May 29, 2012

Review: Dead Beat, by Jim Butcher

Author: Jim Butcher
Title: Dead Beat
Series: The Dresden Files (#7)
ISBN: 9780451460912
Publisher: Roc (May 3rd 2005)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a killer vampire threatens to destroy head of Special Investigations Karrin Murphy's reputation unless Harry delivers the powerful Word of Kemmler to her, he has no choice. Now Harry is in a race against time to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.” GoodReads’ blurb

Harry hadn’t faced off against zombies yet, had he?

Well, he does now.

This book turned out to be a bit more serious than the previous one... Wait, no. Not really.

May 28, 2012

Review: Have Book, Will Travel by Yonatan and Kfir Luzzato

Author: Kfir and Yonatan Luzzato
Title: Have Book, Will Travel
ISBN: 9781938212
Publisher: Pine Ten (June 1st 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Links not yet available

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Max fears that his family will disapprove of his friendship with Darla, a common girl from the village outside his uncle’s fortress walls. That's why they meet secretly to read together from an old book, which she has found in a dusty room near the fortress laundry where she works.

They read about a lost lake and feel adventurous when they slip out of the fortress to go swimming there; but the trouble begins when they find that, in the meantime, the fortress has been sealed and they can’t get back in. It’s lucky that they have the book with them, to guide them through the many dangers that await them on their way back home…or perhaps it is the book that is the source of their troubles.

In the end, it is the power of the friendship that Darla and Max have forged, and their courage, that see them through a series of breathtaking adventures.” GoodReads’ blurb

Initially, I chose to review this book because it talked about, well, a book; and because it was a family tandem writing it and I really wanted to see the results.

The results happen to be remarkable, and the story was highly enjoyable.

Warning about the target group: while it comes as a Young Adult book, I think it’s more appropriate for Young Readers. Nothing will keep us adults from enjoying it, but I believe that kids will get the most from this story. Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you why I liked Have Book: Will Travel so much.

May 25, 2012

VBT: Review, Seized by Lynne Cantwell

Author: Lynne Cantwell
Title: Seized
Series: The Pipe Woman Chronicles (#1)
Publisher: L. Cantwell (March 20th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The winter solstice 2012 won't be the end of the world. It will be the beginning of the end....

Naomi has a pretty sweet life. Respected as a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. And her handsome boyfriend Brock has just proposed to her. But a white buffalo calf is bowing to her in her dreams. And who is the Native American man who has been following her around?

Naomi doesn’t know it, but things are about to change...” GoodReads’ blurb

This story got me at the mention of paranormal and Native American (what can I say, I’m in a never ending quest for stories involving folk and myth!) and it delivered.

In all honesty, I don’t know enough about the subject to judge its accuracy or lack thereof, but after reading the book I never questioned the lore—and that’s huge bonus points in my book. I feel as if I knew a lot of details about Native Americans, their legends, some of their quirks... and also about mediation and law firms, which is the background for the main character. The author used the myth to build her own, rather than trying to fight against it, so it all blends together. So, great worldbuilding? Check!

May 23, 2012

Review: White Cat, by Holly Black

Author: Holly Black
Title: White Cat
Series: Curse Workers (#1)
ISBN: 9781416963967
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (May 4th 2010)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first in a trilogy, this gritty, fast-paced fantasy is rife with the unexpected. Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen”
GoodReads’ blurb

Do I really have to rate this book? It’s so hard! I think at the moment it’s swinging between 3 and 4 stars... The next book will determine the course of the series for me.

The truth is that I’d been wanting to read this one for ages—come on, look at that super cool cover! Plus, it was told in a guy’s POV, which in my book pretty much equals a “should give it a shot”. So I finally had some credits free on Audible and got myself White Cat...

