Thursday, May 31, 2012

Veil of Pearls by M.L. Tyndall

Veil of Pearls
Be swept away to Charleston of 1811, a city bustling with immigrants like Adalia, who is a runaway slave so light-skinned that no one guesses her past. Terrified her secret will be discovered, she settles into a quiet life making herbal remedies for a local doctor. But when Morgan, the handsome son of a prominent family, sweeps her into his glamorous world—a world in which the truth about Adalia’s heritage would ruin them both—suspicions and petty jealousies are aroused. What will Morgan do when he discovers that the woman he has fallen in love with is a runaway slave?

This book was brilliant. Absolutely beautiful.

So, the story is that Althea, a slave, runs away and travels to Charleston in order to escape her brutal owner. She changes her name to Adalia and gets a job as a physician’s aid. While settling into the slavery-infested city, she meets and falls in love with Morgan Rutledge, a wealthy son of a slave-holding plantation owner. Obviously, conflicts arise.

The romance was beautiful. I never felt like telling Adalia she was an idiot for falling in love with a slave owner because the romance is so well done. I adored Morgan. He was so sweet and gentlemanly and…oh, just incredible. Their relationship developed realistically and grew into a beautiful, true love. It was perfection. It was amazing how Adalia managed to hang on to her faith after all she goes through. It’s truly impressive and awe-inspiring how, no matter what, she believes in her faith. Even if you’re not Christian, you will respect and admire Adalia for her strength of faith.

The story was constant tension. Emerald, a woman who seeks Morgan’s affections, tries to separate them, society frowns upon the relationship, and there is always the threat of Adalia’s owner finding her and taking her back to the horrible life she had in Barbados. The ending was magnificent. I truly couldn’t imagine a better end to a beautiful story.

If I could change one thing, it would be the time period. This is set in the early 1800s, when the abolition was still just beginning to grow. Now, I like the time period and it really raises some questions on how people then justified the morality of such brutality. But I kind of wish this was set closer to the Civil War and the consequent end of slavery by the 13th amendment. It would have been nice to see how the characters, both pro and anti-slavery, would have reacted to the decisive end to the institution. But that’s only because of my curiosity.

 But, truly, Veil of Pearls is beautiful. It is a magnificent love story that manages to make your heart ache and sing in one sitting. It takes an unflinching look at the realities of slavery and the assumptions of its morality and permanence present at that time.


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina

The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine
"Wanted: one husband, not too particular. Small dowry, several books, sundry furnishings, and elderly aunt included. Idlers, time-wasters, and gentlemen with other attachments need not apply."

Scarred in a childhood accident, Sophia Valentine doesn't expect any takers on her ad for a husband in the Farmer's Gazette, until the mysterious Lazarus Kane shows up at her door. To Sophia, he is an exciting, enigmatic stranger. But Lazarus has known Sophia for years and has come a long way to find her. Things are about to get complicated for the mischievous Miss Valentine.

The Most Improper Sophie Valentine is a brilliant book about a love that survived trials and tribulations to end up even stronger.

Sophia is disillusioned with the idea of marriage. She only puts the ad up to bother her sister-in-law and prove a point. So imagine her surprise when a hottie ends up on her door, offering his hand in marriage. She's shocked, to say the least. She wasn't very gracious to him, which bothered me. Hell, if I was her and a tall, dark and handsome showed up at my door to marry me, I would say: Hell, yes, I'll meet you at the alter. Add that he's very sweet to her and I just don't see why she was initially reluctant to have him. She does redeem herself later, so I didn't hold it against her. 

Lazarus, our mail-in hottie, knew Sophie before he answered the ad, though Sophie didn't know him. No, he's not a stalker. I'll let you find out about that fascinating tale when you read this. He's...just beyond words spectacular. Not only is he sexy beyond words, but he's also a sweetheart. His past was difficult and tormented but he makes the best of it, living everyday to its fullest (you find out exactly why and, let me tell you, it will break your heart). I wish that issue that makes him so conscious of life could have been resolved rather than left open. Russ is determined to woo Sophie, and he managed to woo me at the same time. Seriously, he is the epitome of a hot romance love interest.

The story starts off slow and shaky, which is why I knocked off a star. Once Sophie and Lazarus begin their relationship, things pick up and go by much more smoothly. The ending made me smile and warmed my heart. It was just beautiful. 

So, overall, this book was riveting. After a slow start, the story took off and I ended up loving it.


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1) by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Brilliant in every single way! Every word, every sentence, every scene, was absolute perfection.

