Oct 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Read-A-Thon

Most of the East Coast is currently under a crazy storm watch thanks to the mega-storm that is Hurricane Sandy. I'm sitting right in the middle in Maryland, and Sandy is supposed to make landfall a few hundred miles from my house. 

Needless to say we're expecting heavy power outages. In fact, my power has flickered twice since starting to write this post.

So, I'm proposing a Hurricane Sandy Read-A-Thon! As soon as the lights go out, I plan on reading as much as I can until the lights come back on. I have my Nook charged for nighttime reading and a ready supply of candles and my booklight for when the battery dies. I also have an insanely high ARC stack I need to make a dent in.

When I eventually get power back and can update the blog, I'll come back and let you know how many books I managed to read! Anyone else in?

Even if you aren't in Sandy's warpath, feel free to jump on board and read as much as you can with us until Sandy finally dissipates.

For everyone in the line of fire, hang on and stay safe!

Oct 24, 2012

Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Title: Poison Princess
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 10.2.2012
Pages: 384
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Yes (The Arcana Chronicles #1)
Source: ARC from BEA

Rating: Incomplete

Summary (from Goodreads):
She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

I have never given a book an “incomplete” rating before, but it only seemed fair as I didn’t finish this book, and I don’t intend to ever finish it. Let me tell you why this book didn’t work for me:

My biggest hang up was the language. I have no problems with people in Louisiana throwing in some French or Cajun, but there was so much of it. And I absolutely cannot stand when slang is spelled out and put into stories. Like “doan” or “dat’s.” Unfortunately, the main guy in this (Jackson) is a full-blooded Cajun boy … horrible grammar and all.

I applaud Kresley Cole for making this as realistic as possible, but the reality for me is that when I hear someone speak incorrect grammar in my everyday life, I usually correct them because it grates on my ever-loving nerves. And there was just so much of the slang and Jackson’s poor grammar that I could never get into this book. I was gritting my teeth every other paragraph until I gave up around chapter 10.

Now, please don’t take this as my way of saying : do not read this! I am not saying that. There are a lot of people, bloggers I truly respect for example, who cannot stop raving about this book. And I am so glad about that.

This review is more of a warning for those who have the same hang-ups as I do.

Here’s a few reviews from people who loved Poison Princess:

Oct 23, 2012

Review: Rift by Andrea Cremer

Title: Rift
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher:  Philomel
Publication Date: 8.7.2012
Pages: 448
Genre: Paranormal, Historical
Series: Yes (Nightshade Prequel #1)
Source: ARC from BEA

Rating: A

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.

I don’t think there was an Andrea Cremer fan out there that wasn’t a bit nervous about Rift. There was a very divided fanbase in her first series, Nightshade, and I was one of those rabid-fans who felt sorely let down and shafted at the conclusion of the series. To say I was apprehensive about a prequel series is putting it mildly.

Apprehensive, but also really excited because Cremer is a total genius when it comes to world-building. The idea of going back and learning the origins of the Nightshade world is brilliant. There is so much story potential there!

The first thing I love is that there isn’t a love triangle here. It’s Ember and Barrow all the way. Not only did I not have to contend with a triangle, but Cremer does one better and takes her time with this romance. There is no lightening-strike attraction that propels them into each other’s arms. Barrow is actually pretty apprehensive, especially because of their age difference, and that made their love all the more real. The focus was 65% plot and 35% romance, and I loved that ratio.

This story has a more historical setting (think horses instead of cars), which adds to the mystique and allure. The world feels utterly magical and enchanted. There’s action scene upon action scene to keep your attention riveted.

I think I am going to enjoy this series more than I enjoyed Nightshade. There’s just so much more attention to detail and I feel like the pacing is much more deliberate and calculating. It heightens the drama and mystery rather than stalling it. The characters in this one are already ones I can wait to spend more time with.

If you’re still a raving Cremer fan, then I’m sure you spent the majority of this review nodding along and don’t need to be told twice to read this. If you were holding any grudges against Cremer for what happened before, get over it. This is one series you won’t want to miss out on.

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

This giveaway hop is hosted by the amazing Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. It will run from October 24-31, 2012. I'll choose the winner on Nov. 1, 2012

This one is INTERNATIONAL! So best of luck and start thinking of which book you'd like to get! I love my followers, so I had to make it accessible for all!

The Prize:

You can win any book of your choice, up to $20 USD from:

if you live in the US,

if you live outside the US! That means this giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships free to you. Not sure? Check this list HERE.

The Rules:

Must be a public GFC follower - I will be checking! 

