Sunday, September 30, 2012


The winner for:
Ricki M!

The winner for:
Maureen C.!

Congrats ladies! More giveaways coming your way!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ashen Winter Blog Tour: Mike Mullen Author Interview!

Thanks for coming on the blog today! Ashfall and Ashen Winter were both quite a ride!

B&T: So, what was your inspiration for the series?

MM: The idea for Ashfall started with another book—Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. I found it on a display at Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. Dozens of novel ideas lurk within its pages, but the one that stuck with me was the idea of a supervolcano eruption at Yellowstone. A few weeks after I read it, I woke at 3:30 am with a scene occupying my head so completely I was afraid it would start spilling out my nostrils and ears. I typed 5,500 words, finishing just before dawn. Then I put the project away and let it gestate for eight months. When I returned to it after researching volcanoes and volcanic ash, I realized the inspired scene I wrote in the middle of the night wouldn’t work, and ultimately that whole section had to be scrapped. The only word that remains from that draft? Ashfall.

B&T: What is your favorite thing to do when not writing?

MM: Read! It’s my favorite thing to do with my spare time. I put all the books I read on Goodreads—become my friend there if you like so we can chat about books. Last year I read 171 books, or a little over 40,000 pages of text (thanks for counting, Goodreads!)

B&T: What are your favorite books right now?

This seems to be the year of the fabulous books with blue covers. I admire all of John Green’s work, and The Fault in Our Stars is unequivocally his best yet. I’m also a huge Kristin Cashore fanboy—a couple years ago I started a group on Twitter to hire a maid for her so she could spend more time writing Bitterblue. And, wow, was it ever worth the wait! I think Bitterblue is even better than Graceling—a book I absolutely adored. And finally, there’s a debut middle grade novel called Wonder that moved me deeply. Strangely, all those books have blue covers. The new paperback version of ASHFALL is getting a blue cover, too. Maybe it’s a sign….

B&T:  I need a maid... Darn! I need to learn to write! LOL

B&T: What are your favorite TV shows/movies?

MM: I watch very little TV. The last time I had the television on was for the Olympics—I loved the athletics, but NBC’s coverage left me wanting to throw a brick through my TV screen. After hearing the announcers say “very unique” a few dozen times, I wondered if perhaps they’d all gotten their high school diplomas via mail order.

My favorite movies? Probably The Lord of the Rings trilogy, although the ending was infuriating. By skipping over the scouring of the Shire, Jackson turned Tolkein’s complex, nuanced ending into saccharine pablum.

B&T: Are you working on anything else?

MM: I’m working on the final book of the ASHFALL trilogy now. After that I plan to write something else. I have about 15 novels roughed out—a few of them are only a scene or two, for others I have nearly a complete outline. The only thing they have in common is that they’re all exciting young adult fiction. When I finish the ASHFALL trilogy, I’ll start on one of those.


Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin
It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.
To Be Published: Oct. 16, 2012

Purchase Links

Get the first 2 chapters for free HERE!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Early Review: Ashen Winter (Ashfall #2) by Mike Mullin

It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

This book starts at the end of the last and Alex and Darla's adventure continues. In this one they go to try to find out what happened to Alex's parents. You also think that this adventure might be a bit easier since they know what to expect, but the landscape had changed. Some of the dangers are the same, but others are more tenuous. In fact, in some ways it is more dangerous than the first book. Starvation and disease are still a problem, but the more dangerous factor are the gangs who have turned cannibal.

In this one I have to say I was very frustrated with Alex for most of the book. I loved his kindness and didn't want that to change, but he was careless when trying to be kind and put himself and Darla in danger. At least the author did not ignore this fact and they both suffered the consequences for his carelessness. I just wanted him to stop and think before he acted. This does not mean his character is without growth, but it is a trait of his that I wondered about. Despite this frustration, I do have to say that his lack of forethought made for a on the edge of your seat~ how does he get out of this situation~ type of excitement.

I don't want to give any more away, but I will warn you that this book is anxiety producing. Not in a bad way, but in a way that leaves you breathless wanting to know how they are going to survive. So, I give this book 4 stars. It doesn't end with a cliffie... exactly, but a huge thread lies open waiting for the next book to complete it. The main adventure is complete, so there is no worry about diving off that cliff without any support.
I received this eARC from NetGalley and the publisher and no compensation for my review was given.

Bloggy Note:
Come back tomorrow for an author interview with Mike Mullin!
This book is to be published: 
Oct. 16, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel by F. G. Haghenbeck

When several notebooks were recently discovered among Frida Kahlo’s belongings at her home in Coyoacán, Mexico City, acclaimed Mexican novelist F. G. Haghenbeck was inspired to write this beautifully wrought fictional account of her life. Haghenbeck imagines that, after Frida nearly died when a streetcar’s iron handrail pierced her abdomen during a traffic accident, she received one of the notebooks as a gift from her lover Tina Modotti. Frida called the notebook “The Hierba Santa Book” (The Sacred Herbs Book) and filled it with memories, ideas, and recipes. Haghenbeck takes readers on a magical ride through Frida’s passionate life: her long and tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera, the development of her art, her complex personality, her hunger for experience, and her ardent feminism. This stunning narrative also details her remarkable relationships with Georgia O’Keeffe, Leon Trotsky, Nelson Rockefeller, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Henry Miller, and Salvador Dalí. Combining rich, luscious prose with recipes from “The Hierba Santa Book,” Haghenbeck tells the extraordinary story of a woman whose life was as stunning a creation as her art.
I became interested in Frida Kahlo when I was first introduced to Diego Rivera in an Art History class. I admit, I did not care for Diego's murals as much as I did Frida's honesty. I didn't understand why we didn't go more into Frida as we did Diego. To this day I still do not. I think she was actually the better painter of the two. Her work which has a surreal quality to it, often shows her pain in which she was plagued all of her life.

