Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leslie and I are very excited to share this awesome book trailer for Hades the second book in Alexandra Adornetto's National Bestselling Halo series.

Halo is next on Leslie's TBR (to-be-read) pile and we've both read a bunch of glowing reviews for Hades.

Check out the awesome book trailer for Hades.

And in case you haven't seen the book cover or read the blurb (from Goodreads):

abandon
Bethany and Xavier are even closer since battling Jake Thorn and his evil influence (in Halo) and Beth and her angel siblings must still protect Venus Cove from the Dark Forces.

When a party game – a s√©ance – inadvertently releases Jake from the Underworld, he disguises himself and tricks Beth into taking a ride on his motorcycle. When the highway opens up and swallows them, Beth learns too late that she’s now a prisoner in hell. What happens to angels there? As her archangel brother, Gabriel, her sister Ivy, Xavier, and her best friend, Molly search for her, Beth must weigh Jake’s bargaining for her freedom: one night with him, and she will be released back to Earth.

Can Jake be trusted in this wager? And is he also using Beth to engineer the fall of the archangel Gabriel? Xavier has already lost one love – when Jake tricks him into thinking that Bethany is dead, his grief and anger result in a betrayal that will leave Bethany – and readers – wondering if he is so good after all.

It will be up to Beth to use everything she’s learned about her powers as an angel – and about love – to free herself and those she loves from the clutches of Hades.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to Zeitghost Media we have a copy of Hades to giveaway. Whether you've read Halo or not, try your luck! Remember, it's always good to have the next book in the series on hand (for many reasons).

Giveaway Details:
  • One (1) winner gets a copy of Hades (Halo #2) by Alexandra Adornetto
  • End September 11, 2011
  • US or Canadian mailing address only
  • Fill out the form to enter:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!
Why we covet this book: Sounds like a fun, romantic contemporary YA read. Love that the main character is the quarterback of her high school football team.


catchingjordanCatching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
(out December 1, 2011)
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though--she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starting position... suddenly she's hoping he'll see her as more than just a teammate.


For more info and to read an excerpt about Catching Jordan, visit the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.



What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sweet Venom 2 Title Hunt Giveaway

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 with
sweetvenom
For those of you who don't know, there's a hunt going on right now for the title of book two in Tera Lynn Child's Medusa Girls series, which comes out in 2012.

You can win the $50 book store gift card grand prize or 1 of 5 signed copies of Sweet Venom, the first book in the series. And the best thing about this giveaway? It's international!

All you need to do is go to Tera's blog


There she will explain the all details of how to do the hunt, including links to all the blogs you need to go to collect all the letters.

And, yup, our blog is a stop in the hunt and you just found a letter in the Sweet Venom 2 Title Hunt! The letter is
S

Good luck and happy hunting everyone!
toptentuesday
"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new Top Ten list topic every week and this week is "Books On The Top Of My TBR List For Fall."

Only ten? My TBR pile is this big, ole tower that doesn't seem to get any smaller. But these are the books at the very top:
annadressedinblood tempted girloffireandthorns

archangelsconsortarchangelsblade

flawlessanimalattractionseasonfortemptation

frostfrost

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
2. Tempted by Elisabeth Naughton
3. Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
4. Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh
5. Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
6. Flawless by Carrie Lofty
7. Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis
8. Season for Temptation by Theresa Romain
9. Frost by Wendy Delsol
10. Reason to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle

I didn't realize that I'm going to have a romantic fall. Awesome!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mass Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Release Date: August 30, 2011
ISBN: 9781451617368
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Tracers #4

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
SOPHIE BARRETT THINKS SHE’S LUCKY TO BE ALIVE. SHE MAY BE DEAD WRONG.
On a sweltering summer afternoon, Sophie Barrett walks into a nightmare. A sniper has opened fire on a college campus. When the carnage is over, three people—plus the shooter—are dead and dozens more are injured. Sophie escapes virtually unscathed. Yet as details emerge from the investigation, she becomes convinced that this wasn’t the random, senseless act it appeared to be. No one wants to believe her—not the cops, not her colleagues at the Delphi Center crime lab, and definitely not Jonah Macon, the homicide detective who’s already saved her life once.
Jonah has all kinds of reasons for hoping Sophie is mistaken. Involving himself with a key witness could derail an already messy investigation, not to mention jeopardize his career. But Sophie is as determined and fearless as she is sexy. If he can’t resist her, he can at least swear to protect her. Because if Sophie is right, she’s made herself the target of a killer without a conscience. And the real terror is only just beginning...