*Bonus entries:
+5 - Reply to any of my reviews

I will contact the winner via email and they will have 48 hours to reply to my email before another winner is chosen!

That's all you need! Oh, and fill out the form:

Cover Reveal: Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

You do see what this blog is called, right? So it should come as no shock that I fell hard and fast for Leigh Fallon's Carrier of the Mark, set in lush Ireland. But that was well over a year ago. Now Leigh has finally revealed the cover of the sequel, SHADOW OF THE MARK. I didn't think anything could top Carrier's cover, and I feared with a long pause between novels that a cover redesign was imminent.

I was so wonderfully wrong.

Is that not stunning?! Shadow of the Mark will hit the stores July 9, 2013. And Leigh is currently hosting a giveaway at her blog, so CHECK THAT OUT!

Review: The Innocents by Lili Peloquin

Title: The Innocents
Author: Lili Peloquin
Publisher:  Razorbill
Publication Date: 10.16.2012
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Yes (The Innocents #1)
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.
Friends didn't.
Boys couldn't.
Their family falling apart never would.
Until they got to Serenity Point. 

If you liked Gossip Girl, then odds are you will love The Innocents. In her debut novel, Lili Peloquin creates a lush, decadent, and utterly devious world where back-stabbing is as commonplace as coffee in the morning and secrets pop up faster than tulips in the spring.

Let me start by saying I enjoyed Alice more than Charlie. Charlie seemed bratty and pretty entitled for the bulk of the novel. I found myself multiple times wanting Alice to slap her. Alice seemed the more sweet and innocent (and, OK, sometimes she was a little too sweet and innocent), but I felt like her character had the most growth.

And the biggest secret. Whoa. While most of the book was fairly predictable, I just didn’t see the one big secret coming.

The novel is this bewitching dichotomy of fluff and dark. In a lot of ways I breezed through it like a normal, light contemporary novel. But there are these shady twists and turns that made me take pause several times. I loved that I could read this easily in one sitting, but it wasn’t the usual contemp where a couple rides off into the proverbial sunset on their mopeds. There’s a delicious angst to this book that just drew me in, and I hope that continues in the next book.

Oct 22, 2012

Review: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Title: Valkyrie Rising
Author: Ingrid Paulson
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Publication Date: 10.9.2012
Pages: 352
Genre: Mythology; Romance
Series: Yes?
Source: ARC from friend

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there. 

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

I’ve always been a fan of mythology, but I will admit that I generally gravitated more towards Greek mythology. I knew little to nothing about Norse mythology before I read Valkyrie Rising, and now I am desperate to learn more. Ingrid Paulson knocks it out of the park with her debut.

I don’t think I’ve ever connected to a main character from the jump like I did with Ellie. There’s something (maybe her Valkyrie awesomeness?) that just grabbed me. She started out this mild, somewhat meek, girl with a wicked sarcastic streak who was trying to get out of her god-like older brother’s shadow, and then became this powerful woman who leads an army. And never once did I feel like her transformation was forced or cliché.

If I enjoyed Ellie, I loved Tuck. I feel like my praise of him will be eerily similar to what Jenny @ Supernatural Snark said, but it is so refreshing to read a male lead who isn’t sullen, brooding, and/or tortured. Tuck is fun. He has this energy that lights up a room and jumps off the page. He simultaneously torments and protects Ellie. I think the reason I was so fully on board with their romance was because it wasn’t this instant connection—this had been building for year before the story began since Tuck is her brother’s best friend.

Paulson deftly weaves in few of the bigger names in Nordic myths (and fans of the movie Thor will undoubtedly recognize these names) like Loki and Odin. I’m hoping future books will bring about more characters. Like, Thor, for example.

I haven’t seen whether or not this is a series. I really, really hope so. Paulson definitely leaves it open-ended enough to continue the story, but she wraps up the main plot nicely. This works great as a stand-alone or the launching pad for a new YA series. Regardless, this book is a must-read for anyone who loves mythology and general epic-ness.

Oct 16, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (9)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun!

This week we got to choose a favorite author in X genre ... I cheated and picked YA because too many YA authors cross over into different genres. 

Top 10 Books Favorite Authors in YA

Jennifer L. Armentrout
1. Jennifer L. Armentrout: I'm fairly certain she thinks I stalk her at this point. I mean, I caught up with her at BEA, the Baltimore Book Festival, and I reply to her blog posts, twitter posts ... Oh, Lord. I'm expecting the restraining order to arrive any day now.

