Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Angel Unraveled

Angel Unraveled
The Watcher Series, #1
by Tamela Buhrke
Published by: Wicked Women Publishing
Publication Date: July 12, 2011
Formats Available: eBook


Psychic Andi Andreas is sick of seeing ghosts and reading futures. So when a sexy reporter named Tucker Calhoun falls, battered and bloodied, into her arms, Andi jumps at the chance to use her talents for more than just tarot cards. She and Tucker investigate a gang selling a new kind of drug. But her thrill turns to panic when they discover this drug temporarily turns users into vampires.
Worse, a sassy she-demon is threatening to unleash the drug as a virus—contaminating the world and converting the human race into monsters. As Andi struggles to stop the demon, she unlocks a secret from her past and awakens new abilities. But will Andi's new powers be enough to save the world?

 -from Goodreads

Cover: While not completely eye-grabbing, in retrospect the cover is great for this book. I can just imagine Andi making the face we see on the cover and it makes me laugh.

My Thoughts:
Andi Andreas is a Chicago transplant and psychic/medium newbie. She only learned of her talent after getting into a car accident four years ago that consequently killed her father. She was taken under the wing of Ethel, a veteran psychic living in Phoenix, Arizona. But now Ethel has retired and moved to Boca and Andi is struggling to pay the bills. And when Andi ‘reads’ a customer for Frank, the hot owner of a local coffee shop, all hell breaks loose and a whole new world is revealed. She thought being psychic was weird, but the vampires, demons, and angels teach her that what she thought she knew was just the tip of the iceberg.

Andi is not your average heroine; she barely can keep together her own little world. I think that is what made me like her even more. She is relatable and kind of a spaz. I can’t count the times I laughed out loud while reading her inner monologue. The things that happen to Andi are so extreme and outrageous that you would think it would become too much for the reader, but it doesn’t. The situations were displayed in a way that I could really picture happening and her reactions were real which means she didn’t pick up a sword and suddenly have all these abilities.

The characters that author Tamela Buhrke created were all interesting and dynamic, even the minor characters. My favorite character was by far Johnny, even though he never actually speaks. I could picture him dancing around Andi’s apartment in LARPing garb with his scabbard and eye patch. Of the three men that are a possible love interest to Andi I like Esteban the best. I imagined his accent to sound something like Antonio Banderas and his connection to Andi is something I can’t wait to see fleshed out. Macy was annoying and whiny and I’m not quite sure if I was Andi that I would keep her around. Someone who doesn’t believe you and is jealous of almost everything you do isn’t a friend or at least a good one.

I really liked the desert setting in Phoenix. I could picture everything realistically because I had been there before. The scene with the scorpions being dumped on Andi’s head truly gave me the heebie-jeebies. There were a few things that could be explained better or at least more succinctly and some dots that could be connected but overall Angel Unraveled was a fun urban fantasy romp. I will be reading book two Angel Unprepared which is out now.

Favorite Quote: “Unfortunately for him, every time his fingers brushed the cross, they lit on fire like a bunch of birthday candles.”

 ★ ★ ★ ★ 
If you are a fan of urban fantasy you will love Andi and company!

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.

Where to Buy:

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Sever

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's book that I am eagerly anticipating is...

(The Chemical Garden #3)

by Lauren DeStefano
Expected Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children's Pubishing

I was ecstatic when I saw the cover for this yesterday. I can't wait to find out what happens to Rhine and Linden in the third and final book. There isn't a synopsis yet for Sever, but Lauren DeStefano has been leaving breadcrumbs in the way of clips from the book. She is driving me mad! I think reading the excerpts, well short sentences actually, are more of a tease than anything. So for now I have stopped paying attention. Kinda. As for the cover, I like it but I loved first two more. I adore the cover of Fever. I'm not sure if this cover will live up to my expectations, but I will have to wait and see when it is in my hot little hands. The picture above - and all others I've found - are not of the best quality. I think they did that on purpose...
Here are the first two books and the short story covers. What do you think?

What are you "waiting on" this week? Are you excited for Sever?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #27

It is that time of week again! You guessed it -Tell Me Something Tuesday; a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous author of the Heven and Hell series, Cambria Hebert. If you would like to participate, visit her blog and grab next week's question and add your link. This week's question:

Do you buy books based on the book cover?

I am a self-confessed book cover whore! I really like the trend lately of having enigmatic and dazzling covers. Just look at our host's cover of Masquerade. Gorgeous! ----------->
I will not go as far as to say that I buy them based on their cover though. What happens is that I see eye candy covers and am drawn to the book. I will then pick it up or click on it and find out what is inside. What matters the most is what the book is about. Will I like the story, the characters, and the genre? If I am bored by the description I will probably be bored by the book - no matter how pretty the cover. However, there are a few books that have made it into my clutches that I just had to have because the cover is awesome.

