Search this blog

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway): Painted Blind by Michelle A. Hansen

Publication Date: May 23, 2012
Publisher: Createspace
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 331
Genre: Mythology, Retelling
Seventeen years old and agoraphobic, Psyche Middleton vows her dad will never see the risqué photos she took during a summer modeling stint abroad, but one of them ends up on a billboard in her Montana hometown. Now everyone—especially her dad—can see it. And yet, somehow, those are the mundane things in her life because she is about to fall unexpectedly, head-over-heels in love with Erik, a mysterious young man who rescues her from a crowd of admirers, and who she’s never actually seen because…he can make himself invisible.

As strange as this may seem, it’s about to get even stranger. Erik takes her to his palace in an idyllic kingdom, and she is swept into the beauty and culture of his world, but his affection has one condition: she may not see him. Overtaken, intrigued, and still not wholeheartedly believing he’s real, Psyche is going to have to decide if she can love him blindly; because if she can’t, she may lose him forever.
*Reader's Copy provided by Michelle A. Hansen for the blog tour and an honest review*

Retellings are a huge favorite of mine, especially those rounding mythology. Now when it comes to Greek myths I tend to cross the cracking, icy lake with trepidation. Greek mythology is very commonplace in YA, but (yes there is a but) Michelle Hansen did a wonderful job with this rendition of Psyche and Eros. It strays away from the typical main stories in Greek myth and gives a breath of fresh air in characters, world-building, and the writing is fantastic. I was left wanting to know more about each character, how to find my way around the twists and turns that were thrown at me, and what was going to happen  in the end. Trust me, this author knows how to keep you hanging and never leaving you with a dull moment.

Psyche definitely strayed away from the norm of the YA world. She was built fluently as a strong main protagonist. She was flawed, she struggled, and I was rooting for her to keep fighting. Psyche is a character that you want to see reach her destination with a happy ending, especially when it is Erik, our invisible love interest. With Psyche, I started to really like Erik even without knowing what he looked like. The whole love with your heart not with your eyes is a huge deal in this book and I really find that to be a wonderful focus in this novel. It's different because most YA love interests are hot beyond comparison. They are just irresistible. But because Erik is unknown in that spectrum I found him so much more attractive. Because I was seeing him for his personality and not for his looks. Psyche, on the other hand, becomes tempted to see what Erik actually looks like. And a bond becomes broken.

Trust. Trust is huge when it comes to Erik. Trust is what Psyche struggles to re-obtain after her blunder and her cursorily killed the cat (of trust). Both characters have made their fair share of mistakes. But mistakes are what make things realistic, even in this retelling. And I'm glad to see flaws that are being fought to override and grow into a much stronger, enjoyable character. Not that Psyche and Erik weren't both strong and enjoyable, character development is just a wonderful trait where you can see the path one started from and watch how they grow along the way. This has a wonderful example of character growth.

Final Summation: Just a fantastic retelling of the Psyche and Eros tale that has more twists and turns making it a unique tale. With strong characters with flaws and growth along the way Painted Blind is a novel worth reading, especially for the Greek mythology fans who want to stray from the overabundant Olympian myths.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Waiting on Wednesday (25): Iron Hearted Violet

Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Goodreads | Pre-Order
The end of their world begins with a story.
This one.

In most fairy tales, princesses are beautiful, dragons are terrifying, and stories are harmless. This isn't most fairy tales.
Princess Violet is plain, reckless, and quite possibly too clever for her own good. Particularly when it comes to telling stories. One day she and her best friend, Demetrius, stumble upon a hidden room and find a peculiar book. A forbidden book. It tells a story of an evil being -- called the Nybbas -- imprisoned in their world. The story cannot be true -- not really. But then the whispers start. Violet and Demetrius, along with an ancient, scarred dragon, may hold the key to the Nybbas's triumph . . . or its demise. It all depends on how they tell the story. After all, stories make their own rules.
Iron Hearted Violet is a story of a princess unlike any other. It is a story of the last dragon in existence, deathly afraid of its own reflection. Above all, it is a story about the power of stories, our belief in them, and how one enchanted tale changed the course of an entire kingdom.

Leave me a comment below with what you're waiting on this Wednesday!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blog Tour (Interview + Giveaway): My Super Sweet Sixteen Century by Rachel Harris

Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Series: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1
Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore
Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
*Interview with author*

"Loving the Cover of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, what was your reaction after seeing it for the first time?"

RH: This is actually the second cover for the book. We had the first reveal and it was fun, the girl had huge sunglasses on and her nails were painted along with her 16th century attire, kinda smirking at the camera so-to-speak. I was happy with it and there’s still a lot of people out there who tell me they really like the current cover but loved that one….but I have to say, when they surprised me with this brand new cover out of the blue, my jaw dropped and I squealed like a crazy person. Like, for real. My husband came running in wondering if I was okay, and I pulled it up on our huge monitor so I can just gawk at it, and he was like, “Oh.” LOL But he really got excited about it, too, and so did my girls…they think it looks like a Disney princess castle in the background =) And I’ll admit that still, months later, I’ll take to just staring at my cover for several minutes with a goofy, cheesy grin. 

"What contributed as inspiration, what got the ball rolling for this idea of a novel?"

RH: My first ever novel was in the query stages, and I knew that the best thing to do was dive into another project. I’d just finished reading two straight-up historicals, one YA (The Season by Sarah MacLean) and the other an adult romance by my girl Vicky Dreiling. Well, when I read historicals (which I love to do), I always picture myself in the story, but it’s always me, like I am today, knowing what I know and with the viewpoint of a twenty-first century girl. I had read Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard in the past, too, and knew I wanted to take the time travel idea, so then I was left picking the era. I read so many Regency books that I wanted to challenge myself (I’m a dork in that I adore research), and while I’ve always been fascinated with the Renaissance, I didn’t know all the ins and outs. I mentioned to my husband the Renaissance—he said the 1600s, which led to him saying “My Super Sweet 1600s” because we had just seen a commercial for the MTV show. I played with it for a minute and changed it to My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, and the story kinda wrote itself from there!
"Do you listen to music while you write? If you do, what songs helped inspire what you write and contribute to MSSSC? If not, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?"
RH: YES! Well, actually, not when I physically write. I kinda need quiet or just the right amount of background noise that is a low hum lol. But before I write, whenever I take a break, when I drive anywhere, when I’m exercising or taking a shower before drafting, I play my story soundtrack. This is filled with songs that speak to the character arc of the book, highlighting where they are emotionally and growth wise throughout the story, and I use certain words or the images from the songs for inspiration while drafting the scenes of the book they fit. A few of the songs for My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century are Poker Face (Gaga), Because of You (Clarkson), Today was a Fairytale (Swift), Love Story (Swift again—she makes her way on most of my soundtracks a few times lol), and Who Says You Can’t Go Home (Bon Jovi/Sugarland).

"While writing, what happened to be your toughest experience so far?"
RH: Honestly, this book was so easy to write… the words just came and I had fun the entire time. I finished it, written and edited (well edits from me and my critique partners, not the official ones from Entangled *grin*) in two months. But during the final revisions, it was hard to get the ending just right. We played with a few different versions before landing on the current version….and yes, it does lead to the companion novel, A Tale of Two Centuries!

"Favorite quote in general?"
RH: I have so many quotes that speak to me, but I’m partial to the one my main character lives by: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” which is commonly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. 

"What was your favorite scene to write?"
EH: There is a scene about halfway through the book after Cat, her cousins, and Lorenzo go out to the Tuscan countryside. They get trapped outside the city gates and are forced to stay at an inn. Cat’s cousins go downstairs for dinner, and although Cat and Lorenzo have a chaperone the entire time they are upstairs and then later that night when the cousins return, and there is zero kissing in this scene, for some reason it is the most romantic in the entire novel to me. That was a lot of fun to write, and I was grinning the whole time.

"Advice for aspiring authors out there?"
RH: Read, read, read. Read the genre you want to write in and then branch out. Look for books the opposite of what you want to write in and books that are close in genre but just a touch different. Read them all, and dog-ear, bookmark, or jot down notes of passages, words, physical descriptions, or phrases that speak to you. Think about WHY they speak to you, and how you can create something similar in your own writing. After that, the biggest thing I did for myself when I was just starting out was take my favorite novels and the ones closest to the kind of book I wanted to write, and I broke it down. It’s best to do this after you’ve already read it once so you can just enjoy it the first time, but after that, pay attention to everything. I made a spreadsheet and wrote down how many chapters there were, how many pages there were in each, the ratio of narration to dialogue, if they had dual character POV how often they switched, what was the central point or goal of each chapter and why it was needed. By looking at that last column, you can track how they built their story arc and learn a lot about plotting. This was better than any book on writing I’ve read, and I’ve read (and loved!) a ton =)

"What is a bad habit you've tried to break?"
RH: Are we talking writing, because I have a ton of bad habits in general LOL. Writing wise though, the biggest is trying to break away from boring, overused, or clutch-for-me phrases or physical descriptions. You know, the nodding, snorting, eye rolling business. The Emotion Thesaurus is one of my favorite resources to help with this!!

"If you had the chance to travel back in time, what era would you like to wind up in and where, and who'd you like to stumble upon?"
RH: Definitely either Renaissance Florence or Regency London. I love these periods!! If it were Renaissance Florence, I’d love to meet up with the famous artists of the time like Michelangelo, and if it were Regency London, I’d love to stumble upon a handsome duke LOL. 

"How did you feel at the conclusion of this novel? When the very last punctuation was put in it's place?"
RH: So excited! This book felt different for me. And the day I typed the end, my husband took me to lunch at PF Changs and I’ll never forget, I opened my fortune cookie and the word to learn in Chinese on the back was “Pear.” 
Now, if you haven’t read the book, that might not make sense. My main character, Cat Crawford, has a pear tattoo on her hip that has a lot of personal significance to her (and it’s explained in the story), and it was that pear tattoo that the gypsy saw in the tent and ultimately gave her the sign to send Cat to the past. In fact, if you know to look for it, pears pop up a few times in the novel, so to see that on my fortune cookie was like a TOTAL FREAK OUT TIME for me. I literally screamed—thank goodness we were eating outside (it was a rare nice, non-hot day in Houston lol)—and that fortune is still taped to my computer monitor =)

As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel.  She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn't televised.

+ + +

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Confessions #1
Young Adult
Pages: 272
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has someconfessions to make.
…1. I'm 
livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate,don't you?
2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is nowenraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)
*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

Adding this one to my favorites list. Confessions of an Angry Girl really does justice as a contemporary novel. The realistic characters, the constant motion of the story, the tension buildup between relationships, the list is endless. I just really liked reading this book! It was like a nice hard pretzel dipped in smooth, creamy nutella. Delicious.

The synopsis really triggered my want of this novel. It's quirky, it's funny, and it has voice. Rosie's voice. She does not disappoint while reading. Mad at the world and with a reason that I couldn't complain about, Rosie is an easy character to relate to even if you haven't been in the same position as her. We all get angry, all of us. She does have the freshmen tendencies like swooning over Jamie Forta, but I guess I would, too. Only while he's with Rose, though. When he's with Regina, his cheerleader girlfriend (a little cliched in my mind), my thoughts on him are another story.

The writing was paced just right. Rosie's voice was captivating and hilariously witty. I understood her anger towards the word and towards the people at her school. Especially Regina. But some of the realistic aspects of the novel made me cock my head to the side, confused. There's one part of the book where Rosie goes with her wanting-to-have-sex-with-her-boyfriend obsessed best friend Tracy to planned parenthood in order for her to go on the pill. But while she's there Rose made an appointment to see a gynecologist. Red Flag! In my mind I was saying: "What is a fourteen/fifteen-year-old girl doing making an appointment at the OB/GYN without an adult, not even eighteen, and never had sex? Does not compute." Usually the age to see your GYN is eighteen or when you first start having sex. Usually minors are accompanied with an adult because they're, you know, minors. That was the only part that really had me making a face because I didn't find it very realistic. Because Rosie was none of the above.

Final Summation: Confessions of an Angry Girl really is something. My hype for this book was not put down (except that one little part mentioned above) and I loved Rosie's flawed persona. Cannot wait to pick up my own copy and shove on my shelf. And I am dying to read the second book, Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend, after the end that Ms. Rozett left! 

First Lines: This, dear reader, is a tale of the hell of high school.
Story: S
Cover: S

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (10)

Good morning everyone. I hope you all had wonderful weeks and are enjoying yourselves and the bookish thing that you received.
Love your faces <3

Reviews and Updates from this (and the past) week, Check out anything you missed!

Book Haul:
*Thank you to Bloomsbury Children's Books, Tor/Forge, Flux Books for everything this week*

Thursday, August 23, 2012

College: Move-in Day

So, after numerous nights of sifting through my closet, weeding through my drawers and under my bed, I have finally finished packing. Today I officially move in. I start classes on Monday. The feelings I have are overjoyed and excited and nervous all at once. This is a new time in my life, as everyone who has went or is in college knows, and I hear from my friends how amazing college is and I have finally hit that point in time. I am a college student. I am closer to getting out there in the world. I am at one of the most amazing points in life. I am scared. I am nervous. I am happy.

So, to make this short post short. I will be absent from my computer for most of the day. I hope every has a wonderful Thursday as I will be trying to fit the contents of my entire room into the small dorm room. Most of you know what I'm talking about, and some of you are anticipating this day whenever it may be. Wish me luck. Love your faces. <3

-Courtney Ann (Shortskie)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Query Letter Critique: Please and Thank you, Love your faces!


I would appreciate any comments towards this query. I am trying to tighten it up as best as I can. I will be going through the comments and if you'd like me to comment on any reviews in exchange, I'd be happy to leave meaningful comments on any post that you'd like. Just leave links in the comments below right after critiques. If you'd like to email me about anything regarding this post you can find me at Shortskiee @ aol [dot] com

+ + +
Updated Version:

Dear [Insert Agent Name Here],

Most people would kill for an extra hour in their day, but for seventeen-year-old Aria Detore, one more becomes a fight for her life. She's new to the Midnight Hour—the nightly time halt when undead creatures plague the lands, hungry and armed with a killer bite. And to survive, Aria needs to learn how to become a zombie-slayer. Fast.

Stumbling upon a group of refugees that have been fighting during the Hour for years, Aria adamantly joins. They help Aria understand the chaotic world she's been thrown into, whether she likes it or not. They explain that she is branded with Potential, an untapped power of mysterious origin and the reason she can enter the Hour. In a world that was made of death and carnage, there is always a catch. Potential is killing her. It's killing them all.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Potential wielders have to worry about the Hour’s boundaries becoming substantially weaker as time passes and undead hordes will eventually break into reality. The end of the world is beginning. And Aria is faced with a choice: stand and fight or watch the world be devoured.

Told through a series of journal entries, REPAIRERS OF THE DECEPTIVE WORLD is a YA paranormal thriller novel with series potential complete at 100,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Courtney Ann

Waiting on Wednesday (24): Going Vintage

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Goodreads | Pre-Order
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn't cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma's list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy's cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she'll get it done. Somehow. 
Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.
This sounds absolutely cute and witty. The cover is adorable. Though contemporary is not really my thing, I would definitely love giving this book a try :)

Leave me a comment below with what you're waiting on this Wednesday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Publication Date: January 2, 2012
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 236
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

Definitely a cute and quirky novel. I read it a little while ago, back when it came out actually, but never gotten the time to sit down and just review this novel. So now, after running it over in my head for months, I will finally get this review started.

Hadley is off to go to her dad's second wedding in London, and missed her flight. There she meets Oliver, cute and British to boot, and with luck they're on the same flight. I enjoyed reading this story. Upon losing track on the Airport, Hadley is downcast on not getting to say good-bye to this amazing boy who she really connected to, and he connected with. I also really enjoyed the duration of this novel, a whole twenty-four hours. It was different from what I usually read in contemporary novels.

Now the relationship in this book was sweet, like something a Disney Pixar movie would have. It's not insta-love in the way that the characters are going "you're my soul mate," or "there's nobody but you," and the works. I'm not even going to rate this novel as isnta-love because it really isn't in my eyes. I've met people before and really made a connection with, someone that I wanted to know better. I've lost track with them before and I found them by putting pieces together, just like Hadley. I didn't go the extremes like she did, but I was still like Hadley all the same.

Final Summation: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I love that title, is definitely a cute romance. Leaving the reader with twists and turns, fighting for the two to meet again, you just can't not want Hadley and Oliver to meet again. A sweet, satisfying love story, though only takes a day, makes you feel like the characters have known each other for years.

First Line: There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently.
Story: S
Cover: S

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (9)

Good morning everyone. I hope you all had wonderful weeks and are enjoying yourselves and the bookish thing that you received.
Love your faces <3

Reviews and Updates from this (and the past) week, Check out anything you missed!
Book Haul:
*Thank you to Egmont USA and MacMillan Children's Publishing for everything this week*

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Series: The Paladin Prophecy #1
Young Adult
Pages: 560
Genre: Fantasy
Will West is careful to live life under the radar. At his parents’ insistence, he’s made sure to get mediocre grades and to stay in the middle of the pack on his cross-country team. Then Will slips up, accidentally scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam.
Now Will is being courted by an exclusive prep school . . . and is being followed by men driving black sedans. When Will suddenly loses his parents, he must flee to the school. There he begins to explore all that he’s capable of—physical and mental feats that should be impossible—and learns that his abilities are connected to a struggle between titanic forces that has lasted for millennia.

*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

Will West is a genius told to dumb it down and remain low because there is danger lurking after him. He's moved countless times and his abides by rules that his father set forth and lives off of them like its his bible. Will was a character that I liked, he was smart (obviously), funny, but quite pompous and reminded me of a young and modern Sherlock Holmes in a way. But Will was the only thing about the book that I could really watch and connect with while the entirety of the situation he was in and the background details left me confused.

While I wanted to keep reading for Will's sake and for his adoring persona and wanting to find out what the "Paladin Prophecy", the reason why the title got it's name, was or the reason why Will was in danger from the get-go, I was just bored with what was going on and I couldn't connect with the book, making me confused and glide through the pages forgetting what I had just previously read. Also, the intake of characters left me dazed and overwhelmed.

Final Summation: While this wasn't the book for me, I have read countless reviews that raved over the book. I'm sure others will think so too, but The Paladin Prophecy just wasn't enough to keep me entertained and heal my confusion, leaving me to put the book down.

First Line: I couldn't see his face.
Story: C
Cover: A

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cover Reveal: Taken and Altered Souls

Both these covers were created by Phatpuppy Art, her work is always stunning. I especially likes the one for Altered Souls a whole lot. I feel like the text of Taken doesn't do the cover justice, the image is gorgeous though, it's just that darn text! Enjoy the covers and tell me what you think in the comments down below!

Taken by Karice Bolton
Publication Date: December 2012
Series: The Watcher Trilogy #0.5

A Watchers Novella

Ana and Athen are enjoying the quiet life as a couple with only the minor dark demon infraction to rectify. Cyril and Arie are enjoying the newfound simplicity too. Things are perfect – too perfect.

They soon realize that something far more sinister is taking place in their world, and they must do their best to stop the evil from spreading. Determined to figure out who is tampering with the mortals’ fate they are unable to recognize that it’s a trap, and one of their own is the target.

This is where it all begins.
Other books in the series:

Altered Souls by Karice Bolton
Publication Date: October 2012
Series: The Witch Avenue Series #2

The realm of Altered Souls brings nothing but unrest, deceit, and pain forcing Triss to come face to face with heartbreak from her past. 

Facing a betrayal like never before, Triss questions everything she thought she knew about her family, coven, and abilities. 

With the help of Logan, she embarks on a journey enabling her to confront the dark side of magic and the person who controls it. Realizing Triss’s ancestors have been seduced for centuries by the dark side, Triss and Logan must ensure no more in their world fall victim to the realm of Altered Souls, even if that means ending the ones they love.   
Other books in the series: 

About the Author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook
Karice Bolton is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy author living in the Pacific Northwest. All three books in The Watchers Trilogy are available now, Awakening, Legions, and Cataclysm. Lonely Souls, which is the first book in her new series Witch Avenue, was released in June 2012!

Karice married the love of her life who she met in high school, and she still can't get over how cute and funny he is. They have two English Bulldogs that are the cutest bullies in the world, and they use their cuteness to get what they want. Karice loves the snow and gravitates towards the stuff as often as possible! She enjoys skiing and tries really hard to snowboard, but often makes a nice little area to sit while everyone zips by on their board. She enjoys writing, and she also loves to read just about anything with print.

Waiting on Wednesday (23): Story's End

Story's End by Marissa Burt
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Series: Storybound #2
Long ago, a King ruled the land of Story....
During his reign, Heroes, Villains, and characters of all kinds lived out Tales filled with daring quests and epic struggles. Then the King disappeared, and over the years nearly everyone forgot that he had ever existed. 
Now an evil Enemy has emerged, determined to write a new future for Story. And an ordinary girl from our world named Una Fairchild must find a way to defeat him. 
Una and her friends Indy and Peter set off on a quest for answers, facing warlocks, beasts, and enchantments at every turn. But Una soon discovers that the real key lies in her own mysterious ties to Story’s past—and to the long-forgotten King who may be their only hope for survival.

I'm very excited about this book because I loved Storybound, it was a cute fairy-tale book that I needed in my system. The cover is definitely something that I really like about this as well. I mean, you can't not like that awesome castle and that freaking drawbridge extending it's way past the borders of the drawing. It's just do cool! If you have not read Storybound yet, I extremely recommend it to anyone who needs a break from all the dystopian, vampires, whatnots, and just wants to soak up some sun in the land of Story, where Heroes and Villains are made for your fairy-tale needs.

Leave me a comment below with what you're waiting on this Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Laezar

Release Date: August 8, 2012
Publisher: Flux
Series: The Aether Chronicles #1
Young Adult
Pages: 408
Genre: Faeries, Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk
Wish. Love. Desire. Live.

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.
*Digital galley provided by the publisher for an honest review*

I was really excited to read this book because that cover is just so stunning, so steampunk, that I just wanted to snuggle with it and whisper sweet, beautiful nothings to it. Okay, I'm not that weird. But this cover is a trap! GASP. Hold the phone, spit out what you were drinking, cower behind a big stranger, run away like it's the plague. For a book that mesmerizes the reader with a cover that looks like heavy steampunk, Innocent Darkness is severely lacking in the department, all except for the beginning where hover cars, air pirates, and air police are mentioned and used more like a gateway to get the ball rolling for the story.

If only I really knew where that ball would be rolling to, because Innocent Darkness was really all over the place when it comes to genres. Steampunk? Victorian Gothic? Paranormal? Faries? Romance? How about a mix of everything and anything in-between, because, really, for the life of me, I could not put my finger on this wheel of genres. 

The book is set in a an alternate reality around 1901, but it really didn't feel like that time period. Yes, it's a alternate reality, but that doesn't justify that the author failed to do thorough research about the time period that she was going to place her world in. Failure in the dialogue, the style of clothing, the lively hood of the characters. It was lacking. And with that, I couldn't connect myself to the world Ms. Laezar was trying to make.

Character wise, Mongolia (Noli) Braddock is like most young adult heroines nowadays. She's special, harboring the Spark, a rare and powerful energy. And that power, of course,  is what will put her in danger, that power will be used to help save the end of the Faery world. All by sacrifice of course. Now the part is different from many published novels, something that really caught my eye. Something unique. But, unfortunately, Noli, I just couldn't handle her or the love triangle filler that made me want to toss my kindle to the wall. The urge to be with the very guy, The Otherworld Queen's Huntsman, who is trying to kill you and the urge to be with your best childhood friend whose secrets really could be predicted because this book really wasn't all that unpredictable. I just knew what would happen with the romance, who they were going to be, from the prologue and the first chapter of the book, and I really didn't like it, neither of the love interest or the love triangle. Or Noli for that matter. They're all bland characters. If I could say who I liked the most, it would be Stephen, "V", her childhood friend. I'm usually a sucker for the old friend. Secrets and all.

I'm really saddened by this book, because I expected it to be much more than what I got. Neither was it fresh or engaging, Innocent Darkness was just a mess when it came down to: What kinda book am I? You don't want to have your reader wonder what kind of book your are, finding a genre and then having it change on you through mostly the whole book. You lose readers. 

Innocent Darkness had such a enticing premise, even the first few chapters were enough to make me want to read more, to know what was going on, and why what happened in the prologue happened. But the way each aspect of the book was executed--dialogue, character development, plot, setting--they were all underdeveloped and everything but what it should have had: clear focus, concise details, and just captivating the reader.

Final Summation: Innocent Darkness had potential, it had something great, but there was too much confusion and mismatching genres that I couldn't take it. Character development was underdeveloped and unbelievable. Setting was under-researched. The beginning was the strongest part of the whole novel. I felt the characters and started seeing who they were, only until Noli was sent to her reform school by her loving mother, another unbelievable aspect in development. If the book focused in on maybe one or two key factors rather than trying to stuff every bit and piece it could find into the story, it would have been a much more satisfying read.

First Line: Whatever happened, she could not allow them to catch her, nor could a single drop of her blood spill upon the ground.
Story: B
Cover: S for overall. C for the trap.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Manga Review: Oreimo: Volume 1 by Tsukasa Fushimi

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Artist: Sakura Ikeda
Volume: 1
Young Adult
Pages: 200
Genre: Drama, Seinen, Slice of Life
High-school student Kyousuke doesn't get along with his cranky, dismissive, and secretive fourteen-year-old litter sister Kirino, but he suddenly finds himself forced to protect Kirino's secrets--she's not only a gorgeous fashion model, a track star, and an accomplished student, but she's also obsessed with naughty video games and little kids' fantasy anime! How can Kirino maintain her complicated lifestyle--and how can Kuousuke maintain his sanity? And might the tow of them, some how, just maybe, ever become friends?
*Digital galley was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

I've been mulling over in my mind how I was going to review this manga for a little bit now. And usually I'm quick on my feet when it comes to if I like the manga or not, but Oreimo has me in a tight knot.

Kyousuke and his sister, Kirino, have never gotten along. She's pretty, popular, a secret fashion model, and she is into adult video games and fantasy manga, which doesn't fit her character at all. When Kyousuke finds out this secret, he promises to keep it safe, but also tried to help his sister find friends to talk to about it and leave him alone. Aaaaand, scene.

The artwork in Oreimo is cute for the most part, some times the characters look a little too over the top when trying to be cute or making a strange, but usual, facial expression. When the artist puts the girls of Oreimo into chibi modes for some pannels it was a much better improvement over the actual artwork, which is a little saddening.

As for the story, it was an interesting idea, but I found some parts to be really boring to where I'd just be skipping dialogue bubbles until something caught my eye. And there were many dialogue bubbles, a little too much on some pages, but it wasn't really a big deal, just a little note I made to myself while reading and skipping through. The ending was definitely a nice little cliffhanger for the next volume, so it does inquire me to want the next volume.

Final Summation: The drama genre definitely does tell the truth for this manga. Oreimo does have an interesting idea going for it, something I haven't seen in a manga yet, and though it has it's dull moments making me skip some long dialogue bubbles and such, I did end up enjoying it and will be reading the second volume when it comes out. I have also heard that the manga was pretty good, so I might have to check it out and see which version, manga or anime, is better.

Story: A
Artwork: A 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (8)

Good morning everyone. I hope you all had wonderful weeks and are enjoying yourselves and the bookish thing that you received.
Love your faces <3

Reviews and Updates from this (and the past) week, Check out anything you missed!
Book Haul:
*Thank you to Scholastic Books, Simon and Schuster's Pulse It, and Penguin Young Readers Group for everything this week*

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Young Adult
Pages: 391
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Sparks are igniting, flames are spreading and the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
*I purchased this book to read and review*

First off let me say that I enjoyed the first book much more than I did the second. And the one reason why I did in the first was that there was more suspense and less emotion hopping. When you start off in Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta are going around each district on their Victory Tour, and it's just so BORING! Sure there were some parts that were made to draw you in because who wants a boring beginning in a book. No one, that's who. My brother, who never reads but loved The Hunger Games, didn't finish this book because of how the beginning took off on the wrong foot. Beauty and riches, parties and dresses. I wanted what the first book had, not a protagonist who couldn't pick and choose which boy to throw herself at and was pampered to every beck and call.

Katniss, oh what happened to you? The Hunger Games. She suffers from the woes of a teenage beating heart and two boys who will do anything for her. But she doesn't have the balls to pick, and uses President Snow as an excuse. I'm not one for whiny main characters but Katniss just took things to a whole new level. And her undying resolve to keep Peeta alive doesn't help her case because it's just really annoying.

The reason why I didn't stop reading the book, from the first time Katniss pissed me off to no end or the boring beginning putting me to sleep, was one character: Finnick Odair. Literally the only reason. The whole entire second half of the book had gotten so much better because there was so much Finnick in it and from the action that I was looking for from the very first chapter, not pretty pampered Katniss. Having won the Hunger Games back when he was only fourteen-years-old--Fourteen!--Finnick is strong, loyal, and cunning. And he's nice on the eyes, too. I will read the next book, even though I know how Mockingjay ends and what happens in between, only because my love for Finnick is just too strong to stay away. And because the cliffhanger was really good I must confess.

Final Summation: Finnick. Yes, I have found a character that I can adore. After bashing most guys in YA, I have found one that is thankfully not a main love interest and whipped. The action towards the ending and the cliffhanger was definitely the one of the best things the second book had going for it. Katniss was not a factor that I liked in this book and I wish there was more good character development rather than cold, emotion-flipping, pampered, boring old Katniss. I wanted what the first book supplied in her, but I got something that I never wanted in a strong main character that she was. Oh well.

First Line: I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.
Story: A
Cover: C