Friday, November 30, 2012

November Novellas (#13): Bah, Humbug! by Heather Horrocks


Title: Bah, Humbug!
Author:  Heather Horrocks
Publisher: Word Garden Press
Published: September 9, 2011
Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller. For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block--until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes it’s the perfect solution to his plot problem. He digs in and discovers two things: one, his villain’s weapon will fit inside a snowman's body, and two, this particular snowman was supposed to be the backdrop for Lexi’s next show. 

From this improbable beginning comes friendship, but can there be a happy ending for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?  Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.



It’s the last day of November, which means my last post for November Novellas. I had so much fun reading these short stories! Since tomorrow kicks off the busiest season of the year, I thought it would be very fitting if the last Novella was Bah, Humbug! by Heather Horrocks. This title was perfect for me since I can be a bit of a scrooge this time of year - Christmas just isn’t my favorite holiday. Because of that, I was really able to connect with one of the main characters -- Kyle -- in this romantic holiday tale. 
This book is certainly not my typical read. I could very much see this as one of those Holiday Hallmark movies that my mother just lives for and forces me to watch from time to time. I groan and complain, but then end up loving it and crying like the big weenie baby that I really am. 

When Lexi Anderson, decorator extraordinaire, moves into her new neighborhood with her kids Trista and Steven, she knows she’s finally where she wants to be in life. Known as the next Martha Stewart, Lexi is the star of her very own national television show, she just found out their most favorite author in the world lives somewhere in their new town, and she’s taking the kids to meet Mr. Kyle Miller himself at a book signing in a few days! Her little family couldn’t be happier. So, when she catches a man destroying the snowman she spent hours making in preparation for a film crew and house full of people - she is mortified and shocked. Handsome he may be, but he's clearly off his rocker!

Kyle Miller is the author of the best-seller Jared Strong mystery series. His books are widely popular and he has a deadline to meet in January. The problem is… for the first time in his writing career, Kyle has serious writer’s block. He can’t, for the life of him, figure out what to do with his latest storyline. Then, he spots a snowman outside his window, and Eureka! Of course! The killer could hide the weapon inside the snowman! But first, he needs to see if his idea is plausible. After making a mess of the snowman’s torso, he’s excited to realize that the perfect hiding place is in the snowman’s head! Which is, of course when his new beautiful, but incredibly angry, neighbor catches him vandalizing her snowman... and hilarity ensues!

This story was so cute and sweet it nearly gave me a toothache. I did shed a few tears at one point in the story, and darn it if this little book doesn’t have me dragging out my Christmas decorations. Grrrrrrr.

The best part is I’m totally giving a copy of this book to my mom. Every time she asks about a book I’m reading, she wants to know if it is one she would enjoy. My love for paranormal/monster books always has me saying “no way,” but I’m so happy I finally came across a book that allows me to say “YES!” This is one for the whole family! Sweet, clean (no mature content), and Mom is going to love it. The biggest shocker?  I loved it, too.

There were a few typographical errors, but nothing that distracted me from the story. This book is currently free on Amazon and only $.99 at B&N! I’m super excited to check out more of this author’s work so my mom and I can have our own little book club!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Novellas (#12): Katertot's review of Iron's Prophecy by Julie Kagawa


Title: Iron's Prophecy
 (The Iron Fey #4.5)
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: September 1, 2012

Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

Katertot's Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Meghan Chase is finally getting used to being the Iron Queen, ruler of the Iron Fey. Her life may be strange, but with former Winter prince Ash by her side at last, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

But when they travel to the Summer and Winter courts’ gathering for Elysium, the oracle from Meghan’s past returns with a dire prophecy: “What you carry will either unite the courts, or it will destroy them.” Now Meghan faces a devastating choice that may determine the future of all fey—and her and Ash’s unborn child…


Iron’s Prophecy was a wonderful, heartwarming way to end the amazing Iron Fey series. I am so sad to say goodbye to this fantastic series. It is by far one of my favorites, and I know I will be revisiting it again soon. Especially since there is now a spin off series, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten.  Julie Kagawa’s writing and word transition are beautiful and flawless. I can never get enough of it.