Most notably is Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel. I had no idea what this book was about, but it had a girl with a Parasol! It turned out to be a fantastic book and I have the second book's galley all ready to read. Score! On the other hand, I have been burned by lusting over the cover. And then there are the books that have lackluster covers but have the most amazing story inside. I think books such as these make me look and realize that I have broken one of the very basic rules: "Do Not Judge a Book by the Cover!" All that being said, a cover is important because it is the first thing readers see when they look at a book and it should be eye-catching. I even review the cover of a book as part of my reviews because I know that it is a part of the overall package. And being part of the whole package the cover should reflect something from the book and I have issues when it doesn't. So now that I am done rambling off on a tangent, I will again say covers are important, but if a book is good, the cover is just a pretty picture.

What do think? Do you buy books based on the cover?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Updates

Monday, Monday, Monday!!!

Hello Everyone!

Even though Monday is almost over, I wanted to let everyone know of some things that will be happening in the next few weeks. To start, I have updated the look of Breathe In BooKs and have added some useful link buttons in the Stalk Me section. I would love to have the blog professionally designed - maybe someday soon - but until then, I hope you like what I have created.

I have been busy reading all weekend, even at a Diamondbacks game, so this week I will be posting reviews of some really entertaining Indie novels and a review of the latest book from one of my favorite series. Also, I will be part of a virtual book tour hosted by Bewitching Blog Tours for The Grave Artist by Paula Lynn Johnson that will be stopping here on July 9th. There will be a guest post by the author and a tour-wide giveaway for a beautiful necklace. Please be sure to come on by!

I am always working toward my reading challenge goals and would love some recommendations for books to read. I really need more books from the Zombie and Steampunk genres. Although, I did get a galley of Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel this week - woohoo!!

Happy reading & have a great week!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: Fated

The Soul Seekers #1
By Alyson Noël
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Formats Available: Hardcover, eBook ~352 pages

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.
There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy. -from Goodreads

Cover: The cover grabbed my attention from the first time I saw it. It fits perfectly with the story; the wind whipping through her hair, the ravens flocking around her and the Dream Catcher earing all highlight important scenes within.

My Thoughts:
I could not wait for this new series from Alyson Noël, the author of the Immortals series. I loved Ever and had high hopes for the Soul Seekers first installment. I have to say that it was really good, but not what I expected. Evermore drew me in from the first moment, but Fated was more up and down. There was so much description in this book that it sometimes felt bogged down by information. It is the first book and is setting up the story, but for me the story just didn’t flow.
Meet Daire, the daughter a Hollywood makeup artist on site in Morocco. On her sixteenth birthday, Daire has what everyone thinks is a mental breakdown, but it is much worse than that. She sees things; Souls, to be exact and they want something from her, but she has no idea what. After multiple doctor visits and talk of institutionalization, Daire is sent to live with her paternal grandmother whom she has never met. Choosing between hospitals, pills, and a padded white room, New Mexico is the lesser of the two evils.
Daire is from a long line of Soul Seekers. She has powers and abilities that she must learn to embrace and control or she might end up like her father - dead. With the help of her grandmother, her spirit animal, and her ancestors Daire learns her way through the mystical world. Not only does she have a new path in life, but she is shown a boy in her dreams, one that she is inexplicably drawn to and if her dreams were any indication, a boy that she must save. Alyson’s books wouldn’t be complete without sexy boys. We meet Dace and Cade; twins, but completely opposite; Good versus Evil, Light versus Dark. Dace is a good, kind, and gentle young man and Daire knows that he is somehow linked to her. His brother Cade is evil incarnate and both his and Daire’s families have been fighting for centuries.
Daire was a hard character to find relatable or even like. She complained so much that I found myself skimming until she stopped the ‘woe is me’ monologue. The character I found the most interesting was Xochitil, a blind girl who can see auras and energies. The Native American mythology is one that is not utilized frequently in YA fiction. I really liked the exploration of the traditions and the overall feeling it gives the story. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys reading about magic, Native American lore, and romance. 

Favorite Quote: "You gotta adjust to the dark so the light can find you."
★ ★ ★ ★
Fans of Alyson's Immortals series should definitely give Fated chance.

Where to Buy:
Barnes & Noble

Stalk the Author:
Official Website


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Soulbound

Legacy of Tril, #1
by Heather Brewer
Published by: Dial
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Formats Available: eBook, Hardcover ~306 pages

What's worse than being blackmailed to attend a hidden school where you're treated like a second-class citizen? How about nearly getting eaten by a monster when you arrive? Or learning that your soulmate was killed in a centuries-old secret war? And then there's the evil king who's determined to rule the world unless you can stop him...
Meet Kaya, a young woman with the power to heal and the determination to fight. But struggle as she will, she remains tied to three very different men: a hero who has forsaken glory, a tyrannical ruler who wants to use Kaya, and a warrior who's stolen her heart. Kaya learns the hard way that some ties can't be broken...and blood is the strongest bond of all. -from Goodreads

The Cover: The cover represents the characterization of Kaya well. The katana is the weapon of choice for the Barrons and the Chainmail mask represents the importance of the mask Kaya must wear throughout the book. Girl Power!

My Thoughts: 
What would you fight for?
In the world of Tril, a war is being fought. An evil king is trying to rid the world of Healers because they are what stand in his way of killing Barrons- the warriors. Each Barron has another half, a Healer that they are Bound to that can heal them with just a touch. Soulbound couples are born. They are destined for each other and have a connection that rivals none other. However, in the unfortunate event that a Healer or a Barron has died, a new pair can be Bound, but the bond will never be as strong as a Soulbound’s. 

