi has been persuaded to compete for the position of High Priestess of the Cleveland, Ohio, coven — now that the former priestess, Vivian Diamond, has strangely gone missing. Unfortunately, there are a few small problems with the idea. Not only does Seph know rather more about Vivian's disappearance than the other witches realize, but the epic struggle she's just survived has left her with some highly unusual powers — ones that could be dangerous to reveal. Despite her reluctance, she agrees to participate, if only to prevent snooty Hunter Hopewell, an obnoxious but talented witch, from ending up in the winner's circle. Can Seph hide her secrets — including her connection to the master vampire-wizard Menessos — from the terrifyingly wise judges? Plus, there's her rock 'n' roll werewolf boyfriend, Johnny, and some angry fairies to deal with.... 
Once the competition begins, a finalist turns up dead. It looks as if one of the contestants is willing to do anything — including murder — to win. Suddenly Seph has even more on her plate than she thought: from solving a murder to working out what her new powers really are...and exactly why they're creating so much havoc in her love life.
In this second installment we find our heroine, Persephone manipulated into vying for the position of High Priestess of her local coven. I have to admit I was upset thinking that she is going to go like the last book a be manipulated by others again. However, in this case, this maneuver not only proves to be wise, but it accelerates her character growth.

Hm... I also have to say I wanted to kick Johnny's arse in this book for quite some time. I was heartbroken that the one I LOVED in the first book would be such an... well... ass. As for if there was a good and easily understandable explanation of his behavior.. well, I'm not telling. You will either hope for the best or worry for the worst as I did. :) Sorry, yes, I'm sadistic like that. :D

Oh and Menessos, that arrogant vampire, is also present. Hm... wonder what happens there? ;)

I give this book 4 stars. I have to say that I enjoyed this book more than the first. I really liked where Persephone's character is heading and I can't wait to read the next book. I recommend these books to those that love stories about witches and some twists in the story.
I received this book from Pocket Books and no compensation for my review was given.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Meme hosted by Melissa My World in Words and Pages. It's about books that are already on the shelves and are waiting to be read. Go to her website to join in!

This week's submission:
The Blood Keeper
by Tessa Gratton
For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It's all she's ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm in Kansas with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose—she's connected to the land and protective of the magic. And she is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions. Mab will do anything to keep the ancient practice alive and guard its secrets. But one morning while she is working out a particularly tricky spell she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise some mundane personal demons. He experiences Mab's magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting. But secrets that were kept from Mab by the earlier generations of blood magicians have come home to roost. And she and Will are drawn back together, time again by this dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power.
I won this signed but am waiting to read the first book. YES... I'm waiting to read it in order. :D

The first book I still need to get:

Blood Magic
by Tessa Gratton
It starts off simply. 
Draw a circle... place a dead leaf in the center... sprinkle some salt... recite a little Latin... add a drop of blood... 
Maybe that last part isn’t exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents’ horrific deaths. She’s willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep ... and spill some blood.

The book isn’t the only recent arrival in Silla’s life. There’s Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She’s not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick’s first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can’t deny their attraction. And they can’t ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.
See... even I want to read in order...
Do I need to pass out the smelling salts? :D

What second book is on your tbr you are waiting to read? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Vicious Circle (Persephone Alcmedi #1) by Linda Robertson

A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.... 
Being a witch doesn't pay the bills, but Persephone Alcmedi gets by between reading Tarot cards, writing her syndicated newspaper column, and kenneling werewolves in the basement when the moon is full -- even if witches aren't supposed to mingle with wolves. She really reaches the end of her leash, though, when her grandmother gets kicked out of the nursing home and Seph finds herself in the doghouse about some things she's written. Then her werewolf friend Lorrie is murdered...and the high priestess of an important coven offers Seph big money to destroy the killer, a powerful vampire named Goliath Kline. Seph is a tough girl, but this time she bites off more than she can chew. She needs a little help from her friends -- werewolf friends. One of those friends, Johnny, the motorcycle-riding lead singer for the techno-metal-Goth band Lycanthropia, has a crush on her. And while Seph has always been on edge around this 6'2" leather-clad hunk, she's starting to realize that although their attraction may be dangerous, nothing could be as lethal as the showdown that awaits them.
 In this book we have Persephone a witch who reads the tarot for people and writes a column in the local newspaper about werewolves because they have become the acceptable prejudice in the society. Denied even basic health care rights, Persephone takes up their mantle in the name of justice. In fact, justice has become her call to duty in almost any situation. This brings us to her current problem she must solve.

