Where reading is a way of life

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

350 pages, YA Paranormal (Magic)
Mythos Academy #1
My rating: 5 stars


My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died...

My 2 cents

I can't imagine what took me so long to start this series!  I knew I was going to love it, and I was right!  It has all the classic YA elements  that I love--boarding school for paranormal creatures, lots of magic, adventure, and some romance thrown in!  I have read so many series with these elements, and they never get old for me!  This one made me think a little of Rachel Hawkin's series, Hex Hall.  

Gwen was awesome!  She was sassy and smart, and of course, an outcast.  I was always rooting for her, and couldn't wait to learn more of her powers.  She was different from any other student.  She didn't know how to fight, could barely hold the weapons, and had no extra super strength.  But Gwen goes to show that brute strength isn't always the best thing.  Her smarts and psychometry  more than make up for it!

The mystery element to the story was really well done.  I couldn't figure it out. Nothing that Gwen was learning was really making any sense, so the ending was a complete surprise for me.  I knew there was more to Gwen's powers than she thougt, but I didn't understand any of it until the end.  What I loved about this paranormal story is it also added history and mythology to the mix.  I love both, so this made for an even greater read!  And now, I'm off to finish the series!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Frost Fire Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Frost Fire  (Tortured Elements, #1)
Publication date: November 20th, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
“Magic is just like love, Allai. It won’t wait for permission before it destroys you.”

Like sand in an hourglass, Allai’s future is dwindling away. She’s spent her entire life fighting the Mages who threaten humanity, and dreams of someday eradicating magic. But all it takes is an anonymous phone call for the truth to spill out: Allai is the one thing she despises most. 

She’s a Mage. 

Though ancient law mandates Allai’s death, she still has one last chance of survival. His name is Drake Rhaize, and he swears he can lead Allai to a sanctuary for Mages. Allai hasn’t seen Drake in years, but she remembers him as the Demon boy who used to hold her close and softly whisper that he’d keep her safe. But Drake has changed since then: He’s now suspected of murder, and has been out-casted for betraying his own kind. 

While Allai doesn’t trust Drake, she has no choice but to put her life in his hands and hope he can get her to safety. Because Allai’s father has hired a pack of Demons to bring her back to him, dead or alive–and Demons never stop the hunt.  


Olivia Rivers
Olivia Rivers is a high school student, a literary agent intern, and an obsessive-compulsive reader. She has a slight obsession with Kootenai County in Idaho, and she’s pretty sure life will always be awesome as long as Irish accents exist. She lives with dysautonomia, a chronic medical condition affecting her nervous system. Portions of proceeds from her “Tortured Elements” series go toward supporting youth with dysautonomia.

Author Links:

My 2 cents
My Rating: 4 stars

I loved this book!  The story itself was very different and unusual.  The characters were amazing, and I especially LOVED Drake!  (swoon!)  I really felt all the emotions while reading, especially the romance between Allai and Drake.  

The backstory of the novel is that Drake tried to kill Allai in her bedroom about 2 years ago.  He failed, and ever since Allai has had nightmares about it.  But she also has a memory of him from when she was little, a memory where he tells her he will never let anyone hurt her.  This is the only memory Allai has from when she was little.  When she was 8 or 9, she was found on Sentinel property, abandoned  and bruised.  The head of the Sentinels adopts her, as she is part demon, but mostly human.

Back to present day.  An evil demon attacks Allai while she's on a run, and Drake saves her life, but is then captured.  Allai is, understandably, very confused with this turn of events.  Is Drake really an evil killer?

So much happens in this story.  There is lots of action, drama, and even some romance to even it all out.  I loved the descriptions in the story, especially about the demons.  They have razor sharp wings that sound like wind chimes when they prepare to fight.  It was a totally new concept on a demon, and really cool to read about!  And like I mentioned before, the emotions were so real, and very intense.  

Let's talk about Drake...oh, goddess!  I totally fell in love with him, and his cursed life.  I really just wanted to hug him all throughout the story.  He is one of the most cursed characters I have ever read, and its amazing what he does with it!  He doesn't like contact, even just a pat--he equates touch with pain.  He's a mastermind at changing subjects, and has a very sarcastic humor.  He really is one hot bad boy!

The ending completely surprised me.  There are a few twists, and I really didn't see any of them coming.  Things wrap up nicely for the story, but there is still a lot to learn about the series.  I can't wait to find out more about Luke, Drake, and Allai!  

And, now, for the giveaway!  The publisher has granted me permission to give a ecopy of Frost Fire!  Just enter on the Rafflecopter below, and Good Luck!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

420 pages, YA Paranormal Thriller
The Madman's Daughter #1
My rating: 3 stars


In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

My 2 cents

This book was Creepy with a capital C.  Overall, I really enjoyed the thrill ride--I had no idea what was going to happen next!  There are so many secrets, and so many strange things going on, I had no idea who or what I should really be scared of!