The premise for Soulbound is beautiful. The idea that there is someone out there that is made to fit you perfectly sounds like a dream. But that is all it is because life is never that clean cut and especially not love. After learning that her Barron died before she could meet him, Kaya is Bound to Trayton, a sweet but naive Protocol-loving Barron. Kaya finds that she has feelings for him and that those feelings are mutual, but he won’t let her be who she wants to be.

Enter Darius, the silver-haired young man with a definite dislike for Kaya. Hoping to find out why he treats her so badly, Kaya sneaks out in the middle of the night to confront him and finds two Graplars inside the school walls. After being bitten and barely surviving, Kaya decides that she will not stand back and let someone else fight for her.  Since Trayton would never betray Protocol, she finds someone else who will –Darius.  Although training is not easy and Darius seems to go out of his way to make it harder for Kaya, she never falters and never backs down. 

Kaya is one of my favorite female leads. She is an outspoken, strong-willed, stubborn, kick ass heroine. Kaya believes that just because she is a Healer it does not mean she can’t fight, can’t protect herself or those she loves. But to the Zettai Council, that is exactly what she and all other Healers are supposed to do. They are there to heal their Barrons and in turn their Barrons will protect them. In fact, at Shadow Academy this stereotype is enforced by the teachers and the headmaster. However, nothing will stop Kaya from learning to fight. The only thing that holds Kaya back at all is the promise of retaliation on her family. 

I am not a fan of Trayton. He is too concerned with the rules and has a zealous outlook towards the Zettai Council. When he is angry at Kaya, he acts like a teenage girl and tries to make her jealous. I understand that they have a bond, but he thinks too much of himself. This is demonstrated by the fact that he keeps repeating that he will protect her but has failed to do so multiple times. Darius, on the other hand, is no prize either. He is cocky and can’t handle a little competition. 

Soulbound is an amazing book. Between the great characters, the plot that twists around and around, and the beautifully crafted world, Soulbound is destined to be a new favorite in the YA Fantasy genre. The themes and issues that Heather Brewer ties into the story are so intricate and detailed that it left me thinking about it for days after I finished. As for the ending – I knew it, I knew it! I cannot believe the book ended where it did. There are so many questions left unanswered, but I have no doubt they will be addressed in the subsequent books. I will be waiting with baited breath for the next installment!

**Favorite Quote: "Loyalty to anything in such an absolute manner was dangerous." 

**Mini Excerpt: "It was almost an impossible thing to do, to stay focused, to stay in the here and now when my world was spinning and turning upside down, but I held on, nodding my promise to him..."
**Quotes taken from an ARC, not the final edited version.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
One of the best books I have ever read!!

FTC Advisory: I received this ARC for free through Goodreads First Reads and it was sent directly to me from the publisher.

Where to Buy:

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Hidden

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's book that I am eagerly anticipating is...

(House of Night #10)
by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
 October 16, 2012
Neferet’s true nature has been revealed to the Vampyre High Council, so Zoey and the gang might finally get some help in defending themselves and their beloved school against a gathering evil that grows stronger every day. And they’ll need it, because Neferet’s not going down without a fight. Chaos reigns at the House of Night.

The cover for Hidden was just revealed on June 19, 2012 and I am so excited to share it with everyone! This is my biggest guilty-pleasure read. I love this series because it is just so fun and ridiculous. I even have my 50ish mom reading this series! I can't even count how many times I have read & reread each book. I know there are many people who have gotten disillusioned with all the drama and boys and I understand their frustrations, but I am determined to see this series to the end. In truth, the last book Destined was my favorite and I love the novellas that accompany the series. I even love this series so much I have the German hardcover editions...and the German audiobooks... Yup, I'm addicted. 

What books are you waiting on? What is your guilty-pleasure read? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #26

It is that time of week again! You guessed it -Tell Me Something Tuesday; a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous author of the Heven and Hell series, Cambria Hebert. If you would like to participate, visit her blog and grab next week's question and add your link. This week's question:
Do you think that YA books should have ratings like movies?

TV Rating System
This is an interesting question and one that I am almost hesitant to answer. My general answer is no, but of course it is more complicated than that. Some will ask since they are already published as being YA, why do they need to be broken down more? Well, there are three main YA categories already: Lower/Middle YA (10-14), YA (13-18), and New Adult (18-25). I understand there are some that might say that books containing sex, alcohol and drug use, and excessive violence is not appropriate for their children. Agreed, but what category is the book placed in already? To what age have the publishers marketed the book to? There are teens, even tweens, that are extremely mature and are able to handle mature themes. And then there are some that hide V.C. Andrews' books under their desks and giggle. The allure of the V.C. Andrews' book is that it is naughty and adult. If there is a rating on a book that states it contains sexual content I guarantee you those rebellious teens will find a way to read it just because it has that rating/warning.