In Iron’s Prophecy, we meet the Oracle again, and she has a terrifying foretelling for Meghan. Meghan finds that it is yet again time to make a very difficult decision. But although there are several ominous and serious moments in this novella, there are some pretty hilarious and enjoyable ones as well. I was glad to see that Meghan was funny this time, too:

“‘Oh… That’s just fabulous. And you expect us to kill that thing?
It’s the size of Walmart.’”

There were hilarious quotes throughout the whole novella, as well as sweet and heartwarming ones, such as this: 

“‘Feeling homesick?’
‘Tir Na Nog is no longer my home… Meghan…”
He shifted closer, closing the distance between us,
and one hand rose to brush my cheek.
“My home…is with you.’”

I could definitely go on and on about this wonderful novella, but because it would be way too easy to spoil it for those who haven’t read it, I’ll stop here.

I just want to thank Julie Kagawa for writing such an amazing series. These characters and this series will always have a special place on my shelf and in my heart.

If, like me, you have e-copies of all The Iron Fey novellas and want a physical copy for your shelves (or if you’re like my mom and can’t look at a cover with a snake on it), you can purchase The Iron LegendsAmazon  |   Barnes&Noble). This gorgeous book contains all three novellas: Winter's Passage, Summer's Crossing,  and Iron's Prophecy.  And it matches our physical copies of The Iron Fey beautifully! The Iron Legends is also available for your e-reader; and, while the paperback is cheaper at B&N, the e-copy is cheaper at Amazon.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November Novellas (#11): My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent


Title: My Soul to Lose (Soul Screamers #0.5)
Author:  Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: July 1, 2009
Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

It was supposed to be a fun day, shopping at the mall with her best friend. Then the panic attack started and Kaylee Cavanaugh finds herself screaming, unable to stop. Her secret fears are exposed and it's the worst day of her life.

Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit.

She tries to convince everyone she's fine--despite the shadows she sees forming around another patient and the urge to scream which comes burbling up again and again. Everyone thinks she's crazy. Everyone except Lydia, that is. Another patient with
special abilities....


My Soul to Lose has certainly been the most intriguing novella I’ve read so far. Kaylee Cavanaugh is shopping at the mall with her best friend Emma when it begins. That familiar ache in her throat. The claustrophobia sets in, and she begins to feel as if she is being strangled. She doesn’t have much time before the screaming starts and BFF Emma will know that it’s much more than ‘panic attacks’ that Kaylee suffers from. Once Kaylee pinpoints what’s causing the attack, the girls are able to move to another part of the mall and begin to enjoy their homecoming dance shopping spree… until they cut through a particular store and it starts again. This time, there’s nowhere to run; and Kaylee’s piercing scream and the shadows that only she can see land her straight in the psych ward…Lakeside Mental Health Center, to be more specific, complete with wrists and ankle restraints.

There are several interesting characters at Lakeside, but none as captivating as Kaylee herself. No one can call what she has a gift; it’s definitely more of a curse. But what is it?

That’s the one thing you don’t find out at the end of this novella. It stops abruptly, only offering a sneak peek into My Soul to Take. Well, there went my plan to not buy any books until after Christmas.
I’ve heard many great things about the Soul Screamers series and about Rachel Vincent herself -- I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Bound --so, as far as the Soul Screamers series goes, you don’t need to convince me. My Soul to Lose did that just fine. If you haven’t read this series yet, you can pick up this absorbing novella at Amazon or B&N, but the best buy is the 3-in-1 Ecopy that includes this novella, My Soul to LoseMy Soul to Take (book one); and My Soul to Save (book two). This three-story edition is actually cheaper than buying the first Ebook by itself at both retailers (though Amazon has the better price no matter which volume you choose).


Waiting on Wednesday (10): November Novellas #8-10


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,
that showcases our most anticipated upcoming releases.

