Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (April 30th)

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

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

By Jennifer Armentrout

Publication date: August 5, 2014

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.
She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.
Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.
They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.
War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

I'm really excited for the final book in the Lux series.  Check out the author's website for more news at

What are you waiting on?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Deadly Harvest

After enjoying the first book in this set, Deadly Night, I figured I would dive right into the second and hear the story of the second Flynn brother, Jeremy. Although I did not enjoy Deadly Harvest quite as much as the first book, I did find it to be a fun story, filled with stories of witches, ghosties, and things that go bump in the night.

Synopsis from Amazon:
A dark legend comes to life
When a young woman is found dead in a field, dressed up as a scarecrow with a slashed grin and a broken neck, the residents of Salem, Massachusetts, begin to fear that the infamous Harvest Man is more than just a rumor. But out-of-town cop Jeremy Flynn doesn't have time for ghost stories. He's in town on another investigation, looking for a friend's wife, who mysteriously vanished in a cemetery.
Complicating his efforts is local occult expert Rowenna Cavanaugh, who launches her own investigation, convinced that a horror from the past has crept into the present and is seducing women to their deaths. Jeremy uses logic and solid police work. Rowenna depends on intuition. But they both have the same goal: to stop the abductions and locate the missing women before Rowenna herself falls prey to the Harvest Man's dark seduction.

My Review:
In this second story, we have a murder mystery with supernatural elements. Set primarily in Salem, MA, I was intrigued with the legend of the Harvest Man as I had never heard of it before and I was glad they gave background on this legend. The story also takes place near Halloween, which adds to the overall spookiness of the plot.

Our two main characters, Jeremy and Rowenna, were both interesting and irritating. They get together too quickly and all of a sudden, Jeremy is fiercely overprotective and a bit bossy.  Rowenna, of course, consistently finds herself in dangerous situations because she can't follow simple directions.  I just didn't feel connected to them as a couple.  The spark just wasn't there as it was for Aidan and Kendall.

The story itself however, was quite engaging.  I always admire the way the author keeps me guessing, adding a few twists and turns which make it difficult to figure out the true killer until almost the very end.  The way the murder victims were found was truly horrific and described with enough detail that the reader can get a clear picture in their mind, and the picture isn't pretty. There are several suspenseful moments that kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.

All in all, I would give this one three stars.  I liked it but not as much as the first book and I am hoping that the final book in this trilogy, which I just purchased, is of higher quality.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Deadly Night

Whenever I am looking for a ghost story but not in the mood for young adult, I turn to Heather Graham.  She consistently delivers a story with suspense and a bit of romance that keep the pages turning well into the night. Once I picked Deadly Night up, I didn't want to put it down.

Synopsis from Amazon
The Flynn brothers have inherited more than a New Orleans plantation. They've inherited a ghostly presence…and a long-kept secret.
Aidan Flynn, a private investigator and eldest of the Flynn brothers, scoffs at the haunted-house rumors—especially since Kendall Montgomery, a tarot card reader who has been living in the mansion, is the one to tell him the tale of a woman in white. But when he finds a human bone on the grounds and another by the river, Aidan delves into the dark history of the Flynn plantation.
Forced together to uncover the truth, Aidan and Kendall realize that a serial killer whose victims seem to vanish into thin air has long been at work…and that their own fates are about to be sealed forever unless they believe in the unbelievable.

My review:
I love most genre but sometimes I'm just in the mood for a good ghost story and if I want to be sure I am going to be satisfied, I grab a Heather Graham book.  They usually come in sets of three and this is the first of the Flynn brothers trilogy.  

The New Orleans setting was fun and the back story of the civil war cousins fighting on opposite sides was intriguing.  The plantation, cemetery, and voodoo references really brought New Orleans into focus, both past and present, from the lure of Bourbon Street to the romance of the large plantations and their grounds. The characters were likable and as the reader gets to know them better, we learn about their lives, where they've been, and where they're headed.  Aidan and Kendall do not begin the book getting along but eventually do give in to their hidden attraction for one another, as was to be expected.  

The ghost story was engaging.  Two cousins fighting on opposites sides who supposedly killed each other over a woman.  The woman, attacked by a crazed officer, who throws herself off of the balcony to her death, haunts the plantation.  These ghosts from the Civil War era begin to present themselves in dreams to warn our characters of the dangers they are facing in the present.  And each time they dream, we learn more about the past and how it connects to the current mystery.  