If there were to be any ratings I think that maybe a system like what we see on TV would be appropriate for reference purposes only, not as a blanket guideline as to who can or cannot read the book. If we rate YA books like movies - would we then equally enforce the rules like theaters do and what would that mean? Who would then decide what fit into what category. Would you have to show ID to buy a book? Would a parent have to be present for all book purchases? Would Walmart start selling only books that have been censored like they do with music? I'm not sure I like the answers to these questions.

Movie Rating System
Let me point out that I do not have children, but I was a teacher of middle and high school students. I am well aware of how they act, think, and feel. In fact, as much as people want to ignore it, some teenagers curse, drink, use drugs, and have sex as young as 12. Do I like it or agree with their actions? No. But, I am aware of the fact that is happens. I also am aware that they do not liked to be talked down to or treated as a child. Most teens want someone to look up to and they want to read about characters who have struggles and lives just like they do.

As a former teacher I have to ask why would someone try to stop a child/teen from reading? I had a student that hated working and sat and threw paper around the room because he was bored. I put a book in his hands and told him to read and after some pouting, dirty looks, and general defiance - he started to read...and he kept reading - all 12 books in the series! He had found something he loved and I was able to use it as a tool to get him to work, behave, and more importantly - comprehend. The same book that I gave him to read was one that I had a parent complain about. It was the Everworld series by K.A. Applegate and contained some mature themes, violence, and a multitude of pantheons. However, the parent was extremely religious and did not want her son exposed to those things. She also went on to tell the administration that it should be pulled from the shelves. Thankfully, the administration said no. Not everyone believes the same and therefore one should not have to act the same. Look at the book Fahrenheit 451 - do we want our world to end up that way? 

There are always going to be things that people don't like or find offensive. And parents have every right to be mindful of what their kids read. I think that all parents should read what their kids are reading because if there is something in a book they find troubling, parents can use it as a teaching tool. Talk to your kids - find out what they think about the subject, theme, and actions of the characters. Parents should be the filter for what kids read, not someone else who does not know your child specifically. 

What do you think? Should there be ratings for YA novels?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Faelorehn + Interview + Giveaway

Book One of the Otherworld Trilogy
by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson
Publication Date: April 21, 2012
Formats Available: eBook, Paperback

Synopsis: I never heard him come after me and even as I climbed the slope and stumbled onto our shaded back lawn, I didn’t look back. It was like the day the gnomes chased me all over again, but this time I was not escaping some horrible little creatures, I was fleeing from an incredibly good-looking guy who could very well understand me completely. I was either saving myself from that serial killer I always imagined lived down in the swamp, or I had finally gone over the deep end . . .
Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.
Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought. -from Goodreads


Cover: This cover is interesting. It is like a photograph that is out of focus; I can’t quite grasp what I am seeing. I know I see branches, but beyond that I just don’t know. It is mysterious and made me want to see what was hiding beneath the cover. After I finished reading and took another look, I believe this to be what the entrance to the Otherworld looks like after passing through the Dolmarehn.

My Thoughts:
 “You can call me Cade, but you won’t remember this, so it doesn’t matter.”
Faelorehn is not your average faerie tale. This is not about dancing pixies or household mischief makers. This is the story of a girl who is part of a world she has no idea existed; one that wants to kill her and she has no idea why. Although Meghan may seem like a regular 17 year old, she has dreams. In these dreams she is naked roaming the streets of Los Angeles, hands laced tightly in a white dog’s fur. The only catch is, this isn’t really a dream at all, this is her past. That was how she was found – alone at the age of two with no recollection of how or why.
“It wasn’t the dark I was afraid of, but what might be hiding in it.”
Now, living in central California with her adoptive parents and five brothers, Meghan’s life is normal. Well, it is if you don’t count the voices, the visions, or the fact that her eyes change color from one moment to the next. She tries to fit in, but constantly struggles to keep the truth away from her friends and family, and ultimately from herself. But when creatures start appearing and attacking Meghan, she can no longer tell herself that is just her imagination. Especially when Cade MacRoich comes to her aid and somehow knows things about Meghan that she has never told anyone else.  Driven to find answers, Meghan searches for answers and unearths information that most people would scoff at, but she knows that incredibly, it is all true. 
“It was extremely odd, but then again, I attracted odd the way flowers attracted bees.”
I found Meghan’s character strong and relatable. She wants answers about her life, but is not sure what to believe. Even when Cade shows up with some possible theories, she still searches on her own; not believing whatever she hears because it is told to her by a hot guy. She doesn’t always make the best decisions, but she does everything with pure intentions.
“The upside: it meant that I wasn’t crazy. The downside: it meant I wasn’t human.”
I found Cade to be infuriating. He constantly went missing for weeks on end and he only gave half answers at best. I was never quite sure if he is trustworthy, but I couldn’t help but want him to be the hero Meghan thought he was. I understand why Meghan found him intriguing, but I did not like the way she turned into a shell when he was not around. We have seen that from characters before; I call it the Bella Swan syndrome. I will forgive her though because her life was in turmoil and none of what was happening around her was of her choosing.
“He could be lying. He could be insane. He could be some sadistic creep who planned to murder me and save my fingernails as trophies.”
The use of Celtic mythology is refreshing. I have read many books about the Fae and various pagan belief systems and this book was completely different from anything else. Ms. Johnson uses her knowledge to weave a beautiful story of love, friendship, and legend. Only once before had I ever heard of the Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war. The atmosphere that the author created was eerie and haunting and the creatures were truly disturbing. The ending left me breathless; book two, Dolmarehn can’t be released soon enough!
“Real fear gripped me then, not just at this terrifying being’s words, but at the fact that she seemed to grow larger in size, the darkness she so claimed as her own spreading out from her like a black mist to dance and mingle and curl along the ground and in the trees surrounding us.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Excellent read! I recommend this book to all YA Fantasy lovers!

