Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Tour: 2013 Your New Astrology Horoscopes (& Giveaway!)

Once again, Suzanne White brings us her ingenious “New Astrology” Predictions for the next 12 months. This exciting new book is offers lengthy, detailed, month-by-month horoscopes for every sign (Western and Chinese). 

We each have two signs – AN ANIMAL YEAR SIGN AND A WESTERN SUN SIGN. Suzanne White’s brilliant NEW ASTROLOGY™ is the fusion of both. With this amazing book, a Leo born in an Ox year will know what will happen to her all throughout 2013 as well as what will be going on in the life of her Scorpio born Goat sweetheart and for her kids, her boss, her family, her friends and her enemies. Suzanne White is the world renowned high priestess of Chinese and Western astrologies. She is always fun to read. And… she is uncannily accurate. This dazzling book offers readers over 100,000 words of crucial information about and forecasts for each and every astrological sign both Chinese and Western. Find out what’s in store for you and yours in the sultry, highly charged and charming WATER SNAKE YEAR 2013. 

Purchase your copy:

About the Author: Suzanne White is an American author. She lives in France. She has been a college professor, a fashion model, a journalist, an interpreter, a novelist, a fireworks salesperson, director of a Parisian Couture boutique, an elevator operator, a shoe salesperson, a single mother and a simultaneous translator. In between she has written books. Lots of books. About Astrology. The New Astrology – a blend of Asian Animal Signs and Sun Signs. Suzanne’s readers have dubbed her “The High Priestess” of Chinese and Western Astrologies. 2013 NEW ASTROLOGY HOROSCOPES BOOK – CHINESE AND WESTERN PREDICTIONS FOR THE SNAKE YEAR 2013 IS # 1 ON AMAZON’S ASTROLOGY BOOK BEST SELLER LIST. 

Visit the Author:

Pump Up Your Book and Suzanne White are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus a paperback and e-copy of her book, 2013 Your New Astrology Horoscopes!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick

Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover; 272 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.

Midwinterblood is one of those books that you have to let stew in your head for a little while before actually judging - or, in my case, reviewing. As the description says, there are seven stories in this book. All of these stories revolve around two main characters - the same main characters - and what happens to them in each time period. The stories go from the future to the past in order to tell a more clearer account of the events that unfold during each life. 

Now, it sounds a little confusing.. but it's not all so bad. A perk to this book is that the same characters are used in each story, although who they are and who they are to one another changes from story to story. The overall feel and theme to Midwinterblood is a little tragic, as all stories are centered around the idea of love requiring some type of sacrifice. There is also a plot that intertwines each story to one another that really ties everything together, although the stories could actually be read separately.

This book has a great gothic feel to it and the island itself is ten shades of creepy. The writing was nothing short of fabulous and it definitely kept me reading from the beginning to the very end in one sitting. Books that are compiled of multiple short(er) stories are usually harder to grasp since they're like novellas - where you don't get as invested in the characters and you don't get as much background information as you think you need to really get into the stories. Since these stories are tied together, there was more that was fleshed out.

If I had to say anything "bad" about this book, I would say that there was still a little sparseness to the information you receive in the writing. I don't think it will deter anyone from the story, it just leaves the reader a little curious on a few points throughout the book.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I think it's a wonderful read that deserves more recognition than it may receive, considering I haven't seen much about it on the internet. 

Source: Purchase

Marcus Sedgwick (b 1968) was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blog Tour: Blood Fugue & Witch's Nocturne (& GIVEAWAYS!)


This post is part of the blog tour for Books One and Two in E.J. Wesley's Moonsongs series. For more information on the blog tour, click here or click the button at the bottom of these reviews.

Goodreads | Amazon
Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried.

Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…

Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

I'm not too overly fond of novellas because you never get a lot of info, usually leaving you with too many questions that may not be ever answered. But after reading the first two books in the Moonsongs series, I'm happy to say that's not the case.

In this first book, we're introduced to some important characters and we get a good little piece of action as well. When you think 47 pages for a novella, you don't think you'll get too much. Only.. you do. While you don't necessarily go very in-depth with all the information, this book is still chock full of action and you get a decent look at the characters in a very short amount of time. 

The writing is amazing - even in just a few short pages, you can see that right off the bat. It really engages you in the story and keeps you reading along until the end. Jenny, the protagonist, is written amazingly well. She's a tough chick, very passionate and also surprisingly very funny. I loved her attitude and the way that she presented herself. 

