Monday, October 31, 2011

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

What a great zombie story! Huge thanks to Jennifer for recommending this book to everyone and for letting us know that it is free on Amazon. I can’t believe this is free! I was so pleasantly surprised by the way this book grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go. I read it in one day, and fortunately, I don’t have a long wait until the next book in the series, Hollowmen (The Hollows #2). I really enjoyed female protagonist, Remy. Her Buffy-esque, kick a$$, zombie slayer attitude, and strong will made me a fan early on. Oh, and I may be more of a dog person, but I want a Ripley. Seriously. If you’re a zombie fan, read this book. If you’re not a zombie fan… ummmm…why not and how are we friends? Anyway, read the book. Did I mention that it’s FREE??

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fading Into Magic by Vone Savan

Madeline Morgan is a bright, artistic 17 year old girl who experienced loss at a young age and doesn’t have the most ideal home life. She and her best friend, Dara, visit a mysterious tent at the annual Augury Carnival, where they meet the eccentric Madame Anca. Madame Anca tells the girls some things about their lives that are spot on, and while Dara is skeptical, Madeline can’t help but be intrigued and hopeful that Madame Anca’s promise of true love will come to be. Enter Stefan - the new mysterious and handsome boy who just transferred to Madeline’s school. Will Stefan be her one true love? Or will Stefan introduce her to something much darker...something that brings the past to light, but just might help Madeline find courage as well as self discovery.

Fading into Magic is a modern day fairy tale. While this book is classified as YA, the author mentioned that it might be geared more towards middle graders. I wholeheartedly agree and couldn’t be happier that it is. So many YA books have such mature content that my “tween” isn’t allowed to read them. Fading Into Magic was perfect in that there were no sexual situations or bad language. After reading, I let my daughter read it and she absolutely loves it! There is also a great message for her generation dealing with forgiveness. I applaud Mr. Savan for including that message in his story.

Now, the kiddo and I just need to agree on whose bookshelf the lovely Fading Into Magic will reside.

Thank you to Vone Savan for providing a signed copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sail by James Patterson

Title:  Sail
Author:  James Patterson and Howard Roughan
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: January 1, 2008

    My Rating:

From Goodreads:

Since the death of her husband, Anne Dunne and her three children have struggled in every way. In a last ditch effort to save the family, Anne plans an elaborate sailing vacation to bring everyone together once again. But only an hour out of port, everything is going wrong. The teenage daughter, Carrie, is planning to drown herself. The teenage son, Mark, is high on drugs and ten-year-old Ernie is nearly catatonic. This is the worst vacation ever.

Anne manages to pull things together bit by bit, but just as they begin feeling like a family again, something catastrophic happens. Survival may be the least of their concerns.

Written with the blistering pace and shocking twists that only James Patterson can master, SAIL takes "Lost" and "Survivor" to a new level of terror

                                      My review

Four years after her husband’s death, Katherine Dunne fears she may be losing her children too. 18-year-old Carrie has a severe eating disorder, Mark, 16, is a pothead, and Ernie is the oldest 10 year old on the planet. They haven’t felt like a family since Stuart’s death. Enter Katherine’s brilliant plan to have a family vacation aboard the family yacht. With her former brother-in-law Jake as captain, they set out to save their family, quickly realizing this may be the end of all of them.

This is the anything-that-could-go-wrong, did-go-wrong-book. I’ve never been a fan of the ocean. Frankly, it terrifies me, and my rule of thumb for being in water has always been “If I can’t clearly see my toes touching the bottom, and if it is home to any living creatures - it’s not for me”. So yeah, bathtubs and swimming pools are the only bodies of water I inhabit. That being said, that is probably why this book scared me and may or may not have contributed to a new stomach ulcer.

It was definitely a “can’t put it down” story, and I read it in one sitting. This was not the typical Patterson story that keeps you guessing until the end. I like the way the “bad guy” is ousted right at the beginning. Still, there were twists, turns and tons of suspense.

If you’re a James Patterson fan, then Sail is one you will definitely want in your collection.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

“They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.”

I am afraid I don’t possess the vocabulary to accurately describe this book. Beautiful, yes, but that does not do it justice. I was mesmerized from the beginning. This book tugged at my heart and left me breathless. The ending left me speechless. I could fill this entire page with quotes from Delirium due to Lauren Oliver’s lovely poetic writing.

