Sunday, June 30, 2013


The winner for:
Carl S.!

and I thought I'd announce the winner at Candace's blog for my post (for Spartan Frost):


Friday, June 28, 2013

Exposed (Tracers #7) by Laura Griffin

7th in Tracers series
Publisher: Pocket Books
Available Now
Source: Publisher and Edelweiss for review
The seventh thrilling novel in the Tracers series from an author who “excels at detailing the mystery and the chase” (Publishers Weekly) features a forensic photographer and an FBI agent who form an uneasy partnership to find a vicious criminal.
With the click of her camera, Maddie Callahan inadvertently added herself to the hit list of a criminal mastermind the FBI’s been investigating for months. Agent Brian Beckmann is determined to protect the sexy photographer, but she may be his only lead. 
As a forensic photographer, Maddie is used to seeing violence up close, but she’s never before been a target. When a freelance photo shoot goes awry, she realizes she may have seen, and perhaps photographed, the kidnapping of a key witness in a federal probe. And although her camera was stolen, Maddie has something that could be even more valuable to investigators. With the help of her colleagues at the Tracers crime lab, Maddie uncovers DNA evidence that provides a desperately needed break in the case. 
Although Brian is reluctant to involve Maddie, she’s determined to help with the investigation and the two set out to track a vicious criminal known as The Doctor, whose far-reaching violence has led to multiple deaths. But as the task force gets closer to catching the deadly Doctor, Maddie is in more danger than ever...
My thoughts:
 Yes, this is #7 in the series, but all of the books in this series are also standalones. I have only read #3 (Unforgivable) and have another in my tbr. I knew from reading #3 I would be safe from reading out of order. All revolve around the CSI kind of mystery. One where there is lots of action, murder, and crime solving. That is what connects these stories, not characters.

In this book we have Maddie who is a CSI photographer and has become quite good at her job. She gets targeted by a group of kidnappers for something she "may" have seen. This draws in Brian who is trying desperately to solve this case and put the bad guys behind bars. The "kingpin" of the group he knows about but cannot get evidence to put him away. He is intrigued with Maggie's work ethic, her brain and her body (duh! lol). Only problem is she seems to be the one woman on the planet who simultaneously wants to be with him and wants to push him away. It drives him crazy but he is determined to not give up.

I did enjoy this story and I also loved the twists the book provided in solving the case. I did not find this as strong as  Unforgiveable, but I still enjoyed the story line. While I did understand why Maggie did a push/pull with Brian, I still did get frustrated with her myself. I would have liked a bit more epiphany that we could grasp in the end when she finally did decide what she wanted. Either that or less pushing away. Still, I did enjoy the fact that Brian refused to give up.

I give this book 4 stars. I recommend it to those that love romantic suspense with lots of action. Fans of CSI, NCIS and those type of crime shows would also love this series.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Rotters

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!

My submission this week:

by Daniel Kraus
Narrator: Kirby Heyborne
Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school. 
Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating. 
Daniel Kraus's masterful plotting and unforgettable characters makeRotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.
Yep, another audio free from SYNC (if it's not up right away then just wait, it should be soon)! I've been wanting to read this one for a while and was so happy it was free starting today! Just so to the SYNC website to get it. This one seems to be only open to those in US and Can.

Any good zombie audios on your tbr?
Note: Nope, I'm not affiliated in any way with SYNC or the publisher or the author... just like freebies and telling ya about them. :D

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy #4.5) by Jennifer Estep

Series: Mythos Academy #4.5
Publisher: Kensington-Teen
Available Now
Source: Author and netgalley for review
I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was — until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost. 
Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away. 
I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story…
My thoughts:
Although I was disappointed the cover wasn't a vision of Logan, this is his POV of what had recently transpired in the last book, Crimson Frost. I admit I have a love/hate/love relationship with this spartan, but it's been all love lately, so I was excited to get to this novella.

What I enjoyed in this short book was how you really get a glimpse of his feelings for Gwen and the havoc the last adventure played on his confidence. Not many questions are answered for the series, but this isn't a book for that... we just get a glimpse of Logan and his life.


What I needed more of is... LOGAN! I would love to know more from his POV. Granted that would take a full novel and not a novella, so I'm hoping for more POVs. I will take more novellas. I would love to see something more romantic from him as well.

My only complaint is that parts of the book were a bit repetitive. Not so much that it pulled me out of the book, but enough to notice. My other complaint was that it was too short and ended abruptly. However, this is to be expected since it is a filler novella and not a novel.

