Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: Unearthly

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Source: ARC provided through Amazon Vine

Rating: 4/5

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place - and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make - between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Had a little bit of deja vu with this story;  teenage angel falls in love with a human boy and doesn't take into consideration how her actions might affect her destiny. Sound familiar? This seems to be an emerging theme lately, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the book. Sometimes it's all about the journey, so even if the path is the same, getting there is still worth it!

Clara is a Quartarius, which means that she's a quarter-angel. Her mother is a Dimidius, or half-angel. In Hand's universe, angels have wings, can fly, and are stronger than ordinary humans. There are other perks and powers to having angel blood, but I don't want to spoil any of the surprises! No mention is made of whether or not Clara's children will have any angelic abilities, as the angel blood power seems to become diluted, with Dimidius being stronger than Quartarius.

A large part of the plot deals with Clara's Purpose, which every angel blood has and is why they were put on Earth. An angel blood's purpose sounds like a pretty big deal and she does get visions, but only in bits and pieces. She is understandably frustrated by this, but I was still a little disappointed that she was willing to gamble with her destiny like she does. And I wish her mom had shared her purpose with us, as Clara and I were both curious.

Not only did I like Clara, but I also liked her new friends! Especially Wendy, who seemed like a really nice girl. Would have liked to have seen more of Clara's brother, as it would be different to see things from a male angel's point of view. Maybe we'll hear his story in a future book?

Gave this one a 4/5 as I enjoyed the story despite the sense of deja vu! Liked the characters, thought it was well-paced, it had an interesting plot, and I'm curious about these characters and what might happen to them next. Think that Cynthia is a very talented writer, and am definitely a new fan!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: The Youngest Templar: Orphan of Destiny

The Youngest Templar: Orphan of Destiny by Michael P. Spradlin
The Youngest Templar: Orphan of Destiny by Michael P. Spradlin

Source:  ARC provided by Media Masters Publicity

Rating:  3/5

Tristan and his companions - the fiery archer Robard Hode and the assassin maid Maryam - have escaped to England. But tragedy has occurred to Tristan's beloved abbey while they were on the Third Crusade, and Robard's home in Sherwood Forest suffers under the rule of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Many obstacles still prevent them from delivering the Holy Grail into safe hands. Tristan must defeat the evil Sir Hugh in one final battle. And he must learn the secret of his birth, a secret Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine are willing to kill to protect! (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Even though this is the third book in the series, I had no trouble keeping track of everything and never felt lost. While I enjoy watching series characters grow and joining them on their adventures, I'm impressed when an author is able to have a series book stand on it's own. I've lost track of how many times I've picked up a book and had no idea what was going on because I didn't know that it was part of a series.

The main character is Tristan, a squire who's on a quest for his lord knight. He's assisted on his journey by talented archer Robard Hode and a female assassin named Maryam. Robard grew up in Sherwood Forest, is attracted to Maryam, and discovers a nemesis in the evil Shire Reeve of Nottingham. They also meet several other characters inspired by the Robin Hood legend, such as Friar Tuck, Little John, and Will Scarlett. I may be easily amused, but I really enjoyed the Robin Hood tie-in!

This was a fun story for me, but I wasn't sure if the target audience was young adult or middle grade. There were parts that might not be appropriate for MG, as there is some violence and people get hurt as well as actually die. But other sections seemed aimed at a younger audience. Could just be me, but I was a little confused on whether or not this would be suitable for my niece. Ultimately decided no because she's too young, but depending on the child, they might be able to handle it.

Gave this a 3/5 as it was an okay story for me and I enjoyed it, but it didn't wow me. Was a little young for my tastes, but I've seen other reviewers that have loved it. If you've read this one, I'd be curious to hear what you thought of it and what age group you think it's aimed at?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (66)

In My Mailbox (66)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Ascension by Sable Grace
Received an eBook of Ascension by Sable Grace for review from netGalley. Looks like my kind of book!

The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed -- vampyre, demons, shape shifters -- and mankind fight their last battle for survival. Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen... and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission -- to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity -- Kyana has no choice but to accept.

My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent
Received a copy of My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent from the Amazon Vine reader review program.

Trying to work things out with Nash - her maybe boyfriend - is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.  See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a mara, the living personification of a nightmare.

Kim Harrison's Pale Demon
Received a review copy of Kim Harrison's Pale Demon in a surprise package from the publisher! I love the Rachel Morgan series and was practically shaking with happiness when I saw the book! Yes, my DH was laughing at me while I was stroking my newest precious in joy, but pfffft to him! He's not a reader, so doesn't understand. *L*

Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after.

The Bone Yard by Jefferson Bass
The Bone Yard by Jefferson Bass was another surprise from the publisher. I am in book heaven!

In this latest thriller from New York Times bestselling author Jefferson Bass, Dr. Bill Brockton discovers the dark side of the Sunshine state when he's called in to investigate human remains found on the grounds of a boys' reform school in Florida...The Bone Yard

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
The third surprise in my bag of publisher joy was Dark Prince by Christine Feehan! I've heard nothing but good things about Christine's Carpathians series, but never got around to reading it. This is a special edition of the first book, with additional material. Very excited to finally start this one!

Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await, and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible passion.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone received this week!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: As Lie the Dead

As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding
As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding

Source:  my nook

Rating:  5/5

Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . .

. . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help - even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.

Amid weres, Halfies, gremlins, vamps - and increasingly outgunned humans - a war for supremacy is brewing. With shifters demanding justice, her superiors desperate to control her, and an assassin on her trail, Evy discovers a horrifying conspiracy. And she may be the only person in the world who can stop it - unless, of course, her own side gets her first. (Goodreads synopsis)

My Thoughts:

This book was seriously awesome! Awe-some! Read it in one day, despite having a giant to-do list and a stack of TBR books glaring at me for ignoring them. Couldn't help it, because once I read the synopsis, I simply had to download it to my nook and read immediately. Did I mention that it was awesome?

The story picks up shortly after Three Days to Dead, but I think you'd be able to follow it without reading the first book. However, both books are great reads, so I recommend reading them in order so you can get the full experience.

Really like Evy, who is still trying to adjust to being in another person's body. While she was a highly trained hunter in her original body, her new body doesn't respond the same way and that's a distinct disadvantage during a fight. There's also the freaky factor of feeling another person's reactions and emotions every now and again.

Evy is going through quite an adjustment, has an overflowing plate, but is still able to get the job done without coming off like an annoying superhero. Despite her awesomeness, Evy is still relatable and sympathetic. Although she would probably kick your butt if she thought you were pitying her!

Gave this one a 5/5 as I couldn't put it down once I started! Loved the characters, great writing, fast paced plot, and thought it was a great continuation to the series! Looking forward to the next book, as I can't wait to see what happens next with Evy, Wyatt, and the triads/dregs relationship!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cat Thursday (40)

Cat Thursday (40)
Welcome to Cat Thursday, hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict! Cat Thursday is a way to share what our kitties are up to and funny pictures. Here's my latest find:

Cat Thursday (40)
Uh-oh.....this can't be good!
Assuming they're not talking about a snow shovel...

Can you imagine waking up to this? Every now and again, I'll wake up to my cat sitting on my chest, staring at me, demanding breakfast. Not a good start to the day! *L*

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The Iron Queen

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Source:  ARC provided by the publisher

Rating: 4/5

My name is Meghan Chase. I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it. This time, there will be no turning back. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in one of my favorite series! By now, we've gotten to know Meghan, Ash, Puck, and the three fey courts (Summer, Winter, and Iron). We learn more about the Iron Fey and come to realize that no matter what the Summer and Winter courts do, the Iron Fey are here to stay.

The story picks up shortly after the previous book, which I really appreciated. Don't really like missing any of the action, so I love it when the next book in the series picks up right where we left off! I recommend reading the first two books in the series for the full background, as I don't know if you would fully appreciate what's happening without reading the books in order. Especially the relationship dynamics.

Meghan is really growing as a character, and throughout the series she has struck me as more mature than the typical teenager. I know that the fey are all older than they appear, so had no problems with how Ash and Puck acted.

All Meghan wants is to go back to her family and her normal life, but sorry girl, that's not gonna happen! Whether she likes it or not, her fate is now tied to the fey. Really enjoyed Meghan's adventures and learning more about the fey courts, and Julie (the author) did a great job with the ending! Thought that this was going to be the last book of a trilogy, but just found out that book four is due out in November. So glad that we don't have to say goodbye to these characters yet, as I love them all (especially Puck!). :)

Gave this a 4/5 rating as I really enjoyed it. The series is holding up well as the characters aren't static, the plot progresses at a good pace, and the progression of events makes sense. All in all, a great read for the fantasy lover!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (65)

In My Mailbox (65)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. This is a great way to discover new authors and titles you might not have found otherwise! I know that my wishlist grows almost every time I read another IMM post! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

Contest Wins:

Dead Beautiful
Won a copy of Dead Beautiful from Breia over at Literaturely Speaking. I've heard good things about this book, so was thrilled when I won Breia's End of Year Party contest and she let me choose the prize!

On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.


As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding
Downloaded a copy of As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding to my nook. Couldn't resist, as I loved Three Days to Dead so much! This one picks the story up where book #1 left off, and it's just as awesome! Yes, I've already finished reading it. Awe-some!

Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help - even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else received this week!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I haz a ponder....about contest themes

I haz a ponder....about contest themes

It's been awhile since my last giveaway and I think it's about time to spread the love around, as I have stacks of books on every available surface and not only is my DH starting to give me the evil eye, but I'm worried one of the stacks might tumble over and bury me or my cat! DH can take care of himself, as he keeps glaring at my precious books! :p

I was thinking about doing something a little different, but not sure what. Should I try a comment contest, like the ones Sheila over at Book Journey has every now and again? I could even follow her lead and have two winners, one for the most comments and one for a random comment.

Or maybe come up with an intriguing question to ask and let the best answer win? But then there's the problem of coming up with a good question. Then deciding on the best answer. Hmmmm....that might need more pondering.

I haz a ponder....about contest themes

I've seen contests where you vote on which book you would like to receive and the book with the most votes is awarded to the winner. Sort of like a popularity contest. But should the prize winner be chosen from someone who voted for it, or chosen from the entire voting pool? *ponders*

Or I could just have a regular contest and let the random number generator choose the winner for me. No muss, no fuss.

But I'd like something a little different this time. Maybe you guys could help me out a little? What kind of contest sounds good? I'll put up a poll for a week and go with whatever the majority chooses. After all, you'll be the ones entering the giveaway, so why not let you decide? That's what I'll do! It's in your hands readers! I've set up a poll over on the right sidebar, so please cast your vote so I can quit all this pondering!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Worth Your Weight in a 'Gator Battle Award

Melissa at My words and pictures sent me this cool award! Isn't it awesome? Especially for book lovers like us!

Worth Your Weight in a 'Gator Battle Award

This is what this award means:

Congratulations, you've won the honor of being Worth Your Weight in a ‘Gator Battle!

The award was created in honor of (at least according to them) the real stars from “Alien Tango”. No, not Katherine “Kitty” Katt or Jeff Martini. Alliflash and Gigantagator, Alligators Extraordinaire!

The “Worth Your Weight in a ‘Gator Battle Award” is only given to the wily, the brave, and the cheeky, so get down with your bad self, you’re deemed worthy to run with the A-C’s!

Now you get to spread the awesome by nominating other bloggers who would also be worth their weight in a ‘gator battle. Battling ‘gators is not for sissies or wimps -- only the strong survive -- so choose wisely!

Your mission details:
  1. Slap the graphic on your blog post.
  2. Give link props to the person who gave you the award (don’t rile a ‘gator fighter -- it’s dangerous).
  3. Spread the awesome and nominate five (5) other bloggers who you think will be worth their weight in a ‘gator battle.
  4. Let the recipients know they’ve won this honor on their blogs.
  5. Last but not least, shoot Gini Koch an email at and let her know you’re worthy of running with the A-C’s (put “Worth My Weight” in the subject line!) by sharing that you’ve been nominated and telling her which other bloggers you nominated, and she’ll enter you into the “Worth Your Weight” Contest. Keep reading to find out more details and what the loot is below.

Of course, you can choose to ignore your awesomeness, but then you’ll never have a chance to nab your own A-C or win the loot. And you know you want both.

Contest runs from Wednesday, February 1, 2011 through Monday, February 28, 2011.

More details can be found HERE, on Gina Koch's blog.

