Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Found It!

Yes indeed you did find it.

Well what did you find? If you don't already know...

You found the letter ..........
What does this letter entitle you to you ask? Well, if you go to Tera Lynn Childs' blog here, she will give you all the answers, and if you find all the letters scattered about the internet and put them together you may get the title for SWEET VENOM 2!!

If you guess it right you may get super fabulous awesome prizes!

But be quick, because you're competing against me and Amanda. And we want the super fabulous awesome prizes too. :)

Good luck!

xoxo and Love Always,
Shelbie and Amanda

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Release date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Overall: 5/5 stars

Summary from Amazon: The Near Witch

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Release date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Overall: 4/5 stars

Summary from Amazon:
Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.
When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.
I bought Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik on an impulse because I had heard wonderful things about it and because it's a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice. So of course, I had high expectations for this book.
Epic Fail starts off with Elise and Juliana Benton moving to a new prep school in LA where their mother is the principal. As soon as Juliana starts hanging out with the popular crowd which includes Chase and Derek, our new Mr. Darcy, there is instant tension/attraction between Elise and Derek. Derek has a guarded and some what jerkish view of the world thanks to his celebrity upbringing, and Elise has her parents' conservative values, leading to some conflicts of interest. But when your sister, whom you adore, loves the jerk's best friend, what are you going to do? Ignore him? So of course, much like in the real Pride and Prejudice, Elise is forced to endure the (incredibly attractive) presence of Derek Edwards.
I thought Claire LaZebnik did an excellent job of creating a cute contemporary romance novel. The plot was wonderful. Full of moments where Elise and Derek couldn't decide if they hated or adored each other, there was plenty of romance. And of course, there were plenty of interesting family members and characters who brought little quirks to the story. LaZebnik did a great job of including all of the chaotic members of the Benton family and the pretentious ones from Derek and Chase's families. LaZebnik artfully showed the themes of pride and prejudice in a new way, still managing to show how vicious our prejudices can make us. She also did a good job of incorporating Webster Grant, Elise's other love interest who isn't exactly as he seems.
While LaZebnik created a fabulously funny contemporary romance, at times I did feel like some of the wording was a bit awkward, like she was trying a bit too hard to make the book modern yet still similar to Pride and Prejudice. Sometimes the banter between the characters was cute, but at other times it was just trying too hard.
For the most part, Claire LaZebnik payed careful attention to detail when creating similarities between Epic Fail and Pride and Prejudice, but sometimes the connections didn't really work. She portrayed the so-nice-they're-naive Chase and Juliana perfectly, and made Elise's little sister Layla and Chase's little sister Chelsea plenty annoying, but there was a bit lacking with Elise and Derek's characters. I felt at times they were a bit too forgiving and weren't as stubborn as the characters in Pride and Prejudice.
However, if I hadn't read Pride and Prejudice before this I don't think I would have minded at all. Overall, Claire LaZebnik has created a cute and insanely funny romantic read perfect for summer, and it definitely wasn't an Epic Fail.
Writing: 3.5/5 stars
Plot: 5/5 stars
Characters: 4/5 stars
Ending: 5/5 stars
Cover: 3.5/5 stars

Hope you enjoyed this review!
Love always,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

Release Date: 04.29.2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 606

When Hollywood It Boy, Reid Alexander, arrives on location to shoot his next movie, his goals are the same as always—film another blockbuster hit and enjoy his celebrity status to the fullest while doing so. His costar is a virtual unknown with whom he had blazing hot chemistry during her auditions. The universe is lining up nicely to grant whatever he wants, as usual, until he’s confronted with unexpected obstacles on location like a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for the first girl to spark his genuine interest in years.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after more than a decade of filming commercials for grape juice, department stores and tampons, and more recently, bit parts in made-for-TV movies. Nailing the lead role in a wide-release film sent her agent, father and stepmother into raptures, and should have done the same for her. The Problem? Emma is experiencing a building desire to be normal, and starring in a silly, modernized adaptation of one of her favorite novels—opposite the very hot Reid Alexander—isn’t going to advance that aspiration.

