Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Unspoken Lynburn Legacy #1 Sarah Rees Brennan

Stop! Before you read this review, visit my previous post and help me pick out the cover for Blood Bound! Did you vote? Okay, now the review:  

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him? Goodreads 

Let me start by saying that I really liked this book, but that I also have a few reservations about it. But mainly, I liked it a lot.  :)

Kami, ah Kami. I wish Kami was real. I'm pretty sure we would be best friends. There were several times, especially in the first half of the story where I actually had to put the book down because I was laughing too hard. She's smart, reckless, and more than a little mouthy. Maybe because I wish Kami was my friend, I did not like Angela. She just got on my nerves the whole time, and she never seemed to be completely honest with someone she considered a best friend. Considering all the things she knew about Kami, it just didn't seem fair.

I have to admit, the plot really surprised me. I mean, who writes about a teen who still talks to her imaginary friend? It was brilliant. There were several turns I just didn't see coming. And especially given the light tone of the first chapters, it was a much darker read than I initially expected. Not that this is a bad thing. It actually kept me on my toes. And I loved that even though there is a definite love interest, this was not a love story.  It seems like "the guy" takes center stage in most YA heroine's thoughts, but not Kami. 

There were a few times I felt disoriented, like the plot was almost moving too fast. I couldn't tell whether it was day or night, who was in the room, etc. Of course, that could be my own fault for putting the book down to giggle, so I'm not sure. Another complaint I had was that Jared and Ash were supposedly American boys who'd lived all over the states, but they didn't always sound like that. They adapted to the English lingo a bit too quickly for me. Yes, I know that's a really picky thing to say. My main complaint is the ending. Since it is the first in a series, I was expecting something hinting at what is to come, maybe a teaser of the next book. Instead I was left feeling like WHAT THE CRAP??? It totally threw me, and quite possibly made me hate one of the main characters. But, of course, I'll have o pick up the next book when it comes out to be sure. And maybe that was the point all along.

If you're looking for a different sort of storytelling, with horror, tones of humor, and a little bit of warm fuzzies sprinkled in, definitely check out Unspoken.

Rating 4/5 stars

YA notes : language.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

MY Cover Reveal CONTEST

It's finally here guys! It's my very first COVER REVEAL day!  Here is my official blurb:

Blood Bound

Starting college a year early is hard. Starting fae college and learning to protect the world from the Unseelie is harder.
Brielle Reed has always been an over-achiever, but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Between her crash course in fae politics, struggles to control her new mind-reading ability, training sessions with the demanding Dr. Schwartz, and discoveries about the father who is still a mystery to her, Brielle finds herself longing for a chance at a normal life.
But she may not get that chance. Or chance at a life at all, for that matter.

And now for the even more awesome part. Are you ready for it? YOU get to pick my cover!!! Feast your eyes on these awesome choices.



Which one pops out and grabs you? Makes you want to pick it up and figure out what is going on? I want to hear all of your comments and opinions, so feel free to leave them in the comments section, but for your vote to count your have to vote here. May the best cover win!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1) Juliet Marillier

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill—a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk—Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death—but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule.

Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban. Goodreads.  

Note to self: Never ever start a series by Juliet Marillier before the last book is published. I'm not sure how I'll be able to function without knowing what is happening in Alban until the next book comes out! Okay, fangirl moment is over. Almost.

Seriously, you just can't go wrong with Juliet Marillier. Her skill at world building is one of the best I've ever read, and I read a lot. Her characters are always strong, yet realistically imperfect. They make mistakes, sometimes big ones. But even when the reader sees it coming, you can't get mad at the main character, because you also completely understand. Neryn is so scared and broken at points in this book that I have no idea how she could go on. But she apparently has a core of iron, because she's still standing at the end of book one. And now I'm going to be worried about what is happening to her until the next book comes out.

The love interest in Shadowfell does not disappoint. One of my favorite things about Juliet's writing is that she doesn't rely on cliches or "steamy scenes" to make you care about her characters love life. But the feelings she does use are so raw and real, your heart jumps (and breaks) right along with them. And the best part? They don't always end up with the "obvious choice." So even though I'm already falling in love with Flint, I don't even know that he's the one

Okay, I totally lied about the fangirl moment being over. Bottom line: Read this book. ASAP.

Rating 5/5 stars

YA notes: none 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Amarok, Angela Townsend

Life has been hell for seventeen-year-old Emma since she moved from sunny California to a remote Alaskan town. Rejected by her father and living with the guilt of causing her mother's death, she makes a desperate dash for freedom from her abusive stepfather. But when her car skids off the icy road, her escape only leads to further captivity in a world beyond her imagining. Dragged across the tundra by a crazed mountain man and his enormous black wolf, she finds that her gentle touch and kind heart earn her the wolf's friendship, and she names him Amarok, not knowing he was once a young man. When a vicious madman--trapped in bear form by an ancient Shaman--attacks the travelers and injures Amarok, Emma must find the strength to confront her fears and free the wolf she's come to love. But there's a catch--she must face down the evil shaman, a powerful Siberian mammoth hunter from the ice age, and he has no intention of giving up his power to her. Goodreads  

Amarok was unlike any "werewolf" story I've ever read. I loved the mix of legends Angela used, and her descriptions of the Alaskan landscape made my toes ache with the cold. The story was unique and fascinating, leaving me curious as to what happened next. 

I immediately felt sorry for Emma, but her thoughts were so jumbled it took me a little while to understand her. Once I did, I really liked her. She was a strong character who refused to let anything break her, no matter how bad life got.I've notices a sort of mini-trend lately of main characters with different disorders, and I really think that is a good thing. It helps girls going through the same situations to see they aren't alone, and that there is a better way. In Emma's case, she learns to fight her addiction to cutting by focusing on helping others, which is a great message.

Amarok was a little easier for me to understand. My heart broke for him and the loneliness he suffered. My favorite part of reading "his" chapters was seeing how differently he saw Emma than she saw herself. The love story in Amarok is one of the sweetest I've read in a while. I hope there are more like it in the future.

Rating 4/5 stars
YA notes: Language

I received a copy of Amarok for my honest review. This did not effect my opinion in any way.   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Free For YOU!!

 Okay guys, On Haunted Ground, by Lisa Rogers, (with a bonus chapter by ME) is being offered as a free Kindle download for a limited time only. So grab your copy today. Go on, hurry up!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Dollhouse Asylum, Mary Gray

Can you believe this awesomely creepy cover?  

The Dollhouse Asylum
A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when seventeen-year-old Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.
At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.
The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.
If they play it right, then they'll be safe.
But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

Title: The Dollhouse Asylum

Author: Mary Gray

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (

ISBN: 978-1-937053-64-2
Release Date: October 22, 2013

Formats: Paper, e-book

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow, Robin Wasserman

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life. Goodreads

The Book of Blood and Shadow was unlike anything I've read in YA in a long time. The first page grabbed me, and it didn't let go until the end. I loved the confused, off balance feel, especially to the first part of the book. I will say this; I wasn't that fond of any of the characters. But that may have actually been on purpose. This book was driven by plot, not characters. They were more like pieces of the puzzle.

I've heard several people call this a YA Da Vinci Code, and it really does have that feel to it. So if fiction framed around Christian/Jewish religions tend to offend you, this book probably isn't for you. Personally, I did have a problem with the way Nora views God, even though I understood it.

However, if you're just in the mood for a great suspense/mystery that is a little darker than some YA, I definitely recommend this book. It is extremely well written, and once the action starts, it doesn't stop. The only reason I can't give it 5 stars is because of some language and suggestive content.

Rating: 4/5 stars

YA notes: Language, suggestive content, religious controversy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guest Posting

If you're looking for me, I'm over at Ghost Talk today. In honor of Halloween, I'm telling the first of two true ghost stories today. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Crossed (Matched #2) Ally Condle

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake. 

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever. Goodreads

Let me start by saying that the world created by Ally Condle is way creepier than any zombie apocalypse. Why? Because I could actually see it happening at some point. It is very detailed, and just a few "what ifs" removed from reality. 
The action in Crossed picked up much faster than it did in Matched. It starts a few months after Matched ends, when Cassia is almost finished with her "punishment" of being in the outer provinces, and she discovers that something far worse than she imagined was going on.

I don't want to give away any of the plot from this book, but I will comment on the "love triangle." I'm usually not a huge fan, since it seems like almost every book has one. But I really wish we could see more Xander in this book. I'm not at all sure Cassia has made the right choice. While I do still like Ky, the parts of the book written from his POV make it 100% clear that he's chosen not to be completely honest with her, even though she's literally given up everything to find him. I'm definitely interested to see how this one plays out.

Even though this isn't the most romantic, action-packed book I've read this year, I'm hooked because it feels so real. I'll be getting my hands on a copy of Reached when it comes out.

Rating 4/5 stars

YA notes  Mild language

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cover Reveal: Awoken, Timothy Miller

Fourteen-year-old Michael Stevens has never been ordinary; no orphan who hears music coming from rocks considers himself a typical teenager. But life gets a lot more complicated when two-foot-tall, albino, doll-like men sneak into his room one night, transforming the harmless music into a frightening ability he cannot control.

Soon, strangers in black suits begin to ask unsettling questions while unnatural animals with mismatched eyes haunt the streets. They are hunting, and not just Michael: anyone he cares about is in danger.

With the help of a mysterious drifter, an annoying girl he's accidentally mutated, and one of those creepy doll men, Michael finds himself in the middle of a war that could forever change the world he knows - reconstructing the very definition of humanity.

Title: Awoken

Author: Timothy Miller

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (

ISBN: 978-1-937053-53-6
Release Date: August 13, 2013

Formats: Paper, e-book