Sunday, April 28, 2013

In My Mailbox!

For Review:  

Wizard of Oz Illustrated SeriesTruck Stop
  • Wizard of Oz Illustrated Series by L. Frank Baum
  • Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell 


Kiss of Death (Scarlett Wakefield, #4)Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12)
  • Kiss of Death by Lauren Henderson 
  • Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review - The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade

The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)Title: The Rules
Author: Stacey Kade
Series: 1st
Pages: 416
Published: April 23rd 2013 by Disney-Hyperion 
ISBN: 9781423153283
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: 1. Never trust anyone.  2. Remember they are always searching.  3. Don’t get involved.  4. Keep your head down.  5. Don’t fall in love.   Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”    But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules… 

I Give This ...   

I really don't tend to gravitate towards books concerning aliens.  It's just a subject matter that doesn't interest me very much.  But I like Stacey Kade's previous series, and the idea of an alien that is more human than anything kind of intrigued me.  So, I thought I would give this one a try.

It didn't take me long to like Ariane.  She's trying so hard to go unnoticed that you can tell its starting to get to her.   I don't think its because she wants to stand out really, but more she feels the rules are starting to attract more attention to her than they have ever done before.  But, in her desire to prove that she can be there for her one and only friend, she attracts the kind of attention that she's been trying to avoid since she escaped the lab.  It's hard not to when that person is the Queen Bee at school and use to getting exactly what she wants.  The even bigger problem is that her grandfather ruins the very lab Ariane escaped from.

I like Zane too.  I think everyone (especially teens) love the idea that that those "it" kids at school may one day descend from their cloud and realize being on top isn't all its cracked up to be.  That they might notice the girl next door and maybe help her bring down said Queen Bee.   The budding romance between the two is really just icing on the cake.

The story ironically has a very "Carrie" feel to it.  So far that the iconic book (or movie if you will) even mentions the story.   I kept hoping that Zane wouldn't turn out to be the bad guy in the book.   But, it turns out to be the person I least expected.  It wasn't really a big surprise though when I sat and thought about it.   

I was pleased by this book so I will definitely be reading the next one!  

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week: 
The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)Romeo Redeemed (Juliet Immortal #2)
  •  Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
  • Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay
Currently Reading:

Cliff of the Ruin
  • Cliff of the Ruin by Bonnie McKernan  
Up This Week: 

Imaginable (Intangible, #2)The Elite (The Selection, #2)
  • Imaginable by J. Meyers  
  • The Elite by Kiera Cass  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

In My Mailbox!

For Review:  

Imaginable (Intangible, #2)
  • Imaginable by J.Meyers


Everblue (Mer Tales, #1)The Virgin Widow
  • Everblue by Brenda Pandos 
  • The Virgin Widow by Anne O'Brien

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review - Juliet Immortal (Juliet Immortal #1) by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal (Juliet Immortal, #1)Title: Juliet Immortal
Author: Stacey Jay
Series: 2nd (Juliet Immortal)
Pages: 307
Published: August 9th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 9780385740166
Source: Personal Copy

Description: The most tragic love story in history . . .Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love. I Give This ....

I'm a huge Shakespeare fan, so there was really never any doubt that I would read this.  It was just a matter of when.  I finally picked it up, and really I'm glad I did because there are some interesting thoughts concerning the original tale of Romeo and Juliet.
Juliet is inhabiting the body of Ariel for most of this tale, while Romeo is Dylan.  It's not overly confusing even though both character names are kind of used interchangeably.  We get little bits and pieces of information concerning past lives, especially concerning the original life were they made their choice to become what they are.  I really liked the idea that Romeo and Juliet are waring over true lovers souls.  It's the ultimate battle between good and evil, although I found the idea that one soul could be corrupted to kill the other a little disheartening.  

There are two points that I found extremely interesting about this story. First, that the bodies they are chosen to inhabit are already at ends with each other.  Ariel is truly a broken soul.  She has only one friend, if you count her as that, and often feels like her mother doesn't love her.  It's no wonder that she agrees to go out with Dylan, who is only acting on a bet.  But of course Ariel finds out and in an act of extreme anger, she sends their car off a cliff.  Enter in Romeo and Juliet.  Juliet's job is find the ones marked as true lovers according to the aura and help the realize their true feelings.  Once they are marked as being truly in love, the power of their love is given to the Ambassadors of Light and there is no danger of them being tempted by the Mercenaries.  That is what Romeo is.  

