Friday, September 27, 2013

A STUDY IN SILKS by Emma Jane Holloway

Rating: F
Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.
In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?
But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

My thoughts on the book:
A Study in Silks has to be one of the most boring and slowly paced books that I've ever read. The characters bored me, the plot bored me, the mystery was easy to figure out, and the pacing was slow as molasses. I had to stop and start this book several times because I kept dozing off every time I read a few paragraphs. The writing is horridly dull. I normally love steampunk, and the cover is gorgeous, but I just could not make myself get into this book. It was a chore to finish it.

Evelina is a well-developed character, but she's so dull that I didn't care what happened to her. One would think that Sherlock Holmes' niece would be the slightest bit interesting, but she really wasn't. I did like how Holloway made flawed characters because that made them seem more realistic. Still, none of them stood out, and most of them just fell extremely flat for me. 

The pacing was so slow. I have never read a book that moved so slowly. Holloway is also a fan of over-description. I hated the fact that she described every single thing that may have ever thought about crossing Evelina's path in excruciating detail. The descriptions themselves made the book painful to read. It also slowed down the already slow pacing. The mystery wasn't that mysterious. I had everything figured out pretty quickly. The ending didn't stand out to me. It tied things up okay, but left room for a sequel, which I won't be reading.

I know a lot of people liked this book, but I absolutely hated it. I wish I could say nicer things about it, but it just wasn't for me. I cannot stand slowly paced books and over-description. If you do give this one a try, I say check it out from the library. It may work for you, and I hope it does. However, it didn't work for me. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards

Rating: A-
A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

My thoughts on the book:
I have been wanting to read Black City for awhile, and I just never got around to it. I finally checked it out from the library and was pleasantly surprised. I've read mixed reviews about this novel, so I wasn't sure what I'd think. However, I really enjoyed the tale. I feel that it's an accurate reflection of the direction society is going, with ethnocentric hate and oppression becoming more and more prevalent. Also, the characters are well-developed and easy to relate to. The plot is intriguing, the pacing is perfect, and the world-building is top-notch. I'd recommend this book to anyone.

Natalie is a bit of a weak heroine at first, but she grows as the novel continues. I wasn't her biggest fan in the beginning, with my main thought being, "wow... grow a set, honey." However, after she meets Ash, things start to get interesting. Ash, also is a bit of a weak character in the beginning. He is kind of self-absorbed and only concerned with his own pain and hate. He's not even willing to die for his own rights, but as the novel progresses, he also grows and becomes a strong leading man. The secondary characters aren't fully-developed yet, but they are unique. I would like to know more about them as things continue, and I hope that they remain interesting and don't become simply filler characters.

The plot itself fills the reader with a sense of urgency. The society Richards created is both horrifying and realistic. I could easily see this happening to America, and that scared me. Some of the things the characters do are completely appalling, and how barbaric the society is chilled me to the bone. While I wanted more to happen in terms of a revolution, I still rooted for Natalie and Ash and wanted to know what would happen to them. The world is against them, literally, and I was concerned about whether or not they'd both make it. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it is more satisfying than a lot of first-in-series endings.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels. You're sure to enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #36

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted at Breaking the Spine. Here is the upcoming release that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for! 

This Wednesday I'm waiting on The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin! Hodkin is the queen of cliffhangers, and I still haven't decided if Mara is crazy or not.
Release Date: 06/03/14
There is no synopsis yet since the release date is so far away. This is the final book in the series, though, so I'm sure we'll learn whether or not Mara is truly insane.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A RADIANT SKY by Jocelyn Davies

Rating: A-
Release Date: 09/24/13
Since the night of her seventeenth birthday, Skye has been torn between two opposites: Light and Dark, the Order and the Rebellion, Devin and Asher.

But her decision shocked both sides—because she chose neither.