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.

Where to Buy:

*****Interview & Author Spotlight*****

Breathe In BooKs would like thank Jenna Elizabeth Johnson the author of Faelorehn for the opportunity to ask her a few questions about herself and her book.

About the Author: Jenna Elizabeth Johnson grew up and still resides on the Central Coast of California, a place she finds as magical and enchanting as the worlds she creates.
Miss Johnson received a BA in Art Practice with a minor in Celtic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. It was during her time in college that she decided to begin her first novel, 'The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding'. Reading such works as Beowulf, The Mabinogi and The Second Battle of Maige Tuired in her Scandinavian and Celtic Studies courses finally inspired her to start writing down her own tales of adventure and fantasy.Miss Johnson also enjoys creating the many images and maps for her various worlds. Besides writing and drawing, she is often found reading, gardening, camping, hiking and bird watching.

How did you come up with the title?
Ooooh, good question.  I guess I came up with the title the way I come up with most of the titles for my books: I just start splicing words together and saying them either in my head or out loud.  I wanted the word ‘fae’ to be part of it because most people associate the fae with Irish myth, but I wanted it also to be something different, something unique.  How I came up with the ‘lorehn’ part, I can’t say for sure.  I just tagged ‘fae’ onto a bunch of sounds and that one sounded the best to me.

What made you choose Celtic Studies at Berkeley?
Now that is a good question, because I discovered the Celtic Studies program completely on accident.  Towards the end of my college career I found out about one of those job fair, class option seminars and decided to go check it out.  As I was wandering around the auditorium, I happened upon the Celtic Studies table.  I had always been interested in Ireland and Scotland (I was a shot putter in high school and college, a Scottish event, and I have some Irish and Scottish ancestry).  I picked up a brochure and did some research and signed up for a few classes.  After that, I was hooked.   I spent the final years of college taking as many Celtic and Norse mythology classes that I could.  I can’t say exactly what it was that intrigued me so, but I loved the lore and the fact that not too many people knew about Celtic myth.  Perhaps I felt like I was learning about something extremely rare and sacred; doing my part to keep an ancient culture alive.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
Faelorehn borrows heavily from Celtic myth. The ancient Celts did believe in the existence of an otherworld and like Fergus (Cade’s spirit guide wolfhound), otherworldly animals were often described as being white with red ears. I just took it to another level by turning them into spirit guides (kind of like a familiar or a pet that is like a body guard) for this series.
The setting for the story itself takes place in the town where I grew up. All of the town and city names are correct. The only things I changed were street names, store names and the name of the high school of course.
Although the idea of Faelorehn had been floating around in the back of my mind for quite some time, what really finally got me to sit down and write it was Amanda Hocking’s Switched. After reading Switched and learning that Ms. Hocking had cleverly utilized the concept of changelings (which I learned about in some of my Norse and Celtic classes), I told myself that I should also write a story and use what I had learned about Celtic myth as the premise.

Who is your ideal reading audience and why should they read your book?
My ideal reading audience is pre-teen to young adult and anyone who likes YA, paranormal romance/urban fantasy.  Although I think my book will appeal more to girls, guys are more than welcome to give it a shot ;).
Why should you read Faelorehn?  Well, for a few reasons.  It has a lot in common with many other paranormal books out there, but instead of focusing on werewolves, vampires and the fae, Faelorehn is taken from a more grounded, yet not as well-known, mythology.  I am taking ‘real’ Celtic mythological figures and weaving them into our world, and by doing so I hope to introduce readers to an entirely new world.  I’m not saying I’m the only author that does this, but I hope that this difference will help make Faelorehn stand out among all the others.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
When it comes to independent authors and books, readers are invaluable.  Most of us indie authors do not have the financial means to launch a mass marketing scheme to get the word out about our books, so when you read an independent book and you enjoy it, please let others know about it.  You can simply tell your friends about the book, you can say something on Facebook, you can write a review and post it wherever book reviews are read (Goodreads,,, etc.).  Think of it this way: the reader is our marketing plan in a lot of situations.  So, if you are a reader and you read an indie book that you really like, please tell everyone you can about it in any way that you can.

What can we expect from you in the future?
Loads of stuff. I actually have three other books out in a separate series from the Otherworld Trilogy. The Finding, The Beginning and The Awakening are part of the planned five book Oescienne series. They are aimed more towards the middle grade crowd and are quite a bit longer than Faelorehn and stick to a more traditional fantasy storyline. I hope to be working on the fourth book of that series alongside the third Otherworld book this summer and into fall. Other than that, I’ve got many more fantasy based novels on the back burner, some further along than others, some just a sentence or two of ideas. I also plan on writing more books about at least three of the minor characters from the Otherworld books, so stay tuned!

