July 31, 2012

Summer Hop Giveaway

Giveaway time! It had been a while, hadn't been? Thanks go to I am a Reader not a Writer and Bookhounds for hosting it. And now, I guess you want to know the important stuff so I'll cut to the meaty part: what's up for grabs?

July 30, 2012

Review: Ink, by Isabelle Rowan

Author: Isabelle Rowan
Title: Ink
ISBN: 9781613722541
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 12th 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes

Buy your copy:Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Roman centurion Dominic drew his last human breath during the time of Hadrian. In the centuries since, he’s seen much of the world change around him, but the vampire finds himself held captive in Melbourne, Australia, by his fascination with young, passionate, fun-loving, and alive tattoo artist Michael Chapman. Unable to resist the lure of Michael’s beauty, Dominic finds himself entering the parlor to get a tattoo he knows will fade.

The attraction he feels only grows, and despite Dominic’s extreme reluctance to get involved with a human, he and Michael form a bond—a connection that all too soon attracts the attention of a dark specter from Dominic’s bloody past. Soon, a dangerous game of cat and mouse threatens not only the budding romance, but also their humanity.

This is an expanded novel based on the novella Ink originally published in the Desire Beyond Death anthology by Dreamspinner Press.”
GoodReads’ blurb

I’ve had this book since it was out... But I kept putting the reading back. I got it along with another vampire gay romance, and I was unlucky enough to start by the other novel. I couldn’t push past the first few chapters and this discouraged me from dicovering Ink. I’m glad I remedied the situation, though! This is actually a very sweet romance that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre.

The thing I liked the most was the voice, but at the same time I realize that some people might not like it. The tone is dark and deep, moody. Dominic is a broody hero like no other! He sees only the glum and doom and the dangers to his relationship to Mike... which is what some readers might find familiar, as it’s a recurrent theme.

July 27, 2012


Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Genre: RGP Game
Status: Released
Title: On your Wings
Author: Pot kettle black
Must have read original: Should be familiar with the game’s storyline
Status: Ongoing
Rating: T
Genre: Romance/Drama

Larsa was never afraid to play the long game. Penelo was never afraid to follow her heart. Sometimes it beat to rhythms he couldn't quite catch, but he never lost it completely. LxP, some VxP

This is one of my favorite games, and when I went back into it last week to pick my FanFriday... I kind of fell back into the whole fandom, which means that there’s more to come.

This time, we’re talking about Penelo, the orphan sky pirate who always thought she was in love with her childhood friend Vaan... And Larsa, the boy emperor who knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to wait. Except, it does take her a lot to realize that a kind who’s ruling the greatest empire in the world can’t stay a child forever, is turning into a very attractive young man.

Check this story out, it’s really well written and the characterizations are super cool. Plus, it’s not rushed: you’ll get to see her transition from in love with Vaan towards... lands uncharted.

Would you like to share your own fanfiction pick? Do so and join the linky below! 

July 26, 2012

Review: Exiled, by M.R. Merrick

Author: M.R. Merrick
Title: Exiled
Series: The Protector #1
ISBN: 9780987726216
Publisher: M.R. Merrick (June 28th 2011)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped.

Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.

In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.” GoodReads’ blurb

For the record, I did enjoy this story. The world was fairly interesting, and though the Circle versus Underworlders sounded slightly familiar (specially after a The Mortal Instruments read-a-thon) the fact is that the similarities didn’t bother me much.

There was a lot of action, and that’s perhaps the best point of the story: fast paced, the plot never wanders too far off its course and you are constantly finding obstacles and solving them—or something to that effect.  This didn’t keep the characters from having their own personal backstories and didn’t keep up from sharing in their tragedy, so it was well balanced.

July 24, 2012

Review: State of Grace, by John Phython

Author: John R. Phython, JR.
Title: State of Grace
Series: Wolf Dasher #1
Publisher: John Phython (November 21st 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“When his friend and colleague in Urland’s Shadow Service, Sara Wensley-James, is murdered in the elf nation of Alfar, Wolf Dasher’s mission seems simple: track down her killer and bring him to justice. But nothing is going to be easy about this case.

Sara named Sagaius Silverleaf, Alfar’s ambassador to Urland as the culprit, but he couldn’t have done it. He was in Urland at the time of the murder.

Sent to Alfar under cover as Urland’s new ambassador, Wolf begins the most difficult and dangerous mission of his career. The once-lush and magical land of the elves is decaying. Its once-verdant countryside is putrefying before its citizens’ eyes. Some blame the presence of human occupiers – Urlish military units present to keep order and support Alfar’s shaky coalition government. Some blame losing the message of the great prophet, Frey, and turning away from God’s plan. But many think it is simply the schism in elfin religion that spawned a civil war and daily acts of terrorism by fundamentalist martyrs.