This book did remind me about the movie made of her life, Frida. So, you know that it kept close to her biography. What it also contained is some recipes. All delicious and tied to the chapter. You not only get authentic Mexican food, but a couple of Italian dishes as well. I can say, I would love to try some of these dishes... now I just need to find someone to cook! Trust me, Frida would throw me out of the kitchen and laugh at my feeble attempts at food. :)

I have to admit, I was hoping for a bit more of her philosophy. She was a woman of contradiction and I was wanting to see this within her head as we traveled with Frida in life. Although we do get a bit of philosophy, we do not go very deep. It skims on the surface of someone who dealt with death, pain, and betrayal on a constant basis and yet still found a zest for life. Still, I found the imagery within interesting and taken from her paintings.

I give this book 3 stars. If you are curious about her this is an interesting work of fiction about her life. I also think that it is worth the recipes within. I showed it to my mom and she just kept saying that everything looked so good. Just don't read it on an empty stomach. :)
  I received this ARC from Atria and no compensation for my review was given.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dearly, Beloved (Gone with the Respiration #2) by Lia Habel

Can the living coexist with the living dead?

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites. 
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety. 
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target. 
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse. 
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.
The zombie love story continues in this second book of this series. The world has taken on a adjustment phase in where there are people trying to cope with what happened and those that want to change it back by any means necessary. Within this there is different factions of the living and the dead trying to run their own agenda. Some of which we will not fully find out who and what is behind the motivation. In fact, the end game is not completely clear, but we have a better idea than our heros of this story.

As with the other book, this was told in multiple POVs. In some ways it helped move the story along and in many others, I think it slowed the story quite a bit. And as with the other book, there were times I was confused as to who I was reading and what was going on because of the multi-POV. I would have loved it if the POVs were only given to our main characters. I think things would have moved much smoother and quicker which would have preserved some of the tension that was lost.

I also didn't have the same tension and fondness of feeling with Bram and Nora as I did in the first tale, however, I was still convinced of this romance which still blows my mind a bit. Rotting parts. I still can't quite get over that. :)

I give this book 3 stars. I was quite slow in some places and confusing in others. Still, despite that I did find myself wanting to know what happens next. The answers aren't all in this one and I hope they are answered in the next book. So, I'm not exactly saying it's a cliffie, but it's not complete either.
I received this eARC from the publisher and NetGalley an no compensation for my review was given.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rua Excerpt and Giveaway!

BB Book Tours

A girl with an unknown destiny.

A boy from a hidden world.When Celeste starts at a new school in a small, Kansas town, she hears whispering voices, has vivid nightmares, and swarms of blackbirds follow her every move. She is oddly drawn to aloof Rylan, the other new student who has his own secrets.The exact moment she turns seventeen, she wakes to a bedroom full of strange creatures, purple light emanating from her hands, and Rylan breaking in through her bedroom window.

He knows what she is . . .

Intriguing and deeply romantic, RUA is page-turning YA novel with a supernatural twist.

     She woke a short time later, heart pounding and energy thrumming through her body. She lifted her hands, saw they were shaking then tried to bury them back in the blankets. Her stomach lurched.
     She pulled herself to a seated position, looking at her bedside clock. It read 10:03. She felt the truth in her bones. She was now seventeen, and whatever would happen was happening now.
     A vibrating sensation started in her toes, then moved up her body. In a matter of frightening seconds, her whole body tingled.
     “What’s happening?” Fear settled cold and hard in her belly. She tried to stand, but was overwhelmed by a torrent of sound.
     “Oscail an doras! Oscail an doras!” Voices surrounded her, filling her head with strange words. Her head ached like it did when she saw Rylan, a drummer inside her head beating its way out. The birds outside grew restless: scratching, clawing, and squawking in the night air. Shadows filled her room, moving and twisting.
     She jumped out of bed and backed against the window. The shadows filled in, details forming: clothes, skin, hair. They were people; wispy, dark, gossamer, but actually there in her room. They moved toward her, begging and pleading for something. She didn’t understand their words.
     She put her hands in front of her. “Stop! Please!”
     As she did, purple light shot out of her hands. The shadows recoiled. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” she cried. She pulled her hands back and turned them palms up. A purple flame pulsed in the palm of each hand, twisting and rolling like fire.
     But she didn’t have time to process it. The people in her room were everywhere, some hanging off her ceiling in strange, unnatural ways. They filled the room, stacking on top of each other, occupying the whole space from the floor to the ceiling. Some had strange, ancient-looking clothes on, some had none at all. Some had normal human skin tones, and others did not.
     A very short woman with gray skin and bright pink hair grabbed her leg. “Please, open it,” she said. The top of her head came only to Celeste’s mid-thigh.
     Celeste screamed. She kicked the creature off her leg.
     She heard pounding on the door. “Ce Ce! Open this door! Are you okay?” She barely heard her dad’s voice over the shrieking, warbling creatures.
     “Dad! Help!” she screamed.
     Two loud thumps on the door. “I can’t get in. It’s jammed! What’s happening?” he yelled through the door.
     The creature grabbed her leg and pulled hard, sending Celeste flying to the floor. She landed on something squishy, and it screamed in protest. She screamed along with it.
     Something yanked on her left arm and shoulder, pulling her to her feet. A cold hand covered her face.
     “Celeste, look at me,” the voice said.
     She focused on the source of the voice. Rylan. Half in, half out of her window. He dropped his hand from her mouth.
     “What are you doing here?”
     “No time. You need to come with me.” He extended his hand, green eyes blazing.
     She hesitated, glancing at her door, where the pounding caused by her father’s attempts to enter grew louder and louder.
     “He can’t help you. I can.”
     She took his hand.
     He clapped his other hand over hers, then lifted her up and out through her window. She landed hard on the grass, panting, surprised at his strength. The crows flew in big black circles above them.
     “Now what?” she asked.

Goodreads Link:

Miranda Kavi is a YA and Urban Fantasy author. She has worked as an attorney, an executive recruiter, and an assistant in a biological anthropology lab. She loves scary movies, museums, and is hopelessly addicted to chocolate. She lives in the Houston area with her husband and daughter.

