Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone, Happy New Year! Here's hoping 2012 will be the best year yet! Be safe out there tonight!

Interview with Jennifer L. Armentrout

Hey guys! I am so excited to post this interview with Jennifer L. Armentrout as my first interview ever! Her books, Half-Blood and Obsidian are both out now and are AWESOME!

Question: Obsidian and Half-Blood have very different mythologies. Does it get confusing writing two separate series at once?
Answer: Because the two mythologies are so different, its easy to keep them apart. The characters at times, not so much. So I have to be careful that one character's personality doesn't seep into another character's.

Q: How did you come up with the mythology for Half-Blood? I think that Deity Island is a cool idea. Why did you choose to set most of Half-Blood on an island instead of in a city or town?
A: I picked an island, keeping with the whole Greek thing. So I started looking at places and I wanted something not as well known in the US and found Bald Head Island. Then I just sort of added another island. 

Q: Both Alex from Half-Blood and Katy from Obsidian are from Florida originally. Is that a place that you used to live, or a favorite place to visit
A: My sister lives in Florida, so I try to keep with places I'm familiar with.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for your characters? (Specifically Daemon, Katy, Dee, Alex, and Aiden)
A: That's a hard question. Each of them came into their own for different reasons. I try to always write strong heroines, because I'm not a big fan of the ones who always need to be taken care of or don't develop from needing rescuing to being the rescuer. Katy has a little bit of me in her--her love for books. Alex has a bit of my snarky personality. I like the whole silent and strong type, so that's how Aiden came about. And Daemon? Well, who doesn't love a bad boy? Dee is probably the most like me in real life. I am as hyper and random as her.

Q:  I have to admit, I generally don’t like sci-fi, but I LOVED Obsidian. I like that Daemon and Dee are aliens because they are different from most of the other YA not-human characters. Why did you choose to make Daemon and Dee aliens instead of supernatural creatures?
A: When I started off writing the series, I knew they were going to be aliens and I was going to keep it sci-fi light. Originally, I never planned to write a book about aliens and the whole idea for Obsidian started as a conversation between my editor and me and rolled from there. 

Q: If you could invite one of your characters to dinner, which one would you choose and why?
A: I think it would be Katy, because we'd have more in common. And we could talk about books. Win. Win.

Q: How long have you been writing? Was Half-Blood your first book?
A: Half-Blood wasn't the first full length book I wrote, but it was the first to be published. I've been writing since middle school.

Q: What are some of your favorite books?
A: Oh boy, ready for this? I LOVE the Soul Screamers series, Carrier of the Mark, Touch, Torn, Demon's Trapper's Daughter, Unearthly, Minder Series, Divergent and more, I'm sure. 

Q: Can you tell us about your writing process? Do you outline or just write freely?
A: I write freely with very little outlining which I think scares my editors. 

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
A: Keep writing. You have to keep writing through the whole process.

Thank you Jennifer for the interview! I look forward to reading Pure and Onyx when they come out. In fact, I'm counting the days until their releases!

To learn more about Jennifer  L. Armentrout, please visit her website

Check out Half-Blood and Obsidian today!

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Bethany Wiggins

Grade: A+

Description from
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.
My thoughts on the book:
This is by far the best novel I've read all year. Maggie Mae is a character that you can't help but fall in love with. From the first page, she is extremely endearing, and you are overcome with the need to know her story. She's a foster child who has been bounced around within the system in Albuquerque, NM. After multiple arrests for indecent exposure, she gets transferred to Mr. Petersen's (her social worker) mother's home in Silver City, NM. Mrs. Carpenter, her new foster mother, is a lovable character as well, and she helps Maggie Mae accept who she is. 
Once in Silver City, Maggie Mae meets Bridger O'Connell, an extremely rich boy of Navajo decent. They get off to a rocky start, but they become fast friends. Bridger comes to her rescue when the mean girls at school tell everyone of her past and say that Maggie Mae used to be a prostitute. Maggie, of course, is not a prostitute, she's just a shifter. The bullying scene where some of her secrets come out, though, is heartbreaking. 
While parts of the novel can cause you to get teary eyed, there are also some funny parts, such as when Maggie tries and fails to change into certain animals, but ends up getting stuck in between being that animal and her human form. There are also some really intense fight scenes and enough mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat. 
The relationship between Bridger and Maggie is believable and develops at a slow, natural pace. There is no insta-love, thankfully, and they become friends before they decide they like each other as anything else. Maggie is not co-dependent. She does not need Bridger to survive, and after all she's been through, she still has a will to live. She is not a self-sacrificing heroine, instead, she looks out for those in her life as well as herself to the best of her ability.  She's a fighter, and she's an excellent role  model for girls and women alike. 
My favorite parts of the book are the Navajo legends that are woven into the story. Wiggins treated the Navajo with extreme respect, and she put some very interesting Navajo lore into the story. I really enjoyed the explanations of skinwalkers and the various protection rituals that the Navajo use. She obviously did her research before writing this novel, and it paid off. 
The climax of the novel is a bit shocking, and it will have you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails until you make it through. The ending wraps the novel up nicely, and it feels like Maggie Mae's story is over, but I still hope for a sequel because I loved all of the characters so much that I want to see more of them! 
The romance is sweet, the fight scenes have plenty of action, but aren't graphic, and there is no cursing in the novel. There is also no drinking or drug use by minors. Because of this, I'd recommend this book to anyone 12 years of age or older. 
Shifting is a beautiful story that will keep you hooked until the very end. Be prepared to lose some sleep with this book!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Ten Books of 2011