Wolf must navigate this nightmarish environment to find Sara’s killer. Could Silverleaf have been responsible? If so, why? His investigation leads him into an intricate web of assassination, betrayal, and zealotry. With the help of Aflar’s Elite Guard captain, May Honeyflower, Wolf uncovers piece after piece of a sinister puzzle: a psychotic killer, a mad general bent on conquest, an ancient, evil artifact, and a terrorist organization planning a grand act of devastation. But how do they all fit together? What did Sara discover that got her killed?

As the Feast of the Revelation, the holiest day on the elfin calendar, approaches, Wolf and Honeyflower find themselves in a race against time to unravel a plot that could topple Alfar’s government, plunge it into war, and change the balance of power in the world forever.

State of Grace is the first in a series of fantasy-thriller mash-up novels, blending magic, super spies, and politics in an exciting brew of action and adventure. From the chilling opening scene to the pulse-pounding climax, State of Grace takes the best elements of an espionage thriller and a court intrigue and weaves them into a world both familiar and fantastic.” Amazon blurb

This book was pitched like a mash-up of traditional fantasy and James Bond style, which made it an interesting read by default... And yet, after having read it, I find myself wondering if it couldn’t have been more.

This novel is sink or swim: from the first line, it drops you in the middle of the action and intrigue and it hardly ever lets up. I have to admit that I... floundered. It was hard to understand the politics involved when I couldn’t place the players in the board, but still the story did kept me reading till the end.

July 23, 2012

Review: Beastly, by Alex Flinn

Author: Alex Flinn
Title: Beastly
Series: Kendra Chronicles #1
ISBN: 9780060874162
Publisher: Harper Teen (October 2nd 2007)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audiobook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.” GoodReads’ blurb

Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe this story. I mean, sure, it’s Beauty and the Beast set in modern day New York City, so it’s not exactly surprising or twisting, but there’s something to be said about how raw it was. I decided to go on audiobook for this one, and the voice acting was excellent too.

I’ll confess: I stayed up listening till 4.30am so I could finish the story.

July 20, 2012


Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Author: Square Enix
Genre: RPG
Status: It’s a game, so obviously it’s complete :)

 The game takes place in the fictional land of Ivalice, where the empires of Archadia and Rozarria are waging an endless war. Dalmasca, a small kingdom, is caught between the warring nations. When Dalmasca is annexed by Archadia, its princess, Ashe, creates a resistance movement. During the struggle, she meets Vaan, a young adventurer who dreams of commanding an airship. They are quickly joined by a band of allies; together, they rally against the tyranny of the Archadian Empire.

Title: Acclimatization
Author: XxFearTheFluffxX
Must have read original: No, but knowing the characters helps
Status: Complete
Rating: T
Genre: Friendship/Romance

Balthier employs a rather unorthodox method to cure Penelo of her airsickness. Penelo, in turn, suspects ulterior motives - after all, what self-respecting pirate does something purely out of the goodness of his heart?

This story takes place in the early part of the game. The characters are all reunited and heading off into adventure... in Balthier’s airship. Penelo is a very capable woman, but the contents of her stomach refuse to stay where they should when the Strhal takes off, and Vaan is being a pain with his constant questions about flight and pirating.

So, what does Balthier do? What any leading man worth is salt would: escape the inquisition and save the damsel in distress. But is escape his only motivation?

Personally, I love Balthier. His voice acting is amazing, too, so I’m a goner for stories featuring him. He offers a great contrast to Penelo, too: the aristocratic dandy turned pirate and the down-to-earth, caring and humble orphan. I think that the scene in this fic could very well play out between those two, and it’d be so sweet!

Six chapters, under 7000 words—a quick, satisfying read all around. Just one warning: there’s mention of vomiting, which isn’t the most romantic thing ever, but it works. 

Would you like to share your own fanfiction picks? Then join me and link up! :)

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July 19, 2012

Review: Lucid, by P.T. Michelle

Author: P.T. Michelle
Title:  Lucid
Series: Brightest Kind of Darkness (#2)
Publisher: P.T. Michelle (July 9th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy provided by author for review

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5

“Once Nara combines her prophetic ability with Ethan’s power to outsmart Fate at his own deadly cat-and-mouse game, she’s more determined than ever to help Ethan learn the meaning behind the raven sword tattoo that suddenly appeared on his back after their confrontation with Fate.

During her quest to uncover the tattoo’s secrets, Nara enlists the help of some new friends and discovers her own surprising connection to Ethan.

