Friday, August 31, 2012

Destiny and Deception by Shannon Delany

This is the fourth book in the 13 to Life series by Shannon Delany.

My review of #1: 13 to Life.
My review of #2: Secrets and Shadows.
My review of #3: Bargains and Betrayals.

In book 3, we ended with all of the werewolves in Junction taking the cure after Pietr's mother dies from drinking the cure.

With his mother's death still fresh in his mind, he takes a risk and decides he doesn't want to be a werewolf anymore. Life doesn't seem worth it after all of the planning they went to getting her out of her prison for the past 2 years.

But after he takes the cure, Jess sees a drastic change in him. Instead of being focused on Jess like he used to, he's more interested in school work and video games. It's like Jess isn't even there anymore.

Jess doesn't know what to do. She doesn't want to be needy, but she feels misplaced and unwanted now that the change has happened.

Then, a new pack comes to town. Their leader, Marlaena, is just trying to survive and keep all 13 of them safe. But she finds out that there is a Russian man that can give them the things they've always wanted: warm place to sleep, food, clothing, etc.

She just has to do a few favors for him...

When Marlaena tries to talk to Pietr and the other Rusakova's, they tell her that they are no longer werewolf anymore and that their pack and stay wherever they like, as long as they leave their family and friends alone. But Marlaena doesn't believe them. She can still smell wolf on them, even if they deny it.

Things at the high school aren't getting any better, either. More kids are committing suicide, the food is making the kids to unusual things, and it's more of a ghost school now than a high school. But when one of Jess's friends gets sick from the food, Alexi decides he will help her, even if it means going to another high class, money grabbing authority.

Will things go well for the residents of Junction? Can Jess and Pietr get back what they used to? And what is Marlaena's fascination with the Rusakova's, especially Pietr? Read Destiny and Deception to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Sigh. I really hoped things would have gone better for Jess and Pietr. I think I was just as disappointed as Jess was when Pietr grew more distant from her.

I really wished that Delany would have wrote a point of view through Pietr. That might have made me understand, even if I wouldn't have liked what I found out. He's definitely a frustrating mystery in this novel which made me frustration and aggravated throughout most of this novel.

This time there are 3 point of view narrations. We still have Jess and Alexi, but now we had Marlaena's point of view and what she thinks when she's with her pack.

So, this was kind of a disappointing, slow, uneventful novel. I think so far it was my least favorite book of the series.

I really, really hope that the end wraps everything up the way I want it to. Unfortunately I have to wait until it comes to the library to figure out the ending to this series. (The book just came out August 7, 2012 so most libraries don't have it yet...)

Overall, I don't have too much to say about this novel. Like I said, there wasn't too much that happened. A lot of whining from Jess, a lot of whining from pack members of Marlaena's pack, and a lot of potential heroic opportunities from Alexi.

And yes, like all of her novels from this series, Delany left us with a cliff hanger. Probably the best one yet and I don't have the book to read it right away!

Even though I'm not having the best time with this series so far, I still think that others will enjoy it, so if you like werewolves and a torturous love cycle, this book would definitely be up your alley!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bargains and Betrayals by Shannon Delany

This is the third novel in the 13 to Life series by Shannon Delany.

My review of #1: 13 to Life.
My review of #2: Secrets and Shadows.

At the end of the second novel, Jess was forced to go to an asylum because her father thought it was best. After she's been with Pietr, things have gotten a little wild, dangerous, and downright scary. Her father doesn't know that Pietr is a werewolf, so he thinks it's Pietr's bad influence that is causing her distance.

So now Pietr and Jess are separated. She can't leave and he's not allowed to visit, but both are trying hard to get back to each other.

At the asylum (Pecan Place), Jess finds out that the asylum is not what it seems to be. Many of the patients aren't fully...human... and they keep taking Jess's blood, even though they don't take any other patients blood.

Turns out that they are part of the CIA force that is after the Rusakova's for their werewolf gene and found out that Jess's blood is part of the cure. So they devised a plan to get Jess there to have unlimited supply of her blood to use for multiple experiments.

Meanwhile, Pietr is not only trying to find a way to get Jess out of Pecan Place, but also to save their mother, who is trapped underground in a glass cage for the past 2 years.

But with becoming the new alpha and having to make decisions, he has to decide how far he is willing to go in order to save both women that he loves.

It may be too much for Jess to handle when she gets out of Pecan Place and finds a new Pietr standing in front of her.

Will both characters be reunited again? Can Pietr save both women without losing Jess in the process? Or will everything start to crumble between Jess and Pietr? Read Bargains and Betrayals to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Oh Jess and Pietr. At least in this novel they are trying to get back together instead of pushing each other apart!

I thought this was a great installment to the series so far. The reader got more information and a new place to hate (Pecan Place) but also learned more about the curse and how to cure it.

Also, this book was very unique compared to the first 2 books because there are two point of views!

One is Jess, like the first two novels, but the other is Alexi (Max, Cat and Pietr's older, adoptive brother) so we get more perspectives throughout this novel.