There is some predictability in that you know the two main characters are going to get together.  Heather Graham's books are labeled as paranormal romance and the author usually sticks to a similar pattern in the romance area. However, with regard to plot, I have found that there are enough possible suspects and a few twists that generally keep me guessing until the last few chapters of the books, and this was no exception. Heather Graham's book are fun, paranormal romance with a lot of suspense and I know I can always turn to her when I want a book I can count on enjoying.


Feature & Follow (April 25th)

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This week's question:  Have any pets?  Show and tell!
This is our cat Buddy.  He is a very tolerant cat when it comes to our 7 year old daughter.  He is also very spoiled.  He is our alarm clock in the morning and we are his pillow at night.  He will play fetch but he is getting a bit lazy in his old age.  When I read, he likes to lay next to me and rest his head on the side of my leg.  It looks like he is reading too.  We love our Buddy dearly.
  • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: Love on Loch Ness

Love on Loch Ness will appeal to anyone who has a love for the legends such as big foot, the yet, and of course, Nessie.
Synopsis from Amazon:
Dr. Gail Phillips steps onto the shores of Loch Ness to disprove the Loch Ness monster theory for good so everyone can stop wasting their time. As a marine biologist with a background in archeology, she's convinced all of the world's myths such as Big Foot, the Tasmanian devil, and even Nessie are lies. Her father disappeared while following Yettie tracks in the Alps, and she doesn't want to lose another mislead soul.

Flynn Maloney comes from a family of fanatic cryptozoologists. As a native of Scotland, he believes in Nessie as strong as Gail believes in science. Despite his initial attraction for her, he's joined her research team to prove her wrong. He wants to find Nessie for a special girl in his life, to show her dreams really can come true.

As they conduct sonar studies and sweeps of the lake, their differing opinions are at odds with their budding attraction. Gail doesn't believe in anything unscientific, such as romance, thinking the charming Flynn Maloney is full of baloney. Flynn can't believe he's falling for someone with no imagination or faith. To make matters worse, their videographer is covering his true identity. Together they must unravel his plan before he destroys everything they are working for. Will Gail force Flynn to question his faith, or will she discover more than she bargained for in the Scottish highlands?

The main story was the hunt for Nessie and it was quite interesting.  The Scottish setting on the lake was romantic and I was excited each time Flynn and Gail found a clue that might lead to the truth.  Although both characters were working on different sides of the belief in Nessie's existence, they still found themselves liking one another.  It was a slow developing relationship, which was realistic and refreshing and it allowed the main focus of the story to be the search for this popular legendary creature.  The author added a bit of suspense to the story when one of the characters turns out to have an alternate agenda.  It was a nice little twist that just added to the enjoyment of the story.  

I also liked that both Flynn and Gail were given baggage. They had both experienced family tragedy and pain and had to confront their fears/grief at some point in the story. This made both characters seem more real in that their lives weren't perfect but they kept moving forward; something we all have to do at some point or another.  

Do they find Nessie?  Do Flynn and Gail fall in love?  You'll have to read the book to find out.  In my opinion, It's worth picking up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (April 22nd)

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

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!
  • Don't forget to include the title and the author so that other readers can add the book if they are interested!

My teaser for the week:
She adjusted the knob and the scope moved up and down. "If I'm reading this correctly, there have got to be hundreds, if not thousands of annuli marking the growth."
"What does that mean?"
Gail finally tore her head away from the microscope.  Her features held disbelief, awe, and a hint of fear.  "It means whatever this scale was attached to is possibly hundreds, maybe thousands of years old."

Love on Loch Ness by Aubrie Dionne

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Monday, What are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is hosted by Bookjourney and I don't get to participate nearly often enough.  Working full time is quite a bummer when it comes to having enough time to read and blog.  But... I do love my job too.
I must say that I can only read one book at a time, two if you include what I read to my students at school.  I have always had this weird need to finish one before I start another.  I feel overwhelmed otherwise.
So, I can only share one book with all of you, and last night, I just started...