While Nara digs deeper into the mystery, her desire for answers leads her down a dangerous path full of powerful and ruthless enemies. Swept into an age-old battle, Nara quickly learns that keeping one’s enemies close can be a necessary evil, making an intangible enemy she can control far more preferable to the human enemies she can’t.” GoodReads’ blurb

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Brightest Kind of Darkness little after it was released... I read it right away, fell in love and had to undergo and painful waiting period while Lucid came out. This waiting period had two effects: it increased my urge to read Lucid ASAP and it made my expectations skyrocket...

Well, again I was in luck: I got a review copy thanks to PT Michelle upon publication, and it surpassed even my hightened expectations.

July 18, 2012

Review: In the Land of the Dead, by Jonathan Maberry

Author: Jonathan Maberry
Title: In the Land of the Dead
Series: Benny Imura #1.5
ISBN: none
Publisher: Simon and Schuster for Young readers
Disclaimer: The Publisher has made this bonus content available from their website.

Buy your copy: Download from this link

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“This is a series of short stories that take place between Rot & Ruin and Dust & decay” GoodReads’ blurb

I don’t usually review short stories or collection: I tried at first, but it was too hard so now I just comment on the really good stuff. In the Land of the Dead belongs to that category, even though it’s just some 20 pages worth of it.

July 16, 2012

Review: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion

Author: Isaac Marion
Title:Warm Bodies
ISBN: 9780099549345
Publisher: Atria Books (April 26th 2011)

Buy your copy: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.” GoodReads’ blurb

When I went into my zombie crazy, everyone told me I should read Warm Bodies. They said that R, the lead zombie, was adorable... So I caved and got the audiobook. Not only Warm Bodies had great recommendations, there also was an upcoming movie!

In general, the book lived up to its expectations, however high they were. R is, indeed, too cute for words. The whole time we’re in his head, and he’s actually a smart, sensitive, caring individual. The zombie plague acts as a filter between his brain and his mouth, though, so talking in complex patterns is beyond him, but that only serves to make the reader simpathize more with his plight.

July 13, 2012


Fandom: The Iron Fey
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA paranormal romance (fairy tale)
Status: Complete

Title: In Dreams
Author: Queen of Air and Darkness
Must have read original: Yes, book 4 (Iron Knight) included
Status: Complete (one-shot)
Rating: T
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Romance

Meghan's POV of Ash's and her shared dream in Iron Knight. Warning: pretty sad.

So I was hunting the perfect fiction for this little summer feature of mine and I found this jewel. Basically, this is a scene out of Iron Knight—the dream scene, remember? When Ash finds Meghan? Well, this is her point of view. It's not official, but it could very well be... Heartwrenching! It made the ending of Iron Knight all the more triumphant.

Short (just 2000 words this time!), sweet with a tinge of sadness. Enjoy!

July 12, 2012

Review: Heaven 2.0, by Scott Haworth

Author: Scott Haworth
Title:  Heaven 2.0
Publisher: Haworth
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes

Buy your copy: Kindle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having been born in the 28th century, Mike Kepler never believed in the existence of Heaven or Hell. The myths of the old faiths had been abandoned and replaced with the teachings of The Church many centuries earlier. The young physicist is shocked to learn that there is an afterlife when he is recruited by the Taipei Corporation. It was created by a team of scientists rather than God.

Mike’s job is to travel to the past and save people at the time of their deaths using advanced medical technology. The individuals are then brought back to the 28th century, judged on the sins they committed and sentenced to an eternity in the artificial Heaven or Hell. Mike quickly learns that the project is far less noble than it appears. He discovers that many of the people sentenced to eternal torment in Hell do not deserve their fate...”
GoodReads’ blurb

This is one of those books that are hard to review. It falls mostly outside of my usual genre choices, but when I got the review request, I just couldn’t resist the concept. I’m glad I read it, and yet there are things that keep me from gushing about it.

July 11, 2012

Review: Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry

Author: Jonathan Maberry
Title:  Rot & Ruin
Series: Benny Imura (#1)
ISBN: 9781442402324
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers (September 14th 2010)

Buy your copy: Hardcover |Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash—but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Acclaimed horror author Jonathan Maberry makes his young adult debut with this detail-rich depiction of a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has fallen, the dead have risen, and danger is always imminent.”
GoodReads’ blurb

There are zombie books I enjoy because they are fast, entertaining reads, like Hollowmen by Amanda Hocking. There are zombie-style books I enjoy because they are original, like The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (and I’m fully that technically speaking those are vampires, thank you very much). Finally, there are zombie books that provide all of the above wrapped in one nifty package and add deep character development and thought-provoking scenes about what it means to be human, such as Rot & Ruin.

And no, I’m not being influenced by having found a new book boyfriend in this one, not at all.