Thursday, February 28, 2013

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Title: The Indigo Spell
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines, book #3
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Source: received from publisher via Audio Jukebox
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

I've listened to the audio for all six of the Vampire Academy books and all but one of the Bloodlines books, with the first book in this series being an exception because I received an ARC prior to release.  The books and story are great -- obviously, or I wouldn't continue on with the series -- but I have to admit, I actually prefer listening to these books, especially now that there's a set narrator for them.  The first book was narrated by Stephanie Wolf, whom I can't remember at all (sorry!), and books two and three were narrated by Khristine Hvam, whom I adore -- she also narrates the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor.  Book four, Blood Promise, introduced the talented Emily Shaffer to the intoxicating world of all things vampire, and I haven't looked back since.  This narrator hits it out of the ballpark every single time.  And the slight English accent she gives to my favorite Moroi endeared her narration to me even further.  I loved Adrian before, but giving him an accent just adds to his charms.  (I dearly missed it as I was reading Bloodlines myself.)  However did Rose repudiate his love?

So, we've established I loved the audio.  Maybe that's an understatement, but it's true nonetheless.  But did I like the story itself?  Do I like where it's headed?  Yes, and yes.  The book was a tad predictable, but maybe I just have the gift of foresight when it comes to this series after having read so many Richelle Mead novels. Or, rather, having listened to so many.  (I even listened to the Dark Swan series on audio.  I might be addicted to the audiobooks for her novels.  Maybe...just a little.)

I do have to say that maybe all of that promotion as to who Marcus Finch was in relation to the story might have been a tad bit overdone.  Sure, he was an integral part of the story, but I wouldn't worry about him sticking around to cause trouble or any possible love triangles least not involving the ex-Alchemist.  His purpose in this story is to show Sydney the light, so-to-speak.  Sydney has developed a kinship with her faux family while they remain hidden away at their posh boarding school, but she still believes herself loyal to the Alchemists.  With Marcus' introduction to the story, that all changes.

And I love the changes that I've seen in Sydney, not just in this novel alone but across all of the VA and Bloodlines books.  She's gone from no-nonsense Alchemist with an aversion to all things vampire-related to almost near acceptance of them.  I'd go so far as to say she even considers some of them her close friends now.  Eddie even reflects at one point that she really does seem like a sister to him.  (Awww!)  And so it wasn't really that big of a surprise when she started to reconsider her affiliation with the Alchemists upon learning their plans.  Though it was shocking to see just how quickly she made her choices and even more so when she decided to embrace her magical side.  But I'm not complaining.  Sydney will never be as bad-a$$ as Rose, but she's awesome in her own way.

You know what else I'm not complaining about?  The Sydrian action in The Indigo Spell.  Holy heart failure, Batman!  There were swoony spirit dreams, hawt make-out sessions, and of course, a ton of backlash as Sydney tried to come to terms with her feelings for Adrian.  But he was there for her through it all, including just being a comforting friend when needed.  I love this romance with all my heart.  They're completely open and honest with each other.  I hate all of the miscommunication, secrets and lies that befall most relationships in books, but for the most part, that is absent in this one.

The Indigo Spell was everything I was hoping for and more than I was expecting.  I know this is only the third book in a planned six-book series, but I'm not ready for it to end yet!  (Once I get to the middle of a series, I start panicking.)  But I know Mead still has plenty of over-the-top crazy in store for us, so I'll tamp down on my own brand of crazy until we really are nearing the end.  :D  Suffice it to say, the story is great, and the audiobook is just the ice cream on the pie.  (Wendy was right...there IS a lot of pie in this book, much to my delight. =D)

Rating:   photo 5-1.png

Favorite Quotes:

“Because I can't help doing it," he said with a shrug. "And hey, if I keep loving you, maybe you'll eventually crack and love me too. Hell, I'm pretty sure you're already half in love with me.”

“Adrian's face was the picture of perfect politeness and restraint, meaning something disastrous was about to happen.”

“Well, you can think what you want, so long as you remember - no matter how ordinary things seem between us - I'm still here, still in love with you, and care about you more than any other guy, evil or otherwise, ever will.”

“But each time you use spirit, you’re more likely to go crazy.”
“Already crazy about you, Sage.”

And look, the fourth book has a cover now AND it's got Adrian's POV!!!!!  SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!

