Monday, April 30, 2012

Countdown to City of Lost Souls {8 Days Snippet}

In the final countdown to the release of ‘City of Lost Souls,’ Cassandra Clare has promised to share a snippet every day leading up to the May 8th release.

Alec followed the line of Magnus’ gesture and saw a small silver box perched on the opposite side of the big wooden table. He reached over and picked it up. It was like a miniature metal chest set on small feet, with a curved top and the initials WS picked out in diamonds across the top.

W, he thought. Will?

Cover Ogle (#16): The Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene Stockman

The Jelly Bean Crisis
by Jolene Stockman
Expected publication: August 1st 2012 
A total meltdown. The whole school watching. Now Poppy’s an ex-straight-A with no Plan B.

When Poppy Johnson throws away a full scholarship to Columbia, she can only blame the jelly beans. The yucky green ones? Midnight cram sessions and Saturday’s spent studying. The delicious red? The family legacy: Columbia, and a future in finance. Except now it’s starting to look like Poppy’s jelly bean theory is wrong. School has been her life until, but maybe it’s time to start living now.

Poppy has thirty days to try a new life. No school, no studying. Just jumping into every possible world. Thirty days to find her passion, her path, and maybe even love. The Jelly Bean Crisis is officially on.

I LOVE this cover! It's kind of whimsical and reminds my of the Sound of Music for some reason (the umbrella?).

Challenge Review: Tempted by Elisabeth Naughton

Tempted is the fourth book I've read for the Mythology Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Reading Between the Wines Book Club.

Title: Tempted
Series: Eternal Guardians #3
Author: Elisabeth Naughton
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Immortals, Demons, Deities
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Sourcebooks Inc.
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 411 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-4022-6046-9
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): DEMETRIUS--He's the hulking, brooding warrior even his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it's best to keep everyone at arm's length.

Summary: Isadora is missing. The words pound through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius did all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she's gone--kidnapped. To get her back, he'll have to go to the black place in his soul he's always shunned.

As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.


Tempted is the third book in Elisabeth Naughton's Eternal Guardians series. We get to see behind the masks of Isadora and Demetrius, two of the most complicated characters in this series. Isadora finally comes into her own, and we learn why Demetrius is the way he is.

In Marked, Isadora was a shy princess who was easily pushed around. In Entwined, she realized that is she wants to change her world for the better, she needs to become stronger and grow a backbone. And finally in Tempted, we see Isadora become who she was always meant to be. She has found an inner strength that just shines though. She's not going to let anyone use her--especially not the Council.

I never really liked Isadora until I read Tempted. I don't like weak heroines, and that's exactly what she was until this book. But in Tempted, Isadora becomes stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. She's going to make a great queen.

*Sigh* Demetrius. There is just something about a guy who has that tough, hard exterior, but the soft, caring center, that's irresistible. Like candy with a yummy, gooey center. Demetrius has a really dark past that has left it's scars. He's more than just the typical Argonaut, and the secrets of the past have come back to haunt him. He knows that Isadora is his soul mate and he will do anything to protect her. But before he can give himself completely to Isadora, Demetrius has to overcome the darkness inside himself and step back into the light.

I loved Demetrius from the very beginning of this series. But seeing his strength, his determination, his restraint, and his deep love for Isadora, made me love him even more.

On a side note from the main story, I was pleasantly surprised by Orpheus. His love and concern for both Isadora and his brother, Gryphon, was really touching. And I felt really bad for Nick, Demetrius's brother and the leader of the Misos, by the end of the book. I can't say much because of spoilers, but you'll know what I mean once you read it for yourself.

I loved this books and I can't wait to read Orpheus's story in Enraptured.

About this Author:

A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards including the prestigious RITA® awards by Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, The Golden Leaf and the Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ballpark or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit her at to learn more about her and her books.

Challenge Review: The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Pleasure is the third book I've read for the Mythology Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Reading Between the Wines Book Club.

Title: The Darkest Pleasure  
Series: Lords of the Underworld #3  
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Immortals, Demons, Deities, Angels
Publisher: HQN Books, Harlequin Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 374 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-77524-8
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): He can bear any pain but the thought of losing her...

Summary: Reyes is a man possessed. Bound by the demon of pain, he is forbidden to know pleasure. Yet he craves a mortal woman, Danika Ford, more than breath and will do anything to claim her--even defy the gods.

Danika is on the run. For months she's eluded the Lords of the Underworld, immortal warriors who won't rest until she and her family have been destroyed. But her dreams are haunted by Reyes, the warrior whose searing touch she can't forget. Yet a future together could mean death to all they both hold dear....


In The Darkest Pleasure, unlike in the first two books in the Lords of the Underworld series, we get to read the story from, not only the main characters Danika and Reyes's POV, but also the POVs of Paris, Sabin, and Aeron. Each has their own pain to work through. Some are able to overcome that pain and find happiness and some aren't.

