Friday, November 30, 2012

Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel

Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen, #2)

Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel

Book Stats:
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Genre: Fantasy
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release date: January 29, 2013

Series: Vampire Queen #2

Source: Net Galley

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human—and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss.

With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead...

Lenah Beaudonte did the ultimate sacrifice to save her beloved friend Vicken, she forfeited her life to give him back his humanity, or so she thought. But she survived the ritual, and so did Rhode when he performed it for her last year. Where has he been all of this time though? Also, how will human Lenah, Vicken & Rhode fight back the power-hungry vampires the ritual attracted?

It`s been a very long 2,5 years since the release of Infinite Days – a small eternity, really – and I have been highly excited and anxious for this sequel and I`m afraid I was disappointed. Maybe my expectations were to high? It`s a risk when you wait so long for a sequel. Or maybe my taste evolved? I find I`m not so fond of high school based set-up anymore. Or it might be because once the originality of a vampire wanting to be human fades away the plot lost its shine? Either way, Stolen Nights was a decent read, but not what I expected.

Rhode really made a strong impression on me in Infinite Days, even though he was present for such a short period of time, and when I started Stolen Nights I was thrilled to finally meet him. Yet this excitement quickly faded away as he disappointed me – which broke my heart! On the other hand, Vicken proved to be a happy surprise and he turned out to be my favorite element of the novel. I appreciated that Lenah somewhat grew and learnt some lessons. She also acted a lot less selfishly than she used to -  a plus side.

Plot wise, I wasn`t thrilled until about 75% of the book. Things picked up after a failed summoning spell and even though the end managed to surprise and engross me, I`m afraid it was too little too late to redeem the novel in my eyes.

All that being said, the end of Infinite Days was a killer and I`m sure you`ll want to pick up Stolen Nights if only to satisfy your curiosity. Hopefully you`ll enjoy this novel more than I did. It`s not bad but it just didn't meet me expectations. I don’t know if there will be a third book in the series, but I don’t plan on reading it unfortunately.

tynsig

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coreene Callahan's Top 10 Dragon Tips + giveaway!

Coreene Callahan We're skipping Daring You To Read this week because we have a guest post from Coreene Callahan, author of the Dragonfury series, which Stéphanie loves!

As the only girl on all guys hockey teams from age six through her college years, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys and loves to write about them. Call it kismet. Call it payback after years of locker room talk and ice rink antics, but whatever you call it, the action better be heart stopping, the magic electric, and the story wicked, good fun.

After graduating with honors in psychology and working as an interior designer, she finally succumbed to her overactive imagination and returned to her first love: writing. And when she’s not writing, she’s dreaming of magical worlds full of dragon-shifters, elite assassins, and romance that’s too hot to handle. Callahan currently lives in Canada with her family and writing buddy, a fun-loving golden retriever.

Stay tuned for Coreene's Top 10 Dragon Tips and enter to win a copy of her latest Dragonfury book, FURY OF SEDUCTION!

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer in the slogan “knowledge is power”. That kind of attitude has saved by tuckus more than once, enabling me to stay healthy while writing about dragon-shifters. They are, after all, a difficult—think…crazy, secretive, sometimes violent—bunch. And tend to get upset when I reveal things Dragonkind would rather we not know. Secrets like, oh say, their strengths and weaknesses, how and where they live along with—

Well, I could go on, but prefer to stay alive, so…

Today, I decided to share my top ten Dragon Tips. The ones that will help you recognize the warning signs and get the heck out of Dodge if necessary. I hope each stands you in good stead should you ever come nose-to-scales with a dragon-shifter in a snit or ah-hem…a more amorous frame of mind.

Top 10 Dragon Tips Everyone Oughta Know:

1. Dragon-shifters are notorious pranksters, so be careful—you start it, they’ll finish it…every time.

2. Never piss off a frost dragon. You’ll end up in a cryogenic deep freeze.

3. Never lend a dragon-shifter your car. Dragons love to drop things from high places, just to see them go crunch. He’ll call it a scientific experiment while you’re calling your insurance company.

4. Invite a dragon-shifter to dinner. He’ll not only cook for you (flambéed entrees in an instant!), but bring an excellent vintage from his wine collection too. Serve it up hot, sprinkle on some sexy, and enjoy HIM along with the meal.

5. Dragons fear water. There is, however, one exception to the rule…Mac (the hero of FURY OF SEDUCTION). So before you drop the towel on the deck to take a midnight dip, check the bottom of the pool. Mac’s been known to “borrow” one every now and again.

6. Never play poker, strip or otherwise, with a dragon-shifter. You’ll end up broke, homeless, and probably naked too.

7. Dragons love to show off. Ask yours to take you on a midnight flight. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view and the ride of your life...during and afterward.

8. Dragons love to give chase. So don’t run…unless, of course, you wish to be caught and thrown into an erotic free-fall toward the nearest bed. (*sigh* We should all be so lucky!)

9. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…which probably means Wick is in the area. Stay inside and away from the windows. Hiding under the bed is advisable too, cuz yeah…Wick finding you? Not even close to a good idea.

10. Courting a dragon-shifter’s forgiveness? Treat him to a night filled with the THREE Ls: laughter, lingerie and lots of loving. Works like a charm every time. He’ll forget his own name, never mind what upset him in the first place.

So there you have it. The Top 10 list of Dragon Dos and Don’ts. A huge thanks to Tynga’s Reviews for inviting me to visit today. It’s been great fun! To learn more about the Dragonfury Novels and my Circle of Seven series, stop by my website www.coreenecallahan.com. I’d love to hear from you!

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Thanks for visiting us, Coreene! What a great list!

Want more Coreene? You can find her online at her website or on Facebook, or Twitter.

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More about FURY OF SEDUCTION:

Fury of Seduction by Coreene CallahanSuccessful landscape designer Tania Solares prides herself on living by her own terms, relying on no man to provide for her. But her carefully controlled life takes a turn for the extraordinary when her inquiry into the disappearance of her best friend thrusts her between two warring factions of dragon-shifters. Suddenly Tania’s survival depends on Mac, a newly initiated dragon-warrior who will break every rule to keep her safe.

Now that Tania knows the truth about Dragonkind, returning to her old life is too grave a risk. Ivar, leader of the Razorbacks, plots to decimate the human race, and Tania is just the tool he needs. Despite the danger, Mac cannot deny her a choice: Trade the independence she’s fought so hard to achieve for safety in a magical world, or turn her back on the man she’s grown to love in order to reclaim a freedom that might not last? It is an impossible choice. And yet a sacrifice must be made…

Stéphanie's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

To learn more about the first two Dragonfury books, click on the covers!

Coreene Callahan Fury of FireCoreene Callahan Fury of Ice

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giveaway

Coreene is graciously offering one (1) print copy of FURY OF SEDUCTION to a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

Ends Thursday, December 13, 2012

Open internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jenn

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Book stats:

Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 304 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 4, 2012

Series: Fairytale Retellings #3

Source: Gifted

Review By: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

In all honesty, I have no idea what to think of this one. I liked some parts, I disliked other parts, but I also was confused with some aspects. I know no other word to describe this novel besides convoluted. It’s complex and hard to follow at times, while it’s just…too simple other times. Overall, I’d have to say it was average—a nice read to grab from the library if you want something that is oddly unique and definitely unparalleled in that sense.

I got excited about reading this book because, as the series name so clearly suggests, it’s a fairytale retelling and the fairytale it is loosely based off of is The Little Mermaid. I wanted to read this book solely based on that piece of information. But now that I am done with the book, I have no clue what tale of the Little Mermaid Pearce based this off of. Perhaps there’s a different one floating around out there that I don’t know about, but I went into this book expecting one thing and receiving something entirely different. There are no fins, no mermaids, and no princes coming to take the girls away. Instead there are girls with no memories and blue skin that live underwater, aging so that one-day they can become angels or monsters. While this was fascinating, it made several aspects of the novel hard to follow and made the hinting of a love triangle in the synopsis misleading.

What did I enjoy? Celia and Jude. I felt bad for Celia based entirely on the fact that she was the black sheep of her set of triplets, all of which had unexplained magical powers (are they supposed to parallel the three Fates or something?), though hers was considered the most useless since she can’t see the future or anything like that, she can only see the past—something that cannot be changed. Out of all the characters, she is the only one I could relate to and fully enjoy, though she was a bit immature at times. I also enjoyed Jude and his love of music, as well as his love of Celia attributed to Nightingale Syndrome because he fell in love with his savior. While I thought that was a really cute touch, it could have been played out better, and instead came across to me as a clever disguise for a case of insta-love.

While Lo’s characterization gave way to mesmerizing descriptions of what is hiding from us underwater, I didn’t like her character that much. Nor did I enjoy Naida. See, Naida was the name of Lo while she was still human before she became the underwater girl she is now and forgot her previous life as Naida. Then when Naida awakens, these two girls share a body. The personalities aren’t that much different because they both switch from being really nice to being really evil. The transition between the two was instantaneous and hard to follow. This is an aspect of the novel that tended to confuse me more than anything else. And when we finally learned the truth behind Lo’s creation, I was shocked. It was unexpected, which I really enjoyed, but it also went unexplained. Why the people that changed her were doing what they did was never revealed. Little things like this frustrated me immensely because I felt very under informed.

All in all, this is the type of book to grab from the library if you’re looking for something unique. It has a lot of creativity poured into it that could have made a better novel if some ideas were better fleshed out. Was I blown away? No. Was it still a decent, good read that is worth a shot? Yes. My one recommendation would be to avoid going into it with the thoughts of a fairytale re-telling. In my eyes, I don’t think this counts as one, so instead go into it with the idea of a unique fantasy. In that sense, I think it will be more enjoyed.

Read an Excerpt 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"When I'm not writing..." with Stacey Kade

Stacey kade

Our guest today is the lovely Stacey Kade, author of the YA Ghost and the Goth series. She's also the brain behind the upcoming Project Paper Doll series, which debuts in April with THE RULES. She's graciously joined us today to talk about what keeps her busy when she's not working on her next novel so keep reading to see just what Stacey gets up to! [Photo credit: Vania Stoyanova]

 
 
 

WINW_logo

I tend to get a little edgy when I'm not working on something, even if it's just taking notes on a story idea. My husband will testify to this! :) So, it's rare to find me actually between projects.

But I'm a sucker for story in all forms, so after my daily word count is done or I've finished the latest round of copy edits, you'll usually find me searching through our Netflix queue or the programs we've recorded on our DVR.

I love to read, of course, too--I generally finish anywhere from 2-4 books a week--but at the end of a long day of writing, I lean more toward TV and movies.

My latest obsession is Friday Night Lights. (Yeah, I know, I'm a little late with that.) I blazed through all five seasons in about a month. I love the writing and characters so much! (I want to be Tami Taylor when I grow up...especially if Coach Taylor comes as part of the deal!)

I also have my current favorites: Vampire Diaries (Oh, Damon, you are sooo underappreciated!), The Walking Dead, Suits, Fringe, Falling Skies, Big Bang Theory, etc.

But my guilty pleasure is actually the History channel and H2. Ancient Aliens, Pawn Stars, Brad Meltzer's Decoded, How the States Got The Shapes, Area 51 specials...I could go on for hours. :) They are my go-to channels when I turn on the TV. My latest favorite--on the Travel channel this time--is Mysteries at the Museum, where they go to all these museums across the country and do little segments on the strange/gross/terrifying objects in the collection. Mummies! The ax head from Lizzie Borden's house! A plaster death cast of the original Siamese twins!

I call this "research" to make myself feel better. :D

Stacey Kade dogs

When I'm not reading or catching up on the latest Bigfoot "documentary," I'm outside walking with my friend, Dana. We bribe ourselves with a weekly McDonald's breakfast--shh, don't tell. Sometimes my dogs come along. (For the walk, not McDonald's.) I have two retired racing greyhounds, Tall Walker (Walker) and She Wears The Pants (Pansy). (Our beloved Joezooka passed away in June, sadly.)

On the weekends, when the husband is around more, we go to movies, out to dinner, or play Chicken Foot.

Hmm. It occurs to me now it would probably sound better if I said I went on ghost hunts in abandoned mental asylums or linked my computer to SETI's network so I could help search for extra-terrestrial life.

Yeah...um...not so much. :) Also, ghosts scare me. Have I mentioned that?

Oh, well. This is why I write books! :D Now, who wants to watch Season 1 of FNL with me...AGAIN? :) I'll bring the popcorn. I love you, Coach Taylor!

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Thanks for visiting us, Stacey!

For more information about Stacey and her books, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.

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Here's the scoop on THE RULES:

The Rules by Stacey Kade1. 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…

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You can also check out the Ghost and the Goth series:

Stacey Kade The Ghost and the GothStacey Kade Queen of the DeadStacey Kade Body and Soul

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tab Bennett and the Inbetween by Jes Young

Tab Bennett and the Inbetween by Jes Young Tab Bennett and the Inbetween by Jes Young

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
E-book: 222 KB
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: August 7, 2012

Series: Princess of Twilight & Dawn #1

Source: Review copy via NetGalley

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

Yesterday Tab Bennett was a bank teller. Today she’s at the center of a centuries old war between Light and Dark. Tomorrow – well let’s just say she’ll be lucky if she lives to see it.

Engaged to her childhood sweetheart, employed at the local bank, and finally living on her own for the first time at twenty-four years-old, Tab Bennett has no interest in a fairy tale life. She’s perfectly happy with the normal one she already has. But when her sister is murdered on a moon-dark night, revealing a world of power and magic she never dreamed existed, a fairy tale is exactly what her life becomes. Figures it would have to be the Grimm kind.

Just like that, the life she had planned is over. Instead of cashing checks and handing out lollipops, Tab is unraveling clandestine assassination plots and learning to wield the magic that is her birthright. And as if fulfilling her destiny isn’t hard enough, she’ll also have to choose between Robbin, a man who’s turned out to be a lot more complicated than the proverbial boy next door, and Alexander, the handsome prince whose smile leaves her weak-kneed and weak-willed.

Now, while Tab struggles to hold on to the human world she’s always known and understand her place in the magical one she’s just discovered, dangerous forces are gathering close to home. If she wants to live to see happily ever after, she’ll have to figure out who she can trust, who wants her dead, and why. The answers will change everything she believes about herself, the people she loves, and the place she calls home.

I first heard about this book a little while ago on another blog (I can't remember which so I can't pass credit where credit is due -- sorry!) and so I was quite happy when I saw TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN up on NetGalley.

TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN is an enjoyable read. It has a great cold opening, where Tab experiences her sister River's death. (This isn't a spoiler -- it's the first line of the book.) I was immediately drawn into Tab's life and world, which is what I hope for when I pick up a book. And it seems like this is characteristic of Jes Young's writing since I found myself engrossed in the plot, eager to find out what would happen next, especially since I'm a sucker for stories that involve the main character learning that s/he has a fated destiny that s/he never knew about. Some of the best stories involve this particular trope and I really don't get tired of it. IN TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN, you get to see Tab go through all of the denial, confusion, and acceptance as some of her past is revealed to be lies. At times, I felt like she took to her fated destiny a bit too quickly but I generally found her reactions and responses authentic.

I also liked a lot of the world building that the author has used. In short, there's an uneasy peace between the Inbetween and the Underneath. Tab's mother was the queen of the Inbetween. While Tab was growing up in our world, the Inbetween has been weakening since it and its people gain strength from their leader. Meanwhile, the Underneath has been getting stronger since their king has been around. As a result, Tab needs to learn to master her gifts (which are different for everyone so no one knows what they are) and get accustomed to the fact that she's a royal and will be sitting on the Inbetween throne just as soon as she gets her fae-legs underneath her, if you will. The mythology isn't exceptionally original but it is well done, and there's definitely something to be said for a well executed if familiar concept. This isn't the only part of the story that feels predictable but I didn't mind since the story moves along at a nice pace and there are some lovely moments between some of the characters.

The one part where the book felt forced was with the romance. Tab's been in love with Robbin, her fiance, for ages but he breaks it off when he's forced to reveal that he's one of her guards and that their romance was contrived at the start. He does have feelings for her now but he's forced to step aside so that Alexander can step in since there's an enchantment that basically makes Tab and Alexander extremely horny for each other. I can get behind all of this but I didn't really like how quickly Tab stopped fighting the enchantment and how much she waffled between the men. It seemed like the enchantment was a convenient way to add some steamy scenes and to create a love triangle without the love part (at least at the start), since Tab and Alexander had never met. Tab's narration suggests that she's experiencing a lot of conflict but I didn't buy into this aspect of the story as much as others.

That being said, I did enjoy reading TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN and I'm looking forward to TAB BENNETT AND THE UNDERNEATH. I hope that the author has some surprises in store for her readers as we get to see a whole new side of the magical world that Tab's a part of.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Ate the Sherriff by K. Bennett

k. bennett - I Ate the SherriffI Ate the Sherriff by K. Bennett

Book stats:

Reading level: Adult
Paperback: 310 pages
Genre: Paranormal Legal Thriller
Publisher: Kensington
Release date: August 7, 2012

Series: Mallory Caine, Zombie at Law #3

Source: Review copy from the publisher

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You Have The Right To Remain Dead

What's worse than killing a cop? Eating him afterwards. Which is exactly what happened to a Los Angeles County sheriff on Mulholland Drive. Now Mallory Caine, zombie at law, faces the toughest trial of her life--her own--since she's the prime suspect. Ironically, Mallory's been suppressing her undead desires in a 12-step zombie recovery group. It's her human desires that scare her. . .

Anyone You Crave Can And Will Be Held Against You

He's one hot werewolf named Steve "Rawhide" Ravener, and he's Mallory's latest client. His cheating wife has run off with a rival pack, and if he hopes to see their cubs again, he needs a lawyer whose bite is worse than his bark. Needless to say, family law has never been this hairy. And with a murder charge hanging over her head, a snake goddess charming her mother, and all kinds of hell-spawn taking over L.A., Mallory's plate is full. And she's dying to take a bite…

When I first got into this series, I had not clue how to categorize it into a genre. Without a doubt, it can be categorized as as a paranormal series because it does have zombies, vampires, werewolves, demons and many other paranormal beings. However, I truly believe it’s more than that. It can also be seen as a legal thriller since the main character, Mallory Caine, is a zombie lawyer. It does have multiple court room scenes but it’s not as dry as you might think. Actually, the author is very informative and writes in a way that keeps you on edge, hanging on to his every word. The author, no doubt, has a legal background because not only does he know his way around the courtroom, but he references multiple cases and laws. The courtroom scenes are actually one of the best scenes in the books since we see Mallory in her prime—defending people (and herself) whom aren’t necessarily innocent.

Mallory Caine is the type of protagonist you can’t stop rooting for. Living as a zombie in L.A. is quite difficult for her because walking the the busy streets is like walking into a casino as a recovering gambling addict. Living in L.A. as a lawyer isn’t all that easier since everyone seems to be against her. However she does have a few people working along side her. Her new client, Steve Ravener, strongly believes in her, and Father Clemente who really wants her to choose good over evil. Because L.A. is about to be hit by something bad and evil, the Lord of Darkness, Satan himself. Mallory isn’t too sure what is happening to her city but she does sense the forces of evil are getting stronger. Especially since she knows her ex, Aaron Argula, is the son of Satan and has the mayor of the city on his side. Also, zombies are on the rise, the mayor is more corrupt than usual, cults are being created and prophesies are being revealed.

Despite her good intentions, trouble always seems to find Mallory and after two years of being a zombie, she has finally gotten caught. Caught for eating the sheriff (but not the deputy). And let me elaborate on that a little. For those of you who haven’t read the series, Mallory isn’t you’re average zombie. She’s not the mindless monster Hollywood has made us believe zombies are. Don’t get me wrong, she is dead and she has been raised from the dead. And she no doubt feels the need to eat brains. Especially human brains. She has tried to go on a cow brain diet, but for her, it’s just not the same as the real deal. She has tried to live off the brain of scum, the bad guys roaming the streets, acting as a vigilante of sorts but she knows deep down eating human brain is not right. As the narrator, her character really shows us her internal conflicts over he diet and despite her murdering ways, we can see the goodness through of her selfless acts throughout the series.

A fair warning to some readers. The author does go into some gory details when Mallory feasts on human brain but those scenes aren’t overly bloody and gross. But since the book does involve some cannibalism, I just thought I should warn you beforehand.

Frighteningly sassy and more than occasionally morbid, Mallory makes a wonderful narrator for this series. She is sarcastic to no limit and she knows how to play dirty in court. We do see her evolve throughout the series but bottom line, the Mallory Caine in I ATE THE SHERIFF, is the same Mallory you meet in the first two books of the series. She definitively gives a new meaning to the the saying “Bite me!”. The pop culture references in the narration is an element that adds originality to the writing. I really hope to see more of Mallory in the future and I really hope the author doesn’t leave us hanging like this. With the city of angels on fire and in the middle of an Apocalypse, no less.

0stephsig

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stacking The Shelves [31]

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Guidelines:

  • Create your own Stacking The Shelves post. You can use my official graphic or your own, but please link back to Tynga’s Reviews so more people can join the fun!

  • You can set your post any way you want, simple book list, covers, pictures, vlog, sky is the limit!

  • I am posting Stacking The Shelves on Saturdays, but feel free to post yours any day that fits you.

  • Visit Tynga’s Reviews on Saturday and add your link so others can visit you!

  • Visit other participants link to find out what they added to their shelves!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

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So, I had an awesome haul this week!

Head's up to anyone in the United States: Barnes and Noble has a 30% gift card valid through November 25th to get one book in honor of Black Friday. Happy Thanksgiving!

 
 

Bought

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (Review)

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

Renegade by J.A. Souders

The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Temporary Swap

Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

Traded

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Thank you, Holly!)

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Thank you, Alley!)

Undeadly by Michele Vail (Thank you, Nicole!)

Gifted (Thank you, Nicole!)

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Falling Kingdoms by Morghan Rhodes (Signed!)

Won

The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin (Thank you, Latoya!)

Blogger's Mentioned

The amazing Nicole

What did YOU add to your shelves this week?

 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Daring You To Read...Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman

Daring you to read

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!
You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!
Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

This week I'm daring you to read a fantastic author: Laura Anne Gilman. She's written so many great books that it was hard for me to choose which one to start with but I've decided to go with HARD MAGIC because it combines two things I love: urban fantasy and crime procedurals.

HARD MAGIC is the first book in Laura Anne Gilman's Paranormal Scene Investigations series, which is an spinoff from her Retrievers books (a dare that you will receive at some point). There are references to the other series but you don't need to know them to enjoy HARD MAGIC and its sequels. This series may not be the only one out there that tackle crime scene investigation via paranormal means but the stories and the world are so well constructed that I have to recommend them.

I reviewed the fourth book in the series, DRAGON JUSTICE, a while back and I'm going to copy the series explanation I wrote there:

In this world, there are two types of people: Talent, who can use Current (magic that works a lot like electricity) and Nulls (who can't use Current and/or don't know about it or the Cosa Nostradamus, a.k.a. the magical community). Talent have a mentoring tradition and are divided into two main groups: those who are Council and those who are lonejacks. Bonnie is considered Council because her mentor was Council but most of the rest of the team are from the lonejack camp. There are also fatae, (non-human) supernatural creatures who live among us. PUPI [the acronym for the investigative team] was established to be a CSI team for the Cosa, using Current spells or cantrips to forensically examine crime scenes.

HARD MAGIC is your chance to see the beginnings of the PUPI, the Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations team. You'll get to see the team come together through Bonnie Torres' eyes and it's a lot of fun. Bonnie is a wonderful protagonist with a unique voice and a special way of viewing the world. She's definitely not a cookie cutter character but that doesn't mean she's not also a team player. Bonnie is this wonderfully independent, complex woman who's smart, talented, curious, funny, and comfortable in her own skin. She's also bisexual, which isn't something we see very much in lead characters in a lot of UF and PNR (though it's becoming more common), and I think it's very cool that Laura Anne Gilman has a diverse cast of characters in her novels.

If that's not enough to entice you, the crime focus gives these books something a little different from other urban fantasy series and something more in common with books you'd find in the mystery or thriller section. Plus, there are some other amazing characters you'll want to know better (*cough* Venec *cough*), series plot points that are woven through every book, and intricate mysteries and magic to explore.

Interested in finding out more? Here's the scoop on HARD MAGIC:

Laura Anne Gilman Hard MagicWelcome to P.U.P.I.—Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations

A handpicked team trained to solve crimes the regular police can't touch—crimes of magic.

My name's Bonnie Torres. Recent college grad, magic user and severely unemployed. Until I got a call out of nowhere to interview for a job I hadn't applied for. It smelled fishy, but the brutal truth was I needed the work—so off I went.

Two days later I'm a PUPI—me and Nick, Sharon, Nifty and Pietr. Five twentysomethings, thrown into an entirely new career in forensic magic.

The first job we get is a doozy: proving that the deaths of two Talents were murder, not suicide. Worse, there are high-profile people who want us to close up shop and go away. We're sniffing out things they'd rather keep buried.

Looks as if this job is gonna get interesting. The only problem is, we're making it up as we go along…

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

And here's the rest of the series:

Laura Anne Gilman Pack of Lies Paranormal Scene Investigations #2Laura Anne Gilman Tricks of the Trade Paranormal Scene Investigations #3Laura Anne Gilman Dragon Justice Paranormal Scene Investigations #4

What do you think? Have you read this series? Are you willing to accept my dare?

Jenn

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Book stats:

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 295 pages
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: June 5, 2012

Series: Monument 14 #1

Source: Personal Shelf

Review By: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

I was lucky enough to meet Emmy Laybourne several weeks ago. She was the first author I have ever met, and, boy, can she tell a unique tale. Her debut novel has a Lord of the Fliesfeel to it as many kids of varying ages fight to survive in a superstore while an apocalyptic event is literally occurring outside. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve only ever read books that describe an event that happened in the past. Reading the event as it happened was equal parts captivating and terrifying.

I really enjoyed watching them fend for themselves. As a reader, you learned a lot about the tendencies of different individuals to react in certain situations and I truly did enjoy the amount of characters in the book. There was everything from a few stupid jocks (sorry to feed into that stereotype, but that’s how they were characterized) to a Boy Scout who knew how to survive anything; a gorgeous champion swimmer and a girl who wears her hair in giraffe braids; a bible-thumper elementary schooler who is an amazing cook and a set of twins that just wants their Mommy; a set of brothers who do nothing but write and show their technological genius while another elementary schooler can barely speak any English. And not to mention the thirteen year old that just wanted to impress the big kids, but we all know is really a little kid. The array of characters was endless and enjoyable since everyone legitimately brought something different to the table, but it also proved to be problematic. It took a solid third of the book for me to connect all of the distinct attitudes with the right person because there was such a huge cast. I’m hoping that perhaps book two can be slightly more organized in this sense.

The plot in this book is incredibly imaginative. In less than three hundred pages, I was taken on the survivalist journey of a lifetime. I never saw any of the plot twists coming, though I had gut feelings about a select few of them. Some were so completely unexpected that my mouth literally dropped open Jake near the end, anyone? but, again, it took me a little while to get into the book. After I was a third in, this book was a breeze. The large troop of characters combined with the incredibly unique writing style that Laybourne uses made focusing on the beginning of this book rather hard. At times, I wished she could add more detail because everything was simply. But hey, I guess everything’s supposed to be as simple as possible when the world is apparently ending.

Just a warning, there is not much gore in this novel, but there is a few deaths, violence, some cuss words, underage drinking, and the mention of using pharmaceutical products to get high. I would not recommend this book to anyone that is younger than fourteen.

With all of that being said, I really did enjoy this book. For such a bubbly person, Laybourne can write a tale that is wonderfully twisted, dark, and extremely complex in her unique and simple writing style. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a unique post-apocalyptic book that is a quick read, but I would be in no rush to get it. The ending is absolutely killer and leaves you begging for more. If you are anything like me, I would wait to read this book once the release of book two, SKY ON FIRE, is closer, because I can honestly say that I’m slowly going to go insane with anticipation.

Read an Excerpt

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"When I'm not writing..." with Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones

Today's guest is Darynda Jones, author of the Charley Davidson series. It's a fun, snarky series that Lili and Christine (a previous contributor) have raved about so we're very excited to have Darynda visiting the blog! She's joining us today as part of her blog tour for the newest Charley Davidson book, FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET, which came out on October 30.

Keep reading to find out what Darynda Jones does when she's not writing!

 

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Hmmmm, when I am not writing, I am usually thinking about writing. However, there is this little thing called life that I have to deal with on a daily basis, oddly enough. Thus, other stuff creeps in. Like laundry. And dishes. *shutters*

Still, putting housework aside, there always seems to be about 137 things that need to be done daily. Even if I am not writing, I am at my computer for more than 75% of my day. I do lots of guest blogs. I do the social networking thing, which I love WAY too much. I am slightly addicted to Pinterest and searching out pictures of Jeremy Renner. Darn that man.

Also, a very important part of my day is my morning workout. It lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. I am very committed to getting into shape, not just for my shape but for my health. I have the strangest things wrong with me, half of which would be solved by shedding the saddlebags. So that is a new-ish goal. So far I’ve lost 23 pounds, lol. That new wardrobe is THIS close!

In my free *snort* time, I love to read or watch TV. I love watching seasons of TV series so I can study all the different arcs the writers have weaved in. Buffy is a prime example, as is Firefly, Castle, The Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, Game of Thrones . . . there are so many. But I love studying the character, episode, season, and series arcs. They are all so fascinating and each serve a completely different purpose. I believe that if I can understand and incorporate all of those arcs into my work, I can write a better book, a goal I strive for always.

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Thanks for visiting us, Darynda, and have fun with the rest of your blog tour!

For more information about Darynda and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about Darynda's tour, click on the banner below:

4th Official BlogTourBadge3

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Here's the scoop on FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET:

Darynda Jones Fourth Grave Beneath My FeetThe fourth in this fun and sexy New York Times bestselling paranormal series: “If you enjoy Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, you will certainly enjoy Charley Davidson!” —Suspense Magazine

Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.

In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You should also check out the rest of Charley Davidson series.
Click on the cover for our thoughts.

Darynda Jones First Grave on the RightDarynda Jones For I Have SinnedDarynda Jones Second Grave on the LeftDarynda Jones Third Grave Dead Ahead

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Monday, November 19, 2012

MIA

Hello you guys!

As you know, my computer died when I moved last month, but my husbands laptop also broke on friday... Unfortunately we dont have money to spare on a computer right now, so it will be harder for me to blog regularly until we buy a new computer. Worry not, Stephanie, Jennifer and Lili will still keep you very busy and ill do my best to keep posting (I am writing this from my moms place). Also, I can view my emails from my playbook, so I can still respond :)

Hopefully this situation wont last too long, Im really sorry!

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Trapped by Kevin Hearne

Trapped by Kevin Hearne Trapped by Kevin Hearne

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 320 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: November 27, 2012

Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #5

Source: eARC from Random House

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.

Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.

Okay, before I start talking about the book, which can be summarized as AMAZEBALLS or SIX KINDS OF AWESOME, I need to send a little love to the talented Gene Mollica, the photo-illustrator who has brilliantly and gorgeously captured Atticus on the covers for the series -- and now Granuaile as well. (He's also done work for authors like Patricia Briggs, C. E. Murphy, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Molly Harper, J. N. Duncan, and L. A. Banks, to name a few, and you can see these, and more, over on his website.) Covers like these are why I'm so reluctant to switch over to only e-books (plus the whole licensing vs. owning thing). I love seeing this books on my shelves!! The cover for TRAPPED is by far the elaborate in the series and I'm just so thrilled to see Granuaile portrayed -- and much as I've pictured her in my mind.

Now that I've gotten my artist fangirl squeeing out of the way, brace yourself for some author-related squee. No cover, no matter how gorgeous, is enough to keep me hooked on a series unless the words thrill me, and Kevin Hearne really knows how to deliver the thrill. TRAPPED is one of those books that you'll start, get sucked into, and then wonder where the past three hours of your life went when you finally finish off the epilogue. The author writes engrossing stories filled with ever escalating action, humour, and world building and it takes a stronger person than I am to put one of his books down before the end. And TRAPPED is even more of a mind trap (ha ha!) than the previous Iron Druid Chronicles -- Del Rey really ought to put a warning sticker on the cover!

So why was this book so great? It's a bold step in the right direction for the series. One of the big risks? A twelve-year time jump. Time jumps are dangerous in any series (regardless of medium) and some are better executed than others. I was a little nervous when I first heard that Kevin Hearne was doing this but it ended up giving the series a nice kick that made the book exceptionally exciting. Granuaile has completed her training and she just needs to be bound to the earth to become a full-fledged Druid, which really opens up her role in the series. She's obviously not as experienced as Atticus but she's now better equipped to hold her own against the legion of folks who are trying to track them down. And she does it with flair. As much as I would have liked to see her throughout her training, the Granuaile we get in TRAPPED rocks my socks. And, for the shippers out there, we do get to see Granuaile and Atticus tackle their attraction and feelings for one another (but I'm not going to tell you what happens because that's no fun).

There are other familiar faces who appear in TRAPPED, since most of Atticus' acquaintances, allies, and enemies are long-lived, if not immortal. I'm not going to spoil it for you by saying who but we do see a lot of key characters from previous chapters of the series, some of whom appear in the most unexpected of ways. I love that Kevin Hearne keeps bringing surprises to the table while dealing with the ramifications of all of Atticus' previous actions, which is really the heart of TRAPPED.

Fans of the one and only Mr. Hearne are sure to be thrilled with TRAPPED as it contains all of the wit, action, and pizzazz of previous novels, and more. Oberon continues to be one of the best animal sidekicks in the genre and you'll be on the edge of your seat waiting to see how Atticus will extricate himself from the situation that's built up around him. If you haven't preordered your copy, you best run to the bookstore or click on the links above so that you can see all this for yourself.

And if you want to chat TRAPPED, you can find me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Jenn

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cargon: Honour & Privilege by Kimberly Gould

cargon honour and privilege by kimberly gouldCargon: Honour & Privilege by Kimberly Gould

Book stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 204 pages
Genre: Dystopian Romance
Publisher: Martin Sisters Publishing
Release date: May 15, 2011

Series: Cargon #1

Source: Review e-copy from the writer

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Lives are won, lost and traded on the three-tiered Cargon boards.

Eve, a serving-girl, has watched the elite from the outside, seen the dramatic shifts based on the results of the Game. With a growing need to reach beyond her station, she can no longer accept her position on the edges. Wagering her own life, she wins and emerges in a strange new world. New rules and old acquaintances tangle to make Eve’s life less comfortable than her position would suggest.

One pawn moved, but an entire world shaken – Eve will change the world.

Personally, I think there’s something quite special about this book. I really enjoyed it, and since I devoured it in less than one day, I think that’s pretty meaningful. At first, I was hesitant to read it because it only had 15 ratings on Goodreads, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.

The writing of the book seemed a little rough at times and the editing also seemed to lack. I was able to overlook this since the story was so engaging. It tells the story of a young servant girl named Eve, who lives in a dystopian world that has reverted back to historical times. No electricity and the separation of the aristocracy from the servants gives us the impression of going back to the middle-ages. Society is divided into two major groups: the elite, who are wealthy and control society, and the servants, who are raised to follow the elites’ every order. A very strict line separates the two groups and it would be unthinkable for a servant to join the ranks of the elite, let alone gain an important status among them. However, Eve has unknowingly challenged someone in playing Cargon, a game that reminds me somewhat of chess and a game which can change society so drastically with just a few wrong moves (or good ones). As Eve gains a place among the elite, her world changes dramatically as she finds a way to adjust to her new position.

Throughout the book, we see Eve grow from an immature and naïve servant girl into an intelligent and strong-willed woman. Her fresh outlook on life has given her a real advantage in her new station but I think it’s her dedication to her studies that has helped her take on a leadership role. Any young girl would want to be Eve in this type of society and I think any girl would be envious of the relationship she has with Adam, one of the elites. That alone makes her a great YA protagonist. The romance and the affection between the two characters is quite enjoyable and very well developed. You can tell the relationship was really important to the author since it shows in the way she wrote every affectionate scene. However, one small thing that bothered me is the fact that the two characters are named Adam and Eve. I understand that they’re a part of something new and they might symbolize a new beginning, but the story didn’t need the biblical reference to communicate this.

I was surprised by how much this story caught my attention. The society and its hierarchy is very detailed and I think the world beyond the society we’ve been introduced to was left out for a reason. I’m anticipating the rest of the story since I wasn’t really fond of the ending. It left me wondering too much about Eve and Adam’s future together, and whether or not society will cause a rift between the two. This original dystopian/historical trilogy will surely please many YA fans of the genre. It does have some similarities with other YA series but I think it’s authentic enough to hold its own. Like I mentioned earlier, the writing does seem a bit unrefined but CARGON: HONOUR & PRIVILEGE shows a lot of promise as the first book of this trilogy. It saddens me that not many people are aware of it…

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stacking the Shelves [30]

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Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Guidelines:

  • Create your own Stacking The Shelves post. You can use my official graphic or your own, but please link back to Tynga’s Reviews so more people can join the fun!

  • You can set your post any way you want, simple book list, covers, pictures, vlog, sky is the limit!

  • I am posting Stacking The Shelves on Saturdays, but feel free to post yours any day that fits you.

  • Visit Tynga’s Reviews on Saturday and add your link so others can visit you!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

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My vlog for this week’s Stacking the Shelves. Stick around to meet my puppy Gucci, at the end of the video!

 

For Review

Fury of Seduction by Coreene Callahan (My thoughts)
Knight Awakened by Coreene Callahan
Cargon: Honour and Privilege by Kimberly Gould

Won
(from author Heather Marie’s blog)

Origin by Jessica Khoury

 

So, what did YOU add to your shelves this week?

  • Visit other participants link to find out what they added to their shelves!
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    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Cover Love

    And now is cover love #2 since my recent “cover love slack”, I hope you enjoy the view!
    Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)
    Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
    His Fair Assassin #2
    April 2nd, 2013
    Under the Gun (Underworld Detection Agency #4)
    Under the Gun by Hannah Jayne
    Underworld Detection Agency #4
    February 5th, 2013
    With All My Soul (Soul Screamers, #7)
    With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent
    Soul Screamers #7
    March 19th, 2013
    Pulse (Pulse, #1)
    Pulse by Patrick Carman
    Pulse #1
    February 26th, 2013
    Towering
    Towering by Alex Flinn
    May 14th, 2013
    Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1)
    Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
    Age of X #1
    June 4th, 2013
    Emblaze (The Voilet Eden Chapters, #3)
    Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington
    Violet Eden Chapters #3 
    March 1st, 2013
    Beauty Awakened (Angels of the Dark, #2)
    Beauty Awakened by Gena Showalter
    Angels of the Dark #2
    February 26th, 2013
    The Red Plague Affair (Bannon & Clare, #2)
    The Red Plague Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
    Bannon and Clare #2
    May 21st, 2013
    Dance of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #2)
    Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
    Masque of Red Death #2
    April 23rd, 2013
    Phoenix (Black City, #2)
    Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards
    Black City #2
    June 4th, 2013
    Soulbound (Lone Star Witch, #1)
    Soulbound by Tessa Adams
    Lone Star Witch #1
    February 5th, 2013
    The books I’m most excited for are Dark Triumph and Gameboard of the Gods (Richelle Mead !!!!), but I plan to read Soulbound, Dance of Red Death, Beauty Awakened & Pulse as well :)
    What have you got your eyes on?
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