Author Links:
There is a GIVEAWAY! 
US Only 
Paperback of RUA 
Cute little stuffed blackbird (complete with an authentic crow call recorded when you squeeze it) and more swag! 
How cute is that? The giveaway is run by the tour. To enter just fill out the rafflecopter form below:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dearly, Departed (Gone with the Respiration #1) by Lia Habel

Love can never die. 
Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire. 
In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.
A zombie romance? I mean is that even possible? I mean... ew? I have to admit my curiosity was much more than my ew response, so I started reading this book.

I was surprised how easily I got in to this book. It crosses several genres. It was part zombie (duh), Victorian, Steampunk, and Dystopian. Honestly, I didn't hate it nor did I love this fact. I think it would have been stronger to have just been a Steampunk zombie novel (sort of narrowing it down) only because I just could not believe that people were willing to go back to the way of Victorian society and all it's trappings, especially women. That part bothered me but that was more personal and I doubt it will bother others as much as it did me. It wasn't a big bother, but I did on occasion wonder WHY would they even consider it? An explanation was given... just not to my personal satisfaction. It was admittedly my problem and other people may absolutely love this part of the book's world. Despite this, I really did enjoy this world.

My only other criticism of the book is that it had multiple POVs. It did get confusing on occasion. I would read a section and forget that we changed POV and would wonder why someone was thinking "that" until I realized who I was with at the time. I think fewer POVs (I think there were 5 or 6 people we followed) would have helped. I would have loved some of the POVs as novellas in between books. I think that would have really solidified each story and made them all much stronger. I wouldn't have wanted to miss the POV, just have them a bit separate from the whole.

I have to say the most surprising thing about this book was the romance. Seriously... a zombie romance? Yep. I was throughly convinced that Bram was a suitable romantic lead, even with rotting body parts. LOL I'm still stunned at that fact and never thought it would have been so easily possible. I totally doff my hat off to the author for convincing me. Talk about original!

I give this book 4 stars. If you are curious if a zombie romance is possible... if you want to find some of the secondary zombie characters as delightful... if you want something different in the way of a zombie world... do pick up this book. I think you'll have some fun with this world and the characters!
I library booked this baby! ;)
PS note to the author: THANK YOU for making the doberman NOT evil. THANK YOU!! Oh and "woof" from my dobie baby... ;D

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ashfall (Ashfall #1) by Mike Mullin

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite. And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption. 
For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.
 This is quite an adventure for the YA and adult crowd alike. In this story a volcano erupts in Yellowstone and covers much of the west in ash. Surviving the explosions and ash which doesn't seem to stop falling isn't enough, you have to also learn to quickly discern who is friend or foe. Knowing the difference could be life or death. We follow Alex, a brat child who learns quickly what is important in life while journeying to his uncle's house to learn the fate of his family. They were separated but needing to know what happened to them trumps any danger he will find along the way. It's not just marauders he has to avoid, he has to also find food, water and shelter within this newly formed dystopian world. He meets Darla along the way and they form a bond. One that saves both of their lives in more ways than one.

I have to say that this quite an adventure. You wondered how he could survive and make it to his destination even when just going a few miles is tiring and almost impossible. I had a minor problem with him dealing with as much ash as described. I think he would have had much greater breathing problems than he did but for the sake of the adventure, it wouldn't do if he simply couldn't pass while the ash was still falling. Still, despite that criticism, I think the author does an apt job of dealing with how harrowing Alex had while learning how to adapt.

There is also a romance budding within the story. It becomes a romance that reads more true to me than a lot of YA novels out there. It is one based on thinking of the other than just about the self. True consideration is given and I was glad to see this kind of relationship. I really enjoyed those two together.

I do have a word of warning for people like me who love animals. There are several scenes where they butcher farm animals to eat. Those actually make total sense to have in the book. There was one scene that made me almost throw my ereader across the room however that really upset me and curse the author (hint: it wasn't about survival) ;)... so consider yourself warned. *sigh*

I give this book 4 stars. It's an engaging adventure for YA and adult readers. It will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out how our couple survives.
I got this ebook from the library! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Divinity by Patricia Leever with Giveaway!

They’re everywhere, hiding in plain sight. Chances are, you’ve interacted with one or two of them in your lifetime without even realizing it...

Demon hunter Evelyn Brighton saves unsuspecting humans from the malevolent creatures masquerading around them every day. Working under the Lebriga Corporation’s direction, she never fails to bring her A-game with her keen skill, fiercely independent spirit, and the best weapon in her arsenal: the Divinity blade. 
Evelyn’s world is turned on its ear, however, when she is ordered to train cocky new recruit Daniel Summers. They both feel an instinctive pull drawing them to one another, the ancient spells tattooed into their skin illuminating whenever the two hunters come into contact. But with evil looming over the city of Los Angeles, Evelyn and Daniel’s mutual competitiveness and sense of duty to Lebriga and all humankind forces them to hold back their desires. Will their restraint be enough to keep them focused and save southern California, or will the dark forces prevail? 
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, Divinity is an action-filled, fast-paced marriage of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Edgy, witty, and sexy, it will bind you in its spell.
If you are tired of angel/demon PNR books, this might be the one that you will enjoy. It has that aspect, but doesn't really deal with the angel aspect too much. In fact, the main characters are human; they are magical, but human. They do deal with demons. Lots of them. But they don't take over the story.

It's also more of a UF ride than a PNR one. However, those that don't want a read without romance should not despair. There is romance. It's between Evelyn a broken, but tough woman and Daniel the newbie with a lot of potential. I have to be honest, that is the problem I had with the romance. He was just too new and green to be a match for Evelyn. Definitely a potential mate, but not one right away. I also didn't like Daniel for most of it. He was way to arrogant and cocky for such a dangerous job. I didn't feel he respected Evelyn until he consistently started listening to her. It took a while, but he finally did listen. THEN I loved Daniel and started to root for the couple.

The world was quite interesting. I like that the humans that were recruited had special abilities that the tattoos they receive help them access. They also have plenty of interesting and very cool weapons like the Divinity blade that only gets matched with one hunter at a time. However, it is more about the characters than the world. It's a good mix, but you will want to know more about this world as you feel as if you only get a small hint of what is to come later.