First, let's address all the lovely characters. There is not a single character that I was indifferent towards. Each one drew some emotional response from me, quite a feat, I assure you. 

Anna truly was sweet. But, she was also very clever. When push comes to shove, she does what she has to do to protect herself and those she loves. I liked that she knew when to admit defeat. She accepted who she was, yet still managed to stay true to herself. She was a remarkable character. I really and truly liked her.

Kaiden...why, oh why can't you be real? I LOVED Kai, everything about him. He was so sweet to Anna and, during the first half of the book, smoking hot and sexy. Eventually, he has to step back because they're not allowed to be together. And when I say "not allowed" I mean that they will, without a doubt, be killed if the Dukes (high-ranking demons of of 12 sins) find out that they are together. After that, the agony they feel is as palpable as the earlier joy and love. And Kai, the dear sweetheart that he is, still staunchly protects Anna. Despite being a son of lust (as in his father is the Duke of Lust), he truly loves Anna and would do anything for her. Their love was bittersweet-undoubtedly true but filled with heartache because it could never be. I adored both of them and am rooting for them to find a way to be together in the next book.

All of the other characters were compelling in their own way. Kope, Jay, Marna, Ginger, Pharzuph, and all the other characters were fascinating. I honestly can't wait to see how the story plays out for each and every one of them.

The story is unique and interesting from beginning to end. From page one, right to the end, Sweet Evil had me riveted. The take on Nephilim is original and interesting. This is one of the few angel/demon books that is a success, an brilliant and unique take on a genre that has seen a lot of work lately. 

The ending was perfectly thrilling. It sets up the promise of an amazing trilogy. I CANNOT wait to find out what happens next and I'm eagerly awaiting the second book.

No question, 5/5

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Breaking Lauren by Jordan Deen

Breaking Lauren
Seventeen-year-old Danny Cummings' life is far from a fairytale, but that's okay since he doesn't believe in happy endings. After spending a year in juvenile hall for maliciously beating his sister's boyfriend, Danny embraces his badass image. Spending most nights drinking, fighting and collecting gambling debts for his Uncle, Danny's life is out of control. His addiction to the bad boy lifestyle won't let him do anything about it, even with his family begging him to go straight. But, when fifteen-year-old Lauren McIntosh stumbles into one of his nightly escapades, the self-proclaimed anti-romantic can't concentrate on anything except Lauren and the fact that she's on the same path his sister was on. Danny knows true love happening for the villain is as common as gamblers paying their debt on time, but he's never backed away from a challenge before and he hates the idea that history will repeat itself.

Growing old with the man she loves—in the small town where she was born—is the only dream Lauren McIntosh has ever had; that is until her family is practically run out of town amidst rumors of arson and adultery. So, when she meets Danny at her new school and hears the rumors about his activities from her new friends, she wants nothing to do with him or the gossip that seems to follow Danny everywhere. After a dangerous and ill-fated attempt at sneaking out, she develops unwelcomed feelings for Danny that he seems to reciprocate. But, Danny’s unrelenting pursuit makes Lauren nervous, especially since he's the only one that wants to know the secrets surrounding her family’s move. Lauren can't tell if Danny's intentions are true or if he has other plans for their newfound and unlikely friendship. The only way to figure out is to let him in and that could destroy everything, including the popularity and social acceptance she desperately seeks.

I didn't like it at all. Not my kind of book. I'm a fan of happy ending-in fact, I find them necessary for me to like a book.
Now, I know, with a title like "Breaking Lauren" I should have realized that happy had nothing to do with it. But, I foolishly hoped anyway.

For one thing, I felt like the situation was unrealistic. In what world do parents ground their daughter because she got an expensive present from a boy? I mean, seriously? And there were countless other situations like that. It got to be a little frustrating because the entire book seemed so out of the realm of possibility. People don't act like that in real life, not that I've ever seen or heard. Either I'm abnormally sheltered or the situations in this book are totally out of the realm of possibility.

Lauren seemed really...unintelligent, to be nice about it. Why would you ever go to a party in the middle of the night, in a bad part of town where bad things are almost guaranteed to happen? That is NOT the smart thing to do, Lauren. And repeatedly going back after almost getting beat up by some insane guy? DEFINITELY NOT SMART. She had horrible judgement about everything she did. I couldn't make myself feel bad for her because I honestly felt like she brought it on herself. 

I liked Danny, and that was the only shining part of the book for me. He was sweet and tried to be a better person for Lauren, even when she banished him from her life. But there was also a creepy quality to his obsession with Lauren. A little unhealthy, I would say. It bothered me a few times, but I couldn't dislike him. Because I was too busy disliking Lauren.