My Nominees:

Ryan at Wordsmithonia
GMR at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Sheila at Book Journey
Shannon at Books Devoured
Regan at Miss Remmers Reviews

Pretty cool, right? But wait...aren't gators the ones with big, sharp, pointy teeth? Yikes! What did I get myself into? ;)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cat Thursday (39)

Cat Thursday (38)
Welcome to Cat Thursday, hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict! Cat Thursday is a way to share pictures and news of all things cat related. Here's my latest find:

Cat Thursday (39)

And I don't wants it anymore.....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Wither

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Source:  ARC received from the publisher

Rating:  4/5

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb - males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape - to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This book was amazing! I really liked Rhine. Her determination to escape her forced marriage and somehow make it back to her brother so they could live out the remainder of their lives together was admirable. Linden surprised me a little, as he seemed terribly naive and somewhat gullible for a rich boy. I enjoyed how Rhine managed their relationship on her terms, but wasn't too manipulative. Rhine's sister-wives were also interesting, although not as likable. Really liked Rhine's interaction with the servants, and would have liked to have seen more of them.

Fascinating premise, in that genetic manipulation had resulted in short lifespans for subsequent generations, while the originally altered generation is practically immortal. How horrible to know the exact age you will die, and so young! It's a little disturbing to read of young girls getting married and having babies when they're practically babies themselves, but when you're destined to die at 20, I can sort of understand. Still creepy though.

Gave this one a 4/5 as it had interesting characters, a good plot, and was well paced. Looking forward to seeing what book two has in store, as I have high hopes for Rhine!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!
The course of true love is never easy..

Happy Valentine's Day!
The perfect gift!

Happy Valentine's Day!
Ohhhh, I want!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Comment Ramblings...

Comment Ramblings...

There have been several interesting discussion posts about commenting recently. Ranging from why readers do or don't comment, to how should bloggers answer comments, to should bloggers reciprocate by leaving comments on their commenter's blogs. Opinions seem to be mixed.

So, do I comment on other's blogs? Not as often as I should. *hangs head in shame* Most of the time, I read blog posts through Google Reader. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to leave a comment without going directly to the blog. If there is a shortcut, could someone please let me know? I do my best to visit the blogs I follow and leave comments, but it's not always possible. If I don't comment, it's usually because I feel that I don't have anything to add. I really need to be a better follower and should try to at least let the poster know that I enjoyed reading their post. Even a simple "I enjoyed your post" is better than nothing, right? Or should I only comment if I have something relevant to add to the discussion? Comment etiquette is so confusing! *headdesk*

And what about commenting on the comments? Some bloggers acknowledge every single comment and that's awesome! That's one thing that Wordpress has over Blogger; the ability to leave replies to each comment. Wish Blogger would do something similar. I've tried to do acknowledgements on my posts, but fail miserably. Usually because I'm not able to check my blog every day, and three days later seems a little late. Sometimes it's just a matter of time. I can answer my comments (which I'm not sure anyone would even see), or catch up on reading new posts. Between the two, I'd rather catch up on what's happening in the blogosphere.

As for reciprocating comments? I try. I know that it's a little discouraging to hop around the blogosphere, discovering new blogs and leaving tons of comments, then come home to zero comments on your posts. Especially if you're participating in a blog hop or meme. Do I leave comments just so someone will reciprocate? Nope. I leave comments because I have something to say, I want to participate in the discussion, or to let the blogger know that I read/enjoyed their post (sort of like "Killroy was here" *L*). I try to visit all bloggers who leave me a comment and return the favor, but isn't that common courtesy? Am I 100% successful at this? No. But I try....

There was a great instructional post recently over at Miss Remmers Reviews on how to add a HTML link to your comments. This made sense, as it would make things much easier when trying to reciprocate comments. I'm going to try this when I participate in memes and hops, with either a link to a specific post or a general link to my blog. That way, if someone wants to visit me, all they have to do is click on the link. Sincerely hope that no one is offended by this and doesn't think I'm trying to spam them. I'm just trying to make things easier, as I know that I appreciate it when people leave links.

Wish I could remember where I found all of the posts that got me thinking about this, but I didn't think to bookmark them. Here's a couple of posts from Books Devoured about the subject. She's an awesome blogger, so be sure to stop by and check her out!

 Sunday Stew (follow up to above post)

Whoa! This post is a lot longer than I thought it would be! Sorry for rambling on so long, but I'm still trying to figure this whole comment thing out...

As for the cat up at the top of this post...he just makes me smile. :)

In My Mailbox (64)

In My Mailbox (64)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a great way to discover new authors that you may not have found otherwise! I love the IMM posts, and hope that Kristi knows how much we all appreciate her hard work! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Eat Prey Love by Kerrelyn Sparks
Received an ARC of Eat Prey Love by Kerrelyn Sparks through the Amazon Vine review program. This is my first book from Amazon Vine, so was very excited! The title caught my eye, and the synopsis sounded like it was right up my alley! Love shape shifters!

Carlos Panterra is looking for a mate, a woman who will love and care for the young orphans he's recently taken under his wing (or paw, as the case may be). When the shape shifter spies the beautiful Caitlyn, it's like sunshine amidst the darkness. At last, he's found the perfect woman, except . . .

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is the second Amazon Vine ARC I received. Happy dance time! I've seen this book around the blogosphere and am really looking forward to reading it. Love that cover!

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . . Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

From the Library:

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
I saw Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy reviewed by Alaine, over at Queen of Happy Endings. The title caught my attention first, and as I'm a terrible procrastinator, I decided to give it a shot.

With the pace of life increasing at a record rate, performing at peak levels while avoiding overload is more crucial than ever. In Eat That Frog! Brian Tracy offers his most successful strategies for focusing on important tasks. The philosophy of eating a frog doing a distasteful job or activity is the basis of the book.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else received this week!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: XVI by Julia Karr

XVI by Julia Karr
XVI by Julia Karr

Source: Personal library

Rating: 5/5

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world - even the most predatory of men - that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past - one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
This story was amazing! It grabbed me on the very first page and wouldn't let go. I LOVE it when that happens!!!

The main character, Nina, is fifteen and not looking forward to her sixteenth birthday. All girls are required to get a tattoo when they turn sixteen, letting the world know that they are no longer jail bait. Really? A tattoo basically marking you as ready & willing to have sex? At sixteen??? *shudder*

Nina lives with her mother and half-sister, and has a hard time understanding why her mother stays with her married boyfriend, who sounds like a total sleaze. Aside from the fact that he's a married man, the creep also beats her. Not a nice guy. Her best friend Sandy lives next door and, unlike Nina, is actually looking forward to becoming a "sex-teen". I liked Sandy, as I felt that she was a little naive and had bought into the media hype of how wonderful turning sixteen would be. She was a nice girl at heart, but practically brainwashed by the media. Luckily, Nina was raised by a mother who taught her to think for herself, despite the danger.

Nina's mother is brutally attacked one night and doesn't survive. Poor Nina must now deal with trying to protect her little sister from evil-scumbag-dad, while struggling with her fears of turning sixteen, and dealing with the earth-shattering revelation from her mother. Nina has to grow up fast, but she has loving grandparents and good friends to help her along the way. I really liked her friends, both old and new. In fact, the only character I didn't like was the evil-scumbag-dad.

Have I mentioned how amazing this story was? Great characters, incredible writing, well paced, and kept me up much too late as I just couldn't put the book down! The story simply grabbed hold of me and I couldn't wait to see what happened next! The very thought of the mandatory XVI tattoo on a girl's sixteenth birthday was chilling, and I loved the description of how pervasive media had become, where you couldn't even walk down the street without being bombarded by ads. Her descriptions of everyday life with what sounded like Big Brother gone mad was both intriguing and terrifying. The scenes really came alive for me, and what was scary was that they didn't sound too far-fetched, as media influence is already out of control.

I think that this book is definitely a must read for anyone who appreciates a good story, no matter your preferred genre!

You can read the first chapter and find out more about the book at the author's website:  Read the first chapter and enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cat Thursday (38)

Cat Thursday (38)
Welcome to Cat Thursday, hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict! Cat Thursday is a way to share what our kitties are up to or funny pictures. Here's my latest find:

Cat Thursday (38)

Poor kitty!
Cold, wet, and a fashion victim!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

Source:  ARC provided by Media Masters Publicity

Rating:  4/5

Dan North knows from early childhood that his family is different - and that the differences are secrets that can never be told. This contemporary Urban Fantasy introduces the North family, a clan of mages in exile in our world, and their enemies who will do anything to keep them locked here. (Goodreads synopsis)

My Thoughts:

Orson Scott Card is a legend for a reason, as he's a master at his craft! The man is a freaking genius when it comes to creating new worlds and stories! I got sucked into this book from the very beginning, and it kept my interest until the very end. There are actually two stories in this book, one about Danny North and one about Wad, a mysterious boy/man on Westil.

Danny is a Drekka, one without magic, so he is looked down upon by the rest of his clan. The North clan were once worshipped as gods by humans, as they were very powerful mages. Their power has waned over the centuries, ever since Loki closed all of the gates leading back to their homeland of Westil. Little does Danny know, but he is a gatemage, with the potential to reopen the lost gates and return his clan to power! Of course, why he would want to help those that made him so miserable as a child is anyones guess. Danny runs away when he is discovered spying on a family meeting, as gatemages are supposed to be put to death immediately. He is surprisingly resourceful for a formerly sheltered child.

Wad is another story altogether. Really liked his "introduction" to Westil, as it was unique. He has no memory of his past, and is taken in by the night cook at King Prayard's castle and quickly settles in. Very little castle intrigue escapes his notice, as he quietly observes everything around him. We don't really know who or what Wad is, but I had a good idea about halfway through his story.

Gave this one a 4/5 as both Danny and Wad's stories are very good, and they mesh nicely. Card is an incredibly talented writer, with an incredible imagination! This book has it all; interesting characters, good plot, nice pacing. If you're a fan of fantasy, mythology, or just good storytelling, then this book is for you!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

This is a cute weekly meme started by Marcie at To Read or Not To Read as a way to get to know one another. Sometimes it's book related and sometimes it's not, but it's all in good fun. I saw this meme last week and decided to join the fun!

This week's question:
What do you like to do when you're sick?
Watch tv, read, sleep or other?

Well, it depends on how sick. If I'm not feeling too bad, then I'll curl up on the couch and read. Too sick to read? Then I'll veg out in front of the TV. Marcie has the right idea, as a Buffy marathon would be the perfect medicine! Really sick finds me curled up in bed, moaning that I'm going to die...oh wait, that's my husband! *L*

Stylish Blogger Award

Stylish Blogger Award

What a nice surprise! I was recently given the Stylish Blogger Award by WulfLuva from Shell's Stories and Dana from Zombie Girl Shambling. Thank you both!

The rules are pretty simple: 
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Here are my 7 things:

1. Despite having to get up at the crack of dawn every day, I am not a morning person. Would much rather stay up all night and sleep all day.
2. I am really starting to hate winter.
3. I was not a big reader as a child. Didn't really start reading until around junior high or so.
4. Love animals, and we've had cats and/or dogs for most of our married life.
5. I really, really hate snow....
6. So excited to be going to BEA again this year! Yea BEA!!!
7. I'm a terrible procrastinator, which is why it took me so long to post this!

I'm supposed to pass this award along to 15 other recently discovered bloggers. Well, I don't have 15 new discoveries, so how about 6 sorta, kinda new discoveries?

Paper Cut Reviews
A Blog About Nothing
Books Devoured
Creativity's Corner
The Book Mogul
All the Days Of

Be sure to check these bloggers out, as they're all awesome!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Debut Authors Challenge 2011

Debut Authors Challenge 2011
Yes, I am weak, and signed up for yet another challenge.

This challenge is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

2011 Debut Author Challenge participant information:
•The objective of the DAC is to read at least twelve novels from Young Adult or Middle Grade Authors. While twelve is the minimum there is no maximum limit! Readers who can read more than twelve are encouraged to do so!
•Anyone can join. You don't have to be a blogger, and you don't have to live in the United States.
•You do not have to have an blog written in English to participate.
•You can join at any time. Deadline to join is November 20, 2011. The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.

Qualifying books:
•Books must be a Young Adult or Middle Grade novel.
•DO NOTE: Just because a book has a teen character or is about a teen, does not mean that it is necessarily a Young Adult novel.
•This must be the authors debut with a release date in 2011.
•If an author has a previous novel published under adult fiction/nonfiction or children's fiction/nonfiction, they can still qualify for the challenge if they are releasing their YA or MG debut

Kristi has composed a helpful spreadsheet with a list of qualifying authors. Several of these books are already on my wishlist and I've already read three on the list, all of which helped me decide to sign up for this challenge. Hey, I also add things to my to-do list just so I can cross them off, so don't judge! ;)

1. Angelfire
2. Here Lies Bridget
3. Wither
4. XVI
5. Unearthly
6. A Long, Long Sleep
7. Darkness Becomes Her
8. Awaken
9. Clarity
10. False Princess
11. Goddess Test
12. Ruby Red
13. Jane Jones. Worst. Vampire. Ever.