Thursday, November 08, 2012

Spillin' the Beans...

So, since I have been so sporadic in my posting, I thought you should all know why....

I am expecting my THIRD child! I am due in April and we are very excited. But with this happy news comes a bit of heartbreaking (for me anyways...) news.

This pregnancy I have been experiencing blinding headaches--literally. I see spots, get dizzy, and my vision blacks out momentarily on occasion. Luckily, I work for a wonderful chiropractor (my dad <3 a="a" absolutely="absolutely" adjustments="adjustments" almost="almost" am="am" and="and" as="as" be="be" been="been" care="care" come="come" d="d" daily="daily" decision.="decision." good="good" has="has" have="have" having="having" headaches.="headaches." help="help" i="i" is="is" it="it" me.="me." miserable.="miserable." my="my" nbsp="nbsp" of="of" p="p" regularly="regularly" sad="sad" still="still" taking="taking" that="that" they="they" think="think" to="to" very="very" while="while" without="without">
Since I started having these headaches, it has become increasingly difficult to read books. Often times staring at pages or my Kindle screen brings them on or makes them worse. Because of this, I have decided to discontinue blogging for the time being. While this totally sucks for me, I have to be realistic. How can I review books on here if I can't READ books? I know I have to get real about this, but it's been very emotional for me to come to terms with losing my very favorite hobby and pastime (even if it is only temporarily). Even as I write this I'm getting teary.Yes, it could be because I am pregnant and hormonal, but I suspect that it's simply because I will miss all of this more than I can coherently put into sentences.

For all of my awesome readers that I love and appreciate SO much, please don't completely write me off. If I read a book that I absolutely have to talk about (whether it was amazingly GOOD or amazingly BAD), I will try to review it on here. And I'm hoping that by next May, I'll be back for good. Until then....

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites--like fire and ice--Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move--only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can't help falling for, and Devin, who she can't stay away from, the consequences of Skye's choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

I can't believe I actually made it through this entire book. It's not because it's poorly written--it actually could have been a decent story because it was written quite well. The problem I ran into was this: I was talking to my friend about this book the other night and when she asked me what I thought I said, "You know, I don't know. I'm 90% of the way through and nothing has really happened." The last 10% wasn't much better. I felt like the ending, while a bit shocking, was a last-ditch effort to draw readers in enough to get them to read the sequel. Don't expect me to be one of them.

I think the only reason I kept reading was the fact that I kept unintentionally comparing Devin to Stefan from The Vampire Diaries and Asher to Damon (SO HOT!!). Only in this version (if Skye was Elena--which she's CLEARLY not),  Damon DOES get the girl. It's about dang time.

While my Vampire Diaries scenario isn't even close to this book (it falls far short)-- I must have had my TV show stuck on my brain!-- it's not enough to ever get me to recommend this book. It was all sorts of bizarre and never really got to the point of all the strange happenings.

All in all, I wouldn't recommend it, but there's nothing "bad" in it. If you want to give it a go, have fun! :)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

This is the FOURTH and final book in the Seven Realms series. Click each title to read my reviews of The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, and The Gray Wolf Throne.
A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed—Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.

Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana’Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells’ inner turmoil, Raisa’s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.

Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?

A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.
I can't believe it's actually over.
It's heartbreaking, really. 
I feel like I've devoted so much time to this series-- I even preordered this, the final book, back in April and waited (and waited and waited....) until October 23rd for it to be released. Pathetic, I know.
I don't think I can say it enough-- I absolutely love this series. And I know it's super lame but I really am heartbroken that it's over. I thought this was such a wondrefully written conclusion, even though at times it felt a little less....climactic.... than I was expecting. After my review of The Demon King, I've totally eaten my words. Ever since then I've been trying to make up for it.
I was impressed with how much Raisa had grown between the last book and now. She was more gutsy and fierce and brave now as Queen of the Fells than she ever was as princess. She's someone I'd want to hang out with... but never get on her bad side! The same goes for Han. He has always been a little rough around the edges (in an endearing way) but in this book, I really felt like he came into his own and embraced his bloodline. Again, he's someone I'd want to get to know, but not if I was on his hit list.
There were so many secrets that were brought to light in this conclusion that at times I felt like my head was spinning. Throughout the entire story, it was difficult to tell who was actually fighting for good and who was secretly wreaking havoc and leaving destruction in their path. Many times, someone good was causing trouble and someone bad was trying to redeem himself or herself--even if it was only momentarily.
This book was full of betrayal and heartache and adventure and love. Everything I expected from Cinda Williams Chima and more. If you haven't read this series yet, I very highly recommend it. This is honestly my favorite series I've ever read. Don't get stuck in the first book and give up. It is slow at first but by the end of the book, you'll be dying to continue the story in the next 3 books. I promise!
Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Existence by Abbi Glines

What happens when you're stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn't cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn't let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn't realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he's about to break all the rules.

