Sunday, December 16, 2012


Legacy (Legacy, #1)I am overwhelmingly ashamed that Legacy by Cayla Kluver has been available for so long, and I had no idea!  Seriously, it's just been sitting out there for a couple of years, and I could have been loving it all this time.  Thank goodness I found it now.  In all honesty, it was the perfect time for me to find Legacy because, to me, it is somewhat similar to The Girl of Fire of Thorns (check out my review here), which I adore.  It was very nice to find a series that gives me the same vibe since I will be waiting for the next Girl of Fire and Thorns for quite some time.

In Legacy, Alera, Crown Princess of Hytancia, has reached the age at which she is expected to marry.  The biggest problem with this is that there is no one Alera would like to spend her life with.  Unfortunately, Alera's father the king, has other plans.  He has selected the captain of the guard's son to be Alera's husband and consequently, his successor.  Steldor, is amazingly attractive, strong, capable, and according to Alera, repulsive.  Alera seems to be the only girl in the kingdom to feel this way.  The king, does not take her feelings to heart, though.

Allegiance (Legacy, #2)As if this were not enough, Hytancia's dark past has returned.  The long dormant enemies, the Cokyri have resurfaced.  The Cokyri and Hytancians were in a vicious war sixteen years ago.  This included the abduction of 48 infant boys.  All of those bodies were returned except one.  This bizarre happening remained a mystery.  That is until the boy returned.  Narian brings with him the mystery of the enemy as well as himself.  Alera is drawn to this intriguing stranger.  But, would her father ever agree to such a union? 

Sacrifice (Legacy, #3)Oh, my!  This is a great book.  I would certainly recommend it highly, particularly if you are a fan of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  While everyone may not agree that these books are similar, they certainly give me the same feeling of excitement and adventure set in the beautiful time of kings and queens.  Love.  I am excited to read Allegiance and Sacrifice!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Goddess Interrupted

I return to a trip into the underworld again, I mean its been a few weeks, so I felt the need to read a little more about my friends down there.  Goddess Interrupted (watch the trailer here), just like The Goddess Test and Goddess Hunt before it, was fantastic.  Aimee Carter has built an interesting and exciting underworld whose inhabitants are enough like the classical figures to be familiar but fresh enough to be exciting.

In Goddess Interrupted, Kate has returned from her first six months away from the underworld prepared to attend her coronation which will solidify her place as queen of the underworld.  However, as the name of the book would imply, the ceremony is interrupted by dear old Calliope.  Calliope is still brooding over the punishment Kate issued her in The Goddess Test.  This time she's not alone though.  She has managed to partially free Cronus, King of the Titans, threatening not only the members of the council, but all of humankind as well.

As a result, Kate and the others find themselves poised for a war with the Titans.  In addition to preparing for battle with the Titans, Kate also battles for Henry's heart.  Through a crazy twist of fate, Persephone winds up on the scene again.  This definitely doesn't do anything for the strained relationship between Henry and Kate.

So, readers are left with another giant, nail biting cliffhanger.  It's clear to me that I'll need to visit Carter's underworld again very soon.  I won't be able to last very long without knowing what is happening!  I definitely have The Goddess Legacy and The Goddess Inheritance on my to read list.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sapphire Blue

*Warning: If you haven't read Ruby Red (check out my review here), begin there.  It's fabulous.

I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Kerstin Gier's Sapphire Blue for what seems like forever.  I am so happy I've finally been able to read it.

Sapphire Blue continues the story of the time traveling families, the Montrose and the D'Villiers.  Gwyneth Shepherd is of the Montrose line, whose ladies carry the time traveling gene.  She has only a week before the book began learned that she not her cousin, Charlotte, possessed the gene.  Now Gwyneth has been thrown into the world of the Guardians, who maintain the rules and regulations of time travel.  Among other problems with learning you can time travel is the impossibly cute Gideon D'Villers, who accompanies Gwyneth into the past.

Currently, Gwyneth is charged with the task of impressing the ever creepy Count Saint-Germain.  The Count, he is tricky.  He has powers of mind control, and he maintains strict control of the present day Guardians even though his existence is in the distant past.  Oh, man.  He has now called Gwyneth to him so he can learn more about the newest time traveler.

Several mysteries present themselves during Sapphire Blue.  First, Lucy and Paul continue to elude the guardians by hiding themselves in the past.  I continue to question how Lucy and Paul fit into the present time traveling puzzle.  I have some theories...  Second, Gwyneth must attempt to figure out who she can trust.  Her mother warned her not to trust anyone, even her own feelings.  She is beginning to see how truly difficult it may be to learn who is trustworthy and who isn't.  Finally, there is Gideon.  I've got to say, I'm not sure I can figure out the mystery of Gideon either.  One minute he is all smiles and kisses and the next he seems surly.  Boys...

I continue to love this series. One of my favorite details about the book is the lavish description of the costumes Gwyneth wears.  I absolutely adore the descriptions of the fabulous gowns Gwyneth wears as she travels through time.  I cannot wait for Emerald Green.  Hopefully, all my questions will be answered.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crown of Embers

Warning: Spoiler alert.  If you haven't read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, read it immediately!

I absolutely adore the world Rae Carson created in her Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy (watch Rae Carson give an introduction to the trilogy here).  If possible, I think I enjoyed The Crown of Embers (watch Rae Carson discuss the book here) even more than The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  Elisa continues to become a strong and confident character despite all of the obstacles she faces.