“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”

A dystopian world that believes love, or as it has come to be called ‘amor deliria nervosa’, is a dangerous deadly disease. There is, however, a cure for the disease. Scientists have found a way to render the part of the brain that makes you feel love inactive. Of course, it also takes away the ability to feel compassion, sympathy, sensitivity, and at times, I felt, humanity. Not only does this affect young people who may have fallen in love, but the way one would feel about a friend, family member… even your own child. These are disregarded simply as side affects - a much better alternative than falling prey to the disease. When the youth of Portland turn 18, the procedure can be administered. Some embrace it…. Others don’t. What happens if you are one who doesn’t?

"I'd rather die my way than live yours."

The story follows 17 year old Lena, who lives in fear of the disease and cannot wait to have her procedure administered so that she may be cured. She can feel the disease in her blood, and for her it is unbearable. She is counting down the days until she can be cleansed and free from the worry of ever contracting the deliria.

Then she meets Alex. "As soon as I look up, his eyes click onto my face. The breath whooshes out of my body and everything freezes for a second, as though I am looking at him through my camera lens, zoomed in all the way, the world pausing for that tiny span of time between the opening and closing of the shutter."

Alex is a beautiful soul with an intriguing and heartbreaking story. Not only is he strong, confident, and brave, but he is gentle and tender. He quotes poetry. Mind you not just any poetry… Elizabeth Barrett Browning, my personal favorite.

While this is a wonderful, tumultuous, and exciting love story, for me this book was about sacrifice - Ultimate sacrifice. Lena’s relationship with her mother and her mother’s story was poignant, at times heart wrenching, and enormously gripping.

"I love you. Remember. They cannot take it".

While I love YA books, especially dystopian futures, some can leave me with a bit of a let down. Sure, there is romance, or more like of a hint of romance, and that leaves me feeling frustrated. Delirium is an exception. This was one of the most romantic YA books I have read to date.

"I hate skin; I hate bones and bodies. I want to curl up inside of him and be carried there forever."

And the ending? A cliffhanger of epic proportions. It will definitely be a book to treasure and savor for quite some time. Delirium is easily one of my top five favorites. I am more than ready for the next book in this trilogy.

“Love. It kills you both when you have it, and when you don’t.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

I wear pink for my mom

I love my parents and I am extremely close to them. They met and married late in life and tried unsuccessfully to have a baby for nearly 10 years. They stopped trying….then surprise… found out they were pregnant with yours truly. I grew up with my parents being mistaken for grandparents, but I LOVE having older parents. They are amazing, wise, and have always made time for me.

Both of my parents are cancer survivors. Both have battled this terrible disease…twice.   I thank God that they are cancer free today.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and author Kate Fuentes has an incredible post on her blog:    

Kate is the author of Elements: The Beginning, the first in a series which I cannot wait to get my hands on. She is just lovely and if I enjoy her books half as much as I enjoy her creative tweets and incredible blog posts, then they are sure to become favorites.  You can find out more about Elements:  The Beginning here:

So, please, check out her amazing blog and books.

 Don't forget to fight for the cure!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

“To Nora Grey, Patch seems like the completely unexpected, picture-perfect guy; handsome, friendly, attentive. But perhaps he's too perfect, too attentive, trespassing over the line between would-be boyfriend and stalker. At first confused and then frightened, Nora eventually discovers that both she and her ever-watchful companion are enmeshed in a primordial battle for souls.” (From Barnes&Noble)

To say that I had been hearing a lot about Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (and, in particular, a certain fictional character who goes by the name of Patch) would be a ginormous understatement. Everywhere I looked it was “Patch and Nora” this or “ohhhhh, Patch” that. I needed to investigate… see if there was any validity to all this talk. Well holy hotness, they weren’t kidding. That is one nice male lead character you created, Mrs. Fitzpatrick:

“It was a smile that spelled trouble. With a promise.”

“His sleeves were pushed up his forearms, and I could see his muscles working as he punched buttons. He was tall and lean and hard, and I wouldn't have been surprised if under his clothes he bore several scars, souvenirs from street fights and other reckless behavior. 
Not that I wanted a look under his clothes.”

Well, personally, I wouldn’t mind taking a peek. This is the second time I’ve read a book that has made me want to time travel back to biology class in hopes of getting paired with a lab partner who didn’t reek of onions and insist on burping my name every chance he got. Where was my Patch?? Hmmph!

I really enjoyed Hush, Hush - enjoyed to the point that my family had to call my first and middle name to get my attention. Oops. It was very easy to get pulled into the story and even easier to enjoy the characters. I thought Nora was great and her inner thoughts and personable demeanor made her very likeable right away.