I liked Persephone and yet she frustrated me. I loved her compassion and her sense of justice, but didn't like the fact that she was so easily manipulated by others. However, it was a minor frustration as it was also a point of growth for the character. She slowly learned how to stand up for herself as she so easily did for others. Although this growth was not complete by the end of the book, I did like that she grew as a character in this book.

The other thing I really enjoyed were the secondary characters. Nana was a hoot even if she was so manipulative at times. Goliath was confusing, but had possibilities for more mayhem in the coming series. Menessos was the perfect villan. Vampire arrogance ftw! :) Oh and Johnny. Johnny! So many of you will love this pseudo bad boy I know I'll be fighting for that were. In the end, I think the secondary characters really made this book.

My biggest complaint was tiny things. At times it seemed when I was reading I was wondering if I picked up the right book and this was the first book. Some things it referenced as if we should know what had happened before. I don't mind this when I know I've picked up a book in the middle of the series, but it was confusing for a first book. This was light and may not be noticed by some, but it was confusing to me nonetheless.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. It's a good start to the series with a lot of character growth for the main character. I'm looking forward to seeing what other things this witch conjures up.
I received this book from Pocket Books and no compensation for my review was given.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Demon's Curse (Imnada Brotherhood #1) by Alexa Egan

A fast-paced and captivating debut—the first in the dark and sexy Imnada Brotherhood series about shape shifters in Regency-era England. 
A rising star on the Covent Garden stage, Bianca Parrino believes she has everything she wants. Independence. Wealth. And a life finally free of her violent, abusive husband. But when her close friend, Adam, is murdered, and Bianca is suspected in his death, she is unwittingly drawn into the search for his killer, and soon must question everything she believes—about her friend, about herself, and about a world she never knew existed. 
A member of the mysterious race of shape-shifting Imnada and part of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery gathered intelligence during the Napoleonic wars. As a result of a savage massacre, Mac and the men he served with are cursed. Now one of them has been found murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada has been discovered at last. His only link to unearthing the truth is the beautiful actress who turns up unexpectedly at Adam’s funeral. 
Before long, Mac has more to contend with than Bianca’s overt mistrust, his ill-fated attraction to the haughty and beautiful actress, and his ongoing search for an end to the curse. Because Adam’s killer is back, and Mac is next on his list.
 This was an interesting mix of genres in a book. To me, it was mostly a historical romance and a PNR with a dash of fantasy for flavor. It held all three of these genres and it blended it nicely. I would however, disagree with part of the book's blurb. It isn't a fast paced book, but rather slow paced as some historical romances tend to be with some fast paced action on occasion.

In this story 4 shapeshifters of the clans of Imnada all go to help the war effort and defeat Napoleon. As they are gathering information, they find themselves exposed for what they are and they are bound by their clan law to eliminate any threat. When the threat comes from a fay-blood they become cursed and must endure the shift to their animal nature every night. This makes them anathema to the clans and they are banished. All are looking to eliminate the curse while a member of the fay-blood is looking for revenge. One was murdered and this is what brought them back together after their cursed night and expulsion from the clans.

The love interest is between Bianca, the friend of the murdered man Adam, and Mac, a clansman to Adam. Mac falls for her not because of her beauty nor popularity, but because of her strength of character. Of course this is not easy for either of them as Bianca has PTSD from a previous marriage and Mac is suspicious of everyone not in the clan. Can you say frustrating romance with periods of aw? :)

I have to admit that I was not always thrilled with Mac. I really loved the fact that he cared enough for Bianca to help her through her PTSD, but found him infuriating when he would trigger her problem because he couldn't decide what he wanted. He knew he triggered her problem and yet he didn't. Yes, I wanted to kick that shifter in his hind end. :P However, this became a nice contrast for Bianca and I found her to be someone who had great strength within. I know many of you love this kind of frustrating tension, but I sometimes think enough is enough. But that is just me. :)

I give this mix of genre book 3 stars. I really do think that this series will take off now that this world is established and I'm curious as to what happens next. It's not a cliffie, but not everything is solved and I want to know how they solve it. I recommend this book to those that love historical romance and want something a bit different.
I received this book from Pocket Books and no compensation for my review was given.