I give the novella 3 1/2 stars. I can't wait to dive into Midnight Frost and I'm looking forward to more novellas (crosses fingers) from Logan's POV. :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Off Tuesday: Lord of Devil Isle

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 submission:
Lord of Devil Isle
by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe
Publisher: Ten Talents Press
Available Now
Captain Nicholas Scott was as randy a rogue as ever roamed the high seas. Yes, the master of the Susan Bell loved the ladies. But he'd never met one quite like the shipwrecked beauty he fished out of the shark-infested waters off Bermuda. Miss Eve Upshall had jumped into the stormy sea to rescue her two friends, and now all three mail-order brides were begging to be transported to the Carolinas. But despite eagerly awaiting grooms, the machinations of his arch rival, and the lady's own fierce objections, Nick had no intention of letting Eve go. The only place he would transport the little minx was to breathless ecstasy beneath the knowing touch of the...
Oh I got this one when it was a freebie. Don't know exactly what caught my eye... ;) Now you know why so many women made the trip across the seas. I'm sure all the sailors/pirates all looked exactly like this and it is totally historically accurate. 

DON'T tell me otherwise... I like my fantasy world. LOL

Monday, June 24, 2013

Shadow and Ink (Paper Gods series) by Amanda Sun

Paper Gods series #.05
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available Now
Source: Freebie (epub format) HERE
Meet two teens whose worlds are about to change forever in this paranormal Young Adult novella, a prequel to Ink by debut author Amanda Sun…
Katie Greene’s worst nightmare comes true when her mother dies, and she’s devastated to learn that she will have to leave the only home she’s ever known. Desperate to find where she belongs, she must decide if she has what it takes to start a new life across the ocean.

For Yuu Tomohiro, every day is a nightmare. He struggles to control his strange ability, and keeps everyone at a distance so they won’t get hurt—even his girlfriend, Myu. At night, a shadow haunts his dreams, and a mysterious woman torments him with omens of death and destruction. But these haunting premonitions are only the beginning…
My thoughts:
I was about to start Ink when I spied a freebie of the prequel on the Harlequin site (link above). I thought it would give me a good start to the series.

It's a short novella with two alternating perspectives of Katie, who just lost her mother. She now must deal with that loss and immersion in a whole new culture in Japan. The other POV is Tomohiro who is dealing with strange dreams and paranormal fears that seem to be true. He is alone in his fight and he keeps others away for their safe keeping. In the end they both see each other, but have yet to meet. It's a good start to keep your interest in the story which is the goal so therefore I give it 4 stars.

Paper Gods #2
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available: 6/25/2013
Source: Kismet Book Touring and Net Galley for review
"I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine."
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
My thoughts:
Okay, I confess, I was totally taken in by the cover. How could you not? I just love the cherry blossoms running off on the side. Luckily, the cover brought me to this book which I thoroughly enjoyed. There were also some sketches drawn throughout the book which I didn't expect but enjoyed as well.

I also loved the fact that this book is set in contemporary Japan. I haven't read too many of these set in other countries so I was excited of getting into another culture. I have to say that the world building in this book was superb. I am now wanting to go to Japan to visit, especially when the cherry blossoms bloom. It all just sounds so beautiful.

Of course with this beauty comes the balance of the harsh paranormal happenings to both Katie and Tomohiro. We get to know Tomohiro's plight (which I will not reveal *evil laugh*) but we are still left questioning Katie's abilities or influence. This was the open thread left at the end of the book, which is fine with me as I don't mind some things being slowly revealed. In other words, no cliffies, just open threads.

My biggest complaint is how Katie and Tomohiro come together. Katie seems like someone who just needs to know his business regardless of the consequences. She stalks him and he ends up not minding it at all. Even though I didn't like this intro, I did like them together. I rooted for them both in the end.

I give this book 4 stars. If you want a book that will make you want to travel and enjoy an unusual paranormal problem, I suggest this book. I can't wait to see what else this book has in store.

Btw, here are the other covers listed for the book:
Just click on the pics to make it bigger...

Friday, June 21, 2013

AimeeKay Review and Blog Tour Giveaway: Lair of the Serpent by T. Lynn Adams

Tombs of Terror Series #1
Release date: 6/11/13
Publisher: Sweetwater Books
Source: eARC from Cedar Fort for review
“The shock of the assault caught the men off guard, and they struggled to control the American. They wrestled him to the ground, pinning him there, holding him fast, as Sang stood up from the ground. Cursing in Khmer, Sang pointed the gun at Jonathon’s head.”

