Monday, December 31, 2012

HOOKED by Liz Fichera

Liz Fichera

Rating: C+
Release Date: 01/29/13
Get hooked on a girl named Fred... 

HE said: Fred Oday is a girl? Why is a girl taking my best friends spot on the boy's varsity golf team?

SHE said: Can I seriously do this? Can I join the boys' team? Everyone will hate me - especially Ryan Berenger.

HE said: Coach expects me to partner with Fred on the green? That is crazy bad. Fred's got to go - especially now that I can't get her out of my head. So not happening.

SHE said: Ryan can be nice, when he's not being a jerk. Like the time he carried my golf bag. But the girl from the rez and the spoiled rich boy from the suburbs? So not happening.

But there's no denying that things are happening as the girl with the killer swing takes on the boy with the killer smile...

My thoughts on the book:
Hooked is an interesting take on the typical contemporary YA love story. Fred was a likable character, and I enjoyed reading from her POV. Ryan was a bit weak for a love interest, but he grew on me as well. The characters developed throughout the novel, and the details of the plot were unique. Also, Fichera did an excellent job of showing some of the problems facing Indian Country today. However, she also exacerbated some colonial ideas. I do not think this was on purpose, but it still needs to be mentioned. Overall, I'd recommend this story to people who like cute YA romances that address social issues such as poverty, child abuse, and racism. 

Fred was a strong character, and she was easy to like, but she didn't grow much throughout the novel. While Ryan evolved into a new person, Fred was fairly static. This could imply that Native peoples are static (if I was reading from a strictly decolonizing lens), which would be problematic. It also could simply be that Fred was already evolved. Either way, she needed to grow more, in my opinion, to remain interesting. Ryan, on the other hand, grew a lot, but I didn't like him much at first. His friend Seth really pissed me off, too. He was a racist piece of crap, and I still have no idea the real reasons behind his actions. I simply know excuses given for him throughout the novel. Some real explanation and condemnation would have been nice.

The polyvocality worked to some extent, but sometimes the voices sounded similar. Also, I felt that Fichera used too many colloquial words. A few years down the road, this is going to read like a book from the 1950s because slang changes quickly. Also, for people who aren't familiar with adolescent slang, some of the sentences didn't make sense. It's always best to avoid slang when possible. 

My main issue with this novel was the fact that Fichera attempted to dispel stereotypes, but at the same time she reinforced them. I was never certain what nation Fred was from. Furthermore, Fichera perpetuated the idea that elders still run around acting like they live in the 1800s. As someone who has worked in Indian Country, I can tell you that the things that went on in this book are not normal practice. Furthermore, she used Cherokee blessings, Navajo words, and Pueblo blessings. This took away tribes' individualized national identities and made them seem homogeneous, when in fact, the 565 federally recognized tribes are extremely different. I felt that this was harmful to the message she was trying to convey. I know that she wanted to address racism and she at least painted most of the Indians in a contemporary context, but she did so in a harmful manner. Furthermore, if they were a casino tribe in Phoenix, AZ, then they should have made decent money from the casino. That would mean that the citizens of the nation would have their college paid for, etc. It wouldn't have been as impoverished as she made it seem. It's like she took everything she'd ever heard about contemporary indigenous peoples and shoved it all together for one tribe. The alcoholism (which is a problem, but not all Indian families have drunks in them), the poverty, and casinos. The tribal elder's "blessings" were the most problematic for me, though. I think they shouldn't even be placed in the book. It simply exoticizes Indians and makes them seem like an ethnic group instead of members of distinct polities. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who like a good love story. However, I caution you not to take anything in this book about Native people seriously. It's problematic and exacerbates settler colonial ideals, which harm ALL indigenous nations. Since it's clear that Fichera had good intentions and at least addressed some stereotypes and dispelled them correctly, I am giving this book the benefit of a doubt. Not all indigenous peoples lived in teepees and none do now. They drive cars and they have dreams and goals, just like the rest of us. They are people and should be treated as such. She did an excellent job with those points. However, the aforementioned issues still remain. If you want a book to reflect what life is really like for contemporary indigenous peoples, might I recommend Thomas King, Sherman Alexie, and Eric Gansworth. For a non-Native perspective that serves as a decolonizing discourse through the illustration of contemporary Navajos, check out Shifted by Bethany Wiggins.

Want to pre-order Hooked?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #19

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the course of the past week. 

For Review:

Ever After
By: Kim Harrison
Release Date: 01/22/13
A big thank you to Harper Voyager and Edelweiss!
The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It's up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing... for the worse.

While saving the world is important, it isn't Rachel's only motivation. There's also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It's also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He's already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn't give herself up soon, they'll die.

But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn't going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She's also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she's going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones... and prevent an apocalypse before it's too late. Or, at least that's the plan...

Deadly Sting
By: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: 03/26/13
A big thank you to Pocket Books and Edelweiss!
Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me — Gin Blanco, aka the Spider — it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’ priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.


Blood-Kissed Sky
By: J.A. London
There's nowhere left to hide. 

I thought vampires were our enemies - they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood - until I met Victor. With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better. Instead, they're worse than ever. 

Day Walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city. Blood supplies are low, and if Victor's vampires don't get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst - a disease that will turn them into mindless killers. 

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began. I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all... before it's too late.

By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

For Christmas:
The Iron Fey series box set

From the Harlequin website:

Available for the first time: the complete 
New York Times bestselling IRON FEY saga—THE IRON KING, THE IRON QUEEN, THE IRON DAUGHTER and THE IRON KNIGHT—in a single breathtaking boxed set. Order yours now and receive a stunning limited edition IRON FEY poster, autographed by author Julie Kagawa!

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Top 12 Favorite Reads of 2012!

Wow! I can't believe this year is almost over. This has been a fantastic (and fantastically busy) year for me. I've accomplished a lot and had some terrific experiences. Some of my most memorable experiences were meeting Jeaniene Frost, meeting Sherrilyn Kenyon, and seeing Social Distortion in concert. I've applied to graduate schools, scored in the 91st percentile on the GRE, had blurbs featured on book covers and in magazines, quit smoking, started working out again, conducted independent ethnographic research (as an undergrad), and written an 18 page paper about that research. I've also made some amazing friends and learned some unbelievable things. Overall, this has been a terrific year. I'm sad to see it go, but excited for what 2013 has in store for me.

And I almost forgot to mention that I've read some terrific books this year! Here are my top 12 for 2012.

12. Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost - this is a spin-off series to the Night Huntress novels. The leading man is Vlad, so I knew it had to be good. I wasn't disappointed.

11. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead - this is the second novel in the Vampire Academy spin-off series that follows Sydney's adventures as an alchemist.

10. Until I Die by Amy Plum - this is the second book in a fantastic series that is set in Paris. It's about hot zombies who save lives. Amy Plum is a genius.

9. Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout - this is the second book in JLA's YA sci-fi romance series (called the Lux series for those of you who have been living under a rock). I'm not normally a huge fan of sci-fi, but I love this series!

8. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - this is the only contemporary YA novel on the list. I read a lot of good contemporary this year, but this one grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It's definitely one of my favorite contemporary reads of all time.

7. Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout - this is the third book in JLA's YA mythological series (called the Covenant series). Previously, this was my second favorite JLA series, but this book pushed the Covenant series into the lead. The entire book was amazing, but the ending blew me away. I can't wait for Apollyon.

6. Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong - this is the thirteenth and final book in Kelley's adult Women of the Otherworld series. Armstrong is my favorite author of all time, and this is one of my absolute favorite series ever. Thirteen was a terrific ending to an exceptional series. It was one of the best series endings I've ever read.

5. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard - this is a new YA steampunk zombie series. I love steampunk, and I love zombies, so it's no surprise that I adored this book. I can't wait for the second installment. The zombies were gross in this book, but the zombie hunters were H-O-T!

4. Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson - this is a new adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy series, and it is fantastic! This book was a surprise in my mailbox one day because I hadn't requested it. It did not disappoint, though!

3. Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris - this is a new sci-fi YA series. I know, I know, I said I don't usually love sci-fi, and I don't, but this book is an exception. It reads like an action movie, and there is a very believable and touching romance going on as well. I'm dying to know what happens in the next installment!

2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - this is the beginning of a new paranormal series by Maggie Stiefvater. It's UNBELIEVABLE! I simply adored this book and all of the characters. I can't wait for the sequel.
1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - this book seriously blew me away. It's part fantasy, part action, and it was unbelievably good. There are no words for how much I loved this book. If the sequel doesn't come out soon, I may just die from the anticipation!

Honorable mention: Otherkin by Nina Berry - This novel is the start of a new series about shifters. Berry has a unique take on shapeshifting that you don't want to miss. This book was seriously amazing, and I loved it so much. However, I just didn't have enough room to add it, too. So I'm making it an honorable mention.


Blood-Kissed Sky
J.A. London

Rating: A-
There's nowhere left to hide. 

I thought vampires were our enemies - they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood - until I met Victor. With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better. Instead, they're worse than ever. 

Day Walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city. Blood supplies are low, and if Victor's vampires don't get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst - a disease that will turn them into mindless killers. 

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began. I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all . . . before it's too late.

My thoughts on the book:
Blood-Kissed Sky was a suspenseful follow-up to the amazing Darkness Before Dawn. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire novel, and London threw many surprises at me. Both Dawn and the secondary characters grew throughout the course of the story, and I got to learn a lot more about each of them. While some characters are more likable than others, they are all realistic and multi-faceted. The continued world-building was also fantastic. London did an amazing job furthering this intriguing story. 

In case you're wondering why this book got an A- instead of an A or A+, it's because the formatting is off. I bought one of the first copies at Barnes and Noble (they had them out a bit early here), and pages 186-220 were out of order. That made it extremely hard to read that part of the novel. If you want to buy a paperback copy of this work, I recommend checking to make sure those pages are in order before your purchase. I don't know how the Kindle and Nook editions are, but if anyone ends up ordering an e-book of this and wants to let me know, that'd be fantastic. The pages are numbered, at least, so I was able to piece it together, but it was inconvenient. 

Now onto the good stuff... Dawn grew a lot as a character in this installment. She's learning to stand on her own against anything the world (or the vampires) may throw at her. She really has become an extremely strong and admirable character. I enjoyed reading from her perspective, and I like the changes she's making. We learn a lot of interesting stuff about her in this book as well, and I can't wait to see what these how these ideas develop. Michael irritated me at the very beginning, but by the end, he grew on me. Teagan really got on my nerves, and I've decided I just really don't like her. There's always one, you know? She's it for this book. I liked getting to spend more time with Faith and Richard, and I enjoyed learning more about them. I would have liked more Victor, but the more I get to know about him, the more uncertain I become regarding whether he is, in fact, a good guy or a bad guy. 

The plot was intense and action-packed. Also, London kept me guessing the entire time. I figured a few things out right away, but not everything... just enough that I felt like I knew what was going on. Basically, I was lulled into a false sense of security and then London threw some shocking bit of info at me. This was one of those books that I couldn't put down, and I was up most of the night reading it. It was worth it, though. The ending was a cliffhanger, but at least we get to read the first chapter of the next installment at the end. That teaser made the cliffhanger a little easier to deal with. I can't wait for the third book in this series. 

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves dystopian and/or vampire novels. It's a bit dark and gritty, but the characters are tough and intriguing. The plot will keep you guessing, and the suspense will keep you hooked. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. 

Order Blood-Kissed Sky

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Follow Friday #26

This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

If you can't follow via GFC, then please follow via NetworkedBlogs or e-mail! :)
Please state in the post if you're a new follower or old follower. If you don't tell me that you are following, then I don't know that you are. Therefore, I'll not follow you back. I would like to follow each and every one of you back, so it is important that you clearly state that you are following me and not just stopping by. When someone says, "just saying hi!" or "just hopping through!" then I have no idea if you are following or not. That means that I may or may not return the visit, depending on how much time I have. The people who state they are following me will definitely get a visit and follow back. Also be sure to leave a link back to your blog, otherwise I won't know where to go to follow you! Thank you.   

Q: What book do you think everyone should read? If you could gift the entire population with one book?

A: That's easy. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie! That book is entertaining, hilarious, heart-breaking, and takes on important social issues that face American Indians (and American society as a whole) today. 

VALKYRIE RISING by Ingrid Paulson

Valkyrie Rising
Ingrid Paulson

Rating: B+
Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there. 

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.

My thoughts on the book:
Valkyrie Rising is a sweet and fun romance with a mythological twist. Paulson expands on Norse mythology, which is a refreshing change from the typical Greek mythology fare. The characters are well-developed, the plot is intriguing, and the romance is sweet. This is a terrific light read, and I can't wait for the sequel. 

Paulson is one of few YA authors who experiments with Norse mythology. I know that Estep plays around with all mythologies, Norse included, but Paulson focuses only on the Norse stories. The result is a group of valkyries who are in the middle of a war between gods. In this novel, I got to know Loki differently (I only knew of him as the ultimate bad guy in the Mythos Academy series), and Odin, who is in charge of the valkyries, was also a prevalent force throughout the book. Paulson didn't explain enough about the mythology, in my opinion, but I still understood what was going on. I would have liked more world-building, though. 

More than anything, Valkyrie Rising is a bildungsroman (coming of age story), and Ellie embodies this. Yes, she is a bit bratty at times, and she also struggles to assert herself, but to me that just made the story more realistic. Everyone grapples with these issues. No one knows how to be strong without being bratty at first. It's something that we learn as we go, and I think that Paulson did an excellent job of showing that. Ellie really grows into her own, but she's not finished yet. I can't wait to see how she changes in the next book. 

The secondary characters were all realistic and likable, though I would have liked to have gotten to know more about them. I really loved Tuck, and I'm glad I got to see so much of him. I would have liked more interaction with Graham, Grandmother, and Kjell, though. Maybe in the next novel. Tuck is an interesting character, and I hope to learn even more about him in the sequel. 

The plot was intriguing and unique. Most of the book took place in Norway, and since I have always wanted to visit Norway, I loved that. The story was a bit mysterious, though I figured out what was going on pretty quickly. The plot was suspenseful, though. I really didn't know what would happen next for most of the book. Also, Tuck spiced things up. Not only was there no insta-love because Tuck and Ellie had known each other forever, but he was also a shifty guy. He seemed sort of like a trickster figure, and I liked that. He really kept me on my toes throughout the whole book. The ending tied up all of the problems in this story nicely, but left room for a sequel. No cliffhangers, thankfully. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes light paranormal romance stories. It's a fun book, and I love Paulson's take on Norse mythology. 

Order Valkyrie Rising!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

TOUCH OF DEATH by Kelly Hashway review and giveaway!

Touch of Death
Kelly Hashway

Rating: B-
Release Date: 01/13/12
Jodi Marshall isn't sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.

After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendants of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.

Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn't difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.

My thoughts on the book:
Touch of Death is an excellent start to a new series. This book kept me hooked from the very first chapter. I loved the mythology, concept, and characters. However, the pacing was a bit slow, and I felt misled from the synopsis. Furthermore, some of the plot occurrences felt more convenient than realistic. Overall, though, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new YA paranormal series. 

I absolutely loved the mythology for this book. It's based on Greek mythology, but not Hades and Persephone. Hades is involved, of course, and I do love the Hades and Persephone retellings, but I have to admit that it's refreshing to see a story starring another mythological character other than those two. Medusa is the main mythological creature in this story, and I loved it. 

I also loved the characters in this novel. Jodi is a very likable character, and she's not bratty like so many leading female YA characters are. I also loved Alex. He is fantastic, brave, and super sweet. Matt was also wonderful, and he really added a lot to the story. All of the characters are dynamic, well-developed, and believable. 

The pacing was a bit slow for my liking. Jodi's revelation came way too late in my opinion, and at times, she seemed super stupid not to be able to figure out what was going on. Also, some of her reactions to being stalked were unnatural to say the least. The secondary characters, such as Jodi's mom's reactions, also felt forced. A lot of the time, it felt more like the author was manipulating the story than it seemed like the story was unfolding at its own pace. Additionally, the ending felt forced and too convenient. I'll wait and see what happens next to make my final judgment on the ending, though. 

Final verdict? This book is interesting. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves paranormal stories that are based on mythology. Touch of Death sets up what's sure to be an interesting series. 

Want to pre-order Touch of Death?

Click read more for the giveaway!

Happy Holidays from Fall Into Books!

Hey guys! I just wanted to say Happy Holidays to all of you. Thank you for following my blog this past year. I hope all your wishes come true this holiday season.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #18

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the course of the past month. 

Click read more to see what I've been stacking my shelves with!

Monday, December 17, 2012

BLOOD PROPHECY by Alyxandra Harvey

Blood Prophecy
Alyxandra Harvey

Rating: A
Release Date: 01/08/13
In the thrilling conclusion of the Drake Chronicles, love and loyalties will be tested ... and proven once and for all.
Solange Drake has been officially crowned Queen of the Vampires, fulfilling the centuries old prophecy that foretold the rise to power of a daughter born to an ancient vampire line. Except Solange's thoughts and actions are no longer her own—she's been slowly being possessed by the spirit of Viola, the first daughter born into the Drake line, since her blood change. And instead of uniting the vampire tribes under the rule of an ancient daughter as the prophecy predicted, Viola would rather destroy them all and enslave humans in a personal vendetta for the devastation both wrought to her life centuries ago. Can Solange break her hold in time to save everyone she loves from a vampire civil war, hunter attack, and each other? Not everyone will survive the prophecy . . . perhaps not even her.

My thoughts on the book:
Blood Prophecy is an intense thrill-ride that you do not want to miss! This novel was the conclusion of the Drake Chronicles series, and it was non-stop action and suspense. I couldn't put it down! The characters grew into their roles within Harvey's world, the plot was intriguing, and Harvey expertly used polyvocality to tell the complete story. The switching perspectives didn't annoy me like it does in so many books. I felt that it really added to my understanding of the narrative. I'd recommend this book, and this series, to anyone. 

Poor Solange has had a rough time over the course of this series, and I really freaking hated her in the previous installment. However, I was able to better understand her plight in this novel and I really respected how she fought back against Viola. She was a strong character and not bratty at all. That was a huge improvement over the last novel. 

Lucy was my favorite character as always, and I loved reading from her perspective. She grew over the course of the novel, but I didn't feel like her relationship with Nicholas grew enough. That being said, she was still terrific as always. Nicholas wasn't around as much as I would have liked, but this was Solange's book, so I guess that's why. I felt like I got to know some of the secondary characters better, but I still didn't connect with any of the characters outside of the narrators. That's probably  my only complaint. 

The plot was intense and this book was, literally, non-stop action. Once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down. I couldn't believe poor Solange kept having so many problems, but they just kept coming. She was really tested in this novel. They all were. In an effort not to spoil it for anyone, I'll leave my plot discussion off here. The ending tied everything up wonderfully, and the pacing was perfect. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a good vampire story. This series was a billion times better than Twilight, and while I'm sad to see it end, Blood Prophecy was the perfect ending to an excellent series. I can't wait to see what Harvey writes next. 

Want to pre-order Blood Prophecy?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'm back!

The toughest semester of my college career is over. I managed to write a 16 page article, take the GRE twice, apply to grad schools, present research, and keep up my grades this semester, but unfortunately my blog suffered from that. I'm sorry for neglecting you guys, but this had to get done. The good news is, the semester is over, and I only have one more grad app to fill out! Therefore, my blogging schedule will pick up again. I'm still getting back into the swing of things, so it may be a little while before things run smoothly again, but I am back!!! Thanks for your patience during this past semester. I can't wait to share with you the ARCs I've been reading!


Saturday, December 15, 2012


Indigo Awakening
Jordan Dane

Rating: C+
Release Date: 12/18/12
Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.

A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.

My thoughts on the book:
I had high hopes for Indigo Awakening, and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed. Sure the characters are all realistic, and Dane addresses some important issues, such as learning disabilities, but I just couldn't get into this novel. I can't really put my finger on what I didn't like about it. It just didn't draw me in. This book took me forever to finish, and I put it down several times in order to read other things. I just wasn't blown away by this one.

The characters are likable enough, but I really couldn't make myself care about any of them. Crazy church going to capture Lucas? Oh well. Gabriel is mysterious? What love interest isn't. Rayne is strong and actually likable? I still didn't care. I'm aware, from an objective standpoint, that the characters are very realistic and well-developed, but I just didn't care if any of them lived or died. I can't tell you why, though, because I don't really know. 

The plot was interesting and intriguing, but again, I just couldn't get into it. I've heard of Indigo children before, but I've never read a novel about them. I thought that'd seal the deal for me. Also, there was plenty of action, suspense, and mystery, with a touch of romance. Generally, that's a winning combination for me. The pacing was perfect, too. Furthermore, this is a Harlequin Teen book, and I LOVE their stuff. However, this book just could not hold my interest. It could have been that I needed more back-story. I'm not sure. 

Overall, I'd say check this book out from the library and give it a try. I didn't like it, but most people do. Also, as I stated, from an objective standpoint, I can see that the book was well-written and developed. However, it just didn't grab me. In this case, I'm going to say that it's me and not the book that has the problem. 

Want to pre-order Indigo Awakening?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


AG Howard

Rating: A+
Release Date: 01/01/13
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My thoughts on the book:
Wow. Splintered is one of the best debuts I've read all year. It seriously blew me away. I was scared to read it because it had such a gorgeous cover, and I've heard such great things about it, so I had really high expectations. I was not disappointed. Howard is a fantastic addition to the talented ranks of YA authors. The world-building was amazing, the characters were all unique and well-developed, and the plot was insane (in a good way). I'd recommend this book to anyone, and I know I will re-read it a billion times. Splintered cannot be missed. 

The thing that stood out the most in this book was the world-building. Howard did an outstanding job at painting the landscape of Wonderland. I felt like I was actually there. I could easily picture the craziness that constituted Wonderland, and the insanity that surrounded Alyssa's life before she went to Wonderland. Even though I have never (thankfully) had bugs or plants talk to me, I still felt like I could relate to Alyssa because Howard made things so easy to imagine. I haven't had a reading experience like that in a long time. 

The characters were unbelievably well-developed and unique, especially the Wonderland characters. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters, even though no one was what they seemed. Howard kept me guessing about everyone, even Alyssa. I trusted Alyssa as a narrator, but she didn't even know who or what she was... other than kick-ass. Okay, well she didn't realize she was kick-ass, but I did, She was a strong and independent lead. She wasn't bratty, emo, or selfish, even though she had a tough life. She grew even stronger over the course of the novel, too, which I liked. Jeb was a terrific love interest, and for once, I was on the side of the nice guy. Morpheus grew on me, but I still liked Jeb better. Jeb was also unique, and was a bit of a "rebel," but he was still sweet. Morpheus was extremely selfish for a good part of the book. However, both Jeb and Morpheus evolved throughout the course of the novel, too. You don't see the love interests growing in most books, so this was a pleasant surprise. The other secondary characters, from both Wonderland and the mortal realm, stood out, too. There were no filler characters in this book. 

The plot itself was non-stop suspense, but not a whole lot of action. There was tons of adventure, but not many "fight scenes" or anything like that. It was still impossible to put this book down, and the pacing was perfect. While there was a bit of love triangle, there was no insta-love, and there never was really any choice. Basically one guy served as a temptation while the other was the one Alyssa actually wanted. However, things got a bit complicated, and I'm curious to see if this will be a standalone novel or part of a series. The ending tied things up nicely, but there is room for a sequel if Howard and Amulet so choose. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone, especially if they loved Alice in Wonderland. The world Howard created is a bit darker than Carroll's, but I liked it more because of that. I don't know what else to say other than this book is amazing. Give it a try. You won't be sorry. 

Want to pre-order Splintered?

Friday, November 30, 2012

CRIMSON FROST by Jennifer Estep

Crimson Frost
Jennifer Estep

Rating: A+
Release Date: 12/24/12
For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…

My thoughts on the book:
Wow. Crimson Frost is my favorite book in the series, so far. This novel is action-packed and full of romance and nonstop suspense. I could not put it down! Gwen grew a ton as a character over the arc of this story, and some new characters (and mythological types) were introduced. This is one book that will not disappoint!

Gwen was fantastic in this book. The poor girl can't catch a break, and this time she's facing the death penalty. Thankfully, she was much smarter in this book than she was the last one. She really stood on her own and took care of herself (and everyone else) in this installment. I really like how her character is progressing, and I can't wait to see how much stronger she gets in the next book. Logan was super sweet in this novel. I now love him even more, if that's possible. Daphne, Carson, Oliver, Grandma Frost, Vic, Metis, Nickamedes, and Coach Ajaxx were also great additions to the story, as usual. I also really liked the new characters we got introduced to... even the bad guys. They were interesting. No cookie-cutter characters from Estep, that's for sure. 

Crimson Frost was fast-paced, but nothing felt rushed. The plot was extremely intense. The problems started within the first few pages and continued until the end of the novel. Some of the issues were solved during the course of the book, but others got added. It didn't really end on a cliffhanger, but the ending left an opening for Midnight Frost, which comes out in August of 2013 (I can't wait!). I would go into more detail here, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Let me just say that you will not be able to put this book down. 

Overall, I'd recommend this series to anyone who loves YA mythology-inspired/supernatural books. For those of you who have already read the previous books in the series, you cannot miss this novel. It's the best one yet. I, personally, can't wait to see what Gwen and co. get into next. 

Pre-order Crimson Frost!

Monday, November 26, 2012

TRAPPED by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne

Rating: A
Release Date: 11/27/12
After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.

My thoughts on the book:
Trapped was a fantastic addition to the Iron Druid series! It was definitely one of my favorite in this series. While I generally don't like reading books with male protagonists because I can't relate to them, I love Atticus dearly. This book had all of the things I love about this series (minus Coyote... I do love a trickster), but in larger quantities. If you love this series, you must have this book. If you're curious about the series, start at the beginning (obviously), but this book is still a must-have! If you're not sure if this series is for you, I'd definitely recommend it to fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. 

The character development in the Iron Druid Chronicles has always astounded me, and this installment was no exception. Atticus somehow managed to grow throughout the course of the novel, even though it took place twelve years down the road from the last book. Granuaile also evolved, and I've always I really liked her character. And who doesn't love Oberon? I mean, come on! Oberon is my favorite character, for sure. 

Another thing I really loved about this novel was that it went really in depth with the mythology surrounding all of the characters/worlds. As those of you who have read Hearne's work know, he has incorporated vampires, lycanthropes, elves, the fae, etc. into this series, and as the series progresses, he includes more details about all of the mythology. This novel had more mythology than the previous ones, and I enjoyed that. 

The plot was, of course, an action-packed thrill ride. There was not one dull moment in the entire novel. I was kept on the edge of my seat for the entire book, and I could not put it down. If you want a quick, intense read, then this book is for you. Some of Atticus' issues were solved at the end of this book, but there are still enough problems for the next book, don't worry.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves the Dresden Files, or just urban fantasy in general. You'll fall in love with the characters, and the plot is amazing. You do not want to miss this novel!

Want to order Trapped?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson

Corrine Jackson

Rating: B+
Release Date: 11/27/12
Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.

This is Book One in the Touched trilogy.

My thoughts on the book:
Touched is an intense thrill-ride that you won't want to miss. This novel somehow manages to deal with social issues (extremely abusive/drunk step-father) while incorporating a fantastical element as well (Remy has a healing touch). The result is a surprisingly believable story with well-developed characters and a suspenseful, action-packed plot. I wasn't a huge fan of how the world-building took place. Regardless, I could not put this book down. 

Remy was an extremely strong and inspiring character. This is really a story of her beginning to heal. While it was sometimes painful to see things from her perspective, it was extremely effective. I was deeply invested in her survival, and I really connected to and cared about her. 

Asher was a bit Edward Cullen-esque at times. However, he wasn't a carbon copy of good ol' glitter pants. He stood on his own well, and I enjoyed getting to know him. He really surprised me in a few parts of the story, and I can't wait to learn more about him. 

The other secondary characters were also well-developed, and we got to see a lot of them (which I liked). I really loved Lucy. She's pretty fantastic. I hope we get to see more of her in the future. I also liked Ben and Gabe quite a bit. Overall, the characters in this novel were top notch. 

The plot, while at times resembled Twilight, again wasn't a carbon copy. A lot of things were different, but the romance between Asher and Remy started out a lot like Edward and Bella. However, they quickly came into their own identities and things were fine. Also, Remy was never as weak and pansy-like as Bella. Nothing in the novel was really surprising, other than one part that seemed to come out of nowhere. There was no build-up to one revelation ,and I was left sitting there thinking, "where did that come from?" Other than those few issues, though, the plot was action-packed and suspenseful, even if it was not mysterious. I was kept on the edge of my seat for the entire story, and I stayed up all night reading this book. The pacing was perfect, and the story flew by. This was definitely a quick read. The ending tied things up nicely, but left some open ends for the sequel. No huge cliffhanger for this book, though, thankfully. 

The world-building was done through a journal, and the whole thing was written in italics, which annoyed me. I don't know how it could have been handled better, but surely there was a better way. Maybe Remy could have summed up the stuff she learned. Also, the mind-reading aspect of things (you'll see what I'm talking about when you read it) was done a bit awkwardly. The way it was done seemed like Remy was narrating her life in her head as she went along instead of telling us the story later, though the story was told in past tense. That was kind of awkward. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were amazing, and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. There were a few issues that may, in fact, be cleared up before publication, but the issues were minor and did not interfere with the story much at all. I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves a good paranormal romance. This is a bit different than your average fare, though you will be reminded of Twilight a bit with the romance. I hate Twilight, and I still liked this book, though. Therefore, I'd recommend it to people who love Twlight and people who don't. Give this book a try. You won't be sorry. 

Want to pre-order Touched?

Monday, November 19, 2012

UNDEADLY by Michelle Vail

Michelle Vail

Rating: A-
Release Date: 11/20/12
The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. 

Life at Nekyia has its pluses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another...except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble....

My thoughts on the book:
Undeadly was a unique take on the teen supernatural boarding school story. The characters were well-developed, the plot was intriguing, and the pacing was perfect. I could not put this book down. This is one reaper story you won't want to miss.

In the beginning of the book, Molly was pretty annoying. She was a whiny, spoiled brat. However, the plot was so interesting that I gave her a chance anyway. I'm glad that I did. Her character grew immensely throughout the course of the novel, and by the end, she was a completely new person. I really like the direction her character was taking, and I can't wait to see what happens to her next. My one complaint with the characters is that we didn't get to know any of the secondary characters very well. Since this is a series, though, I assume that there will be more time for relationship building in the next installment. On the plus side of no relationships being firmly built, there was also no insta-love. Yay for that. My favorite characters so far are Henry, Anubis, and Rath. 

The plot is unique for a reaper book and for a boarding school book, and I really loved the incorporation of Egyptian mythology. I'm not going to go into anymore detail about the plot because I'd hate to spoil the novel for you. I'll just tell you that it's super intense and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's non-stop suspense. Also, it was a quick read. I read it all in one sitting, but unfortunately, it ended on a cliffhanger. 

The world-building was also fantastic. This novel takes place in a world that knows reapers and necromancers exist. There is an open market for making zombies, and they teach necromancy history in public schools. That within itself fascinated me, and I had to learn more about this world. Vail did an excellent job of describing this new reality, and the world felt real to me. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves YA paranormal novels. Give Undeadly a try. You won't be sorry. 

Want to order Undeadly?