So, yes, we progressed more in this novel with figuring out about the Rusakova family, seeing Pietr became the alpha he was meant to be, and might see some struggles for all characters and new developments start to happen.

I would say that I liked this book better than the second because the characters were trying to get to each other rather than keeping their distance. I'm not sure if there will ever be a book for them where it's all lovey dovey, togetherness, so I'm accepting that fact and enjoying what I'm reading.

Now, off to the 4th novel!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Secrets and Shadows by Shannon Delany

This is the second novel in 13 to Life series by Shannon Delany.

My review of #1: 13 to Life.

Now that Jess knows the Rusakova's secret, she thought she would be even closer to Pietr than before.

Boy did she think wrong. Instead of getting closer, Pietr is pushing her away. He is staying with Sarah instead of leaving her, like they planned, and Jess is really confused as to what went wrong between the two of them.

Without Pietr around, Jess is finding herself around Derek a lot. Maybe it's to make Pietr jealous, or maybe because he makes Jess feel wanted, but there are times when she can't remember the time spent with Derek. Like blank spots in her memory.

But when Jess woke up at Derek's house not knowing what happened, she called Max (Pietr's brother) and he came to get her. That was when Jess realized Derek was not who he seemed he was and she was told to stay away from him, for good.

Even though Jess and Pietr aren't together, she still finds herself in the middle of the Rusakova's affairs - and finds out that she might be the cure to their curse!

Being involved with a werewolf family is not as ideal as it may sound. Especially when the CIA and the Russian Mafia is determined to get the Rusakova family in their grasp.

But when Jess's dad gets in the way...things are not looking good for Jess and Pietr to ever be a normal couple.

Will Pietr and Jess ever get together? What could possibly happen to split them apart, for good? Read Secrets and Shadows to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Okay. I really like this storyline, I really do. But I despise stories where the main two characters who are so obviously in love decide that the other is safer without them around. Keeping their distance from the one they love in order to protect them? Utter rubbish! It makes no sense!

And yes, that's exactly what happened here. I think Jess got more hurt because Pietr was staying away from her than if he would have been her boyfriend this whole novel. Which is what ALWAYS happens in this types of plots.


Ahem, enough ranting, back to the story.

So Jess again is a great character. She tried her hardest to get Pietr to stay with her, to no avail, but try she did. She even helped the family with their werewolf problem even though Pietr was being a jerk.

I did cringe every time she was around Derek though. Which shows my knack for knowing who is the right and wrong guy for her ;-)

More answers were revealed in this story about the Rusakova heritage, which is great for the reader. And, again, there is a cliffhanger ended that is bound to bring more readers back to this series to find out what happens to Jess. It was quite a dramatic ending too.

So, I'm off to read the next one and I sincerely hope things get better between Jess and Pietr. I mean, why am I reading this series if not to see these two lovebirds together? :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

13 to Life by Shannon Delany

This is the first novel in the 13 to Life series by Shannon Delany.

Jess hasn't been having a good life the past few months. So when she is called to the guidance office, she's expecting the worse.

When she's told she has to show the new, hot, moody boy around the school for the first few days, let's just say she wasn't all that happy about it.

In fact, she was probably the one girl that wasn't impressed by Pietr Rusakova. Which of course made her very interesting in Pietr's eyes and he wanted to know more.

With the recent events that happened with Jess's mom's death and her friend Sarah's memory loss, Pietr was too much to handle. Then, Sarah became very possessive of Pietr, something that hadn't happened since her accident, so Jess felt it necessary that Pietr and Sarah get together as a couple.

Even though Jess was very, very attracted to Pietr. And sometimes kissed him when she shouldn't have.

Along with this new boy/best friend drama, Jess has been in contact with large animals - larger than she's ever seen before. They are all around her farm and her dogs go crazy when they are around.

Plus, with the wolf situation that happened in a few towns over, things were definitely changing in the town of Junction.

Will Jess figure out what the Rusakova's were keeping secret? Can she stay away from Pietr so Sarah can  have her happily ever after? Or are things about to get very weird and dark? Read 13 to Life to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Goodreads and LibraryThing have both been suggesting these books to me, and boy am I glad they did! There was so much mystery and romantic suspense in this novel that I couldn't put it down! Finished it in one day and am very glad that I have the next novel in the series in my possession to continue the story!

I love Jess. She is one of those characters who wants to do everything right for her friends before herself. This occurred because of what happened with her mother and her friend Sarah, but now the best interest of her friends is her top concern - no matter how hard it may be for her.

I also really liked the first meeting between Jess and Pietr. It was dislike at first sight, but slowly got more relaxing and friendly, though not as friendly as either character would have wanted it.

And I think that both characters are VERY mature for the age, having been through horrors already in their young age.

One thing I will say is that there wasn't too many answers to this complex story. I know it's because it's part of a series, but it would have been nice to get SOME answers before the end of the novel.

I guess it will just leave the reader in suspense until they can get their hands on the second novel.

For anyone who is interested in supernatural and *ahem, spoiler, spoiler* werewolves (no, no vampires here!) then this book is just for you! I really enjoyed the fast paced reading and I was definitely craving for more at the end of the novel.

Yes, it is a cliffhanger.

Good thing, though, is that the whole series is now out and complete! So no waiting!

Off to the next one! Fingers crossed that it gets better and better :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

This is the first novel in the Gilded Wings series by Aimee Agresti.

Haven has fought hard her whole life to do everything perfectly. It's not like she wants to be the best, but she wants to appreciate everything that she has.

When she was 5, she was found on the side of a road with cuts and scars. One of the nurses at the hospital she was taken to took her in and raised her as her own, giving Haven a chance to live a normal life.

So when Haven was given the chance to intern at a new, prestigious hotel, Haven jumped at the chance to get more experience to hopefully gain her entry into one of the colleges she wants to attend after high school.

It also helped that there would be two other students from her high school there. Her best friend Dante and another smart student, who is somewhat shy, Lance.

The owner of the hotel, Aurelia, is a very young, successful business woman that Haven could learn something new from her. And Aurelia's second in command, Lucian, is very yummy to look at, so the job could definitely be worse.

But things are not as they seem at the Lexington Hotel. Something odd is going on with the staff. They are acting like zombies, living in a shell with no emotional attachments or excitement. Lance, Haven, and Dante are the only ones that think for themselves, with the exception of Lucian and Aurelia.

Then things start to get odd. Haven is given a book, with no text inside. But after a few days, an entry was written inside from someone other than Haven. The person writes that she needs to train, run, build strength, gather resources like food, light, rope, etc.

When Haven doesn't follow the directions the first time, she finds out that the book is right. Whoever is writing to her has Haven's best interest at heart and now she is listening to everything that is being written in there.

Haven can't trust anyone at Lexington Hotel, but finds consolidation in Lance when Dante is sucked into the ways of the hotel staff.

Can Haven figure out what is going on and stop the evilness at Lexington Hotel? Can she get Dante away from the ways of the hotel? Read Illuminate by Aimee Agresti to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Seems the theme for angels is spiraling in the last few years for YA fiction! This is the first novel I've read of Aimee Agresti and it definitely has a different twist to the angel story that other's that I've read before.

The story was good. I liked where the author was trying to go with it. I just found myself lost through some pages. And other times I thought that the story dragged on and on.

Granted, there was a lot of information in this story, which is why it's 500+ pages, but I think it could have been shorter.

Also, the whole book talking to Haven? I could not stop thinking about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I'm a huge HP fan and every time there was a scene where Haven was reading from the book I kept flashing back to HP.

I thought the writing was really good, but there was just something about the novel overall where it just didn't make it to my top pile of favorite books. I also found myself taking more breaks through the book to check my email or go get snacks I didn't need, whereas if I was absorbed in this book, I couldn't pry it from my hands for any reason.

I am intrigued to see where the author will take the next novel(s). If I notice the release date and an curious by the blurb, I may pick up the second novel, but I won't go out of my way to get it on release day.

For anyone who likes mystery, stories about angels and demons, and about a girl who learns more about her troubled past, I would recommend this book to you. If you want a fast paced excitement thriller, I'm not sure if this book will be the one you're looking for.

The second novel, Infatuate (sounds like a great title! Intriguing!), comes out in March 2013.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Echo Emerson
Before the incident, Echo had it all. She was part of the "it" crowd at school, ate with the most popular and most beautiful girl in the building, and had things going great for her.

But after the incident, she was regarded as a "freak", and where ever she went there were whispers about her and what she did.

Only 3 people know what really happened to her that last month of sophomore year.

And only 2 people know the details of that horrible night.

Echo is not one of them.

She has this void in her mind where she can't remember what exactly happened to her to give her the hideous scars running up and down her arms.

Echo wants to remember, but no one will tell her what happened. And no one was willing to ask her, what happened, until Noah came into her life.

Noah Hutchins
Noah is known as the "smoking-hot, girl-using loner" who wears the black leather motorcycle jacket. All the girls fantasize about him, but none want to be the next used one-night stand in his book.

But that is not the whole Noah Hutchins. Going from foster home to foster home has made Noah grow deep, tough skin. He doesn't care what others think of him.

Until he meets Echo.

After his new guidance counselor Mrs. Collins gives Noah an ultimatum, Noah and Echo find themselves together a lot.

This doesn't bode well for Noah as he needs to keep his eye on the prize, and Echo should not be his prize.

These two students are about to learn first hand that there is some truth to the phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Because neither Noah nor Echo are who they appear to be to the rest of the student body at Eastwick High. There are terrors so horrible that they may just need each other to lean on one another to survive the horrors that will come in the near future.

My Thoughts/Reflections
Wow. I have been reading great reviews about Pushing the Limits, and I was not disappointed!!

I read this book in one sitting. I didn't want to put it down when it was finished, but it had to happen. I absolutely loved this novel!

Not only does this novel have the typical high school setting where everyone's opinion matters and if you don't like it you're an outcast, but there is so much more to this book that makes the reader need to keep reading to unravel the next clue to both Noah and Echo's lives.

