Sunday, September 30, 2012

Coming in October...

October is my favorite month of the year! I love Autumn, the crisp weather, and most importantly: Halloween!! So, to celebrate, there are a few things that will be happening...

The Touching Smoke Scavenger Hunt
Information can be found here (or just find the page tab above)! Come join the fun and win some awesome prizes!

A Week of Heven & Hell
I will be spending a week with one of my favorite authors & friend, Cambria Hebert, the author of the Heven and Hell series. I will be reviewing each book, spotlighting characters, and having giveaway for some truly fantastical prizes! 

October Picks
These will be specifically labeled books, in addition to my regular reviews, that I love and are perfect for the spooky month! 

Something Wicked
On October 31st, I will be participating in the Something Wicked event! I will be reviewing The Diviners by Libba Bray and giving away a copy for one lucky winner!

I am so excited for all of you to come and join me in reveling in the magic of the season and the magic of a good book!




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Last Year Series Tour: Series Review & Giveaway!


Welcome to my stop on The Last Year Series Tour! This tour is brought to you by AToMR Tours. Thank you to Trisha Leigh for providing the books to review. There is also a tour-wide giveaway for some nifty goodies so make sure to enter the Rafflecopter linky below.

**Note: I am providing reviews for each book in the series thus far. Each book builds upon each other so if you have not read the previous book there may be spoilers just in the synopsis. However, I do not include spoilers of each book in my reviews because what fun would that be?
Whispers In Autumn
The Last Year, Book One
by Trisha Leigh
Published July 24, 2012
Format Reviewed: eBook

Synopsis:
In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

My Thoughts:
Althea is an anomaly. She has emotions; she can be happy or sad and can do what the vast majority of humans cannot. She can cry. She also smells like Jasmine, like Summer nights. What makes her different is a secret. She can't tell anyone or even express any feelings other than contentment when she is around people. The Others are always watching. And although Althea hasn't had any reason to fear the Others, she knows that something is wrong. The only thing she has is a necklace with a letter hidden inside that tells her she is different, a Dissident, and to trust no one except for those who are like her, and that she will know them when the time comes.

Althea can also Travel. She can jump from one place to the next, from one season to another, except for Summer. She has awoken in Connecticut with the Morgans, her Autumnal family. Each season Althea has a different family. They do not realize she is gone during the other seasons and when she returns, life continues as normal. When she meets Lucas, a boy she can sense, a boy that smells like Winter, she must decide who is trustworthy and who isn't. Especially when another boy shows up, one that smells like earth but doesn't act like a Dissident should. Althea has to learn to trust herself and muster up strength she didn't know she had to find the answers she so desperately needs.

The aliens in this book are scarier than some because they are able to take over everything so seamlessly and without resistance. How did they come into power? One thing I noticed that was absent was religion. There isn't anything other than the Others and what they say. No deviating thoughts, well, no individual thoughts at all. One thing I don't quite understand is why they have corralled humans away from all other living things? The fact that they can't even cook their own meat, it is brought to them is weird. What purpose does it serve other than being taught to fear? I also think that the name for school is very apropos. School is Cell and the classmates are Cellmates and the teachers are just talking monitors.

Both characters Althea and Lucas are likable and genuine. The world building is creative and believable. I could imagine life being exactly as Trisha designed. I think that is another thing that is unique about this book, that it wasn't some far-out story. The twists and revelations were surprising, but yet had truth to them. Everything in this world is connected in some way and no strings are left untied.

I have to say that this is one of my most favorite dystopian books and I recommend it to everyone! I love everything about Whispers In Autumn. The genre is a mix of dystopian and science fiction and is pure awesome! I immediately fell into the story and could not stop reading until I turned the last page. Even then I had book two on hand so I didn't have to wait long for more!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★





Winter Omens
The Last Year, Book Two
by Trisha Leigh
Expected Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Format Reviewed: eBook ARC

Synopsis:
Althea and Lucas barely escaped the Others’ clutches in the autumn, and were separated in the process. Alone and on the run from the cruel alien race determined to exterminate her, Althea struggles to adapt and survive in a world she never imagined. 


When a boy named Pax appears out of nowhere, he quickly recognizes Althea for what she is – a human/Other hybrid just like him. Althea begs him to help her find Lucas, but Pax refuses, intent on following his own mysterious agenda. 