As Dr. Gail Phillips and Flynn Mahoney conduct sonar studies and sweeps of the loch, their differing opinions are at odds with their budding attraction. Gail doesn't believe in anything unscientific, such as romance, thinking the charming Flynn Maloney is full of baloney. Flynn can't believe he's falling for someone with no imagination or faith. To make matters worse, their videographer is covering his true identity. Together they must unravel his plan before he destroys everything they are working for. Will Gail force Flynn to question his faith, or will she discover more than she bargained for in the Scottish highlands?
I just adore legends such as the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot so when this book was mentioned by someone on Twitter, I picked it up right away and I'm enjoying it so far.
What are you reading?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review: Shadow Spell

The O'Dwyer trilogy continues with this second installment, Shadow Spell, focusing around "the three," Branna, Connor, and Iona as well as their friends.  Whereas the first book, Dark Witch, centered around Iona and how she came to officially take her role as one of the three, this is Connor's story.

Synopsis from Amazon:
With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken… A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss. 
Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle. Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves…

My Review:
I have to say that my favorite part of these books so far are the prologues.  I was drawn immediately to the three children, Eamon, Teagan, and Brannaugh, characters from the past who were the first to battle Cabhan and his evil magic.  These children were strong and courageous, as many children in old times had to be in order to survive.  They lost their father and then their mother but pledged to fight until their deaths.  I wanted so much to hear the whole of their story but, as it is so intertwined with the present day story of Connor, Iona, and Branna, I can see why it cannot be a stand alone book.  I look forward to seeing how their part of the story ends.

All three of these O'Dwyer books are clearly about each of the three finding their own true love while defending their lives against Cabhan, who wants to destroy them and take their power using any weakness he can find. There is a high romance element within each book, to the point where is almost overwhelms the main plot of the story. I truly loved Iona and Boyle in Dark Witch, but I found that neither the story nor the romance in Shadow Spell were quite as exciting.  I feel like I could follow the same general path for both books.  Two people fall in love reluctantly, realize their true feelings, one is threatened and almost killed, and then all band together to fight the evil together, only to find that it will return and the circle will begin again. Predictable.  Not necessarily a bad thing but I like to have a little twist now and then to keep things interesting.

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, just that it wasn't as good as the first book.  The strong bond all six of the characters share is admirable, the setting is beautiful, and the constant fight between good and evil gives us some suspense even though we are pretty sure which side will be victorious.  The charms, spells, and magic in general are fun and fascinating.  It is the kind of story that makes you wish you could have magic powers as well.  I must admit though, I am hoping that the final book in the trilogy will return to the quality of the first. Blood Magick comes in the fall of 2014 so we shall see!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Impatiently waiting: My top 10 "I can't wait to read" books

Just as all of the summer blockbuster movies are starting to come out such as Captain America, Spiderman, and X-men (yes, I am a huge Marvel fan), it seems as though there are a ton of hot books coming out that I have really been looking forward to, as I am sure many other readers are as well.  I usually put one or two in the Waiting on Wednesday meme but there are just too many! They need their own post. :)

It's funny because all of the books on this list right now are part of a series, a few being the final installment.  I have a wishlist about a mile long but I thought I would share the top ten on my "I can't wait to read" list. These are the books I am impatiently waiting for. When they arrive, I will be up until the wee hours of the morning reading.  I'm writing just a tiny bit about each one but you can click on any of them to take you to the Amazon summary page.  Happy reading!

Barricade in Hell by Jaime Lee Moyer.  I loved the first book, Delia's Shadow, where Delia can see ghosts and has to solve the mystery of a serial killer.  I'm looking forward to her next adventure.

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice.  I loved her Vampire Chronicles and i'm glad she is returning to them.  I am hoping Louis will be brought back in the story as well and can't wait to read some of Lestat's trademark bad behavior.

Not much needs to be said here.  Many readers have been waiting for the final installment of The Mortal Instruments.  City of Heavenly Fire promises to have many of us reading through the night to see how the series ends.

I just love these books about Charley Davidson, private eye and full time grim reaper.  Her true love happens to be the son of Satan.  Makes for an interesting, snarky, action packed thrill ride every time.

I am so excited for this one.  It has been a long time coming.  Our main characters, Diana and Matthew, witch and vampire, have returned from the past and have the battle of their lives ahead of them.  The first two books were excellent and I'm sure the final book will be just as good.

I'm kind of sad that this series is ending because it just might mean the end of Percy Jackson.  I'm not saying that he is going to die, just that I won't have anymore adventures to look forward to.  Even so, I'm super excited to see what happens to Percy, Annabeth, and all of their friends.  I'm sure it will be full of action and mythological creatures galore.

I picked up the first book in this series, The Collector, on a recommendation from someone else and was hooked immediately.  Dante started out caring about no one but himself and has eventually softened up once he got to know Charlie.  In this installment, he will be involved in a battle between heaven and hell in order to save those he has come to care about. I'm excited!

Another series I started from a recommendation and completely fell in love with. This one is dark at times because of Mara's special "gift" but it is also totally engaging.  I still hope beyond hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Mara.

Yay!  I am a huge Mary Russell mystery fan.  This is book #13 and takes place in 1925 in between A Monstrous Regiment of Women and Locked Rooms.  These books can't come fast enough for me.  One of the few mystery series that I really enjoy and have stuck with.

The third book in the His Fair Assassins trilogy and the story of Annith, who is the one girl who has yet to leave the convent.  I'm hoping we get to know her better but also get to see Ismae and Sybella again.  It would be fabulous to see all three fighting together at the end.


Blog Tour: Willow Creek: Craving

Title: Willow Creek: Craving
Author: Stephanie Summers
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: March 8, 2014

A small idyllic town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains is home to a thriving community. People are happy, crime is practically nonexistent, life is good…unless you’re Sabine Crowley, who has been chosen to be the next blood bag for the vampire lord who has protected the town from otherworldly creatures for 200 years. Sabine has big dreams for her life, and none of them include becoming a vampire’s concubine. On her 18th birthday, she seeks solitude to process the cruel turn her destiny has taken. As she sits alone in Cleary Park, a sexy stranger approaches her. He’s tall, mysterious, handsome, and a complete jerk. He soon reveals himself to be a vampire and she’s terrified of him and her strange attraction to him. She wants to get as far away from him as possible, yet finds herself wondering if she’ll see him again. Remy, the cocky newcomer vampire, has been summoned by his maker, Bastian, to take his place beside him in the hierarchy of vampires inhabiting Willow Creek. He’s none too thrilled to be stuck in a boring little town in the middle of nowhere where he’ll have to feed exclusively from the girl he’s been paired with. He’s repulsed by the whole situation. When Sabine tries to run away from her fate, Remy is forced to follow and bring her back. They’re unwillingly thrust into each other’s lives and reluctantly find an undeniable attraction between themselves. Will they ever look past their contempt for one another and act on their urges? Or are they destined to hate each other forever?

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The story here was original and interesting.  I dislikes Sabine's parents immensely at the beginning of the book and I couldn't imagine being Sabine, knowing my sister could have a future and I could not.  To make things worse, her parents gave the sister everything to ensure she had every opportunity available to her and Sabine got next to nothing because they felt there was no point in preparing her for a life she wouldn't have. Rude... I was glad they didn't have a huge role in the book.

The main characters have a lot of potential.  I loved the sarcastic dialogue that was consistent between Sabine and Remy. He would be incorrigible but she was most times able to come up with a good retort.  He was infuriating but that really just made him more attractive.  Of course, as the reader, we knew they would get together eventually and the events that led up to the pairing had me first feeling anger, then compassion, and finally hope that what was thought to be horrible situation for both characters could end up being exactly the opposite.  The more we got to know Remy and his back story, the more it was realized that he wasn't the cold, hard-hearted vampire he pretended to be. As Sabine began to see through his shell, he slowly began to let her into his world.  I was glad that the relationship was a slow burn rather than the kind where they meet and fall in love in the first two chapters of the story.  I particularly enjoyed when they traveled together and really appreciated just having each other as a companion.

This book was actually fun to read. There was only one thing I did not like and that was the cover.  This is just personal preference.  I am not a fan of book covers with half naked people on them.  I must admit, I would not have picked this book up at all if I was not approached just because of the cover.  However, I'm glad I agreed to read it. The mystery of this setting was fascinating.  Like Remy, I still have so many questions. Why are vampires attracted to this town?  What is it that they need/want so badly that the town needs constant protection.  It is a question that wasn't really fully answered as of yet but there was a bit of foreshadowing toward the end that points toward this topic being addressed in the next book.  I'll be waiting...

Stephanie Summers is a wife and mother of two. She recently graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in accounting, though writing is her true passion. Stephanie seemed to always have a story or two or ten running around in her mind. At the ripe old age of 30, she finally decided it was time to put aside the thought that she didn't have what it took to write a novel and began writing her first story. She has since began and finished a paranormal romance, The Willow Creek Series: Craving. Her short story, Love Forgotten, was chosen to be published in the upcoming Stardust anthology. Her contemporary rock star romance, Undone, is scheduled to be released later in 2014.

Author Website:
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (April 16th)

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

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Prince Lestat
By: Anne Rice
Publication date: October 28, 2014

The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis…vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned…Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco.

As the novel moves from present-day New York and the West Coast to ancient Egypt, fourth century Carthage, 14th-century Rome, the Venice of the Renaissance, the worlds and beings of all the Vampire Chronicles-Louis de Pointe du Lac; the eternally young Armand, whose face is that of a Boticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet, Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true Child of the Millennia; along with all the other new seductive, supernatural creatures-come together in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel to ultimately rise up and seek out who-or what-the Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why…
And, at the book's center, the seemingly absent, curiously missing hero-wanderer, the dazzling, dangerous rebel-outlaw-the great hope of the Undead, the dazzling Prince Lestat…
I used to be a huge Anne Rice reader and devoured all of the Vampire Chronicles, The Mummy, and Mayfair Witch books.  After that, however, I felt that the Anne Rice magic that I had grown to love started to change.  I wasn't as enthralled in the stories anymore. I am really hoping that her return to Lestat will rekindle my love of her books.  I am very excited for its release.  
What are you waiting for?  :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: The Winter Witch

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston has been on my wishlist for awhile now, mostly because I was attracted to both the cover and the teaser.  I decided to read it this weekend while on a mini, two day vacation.  While I wasn't in love with the story, I did enjoy it for the most part.

Synopsis from Amazon:
In her small early nineteenth century Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana.   She is small and quick and pretty enough to attract a suitor, but there are things that set her apart from other girls. Though her mind is sharp she has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic—the household objects that seem to move at her command, the bad luck that visits those who do her ill.  Concerned for her safety, her mother is anxious to see Morgana married, and Cai Jenkins, the widowed drover from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumors that swirl around her, seems the best choice.
            After her wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving her mother, and wary of this man, whom she does not know, and who will take her away to begin a new life.  But she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the wild mountains that surround it. Here, where frail humans are at the mercy of the elements, she thrives, her wild nature and her magic blossoming. Cai works to understand the beautiful, half-tamed creature he has chosen for a bride, and slowly, he begins to win Morgana’s affections.  It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village.  A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her.  Forced to defend her home, her man, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything in this beautifully written, enchanting novel.
The point of view alternates with each chapter from Cai to Morgana and this took a bit of getting used to but I think it really worked for the story.  Since Morgana does not speak in the story, it gives the reader an avenue in which to experience each character's inner thinking and feelings as the plot progresses.  I thought it was refreshing to see Cai's side of the story as the two spent their first weeks together.  I also really liked the setting.  The early 19th century time period, where fear of witchcraft still existed and majority rules seemed to be the primary source of law.  The description of the farm that is Cai's home is beautiful, with sprawling hills and meadows, the well, the parlor and hearth, the ponies and cattle. Just gorgeous.

I enjoy books that employ witchcraft as a plot source and this story gave me the perfect amount of paranormal.  My only complaint is that there were parts of the story where I was a bit bored.  I found myself skimming on a few occasions. I wish there was a bit more of Morgana experimenting with her power as she realized what she could accomplish.  Mrs. Jones, who was a delightful addition as Cai's aunt/housekeeper, was also a hedgewitch and a mentor to Morgana and we don't get to know her well enough.  On the positive side, when Morgana finally decides she has had enough and begins to fight back against the people who are accusing her of evil, I was unable to put the book down until the end.  It was at this point that the pace picked up and with it, the story became much more interesting.

The relationship between Cai and Morgana was well portrayed.  Cai needed a wife to fill the requirements of his job and he arranged his marriage to Morgana.  She was young, she didn't speak, and he took her away from everything she knew.  They didn't fall in love immediately and getting used to living together was both frustrating and confusing for both.  This was a realistic view, in my opinion, of how the beginnings of an arranged marriage would be, minus the witchcraft of course.  Their affection for one another blossomed from shared interests, teamwork, and time spent caring for each other's needs.

So, I would probably give this book about three and a half stars instead of four but only because of the slow parts.  It was a good read and if you enjoy paranormal romance, you will most likely enjoy it as well.  Happy reading!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Feature and Follow (April 11th)

Increase Blog Followers
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This week's question:
Tell us about a book that you didn't like and why we shouldn't read it (as nicely and respectfully as possible).

My answer:
Well, I have to say that there aren't a whole lot of books I don't like but I think this is partly due to the fact that I choose my books very carefully, especially if I am buying them because I don't like to spend money on something I'm not sure I will like.  However, we all have chosen books we thought would be wonderful and they end up sucking for one reason or another.  I am no exception.

Wishful DrinkingBeing a huge Star Wars fan, I thought it would be cool to read a biography on Carrie Fisher called Wishful Drinking.  She had written successful books in the past and the synopsis promised the book to be both hilarious and sobering but I was just downright depressed by it.  I never found the funny.  I ended up just feeling really bad for her and her family. In addition, my image of Princess Leia was slightly marred.  I decided after this experience that I should stay away from bios of celebrities I love if I want to keep my glorified image of them intact. 


Review: The Outside

The Outside is the sequel to The Hallowed Ones.  If I were to sum it up in a sentence, I would say it is the Amish Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love Buffy, and I loved these two books!

Synopsis from Amazon:
After a plague of vampires was unleashed in the world, Katie was kicked out of the safe haven of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. She enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two friends and a horse by her side.
     And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can they be trusted, and are they even people at all?
     In this sequel to The Hallowed Ones, it's up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to sacrifice in return?

This book takes place after Katie, Alex, and Ginger are cast out of the Amish community; thrown into a new and violent world filled with vampires where they must either find a way to survive or die.  While the book is far from the realm of reality, it is extremely creative and original as well as just a whole lot of fun.  

The vampires are not the romanticized vamps we are used to reading about, but are instead super creepy vessels of evil, writhing and hissing and just plain ugly.  In each scene where the sun was setting, I prayed Katie and Alex would find a safe place to stay before they were attacked.  I cringed when the evil was scraping against their shelter, trying to lure them outside.  How do humans begin to fight back?  With an injection that causes a human to become naturally luminescent for defense.  What a great concept! Of course, no one knows the long term effects but, why the hell not, I would totally become a human glow light if it would keep me alive, wouldn't you?

Katie is the main character, and at the heart of the story we have her struggle with her own faith.  Being suddenly thrust out into a world she knows almost nothing about and then being forced to make decisions that question her previous beliefs. It takes its toll on her and this is evident.  She must make choices that require her to choose between keeping to what she was raised to think was right, or adapting to this new and frightening situation in front of her.  Katie grows a lot throughout the book, realizing eventually that taking the risks and making certain decisions does not mean that she is completely abandoning her faith in God. One thing I really liked about Katie was that Laura Bickle gave her this strange but wonderful combination of innocence and bad ass vampire killer, vulnerability yet inner strength. She keeps all of these traits throughout the story.  

The book is definitely dark and has some intense scenes, but for me, that just made it harder to put down, even for a few minutes.  Now that I have finished it, I am a bit sad there won't be a third book and I have this strange urge to re-watch the whole Buffy series, from beginning to end.  :)


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WWW (April 9th)

To Play along, just answer the following three questions:

1.  What are you currently reading?
2.  What did you just finish reading?
3.  What do you think you will read next?

My answers:

1.  What am I currently reading?  The Outside by Laura Bickle.  This is the sequel to The Hallowed Ones which focuses on an Amish girl dealing with what seems to be the beginning of the end of the world.

2.  What did I recently finish? Two books actually from the same series, Friends Without Benefits and Love Hacked by Penny Reid.  I read them one right after the other.  They were funny and light with just the right amount of romance.

3.  What will I read next?  Hmmmm.... so many books, so little time.  I might go with Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts or I may decide on While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell.  Haven't quite decided yet.  Of course, I could end up reading something completely different depending on my mood.  :)