Reyes's demon is Pain. His demon urges him to cause pain. When Reyes came out of his demon haze all those years ago, he discovered that he could satisfy the demon's need for pain by inflicting it upon himself. A life ruled by pain rarely, if ever, offers a chance for pleasure. But when Reyes meets Danika, she enhances his pain but also gives him the greatest pleasure. All Reyes needs to worry about is not whether she'll accept him as who ans what he is, but what will happen to her once she does. Pain has changed all of the women Reyes has ever been with and he doesn't wish that upon Danika.

(SPOILERS) And Danika has her own problems to deal with. It is discovered that she is the All-Seeing Eye, one of the artifacts the Lords are searching for. It runs through her family bloodline, and that is the reason Cronus ordered the death of her and her family. That way no one would be able to use her against him. When Aeron asked her what she sees of the heavens and the underworld, this is how she described it:
"I see great evil and unerring goodness. I see death and life. Darkness and rainbow colors. Demonlike creatures who destroy, screams all around them. Angels who repair the damage, songs of glory humming from their wings."
It's hard to imagine dreaming of these things; whether terrifying or peaceful, it's got to be a huge burden to carry. I can understand why she would work through it by painting what she has seen, to "purge" it from herself.

Another revelation is actually discovered through one of Danika's dream-vision paintings. Galen, keeper of Hope, is leading the Hunters! Who would have thought that Hope was a demon? And it turns out that he's probably the worst demon out of all the Lords. Hope is a demon who purposely raises expectations, only to crush them, leaving nothing but despair in it's wake. And the man is no better. Galen is two-faced and a master of deception. He will easily pretend to be a friend to your face, but once your back is turned he has no problem stabbing it. Where Aeron's demon, Wrath, has black wings; Galen's demon, Hope, has snow-white wings like those of an angel. This helps Galen deceive the Hunters into believing that he's been sent from Heaven to help them rid the world of the Lords, and in turn use the Hunters for his own devices without them even realizing. He was also the one to convince the warriors to go after Pandora's Box in the first place. He is the ultimate cause of all the Lord's torment. To think that the greatest evil in the world is actually Hope. It's mind-boggling.

Lastly, I just wanted to say that Paris's POV was really moving. He's lamenting Sienna's death. He doesn't know whether to blame himself, the Hunters, or the gods, but he wants someone to pay for him losing her. He ultimately chooses to beseech the gods, Cronus to be exact, to bring her back to him. But like all deals with the gods, there's always a catch. Cronus, in the end, makes Paris choose between Sienna and Aeron. If he chooses Sienna, Cronus will give her to Paris just as she was before her death. If he chooses Aeron, Cronus will relieve Aeron of the blood lust curse. I'll leave you to find out who Paris chose, but I'll say that the choice is one that completely tore Paris apart. When I first started the Lords of the Underworld series, I was most intrigued by Lucien and Reyes and was dying to know more about them, but after reading The Darkest Pleasure Paris has become the most intriguing character and I desperately want to know if he'll ever be rid of the torment he went through in this book and find happiness.

About this Author:

Gena Showalter sold her first book at the age of 27 and now, four years later, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirteen books, with eleven more on the way in a thrilling blend of genres: breathtaking paranormal and contemporary romances, cutting edge young adult novels, and stunning urban fantasy.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated in French, Italian and Korean. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kelley Armstrong YA Challenge

Welcome to the Kelley Armstrong YA Challenge hosted by Darlene's Book Nook!

The books in the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong are:

  1. The Summoning (Book #1)
  2. The Awakening (Book #2)
  3. Darkest Powers Bonus Pack: Contains Dangerous (prequel to The Summoning, Book #0.5), Divided (set between The Summoning and The Awakening, Book #1.5), and Disenchanted (overlaps part of The Awakening, told from Tori's point of view, Book #2.5) 
  4. The Reckoning (Book #3)
  5. Belonging (Book #3.5) [you can read it on Armstrong's website HERE]

The books in the sister series, Darkness Rising, by Kelley Armstrong are:

  1. The Gathering (Book #1)
  2. The New Guy: Gathering Bonus Short (Book #0.5) [you can read it on Armstrong's website HERE]
  3. The Invitation: Gathering Bonus Short (Book #1.5) [you can read it on Armstrong's website HERE]
  4. The Calling (Book #2)
  5. The Rising (Book #3) [expected publication 2013]

Please read below for the challenge guidelines:

1. This challenge will run from April 27, 2012 to April 28, 2013. As challenge host, I reserve the right to extend the challenge period if The Rising has not been released before the challenge is supposed to end!