The Others’ presence continues to devour the planet’s resources, and if history is an indication, they won’t leave until Earth is destroyed beyond repair. Althea and Pax sense the only way to save themselves – and maybe their home – is to understand the powers simmering inside them. 

Together they push the limits of their capabilities in the quiet Wilds, but are soon confronted with a terrifying fact: no place is safe from the relentless pursuit of the Others.

Least of all their own minds.
Winter Omens (The Last Year, #2)

My Thoughts:
Picking up right where Whispers In Autumn left off, Althea is on her own. Cadi has Lucas and he is safe...somewhere. Althea has traveled to Iowa and must get away so that the Others don't find her. She starts trekking to Portland and finds a friends along the way. Pax smells like apples and cinnamon; he is Autumn. Now Althea knows of the four, but where is Lucas and what have the Others done with the real Deshi?

The friendship that develops between Pax and Althea is sweet. She has to examine her feelings for him, but this isn't what I would say is a love triangle. It reminds me more of the friendship between Harry and Hermione; they love each other and rely on one another, but it isn't more even though it may feel like it in the moment. It is also beautiful to see the way they cling to each other after having to hide and never really having friends all their lives. Also, she now has a pet, which is unheard of in this world as the Others have eliminated interaction between animals and humans.

As they travel through the Wilds to Portland, Althea is being targeted mentally by the others. If they can't find her body, they will find her mind. More insights into the world and its inhabitants are revealed and so many things change and just Ahh! I can't even tell you what I am excited about! I think this book is even better than the first, if that is even possible. I can't wait to see what is next and what we may fight out about the other characters. And we still have Spring and Summer to go...

Winter Omens is a touching, insightful, and beautifully written book. I really loved the way the song/Bible verse "To Everything There is a Season/Turn, Turn, Turn" weaves together the events in both books. Everyone should check out this series, not just YA readers or even Sci-Fi/Dystopian fans. This is a book that will get inside you and stay there! The Last Year series is one that I will be adding to my shelves in all forms. Plus, the covers of both books are gorgeous and represent the Seasons well. I think when all the books are finished, all the covers together will create something special.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Favorite Quote: "People don't question the Others. They rule us, maintain a pleasant society, employ us, but they are not us. They are Other." -Whispers In Autumn

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


About the Author:
Website     Twitter     Goodreads     Pinterest     FB(Personal)      FB(TLY Fan)

Trisha is an author of Young Adult fiction from Kansas City, MO. She’s currently writing/revising/cursing her next novel.
Raised by a family of ex-farmers and/or almost rock stars from Southeastern Iowa, Trisha always loved to tell stories. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a degree in Film, she began to search for a way to release the voices in her head. Trisha wrote a thriller and a couple of ghost stories, getting her feet wet and learning with each discarded manuscript. When she attempted her first YA novel, which would become Whispers in Autumn, she was hooked. Trisha knew then her heart lay with telling stories about and for young adults, and for anyone who loves to read and recapture those fleeting “first” moments.
Her spare time is spent reviewing television and movies, spending time with a large, loud, loving family, reading any book that falls into her hands, and being dragged into the fresh air by her dogs Yoda and Jilly.
Like everyone, Trisha’s had some ups and downs, but life is good. She’s writing. She’s happy.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Pantomime & Broken


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

Since I missed last week's WoW, I am going to pick two for today. 
Both novels are from Strange Chemistry Books.

Pantomime
by Laura Lam
Expected Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Published by Strange Chemistry
Paperback, 320 pages
Cover Art by  Tom Bagshaw

Pantomime

R.H. Ragona's Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass -- remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone -- are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It's a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It's a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist's apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Broken

by A.E. Rought
Expected Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Published by Strange Chemistry
Paperback, 416 pages
Cover Art by Steven Wood

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)


Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.

A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's.

The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Pantomime looks like a cross between The Night Circus and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and since I loved both of those books, this should be awesome! Also, I love the cover - anything with masquerade masks catches my eye. Fantasy, magic and secrets - I can't wait!