With the help of her friends, Skye forges her own path, setting out to gather an uprising of Rogues. The treacherous and elusive half-angels may be the key to maintaining the balance of fate and free will. But completing the mission her parents left unfinished is more difficult—and dangerous—than she could have imagined. And doing so comes at a cost: Her greatest love may now be a lethal enemy. Because it’s not just the Order that sees her as a threat who must be eliminated. The Rebellion does, too.

And both sides will do whatever it takes to win.

Dark days lie ahead, and if Skye is to survive, she’ll need to rely on her extraordinary powers and the strength of her will. Because she has a future—and a love—that’s worth fighting for.

The sweeping, darkly romantic story that began with A Beautiful Dark and gathered intensity in A Fractured Light comes to a thrilling conclusion in A Radiant Sky.

My thoughts on the book:
A Radiant Sky is an almost perfect ending to the Beautiful Dark trilogy. There were a couple of things that didn't quite fit, in my opinion, but overall, this book was fantastic. This was a very emotional read, and I laughed and cried right along with the characters. I think most fans will be happy with the ending, though some of the things that happened are a bit tough to take, which makes this ending bittersweet. Still Davies wrote an excellent novel that displayed character growth and plot development. This suspenseful series conclusion will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and will give you a satisfying, albeit somewhat sad, ending. 

Skye has grown so much over the course of this trilogy, and I really enjoyed learning about this world through her eyes. She matured so much, and she learned so many lessons. Davies did not shy away from challenging Skye in this final installment, and that made her character that much stronger in the end. The secondary characters all grew as well, especially Asher and Devin, and it was interesting to see the types of people they turned into. Everyone got their own conclusion, and I felt content with how most of the characters' stories ended. 

The plot itself is suspenseful, and there was quite a bit of action. The Rebellion and the Order were trying to get to Skye in any way they could, and that led to a lot of harrowing events. The pacing was perfect, and I never felt bored. Nothing was rushed, and the descriptions were written wonderfully. Davies has such a good writing voice. The ending tied up all of the loose ends and gave me a sense of closure. The romance was equal parts sweet and heartbreaking. My only complaint about the novel is that there are a couple of occurrences that just do not seem realistic. I hate when authors manipulate the plot and make things too convenient, and that did happen two or three times. Other than that, the book was amazing. The main themes of the novel were family, friendship, and love, and I think that Davies did a terrific job of showing how love can make a person strong and vulnerable at the same time. 

Overall I'd recommend this book to fans of the series and the trilogy to people who love good YA paranormal romance novels. Davies created a unique world with well-developed and likable characters. This is one series that cannot be missed.

Pre-order A Radiant Sky

Thursday, September 19, 2013

COUNTDOWN by Michelle Rowen

Rating: B+
Release Date: 09/24/13
3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped. 

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game. 

Kira Jordan survived her family's murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis. 

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it. 

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira's psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan's secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira's only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can't escape. 


My thoughts on the book:
Countdown is a fun and light Dystopian read. I know fun and light don't normally describe Dystopians, with this novel it fits. The characters are likable and easy to sympathize with, and the plot is full of non-stop action and suspense, with a touch of romance. While Rowan didn't delve as deeply into the post-plague world as I wish she had, this novel was fast-paced and kept me interested. For those of you looking for a quick read with an interesting plot, look no further. 

Kira's parents died in front of her two years prior to when this book takes place, and it's hard not to feel bad for her. Yes, she's a thief, but she has no choice. It's either that or becoming a hooker, and you have to admire her for taking the "high road," if nothing else. While we know all about Kira's situation, Rowen never delves deeply into her emotions regarding this. I felt that was a disservice to the character and impeded a deeper relationship between the reader and Kira. Similarly, Rogan is a swoon-worthy male lead with his black hair and ocean colored eyes. We learn that he's tortured early on, but it takes awhile for his mystery to unravel. Still, with Kira's empathic abilities, I feel that we should have felt more from Rogan than we did. The secondary characters are mainly fill-ins, and I didn't feel a sense of attachment to any of them. That also kept me from being more emotionally involved in this novel. Regardless, Kira and Rogan are both interesting characters, and I did like them. I just wish I had gotten to feel more from them. 