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
Other than writing in the fantasy genre? Yes, I have quite a few unique hobbies . . . I enjoy baking cakes and decorating them with real flowers, I insist on making my own Halloween costumes, I have made my own longbow and practice archery every now and again, and on Sunday mornings, my friends and I practice medieval long sword combat. I think that’s all . . . Oh! And I hope to start beekeeping in the near future (bees, a very important creature to the Celts ;)).

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Yes, thank you so much, Krista, for not only giving Faelorehn a chance, but for giving me an opportunity to talk a little bit about my writing and my experience as an author.  I hope you discover many more good reads in the future ;).

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
Here’s a snippet from a scene that takes place about a third of the way into the book:
“Meghan, I’m afraid we’ve met under unsavory circumstances.”
He glanced down at me with those dark eyes.  “Our first meeting wasn’t supposed to go this way.  Those hounds,” he paused and grimaced, “let’s just say it was my job to take care of them earlier, and they slipped past me.”
I blinked, feeling myself return to my previous stupor.  What was he talking about?  He knew about those horrible dogs?  It was his job to take care of them?  What did that mean?  And most importantly, how did he know my name?
I felt ill, as if I were going to throw up.  I tried to stand, letting the trench coat slip off of me.  All of a sudden it felt like a net meant to trap me like a bird.
**Want more? Click here to read the entire first chapter!

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Breathe In BooKs is giving away 3 digital downloads of Faelorehn. Enter the giveaway below and come back everyday for more chances! Note- the downloads will be gifted from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Good Luck!

----This giveaway has ended and the winners have been contacted.----

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Poison Princess

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's book that I am eagerly anticipating is...

Poison Princess
(The Arcana Chronicles, #1)
by Kresley Cole
Expected Publication: October 2, 2012
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Sixteen-year-old Evie Greene thought her horrific apocalyptic hallucinations were a sign that she was slowly losing her mind. But when her visions come true, decimating the world around her and killing everyone she loves, Evie is forced to accept that she was seeing the future.
Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she turns to wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate, the gorgeous and dangerous Jackson Deveaux for help. As Jackson and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have got the same call and discover that Evie is not the only one with special powers. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and as the battle between good and evil intensifies, it is not always clear who is on which side… -from Goodreads
What the author has to say:"I couldn't get this idea out of my head, kept imagining what would happen if the 22 Major Arcana cards of a Tarot deck—like the Magician, Death, or the Empress—were real kids. I envisioned them with special abilities based on the characteristics of their Tarot card and plotted out how they would use those powers to battle other cards. I'm delighted to have the chance to develop a new mythology around the Arcana."-- Kresley Cole

What book are you waiting on??

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #25

It is that time of week again! You guessed it -Tell Me Something Tuesday; a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous author of the Heven and Hell series, Cambria Hebert. If you would like to participate, visit her blog and grab next week's question and add your link. This week's question:

Let’s talk TV! What are your favorite shows?

Lately I have been very picky about what I watch. I have a limited amount of free time and I just can't add another show that I have to follow. I have a (very) guilty addiction to a few reality shows: Dance Moms, Jerseylicious, Big Rich Texas...But, I will not move my schedule around for them so I catch them On Demand. On the other hand, I have a few shows that my life revolves around. I am giving you my top five shows that are currently on TV. If I were to give my all-time list Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be #1! I will keep my list to my top 5 current shows for this question.

1. True Blood - I absolutely am addicted to this show. I hate that you only get 10 episodes a year. I have a major crush on Eric Northman and had him as a screen saver on my phone for a while. This last Sunday was the premier of the new season and I was left breathless! One question though, why won't Tara die already?!

2. Game of Thrones - Daenerys Targaryen has got to be one of the best strong female characters I have ever seen. And don't even get me started on the DRAGONS!! The season just ended and now I have to wait a whole year - boo.

3. Pretty Little Liars - Oh teenage drama, how do I love thee? Every episode is exciting and full of angst, sex, lies, and murder. I couldn't ask for more, except maybe...Who the heck is the real A? And how many of them are there?

4. Vampire Diaries - Team Damon! I am so sick of brooding, sensitive vampires and Damon is the cure. There are always new plot twists and turns so it never gets boring. The only downside is that when I miss an episode I have no idea what is happening. So to remedy that, I buy the seasons on DVD and watch them over and over.

5. The Big Bang Theory - Penny, Penny, Penny! My husband and I just found this show. I know it has been on for five seasons now, but we never watched an episode. Now, we speak Sheldonian and have a show we can actually watch together. And if I ask nice enough, I will even get him to sing me Soft Kitty.

And...the show that I am looking forward to that will probably make my husband's eyes roll back into his head is: Bunheads. The first episode that aired last night was promising and since I loved Gilmore Girls and Center Stage it will probably be a favorite soon.