2. Aimee Carter: I freaking love The Goddess Test series. They are so well written, so romantic, and just so epic. And the fact that Aimee is a total sweetheart and may have sent me signed copies of the first two books might add to my love of her. Or that she remembered who I was at BEA...

3. Richelle Mead: Does this need any explanation? Between the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series, she has cemented a place in my heart forever. I was in B&N a few months back and this teenager was looking for a "vampire book" because she loved Twilight. The sales rep pointed to a few and as soon as she walked away, I immediately told the girl to read Vampire Academy. You'd have done the same thing!

Cara Lynn Shultz
4. Cara Lynn Shultz: I have devoured both of her books numerous times. She knows how much I love her books (even though there's still only 2 of them!), and she is just an all-around great girl. She blew me away at BEA when she asked to take a photo with me. I may have melted a bit. Or a lot.

5. Rachel Vincent: I found the Soul Screamers series a few years back and was immediately hooked by her insanely good storytelling. Kaylee is one of my favorite YA characters ever.

6. Andrea Cremer: Yes, I was totally infuriated with the end of Bloodrose, but a great writer is a great writer. Anyone who can illicit a physicalreaction from me (you better believe I hurled my copy of Bloodrose across the room) gets my seal of approval.

7. Rachel Caine: I feel like she really just revolutionized the vampire genre with the Morganville Vampires series. Everything else felt so cliche and expected, and she continuously blows me away.

8. Hannah Harrington: Not just because we share the same awesome first name (though that does make me smile), but because she has this gift for writing such realistic characters. 

Kathleen Peacock
9. Kathleen Peacock: Yes, she's only written one novel thus far, but words cannot express my love for Hemlock and an amazing novel is an amazing novel. I can't wait to see what she does with the rest of the series and her writing career.

10. Huntley Fitzpatrick: Another author who only has one book out, but she's a contemporary author to watch over the next few years. Her novel My Life Next Door ripped my heart open. She's easily the up there with Susane Colasanti, Jennifer Echols, and Sarah Dessen.

Review: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Title: Carnival of Souls
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 9.4.2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Series: Yes (Carnival of Souls#1)
Source: ARC from BEA

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

I’m going to be perfectly honest and get this out of the way: I did not like Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series at all. Not because of the writing, but because I seem to have (for some unknown reason) a serious aversion to faeries in books. I don’t know why—maybe I was attacked by a faerie at birth, maybe I was a fae hunter in a past life? No idea, so I was really excited to read Carnival of Souls because for years all I heard people gush about was Marr and her amazing ability to write.

I now see what all the fuss was about.

The book is a fantasy lover’s dream. The world that Marr creates is so lush and real, I hated to leave it whenever I put the book down. The lives of three characters—Mallory, Aya, and Kaleb—intersect and collide magically. I truly loved this world and the way Marr built everything up. There was so much tension and suspense; how could I not fall into it?

My only issue, and I’m hoping this gets rectified with the next book, is that I never felt a deep connection to the characters. Mallory was probably my favorite. I loved her tenacity and her spirit, but there was just something lacking on a gut-level for me.

I am pleased that Marr doesn’t jump head-first into the insta-romance category. I am loving this steamy build up between Mallory and Kaleb. I’m praying that she keeps that up in the next book—makes the payoff so much richer.

This is definitely a book to check out. Fans of Marr’s Wicked Lovely series already know how fantastic she is and what she is capable of doing with the written word. People who have never read her work before will find a great novel to sink into. Buy it. Read it. Love it.

Oct 14, 2012

Trailer: Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I am a HUGE fan of the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and her most recent addition, Deity, looks absolutely amazing!!!

Alexandria isn't sure she's going to make it to her eighteenth birthday--to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she's a goner... and so is Aiden. 

If that's not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time "training"--which really is just Seth's code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time--she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome. 

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she's caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed... and destroyed. 

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate...

Apollyon Cover Reveal!

And we’re super excited to share the cover for the 4th book in the Covenant Series, Apollyon, which is due out April 2013.

Check out Jennifer L. Armentrout on the following sites:
Official Website

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. This a new way to showcase all the books currently weighing down my shelves. This week is a compilation of books I've gotten over the last month or so since I haven't done one of these in a while.

For Review:

Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
Through To You by Emily Hainsworth
Ask The Passengers by A.S. King
Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
Echo by Alyson Noel
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues
Winter White by Jen Calonita
What Happens Next by Coleen Clayton
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
White Glove War by Katie Crouch
Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Shiobahn Vivan
The Innocents by Lili Peloquin *not pictured


Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
Shine by Jeri Smith Ready
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
A Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg


Rift by Andrea Cremer
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron *not pictured

A lot of these I got at the Baltimore Book Festival, where I got to meet Jennifer L. Armentrout, Jeri Smith-Ready, Leanna Renee Hieber, and more. For my recap, with pics, go here:

Oct 10, 2012

Baltimore Book Festival 2012

Baltimore Book Festival
Sept. 28-30, 2012

I was so excited to hear about the Baltimore Book Festival, and even more giddy when I heard who would be there - Jeri Smith-Ready, Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Jennifer L. Armentrout to name a few. I immediately planned to go, grabbed a friend of mine, and we headed down.

Jennifer L. Armentrout & me
Friday was the first day and there was a meet and greet we caught the tail end of. Imagine my complete and utter elation at seeing Jennifer L. Arementrout as I walked up. I had met her briefly at BEA in New York a few months ago, and as soon as I saw her, I will honestly admit I did the gawking-fan!girl thing for a minute. I don't think she saw, but I literally had to work up the nerve to talk to her, but I was so glad I did. Not only did she graciously take a picture with me and sign some books I brought, she remembered me!

Jennifer L. Armentrout, Jeri Smith-Ready, Claudia Gabel & Lea Nolan
We also got to catch the YA panel for Writing Young Adult Romance. The guest speakers were Jennifer L. Armentrout, Jeri Smith-Ready, Claudia Gabel and Lea Nolan. I loved hearing about their experience with YA and their varying views on cliffhangers. I know now that before I go threatening my favorite author after a cliffhanger, I'll pause and remember a lot of the time it's the publisher, not the author, that pushes for that. I also discovered Jeri Smith-Ready loves the Morganville Vampire series as much as I do.

We wandered around a bit more, and then headed home. I will sadly admit that I got so caught up in the Maryland Romance Writer's schedule that I totally missed the Science Fiction tent and the fact that Diana Peterfreund was there. *headdesk* I also met her at BEA and spaced on remembering she was from Maryland, also.

Leanna Renee Hieber & Alethea Kontis
We went back Saturday for the last time (I had plans on Sunday, sadly) and again caught the YA panel. This time Alethea Kontis and Leanna Renee Hieber joined the stage and attracted a ton of attention for their awesome clothing choices. These girls were hysterical and I loved listening to them talk. All the authors on the panel read a selection from their books. I must say it was a tie for my favorite reading between Hieber and Kontis - both have bright futures on stage if this whole book writing thing doesn't work out. Jennifer Armentrout read the first chapter of Opal, book #3 in the Lux series. I enjoyed hearing about Katy waking with with a boy other than Daemon in her bed.

Heh. Yes, I really said that.

Afterwards I got some more signed books, some swag, and the chance to talk to some really awesome authors. In all? A great way to spend the weekend.

Review: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Title: Don’t Turn Around
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 8.28.2012
Pages: 310
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Series: Yes (PERSEPHoNE #1)
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: A

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa's talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation called AMRF threatens his life in no uncertain terms.

But what Noa and Peter don't realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who'd stop at nothing to silence her for good.

After a bit of a reading slump, I picked this book up off my shelf and, suffice to say, my reading slump is now over. Don’t Turn Around renewed my love for books within the first chapter. Michelle Gagnon grabs you in a vise and doesn’t let up ever. This book stole my breath in the best possible way.

The moment the book opens with Noa waking up, the action starts and doesn’t let up. This book is heavily compared to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and I get the similarities. But Noa is not Lisbeth Salander. While both are tech-savvy geniuses who have lived on their own for a while, Noa has a heart that Lisbeth just never got. Noa is endearing, frustrating, and thrilling.

I will say that this story definitely focuses more on plot than characters, but that totally works here. I felt like I had a good grip on the characters—they were engaging, unique, and had chemistry—but the real gem is the plot. Gagnon spares no expense as she dives into the world of corporate and government conspiracies. She creates this complex and intricate plot that weaves together into an ingenious literary knot.

I am so thrilled that there will be more books because I did not nearly get my fill of Noa (and Peter—especially Noa with Peter) and this crazy world. I’m usually the girl who has to have a romantic storyline to really fall hard for a story, but that wasn’t the case here. Yes, there’s some fun moments between Noa and Peter, and I truly hope their relationship evolves through the series, but the story itself was so exciting, I was addicted from the first sentence. Gagnon already had an established fanbase with her adult audience and that it sure to increase significantly with the YA crowd. She wrote a novel that will easily appeal to teens and adults.