As The Crown of Embers begins, we see Elisa continuing to attempt her attempts at bringing Joya d'Arena back to its glory.  She learns that this may be more of a challenge than she originally expected.  Rumor has it that her late husband's ruling style was weak at best.  Also, it seems as though some members of the council are conspiring against her.  As if that weren't enough, spies may have also infiltrated her circle as well.  Being a young, foreign queen is tough stuff.

Also, Elisa learns that her service as the godstone bearer has probably not been fulfilled.  She learns of a quest that she knows she must complete.  She is convinced that accomplishing this task will prove she is a worthy leader, complete her service as the bearer, and unite her country. 

It was an amazing adventure.  To add to all of the excitement of the quest there is also Hector.  Ahhh, Hector.  His relationship with Elisa becomes even more complicated.  I mean, how long could Hector go on being absolutely perfect before Elisa took notice?

This one ends as quite a cliffhanger.  I really look forward to the final installment of the trilogy.  Elisa is a character that I hope gets everything she wants in the end.  I guess we'll see.

I am hoping for another novella that will give us insight into other characters like Shadow Cats did. Since the third book, The Bitter Kingdom, isn't available until fall of next year, I will need more of this magical world before then!   I absolutely encourage you to read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Shadow Cats, and The Crown of Embers.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blood Wounds

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer caught me totally by surprise.  Truly.  I really thought I saw where this book was going early on, but no, no, no.  I could never have anticipated where this story would take me.  Let me explain.

As the story begins we meet Willa.  Willa lives with her mother, step-father, and two step-sisters.  Willa knows how lucky she is that she and her mother have found Jack and his daughters because their life is quite comfortable with them.  However, as it turns out, Willa isn't as happy as she thinks she ought to be.  Willa is a cutter.  So, from that bit of information, I thought I knew this book would be about her descent into depression, therapy, and rehabilitation.  But, I couldn't have been more wrong.

The comfortable existence is rocked to the core when a call from Willa's mothers oldest friend brings some shocking news.  It seems that the father Willa never knew who remained in Texas after Willa and her mother left years ago has committed an unbelievable crime.  He has brutally murdered his current wife and two of their three daughters.  Ummm, can you say unexpected?  I thought my mind would be blown off at this point!

As the rest of the story unfolds, Willa must decide how she will deal with the unbelievable truth about the family she never really knew she had.  Willa has to confront her own fears and acknowledge the imperfections she has been trying to overcome.

This is a page turner!  I couldn't sleep while reading it;  I simply couldn't stop thinking about the book.  Clear a day from your schedule and snuggle up with this book.  Lock the door though;  it's creepy!

Susan Beth Pfeffer also wrote the Last Survivors series.  Check out my review here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beautiful Redemption

Spoiler Alert!  But seriously, if you haven't read this series, you are at risk of being culturally deprived!

I have such bittersweet feelings about the dramatic conclusion to the Caster Chronicles.  I've spent the last few years loving them, waiting for them, reading them, and loaning them.  Now, I will look forward to seeing the movies brought to the big screen and rereading them.  Beautiful Redemption (watch the trailer here) is absolutely breathtaking.  Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia are so gifted in their abilities to create a beautiful world that is so hauntingly appealing, yet fearful.  I sit in awe of them. 

Beautiful Redemption picks up after the breathtaking (seriously, I thought I would choke) end of Beautiful Chaos.  After his decent from the Gatlin County water tower, Ethan is fairly surprised to wake up.  As you may expect, it isn't the normal awakening though.  Ethan wakes up on the other side, where his mother is waiting for him.  I really love this part.  Finding out about his mother has always been so important to Ethan (and me as a reader), that I delighted in the opportunity to spend time with her character.  At seventeen, Ethan isn't ready to commit to his death.  Luckily, there are people who are willing to help him.

As Ethan begins his quest to retake his life, he learns he must also get help from the living world.  In order to do this, he must learn how to gain the attention of Amma and Lena.  This is tough since he can't kelt, speak, write, or touch them.  But, Ethan didn't grow up with Amma without learning a few tricks.
Of course the Dark Casters must stand in the way.  But there are a few surprises in who is able to actually stand in the way and who is able to offer assistance.  Oh my, my, my.
I absolutely with my whole being love this series.  This weekend I traveled to YALLFest, where I was excited to be up close and personal with both Margaret and Kami.  These two women are phenomenal.  I even had a chance meeting with Margaret Stohl.  That's right, be jealous.  The day prior to the festival, my friend and I decided to investigate the venues so we could properly plan our attack the next day.  While doing this, Margaret came into the Charleston Music Hall, introduced herself, invited us to the screening session, and thanked us for coming.  My heart filled with happiness.  Oh, and the screening session I mentioned was a special sneak peek of the movie, which will never be available online and was only previously screened at Comic Con.  I am one of the luckiest girls in the world!  (Notice those front row style pictures taken by yours truly!  Be jealous some more!)

If you haven't read the rest of the books and are interested, learn about them in my previous reviews Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful DarknessBeautiful Chaos, and Dream Dark (Link's story).

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I have one word for Revolver.  Unexpected.  Seriously, I really didn't see the end coming.  Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (watch Sedgwick read the first chapter here), a Printz honor book,  is a fast paced read that certainly caught the attention of this reader. 

Revolver tells the story of Sig Andersson, who is 15 and lives in an old cabin in the Arctic Circle.  Sig resides here with his step-mother, sister, and father.  However, the problems begin when his father stepped through a weak spot in the ice and unfortunately died.  Now, Sig is alone with the corpse after his step-mother and sister have gone for help.  As if being alone with the corpse of his father weren't bad enough, now a mysterious stranger, Wolff,  has appeared on the scene.