Can you guess what 4/5 of my favorite shows have in common? You guessed it, they were all books first. I read Vampire Diaries when I was in middle school - almost 20 years ago! That just goes to show that good books are timeless and never go out of style. Did any of your picks start out as a book?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Immortal Hearts

Immortal Hearts
Vampire Kisses #9by Ellen Schreiber
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Formats Available: Hardcover, eBook
~260 pages

Athena "Stormy" Sterling is coming to Dullsville, and Raven is both excited and panicked in anticipation of Alexander's little sister's visit. Alexander tells Raven that she and his sister have a lot in common, but can the mini-Raven be everything she hopes for? Alexander calls her Stormy for a reason.
Stormy's visit stirs up the perfect immortal whirlwind. Raven is forced to take a good look at what it would really mean to be a vampire in the Sterling family, aside from some of the things she already loves, like shunning the sun and sleeping in a coffin with Alexander. When Raven compares her life with Stormy's, she can see that it's not all starry skies and black roses. But Raven knows she's always wanted to be a vampire.
Alexander is as romantic and dreamy as ever, and though he keeps showing Raven how much he loves her, will she ultimately be able to convince him that it's the right thing to turn her?
This final chapter of Vampire Kisses' nocturnal romance will keep all mortal and immortal hearts racing. -from

The Cover: I have to say that even though this is a beautiful cover it isn’t how I picture Raven. The last few covers, well actually all the revamped covers, have been so similar and have been following the trend of pale, ethereal girls which I admit I usually fall for. I personally have a fondness for the original covers where you see a Goth girl meandering through a row of headstones or holding a lace parasol, not a girl with half her face cut off.

My Thoughts: I am sad that this is the final novel in the Vampire Kisses series. I picked up the first one on a whim while I was browsing Barnes and Noble. I have always felt a kinship to Raven and have been called macabre myself more times than I can count. I loved the fact that she was an odd duck in the center of a conformist town and refused to change for anyone.
I would label the series as lower young adult, maybe even middle grade. The writing isn’t very mature and the vocabulary is geared towards a younger audience.  There are abundant clichés that are used to describe the vampires: the sexy broody one, the sexy-but-evil one, the Goth one, the pixy-like one etc…

The entire series spans one year’s time in Dullsville. Immortal Hearts begins just before Halloween and everyone is excited about the Haunted House that Jagger has organized for The Crypt. Alexander’s younger sister Stormy is visiting from Romania and Raven wants to make a good impression. I like Stormy, she acts just like a tween and has the mood swings and braces to boot. Actually, she reminds me a lot of my 12 year old cousin. And, gasp, she has a crush on Raven’s younger brother Billy. Stormy even goes as far as choosing a Princess Leia costume to go trick-or-treating in and coincidentally Billy dresses as Luke Skywalker. Yup, really. That aside, Billy is a good kid and Raven finally starts to fully realize what a cool little brother she has.

The focus of Immortal Hearts is, and what has always been in the series, Raven’s dream of being turned into a Vampire. Although in this book now it is no longer good enough to just be a vampire, she wants to be turned by Alexander. The pressure and manipulation tactics she uses to try and sway him were a little much, especially considering that by turning her and performing the Covenant Ceremony he is essentially marrying her. And unlike other (sparkly) vampires we know, Alexander has not been 17 for a hundred years; he really is just a teenager.

The only real conflict is the semi-redundant storyline of Jagger and Luna’s evil plots. This time, their big plan was to get Raven to agree to be turned by Jagger. We get it, they are bad. The only other thing that could have been played up was that Billy was finally beginning to figure out why the Sterlings were different. This could have turned the plot in the story, but it just fizzled. I think I will miss Trevor the most, though. He is the epitome of the boy you love to hate, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him.  Unlike Jagger, he really had feelings for Raven.

While I will not give away the ending, I will say that it could have just been more. Everything seemed to be wrapped up in three pages. Nothing is explained in any great detail and it was really frustrating to read and know that this is it, the end, no more books. I realize I just spent the whole time griping about the book, but I really do love the Vampire Kisses series; I even had tears in my eyes at the end. They are one of my guilty pleasure reads and will probably read them over and over.
Farewell Vampire Kisses, you will be missed.

Favorite Quote: "I'll be seventy and still be wearing miniskirts and combat boots and wanting to be a vampire."
★ ★ ★ ★
 If you like silly, girly books about vampires this series is a must read.

FTC Advisory: I borrowed this book from my local library.

Where to Buy:Amazon

Stalk the Author:Website

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: Dragon Academy

Dragon Academy
by Diane Nelson
Published by: Pfoxmoor Publishing
Publication Date: November 23, 2010
Formats Available: eBook, Paperback ~262 pages

With high school finished for the summer, Nick looks forward to visiting his aunt and uncle in New Jersey. What awaits him is a heat wave like no other - and the last two Greywings on the planet. Nick has an innate ability to train horses but will he be able to translate his amazing skill to these teenage dragons?
The steaming soup of mid-summer heats up tempers and tests resolve as Nick vies with fellow trainers, Keith and Maxie, for mastery over their new charges. The dragons, Nikita and Michael, typical teenagers themselves, have other ideas.
Nick treads a torturous path through a minefield of competing demands: the expectations of his aunt and uncle, recalcitrant horses, the Academy’s female students and the overwhelming egos of Nikita and Michael. One small mistake erupts into a conflagration that hurls everyone into a race against time and forces of nature. -from Goodreads

Cover: At first, I had thought the cover was just a coppery-brown color with a picture of a dragon in the center. On closer examination I realized that it was a forest set ablaze with the dragon flying above the treeline. I would love to see the print cover as opposed to the digital version, as it is not always a true depiction of the cover artist’s work.