I give this book 3 stars. I find it fun, with the element of UF that I enjoy. I can see this series get better as time goes on and the world becomes even more defined.
I received this eARC from the publisher, Omnific, and no compensation for my review was given.

About the Author:

Patricia Leever is a wife, stay-at-home mom of four and owner of one dog and one little black cat. On the average school day she runs about town like a lunatic picking-up and dropping off kids and trying to find a moment of quiet to write down a word or two. She’s a sci-fi geek that loves to dress up like a zombie and participate in the local zombie march down Main St. and laugh as much as possible; laughter frees the mind and heals the soul.

Omnific Publishing:

  Well, guess what? I have one copy to give to one lucky US winner! The PB is provided by Omnific Publishing. All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below and get a tattoo. Well, okay, you don't have to get a tattoo... it was just a suggestion... ;)

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Incarnation by Emma Cornwall with Giveaway!

In the steampunk world of Victorian London, a beautiful vampire seeks out the author of Dracula–to set the record straight... If one is to believe Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale, Lucy Weston is Dracula’s most wanton creation, a sexual creature of the night who preys on innocent boys. But the real-life Lucy is nothing like her fictional counterpart—and she demands to know why the Victorian author deliberately lied. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she’s determined to track down the very fiend who transformed her—from the sensual underworld where humans vie to become vampires, to a hidden cell beneath a temple to madness, and finally into the glittering Crystal Palace where death reigns supreme. 
Haunted by fragmentary memories of her lost life and love, Lucy must battle her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she must make a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—what it means to be human.
Okay, a story from the POV of Lucy Weston from Bram Stoker's Dracula? I was SO there! I mean she was always one of my fave characters we never got to know. Vivacious, impulsive, curious and still sweet (at least as a human). I always wanted to know more about her at least as a human being and how different she would have been as a vampire if left to have her own personality.

When we meet Lucy, she has already been transformed and dispatched. The vivacious woman is gone, replaced by stoic vampire. I thought that would have been disappointing to me, but yet, I found myself interested in Lucy and where she would take me. And as we journeyed along she started to gain fragments of her human life as well as retain human aspects. We also find that she is compelled to find the source of her vampirism and save him from an awful fate. From there she is acquainted with Marco, her love interest. And although Marco was interesting and heroic, I have to say that I didn't quite get into the romance. I think it's because Lucy is still remembering what it's like to have feelings and is working through her new existence. If this becomes a series, I do think that eventually I will come on board with the romance.

The world in this book is quite interesting. And although this is labeled steampunk, it really has very little of the gadgets you often get with this genre. It's more about the science and monster making that reigns supreme here. So, those that don't like all the tech stuff will like this and those that were expecting it might be a bit disappointed. However, I still think you will be caught up within the vampire world and how they think.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I'm hoping that the book leads to a series. Although Marco was the lead romantic character, I actually found myself more intrigued with Nicholas, his outcast brother. I actually think that he is more of a swoon-worthy character and would love a romantic adventure with him.
I received this book from Gallery Books and no compensation for my review was given.

Guess what? The publisher is offering a PB copy of this book to one lucky winner! It's US only. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter.
Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death. 
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.
This book is a combination of Japanese mythology, steampunk and a little dystopian thrown in. If that isn't curious enough to get you to read this, may I say that I was enchanted with this unusual tale. I so love something different and imaginative and I do think it filled that title nicely.

I do have one criticism. It was with the beginning. I admit I had a hard time getting into this world at first, but when Yukiko, our heroine, was fully on her adventure, all doubt and slowness melted away and I could hardly put down this book. The adventure and the plot was interesting enough to keep my attention, but I have to admit I absolutely fell in love with the arashitora, or "storm-tiger". All I can say is that my snark quota was fully filled by this creature. Oh I really enjoyed this character!

I also loved the way Yukiko thought. She questioned everything including what was not encouraged to question by anyone. She not only examined others behavior and motivations, but she examined her own. How many people, let alone characters do that? This made me root for her even harder than I would have normally. I really think she earned the title of heroine.

In the end I give this unique and thrilling tale 4 1/2 stars. I am so glad I got to read this book and heartily recommend it to anyone looking for something different in an older YA. I also recommend it to those that like dystopian and steampunk.
I received this eARC from NetGalley and Macmillan and was thrilled when I finally got it to work (long story). No compensation for my review was given.

PS... you HAVE to check out this book trailer!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Map of the Sky (Trilogía Victoriana #2) by Félix J Palma

New York, 1898. When millionaire Montgomery Gilmore proposes to beautiful socialite Emma Harlow, she accepts on one condition: he must reproduce the Martian invasion featured in H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. 
In London, Wells himself learns of certain objects, apparently of extraterrestrial origin, that were discovered decades earlier on an ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic. On that same expedition was a crew member named Edgar Allan Poe, whose experiences in the frozen wasteland would inspire him to create one of his most enduring works of literature. 
When eerie, alien-looking cylinders begin appearing on the outskirts of London, Wells is certain it is all part of some elaborate hoax. To his great horror, however, he realises that a true invasion of the earth has begun. As brave bands of citizens converge on London to defend it against utter ruin, Emma and her suitor must confront the enigma that is their love — a spark of hope even in the gathering darkness of apocalypse. 
Told with Félix J. Palma’s trademark flair for invention, The Map of the Sky is an utterly exhilarating novel that links the earth and the heavens, the familiar and the bizarre, the impossible and the inevitable.
This is the second book in this series, and I do believe it is the last. Since the protagonist as H.G. Wells, it may not be, because Wells, had a lot more books he did write. As the last book was centered around The Time Machine, this one was centered around The War of the Worlds. I also think it's apt timing since the Mars Rover, Curiosity, has captured people's attention as of late.

As with the first book, I did find some problems with this one. It still branches off into other side stories, but in this case, it feels much more purposeful. It's a much tighter book. Still, it is a book you need to take your time with and savor. The writing is still wordy, but still has that quality to it that makes it very likable. It also has that same circular quality to it in which you are guessing what is a hoax and what is real in this world. However, it doesn't spin you around as much as the first. It is much more minimal within this story. Yes, this is a book still a lot of nuance as does the first.