Broken is a modern spin on Frankenstein. Retelling of classics can be good or can be really bad. I think Broken will be a interesting spin because it is not the exact tale modernized, but something else with a tinge of Mary Shelly's original. I have an ARC from NetGalley for this one and can't wait to get to it!

What do you think? Do one or both of these books look interesting to you? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flight Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt



Flight
The Crescent Chronicles, #1
by Alyssa Rose Ivy
Published on August 16, 2012
Genre: Mature YA, New Adult Paranormal Romance
Format Reviewed: eBook ARC ~55,000 words

Synopsis:
Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles, #1)


My Thoughts:
Allie has just graduated from high school and is staying in New Orleans working at her father's new hotel for the summer before she is off to Princeton in the fall. And this summer was going to be different. She has sworn off men after a disastrous breakup and just wants to have some fun with her friend Jess. However, after meeting the incredibly sexy Levi and his friends, Allie has to decide if that is what she really wants.  Allie was staying strong and resisting Levi's charms until one night of partying that went too far that made Jess go back home. Levi has worked his way into Allie's life and when he shares a secret with her, Allie can't control her feelings anymore and she is now part of a reality she had no idea existed. 

I wanted to hate Levi, I really did. I wanted Allie to stay strong and resist him...and then, I didn't. Levi is a mysterious, arrogant and seriously hot guy and he knows it, which just makes him just that much more infuriating. I love how Allie is able to catch him off guard and match his over the top come-on's with an ice-cold nonchalance. They are a great match for each other because they keep each other on their toes and challenge one another. I also like that there is no insta-love, lust yes, but not love or even like. Allie learns to tolerate Levi and their feelings grow from there. Allie makes Levi work for her trust and this is something I wish I saw more of from all my favorite female characters.

The trickling of information brought in throughout the story flows in a way that makes it so you can't put it down. There are big revelations at key points, but nothing is ever given away completely. I kept thinking I knew what was going on, that I had it figured out, but nope, I was wrong. I am not going to give away any secrets, but the supernatural elements were cool. I love the idea of a secret society run by supernaturals and the hierarchy is enlightening. I also like that there are creepy elements and that not everything or everyone is what they seem; evil exists in both worlds.

I can't express in words how much I loved this book! Alyssa Rose Ivy has created a story wrought with romance, suspense, secrets, and possibilities. Flight is unique and captivating and has made Alyssa one of my favorite authors! I can't wait for Focus, book two in The Crescent Chronicles to be released. I can't believe we have to wait until 2013!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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

***Excerpt***:
Closing my eyes, I tried to block it all out. Convinced I was about to die, I was only partly aware of his arms around me.

“You said you wanted an adventure,” he said quietly, teasingly, as he tightened his hold.

My stomach dropped out as an intense and complete feeling of weightlessness engulfed me. The wind stung my face as memories flooded my mind. I thought of my parents, of all the things I wanted to tell them but never did, my friends from home, and the experiences I longed for. Quickly my thoughts changed to more recent memories, to Levi.

“Open your eyes,” he whispered, somehow knowing my eyes were clenched shut.

Against my better judgment, I listened. The scream died in my throat as we hurtled toward the water that had seemed so beautiful from the roof above.

About the Author:
Alyssa Rose Ivy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write.







Saturday, September 22, 2012

Of Blood and Bone Release Week!



Of Blood and Bone
(The Minaldi Legacy, #1)

As a little boy, Luca Minaldi was told he was a monster.As an adult, he knows it is true.He lives in Malta, a fairytale-like place filled with sunshine and sea, beauty and secrets. And Luca’s darkest of secrets is the best kept of them all.Eva Talbot arrives in Malta for the summer to finish up her doctoral dissertation. When she meets Luca, a mysterious and handsome shipping tycoon, there is an instant attraction, a disturbing and beautiful energy that she has never felt before. But she senses the darkness that lives within him. Eva is hired to care for his mother, who suffers from dementia, but it is Luca who Eva will eventually risk everything to save. Her life becomes a swirling chaos of darkness and romance, of secrets and mystery. And the question that emerges will become the most important answer of all.Can she save Luca from the darkness that plagues him without losing herself?The answer is a matter of life or death.

Of Blood and Bone (The Minaldi Legacy, #1)






Prologue (In its entirety!)

