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Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: Fade Out by Rachel Caine

Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 237
Publisher: Signet
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Without the evil vampire Bishop ruling over the town of Morganville, the resident vampires have made major concessions to the human population. With their newfound freedoms, Claire Danvers and her friends are almost starting to feel comfortable again...

Now Claire can actually concentrate on her studies, and her friend Eve joins the local theatre company. But when one of Eve's castmates goes missing after starting work on a short documentary, Eve suspects the worst. Claire and Eve soon realize that this film project, whose subject is the vampires themselves, is a whole lot bigger-and way more dangerous-than anyone suspected.
Things are settling down now in Morganville. There is still some craziness, but with Bishop out of the picture it's slowly getting back to normal, which is a huge breath of relief for Claire, Shane, Eve, and Michael.

And then, of course, the peace ends. A new girl comes into the picture, and it just so happens that she and Shane have a past... This new girl causes way more trouble than any normal person should. But maybe it has something to do with her video documentary that she's preparing. What is the documentary really about?

Yet another action packed book in the Morganville vamps series. I'm not going to say much else, because if you've come the far in the series, you know how amazing it is. The characterization continues to grow, and we learn more and more about our fantastic four.  5 out of 5 stars.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Shimmerspell by Kimberly Spencer

Shimmerspell by Kimberly Spencer
Pages: 83
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Source: E-book
When sixteen-year-old Jensen Meadows finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient faerie war, she soon learns that faeries aren't made of sparkly goodness. They're vicious. And worse, they're after her. With the help of Liam Casey, she delves into their world to find her missing sister and begins to suspect that her whole life has been nothing more than a faerie tale.

But maybe some truths should never be revealed...
I really, really want to give this book a higher rating than 3 stars, because I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can't. While Shimmerspell had an intriguing concept and a descriptive and witty writing style that flowed well, the plot was everywhere, and I was confused frequently. It started off in a good place, but by the next few chapters, things happened so quickly that I wondered what had just happened. There wasn't enough time to process what was happening before something else monumental happened. It was a bit of information overload. The best way to explain it is that Shimmerspell is basically a really great novel fast forwarded.

Because of the rapid-fire plot, I couldn't connect to any of the characters. I liked Jensen, but again, it all comes back to the fact that these huge revelations were made about her, which little explanation, and then the story kept moving on. So I wasn't able to get a feel for her. Her infatuation with Liam was also pretty rushed; there wasn't any build up to it. Suddenly, they were kissing and I was like "When did this happen?"

That aside, Shimmerspell has the potential to be a really great novel. Really great. All it needs is editing and rewriting, more explanation and a slower pace, and it could be a smash! There wasn't anything wrong with it, per se, it just needed more.

It's really difficult to explain why I liked/didn't like Shimmerspell, and I feel like I didn't make much sense in this review. Honestly, the only way you'll be able to fully understand what I mean is if you read it for yourself, and then hopefully you'll agree that it was good, but it could've been so much better. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Pages: 450
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: ARC
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

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

There is.

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

She's wrong.

I thought The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was going to be good based on the summary and what the general consensus was of my fellow bloggers. I had no clue that it would completely blow me away.

From the get go, Mara packs an intense and emotional punch that grips you tight and doesn't let go, and even though you don't know what's going on, there's an eerie supernatural element that keeps you flipping the pages lightning quick to find out. Michelle Hodkin painted a creepy and suspenseful picture, but managed to balance it out with extrememly witty banter and dialogue, along with a smoldering romance that burns hotter and hotter as the pages turn.

Mara Dyer struggles with the aftermath of the horrific accident that killed her not-so-best-friend, her best friend, and her boyfriend. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, her mother watches her like a hawk, and, oh yeah, she just might be going insane. All through this, she somehow manages to keep her head. (It's weird I know--she thinks she's going insane, but somehow still keeping her sanity...) Something very weird is happening in Mara's life, besides the hallucinations. For some reason, people around her keep dying...

What I really loved was that Mara's entire family was like a very central part of the book. Too often in today's YA are the parents cast aside and the siblings portrayed so that the main character is living in their shadow. But Mara's older brother Daniel was sweet and protective of her, always looking out for her best interest, and her little brother Joseph was a cutie pie. And while I did think that Mara's mother needed a very strong dosage of some chill pills, she was only concerned for her daughter and acted the way she did out of love.