This book also deals with dreams and how they influence a person to do better or just reach for things. How we need dreams to go forth in life. There is also a continuation of the time conundrum we had in the first, but deals not as much with fatalism but more so with dimensions. Do they exist? Are there an untold number of them depending on how many times we make a decision? If you affect one thing in time, does it change that time line or then do you exist in another dimension when it never happened? It's really not as heavy handed as it seems, but these are questions Wells poses to himself at one point.

I give this book 3 stars. I wonder how different these books would be if read in the original language, Spanish? In any case, this series should be read in order to understand who the characters are and who they become.
I received this book from Atria and no compensation for my review was given. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012


The winner for:

Bethany C.


Stay tuned to this blog.. more giveaways coming...

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Map of Time (Trilogía Victoriana #1) by Félix J Palma

Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. 
What happens if we change history? The author explores this question in the novel, weaving an historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting—a story full of love and adventure that transports readers to a haunting setting in Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.

This book is an imagining where H.G. Wells and a handful of characters believe, disbelieve, investigate and live through real and imagined scenarios about time travel. And although you may think that this book is more about the question if time travel is possible, it is actually more a question of fatalism. Are we the ones who control the future through our actions or is everything predetermined? I think this is the real question that most of the book explores until the very end. The ending just intwines the stories and gives us a sort of HEA fictional ending.

I also think this brings me to a couple of criticisms. One was that the book takes on a meandering quality. You would start in a story in one place with certain characters and then take a turn and have another story in the middle. While this was not confusing nor was it without entertainment, it still felt like I was meandering. Like a storyteller who wants to explore everything instead of the main story. And while it was doing this, it was quite wordy. What could be said economically was said in the longest way possible. However, despite my criticisms of these two things, both also created a world in which was entertaining and interesting. In some ways this was an odd contradiction.

How to rate this one? Oh that is a hard question. This is a book you need to take time with and digest. Not that it is heavy handed but because it has a lot of smaller stories that fit into a larger vision. I think in the end I give it 3 stars. I think that some will be entranced by the smaller stories within and some will be frustrated. It may be a question of time itself. Having the time to spend with the story. In the end, I recommend it to those that like a storyteller type of narration in a book.
I received this ARC from the publisher and no compensation for my review was given.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Defiant and Deception by Kris Kennedy

A rogue knight and an enchanting renegade join forces to right old wrongs in award-winning author Kris Kennedy’s sizzling new medieval romance. 
A warrior with questionable intentions... 
Jamie Lost is the king’s most renowned commander, a fearless lieutenant ordered to kidnap an exiled priest before rebel forces close in. The mission is simple—until he meets a mysterious thief who will steal his quarry and then his heart. 
A lady of remarkable courage... 
Beautiful Eva is also seeking Father Peter, but she intends to protect him from a secret that could cost him his life. She senses that she, too, should fear Jamie—not just for his wickedly sharp sword and dangerously muscular body, but for the powerful longing he ignites within her. 
A secret that could overthrow the king. 
When a band of mercenaries abducts the priest, Jamie and Eva must form a volatile alliance. As civil war unfolds around them, they embark on an epic journey that betrays the truth about their hidden identities, their unexpected loyalties, and the simmering attraction that could seal their fates forever.
The publisher asked if I wanted to read Deception the second book in this series (and the review below) and I was happy to do it because I had the first one on my tbr! YaY! Look at me... *pats self on the back* I'm reading in order! Whee!

I have to admit, it took me a bit to get into the story because of the language, but that quickly passed once I started to get to know Eva a bit better. She is a strong heroine who is fiercely protective of a boy put in her charge, Roger. He is a teen now and they are in search of their benefactor who helped save them. Lots of politics and intrigue and truths to be discovered. Not just with Eva, but with the rough roguish hero, Jamie as well.

I have to say that although I enjoyed the adventure and the intrigue, I wasn't too happy when Eva and Jamie first started really acting on their emotions. I thought Jamie was a right arse and needed to be drop kicked. I didn't think that Eva should be swooning nor trusting someone who did not earn it. Although she didn't fully trust him, I still think it came too early. However, Jamie did win me over in the end and Eva became a stronger heroine for me as well.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I think the ending really made this story and I ended up enjoying all the characters and rooting for them in the end.
I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

A beautiful silk merchant and a dashing con man join forces in the second scorching medieval romance from Kris Kennedy. 
Breaking and entering to reclaim her corrupt late father's ledger comes surprisingly easily to Sophia Darnly. But is it mere coincidence that her misdeed unexpectedly reunites her with Kier, the outlaw lover who abandoned her years ago? Time has not erased Sophia from Kier's heart, nor tamed her fiery spirit. She boldly insinuates herself into Kier's plan for revenge, believing the ledger will ensure her survival. But Kier knows that with or without the ledger, she's as good as dead. 
Kier is a dangerous, intoxicating potion for Sophia, but he's on a mission of revenge, and can't allow even the woman he once loved to stop him. The danger mounts as they take on the leader of a powerful consortium who needs the fabled Darnly ledger—and all its damning details about the wealthiest merchants of England—to execute his nefarious plan. He also needs Sophia—the last witness to his scheme—dead. 
The coals of their rekindled passion burn hot as Sophia and Kier set their trap. But when the duo discovers they too are the targets of a deadly deception, the fate of their love, and of England itself, lies in the balance.
To me this book did not have the problems of the first. It read much smoother to me and the romance made more sense to me throughout even when Kier was being a jerk. The story is full of intrigue and adventure for both of our characters. It's quite complex and the mystery of who, what, when and how has many layers. It's like a historical thriller. It also does supply quite a bit of information throughout the book which makes the story feel overly complicated at times. That may turn off some readers but for others they will love the complications.

I also have to say that this book is not intertwined with the first. It is in fact it's own story taking place a few years later than the first. This book also is less politically minded than Defiant, even though politics ultimately plays into the solving of the mystery.