Check out all these teaser trailers for The Indigo Spell!!!  Swoon City up in here!  =)




Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop {US}

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 with 2 comments

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop
February 28th to March 7th
Co-hosted by Jinky is Reading

For this giveaway, I'm continuing my trend of getting rid of books I've either already read and don't plan to re-read or books that I own but don't anticipate reading any time in the near future for whatever reason.  So, here's what I have up for grabs for the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop:

the first two books in the Lorien Legacies in hardcover

I read the first book prior to seeing the movie, and I enjoyed it enough to purchase the second book, but that was right around the time I had to start scheduling my reading time, and I've just never been able to fit it in. And I'd much rather both books get read than continue to collect dust on my shelf.  =)

  • This giveaway is US onlysorry.  But I do have other international giveaways planned for the near future.
  • One entry per household.
  • All entries will be verified.  Any entry found to be falsified will result in disqualification of all entries for that participant.
  • Winner will be notified via email.  Winner will then have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.  Please check your SPAM folders!
  • I am not responsible for lost packages.

And now on to the fun stuff!  You only have to follow my blog to enter, but all other entries/follows are appreciated!  :D

Now that you've entered here, be sure to check out the nearly 200 giveaway stops on this blog hop:

Thanks for entering & happy reading!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selection is...

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Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Series: n/a
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 2, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Why I'm waiting:  I loved Kasie West's debut novel Pivot Point, which, despite being a science fiction novel, had a distinctly contemporary vibe.  And since I already know the author can rock the contemporary, as well as the sci-fi, I am sure this novel will be pretty awesome.  The star-crossed lovers/kids from opposite sides of the track kind of romance always appeals to me, too, so I can't wait to see how that plays out.

What are you waiting on this week?  Feel free to share it in the comments or leave a link so I can stop by!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 with 15 comments
Add to Goodreads
Title: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: Hopeless, book #1
Publisher: indie/self-pubbed
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Source: PB won from author via The Autumn Review
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Due to sexual content and heavy subject matter, this book is recommended for ages 17+.

Let me preface this review by saying that I loved this book.  In fact, I loved it so much that I felt compelled to stay up all hours of the night reading and even risked sneaking in some reading time at work.  The story, though dark and emotionally draining at times, was extremely addictive.  And though I finished it over a week ago, it took me a little time to decompress before I could write this review.  Sooooo many feelings!  Even now, I don't feel like I can discuss this book coherently, but I'll give it a shot.

I try not to read reviews until after I've read a book so that I don't allow someone else's feelings to influence my own, but that doesn't mean I didn't see a fair amount of gushing for this book prior to picking it up.  However, I didn't know that this story was going to be such a realistic portrayal of abuse and neglect, ingrained with such raw emotion that I myself felt every emotion on the spectrum before all was said and done.  Well, I did say I wanted to read grittier contemporaries this year, didn't I?

Hopeless is such a powerful story.  Through the power of suggestion, it made me take a second look at the people around me, wondering what deep, dark secrets they might be hiding under their seemingly normal lives.  The fact that Sky remembers little to nothing about what happened to her is both a blessing and a burden.  But the fact that it has all been kept secret from her is far worse, in my opinion.

Sky's had a great life, as far as she's concerned...and as far as she knows.  She's been home-schooled all her life.  Her adoptive mother is a little overprotective and despises technology, which means Sky is terribly inexperienced with any sort of gadget.  I wanted to believe that this inexperience was a bit heavy-handed for this day and age, but without the existence of the internet or television in one's home and very little social interaction, I have to admit that it might be entirely realistic.  I wouldn't know, though...I love my gadgets and would likely fall into conniptions if they were taken from me.

I wouldn't necessarily say that Sky is shy or awkward because of her upbringing, but she is when it comes to the mysterious Holder with the piercing stare.  Despite having many romantic interludes prior to their meeting, no one has ever unsettled Sky quite like Dean Holder.  He comes on strong and quickly proves himself a  man of many moods, moods that seem to shift with the winds.  Their romance, as ill-fated as it might seem, was actually probably my favorite aspect of the story.  Though their attraction develops very quickly, there seems to be genuine affection from both sides...something much more than puppy love.  Much more.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that although the characters are of high school age, the situations in the story are of a very adult nature at times.  The circumstances are sometimes very evocative and emotionally charged, and though I would be okay with my daughter reading this at some point, I have to admit that some of the situations were intense and even made me uncomfortable.  But as they were the heart of the story, they were necessary and not simply included for a higher emotional impact, in my opinion.