Btw, I found the cover a good one so I'm nominating it for:
I have been enjoying this meme on Felicia's The Geeky Blogger's blog and have finally found some time to join in. The other players are Amanda from On a Book Bender, Christi from Smitten with Reading. Button made by Missie at The Unread Reader

Would like to see his eyes, but the chest is good... :D

Monday, January 14, 2013

Leashing the Tempest (Arcadia Bell #2.5) by Jenn Bennett

Dating a demon, defeating evil, running a tiki bar: Arcadia Bell is a great occult mage in many respects. But then there’s the challenge of her boyfriend’s precocious teenage son… 
Arcadia "Cady" Bell may have saved the Hellfire Club’s children from a local bogeyman, but she and her Earthbound demon boyfriend, Lon Butler, now face a more disturbing problem: his teenage son’s new demonic abilities. Jupe Butler can persuade you to do anything—or so he thinks. To test the limits of his newfound power, Cady invites the co-owner of Tambuku Tiki Lounge to be the teen’s guinea pig during an afternoon boat cruise. But when an angry storm whips the Pacific into a frenzy and Jupe puts them all in serious danger, will Cady's magick trump a teenager’s excess confidence?
This is a novella that goes along with the series. I honestly think it should be read in order because you are in full awareness of the characters leading this adventure and you are already invested in them. Plus, this follows the series chronologically.

My fave UF dad, Lon, his son Jupe and Cady are all back in this novella where they are just looking for a small get away for some fun. However, the captain of the ship has a few secrets he's keeping. The secrets plus a precocious Jupe all add up to some trouble for the group. Nothing is ever easy in Cady's life.

This short adventure is fun and keeps with the same feel as the other books in this series. If you have read the other 2 books, you will love this short installment. It complements it perfectly. I love the characters in this book and it helps with the time waiting for the next book due in May. Just a little, because May is a long time away. *sigh*

I give this novella 4 1/2 stars. It's a perfect little short that brings back some of my fave characters. I recommend it to those that love this series already! It's currently only $.99 at your fave ebook retailer. Those that haven't read it... the series is...
Binding the Shadows (tbp: May 28 ~ Me want now!)

Saturday, January 12, 2013


The winner for:

Congraties Mel!

Don't forget that this book is available now! You'll love it!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Indigo Awakening (The Hunted #1) by Jordan Dane

Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her. 
A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.

This was an interesting take on children born with various psychic powers. There is actually a theory about indigo children that this book takes and then builds a nail bitting story around. In this book Rayne is a girl with a troubled past. Her brother who means everything to her has run away from the mental institution their older sister has put him in due to his "peculiarities".  She does what she can to find him and runs into another like him and becomes involved in Luke, her brother's new found world. You also find yourself running from the bad guys who are quite evil and have no problems killing kids. This puts you on the edge of your seat several times trying to figure out if they will make it or not.

You also get involved in a lot of secondary characters as well. Most of these are the kids, but you also get a glimpse into the evil that hunts these kids. Although you never really find out why... exactly... they want these kids, you are convinced that they are evil nonetheless.

I have to say that this was an interesting book. However, I have to say that although I did connect to some of the characters, I ended up disconnecting with them in the end. When any of them found their powers they seemed to become more aloof rather than more sensitive and that distanced themselves from me quickly. I also found myself becoming distant from Rayne who had no powers because she was constantly in fear, but her actions did not reflect it. It was a odd contradiction. I also have to say that although the plot is gripping, it is also predictable. Still, it has some good ideas which I think can be fixed within the coming books.

I give this book 3 stars. It's interesting and entertaining and might be good for those that want a fast intense ride.
I received this eARC from the publisher and NetGalley and no compensation for my review was given.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Meme hosted by Melissa My World in Words and Pages. It's about books that are already on the shelves and are waiting to be read. Go to her website to join in!