Hey everyone, and an early Happy New Year to you!

In my opinion, 2011 had some really great releases, but these are my favorite ten of the year. Please let me know what your favorite ten are!

  1. Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
  2. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
  3. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  4. Crave by Melissa Darnell
  5. Die For Me by Amy Plum
  6. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
  7. Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
  8. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
  9. Drink Deep by Chloe Neill
  10. Everlong by Hailey Edwards

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout

Grade: A

Description from

Starting over sucks. 

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. 

And then he opened his mouth. 

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me. 

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

My thoughts on the book:

I absolutely adored this book! The only reason that it got an A instead of an A+ is because it needed better editing. The first time I read it, I didn't even notice the typos and minor inconsistencies. The story was THAT good, but this second time, I noticed them. I don't blame Armentrout for this, it was probably sloppy editing from the publishing company. However, it does detract from the story, and what a story it is.

I normally detest sci-fi books, movies, TV shows, etc., but Armentrout built a world that I can totally relate to and love. The novel itself reads more like a paranormal romance, just with aliens in the place of werewolves, angels, or vampires. The story is quick-moving, and I read it all in one sitting. 

Katy, the protagonist/heroine, who is also a book blogger, has just moved to West Virginia from Florida with her mother the summer before her senior year. They moved because her father died of brain cancer three years ago, and her mother is still running away from the pain. She is sarcastic, funny, and easy to relate to. Once she gets to West Virginia, poor Katy just can't stay out of trouble, and Daemon (her super hot next door neighbor) has to keep saving her. Of course most of her problems are because of Daemon's alien heritage, anyway, and even though Daemon saves her, he is still a jerk to her most of the time. This leads to a lot of sexual tension, and when they finally act on that tension (no sex, just a hot and heavy make out session), it is one of the steamiest scenes I've ever read, which is shocking because this is a young adult book. However, the build up really adds to the budding romance between Katy and Daemon, and while Daemon comes across as a jerk at times, he is also a very endearing character. It's clear that he wants to do what's best for Katy, and he just can't figure out what that is. 

Katy doesn't want Daemon's help though, and she refuses to take his crap, which he likes. Instead of depending on Daemon, like many of the heroines of YA novels do to the heroes, she wants to take care of herself and not become a liability to him and his sister (and Katy's BFF) Dee. Because of her stubborn streak, Katy gets into more trouble than she would have gotten into if her pride hadn't gotten in the way so many times, but her problems make the book that much more interesting. She's always trying to antagonize Daemon and prove that she can get along fine without him, but she can't. Not anymore because she got involved in something she knew nothing about and isn't able to protect herself because she's a weak human.That doesn't keep her from trying, though, and she at least earns the respect of Daemon and Dee (and a couple of other aliens) through her loyal (though sometimes stupid) actions. 

Dee is another character that really makes this book stand out. She is one of those characters that you just have to love, and even though she is so alive, her exuberant personality doesn't detract from Katy's personality at all. Each character has his or her own quirks and personality traits, and none of them are boring. Dee is hyperactive and super sweet and caring, and she is a terrific friend to Katy. Since the story is told from a first person POV (Katy's), it is impossible not to love Dee as much as Katy does. 