Jonathon can’t wait to surprise Delia for her birthday. With a little help from Delia’s brother, Severino, he plans to visit them in Cambodia where his friends are both working as humanitarian volunteers. But Jonathon arrives only to learn that Delia has been kidnapped.
Determined to find her, Jonathon and Severino plunge into the world’s most heavily land-mined jungle. Hidden deep in a tangle of ancient ruins of western Cambodia, they encounter the frightening legend of the Nāga and a deadly gang known as the Black Snakes. Now, the only way to free Delia is for the friends to steal an ancient, sacred stone and use it to lure the criminals out of hiding. If Jonathon and Severino fail, all of them will die or be consumed by the brutal world of human trafficking.

Lair of the Serpent seamlessly blends intense action and suspense with family loyalty and tender romance. The rich setting and colorful characters will ignite your imagination, while the twisting plot and elements of fantasy will satisfy every adventurer’s thirst for exotic quests.
AimeeKay's thoughts:

Let me start by saying this book was really good. I didn’t know if I’d enjoy it at first based on its summery. It’s not from my normal genre pool. (read: not paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi) But the author drew me in and the pages just flew by.

First let me start with the characters. Jonathon and Severino had an amazing chemistry. They are obviously close friends and they make a good team. Plus watching them interact with the rest of the characters in the book was interesting as well. Even the supporting characters had character. Even though they weren’t in every scene their personalities came through. Delia and Juan, for example, while they play pivotal roles aren’t in the majority of the story. But I still found myself becoming attached to them and hoping they would make it out ok in the end. I have to say my favorite character overall was Chey. While he isn’t a main character, he is a main supporting character and he was awesome! He was smart and cute and I think I wanted him to come out on top even more than I wanted any of the rest.

Then there is Cambodia itself. It is one of those rare occurrences where the setting seems to become a character as well. From the landscape to the people that populate it, the author really brings the country to life. There were things about the country that I found myself stopping to Google as I read because I wanted to find out more about them. I loved the fact that certain important factors of the story weren’t just made up, but actual things that happen there, and I don’t just mean the human trafficking or the cities. (For spoilers sake I won’t go into more specific detail.) The way the author presented the history of Cambodia and worked it into her story was really well done.

Even though there were amazing descriptions and lots of facts worked into the story, there was tons of action as well. I think the author found the perfect balance between the two.

There was only one main thing that bothered me about the book. It is the fact that Juan agreed to let Jonathon traipse across Cambodia looking for Delia, especially after certain events earlier on in the story. I mean Jonathon IS only 17. I think if my 17 year old were in any situation like the one he found himself in, whether it was in another country or not, I would hope that a family friend would have the common sense to keep my child out of danger AND contact me so I would know what is going on. I know there are tons of other books out there where the main character is a child or teenager that saves the world, blah, blah, blah. It just bothered me that the adults weren’t a bit more responsible. It bothered me, but not enough to keep me from being drawn into the story.

The book itself is being billed as YA, but I think that depending on the maturity of the reader it would be enjoyable for younger teens/pre-teens and even some higher level mid grade readers. The book is clean compared to a lot of others out there; however I would still recommend that if you are a parent you read it before giving it to any younger teens or below. The trafficking of human beings isn’t light subject matter and might be a little too much. Not to mention there is A LOT of violence as well. Not over the top gore or anything, but still something to consider before just blindly handing the book to a kid.

Overall I think the book is great and I can see why they are willing to make it into a movie. I give it an easy 5 out of 5 stars. Definitely a great book to relax with this summer, although maybe not if you’re vacation plans include heading to Cambodia without a body guard. Lol.

Yep, you heard right, this book is optioned for a movie! Sweet! So, AimeeKay's review got you curious? Guess what? 
The author, T. Lynn Adams is letting me have a giveaway of the book! If you have a snail mail US addy, you can ask for the physical book. If you have an international addy, then your option is an ebook format.
To enter just fill out the rafflecopter form below:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Silver Borne

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!

My submission:

Silver Borne
Mercy Thompson #5
by Patricia Briggs
Being a mechanic is hard work. Mercy Thompson, for instance, just spent the last couple of months trying to evade the murderous queen of the local vampire seethe. And now the leader of the werewolf pack, who's maybe-more-than-just-a-friend, has asked for her help. A book of fae secrets has come to light and they're all about to find out how implacable - and dangerous - the fae can be. 
OK, so maybe her troubles have nothing to do with the job. But she sure could use a holiday...

Okay, I got this one because it was a harback for only $3! I still need to get and read Iron Kissed and Bone Crossed. Yes, I'm very behind but have more motivation to get going on the series.

So any you bought because you couldn't refuse a good sale? :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Winter Queen (Fairy Queens #1) by Amber Argyle

First in a series: Fairy Queens
Publisher: Starling Publishing
Available Now
Source: ebook from author for review
~Becoming a winter queen will make Ilyenna as cold and cruel and deadly as winter itself, but it might be the only way to save her people from a war they have no hope of winning.~ 
Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family. 
Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation.