I did feel like this was a case of insta-love, but given the circumstances (which are explained later on in the book) it can be overlooked. Plus, Noah Shaw is just too damn sexy for me to even care. Seriously, that boy rewrote the book on hotness. He's sarcastic, yet sensitive, and intelligent, roguishly unkempt in that "I just rolled out of bed" kind of way, and he's British. Still not convinced that he's a total sex god? Well, here's a still photo from the official The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer book trailer:

Look at those abs... YUMMY!
Entirely unique and unlike any other book I've read. It's a new flavor of paranormal for those that are getting tired of reading about vampires and werewolves. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is no doubt one of the best books, if not the best, that I've read in 2011. READ IT READ IT READ IT!

Definitely 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Out Today: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michele Hodkin

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Pages: 450
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller/Romance
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

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

There is.

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

She's wrong.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Discussion: Gay In YA

*I have a very strong opinion on this, and I know that many people don't agree with what I wrote. Feel free to post your opinions in the comments, whether it's for or against what I have to say, but please do so with respect. Any rude or offensive comments will be deleted.*

There's been a lot of commotion in the YA community over gay characters lately. First, it was the whole debacle with the anthology that several very prominent YA authors were doing, and which they all withdrew their stories from after the editor had an issue with a gay couple in the one of the stories. More recently, it was the issue with two co-authors who were told by their editors that they needed to basically take out any reference to their characters being gay.

And my question is: Why?

The most common argument for why gay characters shouldn't be prominent in books, (or anything else, really) is "It gives kids the wrong impression."

And what exactly is the wrong impression? This is the point where people say "That being gay is okay, and it's not." To which I say-- but it is. Maybe not to you ('you' meaning the people who are against it), but to someone who is gay, it is okay. It's who they are, how they feel. Not everyone has to agree with it, but is it necessary for so much antipathy? If it doesn't affect you directly, then it's none of your business who someone else chooses to love.

There are many stories that I've read where the only gay character is the female protagonist's sassy best guy friend, and he's only there for a few snarky punchlines and to feed the female protagonist ice cream when she's pining over her insta-love crush. To me, that gives kids the wrong impression. Sure, there are those sassy gay best friends, but they have their own stories to tell, and their own romances to pine for.

More often than not, the people that have a problem with homosexuality are just scared and ignorant of it. They think that if their kid reads a book with a gay main character, then that might influence their kid to become gay. How does that even make sense? Being gay isn't just a 'phase' or something that a person can decide to be one day, and then the next say "Oh, that was fun, but I'm straight again." It's just who they are. I don't want to get cheesy here, but, to quote the lovely Lady Gaga, They were born that way. Of course, society sets a double standard. For girls, it okay to hug their friends and to kiss them on the cheek and to get dressed in front of each other. But boys? "No, don't do that, that's gay!" How? The only way it would be gay is if the two people doing it were gay. And you know what? Even if one boy was gay, and the other was straight, so what? The straight boy isn't going to just magically turn gay because he took off his shirt in front of a gay guy. Come on, people.

I recently read Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey, which features a gay main character Braden. And you know what? That book was one of the best damn books of 2011. Amazing plot, amazing writing, and yep, amazing characters. The fact that he was gay wasn't an all consuming part of the story, like some people think it has to be. It was just there, an indispensable part of Braden. And the romance between him and Trey made my heart flutter just the same as any other couple. (Why yes, I am shamelessly promoting Witch Eyes right now. Go out and buy it and read it and love it.)

THESE THINGS ARE ONLY A BIG DEAL WHEN YOU MAKE THEM A BIG DEAL. If everyone could just be more accepting and open-minded, there wouldn't be a problem. To those people that are against gay YA characters, think for a moment about the message you're sending gay teens everywhere: you are not important enough to have your story told. You are not 'normal' and therefore should not be represented in literature. How you feel and who you are is irrelevant. If we ignore you and deny you, maybe you'll go away.

The gay community has to deal with a lot of hatred and crap that they don't deserve. They have fought, and still have to fight, long and hard for acceptance that, unfortunately, some people are not willing to give them ever. Don't let this be another obstacle.

So, to summarize: I totally and completely support gay characters in YA. I want to see more of their stories being told. To any authors reading this, can we please make that happen?