Luca is gone. 
I know it before I open my eyes.  The weight of his body next to me is absent, the scent of him gone from the air.  I sigh, reluctant to begin this day because I know what it holds for me.  I know that if Luca is truly gone, I will spend every hour frantically searching for him.
Gazing around, I find my large suite empty.  Everything is neat and tidy and exactly in place. Each lavish piece of furniture is polished with lemon oil, each extravagant painting on the wall carefully dusted.  Each expensive vase, each crystal lamp, each woven rug is perfectly aligned and exactly how I left it.  Something is different, though, somehow changed in this room that I fell asleep in last night.
My sleepy eyes do another quick sweep, and this time I notice the balcony doors standing wide open while the bright morning sun streams onto the mahogany floor and the white sheer curtains on either side flutter in the sea breeze. 
This is the difference and it slams into me like a concrete wall.  I didn’t fall asleep with those doors open. I would never do that now, not since I know what dangers lurk in the world, the darkness that can find me.
Immediately after I notice this inconsistency, I also see that across the room, my bedroom door is tightly closed and the bolt is still slid firmly in place.
Just as I left it last night.
My heart stutters as I realize what this means. 
While I slept, Luca must have climbed from my balcony ledge to escape.  But the drop is well over thirty feet and there are sharp rocks at the base of the house.  There are gardens directly behind, but beyond that, there is a cliff with a hundred foot drop to the sea below.  
I leap naked from bed and rush to the balcony’s edge.  My bare breasts press against the cold railing as I peer down at both the gardens and what I can see of the pristine sand beyond that.  Luca is not lying broken and bleeding there, so I try to still my racing heart.  I search the beaches and craggy landscape on both sides of my periphery and I still do not see him.
He somehow survived the fall.
A hundred different things run through my mind, but the one that stands out in the forefront is the image, the possibility, that he managed to drag himself, broken and bleeding, to a different location, somewhere where he is even now waiting for me to help him. 
Because I promised. 
I promised him that I would help him, that I would keep him from the darkness that plagues him, that I would heal him. 
That I would save him.
I swallow hard and as I do, I realize that my throat is tender from Luca’s hands last night. I know that if I look into a mirror, there will be a bruise in the perfect formation of his long fingers around my neck. 
As I softly touch it, I remember his face from the night before.  It was shadowed in the moonlight and like always, he was beautiful.  Luca is handsome in a very classic and beautiful way, dark hair and cut cheekbones.  His bangs are long and almost hide his magnificent dark eyes until he shakes his hair away.  And when he does, the sadness that dwells there is apparent to anyone who knows him.
But last night, I didn’t need to look into his eyes to see that his darkness had returned.  I knew it from the moment he stepped into my room.
I can always see it.  It changes everything about him, even the way he walks and moves.  The way he stands.  The way he speaks.  The way he feels. 
He is an entirely different person when the darkness comes. 
These are the moments that he dreads with every breath when he is himself; the moments when he is no longer Luca.  In these moments, he is filled with thoughts that are no longer his own. 
He cannot help it, he cannot control it, he cannot stop it.
But I promised him that I would.
And I have failed him.
I scramble to my wardrobe and pull on clothing, choosing a shirt with a collar, hoping to somewhat hide the bruise on my neck.  The only other people here at Chessarae are servants, except for Luca’s mother in her lonely wing.  But she is locked in so she never comes into the main part of the house.  No one will see me but the staff.  And they are used to seeing strange things.
I rush through the house, through the extravagant corridors and over the marble floors, the rich and polished surroundings that I would never have dreamed I would find myself in.  I don’t notice it now though.  It has faded into an insignificant corner of my mind.  All that matters now is Luca.
 I make my way out the back of the house, through the gardens, through the English maze that is perfectly manicured and challenging to maneuver.  I manage it with ease, however.  I memorized its twists and turns on a happier day.
The weather is stormy today and the normally cheerful and bright Maltese sky is gray and thunderous. I can feel the electricity in the air, snapping the ends of my long hair with static.  This day looks as foreboding as I feel, which I hope is not a sign.
I search through the maze.  I search the beaches as my feet sink into the cool sand.  I search the gardens with their exotic and sweet-smelling blooms and then I search the garage.  His car, a shiny black Jaguar, is still in its slot and its hood is cool to the touch.  Luca has not driven it today.  I search the front lawns and the back.  And just when I begin to panic, to fear that he has not returned to Chessarae after all, I search the stables.
As I walk through the heavy wooden doors, the smells of the horses and the hay and the saddle-soap and leather assail my nose and I breathe them in.  I’ve always loved this place.  It is peaceful here.  And I suddenly know, because I can feel it, that Luca is here. 
I walk quietly down the main corridor, staring into each stall as I pass.
And finally, finally, when I come to the very last stall on the left, Luca is there and my breath hitches in my chest, freezing on my lips.
Luca is slumped on the ground, in the corner, his expression desolate. He is beautiful even here, even in this condition, and I cannot help but stare down at him as tears fill my eyes.   
He is dirty and his clothing is torn.  There are smears of blood on his shirt, dried now to a rusty dark brown.  I swallow hard, trying not to imagine where the blood has come from. 
Luca’s face is tortured as he stares up at me, his head in his hands.  There is blood on his fingers. 
“It happened again.”
His words are low and husky and rough, yet elegant at the same time.  He is always refined, always perfect, always Luca. 
His self-loathe is apparent and it breaks my heart. 
I nod mutely because there are no words for this moment.  I bend to help him to his feet.  At 6’3”, he towers above me.  He is slender and strong and masculine.  He is lithe and powerful, beautiful and graceful.
And sometimes, on his very darkest days, he is a depraved killer.