With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.
This reads more like a fantasy in the way the world is built. Not the kind of fantasy where too much information is thrown at you, but in the way the world is lushly built. You follow Ilyenna who has just become the female aspect leader of her clan. Her job is to rule over the home and hearth and lead her people if the men have to go off to war. There is a political and war-like move within the clans and Ilyenna finds herself dying. She is saved by the fae, but there is a price to pay. The question becomes is if she will pay it by the time winter rules the earth again?

This fantasy was very gripping in terms of the adventure of Ilyeanna doing her best protecting her clan. She is kind and loving and is willing to sacrifice herself for others. I did like her character and found that many of the other women characters were quite strong as she was, but I didn't care for the lamentations that they were "only" women. It was understandable because of their society, but I would have loved it more if they just concentrated and celebrated their strengths as women a bit more. Their actions proved that they were strong.

My only other complaint for this fantasy was the ending... and yet I enjoyed it at the same time. The ending was a bit contrived and a bit too easy. Still, I enjoyed it because it gave me an HEA and a solid ending. No cliffies here! I think this is a good introduction to this world and I'm curious where the story goes next. I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to those that love an older YA (there is mention of rape and sex, but nothing graphic) fantasy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Fallen Prince (Keepers of Life #2) by Shea Berkley

Second book in Keepers of Life series
Publisher: Entangled
Available Now
Source: eARC from publisher
There is a magical realm that exists alongside the human realm, but it wasn’t always so. The firsts are beings who were created to nurture the land. The world was split into two realms, and the firsts were allowed to redeem themselves. Sadly, the majority continued with their self-indulgent behavior to the point where one of their own, a king, became so obsessed with power, he was secretly banished by the court in hopes his absence would calm the masses. But a spark of madness was ignited and not even the lost king's absence could curtail what he set in motion.
 I loved the first book, The Marked Son, which I read 2 years ago. So, it is safe to say it took me a while to catch back up with the book. I felt a bit lost, but I think if I had reread the first book I wouldn't have had as much trouble. It's a complicated world, so I think I would have felt more at home quicker within the story.

I also felt a bit frustrated with what was happening in the beginning of the book. Their journey throughout the human realm in the first of the book makes sense and you know it is foundation necessary for the growth of the characters. Still, I think I would have liked this part perhaps a bit shorter or perhaps a bit more mixed with the characters of the fae realm.

The second half of the book is where the most exciting adventure begins. You are back in faerie trying to save people without getting yourself killed. You know, the usual fare. ;) Still, you question the motives of several of the fae and learn that others are surprisingly trustworthy. I do like the characterization of many of the secondary characters as well as the main protag, Dylan. However, I found Kera a bit disjointed. There was a reason for this, but I would have liked to have felt that there was something consistent in the background and I just didn't feel that. I still liked her character, though.

I give this book 3 stars and I really recommend rereading the first book if you read it a while ago. If you haven't read that first book, then do so before you read this one. It really does need to be read in order.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Review: When Hell Came to Texas by Robert Vaughn

Available Now
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: From publisher for review
In the days after the Civil War, a solitary rider travelled the open frontier—but he wasn’t alone, for Death seemed to travel with him. Or maybe it was the Devil himself who gave him the lethal pistol shot that earned him the name “Death’s Acolyte.” And when the stranger with the scarred face, who calls himself Ken Casey, rode into the peaceful Texas town of Wardell, maybe peace—for his own ravaged soul—was all he wanted. But in Wardell, all hell is about to break loose. 
Awaiting a train shipment of gold, Angus Pugh and his army of outlaws, including notorious gunslinger Luke Draco, take the town hostage and kill a few innocent citizens as a lesson to any comers. Donning priestly vestments, Ken Casey, ordained man of the cloth, steps from the shadows to conduct the victims’ funeral rites—and that’s just his first revelation. For Casey can destroy souls as easily as he saves them, and earthly justice is delivered in gun smoke and blood.
Bloggy note:
I thought for Father's day I would, instead of giving my dad a day off, ask him to do a review. I got this western and I thought it was perfect for him. So... here is his review... short and sweet! 

Dad's thoughts:

The book was easy to read as the sentences and words flowed naturally. The author did a good job of weaving the story to explain how the main character could be so diverse. He was very well educated, not rich and was a natural leader having been put in many difficult situations beginning in early life. He developed into a religious man and then a killer and once again because of difficult issues. All in all, the book was quite well written for enjoyable, easy and interesting entertainment.

Thanks dad! :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013


The winner for:
Carl S.!

You can still enter for Spartan Frost in a post by me at Candace's blog! Just click on the pic below to go to the post! 

The giveaway is open until the 21st. ebook so it's international. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ink Blog Tour and Amanda Sun Blog Post

When I was in high school, I lived in Osaka on exchange. It was the Monday after I’d arrived, and my host sister, her friend and I were making the trek to her university—train, then bus, then walking uphill on steep streets. To pass the time, my host sister’s friend asked me, “What are you most looking forward to seeing in Japan?”

Keep in mind that, like Katie in INK, my Japanese was limited. I’d studied like crazy before arriving, but the forms of Japanese I’d learned had been so polite they were barely applicable to the casual speech of my friends and family. My strategy was to answer using words I knew, instead of struggling and flipping through my dictionary for every word.

What was I most looking forward to? I thought about the temples and shrines, the castle and the zen rock gardens. I didn’t know any of those words, so I tried to simplify. The old buildings? Yes, that was something I knew how to say.

So I opened my mouth and said, “furui biru.” Old buildings. EXCEPT. Because of my bad pronunciation with vowel lengths, and the strangeness of the words I’d strung together, it came out as sounding like “furii biiru.” Free beer.


You should’ve seen the look on my friends’ faces. But we all had a good laugh after, and I never made a mistake with long vowels again. At least, not one anyone’s burst out laughing about.

Writing INK was a challenge because I knew so well the language limitations that faced Katie. At the same time, how could I write a novel where no one could speak to each other? Katie needed to be able to have complicated conversations with Tomohiro and other characters. She needed to attend a Japanese school and take notes. So how could she accomplish all this with the language barrier?

First, I had Katie take a Japanese class in SHADOW before she arrived in Japan. Secondly, I added Japanese phrases to simulate how it felt for Katie, as well as to help capture the sound of what she was hearing. As the reader picks them up, so does Katie. Thirdly, I had some of the characters, like Yuki, speak quite good English and help Katie along.

And a couple times, Diane says to her, “Give it four or five months.” I met many exchange students in Japan, and they all agreed that after a few months, it was easy to speak to friends and family. INK takes place from March until July, so Katie gets more fluent as time goes on.

And here’s a behind-the-scenes secret. Katie has an unnatural aptitude for learning Japanese. But why? You’ll have to read to find out.

I hope you enjoy INK, and learn some Japanese as you follow Katie through her experiences in Japan. O-tanoshimi ni! Hope you look forward to it. ^_^

Ink (Paper Gods #1)
by Amanda Sun
"I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine."

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

The Paper Gods series by Amanda Sun is coming!

About Amanda Sun - website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.

In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.

The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

There are 2 giveaways sponsored by Kismet Tours!
The first giveaway is to win one of 9 copies of the book!
The second (and Grand Prize) is an authentic Japanese Yukata (like the dress shown)!
Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Raven Boys

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!

My submission this week:

The Raven Boys 
The Raven Cycle #1
by Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Will Patton
Audio: 11 hours
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.” 
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. 
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. 
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. 
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little. 
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shivertrilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.
I've been wanting to read this one for a while now. Guess what??? I got it for free and you can too this week! SQUEE! Just go HERE to SYNC to snag your audio copy of the book. This week only (until Wed of next week). There is also no restriction for international... so everyone can get a copy. 

Also bloggy note: There will be a blogtour post here tomorrow that has a giveaway by the tour.
I'll also be at Candace's Book Blog with a giveaway of my own. See ya in both places manaña!
Note: Nope, I'm not affiliated in any way with SYNC or the publisher or the author... just like freebies and telling ya about them. :D

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende

 Publisher: Harper
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review
Neglected by her parents, nineteen-year-old Maya Nidal grows up in a rambling old house in Berkeley with her grandparents. Her grandmother, Nidia, affectionately known as Nini, is a force of nature--a woman whose formidable strength helped her build a new life after emigrating from Chile in 1973. Popo, Maya's grandfather, is an African American astronomer and professor--a gentle man whose solid, comforting presence helps calm the turbulence of Maya's adolescence. 
When Popo dies of cancer, Maya goes completely off the rails. With her girlfriends Maya turns to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime, eventually bottoming out in Las Vegas. Lost in a dangerous underworld, she is caught in the crosshairs of warring forces--a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol. Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a -remote island off the coast of Chile. Here Maya tries to make sense of the past, unravels mysterious truths about life and her family, and embarks on her greatest adventure: the journey into her own soul.
This book is written as if you were reading her notebook. Almost as if you were listening to Maya telling her story as you sat with her drinking tea on the island she has been banished. She goes back and forth from what happened in the past and what was happening in the present as you might while in a deep conversation. As the reader you are gaining her trust and she slowly opens up to you and you find out what has brought her to the island. In other words, what choices she made to bring her to exile.