What are your thoughts on this subject? As I said above, I welcome all opinions. But again, please remain respectful.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Author: Claudia Gray
Pages: 329
Publisher: Harper Teen
Released: March 24th, 2009
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased
The vampire in me was closer to the surface...

Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all—vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.

But Bianca fell in love with Lucas—a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.

Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross—or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.

Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning...
After reading Evernight, I was dying to start Stargazer to know what happened between Bianca and Lucas. I mean, their relationship is total Romeo and Juliet "my family wants to kill you, and your family wants to kill me." Coming home for the holidays might be a little tense, don't you think?

Lucas and Bianca together are totally swoon-worthy. Hell, Lucas himself is swoon-worthy. He's protective of her, and despite the fact that she's a vampire, he still loves her. But, Lucas isn't the only boy in Bianca's life... we see a bit more of Balthazar, a fellow vampire. I really, really like Balthazar, and even though not much has happened between him and Bianca yet, I can definitely sense that I will most likely be Team Balthazar soon.

If you thought the twist in Evernight was intense, Claudia Gray manages to up the stakes even more! We're not just dealing with vampires and vampire hunters anymore. Now something much darker and deadlier has been added into the mix... and it wants Bianca.

Totally recommended if you loved Evernight, or even if you were so/so on it. There's more suspense, more action, lots more Lucas action, so pick it up! 4 out of 5 stars.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Suck It Up by Brian Meehl

Author: Brian Meehl
Pages: 336
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released: May 13th, 2008
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Are you up to your neck in bloodsucking vampire stories?

Tired of those tales about dentally enhanced dark lords?

Before I wrote this book I thought all vampires were night-stalking, fangpopping, bloodsucking fiends. Then I met Morning McCobb. He’s a vegan vampire who drinks a soy-blood substitute called Blood Lite. He believes staking should be a hate crime. And someday he hopes to march in a Vampire Pride Parade. He was also the first vampire to out himself and try to show people of mortality, like you and me, that vampires are just another minority with special needs. Trust me—this is like no other vampire book you’ll ever feed on.

So, as my buddy Morning says, “Pop the lid, and suck it up.”
Suck It Up... wasn't the best. Certainly not what I expected. From the description, I was expecting something light-hearted and funny, a book that didn't take itself seriously. But, I felt like Suck It Up was just trying way too hard.

This is one of those "the premise sounds awesome!" but then you read it and you realize "Oh, I guess not...". The whole idea of the International Vampire League and the Blood-Lite, which is Morning's human friendly blood substitute, could've been really awesome. Unfortunately, I just wasn't digging the book.

And the names! I'm sorry, but the main character's name is Morning. He's a dude. And then his PR agent is Penny Dredful. What? There were a few really bad puns about Morning's vamp-yness that made me cringe when I read them.

Overall, I didn't like Suck It Up. I wanted to, but it fell flat for me. 1.5 out of 5 stars.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interview: Mary Ting, author of Crossroads

As part of the Crossroads blog tour hosted by Late Bloomers Online, I got to interview Mary Ting, the author of the YA paranormal romance, Crossroads.

Crossroads by Mary Ting
Pages: 315
Publisher: World Castle
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia.

Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should?

With all the buzz in YA over vampires, werewolves, and witches (oh my!) why did you decide to write about angels?

I decided to write about angels because of a dream I had in high school. I was on a road and to the left of me were tall grass or perhaps a cornfield. I was running, following a lady and I didn’t know why. She entered the tall grass and I followed her in. What I saw was breathtaking, a sea of clouds. At that moment, I knew I was somewhere spiritual. The lady turned to me, but I could not see her face. I only heard her voice telling me that it wasn’t my turn and that I needed to go back. Since Crossroads started from a dream, I wrote about angels. Also, I think angels are fascinating!

In Crossroads, you have some special kinds of angels⎯half-breeds called ‘alkins’. How did you come up with that idea? And how are your angels different than what people typically think?

After Claudia crosses over Crossroads into Halo City, I wanted to create a love interest for her who was half angel, half human. They are called alkins. As Phillip describes it, they are the first generation of half angel and half human to be taken to Crossroads. These angels are different because they were born on Earth and taken to Crossroads as opposed to the typical angels who have been cast out from Heaven.

Are there any interesting quirks you have when you write? Like, do you have to sit in a certain place with your computer angled just right, and a certain type of music playing? Or are you more of a free-floater?