This month, I've been spotlighting and/or reviewing novellas.  I adore novellas because they are fast, intriguing reads that either give us insight into a character or storyline that wasn't visited in the book, or they add excitement and fuel the reader's need for the next book in a series.  Whether they are prequels or grant us some type of closure, they are a favorite of mine.  So, for this Waiting on Wednesday, I've chosen three novellas that I'm patiently waiting for:
November Novella #8:

Title: 'Til the World Ends
Authors: Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre, and Karen Duvall
Publisher: Harlequin
Expected Publication: January 29, 2013
Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa

Before The Immortal Rules, there was the Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden—as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What’s worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she’s beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems...

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre

After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside—in the Red Zone—is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they’ll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside... for good.

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall

Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms—in the cosmos and beyond. And she’s not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She’ll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defense, the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world ends.


Holy buckets of unabashed happiness!  Three novellas in one amazing book!  I loved The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, so I can't wait to read this short about Eden.  I'm a huge Ann Aguirre fan, so I'm super excited to read about Thorne and Thistle.  While I'm not familiar with Karen Duvall, she had me at "storm chaser."  Sarah sounds like a character after my own heart!

November Novella # 9

Title: Radiant (Unearthly #2.5)
Author:  Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Expected Publication: December 4, 2012
Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a riveting original novella (available only as an ebook) set in the world of the Unearthly series.

Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn't ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .

For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.

Alternating between Angela and Clara's perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever.


I think I'm most excited for Radiant and, GUYS... it comes out next week!  I love it when the wait isn't long!

November Novella # 10

Title: Annabel (Delirium #0.5)
Author:  Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Collins
Expected Pub: December 26, 2012
Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena's past. Until now.

Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium.

Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.

But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.


Another novella that I'm anxious to get my hands on!  I've been so curious about Lena's mother, and I'm thrilled that Lauren Oliver is going to give us some insight into this mysterious character.

  I LOVED Hana, so I'm positive that Annabel is going to be an amazing read!
Hana (Delirium, #1.5)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November Novellas (#7): Before the Moon Rises by Catherine Bybee


Title: Before the Moon Rises
Series: Ritter Werewolves
Author:  Catherine Bybee
Published: March 22, 2012

Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

After a twelve-hour shift in a busy emergency room, Janet O’Brien is beat. Her last patient arrives unconscious and naked. She’s lead to believe he’s a psyche patient off his meds. However, once he awakens, Janet is charmed by his million-dollar smile and agrees to give him a ride home.

Werewolf, Max Ritter notices the sassy nurse when he wakes after a night under the full moon. Unfortunately, his archrival is drawn to Janet as well. In order to keep her out of harm's way, he opts to keep her close. When the chemistry between them sparks, Max discovers a completely new reason to keep Janet safe.


Before the Moon Rises is a hot little read that I found on Amazon for FREE. It’s the story of Max Ritter, an incredibly gorgeous, oh-so-anatomically-correct, smooth-talking man who just happens to be… a werewolf. After a full moon and a long night protecting the city from his arch nemesis and rival werewolf Gorman, Max is brought into the Emergency Room at County General unconscious…and completely naked. Having worked an exhausting graveyard shift, all RN Janet O’Brien wants to do is go home and crash. But with Max as her newest and last patient of the night, her plans are about to take a crazy turn.

An instant chemistry between the two, along with the fact that Janet has managed to catch the interest of a strange man in the ER (bad-guy/werewolf Gorman who has decided to make Janet his next target), has Max seething and assigning himself as Janet’s personal bodyguard, thus insinuating himself into every aspect of her life.

But Gorman will stop at nothing to have Janet, claim her in front of Max, and become the leader of the pack once and for all.

This short story was a fun, fast read. It was sexy and well-written. There were a couple of cheesy moments, but for the most part, the dialogue flowed nicely. I really enjoyed the characters and was impressed with the knowledge the author had of an ER and of nursing in general. Turns out the author was an RN, and she uses her hands-on knowledge and experience beautifully in this book. I loved her touching dedication to Emergency Room nurses.

I’m definitely adding the rest of the Ritter Werewolves series to my TBR. These are great books to read if, like me, you love a great werewolf story and, after reading too much YA, find yourself in need of a more mature, sexy read.

You can download this book for free at Amazon or B&N.