But I have gotten ahead of myself.  I should begin at the beginning.  If I don’t, you will never understand.  



About Courtney Cole
website | twitter | facebook | facebook fan page 
Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could.
She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. Every Last Kiss is her debut novel and she followed it with the rest of The Bloodstone Saga (Every Last Kiss, Fated, With My Last Breath and My Tattered Bonds).Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.



Dancing with Death Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway!


Again, thank you to A Tale of Many Reviews for the opportunity to be a part of the Dancing with Death Tour. Also a big thank you to Andrea Heltsley for stopping by and for providing the book to read and review. Make sure to check out the Linky below to see the other stops on this tour. 

Dancing with Death
(A Dancing Book #1)
by Andrea Heltsley
Published: August 10, 2012
Format Reviewed: ARC eBook

Synopsis:
Murders have plagued the woods in the past, making them a place of fear. Eighteen year old Wendy and her friends become worried when a new string of murders come to their high school. After a horrible car accident, Wendy returns to school, going from wallflower to popular overnight. As the murderer edges closer to Wendy she realizes things are changing. She is afflicted with nightmares that are all too real and she herself is undergoing unnatural changes. Learning the truth about her past, could be the key to saving her future.
Dancing with Death


My Thoughts:
"Run Wendy. Run as fast as you can. Death is coming and he is coming for you."
Wendy, a regular high school girl, is in a terrible car accident. If not for the mysterious stranger that rescued her - and her new boots - from the car, she would be a goner. But should she have died? After being plagued by nightmares and receiving cryptic messages from someone - or something - Wendy starts to think so. Not to mention that there is a murderer on the loose who just might have his sights on her. Wendy has to figure out what is going on and fast. 

This is the third book that I have read by author Andrea Heltsley and I have to say she has a great imagination! When I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I had to read it. While this is not my favorite novel from her, there are some things I really like about Ms. Heltsley's writing. For example, there is constant theme in all her books of the strength of friendship how every main character has a BFF sidekick that never waivers from their side. Also, all of her characters are strong females and use their individuality to their advantage.

In general, I am getting a little wary of the love triangle aspect in all of YA fiction. In Dancing with Death, the triangle is between a new kid that Wendy is immediately drawn to and the hot new school librarian. And even though Wendy is 18, I felt uneasy about the latter match - too student/teacher. But, I can't deny that the scenes between Wendy and her men weren't steamy. Some other things that I did not like was that the dialogue was forced in some places, and the characters, while fun, didn't have much depth. They were stereotypical teenagers and the girls spent a lot of time thinking and talking about what to wear. 

What I love about Dancing with Death is the paranormal twists and the mystery woven throughout the book. Who is the murderer? Why do they want Wendy dead? And what about her dreams, what do they mean? And the revealing of Wendy's family's secret history is a surprise and I am looking forward to seeing how that is expanded upon in the next book. Overall, I would say that this is a good start to a new series and those who like YA/Upper YA Paranormal Romance should add it to their shelves. 

★ ★ ★ ★

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


Author Andrea Heltsley

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nerve Blog Tour & Giveaway!


Thank you  to A Tale of Many Reviews for the opportunity to be a part of the Nerve Tour. Also, a big thanks you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing the ARC for review. Make sure to check out the Linky below to see the other stops on this tour.
Nerve
by Jeanne Ryan
Publication Date: September 13, 2012
Published by Dial Books (Penguin)
Formats: eBook, Hardcover ~304 pages

Synopsis:
A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Debut author Jeanne Ryan delivers an un-putdownable suspense thriller.


Nerve

Author Link          Amazon           Barnes and Noble 

My Thoughts: 
Vee is your average girl. She isn't the star of the school play, she doesn't have a hot boyfriend, or have much of a life since her parents grounded her for the "incident". One night after finishing her back stage gig with the school musical, she decides she no longer wants to be the girl on the sidelines and participates in a dare...

Nerve. A game. A reality show. A way for Vee to do something more. To be a part of Nerve, all you have to do is participate in a dare on a live streaming video feed. If said dare is popular with the online crowd a new dare is given. The prizes run from cash to trips to gorgeous shoes - pretty much anything you want that you can't have. Each round the dares get more and more difficult. If you want to watch the games, be a watcher, either in person or online, you have to pay for it. 

As Jeanne Ryan's debut novel, Nerve will be a hit with gamers and Hunger Games fans alike. However, the idea of doing anything for a few things was hard to believe. Vee is sucked into round #2 by shoes and the next by more things - all of which were on her social media site. Some of Vee's choices were also questionable. I understand her need to do something and get out of her regular existence, she just gets into the game deeper and deeper. With her partner who is turning into a friend and maybe something more, Vee is thrust into a place where she will have to ask herself where is the line she won't cross?

Nerve is a fast-paced, frantic ride that takes you into a new world - one where nothing you do is ever private and someone is always watching. Kudos to Ms. Ryan for creating a creepy, suspenseful story. Definitely give this book a chance; your adrenaline will be pumping right along with Vee's! I have high hopes to see this on the big screen! 

★ ★ ★ ★ ½

FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made. Please note that this was an ARC and things may have changed in final edition.




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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dreamwalker Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway!!


Thank you A Tale of Many Reviews for the opportunity to be a part of the Dreamwalker Tour. Also a big thank you to Andrea Heltsley for stopping by and for providing the book to read and review. Make sure to check out the Linky below to see the other stops on this tour.

Dreamwalker
Persephone's League of Immortals, #1
by Andrea Heltsley
Published May 23, 2012
Formats Available: Paperback, eBook ~434 pages

Synopsis:
Noel Kennedy lost her boyfriend, her job and her dignity all in one week. Then something happened and she began to dream of this stranger she had never met. She couldn’t resist the man of her dreams named Jared especially when she met him in real life. Entranced, she slowly unraveled a world she was meant to stay out of. Her life was not what she thought it was once a sexy Boone stepped into the mix and shook things up. Can she escape a life of servitude or immortality for a chance at love?

Dreamwalker (Persephone's League of Immortals)

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      CreateSpace 

My Thoughts:
First, let me say how gorgeous this cover is! I have a love affair with all of Andrea's books. The cover makes me swoon; it sparkles and is ethereal and I just want to pet it. Another beautiful creation by PhatPuppy. 

After having read another book by Andrea Heltsley, I was hesitant going into Dreamwalker. Boy were my fears unfounded! While I couldn't get into the last book, I was instantly sucked into Noel's story. Just within the first chapter Noel's heart is broken and I felt every bit of her hurt. Noel is told by her boyfriend - of three years - that she just isn't the one for him. He wants someone more adventurous and she just doesn't cut it. Understandably, Noel spirals into a deep depression, even ditching work. One night Noel starts having these really crazy, vivid dreams. A sexy man who is the epitome of her dream man. She even thinks that she sees the man in her dreams on the street, but when she looks again, he is gone but a coin is left in his place. That coin turns out to be a magical item of protection. One that Noel needs, but why?

Then, while Noel and Autumn were out blowing off steam, Noel meets him, Jared, the man from her dreams. But then he disappears. Then a new totally sexy man, Boone, (Jared's partner) shows up and asks Noel if she knew where Jared went. After that the plot really starts to unfold. Not to mention a love triangle, that will have you choosing teams! Noel is part of something bigger and more important than she could have ever imagined. And her dreams? Not really dreams, but real events. She is a Dreamwalker and can enter into people's dreams. A whole new world is opened up and supernatural creatures are everywhere and they are out to get her because Persephone wants her for her Dreamwalking abilities. 

Noel is not who she thought she was either. Not only is she a Dreamwalker, but she has a life that doesn't remember because her memories were wiped by a witch (who is someone she knows) when she was just a girl. She also has a sister that she hasn't seen in years and is reunited with. Along with some rogue agents from Persephone, Noel, her sister and the witch work together to win their freedom from the underworld and from becoming a slave to Persephone herself. Wow! There is so much going on in this book and I could not put it down until I knew what was going on!

There were a few quirks that could have been fixed; grammar issues, POV changes were not clear, and dialogue was lacking. Another problem is that characters are not fully fleshed out, but they were so much better than the first book I read by the author. Despite the cons, I still felt that Andrea created a very imaginative twist on the Persephone myth. Where most of them are focused on Persephone's plight, in Dreamwalker we see the Queen of Hell that she really is. I loved that there were so many types of supes used in the story: witches, fae, goblins, greek mythological creatures and so many more. I can't wait for more! I really found the imagery, especially that of the underworld, breathtaking. 


★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I am totally Team Boone!!


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



About the Author:

I am a biology nerd who decided it was more fun writing than dissecting. I have written two novels and my third will be out this summer. I live on coffee and read like a robot. My husband and two italian greyhounds usually have to tear me away from the computer...imagine that. :)


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"Waiting On" Wednesday: Deadly Little Lessons


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

Deadly Little Lessons
(Touch, #5)
by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Expected Publication Date: December 12, 2012
Published by Hyperion

Deadly Little Lessons (Touch, #5)

Camelia Hammond's trying junior year of high school is finally over...but her troubles aren't. After she discovers a painful truth about her family, she escapes to a summer arts program in Rhode Island. Determined to put family - and boyfriend - drama behind her, she throws herself into her artwork.

At the arts school, she gets caught up in the case of Sasha Beckerman, a local girl who is missing. Even though all signs suggest that the teen ran away, Camelia senses otherwise. Eager to help the girl, she launches her own investigation. She finds a blog by someone named Neal Moche, a psychometric who might have clues to Sasha's whereabouts. There is something familiar about Neal, and Camelia realizes how much she misses Ben, despite being committed to Adam.

But time is running out for Sasha, and Camelia will have to trust her powers if she's to save her. Will the lessons Camelia has learned in the past give her the strength to do so?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I really enjoy all of the books by author Laurie Faria Stolarz. She has the Blue is for Nightmares series, the Touch series and two stand-alone novels: Bleed and Project 17. She is also a collaborator in the Amanda Project and has quite a few shorts published in different anthologies. 
As for the Touch series, I am sad to see that this will probably be the last book. I hope things are finally wrapped up and we find out what is really going on. There are always little answers in each book, but I want it all! They are super quick reads - I read all four in two evenings. I love that they are teen dramas that are suspenseful and creepy. There is a similar vibe to Pretty Little Liars, but there is so much more depth to them. I will admit I had to keep my side lamp on instead of reading with my little reading light. In fact, I have to do this with most of her books...

What are you waiting on this week? Have you read the Touch series or anything else by Laurie Faria Stolarz?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #38


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:

  It’s already September! What book releases are you looking forward to this fall?

I truly have no idea where to start with this question. So I will give you my top 12 because it could get a bit ridiculous if I put everything I am looking forward to this Fall. So here they are:

Breathe In BooKs' Top Twelve Books for Fall:
  1. The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) by Libba Bray
  2. Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1) by Gena Showalter
  3. The Hidden (House of Night, #10) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
  4. The Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole
  5. Bitter Blood (The Morganville Vampires, #13) by Rachel Caine
  6. The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2) by Michelle Hodkin
  7. Finale (Hush, Hush, #4) by Becca Fitzpatrick
  8. Deadly Little Lessons (Touch, #5) by Laurie Faria Stolarz
  9. Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2) by Laini Taylor
  10. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
  11. Tirade (Heven and Hell, #3) by Cambria Hebert
  12. 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues
I have more that I am looking forward to but this list will have to suffice. If you want to see more, look at my past "Waiting On" Wednesday posts. The will give more to add to the pile. Also, I have some ARCs that I did not list because I technically have them and don't have to wait for them, but I do have to have to find the  time to read them. Quandry. I think I need to borrow Hermione's Time-Turner. I probably won't have enough time to read but only a few of them before the New Year, but I will get to them all eventually.

What about you? Tell me what you have in store for Fall reading?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blog Tour- The Milk Carton People: The Journey by Sally Franklin Christie



Thank you to Holly at FMB Tours for the opportunity to participate in this tour. Also, thank you to the author, Sally Franklin Christie, for providing review copies and for making Breathe In BooKs one of her stops! I am on the schedule to do a review/excerpt, but am unable to write a review at this time. I will post my review sometime after the tour is over. Thank you for your understanding.


Milk Carton People: The Journey
by Sally Franklin Christie

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Publication Date: March 7, 2012
Publisher: Eternal Press
Paperback/Ebook
Pages: 132

Synopsis:
Milk Carton People is a paranormal thriller about people who suddenly find themselves invisible, able to observe things but unable to participate. Do they go mad? Maybe they find others. It is quite possible that there is no point in being invisible.

This is a book that plays on the very thin line of sanity and pure despair. The characters act and react to the new challenges and the reader gets to go along for the ride.

Excerpt:
I’m going to wake up, now, and go about my day with my cup
of coffee. By the time I get to work, the whole thing will disappear
like all dreams. I won’t even remember it.

She turned away from the little tree and took a few steps down
the sidewalk. She intended to turn back toward the book store
again, to somehow retake control of her destiny. As if turning
back would give everyone one more chance to tell her it was all in
fun and she was such a good sport.

Just then, a woman in an electric blue colored coat, walked
right into her.

“Excuse, me,” Ruth began and stopped speechless. For one
long, drawn out, slow motion, nightmare second, her vision was
obscured by a brownish red filter which blurred everything before
her. She felt hot, sticky, and confined. A cloying odor of spoiled
hamburger made her gasp for clean air. She tasted copper pennies
in her mouth. At the same time Ruth heard a gurgling noise and
a squeak and as the whole event suddenly ended she heard a plop
like pudding falling from a spoon back into the bowl.

A sudden cold sweat competed with stomach acid lurching
into her throat. Ruth swallowed it back and turned to watch as
the woman in electric blue continued walking down the sidewalk
without breaking stride. Ruth watched the woman in the electric
blue coat disappear around the corner.

“No,” Ruth said aloud with authority. “No,” she repeated
louder, hoping make it all go away. “This did not happen.”

She walked to the nearest building and stood close to the cold
bricks in the shadows.

I have to go home.


Book Trailer:


About the Author:
Eternal Press Staff Member
Biography
Marketing Manager

Sally Franklin Christie has spent her life achieving incredibly average goals. Her challenges and choices have led to into the world of organizing for social change, civil rights and helping people navigate in a world filled with physical barriers and discrimination. She photographs and paints landscapes, when she isn’t at the computer researching, networking and writing. Special interests include Missing Children and Adults, Astronomy, Character Traits and Criminal Thinking.

A home schooling mother of children born eleven years apart has added to her liberal arts education. She's had plenty of time to practice and refine the art and craft of writing coupled with opportunities to learn the marketing aspects of writing. She interned for a spell at WOW-Womenonwriting.com and currently has a position as a moderator at The Writers Chatroom. Various published articles appear in places like Pangia Magazine, Creations Magazine and other almost forgotton places. She writes one novel a year as a NaNoWriMo Participant and keeps a more serious project simmering year round. 

Website | E-mail Address: sally@sallyfranklinchristie.com | Twitter: SallyChristie | Facebook


Click on the FMB button below to see the entire tour schedule.
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