I was a little surprised at Romeo at first.  I expected someone heartless just from the description.  But, those initial scenes in the canyon are that of a psychopath.   So, yeah I was a little confused when Romeo suddenly switched to the idea of this being their shot to get out of the vows they took so many years ago.  I don't blame Juliet for not believing him, I didn't.  Which brings up my second point.  The actual story of Romeo and Juliet. I think this book does an excellent job of highlighting the fact that it's a tragedy and not the ultimate romance.  The very idea of the mercenaries is to snuff out that ultimate love.  I think that why Romeo influenced Shakespeare into writing the tragedy, so that was what people could identified with.  It gave Romeo an edge in the game. 

Overall, I liked the book.  But, there were times the storyline behind the Ambassadors and Mercenaries just got too complicated.  The bigger picture behind what each group was doing just didn't make any sense to me.  In the end, I didn't really think either group was inherently good or bad.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tour Review and Giveaway - Roses Have Thorns (Ladies in Waiting #3) by Sandra Byrd

Roses Have Thorns Tour Banner FINAL.png

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I (Ladies in Waiting #3) 

Title: Roses Have Thorns
Author: Sandra Byrd
Series: 3rd (but works as a Stand Alone)
Pages: 352
Published: April 9th 2013 by Howard Book
ISBN:  9781439183168
Source: Sent for honest review and arranged tour

Description: In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between an unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences. 

I Give This ...


  I really do love historical fiction and have a serious soft spot when it comes to the Tudor area.   I consider myself pretty well read when it comes to Queen Elizabeth I.  So, I almost passed on this one just because I was wondering if anything new could be added to her story.  Wow!  I am so glad I changed my mind.  While the significant events never change, I think this book really gave new light to one of my favorite historical figures.

First off, Elin's journey from Sweden to England was beyond imaginable.  It seemed like such a simple thing and yet it took almost a year.  I don't blame her for wanting to leave her country and have the opportunity to travel.  Most young women never got the chance.  She must have been such a captivating person to complete this journey and catch the eye of the Queen.  I don't think its something that happened very often.

I think what prompted Elin to want to stay was the idea of romance and love, something she knew was not waiting for her at home.  I really don't think power and ranking were really a part of it, in fact it often seemed like she had no real use for her high title after her marriage and her husbands subsequent death.  Even when it was so evidently a dark spot in her future her marriage to a man well beneath her rank.  She only want love and friendship.  

I mentioned above how I consider myself knowledgeable when it comes to Queen Elizabeth.  However, I somehow missed this person in all my reading and research of Queen Elizabeth.  It seems completely plausible to me that the Queen would keep such an important person in her life well protected.  I like the idea that the Queen may have had a close friends, someone she could share her secrets with.  High ranking ladies in the Queen's household were often from other noble families of the land.  Those seeking favor from the ruling household or wanting to prove their loyalty. So how does a Lady from Sweden end up one of the Queen's most influential women?   

I loved Helena from the beginning pages.  I like how the author crafted a character that it seems like a blip in history and makes her come to life.  I loved how she seemed to be able to be just what the Queen needed.  I never thought how the Queen could be lonely and this book really brought that to focus.  It made so many of her actions make so much more sense.

If the author managed to capture my attention so much with the book, I will definitely be looking for her other books!  I look forward to what she had to offer in the way of historical fiction. 


Elizabeth Necklace.jpg
And now I am pleased to offer a giveaway for one copy of Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd plus an Elizabeth I necklace (pictured above).  Contest open to US residents 13 and up and end April 24th.  Please fill in the form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review - Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by R.L. LaFevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)Title: Dark Triumph
Author: R.L. LaFevers
Series: 2nd (Grave Mercy)
Pages: 385
Published: April 2nd 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 
ISBN: 9780547628387
Source: Around the World Tours

Description: Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.  But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for? 

I Give This ...