Graham Douglas doesn’t fear playing the part of a nerdy dimwit; when it comes to choosing film roles, if it pays, he’ll do it. Besides, his friend Brooke Cameron snatched up the role of the bitchy hot girl and could use his help as a buffer, because her ex is the star. Graham has no problem keeping a handle on the situation, until he finds himself attracted to Reid’s costar, Emma, the girl Reid is pursuing full-throttle with his standard arsenal of charm, good looks and arrogance.

Between the Lines is a lovely light and fluffy read and was right up my alley after meeting my celebrity soulmate in California. (He is my soulmate, he just doesn't know it yet ;) )

Reid Alexander is a teenage heartthrob who is on location for his new movie. All he wants is to film another blockbuster and enjoy his celebrity status to the fullest while doing so. Emma Pierce is his unknown co-star with whom he shares unbelievable chemistry both on and off screen. There is one big problem - Reid's ex-girlfriend Brooke Cameron has also snagged a lead role in the movie. Then to add even more spice to this delicious potluck, good-looking Indy actor Graham Douglas will give Reid lots of competition when he too finds himself attracted to Emma.

Tammara Webber's unique writing style uses the alternating voices of both Reid and Emma to tell this realistic, edgy romp into Hollywood-style movie-land where voyeuristic paparazzi wait around every corner to share each newly discovered sordid secret live with the world. Webber does not hesitate to write interesting yet flawed characters with depth and yet she still manages to make the reader care.

So grab some favourite snacks, throw on some comfy clothes and then lay back and relax and enjoy this fun book and when you are sad that you are all done you can lift your spirits by knowing that Webber plans a sequel for this fall. Wahoo!

Also, I did not predict the ending, which is surprising because I am usually quite good at predicting endings.

Overall, if you are looking for a fun and uplifting read for not very expensive at all (i think it was 2.99 on my nook) i highly recommend you check out this book.



The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater book trailer

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of Maggie Stiefvater. You know... she wrote Lament and Ballad, and her ever-so-awesome Wolves of Mercy Falls Series? No, doesn't ring a bell? If that didn't ring a bell... then get out from under your rock, get yourself on Goodreads or Amazon and look up the books. Then come back here and watch Maggie Stiefvater's amazing (as always) trailer for her upcoming new release, The Scorpio Races.

A bit about the Scorpio Races...

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen

And now the book trailer...

Looks awesome, right?

Well... to pre-order it click HERE . It will also be available for purchase wherever books are sold on October 18, 2011.

You can also pre-order autographed copies of The Scorpio Races HERE.


Love always,


Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Release Date: 05.26.2011
Publisher: Jamie McGuire, LLC
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 454

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

***This probably has some spoilers***

Okay, I am so conflicted on this book I actually don't think I can give it a rating. I can rant (sort of) about it and if it sounds like something you would like to read, then by all means go and read it (if you have a nook it's only like 5 bucks--score!)

So I've been in the mood for romance lately (I am planning on stealing Anna and the French Kiss from Amanda as soon as I am able) so I was GoodReads-ing to no end trying to find the one book that was going to be everything I was looking for (think like The Duff, but after my eighth time reading that I think it was time for something new)

I found Beautiful Disaster and everybody seemed to really really enjoy it and it sort of gave off a Perfect Chemistry vibe, (which OMG Chain Reaction comes out on Tuesday, who else is excited?!) so I was sitting there like sexy romance?! Bring it on!

First of all, I would like to say that it should really get a new description because the one that is currently on it is for like the first 50 pages of the book. So you're sitting there like okay.... now what's supposed to happen? So, yeah.

On one hand, the story was really well written, it was paced nicely. Had wonderful supporting characters and backstory...

On the other hand it was one of those books where the whole scenario of the whole book could have been avoided, yes, it's one of those books. Where you sit there the whole time and think of ways that every plot riff could be avoided. And Travis, the leading male, was way too aggressive for my taste, so that didn't really help either.

Well, those are my thoughts. I will not be including ratings because I have no idea how I would rate this.

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend and sorry about the many random thoughts in parentheses. :)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (17)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where book bloggers share what they got in their mailbox for the past week.

No vlog this week unfortunately, but here are the books we got!

For Review/Giveaway:

Witch Song by Amber Argyle + bookmark

Thanks to Rhemalda Publishing!


Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins .... already read, review coming soon!
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare ... read this a long time ago, just needed a hard copy.


