“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Throne of Glass blog tour

by
Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

My Thoughts:
Really enjoyed this story! Enough so that I got sucked in and some of the plot holes that bothered other readers didn't really bother me.

Celaena is awfully young to be the biggest, baddest assassin in the land. And she manages to survive a year of hard labor to boot, when the average life expectancy is one month? Seemed a little far-fetched, but several of the characters in this one were pretty young for their position, including the Captain of the Royal Guard. But aside from a huh, that seems awfully young thought or two, it didn't really interfere with my enjoyment of the story.

I sort of understood the purpose of the competition, as the King decided he needed a Champion. But not the usual noble Champion, but one who would work in the shadows and do whatever needed to be done. And who better to be a Shadow Champion than a cut-throat criminal? Was interesting to learn about the various competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. And the contests themselves were pretty cool.

Found myself liking Celaena, who wasn't as tough as she appeared. Turns out she was a survivor and became an assassin because she didn't really have a choice. If you have to be an assassin, might as well be the best, right?

The competition alone would have been interesting, but then the contestants start being murdered. A mystery! So Celaena has to not only stay in the running, but try to find out who is murdering the contestants and avoid becoming the next victim!

Really enjoyed this story! Liked the characters, and the plot was interesting enough to keep me reading. Sarah is a talented writer and I was a little surprised to find out that this was her first book, as it's much more polished than other debut novels I've read. Sarah is definitely a talent to watch, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!



About Sarah:
Sarah J. Maas is a New York native who currently lives in the California desert. This is her first novel, though she has a large on-line fanbase who eagerly support her writing. You can learn more about Sarah at sjmaas.livejournal.com.


eARC provided by netGalley

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else - two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

My Thoughts:
This is one of those stories that once I started reading, I couldn't put down. I kept reading just one more chapter until suddenly I had finished the entire book! It was just that good!

The idea that everyone is born with two souls in their body, co-existing peacefully until one eventually fades away, is both horrifying and intriguing. But what happens when the second soul doesn't fade away? Eva and Addie don't want to risk finding out, so they pretend to be normal and that Eva is gone.

Not much of a life for Eva, trapped inside their body, helpless and unheard by anyone but Addie. But then one day they find out that they're not alone. That they aren't the only hybrids around. And that there's a way for Eva to come out; a way for her to take control of their body again and walk and talk once more! Incredibly dangerous, but a risk Eva is willing to take and that Addie can't deny her.

Eva and Addie are both fascinating characters! While Addie may be the dominant soul, Eva is no doormat. Really enjoyed getting to know both of the girls! Their schoolmate Hally and her brother Devon were great characters too!

Without giving too much away, the girls face a terrifying situation and they both discover that they're stronger than expected. Loved watching Eva come into her own! And the things they discover! Wow! Just....wow!

Am a little surprised that this is Zhang's first novel, as she's an incredibly talented writer and I thought the story was very well done!  Very polished and smooth! I had no trouble keeping track of who was who, as both Eva and Addie had their own unique voice.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one, as I was very impressed and can't wait to see what happens next!

eARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Friday, August 17, 2012

Don’t Call Me Angel By Alicia Wright Brewster

Don’t Call Me Angel By Alicia Wright Brewster

After crawling her way out of Hell, Six is ready to cast aside her angel wings and all the responsibilities that come with them. But Earth is not as peaceful as she imagined it. Demons, dark angels, and other hell-beasties escaped before her, and they're not as content as she is to live a quiet life on Earth.

A fellow angel who escaped Hell with her commits a series of soul-murders, destroying human souls so they can't go to the afterlife. Although Six has conflicting feelings about humans, she goes after the other angel to keep their escape a secret from the one she fears most.

My Thoughts:
This is a novella, so is a fast read.

Six is a fallen angel who was cast out of Heaven over 200 years ago, but she's not exactly sure why. Plotting and planning for decades, she finally succeeds in her escape attempt and makes it to Earth with Alden, the closest thing she has to a friend.

I wasn't really sure what to make of Six at first, but she eventually grew on me. Not sure how she managed to maintain any compassion after spending a few centuries in hell, but she did. Unlike her fellow angel, Six did not want to hurt humans. She even takes it a step further and tries to protect them.

Was sorry when the story ended, as I want to find out what happens next! Will Six survive life on Earth? Will be interesting to see if a fallen angel try to get a job! And what kind of job? I didn't really care for the illustrations as I'm not a big visual person, but enjoyed the story. Interesting premise with decent characters and with the potential to make a good series. Worth the read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alicia Wright Brewster is a mild-mannered lady of average height and above average paranormal obsession. By day, she works in an offi ce. At night, she’s an author, an electronics junkie, and a secret superhero. In her virtually non-existent free time, she loves to read, watch movies, and eat food. She is particularly fond of the food-eating and makes a point to perform this task at least three times per day, usually more. You can visit her at www.aliciawb.com


eBook received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.


My Thoughts:
Really enjoyed this story, and loved all of the Star Trek references! Scalzi doesn't really make fun of the old show, but it seemed like more of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge type of homage. I don't know if it will make as much sense or be as amusing if you've never seen the original Star Trek, but I found myself nodding along and laughing out loud at times!