This is no ordinary stranger.  This man claims to be connected with Sig's father.  He claims that Sig's father owes him money, but since he is no longer able to pay, he will collect from Sig.  This is certainly new to Sig, as is the news that his father could have been involved with this nefarious man. 

Thank goodness, Sig's father taught him how to use his prized revolver.  It's as if Sig had always been trained for the moment Wolff might show up.  Now, Sig is faced with the determining how to best rid himself of the stranger.  Will he shoot?  Will he survive? 

Although this may not be the best reason to recommend a book, I'll divulge this anyway.  This book is pretty short and extremely fast paced.  The chapters are short, which always helps me read faster.  It is the type of book you could probably read in a day.  Because of this, I know several reluctant readers (as well as some who aren't) I'd like to loan this book.  Well played, Sedgwick, well played.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

13 Little Blue Envelopes

I have absolutely no idea why I waited so long to read this book.  Foolishness.  Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes (watch the trailer here) is a really fun read that I would recommend to lots of ladies out there. 

This story is a quest for self discovery as much as it is for finding out the clues of Ginny's aunt's death.  Ginny's free spirited Aunt Peg left Ginny a collection of 13 little blue envelopes to be opened in sequence after her death.  Ginny was to follow the directions enclosed in each envelope before opening the next.  The first included directions for going to London to start the adventure.

As Ginny traveled all over Europe following directions and opening envelopes, she learned about her aunt.  She discovered people who had made an impact on Peg's life, places Peg had lived, and the things that comforted Peg as she became increasingly sick.

There were times in this book that I was so jealous of Ginny.  The adventure she was on was simply amazing.  But, there were other times that I thought I would never be able to be happy following the rules Peg laid out for Ginny.  However, those rules helped the trip guide Ginny to a new understanding of herself.

One giant problem does interrupt the completion of the journey.  The last blue envelope is stolen while Ginny is in Greece.  Unexpected.  Resolution?  Thankfully, this twist allows for the second book, The Last Little Blue Envelope, which I am certainly putting on my to read list.  I've also read a couple other books by Maureen Johnson and really liked them.  You can check out those reviews here: Name of the Star and Devilish.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


YALLFEST 2012Last year during the weekend of November 9, I was lucky enough to travel to Louisville, Kentucky with some great friends and present at the National Middle School Conference.  But, this year I will be even luckier on that weekend.  I will be attending YALLFest in Charleston, South Carolina.  Be jealous! 

YALLFest, Charleston Young Adult Book Festival, is held on the historic King Street downtown Charleston.  Ahhhhh, it's so beautiful there.  Even though I visit Charleston every year, I am always ready to return!

The 2012 festival will include 44 (or even more) young adult authors (check out the author list).  Some of those include Kimberly Derting, Melissa De La Cruz, Elizabeth Eulberg, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl just to name a few.  Ok, just to name a few of my favorites.  Obviously, there are lots of other great authors attending also.  I have made a goal to read as many of the YALLFest authors as possible before I go.  An awesome part of that goal is that several of those authors were already on my to read list.  I think that speaks to the amazingness of the festival.

If you too would like to begin your journey through the YALLFest list, please check out some of the reviews I've done to help find yourself a starting point.
Body Finder and Desires of the Dead
Blue Bloods Series
Prom and Prejudice
Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness
Dream Dark
Beautiful Chaos
The Selection
Take a Bow
If I Stay
The Last Echo

Visit the YallFest website to learn more and plan your trip.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Goddess Hunt

As I continue my foray into the Underworld, I once again visited the Goddess Test series and read The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter.  The Goddess Hunt is a between one and two novella available in ebook.  I am a sucker for those.  Seriously, I haven't met one I don't like.  The Goddess Hunt certainly helped me continue my love affair with the novella (and the Underworld!).

In The Goddess Hunt, Kate Winters is on her six month vacation from the Underworld.  Not surprisingly, she has chosen to go to Greece.  Also, she has chosen to take her friend James with her.  This is a bit tricky.  While James is a great friend, he as Hermes, stood to inherit the throne from Henry, or Hades, if Kate had not passed the test.  I'm not completely convinced he's as true blue as Kate seems to be, but Kate hasn't asked me yet.

While in Greece, Kate and James come upon the runaway twins Castor and Pollux.  While this seems like a huge coincidence, as you may have guessed, it that isn't.  While getting to know Castor and Pollux, Kate begins to sympathize with their cause.  She becomes determine to help them.

Kate's determination leads her to be very frank with Zeus and other members of the Council. That may not have been Kate's wisest move.  Despite Kate being the new Queen of the Underworld, she seems to have lots to learn about her place in this new world. 

And, well, she misses Henry.  That's sweet.  You never see Hades portrayed as a lovable type of guy.  I like it.  That's just one thing that keeps me coming back to these books.  I eagerly await my opportunity to read book two, Goddess Interrupted.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I've found myself in a mythology mood as of late.  I've read and loved Underworld (read my review), The Goddess Test (read my review), and Everneath (watch the trailer here) in the last six months.  All three are variations on the Greeks' take on the Underworld.  They're all very different, and they are all awesome.  My most recent float down the River Styx was via Everneath
(Read the first six chapters here) by Brodi Ashton.   And, I've got to say it left me with this question, "When can I read the next book?"  Allow me to explain!

In Everneath, Nikki Beckett finds herself in a situation like basically no one else.  She actually vanished from her life for six months and took part in The Feed (mortals fueling the immortals) in a version of the underworld known as the Everneath.  Nikki was drawn into the Everneath by a smoking hot immortal named Cole.  Now, Nikki has returned back to her old life before she must stay in the Everneath forever.

It's hard for Nikki to fit into the life she left.  The mystery of her disappearance is hard for people to understand and even harder for her to explain.  But, Nikki is determined to make things right with her boyfriend Jack.  Even though Nikki was not supposed to be able to remember her own life while she was in the everneath, Jack never left her thoughts.

Now, Nikki finds herself in a race against time to reconcile with Jack and resign herself to being a part of the Everneath forever.  She desperately wants to stay with Jack, but is that possible?  Also, Nikki shouldn't have survived the Feed, but she did.  How?  And who is this mysterious group, the Daughters of Persephone?

Oh man, the questions left at the end of this one are pretty intense.  Luckily, lovers of Everneath don't have long to wait.  Everbound will be available January of 2013.  So, give it a try.  You won't be sorry.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The False Prince

So, there is a boy in one of my classes who reads all the time.  I desperately want to be able to recommend books to him when he asks.  Alas, he's read every boy friendly book I have.  But, I've got a new book to put in his hands now.  I think he'll love it, and I did too.

Jennifer A. Nielsen's (visit her site) False Prince (watch the trailer here) is awesome.  In the book, Conner, one of the twenty regents in King Eckbert's court, is plotting to take over the abandoned throne of Carthya.  He's not going to take it himself directly, he plans to train someone to pose as the long lost Prince Jaron. 

The search for Prince Jaron is sparked by the rumor that the entire royal family has been killed.  While all of Carthya suspects this rumor, Conner as a regent knows of this rumor's truth.  So, he formulates a plan.  He will comb the orphanages of Carthya in search of Jaron candidates, boys who are the right age and look like Jaron.  His search revealed four potential princes, three of  whom went to Connor's home and received training in the ways of royalty.  The three boys were distinctly different.  There was the brawny Roden, the brainy Tobias, and then there was Sage.  Sage had a way of upsetting just about anyone.  He was headstrong, argumentative, and mischievous.  Everything the young prince was known to have been. 

As you might imagine, Conner has lots of trouble keeping the boys in line.  For, they know one will be chosen and the other three will be killed.  This book certainly puts forth many unexpected twists and treacherous turns. 

This book is the first in The Ascendance Trilogy.  The second installment is entitled The Runaway King.  I for one am excited about it.  The end of The False Prince indicated that "war is coming."  I prefer to read that the way Ned Stark from The Game of Thrones might say "winter is coming".  Obviously, this will be awesome!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Viola in Reel Life

Once upon a time, I used to read books for adults.  It's true.  And, on the rare occasion, I still do.  Surprising, I know.  But, in those days I read the Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani, and I really loved them.  Now, the same friend who loaned me the Big Stone Gap books also let me know about Trigiani's young adult book, Viola in Reel Life.  In my opinion, it's clear that Trigiani knows how to reach an audience of any age!

In Viola in Reel Life, Viola Chesterton, who is fourteen, loves to be behind her camera.  As the daughter of documentary filmmakers, Viola intends to also make movies.  She keeps a video diary, loves using her computer to edit her footage, and has a BFFAA named Andrew, who also is into film making.

But, when Viola moves from the fast paced life of Brooklyn, New York to an all girls boarding school called Prefect Academy in South Bend, Indiana, she's not thrilled.  Viola is to spend one year at Prefect Academy while her parents are in Afghanistan filming an upcoming documentary.  Prefect is the chosen location since Viola's mother also attended this hallowed hall of learning.  Viola, well, she's pretty determined not to be happy.  She requested a single room, but that didn't work out either.  So, she's stuck in a quad.

As you may have guessed, the girls in the quad and Prefect begin to wear down Viola's tough Brooklyn ways.  Viola learns a lot her freshman year.  She makes her first film, has her first boyfriend, and experiences a different life than she's ever known.

This is a great feel-good read.  I really like how the girls leaned on each other to deal with obstacles, many of which were pretty unexpected.  Be sure to visit Harper Teen's Viola in Reel Life page for fun stuff like quizzes and deleted scenes from the books.  I am looking forward to reading Viola in the Spotlight as well. Plus, I too like to wear a pair of bright yellow flats.   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Goddess Test

Talk about books with unexpected twists and turns, and you've got to mention The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.  If you think you've heard every take on mythology out there, I think this one would still surprise you.

In The Goddess Test, Kate Winters has moved to Eden, her mother's small town childhood home, because this is her mother's dying wish.  Kate's mother, Diana, is suffering from cancer, and her time is growing short.  Diana and Kate have always been together, each relying on the other for everything.  Young Kate has given up nearly all normalcy of life to care for her ailing mother. 

However, when the two return to Eden, Diana insists Kate take part in normal life.  She should attend the local high school, and she should make some friends.  Kate does her best to do this.  She makes an impression on a few of the locals and catches the eye of jealous, teen queen, Ava.  When Kate heads out to a party with Ava one evening, everything changes.

Ava dies in an accident that night.  However, she is brought back by the mysterious Henry if Kate will agree to grant him the condition of his choice.  Of course she does.  However, the twist comes in when Henry actually turns out to be the Greek god, Hades.  Unexpected!  Just as in the myth of Hades and Persephone, Henry requests that Kate be willing to spend the six cool months of the year with him.  But, in order to keep this arrangement, Kate must pass a series of tests.  If Kate can do this, she will be granted immortality, be able to see her mother in her pre-illness condition, and spend half of the rest of her existence with Henry.

At first Kate is overwhelmed and feels trapped, but oh how things begin to change.  There are so many unexpected twists to the plot of this story.  I absolutely loved reading it.  I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.  The next book Goddess Interrupted is available now.  There is novella called "The Goddess Hunt" which happens between the first two books and another called the "The Goddess Legacy" which is between the second and third, and is collection of short stories told from the point of view of a variety of characters in the series.  I am sure these will be great too.  This one is certainly worth your time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shatter Me

Shatter Me (watch the trailer here)  by Tahereh Mafi had me reeling from the first chapter.  It simply took off and didn't slow down, even at the end.  I was completely sucked into the world where Juliette exists, even though it seems like a horrible place.  Oh, dystopia, you know how to pull me right in!

Shatter Me (read the first chapter here) tells the horrific story of seventeen year old Juliette Ferrars who had been incarcerated for murder.  This isn't your normal prison/prisoner situation.  This is a prison run by the Reestablishment- the cruel government attempting to regulate a world where food is hard to find, birds no longer fly, the weather is unpredictable, and diseases ravage the population.  But murder?  She seems so kind.  Her ability to harm others comes simply through contact with her skin.  Isn't that crazy?  Touching Juliette causes excruciating pain, and if done long enough, can cause death. 

As you can imagine, it was hard growing up this way.  Juliette's parents could not understand her and her powerful touch.  There lack of understanding really translated into a lack of love.  So, Juliette was taught she was unlovable and to avoid human contact at all cost.  That wouldn't cause any way.  So, finding herself in solitary confinement in a Reestablishment prison is just what Juliette thinks she deserves.  Her life continued upon this miserable existence until the day her solitude was shattered by the arrival of a cellmate, who is shockingly a boy.  Unexpected. 

Even more unexpectedly, Juliette knows him.  She recognizes him from elementary school years ago.  But, she can't find it within herself to reach out to him.  For friendship.  She would never reach out to him physically.  Juliette is absolutely terrified of touching a person for fear of hurting them. 

But, even this is not the biggest surprise.  It seems as though the Reestablishment, or at least the son of the Reestablishment's leader wants to harness Juliette's powers and exploit them.  Warner is obsessed, to say the very least with Juliette.  After having studied her endlessly, Warner finally lets Juliette in on his demented plan of making her an instrument of torture for the Reestablishment.  As you might have guessed, Juliette is mortified.  But, what can she do?  Is the boy from her past the key to a new future?  Is Warner completely insane?  Does Juliette have more to offer than her touch?  Oh my, my, my. 

I've got to tell you, I have so many questions after having finished this book.  I am thrilled that it will be a trilogy, and there will be an enovella from Warner's point of view called Destroy Me released in October 16.  By now, I think everyone knows how I feel about novellas!  I absolutely can't wait to get inside Warner's twisted head!  The second book, Unravel Me is due out in February of 2013 and the third, yet untitled book is due out in the fall of 2013. 

*I would reccomend this book to older teens.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story

Warning: Divergent and Insurgent spoilers

I've told you how much I am loving the short stories that are coming between books in a series lately.  My love affair with these short stories continues with "Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story" where Veronica Roth graciously allows us inside the head of Tobias "Four" Eaton.  The scene during the Dauntless initiation told from Four's point of view is perfect.

While Divergent is told from the perspective of Triss Prior, readers are definitely left with lots of questions about Four.  It would certainly have seemed that Four was the perfect example of the Dauntless faction.  Understanding his life before he became one of the fearless is absolutely required to really get him as a character.  I for one was extremely surprised to learn he considered leaving the Dauntless.  That was a pretty mind blowing revelation!

Also, I'm really interested in the life of the Factionless.  There's something about them that intrigues me, but I just can't seem to place much trust in them.  Strange...

Ahh, reading "Free Four" makes me even more eager to read the final installment of the Divergent trilogy expected to be out in September of 2013.  However, there is quite a bit of buzz about the Divergent movie.  Check it out here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wentworth Hall

Recently, several of my coworkers and I found ourselves adicted to the world of Downton Abbey.  OK, so, I may have been leading the charge.  But, I consider this time well spent.  There is so much cultural development one can make at the Abbey.  I am clearly a more sophisticated person for having donated my life to this show.  Our lives are markedly better, except now we are all insane with the anticipation of the next season.  Lucky for me, one of my fellow Downton lovers found Wentworth Hall (read an excerpt here) by Abby GrahameWentworth Hall is the answer to Downton Abbey for the younger set.  Even its cover says, "And you thought there were secrets at the Abbey."  Boy, was that cover correct!

Wentworth Hall features the Darlington family, Maggie, Lila, Wesley, young James, and their parents, as well as the staff of servants.  Unfortunately, the Darlington's have fallen upon hard times and the oppulent Wentworth Hall is not what it once was.  Lord and Lady Darlington creatively plot ways to garner a profitable marriage for Maggie in hopes of helping the family's current economic status, but after Maggie returned from an extended stay in France, she doesn't seem interested in making a match with any of the potential suitors.

Just after Maggie's return, two houseguests arrive.  Teddy and Jessica are the children of one of Lord Darlington's recently deceased and newly rich friends.  Teddy and Jessica eagerly await their eighteenth birthday (the time when they will receive their inheritance) under the roof of Wentworth Hall.  Seems as though Teddy and Maggie could make a fantastic match...

I like to imagine Cousin Matthew reading the
Worthless Coulum.
And, then there are the servants.  Therese is the French nanny who is new on the scene.  Therese tends to baby James, the unexpected late in life son of Lord and Lady Darlington.  There is something familiar about her that no one can quite put a finger on.  Nora is the hand maid of the young Darlington's.  She dreams of leaving service to open a tea room.  And, of coure there is Michael, who appears only to have eyes for the lovely Maggie Darlington.  Oh, my!

As if there weren't enough drama.  A new column has began runing in the local paper.  This satire details all the intimate secrets of the Darlington family under the thinly veiled name of Worthless Hall.  It's scandalous.

This is quite a fun read.  And, if you, like I, eagerly await the arrival of Downton Abbey's season three, Wentworth Hall is a great substitute.  I love a great historical fiction book.  Also, even though this may seem a bit silly, I like it because it is a stand alone novel.  There was a nice resolution at the end, and I don't have to add another thing to wait for to my list.  Give it a try. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I have a silly confession to make.  I actually put off reading Insurgent  by Veronica Roth (watch the trailer here) because I wanted to read it so much.  Completely goofy logic, right?  Well, you see, I know how completely tortured I was when I read Divergent (read my review here) and thought if I could only resist Insurgent a while, I wouldn't have to wait so long for the third.  So, as you can see I was able to hold out a whopping eight weeks.  Yep, that will make a huge difference in my wait time. 

Insurgent certainly did not disappoint.  The second in the Divergent series, picks up after the shocking end of Divergent, when the Dauntless faction discovers they have been used in a simulation by the Erudite faction to murder lots of innocent people.  No big deal, of course. 

Once again Triss finds herself of great use to her faction at great risk to herself. As her relationship with Four grows in this book, it is also strained by their different views and willingness to be completely honest with each other.  We even get to see much more of Marcus Eaton, who is Four's father.  By the way, Four goes by his given name of Tobias in this book.  This is because our narrator Triss, has gotten to know him better; calling him by his real name  is a sign of how close they have grown.  Also, I must tell you that even though I know Four is much to young to actually be pictured this way, but Four is in my mind Adam Levine.  Wouldn't he perfectly play the part?  Oh, I think so.  If the real world had factions, I am absolutely certain Mr. Levine would be Dauntless.

Complete Dauntless
In Divergent, we saw Triss's divergence as a closely guarded secret.  We gain insight as to why this was in Insurgent.  We also see just how dangerous being a Divergent could be.  As the Erudite, sought to control everyone those who were Divergent posed a problem.  As it turns out, being Divergent might not be as uncommon as Triss thought.

As I suspected, I am not dying for the next book in the series.  It will be released in the fall of next year.  As of yet, no official title has been released, but Roth jokingly calls it Detergent.  That's pretty darn funny.  Until then I wait.  I look forward to see what lies beyond the fence.  It is going to be a long year.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Shadow Cats"- A Girl of Fire and Thorns Story

I don't always jump on board with every fad, but the new movement of short stories between books in a series is one I am whole heartedly standing by.  I mean what could be better than not only continuing a story you love, but also getting it from a different character's point of view.  This, my friends, is genius. 

"Shadow Cats" by Rae Carson is the most recent novelette I have read.  And, I absolutely loved it.  "Shadow Cats" tells the story of Elisa's sister, Alodia and is  a prequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  Now I've got to tell you, when I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I didn't like Alodia very much.  Maybe I just really felt sorry for poor Elisa, or maybe Alodia is a little snotty.  I don't know.  I just didn't like her very much.  But, "Shadow Cats" Rae Carson really knew how to to pull me back around so I love both sisters equally.  Well played, Carson.

In "Shadow Cats" Alodia takes center stage, and readers see her strength, courage, and determination.  We follow her and Elisa travel to attend a wedding of an acquaintance of their father.  Unexpectedly, when they arrive the girls see a land that seems to be suffering from a drought.  However, normal rain patterns exist.  No food is growing; no flowers bloom.  The natives begin to blame the newly arrived bride to be.  This isn't good for anyone.  As if that weren't enough, a bizarrely fierce jaguar terrorizes the land. 

Well, as you may have guessed it, Alodia takes matters in her own hands in order to save the land and help make a name for herself as a princess who was born to rule.  I for one am convinced.  Alodia is an amazingly strong person in all the ways her sister is not.  It is so amazing how completely different these girls are, but they are both so strong and perfectly suited to rule. 

Please read both The Girl of Fire and Thorns if you haven't and then follow up with "Shadow Cats".  "Shadow Cats" is only available as an ebook.  The second book in the trilogy The Crown of Embers will be available September 18.  That is plenty of time! 

Also, if you enjoy the novelette concept as much as I do, check out "Dream Dark", a Beautiful Creatures story, "Hana", a Delirium story.  Also, "Free Four" a Divergent story will be out August 7.  I love it; I really hope this trend continues.  Hint, hint.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Selection

I love books.  Almost everyone I read appeals to me.  But, I've got to say The Selection (watch the trailer here) by Kiera Cass really has my heart.  It's one of those books I've been nearly giddy to write about.  If you've been thinking about reading this one, skip it to the top of your pile and fast.  Seriously.  I love it, for real, for true, forever!  Let me explain.

I can best describe The Selection as a Hunger Games meets The Bachelor set up.  (Are you breathless yet?  You should be.)  America Singer is a sixteen year old girl living in a future version of North America called Illea.  In Illea citizens are ranked by their skills and talents.  Except, these ranking were handed out to families when Illea was formed.  So, you are ranked according to the skills of your great-grandparents, with whom you may not share this skill.  And, moving up casts is advantageous economically, but really difficult.  Most people pretty much remain in the cast in which they were born.  This means some people experience poverty and hunger continually, while others never know or worry about this problem.

This country is ruled by a monarchy.  In this royal family, princesses have arranged marriages with royals in neighboring countries.  But, princes, well, that's where the excitement is.  A prince selects his wife from a pool of thirty-five "daughters of Illea."  This process is called the Selection.  Girls of a certain age complete an application process and submit a photo.  Then the field is narrowed from thousands to thirty-five.  If a girl participates in the Selection, her family is paid for her services to her country and she and potentially her family will be able to move up in the caste system. 

America Singer is a five.  She and her family are artists.  Some are musicians, others produce visual arts.  As a five, America has never known the luxury of, well, anything.  She and her family usually have just enough, but sometimes that is a stretch.  She is uninterested in participating in the Selection as her heart belongs to the dashing Aspen.  Aspen and America have shared a secret love for the past two years.  There are lots of problems with this.  The biggest being that Aspen is a six, a servant.  If America and Aspen were to marry, America would become a six and her life would change.  As a result, Aspen pushes her to apply for the Selection.  Plus, there is also pressure from her mother and the fact that she will be able to help her family if chosen.

As luck would have it, America is selected.  She is now whisked away to live in the glamorous palace, where she and thirty-four other girls are expected to compete for the attention of the handsome prince Maxon.  America isn't really in to this.  She's determined to be here for the money.  But, things begin to change.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh.  I love this book!

The current America! 
Love her from Friday Night Lights!
I cannot encourage you to read this book enough!  If I could send a copy to everyone in the world, I would.  Here are some cool things I know about the book from reading Kiera Cass's website.  First, the next book will be out in the spring of 2013.  As of yet, the exact date hasn't been released, nor has the name.  Crass promises the name will be forthcoming soon.  Also, there is the possibility the series being televised by the CW.  One version of the pilot was shot, but the focus group did not think it quite hit the mark.  The good news there is that the network didn't drop the show, but is reshooting the pilot.  This means that if this time is successful, we might be viewing the show next spring/summer.  Exciting!  I imagine this would be a very beautiful show to watch.  Finally, Cass will be at YALLFest, which you know is also on my "Things I Can't Wait For" List!  I will be waiting on pins and needles for news about the next book and the show. 

Read this!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lost Voices

A couple of years ago, while on a school trip one of my coworkers looked over at me while he was reading the newspaper and said:
     "Hey, you like vampires don't you?"
     So, of course I replied, "Who doesn't?"
     He grinned a little and said, "Well, they will only be cool a few more minutes because mermaids are the next big thing."

Evidently, that article might be right.  Sarah Porter's mermaid tale (pun intended!) Lost Voices (watch the trailer here) is beautiful in so many ways.  In Lost Voices, Sarah creates a world where girls who are living horrible lives reach a breaking point at which they depart from their human forms and morph into mermaids.  Could you imagine feeling the pain or heartbreak of neglect of abuse only to realize you are not drowning, you have actually changed into a beautiful mermaid?  I've got to tell you, I love this twist on why mermaids exist.  I think this concept is very cool and hope it has provided some momentary mental escape for a girl in need.

I can't help but picture Catarina like this!
This world of mermaids is not all Little Mermaid-like however.  When fourteen year old Luce changes into a mermaid, she joins a tribe of mermaids led by the fierce Catarina.  While she is changing, she hears beautiful music only to learn she is the source of that music.  A mermaid's voice is a powerful weapon.  Powerful enough to sink ships, which is exactly what the tribe uses them to do.

The mermaid way of life is to exact revenge on humans for their cruelty by singing ships into disaster.  As in sinking them.  As in murdering all the people on the ship.  Luce isn't on board with this.  She, unlike the other mermaids, isn't able to separate herself from the kindness in her human past and become a murderer.  This, as you might imagine, does not go over very well within the tribe.  But for a girl like Luce, who has never fit in anywhere, it might be worth finding a real home to change her mind.

As Luce struggles to reconcile her feelings, new mermaids join the tribe.  These new additions change the dynamic of the tribe.  Luce must decide whether she can exist in this changing tribe or strike out on her own. 

Waking Storms, the next book of the trilogy, just became available about two weeks ago.  I look forward to learning how this story continues to unfold.  This is certainly one to check out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Last Echo- Body Finder Series

The Last Echo
Warning: This includes Body Finder and Desires of the Dead spoilers.  Read those now to improve your life!  Check out my reviews of those here.

I love the Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting.  Truly.  I will make a somewhat embarrasing confession that on the rare occasion there is a news report of a body being found, I immediately have the assumption that Violet Ambrose must have been on the case.  And then, well, I remember she is a fictional character.  When I remember this, I'm a little sad.  OK, maybe a lot sad.

In The Last Echo, Violet is working with is working with Sarah, Rafe and the others at the Center to investigate what seems to be a serial killer case.  As a part of the team, Violet begins to be a little more comforatble with her gift.  Even though all the people at the Center are able to do something unique, being around them provides a comfort of sort.  However, being part of the team is not without consequence.  Violet comes face to face with death on purpose now instead of it accidently stumbling upon it.  That's different.  That's dangerous.

Dead SilenceBecause of this new danger, Violet reconsiders her place on the team.  The problem is, that may not be her decision to make.  Creepy!  Oh, I cannot wait until the next book, Dead Silence is avaible in April of next year. 

I cannot wait to meet Kimberly Derting at YALLFest.  Check out the amazing lineup for the festival here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Take a Bow

Take a Bow (watch an introduction here) is told from the point of view of four students who attend New York's Creative School for the Arts. Carter is a former child star looking to lead a normal life, except that's not easy when you're a household name. Ethan is a musical genius who makes his own luck...mostly bad luck. Sophie is an amazing singer and has an obsession with fame. Emme is the amazing songwriter who has always supplied her best friend Sophie with beautiful songs to sing.

Each of the narrators is struggling to live up to the pressures of the demanding senior year at CSA. For Ethan and Emme this means spending more time with their band and each other. To Carter this means coming to terms with a truth he knows, but knows others don't want to hear. For Sophie this means realizing her foolproof plan to become a star may have hit some speed bumps.
So cute!

I love the way Eulberg tells this story. Each voice is unique and without needing to look at the chapter titles, the reader knows without a doubt who is speaking. I love the details like Carter's parts looking like a script that make each voice even more authentic.

To make things even more fantastic, Eulberg will be one of the authors taking part in YALLFest 2012. I am truly excited to be attending and hope to visit Eulberg. Give this one a try.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Darker Still

I was blown away by Leanna Renee Hieber's Darker Still (click here to watch the trailer).  This book really has it all: suspense, romance, espionage, magic, and history.  Seriously, this book is a can't miss. 

Natalie Stewart is a seventeen year old girl who lives with her father in New York City in 1880.  After her mother's tragic death when Natalie was four years old, Natalie lost the ability to speak.  Luckily, unlike many girls who are considered "unfortunates" , Natalie's father has chosen to keep her with him in mainstream society and educate her.  As a result of Natalie's father's job at the newly opened Metrapolitan Museum of Art, Natalie is not only well versed in the usual academics, but in fine art as well.  Natalie writes notes and uses sign language to communicate.

As the book opens, Natalie's father is attempting to aquire a painting of an exceptionally handsome young gentleman, Johnathon Whitby, Lord Denbury.  Mystery swirls about the painting, as well as the subject.  You see, no one knows exactly what happened to the young gentleman.  Some say suicide, but other theories circulate too.  The painting itself seems so lifelike people swear the eyes follow them.  Also, there is the part about Denbury being amazingly georgous that tends to attract the ladies.  Even though the Met really wants the painting, Mrs. Evelyn Northe wants it more.  And, as Mrs. Northe commands much respect in New York City, Mr. Stewart finds it in the museum's best interest not to go against Northe's dreams of owning the painting.  But, Stewart hopes to arrange an agreement allowing Northe to loan the painting to the Met.  Such a great compromise!

Borrowed from Hieber's site.  This is how she pictures Denbury!

As he works on plans for the painting, Natalie accompanies her father and meets Mrs. Northe and her niece, Maggie.  Mrs. Northe is immediately taken with Natalie, and Natlie too is drawn to the woman who can understand Natalie's use of sign language (Natalie's own father never learned, shame on him!)  There is certainly more to Mrs. Northe than being a wealthy art collector.  She is also a student of mysticism.  Her understanding of the supernatural world draws her to Natalie, even though Natalie has no knowledge of her own connection to the world of magic.

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When Natalie first views the painting of Denbury, she is mesmarized as are others.  However, each time she sees the painitng something seems to have changed.  As Natalie becomes more aquainted with the painting, she begins to learn of her connection to Denbury.  This connection leads her to world of dangerous and murderous mystery that only she can solve.  I know! 

In addition to the amazing story, I also love how many Shakespeare references Hieber included.  There is also the inspiration from Wilde's Portrait of Dorian Gray...amazing as well.  And, Natalie seems to have such a heart for the less fortunate.  I hope to see her continue to cultivate this as the series continues.  Yes, that's right, I said series.  The next installment, The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart is due out in November of this year.  Put it on your calendar, people!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cleopatra's Moon

Cleopatra's Moon
Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter is a little different than most of the books I read.  I really like historical fiction, but I am usually drawn to books about a time period, not about a specific person.  However, this book is based on the life of Cleopatra Selene, who is the daughter of Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra VII.  This book is absolutely stunning.  It has all the glamour and mystique that draws in the reader, while backing it all up with a truly intriguing historical tale. 

When the books opens, Cleopatra Selene and her brothers Alexandros and "Tolly" living the life in Alexandria.  They live inside the beautiful palace with their adoring parents.  They are surrounded by opulence and love.  However, Octavianus the jealous nephew of Julius Caesar has other ideas.

Eventually, Octavianus takes control of Egypt leading to the demise of Cleopatra Selene's parents and her whole world.  She and her brothers are forced to relocate to Rome and live in the palace of Octavianus- the very man who destroyed their world and their parents.  Can you say uncomfortable?  And, to make matters worse, Octavianus's sister also resides in this palace.  She happens to be the first wife of the children's father.  Marcus left Octavia for Cleopatra.  As you can guess, she's a little bitter.  And, to make matters worse precious little Tolly is a dead ringer for his father.  So, the kids have many strikes against them.

Rome is a dangerous place.  However, Cleopatra Selene is determined not to give up.  Her ultimate goal is to return to Egypt.  Along the way, she meets many people who are committed to helping her.  One is the kind hearted Juba, who was also taken to Rome after the Romans conquered his homeland of Numidia.  The problem is Juba does not seem to have the ability to help Cleopatra Selene return to Egypt.

Cleopatra Selene struggles against her circumstances and her desires to eventually become a true queen.  This book is certainly worth your time.  It tells the story of a neglected historical figure in a beautifully entertaining way.  You can find out more about the life of Cleopatra Selene here.