Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: Forsaken (Daughters of the Sea #1) by Kristen Day


Forsaken
Daughters of the Sea-Book #1
By Kristen Day 

Once you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…
Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago.
Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her.
Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and  dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.
Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendants of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she.
But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.
She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesied to be a part of. The fate of all the descendants will forever depend upon it.

 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Read: 401 Haiku Poems Book Review; Then: Write your own haiku to WIN!


Flo's Review
Does anyone remember back when all of us who are big Hunger Games fans were waiting for movie casting news of Cinna and President Snow? Someone started doing haikus on Twitter, and the next thing I knew I was spending hours creating and reading haikus about these two characters and why they are so important. I think haikus are great because they do not take long to compose, yet they are creative and fun. Haikus remind us that a poem does not have to be long to make an impact. I like that. In three lines you can convey silliness, deepness, emotion, love. In three lines you can make a statement. 

So when I got an email about a book of haikus, I thought it would be fun to take a look. The author, who goes under the pen name Kakos Kakos starts his book with an explanation of what a haiku is:

"In essence, Haiku is composed of just three lines. The first line is one to five syllables and this is where the poet makes a statement. The second line is one to seven syllables where the poet usually states emotion. The third line is one to five syllables where the poet states a bit of spiritualism."

Here are a couple from the book that I liked:

Curse the darkness
Rapidly blinking eyes
And light a candle

Dance girl dance!
Always swing your dress around
And worship your youth

Now it's your turn!
I want to see your haikus! Write me one or a few in the comments. I'll pick a winner of an autographed copy of In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth. Good luck and have fun!

After the End by Amy Plum


World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there. At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life. When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie. Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past. (from Goodreads)


Flo's Review

The Book Nerds love Amy Plum! We devoured her Die For Me trilogy and had the opportunity to meet her at the RT Convention a few years ago. She even inspired Jacque's trip to France! So when we discovered that she was writing a new series, we rushed to get ahold of the ARCs of the first book After the End.

I dove into this book without reading the description, so I really had no idea what was happening or going to happen as I read. It is definitely a unique and interesting concept. It was fascinating to discover things with Juneau -- how what she was told made sense but how it wasn't really the truth. And what the truth is and how that also makes sense. Unfortunately, the book did not grab me as much as I think it could have, because I felt a lot of the plot was unrealistic and engineered simply because something had to happen as a reveal for the story. I'm not even talking about the Yara or any of the other magical elements. I feel that almost every action Miles took in this book was very unrealistic. However, he obviously had to find Juneau some way and then be on a road trip with her for several days, so I guess he should just randomly leave his house in L.A., drive to Seattle, and drive aimlessly around the streets looking for one person he's never seen before? Sure. And then let her convince him to drive her around after knowing her for about 5 seconds. Why not? Throughout their time together, Miles and Juneau are falling for each other, but I also had a hard time believing their love. "She's crazy -- like mental institute crazy! I love her." "He's lazy! But really good looking. So I love him." (I totally made those quotes up, but you get my point.) And, without being too spoilery -- but slightly so ignore this sentence if it'll make you nervous -- if someone you loved was shot, would you just carry on with your regular plans?! I wouldn't. I would immediately take that person to a hospital and/or try to get help.

I didn't dislike the story. I read through the entire book in one day and kept reading even when I was so tired that I wanted to sleep, so I was clearly invested in the characters and intrigued by the story. I am curious about what will happen to Miles and Juneau in the next book, and I do want more of an opportunity to hear from Whit. As I said before, the idea is very unique and intriguing. And, it can also be noted that I did not love Die For Me when I first read it. It was only with reading the second book in the series that I truly fell in love. Maybe the same will be said for this one.

Jacque's Review:

Juneau is a seventeen year old girl from a small community in Alaska.  For decades her village has lived without electricity, has traveled by dogsled, hunted for food...etc.  They have not had any contact with the outside world since a nuclear bomb destroyed civilization in 1984 during WWIII.  They are aware that there are other survivors out there because they occasionally hear aircraft fly overhead  They have been taught to treat these individuals as a threat and to seek shelter immediately.

One day while she is out hunting, all of the members of her village disappear.  She heard the aircraft and knows they were taken against their will.  She is left alone and scared, but she still has her powers.  She can connect with various elements to gain information about her clan.  The more she learns the more she realizes her elders have been feeding her lies her entire life...but why?  There are real cities out there and now someone has imprisoned her friends and family.  She makes it her mission to find them.

Miles is the spoiled son of a wealthy pharmaceutical executive.  He has been suspended from school and is trying to earn back his father's trust in the hopes of attending Yale this fall.  When he discovers his father is looking for a teenage girl who would be an extremely valuable asset to his corporation, Miles decides this could be his ticket back into his father's good graces.  All he has to do is find the girl and turn her over to his father.

The book started out telling the story of Juneau's clan.  I was a bit leery at that point because of all of the unusual names.  Once she is on her own and sets out on her mission, I absolutely loved the story.  The story is told with dual narrators, Miles and Juneau.  Miles thinks she is completely crazy, but they both realize they need each other.

As Miles comes to understand Juneau's upbringing and abilities, he realizes she has been telling the truth all along.  They start to develop a friendship and feelings between the two are inevitable.

Overall, this is a very entertaining story.  I enjoyed the characters and was hooked from the beginning.  The relationship was very believable and there was a lot of action to keep the pages turning.  While I can't say that I understand Juneau's powers, they definitely helped propel the story along.  Her abilities are a bit far fetched, but without them this story would have come to a halt a few chapter in.

The ending was a bit of a shock and Amy left us with a HUGE cliffhanger.  This is going to be a duology, but the name of the next book and a release date has yet to be announced.  Since After The End is not going to be released until May 6, 2014....I am pretty sure I have a LONG wait ahead of me.  If you were a fan of Amy's Revenants series, I would definitely check out After The End.

Here are the links to our reviews of Amy's Revenants series:

Die For Me
Until I Die
Die for Her (novella)
If I Should Die

Saturday, January 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Truths and Dares (Truths and Dares #1) by Amity Hope

Goodreads Description:

Book 1 of 2
Secrets and Lies will be available early 2014

~*~*~Young Adult Romance~*~*~

Somewhere in between playing in the sandbox and starting high school, Harper Monroe fell in love with her best friend. Seth Ryerson was the boy who lived next door. He was the boy who dared to give her her first kiss. He was the boy she cried over when her mother decided to uproot her from her hometown. He’s also the boy with a secret.

When Seth finds out that Harper is coming back to town halfway through their senior year, he hates that he can’t be happy about it. Because Harper is the one person who knows the truth. And as far as Seth is concerned, the truth really doesn’t set you free.


MARY'S REVIEW:

On occasion, I go over to Goodreads and look at all the books I have read over the years. When I was getting ready to start this review, like always, I go to Goodreads to get the information I need for the post. Well, I got to looking at the previous books of Amity's that I had read (BTW, it's all of them). My first review, was all the way back in the early fall of 2012. 

So, I want to take this second to thank Amity....

Thank you for being such an amazing author that you have kept me wanting more of your book for (close to) two years!! Your talent is something I don't think I could put into words!! Thank you!!

With that being said ... 

Let's talk about the new Amity Hope book!!

What I liked: Amity Hope has a a great writing style. It never too descriptive that I know ever single color of the walls in the room, but it's enough to know that when there is pain and/or hurt, I want to cry! This story is much different than others, Harper and Seth. They are the best of friends growing up, and the each (truly) love each other. 

Seth....oh, Seth....I instantly fell in love with him, and as you read on his story becomes...well, he changes a bit. See, Harper moves away, and Seth is really torn up about it. And I want to tell you everything, but I'm not going to spoil it for you. HOWEVER, I will say this....keep reading!!!

The hold/pull/life line that those two have on each other, is truly a beautiful story. It's not ALL kissy, kissy, mushy, mushy..that you just want to gag from it! Amity is too amazing for that!  So, don't think that going into this story. Through some of it I forgot they were teenagers!

What I didn't like: As much as I love Amity, I think she might have been close to a deadline. Because the last couple chapters, I felt to be a little face-paced. NOW, I don't know if she meant to do that BECAUSE we are left with a cliffhanger, so it may have been intentional. But, that is the only true dislike I had with it!!

I would RECOMMEND this BIG TIME!!

You can purchase it here:  Truths and Dares

Friday, January 24, 2014

Let It Bleed by Jeri Smith-Ready


Jacque's Review:

This is a free novella that is available on Jeri Smith-Ready's site. It is a VERY substantial story with about 125 pages. This is not just an extra scene, but an ESSENTIAL part of the story. It bridges the gap between the third and final book in the WVMP radio series.

There is A LOT that takes place in Let It Bleed. If you decide to skip directly from Bring on the Night to Lust For Life, you will be doing yourself a real disservice. Two characters are murdered, four new characters are introduced, and a main character is essentially removed from the series. I'm sure some of these details will be discussed in the final book for those who did skip the novella, but I can't imagine she will provide even a fraction of the detail.

There were a couple of events that greatly impacted the relationship between Ciara and her maker, Monroe. I don't think they will ever have the type of relationship Shane and Regina have, but they are establishing a more friendly relationship.

This book also contains Vital Fluid's first performance. Vital Fluid is Shane's new three-man nineties cover band and they totally rocked. More of Shane and his musical talent is always welcome.

I can't thank Jeri enough for advising me to read this before starting the final book in the series.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Shadow and Bone + Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo



Flo's Review
Basically, I'm late the party on these. Would you believe that I met Leigh Bardugo twice before I read these books?! She came to Books and Books here in Miami and then she was also at YallFest (where she was interviewed for TheFandom.net by my girl Ellie) and I also got these cute buttons:


Anyway, I checked on the e-book of Shadow and Bone from the library on a whim and read it over a weekend. The next weekend I read Siege and Storm. What I loved most about this books is that they are just so unique! They are SO unique. I can't think of anything else like them. This world is completely different from anything you can imagine and it's so easy to just get lost into it. My heart just hurt for Mal over and over in Siege and Storm. I love that man! I am super scared about what the amplifiers are going to do to Alina, if anything. Nikolai never ceased to entertain me.

But I must admit, I don't understand everyone's obsession with the Darkling? And I know people are obsessed with him because I had heard about him even before reading these books. (I explain in more detail in my spoilery Goodreads review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/812310909)

Needless to say, I am biting my nails in anticipation of Ruin and Rising like all the other Grisha fans. Mal! Nikolai! Alina! The Darkling, I guess?

Icons by Margaret Stohl

Margaret Stohl and I are adorable! Love this pic! 
Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting. Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid. She's different. She survived. Why? When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy. Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review
This was an interesting one for me because it was 4.5 stars for me until the end...now it's 3.5. If you want to know why, and you've read the book, check out my spoilery review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/804280392?book_show_action=false

I listened to the audiobook of this one, and the reader did a good job, though it was a little funny hearing her try to do an automated, robot-like tone for the Research Memorandums. This book was non-stop action, and I found myself wanting to be back in the car so I could find out what happened next. When I am really into an audiobook, I will want to pick up the print book and keep reading so I don't have to wait until I am driving again. This happened with Icons, but I made myself be patient so I could listen to the whole thing. I also found myself thinking about the story during the work and at times when I was not driving, and that is another telltale sign for me that a book is really leaving an impression.

Ro. That's my boy! I have so much love for Ro. I think I like him most because with him what you see is what you get. He obviously feels things very deeply, and he feels them purely and intensely as well. When he's happy, he's happy. When he's excited, he's excited. Granted, when he is mad...stay out of his way! I loved reading about how he and Dol complimented each other. Rage and Sorrow. I never really felt like Dol and Lucas complimented each other in the same way, which is why I had a problem with the love triangle in this story. 

The end of the story left us with a lot of unanswered questions. I understand why -- to keep our interest, to keep the story going -- but I think the reader should have gotten a bit more to go on. I had the impression at the end that Dol and the other Icon Children knew more about themselves than we as the reader did (through what Lucas found out and through the book). But, alas, we are still very much in the dark. The end of the story did set up Book #2 nicely, so I hope I can get an ARC of it sooner than later so I can see how everything progresses.

COVER REVEAL: Forsaken (Daughters of the Sea Book #1) by Kristen Day

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Exquisite Betrayal by AM Hargrove

 


BOOK SUMMARY:


A male Romance Author… a convention in Vegas… a female book blogger… a goal to lose her virginity… what happens when you mix all the above?

Fallon McKinley is headed to Vegas for the Wicked Wenches Romance Con and losing her virginity is only one of her goals. The other is to meet her favorite author of romance novels, R.T. Sinclair. What she doesn’t realize is that the sexy green-eyed god she rams into at the airport is the real R.T. When they keep running into each other, she’s shocked, but excited, because the attraction is irresistible.

Ryland Thomas Sinclair doesn’t want anyone to know his true identity. He’s the author that all women love, but everyone thinks he’s a female. He hides his persona behind the public face of his twin sister, keeping his own a secret. But after meeting the lovely Fallon, his intentions to avoid a relationship come to a screeching halt. She’s put an unwanted kink into his perfectly laid out plans. His unusual reaction surprises him because after a heart-shredding breakup a few years ago, he’s managed to avoid women at all costs.


Resisting Fallon becomes more difficult than he imagines. Soon things are spiraling out of control, until a major miscommunication has Fallon walking out of his home and his life. Will Ryland Thomas succeed in losing the woman he loves? Or can he win her back?

BUY LINKS:
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/JyBv9u

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had ├╝ber quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what laptop out the window.  She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss and quit her job.  Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a YA/NA and Adult Romance writer. Her books include the following: Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge and Kissing Fire (The Edge Series); The Guardians of Vesturon series (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, reEmergent and Beginnings); Dark Waltz and Tragically Flawed.

Other than being in love with writing about being in love, she loves chocolate, ice cream and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups.

Author Links:


My Review:

Let's just jump right into this review with my typical, blah blah blah beginnings!

What I liked: First, HELLO IT'S AM HARGROVE!! I love everything that she touches! Plus, this just added to my growing pile of love for her.

Ryland Thomas is a HOT HOT HOT HOT male romance author. I know there are a lot of them around, and he knows it too. That is why he hides in the shadow, and his sister Tilly is the face of RT Sinclair. 

Enter in a sweet, blogger from South Carolina, Fallon. Oh, how I fell in love with this girl RIGHT OFF! She saved all her money to head to Las Vegas for a book convention. 

The back and forth of Ryland and Fallon, is funny at times, frustrating, and so steamy. 

What I didn't like: It wasn't that I didn't like it, but I was under the assumption that this was going to be a book about a girl at a convention. Not entirely true. It starts off that way, but then it turns into a twist, that I didn't really see happening, but it was interesting. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Flo's Review
This was an interesting book for me in that I really enjoyed the story, but I did not enjoy the main character. This does not happen to me a lot. Let's get the ugly out of the way first.

(I should probably preface my rant by saying that I am 100% Team Maxon.)

America, I know this is your story, but it's not ALL about you! You string on these two men in the book so fully and completely that it astounds me! I understand that's it hard -- when you're with each one of them you think that HE is the only one for you and you are going to break it off with the other. But you are single handedly making Maxon's life about 20 hundred times harder than it needs to be because you're so busy being obsessed with what this means for you, and with your tests, that you're not giving a thought to what you're doing to him. And Aspen, for that matter. Maxon tells you exactly what he's doing and then you doubt him and get mad at him. He goes and tries to find a way to continue without you since you wrote him off, and then you get mad at him about that. I agreed wholeheartedly when he says:

"I've shown you so many of my secrets, defended you in every way I can. But when you aren't pleased with me, you act rashly. You shut me out, blame me, or, most impressively {SPOILER}. I need to know that I can depend on you. I need to know that you can keep my secrets, trust my judgment, and not hold things back from me. I need you to be completely honest with  me and stop questioning every decision I make. I need you to have faith in me, America."    

Well, I do, Maxon. Flo has faith in you!

Anyway, enough of that. I do like that America proved herself to be a good friend and that, like Aspen comments, she hasn't let the competition change her. She is still worried about her Dad approving of Maxon as a person for her. She thinks of the other Elite as her friends, and is surprised with one of them reminds her, straight up, that they are all fighting against each other for Maxon. I loved seeing more, and learning more, about America's maids. This was a book that I didn't want to put down, and I pulled out my headphones to take a listen whenever I got a free moment. I am really looking forward to The One! I think some big changes are coming for Ilea...

Jacque's Review:

I completely agree with everything Flo had to say.  I wrote my review before reading hers and it appears we are on the same page.  

I did enjoy the story, but I found it to be extremely frustrating. I realize this is because I, too, am on Team Maxon.  There were times when I actually wanted to throw the book across the room.  Of course...I couldn't do that because it is an autographed copy and I love Kiera Cass.  Instead, I simply had to put it down a few times...which is part of the reason it took me a long time to finish reading this book.


My frustration has to do with America.  At times I felt like she was irrational.  She is indecisive and often reacts without thinking about the consequences.  She also bottles up all of her thoughts and feelings and holds Maxon accountable for things beyond his control.  This love triangle should have ended a LONG time ago, but she is still confused about her feelings.  She sneaks around the palace for brief encounters alone with Aspen, yet she still gets butterflies whenever she has intimate moments with Maxon.  She is jealous when Maxon spends time with the other women in the selection, but she is the one who keeps pushing him away and asking for more time.

I felt sorry for Maxon the majority of the book.  He seems to have only the best of intentions, but America treats him very poorly most of the time.  I still hope they will reach their happily ever after in The One, but it will take a lot of hard work from America to earn back Prince Maxon's and my love and trust.