Announcement

Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews is currently on hiatus. I hope to return to blogging sooner rather than later.

I will still be posting mini book reviews on Goodreads and talking books on Twitter so feel free to find me there.

Thank you and happy reading1


Thursday, February 28, 2013

REVIEW: "Queen of the Dead" by Stacey Kade


Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth, #2)
Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
(The Ghost and the Goth #2)

For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Paranormal
Hyperion -- May 31, 2011
Hardcover, 266 pages
Borrowed from library

SUMMARY
After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

FIRST LINE
On television, ghost-talkers run antique stores, solve crimes, or stand on a stage in a nice suit giving teary-eyed audience a toothy, yet sympathetic grin.

MY THOUGHTS
Warning!  This book is part of a series so the review may contain minor spoilers for those who have not read the first installment.

I enjoyed The Ghost and the Goth so I was really excited to continue the series with Queen of the Dead.  And I had a blast with this one!  Alona and Will's story is so much fun and so creative that I read it in a day and was ready to start the next book immediately.  What I especially loved was how Stacey Kade took the best parts of the first book and just pushed things to a different level.

Just like the first book, Queen of the Dead consists of two points of view (teenaged ghost Alona and her ghost-talker friend Will).  I continue to love this writing style and how it moves the story along while allowing readers to get to know the characters better.  Sometimes I have problems with the dual p.o.v. style because one character is more developed than another, but thankfully that is not the case with this series.

Alona was a little hard to like in the first book, but I am a huge fan of hers in this one.  She is in a difficult situation, but is becoming more mature in how she handles it.  This book allows readers to understand more about her relationship with her parents before her death and how much it affected her personality.  And then there's Will who I absolutely adore!  He is becoming less broody (thanks to Alona's influence), but still retains enough of his moodiness to stay true to his character.  I really loved watching his journey to becoming confident in his ghost-talker abilities and how much he has changed in a short amount of time.

Alona and Will's relationship is very slow in developing, but that is the best part for me. Readers get to see them transition from acquaintances to friends to possibly something more in a way that makes it very organic and readable. I like how Stacey Kade shows their growing connection and that they are both helping each other grow though they aren't always aware of it. I definitely look forward to further developments along the Alona/Will front especially with the way that this one ended.

The plot of Queen of the Dead was a lot different than I expected though this was a good thing. Readers get to learn more about ghost-talkers through the introduction of a highly annoying character named Mina who tries to recruit Will to an organization designed to eliminate ghosts, no matter what. The differing philosophies regarding ghosts and whether or not ghost-talkers should help them is a major part of this book and I really liked how the author handled it. I will warn potential readers that this book is a bit darker than The Ghost and the Goth, but it is still enjoyable. There is still humor in this series (thanks primarily to Alona's snark) and it is used as a great balance for the deeper part of the storyline.

All in all, this was a satisfying installment in a very entertaining, and creative, series.  I definitely recommend it to fans of funny paranormals with a hint of danger.  Though I will warn you that there is a cliffhanger that will have you reaching for the next book almost immediately upon finishing this one!


FAVORITE QUOTES
"This girl who equally drove me crazy and made me care about her more than I should. She was the only one who understood. The only one who could help make what I was more bearable, even if she occasionally tortured me in the process."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. The Ghost and the Goth
2. Queen of the Dead
3. Body & Soul

LINKS

AUTHOR LINKS
Website
Twitter
Goodreads

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (47): "Styxx" by Sherrilyn Kenyon




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting. 








Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #23)

STYXX
(DARK HUNTERS #23)
by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Expected Publication: September 3, 2013
Paranormal Romance -- St. Martin's Press

The most highly-anticipated novel in the Dark-Hunter series since Acheron is here—the unfogettable story of Styxx, Acheron's twin brother and one of the most powerful beings on earth

Just when you thought doomsday was over . . .

Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.

As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.

The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now.  She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her. But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.

Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it's your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?






Tuesday, February 26, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Authors On My Auto-buy List

Sponsored by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.