The thing is, I can't say this was a terrible book. It truly just wasn't for me. I know that A LOT of people will like this book, so I don't have it in me to denounce it entirely.

My impression of Breaking Lauren was that it was a book version of one of those indie movies that get really popular among the fans of that genre. The only movie of those that I've watched is the movie "Thirteen" so, I guess if you liked that movie or movies like it, you'll like this book. But that isn't really my favorite genre, so I can't say that I particularly liked it.

So, I can only say that this book wasn't for me. It was by no means a terrible book-the writing itself was brilliant-but it just wasn't my type of book. But, I would still recommend it to anyone who likes this genre of heart-breaking, tragic, angsty books. If you like that kind of thing, Breaking Lauren is a perfect pick for you.

But for me, 1/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

So, I found out that Breaking Lauren will have a sequel: Losing Lauren. I'm definitely curious about that...maybe I'll get that happy ending :) I'll most likely read it out of curiosity and I desire to finish the story I've started. After getting invested in the characters, I want to see how it plays out for them. We'll see...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Temptation & Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone

Temptation  & Twilight (The Brethren Guardians, #3)
Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick, is certain there is a special hell for him. An unrepentant rake, he holds nothing sacred – except for beautiful Elizabeth York. For years, Alynwick has tried to forget the woman he loved so well, and treated so badly. A woman who could hold nothing in her heart for him except hatred.

All of society believes Elizabeth, blind daughter of a duke, to be a proper young lady. But no one knows of her wanton affair with Alynwick. When Lizzy learns of her ancestor’s ancient diary – filled with exotic tales – she longs to uncover the identity of the unnamed lover within and hesitantly allows Alynwick, who claims to have knowledge of the “veiled lady,” to help her solve the mystery.

Eager to be Lizzy’s eyes, Alynwick brings the seductive text to life, and each night it takes greater effort for her to forget his betrayal. With each whispered word, her resolve gives way, without her knowing that a centuries-old secret will lead them to a present-day danger.

Not as good as I hoped it would be...
The idea sounded so good, but it just didn't turn out the way I hoped it would.

The one saving grace of the book is that I was fond of Elizabeth. I liked her strength and ability to survive all she's been through. I especially loved how she handled herself during the action of the last part of the book. It was admirable how she protected herself despite her blindness.

But everything else fell flat.

For one, though I admired Elizabeth's strength, I also though she was overly stubborn. For example, her brother wouldn't let her help with Brethren Guardian business other than discussions because of her blindness. She got all offended-but it makes perfect sense to disallow a blind woman from going into a dangerous situation. She could very easily get hurt, or someone else could get hurt trying to protect her. But she went around being all angry at her brother for keeping her safe-even though he promised to tell her everything that happened. I got very frustrated with her.

I didn't like Iain either. For one, the first scene of the book is Iain thinking about how much he dislikes the woman he was just sleeping with. Not a great first impression. However, I could understand the reason why he put up with the woman. But it got worse. A little while later he has a sudden epiphany that he never stopped loving his lover from years ago (Elizabeth). And suddenly, after years of supposedly pining for her, he decided he has to win her back after having a near death experience. It just didn't seem realistic to me. After all these years, now he decides to try to make up for his despicable actions of the past. I didn't by the near death experience epiphany. It wasn't done well enough for me to believe he was a changed man. Then later he starts trying to woo Elizabeth back. But he was such a jerk about it. The first thing he does is yank her away from a man she was walking with and try to kiss her at a party. But, I ask you, what right did he have to get all jealous and possessive. And he continues like this. He had no right to act as if he owned her. If he had tried to woo her, I would have adored him, despite his past actions. But he just stuck a claim and stubbornly hung on to it, even though Elizabeth had wanted nothing to do with him. He was a jerk the whole time, and I just couldn't like him. 

The plot itself was interesting, but that wasn't the focus of the book. About 95% of the book was Iain and Elizabeth's screwed up relationship. The meager 5% was the actual story of what happened. That actual story of deceit and intrigue was good, but there wasn't much of it.

My last problem is how misleading the summary is. I'm okay with summaries that don't reveal the main plot, but this was over the top. The whole summary is about a secret diary and the "veiled lady" and how the mystery drew the lovers together. Honestly, the diary was only mentioned for about 5 pages about three-quarters into the book. Within them, the entire arch is introduced and solved and then promptly forgotten about. I think if the story had actually followed the idea of this lovers' mystery bringing Iain and Elizabeth together, I would have liked this book so much more. But it wasn't, and I ended up being disappointed.