Are You Going to Kiss Me Now? by Sloane Tanen

From Paperbackswap:

Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Forever... by Judy Blume
Eldest by Christopher Paolini .... I (Amanda) got this as a gift for the little brother

From RAK:

Strange Angels by Lili St.Crow

Thank you to Crystal from Elegantly Bound Books! (Thanks for throwing in a bookmark too!)
For more info on Random Acts of Kindness visit Book Soulmates.


Signed (and personalized!) copy of Filter by Gwenn Wright

Thank you to Dani at Refracted Light Reviews!

That's what we got this week, what'd you get?

xoxo and love always,

Shelbie and Amanda

Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Paradise by Jill Alexander

Release Date: July 5, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 256
Overall: 4/5 stars

Summary from Amazon: Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.
Jill Alexander completely blew me out of the water with Paradise. Was expecting your typical quick, fun summer read. Something I could read in a day, be satisfied with, and not dwell over for long. However, that is not something that happened. Yes, Paradise started out as a cute summer romance with the mysterious and insanely attractive newcomer and the girl with a secret dream, but then it changed into something more. Paradise centers around Paisley, a girl who secretly wants to be a musician. However, she has to play in a secret band with some of the people her Mom disapproves most of, because her mother has very specific plans for her future. That is where she meets Paradise, the insanely sexy accordion player and singer who has Paisley and the rest of the band questioning the way they do things.

I thought Paradise was only going to be important to Paisley, but instead he serves as sort of a driving force and a trigger to everyone else making changes for the better. Not only does he bring sexy vocals and a new twist to the band with his accordion, but he slowly pushes everyone else to be more confident and go for what they believe in. Over the course of the novel Jill Alexander uses Paradise to push Paisley and her sister to stand up to her parents, Waylon, the band leader, to grow more confident in his music, and several other big changes throughout the novel.

Alexander does a great job of using all of the characters different problems to weave a storyline about dreams, perseverance, and independence. She also adds several different little spins on the story to make it even better than it was already. She adds spunky characters like Paisley's uncle who provides an interesting adult POV, and incorporates lyrics from one of the band members, Cal, into the story giving you a view from the outside.

Overall, I really liked this book. It told a great story about going for your dreams and keeping your goals in mind. However, there is a reason I only gave it 4 stars. Jill Alexander completely throws you through a loop at the end of the novel. I still can't decide whether or not the plot twist at the end added to the story or just didn't make sense. I don't want to spoil anything, but at the end of the story Alexander pulls the story in a U turn, changes the plot entirely, and leaves you wondering why the heck she just did that.

So... the story was fantastic. Heartwarming, enlightening, and extremely romantic, but I will give you fair warning that you might not like the ending. However, if you're feeling brave and also sort of romantic, give Paradise by Jill Alexander a try.

Writing: 5/5 stars
Characters: 5/5 stars
Plot: 4/5 Stars
Ending: 3/5 stars
Cover: 4/5 stars

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard

Release Date: 08.02.2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 309

***Possible spoilers from The Lying Game***

My perfect life was a lie.

Now I’d do anything to uncover the truth.

Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for: amazing friends, an adorable boyfriend, a loving family. But none of them know that I’m gone—that I’m dead. To solve my murder, my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place. She sleeps in my room, wears my clothes, and calls my parents Mom and Dad.

And my killer is watching her every move.

I remember little from my life, just flashes and flickers, so all I can do is follow along as Emma tries to solve the mystery of my disappearance. But the deeper she digs, the more suspects she uncovers. It turns out my friends and I played a lot of games—games that ruined people’s lives. Anyone could want revenge . . . anyone could want me—and now Emma—dead.

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

I read this book a few days ago. Finished in a couple of hours so it's a reasonable size book.

I enjoyed the book, and we had a few less suspects than we orginally had seen in the first book Lying Game.

Don't expect to find out who killed Sutton in this book, if you have read Pretty little Liars then you know we only found out the killer in the last 8th book, the first 7 was a build up to the point of where the 8th book revealed the whole truth. So Sara Shepard is following that style so I can only assume that the first 3 books will be where suspects and the innocents are revealed with more secrets uncovered.

I liked the book but I felt it concentrated too much on "twins" character, I just felt that plot was dragged on too much that it was like the whole book revolved around, did they? or did they not? moment.