I actually kind of waiver on this one.  The idea of assassins who are nuns was just awesome.  But, I felt the first book in the series was a little too much romance and not enough on the assassination front (put into those words, it sounds horrible.).  I wanted to give it another shot.

First off, I do not know how the hell I managed to read almost half the book before I realized the narrative was a different person than the first time around.  Considering they are shockingly different, I'm not sure how I manged that.

This narrative is what I was looking for.   Maybe it's because the subtle art of poisoning was much less exciting that Sybella's skillful knowledge of weaponry and just how to get close enough to kill.  Her background was excruciating to read about.  So many people would have just crumbled after the things that she has been through.  Instead they have made Sybella tough as nails.   She has a hard exterior, but I really felt for her as well.  The author managed to portray her fear just right.  She was walking a fine line.   

The events inside her father's castle are fast paced.  I  never knew if she was going to mange to get out of there alive and how she was going to do it.  When she helps the prisoner escape and accidentally ends up going with him, there is no turning back.  It's a good thing to because the prisoner is by no means able to reach safety on his own.  And Sybella has to much powerful information to share.

I loved Sybella so much more than Ismae.   And along the way I've come to really appreciate most of the rest of the characters.  I still have a hard time grasping the idea that the duchess is as young as she is.  I do have to say that I'm beginning to really dislike the Mother Abbess.  She's up to something, and I can't quit grasp what is.  I wanted to reach through the pages and really hurt her at the end of this book.

Really excited for book 3 now!


Monday, April 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:  
Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I
  • Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd
 Currently Reading:

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)
  •  Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Up This Week:

Romeo Redeemed (Juliet Immortal #2)
  • Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

Sunday, April 14, 2013

In My Mailbox!

For Review: 

The Elite (The Selection, #2)
  • The Elite by Kiera Cass


The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine, #3)Lemniscate (Angel Star, #2)
  • The Savage Grace by Bree Despain 
  • Lemniscate by Jennifer Murgia 

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review - My Turn to Fail You by Luc Hawthorne

My Turn to Fail YouTitle: My Turn to Fail You
Author: Luc Hawthorne
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 354
Published: January 12th 2013 by Smashwords 
ISBN: 9781301186181
Source: Exchange for honest review

Description: A modern, steamy love story set on the Michigan lakeshore. As autumn turns to winter, two couples – one lucky and one not – will fight buried secrets and try to keep their relationships together. As tragedy unfolds, the story becomes a sexy train wreck that you’re not going to want to put down.

 I Give This ...

I always hesitate to to review family of friends books.  It's one of those lines that can be uncomfortable to cross.  I decided to accept this one despite that fact, and despite the fact that I don't normally read modern romance.   It turned out quite a bit better than I thought.

First off, I'm not really sure I would consider this a romance.  Sure, there are some romantic moments.  And there's definitely some steamy sex.  But, it's really more about the dysfunctions of  2 couples and how the rise and fall together.  They are far more intertwined than I could possibly have imagined when the story began. 

Our first couple is Emma and Sean and is basically the reunion of the love that got away.  Or is it?  As quickly as they fall back into things (or maybe its just back into bed), there are some deeply rooted issues that I wondered if they would be able to truly forgive each other for.   I can't deny the connection that they share.  There was something there in the beginning and it was not normal circumstances that drove them apart.  But, sometimes the space between is just to wide to bridge.  

Our next couple is Kevin and Lucy.  I actually thought this was a good example for Sean and Emma in the beginning.  But, it turns out that sometimes 2 couples can't co-exist in the same space for very long without fireworks.  And it's not always in a good way.  I was a little surprised at the actions both couples were willing to take.  It was like all allegiances to their partners and to each other were void.
But, it just went to show how dysfunctional they were.  

There were 2 aspects that kind of put a kink in the story for me.  The major event that lead to Sean and Emma's initial break-up was a little hard for me to stomach.  I know it happens in the real world.  It's just not something I like to read about.  Second, there's a child that figure pretty prominently in the story.   I did not believe Meghan's actions when she found out her true parentage. 