Ensign Dahl is excited to be assigned to the flagship of the fleet, the Intrepid. It's a prestigious assignment, but then he begins to notice odd behavior from the rest of the crew. Their habit of disappearing whenever certain officers appear, and their strange reluctance to go on away missions. Comparing notes with other new crew members, they begin to realize that something is not quite right.

Very glad that Scalzi wrote this story, though I'm puzzled why no one else beat him to the punch as you have to admit, it was a story begging to be told! Why did no one on the original Enterprise ever notice that away missions were so dangerous when the senior officers participated? And why would officers be allowed to go on dangerous missions anyway? Leaders never fight on the front lines, so why would the Captain and his senior officers? Seems a little irresponsible to me.

This was a very fun read that I finished it in one sitting! Loved the ending, as it made me laugh. And I really enjoyed the codas at the end. Not really necessary, but a nice addition. Gave this one a 5/5 as I really loved it, love Scalzi's sense of humor, and am looking forward to reading all of his other books!



ARC received at BEA 2012


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blog Tour: The Bet by Darlene Panzera

by Darlene Panzera

The Bet is truly a sweet, fun-loving romance that Debbie Macomber’s readers will adore. When a stubborn female horse owner rejects his buy-out proposals, a desperate CEO plans to romance the land away from her by disguising himself as a local rancher and betting $10,000 that she will marry him within 60 days!

America’s most beloved author Debbie Macomber opened her heart and turned a page in publishing history last winter when she empowered Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, to host the “Make Your Dreams Come True” writing contest, which would give one very special, prize-winning aspiring author the chance to break into publishing by having her cozy romance published alongside the classic Macomber novella, Family Affair, with a special re-issue.

Macomber selected Darlene’s novella, The Bet, from three finalists submitted to the author for review.


My Thoughts:
The Bet is a short, sweet story. Jenny is trying to raise money to save her family's ranch, and Nick bets that she'll marry him within five weeks. It's kind of a silly bet made in the heat of the moment, but Jenny needs the money, so agrees.

What I couldn't understand was why Jenny would trust Nick at all. He finagles a way onto her ranch so he can court her, and she lets him! Yes, he is tall, dark, and handsome...but hello? He bet $10,000 that she would marry him, so what is she thinking?

I could sympathize with Jenny as she just wants to save her family home, but couldn't really understand how she could even give him the time of day. I couldn't get past that for some reason. I mean, if I guy bet me $10,000 that I'd marry him, that would be an easy win!

The story isn't up to Debbie's usual standard, but Darlene does have potential and I'll probably read her next story. Gave it a 3/5 as it's a nice bonus to Debbie's book!


About Darlene Panzera

A graduate of the Writer’s Digest Advanced Novel Writing School and The Christian Writer’s Guild apprentice program, Darlene is an active member of Romance Writers of America’s Greater Seattle and Peninsula Chapters. She’s attended numerous conferences and classes, served five years on the board of RWA’s Peninsula Chapter and in 2011 served as chapter president.

Darlene is the winner of the “Make Your Dreams Come True” contest sponsored by Avon Books which led her novella, The Bet, to be published with Debbie Macomber’s Family Affair released June 2012. She received a second contract with Avon Books, a division of HarperCollins, for the full length manuscript of The Bet, and is currently working on her next novel.

She’s also published several short stories and A Look of Love was a top finalist for Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Contest.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. When not writing, she enjoys camping, hiking, photography, horseback riding, crafts, music, and lazy days at the lake.

Find Darlene at her website, www.darlenepanzera.com.


Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm over at Ryan's blog today!


I'm over at Wordsmithonia today, with my very first Favorite Fictional Character post! Please stop by and say hello!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: Between the Lines

by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter present their first-ever novel for teens, filled with romance, adventure, and humor.

My Thoughts:

Jodi Picoult is an amazing author, so I was intrigued when I heard that she had written a YA story with her teenage daughter. Figured that it would either be really good story, or a sad example of a famous parent trying to help their child excel in a business they were not suited for.

Was pleased that this book was an example of a talented mother-daughter collaboration! I felt that this was a true collaboration, as it didn't read like one of Jodi's usual stories. At times it felt a little...young and naive? Wasn't as polished as Jodi's usual stuff, but that just made the story sweeter.

Loved the whole idea of a fictional character communicating with the reader! It's not entirely original, but I still enjoyed the execution. Really liked the thought of fictional characters having their own lives whenever the book was closed, and the plot being like a play they perform over and over again.

I was really rooting for Delilah and Prince Oliver to get together, and mourned with them whenever their various plans didn't work. Enjoyed Delilah's refusal to admit defeat, and there's a surprise twist that I didn't expect but thoroughly enjoyed! A great summer read!



eBook from my personal nook library

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review Copy Cleanup - and we're off!

Today is the first day of the Review Copy Cleanup, hosted by the lovely ladies at Nyx Book Reviews and Books, Bisquits, and Tea. It runs for the entire month of August and my goal is to reduce my review copy pile as much as possible. Fingers crossed!

While I am somewhat of an impulse reader, here are the books I'm hoping to tackle this month:

Quest, Inc by Justin Cohen
Sykosa by Justin Ordonez
Redshirts by John Scalzi
We Bury the Landscape by Kristine Ong Muslim
Family Affair/The Bet by Debbie Macomber
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

The list may (and probably will) change. I don't like being told what to read and prefer to chose books depending on my mood. I like spontaneity. And yes, I don't even like my past self telling my current self what to read. I know, I know....I have issues.

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