The characters and story are fantastic, and Armentrout is a wonderful writer. However, because of some language and heavy make out scenes, I'd recommend this book to people who are 14 years of age or older. That being said, Obsidian is one of the best novels I've read all year. I cannot wait for the sequel. Don't miss this out-of-this-world roller coaster ride! 

Want to try Obsidian for yourself? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill

Grade: A

Description from

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong

Grade: A+

Description from Goodreads
Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She's also a werewolf.
Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel.

My thoughts on the book:
I LOVE this book! I have read and re-read this novel at least 10 times. 
Bitten follows Elena Michaels through her journey of accepting her werewolf bite. She was changed into a werewolf without knowledge of what was happening, and she has been trying to deal with it ever since. The novel begins with Elena trying to live in the normal world, even though she is far from normal. A call from Jeremy, the Pack's alpha, calls Elena back to where her life fell apart - Syracuse, NY. 
Bitten is written in first person narration from Elena's point of view, so the reader is taken through all of her emotions firsthand. Armstrong details the change, and the pain that it causes in a way that no other author has ever done. Elena takes us through the bone breaking and reshaping, and it's impossible not to feel sympathy for her, especially since she never chose this life. 
When Elena returns to Syracuse, my favorite werewolf or all-time, Clay Danvers, is waiting on her. Her relationship with Clay is volatile at best, and her anger at him is almost tangible. Nonetheless, it is clear that Elena has some deep feelings for Clay other than just anger and hatred, and as the novel progresses, her feelings become more and more apparent. Elena seems at home with the werewolf pack, and they all treat her like the younger sister they never had. Armstrong does an excellent job of explaining what makes werewolf society different from human society, and the reader finds herself feeling comfortable among the werewolves as well. 
Elena has a lot of character growth throughout the novel, and while she starts out being a likable character who is easy to relate to, by the end of the novel, she has grown into a kick-ass heroine who is comfortable in her own skin... or skins, since she's a shapeshifter. Bitten  will take you on a ride of a lifetime, and you do not want to miss out! If you haven't checked out Kelley Armstrong's the Women of the Otherworld series already, I suggest you do so immediately. You NEED to read this book!
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Firespell by Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill

Grade: B+                                                                     

Description from Chloe Neill's website.                                         

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker    thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.
The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.
Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…
My thoughts on the book:
Firespell by Chloe Neill is a good start to the Dark Elite series. I have read all of the Chicagoland Vampire books by Ms. Neill, and I was curious to see how her YA books stood up next to the adult books, and I wasn't disappointed. While it doesn't move as fast as I would have liked for it to, it does do a good job laying groundwork for a new series. The novel also introduces Lily Parker and her friends, who are all very well-rounded characters. Lily is the type of girl that everyone can relate to, especially young adults. Because of this, the first person narration works perfectly. 
Lily's parents go to Germany for a sabbatical, and they force Lily to enroll in St. Sophia's School for Girls in Chicago. Lily, an Upstate New York native is none too happy about the change in the beginning. Neill does an excellent job using Chicago as a backdrop, and as a former Chicago resident, I can picture exactly where St. Sophia's would be in the city. As with the Chicagoland Vampire series, Chicago is almost a character unto itself. The city feels very alive in real life, and I feel that the way Neill makes it seem like its own character does it justice. Very few authors could pull that off, but the city is an important aspect of the story, as it should be. One of my favorite parts of the book is the fact that she uses the old Pedway as a setting.
There isn't a lot of magic in the book, and there is absolutely no violence to speak of. A couple of semi-violent spells are cast, but past that, there is nothing violent about it. That surprised me because even YA paranormal books generally have at least some violence. However, I think that the lack of violence is somewhat refreshing, even though I was hoping for at least one fight scene to spice things up a bit. 
Lily has a love interest in the book, but the almost-relationship progresses slowly. I prefer the slow building relationship to the insta-love that is common in so many YA books today. There is an almost-kiss in the novel, but beyond that, nothing romantic really happens. Lily flirts with the guy she's interested in, and he flirts with her, but it's not some all-consuming love that can't be controlled. The fact that the relationship is taking its natural course makes the entire novel much more believable. 
Lily's best friend Scout is a great addition to the story. She is funny and sarcastic. She reminds me of a true Chicagoan. I really enjoy her banter with Lily. 
Of course there are mean girls in the novel. What YA novel would be complete without mean girls at the school? However, the heroine does handle the pranks rather well, which makes her a good role model, in my opinion. 
Over all I enjoyed the book, and I am currently reading Hexbound, which is the next novel in the series. I will post my review of it once I'm finished. 
Have a Happy Holiday, everyone!
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Lauren Kate