This was a book that I quite liked...if it weren't for the characters' horrifically stupid names. Actually, if we're to a point in our friendship that we're sharing secrets, I even went so far as to change their names in my head because it was so distracting. C'mon. Pagan? Leif? And the winner of the worst name of a hot main man EVER? Dank. Seriously. Dank. You know that that means? Soggy. Musty. Disagreeably damp. Really? Does that make you swoon?? It kind of makes me want to gag. I hope this author doesn't have children, or I pity them for the bullying they'll undoubtedly receive because of "unique" (cough, cough--TERRIBLE!) names picked in poor judgement.

As for the actual story, I liked it. Enough so that I plan on purchasing the sequel (in which the made up names in my head will live on...). It wasn't a very long book--only about 200 pages, which was nice because it was easy to get into the fast-paced story and there wasn't much fluffy filler. I had a hard time choosing which stud muffin I was rooting for out of the two guys Pagan is torn between- up until the very last page when a bomb is dropped and you're left thinking, What in the holy crap just happened?? I have to read the next one, like, right now!!! WHAT IS GOING ON?????????????????

Read it, and you'll experience this too. Some people may not love when books end like that, and sometimes even I am not so cracked up about it. But in this case, it worked. And a plus for all you Kindle-readers-- this book is available on Amazon right now for only $4.99! (And the final two in the series are only $3.99!)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, "For Darkness Shows the Stars" is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

I have always been a diehard Jane Austen fan. Honestly, I remember watching Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and Emma with my mom when I was little. I loved them! Then as I got older and discovered her novels (and was old enough to understand them) I fell in love all over again. But I have to say, out of all of Jane Austen's books, Persuasion is probably my least favorite. However, when I read about this book-- a dystopian take on Austen, I was intrigued.

While the beginning of this book is just as slow as the original, I still quite enjoyed it. I really liked that there were past letters between Elliot and Kai that were woven into the story between chapters.  The letters gave more insight into how Elliot and Kai got to the strained and hateful point in their relationship that they were when they were introduced in the book. I thought it was helpful in understanding the book overall. And since it is a dystopian, be prepared for some strange supernatural elements. Just an FYI.

Granted, I felt like there were some holes in the storyline, but overall I did like this book and I would recommend it. If you are a Jane Austen fan, but sometimes want an updated, fresh take on her stories, this may just be the book for you.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

This is the SECOND book in a series.
Read the super awesome Juliet Immortal before you read this. You can also read my review of Juliet Immortal by clicking HERE.
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Seductive companion to the popular Juliet Immortal, in which former lovers—Romeo and Juliet—meet, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.

Why, oh why do I have such a difficult time trudging through sequels? What is the matter with me? I think I'm broken. :(

I LOVED the first book in this series, Juliet ImmortalI kept having recommendations for it pop up on Amazon, and since me and good ol' Will Shakespeare don't exactly get along, I kept passing over it. Finally I checked it out from the library....and practically devoured it. Really. I was not my best self-- sweatpants, frizzy hair, glasses, and all... Good thing it was only for one day! Anyway, after being shocked and amazed at my deep love for a Romeo and Juliet that are constantly beating the crap out of each other and either trying to save (Juliet) or destroy (Romeo) true love, I was so anxious to read the next book in the series (this).

So, let's get to the big question. Did I like this book as much as the first? Of course not! But I did like it. There were some strange transitions between chapters (they switch back and forth between Romeo and Ariel). There were a few when I had to go back and check to make sure I hadn't missed anything and then I had to read a few pages into the chapter before anything made sense. Other than that, I really liked most of the story--especially the ending. I felt like the author did a great job of tying the two books together and giving both Romeo and Juliet what they deserved in the epilogue (whether good OR bad...). While it didn't quite live up the the amazingness of Juliet Immortal, I was still satisfied with this book as a whole and the way everything ended. 

I hope you get a chance to read both of these books. I thought it was such a fun, different, interesting take on an old classic that I have never fallen in love with...until now. READ THESE!!

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Release Date: October 2, 2012
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

When I first read the description for this book, I was thinking Pirates?? Magic? Assassins?? Count me in! And then I started reading...

It's not that this book was bad. It was just SLOW. And have I mentioned how sick-to-death I am of endings that just, well, end? Yes, I loved The Selection by Kiera Cass which ended very abruptly, then I read The Vicious Deep which I also liked, but the ending-in-the-middle-of-the-story made me roll my eyes and fight frustration. So by the time I got to this book, I had little or no patience for stupid endings where nothing gets resolved. At all. 

Other than that, I thought the storyline was pretty decent. I wish there were more pirate-y moments (No one even says Argh! Ha.) and more I'll-kill-you-before-you-even-have-a-chance-to-blink moments. Although the altercation between Naji and a pirate named Atano was pretty awesome. It was kind of what I expected most of the story to be though. Sadly, that may have been the most action in the book. And I'm talking about any kind of action. (Wink, wink.) No really though, if you wanted romance, this is NOT the book for you. Come to think of it, if you wanted violence, thievery, spells, and all manner of bad behavior, you most definitely picked the wrong book.

I know I'm pretty much talking you out of reading this book, but I have to say, even with the obnoxious drop-off ending and lack of everything I expected this book to be, I am intrigued enough to try out book two in this series whenever it is released. (Hello, this just came out last week. It'll be a while.) 

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Release Date: September 11, 2012
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
I absolutely loved this book. Despite the slow get-go, I couldn't (and didn't want to!) put this down. Cat was someone I could easily relate to, which made her all the more lovable. I enjoyed her interatctions with her family-- both past and present, although the book definitely spends more time with her 16th century ancestors. I instantly liked Alessandra and Cipriano, and even Lorenzo, who Cat tries desperately (and in vain) to avoid. 
As the book progresses, Cat learns to lower the barriers around her heart and let not only her family in, but also Lorenzo. Oh, Lorenzo. He was the type of character that had me wishing I'd stumble across a gypsy tent and be transported straight into the arms of a sexy 16th century Italian aspiring artist. (Swoon.)

Anyway, I loved this book. Loved, loved. It is most definitely worth buying. You'll love the romance, and you'll be dying for more when you get to the end. Blast it all that we have to wait until almost next fall to get another dose of this fun, lighthearted, lovable story.

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he's heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea...and now it wants him back.

 I have been wanting to read this book for months and I finally got to it. The Kindle version is only $6.39 on Amazon right now! I couldn't pass that deal up. So, I bought it, put down the book I had been trudging through, and dove right in. No pun intended. But it IS kind of funny. You know, "vicious deep" and all....

Anyway, as you faithful followers know, I have been struggling lately with reading. Me and books? We are NOT friends at the moment. Well, at least we WEREN'T... until I read this. I couldn't put it down (once I got past the 'What the heck is going on?!?' beginning). While the character development dragged and I didn't really love any of the characters, they grew on me throughout the book. And the story was interesting enough to have me wanting to read the next one- The Savage Blue due out next year. 

Mermaids and sirens and the like have been trending in the YA world it seems like. This year especially with books like Wrecked and Of Poseidon and Lost Voices (although this was released last year). I've been so excited to read these! Are there any books with this particular theme that you've been really looking forward to?

Well, I know that I've been a bit sporadic with my posts, but I finally feel like I am getting back into the swing of things. I promise if you don't see another post this week, I'll be back next week for sure.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini


Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out--a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini's compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling "Starcrossed" delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds all expectations.

If you read my review of Starcrossed, you were probably thinking, Sheesh--could she gush more?? I seriously loved it. Like loved, loved. Which is why I am so flummoxed about this book, the second in the series. I think I must need to skim the end of book one again because, from what I remember-which is a lot, this book doesn't tie into the first one at all! Storyline-wise I felt like this was a whole different series with the same characters. Of course I'm still going to continue the series, but I'm a little more cautious about moving forward. Bummer.

I really love the characters in this series. One of the things I enjoyed so much about the first book was the introduction of all the different characters-- I loved how hardcore Helen was. Hello!?!? She tried to kill Lucas in the middle of the hallway at school! While I still liked most of the characters as they progressed and grew in this book, I was most disappointed in Helen. She was pitifully likable at best and a wussy damsel in distress at her worst. What happened to the butt-kickin', fierce, flippin' awesome girl from the first book? I miss her. :(

Overall, I did like this book. I liked the story. And I love the series. I just wish the stories flowed together well and Helen was not so darn helpless. Here's to hoping the third book explains A LOT and ties the story in a nice little bow. 

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Yeah, yeah. I know. I just haven't been feeling it. It took me THREE WEEKS to read the book I'm reviewing this Thursday. And the book I'm working on now I've already invested a week and a half on and I'm only 200 pages in. It's an almost SIX HUNDRED PAGE BOOK.

I struggle.

My brain is tired.

Give me a break.


(And please(!!) don't give up on me while I'm in my funk. Thanks.)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Release Date: August 14, 2012
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

You know how every once in a while I say, "This is the absolute WORST book I've ever read!!!"? Well, all those other times I was lying. Because this was THE ABSOLUTE WORST BOOK I'VE EVER READ. Not only did it have a ridiculously excessive amount of obscene and inappropriate language, but it also was the BEST example of the WORLD'S MOST UNHEALTHY, CONTROLLING, ABUSIVELY DEPENDENT relationship. 

As I looked at the Goodreads reviews for this book, I was shocked and appalled at the number of positive reviews for this book. It leads me to ask, What is wrong with you people?!?! If I was dating someone that pulled half the crap that Travis (the male MC) does, I'd dump him so fast his head would spin (and then fear for my life awaiting his retaliation. Seriously. He was that crazy). What absolutely killed me were the number of times Abby (the female MC) talked about "red flags" in their relationship and how she justified each and every one of them even when she knew Travis was a psychopath. 

I'll be honest, I only read 60-ish percent of this book (I read it on my Kindle, so this is fact. :D), and I couldn't make myself stomach the rest. I really did try, but I was too offended to keep reading. I would never, ever, ever in a million years, not for all the money in the world, recommend this book. Ever.

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

I don't know why I am such a sucker for these kinds of books. Even though this was a bit slow in a number of places, I really enjoyed it as a whole. And isn't this cover one of the most gorgeous covers you've ever seen? That's half the reason I wanted to read it so badly! Ha!

I've always been intrigued by Robin Hood. I think my infatuation with Robin Hood grew to the extreme a few years ago when Jonas Armstrong played him in the BBC series. Holy hotness. Every Robin Hood for the rest of my life will look like Jonas Armstrong, and yes, I am very much okay with that. 

I absolutely loved the idea of FINALLY (!) having a girl in Robin's merry band of thieves. I am a huge fan of girls who kick butt and take names. Scarlet was no different. I loved how fierce she was, but I didn't dig how disloyal she was. (Is that even a word? It is now!) It seemed like every time things got a little rough, she wanted to pack it up and call it quits. Not so cool. I did, however, love Robin and John and Much which more than made up for Scarlet's flakiness. 

Overall, I really liked this book. I think (but I'm not sure) if this is a planned series, but it definitely could be. And I will be anxiously awaiting a second one!

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Enchanted Truth by Kym Petrie

 Release Date: September 18, 2012
In this humorous and insightful tale, a modern day princess finds herself single and asking for magical intervention to change her sorry love life. Rather than casting a spell to bring Prince Charming to her rescue, a savvy fairy godmother gives the tenderhearted damsel an unexpected gift. By entrusting her true thoughts and desires to an unlikely confidant, the young royal soon discovers that the person who could make her life everything she dreamed it would be has been with her all along.

As author Kym Petrie herself realized, every woman needs a froggy friend and a secret journal—and enough adventures with the girls to keep her heart pounding and her mind racing. Life is meant to be about happy beginnings . . . you can never have enough of them.

Don't scoff at the measly forty pages of this book. It packs a powerful message for girls and women of all ages. 

This was told in such a cute, humorous way that I couldn't put it down. It only took me about fifteen minutes to read it from start to finish, and by the time I put it down, I thought I need to call Kaity and Hannah (my teenage sisters) and tell them to read this! It was such a good reminder that we, as women, don't need a man to be complete. We can be who we want to be and live the life we want without being completely dependent on a man. (But sometimes we find a great one and they take our lives from regular awesome to SUPER awesome and we never want to let them go....but maybe that's just in my case.... ;D)

I had a good friend in high school that was so obsessed with the idea of a "happily ever after". She thought that her life had absolutely no meaning and she would be a nobody until her "Prince Charming" showed up, swept her off her feet, and rode off into the sunset on his noble steed. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration because obviously there would not really be a horse involved, but you get my point. I saw how she built her entire concept of love and romance around this idea of hers and how that translated into her being terribly unhappy in all of her relationships. And trust me, there were a lot. I was there. For every. single. breakup. aftermath. It was exhausting. 

I think it's so important for girls especially (and women of course, because those girls grow up) to learn the importance of self confidence and learn that it's a wonderful thing to be a fabulous, young, confident lady and not have a man dangling from your arm. It IS possible to be alone. And it's not a scary thing. Sometimes we need a little work anyway before we'd be someone's "Princess Charming". There's no shame in being who you are. I think (and maybe again this is just me) that we (women) don't give ourselves enough credit. We are awesome. Don't forget it. 

READ THIS! Then buy copies for your daughters, your sisters, your moms, your grandmas, your best friends, whoever. Every woman needs this reminder every now and then. (Even I can grow from this empowering tale, and I have my Prince Charming and little Princes waiting for me at home every day). This was such a wonderful book and I am so thankful I had to opportunity to read it! And remember: A life full of happy beginnings is so much better than one happy ending.

Happy Reading!

*I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beta WHAT??

Sometimes I disappear for a while. And sometimes that's because I'm lazy and haven't been reading or I've been sucked into a TV series (PRETTY LITTLE LIARS!! And before that it was How I Met Your Mother, and before that, Bones....haha) on Netflix and I can't bring myself to pick up a book until I've watched every.single.episode.ever.made. This doesn't happen on a regular basis though, so where am I REALLY??

Funny you should ask. Actually, crazy as it seems, I'm reading. During these times when I'm MIA, I'm doing what is called "beta-reading"---reading an unpublished fictional work from someone who has asked me to give feedback about the flow of the story, spelling and grammatical errors, and characterization.

Truthfully, if I could do this for pay, every day for the rest of my life, I would be a happy girl indeed. As is, I'm still a very happy girl doing it for free for some of my amazingly talented author friends. I absolutely love to read and especially edit (believe it or not!) and I find that I read all books with a fairly critical eye so it's not much of a stretch to do it when specifically asked to.

I was actually just able to beta read my friend's book. It's set during the Civil War, which I think is such a fascinating time period. The story was very well-written and had very accurate details of the time. I never cease to be amazed at what amazing writers there are (and researchers, because a TON of research is involved in most fiction!) and I am blessed to know a few.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that, even when I may seem like I'm slacking (sometimes I am!), but usually I'm just busy with something that I can't review publicly yet. Patience. One day I will. :)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

When Anne broke off her engagement seven years ago, she thought she'd never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil's brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies Neil's return. Fans of Persuasion will love this fast-paced, modern retelling of Jane Austen's most romantic novel.

I was actually kind of disappointed after reading this. It's not that it was a bad story (Hello?!?! It's based on Jane Austen!), but it just didn't do it for me. As you all know, I'm a sucker for a good romance. What you may not know is that I am really, really picky about modern day romances. While I thought this was a decent retelling of a great romance, it wasn't for me.

I don't really know what else to say about this book. I liked characters fine and the storyline was fine and it was all just fine. Maybe that was the problem--the story was more like this:   ---------------------- than this: ---/\_^\/.....{---}.....!!...._>___<___ ---="---" :=":" does="does" lol="lol" make="make" sense="sense" span="span" that="that"> I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wanted more life to the book than it had. More depth, more feeling, just MORE.

Like I said, this wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't my favorite romance I've ever read. But it was clean, so I would recommend it because of that. 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I've been wanting to read this book since it came out last year, but I've heard that it has horrible language which was kind of a deal breaker for me. Finally I decided to get it from the library and skim it first to see what I was in for. I ended reading it (obviously) and now I'm a little torn on what to say.

First, the language. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It actually didn't even drop the first f-bomb until about 150 pages in. I would say that it says it 10 times or less in the entire book, but probably about half of them are concentrated in one conversation at the end of the book.

Second, the story. I feel like I just read 452 pages that led up to absolutely nothing. I'm fairly uncertain what the point of the entire story was. While I liked Mara and her love interest separately, I felt like there wasn't any love between them. Actually, I'm not even sure there was LIKE between them for most of the story. This was one of those books where I felt like the conflict grew and grew and nothing ever got resolved. Even though this is a series, it still frustrates me that I felt like the first book was a complete waste.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, and I don't want you to misunderstand me. I did like this book. (Could you tell??) It was a surprisingly quick read and it was difficult to put down. I'd pick it up for a minute when I had some down time and next thing I knew I was halfway through it. I love books like that. However, with this book I just feel like I didn't get as much out of it as I felt like I deserved. I invested in those 452 pages and I'm as clueless about the storyline as when I started.

I think at this point, I have no choice but to read the sequel when it comes out in October. Maybe it will shed some light on all my unanswered questions. As for a recommendation- this is one you're going to have to decide for yourself.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The winner of the signed copy of Not Your Average Fairy Tale is......

I enlisted my cute Buzz Lightyear to help me select the winner. And a big thanks to him for letting me use his hot wheels carrying case, since him and his brother, Sheriff Woody, had just dumped it out anyway. :) 

If you can't read my chicken scratch, that says Jen Long! Congratulations! Please email me your current address and I'll get your book sent out.

Thanks to everyone who entered and shared this book with the world. I am so ridiculously proud of my friend Chantele and I am thankful to you all for spreading the word about her very first book! Even if you didn't win, you can purchase this book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Highwayman of Tanglewood by Marica Lynn McClure

Faris gasped as a gloved hand of a sudden covered her mouth from behind. Be still. The Highwayman of Tanglewood owns ya now. Faris he whispered, Do not struggle. Ill not harm ya, lass Come away with me, sweet Faris, the highwayman whispered. What say ye?

I say, who are you, highwayman? Faris breathed...All romantic thoughts of knights riding to win the fair lady were driven from her mind. A rogue's manner was vastly more delightful!

Aye! But that ye should know, sweet Faris, the highwayman whispered.

I know you not, sir, Faris said in a whisper. Surely I would remember such a shape of a man.

Indeed, would ya, lass? he asked.

I would, sir, she answered.

Tis well ya know who I am, fair Faris, he whispered, kissing her neck again. I am the Highwayman of Tanglewood.

A chambermaid in the house of Tremeshton, Faris Shayhan well knew torment, despair and trepidation. To Faris it seemed the future stretched long and desolate before her -- bleak and as dark as a lonesome midnight path. Still, the moon oft casts hopeful luminosity to light ones way. So it was that Lady Maranda Rockrimmon cast hope upon Farisset Faris upon a different path -- a path of happiness, serenity and love.

Faris abandoned the tainted air of Tremeshton in favor of the amethyst sunsets of Loch Loland Castle and her new mistress Lady Rockrimmon. Further, it was on the very night of her emancipation that Faris first met the man of her dreams -- the man of every woman's dreams -- the rogue Highwayman of Tanglewood.

Dressed in black and astride his mighty steed, the brave, heroic and dashing rogue Highwayman of Tanglewood stole Faris's heart as easily as he stole her kiss. Yet the Highwayman of Tanglewood was encircled in mystery -- mystery as thick and as secretive as time itself. Could Faris truly own the heart of a man so entirely enveloped in twilight shadows and dangerous secrets?

Every once in a while, I get a hankering for a good love story. When this happens, I turn to trusty ol' Marcia Lynn McClure. I have read (and liked) a good number of her books, and I have liked every one of them. This one was no different. In fact, I think this was my favorite of her books so far.

While McClure's stories are reliably predictable, I still love how completely I am drawn into her books. I love the characters (even when I think they have goofy names). I love the conflict-there is always someone defending a woman's honor. And I love the romance, the stolen kisses in darkened corridors or under a blanket of stars. Oh how I love it!

Sometimes a girl just needs a little romance. When that happens, turn to Marcia Lynn McClure (and read this)!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined...

An ebook exclusive prequel to The Steampunk Chronicles.

I have had this novella hanging out in my Kindle library for a while (correction: a LONG TIME) and I figured that I should read it since I wanted to start reading The Steampunk Chronicles series.

Well, it was short and to the point--much like this review is going to be. This really could have been a decent story if it had just been a bit longer. I liked Finley--she had spunk-- but I felt like I didn't really have time to get to know her. I also liked Phoebe, but again, there wasn't enough of her.

I liked that I had this short story to introduce me to Finley, but I don't think any of the other characters will make an appearance in the following books. I hope I'm wrong though! While I wish this hadn't been told at such breakneck speed, it left me curious to see where the story will go from here. Stay tuned for my review of the official first book in The Steampunk Chronicles series, The Girl in the Steel Corset, coming soon!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: August 7, 2012
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.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


There's been so much buzz surrounding this book in the past few months that I had to read it. However, I had pretty high expectations for it since I've heard it mentioned so often which usually (but not always) ends badly. I was pleasantly surprised when this book didn't disappoint. How could it, with a hardcore heroine like Celaena? A case in point:
"She stalked towards him, keeping her sword sheathed at her side. Verin's grin widened as he lifted his blade. 
He swung, but Celaena struck, ramming her fist into his arm, sending the blade soaring through the air. In the same breath, her palm hit his left arm, knocking it aside too. As he staggered back, her leg came up, and Verin's eyes bulged as her foot slammed into his chest. The kick sent him flying, and his body crunched as it hit the floor and slid out of the ring, instantly eliminating him. The hall was utterly silent. 
"Mock me again," she spat at Verin, "and I'll do that with my sword the next time." She turned from him, and found Brullo's face slack. "Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master," she said, stalking past him. "Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."
While this book was slow for about the first half of the book, the remaining story more than made up for the time it took to get there. I loved the growth of Celaena who, if I'm being honest, I wasn't a fan of at the beginning of this book. Come to think of it, I wasn't a fan of Dorian (the Crown Prince) or Chaol (the Captain of the Guard) either. But by the end, I loved them all in their own ways.

I went into this book not knowing that it would have hints of magic and fantasy characters. While it's talked about a shockingly few number of times, I am undecided if I thought this element helped or hindered the story. The last few assassin books I've read have left me wanting more action and less politics or magic or unnecessary fantastical detours. What ever happened to just a girl that kicks butt and takes names? Why does the butt-kicking have to be at the king's bidding? Can't she just do it for the sheer joy of a job well done? (This is obviously not serious.) Surprisingly, buried in all the boring bits of history and war, there was a wonderful story here full of suspense and action and romance.

Speaking of romance, that was probably the most frustrating part of this book for me. I hate when I feel like I pick the wrong guy to root for. I really wanted her to end up with a certain someone, which she didn't in the end. It hints at maybe a future for the pair, but in a consolation prize kind of way. Don't be deterred though. It still had plenty of love story. I just felt like it was with the wrong guy. And even worse, I liked the guy she chose too! My heart, the traitor.

This is one I highly recommend. I hope you like it as much as I did!

Happy Reading! 

**I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Not Your Average Fairy Tale (AND A GIVEAWAY!!) by Chantele Sedgwick

Release Date: August 1, 2012
Armed with wings and a blue wand, being a fairy godmother should be easy ... unless your name is Ash, and you're a dude.

Ash Summerland has it all–good looks, popularity, and the best grades at The Academy of Magical Beings. Ready to complete his last assignment in order to graduate, Ash is confident he will get the apprenticeship he wants. When he opens the letter from the Council, he is shocked to discover he has been assigned to apprentice Lady Shenelle, Keeper of Happy Endings. A.K.A. the head fairy godmother. Ash is forced to grant three wishes to a troubled human girl named Kendall, and ultimately give her a "happy ever after". But Kendall turns out to be more than he bargained for. Still grieving over her father's death, Kendall doesn't want anything to do with him. And worst of all, she doesn't believe in happy endings.

In case you missed it, I interviewed the author of this book, Chantele Sedgwick on Tuesday. You can read what she had to say HERE.

This is such an exciting time for me. I feel like a proud mama, seeing this book in print. Chantele and I have been friends for a few years (she's the one that got me into YA!) and I have read snippets here and there and version after edited version of this story. I love that this is a book that I can read easily over and over again. I am so, so thrilled for Chantele on her VERY FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK. Holy crap, I need to go fan myself so I don't pass out from excitement.

I know what you are thinking. Is she completely biased about this book because she is friends with the author?? Is it really THAT good? No, and yes. First off, it doesn't matter how well I do or do not know you. If your book sucks, I'll tell you. I have reviewed books for different authors (that were also friends) and, while at times I may do it more gently than others, if I hated their book, I'm not going to pretend I didn't. If you don't want the truth, don't ask me to read your story! 

Second, YES, it is that good. I absolutely love the concept of this book, and have from the first time Chantele told me what her newest project (this) was. It's such an original idea. At least, I've never come across another telling of a male fairy godmother. I was hooked from the first chapter when Ash unwillingly starts his apprenticeship, through Ash and Kendall getting to know each other, then Kendall's wishes, and up to the very last page when I exclaimed, "What the freak!?!?!?!? What happens now??" 

This is on my MUST BUY IMMEDIATELY list. In fact, I already have bought it. And then I bought another one. Why, you ask? So Chantele would have one to sign for one of my lovely readers! Yes, you read that right!

I am giving away a SIGNED copy of  Not Your Average Fairy Tale. All you have to do to be entered into the drawing is help get the word out about this awesome book by doing the following....


P.S. I need to be able to access your shared post(s), or it won't count. Please also leave me your EMAIL so I can contact you when you win.

Also, this is a giveaway for U.S. residents only. For all you international folks, please still support this book by reading it and getting the word out to your friends about it. Thanks!

Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 15th and winner will be announced Thursday, August 16th.

Good Luck
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Author Spotlight: Chantele Sedgwick

Hello all! I have decided that, on occasion, I'm going to spotlight an author on my blog. I am honored to have the opportunity to interview Chantele Sedgwick. Her debut novel, Not Your Average Fairy Tale, will hit store shelves and online retailers tomorrow! I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book which I will review on Thursday (P.S. READ ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM TO FIND OUT ABOUT A SUPER AWESOME GIVEAWAY!). Here's a sneak peek....

“Close your eyes.” The room began to glow.
I felt a twitch in my toes and grimaced as it traveled up my legs. Soon my whole body was tingling, the strongest near the middle of my back. A rush of warmth spread through me and I suddenly felt lighter.
I opened my eyes and met her amused expression.
“Perfect.” She smiled, admiring what I assumed were my wings.
I looked down and groaned. “I thought you said there wouldn't be any tights,” I said through clenched teeth.
She shrugged. I could tell she was trying not to laugh. “Sorry about that. We've never had anyone quite like you before.”
“Oh really? You mean you've never had a fairy godmother who was a guy?”

I'm so excited for you all to get a chance to read this book! But for now, I want you to meet the talented gal that dreamed it all up. 


Chantele Sedgwick grew up playing the harp and singing. Little did anyone know, she always had stories floating around in her head. After she had her second baby, she finally realized she should probably write them down. Pursuing publication was something she only dreamed about, but now her dream is coming true.

The discovery of a first love, first kisses, and the many emotions teens go through, pushed Chantele to find her niche in writing teen fiction. Some of her stories share a few of her own experiences, but most of them are just fantasies she wished happened to her as a teen. She's a sucker for a great love story and always enjoys a happy ending. She tends to have a thing for the "bad boys" in books, unless they're total jerks. Then she'll root for the good guy.

When she's not writing, Chantele can be found spending time with her husband and three beautiful kids, or driving her sisters crazy with random story ideas. NOT YOUR AVERAGE FAIRY TALE is her first book.

Now on to the Q and A portion of today's event (ha!):

 Q: I’m pretty sure everyone is thinking the same thing I am right now after reading that book teaser…. How did you dream up a MALE fairy godmother??
A: Honestly, I’m not quite sure. I wanted to do a spin on a fairy tale and had a crazy idea. What if the girl didn’t end up with the prince? And thus, Ash was born!
Q: Are your characters based on anyone?
A:  Kendall is loosely based on  my younger sister. Messy room and all. ;)  Ash just popped in my head one day, so he’s a character all his own.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories?
A: Out of nowhere really. Sometimes I get ideas when I’m driving, or in the shower. Other times I’ll see a story on the news or something and an idea hits me.
Q: Who is your favorite literary character? Why?
A: Oh, man! I hate this question! Lol  In terms of complicated characters, I’d have to say Snape from Harry Potter. I loved how he was written. One of my favorite lead characters is Isi from The Goose Girl. I loved her growth throughout the book and adored her personality.
Q: Is there a book that you can read over and over?  What one and why?
A: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. I just love the world she created and the love story is so cute!
Since I am a big fan of random questions, here are a few. 

Q: If you could throw a pie in anyone’s face (dead or alive), who would it be?
A: My sister, Chaleese. HA HA HA HA!!! :D
Q: Which Disney princess are you most like?
A: Probably Belle. She loves to read like me! 
Q: What is your favorite word?
A: Seriously? I have no idea! I tend to use the word “just” in my writing a lot. Not a good thing …
Q: What is your most embarrassing guilty pleasure? (Mine is Phineas and Ferb!I pretend to only want to watch it with my kids, but I watch it even after they go to bed. LOL)
A: I LOVE Phineas and Ferb! I also love video games. Shhh… Don’t tell anyone….
Q: What books are you anxiously awaiting this year?
A: I’m really excited to read REACHED by Ally Condie! And The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima! Pivet Point by Kasie West as well.  (That actually comes out at the beginning of next year…)
And finally:

Q: Tell us why we should read your debut novel, Not Your Average Fairy Tale, in 20 words or less.

A:  There’s magic, mystery, a love story and a hot fairy. What more do you need? ;)

I completely agree! What more do you need? 

Now I'm wondering, are you thoroughly intrigued about this book yet? If so...

Come back to Reading for Refuge this Thursday, August 2nd, to find out how you can win a SIGNED copy of this book!

I'd like to thank Chantele for taking time out of her busy schedule to let me interview her. And I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say congratulations on becoming a real, live, official author! :)

Happy Reading!