While Juliet is fearing for both her mind and her life, she is also trying to deal with the fact that she is attracted to both Montgomery and Edward.  I had a lot of trouble, like Juliet, in picking which one I'd like her to end up with!  Towards the beginning, I was rooting for Montgomery, then later on in the story, it was Edward, then towards the end it was Montgomery again, then Edward....it kept changing based on what secrets Juliet kept learning about the island!  I really didn't blame her for her confusion!

I really enjoyed the basic concept of the story.  The characters, while strange, were very well done and well rounded.  Dr. Moreau....wow he is seriously one of the craziest, scary villians I have ever read about!  But he wasn't the only villain of the story...I don't want to give away any spoilers, but just when you think you have the whole thing figured out, the story throws in another twist!

My main problem was the ending.  I really, really did not like the final ending!  This is the first book in a series, so maybe things will eventually turn out a little better, but I seriously almost threw the book after reading the last page!  I think I will continue the series, because I really need to know what happens to Juliet!

Phantom Summer Book Blast + Giveaway!

Phantom Summer by Amy Sparling

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.

When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?

When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably trying to find her.

"I was wonderfully surprised by Phantom Summer!!! I couldn't put it down. Loved everything about it."
~Amazon Reviewer Angelmusic

"The emotions are so well written... I would definitely recommend reading this."
~Goodreads Reviewer Lauren

Author Amy Sparling

Amy Sparling is a Texas native with a passion for young adult literature. In her free time she participates in an unhealthy amount of Xbox playing, attends nerd conventions and reads books with her daughter. She's studying to become a high school teacher and lives near the beach with her daughter and two cats. Amy Sparling is a pen name.

$50 Book Blast Giveaway

Ends 3/10/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Diviners by Libby Bray

592 pages, YA Paranormal (Magic, ghosts), thriller
The Diviners #1
My rating: 4.5 stars


Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

My 2 cents

Wowza, I loved this book!  I seem to be on a string of reading the kind of creepy books that you should only read in the daytime!  This one tops the list of those so far!  This would be a great read around Halloween (if you wanted to scare yourself, that is!)

This book really exceeded my expectations.  It really doesn't feel like a YA novel--except there is not graphic sex or language, and the main character is 17.  This book was a paranormal, thriller murder mystery all rolled into one.  The killer is a spirit that has come back from the dead, after all!  The mystery isn't really just about the killer, though.  This book is the first in a series, and its actually about a group of people called "Diviners" who have special abilities--and something is going to happen, although we have no clue what.

Evie is the MC, and she just rocked!  Evie, and the setting of the story were easily my favorite things while reading.  The story is set in NYC in the Roaring Twenties, and the author definitely did her research!  It was like being transported in a time machine!  All of the crazy parties, lingo, fashion, and NYC society made this a really fun to read book, if at the same time, creepy!  My other favorite characters were Jericho and Evie's Uncle Will.  Uncle Will is a little strange, but a really interesting guy.  Jericho is guarded and obviously hiding something, but seems like a kind spirit.  

There is some romance in the book, but most of it does belong to other characters.  There are several side characters in the story, and we jump around between them and Evie.  At first, it just seems like a bunch of random stories, but eventually all their paths cross in some form or another.  Its kind of like watching the movie Love Actually or New Year's Eve.  All the characters were well rounded, and I almost felt like I was a spirit running around NYC, spying on all these people's lives!  

The actual string of murders...they gave me chills.  The violence and imagery is very violent, and deals with the Occult, so fair warning here.  There are plenty of light hearted moments (Thank you, Evie!) to balance it all out, though.  I recommend reading this during the day, but if you must read it at night, lock your door and turn on all the lights!

What Are Your Reading Monday #18

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Book Journey, where us bloggers highlight our book reading week. 

This covers the last 2 weeks!

My Reading List for next week!

On the Blog this week!
Phantom Summer Book Blast + Giveaway!
Frost Fire Blog Tour + Giveaway
Out of Play Cover Reveal!
Time's Twisted Arrow Blog Tour + Giveaway!

I also have the February New Releases Giveaway going on, as well as 4 different eBooks giveaway!  Look on the top right sidebar for the links to enter!

What are you reading this Monday?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

In My Mailbox #23

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.  Us bloggers feature any new books we've received in the past week, either bought, borrowed, or received for review.

I kind of a smaller week this week, but it was still a good one!

eBooks I Bought

eBooks from Netgalley

Now, onto physical copies!
Books I bought

Books I traded with other bloggers

And finally, books I won!

I won Unravel Me from Jen Ryland/YA Romantics and Boundless from Danasquare!
Thank you, ladies!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Recent Favorite eBooks Giveaway!

I just love giveaways!  Winning them and giving them! I've recently read some great Indie eBooks.  Most of them were received from the author to give an honest review.  The following three that I'm giving away I fell in love with, and I want to share the love!

What's Up for Grabs!

