Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Giveaway - Dead and Gone

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Do you know what today is? Do you have any idea? Today is April 30! That means tomorrow is May 1 and then it's only a hop, skip and a jump to May 5th!

Why is May 5th so important? I can't believe you have to ask. Dear Charlaine Harris would be sad! May 5th is the release date for the long awaited 9th installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead and Gone! Seriously, one could cut the romantic tension with a knife! Or a pair of sharpened fangs on a couple very hot bodies.



Young Adult fans, I shall warn you now. Sookie Stackhouse lives in a little more of an adult world. Not so much that I would steer older teens away from these books however. There may be intimate moments, but they aren't overly graphic.

Alrighty, this contest shall run until May 15th. I will post results on the 16th, so really, you have until I go checking the entries to get more entries in. I know, it seems like a long time because it is. Honestly, my pocketbook needs a smidge of a break, plus there will be other giveaways coming shortly.

Entries:
+1 Comment with an answer to this question: Vampire, Werewolf, Fairy or Other (detail please).
+2 Follow Me (+1 additional if you are a current follower)
+3 Post this somewhere on your blog for all the world to see (make sure to give me the link).
+1 For every additional post (twitter, myspace, etc.). I'm @cinnleigh
+3 If someone says you referred them! Make sure to tell me who and I'll give you +1 too!

Whoa boy that's a lot of entries! Make sure to leave me some sort of contact information as well.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spell Hunter Winner


Ladies and Gents - the Spell Hunter Contest is now over! Thank you to everyone who entered and a special thank you to Vania at Reverie Book Reviews for being the first entrant to link to the contest! If you haven't already taken a peek at her site, do so!

And now to announce the winner. Drum roll please...

Our winner is:


I Heart Monster's superpower would be, "Teleportation for sure."
I Heart Monster, email me using the Contact link above so I know where to send your book please.

The winner was radomly chosen using Buzz My Blog's Contest Winner Picker

Thanks so much for participating everyone! Stay tuned for the next book giveaway which will be posted bright and early tomorrow morning.

Waiting on Wednesday - Dead and Gone

Seriously? Come on brain, just pick one already! Oh, is this mic on?

So I have wracked my brain for a while trying to decide on what I am most waiting on for my Waiting on Wednesday post. There are currently 3 books that I want to have, like, yesterday (that I haven't already featured for WOW) and I have had the darndest time choosing one! Finally, I let the release dates choose for me and chose the book that wouldn't really qualify for a Waiting On Wednesday if I didn't post about it today.

I give you:

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris. I am a huge fan of this series and read the entire first six books in a little over a weekend (I'll get around to the reviews eventually). As soon as I could get my hands on seven and eight, they were quickly dispatched. These books are a little more adult, so younger readers, ask your parents and then read at your own risk. I love the books because they're darker, but someone seriously needs to tell Sookie, "Just choose already!" You're killing me here woman!

From the back of the book:

"Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps—and nothing about weres.

Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works—and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it.

But there’s a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings—older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves—is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wicked Lovely Review - Melissa Marr


Whoa, what to say? I just finished WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr and am sitting here, my eye twitching, as I stare at Ink Exchange. I want to pick it up, continue in the wonderful world that Marr has created, but I know that what I want to say about WICKED LOVELY will get muted as I fall into the story of Ink Exchange. So, I'll continue twitching and write up my WICKED LOVELY thoughts first.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages:328
My Recommended Age Group: Any age
Released: May 31, 2007
Other books in series: Ink Exchange (Book 2), Fragile Eternity (Book 3)

Back of the book:


Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention. But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything. Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in this 21st century faery tale.

My thoughts:

I had heard a lot of hype surrounding WICKED LOVELY, mainly because of the recent release of Fragile Eternity. Even if I hadn't heard a single thing about it, the cover would have been enough to get this book on my bookshelf. My favorite winter colors surrounded by darkness makes this cover just absolutely gorgeous. I have said before, and I'll say again, I want some posters of Marr's covers. Yum!

WICKED LOVELY is the story of Aislinn, Seth, Keenan, Donia and Beira mainly. There are some side characters thrown in there, girlfriends of Aislinn, Aislinn's Grams and various guards that play a part in the book, but they are too many to discuss here. Aislinn is a strong girl, almost a woman really. She faces the usual teenage drama but on top of it has to deal with the fact that she has the Sight. She can see Faeries. Every girl's dream, right? Well, not when the Faeries might gouge your eyes out just for being able to see them. Her relationship with Seth is one part that I loved about the book. It's very realistic, seems very normal; at least to me. Seth isn't your perfect guy, he's got his issues and that makes him just that much more lovable. Every book needs to have a bad boy and Seth provides that for us. He's our mental eye candy.

Marr created finely detailed characters with just the right amount of development, especially for the first book in her Faery world. She leaves us with questions surrounding pretty much all of the characters, but not enough so that it makes the book difficult to read. The relationships that Marr builds are realistic and easily pull the reader in. Who will Aislinn end up with? Will she destroy both relationships in order to preserve them?

Tension is what makes the world go round and what makes a fantastic book. Really, it's difficult to push a storyline ahead without tension. In WICKED LOVELY we get tension in multiple forms. The tension between Aislinn and Seth is obvious. In any circumstance there comes a point where it's difficult for a girl and guy to stay "just friends." When one party is unwilling risk their friendship to experiment with becoming more, will it do just that? Next we get Aislinn and Keenan. I won't go into detail to avoid spoilers, but you get the idea. One girl, two guys. That's always going to end up with a juicy little romantic triangle. There are other story-driving points of tension here, but I won't detail them all. That's the great part about being a reader; getting to discover the unknown, experience the moments for yourself. I won't take that from you. What I will do is applaud Marr for using tension to create a masterpiece.

There are dozens, possibly hundreds of Faery stories out there. Most of them about cute, winged beings flitting about starting up the seasons. The Tinkerbell movie comes to mind. What there are not a whole lot of (or maybe I haven't come across them) are Faery stories like the one Marr presents to us. If you want a Tinkerbellesque story, this isn't it. I won't say that you should read another book, because I think you should definitely read this one, but I should warn you; this is not your grandmother's Faery tale. Marr creates a world that, as the title suggests, is WICKED LOVELY. Beauty is everywhere, but just as there is light, there must be darkness. Along with the magic we get danger. Marr's Faeries are darker, more destructive than the happy, twinkling little beings we are accustomed to. I found this a pleasant change as we get to explore the other side of what magic can offer.

Fair warning time: There is one intimate scene. Marr is vague enough that I would still recommend this book for young adults, but use your own judgment. Parents, if you're concerned I suggest scanning the book yourself. If you have specific questions, as always, email me using the contact link above or comment here with your contact information and I will email you privately.

Writing:10
Interest:10
Passion:10+
Originality:10+
Characters:10
Pace:9

Overall: 59/60 - A

Book Cover:3/3

The world is coming to an end! Oh, hush now. Quit getting so excited because something finally got less than a perfect score. As you might notice, I have slightly changed my scoring scale. Awarding a maximum of five points to each category just simply wasn't enough for me to feel like I had any leeway with the scores. If I loved the book, the category gets a five. If I mostly loved the book, it wouldn't earn a five but four seemed too low. Using a scale of 10 for each category with a total of 60 points allows me a little more wiggle room. Also, since I love covers so much, I'm adding a Book Cover score with a maximum score of three. Either I love it for three points, I like it for two points or meh, it's okay for one point. I doubt I'll award a zero in this category as really, I'm easy to please.

So, WICKED LOVELY earns a nice big A with a score of 59/60 and top marks for the cover. I took one point off of Pace because something hiccuped near the end. Perhaps it's unfair to take the point out of Pace, but really, I couldn't think where else to pull it from. Marr does a fantastic job of pulling us along, engaging us in the story. Then, we get to the end. We're so close to getting the answers that we want, the tension on the rope is tightening, you can hear the threads about to snap....and then someone drops the rope. Seriously. It just kind of fell for me; fairly anticlimactic. I mean, it was still great, came back up again with action and strength, but for that one moment, about ten pages from the end, everything just dropped like a spewage of words out onto the page instead of a delicately created masterpiece.

Contest List

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Ongoing list. Also located on the right sidebar:

Spell Hunter Deadline


Don't forget. Today is the last day to enter to win a copy of Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson.

ENTER HERE

Teaser Tuesday - Wicked Lovely


It's Tuesday! I was trying to think of something new and exciting to talk about today, but I really like the idea of Teaser Tuesday so I figured I would participate in that.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are fairly simple.

1. Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page.

2. Choose two sentences between lines 7-12 and share them.

3. Make sure to post the title and author of the book so that we can all go find it if the teaser catches our interest.

4. Be very careful not to post spoilers! Nobody wants to read a spoiled book.

Easy enough, right?

Okay, so my current read is Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, the first in her Faerie books. My teaser is below.

"They watched each other, and she wondered again if it would hurt to touch his metallic hair. The copper strands glistened under his glamour, compelling her attention despite her best efforts." pg. 109

Can you feel the tension? Heck, you can pretty much taste the tension here! There's nothing like tension to pull the reader in and make them say - gimme more!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Win an ARC of Prey

Hey all - if you didn't already know, Rachel Vincent has a few ARCs of Prey that she is giving away. Today she posted one giveaway on her discussion group, The Pride. If you aren't already a member and discussing your little heart out, I highly suggest you think about joining and while you're at it - enter to win an ARC of Prey. The discussion there is truly a great place for Faythe fans.


Deadline is May 1. ENTER HERE

Monday Mailbox

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. Go take a peek!

Whoa buddy! This week just kind of came and went...totally stripping my pocketbook!

Okay, so I went a little crazy - who doesn't?

In My Mailbox

Books from the publisher:

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford through the FirstReads program on GoodReads. It was truly amazing. The link above is to my review. I received it Thursday and finished it Sunday evening.

Books I purchased:

Oh lord, there are a few. Links are to description pages since I do not have a review of them up yet.

I purchased these Keri Arthur books as a lot from Ebay:

Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian, Book 1)
Kissing Sin (Riley Jenson Guardian, Book 2)
Tempting Evil (Riley Jenson Guardian, Book 3)
Dangerous Games (Riley Jenson Guardian, Book 4)
Embraced by Darkness (Riley Jenson Guardian, Book 5)
The Darkest Kiss (Riley Jenson Guardian, Book 6)
Destiny Kills


Purchased separately: Deadly Desire (Riley Jenson Guardian, Book 7)

Acheron
by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Okay, I'm not even close to getting to this book (I just read the first in the series), but it was on sale! I couldn't resist!


Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I found it in the bargain bin (not sure why). Again, I'd love to read more of her Dark-Hunter series, so I might as well have it!

Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Susan Squires and Dianna Love. This one wasn't on sale or anything. I just like the authors and it was there. A book impulse buy!


The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. Some people love these books. I've never tried them, but I saw the cover and couldn't not have it! Plus it was on sale.

You Are So Undead
to Me by Stacey Jay. This one was on sale and came highly recommended.

Warrior Rising by P.C. Cast. In the value bin. I want to read these books eventually starting with Goddess of the Sea, so why not grab it now?

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. I've heard tons of great things about J.R. Ward from The Optimistic Pessimist and Book Reviews by Jess

I think that's all of them. I'm scanning my kitchen now and I don't see any hiding in the toaster or anything so I hope I caught them all. Yes I have a bookshelf. No, I don't put new books on it. They are both overflowing and new books will get hidden behind books I've already read and then I'll forget about them. Trust me, this has happened.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Review - Jamie Ford


A little less than three days ago, I received my copy of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, a debut novel by Jamie Ford. I originally won it off of GoodReads FirstReads program and thought, yay, a new book. Not the type of book that I would normally read, but hey, it's free right?

Oh. My. Goodness. What a book!