Michelle's Review:
I first met Jonah and Sophie in Unforgivable and there was some definite sparks there so I couldn't wait to read their story. I was also very intrigued by the school shooting premise. The whole time I was reading, I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next--I wasn't sure where the author will take the story especially after the shooter shot himself in chapter three. But take it she did and after the highly charged beginning, I was at the edge of my seat the whole entire time.

The characters (main and secondary) were fantastic. But the character that stood out for me was Sophie who was very smart, stubborn and independent. Usually, stubborn and independent heroines tend to irritate me because most knowingly put themselves into stupid situations. Not Sophie. Danger seemed to find her. This girl went through a lot--from being being abducted in Unforgivable to being caught in the middle of a school shooting to realizing that someone was trying to kill her (after she was ran off a cliff and narrowly escaping her car in which the villain had planted a bomb). I knew and understood where she was coming from and why she did what she did. Jonah was great as well and he had his own issues, mainly fighting his intense attraction to Sophie who was convinced that the shooter may have an accomplice. He knew what Sophie had gone through and he didn't want to take advantage of her. She was also a key witness in his case. There is a reason why Ms. Griffin is my go-to author for romantic suspense and it's because she can write a darn good romance amid all the action and suspense--she balances the suspense and the romance so well. There was great chemistry between Sophie and Jonah. They were both fighting their feelings for each other for most of the book but when they gave in and got together, it's genuine and worth the anticipation on my part.

I guess my only complaint was that I felt I didn't get to "know" the villain. I felt he wasn't as sinister as I like my villains to be and he wasn't as well-developed as the shooter. Characters from previous Tracer series books make an appearance (like Ric and Mia from Unforgivable) which I like because you get an update on what they have been doing. New characters were also introduced like workaholic, rookie detective Allison Doyle and I hope she'll have her own book in the future.

Ms. Griffin takes you on a ride filled with twists and turns that will have you guessing until the end--it has the most twisty plot I've read by the author yet. Snapped is a gripping, action-packed, suspenseful and romantic read you won't be able to put down. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In Our Mailbox (40)

Sunday, August 28, 2011 with
Leslie and I had another awesome book week.

The review book I am especially excited about is Nora Roberts's The Next Always, the first book in her new trilogy. I haven't read any of her newer books so I'm excited to start this series. We are excited about Katrina Kittle's Reasons to Be Happy, it sounds fun but at the same time emotional.

I also went to Borders on Friday just to browse but I couldn't resist buying a bunch of books that's been on my wish list for a while. The discount for YA is 50% and 60% for romance and my Borders still has a pretty good selection.


For Review
The Next Always by Nora Roberts
Dark Parties by Sara Grant
Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle
Merciless by Diana Palmer
(A big THANK YOU to Penguin/Berkley, LBYR, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Planned TV Arts for sending us the books.)

Bought
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Chime by Franny Billingsley
All You Desire by Kirsten Miller
Letters to a Secret Lover by Toni Blake
A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

alonglongsleep ARC: 342 pages
Publisher: Candlewick

Release Date: August 9, 2011
ISBN: 9780763652609

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: 1st in the series
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existance, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.


Leslie's Review:
I was super excited to read this book because a lot of great dystopians have been coming out lately. Also I was surprised when I found out that this book isn't just dystopian, it's also a retelling of the well-known fairy-tale Sleeping Beauty--fairy-tale retelling is my favorite sub-genre! So when I first began to read this book, I had pretty high expectations. But I'm happy to say that they were all well met and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.

First, the plot was amazing. It was thrilling, exciting, suspenseful and a refreshing read. Debut author Anna Sheehan did a fantastic job building the futuristic world through Rose's eyes. Her writing was lovely, understandable and so descriptive that I would always get sucked in. The story became sort of my escape from the many stresses and dramas of high school.