Also I felt the charcters were not explored enought, they seem more flat. We only get to see the personality but not to much on character development. I can only see one charcter developement as we found out more about her family and missing brother. I suppose this is because as there is only a 4 part book so maybe we don't get to see more character development than we liked.

Also sometimes I would get confused seeing who was speaking, was it Emma or Sutton or a 3rd Narrator but you get used to the style of writing.

We didn't see more of Emma past or the mystery surrounding her family especially her mother but I liked how Emma character has slighted evolved from a "woe" me character to a person who can stick up for herself more though I wished the book had more snarky responses.

I hope we get to delve more in Sutton past becuase we only see her as this rich spoilt girl who seems to live on the edge, trouble personality and insecurity, I hope we see more to her character than this and we find out some secrets that has been hinted in the first 2 books but not revealed. Also more on Why Emma's mom had left, was there a reason for this and the mystery surrounding the twins births, we only heard from Emma POV, but Emma was young so maybe we didn't find the whole truth.

With an ending fitting for a Sara Shepard book, it will have you tirelessly waiting for number three. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyed Never Have I Ever.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Release Date: 08.03.2011
Publisher: Little, Brown books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 320

Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.

I'm back! I've had an awesome weekend in California. I had such a blast it's insane, I also got a ton of reading done so I'm unloading my reviews tonight :)

Okay, okay, I can see the places where people might have had some issues with this book (in terms of character believability/backstory), and I agree with them. Here's hoping these issues get addressed in the next book, if there is one. I'll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as I can when I talk about them. Otherwise? I really, really enjoyed this book.

For what Grant lacks in the development of some of her characters (and they're all male, but I won't go any farther than that lest it turn spoilery), she more than makes up for in plot. The true goal of Homeland that's the Big Reveal in the final part of the book is so awful, so horrifying, that it made me violently nauseous.

This is a heavily feminist story when it comes down to it. The male characters really aren't important, even if they seem that way through the first chapter and in bits and pieces throughout the book. This is Neva (and Sanna, and the rest of the girls who are "unpatriotic")'s story, not theirs. This is not your usual YA dystopian book.

The fact that Neva shelves her own want for affection/romance/sex in exchange for her own freedom is not only a rare trait in the YA market, but in the adult market, and in real life. So I applaud Grant for making her heroine overcome her fear of being alone because she chose herself over sex/relationships with others - even if it was reluctant (and under the circumstances, I understand why).

My favourite part of the story is how Neva grows, and by the end of the book, she is still a friend, sister, lover, daughter - but most of all, she is herself, and that is what saves her.

So even if this starts out like a typical YA dystopian book, I ask you to stay with it until the end. You'll be pleasantly surprised by what happens. If you want something new, try "Dark Parties". And let's hope there's another book coming.


I hope your weekends were as awesome as mine :)


Saturday, August 6, 2011

In My Mailbox 16 (Vlog)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren where book bloggers share what they got in their mailbox for the past week.

Here is Amanda's for this week! (Shelbie is out of town.)

Book covers not shown in video:


The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Epic Fail
by Claire LaZebnick

For Review:
Sinexia: The Mark of Perillius by Atonus L. Perry
Anathema (Cloud Prophet #1) by Meg Jensen (ebook)
Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner by Dalya Moon (ebook)

From RAK:
The Demon's Covenant (Demon's Lexicon #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan + goodies!

Hereafter by Tara Hudson (ebook)
Ripple by Mandy Hubbard (ebook)
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski (ebook)
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (ebook)
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (ebook)
Abandon by Meg Cabot (ebook)
Matched by Ally Condie (ebook)

From Paperbackswap:
Witch and Wizard by James Patterson

From Netgalley:
Ashfall by Mike Mullin (publisher is Tanglewood)
The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees (publisher is Harlequin)
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey (publisher is HarperCollins)
Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (publisher is Egmont USA)

Thank yous and blogs/ sites mentioned:

Thank you to Meg Jensen and Dalya Moon for sending copies of your ebooks
Thank you to Tracee from Pump Up Your Book for sending a review copy of Sinexia

Thank you to Sarah @ The Book Life for The Demon's Covenant + goodies for RAK!

Thank you to Maricar of Darkplume and Alyssa for ebooks for RAK!


Isalys and Vanessa of Book Soulmates: hosts of RAK

Friday, August 5, 2011

2011 Beach Reads Summer Challenge: Favorite High School Memory

Hey guys, so for the 2011 Beachreads Summer Challenge hosted by Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile, I have to write a post about my favorite High School memory.