TOP TEN AUTHORS ON MY AUTO-BUY LIST

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2) Passion Unleashed (Demonica, #3)  Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark, #10)
A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3) Just Listen Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs (Jane Jameson, #1)
 The Raven Prince (Princes Trilogy, #1)  Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3)

1. Richelle Mead
I have read all of her YA books and am making my way through her UF series.  I love her writing style and how strong her heroines are.
Favorites:  Shadow Kiss, The Golden Lily

2. Julia Quinn
The lady who got me started on historical romance (Bridgerton series). I have read everything she's written and will continue to buy her new releases without hesitation. She is exactly what I need after a hard day with her quirky sense of humor and sweet romances.
Favorites: The Viscount Who Loved Me, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

3. Larissa Ione
Probably my favorite paranormal writer right now. I adore her Demonica and Lords of Deliverance series and look forward to more. She is perfect for fans of great chemistry between characters and super-creative worldbuilding.
Favorites:  Passion Unleashed, Lethal Rider

4. Kresley Cole
Another fabulous paranormal author with a lengthy, but still fantastic series, Immortals After Dark.  I am always impressed with how different each of her stories is and how much I become devoted to her various characters.
Favorites:  Demon From the Dark, Lothaire

5. Tessa Dare
Absolutely amazing historical romance writer who specializes in taking old tropes and giving them new life.  Her Spindle Cove series is one of the best I've ever read!
Favorites: Goddess of the Hunt, A Lady by Midnight

6. Sarah Dessen
I have been obsessed with Sarah Dessen since I was in high school and was given Someone Like You for a birthday present.  She really knows how to get into the mind of a teenager and gives their issues so much respect.
Favorites: Just Listen, This Lullaby

7. Jeaniene Frost
How can I not mention the creator of my favorite hero, Bones?  Frost's ability to write sexual tension and sweet romance is amazing and I look forward to reading her for years to come.
Favorites: Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave

8. Molly Harper
This author is one of those that I think lives in my head part-time.  Almost everything her characters say could have come out of my mouth and has on many occasions.  There are times when I need a good laugh with a supernatural twist which is when Ms. Harper comes in.
Favorites: Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors

9. Elizabeth Hoyt
I have been a fan of Ms. Hoyt since I read her debut years ago and she has not disappointed me yet.  She is in the middle of her third series (Maiden Lane) and her writing is just getting better and better.  I definitely recommend her for fans of unique historical settings, characters that go beyond first impressions, and plenty of sensuality.
Favorites: The Raven Prince, To Beguile a Beast, Thief of Shadows

10. Sarah MacLean
She is a fairly recent obsession, but that doesn't make her any less important.  I love how unique her historical romances are and am always in awe of how detailed her character development is.  I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
Favorites: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

HONORABLE MENTIONS: John Green, Julia Kagawa, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Loretta Chase, Eloisa James, Laura Lee Guhrke, Hannah Howell, Lisa Kleypas, Marie Sexton

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: "Power" by Theresa M. Jones


POWER, Book Tour

ABOUT POWER

Power (The Descendant Trilogy #1)
Power (The Descendant Trilogy #1) 
by Theresa M. Jones

Thousands of years after the battle between the angels, when Lucifer was defeated by Michael in the Heavens, the war is still being fought on Earth by the humans who have their Power, the Angel’s Power.

Allison Stevens is a 21 year old single mother who gets thrown into the middle of this battle when Damien, the Leader of the Rising, decides to hunt her down and kill her because he fears she is the descendant prophesied to save the world.

David, a member of the Order, takes Allison under his wing in order to show her the ropes, and hopefully groom her into being the one they have been waiting for. The only problem is that they start to grow more attached than a teacher/student relationship should allow.

But that isn’t all. Damien wants to open the Seven Seals and bring about the apocalypse and it’s up to Allison to not only save herself and her family, but save the world, all while trying to keep her heart from breaking.

No problem… right?

POWER is the first book in a New Adult (Mature YA) Paranormal Romance Trilogy and is the debut novel for author Theresa M Jones.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theresa M Jones is just a regular small town, Texas girl. When she isn't at work at a local Medical Equipment provider,you can find her at home with her husband and two beautiful (and rambunctious) kiddos.

In her spare time- as if there ever was such a thing as "spare time" - she reads and reviews books on her book blog, and writes paranormal romance novels.  POWER (The Descendent Trilogy #1) is her debut New Adult (Mature YA) Paranormal Romance novel.

Monday, February 25, 2013

REVIEW: "The Indigo Spell" by Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
(Bloodlines #3)

For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Paranormal
Razorbill -- February 12, 2013
Hardcover, 432 pages
Bought from Amazon

SUMMARY
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

FIRST LINE
This wasn’t the first time I’d been pulled out of bed for a crucial mission.

MY THOUGHTS
Warning!  This review contains spoilers for earlier books in the Bloodlines and Vampire Academy series.  There are no spoilers for The Indigo Spell.