Rose was an amazing character whom I connected to and loved getting to know throughout the book. In the beginning of the book, Rose was passive and quiet and her escape from her sudden life change was drawing sketches of the new people around her and the exquisite landscapes from her stasis dreams. Through those characteristics I was able to relate to Rose because I'm also a very passive and quiet person, though my escape is music and books (I'm not much of an artist like Rose). But because of that I wasn't sure if Rose would make a good heroine because I like my heroines to be the kick-butt and take charge type. As I continued to read, however, I watched Rose grow stronger, braver, more assertive and become the great heroine she was meant to be. I love watching characters in a book grow and change into a better person and Ms. Sheehan did a wonderful job developing Rose's character throughout A Long, Long Sleep. Another thing I really liked were these flashbacks of Rose's past (before she was went to her chemical sleep). Through those scenes we get to know her better and understand why she is who she is and the reason why she was in stasis for sixty-two years--it was really intriguing and fascinating to read.

Thankfully, this book didn't end with a crazy cliffhanger but ended with most loose ends tied. At the same time, it lets the reader know there will be a sequel. It's nice to close a book and not feel cheated by the ending. Yet, I am still very excited to read the sequel. A Long, Long Sleep is a brilliant debut by Ms. Sheehan--she is an author to look out for in the future. If you like to read dystopian or fairy tale retelling or want to read a different take on the Sleeping Beauty tale, I recommend you all pick this book up. You won't be disappointed. 4.5 out of 5 stars
We are happy to welcome author Jessica Warman today. She is the author of Between, which I recently read and very much enjoyed. Read my review HERE.

between
Elizabeth Valchar --- pretty, popular and rich --- wakes up the morning after her 18th birthday on the yacht where she’d been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead. She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death.

She’s also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.

In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn’t abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she’d been running much more than normal, and that she’d all but stopped eating. Liz’s mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried that Liz was following in her mother’s footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out...
We asked her to tell us a little bit more about herself and Between.

Q: Hi Jessica! Welcome to our blog. Please tell us a little about yourself in 140 characters.

A: I write. I run. I eat ice cream every day. I'm terrified of natural bodies of water. I have 9 tattoos, 7 of which I regret.

Q: What is something that makes you laugh out loud?

A: A few days ago, I watched a YouTube video of surveillance footage from a restaurant lobby. There was one of those toy vending machines in the lobby – the kind with the big metal claw that reaches down to grab the toys. In the video, a little girl walks up and crawls inside the vending machine. It takes her parents, who weren’t really paying attention to her, a good three minutes to realize where she went. Once she’s all the way up inside the machine, that little girl proceeds to roll around in those toys in much the same way I might roll around in a pile of hundred dollar bills. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen; I was howling. I think I’ve watched it about five times since that first viewing, and it’s still hilarious to me. (Also, the little girl was fine.)

Q: Which character in BETWEEN was the hardest to write? Why?

A: All of the characters came to me pretty naturally – that was one of the most wonderful things about writing this book. I guess the most difficult was Liz’s dad, Marshall. I based him on my own dad in lots of ways – he’s loving but also kind of emotionally clumsy. It was tough to put him in so many situations in the book where he’s hurting – first he loses his wife, then his daughter – because it made me think of my own father and our relationship. There’s one scene (I can’t say which one, because it will give too much away) that actually prompted me to call up my dad and tell him how much I love him.

Q: If you can give Liz or Alex a piece of advice, what would it be?

A: I would love to tell them both just to be kind. It’s simple, obvious advice, but so many people live their lives afraid (or unwilling) to just let their guard down and treat others with simple, basic kindness. There’s so much anger and pain and suffering in life - and in the book - and people (myself included) tend to be so self-absorbed that we lose sight of how powerful a small act of humanity can be. When I teach writing workshops, I always start my first class by talking about the two things that every human being wants: to be loved, and to be heard. Every individual shares these needs, even infants. It’s amazing what happens when a person is able to keep that at the forefront of their interactions with others. The world becomes a much more manageable place.

Q: Please share with us your favorite scene in BETWEEN.