I recommend this to those that love mystery, thrillers and a complex historical romance. I really enjoyed the intrigue and the way the mystery unfolds itself is quite interesting. I give this book 4 stars.
I received this book from Pocket Books and no compensation for my review was given. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nevermore (Maximum Ride #8) by James Patterson

One last chance...
For Max, Fang, Angel, Iggy, Nudge, and Gazzy.
Before it all ends. 
Are you ready for the final chapter? Are you ready for the ultimate flight? Because THIS IS IT. One last incredible, explosive adventure with an astonishing ending that no one could have seen coming.

The last book in the series and hopefully all the answers are finally given. Will Max finally save the world? Will the flock be together? Well, yes, those things are answered... well, the first is sort of answered, but the second question is fulfilled. As is who Max choses in the love triangle in which I was never a fan. Nope, not going to reveal those answers, but I will talk about the general plot.

I have to say this was back with the first book, but yet, still had those pesky plot holes that were never filled. In fact, although I thought this one was better edited than some of the most recent books in the series, there were still some minor problems. One was Akila. Um... she was a Malemute and not a Samoyed. Big difference in size an attitude (okay, I might be one of the few to know that right away, but still...). The others were the explanations that never quite took, the fact that their benefactor was never really vetted, and that some of the whys weren't explained. Yes, this one will give you some of those answers, but leave several of those that were created within this series just fluttering.

I also had problems with the big climatic ending. What were the bad guys motivation. Yes, we got... save the world from the humans, but then why were they trying to always destroy the flock? Were they the true terror? Was there more to it (I can't explain that one further w/o spoilage)? How would they know that? Who knew that? What did her mother know? Jeb (we get a partial answer, but not what I thought was a full one)? Ah way too many questions, too little answers.

I give this book 3 stars. While I think it was a pretty decent conclusion to the series despite my questions, and that was mostly because of the interaction of the flock. I still liked the way they interacted despite me thinking Fang was a jerk more than once. I would still recommend this book to MG readers who just want to be entertained and not think too much about what gets dropped and what makes sense. The action and adventure was fun.
I received this book from Little, Brown and no compensation for my review was given.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fang and Angel (Maximum Ride #6, #7), (The Protectors #3, 4) by James Patterson

Fang (Maximum Ride #6) (The Protectors #3)
Angel says that Fang will be the first to die, and Angel is never wrong. Maximum Ride is used to living desperately on the run from evil forces sabotaging her quest to save the world--but nothing has ever come as close to destroying her as this horrifying prophetic message. Fang is Max's best friend, her soul mate, her partner in the leadership of her flock of winged children. A life without Fang is a life unimaginable. 
When a newly created winged boy, the magnificent Dylan, is introduced into the flock, their world is upended yet again. Raised in a lab like the others, Dylan exists for only one reason: he was designed to be Max's perfect other half. Thus unfolds a battle of perfection versus passion that terrifies, twists, and turns... and meanwhile, the apocalypse is coming.
Now this book basically opens up with some of the problems in Africa, namely getting proper medical assistance and food. It was basically limited to these problems, which might be for the best especially since very young kids may be reading it and it could be too much. However, I did wonder why kids who eat more calories to keep up their daily routine would be in such a food limited area. Still, it did also provide another scenario coming into play by another evil scientist with not too many braincells working.

I think the books since #4 have picked back up to the entertainment there was at the beginning. I also have to say that Angel bugs me from time to time and in this one, I really couldn't stand her that much. I also think that was part of the point, so I have to say it was successful. As with the other stories, this one was about survival and the introduction to a new flock member, Dylan. Max is also more emotional which I did like and so there was some growth in her character. I hope with the last 2 books looming, it continues.

I give this book 3 stars. I enjoyed it much more than I did the 2 previous despite the plot repetition within the series. This one had a lot less plot holes and it flowed much better. On to the next!

Angel (Maximum Ride #7), (The Protectors #4)
Max Ride and her best friends have always had one another's backs. No. Matter. What. Living on the edge as fugitives, they never had a choice. But now they're up against a deadly force that's racing across the globe, and just when they need him the most--Fang is gone. He's creating his own gang that will replace everyone--including Max. 
Max is heartbroken over losing Fang, her soul mate. Her closest friend. But with Dylan ready and willing to fight by her side, and she can no longer deny that his incredible intensity draws her in. Max, Dylan, and the rest of their friends must soon join forces with Fang and his new gang for an explosive showdown in Paris that's unlike anything you've ever imagined... or read.
Well, I was expecting to really be upset with Angel in this book, but surprise, I really enjoyed that little girl. This is still Max's story, but we also get some of Fang's side since he split again from the group. Oh and about that... I could so totally kick Fang's... uh... hiney for how he is treating Max. I don't get this development and frankly, it makes no sense. The whole Dylan angle is also a head scratcher. I will say this, the adventure is a bit different in this one as the gang is dealing with a more brain-washed cult like kids and we are uncertain who all the "bad guy" players.

I give this book 3 stars. Although the romance was confusing, I did like the introduction of the cult like kids. It gave the kids something a bit different to fight.
I received these books from the publisher, Little, Brown, and no compensation for my review was given.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Final Warning and Max (Maximum Ride #4-5), (The Protectors #1-2) by James Patterson

The Final Warning (Maximum Ride #4), (The Protectors #1)
In this breathtaking new story from the astonishing imagination of James Patterson, a girl has to save herself from an army assembled just to capture her-and maybe save the planet while she's at it. 
Maximum Ride is a perfectly normal teenager who just happens to be able to fly, the result of an out-of-control government experiment.

Max and the other members of the Flock-six kids who share her remarkable ability-have been asked to aid a group of environmental scientists studying the causes of global warming. The expedition seems like a perfect combination of adventure, activism--and escaping government forces who watch the Flock like a hawk.
But even in Antarctica, trapped in the harshest weather on our planet, Maximum Ride is an irresistible target in constant danger. For whoever controls her powers could also control the world. Maximum Ride is James Patterson's greatest character, a heroine who manages to be human and fearless at once.
This is actually going to be a hard one for me to review. The series really veered from the original formula quite severely for me and I'm not sure how I should handle that. So... here I go...