And Richelle Mead does it again!  I am not sure how she manages to make me fall in love with her characters and storylines more with every book, but she does.  The Indigo Spell was just an amazing installment in what is already a fantastic series.  I am going ahead to warn readers that this review will contain a large amount of gushing which is exactly what the book deserves.

This book starts off pretty soon after the conclusion of The Golden Lily and throws the readers back into the action of the overall plot.  Sydney is continuing her magic training with Mrs. Terwilliger and things are getting interesting.  There is a rogue witch on the loose who is stealing the youth and powers of witches around the L.A. area and Sydney is charged with discovering her whereabouts.  Thankfully, this forces her to interact with Adrian regularly since his spirit element is essential to keeping their mission a secret.

Another major element to the plot of this story is Sydney's growing impatience with the Alchemists and the discovery of Marcus Finch and his band of dissenters.  I won't much further into Marcus's involvement in order to avoid spoilers, but I will say that his character has definitely thrown a wrench into the overall story of the Bloodlines series.  I will go ahead and assure readers that there is not a love triangle which is what I was essentially worried about.

Most of The Indigo Spell involves Sydney's growth as a character and how important she is going to be for the future of  Alchemists, Moroi, and dhampirs.  I absolutely love what Richelle Mead has done with Sydney!  She is a strong, determined heroine who has enough quirks to keep her relatable to the readers.  Sydney may not be as brash and in your face as Rose from the Vampire Academy books, but she is admirable in her own way.

And then, of course, there's Adrian! He continues to be the sexy, damaged hero that readers fell in love with long ago, but he has even more depth now. The development of his relationship with Sydney has really helped him focus on something and has also given him a purpose that I don't think he ever had before. I adore forbidden romances and Sydney/Adrian puts Rose/Dimitri to shame with all the danger these two are in if the truth is ever discovered.

There also is interaction with some of the popular side characters in this series though most of the focus is on Sydney and Adrian in this installment. I loved the cameos of Sonya, Rose, Dimitri, and Lissa and look forward to seeing them again. It is also enjoyable watching the changing relationships between Jill, Eddie, and Angeline. I will admit that I am very partial to Eddie and am praying to see him happy in the very near future.

Overall, this was another amazing Bloodlines book and I recommend it to all of Richelle Mead's fans. Now, I just have to wait patiently (HA!) for November so I can read The Fiery Heart especially since it has Adrian's point of view!!




FAVORITE QUOTE
"You're not as much of a lost cause as she was. I mean, with her, I had to overcome her deep, epic love with a Russian warlord. You and I just have to overcome hundreds of years' worth of deeply ingrained prejudice and taboo between our two races. Easy."


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily
3. The Indigo Spell
4. The Fiery Heart (Coming November 2013)

LINKS


Saturday, February 23, 2013

REVIEW: "The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back" by Sariah Wilson

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Contemporary
Fire & Ice Books -- August 5, 2012
Ebook, 194 pages
Bought from Amazon

SUMMARY
Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.  Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school. And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

FIRST LINE
My stepsister Ella was ruining my life.

MY THOUGHTS
Cinderella has always been one of my favorite fairy tales so I am always on the lookout for interesting retellings of it.  I stumbled across The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back a few weeks ago when I saw an ad about it being free (temporarily) on Amazon.  Now, I am not one to turn my nose up at free books so I hopped on over there to buy it.  And I am so glad I did!  This was a real hidden jewel for me and I definitely recommend it to fans of sweet YA contemporaries with a fairy tale flair.

This book features a self-proclaimed "ugly stepsister" who happens to be an teenaged artist with an obsession with 1980s pop culture.  Matilda Lowe "Mattie" is a funny and poignant heroine who grabbed my heart from the beginning and had me rooting for her throughout the story.  Because Mattie is not ugly (physically or emotionally), she is just different especially when you compare her to her stepsister, Ella, the blonde good girl she lives with.

The main focus of this story is Mattie's journey from high school outcast to confident young woman who finally appreciates everything that makes her special. She does this in a variety of ways such as running for class president and standing up to her overly critical mother.  The most interesting part of her journey was the presidential race because she is going up against the most popular boy in school, Jake, whom she has had a crush on for years.

Jake Kingston was a difficult character to get a handle on especially at the beginning.  He had some real jerk moments so I wasn't sure if Sariah Wilson would be able to reform him.  But, he began to grow on me and the slow development of his relationship with Mattie was really sweet to read..  A main theme of this story was looking beyond a person's appearance and initial actions to see the true personality within and it is showcased in the handling of Jake. 