My Thoughts: Even though the title suggests that the book is about an academy in which one learns about dragons, that is not really the case. The “Academy” is actually a horse training school run by the husband and wife Dietrich and AnnaLise Von Freund. Only after two of the last Greywing dragons are transported to the school and Nick, Dietrich’s nephew, tries his hand at training the dragons he lovingly named Nikita and Michael, we meet the four other teenagers. This isn’t Hogwarts and there aren’t any classes or real teachers. In fact, the majority of the information given is in regards to horses and how similar dragons are to the equine breed.

The existence of dragons is not explained; they just exist. However, dragons are becoming extinct. When a pod of Greywings is found, the two dragons of breeding age are quarantined for the safety of the breed. The dragons are large, temperamental and since they can breathe fire, dangerous creatures and since they are teenagers, doubly so. Michael, the alpha male dragon, is put in his place multiple times by Nikita in ways he won’t soon forget. Don’t worry, they will grow back! Yes, it is exactly what you are thinking.

The main character Nick is suffering the recent loss of his father and needs something to help keep him afloat. Training the dragons seems to be the only activity that makes him happy. When Nick is punished for participating in a prank gone wrong and kept from the dragons, we see a young man that will do anything to numb his emotions. We do see a slight romance kindling between Maxie and Nick, but it is more about friendship than anything. His real love is the dragons and he develops a unique way of communicating with them.

The book is mainly written from Nick’s POV, but not exclusively. Dietrich’s POV is spotlighted throughout the book and I love that German is spoken. Don’t worry, everything they say is translated. There are a few subplots intertwined that make the POV switch for a chapter or two at a time. My favorite subplot is the adventures of BillyBob and BobbyRay, the men who transport the dragons and later giant Prairie Dogs. The parts of the book that were from the POV of the different government officials seemed to drag the story down. Still, some of the names of government agencies such as “The Department for Small, Useless, and Obnoxious Nocturnal Rodents” and “The Department of Large, Dangerous Animals with Anger Management Issues” were hilarious.

The author Diane Nelson has written in various genres throughout her career. One scene in particular highlights the fact that erotica was one of the genres.
“Nick halted abruptly, his gaze transfixed as Maxie lifted her throat to press an ice cube along its swan-like length. Droplets of water wove lazy patterns, intermingling with, then dodging, groups of freckles, as a shower would moisten a field of miniature red poppies. Nick desperately tried not to follow the rivulets traveling the soft swell of her collarbone until disappearing into the pale yellow spandex tank top.”
Don’t get me wrong, the book is very much written for young adults: no cursing, sexual content, or overt violence is described. Ms. Nelson’s writing style can easily be read by children and adults alike and she packs a good amount of action and adventure into her stories. The themes in the book are generally what you would see in other young adult fiction – lack of self-knowledge, lack of confidence, teen angst, guilt, puppy love, and the importance of family, friends, and someone - be it dragon or otherwise, who knows exactly what you are feeling.

I really enjoyed this book; it was funny and well written. As far as I know, this is a stand-alone book. The ending is complete for the most part. The parasite problem inside the dragons is never solved so there is room for a sequel. Overall, Dragon Academy was a fun and whimsical read. If you like dragons, teen drama, or fantasy in general Dragon Academy should be on your summer reading list.

Favorite Quote: "What part of the fire-breathing, nine-hundred-pound reptiles with wings did they not understand?"
★ ★ ★ ★
I enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend to any lover of dragons and fantasy.

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.

Where to Buy:Amazon

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #24

Today is the first Tuesday in June! It is going to be a hot summer so I'm gonna be grabbing some books and keeping cool. For something fun & new I am introducing Tell Me Something Tuesday; a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous author of the Heven and Hell series, Cambria Hebert. If you would like to participate, visit her blog and grab next week's question and add your link.

What is your list for Must-Read this summer?

I have so many books on my to-read list it would take hours to post them all. So instead, here are the ones I could not live without this summer:
(in no particular order)

Black Dawn (The Morganville Vampires, #12) by Rachel Caine
Insurgent (Divergent, #2) by Veronica Roth
Rapture (Fallen, #4) by Lauren Kate
Thirteen (Women of the Otherworld, #13) by Kelley Armstrong
Dark Frost (Mythos Academy, #3) by Jennifer Estep
Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6) by Rachel Vincent
Most of these books have already been released, but I am hopelessly behind. I am sad that a few of these series are coming to an end. So now you tell me, what books do you want to read this summer? Will you be hiding in the air conditioned indoors or will you be out basking in the sun? 
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