 “Doesn’t she know you can’t do real magic alone?”

Freshly graduated from the Voleno Academy, Faylanna Derrion is trying to find her solitary place in a world where she and her fellow Magicia are expected to find their magical partner as soon as possible. When her mentor and his partner are taken by a terrible darkness before her eyes, her flight to find help brings Tavis into her life. Can she learn to see him as more than a simple farmer or will she accede to her father’s demands to return to her family’s home, following a path others have laid out for her? Can she choose her own course, after a lifetime of refusing to bind herself to anyone?

 In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms. 

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

In their world, someone must die.

Jessica's had the nightmares for as long as she can remember. Nightmares of being judged for people who have died, of being branded by the angels. Her friends and family think she's a crazy because of it all. Yet she carries the mark of the condemned, seared into the back of her neck, and hides it and herself away from the world.

But when two men she can't ignore enter her life everything changes, including the nightmares. The two of them couldn't be more different. She will do anything to be with one of them. Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck. But one of the two has set events into motion what will pull her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear.

It's been four months since Alex gave everything to save Jessica. Life should be perfect; she has Alex, she's been freed of the nightmares, and most of all- she's alive. But some things have changed, some things haven't. That's the problem. Alex still hasn't asked "the question". Jessica can't see the reason why and it's tearing her apart. He's keeping something from her.

Alex isn't the only one who has changed though. Something is different about Jessica but she doesn't understand what's happened. She just knows something's wrong, that she feels different than she used to, on a skin deep level. And it may keep her and Alex apart. Forever.

But while Alex and Jessica struggle to stay together, Cole is not about to be forgotten. There are a few things he didn't tell Jessica, about his past and her future. There are reasons why he came after her, reasons that are tied to his history that is darker than she could have ever realized.

One winner will win an eBook of Bound, one winner will win an eBook of The Moon Dwellers, and one winner will win an eBook of Branded and an eBook of Forsaken, since Branded is free right now.  You will have the choice of a Kindle book or a Nook Book.  Enter on the rafflecopter below, and Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bound by J. Elizabeth Hill

YA fantasy
Mirrors of Bershan #1
My rating: 4.5 stars


“Doesn’t she know you can’t do real magic alone?”

Freshly graduated from the Voleno Academy, Faylanna Derrion is trying to find her solitary place in a world where she and her fellow Magicia are expected to find their magical partner as soon as possible. When her mentor and his partner are taken by a terrible darkness before her eyes, her flight to find help brings Tavis into her life. Can she learn to see him as more than a simple farmer or will she accede to her father’s demands to return to her family’s home, following a path others have laid out for her? Can she choose her own course, after a lifetime of refusing to bind herself to anyone?(

My 2 cents

This is the story of Fay, a very powerful Magicia, and trying to find her way after graduation.  Her father has set her forth on a path not of her choosing, and she must decide between Marcius or Tavis.  She honestly really doesn't want to choose either, at least in the beginning.  She wants to be known on her own merit.  But it becomes pretty obvious that Marcius or her father will not let this happen.

Marcius is actually imprisoned in the Mirrors of Bershan.  He was accused of murdering his partner, but claims his innocence.  A few trusted friends of Fay's believe he was innocent of that crime, but they hint there is more to the story. Marcius is visiting Fay's dreams and she secretly longs to be with him.  Tavis is a humble farmer, but whom also has the gift of magic in his blood.  He has not been trained, though.  She meets up with him on her flight away from her father, and they become friends rather quickly, although its pretty clear Tavis has more than friendship in mind.

I really really loved this world that Hill creates for us.  The world building is spectacular.  Most of the story is centered around the characters, which I loved.  I really felt the emotions between the characters, and each of their personal struggles.  All characters were very well written, and they all felt so real to me.  I just couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see what was going to happen next!

At times, I was very frustrated with Fay.  She was obviously making some not so good choices, but it really kept the plot moving.  I couldn't believe how stupid she was being, but towards the end of the book I understood her motives better.   But what I loved about Fay was her tenacity and her independent, strong spirit.  She could handle just about anything, and I love that in MCs.  She had her moments of weakness, but it just made her seem more real.  Tavis was absolutely amazing.  He was totally fine with letting her take the lead, and giving her space and freedom, but also supporting her when it was necessary.  I think Tavis is one of the best book boyfriends I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

The editing needed a bit of work, but after a couple of chapters in, I didn't even notice it.  I was too into the story!  I was thrilled with the ending, and I loved that it actually tied up the story.  It still left things open for the rest of the series, but I really felt like this was a nice, full novel.  I was amazed with Hill's writing, and I can't wait to read more of her books!  

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Blog + Giveaway!

I've decided to start another blog--Juliababyjen After Dark.  It will focus on books with adult content, mostly NA and Adult Romance. To kick things off, I'm starting it out with a giveaway! Click on the link about to head over (if you are 18 years of age or older of course!)