Like the main character, this story is full of passion. The pace and story itself, though short, will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end - leaving you ready for more. This story is definitely worth your time to check out. 

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Smashwords
After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas.

Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of paranormal-horror-action novelettes by author E.J. Wesley. These stories contain language and content better suited for mature readers.

This is the second installment of the Moonsongs series and, like its predecessor, it's nothing short of amazing. 

We pick up where we left off in the first book. Once again, Jenny is as spunky as ever - although she has turned the anger down a notch or two. She's more in control than before and things seem to be going smoothly.. until we're introduced to a new antagonist that definitely turns the story up a notch.

As always, Wesley wastes no time delving into the action and has us snared for the duration of the story. This installment was longer than the first, we learn more about our characters as well as having a great new plot. 

I got Book Two with One, so I didn't have to wait like most others. However, now I DO have to wait for Book Three and I have to admit that it's driving me nuts! These stories are nothing short of amazing, and Moonsongs is definitely a series that I would recommend to everyone.

Both of these stories definitely get ★ from me! 

Author of the Moonsongs books, a series of New Adult supernatural action-suspense novelettes. E.J. reads horror, YA, thrillers, MG--basically, anything with words. He is currently in love with the television shows Battlestar Galactica, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Fringe. E.J. writes, reads, and watches from Texas, where he maintains a very neighborly attitude. 


There are TWO giveaways that I am excited to share with you guys! 

The first one is here, just for my readers! There will be TWO winners that will win BOTH books in the Moonsongs series. All you have to do is make sure that you follow Missy's Reads & Reviews, then leave a comment with your contact information. The winner will be chosen this Sunday, February 10th. Since these are ebooks, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE.

The second giveaway is for the whole blog tour. The prizes are as follows:

  • 1 Prize Package #1: Signed copy of Soul Screamers Vol. 1 by Rachel Vincent, Signed copy of Capital Hell by Alicia M. Long, signed copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Texas (Little Known Facts about Well Known Places (Package open to US addresses only) by Victor Dorff

  • 2 winners of a $15 GC to amazon or B&N

  • 1 winner of $20 towards The Book Depository (INT ONLY!)
 Simply follow the rules on the Rafflecopter below. 

Good luck!! 

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The New Hunger, by Isaac Marion

Author: Isaac Marion
Publisher: Zora Books
Release Date: January 28, 2013
Format: eBook; 140 pages
Series: Warm Bodies (Book 0.5)
Genre: YA, Horror, Paranormal, Zombies
Avg. Rating: ✩ (4.50)

New York is a bayou. New Orleans is a reef. The entire country has been devastated by natural disasters and governmental collapse, and on top of everything else there is the annoying problem of zombies trying to devour you at every turn. But sixteen-year-old Nora and her younger brother Addis are about to discover the most frightening thing yet: being abandoned in this horrific world by their own parents.

Left with only a bag of clothes and a first-aid kit, Nora and Addis begin a harrowing journey to connect with anyone who isn't looking to rob them or eat them. A wounded man wrecks a meal of green beans and French fries at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. An attempt to get a good night’s sleep in a fortified motel is ruined by an undead face staring at them through the window. And they just can’t seem to shake someone – something – that’s been following them everywhere they go….

Meanwhile, a girl named Julie is traveling toward the city in an SUV with her parents. She is only twelve, but has already seen friends die and her school burn. She has watched her father become nearly as cold and remorseless as the Dead. All she wants is someplace to call home, even if it never really will be.

And somewhere nearby, a tall man awakens in the woods, unsure of exactly where he is, or even who he is. As he struggles to remember details of his life, a single consonant comes to him: R. He is…a name that begins with R…

Since The New Hunger is actually a novella, I guess we would call this a mini-review as I don't plan on speaking much about it for the risk of spoilers.  

All I really want to say is that if you like Warm Bodies, The New Hunger is an absolute must for you. It is a great read from Isaac Marion that gives you a glimpse of the characters and their lives before we meet them in Warm Bodies

I definitely enjoyed reading the part of the story about R. You get to experience his first days as a zombie and how he somehow manages to control the hunger from within. I fell in love with R in Warm Bodies, so this back story was definitely a treat.

Even though R is my favorite character, I have to admit that Nora and Addis' story really won me over. Seeing their will to live really stands out as some of the best parts of the story. 