The world-building is concise yet lacking. Rowen doesn't go deeply into what life is like in post-plague America. At least I assume it's America. Giving us a city name would have helped, too, actually. I feel that so much more could have been explored within this world because the premise is extremely intriguing. I wanted to know more about all of the technology that Kira didn't know existed. I also wanted to know more about how the plague was stopped, what types of people were effected, what kinds of jobs existed for those left behind, what school was like in this world, etc. It was clear what happened to cause society to be the way it was, but it how society actually was remained a mystery. 

The plot itself is pretty well-developed. This novel is very much plot driven, and I usually don't like that. However, with Countdown it worked. On the first page, we're thrown into this "video game" type reality show, and we go through the entire horrific account with Kira and Rogan. There are surprises at every turn and many of them I didn't see coming. Kira's empathic ability lends some more mystery and intrigue to the story. This book is fast-paced, but the plot doesn't feel rushed. However, there are random info dumps in which Rowen quickly tells us what is going on. It seems as if she's trying to hurry and get the information out of the way before it interferes with the plot. This happens with a lot of plot driven novels, which is why I generally prefer character driven books. This story hooked me, though, and I read it through in one sitting. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, though I would have liked more information about the world and the characters living in it. If you're looking for a quick, light, fun read, then this book is definitely for you. Also, if you love Dystopian, then you will adore Countdown

Pre-order Countdown

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WITCHSTRUCK by Victoria Lamb

Victoria Lamb

Rating: B-
Release Date: 09/24/13
Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret.

Thrilling and fast-paced, this is the first unputdownable story in a bewitching new series.

My thoughts on the book:
Okay, I just have to start off saying that I hate the made-up word, "unputdownable." Now that I have that out of my system, I can actually review this title. Witchstruck is a captivating story with a well-developed, suspenseful plot. The characters fall short, and the language isn't that of Tudor England (thankfully), but Lamb did a good job placing the reader in the time period. She clearly did a lot of research before writing this novel, and it paid off. The romance is a little lackluster, but for the time period, it fits perfectly. I would say that this is a solid to this trilogy.

Meg had the potential to be a fascinating character, but instead she was dull and without personality. Now I know people back then couldn't have a lot of personality... at least they couldn't let it show, but she could have been more intriguing. Alejandro was pretty interesting, and I wish we could have known more about him. I also liked Aunt Jane, but again, we didn't get to know her well enough. None of the characters was fully developed, it seemed. I hope this is remedied in the second installment. Yes, it's from Meg's perspective, but it could have been handled better.

The writing was more reminiscent of Victorian lit than Elizabethan list. It wasn't even completely like Victorian lit, though, as the characters used contractions. I don't know if Lamb decided to have her characters speak in a more contemporary colloquial form so that the reader could better understand or if she didn't know how Elizabethan period people spoke. The clergy and royalty especially would have NEVER used a contraction in front of anyone.

Lamb did a lot more telling than showing, and that's what made the characters seem dull, I think. Instead of seeing things through Meg's eyes, Meg relayed the events to us. That really made things a lot less interesting for me. However, the concept kept me involved. The Tudors always make for fascinating subjects, and the book has potential. The plot was solid and ensured that I enjoyed the novel, even though I wasn't a fan of the writing. The pacing was a bit slow at first, but quickly picked up. I just wish that Lamb had shown rather than told.

Overall, if you enjoy historical fiction (that's not authentic), witch tales, and Tudor England, then this book is for you. If you have lukewarm feelings about these things, then you may want to pass this one up.

Pre-order Witchstruck

Waiting on Wednesday #35

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted at Breaking the Spine. Here is the upcoming release that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for! 

