Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Thursday!

Just thought I'd say a quick Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Thursday to everyone!

Yea... trust me... no one wants me to do anything else.. ;)

While you are here... don't forget to enter the Black Widow by Jennifer Estep book giveaway (Loved this book)! 2 Winners! US only. Just click on the pic below to go to the post to enter:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

Series: 2B Trilogy #3
352 p.
Published: 11/25/14
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.
My thoughts:
This book follows Courtney and Max. We have known Max from the beginning and I always knew there was more to his story. We follow Courtney but I wished we could have followed Max. I wanted to be in his head more. However, as the story developed, I was happy to be in Courtney's head.

The romance to me feels a bit fast but they have known each other for a while. It wasn't completely insta-love but I felt that Max's feelings seemed to be at warp drive. It didn't quite settle with me how invested he was until the end. Still, this did not prevent me from becoming invested in the relationship.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I'm sad to see this trilogy end. I would have loved to delve into some of the other lives and a few of those that just came on the scene in this book. This has been one of the few New Adult genre series that I have throughly enjoyed. I recommend it to those that enjoy contemporary romance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jennifer Estep Interview and Black Widow Giveaway!

I'm excited to have Jennifer Estep back at the blog again. She came by to answer some of my questions and to have a great giveaway of her newest book in the Elemental Assassin series!
BT: Hi Jennifer!
JE: Hi! Thanks for featuring me on your blog again. I appreciate it!

BT: I love your villains, can you tell me if you take anything from real life?

JE: Thanks! I appreciate that.

Since I’m writing urban fantasy, my villains tend to have magical powers and be really ruthless and determined to get what they want, no matter what they have to do or who they have to hurt to achieve their goals. So it’s not real life. 

But a hero is only as good as the bad guys that she goes up against, so I try to think of villains that would annoy and frustrate Gin and really push her to her limits, physically, emotionally, and magically. I always have a lot of fun coming up with villains who challenge Gin and then thinking about how she can turn the tables and get the best of them.

BT:  What is your favorite secondary character to write? Does he/she have a novella staring this character?

JE: Finnegan Lane, Gin’s foster brother, is the secondary character that is the most fun for me to write. He’s so shameless and greedy and says whatever is on his mind no matter how annoying or inappropriate it might be. I always enjoy writing his dialogue.

There are a couple of Finn-centric short stories on my website: 

I would like to write a Finn novella, as well as some for other characters, like Phillip Kincaid, but my writing schedule is already full for this year and on into 2015. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write something more about Finn and the other characters in the future. We’ll see what happens.

*yes please have a Finn novella! Phillip would be a great one too!*

What is your biggest wish for Gin?

JE: I want Gin to (eventually) have her happy ending and the peace and quiet that she longs for. I think she’s earned it, after all that I’ve put her through. 

That being said, peace and quiet wouldn’t be that interesting to read or write about, and there are lots of bad guys left for Gin to battle.

*Yes, I agree... don't end her story yet!*

You have elements (easter eggs if you will) from your other books. Give us a few so those that haven't noticed it will try to now find them.

JE: I have four series – Elemental Assassin; Mythos Academy; Bigtime; and Black Blade (coming in 2015). So in every book, I try to mention characters, places, creatures, etc. from the other books.
For example, in my Elemental Assassin series, Finn often wears Fiona Fine suits. Well, Fiona Fine is a fashion designer in my Bigtime superhero series. In my Mythos Academy series, I’ve had characters mention things like the Pork Pit and Ashland from my Elemental Assassin series. So there are just small, crossover references between all the books.

I always have a lot of fun coming up with the Easter eggs, and readers seem to enjoy the little shout-outs to my other books.

What other projects do you have coming up?

JE: Spider’s Trap, the 13th book in my Elemental Assassin series, will be out on July 28. I’m also writing book #14, which is tentatively scheduled to be out on Dec. 29.

I also have a new young adult series starting in 2015. It’s called the Black Blade series, and Cold Burn of Magic, the first book, will be out on April 28.

For more information about my books, people can visit my website at or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Happy reading, everyone! 