May 22, 2012

Review: If I Die, by Rachel Vincent

Author: Rachel Vincent
Title: If I Die
Series: Soul Screamers(#5)
ISBN: 9780373210329
Publisher: Harlequin (September 27th 2011)

Buy your copy: Paperback | Kindle

My rating:4 of 5 stars

The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies.
But the next scream might be for Kaylee.
Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either.
But Kaylee's borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.
Anything.” GoodReads’ blurb

If book 4 made me happy about sticking with Kaylee and her adventures, book 5 makes me love the series on a whole new level. Before I proceed, though, let me warn you: Major spoilers for book 4 ahead! The first sentence after the break’s going to be about the ending in My Soul to Steal. So, ready? Here we go!

May 21, 2012

Review: Dark Kiss, by Michelle Rowen

Author: Michelle Rowen
Title: Dark Kiss
Series: Nightwatchers (#1)
ISBN: 9780373210473
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (May 22nd 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't do dangerous.  Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me.... NIGHTWATCHERS When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising...” GoodReads’ blurb

I might or might not have been on a reading block. The truth remains that it had been a long, long while since I had devoured a book as fast I did Dark Kiss.

Picturing the gorgeous kid on the cover as Bishop helped, but there was more to it, I promise.

Back in the day, I’d say I was very wary of angel stories. I thought, and still do, that they are one of the most difficult paranormal creatures to write right. Then I read Matchbox Girls and fell head over heels in love with the sub-genre... Finding jewels like Dark Kiss does wonders to keep me hooked.

May 20, 2012

TBR Intervention Challenge

 So! It's that time of the week again. What did I read, what didn't I get to...? Actually, I'm proud to say that this week I got back into the swing of things, courtesy of Dark Kiss (my review will be up tomorrow) and I finished Decoy (review here) and Seized (review up on Friday as part of the tour). I don't know how long this will last, since the upcoming week I'm going to be snowed under work, but I have my hopes... and I hope I'll read the following books:

May 18, 2012

Review: Decoy, by S.B. Sebrick

Author: S.B. Sebrick
Title: Decoy
Series: Assassin’s Rising (#1)
Publisher: S.B. Sebrick (September 2nd 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The last few grueling years of training have served Kaltor well. He’s learned to harness the magic within his body, overcome a stronger opponent, avoid capture, and everything else an assassin-in-training needs to survive.
Or so he thought.
But when those they protect at an excavation site release a demon from the Abyss itself, Kaltor realizes just how poorly prepared they all are for what’s coming. Within a single night, their mining camp of one thousand people plummets to a couple hundred terrified survivors, the majority turned against each other by the demon’s potent abilities. Then he turns towards Shaylis, the largest city in the region, for the next stage of his plan.
In a constant battle of both steel and strategy Kaltor and his friends struggle to delay, deceive and defeat their opponent, who’s spent the last thousand years planning out every detail of her assault to perfection. As the number of casualties mounts and her final plan comes to light, Kaltor is left with only one option. He must draw on the secret power within himself, knowing if his true identity is discovered, his life and the fate of the world, will be changed forever.” GoodReads’ blurb

This book promised action and adrenaline, and that it does deliver. We’re dumped smack in the middle of a race for Kaltor’s life... and the end is only more tense than that.

The world Sebrick trusts us into is extremely different from ours, and if you think you’re going to find your average elves and wizards, you’re sadly mistaken. Special abilities for Kaltor’s folk are part of biology, and the creatures they face and share their world with are the product of a great imagination. It’s true that there are some things, like the Viper Hound’s ability to change shape, that actually made me stop and think... “is that biologically possible?” which I realize is a very odd question to be asking in high fantasy but that’s just me.

May 16, 2012

Book Tour: Fezariu's Epiphany

Welcome to my stop in Fezariu's Epiphany Virtual Book Tour! Today we have David Brown as a special guest, and he's going to share with us what kind of music inspired him to write his novel! But wait, you want to know a little bit more about the novel first, right? I thought so. Okay, okay... Here, let me share the blurb - and an excerpt, too! Then, I'm handing the post over to David.

12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well - and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it's more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.

Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge.

May 14, 2012

Review: Intangible by J. Meyers

Author: J. Meyers
Title: Intangible
Series: Intangible (#1)
ISBN: 9781470010157 
Publisher: J. Meyers (January 31st 2012) 
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.

Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it."
GoodReads’ blurb

The premise for this novel was incredibly interesting when I had the chance to review it, and it didn’t disappoint. Intangible kept me interested through every single page, and I found the lore and worldbuilding to be very interesting. Honestly? I can’t wait for the next book to be out, because I want more details about how things work.

May 13, 2012

TBR Intervention Challenge

TBR Time again! To be honest, it's taking some effort to get back into the swing of things, but at least I did manage to finish one of my titles! The review for Intangible is right here, and Shifting, unfortunately, got pushed back... It belongs to a series, and while it's the prequel, I think I should read the books in the order they were written to better understand the series.

About what I'll be reading this upcoming week. Well, in one word? Too much. This here is my list:

May 11, 2012

Review: Die for Me, by Amy Plum

Author: Amy Plum
Title: Die for Me
Series: Revenants (#1)
ISBN: 9780062004017
Publisher: Harper Teen( May 5th 2011)

Buy your copy: KindleHardcover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again."
GoodReads’ blurb

Die for me brings a new brand of paranormal creature to the game, and I loved that. Even without Jules lovable character, I’d have fallen for this universe for that if nothing else.

The fact is that as a hardcore gamer I had come across revenants before. The good old D&D version involved undead who died tragically (check) and are nearly impossible to kill (check). But those other revenants are loosing their skin by the minuted (yuk and NOT check) and are obsessed with finding vengeance (bad karma and NOT check) so that made discovering Vincent and his folks here all the more pleasing and interesting.

May 10, 2012

Review: Blood Rites, by Jim Butcher

Author: Jim Butcher
Title: Blood Rites
Series: The Dresden Files (#6)
ISBN: 9780451459879
Publisher: Roc (August 2nd 2004)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover | Audiobook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, takes on a case as a favor to his friend Thomas-a vampire of dubious integrity-only to become the prime suspect in a series of ghastly murders." GoodReads’ blurb

The blurb does almost nothing for this particular volume of Dresden Files. It’s like saying a cupcake is a lumpy spherical thingy. Well, yeah, but it’s so much more!

Thomas turns out to be a lot of things, but what he is for sure is a White Court vampire. Remember, those who feed on sex? So, what does this favor entail, hmm?

May 7, 2012

Review: My Soul to Steal, by Rachel Vincent

Author: Rachel Vincent
Title: My Soul to Steal
Series: Soul Screamers (#4)
ISBN: 9780373210275
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (1st published December 21st 2010)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a
mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people's fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.

And Sabine isn't above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and
whoever—she wants.” GoodReads’ blurb

Remember when I did my review of Reaper back here and told you that it was the turning point for the series? Well, I said that because I had already read this one. I had also gone and read If I Die and am currently biting my nails while waiting for book 6, but anyway. Let’s focus on My Soul to Steal.

This book does something very daring, very special, and I honestly can’t cheer any louder: it involves change, and consequences. (Major spoilers for book 3 ahead! Be warned).

May 6, 2012

TBR: Intervention Challenge

I'm baaaack!
And I feel like a Phoenix, coming back not from the ashes, I guess, but from the dregs of day-to-day exhaustion.

Anyway! It's time to actively take part in my favorite challenge yet again. This silent month of mine, I've been picking TBR books anyway, so it's time to post again and hopefully count on you girls to help me get back my read-a-thon reading habits. Ready?

May 5, 2012

Review: Bonds of Fenris, by S.J. Bell

Author: S.J. Bell
Title: Bonds of Fenris
Publisher: S.J. Bell (May 7th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: [links not live at the moment]

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Talia Thornwood's life ended one year ago, when she became a werewolf. She survived the attack, and the horrifying transformation a month later, but the life she has now is barely worth living. She lurks about in a filthy, run-down house, with too many werewolves crammed into too small a space. Every day is a struggle against the stress of human contact, the romantic prodding of her obnoxious packmate Pierce, and the gnawing hunger for flesh in her soul.