A: This is easy. The homecoming dance that Liz and Alex attend together. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll just say that it’s one of the last scenes leading up to a Big Moment in the book, but the main character, Liz, has no idea what’s about to happen. She’s just enjoying herself, finding peace and calm for one of the first times in the story. I love it.

******

Thanks for answering our questions, Jessica! Fellow young adult readers, to learn more about Jessica's books, check out her website and her author page on the Bloomsbury Kids website.

Giveaway Alert: If you like Bloomsbury Teens' Facebook page by the end of August, you could win a copy of Between and Where the Truth Lies (also by Jessica Warman). Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why we covet this book: We are a sucker for fun, romantic contemporary YA reads. Love the cover of this book too.


statisticalprobabilityThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (out January 2, 2012)
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

For more info and to read an excerpt about The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, visit the publisher's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

toptentuesday
"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new Top Ten list topic every week and this week is "Books You Loved But Never Wrote A Review For" because...

You either loved it so much you don't have the words to describe its awesomeness:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
4. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
5. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

prideandprejudice annafrenchkiss savingfrancesca

Or you read it long before you started blogging:

6. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
7. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
8. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
9. In the Woods by Tana French
10. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

alanna secretlifebees savingfrancesca

Monday, August 22, 2011

between Hardcover: 320 pages (ARC: 454 pages)
Publisher: Walker & Company
Release Date: August 2, 2011
ISBN: 9780802721822

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Elizabeth Valchar--pretty, popular, and rich--wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday on the yacht where she'd been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead.
She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death. She's also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.
In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn't abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she'd been running much more than normal, and that she'd all but stopped eating. Liz's mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried Liz was following in her mother's footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out. . . .
From critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman comes a shocking mystery, a heartbreaking character study, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.


Michelle's Review:
The book opens up Liz discovering her own drowned body in the water with no memory of what happened to her the night she died and only random bits of memory of the life she lived. I thought this a very interesting premise, so I dived into this book eagerly. The story was pretty much told in flashbacks as Liz and Alex, a classmate of hers who was killed by a hit-and-run driver about a year ago, go back to significant points of her life to figure out how she ended up dead. Each memory was a like a piece to the puzzle and some were sweet but others were emotional and shocking--especially those involving Liz's mom who died from an eating disorder when she was younger.

About a third of the book in I started to get a little antsy. There was a lot of great build-up as we learn about Liz's past but it got a little too much, drawn out too long. I wasn't bored or anything but I wanted the story to get on already, for something else to happen. In any event, I was reading an advanced reader's copy so maybe the final book may be different. I did like how the author treated the romance aspect of this book. I thought how things ended with Liz and Alex was perfect; with everything that we learned about them, there couldn't have been another way. The relationship between Liz, Alex and Liz's boyfriend Richie could have easily been a big melodramatic love triangle but it wasn't and I was delightfully surprised--I really liked that this novel focused on other themes besides romantic love.

The cover gives an impression that this is a sleep-with-the-lights-on kind of book but it's not. Early on I had my suspicions of who killed Liz and Alex as well as how Alex was connected to Liz and I was right on track but this may be just me (I like to piece out the puzzle in my head whenever I'm reading a mystery of some sort). I did enjoy Liz as the narrator, she wasn't always likable but you will come to learn why she was how she was. The other characters were great as well, there was more to them than meets the eye. The ending was both lovely and bittersweet but right from the beginning, I knew it would be because Liz was dead.

Overall, Between was entertaining and compelling and at times surprising. The blend of mystery, paranormal and some contemporary issues (e.g., eating disorder, bullying, underage drinking) was excellently done. 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In Our Mailbox (39)

Sunday, August 21, 2011 with
Leslie and I got a bunch of awesome young adult books this week that we super excited to read. I was also one of the winner of Michelle Zink's "random shite" giveaway and I got a tote bag, stickers and candy (not pictured because they were eaten as soon as I opened the package). Then, we got a super awesome surprise from Little Brown which got us doing the happy dance.

It was a good week for romance too. The book that I won from Cynthia Eden's giveaway came in the mail with a bunch of awesome swag. I picked up a copy of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie from the Borders sale because I loved Mac and Cam's book in the series but I haven't read Ian's yet.