Twitter:  (@Jennifer_Estep)


Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Black Widow, the 12th book in the series, will be released on Nov. 25. For more information about the series, visit Jennifer’s website at or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Black Widow
Series: Elemental Assassin #12
400 p.
Published: 11/25/14
Publisher: Pocket Books
There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan. 
With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit. 
The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.
The publisher is allowing me to giveaway the newest book in the Elemental Assassin series, Black Widow! 2 Winners! US only. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Black Widow by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin #12
400 p.
Published: 11/25/14
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: From publisher for review
There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan. 
With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit. 
The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bulls-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.
My thoughts:
Oh wow! I didn't think we would get the showdown we were waiting for so soon. I thought there might be a couple of books yet to go but I was so happy when we got it. I know that some of you aren't quite up to this book yet so I'll try to make it spoiler free.

Often in a series that runs this long and you get a big bad with impossible circumstances we often get regurgitated story lines. Not so here. The villain invents a new way to come at Gin and Gin responds in kind. It wasn't what I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised. In this book brains won over brawn but brawn still helped in the end. :) Fans of Owen will love this addition and although the romance is scant, what is there packs a punch.

I give this book 5 stars. It is a series that is going strong at #12 and I can't wait for #13. I suggest that those that haven't started with this series start at the beginning. You have 12 books to devour in a row! I recommend it from the beginning to get the full feeling of all the characters. I also recommend it to those that enjoy UF.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Black Ice by Susan Krinard

Series: Midgard #2
384 p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: 8/12/14
Source: From publisher for review
New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard continues the thrilling urban fantasy series that began with Mist in Black Ice. 
Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie known as Mist one of the only survivors.
Or so she thought. 
The trickster god Loki has reappeared in San Francisco, and he has big plans for modern-day Earth. With few allies and fewer resources—but the eyes of the gods and goddesses of an old world upon her—it’s up to Mist to stop him before history repeats itself.
My thoughts:
This is the second book in the Midgard series. It follows closely to what happened in the first book, Mist, and this should not be read out of order. If you are looking for action, then this is the series for you. While we had some hints of romance in the first book and it was continued in this book, I didn't feel connected to it. It just didn't quite have the same impact as it did in the first book. Mist's development continues in this story and I have enjoyed how much she has grown. I think this growth will continue as she becomes more comfortable with her power and how powerful she will become.

We also get introduced to a few secondary characters. I hope those get more developed as the series progresses. I can see a lot of potential with some of them. Right now they are all a bit underdeveloped but we just met them and we seemed to be in the midst of some battle when they came onto the scene. There are some animal characters that have personality and I look forward to learning more about them as well.

I give this book 3 stars. It is a good continuation to the big showdown you know is coming. I recommend it to those that enjoy UF with a lean toward fantasy as well as those that know their norse mythology.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Figures of Beauty by David MacFarlane

384 p.
Publisher: Harper
Published: 10/7/14
Source: From publisher for review
Moving from Paris to Italy to North America, a sensuous, heartbreaking novel about art, beauty, star-crossed lovers, and the choices that define our lives, from the award winning author of Summer Gone 
A young man arrives in Paris in 1968, where a series of unlikely events lead him to a tiny village in Italy—and to the great love of his life. A marble merchant meets a couple on their honeymoon, introducing them to the sensual beauty of Carrara. An Italian woman travels to Canada on an odyssey to find the father she never knew. A terrible accident in a marble quarry changes the course of a young boy’s life and, ultimately, sets in motion each of these stories, which David Macfarlane masterfully chisels into a magnificent whole.

Oliver Hughson falls in love with wild, bohemian Anna over the course of one glorious summer in Italy. Bound by a sense of responsibility to his adoptive parents, he leaves her and returns home—an act he will regret for the rest of his life. Through luck or fate, Oliver had found the woman with whom he was meant to be. And now he must try to find his way back to her. 
Narrated by the daughter Oliver never knew he had, The Figures of Beauty is a love story of mythic proportions that reminds us of the powerful bond that can connect two people indelibly across oceans and time.
My thoughts:
The book is centered around sculpture, particularly marble sculpture. You travel through different time periods all which interconnect in some way through marble. The lush language puts you in Italy where most of the book takes place. In any time period, you can really travel with this author's words.