Prepare to laugh, swoon, gasp, and cry the ugly tears.  This book is full of the feels and it does not hold back.  I felt this book on every level:  as a young(ish) woman, as a mother, and as a daughter.  I'm already ready to read it again, despite knowing what's coming, but I think, instead, I'll just wait for the second book, which is apparently Hopeless told from Holder's point-of-view.  Yes, please!

Rating:   photo 5-1.png

Favorite Quotes: (another one where I just want to quote the whole book)

"And once again in my new world full of heartache and lies, this hopeless boy somehow finds a way to make me smile."

"Its real, Six. You can't get mad at a real ending. Some of them are ugly. Its the fake happily ever afters that should piss you off."

"You don't deserve words, Sky. You deserve actions."

"I live you, Sky," he says against my lips. "I live you so much."

"My lack of access to the real world has been replaced completely by books, and it can’t be healthy to live in a land of happily ever afters."

"Sometimes you have to choose between a bunch of wrong choices and no right ones. You just have to choose which wrong choices feels the least wrong."

"Sky, I'm not kissing you tonight but believe me when I tell you, I've never wanted to kiss a girl more. So stop thinking I'm not attracted to you because you have no idea just how much I am. You can hold my hand, you can run your fingers through my hair, you can straddle me while I feed you spaghetti, but you are not getting kissed tonight. And probably not tomorrow, either. I need this. I need to know for sure that you're feeling every single thing that I'm feeling the moment my lips touch yours. Because I want your first kiss to be the best first kiss in the history of first kisses."

"The moment my lips touch yours, it will be your first kiss. Because if you've never felt anything when someone's kissed you, then no one's ever really kissed you. Not the way I plan on kissing you."

"He drops his hands and keeps his eyes locked on mine while he backs up to the stove. He turns around to tend to the pasta like he didn't just ruin me for any other guy for the rest of my life."

My good friend April loves to create Sims-based book trailers of her favorite reads, and they're pretty freaking awesome.  Here's the one she created for Hopeless:

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser(s) comes from the following book(s):

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Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author: Jane Nickerson
Series: Strands of Bronze and Gold, book #1
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

My teaser:

"When I opened my eyes a crack, the pale glimmering light of the Sisters bathed the room. I heard one word whispered, not out loud, but neither was it in my mind: Runnnnn!"
-- Loc 2329, 66%

This book just gets creepier the more I read.  I'm just glad I'm reading along with my buddy Em so I'm not reading alone.  =)

What are you teasing this week?  Share it in the comments or leave a link so I can visit!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

image source
Short stories are awesome.  They give us in-depth insight into characters, providing anecdotal proof of why some characters are they way they are.  They entertain by creating a certain mood or focusing on a singular effect...some instance in a previous body of work (or one to follow) that might have been glossed over or ignored completely in a longer novel. 

And so, every Sunday for the foreseeable future, I would like to highlight short stories and novellas set in worlds I've already come to love and learn a little more about some of the secondary characters in my favorite novels.  I'll be underscoring some of my favorite aspects of these short works of fiction, in addition to offering up a mini review of each work.

This week I'm featuring a prequel story:

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Title: Foundation
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland, book #0.5
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Source: free via Tor's website
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In Ann Aguirre’s award-winning novel Enclave, humans have taken refuge in colonies below ground. Here is the story of what drove them there, told through the eyes of a teen who would later have vast influence over the fate of many, and who gave his heart to the one person who needed him most.

This is a really short story that takes place completely separate from the other story arcs in the Razorland series.  Instead of seeing characters we've already grown to care about, we meet a character that was in the College enclave almost from the very start.  This is only a beginning and doesn't provide much new information, but it also doesn't spoil anything for the rest of the series.*

What it does provide is a look at two kindred souls, forced together by fate, and how they forged a spot for themselves in a crumbling and decaying world.  Foundation suggests that the world as we know it is ending due to chemical warfare, forcing citizens to suffer a deadly disease or scramble underground to avoid it.  Regardless, things don't look good for the human race.