Another character that benefited from the above theme was Mattie's stepsister, Ella.  At first glance, she appeared to be the typical blonde princess who was just too perfect to be real.  And, the funny thing is, Ella really is a super nice girl who also has some quirks and vulnerabilities that are hinted at though never blatantly discussed.  I do know that Ms. Wilson plans on writing a sequel that focuses on Ella and I am excited to learn more about her.

In conclusion, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back was a great example of finding a diamond in the rough when it comes to independent books.  It was a sweet and entertaining tale with an admirable heroine and some very funny pop culture references that any reluctant, or non-reluctant reader, could appreciate.


FAVORITE QUOTES
"Most artists weren't famous until they died (mostly because once they'd died they couldn't create any more art so it would make it more valuable)." [pg. 6]

LINKS

AUTHOR LINKS
Website
Twitter
Goodreads

Friday, February 22, 2013

FEATURE AND FOLLOW FRIDAY (61)

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow
Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!


This Week's Feature Blogs:
Reading Dreaming... 
Jelly's Insider
 

Q: We always talk about books WE want.  Let's turn it on its head.  What books have you given other people lately?

I love buying books for people so this is a great question for me.  My mother and I have similar tastes in books so we are always buying each other presents and/or sharing books through Amazon Kindle.  A few of the more recent ones I've bought her are: Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, and Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Gurhke.

My father has really gotten into audiobooks lately and I have had a great time introducing to some of my favorites like Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, JD Robb's In Death series, and Pride and Prejudice.

I was in charge of buying my cousin's Christmas presents this year which allowed me to search for quite a variety.  Some of the books I bought were: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, Something From the Nightside by Simon R. Green, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and multiple Mike Lupica books.



*******
I have created different ways for you to follow my blog: GFC, LinkyFollowers, email, Twitter, or Goodreads.  Comment, follow me, and I'll return the favor!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

REVIEW: "Scarlet" by Marissa Meyer


Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
(Lunar Chronicles #2)

For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Dystopian/Science Fiction
Feiwel and Friends -- February 5, 2013
Hardcover, 452 pages
Bought from Amazon

SUMMARY
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

FIRST LINE
Scarlet was descending toward the alley behind the Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat followed by an automated voice: "Comm received for Mademoiselle Scarlet Benoit from the Toulouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons."

MY THOUGHTS
Warning!  This review contains spoilers for the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series.  You can read my review for Cinder here.  There are no spoilers for Scarlet in this review.

Whenever I read, and love, a book and then have to wait a long time for the sequel, I get a little nervous.  My expectations are now extremely high and there is definite potential for disappointment.  These were my feelings before reading Scarlet, the highly anticipated sequel to one of 2012's most successful debuts, Cinder.  Thankfully, my fears were completely unfounded and this was an amazing read that almost, though not quite, reached the magic of its predecessor.

In the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, readers met the determined and admirable mechanic, Cinder, and watched her begin to unravel the mysteries behind her cyborg body and her missing past.  We also saw her develop a friendship, and possibly something more, with Prince Kai, heir to the throne of the Eastern Commonwealth.  I absolutely adored Cinder and found it to be a great twist on a classic fairy tale that also included some intriguing subplots to balance the more well-known storyline.  Now, readers see the aftermath of the ball that ended the first book and how it is going to affect the future of the Earth.

There are three main plots going on in Scarlet.  First, there is the continuation of Cinder's story which includes her imprisonment following the ball, her subsequent escape from that prison, and her journey to discover more about her past before she became a cyborg.  Then, readers see Kai's reaction to Cinder's arrest and watch him try to deal with the Lunar Queen's threats to his kingdom which are growing more dire by the day.  And, finally, there is the introduction of Scarlet who is trying to find her missing grandmother.  One thing that I really appreciated about this book was the way that Meyer balanced each of these plots.  I will admit that there were times where I didn't want to leave a certain storyline, but I think that was deliberate on the author's part.

It was really great to see all the "old" characters that I became invested in make appearances throughout Scarlet.  Cinder continues to be a strong, admirable heroine who is torn between her personal feelings and her slowly developing destiny.  She is the heart and soul of this series and it was great to see that her personality is still as wonderful as in the first book.  It was also nice to see the return of Kai though his story was pretty hard to read at times...especially that ending.

Cinder's android friend, Iko, also reappears and reminded me why I loved her scenes especially when it comes to her obsession with fashion.  And I have to mention the dangerous and intriguing Queen Levana.  The queen of the Lunars is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA villains with all her detailed takeover plans and the just general creepy feeling I get when she appears on the page.

In addition to the return of some well-known characters, Meyer also gives us more unique personalities to cheer for: Scarlet, Wolf, and Thorne.  I really loved Scarlet and how tough she was.  She obviously was very close to her grandmother and was willing to do anything to make sure she was safe.  And then there's Wolf who has joined Kai in my Lunar Chronicles book boyfriend list.  His character was very mysterious and took some turns I wasn't expecting, but he was just so sweet and devoted to Scarlet.  Thorne was an interesting case with his surfer boy charm paired with his strange obsession with his spaceship.  The scenes between him and Cinder were some of my favorites especially since they helped lighten the mood of a pretty dark story.

Like with Cinder, I loved the intriguing twists on the classic Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale that Meyer peppered throughout the story such as the basket, the woods, and, of course, the wolf.  I won't go too much into how the author utilizes these aspects, but it made for an even more entertaining read.  I definitely look forward to what she does with Rapunzel and Snow White in the future.

Scarlet was another great science fiction fairy tale that provided readers with new and old characters, a plot that seems to becoming more complex as it goes on, and some amazing settings.  I am really anxious to learn more about Queen Levana's plans for the Earth and what Cinder's ultimate destiny is.  I just have to wait another year for Cress!

        

4.5 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTE
"I knew they would kill me when they found out, but…" He struggled for words, releasing a sharp breath. "I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you." (pg. 444)

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. Glitches
1. Cinder
1.5. The Queen's Army
2. Scarlet
3. Cress (Coming 2014)
4. Winter (Coming 2015)

LINKS

AUTHOR LINKS

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (46): "Across a Star-Swept Sea" by Diana Peterfreund




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting. 









Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)

ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA
by Diana Peterfreund

Expected Publication: October 15, 2013
Young Adult -- Science Fiction/Dystopian
Balzer + Bray 

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Favorite YA Characters




Sponsored by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.



TOP TEN FAVORITE CHARACTERS IN YOUNG ADULT FICTION

~HEROINES~

1. Hermione Granger -- Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
My all-time favorite literary character and the biggest role model during my teenaged years. Hermione was everything I wanted to be with her intelligence, sense of right and wrong, and patience with her two crazy best friends. One of the best parts of the series, for me, was watching this little bookworm grow up to be a confident, successful witch who still loves Hogwarts: A History.


2. Haruhi Fujioka -- Ouran High School Host Club series by Bisco Hatori
Haruhi is an interesting character from one of my favorite manga series. She is a scholarship student at a prestigious, private high school in Japan who is mistaken for a boy and invited to join the Ouran High School Host Club. This club is made up of the handsomest boys at the school who spend their time acting as "hosts" for female guests. I love Haruhi's studious nature and how she uses that to deal with all the crazy antics that her fellow students get into during club hours.

 3. Sydney Sage -- Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead 
I know Sydney was not a fan favorite during her early appearances in the VA series, but I immediately connected with her. That is one reason I am enjoying the Bloodlines series so much since it focuses on Sydney and her attempts to balance her Alchemist beliefs with her new friendships with Moroi and dhampirs.



4. Mary Quinn -- The Agency series by Y.S. Lee
Mary is a former thief during spy in Victorian London. She specializes in going undercover to solve mysteries. Some of the disguises she has used are a house maid, a lady's companion, and a bricklayer's assistant at a building site. Mary's ability to become a different person is fascinating as is her struggle to keep her job separate from her real life.

5. Cinder Linh -- Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa MeyerA cyborg who I would describe as being a combination of Cinderella, Sailor Moon, and Arya Stark. She is a mechanic with a mysterious past and a neglectful family who catches the attention of the prince and the evil queen who is trying to take over the planet.

~HEROES~

1. Adrian Ivashkov -- Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead
A sexy, but arrogant Moroi who fans first meet in the VA series when he tries to woo protagonist Rose from Dimitri. As the series progressed, readers began to see behind the handsome features into the chaotic and lonely persona of Adrian. The Bloodlines series allows him to become center stage along with Alchemist Sydney and some other side characters.


2. Peeta Mellark -- Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The famous "boy with the bread" stole my heart from the moment I met him in the first book. I was intrigued by the strong baker's son who managed to figure out the best way to survive the Games while still developing a relationship with the girl he's always adored. The trials he had to deal with throughout the trilogy made me an even stronger and more admirable character than I could have expected.

3. Owen Armstrong -- Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Owen is a music addict who recently finished anger management classes and has some very defined opinions about life. His ability to see into people's psyches (especially reserved Annabel) was really intriguing and I loved all his little philosophical quirks.


4. Ash -- Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
The blue-eyed younger son of Mab, the Unseelie Queen, who fell in love with the half-fey Meghan. His protective nature and snarky sense of humor always made me smile while his inner struggles made me cry. Ash had a very long and harrowing journey in this series and he came out of it as one of my favorite YA heroes ever.


5. Dimitri Belikov -- Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
I couldn't not put the illustrious Russian "god" on this list despite the fact that I already mentioned his rival, Adrian. I wasn't sure what the fuss about Dimitri was at the beginning of the series, but his actions and silent adoration for Rose quickly won me over. Like many of these others, he had a lot of drama to deal with and the fact that he was able to get through it was one of the highlights of the series.


~HONORABLE MENTIONS~

Daemon Black -- Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Katniss Everdeen -- Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Valek -- Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Luna Lovegood -- Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Logan Quinn -- Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep

Monday, February 18, 2013

REVIEW: "One Good Earl Deserves a Lover" by Sarah MacLean

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2)
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
(Rules of Scoundrels #2)

Historical Romance
For Ages 18+
Steam Level: Hot

Avon --  January 29, 2013
Paperback, 373 pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars


SUMMARY

Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.


MY THOUGHTS

Anybody who has read my blog on a consistent basis can figure out that I am a huge fan of historical romance.  It was one of the first "adult" genres that I tried and I have been obsessed ever since.  That being said, while I continue to love the genre and am always on the lookout for great books, I have found myself getting a little bored.  There are moments where I feel like I have read every possible scenario and met every possible character in Regency/Victorian-era England.  But, then I came across Sarah MacLean whose books are a breath of fresh air for me with their well-developed characters and their unique plotlines.  And her latest, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, is a great example of what I mean.

This book is the second in MacLean's Rules for Scoundrels series which focuses on the owners of London gambling club called The Fallen Angel.  Each of the men has a reason for his association with the club and quite a few secrets in their past.  The first book, A Rogue By Any Other Name, involved an outcast lord and the woman he had loved for ages.  Now, the focus shifts to Cross, The Fallen Angel's mysterious bookkeeper, and Philippa Marbury, the daughter of a marquess who is thought to be odd by most of the ton.

I really enjoyed the way that MacLean developed both of the main characters.  I was particularly fascinated by Pippa's scientific interests and how they shaped her view on the world and society.  Like many women of her day, Pippa is expected to make a decent marriage and she goes along with these expectations.  But, what makes this heroine unique is that she is determined not to go into her marriage without understanding every aspect of it including the sexual parts.  I always love it when a heroine does something unexpected to throw off the reader and the hero and Pippa did just that with her proposition to Cross.  It was also nice to see the way that Pippa balanced her duties and her desires as the storyline progressed.

Cross was a mysterious character who I enjoyed seeing slowly start to reveal himself to Pippa and his colleagues at The Fallen Angel.  His past is pretty bleak and it has definitely shaped his character in both positive and negative ways.  What I really loved was how fascinated Cross was by Pippa from the moment he saw her and how he really appreciated what a rare woman she was.  He did have a few too many "I'm not worthy" moments that tortured heroes tend to have in romance novels, but it didn't really disrupt my enjoyment of the story enough to bring the rating down.

Since Cross and Pippa were not cookie-cutter Regency-era characters, it makes sense that their romance would go along with their unique personalities.  The beginning was a little unconventional with Pippa asking Cross to teach her about sex in preparation for her marriage to another man, but it quickly escalated into something sweet and romantic.  Both Cross and Pippa were lonely and were in need someone they could really relate to.  It was also fun to read about a romance that was a nice combination of sugar and spice.  Cross and Pippa had some pretty steamy scenes which balanced well with the development of the emotional relationship.

The secondary characters helped bring the story even more to life.  Surprisingly, I really liked Pippa's fiance, Castleton, which is rare in historical romance.  He was was a decent guy who was willing to do his duty, but also concentrated on what made Pippa happy.  I really hope that MacLean writes his story someday even in a novella format.  Readers also get to see more of The Fallen Angel and its workers.  I love learning about the history of the club and seeing all of the inner workings that make it so successful.  It is truly becoming a character of its own and I can't wait to see more of it.

Overall, I loved this book with its wonderfully unconventional heroine and stoic, mysterious hero.  Sometimes the historical romance genre needs a swift kick to get it back to what I really fell in love with years ago and hopefully more writers will use MacLean as an example of how to do just that.  Can't wait to read more in this series especially if we get to see the truth behind the brawny Temple who is thought to be a murderer!


SERIES INFORMATION

Rules of Scoundrels
1. A Rogue By Any Other Name
2. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
3. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (Coming August 2013)

BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY




Friday, February 15, 2013

FEATURE AND FOLLOW FRIDAY (60)

Gain New Blog Followers

Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!


This Week's Feature Blogs:
The LUVNV
Ginger Reads 

Q: Write a letter to your favorite character.


Dear Hermione, 

Can we hang out?  I'm willing to do practically anything you want from studying to protesting for house elf rights.  Just a few tidbits to keep in mind for the future: be careful about which hair you pull from Millicent Bulstrode before drinking the Polyjuice Potion and be patient with Ron.  Remember he has the emotional range of a teaspoon, but he does love you!

Best Wishes, 
Jennifer




Dear Bones, 

I am obsessed with you!  I would want to steal you for myself if your wife wasn't so scary and awesome in her own right.  Just stay as sexy and bad-ass as you are and don't ever pull a stunt like you did in At Grave's End again.  My heart can't take it!

Best Wishes, 
Jennifer  




*******
I have created different ways for you to follow my blog: GFC, LinkyFollowers, email, Twitter, or Goodreads.  Comment, follow me, and I'll return the favor!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

REVIEW: "A Most Scandalous Proposal" by Ashlyn Macnamara

A Most Scandalous Proposal
A Most Scandalous Proposal by Ashlyn Macnamara

Historical Romance
For Ages 18+
Steam Level: Warm

Ballantine -- February 26, 2013
Ebook, 384 pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars




SUMMARY

After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.

Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.

MY THOUGHTS

I love finding debut authors especially in historical romance so I was pumped when I got an e-ARC for Ashlyn Macnamara's A Most Scandalous Proposal.  When I'm reading a debut, I look for certain things such as writing style, creativity, and potential for future works.  I did have a few issues with the plot and the development of some of the characters, but, overall, I believe Ms. Macnamara has hit all the marks I desire for a new author.

There are two love stories going on in this book.  The main one (which is mentioned in the book summary above) involves Julia, a proper lady, and her childhood friend Benedict while the other one focuses on Julia's sister Sophia and Rufus, a widower who helps her with a difficult situation.  When there are two main plots going on, it can be difficult for writers to keep everything balanced and I think this author does a decent job with it.  There are moments when I was impatient about what couple was being featured when, but this was rare.

Julia was a very admirable heroine with her intelligence and sympathetic nature.  I really liked how outspoken she was about what she wanted or needed.  As a hero, Benedict was appropriately bullheaded and romantic towards Julia whom he has loved since their childhood.  I would like to have learned more about his character, but some things are sacrificed when there are multiple plots in a book.  The romance between them was very sweet though it did have a tendency to get melodramatic especially by the end.  I found that I enjoyed the moments where it was just the two of them more than when they were with the larger cast.

My personal favorite story involved Julia's sister Sophia and her hero.  I really liked Rufus's character and how devoted he was despite Sophia's unfortunate crush on the rakish new Earl of Clivesden.  He is a true gentleman in every sense of the word and I admired him for that.  Sophia took some getting used to with her unwavering devotion to Clivesden, but I was eventually able to look past that.  The scenes between Rufus and Sophia were always so much fun to read and I found myself wishing they were the main focus.

Despite some of the uneveniness of the plotting, I really enjoyed this historical debut.  The writing is easy to read and has a nice flow to it.  I liked how Macnamara built her Regency-era world and created an intriguing cast of secondary characters.  I definitely look forward to more of her work especially if it involves Benedict's rakish best friend, Upperton.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

SERIES INFORMATION

Most
1. A Most Scandalous Proposal
2. A Most Devilish Rogue (Coming August 2013)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (45): "Music of the Heart" by Katie Ashley




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting. 








Music of the Heart

MUSIC OF THE HEART
by Katie Ashley

Expected Publication: March 25, 2013
Contemporary Romance

For Abby Renard, the plan was supposed to be simple—join her brothers’ band on the last leg of their summer tour and decide if she’s finally ready for the limelight by becoming its fourth member. Of course, she never imagined stumbling onto the wrong tour bus at Rock Nation would accidentally land her in the bed of Jake Slater, the notorious womanizing lead singer of Runaway Train. When he mistakes her for one of his groupie’s, Abby quickly lets him know she sure as hell isn't in his bed on purpose.

Jake Slater never imagined the angel who fell into his bed would resist his charms by promptly kneeing him in the balls. Of course, the fact she seems like a prissy choir girl makes her anything but his type. So he is more than surprised when after betting Abby she wouldn’t last a week on their tour bus, she is more than willing to prove him wrong. But as Jake’s personal life begins to implode around him, he finds an unlikely ally in Abby. He’s never met a woman he can talk to, joke with, or most importantly make music with.

As the week starts comes to a close, neither Abby nor Jake is ready to let go. Can a sweetheart Country songstress and a bad boy of Rock N Roll actually have a future together?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Favorite Romances

Sponsored by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.



TOP TEN FAVORITE ROMANCES

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The beginning of an epic historical fiction series about a WWII-era nurse who time travels back to 18th century Scotland.  Claire and Jamie are an amazing couple and their trials put almost every other couple to shame.

Oh, aye, Sassenach. I am your master . . . and you're mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.


2. Persuasion by Jane Austen
This is, by far, my favorite Austen book though I love them all.  There is just something about Wentworth and Anne that grabs my heart and doesn't let it go until I get to that famous letter.  I have read it more times than I can count.

You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you.


3. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
For me, this is a great example about how to write chemistry between a hero and heroine.  Anthony and Kate are fabulous characters in their own right and they just work so well together.  I, of course, enjoyed the hate-to-love aspect of the romance and the swoon-worthy ending.

Love's about finding the one person who makes your heart complete. Who makes you a better person than you ever dreamed you could be. Its about looking in the eyes of your wife and knowing all the way to your bones that she's simply the best person you've ever known.

4. Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A contemporary between a slick sports agent and a scatterbrained matchmaker that made me laugh and cry.  I have enjoyed almost all of SEP's books, but there was something about this one that just stuck.  Of course, it also helps that it brings back great memories of my obsession with Jerry McGuire.

You're beautiful, every part of you. I love your hair, the way it looks, the way it feels. I love touching it, smelling it. I love the way you wrinkle your nose when you laugh. It makes me laugh, too, every time. And I love watching you eat. Sometimes you can't shovel it in fast enough, but when you get interested in a conversation, you forget there's anything in front of you. God knows, I love making love with you. I can't even talk about that without wanting you. I love your pathetic attachment to those seniors. I love how hard you work.

5. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
This is the book that is known in the romance community as one of the best ever written.  I'm not sure if I would go that far with the praise, but it is an amazing love story.  Both characters are hilarious and original while the romance is swoon-worthy without being cheesy.

"Jessica, you are a pain in the arse, do you know that? If I were not so immensely fond of you, I should throw you out the window."
She wrapped her arms about his waist and laid her head against his chest. "Not merely 'fond,' but 'immensely fond.' Oh Dain, I do believe I shall swoon."
"Not now," he said crossly. "I haven't time to pick you up."

6. Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper
A hilarious paranormal romance with a Civil War-era vampire and a former children's librarian who is turned after an unfortunate experience with a shotgun.  I love couples that make each other laugh and keep each other on their toes which is exactly what happens with Gabriel and Jane.


"The ring is a copy of my mother’s. I took the stone from her engagement ring and had a jeweler place it in a titanium setting."

"Titanium?" I asked.

"Dick knew a guy."

"Of course he did."

"You’re a bit rough and tumble with jewelry, and I knew it would have to be able to stand up to…"

"Nuclear winter?"
His eyebrow lifted, "I never know with you."

7. Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
My favorite paranormal couple is, by far, Cat and Bones so I had to list their series.  There is almost nothing I dislike about their relationship with the humor, the spiciness, and all the drama.  Who knew that a vampire bounty hunter and a half-vampire could be so romantic?

Time has no dominion over love. Love is the one thing that transcends time.

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book only came out last year, but it has already made a big impression on me and alot of other readers.  Hazel and Augustus's story is full of romance, inspiration, and heartache and I highly recommend it to readers of all ages.

I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you. 

 9. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Another sweet YA romance that took me completely by surprise.  It has its cheesy moments, but I was blown away by the writing and how realistic the development of the romance was.  Anna and Etienne have really stuck with me over the years and that, to me, is the sign of a great romance.

For the two of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.

10. Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton
A male/male romance that really shocked me with how much I loved it.  I became completely enamored with Cole and Jonathon and found myself rooting for them from the very beginning.  The contrast of their personalities and backgrounds was really well-done while the chemistry was indescribable.

He put his arms around my neck and brushed his lips over mine.  "I've been waiting for you for ages, love," he said.  "I'd almost given up.  What on earth took you so long?"