“Part of me wanted to run away from him screaming, Fire! A more reckless part was tempted to see how close I could get without... combusting.”
I think my earlier statements make it clear how I feel about Patch… but just in case: Patch was mesmerizing with his dark and dangerous ways. He definitely blurs the line between possible future boyfriend and “I’d like to file a restraining order, please.” I keep wanting him to be a good guy…. but I don’t want him to NOT be the bad guy either. He is just an incredible and extremely sexy mixture of both. The attitude, the snark, and his commentary alone had me falling fast:

“Say 'provoking' again. Your mouth looks provocative when you do.”

Oh, and definitely this one:

“You should go," I breathed. "You should definitely go."
"Go here?" His mouth was on my shoulder. "Or here?" It moved up my neck.”

Seriously, I could go on and on…

I like that the author didn’t bog us down with tons and tons of history, but gave just enough back story to keep me interested and wanting more. I like her writing style, the quick moving plot, and of course the story itself. I will most definitely be reading the rest of the series as well as Becca Fitzpatrick’s other work.

“All this time I've hated myself for it. I thought I'd given it up for nothing. But if I hadn't fallen, I wouldn't have met you.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crave by Melissa Darnell

When Savannah Colbert was in the fourth grade, her best friends and the boy she loved suddenly began avoiding her like the plague. Now, in high school, Savannah is still being shunned and bullied by the kids of the Clann. Savannah has heard the rumors that the members of the powerful Clann know how to use magic, but that doesn’t explain why they treat her like a freak. She’s just a regular girl…isn’t she?

Well, she thought she was, until a sudden illness brought on some pretty drastic, and definitely noticeable, changes. Now guys that never gave her a second look can’t seem to look away. Savannah discovers some pretty potent secrets about herself and her family. Secrets that were kept from her in order for her to have a normal life. Well, life is anything but normal now.

Tristan Coleman is the “Prince of Jacksonville High School”, and Savannah has been fighting her feelings for him ever since the day of their fake wedding in fourth grade. She is hyper aware of Tristan’s presence and has to struggle to keep her mind off of him. Unbeknownst to her, Tristan fights that same battle. Banned from having anything to do with Savannah and never understanding the reason why, Tristan has to work hard to control his abilities and follow the rules of his parents and The Clann. Not to mention, trying desperately, but to no avail, NOT to fall in love with Savannah.

Wow! I love the world Melissa Darnell has created in Crave. I am thrilled that she made the female antagonist the vampire and her paramour the witch. That alone was a breath of fresh air! I LOVE how the author switches from Savannah’s point of view to Tristan’s throughout the story. I enjoyed hearing his thoughts and knowing how he felt about Savannah, before Savannah did.

Savannah is an easy heroine to love. To watch her go from being bullied to learning how to take care of herself is inspiring. Not only does she have to deal with family problems (understatement), and high school bullies, but she has to figure out how to handle her physical changes as well as coping with the new knowledge of what she is becoming or may become.

Tristan is going to be one of those fictional characters we all fall for. Handsome, strong, southern boy, willing and ready to fight for the girl he loves.

Crave will have your heart racing, and at times breaking. The romance between the two main characters is palpable and endearing:

“I understood then why humans have noses. So we can find each other to kiss in the dark.”I look forward to reading more of Melissa Darnell’s outstanding writing, and I can hardly wait for Covet, the second installment of The Clann series.

I received a copy of this book for review from Netgalley.

Abandon by Meg Cabot

17-year-old Pierce Olivieria is still struggling to get through the day, even though its been 2 years since she died and came back to life. Yeah, that’s right - died. Pierce didn’t see any “white light” though - she saw something entirely different, and that something haunts her every day. Someone is always watching - someone dark, dangerous and handsome. John Hayden is no guardian angel, but he has saved her life twice. Is John really there to protect her, or is he who she needs to be afraid of?

“He let his mouth linger on mine, neither possessively nor sweetly….like his mouth just belonged there on mine”.

I really liked this modernized retelling of Hades and Persephone. Near death experiences are very fascinating - almost as much as Greek Mythology. I like the way the author blends both and the way the events of Pierce’s life and death unfold in each chapter. I love how intriguing and intense John is and how difficult the decision is of whether to run from him or to him.

This is a dark story, but one that is infused with humor. Take for instance this favorite line that had me laughing out loud:

"Honey, some boys stopped by to see you. They had wood.”

Of course, her mom was just letting her know some high school boys had stopped by with a load of wood to work on their project for Coffin Night…. But still…that is priceless Mom speak.