Grade: C

Description from Lauren Kate's website

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

My thoughts on the book:
After having Fallen recommended to me by several friends, I decided to give it a try. The cover is obviously gorgeous, and the story sounded interesting, and it was. The two main characters, however, were not. 
Luce starts off promising. She is entering a new world at her boarding school, and she is trying to adapt as best she can. Then she sees Daniel, and her personality goes down hill from there. She quickly becomes obsessed with Daniel (think Bella Swan obsessed), and after staring at him for over 300 pages, they finally interact. Boom, she's a goner. She loves him more than anything. She lives and breathes for Daniel. With the past life connections, that could at least be believable, but the fact that they don't interact at all, other than Daniel giving Luce rude gestures and running away , and Luce acting like a creepy stalker, makes it seem a little far-fetched. Besides, who could love Daniel anyway? He's boring. Daniel is vanilla ice cream without the vanilla beans! He's THAT boring!
The secondary characters, however, are wonderful. Cam is my absolute favorite, and I feel that Kate put more effort and thought into him than she did Daniel. Arriane is also a unique and interesting character. Penn is a likable character, and she has her quirks, as well. Gabbe, on the other hand, is a bit cookie cutter for my taste. I think that if Kate had put half the thought into Daniel that she put into Cam, then the novel would have been about 1,000 times better. 
Another thing that I really enjoyed about this novel was all of the references to Paradise Lost. As a lit dork, I loved the direct and indirect references to that novel, and they were put in very strategic and interesting places. On that front, I have to applaud Kate. The allegories were done very well. 
While I did enjoy quite a few things from the novel, many things, other than Daniel and Luce, bugged me. For example, the "big reveal" doesn't come until about 350 pages into the book, and when it comes, it doesn't reveal much of anything that I hadn't already figured out in the prologue or by the hints dropped by Kate. This book moved painfully slow, and if it wasn't for Kate's eloquent writing, I doubt I would have finished it. 
Another thing that bothered me was the fact that I was left with more questions than answers at the end of this book. There was a bit of a cliff hanger, but nothing was tied up... nothing! Usually a few questions are answered at the end of the book, leaving other questions to be answered as the series progresses. But Fallen left me really confused as to what the purpose of this whole novel was. It was over 400 pages total, and not a single question was answered. To me, that screams bad planning. 
Even though I wasn't blown away by this book, I am continuing the series because I simply LOVE Cam! Once I finish Torment, I'll let you guys know what I think of it.  
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Welcome fellow bibliophiles!

Hey guys, I hope everyone is doing well. I'm going to start my review with a novel I have recently re-read.

Courtney Allison Moulton

Grade: A

Description from

First there are nightmares. 

Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her. 

Then come the memories. 
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream. 

Now she must hunt. 
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

My thoughts on the novel:
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton is an incredible debut novel that sets up what is sure to be an exciting series. Ellie, our heroine, is a well-adjusted, financially well-off teenager... or so she thinks. Once her power is awakened, strange things begin happening to Ellie, and poor Marshmallow (her car) always seems to catch the crap end of her battles with the reapers. Her mother is incredibly supportive and very rational. She's the kind of mother that every teenager wants, but no teenager has. Her father, however, is a nightmare.

Ellie's friends are believable and funny, and even though they have no idea what is going on with her, they still try to be supportive. Kate and Ellie's friendship is displayed wonderfully throughout the novel, but even though Kate has been Ellie's best friend since Ellie was born, Will is the only person who really knows her. Will is her protector, and he has been with her for thousands of years. He knows Ellie better than she knows herself, and because of him, she is able to continue her fight to protect humanity.

Angelfire is one of those novels that I lost myself in. I could not put it down either time that I read it. Ellie grows as a character, and by the end of the book, I felt that she was actually comfortable in her own skin. Her relationships with her friends, family, and Will also change over the course of the story, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with them next. While the novel ends nicely, and there are no obvious cliffhangers, there are still some questions left unanswered.  Throughout the whole book, there were hints that something is amiss with Ellie's father, but that question wasn't answered in Angelfire. I hope that it's answered in Wings of the Wicked, which is due out on January 31, 2012.

Like my review? Want to read Ellie's adventure for yourself?

Purchase Angelfire today! Print Kindle E-Book

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