Just like with Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion has managed to use his incredible writing skills to ensnare you back into the world of zombies. This was a great, quick read that everyone should pick up - as soon as it's out, of course.

Source: Publisher

Isaac Marion was born near Seattle in 1981 and has lived in and around that city ever since. He began writing in high school and self-published three novels before finally breaking through with Warm Bodies. He currently splits his time between writing more novels, playing obscure instruments in obscure bands, and exploring the country in his 1977 GMC motorhome.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Shade Of Vampire, by Bella Forrest

Author: Bella Forrest
Publisher: Forrest Books
Release Date: December 14, 2012
Format: Paperback; 147 pages
Series: A Shade Of Vampire (Book One)
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires 
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. 

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains. 

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince. 

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Alright, I'll just come out with it: I love this book. I have read many books this year and many, many books over the past couple of years - and I can honestly say that it has been a long while since I have enjoyed a book THIS much.

First off, it's hard to believe that this book is actually a debut novel - although I guess it makes perfect sense with the author's background. But usually, even with a history like Bella Forrest has, you don't typically see such great writing until a few books down the line. Seeing as how I'm a stickler for writing most of the time, this was one of the things that made me happy.

All of the characters in this story defined themselves well through their actions throughout the story. Sofia was an instant hit for me. I liked that she was a strong character, but definitely had a little vulnerability to her that made her so human and easy to relate to. Derek was also a character that I loved from the very beginning. His actions stayed true to his character, and I love the way his attraction for Sophia shined through.The other characters were just as great. My heart bled a little when Ben showed back up in the story and you found out a little as to what he was going through when Sophia disappeared. Lucas was another character that popped off of the pages for me, but not in the best of ways. 

Being only 147 pages, this book reads very quickly. I think the winning factor to this book, for me, is the fact that this book gets straight to the action and the facts - there's not a ton of fluff that you have to weed through to get to the good stuff. The constant action made me flip feverishly through page after page until the very end. The only downside to that is knowing that I am completely finished with the novel and have to wait for the next book in the series to come out.. which I hope is very, very soon!

Essentially, this book is a vampire romance with a whole lot of action in it. So, if you like any of those themes, then I'm sure you will absolutely LOVE this book. It's definitely one to add to your bookshelf and covet. 

Source: Author

I've been telling stories pretty much since I could talk. Instead of having my parents read me bed-time stories, I would prefer to share with them my own made up tales.

As I grew older, I developed a passion for the fantasy genre, but more specifically vampires.

I had my first idea for a novel when I was sixteen, and haven't really stopped since.

My debut novel, A Shade of Vampire, was released on December 14, 2012.
The book quickly became a Number 1 Christmas Bestseller in Vampire Romance, Paranormal and Fantasy on Amazon.

If you sign up for personal email updates from me here: ,
you'll be the first to hear about my new releases.

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A SHADE OF VAMPIRE is available on Amazon:

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UK, eBook:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Life After Death, by Damien Echols

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Author: Damien Echols
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover; 399 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, True Crime
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three—were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the “ringleader,” was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011.

Now Echols shares his story in full—from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.

When the whole ordeal with the West Memphis Three happened, I didn't pay it much attention. I was nine years old, so it didn't interest me much. Obviously, even at that age, it made me sad that children my age died.. and I got the "don't trust strangers" talk from my parents about a dozen times - but that was about the extent of my concern. But my father kept up with the case. A couple of years later, I found myself more caught up in the case. I liked mysteries. These murders were mysteries to me. And, for whatever reason, I never believed that the three guys who were found guilty of killing the three boys were actually the murderers. Ever since I was thirteen, I have kept up with the West Memphis Three. When they were released (albeit with a crap bargain), I was happy. When I saw that Damien's memoir was out, I was even happier. Now, I have a first-hand account into the history of the West Memphis Three all through the mind of the alleged "master mind" of the group. 

I think I should say that it's pretty hard to actually review a memoir, as it is a story of someone's life. I am not trying to review Echols' life - rather, the format this book was written. As far as the story, I loved this book. Yet, at the same time, it was truly heart-wrenching. I couldn't imagine being in Echols' shoes, having to spend eighteen years in prison for a crime you didn't commit.. especially a crime so heinous as the murders of three little boys. Echols has an amazing talent at writing, and you can practically feel the emotion he put into his writing oozing out of the pages. 