Seeing as I am still in High School, I have decided to tweak this post and talk about my High School experience so far. It might be a bit rambly, but oh well.

So, the first day of High School I walk into school an awkward not-ready-for-high-school teen, just like every other Freshman. I was past the stage where I thought I was the cat's pajamas (aka all of my Middle School years), and was now faced with the reality that in order to be "cool" or be successful I have to do something.

That is a freaking scary prospect. I mean, all my life I was a straight A student because everything just came easy for me!  However, once I hit High School things got a lot more difficult. First, you have to deal with the everyday teen stuff like boys, homework, and style (which thankfully improved compared to middle school). But then you realize you are 4 years away from college and need to start figuring out what you want to do the rest of your life. I mean, you get to pick majority of your classes! (Way cool, right?) I didn't realize until High School that I have a fear of independence. I've always prided myself on being a leader, but then I realized I really wasn't one. I mean, I put together a last minute audition for our fall musical because I wasn't sure if any of my friends were going to try out. Well, that failed. So I had to decide what to do besides that. So I joined DECA. If you don't know what DECA is, it's basically a marketing club where students put together projects like Ad Campaigns and compete with them.

Well, joining DECA gave me tons of leadership skills.(Especially because I had an individual project along with a group one, scary!) And, while I struggled with the first half of the school year because I actually had to work towards something, I eventually got my grades up by the end of the school year.

This past year, sophomore year, I learned even more, and made friends from completely different groups. I tried out for the musical again, and because I actually planned for it this time, I got in! I continued on with DECA and eventually joined speech club. Speech club was a big step for me. I wasn't really friends with anyone who was in speech club or trying out for it, but I knew it was something I wanted to do, so I did it. I got in, and I was so happy that I decided to join. This past year, because of my experiences with DECA and Speech, I found what I wanted to do after school. I decided I wanted a combination of the marketing I learned in DECA and the politics and current events I learned from Speech club. By doing what I wanted to do, I realized I want to go into Public Relations and/or Political Science and become a political campaign manager (or just PR specialist for a publishing company.) This year, I became a lot more independent, learned new things I didn't think I would be interested in, and made new friends.

Next year I will be participating in the musical and joining Speech and DECA again, and returning as a DECA officer. While I still have a slight fear of independence, I like when I can do something by myself, and do it well.

So yeah, I don't have a favorite High School memory to share with you, but I'm looking forward to creating some.

While I realize that was totally cheesy, I hope the few of you that took the time to read it enjoyed it.

 Love always,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver special edition release day!

So... if you didn't already know, today is the release day of Lauren Oliver's special editon of Delirium.

So what makes this edition special?

1) The new cover (I like the old one better, but whatever.)
2) A Q& A with Lauren Oliver!
3) An excerpt of Pandemonium! Cool right?

Anyways... to celebrate the release day, Lauren Oliver is giving away one copy of her book. Click HERE to go to the giveaway, and hurrry, because it ends 8/10!

Love always,

Review: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Overall: 5/5 stars
Source: Netgalley ARC

Summary (from Amazon):
Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen. Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.

When I saw this was available on Netgalley I squealed and eagerly awaited the publisher to approve my review request. After reading it, I must say it definitely did not disappoint. Cinda Williams Chima's writing just gets better and better. After The Demon King, I was intrigued. After The Exiled Queen, I was hooked. Now after The Gray Wolf Throne I am absolutely obsessed and totally, completely in love. The book starts out a few weeks after The Exiled Queen ends, so all the characters are separated at the time. Because of this, I was a little anxious to get to the second half of the book because there was no romance or attractive young men. However, once I got over the fact that I would not see Han or Amon right away I really got into the story. If you've read the first two books, you know that Princess Raisa has many enemies. Because of that, the whole book was action packed. There's constantly fighting and running and tons of moments where Raisa and her protectors kick some butt. Raisa also really proved herself to me during this book. I was a little wary of her before because she could be a bit stubborn and sometimes self-centered, but as she deals with all of the attacks on her and her friends (spoiler alert, someone major gets killed), she proved to be fiercely loyal and showed a strong dedication to duty. Unfortunately, sometimes that duty got in the way of her and the people she loves. I admit, I was a bit frustrated with Cinda Williams Chima for throwing in a lot of romantic obstacles, but somehow she made the balance of the relationships in The Gray Wolf Throne work extremely well. Speaking of relationships, there sure was a ton of sexual tension and some romance. For such a busy girl, Raisa can sure catch a lot of men! So basically, the whole book is about Raisa coming into her own. It's jam-packed with her in action, grieving, and in love. I absolutely adored this book, and it was my favorite of Cinda William Chima's so far. I'm looking forward to seeing villains caught, a queendom growing stronger, and the blooming of relationships in the fourth book.