This Wednesday I'm waiting on Split Second by Kasie West! I absolutely adored the first installment of this series, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
Release Date: 02/11/14
Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NIGHT BROKEN by Patricia Briggs Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to share this cover with you guys! The Mercy Thompson series is one of my favorites, and this cover is GORGEOUS!

Release Date: 03/04/14
#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series has been hailed as “one of the best” (Fiction Vixen). Now, Mercy must deal with an unwanted guest—one that brings a threat unlike anything she’s ever known.

An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.


darkest worldsDarkest Worlds: A Dystopian Anthology An anthology that explores what humans are made of when society falls to its knees. Darkest Worlds includes six original novellas by award-winning authors and best sellers of Young Adult and New Adult Dystopia. All proceeds go to Girls Write Now, a charity that promotes literacy of inner-city girls.  

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  Nessa: A Breeders Story by Katie French, author of The Breeders: Eighteen-year-old Nessa knows what it’s like to be an endangered species. Growing up in a dying world where nine out of ten babies are born male, she survives by trusting no one. When Marlin, the nineteen-year-old gunslinger, kills the man who has been keeping her enslaved, Nessa decides he might be her meal ticket. What she doesn’t realize is love is still possible, even in their decimated world.   MOON by S.K. Falls, author of World of Shell and Bone: Loyalty. Obedience. Patriotism. Moon Stewart has no doubt that the New Amanian way of life is the right way. The only way. But was there ever a time when she felt differently? In this companion novella to the dystopian bestseller World of Shell and Bone, the secrets of Moon's past are revealed, giving readers a glimpse into the mind of their favorite antagonist.   The First Unforgivable Thing by Zoe Cannon, author of The Torturer’s Daughter: When a dissident working undercover as an interrogator is ordered to torture a confession from the only girl he’s ever loved, he chooses to defy both the totalitarian regime and the resistance by helping her escape—but she has an agenda of her own...   The Keeper by A.G. Henley, author of The Scourge: a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award. Peree knows his duty as the new Keeper of the Water Bearer, Fennel, is to make sure his people get every drop of their share of the water she collects when the flesh-eating Scourge roam the forest. He will motivate her, distract her, do anything he can to keep her working. He knows his duty is to his people and his people alone. What he doesn’t know is that he's falling in love with her.   Survival Lessons by Kate Avery Ellison, author of Frost: A young Farther prisoner named Eva escapes into the monster-filled wilderness of the Frost with a band of fellow inmates, all of whom are harboring secrets...but little do they know that Eva has secrets of her own. Set in the world of The Frost Chronicles.   clean slate complex by Megan Thomason, author of the daynight series: Homeless Alexa Knight agrees to help the do-gooder non-profit The Second Chance Institute in return for medical care for her sick mother. The SCI is wooing the poor and downtrodden into their Clean Slate Complexes--where "everything is provided" from jobs to food, shelter, clothing, and education. Unfortunately, as with all things that sound too good to be true, there's a catch...  

Katie French

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S.K. Falls

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Zoe Cannon

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A.G. Henley

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Kate Avery Ellison

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Megan Thomason

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Girls Write Now--charity


The Girls Write Now mission is to provide guidance, support, and opportunities for at-risk and underserved girls from New York City’s public high schools to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career and life choices.

  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/30/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis

Not a Drop to Drink
Mindy McGinnis

Rating: D
Release Date: 09/24/13
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water. Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

My thoughts on the book:
I wanted to like this book so much, but I just couldn't. I gave it a try two separate times in order to make sure it was getting a fair shot. I just could not relate to the characters, especially the protagonist, and the spare language made me feel as if certain aspects of the story were under-developed. Those who enjoy minimalist literature will love this book. It will probably fall flat for everyone else.

The characters, in my opinion, were not fully emotionally developed. I just never got the sense of Lynn as a real person. The same went for Mother, Stebbs, Eli, Neva, and Lucy. Lucy was actually the most real. Mother apparently is a sociopath, and whether that was brought about by her experiences or just her nature, I couldn't tell you. Stebbs seemed like a decent guy, but I would have liked to have known more about him. Neva just irked me. Eli was a pansy. Lynn didn't know what to do about anything that involved a feeling. Lucy was cute and entertaining.

The plot itself felt underdeveloped as well. After I finished this book, all I felt was "so what?" Why did I waste hours upon hours forcing myself to get through this? I don't feel that I got anything out of it. It just kind of moseyed along this path that really didn't engage me at all. I never felt a sense of urgency, and if you ask me, all the characters could thirst to death because none of them was particularly likable. The world-building was done pretty well. McGinnis was good at showing instead of telling. The pacing was WAY too slow.

Overall, if you aren't absolutely obsessed with post-apocalyptic tales, Dystopian novels, and minimalist literature, then I'd say pass on this one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A SPARK UNSEEN by Sharon Cameron

Rating: A-
Release Date: 09/24/13
The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron's blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust--if anyone--to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

My thoughts on the book:
A Spark Unseen whisks readers off to Paris in an effort to hide from not one, but two corrupt governments, giving this novel a sense of urgency and making it difficult to put down. By showing the light and dark side of eccentricities - and human nature in general - this novel argues that people are not always what they seem and that one must not judge based on first impressions alone. With endearing main characters and a suspenseful plot, A Spark Unseen should be on everyone's must-read list. 

Katharine does not grow immensely in this novel, but she does learn to stand on her own quite a bit more. I can't wait to see how she grows in the next installment. She didn't have time to deal with many of the occurrences in this book, so I know the next one will be full of character growth for her. Uncle Tully, on the other hand, grows quite a bit. I was surprised by that, foolishly thinking that he had grown all that he could and was stagnant now - due to his age more than his condition. I admit that I am ashamed for thinking that way, ageism is not becoming, and I am glad that Cameron proved me wrong. Tully also showed great insight at many points throughout the book, which displays how astute he can be when he's not focused on his work. I have a feeling that Mary, like Katharine, will do most of her growing in the next installment. She really impressed me a few times, though, and I can't wait to see what Cameron has in store for this character. 

The plot is full of mystery and suspense. Cameron really puts her characters through the ringer in this book. Poor Katharine has a terribly difficult time. I was genuinely worried for her several times throughout the story. This is a bridge book, definitely, but it also has an intriguing plot and stands on its own. However because of the multitude of occurrences in this novel that were not dealt with, I foresee the next installment focusing more on the characters than the plot. I am interested to see how these events will affect the characters and the new characters will fit into future stories. The setting was lacking, in my opinion. I absolutely adore France, and I didn't feel like Cameron really described Paris at all. The story could have been set anywhere due to the lack of description, and I felt that was an injustice to such a marvelous city. Aside from random French phrases being thrown around, I really didn't get a sense that the characters were in France at all. The pacing is spot on, and I did not get bored once. The ending wraps up the main problem of this book, but so many new problems were introduced that there is more than enough room for several future installments, and I am glad for that. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to those who enjoy Steam Punk novels that are more historically accurate than the run-of-the-mill "futuristic" devices and gender roles. Cameron seems very adamant to keep social norms for the time period in place, and transportation and other such technologies keep with the times. The only thing that makes this Steam Punk is the clockwork devices that Uncle Tully builds. But I digress. If you enjoy historical fiction with a touch of clockwork goodies, then this series is definitely for you. 

Pre-order A Spark Unseen!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

BOUND BY NIGHT by Larissa Ione

Bound by Night
Larissa Ione

Rating: D
Release Date: 09/24/13
The first installment in a sexy new paranormal romance series by Larissa Ione, author of the bestselling Demonica series!

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories—along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation—a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.

My thoughts on the book:
I had high hopes for Bound by Night, but it was a huge disappointment. Not only does it damage American Indian nations by making them all fit the stereotypical "Indian," and therefore depoliticizing them, but the writing is subpar and the characters are dull. The idea of a world where humans dominate vampires intrigues me, though, so I kept reading hoping that it'd get better. It didn't. The world-building was okay, but the plot started to fall by the wayside about 3/4 of the way though. The more Ione tried to get in touch with her so-called "native roots" the more idiotic the plot became. 