**This book is not YA. It contains adult themes, canoodling, and one hot, naked werewolf ;).  So consider yourself tempted warned.


Monday, November 26, 2012

November Novellas (#6): Aftermath: A Nightshade Novella by Andrea Cremer


Title: Aftermath: A Nightshade Novella
Series: Nightshade #3.5
Author:  Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Published: July 1, 2012
Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

 Picking up where BLOODROSE left off, this short story delves into the aftermath of the final battle between the Searchers, the Keepers and the Guardians. Adne is haunted by her past actions, Logan is running for his life, and the Searchers still don't feel safe. What they thought was the end of the War of All against All may just be the beginning of something even more sinister...


I had hoped that this novella would be some sort of peace offering from the author since Bloodrose left my heart in tiny, pulverized pieces. I love Andrea Cremer and her Nightshade series; and, even though I gave Bloodrose five stars due to her incredible writing and her ability to create such an emotional attachment between myself and her characters, I was very saddened by one of the choices made at the end of the series. So, I had high expectations that Aftermath would somehow make amends.

This novella is a short story about a break-in in the library at Rowan Estate and Adne’s recurring nightmares involving Bosque Mar. I initially felt the main purpose of this story was to ignite interest and excitement in the author’s new Rift series, which I have been on the fence about reading. I was not at all pleased that there were no Guardians included in this short. Funny how one last page in a book can change everything. I never should have doubted Ms. Cremer!

If Bloodrose left you shattered and completely devastated, then I highly recommend Aftermath if for nothing else but its astonishing ending.

Just one other thing I feel that I need to mention: the price of this eBook is $2.99. Now, that might sound reasonable to some readers, but this novella is barely twenty pages long. Compared to the other novellas I’ve been featuring this month, that’s a bit on the high end. The novellas I’ve been spotlighting have either been free or $.99, with a few exceptions for longer novels. I believe $.99 would have been a much more appropriate price for this particular short story.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Novellas (#5): Necromancer: A Novella by Lish McBride


Title: Necromancer: A Novella
Series: Necromancer #0.5
Author:  Lish McBride
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: February 1, 2011
Purchase:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ 1/2


Matt’s childhood friend, Ashley, has been stopping by a lot lately. That might seem pretty normal, but Ashley died years ago and now she’s Death.

And tonight she wants waffles and fries.


Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?


This was such an enjoyable read! “Death and Waffles” is the short story that author Lish McBride wrote for a homework project while in college. Because she enjoyed these characters so much, they were later included in her Necromancer series.

I really like the premise of these stories. Ash and Matt were both very intriguing and their friendship was sweet, albeit slightly sad. Nothing breaks my heart more than an unfortunate home life and absentee parents:

“My dad had stopped taking interest in me as soon as he figured out I wouldn’t be following in his footsteps in pretty much any way. Not in his love for baseball, not in his vocation as an architect, and certainly not in his frequent skirt-chasing. I guess my ability to see women as people and not disposable sort of killed any last chance we had. Pity.”

Some novellas or shorts satisfy a certain curiosity or answer questions the reader may have. This particular novella is a prequel and served to fuel my curiosity and give me many, many questions that I can’t wait to find answers for.

“I went out to join her, gently closing my bedroom door, safe in the knowledge that Death’s Harbinger would wait for me no matter what. As long as I could bribe her with waffles, anyway. It’s amazing what makes some people happy.”

I’ve heard good things about the Necromancer series, but the excerpt included in this novella has me adding this series to my Christmas wish list. Sam is adorable and, at the moment, just as in the dark as I am about what he is. Reading about his mundane job in the fast food industry was pretty hilarious and just made him all the more endearing:

“Working here just proved that the only things separating me from a monkey was pants. And no prehensile tail, which I wish I had. Oh, the applications.”

I MUST know more about Sam and can’t wait for the characters from “Death and Waffles” to tie in with the characters in the excerpt.

If you’re like me and haven’t read the Necromancer series, this is a great place to start. This novella is currently FREE on both Amazon and B&N.