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot/setting: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Ending: 5/5

I really enjoyed this one, so tell me what you thought!
Also, go check out my post about how kick-ass Raisa is right HERE.

love always,


Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: Misfit by Jon Skovron

Release Date: August 1, 2011
Publisher: Amulet Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley ARC
Overall: 4/5 stars

Summary from Amazon: Jael Thompson has never really fit in. She's changed schools too many times to count. The only family she's ever known is her father, a bitter ex-priest who never lets her date and insists she attend the strictest Catholic school in Seattle. And her mother--well, she was a five thousand year old demon. That doesn't exactly help.

But on her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a present that brings about some unexpected changes. Some of the changes, like strange and wonderful powers and the cute skater boy with a knack for science, are awesome. But others, like the homicidal demon seeking revenge on her family? Not so much.
I hadn't heard much about Misfit by Jon Skovron, but I'm glad I got the opportunity to read it. I thought Misfit was an interesting take on the ever-so-popular demon theme in books. Misfit had an excellent blend of action, urban fantasy, teen issues, and romance. It centers around Jael, a misfit not only because she never lives in a place for long but also because she is a half-demon going to a Catholic school. Jael's issues in this book were excellently portrayed. Skovron did a fantastic job of portraying Jael's complicated relationships with her father and friends, and recording her journey as she discovered what it meant to be half-human and half-demon. Jael constantly goes through ups and downs as she learns to control her demon powers, fights with her dad, and explores a new romance with Rob. Skovron did a fantastic job of providing background information that covered all the demon, Hell, and religion related topics in the story. It may be a bit heavy on the religion side for some people, but I think most people, religious or not, will like seeing the little connections Skovron and his characters make. His characters were also all very well developed. I liked Jael's little tifts with her father, her budding romance with Rob, and her strong friendship with Britt. However, I did have a few gripes with the characters. First, sometimes I found Jael would do things a bit out-of-character for her, like being really gutsy at times (with average girl situations, not the demon ones). Also, although Rob was adorable, I found that he was just a bit too nerdy and likeable, making him a bit unrealistic at times. However, I did enjoy the adventures the characters went through. There was plenty of action as Jael explored her demon powers and fought evil demons from Hell. However, I must warn you that some of the action scenes and scenes with creatures from Hell are a bit gory/graphic. Most of the demons do behave how you'd expect them to behave: like bloodthirsty, selfish, brutal monsters. Be warned, there is lots of blood and swearing where the demons are involved. If you're not squeamish though, you will thoroughly enjoy every part of this book, especially the action packed ones. Overall, the whole story was well thought out and had several shining moments (especially towards the end between Jael and Britt), and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a new take on demons and likes lots of action.

Writing: 4/5 stars
Characters: 4/5 stars
Plot/Setting: 4.5/5 stars
Ending: 4.5/5 star
Cover: 3.5/5 stars

Love always,


How big is your RAK?

Soooo... if you've been anywhere in the book blogging world over the past 6 months, you've probably heard about The Book Soulmates' RAK, or Random Acts of Kindness. Basically it's a continuous event/group that supports blogger/reading love by getting everyone together to do a RAK such as giving someone a book off of their wish list. If you want to learn more about RAK, click HERE.

Book Soulmates

Now to the point of this post. I (Amanda) am participating in RAK this month, which I'm really excited about. (My wishlists are HERE and HERE.) Also, Isalys and Vanessa from Book Soulmates are also hosting a giveaway this month for all RAK participants. Basically, just by participating you get entered into a drawing for a $20 Amazon giftcard. Pretty sweet, right?

Yes. Yes it is. So if you're not participating in RAK already, you should.

See you at the end of the month when I show you my RAK!

Love always,