2. You can join the challenge at any time. All books read during the challenge period count for the challenge, regardless of when you sign up.

3. This challenge can cross-over to your other reading challenges.

4. You do not need a blog to participate! If you are not a blogger, you can post your reviews at Goodreads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing and link them up here.

5. All formats of books are acceptable: Bound copies, e-books, and audiobooks (unabridged only). 

6. There are three levels for the challenge:

a. Just A Taste: Read 1-3 Armstrong YA books.
b. Halfway There: Read 4-7 Armstrong YA books.
c. All The Way: Read 8-10 Armstrong YA books.

7. When you write your sign-up post, you must choose your level. You can go up, but you cannot go down!

8. There will be a link-up for your reviews, which will be posted on THIS page.

9. There will be a link for your wrap-up post at the end of the challenge, which will be posted on THIS page. 

10. Create a sign-up post and link back to this post. Sign up with Mister Linky below! Be sure to use the direct url to your sign-up post and not the url to your blog.

11. Grab the challenge button and post it in your sidebar. 

Kelley Armstrong YA Challenge

For this challenge I'm going to go All The Way: Read 8-10 Armstrong YA books. I'll read one Kelley Armstrong YA book a month.
I'll keep track of my progress on the challenge page.

FBF Book Spotlight: Swipe by Evan Angler

by Evan Angler
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Thomas Nelson

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong? 
Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.

5 Signed Copies will be given away on Friday, May 4, 2012!

Click Here to Enter:

What is FBF?

It's simple. Every Friday, Free Book Friday gives away free books!

That's right. Each week, FBF features a new author with an exclusive author interview podcast or written Q&A and host a drawing to win free signed copies of his/her book.

All you have to do to enter to win each week is sign up using the entry form on the left sidebar. Winners are chosen at random and posted on the site every Friday morning. Hence the name, "Free Book Friday!"

Friday, April 27, 2012

Follow Friday (#12): Character That Disappointed You

Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read--a great way to discover new amazing blogs and new friends!

Q: Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then “broke up” with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

Answer: I used to really like Nash from the Soul Screamers series. In the beginning, he was sweet, caring, totally in love with Kaylee and always there when she needed him. Then he got hooked on Demons Breath, and he just became a total jerk. I've been Team Tod ever since that point, 100%!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Photos: Two New Breaking Dawn Part 2 Stills

[Photos: Summit Entertainment]

These new still released by Summit aren't anything to be too excited over, except for the fact that with each passing day November is getting closer and closer. So I'm sure that we'll be seeing even more (exciting) stills for Part II coming out within the next months.

SWOON Thursday (#18): She Speaks to Angels by Ami Blackwelder

Hosted by YA Bound

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog! We want to know :-)

Here's mine:

Kian lost his aggression and shivered as he examined my expression. Strutting over to where I stood alone, he pulled me into his muscular chest. He read me like a book. Took him a second, but then he knew. My eyes always gave me away no matter how much I tried to hide. I shivered in his arms as we delighted in each other’s presence, a presence that must always remain distant.

I licked his neck until my tongue made way to his plump, shivering lips. This big, strong angel-man was shivering. The thought made me shiver more, because I understood exactly why. Everything inside him, everything inside me pushed us together, to share our flesh, to be one.

Soft stubble from his chin skimmed my forehead, and I let my head rest under his chin as my arms caressed his sides. As he stood there like a defrosting icicle, I pushed my hand over his groin and he groaned just before he pushed me away from him.

-She Speaks to Angels SWOON #YABound

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cover Ogle (#15): The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey #5)
by Julie Kagawa
Expected publication: October 23rd 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Set several years after the events of the first, this trilogy will star an older Ethan Chase, Meghan's brother.

I have been anxiously awaiting the reveal for The Lost Prince, and here it is! As always with the Iron Fey covers, this one is just as awesome. But it is a little weird looking at Ethan and thinking about how gorgeous he looks on the cover, especially when I remember him as a little boy in the first Iron Fey books. Does anyone else have that weird feeling? What's really intriguing is the designs on his chest and abdomen. I can't wait to see what this series has in store for us! 

Waiting on Wednesday (#19): Winter's Light by M.J. Hearle

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

This week's eagerly anticipated release is:

Winter's Light (Winter Saga #2)
by M.J. Hearle
Expected publication: May 1st 2012 by Pan Macmillan Australia 
Blake is gone.

He sacrificed himself to save Winter, leaving her alone, unprotected... hunted.

An ancient enemy is rising, but Winter is no longer the innocent girl who was fated to die at Pilgrim's Lament. She will not wait to be saved. She will do what she must to survive, even accept an unsavoury alliance with those who destroyed her love.

In the gathering darkness, the enemy of an enemy is not always a friend, and Winter must find the strength to stand alone and fight for the one she loves. For she is the key to unlocking the secrets beyond the veil of shadows.

And she is Blake's only hope.

#BoutofBooks: Bout of Books 4.0 Read-A-Thon {Sign Up}

The Bout of Books Read-A-Thon is hosted by Amanda @ On a Book Bender!

Standard info:

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, run from 12:01am on Monday, May 14th through 11:59pm Sunday, May 20st in whatever time zone you are in.
  • Bout of Books is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required. Co-hosts are there to facilitate blog hopping and interaction between participants.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

To be officially signed up, you must fill out the form here.

Cover Reveal: Redheads Are Soulless by Heather M. White

I'd like to thank SupaGurl Books for giving me the chance to participate in the cover reveal for Heather M. White's Redheads Are Soulless! It's such a beautiful cover! ♥ ♥ ♥

High School senior, Sofia Black, has had a very hard life. Since her father's death 7 years ago, she has had to look after her drug addicted, alcoholic mother. School isn't any better for her either. The other kids constantly tease, and ridicule her. All she wants is to get out of her small hometown in Alabama.

When new student, Jason, shows up, Sofia's world is turned upside down. She doesn't understand why he wants to befriend her so badly... And, just when she thinks she can trust him, trouble appears.

Jason's twin brother, Robbie, moves into town, and things go haywire. Sofia is now running for her life - and Jason is forced to share hidden secrets with her. She learns the truth about her father's death, and finds out that she may not be as "human" as she once thought. She struggles to accept her fate, while fighting for her life.


Heather M White Blog-  

SupaGurl Books Blog
*Created Cover*

Redheads are Soulless

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (#19): The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: 
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser:

Danika had been cold for so long that the blazing-hot blanket draped over her shocked her out of the death-sleep. Her eyelids popped open, and a gasp shoved past her lips. Remnants of her nightmare refused to fade, however, preventing her from seeing what surrounded her. She saw only a darkness slashed with crimson, the night bleeding from lethal wounds. She heard swords clanking, demons laughing evilly, and the whoosh of heads as they rolled. 

Death, death, her every breath proclaimed. 

- The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter, Page 71

Cover Ogle (#14): The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) 
by Michelle Hodkin 
Expected publication: October 23rd 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Two days after Mara walks into a police station in Miami at the close of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she is committed for psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe is a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But she's about to discover that the price is more than she can bear.

Dark and thrilling, suspenseful and passionate, The Evolution of Mara Dyer will have readers breathlessly turning pages to find out what will become of Mara Dyer next.

To be completely honest, I don't like the cover for The Evolution of Mara Dyer and much as I loved the cover for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. This cover looks more like a painting than a photo, and I don't really like covers that have that look. I do like how it's representative of the story, though. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was one of my very favorite book of 2011, so I'm really looking forward to continuing the story in The Evolution of Mara Dyer.

What are your thoughts on the cover of The Evolution of Mara Dyer?

The Immortal Rules on Sale TODAY!!

via Harlequin TEEN:


Immortal Rule #1: You must feed on human blood. To go without will drive you mad and force you into a frenzied killing state. 

 Immortal Rule #2: You must relinquish your human past and any loyalties you held as a mortal. Former friends and family will see you only as a monster now. 

 Immortal Rule #3: You can be killed by beheading, fire, or exposure to direct sunlight. A wooden stake through the heart, while it will not destroy you permanently, will immobilize you and force you into hibernation. 

 Immortal Rule #4: You will heal from most other injuries, but your body will draw upon its own reserves to do so, and you must feed to replenish them soon after.

Don't miss the official Twitter party tonight at 8pm where we'll reveal the cover of the new Iron Fey, THE LOST PRINCE, and talk all things Blood of Eden with Julie!

 THE IMMORTAL RULES Online Launch Party

Monday, April 23, 2012

Challenge Review: The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Kiss is the second book I've read for the Mythology Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Reading Between the Wines Book Club.

Title: The Darkest Kiss
Series: Lords of the Underworld #2
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Immortals, Demons, Deities
Publisher: HQN Books, Harlequin Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 375 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-77232-2
Release Date: June 1, 2008
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): He is ultimate darkness--and all-consuming desire... / She has tempted many men...but never found her equal. Until now.

Summary: Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death--a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.

But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining....


The Darkest Kiss is a real beauty and the beast tale. There's Lucien, the keeper of Death--scarred and tormented--and Anya, the goddess of anarchy--gorgeous and strong--who loves him. She sees past his scars and is able to love Lucien, as well as his demon. And Lucien is able to find comfort and happiness with Anya.

Lucien's demon is Death. He's tasked with escorting the souls of the dead to their final resting place, whether that's Heaven or Hell. This is an emotionally stressful job because he sees what Heaven and Hell are like, and he's left yearning for the peace Heaven offers but knows he'll never have. And because Lucien can see a soul's last few moments of life, the knowledge he's left with becomes a burden he doesn't want. Lucien has a very intimate view of life and death; he's even had to escort the soul of the woman he had loved, and that has left its mark on him. To make sure that no other woman could ever love him again, he scarred his own face and burned part of his body to keep them away. But when he finally meets Anya, the goddess of anarchy, in person, he meets the one woman who sees his scars as beautiful and can see past them to the man he is underneath.

When I read the first book in the Lords of the Underworld series, The Darkest Night, Lucien was one of two warriors that really intrigued me. He's the scarred leader of the warriors and the incarnation of Death, so he was shrouded in mystery and I was dying to know more about him. We also meet Anya toward the end of The Darkest Night, but she was just the disembodied voice of a goddess and we only got a glimpse of her when she appeared to Ashlyn. So she was just as much of a mystery as Lucien. But we get the full scoop on them in The Darkest Kiss. And apparently the kiss of death is irresistible.

In The Darkest Kiss, we learn that Lucien is just a man scarred, literally and figuratively, by his past. By lost love, his job of escorting souls, and just wants peace and happiness for himself and his friends. Anya want to be able to find a man that she can finally trust to love and give all of herself to. She wants people to see that she is important and not minor in any way. Both want acceptance, peace, happiness, and love--and they find all of that in each other.

The search for Pandora's Box is in full swing, and they find out that they need four artifacts, guarded by Hydra, to locate the box--the All-Seeing Eye, the Cloak of Invisibility, the Cage of Compulsion, and the Paring Rod. The four artifacts are spread out all over the world and can be found somewhere in these four locations: South Africa, the Arctic, the States, and Egypt. While all of this is going on, Lucien is ordered by Cronus to kill Anya, Paris finds and loses a woman who stirs him like no other, and Aeron escapes the dungeon leaving death in his wake.

With Aeron's escape in The Darkest Kiss, Reyes and Danika's story is set up further for The Darkest Pleasure. And Paris and Sienna's story is also set up and introduced when he was captured by Hunters in this book. The Lords of the Underworld series just keep getting more exciting with each new addition.

About this Author:

Gena Showalter sold her first book at the age of 27 and now, four years later, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirteen books, with eleven more on the way in a thrilling blend of genres: breathtaking paranormal and contemporary romances, cutting edge young adult novels, and stunning urban fantasy.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated in French, Italian and Korean. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Challenge Review: The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Night is the first book I've read for the Mythology Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Reading Between the Wines Book Club.

Title: The Darkest Night
Series: Lords of the Underworld #1
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Immortals, Demons, Deities, Psychic Abilities
Publisher: HQN Books, Harlequin Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 379 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-77522-4
Release Date: May 1, 2008
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): His Powers--Inhuman. His passion--Beyond Immortal...

Summary: All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To End the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she'll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member--a man trapped in a hell of his own.

Neither can resist the instant hunger that calms their torments...and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction--and a soul-shattering test of love....


This first book in the Lords of the Underworld series, The Darkest Night, is full of mythology and steamy romance. But the story is kind of slow and doesn't really pick up until the end. With many books that start a series, the first book sets up the world and the characters, and that's usually what makes it seem slow. Many readers don't like books like this, but I really enjoy them because these books are the introduction to the series.

Maddox is one of twelve immortal warriors who were once protectors to the gods. When those gods chose a woman to guard a box holding the worst demons, pride overtook the twelve and they killed the woman--Pandora-- and opened the box, unleashing all the demons inside upon the world. As punishment, the twelve warriors were to house the demons within themselves and were then banished from the heavens.

Maddox's demon is Violence. This makes him the strongest, most violent, and most lethal of the twelve Lords. For thousands of years he's been tormented. But one day when the hill to their fortress is breached, Maddox goes out expecting to find Hunters invading their home, but instead he finds Ashlyn. Ashlyn went in search of the Lords hoping that they could help her control her ability to hear the voices of the past. Both know their own share of torment, and have only ever found peace and happiness when they are together.

In other reviews I've read for this book, readers found the romance between Maddox and Ashlyn full of drama and the dialogue cheesy. But I really love the relationship Maddox and Ashlyn have. I found it sweet and even fragile at times. Maybe it's the strength of their bond that I loved most. A love that is so strong that absolutely nothing can destroy it is something that we can only wish for in the real world.

We also get to meet to other women who will play major roles in upcoming books, Danika and Anya. They are both left as mysteries at the end of The Darkest Night (which is only right, otherwise there would be nothing to tell in the future). We'll get to learn more about Anya in The Darkest Kiss and Danika in The Darkest Pleasure, books two and three in the Lords of the Underworld series.

About this Author:

Gena Showalter sold her first book at the age of 27 and now, four years later, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirteen books, with eleven more on the way in a thrilling blend of genres: breathtaking paranormal and contemporary romances, cutting edge young adult novels, and stunning urban fantasy.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated in French, Italian and Korean. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Novella Review: Lenobia's Vow by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Title: Lenobia's Vow
Series: House of Night #9.5, House of Night Novellas #2
Author(s): P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Vampires, Deities
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 147 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-00024-8
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): A great journey... A new love... A dark secret revealed / Caught between two separate lives and face-to-face with utter evil, how far will one girl go to follow her heart?

Summary: Evreux, France, 1788: Before she becomes Zoey's favorite professor and the House of Night's fearless horse mistress, Lenobia is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl--with enough problems to last a lifetime. As the illegitimate daughter of a powerful baron, she has never quite belonged, and instead has to watch her spoiled half-sister, Cecile, get anything she wants. As if that's not enough, her remarkable beauty draws unwanted attention wherever she goes. For once, she would just like to fit in.

But when fate intervenes, Lenobia suddenly finds herself surrounded by other girls on a ship bound for New Orleans, where they will be married off to the city's richest Frenchmen. And they're not alone. An evil bishop who is skilled in dark magic makes the same journey. His appetite for lovely young women makes him dangerous--most of all to Lenobia, who caught his eye back in Fance. So she remains hidden, making secret visits to the ship's stables, where a handsome young man and his beautiful Percheron horses soon capture her attention.

Will they make it to land before the bishop discovers her true identity and a powerful evil breaks loose? And will Lenobia follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? Find out more about one of your favorite professors in the next heart-thumping House of Night novella.


In Lenobia's Vow, we see Lenobia's past and the events that eventually brought her to the House of Night and Nyx. Lenobia's story is full of hopefulness, terror, and heartbreak.

(SPOILERS)We see the hope of a young woman wanting to find love and happiness in the New World; but that hope is threatened by an evil man, steeped in Darkness, stalking her every move. But Lenobia finds a Light in that Darkness that keeps her hope from burning out. Upon arrival in New Orleans, Lenobia falls terribly ill and is left in the care of the evil bishop. His unholy plans are thwarted when a Vampyre Tracker Marks Lenobia as a fledgling. But he doesn't give up that easily, and when Lenobia's Martin comes to her aid, he meets a heartbreaking end. But to ensure Lenobia's safety, he makes sure to take the bishop with him. Heartbroken over the loss of her love, Lenobia leaves for the House of Night, and as she leaves the burning city behind, she reinforces her vow to never love another man for as long as she lives.

We get a peek at how the world was in the 18th century. Slavery was going strong and the Catholics lead with and iron fist. But we also see that in the New World, New Orleans specifically, that there was more leniency in the acceptance of different peoples. Those traveling to the New World in the 18th century were like those who came to America in the 20th century hoping to live the American Dream. The hope for a better and happier life.

I loved reading Lenobia's story and finding out why she refuses to feel anything for another man and what she meant when she said she's encountered Darkness before. We also get to see that her love for horses came well before she was ever Marked.

(SPOILERS)Then there's Martin! He's just so sweet! I loved the vow they made to each other to only love the other and no one else. It was really heartbreaking at the end when he promised Lenobia that he would love her forever and that he would find her again. But if my suspicions are correct, he has! In the form of Lenobia's cowboy (sorry, I can't remember his name) who we met in Destined. It can't be a coincidence that he arrived with a Percheron and sporting those gorgeous green eyes. The appearance may change, but the eyes never do. I can't wait to see if I'm right and if Lenobia will figure it out or continue to push him away.

One thing I was kind of disappointed about was that, unlike in Dragon's Oath, there wasn't a clear connection from the past to the present.

About these Authors:

P.C. Cast was born in Watseka, Illinois, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. Since her tour in the USAF, she has been speaking and teaching professionally.

At 19-years-old, Kristin is thrilled to be coauthoring the YA series, THE HOUSE OF NIGHT, with her mother. The first book in the series will be her first published novel. She has won awards for her poetry, as well as served as journalist for her intermediate high school newspaper, Tiger Tales, and as editor for her high school magazine, Tiger Eye. Kristin attends Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and is working hard to fulfill her goal of becoming a veterinarian without bankrupting her mother. One of the Scottinators belong to her, although we’re not telling either of the dogs that she’s going to someday be their veterinarian. Kristin would love to hear from her fans, and can also be reached through her mother’s website.

Review: Winging It by Deborah Cooke

Title: Winging It
Series: The Dragon Diaries #2
Author: Deborah Cooke
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Dragons, Shapeshifters, Mages, Deities, Ghosts, Werewolves
Publisher: New American Library, Penguin Group
Format: Paperback, 339 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-23489-6
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: Zoë Sorensson yearns to come into her powers as the only female dragon shifter. But being part of two worlds is more complicated than she expected. It’s bad enough that she’s the target of the Mages’ plan to eliminate all shifters—she also has to hide her true nature from her best friend Megan, a human. For her sixteenth birthday, all Zoë wants is one normal day, including a tattoo and a chance to see hot rocker Jared.

Instead, the Pyr throw her a birthday party but ban Megan from attendance, putting Zoë in a tight spot. Things get even worse when Zoe is invited to the popular kids’ Halloween party and Megan’s left out. Zoë knows the party is a trap laid by the host, an apprentice Mage. When Megan gets a last-minute invite, Zoë must save the day—and her best friend—without revealing her fire-breathing secrets . . .


Zoë's adventures continue in Winging It. When her two worlds collide, someone's bound to get hurt. Between fighting with her human best friend, pining over her rocker love interest, worrying about her parent's marriage, and being hunted by the Mages intent on destroying all shifters starting with her, Zoë's got a lot on her plate. No pressure. 

In Flying Blind, Zoë was just coming into her powers, and I found her to be quite immature. She was letting herself be ruled by her emotions, and wasn't leading the way she could have. But in Winging It, Zoë has experience and she leads intelligently, and uses her intuition to help her make decisions. She's definitely to be admired in this book. Not only does she have personal family and friend drama being dumped on her, but she also has the Mages coming at her too. She's in a stressful position, but she keeps her cool and does what needs to be done. 

I did find Meagan, Zoë's best friend, a little annoying for most of the book. The way she was always getting upset when Zoë didn't tell her every...little...thing just really irked me. It's totally unreasonable for Meagan to expect Zoë to tell her about things that Zoë clearly stated she could not talk about. Everyone has something they can't or won't tell someone else about, and being a very private person myself, I was just really irritated by Meagan's attitude and treatment toward Zoë.

I loved the addition of the love triangle between Jared, Zoë, and Derek in Winging It. While Zoë is waiting for some kind of commitment from Jared, Derek makes his way in and is there for Zoë when Jared is not. Derek's dependability is what could sway Zoë to finally give up on Jared. The thing is, Jared doesn't know about Derek. I have a feeling that this triangle could potentially be painful for one or all of them. It'll be interesting to see what direction Deborah will take it all. 

About this Author:

Deborah Cooke also writes under the names Claire Delacroix and Claire Cross.

Deborah makes her home in Canada with her husband. When she isn't writing, she can be found knitting, sewing or hunting for vintage patterns. Deborah Cooke has always been fascinated with dragons, although she has never understood why they have to be the bad guys. She has an honors degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. She is an avid reader of medieval vernacular literature, fairy tales and fantasy novels, and has written over thirty romance novels under the names Claire Cross and Claire Delacroix.

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist Volume 4 by Kazue Kato

Title: Blue Exorcist Volume 4 
Japanese Title: Ao no Exorcist
Series: Blue Exorcist #4 
Manga-ka: Kazue Kato
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels, Older Teen Ages 16+
Publisher: Viz Media, Shonen Jump Advanced, Shueisha Inc.
Format: Paperback, 187 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-4215-4047-4 
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): Fight hellfire with hellfire!

Summary: While most of the students at True Cross Academy head home for the summer break, Rin and his classmates are sent to a training camp in the forest district, and the right to go on a real mission is riding on their performance. Locating and recovering their objectives in the woods is tough and will require teamwork, skill and more than a little magic--and Rin will have to learn to rely on his friends. But is Mephisto masterminding something behind the scenes?!


Rin has finally made friends with those in his class, but Mephisto comes along and ruins everything for Rin. Mephisto sets his brother, Amaimon, after Rin again, but Rin's friends are threatened and in order to protect them, his true identity is revealed. Now friendless once again, Rin must work to control his blue flame and pass the Exorcist exam in six months to prove to everyone--but most importantly, himself--that he's not a monster.

I really liked the moment when Rin is caught by the big moth and tells everyone to go on ahead--because he plans on using his flame to get free and doesn't want them to see--but Suguro insists on helping Rin escape and tells him the he doesn't need to do everything alone because he has friends to help him. The only sad thing about that moment is when Rin questions how they would feel if they ever found out that he is a child of Satan.

The big question that Mephisto presents in this volume while Rin is fighting Amaimon is:
"While demons are pleasure-seekers who can only destroy, humans are weak because they walk the middle path. So which will it be for you?"
It'll be interesting to see what path Rin will take. Will he become the demon he was born to be? Or will he walk the middle path? I'd like to see Rin take a path that would not only make Father Fujimoto proud, but one that also leads him to follow his beliefs and what he thinks is right.

I think my favorite part of the whole volume was when Rin was undergoing questioning in front of the Grigori and Mephisto is going on and on about how he asked Father Fujimoto to save Rin so that they could use him as a weapon against Satan. Rin's had enough and explodes declaring:
"I'm not a weapon or a demon lord or a savior!!! I'm Rin Okumura!!!! Someday I'm going to be the strongest Exorcist!! All of you remember that!!"
Rin always gives the best declarations and you can tell that he's going to d everything to prove his words correct.

This volume ends with the beginning of a new story arc, so I'm excited to see what happens next!

About this Manga-ka:

Kazue Katō (加藤和恵, Katō Kazue), born on July 20th, 1980 in the district of Shinjuku, in Tokyo, is a Japanese mangaka, author of shōnen manga. She is mainly known to be author of Blue Exorcist. She also created Robot to Usakichi ( ロボとうさ吉 ), for which she received the price Osamu Tezuka Award.

FBF Book Spotlight: Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo

Lexapros and Cons
by Aaron Karo
Published April 10th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Chuck Taylor’s OCD has rendered him a high school outcast. His endless routines and habitual hand washing threaten to scare away both his closest friend and the amazing new girl in town. Sure he happens to share the name of the icon behind the coolest sneakers in the world, but even Chuck knows his bizarre system of wearing different color “Cons” depending on his mood is completely crazy. In this hilariously candid debut novel from comedian Aaron Karo—who grew up with a few obsessions and compulsions of his own—very bad things are going to happen to Chuck. But maybe that’s a good thing. Because with graduation looming, Chuck finds himself with one last chance to face his inner demons, defend his best friend, and win over the girl of his dreams. No matter what happens, though, he’ll have to get his hands dirty.

 3 Signed Copies will be given away on Friday, April 27, 2012!

Click Here to Enter:

What is FBF?

It's simple. Every Friday, Free Book Friday gives away free books!

That's right. Each week, FBF features a new author with an exclusive author interview podcast or written Q&A and host a drawing to win free signed copies of his/her book.

All you have to do to enter to win each week is sign up using the entry form on the left sidebar. Winners are chosen at random and posted on the site every Friday morning. Hence the name, "Free Book Friday!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

Follow Friday (#11): Two Characters You'd Like to See Fight

Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read--a great way to discover new amazing blogs and new friends!

Q: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win? 

Answer: I'd like to see Maddox from the Lords of the Underworld series battle against Clay from the Women of the Otherworld series. Maddox and Clay are both the strongest and most lethal in their respective circles, so it could be interesting to see what happens. Who do I think would win this showdown? Hmm...I think I'd have to say Maddox. He's just downright scary when he's angry and being possessed by the demon of Violence makes him a very formidable opponent.

Book Trailer: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#18): The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson

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

This week's eagerly anticipated release is:

The Lost Code (The Atlanteans #1)
by Kevin Emerson
Expected publication: May 22nd 2012 by HarperCollins Children's Books 

The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy. But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.

No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.

Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry…and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary.

TOKYOPOP's Top 5 Most WTF-Inducing Anime

Some things can never be unseen.

Like many of Japan's exports, anime can be undeniably weird in that head-scratching, eyebrow-raising way that just leaves you wondering, "What the hell did I just watch?"

 Pom Poko - We love Studio Ghibli, but Pom Poko is just straight up weird. Watch the dubbed version to get the maximum impact of a terrifying shapeshifting raccoon with the voice of Jonathan Taylor Thomas using its junk (er, "raccoon pouch") to save the environment. Then and only then can you begin your lifelong search for soap that can scrub your brain clean of what you've just seen. 

 Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo - If the name wasn't enough of a clue, this show is constantly hilarious and completely out of its mind. Between the sentient nosehair, Bobobo's detachable afro, Don Patch the anthropomorphic candy gangster and zillions of references, this is probably the best send-up of anime since Excel Saga.
 Dead Leaves - A girl with Ziggy Stardust makeup and a guy with a TV for a head wake up naked on Earth, then go on a crime spree for food and clothing. Obviously, they get sent to a lunar penitentiary with superpowered guards, a baby with machine gun limbs and a mutant caterpillar. Don't believe us? Take an hour and watch it on YouTube.

 Neon Genesis Evangelion - Are you honestly going to tell us you understood what was going on in those last two episodes? They were so weird and incomprehensible that they had to make End of Evangelion to explain it. If you thought the ending of Lost was a head-scratcher, you haven't seen anything yet.
 FLCL - Robots coming out of a young boy's head? Portal-creating bass guitars? Scooter-riding alien investigators? This so weird that we blacked out halfway through writing this description. That being said, we love it dearly and wouldn't trade Gainax's particular brand of hyperkinetic, brain-melting mayhem for anything.

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