She's all but resigned herself to a dreary existence on the margins of society when she meets Corwin. Corwin is a werewolf like none other. He walks among humans as if it was nothing, and can keep his wolf under control even when the moon is full. Talia's mind is suddenly opened to the possibilities before her, and the realization of how little she really knows about lycanthropy.

Corwin claims that he can teach her how to cope as he does, even how to transcend her affliction. But it will not be easy. It is a hard education that requires her to question everything her pack taught her, and confront exactly what she has become. And, more amazingly, what she never stopped being.”
GoodReads’ blurb

This is a beautiful book.

When the author offered me a review copy, he told me a bit about the essence of the book, but even then I couldn’t have guessed the real depth in this one.

First off, let me say that this is not—I repeat, not—your average werewolf book. We’re used to paranormal creatures that just exist, to doomed love stories, to perfect romances and, failing that, crazy action. Well, how does a werewolf get to existing, actually? How does a bitten human cope? What changes in their lives? What hopes and expectations can they have?

May 2, 2012

Review: Prince Charming Must Die, by Isabella Fontaine

Author: Isabella Fontaine & Ken Brosky
Title: Prince Charming Must Die
Series: The Grimm Chronicles(#1)
Publisher: Brew City Press (16th April 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the eve of her 18th birthday, high school junior Alice Goodenough feels on top of the world. Classes are almost finished. She’s about to start her summer job at the local library, where she’ll be surrounded by all of her favorite books. And she has a wonderful boyfriend.

Then the rabbit shows up. The giant talking rabbit. He has a message:

200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm unleashed their stories upon the world.

With the help of a magic pen and paper, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm brought all of their characters to life. The world was a more magical place … for a time. Cinderella found her prince. Briar Rose's spell was broken. The dancing princesses spent their nights hidden away in a secret underground city. The old miller's boy found true love.

Then, slowly, the Grimms’ characters began to change for the worse. They became Corrupted. Evil. They didn’t belong in our world, but it was too late for the Brothers Grimm to destroy them.

Only a hero can save the day. Every generation for the past 200 years, a hero has been chosen to fight the Corrupted and rid the world of the Grimms’ fairy tales. To her horror, Alice has been chosen as the next hero. As her 18th birthday nears, she begins to realize life is never going back to normal. School will never be the same.

As for her boyfriend, Edward … well, he might be hiding a terrible secret.
" GoodReads’ blurb

Look at that title. Tell me you can pass up the chance to read it.

... Well, I couldn’t. Which turned out to be a good thing, because Prince Charming Must Die was a refreshing, funny, light and intriguing read.

Plus, it was fairly short, so it’s the perfect title to insert in-between our longer, tougher reviewing books. But that’s neither here nor there—let’s move on to the meaty stuff.

May 1, 2012

Review: Task force Gaea, by David Berger

Author: David Berger
Title: Task Force Gaea: Finding Balance
Series: Finding Balance (#1)
ISBN: 9780615596129
Publisher: David Berger (February 2nd 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dan, Aleta, Brandon, and Sarah -- four reluctant modern day heroes gifted by ancient civilizations born of the gods -- bound by prophecy, have to choose whether or not to save their world when it could mean they never existed. They must master their new powers while battling incomprehensible forces from the Underworld and repairing the Sacred Scales, destroyed long ago.

With the equilibrium between Order and Chaos unhinged, and the Olympian gods struggling to exist, these four must join with the United Nations to protect an endangered world, becoming the only group who can fight against the metaphysical threats to the Earth, forging Task Force: Gaea.

Can mortals succeed where gods cannot go?
GoodReads’ blurb

I’m pretty sure that you know, by this point, all about my healthy obsession with myth and folklore. Because of that,I was quite stoked about reading Task Force Gaea... and it was good. But.