I love Meg Cabot and I enjoyed the way she wrote Abandon. The suspenseful ending has me longing for book 2.

Die for Me by Amy Plum

After the tragic death of Kate’s parents, she and her sister Georgia move to Paris to live with their grandparents. Learning to adjust to a new home and dealing with her grief, Kate loses herself in books and museums. Alone and reading in a quaint little Parisian coffee house, Kate looks up and locks eyes with a handsome stranger. After a few chance meetings, Kate is plunged into his mysterious and dangerous world. Kate wrestles with the decision to follow her heart or her head. Will she give up on a chance at love all because she’s too afraid of losing someone else? Or will she throw caution to the wind and risk her safety and sanity to be with someone who could be the love of her life?

I liked this book, and at the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, this book was just right. It has the precise amount of action, romance and mystery. I loved the pace of the book, the author’s writing style, and the female protagonist. Die for Me was not too hot, not too cold: It was just right. Well, everything except for that unbelievably beautiful cover and those smoking hot revenants. They are more than right!

The concept of Die for Me is a new one for me, and honestly, it was a breath of fresh air. I went about reading this book in a completely different way than I normally do. I knew absolutely nothing about it except that it had a stunning cover. I didn’t read a single review or synopsis. I really enjoyed all the guessing I had to do at the beginning, trying to figure out everyone’s secrets.

Amy Plum is an author who I look forward to seeing more from, and I am already excited for the next Revenants book. In the words of Vincent Delacroix, “The wait will be fun, but it’s not going to be easy.”

The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams

I haven’t read a lot of thrillers lately, and I didn’t realize how much I missed that genre until I started reading this brilliant story by Amanda Kyle Williams.

Keye Street is a former FBI profiler turned PI who battles a past addiction and takes on an assortment of cases, from serving subpoenas to chasing after bail jumpers. When a serial killer haunts the sweltering city of Atlanta, Keye’s best friend/police Lieutenant Aaron Rauser asks for her help in profiling the murderer. She is then drawn into a heart slamming, mind blowing cat-and-mouse game that will keep you on the edge of your seat and staying up late at night to reach the conclusion of this riveting story.

Keye Street is my new favorite crime fighter, protagonist, and all-around female bad ass. I want to be her best friend, and I definitely want to be invited to her family’s house for dinner. It made me long for my mother’s home cooking and all those southern delicacies I grew up with. Seriously, she had me at Moon Pies and RC Cola. Thank goodness for all the grisly murders, or I might have gone off my diet. And believe me, they were gruesome, dark, and terrifying. Williams created a killer to be afraid of and a story that is not for the faint of heart.

The biggest, and most pleasant, surprise was the humor the author injected throughout the story. How can I be scared to death one moment and laughing out loud the next? That is amazing writing talent in my opinion. Being from the south, a lot of what I was reading hit close to home and her take on all things southern was spot on.

I loved the twists and turns the story took - thinking I had it all figured out and then having my theories come crashing down around me. I love an author that can keep me on my toes and Amanda Kyle Williams most definitely did.

Waiting to read more about Keye Street and the other characters Williams created will be torture. I cannot wait for the next installment!

I received a copy of this book for review from Netgalley.

Dream Dark (A Beautiful Creatures Story) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Dream Dark

I had forgotten how much I love Ethan and Link. Dream Dark, a great short story, was the perfect reminder. And hellooooo sneak peek of Beautiful Chaos - fancy meeting you here. Very excited for October 18.

Violet Midnight by Allie Burke

“He knew she was gone the second her cool touch withdrew from his arm. He never saw her but had felt her disappear into some cold, dark place. He perceived the black emptiness where she had been summoned, her deep anxiety filling his heart. But he couldn't reach her. He didn't even know her name.”Violet Midnight is the first book in The Enchanters series by Allie Burke. First of all, I have to say that I loved her book dedication. If you are a fan of a certain series that has taken the world by storm (you know the one), you will appreciate the allusions to that particular phenomenon. I thought these well placed references were very sweet, and I love that the author is enough of a fan that it merits a mention in her story.

I adored the magical feeling of Violet Midnight and was very intrigued by what an Enchanter is and what powers they have. I also want to say how grateful I am to the author for giving us a sexy male character who is in his thirties and I don’t have to feel like a cougar for finding him swoon worthy …. And believe me, Elias is dreamy!

There was some confusion with a few scenes jumping from past to future, and I would have found it helpful if these had been prefaced with a time reference. While I really enjoyed the attention to detail concerning the elements, the concept of which is fascinating, I wished for a bit more history on characters that were introduced later in the story. I wonder if that may have been the author’s intention and mysteries will reveal themselves in the next installments of the series.