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages:304
My Recommended Age Group: Any age
Released: January 27, 2009

From Jamie Ford's Website:
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

My thoughts:

HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET is truly an amazing book. I have different categories of books, some I love because of the entertainment value, others I love because they touch me in an emotional way that not many things do. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and Saved from Silence by Amanda Richardson are two other books (and the only others that I can pick off the top of my head) that elicited the same response in me. The story within the covers of this book is so moving, so sweet and tender that it's practically impossible not to love. It's the story of war, lies, heartbreak and above all triumph. The story of a young boy trying to survive in an adverse world where even his family might turn against him and yet, in all that there is a bright shining star; a girl.

Henry is a strong willed man with Chinese heritage and American birthrights. Keiko is a second generation Japanese American, one who should claim the same birthrights as Henry if the world was a fairer place. The book travels through time between the mid 80's where Henry is an older man and the mid 40's where he is barely 12-years-old. He lives in the time of Pearl Harbor; the United States and their Chinese allies are at war with Japan and everyone they think may be affiliated. This includes the American born citizens of Japanese descent. Life isn't easy for Henry - he's constantly mistaken as Japanese and eventually forced by his overbearing and traditional father to wear a pin reading "I am Chinese." In truth, this pin probably saves quite a bit of grief.

Despite the constant torment Henry faces, his family decides to send him to an all-white school, hoping that the education will curb the amount of prejudice Henry will have to face. As we can all imagine, having had our own experiences in grade school, the teasing isn't pleasant at school. Life is bleak and grey, day after day, until one day when a sweet face and chestnut eyes brightens Henry's life.

With a blossoming friendship with Japanese Keiko, Henry will face more than he ever bargained for at the hands of his own family and those around him. With the country posing huge restrictions on the Japanese, will his new friend Keiko be safe? Will Henry be able to find the strength to protect her?

Ford does a wonderful mix of travelling through time as we get to see Henry as a child and as an adult. In the year 1986, the Hotel Panama is finally opened for the first time in decades and a huge room full of steamer trunks and suitcases is found, each containing the personal belongings of some Japanese families that were "evacuated" from the cities. When Henry sees an old parasol with Koi painted on it, memories of his dear Keiko return to him.

I absolutely loved this book. It was breathtaking and got me quite emotional on more than one occasion. I loved following the story of Henry and Keiko, learning how they dealt with adversity in the past and how Henry deals with painful memories and learning to live on in the present. Ford did an amazing job with his research and really seems to have captured the essence of the times in this piece. Although his foreword will tell you that this is a work of fiction, many of the events that take place in the book are real, including the Panama Hotel and the discovery of the belongings of 37 Japanese families within its basement.

For a debut novel, I'd have to say that Ford's writing style was phenomenal. I found the book extremely easy to read with sentences and concepts flowing easily. The pace, although different at times, also worked quite well. You won't find any cookie cutter chapters here, all of the exact length of 20 pages. Instead, some chapters only range two and a half pages, while others may range upwards of 10. The high number of chapters and occasional low number of pages per chapter really adds to the book. It increases the pace during the tense moments and slows it down when we need more time to think; more time to ponder the fate of our star crossed lovers.

Writing:5
Interest:5
Passion:5+
Originality:5
Characters:5+
Pace:5
Overall: 30/30 - A

I'm going to have to do it; HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET gets a ginormous A with extra kudos for Passion and Characters. As I've mentioned, the characters or Henry and Keiko are just superb. The minor characters, the families and friends of our little duo are also fantastic. A lot of character development went into every person that played a part in this book. It really made for a detailed and well rounded read. In addition, the passion was most certainly there. It was difficult not to feel for those involved in the tragedies described within the book. Ford did more than just make us feel, he encouraged us to feel using our own motives, our own ideas. He was actually fairly neutral in his descriptions of what happened. He didn't set out to have his voice heard, rather, he set out to tell his story and allow us to take from it what we would.

Job well done Ford! This book shall be sitting on my shelf, holding a position of honor as I know I'll turn back to it time and time again to read it once more.

100 Followers Contest at Reverie Book Reviews

FREE SIGNED COPY OF FRAGILE ETERNITY!

If you haven't already heard, the lovely and talented Vania at Reverie Book Reviews is holding a contest for a signed copy of Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr! Once she receives 100 followers, she will choose one at random to win this fantastic and awesome prize!

So, if you haven't already, head on over and follow Vania. There are already 93 followers so don't delay!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pride - Rachel Vincent


Ho boy. I just finished PRIDE about a minute and a half ago (including the time it took my computer to wake up) and boy howdy let me tell you - Vincent wrote a total and complete winner here! I loved Stray, I adored Rogue but PRIDE officially made it to the top of my "I want to read it again this second" list.

Publisher: Mira Books
Pages:425
My Recommended Age Group: Adult
Released: February 1, 2009
Series: Shifters Series - Stray (book 1), Rogue (book 2), Prey (book 4 - July 1, 2009)

Back of the book:
I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the PRIDE—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I'm two for three. A goner.

Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.

If I survive my own trial…

My thoughts:

In PRIDE, we find Faythe in new and unfamiliar territory; literally. I won't go into too much detail as I don't want to give anything away, but there is so much new in this book that it will just blow your mind if you let it.

Part of the reason I love series is that we, as the readers, get to explore more of the world with each book. Well, at least in a decent series, that is. Vincent does a fantastic job of this in her Shifters series, especially so in PRIDE. So many questions that we've had get answers in this third installment. Of course, with each answer comes an additional question so Vincent keeps us captivated and waiting for more, begging for the July 1 release date to come sooner.

Some things you can expect to learn more about in PRIDE include werecat physiology, werecat pride politics and more about the life of a stray. In addition, Faythe's character development is just phenomenal. We really get a nice look into her head and a good glimpse of the cat she is becoming. In addition we'll learn a bit about the other werecat prides as well as more about each of Faythe's family members.

The sexual and romantic tension between Faythe, Jace and Marc is still there, as strong and heated as ever. Fans of this little trio will be quite pleased to know that this aspect of the story is preserved in PRIDE and made about a hundred times better. The tension is so thick one could literally cut it with a knife (or claw). Truly, that's what makes a romantic element great; the additive of tension. Will Faythe end up with good guy Jace or will her hot and cold relationship with Marc blaze out of control? Find the answer for yourself by taking the journey through PRIDE. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Writing: 10
Interest: 10
Passion: 10
Originality: 10
Characters: 10
Pace: 10
Overall: 60/60 - A

Book Cover: 3/3

I give PRIDE an outstanding A with extra kudos in Interest, Passion and Pace. The Interest piece is obvious; this book is by far my favorite of the series so far. The scenery was beautifully written, the story line was complete enough to keep me satisfied and yet guessing at the same time and character development was A+. With perfectly formed romantic tension in the plot, it's impossible not to give extra kudos to the Passion piece. Heck, I'd read the book again just for the storyline between Faythe, Marc and Jace. Lastly, the pace. Pace isn't something I comment on often because either it works or it doesn't, at least for me anyway. In this instance, I noticed a couple times where the pace just really stood out to me. The bright, action packed scenes were full of shorter lines when needed and quick action. The slower, more thoughtful scenes flowed like water in a slow stream. It was just fantastic.

Here's the warning part: I do suggest this book for adults or older teens. There are adult elements in it as well as blood and violence. If you're squeamish then perhaps this isn't the book for you although I can say that the gruesome parts are few and far between. They're easy to spot coming up and you could probably just skip a paragraph or two if you wanted to miss them. As always, for more information on the warning, feel free to comment with your email address and I will email you privately.

Wasting Away the Weekend - Pride


This weekend I am hoping to spend most of my time wasting away while reading Pride by Rachel Vincent.

So far, I love Pride. Faythe kicks some serious tail feathers and the tension in her romantic life is just delicious! In this installment of Vincent's Werecat series, we get to see Faythe in a different setting, closer to the nature that she loves. We get to learn a lot more about the cats and their physiology as well as the political aspects of the Werecat society.

I'll leave it at that for now because I would hate to give too much away (and because I'm anxious to get back to reading it). Questions? Comments? Leave them below. Also, what are you spending your weekend on?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Comments changed back

Thanks to those that commented about the new comment form. I switched back to the blogger comment template and am much happier with it. Hope you are too!

NOTE: If you recently entered the Spell Hunter contest, please check your comment and make sure that there is a name with contact info for you. The switch in comment templates means that some comments switched to my name instead of the original commenter.

UnderCover Friday - Fairy Tale



So the idea of UnderCover Friday is that I would love nothing more than to go "undercover" and sneak out of work disguised as someone else, especially on a sunny Friday. What does that have to do with books? Not much, except that I'd use the time to read and it was the most clever thing I could come up with using the word "cover."

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love cover art, some more than others. Unless I know about the author or book before hand, the cover is usually the thing that will draw my attention to a book when browsing the bookstore. UnderCover Friday is a day that I can set aside to just gush about whatever cover suits my fancy on that given day. Of course, I do a lot of that during the week anyway, *cough* Eyes Like Stars, but on this day I don't have to feel guilty about going on, and on, and on...

Back to the point. As you can see above, this week's cover is Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog.

From Balog's website (which is also quite lovely I might add):

"Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne are a match made in heaven. They’ve been best friends since birth, they tell each other everything, and oh yeah- they’re totally hot for each other.

But a week before their joint Sweet Sixteen bash, everything changes. Cam’s awkward cousin Pip comes to stay, and Morgan is stunned when her formerly perfect boyfriend seems to be drifting away.

When Morgan demands answers, she’s shocked to discover the source of Cam’s distance isn’t another girl- it’s another world. Pip claims that Cam is a fairy. No, seriously. A fairy. And now his people want Cam to return to their world and take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Determined to keep Cam with her, Morgan plots to fool the fairies. But as Cam continues to change, she has to decide once and for all if he really is her destiny, and if their “perfect” love can weather an uncertain future."


So what exactly do I just love about this cover? The simplicity. I'm a fan of bright flashy covers (check out Vania's mock cover feature - gorgeous!), but I also love simple covers. What draws my eye to this one is probably the bright, cool colors coupled with the dark background. The black really makes the colors pop and it probably helps that this pallet has all of my favorite colors.

The other thing I love about this color are the textures and the detail of the wings. Even though this is a flat image, the wings really pop out at you. It's almost easy to imagine feeling the jeweled wings and watching the colors sparkle in the sunlight. It takes a true artist to make an image shine like the wings on this cover.

I've heard rave reviews about Balog's Fairy Tale. A great story, a gorgeous cover; what more can a girl ask for?


Fairy Tale is due out June 23, 2009.
Want to do your own UnderCover Friday post? Sign up below with your blog name and a link to your UnderCover Friday posts. Don't forget to leave a comment!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blog Question

Hey, so I updated the comments section. What do you all think? Good change or bad change? I'm undecided. I thought it would be easier to reply to comments, but I'm unsure if I like it or not.

Contests

Hey all, just wanted to let everyone know that on the ride sidebar of the blog is a list of current contests that I've found. I'll be updating it as old deadlines pass and new deadlines approach. I'll also be posting an occasional reminder for new followers.

If you find a contest through my list, feel free to mention I sent you!

Thanks! Remember ---> That way!

6/09 - Angie Fox demon book
6/09 - Twenty Boy Summer
6/10 - All of Erin Downing's Books
6/10 - Animal Attraction
6/10 - Exclusively Chloe
6/10 - Strange Angels
6/11 - Boyology
6/11 - Dead Is ... Series
6/11 - Witch Fury
6/12 - Belong to Me
6/12 - Perfect Chemistry
6/12 - Shanghai Girls
6/12 - The Accidental Bestseller
6/12 - Witch Fury
6/13 - Blood Ties
6/13 - Dark Days series
6/13 - Mating Rituals of the North American WASP
6/13 - Romance Arc
6/14 - Carpe Corpus
6/15 - Epic Giveaway
6/15 - Prophecy of the Sisters and swag
6/15 - Signed The Demon's Lexicon
6/15 - The Magic Thief
6/15 - To Beguile a Beast
6/16 - The Debs
6/17 - 3 Book Prize Pack
6/18 - Lydia Bennet's Story
6/18 - The Night Gardener
6/20 - Dull Boy
6/20 - The Demon's Lexicon & Sea Change
6/21 - Twenty Boy Summer
6/23 - Catching Fire
6/24 - Naamah's Kiss
6/26 - Crazy Beautiful
6/26 - Hunger
6/26 - The Sitting Swing
6/26 - Wings
6/30 - $25 Borders Gift Card
6/30 - Bedding the Baron
6/30 - Catching Fire
6/30 - Christine Feehan books
6/30 - Giving Up the V
6/30 - June Giveaway
6/30 - Marked series
6/30 - Reading Comfort Book Buddy
6/30 - The Clique summer collection
6/30 - The Host
6/30 - The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
6/30 - The Night Gardener
6/30 - The Night Gardener
6/30 - Twenty Boy Summer
6/30 - Twenty Boy Summer
6/7 - A Map of the Known World
7/01 - Ghost Girl series
7/01 - Wings, The Awakening and Stargazer
7/04 - Another Faust
7/04 - Massive Book Giveaway

Contest - Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED



This week's contest is for a copy of the highly anticipated book, Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson. Spell Hunter is book one in the Faery Rebels series and promises to be a great read.

From R.J. Anderson's website:

"There are humans at the bottom of the garden, and a glimpse inside their forbidden House convinces the fierce young faery hunter known as Knife that they have knowledge that could help her dying people.

But if the human world has so much to offer, why is the faery Queen determined to keep her people away from it? Is there a connection between the House and the faeries' loss of magic? And why is Knife so drawn to the young Paul McCormick — that strangest of creatures, a human male?"

Man, if the gorgeous cover doesn't draw in you, the story is bound to. It sounds absolutely intriguing. Spell Hunter is scheduled to be released in the U.S. under HaperCollins Children's Books next Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

This contest will end midnight EST next Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

+1 entry telling me what superpower you would love to have.

+2 entries for following me. (+1 additional entry if you already follow me).

+3 entries for posting a link to this contest on your blog. Sidebar is fine.

Comment and let me know how many entries you should get! On your mark, get so, go! May the best book fan win!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rogue - Rachel Vincent

I finished ROGUE last night. I was intent on reading it after the bug went to bed and got practically frantic when I discovered that there was only about a centimeter left. I stayed up about 15 minutes later than I should have to finish it and then began digging into Pride.

Publisher: Mira Books
Pages:512
My Recommended Age Group: Adult
Released: April 1, 2008
Series: Shifters Series - Stray (book 1), Pride (book 3), Prey (book 4 - July 1, 2009)

From GoodReads:

Cats don't always land on their feet

I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I've made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I'm working harder than ever, though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on and off duty.

But not all my mistakes are behind me. We're beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women and that they can all be laid at my feet—two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear.

My thoughts: I absolutely loved ROGUE. I first picked up Stray, book one in Rachel Vincent's Werecat series, on a whim because the story sounded interesting. I quickly connected with Faythe and found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, desperately wishing that the pages would turn quicker. I definitely was not disappointed with ROGUE.

Faythe is a Werecat, as you may have guessed, with the occasional bad attitude and an ability to attract accident and disaster. When women start going missing and tom cats end up mysteriously dead, she is called into action with her fellow enforcers to discover the culprit. What they discover, however, is far more sinister than Faythe is ready for and she begins to understand that it may all be her fault.

To me, the best part about ROGUE was the depth that we got to see in Faythe. Vincent does a fantastic job developing Faythe's character and her relationships. Speaking of relationships, don't worry readers, Marc and Jace are still there. With a mouthwatering love triangle going on, who can resist not picking up ROGUE. When you've got two tall dark and handsome men both vying for a girl's attention, things are bound to get steamy! The only question is, what will happen? Surely Faythe can't have both men. Will she settle into the relationship she has or will she ruin it in her own quest to find independence?

Another fantastic aspect of the book was that we finally got to learn a little bit more about Faythe's relationship with her mother and who Karen Sanders truly is. Is she really the 1950s housewife she pretends to be or is there more lurking under the surface. Any woman that could give birth to and then raise Faythe Sanders has go to have some interesting personality points.

Overall, I can easily say I loved the book. The scenery is gorgeous, the characters were well developed and the pace was fantastic. Every calm scene, every agonizing scene and every fight scene brought out the appropriate emotions in me. I was actually surprised to catch my heart racing at times and my eyes beginning to water at other. I'm not usually an emotional person, but Vincent does such a fantastic job or laying out the story for us that it is impossible not to feel the emotions she writes with.

Writing: 10
Interest: 10
Passion: 10
Originality: 10
Characters: 10
Pace: 10
Overall: 60/60 - A

Book Cover: 3/3

ROGUE earns a well deserved A from me with extra kudos for the passion in the book. Emotion really helps to carry the reader along in a story and Vincent uses this exquisitely.

Wicked Lovely Winner

Alrighty ladies (I don't think I missed any gentlemen) - the Wicked Lovely Contest is now over! Thank you to everyone who entered and a special thank you to Jess of Book Reviews by Jess for helping to get the word out there and The Optimistic Pessimist for being the first entrant!

And now to announce the winner. Drum roll please...


Our winner is:
Katie (Katieb206)
The winner was radomly chosen using Buzz My Blog's Contest Winner Picker

Thanks so much for participating everyone! Stay tuned for the next book giveaway which will be posted bright and early tomorrow morning. Trust me, this is one that you are not going to want to miss!

Waiting on Wednesday - Eyes Like Stars

You know, there are many books that I want to read; many additions to series that I have read that I want to get my greedy little fingers on. However, today there is one book that just seriously intrigues me. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev.



Probably part of the reason I'm dying to own this one is the cover. Look at it! Isn't it gorgeous? Gotta love a strong woman with neon blue hair!

From the Theatre-Illuminata website:

"All her world's a stage.

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.

She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.

She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.

Until now.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every place ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known."

Waiting on Wednesday courtesy of Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fragile Eternity Release Day



If you didn't already know, it's the highly anticipated release date for Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr. From what I've heard, this next installment in her stories about the Faerie Courts was well worth the wait. I can't wait to read it myself!

Congratulations on the release!

If you haven't already, I highly recommend entering the Wicked Lovely contest. This is great for those that have wanted to try the series but just haven't for whatever reason. For one lucky winner, I'll shove the book in your hands, thereby making it harder to make excuses for why you haven't read it. Hurry though because the deadline is tonight!

Teaser Tuesday

It's Tuesday! I was trying to think of something new and exciting to talk about today, but I really like the idea of Teaser Tuesday so I figured I would participate in that.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are fairly simple.

1. Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page.

2. Choose two sentences between lines 7-12 and share them.

3. Make sure to post the title and author of the book so that we can all go find it if the teaser catches our interest.

4. Be very careful not to post spoilers! Nobody wants to read a spoiled book.

Easy enough, right?

Okay, so my current read is Rachel Vincent's Rogue, the second in the Werecat series. My teaser is below.

"Screw this. He'd blown his shot at nice-and-easy, which only left quick-and-brutal; my favorite way to play."

I love a strong heroine and Faythe definitely does not disappoint.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Mailbox

I've been inspired by the many In My Mailbox posts out there. The Story Siren's mailbox post finally made me say, "Okay, I'll do it!" It really does make sense now that I think about it. All of my coworkers know about every book that I buy (mainly because they are delivered to work) and my thoughts after reading them. Perhaps, by participating in the IMM posts I can avoid the glazed over looks my coworkers get when I've rambled on about yet another book that my little obsession found.

Books I bought this week:

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine. I've been wanting to try a book by Caine for a while now. I'm also particularily interested in her Weather Warden series, but wouldn't you know, our small town bookstore doesn't seem to have any copies. Yay for an online shopping excuse!

Anyway, I heard some varying comments about The Morganville Vampires series. Some said they liked it, others didn't. For me, that just means that I want to read the series that much more. Glass Houses will probably be the next book up after Rachel Vincent's Werecat series in my To Be Read pile.


Ah, Wicked Lovely. Who can ignore all the advertising for Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr (due out tomorrow). We all know that I am definitely a cover girl and it is impossible not to stare at Marr's covers, lounging in the beauty of them. Due to the hype I decided that I just have to try out Marr's books. From the few excerpts I have read, I can already tell I'm going to love them.

I actually bought two copies of Wicked Lovely. One for myself, and one for the Wicked Lovely Contest currently going on. So far there's only one entrant so she's guaranteed to get the copy unless others go enter! The deadline is tomorrow so there's still time!


I've heard great things both about Marr's Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange. As I mentioned above, I am really interested in giving her books a try. This storyline especially sounds fantastically intriguing!

Seriously though, I'm thinking that I might need some poster sized prints of the covers to hang up. Just gorgeous, aren't they?




Blue Bloods, by Melissa de la Cruz is the first in the Blue Bloods series. With a story full of power, wealth, beauty and immortality, it's bound to be interesting.

This is another book that had mixed reviews when I researched it. I'm a sucker for mixed reviews; they allow me to build up a need to discover my own ideas, my own truth in the book. I had held off buying this one for a while but finally gave in this weekend and went for it. After I finish Vincent's Werecat books, Caine's Glass Houses and Marr's Wicked Love and Ink Exchange, this will be at the top of my reading list.

As always, any thoughts on these books or ideas for my next set of purchases would be highly appreciative. You can also find the books I am reading or considering at my GoodReads page.

Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs


If you haven't yet read the Mercy Thompson series, you really need to. This is a fantastic story with equally fantastic characters. Blood Bound is the second book in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. It continues the story of Mercy, a fierce, butt kicking mechanic. Oh yeah, she's also a Walker, able to become a coyote at will.

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Pages: 292
My Recommended Age Group: Older Young Adult to Adult
Released: 2007
Other books in series: Moon Called (Book 1), Iron Kissed (Book 3), Bone Crossed (Book 4)

From GoodReads:
Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places - and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary - and neither is the demon inside of him...

My thoughts:

Book one of the series, Moon Called, introduced us to Mercy and the werewolves. Book two continues the storyline by introducing us to the darker side of Mercy's world, the part where vampires are not only real and bloodthirsty but also require her help. When Mercy's friend Stefan asks her to accompany him to deliver a message to a stray vampire intruding in their territory, Mercy agrees, having no idea what kind of danger she's about to put herself in. Friendship will be questioned and loyalties tested while Mercy and Stefan attempt to discover the sinister truth behind this seemingly simple intruder.

Briggs does a fantastic job in Blood Bound of continuing Stefan's story line. We get to learn a lot more about him as well as the rest of the vampires. I love the way she uses the books and the stories to help bring us into the world gradually instead of just saying, here are the Werewolves, here are the Fae and here are the Vampires. It's a nice way to bring us into the story instead of just telling the story to us.

I love Mercy because she is a strong, butt-kicking woman. She knows how to stand on her own two feet and takes control of her life. I would probably love the books just for that fact; the spicy little love triangle between her, Samuel and Adam is just icing on the cake. Seriously, who wouldn't want two attractive powerful men vying for her attention? Now the only question is, who will she choose?

As always, I feel compelled to give a fair warning. Seems strange that even with books I absolutely love, there's always some sort of warning. Now, I'll begin by saying that I am easily spooked. Yes, I am still afraid of the dark. Everyone has their quirks; that's one of mine. That being said, there is a quite creepy part in Blood Bound. So much so that I had to run around the room flipping lights on before I could continue with the chapter. If you like creepy, spooky parts then I think you will love Blood Bound. If you're not quite into the creepy side of things, then just remember that it only lasts for a few pages. Flip some lights on, grab your nearest pet (or stuffed animal) and hug it close for comfort and then continue on. Trust me, you'll definitely want to get to the end of the book!

Writing: 10
Interest: 10
Passion: 10
Originality: 10
Characters: 10
Pace: 9
Overall: 59/60 - A

Book Cover: 3/3

I am reevaluating my scoring criteria to see if there's something I should add or take out, but in the meantime, this is what you're stuck with. Of course, that means that Blood Bound ends up with a perfect A. Part of the reason I have trouble coming up with a new system is that there isn't anything I don't like about the books that score high; and if there isn't anything that I don't care for, why would I add anything to try and lower the score?

So, there you have it. Another great book; another perfect A. Now I shall commence on to another book, anxiously awaiting Briggs' next installment.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wasting Away the Weekend

So in my life, Saturdays and Sundays are usually busy. We are either busy wandering our minuscule mall, getting me out for some much needed shopping, out visiting with friends and socializing the toddler or sitting at home and playing with said toddler. When the babe goes down for her naps (yes, she still takes two), the real fun begins! Hubby pulls out any one of the many gaming systems or computers he has and goes at it while I pull out a book, yank out the computer to review or yank out the computer to work on my own writing (which sadly happens few and far between anymore). I love having this free time, especially in the middle of the day. I grab a blanket and hunker down on the couch, content to waste away, as unmoving as a blob of jello and let my mind explore.

Rambling aside, the point of Wasting Away the Weekend is that Saturdays and Sundays are the days when I really get to hunker down and do the things I enjoy. Read, first off, and write, secondly. From now on, I'm going to take the opportunity to let you know just what I'm reading (or writing) while I'm wasting valuable time that I could be using to, I don't know, clean something. Ha!

Right now I'm about 62 pages into Rogue, by Rachel Vincent. I picked up Vincent's Stray last week and finished it a few days later. I know I've said it before, but it's worth repeating. I really like Faythe. I think Vincent has created a fantastic character, strong willed with an unbreakable spirit who has some serious butt kicking abilities! She's probably up there with Patricia Brigg's Mercy and Anna as my favorite heroines. I think what the three of them have in common is that they are all survivors. I like that in a woman. Perhaps it will encourage me to be less shy someday. *snort* Not likely.

Back to Rogue. I'm definitely liking it. For those that haven't been inducted into the Rachel Vincent fan club, and I highly recommend that you go do so, Faythe is a Werecat and the only unmated female of childbearing age in her pride. That makes her pretty important and we all know that anyone important usually ends up with a big red bullseye painted right on their back. I'm not sure where Rogue is going right now (I try not to read the back cover because it's just too close to the back pages where I might sneak a peek) but I can be pretty sure that things are not going to go so easily for Faythe. It wouldn't be a great story if life was easy for her!

So that's where I'm at. Like I mentioned, I'm not too far in, so the story can still go anywhere in relation to where my mind thinks it will go. Who knows. I'm looking forward to getting some great reading in and hopefully starting Pride come Monday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Iron Kissed - Patricia Briggs


Patricia Briggs' books just keep getting better and better! This third installment of the Mercedes Thompson series, IRON KISSED, introduces us to the Fae and brings a compelling sense of tension. A fantastic story, this is one that you definitely can't miss.

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Pages: 287
My Recommended Age Group: Older Young Adult to Adult
Released: January 2008
Other books in series: Moon Called (Book 1), Blood Bound (Book 2), Bone Crossed (Book 4)

From GoodReads:
When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to shapeshifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to
clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life-whether she wants to or not.

My thoughts:

Iron Kissed, the third in the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs takes us to a whole new world that is rich in detail and drama. Mercy is a Walker possessing the ability to change into a coyote at will. Unlike her adoptive family and occasional guardians her change happens quite quickly as opposed to the longer and more painful process of changing into a wolf. Mercy definitely has the quickness of a coyote, both in physical function and in wit. She's smart, funny, and has quite the ability to kick some serious butt!

Iron Kissed brings us through the world of Mercy Thompson to visit the Fae, a very visible set of characters, yet one that we haven't got to visit in much detail yet in the series. When Mercy's former boss and current friend is indicted for murder, life turns topsy-turvy for Mercy. She finds herself in the position where she wants to help but is being kept from doing just that. What's worse is that the force keeping her from investigating the crime and freeing her friend are the Fae themselves. They don't like outsiders meddling in their affairs and despite Mercy's ability to change into the mischievous coyote, that includes her.

When Mercy ignores the warnings surrounding her and delves farther into the mystery, she'll be confronted with much more than she is able to handle. Will she be able to conquer the Fae magic in order to protect those she cares for or will their own stubborn nature keep her from doing that? How far will she go and what exactly is she willing to lose to find the truth?

As always, Adam and Samuel are very present in this book. Really, there's nothing better than a spicy love triangle to sweeten things up. Who will Mercy choose? The man she loves but is afraid to lose herself to or the man she loves but can never forgive? It's a difficult choice, but one that has to be made soon to protect the sanity of the entire pack.

I will give warning: there are adult themes in this book. There are a few scenes that may be difficult for younger readers to handle. Although I LOVE the Mercedes Thompson series, I would suggest parents scan through the book first before giving it to their younger readers. I don't want to post spoilers here so I won't go into specifics, but if you would like more information, you're welcome to leave a comment and I will email you privately.

Warnings aside, I will say that I thought this was a truly fantastic book! I loved the story and I loved the development of Mercy, Adam and Samuel especially. We really get another look into these characters and come even closer to understanding what's truly going on in those minds! By far my favorite character is Mercy. In fact, I'd have to say that she's right up in my top five favorite female characters. She's beautiful without being overly so, strong without being invincible and she has her own set of flaws. Mostly I love Mercy because she is a survivor. She shows us that life can go on after tragedy and although it's not easy, although life may never be the same, she can go on. Okay, enough spoilerness from me! The last thing I have to say is that it was great getting to see a little bit more of the Fae part of the world. I'm super excited to see where Briggs is going to go with the tidbits she left us with.


Writing: 10
Interest: 10
Passion: 10
Originality: 10
Characters: 10
Pace: 10
Overall: 60/60 - A

Book Cover: 3/3

Extra kudos for Characters because I really liked the development of Mercy in this book. She's truly a fantastic character, created to draw the reader in and allow us to relate to her. I think Briggs does a fantastic job with this in all of her characters, but Mercy especially.

UnderCover Friday

Everyone wishes they could go undercover on Friday, don't they? I know I do. Dress up as someone else - become someone else, sneak out of work and go home early! Woot!

Anyway, the purpose of UnderCover Friday is to give me a set time and place to go on and on about whatever cover I'm in love with for the day without having to feel too guilty that I'm going on and on about covers every day!

As I've mentioned before, I really do judge a book by its cover. I know! It's totally wrong, but I am a very visual person. When I read a book, I see the book. Unless I've already heard rave things about the author or a specific book, it's usually the cover that draws my attention first. Today's case really doesn't have much to do with that. The cover didn't draw me to the series so much as that I finally opened my eyes and realized that a cover was there!

I've been waiting to see what the cover of Blood Promise by Richelle Mead would look like. I've had it on preorder for months now and I don't know why I hadn't seen the cover earlier, but I finally stumbled across it today. Blood Promise is the fourth in Mead's Vampire Academy Series and I have anxiously been waiting to see what the future holds for dear Rose. My heart is beating in anxiety. Will things work out fine? Will life come to an end (figuratively) for Rose? I need to know!


Anyway, here's the cover. Although this isn't as flashy as many covers I've come across, it's beautiful for its simplicity. I'm very much a fan of necks. Hair, ears, necks, wrists, hands, ankles and feet. *shrug* Everyone has their thing and those are mine. Maybe it's because those are my favorites parts of myself. Anyway, back to the neck. One can imagine why a neck would be the main visual element in a book of the Vampire Academy series so this cover just makes me want to read the book that much more!

Okay, enough said. Go - enjoy the cover. Stare at it for a while. Love it. When you're done, go enter the Wicked Lovely contest and browse through the reviews that are up. I'm slowly getting to back-posting reviews of the books that I've read from January of 2009 through now. They should be making their way up daily.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Contest - Wicked Lovely

FREE BOOK!!! - This contest is now CLOSED. Click here for the winner.

In preparation for the April 21 release of Fragile Eternity, I've decided to hold a little contest. This contest will run from now until April 21. The prize for the winner (who will be chosen at random from the list of entrants) is one copy of Melissa Marr's book, Wicked Lovely. I know there are still people out there who have not read Marr's books so I figured I'd go ahead and get someone started! It's much more difficult to keep making excuses why you're not starting a new series when someone gift wraps the first book and shoves it in your hands.



The rules for entering are below.

+1 entry: Leave a comment telling me what author you would most like to see interviewed here at A Journey of Books. (+1 more entry if the author had their first book published between 2000 and now).

+1 entry: If a stranger were to just hand you a free book, what would you want it to be? Leave a comment.

+2 entries: Follow me. Leave a comment so that I know you did. (+1 additional entry if you're already following me).

+3 entries: Post this on your own blog. Sidebar is fine. Leave a comment with the address.

Stray - Rachel Vincent


Oooo! I have to say, I'm already sold on the Shifters series by Rachel Vincent. I actually hadn't even heard of it until I did a search for shapeshifting books after finishing Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs; STRAY, Rogue and Pride came up as similar books. I decided to go ahead and give them a try even though I hadn't heard of them since my paycheck was burning a hole in my pocket. I was seriously NOT disappointed!

Publisher: Mira Books
Pages: 618
My Recommended Age Group: Adult
Released: June 1, 2007
Series: Shifters Series - Rogue (book 2), Pride (book 3), Prey (book 4 - July 1, 2009)

From GoodReads:
I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays: werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever and whoever I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them.

My thoughts:

STRAY is the story of Faythe, a woman in her mid twenties, hell bent on breaking out of the confining hands of her family and finding her own path in life. This would be a lot easier if her family wasn't a pride of large, black cats resembling, although larger than panthers. Pride mentality is to keep its family together and protected at all costs. Especially the females. Even more especially unmated females of child bearing age. Wouldn't you know - that just happens to fit Faythe perfectly!

At the beginning of the book we find Faythe at college, struggling to create a fairly normal life for herself when she is suddenly confronted with a STRAY, a wild cat invading her family's territory. Right off the bat we get an awesome action sequence and this adrenaline filled pace carries us through the rest of the book. When you happen to be one of the eight unmated females capable of carrying on the legacies of the nations prides, any threat to you isn't likely to go unnoticed. When first one, then another female goes missing, Faythe's family drags her back to the ranch, throwing her under constant surveillance. How will Faythe cope with having her freedom ripped from her and then tossed in the garbage disposal? What happened to the missing females? Will Faythe's angry attitude spell her doom? Throw the action and suspense in with a sexy love triangle and we get one heck of a story!

I do have to warn you, there are parts in this book that may be ever so slightly disturbing to readers. This is an adultish book with some adult themes. I wouldn't label it Erotic by any means, but there is some violence that might not be entirely appropriate for young readers.

The thing I loved about STRAY was Vincent's ability to describe things in such detail that you could practically taste the suspense, feel the action. It was more like watching a movie than reading a book; the whole story laid out in front of the reader like a fantastic collage of vivid images. The dark parts are midnight black while the light parts are fantastically sunny and bright. Really, you can't ask for better detail and description than Vincent puts forth here.

My other favorite part, and really, this is what makes a book for me, was the character development. I love a good strong heroine and that's exactly what Vincent delivers. Faythe is strong, beautiful, quirky and yet still has some of her own flaws. I have a hard time reading about a hero or heroine that has perfect looks and is perfect at everything because really, that's hard to live up to and it's difficult to connect with the character. Not Faythe though. Her attitude and love of skimpy clothing just make her seem that much more like a real person. It was very easy to connect and all that much easier to go through the book, crying with her when she was down and cheering her on while she kicked butt.

I finished STRAY and immediately dug through my pile of books until I found Rogue and flipped it open to read it. The break between the two books is fantastic. STRAY leaves us with a satisfied ending, but one that's still capable of leaving us wondering where the story will go next.

Writing: 10
Interest: 10
Passion: 10
Originality: 10
Characters: 10
Pace: 10
Overall: 60/60 - A

Book Cover: 3/3

I think STRAY earned a big solid A with extra kudos in the interest section. I know werecat stories have been done before, but this one was phenomenal. I'm already itching to drive home and plop on the couch with my copy of Rogue.

You know, I was thinking, perhaps I need to adjust my grading scale so that everything doesn't get a perfect score. If you've got a suggestion, feel free to leave it in the comments!