Temptation & Twilight isn't terrible.But it wasn't good. It had some redeeming qualities that kept me interested but the parts I didn't like ruined the whole book for me.

Sorry to say this,but: 2/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex

Almost a Scandal (Reckless Brides, #1)
Bold, brazen, and beautiful, the Reckless Brides refuse to play by society’s rules of courtship. But—come hell or high water—they  always get their man…

For generations, the Kents have served proudly with the British Royal Navy. So when her younger brother refuses to report for duty, Sally Kent slips into a uniform and takes his place—at least until he comes to his senses. Boldly climbing aboard the Audacious, Sally is as able-bodied as any sailor there. But one man is making her feel tantalizingly aware of the full-bodied woman beneath her navy blues…

Dedicated to his ship, sworn to his duty—and distractingly gorgeous—Lieutenant David Colyear sees through Sally’s charade, and he’s furious. But he must admit she’s the best midshipman on board—and a woman who tempts him like no other. With his own secrets to hide and his career at stake, Col agrees to keep her on. But can the passion they hide survive the perils of a battle at sea? Soon, their love and devotion will be put to the test…

I thought it would be better than it turned out to be. Almost a Scandal was okay, but not as good as it could have been. A tale of a woman masquerading as a man, falling in love while disguised, it's a familiar plot. But while others were well done, as much as I hate to say it, this one wasn't.

Let me start with what I did like. I loved how strong Sally was. As she masqueraded as her brother and joined the crew of the ship he was supposed to join, she kept with the toughest of the sailors. She proved herself as a fine sailor, better than most of the men on the ship.

The ending was sweet and appropriate. The adventure was never lacking. 

But I still couldn't enjoy this book.

For one thing, there is almost no development of the romance. Sally and Colyear knew each other from when they were young but their relationship as a couple wasn't developed-I didn't get to see their casual friendship turn into love. They met on the ship, Colyear recognized her, the got hot for each other, and they got together the first time they were alone. That's basically it until the very last few pages of the book, when some relationship development is seen. It just felt very unrealistic. The focus was more on the Navy aspect, the battles and politics. That's okay, in fact I usually find such additions to be interesting, but those aspects overtook the entire plot until I became disinterested. I ended up having to skim a few times because I was uninterested in the multitude of politics and war swallowing up the plot. 

I liked Sally, as I said, though I did get frustrated with her on a few occasions. She had the tendency to always assume the worst from Col and never bothered to consider the other possibilities.

Col was okay. He could be sweet sometimes. Most of the time, he treated Sally as he would any trainee sailor in order to keep her disguise secure-one of the reasons why romance was kept on the back burner. I was only okay with him for most of the book, but after the way he acted at the end, I decided I did like him. 

Overall, Almost a Scandal was just okay. There were some redeeming qualities that saved the book, but I found myself disinterested too many times to truly like this book. If you're interested in the politics of war, you might like the focus Almost a Scandal gives that subject. But if you're like me, and like a nice batch of romance with every book, you might be disappointed at the general lacking of romance.

For an okay book: 2/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

Started slow but redeemed itself it the end. A wonderful paranormal mystery with a delightful mix of romance.

First of all, may I say that the cover is gorgeous-truly beautiful. I know that the saying is to not judge a book by its cover but I did and the contents proved to be just as good as the outside appearance.

The premise is fascinating and original. The mystery of Roanoke is an interesting subject in and of itself. I mean, a whole colony of people simply disappearing? That could gain anyone's attention. But Ms. Bond does a fantastic job of expanding on that mystery, staying true to the history while giving it a spin of her own. 

Miranda was a wonderful character. Her life has been haunted by a curse whose origins date back to the original founding of Roanoke. She has had little help coping with the troubles until Phillips comes along (more on him later). She makes mistakes and at times I got frustrated with her but she was able to admit to them and make amends so I couldn't hold a grudge. She deals realistically with the changes in her world as she uncovers the mystery of Roanoke. She's clever, strong, and able to admit to her mistakes. In other words, she was a perfect lead.

Phillips was so sweet; I adored him. He has labored under an enchantment as old as Miranda's for years and is just coming to claim his responsibility in solving the mystery. Once he shoulders the responsibility, he's steadfast in pursuing the answers and adamant about protecting Miranda. He was a true sweetheart to her. Through every step, he stays by her side to keep her safe while the mystery of Roanoke comes to the present. The romance is light but undeniably present. It's sweet but not overbearing-the perfect romance for this dark mystery.