I can write several chapters in one sitting if I know what I want to write about, but before even doing so, I need to check my facebook, goodreads, blog site, and for sure my emails. Once I have done that, then I can feel free to start typing. Sometimes I eat candies, chocolates or ice cream to get me thinking, but I love Giant Chewy Sweet Tarts….Yum Yum!!! I can eat several packs in one sitting.

Let’s get a little fun and funky now! :-) Create an acrostic poem with words that describe your book using the word CROSSROADS.

Super powers
OMW! – Oh My Wings!

Can you tell us a bit about what happens in the sequel? And are there any other writing projects you’re working on that we should look out for in the near future?

I’m currently working on the sequel. All I can say is that there are more angels on Earth. I have another series started, but it’s so difficult to find time to write now that I’m back to school, teaching. Maybe one day soon, I’ll get it done after the Crossroads series is completed.

And lastly, Mac or PC? ;)

I love Mac computers, but since I own PC, I’ll have to say PC.


Mary Ting

Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing Crossroads was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. It was inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl.

Review: Crossroads by Mary Ting

Crossroads by Mary Ting
Pages: 315
Publisher: World Castle
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Blog Tour

Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia.

Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should?
Crossroads was quite an interesting novel, pretty different than a lot of the books I've read recently. A girl named Claudia Emerson can travel during her sleep to this place called Crossroads, which is basically like a limbo-land for people in comas and such. She catches the eye of a handsome young half-angel, and from then her life is never the same.

I loved the concept of the Crossroads, and the concept of the alkins, but I felt like some of the angel mythology was a little too stereo-typical. Like, there's a city called Halo City, and well, that just sounded like a bit too much. But overall, it was a really interesting premise. I definitely want to see more of the inner-workings of the angel hierarchy, and maybe meet some other alkins, or full-blown angels in later books!

Character-wise, I liked Claudia, although I felt like she flew through so many emotions so quickly that it was kinda like "Whoa, there, slow down!" But she was kind-hearted and cared deeply for her family and friends, and very likable. The alkins, including the love interest Michael, were all amazing! I loved each of their distinct personalities! The only problem was there was some insta-love between Claudia and Michael. I would have loved to see their relationship build more gradually. They have an ultimate forbidden romance--the alkin can't fall in love with humans--so more tension would have been a delicious addition to the story. But still, Michael was romantic and loving, and I want to read more of him!

The writing was really the only part that fell a little flat for me. I felt like there was quite a bit of telling instead of showing, and some of the dialogue felt stilted. Mary Ting definitely had a unique and descriptive writing style, I just feel like it could have been fine-combed and polished up a bit more.

Overall, I give Crossroads 3.5 out of 5 stars! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine

Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 241
Publisher: Signet
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Purchased
In the small college town of Morganville, vampires and humans lived in (relative) peace-until all the rules got rewritten when the evil vampire Bishop arrived, looking for the lost book of vampire secrets. He's kept a death grip on the town ever since. Now an underground resistance is brewing, and in order to contain it, Bishop must go to even greater lengths. He vows to obliterate the town and all its inhabitants-the living and the undead. Claire Danvers and her friends are the only ones who stand in his way. But even if they defeat Bishop, will the vampires ever be content to go back to the old rules, after having such a taste of power?
Book 6! It hardly even seems like they are six books. They all go by so quickly and flow together so seamlessly from where one ends to the other begins that it all just feels like one continuous story.

Things are escalating very quickly with Bishop. However evil you thought he was in previous books is nothing compared to Carpe Corpus. Everyone is growing desperate to defeat him, including Amelie, which forces them to make some... difficult decisions. Which, of course, means lots of sacrifice.

Again, these are some of my favorite characters in any book or series I've ever read. They're so real and dynamic, they change and grow in every book. The romance is a big part of the series, and I'm so glad to say that Claire and Shane have finally reached a new level in their relationship! I think they are so perfect for each other, it's great to see them finally take that step forward.

Read it read it read it! 5 out of 5 stars.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 256
Publisher: Signet
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Purchased
In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn’t the only threat.

Violent black cyclone clouds hover, promising a storm of devastating proportions as student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against elements both natural and unnatural.
I say this every time about the Morganville Vampire books, but it's true: Rachel Caine has yet to disappoint me. Lord of Misrule is the 5th book in this series, and it's still as action packed and full of intrigue and suspense as the first book.