This weeks submission:
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. 
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work. 
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
This is also a confession. I have had this one on audio for some time now. I won it and did want to read it after it was recommended to me by a friend. The confession? I don't know if I want to hear it. I can see it being so much more emotional hearing it from a child's voice. A child! In danger! Oh I can so see me throwing it across the room. I can see this being so emotional. 
Hold me? 

Do you have an emotional tbr book waiting for you to read?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Audio review: Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne

Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
Another good audio with Luke Daniels again narrating the book. Luke does an excellent job and I swear I've become to hear Atticus's voice as Luke's voice. He also does an excellent job of the other characterizations as well.

As for the story. Hm... well there were, of course, many moments of levity in which I LOL'd. I also had a few moments of geeky happiness with the Spock/Kirk playing Devil and Angel on Atticus's shoulders. I also had that same moment of geeky-ness when my fave line from The Princess Bride (hint: it was said by someone named Inigo Montoya...) was also said. Yes, I did have quite a few of these moments that ended up putting a smile on my face. Not to mention his moments of levity with Jesus (yes, that Jesus). However...

The battle this whole thing leads up to was, from the beginning, an extremely bad fight. Why it came about made sense, but not how. To fight in Thor's territory was quite stupid for a paranoid druid and I just couldn't figure out why he would go without a better well thought out plan. They had time... all involved were quite long lived so why go through it with such poor planing? Still, I do believe that this will set us up for what is to come in the next novels and at least even Atticus felt that his involvement was unwise... even if the realization came too late. Kind of rounds out his character a bit with him making mistakes of this kind. Still, the questions of their plan still make me wonder...

Even though I was very disappointed in Atticus (especially when it involved Freya) I admit I lost some of my shine to his character. However, in a series I find this interesting because people are neither wholly good or bad but are somewhere in between. Perhaps this will give him a bit more complexity to his character. The next books, I guess, will determine if that pans out that way. I will be reading or listening to them as this one ended with a bit of mystery and I have to know what is next.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!
Okay, I totally confess... I judged a character by the blurb. I was all ready to totally hate on Willem that I admit it took some doing to get me into the book. I read a couple of chapters slowly, but then just decided to read. I found myself not hating the guy, but I still admit I was still quite skeptical of his character. There was just so much we didn't know and that leads to very easy conclusions. The author uses this for Allyson's character growth so I found it an interesting twist.

It's also a book surrounded by Shakespeare. Much of her life is compared through his plays and it becomes intertwined with her story as well. Not just the romance aspect, but the natural growth Allyson goes through to find out who she is without her parents dictating every aspect of her life. She forces herself to find out who she is and meets some real interesting characters along the way. Dee, her bestie in college is my fave character. He is hilarious and also a complex character for being a secondary character. He loves to play with masks that people try to judge him by and only Allyson is the first one to truly see who he is and he sees Allyson even though she is quite closed to him at first. (PS... no love triangle)

I enjoyed Allyson's growth. She also explores the possibilities that jumping to conclusions without sufficient information is quite easy to accomplish. In fact, the theme of masks and simple conclusions abound in this novel as well as happy accidents.

In the end we get a HEA but not necessarily the one we are seeking. I suspected that would be the case, but it also ends in a way I want to know more. I was upset with not knowing more until I realized that Willem's book comes out later. Oh yea... I want to know his story. He is way too mysterious for me in this book and I really want to know what went on with him as well as finding out what happens to both even if it is a few years later. I became invested in these characters so I must know!

I give this book 4 stars. It's a good coming of age new adult type of book. I enjoyed the Shakespeare analogies as well as the adventure Allyson becomes brave enough to undertake. I recommend the book to those that enjoy contemporary new adult (older YA)... and Shakespeare. :)
I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's program and the publisher and no compensation for my review was given. 
LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Monday, January 7, 2013

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of happiness, family, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless adventure story in the classic tradition of The Wizard of Oz. 
In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest.