Overall, a good story that I'm willing to give a 4 rating too.   Warning on some of the graphic content.  And, I'm not sure the resolution was completely happy. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday - Goddess by Josephine Angelini

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Goddess (Starcrossed, #3)Title: Goddess
Author: Josephine Angelini
After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.  To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.  In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched. 
I've actually really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series.   So, this one was a no brainer to add to my to read list.  I'm not sure if this is the last in the series, but I'm looking forward to it! 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Virtual Tour - The Chalice (Crown #2) by Nancy Bilyeau

Title: The Chalice
Author: Nancy Bilyeau
Series: 2nd (The Crown)
Pages: 416
Published: March 5th 2013 by Touchstone
ISBN: 9781476708652
Source: Arranged Tour
 Description: In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.  Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…

  I Give This ...

I really wavered back and forth on whether I wanted to review this one.  I was a little worried that I hadn't read the first.  Plus, I just wasn't sure about the synopsis.  Eventually, Henry VIII won out.  I couldn't miss out on a different viewpoint!
I'm so glad I decided to give this book a shot.  It was completely not what I expected.  First off, very little of what I have read concerning Henry VIII's reign talked about the dissolution of the monasteries.  We all know know about making himself the head of The Church of England, thus separating for the Roman Catholic Church.  But, I was unfamiliar with the extent he went to eradicate all traces of the faith from England.  The cost to all the people that called this institutions their home was tremendous.  Not only were they cast out of their way of life, the often were ridiculed by the people.   

Joanna was an great lead character.  She lead the life of a sister, but she never really stuck me as such.   I think she took this path to hide herself from the eyes of the court.  She's much to close to the throne and she wants to make sure that the King never sees her as a threat.  However, it's been prophesied that she holds the key to restoring England to the Catholic faith.  I was extremely curious how this played out with what I know of English history.

It was most enlightening to read about a different side of England in this time period.  How everyone watched over the shoulders unsure who would be the one to bring the noose down around their neck.  The monarchy seemed to be the laughing stock to the rest of Europe but yet everybody was afraid to step in obviously.  Henry VIII must have been an interesting man to be able to exert his control the way he did.

The prophecy concerning Joanna and the return to the Catholic faith was interesting.  I obviously knew that it wouldn't play out the way everybody kept thinking it would or it wouldn't stick to history very well.  But, yet I found the way it did happen to be completely plausible and perfect.  A very riveting book from beginning to end!  Now I need to go back and read The Crown.


Praise for The Chalice

The Chalice
"Rarely have the terrors of Henry VIII's reformation been so exciting. Court intrigue, bloody executions, and haunting emotional entanglements create a heady brew of mystery and adventure that sweeps us from the devastation of the ransacked cloisters to the dangerous spy centers of London and the Low Countries, as ex-novice Joanna Stafford fights to save her way of life and fulfill an ancient prophecy, before everything she loves is destroyed." - C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen's Vow

The Chalice offers a fresh, dynamic look into Tudor England's most powerful, volatile personalities: Henry VIII, the Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner and Bloody Mary Tudor. Heroine and former nun Joanna Stafford is beautiful, bold and in lethal danger. Bilyeau writes compellingly of people and places that demand your attention and don't let you go even after the last exciting page. - Karen Harper, author of Mistress of Mourning

"An exciting and satisfying novel of historical suspense that cements Nancy Bilyeau as one of the genre's rising stars. The indominable Joanna Stafford is back with a cast of powerful and fascinating characters and a memorable story that is gripping while you are reading and haunting after you are done. Bravo! The Chalice is a fabulous read." - M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist

About the Author
Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. Her latest position is features editor of Du Jour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she graduated from the University of Michigan. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
It's been really frustrating me lately because I feel I'm not hitting my goal of 3 books a week.  But then I realized 2 things.  First, I'm reading a lot of historical fiction and no matter how well its written or how much I like, it just takes me longer.   Second, so many of the books  I've been reading happen to be 400+ pages.  Since so many of them are on my kindle, I just don't realize how long they are.   I'm beginning to accept this!
Read Last Week:   
The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)Bright Blue Miracle
  • The Rules by Stacey Kade
  • Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers
  • Bright Blue Miracle by Becca Wilhite

Currently Reading:  

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I
  • Rose Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd

Up This Week:

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)Romeo Redeemed (Juliet Immortal #2)
  • Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
  • Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay


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