For Review
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
The Taker by Alma Katsu
(A big THANK YOU to Simon & Schuster, HarperTeen and MacMillan for sending us the books.)

Surprise
The Shattering by Karen Healey
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Sergio towel
(A big THANK YOU to LBYR for the super awesome surprise!)

Won
Never Cry Wolf by Cynthia Eden and swag
Tote bag, stickers and candy (not picture as they were promptly eaten)
(Thank you Cynthia and Michelle!)

Bought
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Enter to win a copy of The Lady of the Storm HERE.

Mass Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: August 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781402236532
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Elven Lords #2

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Giles is bound to protect her...
In a kingdom viciously ruled by warlike elven lords, village blacksmith Giles Beaumont reluctantly swears to protect the half-elf, half-human Cecily Sutton, never dreaming that he will fall under her enchanting spell.
But duty soon turns to desire...
When Cecily's father disappears, Cecily and Giles set out to find him. But, as their journey unfolds, duty is quickly replaced by desire—and the search for Cecily's father leads to a magical destiny that could end the rule of the elven lords forever...


Michelle's Review:
Basically, the premise of the series is that seven elven lords have divided England among themselves and each rules a part of it. Though the elven lords see humans as nothing more than playthings and slaves, they have mated with humans over the centuries. Elven blood has mixed with human blood over time and there are many who can do small magic. But the humans are tired of their powerful and tyrannical rulers and has formed a secret rebellion to free England. The rebellion has realized that their greatest hope in defeating their magical rulers are the bastard children of the elven lords who may have as much magic as their sire.

After I read The Fire Lord's Lover, the first book in the Eleven Lords series, I feel in love with the elaborate world Kathryne Kennedy had created. In The Lady of the Storm I was transported once again. In this book we see more of the land as well as know more about some of the elven lords themselves. Besides the world building, I really enjoyed that this novel is heroine-centric and Cecily was a fantastic character. She was a great heroine--she is strong, she can take care of herself and she has a lot of spunk. I really liked that more than once it was Cecily who rescued the hero, Giles. Once she even carried him in her arms when he got hurt. It's not often a heroine carries the hero! Giles was likable as well and I liked that even though he saw himself as Cecily's protector he also knew Cecily can take care of herself and he wasn't telling her to go hide when danger comes their way. But for the most part he's also your typical hero and his character wasn't quite as memorable as Cecily.

I thought The Lady of the Storm was the perfect blend of fantasy, romance and adventure. There was plenty of action too as Cecily and Giles go on a quest and they travel from their small village to the Fire Lord's land. They're sent to different missions and come across strange creatures and escape those that wanted to capture them. For those who have read The Fire Lord's Lover, yes, Dominic and Cassandra do make an appearance and we find out what they have been up to.

Lovers of fantasy novels and readers of romance will find plenty to love in this well-written and imaginative novel. It will transport you to a magical world of magic and adventure and romance. I absolutely loved it! 4.5 out of 5 stars

**While The Lady of the Storm is the second book in the Elven Lords series it can be read as a standalone novel.**

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8/18 Update: Read my review HERE.

We are delighted to welcome Kathryne Kennedy today. She is the author of The Lady of the Storm, the second book in the fantastic Elven Lords series, which I will be reviewing tomorrow.

ladyofthestorm
Giles is bound to protect her...
In a kingdom viciously ruled by warlike elven lords, village blacksmith Giles Beaumont reluctantly swears to protect the half-elf, half-human Cecily Sutton, never dreaming that he will fall under her enchanting spell.

But duty soon turns to desire...
When Cecily's father disappears, Cecily and Giles set out to find him. But, as their journey unfolds, duty is quickly replaced by desire—and the search for Cecily's father leads to a magical destiny that could end the rule of the elven lords forever...
We asked her to tell us a little bit more about The Lady of the Storm and the Elven Lords world it is set in.

5 places you want to visit in The Elven Lord's 18th century England if you're playing a tourist (and why).
1) An elven lord’s garden, because they are a duplicate of the gardens in Elfhame, and I would love to really see flowers that glow like fireflies and plants that sing in the wind and rain.