The situation with Echo is heartbreaking. She is so confused and wants answers, but finds road blocks at every turn. Following every rule her father makes, she never stops to think that maybe she can find the answers that she need on her own, until she meets Noah.

And Noah is so much older than his age. He has been through so much and he has grown up too quickly to just be a senior in high school. He's already making plans to take care of a family instead of doing what normal high school seniors are thinking about.

With the two back stories of Noah and Echo, the reader is zipping through this novel at a fast speed to figure out the troubled past that both Noah and Echo lived through.

It is dark and edgy, a roller coaster of emotion and romance that will leave the reader wanting more by the end of this novel.

I would most definitely recommend this novel to anyone! Boys and girls! And, this is through the viewpoint of both Noah and Echo, giving any gender of reader a chance to connect to the characters of the story.

I will now be recommending this to anyone that likes contemporary because I feel that this can open up reader's eyes to events that could happen and how the characters bravely fought their way through these challenges.

And, to make things EVEN BETTER, the author Katie McGarry is going to write an add on novel about a different side character that was introduced in this novel (Beth) called Dare You To, which will come out sometime in 2013.

I cannot wait to read more of McGarry's novels and she will definitely be on my "To Watch and Read" list for future novels from this great author!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

After 6 months, Nikki has returned from the Everneath, an underworld where she has been for the past 100 years (Everneath time, that is).

Now Nikki has 6 months before she is dragged back to Everneath. Unlike last time, she gets a second chance to connect with her friends and family, and with her boyfriend Jack.

But how can she tell them what happened? No one would believe that she’s been in the underworld this whole time, and they certainly wouldn’t believe her if she said the person who took her there was rock-star musican Cole.

The hardest person to reconnect with is Jack. He took her leaving really hard and hasn’t found a way to get over her yet.

Nikki doesn’t think that getting back together with him would be a good idea. She’ll be leaving in 6 months, which will put him right back where he was.

And not only does Nikki have to figure out how to live on Earth again, Cole followed her from Everneath, trying to get her to come back with him.

Nikki has some hard decisions to make. Will she go with Cole to a world where she will lose her soul or spend her last days on Earth with a guy she’ll eventually break his heart again? Read Everneath by Brodi Ashton to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Oh my, the story about Persephone and Hades has grown quite popular in the last couple of years in Young Adult literature! (For example, I've reviewed Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman and Abandon by Meg Cabot.)

This story was unique to other rewrites of Persephone and Hades so it was set apart from the other novels that have come out.

But for some reason I didn’t get into this novel as well as the other ones. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the story or the fact that Nikki had a hard time figuring out exactly what she wanted. I felt like the characters didn’t really grow as much as they could have throughout this novel either.

It was hard to tell who Nikki would pick between the two boys: Cole and Jack. And at times, both guys were part good and evil, so it was a toss-up. But I never had a person who I wanted to win out in the end, like I usually do in a love triangle, which was weird for me.

It almost seemed like this novel was bland for me. Not a lot of action, not a lot of romance, not a lot of growth.

For anyone who likes the Persephone and Hades story, I would definitely suggest reading this novel to see if you enjoy it more than I did. Maybe I’m just tired of this storyline because it’s been written so often, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea this time.

This is the first in a series, so maybe it will get better in the next novel, Everbound, that comes out January 22, 2013. I may grab it and see if it gets better depending on my mood for this storyline, who knows!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Necklace of Water by Cate Tiernan

This is the fourth, and final, novel in the Balefire series by Cate Tiernan.

My review of #1: A Chalice of Wind.
My review of #2: A Circle of Ashes.
My review of #3: A Feather of Stone.

After the spell the coven performed in the third novel, everyone is now changed, based on what they were aiming for during the ritual.

The two younger "immortals" Richard and Manon started to age, to look like adults instead of children.

Axelle wanted more power - but she didn't specify how to get those powers...

Thais wanted to know who killed her father, and she got her answer.

And Clio wants to be immortal. She saw a premonition of her dead, drowned, and she has decided that she wants to stay 18 forever, to not die like her vision foresaw.

So now everyone has their hidden agenda. Thais wants to get revenge for her father's death; Clio is learning how to become immortal.

Both are dabbling in things they have no experience in, and could destroy themselves. And they are keeping it hidden from one another, knowing the disapproving looks they will receive.

But than an unexpected member of the original 13 from the coven 250 years ago shows up. And finally reveals the secret to their survival all of these years, and why she is back again after all of these years in hiding.

What will happen to each twin? Will they go over to the dark side? Can they save each other from what lies ahead? Read A Necklace of Water by Cate Tiernan to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was an intriguing quartet. I loved the first two novels, wasn't impressed by the third, and the fourth felt lacking to me.

I think I expected a better ending to this story, but it just seemed to barely fit together and I felt like there were unexplained questions that weren't answered by the time I got to the last page.

The couples throughout this story fell through like I thought they would, leaving me happy in that context.

One thing that I really enjoyed through this last novel was the inner struggle each twin went through. There were some tough decisions to make and they were not very open about what they wanted to do - because it involved magick that they thought no one would approve of.

There was great character development throughout this series and I was happy to see a happy-ever-after happen, even if it wasn't how I thought it would end originally.

Even with the disappointing last two novels, I would still recommend this series to anyone who likes stories about witchcraft and magic, along with an unexpected twist to the storyline.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Feather of Stone by Cate Tiernan

This is the third novel in the Balefire series by Cate Tiernan.

My review of #1: A Chalice of Wind.
My review of #2: A Circle of Ashes.

After Daedalus, the leader of the new coven, forcefully summoned the last two members of the group, things started to get a little tense.

Daedalus wants to rejoin the group and do the ritual that made everyone immortal 250 years ago.

Someone is still out there trying to kill Thais and Clio - for what reason is anyone's guess, but the girls are on the lookout and doing multiple spells to find out who the wanna-be-killer is.

The love interest between Kevin-Thais-Luc-Clio-Richard is becoming more and more intense, and confusing, for the two girls. They can't figure out what they are feeling or if they are feeling things that are completely wrong.

The other members of the coven (Petra, Sophi, Manon, Ouida, Marcel, Jules, Axelle, Claire, Daedalus, Luc, Richard) all have their own agenda for this reunion ritual - and all are keeping their secrets closely guarded against everyone else in the circle.

But last time they did this ritual, someone was killed. Is this ritual too risky? Will another person have to die in order to complete the ritual? And if so, who will be the unlucky person that will die this time? Read A Feather of Stone by Cate Tiernan to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This might be the "dud" book in the series. I found myself wanting more action - there was less than the previous two.

However, back stories were answered about the other 11 original members of the coven throughout this novel, giving the reader more insight on what happened 250 years ago when they first got together.

The reader also finds out who was trying to kill the twins, even though there is more to the answer than one culprit.

It felt like there wasn't much to this novel in the series, not enough to talk about in a review anyway. I did enjoy it, but I think I'll like the next, and last novel a lot more as it is the end and will give me all of the answers (or so I hope!).

I am intrigued to see how this love pentagon works out. I have my favorites with who should be with the other, but we'll see if I'm getting the right vibes that Tiernan is sending out through her writing and matchmaking!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Circle of Ashes by Cate Tiernan

This is the second novel in the Balefire series by Cate Tiernan.

My review of #1: A Chalice of Wind.

Now that Thais knows the family secret of being a long-lost twin and a witch, adjusting to life in New Orleans was starting to become easier.

That is until Thais and Clio try to do magic together and find themselves thrown from the middle of the circle they created. It’s assumed that there is something wrong with Thais magic, because this has never happened to Clio before when she does spells.

Along with worrying about the magic, Thais and Clio have been threatened and almost killed multiple times. It seems that someone doesn’t want the girls to be there, but they can’t figure out who is sending threatening spells toward them.

Daedalus, the “leader” of the coven, is desperate to get all 13 members of the coven together. So far, two members have resisted his calling, so he is going to do whatever is necessary to get them to New Orleans.

Not only do the girls have magic problems, there is a romantic problem brewing for both of them. They are both avoiding Luc – the boy that was dating both of them at the same time – or at least trying their hardest to avoid him.

Thais has found a nice, good looking, normal boy who she is starting to see. Kevin is no Luc, but he’s a sweet guy all the same.

And Clio has a bit of trouble brewing. Richard, another witch from the new coven, is somehow on her radar. She’s not sure how it happened, but after an abrupt kiss, Clio is having a hard time getting Richard out of her head.

Will things start to calm down for the twin witches? Can Thais figure out her magic problem, or will it spell trouble for her in the near future? Read A Circle of Ashes by Cate Tiernan to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Again, a great installment by Tiernan! In this second novel we got more backstory with the other 11 members of the coven, the “immortal” members and what they have been doing the past 200 years waiting for the 12th and 13th member to arrive.

I also really enjoy learning more about Thais and Clio and their thoughts on each other and the problems the coven is having.

The two girls have definitely grown since the first novel. Thais is not so shy and is starting to stick up for what she thinks, and Clio is taking Thais under her wing when explaining magic and spells.

Daedalus is bad news, and I wish he would stop with his ultimate plan and just let the twins get used to each other and sharing things, but I know that won’t happen!

Also, the romantic twist with Clio and Richard has me very intrigued! I can’t wait to see where this is going to go during the last two novels of the series! And as much as I like the romantic tension between the girls and Luc, I’m not sure I’m going to like where Luc is about to go in the next novels…

Again, for anyone who is interested in witchcraft and a very weird romantic triangle…square? This is a great novel for you to read! The writing is amazing and the story will leave you wanting more information!

Off to the third book in this series!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Chalice of Wind by Cate Tiernan

This is the first novel in the Balefire series by Cate Tiernan.

After traveling across Europe for 4 weeks, Thais Allard returns home to find out her father was killed in a car accident. Since she has no other family, she was going to stay with her neighbor for her senior year and then figure out where to go to college.

But a stranger comes in and says that her father wanted Thais to stay with her if anything had happened to him. Thais has no idea who this woman (Axelle) is, but she is forced to leave Connecticut and move to New Orleans.

Once Thais goes to school, everyone is looking at her as if they've seen a ghost. Some act as if they already know her, others are bewildered by the sight of Thais.

It just so happens that there is another girl who looks exactly like Thais. Down to the birthmark on their cheeks.

Clio Martin is stunned when she sees her reflection looking back at her at school, just with a different hairstyle.

The girls find out that they are twins separated at birth. Clio grew up with her heritage - they are wiccans and practice magick. Thais is thrown into the wiccan world, not knowing if she believes in magick or not.

Things become clearer when other witches explain their history - the girls are part of the original 15 families of witchcraft and, because they are twins, their circle is now 13 - the number they need to complete their circle. Without 13, their circle is nothing and they cannot perform circle magic.

But things are not always as they seem. Both girls have fallen in love with an older, mysterious boy - but later find out that not only is their love the same person, but he is also part of their new circle.

And events are happening that make it seem like someone is trying to kill one or both of the twins. Can Clio and Thais trust these complete strangers? Will joining the circle be the best thing, or the worst mistake of their lives? Read A Chalice of Wind by Cate Tiernan to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I adore Cate Tiernan. I read her series Sweep when I was in high school and loved every novel, so it goes without saying that I enjoyed the first book in this other series she wrote.

This book reminded me of Sweep but also the series T*Witches by H.B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld with the twins separated at birth that are witches.

There was a part in the story where I was completely lost. Names were being thrown out of the pages left and right and I wasn't sure who they were or how they related to the two girls, but after getting through the book I see the connection. It was just frustrating to not know who was who when I first started the book.

I like both Clio and Thais in their different ways.

Clio is brave, outgoing, sexy, and smart when it comes to magick.

Thais is shy, polite, reserved but also smart and brassy when she has to be. She knows nothing about magick but is willing to learn and learns fast.

Their reaction when first meeting one another was to be expected and I'm glad that Tiernan didn't make them over excited to find out they have a long-lost sister. That wouldn't have been realistic and she made my wishes come true.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes stories about magic or witches. There are other side stories in this novel, but you have to like magic and witches to appreciate this series.

The good thing about this book is I bought the Ominous novel, so I have all 4 volumes of this series in one book! And I'm going to jump into the next one! :D

Monday, August 13, 2012

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Noelle doesn't like going to high school. Well, who does? But Noelle is one of the poorest students at this high school - everyone else is really rich, so she gets bullied and picked on.

But Noelle also doesn't like to be at home. Her mother always complains about work, she blames their poorness on Noelle, and doesn't leave any food for Noelle to make lunches.

So Noelle is stunned when gorgeous, rich, and nice guy Julian starts to talk to Noelle - and not to make fun of her or bully her. He actually talks about topics Noelle can relate to.

That all stops, though, when Julian asks her out on a semi-date and Noelle turns him down. But Noelle knows that once Julian finds out exactly what Noelle goes through between her mother and the bullying classmates, he won't want to be with her.

When a classmate that Noelle somewhat knew, Ali, commits suicide, Noelle realizes that she needs to start changing her attitude toward life. And to start sticking up for herself instead of letting the bullies get away with every mean thing they do.

But a life of being bullied puts pressure on a person. Can Noelle finally go after what she wants and stand up to the bullies? Or will she stay the same shy, timid, and scared person she's always been? Read Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This book has a great message to the readers. Bullying is a huge part of high school, no matter where you live and I think it's a great topic to write about and show the readers that anyone can find help they need when being bullied.

I'm just not sure that this was my favorite novel. It's a very short novel, just 202 pages, but it seemed to take me forever to get through it.

I loved how Noelle grew as a character and a person throughout this novel. She started to make more friends, found a group that she loved, and maybe found her lifetime goal career after she gets out of high school.

And I love her determination to her her friend, Sherae, after a bad relationship ended abruptly.

Just, for some reason, I found something to be lacking in this story. Nothing horrible, just something little that I was missing.

This topic can really be helpful to teen girls (or guys as well) who are bullied. I think that any teen reader should pick this up and read Noelle's story to see how well she grew throughout the last semester of one high school year.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer

**I won this eBook novella from the author through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway free in exchange for my honest review.**

For years now, there has been a drought that has not let up.

Water is timed per month - if a household uses too much water in a month they will lose their water until the first of the next month. Instead of having water bottles to drink, they have gel packs to conserve water.

Food is bland and nothing tastes well. No citrus food at all.

Clothes are dusty and heat stroke is a very common way to die if people aren't carefully when they are outside during the day.

Fortunately, there is a way out of this miserable life. At the age of 17 or older, anyone can sign the Forever Contract, where they get to live in their own virtual world. Wherever they want to live - in the city, country, beach, small town - they will be able to go there in a blink of an eye.

Water and food are there with the very thought of what you want. You will not want anything in Forever - it is a virtual heaven.

Casey is turning 17 soon. She wants to sign the Forever Contract and join her older brother, Ben, who went there a few years ago.

Casey's boyfriend, James, is forbidding to sign the contract. He says that no one is living in this virtual world. They are actually dying in this world.

James knows things that Casey doesn't about the Forever Contract. Things that will make him try to keep her from signing it no matter what the cost is.

But will James stop Casey in time from joining the Forever Contract world? Will anybody listen to James's pleas? Read The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Wow. I didn't think I would enjoy this story as much as I did. There have been a lot of dystopian novels coming out this summer and it's starting to be a "too-much" topic for me to keep reading, but Avery Sawyer really hooked me and got me sucked into this futuristic world!

(Also, side note, it wasn't hard to be sucked into this drought world because this summer has been the driest I've been through, so I could definitely see this occurring in the future! At least right now, when it's 100 degrees every day!)

This story was told by both Casey and James, so we got to see why each character chose the path that they wanted.

Casey is a fighter, and I love tough, strong female characters. She also listened to James even though she disagreed with his viewpoints on the Forever Contract.

James is a smart, nerdy guy but also very attractive and easy going. He was determined to get Casey to listen to him, even if it meant breaking a few laws to get his point across!

There were a few grammatical and punctuation errors that I found while reading this 33 page novella, something I've come to expect when getting either 1) an electronic copy or 2) an early reader copy. Not too many errors, just enough for me to notice while flying through this novella.

Overall, I thought this was a great novella! I did have a problem with the abrupt ending and I'm hoping that Sawyer will continue this story either with more novella's or with regular length novels. I need to find out what happens to James and Casey!!!

I would definitely recommend this novella to everyone - guys and girls since there are narrators of both genders. This goes along with the dystopian genre that has grown popular this past year, but is unique in it's own way to make it stand out from other novels being published.

The Sixth Wife by Laura Lond

**I won this eBook novella from the author through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway free in exchange for my honest review.**

Adelia knew when the faerie knight, Sir Ametar, asked for her hand in marriage, it would not be the same as a human marriage.

Ametar is hundreds of years old. He has been through tens of battles and has had 5 other marriages.

Adelia is an 18 year old human girl who fell in love with Ametar the moment her eyes saw him. So knowing they were completely different didn't matter, as long as she could spend her life with him.

And that's exactly what she did.

Now, however, she's 75 and she is starting to show her age. Adelia doesn't want Ametar to see her get any older than she is - she already looks like his grandmother. So Adelia decided she's going to live the rest of her life in a cottage alone to keep Ametar from her decaying and death.

But Ametar doesn't want her to leave. He has fallen completely in love with Adelia - as much in love as he was with his first human wife. However, he understands why she wants to leave, but it is heartbreaking for him.

If only there was a way to keep her with him forever, without the thought of dying hanging over their heads. Could there ever be a way for them to be together? Read The Sixth Wife by Laura Lond to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was a great short read! Even though it was just 16 pages long, I felt like I got enough content and story that a normal length book would have, except none of the extensive description.

I was able to see the setting of the story, and get the feeling that while Adelia and Ametar were glad to be married, the tension around anyone else (fey or human) was unnerving for both characters.

Adelia was really brave throughout this novella. How many human girls would jump into a marriage after meeting a handsome faerie knight who they know nothing about, and know that they will be in this marriage until death? Well... apparently 5 others, but that's still really brave and unknown!

Also, because I've edited a few eBooks or self-published books, I always look for grammatical or punctuation errors, and was really pleased to see that there weren't any noticeable through my first reading!

I thought this was a great read and a different storyline played with faeries - instead of focusing on wars or who gets to rule the kingdom, this was about trying to keep their loved one with them for all time. Refreshing and unique compared to other fey stories.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants another twist on faeries, anyone who wants a short read with enough storyline to keep them content, and a story that could be ventured off into another book if the author wishes to do so (I have no idea if she will or not, she just left it open at the end to continue if that's in the future).

Overall, great story and now I'm interested to read more from this author!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

When Travis Stephenson returns home for a 4 week leave from the Marines stationed in Afghanistan, everything has changed since a year ago.

His girlfriend broke up with him through a letter to tell Travis that she was now seeing his brother, Ryan.

His parents are splitting up after a hard year living together.

He has lost one of his closest friends from his Marine friends and is being haunted by his memory.

There is one interesting development that happened since he came back home. He got punched by a girl who didn't care that he was back home from Afghanistan. She was just mad he was hitting on her after ruining her life for the last 4 years.

But Harper got over her anger toward Travis when they started to hangout more often during his leave.

Oh, Travis still did things to make Harper mad. But there is an attraction between the two of them that they are unable to hide from.

Travis has 3 more years left dedicated to the Marines, but he is being haunted by the memory of his friend that died in Afghanistan. Will anything go back the way it used to be? Or will there need to be a different kind of normal to get used to now that he's been at war? Read Something Like Normal by Trish Doller to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
It must be the month to read YA books about going off to war for me! While I didn't really enjoy the book While He Was Away by Karen Schreck, I absolutely loved this novel by Trish Doller! It was tough, humorous, but also devastatingly sad and emotional.

Travis is a tough guy. Especially after being a Marine for a year. But he is still vulnerable even though he doesn't show it to anyone.

After everything that has changed in the last year, Travis is just bidding his time to get back to Afghanistan. He doesn't let anything touch him emotionally.

But after meeting Harper again, things started to get interesting. I loved Harper. She didn't treat Travis like a fragile thing, but let him have it right from the beginning.

And I really enjoyed how this novel was through Travis's perspective - the solider's perspective. I think Doller did a great job portraying how a solider can feel after being in line of duty for so long to come back to "normal" and not feel normal one bit.

I would recommend this book to anyone - no matter gender or age. I think it can be relatable to any reader, no matter if they haven't been to war. It is also a short book, just 214 pages and is really easy and fast to read. Even though it's a smaller book, it will impact all readers in some way and make them really think after they are finished with the novel.

I'm not sure how else to say how wonderful this book was except to go buy or check it out at your library to find out for yourself why I think everyone should read this novel to experience all of the emotions that I just went through!

Go get it. Now! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Roswell (TV show)

As some of you may have noticed, I've been mysteriously gone from my blog. That would be because I started watching Roswell. And I became addicted to it. I watched all 3 seasons (61 episodes total) in 6 days.

So I'm going to blog about it :)

Roswell aired from 1999-2002, so it is an older show which you can see by looking at their cell phones and the gas prices! 

This television show is about 3 characters who are aliens. They were born out of a pod, 30 some years after a spacecraft crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. 

The three aliens (named Max, Isabel, and Michael) were doing pretty well keeping their identity a secret from everyone. That was, until Max healed a human from a gunshot wound. But Max was not going to let Liz die because he has secretly been watching her, growing feelings for her, even though he has never talked to her. 

After he brought Liz back from the brink of death, though, Liz wanted answers. And she got them. She was in on their secret, making her the first human to know that aliens really do exist, even if they look like normal human beings instead of 3 feet green people. 

But then Liz's best friend Maria was let in on the secret too, because Maria is too smart for her own good and knew something happened to Liz that day she got shot. 

Then throughout the series, these 5 characters (along with a few more that will find out throughout the show. And no, I'm not saying because you'll need to watch it to find out ;-)) will be put in the middle of alien related events that will put their lives at risk.

I was hooked right away with this show. The chemistry between Liz and Max is extreme that any viewer can see they are having a horrible time keeping their relationship platonic. And I absolutely love the actress who played Liz, Shiri Appleby, even though I've never seen her in any other show. 

There were also famous actors/actresses in here like Colin Hanks (Tom Hanks's son) and Katherine Heigl.

And I was ecstatic that it was only 3 seasons, because I am well known to sit in one spot during a 10 season show and stick with it. So I didn't waste my whole life watching this particular tv show :) Although I would have if there were more seasons!

There was so many twists and turns throughout this show that I thought it was more than 3 seasons, though. It was still hard to get to the end of the series, though. 

However, there was an ending that could be continued if anyone desired to continue the 3 aliens's story. But seeing as how it has been 10 years since the conclusion, I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon. 

So, yes. This show is about aliens. 

But it's also about forbidden love, tortured soul mates, destinies that need to be fulfilled, futures that are not determined, and relationships that outlast anything that comes in their path. 

I'm so glad I finally sat down to watch this show, and if any of the above sounds like something you want to watch, I would strongly recommend watching this very short, but impacting television show as soon as possible!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

During the summer before Penna's senior year in high school, her boyfriend, David, went off to Iraq to fight in the war.

The time when David went off to training camp was hard on Penna. Now David will be in Iraq for a year, a year that Penna has to find something to occupy her mind with so she doesn't go stir crazy while David is away.

Penna's mother then makes her work at Red Earth, the restaurant that she manages. At first Penna wants nothing to do with working. She wants to write to David, think about David, and anxiously sit next to the phone for when he can call.

But after working at Red Earth for awhile, Penna finds herself making some new friends, finding activities to do, and the waiting is less intense than at the beginning of the year.

Penna also has found her lost long grandmother. Now Penna can get to know her roots and get to know her grandmother after all of this time.

After a while, Penna finds that she's missed phone calls from David. Before, it would have really upset her that she missed them. She tries to call back but is not able to get through.

It's almost the beginning of senior year. Only 9 more months until David is back. Will things fall back into place by the time he returns? Will Penna be the same girl when he left? Will David be the same boy before he left? Read While He Was Away by Karen Schreck to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Okay...This book. I'm at odds with it. On the one hand, it was a great depiction of what happens when loved ones are separated and when an armed forces solider goes off to war.

On the other hand... I could not relate to this novel or the characters at all. I think I had to be able to understand what was going on and I just couldn't.

I've never had anyone in my family go off to war. Not even distant relatives. So what Penna and David were going through? I have no idea. Maybe this is how relationships happen when one goes off to war.

So while I didn't enjoy this story, I can completely understand how everything panned out the way it did and why the characters acted the way they did.

I think readers who have been through this situation would enjoy the story better than I did. I'm not sure if younger readers could read this and really understand the meaning behind the story, and old readers can read it, but they might have the reaction I did if they have no experience with this subject.

It is a great story to be told, though, given the events that are happening today. I just didn't connect with the story as well as I wanted to for some reason.