The stork for my little family members took a curious route and ended up in China. This is where their mother, my cousin, found her daughters and brought them home. I was glad she found them and I thought a book like this might be interesting for them since it takes place in China. Of course, me being a book-a-holic... I had to read it first.

It is a story where the parents of Minli are a bit mismatched. The father is a storyteller who always has some adventure and way of the impossible being possible. The mother is dissatisfied with her life and always wished for something more. Their daughter being caught in the middle decided that her adventure to change their fortune fell to her. She set out on a journey to do just that.

Within the story are other smaller stories. Most impart wisdom of some sort and you learn as Minli learns. However, they aren't the only one learning as we switch back to her parent's POV and find out they are also learning lessons as well. Their adventure is one of faith and looking inward.

The adventure does, at times, remind me of the movie The Wizard of Oz. The friends she meets along the way is how she learns from others and it ends up being the journey that is more important than the destination.

The story ends with an HEA and also has a bit of background from the author as to where she went traveling and how it influenced her modern Chinese fairy tale.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I recommend it to young children and their parents who want something different that imparts lessons like friendship, selflessness, kindness, thinking of others, thankfulness, and enjoying what you already have.
I received this book from the publisher and no compensation for my review was given.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Bluegrass Baby by Molly Harper

A brand-new novel in an original eBook series from popular romance author Molly Harper! When Sadie & Josh compete for the same Kentucky Tourism Commission job, sparks fly—turns out Kentucky really is for lovers. 
Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks & Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just-plain-odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position.

Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign. So when their boss pits them against each other in a winner-takes-all contest, they’re both willing to fight dirty if it means getting what they want. But it turns out, what Josh and Sadie want could be each other—and Josh’s kisses are the best Kentucky attraction Sadie’s found yet!
 I love Molly Harper's vampire and werewolf series so I was curious about this one when it came wandering in the review request pile. I really didn't hesitate and dove into the book quickly. Now for those that also love her paranormal books, do realize that this is chick-lit and not her paranormal fare. This is a contemporary romance set in her home state of Kentucky and it is not only a romance for our main characters but also a love letter to Kentucky itself.

In this we have Sadie who has found work that she loves promoting the state that she loves. In walks in Josh who is after her almost newly appointed job as director. She was a shoe in until Josh showed up and almost had the rug pulled out from her. Their current boss who is about to retire decide to hold a competition and let the people decide at the state fair who gets the job. With both of them having two completely different tactics no one knows who will win. Plus, with all the smexy tension, will it work out if one wins and the other doesn't?

I have to say that I did like both characters and some of the secondary ones as well. I admit I had more problems with Josh than Sadie mostly because Sadie would come clean when she flubbed up something and Josh had to be pushed to admit his failings. However, when he did come clean, he did so with complete honesty. Still, I had a bit of a problem with him at times.

I also have to say this one is a bit dry as compared to her paranormal books. Perhaps this is because you can go completely off the deep end in humor and adventure and it works. Within a contemporary you are restrained to what is believable. Still, I did enjoy the tension and romance between our two and did find myself chuckling a bit at Sadie and her snark.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I recommend it to those that really want and HEA and enjoy chick-lit. This book is also $1.99 for a limited time.
I received this ebook from the publisher and Edelwiess and no compensation for my review was given.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Author Blog Post: Crimson Frost Excerpt and Giveaway!

Crimson Frost
by Jennifer Estep
For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.
I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.
I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…


     We set off down the sidewalk. Kaldi Coffee was located on the main street that ran through Cypress Mountain, and more and more people stuck their heads outside to stare at us as we passed. The ritzy suburb and all its high-end shops were here to see to the needs of everyone at Mythos Academy, so all the business owners and workers knew the score when it came to the mythological world. Most of them were former Mythos students themselves, who’d decided to settle down near the academy. The only folks who didn’t realize what was going on were the few tourists who’d braved the cold to come shopping. They glanced out the windows at me for a moment before going back to their browsing.

     “You’re making a big mistake,” Logan repeated. “Gwen didn’t free Loki—she tried to stop it from happening. We all did.”

     “All? By that, I assume you mean you and your new group of friends,” Linus said. “Something else we need to discuss. I thought you were finally calming down and learning how to be a real fighter, but it seems like you’ve gotten yourself into even more trouble than usual. Starting with this girl.”

     I didn’t care if he was Logan’s dad and apparently some bigshot within the Pantheon. The way he kept saying this girl like I was the worst of the worst grated on my last nerve.

     “I have a name,” I snapped. “It’s Gwen, Gwen Frost. Obviously, you know it since you announced it to the whole coffee shop.”

     Linus looked over his shoulder at me. “Do not test me, girl.” 

     My hands clenched into fists, but there was nothing I could do about his cold words—or the fact that he seemed to hate me on sight. Not exactly how I’d pictured things going if I ever met Logan’s dad. Still, I drew in a breath, trying to push past my anger and fear and get to the bottom of things.

     “Well, can you at least tell me where we’re going?” I asked.

     “You’ll see,” Linus said in a cryptic tone. “It’s not far.”

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author. Jennifer writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. Crimson Frost, the fourth book, was released on Dec. 24. Visit for excerpts and more information about her books.

So, did this whet your appetite yet for the book? I know if you have been following the series you are all ready primed for the book! You need more convincing (I doubt it... but...) my review is HERE. :) Jennifer is giving away one pb copy of Crimson Frost! It's US only due to shipping costs. To enter just fill out the rafflecopter form below:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Audio Review: Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II. 
With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.

I read the first book but listened to the second. Felicia of the Geeky Blogger and Missie of the Unread Reader both praised the audio and so I had to try it. I was not disappointed.

Luke Daniels is the voice of Atticus. I can really picture his voice coming from the character perfectly. He also did a pretty good job at the female characterizations even though they obviously had a masculine quality (he couldn't change that but it still worked). His pronunciations of the various languages was superb and it helped me not flub it up in my head as I would have if I read it. For that alone I suggest trying at least one of these in the series on audio.

As with the other book Atticus is faced with some insurmountable odds but this time he doesn't know where the danger is coming from. As the mystery pulls together we start to wonder if we can start to trust others out side of our immediate circle, but like Atticus, I'm wary but willing to accept these others on a limited basis. I think that is a good plan since most magic users have a hidden personal agenda.

I also loved the secondary characters especially the widow and Oberon his faithful hound. They both had me laughing more than once. I love the widow and especially that dog! The vocal characterization of Oberon also puts a smile on his face. However, unlike Atticus I don't know if I'd want that kind of communication with my dog... especially when his vocabulary can outdo my own. Don't want to be put to shame by my own dog... ;)

I give this book 4 stars. It's a lot of fun and I really do recommend the audio.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Splintered by A. G. Howard

For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell—the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before. 
When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of heirlooms and a moth tied to an unusual website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place more twisted and eerie than Lewis Carroll ever let on. 
There, creepy counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head.
I honestly don't know why there aren't more retellings of Alice in Wonderland. Seriously, there is so much there to be toyed and changed and molded into a different world. This is exactly what this book has done. It molded the tale and changed elements enough to make it it's own world but by also keeping to the original tale.

In this tale, Alyssa is a descendent of the original Alice and we are quite convinced that the madness the females inherit are due to Alice venturing in Wonderland and changing things that throw off the balance and are such cursed. The bugs and flowers talk and Alyssa can't get a moments peace. Not to mention she is deathly afraid that she will end up like her mother in a mental institution. We start to question the madness as it is shared to consistently with her mother, and so we embark on our journey down the rabbit hole with her to get those answers.

Within this twisty tale we do end up with a triangle. Now this is the first triangle in YA that I have actually liked. Usually in a triangle we find one more suited to the heroine than the other and we have no doubt who she needs to and will pick. In this one both are equally suited for very different polar opposite reasons. I have to admit I still did root for one a bit more only because I found his character much more interesting than the other. Still you do know who she will pick although I admit I didn't want her to choose at all. That is unusual for me because I'm usually yelling at the heroine to just pick already. :)

I give this twisty Wonderland tale 4 1/2 Cheshire Cat smiles. I really enjoyed my time in this very alternate world. I recommend it to those that enjoy retellings of old stories.
I received this eARC from the publisher and NetGalley and no compensation for my review was given.

Happy New Year!