Allie Burke is a delightful, sweet author and I will definitely be reading Emerald Destiny, the second book in The Enchanter’s series. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.          

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Summary from Goodreads:  Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

Really amazing read. Struggled a bit in the beginning with the dialect, but it is necessary and well worth the effort. I absolutely love these characters and can't wait for more!

Jennifer's Garden by Dianne Venetta

Jennifer Hamilton is a successful cardiologist who is engaged to be married and wants to have her wedding at her own new beautiful home. Unfortunately, her landscaping leaves a lot to be desired. Jennifer is in a race against time to have everything completed, because, sadly, Jennifer’s mother actually is running out of time. Cancer is ravaging her body, and the doctors don’t give her much longer to live. Her mother’s last wish is to see her daughter happily married in the garden of her dreams to the man of her dreams. However, is Aurelio really the man of Jennifer’s dreams? Enter Jackson Montgomery, landscape architect extraordinaire. Recommended by a dear friend, Jackson is the perfect man for the job, but could Jackson also be the perfect man for Jennifer?

I thoroughly enjoyed Dianne Venetta’s writing. This book really drew me in. I haven’t read anything in the romance genre for a while, and it was a very nice change of pace for me. I was impressed with the author’s extensive knowledge of plants, flowers, and landscaping in general. My father is a horticulturist, and I loved the development of Jennifer’s “garden to live by” almost as much as I loved the romance between the two main characters. And there was definitely a lot to love about one Jackson Montgomery! What an amazing character Dianne Venetta created in Jackson. I also loved the relationship between Jennifer and her mother. It was very heart touching and quite poignant. Sam was another intriguing character, and the best friend relationship she shared with Jennifer was not only charming, but Sam reminded me so much of my own best friend it was uncanny!

This book is a lovely, heart warming, fast read. I look forward to reading more by this talented author.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Immortal Beloved by Katie M. John

Sometimes, a sequel doesn’t always live up to the dearly loved predecessor in the series. This is most definitely NOT the case with Immortal Beloved. This book was amazing! It was everything a sequel should be and more. As Mina Singer nurses a broken heart, she must pull herself together and embark on a perilous adventure to Egypt, where she will try and save her knight in shining armor, Blake Beldevier, from a horrifying, real-life nightmare.

When I was younger, I dreamed of traveling to far away places like Egypt. Thanks to Katie M John and her magnificent writing and research, I feel as if I have. There is so much I want/need to say about this story. However, I must keep it spoiler free, so I will just say that Blake, Mina, Delta, and my much loved Sam (*sigh*) captivated and intrigued me from the beginning. My heart broke for Mina as she dealt with her pain and sadness, and at other moments in the story it soared and threatened to burst open from sheer happiness. I love how brave Mina is in Immortal Beloved. She faces her fears and stands her ground for her beloved Blake. Delta is the best friend every girl wants… and Sam...well, everyone needs a Sam. Their journey is a frightening yet riveting one. I found myself distrusting even the most devoted and honorable characters at some points in the story. The twists and turns made this a fascinating and enthralling tale. Then there is the cliffhanger - Oh my Knights of the Realm, what an ending! I need the next book NOW. 

Be sure and check out Katie M. John and her wonderful books here:

The Forest of Adventures by Katie M. John

A lovely book by a lovely author, The Forest of Adventures by Katie M. John is a magical tale of love and destiny. Modern day Mina Singer is a normal seventeen year old girl with a good head on her shoulders. She has a loving boyfriend, Sam, wonderful friends, and a great relationship with her mother and uncle. Then Mina meets her knight in shining armor. No, seriously, an honest to goodness real Arthurian knight! Blake Beldevier is a Knight of the Realm and he has been dreaming of Mina for the past three years. Blake is handsome, sensitive, and honorable… but then there is Sam. Sam and Mina have been together for two years. Everyone assumes they will spend the rest of their lives together. Will Mina follow her heart or her head? I adore a love triangle and this did not disappoint. I was certain I had picked my favorite guy, and then I read this gem: "From the very first moment of time, I loved you." Ahhhhhh, and there goes my heart. This book is a brilliant modern day fairytale. Twists, turns, and legends are prevalent! The Forest of Adventures ends with a thrilling cliffhanger and the much anticipated second book, Immortal Beloved, is available now.  You can read all about The Knight Trilogy and enjoy Katie's wonderful blog here: