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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (39): Once We Were

Once We Were by Kat Zhang
Publication Date: September 17, 2013

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.
How amazing is this cover? I honestly love looking at the dual possibilities for faces in this one. This is going to be a great sequel :)

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Scrap by Emory Sharplin

Publication Date: May 17, 2013
Publisher: Green Leaf Book Group
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 350
Genre: Fantasy

On the brutal streets of Hellip, a village in the vast empire of the cruel King Ibis, you either become good at running from the king’s Blackcoats or you die. This is the lesson that twelve-year-old Tucker Scrap, abandoned as an infant among the orphans of Hellip, learned early. Along with her friends Ash and Kally, Tucker spends her time keeping one step ahead of the unjust laws, stealing what she needs to survive, and pondering her own unknown origins—and those of the enchanted bracelet with which she was found.

     Now, both Ash and Kally have vanished from the orphanage, perhaps headed for the faraway city where Ibis still rules. When a mysterious girl named Vivian arrives in Hellip with a strange invitation to Tucker, the leader of the orphans decides that this may be her opportunity to find her missing friends. But more than this: it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom.
     The introduction to a fantasy world rich with ancient magic, enigmatic gypsies, palace labyrinths, and deep woods haunted by strange and forbidding creatures, Emory Sharplin’s debut novel tells the story of Tucker Scrap: a bold, memorable heroine at the center of a centuries-old mystery, stepping into her destiny at last.
*Digital galley provided by Green Leaf Book Group for an honest review*

Scrap turned out to be an unexpected dislike for me. The cover is gorgeous, the synopsis had be barreling into the first few pages of the book, but almost half way through the novel I found that there was too much going on in the book for my tastes. Street rats, a missing princess, killing of a Queen, cruel kings, poverty, Blackcoats, a missing Duchess, friends gone missing, Tucker turned missing Duchess, proper form and etiquette, life in the rich lane, enchanted jewelry, magic, gypsies, almost-rape scenes--Scrap harbored it all up until the point that I decided to stop reading.

The beginning of the book really caught my attention. A street rat trying to figure out her life sounded like a fun plot in my eyes. I liked Tucker before Vivian, the eternally young lady who swept Tucker out of the destitute life in order to scam the royals that the baby girl who was supposed to be dead and gone was just lurking around an orphanage and stealing bread, came along, she was edgy and cunning. When Tucker was thrown into the lap of luxury, I felt no character being developed, but rather an entirely different and bland character in the making. She had gone from knowing no manors at all, stealing and fighting to survive on the streets from such a young age to swiftly becoming this respondent and proper young woman with such gracious manors. Wouldn't she feel the culture shock? Miss the urge to pickpocket? Where does a girl who has grown up with no manors at all all of a sudden place them on the table like she was dealing out cards? I just couldn't believe it, it was a complete character pitfall. It was a complete 180 degrees from well concocted potion to entirely dull glass of water. Tucker went from an actual character to a complete disappointment.

Not to mention I had been reading for almost half a novel with no idea where the plot was leading me or what any of Vivian's plans were supposed to be, or who this young and eternal woman was besides the fact that she is a family friend of Tucker's mother and that she cannot reveal any secrets. We know Tucker's friends have ran away, and I thought that maybe Tucker would have been more thorough in trying to search for them rather than constantly recollecting on past memories or their personalities or likes and dislikes while she is in this grand home learning to be a fallacy of a lost duchess named Celeste. She was looking for ideas of why she was abandoned in this orphanage, but where was it going with this complete acceptance into this royal, prestigious family as the fake Celeste? I had a hunch as to who Tucker might be, even the synopsis gives it away:

"[. . .] it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom."

I don't even need to read the end and I already possibly know who Tucker is supposed to be and what she is supposed to do for the kingdom of Grimmic. The story is so simplistic, but the accumulation of all these details and garnishes try to hid away that simplicity but rather just make it completely clustered of a read and uninteresting all the same.

If there was a more concise plot line and dynamic within the world of Grimmic I would have enjoyed the tale. The on the account that there was so much going on in this one novel, even before I could make it to the very end, just overwhelmed me and ended up having me lose interest. There could have been something going for Scrap if there was a clearer and more dominant character development and stricter plot elements not draped with unnecessary detail and events.

Final Summation: Unfortunately, Scrap was a DNF for me. I found myself uninterested in the story by the halfway mark, fell out of love with Tucker once she was no longer considering herself a street rat but more of a poised elite member of the kingdom, and found that too much was being draped around the plot of the story for me to want to continue. Sadly, this was not the book for me.

First Line: "People of Grimmic, I stand before you, condemned and prepared to die a traitor."
Story: DNF
Cover: S

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Stand alone novel
Young Adult
Pages: 320
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance

She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
     Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
     But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
*Digital galley provided by Disney Hyperion for the blog tour and an honest review* 

Another day, another identity. She has going threw a cache of them before finally deciding that "Meg" is going to be the final straw and the moving stops. Between being in the Witness Protection Program and not knowing the reason behind the constant uprooting of her family's lives all around the United States and the multitude of aliases' having gone through in numerous months, Meg's ready to find out the reason why before she has to start all over again in a new town with a new name and a new physical alteration.

The Rules for Disappearing was a simple mystery that really doesn't leave you ruining the ending for yourself. The mystery really ends up beating around the book in the first half of the novel. Meg is struggling to get to the bottom of her family being placed in Witness Protection, yet no one is giving her any explanations and her father's silence just pushes her farther to solving her own mystery. The constant reversal between Meg begging her parents for answers and having Meg search for answers on her own is thorough throughout the course of the entire novel. It sort of set me back as a reader and kept the plot in the overbearing rut before things eventually moved forward and the gears of the story caught up to speed, but only until the very end of the novel.

Besides the setback of the plot, the romance was cute and decently contrived. I liked Meg and Ethan being together. Though I had found myself questioning what made Ethan so special this time around in this new town with her new alias? Never-before had she gotten so close with someone. She even fought off any interaction with the boy, and suddenly she was finding herself not wanting to move on from the rural Louisiana town she'd been transferred to because of this boy whom she had barely any way to get to known him before that thought. Just that whole idea seemed very immature to me. But at the same time, once Ethan's character and personality began to reveal itself a little bit more and more, the sweet southern boy had me smiling and I ended up liking that Meg wanted to stay with him. If only her thought on the matter was later on in the novel rather than towards the beginning I wouldn't have had such a problem with it.

The supporting characters happened to be a disappointment to me. The cliche of the rotten, quintessential malice-filled sister and her boyfriend/ex-friend of Ethan being rather rude and distasteful to the new girl grew cold against my skin but I shrugged it off, not letting that be a deciding factor of how I'd view the story. They do happen to be nuisances of supporting characters. Meanwhile, the only character that I thoroughly enjoyed and felt was a boost towards the development of Meg and Ethan, was her little sister, Teeny. The devotion that Meg has for her little sister, the way she sticks up for her and makes sure she's safe and happy brought out a side that I enjoyed in Meg as a character. The two of them were wonderful siblings trying to deal with their whole crazy ordeal.

Final Summation: Though the novel's plot beats around the bush, once the mystery really has the ball rolling it fun and just pulls you right along. A quick and fun read that should definitely be given a try during this summer.

First Line: "What do you want your name to be this time?"
Story: A
Cover: A

About the AuthorAshley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband, three sons and two cats. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a licensed Landscape Horticulturist and helps her husband run a commercial lawn and landscaping business. They also custom harvest pecans and have cows. Yes, cows. |

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Stand alone novel
Young Adult
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t. 
When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.
But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.
A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.
*Digital galley provided by Disney Hyperion for an honest review*

It's been a really hectic week for me here between finals and packing up to go home for the summer, I was glad that I could get Nantucket Blue in for a read and get this review for the blog tour up on time.

Nantucket Blue was one of those easy reads for me. I flew through the book. Leila Howland's writing style just flowed so smoothly, made me laugh, and had me smiling. The scenery came to life and the kisses happening between Cricket and Zack sounded so soft and passionate I had been smiling during all the romantic parts. I was very satisfied with the romance in the book. The realism, the forbidden secret of dating her best friend's younger brother made this novel a little roller coaster in itself. And the way Cricket (love her name) fought to stay through everything that was thrown her way between Jules, her best friend, being mad at her; her crush, Jay, being angered and distant as well; the off-limits younger brother that she happens to be falling for; and the chambermaid job she gets in order to stay on Nantucket when Jules declines the invitation to stay with her, Cricket takes what she is given and pursues forward, building herself off the events and actions that are pushed down upon her. Her summer definitely is not boring, that's for sure.

There is just enough summer, stolen kisses, first times, and hidden diaries in this novel to make it a fun, little read in the sun. Cricket had a summer of a lifetime down in Nantucket, granted it is not the summer that I'd like to experience (Jules's mother passing away, a rift between friends, forbidden love, and unneeded drama), but it was enjoyable to watch how she would handle the situations dealt in her direction. I liked Cricket, she knew who she was, how she could handle situations on her plate (until they started to go out of control), and the relationships that she fostered between the workers at her job at the Inn, with her internship with the journalist, and the man who Cricket believes was her mother's "Lover Boy" back when she lived out in the beautiful Nantucket. 

I felt bad for the way Jules was treating Cricket during the duration of the novel, but then against there was merit to her cold nature. When Cricket stole her chance to say something about Nina, Jules's deceased mother, at her funeral because Cricket felt the need to save her speechless, distraught friend who was choking in the spotlight, I knew that had to be the reason for her anger at her best friend. If I had been sitting in one of the pews during the service, I would have felt awkward at Cricket stepping out of place and taking the words away from Jules. That was the one flaw that I found in Cricket, she felt that she always needed to save Jules, when she really didn't need to be saved. It felt like Cricket was trying to take over the mother spot that her own mother had left behind, and I started to feel pity for Cricket.

Final Summation: Nantucket Blue took me by surprise. Contemporary never really was my genre of choice, but I had so much fun reading this novel. Maybe it's because summer is right around the corner, maybe it was the voice of Leila Howland's writing that just sucked me in, or maybe the story was just that enjoyable. I think it's all three. I recommend this to anyone who wants a quick, fun-filled novel with a cute little forbidden love story with all the drama, tragedy, and family history hidden in the streets of Nantucket.

First Line: Even without Holly Howard and Dori Archer, who'd been suspended for drinking on campus, we were supposed to win that game.
Story: S
Cover: A

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Friday Hops (5/17/13)

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Alison Can Read Feature & FollowFollow Friday (#33)
Q: School is out! What is your favorite Summer Reading book?

I don't have a particular book that I read every summer, but I do happen to look forward to reading all of the upcoming novels that will be released during the summer time. One of my favorites that I had been pining for has been The Falconer. I really enjoyed Ink that will be hitting shelves in late June. Definitely one that should be read. If you like Japan, this is your book! :D

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (38): Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: August 27, 2013

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
Loved Throne of Glass, so this one is definitely a must read for me. Cannot wait to see what Celaena is up against next.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Pitch Green by The Brothers Washburn

Publication Date: March 16, 3013
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Series: Dimensions in Death #1
Young Adult
Pages: 280
Series: Horror

Trona is a small, foul-smelling, mostly insignificant town in California. Besides a booming chemical plant, the only thing that characterizes this dismal town is dirt, sagebrush, and an enormous abandoned mansion. 
     The mansion is, admittedly, the only notable addition to Trona, but it’s something everyone tries to avoid due to its creepy facade. Everyone except for Camm Smith, who is obsessed with the need to get inside.
     Seven years earlier, as Camm herded a pack of little trick-or-treaters past the mansion, her young neighbor, Hugh, disappeared, becoming just one of many children who have vanished from Trona over the years without a trace. Now a senior in high school, Camm is still haunted by the old tragedy and is sure the answer to the mysterious disappearances lies hidden somewhere in the decaying mansion. Joining forces with her best friend, Cal, who also happens to be Hugh’s older brother, Camm naively begins a perilous search for the truth.
     As things spiral quickly out of control, and others die, Camm and Cal discover it will take all their combined ingenuity to stay alive. An unseen creature, lurking deep within the bowels of the mansion, seems to have supernatural powers and is now hunting them. Making matters worse, they become entangled with hostile federal agents, who care only about keeping old secrets permanently hidden. Left with only their wit and seemingly ineffective firearms, they know they are running out of time. Unless they can make sense out of the few pieces of the puzzle they manage to unearth, the monster will certainly destroy them, and like so many others before them, they will be gone without a trace.
*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Jolly Fish Press for an honest review* 

Suspenseful and horrific, even the cover of Pitch Green is spooky enough to capture my interest. I really enjoy horror genres, so when Jolly Fish Press contacted me asking if I would read and review Pitch Green, I signed right up.

Things go bump in the night at the old abandoned mansion in the small town of Trona, California. Children have been going missing. And when the younger sibling of Cal becomes one of those missing children, Cal and his best friend/neighbor, Camm, join forces in figuring out what had happened and what dark force is lurking deep within the mansion.

Though this book is labeled young adult, I felt like it read as a middle grade novel. Probably because it started out like a middle grade novel: trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Mixed with a dark abomination looking to feast on human flesh and teenagers wielding weapons like guns, it does pan out of the middle grade element.

I'm just going to talk about the gun issue for a moment. I am not against the use of guns in YA novels, it's done all the time and with other weapons as well. It's just the fact that these items are so easy to get a hold of in the novel that worried me, especially the fact that they were very good at using them. This is just be, but, if I was using a gun I would not know what to do. Sure, people will say it's simple, you just throw back the safety (if there is one) and pull the trigger. But people say that about using a fire extinguisher, have you tried using one of those before? There's one in my house but I don't know how to use it. So how were these two teenagers roaring and ready to go this these shotguns and pistols? Not to mention the carelessness of wielding these weapons. I just found it to be a very weak scenario in the novel.

The suspense and action was articulated very well. I was getting into the book really well because of it. I was wanting to figure out what this old mansion really was and how this monster rat thing lurking in the basement actually came to be. The Brothers Washburn had be on the edge of my seat every chapter. I even found myself giggling when the discussion of Cal and Camm's names came into conversation. If you read the book you will understand  why I found them so comical.

Final Summation: With some quizzical elements to the novel, Pitch Green did turn out to be an appealing read. It was more the suspense and the anticipation in learning about the mystery of the mansion that kept my attention rolling rather than the worldbuilding or the characters or the realistic elements. Though horror is not for everyone, I can say that it is a very down low horror story if compared to Stephen King, but one that makes for a very exciting story.

First Line: A dry Death Valley wind blew through town, sucking life out of everything it touched.
Story: A
Cover: S

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (37): Conjured

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
Publication Date: September 3, 2013

Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember. 

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.
I happened to enjoy previous novels by Sarah Beth Durst so I'm really excited for this one. I love things with carnivals so I cannot wait to see what happens and if it becomes a big thing in the book because that would really make me a happy camper.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer

Publication Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 336
Genre: Paranormal, Romance

Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy.

     For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret.

     But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity.
Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Jennifer Archer for an honest review*

Mysterious and mystifying, The Shadow Girl knew how to make the scattered mysteries fit together like puzzle pieces. I had am enjoyable time watching as the mystery unfolded before my eyes and eventually blew me out of the water. Jennifer Archer paced her novel  exceptionally well where there was no way I could have guessed the ultimate secret, it needed to be revealed.

Lily has never been alone in her entire live. A glimmer inside of her, a wave, a voice has been with her from the beginning: Iris, as she calls herself. Living with her parents out in a cabin in the woods, Lily overhears her parents the night before her birthday speaking about things that they have hidden from her over the years, things that Lily will struggle to find out throughout the remainder of the novel after her father is killed in an accident. When Ty Collier comes into her life, also looking for answers, Lily learns the biggest and horrific secret not only about Iris, but about herself. Welcome to The Shadow Girl.

I absolutely adored getting into this book. The mystery sucked me straight in harking on questions that would only be answered later on. The Shadow Girl is a road map of a mystery genre. Certain pieces fit in a certain times, everything carefully pinpointed and evenly spaced so all important aspects weren't being crammed all on one page. Jennifer Archer did a wonderful job with the pacing of her novel, allowing small tidbits to be revealed slowly over time and others that completely took me by surprise. I never like it when my mysteries are spoiled.

Lily's determination to solving what her mother was keeping hidden about her past and Iris's perseverance really kept the plot rolling along. It also really emphasized the persistence of Lily's to really get down to what was being shut away from her, and the reader as well. We're reading her story, you want her to be as persistent as possible but sometimes I feel like Lily was very annoying when confronting her mother about all of these questions right after her father's death. There was a lack of compassion and a lack of respect for her mother, and that downgraded Lily at certain points throughout the novel. Now this is just my realistic mode harping on these little tendencies of Lily, but if there was more of a relationship development between Lily and her mother rather than the badgering and disrespectful persistence that she encompassed, it would have strengthened both characters. Unfortunately some of the character development comes later in the novel, but by then Lily's character had already been formed. It would be beneficial to Lily to have that development, with none of the spoilers, in order to really mold Lily as a much more mature girl in this devastating situation. If my mother was on the edge because my dad just recently passed away, I wouldn't be pounding questions down her throat careless of her feelings and of the situation.

On another note: Wyatt, Lily's best and only friend, was an absolute riot of a character. His snark, his sass, and his outgoing personality just had me loving his appearences on the pages. I also really enjoyed his silly text messages where he'd throw in a random fact of the day. I find myself doing something like that in text messages with certain people from time to time. He made the book playful and pleasant, I liked him a whole lot better than Ty, only because I'm a sucker for the best friend characters. I love the history and the background and the lifelong bonds that form through friendship. I find that those kinds of characters make the story for round for me.

But one thing that I happened to not like was the constant back and forth quirks of emotions for Ty and Wyatt. When there are triangle type love interests I always go for the best friend because there is always more connection and history between the two, but I felt like there didn't need to be this quarrel with love. The book was perfectly enjoyable just with the prolonging mystery. Love triangles can really mess up the flow of a book for me.

Final Summation: An incredibly enjoyable read with a contemporary/mystery mix of genres. Without the love triangle romance sparking between Lily and her two male counterparts, The Shadow Girl would have been a much stronger novel in my opinion. With only the mystery portion to focus on, the novel hit it right out of the park. Well paced with an ending that takes a turn for the unexpected, The Shadow Girl is a book that I will recommend to anyone wanted to be immersed in a well crafted plot and likes being staged in suspense and anticipates the surprise mystery of Lily and Iris.

First Line: Ty Collier shiver as he paused in front of the Daily Grind coffee shop to wipe his boots on the mat beside the door.
Story: S
Cover: A

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blog Tour Review + Sneak Peek + Giveaway: Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe

Publication Date: April 19, 2013
Publisher: Trisha Wolfe
Series: Goddess Wars #1
New Adult
Pages: 305
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.

When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena. 

Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.

New Adult Dark Fantasy: Intended for readers 17 years of age and older.
*Digital copy provided by Trisha Wolfe for the blog tour and an honest review*

Steamy romance. Adept action. Trisha Wolfe has brought light to the New Adult genre in my eyes. Of Silver and Beasts blew me out of the water. Yet again, I fail to fine myself disinterested or disappointed in the works that Trisha presents me. Her novels are pure art, and her diction and worldbuilding will sweep anyone away by the pictures painted with her descriptions. Truly marvelous job with the beginning of this series.

Kaliope has struggled with keeping a deadly secret that flows through her veins: Mercury. A precious element that is greatly guarded by Cavan, the queendom of which she lives and fights to protect. After being graced with the title of head of the Nacture Guard, Kaliope is set with a task to protect the last living heir of the Perinya, Prince Caben. Cavan is seized by the creatures of the Otherworld, stealing a sacred relic that holds the life force of the queendom, as well as enslaving Kaliope and Caben to fight for their lives in an underground caged arena. It is up to Kaliope to keep the ones she loves safe and return Cavan to it's original glory right before the Otherworld shook it from the pedestal of which it sat.

Kaliope is the epitome of bravery and heroines with a strong backbone. She never runs from a fight and values the bond of a vow no matter what. As a Nacture Guard and a protector, Kaliope hits the mark. I was astounded at the depth of character development found in this heroine. Though brash with her emotions and tends to get aggravated fairly easily by the ideal of men because of the female-dominated society that she has grown up in and also the horrible encounters with her father back when she was younger, Kaliope does grow from her time spent with Prince Caben. The two feed off each other, stubbornness and all. The interactions between the two really tested their abilities for a relationship and for the bonds of love to naturally occur. I was happy to notice that there were no love triangles in the making of this novel, and I appreciated the homosexual relationship between Willa and Lilly. It really brings in a nice breath of fresh air and some diversity throughout.

Some parts of the novel when Kaliope and Caben were fighting over their lands views of male and female roles in society I felt as if I was getting a feminism lecture. I clearly understood the ideas and the reasoning behind it (Cavan is a matriarchal society; Perinya is patriarchal), but I could see some of the wisps of subliminal messaging being woven in through the scenes. Not that I'm not a fan of women fighting for what they believe, doing what they want to do (I am a girl after all pursuing my dreams), I just didn't think I needed a lecture going on in the middle of this great story.

I will always have to say this about Trisha's writing: her worldbuilding is phenomenal. Never could I bat an eyelash without catching a glimpse of these realms that Of Silver and Beasts set forth for me. I especially loved the natural beauty described and the bathing scene in the pool with Kaliope and Caben was too beautiful for words. Definitely scroll below to catch a sneak peek of that very scene taking place through the POV of the Prince of Perinya himself, that is not a scene you want to miss anytime soon my dear readers.

Final Summation: I'm glad to have partaken in this blog tour. Not only had Trisha Wolfe blown me out of the water with another one of her astounding novels, but I just have to put her down as one of my favorite authors. I just have to. Her writing is just too fabulous, and OF SILVER AND BEASTS caught me from the very first page with the introduction of Kaliope. Her strength just permeated through the pages. I highly anticipated the sequel to this wonderful new addition to the New Adult subgenre, and recommend this book to anyone who loves steamy romance scenes and so much action that you don't know what to do with yourself. It's a well-blended combination.

First Line: The mercury in my blood nearly boils.
Story: S
Cover: S

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The cool sensation of the fresh water on my skin helps me forget my nerves and I lie back, floating just below the top of the water. My body dulls, the cold soothing my sore muscles, and I welcome the numbness. The ceiling of the cave is sprinkled with tiny clusters of white lights, dotting the canopy above our heads like stars in the sky. I feel as if I’m sitting on the rooftop of my apartment, staring at the night sky, not here in the Otherworld, awaiting my death.
     The water rolls, rocking my body, and I glance over as Caben floats up beside me. He’s on his back also, and points to the lights dusting the cave ceiling.
     “Diamonds,” he says.
     “Really?” I don’t know much about any minerals other than mercury. And somehow, diamonds as our stars makes my chest heavy. It’s too beautiful. “How can you tell?”
     “The ultraviolet light shows the impurities,” he says. “The imperfections actually absorb the dark light, causing the diamond to emit a visible glow.” He chuckles. “A very expensive lighting effect.”
     I laugh. “Quite expensive.” They twinkle as they reflect the rippling water. “But almost more heavenly than the stars.” I lower my voice at the end, hoping he didn’t hear my spoken thoughts.
     Caben doesn’t speak, and the trickling of the stream and lap of the pool becomes the only sound as we float in compatible silence. I could drift off, fall asleep in this peaceful place, but I know we still have a mission to complete before the Reckoning.
     This thought awakens me, and I touch my feet to the bottom of the pool and begin to wade toward the edge.
     I hear Caben’s heavy groan. “No you don’t,” he says, and captures the bottom of my tunic. He tugs me through the water, back to the pool’s center. “Not yet. This could be our last reprieve, and I plan for us to enjoy it.”
     As I turn to face him, his fingers slip from my shirt to my waist, grazing my stomach. My skin prickles, and I shiver, matching the trembling water around us. His deep blue eyes meet mine, and he swallows, his Adam’s apple working. Slowly, he begins to inch up my tunic—
     “Wait.” I place my hand on top of his.
     He cranes an eyebrow. “It should really have time to dry before we go back.”
     Logically, that makes sense. But the heated look he’s giving me says so much more. And regardless of the attraction I may feel for the prince—a woman would have to be blind—and whether or not we actually escape this hell ... what then? We share an intimate moment once, and go back to our stations in life, simply pretending nothing happened?
     Or maybe I’m reading too much into his gaze. He’s a man, and physical desire is self-serving. He may die ... and he probably wants to bed a woman one last time. Everything about his character screams he’s not one who thinks past the moment.
     I could lose myself for now, give in to the pulse quickening my blood with need, but I’ve never shown a man the clamp over my heart. It would have to be something I did for a different reason if I ever chose to do so. Not merely because I may die soon.
     As I push his hand away and start to swim off, he grasps my waist, encircling his firm arms around my stomach, and pulls my back to his chest.
     “Don’t run from me,” he breathes into my ear. “I’m not asking for anything. Not even whatever it is you’re hiding. Just stay here.”

Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing), the NA Historical/Supernatural ASTARTE'S WRATH, and the upcoming YA Utopian FIREBLOOD from Spencer Hill Press, October 2013. Her NA Dark Fantasy OF SILVER AND BEASTS available May 2013.

She’s the creator of YA Bound, a promotional site for the Young Adult genre. Also a member of SCWW and The Apocalypsies. Check out for more on her books and bonus material. Follow Trisha on Twitter @TrishWolfe and like her Facebook page for updates.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (17)

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:

For Review:
*Thank you to HarperCollins, MTV Books, HarperTeen, Candlewick Press, Flux, Simon Pulse, St. Martin's Griffin, Katherine Tegen Books for everything this week*

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (36): All Our Pretty Songs

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
Publication Date: July 30, 2013

The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.
Just got accepted for this galley on netgalley so I'm am absolutely overjoyed to read this soon. The cover is absolutely stunning :) I wonder why the narrator of this novel is only just called "narrator"? It's kinda interesting to me, I wonder how how i'll feel about it when I'm reading though.