Let me start with my biggest complaints about the book....

The last book did fill in a lot of the questions, but things were left open and it didn't feel as if they had defeated the evil corporation. So, why are they suddenly environmentalists? Not that I think that is a bad thing at all, and I could see things growing in that direction, but it just didn't fit. It was too sharp of a turn in direction. It would have made more sense if they had totally defeated the evil and now could concentrate on the more common evil of global warming. So... I'm not sure where the story is planning to go.

It also had a lot of plot holes. Things I hoped would start to make sense from the last books have been forgotten and parts of the book just didn't fit with other parts. Also some aspects seemed to be just dropped. It's like a patchwork of stories that just didn't quite make a quilt.

As to the positives...

There are a few. I still enjoyed how the flock interacted with each other. I enjoyed Max's snark. I also laughed at Total falling in love with an Alaskan Malemute. Those things kept the story going and kept it entertaining. I also felt that MG readers would get more out of this book and even the previous ones more than adult and older YA readers.

Here is the hard part... how to rate it? I guess I'll go with 2 stars. As far as part of the series, I'm not sure I like it. It's just too different too quickly. However, they did put it as part of a new series (The Protectors #1) so I may be a bit too harsh. What I'll end with is that I still like the way the characters interact with each other. I also think that MG readers will really enjoy the story and message. I'm just not sure it fits easily within the series.

Max (Maximum Ride #5), (The Protectors #2)
Maximum Ride and the other members of the flock have barely recovered from their last Arctic adventure, when they are confronted by the most frightening catastrophe yet. Millions of fish are dying off the coast of Hawaii and someone--or something--is destroying hundreds of ships. Unable to discover the cause, the government enlists the flock to help them get to the bottom of the disaster before it is too late. 
While Max and her team are exploring the depths of the ocean, their every move is being carefully tracked by Mr. Chu--a criminal mastermind with his own plans for the flock. Can they protect themselves from Mr. Chu's army of mercenaries and save the ocean from utter destruction?
With this book, the second in the Protectors part of the series, it continues the environmental message, but is much more coherent within the plot. It runs much more smoothly and I enjoyed it a lot more. That may be because it had one objective, to save Max's mother in which the side story of environmental activism could also present itself. As we had in the previous books, the flock's interaction is fun and Total cracked me up with him lamenting about Akila the Malemute. Yes, this book is what the last book should have been more like when it changed tactics.

I give this book 3 stars. It's much more readable, but still refuses to clear up any questions you had in the previous books. MG readers will love this one especially with the side romance.
I received both books from the publisher, Little, Brown and no compensation for my review was given.

Bloggy note: I know that many of you don't all come on the weekends as I had been sometimes taking them off... but do check out the giveaway for In a Fix by Linda Grimes. It's an adult UF. Just go HERE for the post to enter for the US/Can giveaway. Good luck!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

In a Fix (In a Fix #1) by Linda Grimes with Giveaway!

The start of an original new urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan 
Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck. 
This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated. 
Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended. 
Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.
 Oh a urban fantasy with a snarky heroine, hot men (including the Vikings), and a fun adventure that made me laugh more than once? Oh yea... you know I loved it.

In this world, Ciel is a sort of shifter. One that doesn't actually move bones and flesh to take shape per se, but "borrows" some energy off of a aura to mimic that person which includes some of the habits and personality with it. I found that to be an interesting take on the whole "shifter" genre.

The characters are quite entertaining. I really enjoyed them but I did at times found Ciel to be frustrating when she would put herself in situations where she had no training and was really a detriment rather than an asset... despite the outcome. However, as you read on, you realize just how young and nieve she is and I think then it made more sense. I also think that she will grow as the series grows. She's smart and has such potential I think it will be a fun ride to watch her mature.

I have to caution those who don't like love triangles. There is one here, but at the same time, there really isn't much of one. You still have two heros you root for, but one seems a bit too oblivious to her feelings even though they are readily evident. However, even he isn't always that dense, but is still unwilling to commit. However, there is another you aren't sure if he is perfect for her, but I honestly think is a better fit. I don't always root for the one you know may not get the girl in the end, but in this case I hope he does come through and they make it. I'm not telling you who or what only because I'm afraid I may have already said too much, but I have to state here and now... I really didn't mind this triangle and it didn't come across as ridiculous as some of them have become.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really have to give props to a book that had me LOL'ing more than once. So if you enjoy snark, humor and a fun adventure... do pick up this book. I think you'll end up smiling.
I received this ARC from Tor and no compensation for my review was given.

Oh and guess what??? Tor is graciously giving away, to one lucky winner, this book! It's open to anyone with a snail addy in US/Can. Just fill out the rafflecopter form to enter!
Good Luck!

Friday, September 7, 2012

School's Out~ Forever (Maximum Ride #2) and Saving the World (Maximum Ride #3) by James Patterson

School's Out~ Forever (Maximum Ride #2), (The Fugitives #2)
Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride and the other members of the "Flock"--Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel--are just like ordinary kids--only they have wings and can fly. It seems like a dream come true--except that they're being hunted by half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" who can fly, too.

In Book 2 of the series, the Flock members are taken under the wing of an FBI agent and try to live "normal" lives by going to school, making friends--and continuing their relentless search for their parents. But the Erasers return, forcing the Flock to abandon their search and make their escape once again. The voice inside Max's head keeps telling her that it's up to her to save the world, but this is especially challenging to do when she is faced with her ultimate match: a newer and better version of herself, Maximum Ride II. Max's heart-stopping quest to investigate the mind-blowing mystery of her ultimate destiny continues in the scariest, strangest, and funniest James Patterson novel yet.
This book takes off where the last book ends. In this one, the flock are attacked and are forced to find a place for one of them to get medical treatment and recuperation. And despite the misgivings they stay and find a bit of solace. However, nothing lasts forever. The erasers seem to magically know where they are and new enemies are revealed. Now the question on Max's mind on how to save the world has a few more pieces, however, is it enough?

I was entertained with this addition to the series. I felt more attached to Max than in the previous book, but "the voice" always seemed to keep me at arms length. Also, within this story, the introduction to "Anne" and having a normal life totally perplexed me. While it's introduction may become clear later in this series, it just did't fit here. I just didn't fit at all with what we did know of the kids and what they had been through. Too much normal... waaayyy too quickly.

I give this book 3 stars. While I had a lot of misgivings within the story, it's far from over and it all may make total sense in the end.
I received this book from the publisher and no compensation for my review was given.

Saving the World (Maximum Ride #3), (The Fugitives #3)
In MAXIMUM RIDE: SAVING THE WORLD AND OTHER EXTREME SPORTS, the time has arrived for Max and her winged "Flock" to face their ultimate enemy and discover their original purpose: to defeat the takeover of "Re-evolution", a sinister experiment to re-engineer a select population into a scientifically superior master race...and to terminate the rest. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel have always worked together to defeat the forces working against them--but can they save the world when they are torn apart, living in hiding and captivity, halfway across the globe from one another?
In this action filled book we find out more about who is behind all the coming destruction and mayhem. We also find out more about the old enemies and find some unlikely allies. And in finding those allies, the flock splits up, each trying to find a way of saving the world from the evil scientists.

I have to say that in the beginning of this book, I wasn't totally on board with everything. In fact there were a couple of "what the...?" moments in plot twists. It really didn't make sense nor did it make sense in the end. However, this being a series, perhaps it will in the end? Hard to tell, but you could have taken those moments out and it would have made for a better book. After those moments and we are back on track, the book really picks up and it became much more entertaining to me.

Many questions are answered in this book, but many more are still needing to be answered. In fact, there are a few that pop up. But that occurs within a long running series such as this one. Many clues are still needed to see the whole picture.

The book has lots of "kid power" moments I think that the MG crowd would just love. Considering the oldest of the flock is 14, I think MG readers could really get a lot out of these books as well as the YA crowd. Perhaps even more so. There is violence, but nothing too graphic that you wouldn't see on tv. I give this book 3 1/2 stars and think despite the twisty moments that didn't make sense it was a good continuation of this series.
I received this book from the publisher and no compensation for my review was given.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Witch Born (Witch Song #2) Review and Blog Post by Amber Argyle

Brusenna thought it was finished.

She defeated the Dark Witch, saving the Haven Witches from imprisonment and death. She found love and a place to belong.

She was wrong.

Haven is not the sanctuary it appears to be. Even love is in danger of slipping away like water through cupped hands.

Some things can't be saved.

A new threat merges with the old as the Witches’ dark history begins to catch up with them. Only Brusenna knows the extent of the danger and how to stop it, though doing so might cost her everything.
Including her life.

Will Brusenna be required to make the ultimate sacrifice?
I have to say first that I love this cover! It's also perfect for this second and final book in Brusenna's adventure, the first book being Witch Song. I enjoyed both stories.

In this story Senna is maturing and asking questions the others will not answer. Senna is done with being an outcast, scared and not understanding her true nature. She's changing since we last left her and some of the head witches know some of the answers to a few of her questions. She finds unlikely allies and lots of betrayal to those close to her and even those that are expected. Senna knows she must do something and the others are reluctant to take the hard road, make the hard choice. So she does but finds more unlikely allies and betrayal in her midst.

I enjoyed Senna's journey, but I have to say that at times her questioning herself was just a bit too much. Not enough to spoil my enjoyment, but enough to take me out of the story from time to time. It's good to question and she is young, but she just needed confidence that I would have thought she would have found by fighting so hard in the first book. It's there, it just comes at a slower pace than what I would have personally liked. I also had a hard time with Joshen, her betrothed, in this book and when he finally stops being so selfish it's nice to hear, but it just came suddenly with no epiphany. I would have liked to have seen what caused him to change his mind so abruptly.

I give this book 4 stars. In all I really enjoyed my time with the witches and Brusenna's hard choices. I'm sad to see this end, but 2 books make Senna's story fulfilling. I recommend it to those that love YA, adventure and fantasy.
I received this ebook from the author an no compensation for my review was given.

Amber Argyle also stopped by to give us a little look into the names in this book and how they came about. Thanks Amber! Take it away:

I like my names to sound like what they are—that way they’re easier for the reader to remember. So for instance, in Witch Song, one of the villains names is Wardof, which I created by combining ward (magical barrier) and off. ward off = Wardof

Garg, another villain, ends up blabbering a lot. He’s also kinda fat. Garg just sounds like a fat, blabbering kinda guy.

I always wanted to name Brusenna (the heroine) Senna, but that didn’t sound witchy enough for me. So I took brew (as in witches brew), changed the spelling, and added Senna to the back. Brew + Senna = Brusenna.

Joshen (the hero) is an easy going, laid back kind of guy. He’s always kidding or joshing around. I also have a cousin named Josh (I pull in family names every once in a while). Plus it just sounds good. Though I wouldn’t recommend pulling family names into books. All of a sudden you’re hounded at family reunions (especially when you have as big a family as I). Then they don’t like that you made them a villain, that the character was bald, or had some other random imperfection that they think was pulled from them.

I introduce some new characters in Witch Born. Krissin is named after my sister-in-law, Kristin. Ellesh is named after my MIL, Ellen (please see above for why you should NEVER do this).

Cord is named after my son. Also, he’s kind of tied to Senna.

Prenny after a high school friend named Penny.

Drenelle just sounded like a woman who adores lace.

Ciara from Tiara, cause Ciara acts like a princess.

Pogg is a frog man. Pond + frog = Pogg (I added an extra “g” to make it look more name-like).

Harshen is a harsh land.

Espen is from Aspen, because *spoiler alert!* the dark witch is turned into a tree with circular leaves. J

Grendi is taken from Glenda the Goodwich in Wizard of Oz (cause I like to twist things like that).

There’s also a couple names in there that only people from a certain demographic will recognize. ;)

Arianis is kind of a rival to Senna. And she’s a pain-in-the-ass = Arianis. See how that works. ;)
Books in the Series:
Witch Song (link has first chapter)
Witch Born

Connect to the author:
Amber's Blog