If you’re already a fan of the series, then you’ll definitely enjoy the side of Ashley that “Death and Waffles” presents. Did I mention that it’s FREEEEE?

I've been really good way less naughty this year, so hopefully Santa will bring me the next books in this series for Christmas ;)

Hold Me Closer, NecromancerNecromancing the Stone (Necromancer, #2)


Friday, November 23, 2012

November Novellas (#4): Snow White Blood Red by Cameron Jace


Title: Snow White Blood Red
Series: The Grimm Diaries Prequels #1
Author: Cameron Jace
Published: May 29, 2012

Purchase:  Amazon 

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

 What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?

Book description of Snow White Blood Red: A Grimm Diaries Prequel as told by the Snow White Queen:

I have always wondered why you never asked about my name. Was I so superficial to you? So stereotypical and mundane? Why did you treat me as if I were just the monster of the week? You know what I think? You never had the time to really hate me. You wanted to hate me, long before you even met me. You wanted to scrape my existence and avenge your childhood princess by laying all blame on me. What if they didn’t call me the Evil Queen, what if I told you the real story from my point of view instead of hers, would you ever think of me as an angel? Could I ever make you care? I know that deep inside of you, you adore me,but you’re just scared, afraid to admit how much you love the Snow White Queen.

This Grimm Diaries Prequels are a number of short books in the form of epistolary diary entries. The diaries are more of teasers for the upcoming series: The Grimm Diaries, allowing you to get a glimpse of what to expect of the series.


The Grimm Diaries Prequels by author Cameron Jace are several novellas serving as teasers for his series The Grimm Diaries. In an interesting twist, it is said that the Brothers Grimm altered the true fairy tales and concealed the fact that these characters hide among us. There are seven diaries, each told by a famous character and to be read before reading the first full length diary, Snow White Sorrow. These diaries come with a warning that they don’t always hold the truth and that some characters might be manipulating the facts in their favor. I love this concept! Trying to figure out whether or not I’m being lied to while reading the story is genius and so much fun. The first diary I started with was Snow White Blood Red, as told by the Snow White Queen, wrongfully known as the Evil Queen. 

This story started out quite well for me. The Evil Queen address one of the Brothers Grimm and proceeds to defend herself and reveal the “truth” about the fairytale princess we all know as Snow White.

“Night after night, and year after year, parents fed their children false bedtime stories, until your lies grew into inescapable memories. Your happy ever after lies, Wilhelm, shaped the world.”

The queen continues with an intriguing rant and ponders why she was made out to be the evil character in the story:

“You know what I think? I think that the world never got the time to hate me. It just wanted to hate me long before it met me. If I tell those who detest me about the true nature of their little princess, would they ever care about me half as much as they care about her?”

I loved where this was headed, but then it turned a bad corner… a really bad corner. This prequel became so laden with typographical and grammatical errors that I had trouble focusing on the story. It was very frustrating, and when what started out as a new and distinctive idea turned into an already overdone storyline, I lost interest fast.

In all fairness to the author, he has a note on Goodreads that, as of 9/12, this novella has been edited, and grammatical errors only exist in previous copies. I only wish I had known that before I began reading my copy that I had, unfortunately, downloaded prior to that date. I am happy that future readers won’t struggle with the errors that I found so annoying. I would be tempted to read a corrected copy, if not for the fact that I found the end of the story to be so displeasing.

I’m still curious about some of the other diaries, and I’ll just have to decide how strong that curiosity is before I continue on with the other prequels or begin Snow White Sorrow. I do commend Mr. Jace on a fascinating theory and hope the other books offer a fresh and unique spin on these classic stories. The covers are beautiful, and here are the other prequels in all their glory along with book one, Snow White Sorrow:

Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder  (The Grimm Diaries Prequels, #2)Beauty Never Dies (The Grimm Diaries Prequels, #3)Ladle Rat Rotten Hut (The Grimm Diaries Prequels, #4)Mary Mary Quite Contrary (The Grimm Diaries Prequels, #5)Blood Apples (The Grimm Diaries Prequels, #6)

Snow White Sorrow (The Grimm Diaries, #1)