2) An elven lord’s court. In Dewhame, I would be able to experience Breden’s powers of sea and sky. I would love to meet the half-breeds in all their Georgian finery and magical beauty. I would want to experience the sight of a castle rippling with water, grounds covered in fountains and ponds, and most of all, I’d like to make love beneath a magical waterfall.

3) I’d love to travel through Stonehame, where there are fields of crystal, and mountains of it that sing…and the elven lady La'laylia’s amethyst palace would be a sight!

4) I would love to visit Verdanthame, where the elven lord has altered the English countryside with enormous trees that make homes for the forest people, where plants move and vines crawl and flowers blossom in incredible bursts of color.

5) And since I’m limited to only five, I guess the last place I would have to visit would be Dreamhame. The golden palace with its magical illusions would be awesome, even if some of the illusions were created by Roden and wouldn’t exactly be like a fairytale.

4 "souvenirs" you want to take back home with you.
1) A dragon. Not sure if that qualifies as a souvenir, but I really want one.
2) I’d like the elven lady La'laylia’s wardrobe, or at the very least, her diamond gown.
3) Giles’s sword.
4) I’m torn between the rose ring that blooms and the amethyst ring that makes you young. Err, okay, will have to go with the amethyst.

3 unusual foods you'll want to try.
1) English tea…with perhaps a bit of Elfweed stewed in.
2) Snipe. It’s just such an odd name, and I’ve never eaten a wild bird.
3) Syllabub. Again, the name is interesting, and it’s sweet. I love sweets.

2 interesting facts about Cecily and 2 interesting facts about Giles from The Lady of the Storm.
1) Cecily is probably the heroine closest to my heart, as she wants nothing more than a peaceful, quiet home life. But she rises to challenges when necessary. Cecily also appeared in book one of The Elven Lords series, The Fire Lord’s Lover, and I found her magical gifts of sea and sky--and how she might deal with such enormous power--too intriguing not to explore further.

2) Giles carries a cursed sword that sometimes has a will of its own. His need for revenge stems around that sword. His conceit about his looks made him flawed to me, but when he is cursed once again in an unexpected way, I managed to forgive his arrogance.

1 favorite scene from The Lady of the Storm. (Explain why it’s one of your favorites and share a short excerpt!)
I have many favorite scenes, so I’ll just share my first one. I loved the fantasy of this setting, Giles desire to take her there--which reflected his hidden feelings for Cecily, and Cecily’s revelation about why she feared the power she had inherited.
Magic had crafted this cave, he knew. But how or why, he couldn’t fathom. Seashells had been embedded into the walls to form pictures of sharks and dolphins, and seals near the bottom. A layer of blue shells separated water and sky, with a myriad of birds crafted above. Some of the birds he could put a name to: puffins, razorbills, and kittiwakes. Some he could not identify, and wondered if they were native to England… or perhaps that fabled land of Elfhame. For dragons had also been crafted on the ceiling above, with wings spread wide and claws outstretched. And although he’d only seen them from a distance, he knew the dragons had been brought with the elven lords when they’d opened that door between the worlds.

“It… moves,” breathed Cecily as she continued to stare about her. “Look, Giles, the dolphin is jumping through the waves. And, ho, that seal is evading that shark and making him angry.” Her eyes widened as she tilted her head farther back and stared at the ceiling. “Those dragons are battling one another… the black one is breathing fire, and the blue… that is Breden’s dragon-steed, Kalah. I’d heard that he belches lightning…” She shuddered, quickly pulling her gaze down from the scene above.

Giles rose and approached her horse. Her face had gone white. “What is it?”

She shook her head, her lower lip trembling.

“I wielded lightning once. It’s deadly. And so powerful.”

“When you escaped from Firehame?”

She nodded.

“And that is why you have turned your back on your magic?”

“No one should be able to hold that much power. It makes you feel…”

“Frightened?”

She smiled at that, too sadly for his liking. “No, Giles Beaumont. It makes you long for more. It makes you want to destroy, just because you can.”
Thank you so much, Michelle & Leslie, for having me here today. It’s such a pleasure to answer such interesting questions! I’m looking forward to responding to the comments! I would love to know if there are any avid fantasy readers, and if they enjoy an equal mix of romance in their stories as much as I do. ~Kathryne

*****
A big thanks to Kathryne for stopping by today and for the fun answers. The Lady of the Storm is already out in stores. To learn more about Kathryne's books, check out her website and follow her on Twitter.

GIVEAWAY
Trust me when I say that Cecily and Giles's world is amazing and you can experience it by reading The Lady of the Storm (which can be read as a standalone). Yes, you want this book! And thanks to Danielle and Sourcebooks I have two (2) copies of The Lady of the Storm to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.


IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thanks for entering and good luck!

**Don't forget to stop by tomorrow to read my review of The Lady of the Storm.**
Why we covet this book: We love a good road trip romance. And a brother's best friend as a love interest?? Love it--sounds like a winner!!

inhonorIn Honor by Jessi Kirby (out May 28, 2012)
Honor receives her brother's last letter from Iraq thee days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn't. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

For more info and to read an excerpt about In Honor, visit the author's blog. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mass Market: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: April 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780373837632
Source of my copy: Planned TV Arts
Series: More Than Words

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Each and every one of us has the ability to effect change—to make our world a better place. The dedicated women selected as this year's recipients of Harlequin's More Than Words award have changed lives, one good deed at a time. To celebrate their accomplishments, some of our bestselling authors have honored the winners by writing stories inspired by these real-life heroines.
We hope More Than Words inspires you to get in touch with the real-life heroine living inside of you.
In Carly Phillips's Compassion Can't Wait, two high school sweet hearts are reunited years later, as if by fate, and discover that if you believe in yourself and each other, anything is possible.
Donna Hill's Someplace Like Home tells the story of how one woman's dream becomes reality, as three special people learn that it's never too late to form a loving family.
In Jill Shalvis's What the Heart Wants, an honorable man must learn to forgive himself to regain the trust of the dedicated teacher who is the love of his life.


Michelle's Review:
I don't usually read anthologies but I made an exception to More Than Words because I really liked the idea behind it. Each year real-life heroines (women who have gone above and beyond to help their communities and those in need) are chosen for the Harlequin More Than Words award. Each story in this book is inspired by and incorporates one of the award recipient and their organization.

Each story begins with a sort of foreword about the charitable organization and the woman (or women in the case of WET) which I really liked because I've never heard of them before and it was great learning about them. I thought all three authors did a good job incorporating the organization they were writing about. All three stories were heartwarming and lovely and uplifting but not preachy. All the heroines were going through hard times but were able to find love in unexpected circumstances and places. Two of the stories in this anthology are second-chance-at-love, which I really liked. I don't usually like reading short stories because I feel like there's usually not enough character and plot development. I had the some of the same issues here but for the most part I was happy to find that each were nicely paced, with enough emotion and sweet romance (some kissing and touching but everything else is fade-to-black) in the amount of pages (about a hundred each) they have.

I don't have a favorite as all three stories were equally enjoyable. I recommend this novel for everyone who loves a sweet romantic story that will uplift and inspire as well as sends out a great message. 4 stars

The three women and organizations being honored in this book are:
  • Valerie Sobel, the founder of The Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation: Helps single-parent families with urgent expenses so that a parent can stay at their sick child's side.
  • Nancy Abrams and Eva's Initiatives' Family Reconnect Program: Helps to reconnect a child and their family and rebuild family relationships after a breakdown.
  • Sasha Eden and Victoria Pettibone, founders of WET's Risk Takers Series: A program that helps young girls take empowered risks to improve their lives and they use films to initiate discussion.
For more information about the More Than Words award, its recipients and to download free eBooks inspired by the last two winners visit: http://www.harlequinmorethanwords.com/
toptentuesday
"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new Top Ten list topic every week and this week is a freebie--a top ten list of anything in literature. I decided to list books I need to re-read sometime in the near future:

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
After watching Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, I knew I had to re-read the whole entire series all over again.

annakarenina2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Before I started book blogging and have more books on my shelf than I have time to read, I used to re-read P&P once a year.

3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I read this novel in high school. I need to read it now with adult eyes.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Another book I used to re-read once a year before I had more books on my to-be-read shelf that I know what to do with them.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I devoured this book because it was so good. I didn't take the time to appreciate all the nuances and details.

6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
I just want to experience this book all over again.

crownduel7. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
I read this book in high school and I remember really, really loving it. Unfortunately, I don't remember the story anymore but this book pops up once in a while and everyone seems to love it too.

8. Joining by Johanna Lindsey
One of the first romances I've ever read, if not the first that got me hooked. I found this book in my mom's romance novel stash when I was 13 years old and devoured it in one day. I wonder if I'd love it as much as I did back then.

9. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
One of my all-time favorite book. Another book I used to re-read every year until my TBR pile exploded.

10. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Another book I read in high school that I need to re-read with adult eyes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

nearwitch ARC: 282 pages
Publisher: Hyperion

Release Date: August 2, 2011
ISBN: 9781423137870

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Amazon)
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy. Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.


Leslie's Review:
Just from reading the synopsis of The Near Witch I knew that this was going to be a beautiful fairytale story and I had pretty high expectations for it. I did have minor issues with this book but it still turned out to be a fantastic read that left me breathless and excited for what debut author Victoria Schwab will write next.

The Near Witch was a beautiful, lovely and intense story and I loved Ms. Schwab's lyrical writing style. I did have a hard time getting into it in the beginning because the pacing was really slow and it didn't grab my attention. Once I was one-third of the way in, however, the pace did start to pick up and from there I couldn't put it down. The climax of the story was amazing, thrilling and heart-pounding. Then, it tapered off to a very nice falling action to an ending that was predictable but made me happy nonetheless and I closed the book with a contented sigh. I am happy to say there were no crazy cliffhangers here--the story concluded satisfyingly with no loose ends.

I thought the main character, Lexi, was absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed reading about her throughout the book. She was very strong, brave, smart and resourceful. More than once I wanted to reach out to her and comfort her. Besides the slow beginning my other issue with this book was Cole the love interest. He was a mysterious, kind of a wallflower character to me and I really didn't know what to make of him. My first impression of Cole stuck with me throughout the book and even when Cole started to do more and become more of a hero to Lexi, his actions still never really made an impression on me.

I do recommend The Near Witch to anyone who loves a good fairytale because this book will bring back that cozy feeling you had when you were a child when reading a fairytale bedtime story. I had pretty minor issues with this book. It didn't help that I was in a bit of a reading slump when I first began to read this book so that probably colored my perception of it in the beginning. This book was a wonderful debut and I am very excited to read more by Ms. Schwab--she is another author to look out for in the future. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In Our Mailbox (38)

Sunday, August 14, 2011 with
Leslie and I got some awesome books this week. We are especially excited about Jackson Pearce's Sweetly (we are HUGE Jackson Pearce fans).

I am really excited about the romance novels I got for review especially Theresa Romain's Season for Temptation (Courtney Milan recently raved about it which made me more excited to get to it). I'm eager to read Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis too--I heard wonderful things about it.
I got a wonderful surprise from Simon & Schuster--an ARC of the upcoming children's book M.O.M (Mom Operating Manual) by Doreen Cronin (she wrote the awesome Click, Clack, Moo) and Laura Cornell and awesome M.O.M swag!! We forgot to included it on our last week's IMM but Leslie got a new dust jacket for her copy of Nightshade so it will match her copy of Wolfsbane.

For Review
Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
A Most Dangerous Profession by Karen Hawkins
Season for Temptation by Theresa Romain
Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis
M.O.M (Mom Operating Manual) by Doreen Cronin and Laura Cornell
(A big THANK YOU to Simon & Schuster, LBYR/Hachette, Theresa and Jill for sending us the books.)

Won
Secret Desires of a Gentleman by Laura Lee Guhrke
(Won from Jennifer Haymore's 30 Historical Romances in 30 Days giveaway--thank you!)

Fun Stuff
M.O.M swag
Season for Temptation signed cover flat
Jennifer Haymore swag
Nightshade dust jacket


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.