The story mostly follows Oliver, his doomed love story and his daughter. There are also references to artists, in particular Michelangelo as well as Anna (Oliver's lover and his daughter's mother) a present day non-figurative sculpture artist. The ventures back in time especially the ones in the 40s were intriguing but the time shifts just didn't come together for me. Yes, I did see a connection, but as an observer it didn't connect to me personally. It may be due to shifting constantly through time or that I never developed a connection to Oliver and his daughter. I think that if a book was made more about the past and it was constant, I think I would have enjoyed this book much more.

I give this book 2 1/2 stars. It is beautiful in the descriptions of the places, it has some interesting secondary characters, but I just didn't quite connect to much in this book. I would pick up a book by this author because of the beautiful writing, but this one didn't quite come together for me in the end.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chained by Night by Larissa Ione

Series: Moonbound Clan Vampires #2
 400 p.
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: Sept. 30, 14
Source: From publisher for review
THE FUTURE OF HIS TRIBELeader of the vampire clan MoonBound, Hunter will do what he must to save his people from extinction - or worse, a torturous eternity as vampire slaves and subjects of human experimentation. To keep his enemies at bay, he has agreed to mate a rival clan leader's daughter in return for peace between the clans and an ally in the looming war with the humans. 
THE LOVER OF HIS SOULBut survival comes at a price. First, Hunter must break an ancient curse by successfully negotiating three deadly tests. Then he must resist the searing passions of the gorgeous vampire warrior he despises but is bound to mate. Will Hunter stay true to his word? Or will he risk everything for the woman he really loves: the vampire seductress's identical twin sister?
My thoughts:
I really enjoyed the first book so I had to have this one. It is about Hunter, the leader of the Moonbound clan. We also get a bigger glimpse into the lore in this world. And while this is PNR, there is enough action and worldbuilding to satisfy most UF readers. And yes, there is enough sizzle to satisfy the romance crowd as well.

I think the characterizations were what I really enjoyed the most in this book. I liked Aylin and how her instinct for survival made her the strongest of the group. I also liked that her sister was the negative to her character. I think there will be a lot of growth there in the coming books (and yes, sign me up for them all!). Although Hunter paled a bit to Aylin in this book he was still what really sizzled in the pages. Yea, he put the rawr in PN-rawr.. (stop staring at me like I lost my mind. I swear I never had it to begin with!)

In all seriousness, I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed my time in this world and I cannot wait to get back to it. I am hoping we get a Myne book soon and it looks like that may be the case. He is one vamp that I want to have a HEA... even if it is hard won. I recommend this series to those that enjoy action with their romance.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Slack Friday! from Pocket Star eBooks

I've been asked by Pocket Books to spotlight some great holiday reads. In this group you will find something for every taste! Check some of them out. A few caught my attention. Hope to get to review some of them before the year is out.
Avoid crazed shopping crowds!
Keep calm and carry on at home with these great
Merr-E Holiday Treats from Pocket Star eBooks!

Tim Cratchit's Christmas Carol
by Jim Piecuch
Published: 11/17/14
In A Christmas Carol, evil Scrooge was shown the error of his ways by three helpful ghosts and vowed to become a better person. Bob Cratchit and his family benefited most from Scrooge’s change of tune—but what happened after the goose was given, and Scrooge resolved to turn over a new leaf? 
Tim Cratchit's Christmas Carol shows us Tiny Tim as an adult. Having recovered from his childhood ailment, he began his career helping the poor but has since taken up practice as a doctor to London’s wealthy elite. Though Tim leads a very successful life, he comes home at night to an empty house. But this holiday season, he’s determined to fill his house with holiday cheer—and maybe even a wife.

When a single, determined young mother lands on Tim’s doorstep with her ailing son, Tim is faced with a choice: stay ensconced in his comfortable life and secure doctor’s practice, or take a leap of faith and reignite the fire lit under him by his mentor, Scrooge, that fateful Christmas so many years ago.

The Perfect Gift
by Dani-Lyn Alexander
Published: 11/17/14
’Tis the night before Christmas…and businessman and single father Jason is scrambling to find the dollhouse of the season for his seven-year-old daughter Emily. But when he finally strikes gold at an obscure toy store, he’s met with resistance—literally, as a beautiful woman named Leah is grabbing onto the dollhouse box from the other side of the aisle, determined to get the same Christmas present for her own daughter. 
Desperate not to let the other win, Jason and Leah forge a pact: stay together until they find the same dollhouse at a different toy store. It sounds simple, but ten stores and many hours later, they still come up empty. They might not be finding another dollhouse, but they sure are finding a lot to talk about and, as their mutual attraction grows, the unlikely pair finds the greatest holiday gift of all—love.

Rocky Mountain Miracle
by Christine Feehan
Published: 11/17/14
When Cole Steele, a womanizer rumored to have killed his father, meets Maia Armstrong, a veterinarian rumored to practice magic, the sizzling romance could melt all the snow on his Wyoming ranch. And when an injured horse brings them together, Cole can’t help but believe that Maia casts spells on animals—and men. What else could explain the burning passion he feels for her and the thawing of his heart just in time for Christmas?
Christine Feehan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thirty novels, including the Carpathians, the Ghostwalkers, the Leopard People, and the Drake Sisters series. Her books have been published in multiple languages and in many formats including palm pilot, audiobook, and ebook. She has been featured in Time magazine and Newsweek, and lives in Cobb, California. Please visit

Blond Cargo
by John Lansing
Published: 10/20/14
Blond Cargo is the highly anticipated second Jack Bertolino installment from New York native and now Los Angeles author John Lansing. This gripping eBook from the former writer/producer of Walker, Texas Ranger and Co-Executive producer of the ABC series Scoundrels continues the story that began in The Devil’s Necktie.

Jack Bertolino is back…in the sequel to John Lansing’s bestseller The Devil’s Necktie!

Jack’s son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt and Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss, provided information that helped Jack take down the perpetrator of the crime. Jack accepted the favor knowing there’d be blowback. In Blond Cargo, the mobster’s daughter has gone missing and Cardona turned in his chit. Jack discovers that the young, blond mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave.

John Lansing taps into the real life world of cops, crime, drugs and murder in Blond Cargo to deliver another sizzling whodunit.
“An unyielding pace, vigorous characters and explosive ending.”
—Kirkus Reviews 

“A fantastic read…This extremely fast and well-thought-out thriller will remind some of James Patterson’s early works.”
—Suspense Magazine

“Blond Cargo an extraordinary, must-read detective thriller. Can’t wait for the next installment! Look out Patterson, someone’s gaining on you!”
—Amazon Reviewer

A Last Goodbye
by J.A. Jance
Published: 11/24/14
Find out where fan favorite Ali Reynolds’ new adventure takes her in A Last Goodbye as New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance brings her trademark breakneck pace to this fun and exciting e-novella, in which Ali Reynolds takes on double responsibilities as both sleuth and bride.
Ali Reynolds is finally getting married to her longtime love B. Simpson. They wanted a simple Christmas Eve wedding, but nothing is ever simple with Ali. Even as a motley crew of her friends—Leland Brooks, Sister Anselm, and others—descend on Vegas, the bride-to-be finds herself juggling last-minute wedding plans and a mystery in the form of a stray miniature dachshund. Ali’s grandson rescues the little dog, but Ali’s not in the market for a new pet right before her honeymoon, and leaves no stone unturned in hunting for the dog’s owner. But what she finds is more than just a shaggy dog story…Bella’s elderly owner has vanished, and her son seems to be behind it. So it’s Ali and B. to the rescue—and still making it to the church on time!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cookbook Review: Go Fresh by the American Heart Association