This is obviously not a happy story**, but fans of this series wouldn't expect that, anyway.  Those who haven't started this series yet may find that trying out the author's style in this piece, while it's being offered for free, is a good starting point.  But I rather liked reading this prequel after I'd already been introduced to the story, though I'm probably in the minority with that sentiment.

*Well, not really.  Not if you had the same suspicions that I did about the Freaks/Muties and how they came to be.

**I also feel obligated to note that just reading this short story and revisiting the world created by Ann Aguirre in the Razorland series gave me terrible nightmares last night.  But in my opinion, that's the sign of great invades your thoughts even when you're unconscious.  =)

Rating:   photo 4-1.png

Stop by next week for my review of Ann Aguirre's Endurance, book #1.5 in the Razorland series.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

You guys!  I am super excited to bring you a guest post from author Mindee Arnett today!  I knew from reading her semi-official bio on her website prior to the tour that I was really going to have fun with this, but she really provided something special for this post.  I hope you enjoy it and that it'll only add to your anticipation for The Nightmare Affair!

But first, here's a little about the book:

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Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Series: The Arkwell Academy, book #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

A Guide to the Visual Inspiration Behind The Nightmare Affair

Hi, All! I’m very excited to be here at The Starry Eyed Revue and to tell you a little about my collective and eclectic visual inspirations behind The Nightmare Affair. A possible subtitle for the post would be—a tour of Mindee’s office.

I’m a very visual writer. I draw a lot of inspiration from things I can see and, occasionally, drool over. Figurines, artwork, movies/TV character posters—you name it. And my tastes are pretty varied, although they remain firmly within the realm of fantasy and science fiction.

This same all encompassing love of mine is pretty evident within the book. It has a little bit of everything—witches, fairies, sirens, werewolves, mermaids, demons, and nightmares, of course. It also has a fair bit of technology in it. The students at Arkwell Academy have cell phones, computers, tablets. I love sci-fi pretty as much as fantasy, so why not?

Anyway, without further ado, I give you a guide to the visual inspiration behind The Nightmare Affair.

First up, here is my desk, where I do the vast majority of my work. That is, when I’m not sitting in my armchair/recliner.

*Both of these GORGEOUS paintings—and they are gorgeous, trust me; this picture does NOT do them justice—are from the lovely and amazingly talented Cat York. Everybody should go check out her stuff right now. Seriously. You won’t be disappointed!

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this mini-tour of my office. Stop sometime. Pick up a good book, and find your inspiration.

About the Author

Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.

**TWO SIGNED copies available for giveaway -- open to International readers!! **

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Huge thanks to Mindee Arnett for stopping by and to Shane at Itching for Books for putting this tour together!  Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on The Nightmare Affair Blog Tour!!!

Thanks for stopping by & happy reading!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a weekly meme where we all get to brag about the books and swag we got in the mail, for review, won in contests, etc.

The week where I nearly peed my pants because of the awesome!!!

For Review:

-- Audio --
The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Vortex (Tempest, #2)

-- ARCs/galleys --
The Book of Broken HeartsThat Time I Joined the CircusSiege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
Love in the Time of Global WarmingOf Triton (Of Poseidon, #2)

-- New Adult --
Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1)

Huge thanks to Penguin Audio, Macmillan Audio, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Macmillan, Netgalley & Edelweiss for the awesome, awesome books for review!!!


The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)Origin

Thanks to Jenn Renee for gifting me her ARC of Indigo Spell and Monica for the ARC of Origin!!!

The Week in Review:

Reviews:  Losing ItArticle 5 (audio) & City of a Thousand Dolls

Current Giveaways:  Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop & YA Paranormal Giveaway Hop

Blog Tours/Promotions:  none this week (whew!)

Recent Winners:  Marlena won the Wings of Tavea Blog Tour Giveaway, Misha won the awesome Meant to Be prize pack in the Fire & Ice Blog Tour Giveaway, Sarika showed her luck again by winning the  Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop & Alyssa won the For the Love of Swoon Giveaway Hop...whew, that's a lot of winners!  (Though, to be frank, some of those were from last week and I forgot to mention them...sorry!)

The Week Ahead:

Reviews of Endurance/Foundation (SSS), The Indigo Spell (audio), Hopeless & Requiem

The Nightmare Affair Blog Tour stops by later today!

The Nightmare Affair Blog Tour

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop -- starts on Wednesday!

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