Nicole isn't the brightest character around, when it comes to common sense. I mean I understood her dilemma, and I could understand why she felt the way she did, but she just makes some really stupid mistakes. Riker, too, is stupid. Also, their situation kind of creeped me out a bit. Basically I spent a lot of the book wanting to smack both of them. 

Now onto the plot and such. The native touches were unnecessary and the way that she described the Cherokee as being of the prairie when they are from the Appalachians was ridiculous. Part of the tribe was forced on the Trail of Tears and ended up in Oklahoma. How dare you claim at the beginning of a book that you want to get to know your "native heritage" (who DOESN'T have native heritage? *eye roll*) and not even know about the Trail of Tears. What kind of "research" did you do, Ms. Ione? What, did you read the atrocity known as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and consider yourself an expert? Also, she put the Cherokee in teepees, which they never used. They built highly sophisticated round houses. Only Plains Indians used teepees. Forcing all indigenous peoples into ignorant settler colonial ideas depoliticizes contemporary indigenous nations and hurts the citizens of those nations. Therefore, Ione should be ashamed. But I digress. *steps down from soap box* The idea itself is an intriguing one, and I wanted to know how the humans ended up dominating the vampires. Well, we never quite find that out. I'm assuming a very vague "science" as the answer, but that implies that vampires (and Indians by extension) are incapable of "civilized" thought, which is ludicrous. Indigenous peoples are scientists and doctors, too. Anyway, in that way the world-building was awful. However, Ione did let us know what it's like living in a world like that, even though we can't understand why the world is like that.  The plot itself wasn't very strong, and it got weaker as the book continued. The pacing was just fine. 

Overall, I don't think I'd recommend this book to anyone. Unfortunately it's just not very enjoyable. If you want to read paranormal romance, there are much better authors out there. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

DELIA'S SHADOW by Jaime Lee Moyer

Delia's Shadow
Jaime Lee Moyer

Rating: D
Release Date: 09/17/13
A dark, romantic fantasy set against the backdrop of San Francisco devastated by the Great Quake

It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side.

Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free…until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest.

It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again. 

And who is now aware of Delia’s existence.

My thoughts on the book:
Delia's Shadow is supposed to be suspenseful and creepy, but it just fell flat for me. The prose is a bit clunky, and I just couldn't feel a sense of urgency regarding the fates of the characters. The characters themselves didn't stand out to me, and the pacing drags. Many parts of the book have too much detail. People who really enjoy ghost stories and dark and twisted torture scenes may love this one, but I just didn't like it at all. 

Delia is an okay character, but she doesn't stand out to me. She bores me a lot. I really liked Theodora, the psychic, much better. Unfortunately we learn a lot more about Delia than we do any of the other characters, including Dora. Also, the ghost isn't introduced as anything more than an annoyance for Delia. I never felt that I got to know the ghost, only referred to as Shadow, and I felt that Shadow should have been treated with more respect. I don't know, maybe back then people had no respect for the dead, but treating someone who got killed by a serial killer as an annoyance is a bit insensitive, if you ask me. 

Moyer describes the setting very well, and at times I felt as if I was in San Francisco in the early 1900s. She clearly did her research about the area and its history before writing this novel, and I appreciated that. The torture scenes, however, were a bit too graphic for my tastes. I really didn't need all of the detail that went into describing each one. It broke up the pacing of the story, and honestly, it grossed me out. One in depth description with brief following descriptions would have sufficed. The torture scenes really turned me off from the entire novel.

Overall, I'd recommend this to people who lean toward the more macabre type books and to those who love murder mysteries and historic paranormal novels. 

Pre-order Delia's Shadow

Friday, September 13, 2013

Follow Friday #38

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!