By the American Heart Association
320 p.
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Published: 7/1/14
Source: Blogging for Books for review 
The more you cook at home, with a focus on fresh ingredients, the easier it is to achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Making meals with fresh ingredients is not only healthy and flavorful but also fast and easy with Go Fresh. The American Heart Association offers more than 250 recipes in this cookbook, inspiring you to bring nutritious and wholesome ingredients into your kitchen. Enjoy full-flavored favorites—all made from scratch, made healthy, and made fresh—including: 
  • · Cauliflower-Carrot Soup
  • · Blueberry-Walnut Chicken Salad
  • · Blackened Fish with Crisp Kale and Creamy Lemon Sauce
  • · Rosemary-Peach Chicken Kebabs with Orange Glaze
  • · Tomato-Basil Pork Tenderloin
  • · Butternut Squash Pasta
  • · Dark Cherry and Apple Crumble 
In the book, you’ll also find Healthy Swaps for substituting seasonal fruits and vegetables in delicious new ways, Shop & Store tips for making the most of your trips to the market and what you buy, and Tips, Tricks & Timesavers for reducing prep time and getting meals on the table faster.
My thoughts:
I'm on the lookout for recipes for fresh food cooking. Yes, don't faint, I do look out for them even though I hate to cook. I'm on a medically necessary diet which must include fresh foods. I cannot have canned, packaged, or instant. So, I thought I might be able to adapt many of these recipes for my needs.

While I hoped to find more recipes that I wouldn't have to alter, I could not. However, I being a special case and this isn't a cookbook that accommodates my particular problem this did not surprise me.  Still, I think that several can be adapted easily to my diet. What I really liked is the guidelines on how to shop and store (there is even a chart as to where you should store it in the refrigerator) the fresh food. There is also a section at the end of each recipe which breaks down the calories, fats, sodium, etc as well as dietary exchanges for those on specific diets.

While I don't agree with everything presented in the healthy hints section, it does go with the recent suggestions for those that need to be cautious in terms of heart attacks. Since it emphasizes low sodium (there are heart conditions that actually require you to increase your sodium intake) I can make a safe guess that preventing general heart attacks is the goal of the book. There were also a few recipes with canned foods in the ingredients. While sometimes I know that is a choice that must be made depending on availability, I think a book that emphasizes freshness shouldn't have them in their recipes. However, these substitutions were rare.

I give this cookbook 4 stars. Although it wasn't exactly what I was looking for in a cookbook (but I didn't expect it either) I think it does a good job in presenting fresh food recipes aimed at improving the American diet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Audiobook Review: The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Narrator: Simon Vance
2 hrs. 46 min.
Published: 1/23/12
Publisher: Tantor Media
Source: Tantor Media for review
Winnie-the-Pooh has a certain Way about him, a way of doing things that has made him the world's most beloved bear. In The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff shows that Pooh's Way is amazingly consistent with the principles of living envisioned by the Chinese founders of Taoism. The author's explanation of Taoism through Pooh, and Pooh through Taoism, shows that this is not simply an ancient and remote philosophy but something you can use, here and now. 
And what is Taoism? It's really very simple. It calls for living without preconceived ideas about how life should be lived—but it's not a preconception of how life—it's.... Well, you'd do better to listen to this book, and listen to Pooh, if you really want to find out.
My thoughts:
I read this one quite a while ago and really enjoyed it. I was curious about it on audio and Tantor was kind enough to send me a eAudio for review.

If you are interested in philosophy or just want a greater understanding of the people around you, I recommend this book. I really enjoyed Simon Vance's narration. He's got that lovely British accent which is, of course, perfect for Pooh. He does all the character voices spot on. I really enjoyed revisiting this book and relearning what I had forgotten. The author, Hoff, takes what can be hard for the western mind to understand about eastern philosophy, introduces a well know bear and cast and really breaks down brilliantly what you need to know. It is short but you will come away with a understanding of Taoism. I give this audio 4 1/2 stars.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Series: Finishing School #3
304 p.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 11/4/14
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
Class is back in session...Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.
Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.
My thoughts:
Another great installment to this series. Although the bulk of the mystery happened at the last part of the book, the action was throughout as well as the tongue in cheek world in which Sophronia resides. There is a romantic triangle that has built even more within this series. In this one you might root for one more than the other but you should have no idea who she ends up with in the end. There is this world to consider and not just what the heart wants. Plus, we don't know a lot about both suiters and what might be best for either one in the end as well. I hope we get to know both even more as the series progresses.

In this book I think the characters outshine the mystery and that may not be good for a mystery, but it is good for the series. This is a series where I not only love the main character, but the secondary characters. If you love great secondary characters, you need to read this one. They even have a mechanical dog with a great personality!

I give this latest installment 4 stars. I recommend it to those that love tongue in cheek worldbuilding as well as those that love great characters. YA mystery and steampunk lovers should really pick up this series.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Talon by Julie Kagawa

Series: Talon #1
413 p.
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: 10/28/14
Source: Goodreads First Reads Program for review
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser. 
Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. 
Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.
My thoughts:
I'm a fan of Julie Kagawa so I couldn't wait to get this book! I was lucky enough to get it through the Goodreads First Reads program and I devoured this book pretty quickly. I liked the tension she had going throughout the book. I felt like I was on edge the whole time waiting for that other shoe to drop. Although sometimes I felt it was too much tension, it might have been me just wanting to get the bad part over. :)

I think my biggest complaint of the book is the love triangle. I think that this is more of a successful triangle than in her books in the past. Not completely sure who she will pick when before I was completely certain by the end of the first book. Still not a fan of this trope, but it didn't bother me so much that it drug me out of the story.

I would have also liked more worldbuilding. I especially want more with the dragons, but I think that will come as Ember learns more about her own kind. I am also curious about the secret society of the St. George group. I have a feeling learning about these two groups will throw us a few twists and turns as the series moves along.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed my time here. It felt a bit formulaic, but entertaining nonetheless. I am looking forward to finding out more about this world and seeing how far Ember grows. I recommend it to those that enjoy YA PNR and dragons! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Raven Cycle #3
391 p.
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: 10/21/14
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. 
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. 
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost. 
Friends can betray.Mothers can disappear.Visions can mislead.Certainties can unravel.
My thoughts:
This is a must read book for the series. It is also a series that is designed to be read in order. For me, the newest edition to The Raven Cycle is sort of a middle book. However, I must note that it does not suffer from middle book syndrome. I call it a middle book because it moves the story along from where you were and lets you know that you are on the right path to where you are going. It gives a few answers and also creates a few questions. Yes, this is what middle books should strive to become.

The book starts off as a grey tone in that we are continuing from the last adventure and ends up quite dark and almost pitch black. The surprises in this book darken the storyline and a tissue or two might have to be had during this time. There is some light but it does not lighten the mood at all. The epilogue is a surprise to say the least and it will thrill you and anger you unless you have the next book at the ready. Right now I have a year to wait. *sobs*

I give this book 4 stars. I recommend it to those that love Stiefvater's writing as well as those that like a gripping YA adventure.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Redeemed by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast with Goddess Gift Giveaway!

Series: House of Night #12 (final)
310 p.
Published: 10/14/14
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her - unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness.
Barnes & Noble:


…Neferet beamed a smile at her Dark minions that was both exquisitely beautiful and terrifying. “I have an answer to our dilemma, children! The cage we created to hold Redbird was a weak, pathetic attempt at imprisonment. I have learned so much since that night. I have gained so much power—we have gained so much power. We will not cage people, as if I am a gaoler instead of a goddess. My children, we are going to blanket the very walls of my Temple with your magickal, unbreachable threads so that my new supplicants will be able to worship me unhindered. And that will only be the beginning. As I absorb more and more power, why not encase the entire city? I know it now—I know my destiny. I begin my reign as Goddess of Darkness by making Tulsa my Olympus! Only this is not a weak myth passed down as trite stories from schoolchildren to schoolchildren. This will be reality—a Dark Otherworld come to earth! And in my Dark Otherworld, there will be no innocents being abused by predators. All will be under my protection. I hold their fates in my hands—they have only to look to my welfare to be fulfilled. Ah, how they will worship me!”

Around her, the tendrils writhed in response to her excitement. She smiled and stroked those nearest to her. “Yes, yes, I know. It will be glorious!”
A Godess Gift Bag!

Think you have what it takes fight the darkness with Zoey? Can you wield Old Magick effortlessly like Neferet?

To celebrate the launch of REDEEMED, P.C. and Kristin Cast teamed up with some great companies, like Sinful Colors, 21 Drops, Jamberry, Chrislie, Baby Blue Designs, and For Strange Women, to put together “Goddess Gifts” filled with goodies that represent main characters in the books.

How to enter? Just fill out the rafflecopter form below. US only giveaway sponsored by BookTrib and Media Muscle.