I don't know how Rachel does it, but she manages to pack quite the punch is such a small little book. Everything is basically in chaos in Lord of Misrule. Bishop is still in power, there are rebellions springing up, and a hurricane is steadily making its way towards Morganville. Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve are all caught in the middle, and are being used as pawn pieces in a greater game between Amelie and Bishop, the winner of which could determine life or death for the town.

Rachel's writing style stays consistent with the first 4 books, and the action is never lacking. There are, as always, some very steamy scenes between Shane and Claire (which I loved). I definitely, definitely recommend you pick up Lord of Misrule if you haven't yet. 4 out of 5 stars.
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Monday, September 19, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Dreamland by Alyson Noel

Author: Alyson Noel
Pages: 224
Publisher: Square Fish
Genre: YA Paranormal
Riley's finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer's dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it's her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who's been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.

Alyson Noel Online
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I've read the first three books in the Immortals series, which is the story of Riley's older sister Ever, and I like them a lot, so I'm really looking forward to starting this series! (Speaking of which I also need to run out and buy the rest of the Evermore series too!)

I have 1 copy of Dreamland from the lovely people at Zeighost Media to giveaway!

-Open US/Can ONLY!
-Ends 9/23/11

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 242
Publisher: Signet
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Purchased
The wait is over. dig into the feast...

In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though—especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town’s living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It’s only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he’s set for Morganville.
Yet another awesome installment in the Morganville Vamps series! (And that cover is H-O-T.) This series is honestly one of my all time favorites, I haven't been disappointed yet!

There's more suspense and action in this book, because now Bishop is mixing things up and causing lots of deadly trouble for Morganville. I really don't care much for Bishop since he's the bad guy here, but his character seems intriguing. He's not one of those 'evil villain' types that is just there to be an obstacle. He adds to the story immensely.

The whole cast of characters is on-par as always. Claire continues to grow and mature. I often forget that she's only 16 from the way she handles all the insanity and life-threatening danger in a rational way. Michael, Eve, and Shane are still as awesome as ever; and yep, Shane is still a major hottie. My favorite character by far, though, is Myrnin. He's so... eccentric and insane! He's unpredictable, so reading about him is like walking a tight-rope.

If you've read the previous books, but not Feast of Fools yet, then go and read it soon! Definitely awesome.  5 out of 5.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011


So, I have all this swag in my Bucket O' Swag, and I was like "Why don't I share the bookish love with all my awesome followers, ya know?" That's when I decided I would have an Epic Swag Giveaway. Below is a picture of what will be included in the swag pack:

What's in the swag pack:

How do you enter the giveaway, you may be asking? Well, it's quite simple. All you have to do is take
THIS BLOG SURVEY. The last question of the survey will give you very simple instructions on how to enter the giveaway (you just enter your email in the box it provides).
Giveaway ends September, 30th.

(Am I bribing you to take the survey? Totally. XD But admit it, it works. xoxox)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Pages: 336
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Purchased

Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?
Tantalize had so much potential to be a completely amazing and unique book in the vampire world, but I felt that it just didn't do it. I was confused most of the time, and felt it took me longer to read Tantalize than it normally should.

The concept is great--a vampire themed Italian restaurant wrapped up in a supernatural murder mystery. But the murder mystery is never even looked into. The fact that the first chef was murdered in the restaurant is basically brushed aside, when I thought it could've added way more suspense and intrigue to the novel.

Also, the romance, well, wasn't romance-y. It was supposed to be a love triangle between Quincie, the new young and cute chef she hired, and her best friend who also happens to be a werewolf. The problem is that Mr. Werewolf Bestfriend only stops by a few times throughout the novel for a quick argument, and then leaves again, all culminating at the end with an even bigger argument. And Mr. Hot Chef, well, I didn't really know what to think of him. My opinion of him changes several times throughout the book, and at the end I was just kinda like ".....Okay then."

The plot didn't do much for the first portion of the novel. There comes a moment where something monumental is revealed about one of the main characters, and only from there do things pick up. But it just took too long to get started. I do think that Cynthia Leitich Smith has a great writing style, and was able to paint a vivid picture with her prose, though.

Even though I wasn't too keen on Tantalize, I will read more of Cynthia's work. Even if I don't like the first book in a series, I always give the benefit of the doubt and continue on for at least one more book. Overall, I give Tantalize 2 out of 5 stars.
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