As she explores her new circumstances her life, which was spinning out of control, gains some silence and peace. Through this peace she finally starts to find out what is important to her and starts to heal from the death of her Popo, her grandfather who was her world. She finds that she is finally able to let go of the past slowly and how freeing it is by speaking of it out loud. She truly finds peace.

There is also a mystery and danger that you only really find out toward the end of the book. So, it is not just an exploration of Maya and her family and friends, but also a bit of adventure twisted in the end. Although not all ills are solved by the end of the book, but the danger does come to a conclusion. With that conclusion comes hope for a future in Maya's life.

I give this book 4 stars. Even though it has a young teen as the main protagonist, I would not say this is YA but adult. The themes in the book are quite dark and the violence is graphic. I recommend it to those that like a contemporary book with historical aspects about Chilé running in the background.

Bloggy note:
 Isabel Allende had the students at San Jose State University animation dept. make videos. Here is the one of them. The rest are HERE.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Ratings

Tell Me Something Tuesday, a meme started by CambriaHebert, but now hosted on Rainy Day Ramblings. It is a chance to get to know your fellow bloggers by sharing fun stuff, discussions and more. Grab the question and post your answer on your blog and link up at Rainy Day Ramblings! Have fun!

This weeks question:

“Let’s talk ratings, what rating scale do you use? How do you feel about reviewers that give out the high ratings on a regular basis?"

I use the 5 star scale (listed on the left column). I use the 5 star scale because it seemed like the most universal system and fits with other places I post reviews (like goodreads). 

As far as reviewers that give out high ratings, it doesn't bother me. Perhaps it is just because they love reading so much. Perhaps it is because they hate to give low ratings. It doesn't bother me because it is their choice. I don't really know bloggers like that off the top of my head. The ones I follow seem to have a good eye and a critical mind for the books they read.

Besides... aren't these scales really arbitrary anyway?

Still, I admit I do tend to stay in the 3-4 star range. Often if the book is flawed but still entertains and I enjoyed it, I don't usually give it a lower rating than a 3. That still is inline with what I list on the side there. I also admit to taking away 1/2 a star for cliffie endings. I really hate those and feel in most cases are totally unnecessary. If the book is good I'll read the next one without the cliffie! I also don't give 1 star ratings lately because I don't usually get through those with the volume of books that I have and so it often ends up as a DNF. 

So, what about you? What do you think about ratings?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rush (The Game #1) by Eve Silver

1st in a series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Available 6/11/13
Source: ARC won from the author
"So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?" 
When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.
 This was a fast paced and at times frustrating book. The frustration is shared with the main character Miki so it is intentional, but still getting some answers about the world she is pulled into, but not getting all the necessary information can be maddening. Because it was intentional it didn't bother me to the extreme, but I have so many questions I can't wait to get answered.

In this world certain kids are pulled into a game-like world in which points are scored in what you do and how many of the evil aliens you can kill. No explanation, no forewarning, no way to prepare, you are just thrown into the game and hope that you learn as you go. You have a health meter to determine if you survive. Family and friends left behind have no idea what is going on due to a suspension and manipulation of time. I have to give the author total props for this part of the book. Time is a hard concept to tweak for a book and make it believable and I think she did a good job of doing that. Yes, you could argue the science, but I felt the explanation was well reasoned for suspension of belief.

The reason they get pulled into the game is both reasonable and not. This is where I want more explanation. I also have problems with the kids having no choice and little in their control, but control is a theme of this book so, again, this was intentional. Still, you wanted to kick the people in charge in the arse for that one. :)

I give this book 3 stars. I warn you about the ending. It has one horrible cliffie!! I am curious about where the series will take us and I'm hoping for more information about the game world and I would also love to see Miki kick some committee arse!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


The winner for:
Shelly H.!

Don't forget there is still time to enter for:
Click pic to go to sponsored post. US/CAN only.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Impostor (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker with Giveaway!

1st in a series
Available Now
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Media Masters Publicity for review
Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late?

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.
 My thoughts:
This is a variation on the theme of kids finding out they have incredible powers and solving crimes. I usually love those kind of stories and this was no exception.

Tessa is a sensitive young girl who has had a life that was anything less than perfect. Rejected by her parents she finds a sort of home in the government program who identifies and then exploits their talents to solve federal crime, often those with other "variant" powers. Tessa is sent on a mission before she is mentally mature enough to handle the consequences, but decides that catching the killer is more important than her issues with posing as a dead girl. This is where I think the author shines. She does not shy away from Tessa's sensitivity but embraces it and shows how vulnerable this can make her. How this would affect someone who hasn't yet fully developed their own personality first.

As for the rest of it... what happens... you'll just have to read it to find out. *evil laugh*

I do have one niggle that bothered me from a sci-fi POV: How did she absorb scars and environmental "defects" when absorbing the DNA for the shift to another person? This wasn't addressed and I'm quite curious to the explanation. Perhaps I will get it as the series progresses. I hope so!

I give this book 4 stars. I think the mystery was done well, but what shined to me was the characterization. I liked the vulnerability of Tessa and the way she learned to do what was right for herself in the end. I'm so leery of her "handlers" and that is a great thread to have open for the next books in the series. Are the good guys really the good guys? ;) The main mystery is wrapped up so there are no cliffies, only threads that you would expect in a series that can go in several directions. Sign me up for that! :) I recommend it to those that enjoy a fun adventure reminiscent of the X-men.

Where to buy:

Hopefully I have peaked your interest because:
Media Masters Publicity is offering this book as a giveaway! It's open to those that have US or Canada snail mail addys! Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Robin Hobb

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!

My submission:

Dragon Keeper
(The Rain Wild Chronicles #1)
by Robin Hobb
Too much time has passed since the powerful dragon Tintaglia helped the people of the Trader cities stave off an invasion of their enemies. The Traders have forgotten their promises, weary of the labor and expense of tending earthbound dragons who were hatched weak and deformed by a river turned toxic. If neglected, the creatures will rampage--or die--so it is decreed that they must move farther upriver toward Kelsingra, the mythical homeland whose location is locked deep within the dragons' uncertain ancestral memories. 
Thymara, an unschooled forest girl, and Alise, wife of an unloving and wealthy Trader, are among the disparate group entrusted with escorting the dragons to their new home. And on an extraordinary odyssey with no promise of return, many lessons will be learned--as dragons and tenders alike experience hardships, betrayals . . . and joys beyond their wildest imaginings.
Dragon Haven
(The Rain Wild Chronicles #2)
by Robin Hobb
Centuries had passed since dragons last roamed the war-torn world of the Rain Wild River. But as peace once again settled upon the land, a lost generation of sea serpents--ancient, half-starved, and weary--returned to cocoon, certain that they would be reborn as the beautiful and powerful dragons of legend. But their arduous journey exacted a heavy toll, and the proud serpents emerged as sickly, half-formed beasts, unable to fly or hunt . . . or thrive. For years now they have been trapped on a swampy riverbank between forest and river, hungry and barely alive, reliant on humans to provide for them. 
With their survival at stake, fifteen dragons--among them the wise golden Mercor, the haughty and dazzling silver-blue queen Sintara, and the delicate copper beauty Relpda--have set off on a dangerous trek into the unknown, up the Rain Wild River, in hopes of rediscovering the ancient Elderling city of Kelsingra, the lost haven for dragons and Elderlings alike. The dragons are accompanied by a disparate group of human keepers, rejects from Rain Wild society. They, too, yearn to find Kelsingra and create a home of their own, one in which they may make their own rules and decide their own fate. But is Kelsingra real or merely a fragment of a glorified past buried deep in the dragons' shared memories? No map exists to guide them, and the noble creatures find their ancient recollections of little use in a land changed by generations of flooding and seismic chaos.

As the dragons, the humans--including the strong and defiant Rain Wild girl Thymara; the wealthy dragon scholar and Trader's wife, Alise; and her companion, the urbane Sedric--and their magical supply barge, captained by the gruff Leftrin, forge their way ever deeper into uncharted wilderness, human and beast alike discover they are changing in mysterious and dangerous ways. While the bonds between them solidify, starvation, flashfloods, and predators will imperil them all. But dragons and humans soon learn that the most savage threats come from within their own company . . . and not all of them may survive.
I won both of these in HC but just haven't had the time to pick them up.
Any fantasy or dragon reads on your shelf waiting to be read? 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead

1st in a series
464 p.
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Available Now
Source: eARC from NetGalley and the publisher for review
In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills. 
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board. 
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of Xseries, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.
This is going to be a hard review. This book is filled with mystery, the paranormal, fights, political intrigue and even magic. However, what it has little of is plot. Because of that the other aspects of the book often seemed to get muddled and although not confusing, but not clear either. At the same time I kept reading having to know more about this world and the secrets our characters were either keeping or had to find out about themselves.

What was unusual about this book was the world building and character building. In this book it reigned supreme. It was well done and well written, but I can see a lot of people become either anxious or even bored with some aspects of this drawn out build. I do enjoy a good world building so I was able to be captivated by what was presented. It was a world turned upside down and tried to get rid of vices and what some deemed as "dangerous". As with anything that is taken to extremes, zealots reign on both sides of the equation. What you try to get rid of you just create in another fashion. It was an interesting take.

In the end I give this book 3 stars. The writing was wonderful, but I did get frustrated at times wanting the grand mystery supporting the characters solved (it does in the end... no cliffies). Plus, now that the world is established I'm looking forward to the second book in this series. I believe this series has the potential to blow me away. I do recommend this book to those that enjoy a good world building and a unique take on mythology and excellent writing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears (Goblin Wars #3) by Kersten Hamilton

3rd in a trilogy
Publisher: Clarion Books
Available: Aug 6th, 2013 (they changed the date on me!)
Source: eARC from the author and NetGalley
“People will die.” 
Locked doors are opening, and uncanny creatures are tumbling through mysterious portals from Mag Mell, the world-between-worlds, into the streets of Chicago. The Dark Man has marked Aiden with a new song that’s scared him badly, and a frightening new group of sídhe is lurking nearby.

Teagan knows this is war, and she must protect her family. She leaves her flesh and bones behind to join Finn in hunting the evil beings across the city. Meanwhile, their relationship is heating up—almost faster than they can control. But he is still bound to fight goblins his entire life... and by blood she is one of them now.

Then the gateway to Mag Mell cracks open again, and the Wylltsons find themselves caught in a trap. As her loved ones begin to die, Teagan realizes that she must destroy the Dark Man and his minions once and for all in order to save those who remain... 
... before it is too late.
I love the first two in this trilogy, Tyger Tyger and In the Forests of the Night. In the last book that follows the Blake poem, Teagan is determined to save her loved ones as well as Meg Mell. Her connection to everything fae has been enhanced and she has embraced both sides of herself.

Now for my problem... how do I talk about this book and not spoil it for those that haven't yet read the other two? That is always a problem for a book you enjoy.

What I will say is this: I felt that this was the best of the 3 for me. I think what I loved was Teagan's growth throughout the series. Often when you get that, you see a character slip back as if they never had epiphanies or any growth at all. You do not find that here. Sure Teagan makes mistakes, but they don't seem to be repeated and she learns to trust herself. Also the characters were stellar. I have loved her little brother throughout the series and he captures my heart again in this book. I also love the other secondary characters and we get a bit more of the ones we met in the last two books. Also with the other books, I think the research was stellar. The way the poems were woven into the story, the names, mythologies all harken back to the old stories and tales. It's just something I really enjoyed.

My biggest complaint? This is the last book! Perhaps a Abby and Jing book? A book of Aiden when he is all grown up? Seriously... I don't want to give these characters up! Guess I'll have to be satisfied with rereading the stories again. *sigh*

I give this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed my time in Meg Mell and I don't want to leave. I recommend it to YA and faerie book lovers.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

448 p.
Available now
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: eARC from NetGalley and the publisher
"I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk." 
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay. 
Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. 
Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to. 
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.
 I said it before and I'll say it some more... I hate to cry. Still, I picked up this book knowing that I'll probably need a tissue or two. You take 2 broken people, mix in a huge vat of horrible things that happen outside of their control, add in peers who don't understand, add a helping of not being able to see those that do care, and add a dash of loneliness. Unfortunately, even that recipe does not come up with the brilliance of this book. Yes, you can safely say I loved it.

When I first started the book, I admit I was confused. The book just dives into the lives and it almost felt as if you should know what was going on. I am no stranger to reading in the middle of the series, but I knew this was a standalone from the beginning. I actually stopped and did a double check to make sure I was correct and it was a standalone.

After that was sorted, I understood why it started that way. Nastya, is determined to not allow anyone to learn of her past, so you are thrown into the mix as much as our main characters have been thrown. What I loved about Nastya's story is that we do not get to know what happened to her for much of the book. I thought this was brilliant. Often we want to know what happened as if then we can determine how broken she is... a thing we cannot possibly determine with such little information. However, by withholding the exact details of her assault (the only thing we do know), we truly figure out how broken she has become. We are left with the raw emotions like anger and fear to deal with. Contrasted with our hero, Josh who we know everything that has happened to him and yet the author also finds a way to help us understand his brokenness. You knew that these two would come together. This story is how they come together and hopefully find the road back to themselves.

My only complaint with the book has to be the jumps. It does jump from Nastya's POV to Josh's POV, but that isn't a problem at all. All those jumps are marked and they have distinct voices. The jumps I'm referring to have to do with either actual location and/or time. One minute they are in school, the next at home, or suddenly it's next week. I think these transitions just need to be worked on a bit.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really loved this book and I recommend it to those that love a story where two broken people come together, not to "fix" each other, but to find a way to "fix" themselves with the support of the other.