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: It is up to you to do a Kickstarter campaign for your favorite book!!! Who are you casting for the main characters?

A: I'll do Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. Let me figure this out here...
Clayton Danvers: Joseph Morgan
Elana Michaels: Rachel McAdams

Jeremy Danvers: Matthew Fox

Nick Sorrentino: Antonio Cupo

Antonio Sorrentino: Antonio Sabato Jr.

 Philip Madden: James Scott

DEAD GIRLS DON'T LIE by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Dead Girls Don't Lie
Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Rating: C-
Release Date: 09/17/13
Rachel died at two a.m . . . Three hours after Skyler kissed me for the first time. Forty-five minutes after she sent me her last text. 
Jaycee and Rachel were best friends. But that was before. . .before that terrible night at the old house. Before Rachel shut Jaycee out. Before Jaycee chose Skyler over Rachel. Then Rachel is found dead. The police blame a growing gang problem in their small town, but Jaycee is sure it has to do with that night at the old house. Rachel’s text is the first clue—starting Jaycee on a search that leads to a shocking secret. Rachel’s death was no random crime, and Jaycee must figure out who to trust before she can expose the truth. 

In the follow-up to her powerful debut, Jennifer Shaw Wolf keeps readers on their toes in another dark, romantic story of murder and secrets.

My thoughts on the book:
After reading, and loving, Breaking Beautiful, I was super excited to see another book by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. Unfortunately, this novel lacked the heart of the previous one, and I found that I couldn't relate to the characters that much. Also, Wolf's voice is different in this novel and not nearly as captivating. The mystery is solid, and the suspense kept me reading, but this book just didn't grab me like her first novel did. 

The characters were well-developed, but I wasn't really a fan of any of them. I really didn't like Jaycee at all. She wasn't the brightest character around, and more often than not she seemed quite selfish. Rachel, though dead, was still well-developed. I felt like I got to know her pretty well, which I liked. Skyler bored me, but he was still a complete character. 

The plot itself was intriguing, but it was a difficult book to read due to the gibberish that took place more frequently as the book went along. I assumed the publisher did that so that people couldn't sell the e-galleys or whatever, but it was so annoying. Chunks of the story were actually missing. This is no fault of Wolf's obviously, but it really detracted from the story. I think Bloomsbury needs to find a new technique because that was god awful. The writing was engaging, but it wasn't as gritty as the last novel, in my opinion. The mystery kept me guessing, and I didn't see the ending coming. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book (though not in e-ARC form, obviously, haha) to anyone who loves mysteries. While I liked Breaking Beautiful more than this novel, it's still a well-written and suspenseful mystery. Those who love "whodunits" will not want to miss this book. 

Pre-order Dead Girls Don't Lie

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Four Summoner's Tales
Kelley Armstrong, David Liss, Christopher Golden, and Jonathan Maberry

Rating: C
Release Date: 09/17/13
Four terror-inducing novellas from acclaimed bestselling authors Kelley Armstrong, David Liss, Christopher Golden, and Jonathan Maberry beginning with the premise: “A stranger comes to town, offering to raise the townsfolk’s dearly departed from the dead—for a price.”

In Kelley Armstrong’s “Suffer the Children,” an acute diphtheria outbreak kills most of the children in an isolated village in nineteenth-century Ontario. Then a stranger arrives and offers to bring the children back to life. He wants money, of course, an extravagant sum, but more importantly, but for each child resurrected, one villager must voluntarily offer his life... 

In David Liss’s “The Good-Natured Man,” a con man on the margins of eighteenth-century British society discovers a book that reveals the method for bringing the dead back to life. After considering just how far he would go to avoid bringing his violent father back, he realizes the real value of this book. Instead of getting people to pay him to revive their departed, he will get people to pay him not to...

In “Pipers” by Christopher Golden, the Texas Border Volunteers wage a private war against drug smuggling by Mexican cartels in a modern-day South Texas town, complete with an indestructible army of the risen dead...

In “Alive Day” by Jonathan Maberry, a US Army sergeant must dive into the underworld of modern-day Afghanistan to try and barter for the release of his team, never dreaming of the horrors that await him...

My thoughts on the book:
As you guys know, I'm not the hugest fan of anthologies, but I absolutely love Kelley Armstrong's work. Therefore, I decided to give this book a try. Unfortunately, Armstrong wasn't enough to save this collection, and even her story fell flat. This book isn't bad, but it isn't the best set of stories I've ever read either. Furthermore, I thought this was a collection of Dystopian stories, but none of the stories really fit the genre, which left me confused. I say read this only if you adore anthologies. Otherwise, if you want to sample these authors' works, I'd recommend just getting one of their books from the library or book store. 

Armstrong disappointed in this novel, and "Suffer the Children" fell extremely flat for me. Armstrong's voice was off. Yes, the circumstances were horrifying, and hearing the story from a 12 year old girl's perspective was upsetting. However, Armstrong displayed the dangers of writing about indigenous populations from a settler's perspective. The girl came across as so primitive and ignorant that it was extremely insulting to First Nations' peoples. I was terribly disappointed by this. I don't think that was her intent, but I really wish non-native people would leave indigenous peoples alone. Don't write about what you don't understand, and for the love of all that's good in the world, don't think you can possibly understand what being a member of a colonized people entails simply from reading a few books and doing a little research. If you don't live with them for years, then you can't understand, so just leave it alone. All this story did was perpetuate the already inaccurate myth that First Nations peoples are and always have been intellectually inferior to the settler. I don't think Armstrong did this purposefully because in the past she's treated indigenous peoples with the utmost respect, but that doesn't make the repercussions any less real. 

Out of all of the stories, I think that David Liss had the best voice with his story, "A Bad Season for Necromancy." I loved the time period in which this one was written, and the world-building was fantastic, especially since he had such a limited amount of space in which to work. The characterization was also top notch. The characters feel real and fully developed, which again, is difficult to do within the short amount of space allotted each story. Furthermore, Liss was able to make you root for a character of questionable morals. That takes talent. I think I will have to check out Liss' other work. 

The other stories didn't stand out to me that much, but none were as big of a disappointment as Armstrong's story. "Pipers" by Christopher Golden really didn't seem "dystopian." In fact, it seemed to reflect what goes on daily in our society; therefore, it also didn't fit with the supposed theme of the book. The more that I think about it, the more that I think that the theme of the book is that humans are monsters and morality is important. The story, like a couple of the others, has good lessons about morality, though, and it will tug at your heart strings.  

Like the other stories, "Alive Day" by Jonathan Maberry was pretty horrifying. However, I really am not a fan of military-based themes. Therefore, I didn't exactly enjoy this story. His writing was just fine, and the plot would have been intriguing if I enjoyed military fiction. Yes, I enjoyed Band of Brothers, but it was a historic book, not fiction. I never can seem to like military-themed fiction. Either way, this was an issue of personal taste, not anything the writer did wrong. 

Overall, this anthology was okay. As previously stated, this is recommended for people who enjoy anthologies and stories about morality. 

Pre-order Four Summoner's Tales

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #34

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted at Breaking the Spine. Here is the upcoming release that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for! 

This Wednesday, I'm waiting on  Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter. I absolutely adored the first novel in this series, and I can't wait to see what happens next!
Release Date: 09/24/13
 Inspired by the childhood classic Alice in Wonderland, this harrowing and romantic story features teen zombie slayer Alice Bell who has lost so much—family, friends, her home. After a strange new zombie attack, Alice fears she may be losing her mind as well. A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do wicked things. The whispers of the dead assault her ears and mirrors seem to come frighteningly to life. She’s never needed her team of zombie slayers more—including her boyfriend, Cole—than she does now. But as Cole strangely withdraws and the zombies gain new strength, Ali knows one false step may doom them all.