Having said that, I did see some minor things that could have been worked on. First off, it felt like the first half of this book was Almost Home (Echols' book he wrote while incarcerated) written all over again. I don't know, there could have been a reason for this. For someone who has read Almost Home (me), this seems like it could have been skipped. But, if you haven't read it, then you practically get two books for the price of one. There were also some other parts of the story that were repeated that could have been skipped, but it doesn't really distract from the story. What does distract me is the constant use of the word magick/magickal (yes, he spells it with the "k" every single time). The usage was a little excessive - however, again, not a true distraction to the point of this book.

Like I said, I really did enjoy this book. If you know about the WM3 and haven't read this book, then you're missing out. For those of us that do believe that sometimes innocent people are accused of horrible crimes, this is not a book to be ignored - it's a real eye-opener to what sometimes happens to those innocents. 

Source: Netgalley

Damien Wayne Echols, along with Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, is one of the three men, known as the West Memphis Three, who were convicted in the killing of three eight-year-old boys Steve Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore at Robin Hood Hills, West Memphis, Arkansas, on May 5, 1993.

Damien Echols was convicted of murder by a jury and sentenced to death by lethal injection. He was on death row under 23 hours per day lockdown at the Varner Supermax. On August 19, 2011, Echols, along with the two others collectively known at the West Memphis Three, were released from prison after their attorneys and the judge handling the upcoming retrial agreed to a deal. Under the terms of the Alford guilty plea, Echols and his co-defendents pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder while maintaining their innocence. DNA evidence failed to connect Echols or his co-defendents to the crime.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gates of Paradise, by Melissa de la Cruz

Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover; 368 pages
Series: Blue Bloods (Book 7)
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
Schuyler Van Alen is running out of time. The Dark Prince of Hell is storming the Gates of Paradise, intent on winning the heavenly throne for good. This time he has his greatest angels by his side, Abbadon and Azrael—Jack and Mimi Force, as they are known in the Coven.

Or so he thinks. Even as Lucifer assigns Jack and Mimi the tasks of killing their true loves, the Force twins secretly vow to defeat the Dark Prince once and for all. But how far will Mimi and Jack go to conceal their real loyalties?

Meanwhile, former vampire Bliss Llewellyn has joined forces with Lawson, the greatest wolf of the underworld, to free his people from their imprisonment in Hell. As they struggle against impossible odds, an ancient message, woven into the very fabric of time, reveals just how much depends on the success of their mission.

Lucifer seeks the key to the Gate of Promise, and when Schuyler is taken captive and delivered straight to Hell, she must make an unthinkable choice—the same one the archangel Michael was forced to make during the Crisis in Rome. Will Schuyler find the strength to do what he could not?

The epic, heartbreaking Blue Bloods series comes to a close with this final novel about staggering courage, unbearable sacrifice, and the immortality of true love.

Admission: I have followed the Blue Bloods series from the very beginning. As much as I hate things that deal with fashion, money, socialites, etc.. I couldn't help but love this series. And this series has turned into something so much more than any of the things I have listed - and I freaking love it for that reason alone! But there's so much more. So, forgive me if I am a little biased when it comes to Blue Bloods. I think I can do a pretty fair review, though. ;)

This is the final book in the Blue Bloods series. While I'm sad to see it go, I have to say that I have enjoyed the ride. Compared to the last few books in the series, which dragged a little and come up a bit stale for me, Gates of Paradise was a breath of fresh air. Like all books in a series, it's nice to see some of your favorite characters reprise their roles in a story and see them grow. I've loved Schuyler from the very beginning and her journey has definitely had its ups and downs. However, I think the character that has truly shined for me in this particular book is Mimi - which is amazing considering how much I have hated her for a majority of the series. Her growth and own journey have both astounded me. She literally won me over without me even realizing it until the very end of the book, which I love because I never knew a character could be written so well.

I can't say much without the risk of spoilers, so I'll just keep this short and sweet by saying that this is an amazing book. The storyline is intricate and I loved watching everything come together at the very end. Literally any loose end or question that I could recall throughout the series was wrapped up with a nice little bow to where you were left with a filling of satisfaction instead of confusion.

If I had to pick out some flaws, I can think of two things that I didn't necessarily love about the novel. One, this book is DEFINITELY a part of a series.. and, in being so, you can't just pick up this book without any knowledge of the characters, series, and story/stories. If you try, you'll fail miserably - that's a promise. There were also some parts in the final chapters that felt a little rushed, as though the author was in a hurry to just wrap this series up and move on with her life. Though after seven books with the same characters in the same world, I think it's safe to say that it could be understandable. In all honesty, it's not THAT noticeable.. it's just something that kind of stood out to me while I was reading.

Overall, I completely loved this book. If you've been a follower of the series, I have no doubt that you will love this book as well. If you haven't followed this series.. I'd say you're doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out. Pick up this book, along with the others in the series. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Source: Purchase

Melissa de la Cruz grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

Melissa is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Anatomy of a Single Girl, by Daria Snadowsky

Author: Daria Snadowsky
Publisher: Delacorte BYR
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover; 240 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl. 

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one. 

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered. 

 But I couldn’t avoid my future forever. 

After reading Anatomy of a Boyfriend, I was thrilled to here that there would be a follow-up. This book is shorter than the first, but it covers less of a timeline than the first does. And it's just as enjoyable, if not more so.

One of the very first things that I noticed about the story was that the writing and Dom was much more mature. It was a small point that may not have been necessary but was definitely a welcomed change, considering that Dom is older and it makes sense that she would sound a little older. And I do like the change of romantic interests and romantical situations - it's not just something that was written to sound like a repeat of the first book. Guy was a surprise as I was thinking it was going to be about Dom's guy friend, but having Guy wasn't so much of a bad thing. And of course Dom's best friend Amy is included in this story and takes a more prominent role in the book.

There is a couple of things that kept me from absolutely loving this book, though they're not so bad. Even though a shorter story is sometimes a good thing, I found that I longed for more story in this case. I think if there was more story with maybe some more characters, or a side-plot or just SOMETHING extra, it would have made this story much more enjoyable.There were also a few situations that felt a little forced to me to keep the story moving along but, like I said, it's nothing that really took away from the whole story - it's just me being super picky.

Overall, this was a great follow-up to Snadowsky's first Anatomy book and I definitely enjoyed having the opportunity to read it.

Source: Netgalley

Daria Snadowsky is the author of the novels "Anatomy of a Boyfriend" and "Anatomy of a Single Girl." She also contributed the essay "To Sir Anthony, With Love," to the anthology "Crush: 26 Real-life Tales of First Love."  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Dead And Buried, by Kim Harrington

Author: Kim Harrington
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover; 304 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

There's nothing that I love more than a good mystery. Have it in any scenario and I will covet it - I'm just THAT crazy about a mystery. However, a good mystery has to have one quality to make me like it. I'm not picky, but I do ask that the mystery is just that - a mystery. I want to be able to read through the story pulling my hair out because I have no clue how to solve the mystery. I don't think that's too much to ask for. 

Unfortunately, it seemed as though that was too much to ask for with The Dead and Buried. It didn't take me much time at all (less than a third of the way through the book) to figure out what was going on in the story. I was slightly disappointed by how quickly the mystery was unraveled for me and almost wanted to go ahead and put the book down. But I didn't do that. I've read books by Kim Harrington before and I enjoyed them, so I wanted to give this book a chance. I also secretly hoped that if I continued reading, I would find out that I had everything wrong and didn't figure anything out. 

By the end of the story, I knew that I was right all along but I was very glad that I finished the book. Aside from the "mystery" (I use that term loosely), this story had some very redeeming qualities. I liked the cast of characters and didn't mind any mention of social circles. I was surprised to find out that I actually liked Alexa more than Jade, the main character. Alexa's role in the novel was actually small, but her personality really made her stand out in her parts of the story. The romance in this was a little aggravating to me. On one hand, you have the beautifully broken boy that is connected to the murder somehow that Jade feels a real connection to - which was nice. On the other though, you have the other boy that is basically drooling over Jade that she pretty much uses for her own reasons - that was not so sweet, and I honestly could have done without that little part. 

Obviously, a ghost story isn't something very new to Young Adult but the plot of this one was engaging enough to keep me going. I think that, aside from the small detail of the mystery not being so mysterious, this story is a good read. 

Source: Purchase

Kim Harrington is the author of six books for kids and teens. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dark Territory, by J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel

Author: J. Gabriel Gates [W], Charlene Keel [W]
Publisher: HCI Teens [W]
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback; 504 pages
Series: The Tracks (Book 1)
Genre: YA, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
Star-Crossed Love, Martial Arts, and Supernatural Evil meet at the Abandoned Tracks in the Deceptively Quaint town of Middleburg...When Ignacio Torrez moved from the rough streets of Los Angeles to a small town dead smack in the middle of nowhere, he never expected to find himself in the midst of a gang war. But, he soon learns, these are no ordinary gangs. The wealthy, preppie Toppers on one side of the tracks and the working-class Flatliners on the other adhere to a strict code of honor and use their deadly martial arts skills, taught to them by the wise Master Chin, to battle one another for pride, territory, and survival. When Raphael, leader of the Flatliners, falls for Aimee, a Topper girl, the rival gangs prepare for a bloody, all-out war. The only hope for peace between them lies within the dark territory of the abandoned train tunnels where the tracks cross. Under the direction of the mysterious and frightening Magician, the awesome power within the crossing sends the rivals on a terrifying mystical quest to fight the malevolent force that threatens the existence of Middleburg.

I've read many, many books. And there have been many plots and elements in each and every one of those books. However, out of the plethora of books that I have read, I can honestly say that I have never in my life read a book involving martial arts. I thought that was something that would have to stay to the television screen or a real life event that I see with my own two eyes in order to really get into it and understand it. Boy, was I wrong! To be quite honest, the one thing that made me hesitate the most about this book was the one thing that hooked me to the book quite easily. 

It's not just the martial arts that made me fall for this book, though. It was every single element and detail in this book, especially the characters. Raphael was an amazing character with so much history and quality to him that he seemed to really jump out of the pages for me. With his back story and how he handles his life, it was easy to feel a connection with him. Aimee was also great and I couldn't help but cheer for her and Raphael to work out together. The chemistry between the two is endearing.

There's also a nice number of characters that I couldn't help but love to hate. I'd assume that comes along with the territory of getting involved with a story that deals with gangs. BUT, I didn't know that I would get so emotionally attached to the story that the "bad guys" would actually make me have a physical reaction on top of the emotion. I would say that type of influence that a book has on you is a pretty big deal - and it shows just how well developed and written this book really is.

If I had to say anything bad about the book, I guess it would be that some of the plot is a little unoriginal with the whole girl on the "right side" falling for the boy on the "wrong side." That didn't deter me from the book one bit though because that very insignificant detail is just that - insignificant. The unique spin that the book takes on that plot, along with all the action, drama and suspense, really puts this story in its very own category. I absolutely loved this book and look forward to catching up with the rest of the books in the series. 

Source: Publisher

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes

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Author: Morgan Rhodes [F] [T] [W]
Publisher: Razorbill [W]
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover; 412 pages
Series: Falling Kingdoms (Book 1)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

War and politics in a book? Fantasy is sometimes very hit or miss for me - especially when these two themes are prevalent. War? Well, I have to admit that I like a good war story every now and then. Politics? Yeah, not so much. Thankfully, this book has both - so any qualms that I may have about politics is somewhat muted out by the war in the book. Add to this a few minor elements that may have rubbed me the wrong way, and I'll admit that I wasn't sure about this novel as I was reading. However, once I was finished, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the ample amounts of intrigue that I had with this book. 

Let's start with the not-so-good. As I said before, I'm not too keen on politics. Even with series that I absolutely adore like The Hunger Games, the politics sometimes makes me roll my eyes and wish for a little more of anything BUT politics. There is also the matter of dialogue. This book is categorized as historical fiction and definitely has the feel of something that happened in a different time. However, the dialogue sometimes contradicted that as it felt a little too.. modern. There was just some use of words and phrases uttered that didn't feel as if they were part of the same time period as the setting of the story. 

Aside from those two things, any issues that I may have had with the story were resolved as I was actually reading. The narrative switching perspectives for several characters was a little confusing but got easier as the story progressed. As a matter of fact, I don't think the story would have been as good without the switch of characters. Speaking of characters, I have to say that the four main characters really grated my best, most patient nerves at the very beginning - especially Cleo. However, like the switching around with the points of view, this annoyance disappeared as I delved deeper into the story. These characters actually grew on me quite a bit - all of them, including Cleo. 

The plot of this story was a little unoriginal as I have seen the premise taken on by other authors. HOWEVER, this story can definitely stand on its own two feet (or ends, as it is) quite well. The ending of this story was a bit of a cliffhanger, but in a very good way that keeps the appeal to find out more at an all-time high for me. Overall, this turned out to be a very interesting start to a series that I plan on staying with until the end. 

Source: Gift
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