The plot itself was wonderful. The paranormal happenings involved in the mystery are fascinating, original, and a perfectly believable addition, though I'll let you read to find out exactly what it is. The interlacing of the magic was so flawless that I could almost believe it's true. The only reason I docked a star was because of the slow start. For the first quarter or so, the plot was slow, events weren't being explained and I felt bored and confused. But after that less than perfect start, things pick up and don't slow down until the end. It was definitely worth it to power through that slow start to get to the epic story that follows.

The ending was perfect: the mystery is solved, the questions are answered and the romance is given a satisfying resolution. 

Blackwood is a thrilling combination of mystery, history, paranormal, and romance. Aside from the slow beginning, it was utter perfection and I adored it.

Absolutely 5/5 

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The White Swan Affair by Elyse Mady

The White Swan Affair
London, 1810
After the tragic death of her beloved, Hester Aspinall vowed never to be ruled by her passions again. Still, she is drawn to her landlord, handsome adventurer Thomas Ramsay—but she doesn't fool herself that a man of his station would look twice at a poor tailor's sister.

With the sea for a mistress, Thomas has no intention of entering into matrimony. And yet, he can't get the plain-spoken and desirable Hester out of his mind, even though she's never tried to secure his attentions as other women do.

Everything changes the night Hester's brother is arrested during a raid on a gay brothel, the infamous White Swan. With no one else to turn to, and terrified Robert will hang for his crime, Hester accepts Thomas's offer to bear the cost of the defense. A true gentleman, Thomas expects nothing in return—but Hester can no longer deny her own desires...
She may offer her body eagerly, but can she protect her heart?

I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. 
The story goes that Hester's brother, Robert, is arrested in a gay brothel. She goes to Thomas for help and, while they are trying to save Robert, they fall in love.

Okay, the summary and the cover make it seem like the romance is the center of the story...but it's not. The center is Robert's fight for freedom. While that's all well and good and I could have adjusted my expectations, the story itself was dull for the most part. I kept skimming, events felt like they were being stretched out.

Another thing that bothered me was how the characters talked about homosexuality. Though this is ultimately a novel that accepts it, there are A LOT of derogatory comments made by various characters about gay men...even by Robert himself. While this is part of the mindset of people at that time, some of the comments were graphic and might be offensive to some people. I admire the realistic portrayal, though it made me angry with those narrow-minded jerks, but others might be offended by the vulgar comments. So if you think you might be one of those people, I would caution you away from this book.

I mentioned the case of the disappearing romance, so let me actually address what the plot was actually about. The story is Robert accepting himself and Hester and Thomas attempting to free him. This should have been good, but things were too stretched out and repetitive and it got really boring and I ended up skimming. 

The ending was surprisingly satisfying. We find out Robert's sentence and Robert accepts the way he is. Hester and Thomas live happily ever after. And Robert gets his happy ending-though I'll let you find out how. The ending was really the redeeming part of the novel, the only reason The White Swan Affair isn't getting a 1/5. 

So with all that under consideration: 2/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler

The Shapeshifter's Secret
(Isn't that a gorgeous cover?)

Julia is finally discovering what–not who–she is.

Like any sixteen-year-old, Julia's used to dealing with problems. From her overprotective father to her absent mother to a teacher who definitely has it in for her. But everything changes when Julia's reactions become oddly vicious and angry---more animal than human. This action-packed adventure has it all: humor, romance, and a plot that will keep you guessing to the very last page.

The Shapeshifter's Secret was very good. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but I ended up getting really into it. 

So, I'm not sure this is mentioned, but the whole shapeshifter thing is werecats. Julia is a werecat. She can turn into a white tiger. Now, this is a fairly unique concept. I don't think I've seen it used before, which gives SS a few points by itself. It's actually pretty interesting. Ostler even explained some of the mechanics of transformation. 

Julia is a okay character. She's not special among YA female leads but she is a worthy heroine. What's nice is that she reacted fairly realistically to her situation. While she was understandably skeptical about the whole werecat business at first, she accepted her new reality in a sensible way. Basically, she's actually smart and truly clever. She's not weak and can hold her own in a fight (I mean, she can turn into a massive tiger). 

The plot was pretty slow and steady at first. Not boring, just deliberate. Things were revealed at their own pace, no info-dumping. It isn't until the last bit that a lot actually happens. And, let me tell you, there was a twist at the end that I was not expecting. Seriously, I never saw it coming. 

The reason I took off a star for this otherwise lovely book is the romance. I didn't quite get it. First, the whole issue with Caleb. It initially felt like he would be the love interest, she felt "drawn" to him. Then we find out he has a girlfriend and Julia suddenly decides to be mean to him even though he's perfectly nice to her. But throughout the book, I still got the impression that they liked each other but nothing really happened there. The actual romance is with Terrance. It didn't make sense to me. Terrance and Julia never really talked except for a couple of conversations. They wrote each other a couple of letters while Terrance, who is a soldier, was off in battle. But even so, in the second letter he writes to her, he professes his love and Julia writes him back returning the sentiment. But they had barely interacted yet! It really frustrated me. This isn't even the normal brand of insta-love. At least in the others, the two lovebirds will spend a lot of time together in the few days it takes them to fall in love. But in this instance, they talked a couple of times and spent the most of their time not interacting, yet they still fell in love. That didn't sit well with me. 

Besides that, this book was great. If you can find it in yourself to overlook the whole romance issue, I would definitely recommend it. 


The delightful author was kind enough to do an interview for us so, without further ado, please welcome Ms. Heather Ostler!

Werecats are new to the mainstream literary circuit, and a welcome addition, I might add.
Why did you choose to write about them?

Thank you so much, Farrah. I chose to write about werecats for a couple of reasons, but
mostly because I’ve always had a love for big cats. They’re so majestic and beautiful,
but they’re known for being powerful and dangerous. Shapeshifter werecats are also very
versatile, and that makes them fun to write about.

So, each character turns into a different feline-does the cat that person turn into have a
specific meaning? Or is it just down to genetics?

I usually have a specific idea of what feline would fit each character’s personality and
background, but it does ultimately go down to genetics, like eye or hair color.

You've mixed a few different kinds of magical creatures together in your book-which one
is your favorite?

I do love shapeshifters, and I think I’ve always had a fascination about creatures that
can change from human form to animal form. I also really enjoy writing about water
creatures like sirens and water nymphs.

Do you plan on writing a sequel? If so, can you give us a hint on what is in store?

Yes, I do plan on a sequel for The Shapeshifter’s Secret. And speaking of water
creatures—there will be plenty of sirens in the sequel.

Just for fun, if you were a werecat, which feline would you want to transform into?

Ooh, I think I would have to be a lion. They are so massive and authoritative, and yet
they seem so loyal and sometimes even playful. But perhaps I’ve just seen Lion King one
too many times.
(Don' t blame you there, Heather. The Lion King is the essence of awesome :) 

Thanks, Heather. Best of wishes.
And thanks to Ceder Fort for a copy of the book!

Thanks for joining us! If you're looking to continue following the blog tour, you can find the schedule here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

So incredibly amazing! Throne of Glass was thrilling and had me at the edge of my seat the whole time.

This book is already popular with all of its fans who discovered it on fictionpress and I have no doubt that tons of followers will be added. 

Celaena is the most kick-ass heroine I've ever seen. Saying she's fierce is a vast understatement. She will literally look at you and have a hundred different ways to kill you plotted within seconds. She can take down trained soldiers twice her size without even breaking a sweat. She accepts the grim reality she faces with aplomb and makes do as best she can. She's resourceful, strong, and clever. I loved that she didn't fall all over herself when the love triangle was introduced (more on that later). She reminded me A LOT of Ismae from Grave Mercy. Both are female assassins who hold their own in the intrigue of court politics. Both are excellent characters. I adored Ismae in Grave Mercy, so the similarity only made me like Celaena more. I wonder what would happen if those two met...they would either be best friends or kill each other. But moving back to Throne of Glass...

The romance is very minor. Yes, it does hold place in the plot but it's by no means the center. It was light romance, though I feel like the romance might play a greater role in the later books in the series based on how things ended on that subject. The love interests are each fantastic in their own right. Chaol is a fiercely loyal, dedicated captain of the army who is tormented by his emotions for Celaena when he feels it's his duty to be her enemy. Dorian is a laid back prince who has a lot more to him than meets the eye. The romance with Dorian was focused on more, to the point that I would call it questionable to say that any "romance" was going on with Chaol and Celaena. I have to say, I have a soft-spot for Dorian. While I liked Chaol, I ADORED Dorian so I suppose my loyalties have been laid. 

The plot was thrilling, with the threat of the unknown murderer constantly looming. I know that this has been called a Cinderella retelling, but that only comes up once, during a ball. Otherwise, this plot had nothing to do with Cinderella's story. But I happen to like this once much better :) 

The ended had me wanting to through a fit, partly because I didn't want the book to end and partly because I know that cliffhanger will be driving me crazy until I manage to get my hands on the next book.


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Time's Daughter by Anya Breton

Time's Daughter
In this sweet young adult love story, sixteen-year-old art nerd Aeon Still is the unwilling subject of a documentary about average American teenagers. She must quickly come to terms with the identity of her mystery parent, Chronos, the god of time, the realization that she wields extraordinary power, and the trials of keeping the town safe all while hiding her secret from a camera crew. Her life is further complicated by the interest of the enchanting new guy in town, Alex, who harbors a secret of his own: he's a shapeshifter.

Time's Daughter is one of the most ADORABLE books I've ever read. Heartwarming with more than a few thrilling scenes, this book is just amazing!

Aeon is a lovely character. She's quiet and a talented artist. She's very brave, but not to the point of stupidity, and doesn't hesitate to protects those she loves. I loved that she was able to realistically accept her new reality when she found out about all the supernatural goings on. She was smart, resourceful, and a model female lead.

Alex is soooo sweet! Oh my goodness, I smiled about his many adorable moments so much that my brother started to look at me funny. He is perfect, just perfect. I don't want to say what he is, but let's just say he's not your average hot new guy. While he doesn't trust Aeon at the beginning, when he first finds out about her ability, he grows to be her steadfast protector when things went wrong. I wish I could find myself I guy like him ;)Seriously, withing the course of the book, he completely stole my heart. 

The story was fast-paced and kept me interested the whole time. The fight scenes were thrilling and the ending was sweet. The entire book had me riveted, both at the sweet moments between Aeon and Alex and the thrilling action scenes. The mythology is interesting and unique.

I had a few minor problems and, while they didn't bother me enough to detract from the book, I feel like I should mention them. First, a few times, it felt a lot like Twilight, though-I assure you- Time's Daughter is MUCH better. It was just a few scenes but they gave me an odd sense of deja vu. The other part is that I wish the mythology was elaborated upon. It was explained to the extent that was required for understanding the story but I found it really interesting and hoped to find out more. As I haven't heard of a sequel I'm assuming this is all we get to learn about the fascinating mythology. It wasn't a big deal to me, but I just would have liked to have learned more.

But these problems were very minor for me and, overall, I found Time's Daughter to be utter perfection. It was brilliant throughout and the sweet ending had me smiling.

No question about it: 5/5

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Timepiece (Hourglass, #2)
A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results. 

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...

The follow-up to Hourglass, Timepiece blends the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres into a nonstop thrill ride where every second counts.

"I'm a bad ass. I bad ass who bakes when he's depressed." Best.Quote.Ever. Kaleb, you are totally awesome!

As thrilling as the first with a wicked cliffhanger of an ending. I'll keep this short, since I don't have too much to say about Timepiece.

First off, I don't know if I'm the only one who didn't realize it, but Timepiece is from Kaleb's point of view. Since Kaleb was my favorite character from Hourglass, I couldn't have been happier about that. You really get to know Kaleb in this book: the good and the bad. Sure he's a shameless player, but he's also much more than that. Getting to know his character was a lot of fun, especially when he got himself into awkward situations. He's truly adorable. After Em and Michael ended up together, Kaleb is heartbroken and endures the heartache for the first portion of the book. But, I'm happy to say, he finds his own measure of happiness. You'll have to read this yourself to find out more ;)

There isn't much of Em and Michael in this one. They are part of the plot, but as secondary characters rather than the main focus. The person we do see more of is Lily. She's connected to all the time business in a way came as a surprise to me. I loved her character, with all her sassiness. And the role she plays in the whole thing is a huge shock.

The story was thrilling as the first. If you liked Hourglass, then you'll like Timepiece just as much. Fast-paced and filled with surprises, this book doesn't let up for a minute. And that ending...ugh, it was utter torture. I read the last line and wanted to scream at the wicked cliffhanger. Literally, the last line is someone dropping dead...though I won't say who. As lovely as the first, Timepiece is another success for Ms. McEntire.


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade

Wilde's Fire (Darkness Falls, #1)
“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made. Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

Excellent, unique, and truly spectacular! Wilde's Fire starts off with a bang and doesn't slow down. Everything about this book was amazing.

The story starts off quickly. Kate, her sister, and her best friend (Brad) are camping. They find a cave, not realizing it's a portal to another world, and fall into the world of Encardia. There she meets the man of her dreams (literally) and finds out that she is the subject of a prophecy and meant to save the world from the Darkness that has taken it over.

First of all, Kate is a wonderful character. She's strong and more than capable of fulfilling her role in the prophecy. When she's told about the portal and the magic, she's understandably skeptical but she accepts the reality and her role as the savior. That was especially nice, because it's more than a little frustrating when the main character in so many YA books refuses to accept the truth. What I especially loved is that, even though she's dreamed about the love interest, she doesn't just fall into his arms. She waits to actually know the man in real life before beginning their relationship. She's tough, smart, and has won her way onto my list of favorite female leads.

Arland, the love interest, is BRILLIANT. I adored him; he's sweet, hot, and basically perfect in every way. Kate had dreamed of him for years and when they finally meet in real life, sparks fly. Their relationship develops realistically despite the whole dream thing. And when they do get together, their relationship is heartwarming in it's devotion and pure, true love. It was uber-sweet that Kate's magic was based on their love. That might not make sense now, but when you read the book, the meaning is clear-and unbelievably sweet. But let's get back to Arland. He's one of the best love interests I've read. Truly, he will capture your heart without a doubt.

One of the most interesting elements of this book, however is Kate's relationship with her best friend, Brad. I don't want to say to much and give away the most exciting part of the story, but-wow-their relationship is complicated. Brad has been in love with Kate for years, but Kate doesn't love him in return. But that's not where it ends. Throughout the course of the book, their relationship is redefined so many times that it made my head spin. When I thought I understood it, something would happen that completely changed the game. My feelings about Brad changed so many times that I can't tell you how I feel about him after finishing the book. His character is dynamic and without a doubt one of the most interesting I've ever read. (BTW: for those who worry about a love triangle, don't worry. The situation with Brad doesn't turn into one.)

The story, as I said, is fast-paced and kept me riveted the entire time. Every moment is interesting, every page has excitement. And the ending was AMAZING. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book. I swear, I'm going to go crazy with anxiety trying to figure out what will happen next. The last line of the book is one of my favorite quotes:

"My name is Katriona Wilde and I have fire."
(Honestly, that describes her perfectly)
Wilde's Fire is a brilliant book. Everything about it is absolute perfection!


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Malorie Phoenix by Janet Mullany

The Malorie Phoenix
She plays a deadly game, but nothing is as dangerous as love.
Benedict de Malorie, Earl of Trevisan, can never forget the masked woman he met one night at a London pleasure garden. The clever pickpocket stole his heart and his family's prized jewel - the Malorie Phoenix. But the family treasure reappears in Benedict's darkest hour, returned by its thief, along with the unexpected gift of his infant daughter.
Believing that she is dying, Jenny Smith leaves her daughter in the custody of the baby's blueblood father. Seven years later she finds herself in good health and alone, yearning for her only child. To raise enough money to support them both, she takes part in a daring escapade that requires her to impersonate a woman of quality. She fools the ton and Benedict himself.
When Jenny finds herself entangled in a murderous plot against Benedict, the father of her child, her carefully laid plans begin to fall apart. All she wants is her daughter back, but she never thought she'd fall in love with Benedict. Revealing her part in the plot means she will almost certainly lose Benedict and their daughter forever. But continuing to play her role puts them all in terrible danger.

Sooooo good! The Malorie Phoenix starts off quickly, with the first scene being a seduction and a theft. After that, it doesn't slow down as a high stakes, incredibly complicated web is spun that traps both of the main characters. From beginning to end, this book is never anything less than amazing.

The characters are intriguing and likable. Jenny Smith is definitely unconventional in the world of romance. She's a pickpocket turned mistress, who has done whatever it took to survive. She gives her child to the father, Benidict-the Earl of Trevisan-to give her a better life. Six years later, she enters a plot centered around the Earl in order to see her child again. She's very devoted to her daughter. She's also unapologetic about what she does for a living. She does what she has to do, accepts the world for the way it is, and doesn't need to explain herself to anyone. It was very refreshing.

Benidict is a total sweetheart, as well as incredibly attractive. He's so adorably sweet to his daughter and a perfect husband to Jenny-even though he doesn't know who she really is. I loved how he was able to accept Jenny as she was, even knowing about her past. When he finds out about the whole scheme Jenny got herself embroiled in, I was surprised about how well he took it; you'd think he was more upset. What's even more surprising is how he finds out. But regardless, I adored this lovely Earl.

The plot, as I said, is fast-moving. You never know what to expect as the scheme gets more and more complicated. The ending is sweet and a perfect tie-up.

Everything about this book is brilliant. LOVED it!


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy