Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Had To Have... That I Haven't Read Yet! (Video)

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we share top 10 lists about various bookish topics.

Okay! It's been eons since I did a Top Ten Tuesday post, but this one looked fun. I decided to do a video since I'm trying to keep the stress on my hands from typing down. Ready to see what is on my shelf ... yet unread? Enjoy!

So, which book(s) must I read immediately? And what is sitting on your shelf with a flashing neon "Read Me!" sign over it? I'd love to know, so feel free to leave a comment. :) 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: The Devil's Triangle by Toni De Palma

*A copy of this book was provided to me for review.

Note: My arthritis is flaring up, so this review is going to be quick. Sorry, guys!

Stories that involve what happens after we die always seem to intrigue me. There's just something about that vast unknown that gets my imagination going, that makes me want to ask questions.

So when I was asked if I'd like to read and review The Devil's Triangle, the premise caught my attention right away. A guy getting a second chance after a major screw up in life, complete with some interesting paranormal concepts (The devil has a sister? Who knew?) sounded right up my alley.

The Devil's Triangle takes a great idea and infuses it with humor, interesting characters and some interesting twists and turns that made me glad that I took the time to read it.

(Summary from GoodReads)
When 17 year old Cooper dies in an attempt to burn down his school, he finds himself in the afterlife. Lucy, the Devil's sister who has crossed party lines, decides to give Cooper another shot at heaven. The deal? Cooper returns to Earth and has to find a girl named Grace. The rest is up to him.

While Cooper figures out his mission, he's thrown into the life he's always wanted. Great parents, a spot on the Varsity football team and a real future are all within reach. But what he really wants is Grace, a feisty girl with an abusive boyfriend who can pound Cooper into pulp if he doesn't watch out.

While Lucy plays demonic-puppeteer, clues to an unknown past between Cooper and Grace start to unravel. Cooper discovers that what's keeping him and Grace apart is far more sinister than anything this bad boy could have ever imagined.

The first thing I can tell you about The Devil's Triangle is that it's very clever. You aren't going to be spoon fed everything in a straight chronological order. You are going to spend some time asking yourself "What the hell is going on here?". But trust me, it's worth it. Trying to sort out Cooper's new life with him is an intriguing and often rewarding experience, and as the novel progresses, it all comes together beautifully. 

The next thing I can tell you is that the careful blending between contemporary and paranormal themes in this book is well done. I liked how attention was paid both to the actual situation Cooper found himself in--having thirty days to try and fix where his soul was going--and what he was actually doing with those days. 

The last thing I will tell you is that the way the mythology and ideas here are presented is both interesting and really fun. I liked meeting Lucy and Pete before Cooper goes back to earth, because the tone that their scenes set in the afterlife help set a tone for the rest of the book. This is a very fun, tongue in cheek narrative that will crack you up just as much as it will intrigue you. I found that really refreshing.

I thought that the cast was very solid here, especially the ways that they tied into how things were happening and how my perceptions shifted as I, as a reader, learned more about what was actually going on. 

Cooper was a great narrator and an all around interesting guy. There aren't enough male narrators in YA and I found Cooper's voice very distinct and I'm sure he'll stick with me for a good long while, even aafter this review goes live. I feel that Toni De Palma should be congratulated for writing a guy who sounds like, well, a guy. I could easily have pictured my brothers saying and thinking a lot of the things Cooper did when they were in their teens. 

I found Grace an interesting mystery, which seemed fitting since we get the story from Cooper's perspective rather then hers. So often I think girls and guys are confused by each other, and watching Cooper navigate the waters with Grace was interesting, especially with all of the plot related concerns that we weighted on top of the general awkwardness of girl and guy interactions at this stage of life.

The rest of the cast was interesting and did a great job of bringing out the central story of the two main characters. As stated above, Lucy and Pete were standouts. Blake was a character I loved to hate. And I felt that Cooper's interaction with his new parents were touching. 

I thought that this was well done, and I loved how it fit with the rest of the story. The fact that there is a push and pull going on--that there is some form of connection between Cooper and Grace, and that at the same time we don't get "ZOMG Insta-Love"--was unique and raised a lot of questions. 

I think that the way that romance and the rest of the plot was also well balanced. It can be hard to find the right ratio between plotlines and I think some good decisions were made here. 

This was a solid effort. It's not going to end up on a top ten list, but it's also not going to be one of those pairings where I'm going "What were you thinking?". It also managed to sidestep my irritation at characters who are taken ending up as a love interest for someone else. I really wanted to get Grace as far away from Blake as possible. 

A unique premise, humorous narration and a likable cast of characters succeed in making The Devil's Triangle an easy recommendation to fans of paranormal romance. There is a great balance here between combining things that make a great story and taking risks that result in something truly original. The Devil's Triangle is definitely worth checking out. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Xpresso Book Tours Presents: Strength by Carrie Butler (Review)

*I received a copy of this book for review from Sapphire Star Publishing / Xpresso Book Tours. 

I first heard about Strength over on Absolute Write, a really great community for writers and authors that I've been a member of for a couple years. Carrie Butler had started a thread to share her new cover with everyone in the romance forum and after seeing the stunning design and reading the equally great synopsis, I knew I wanted to read the book.

So imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail telling me Xpresso Book Tours was hosting a tour for Strength, a book that I've been dying to read? I don't sign up for tours very often--I'm not good with fixed dates for anything and tend to prefer to do stuff at my own pace. But here, I just couldn't resist. The opportunity to read this sooner, and to share my thoughts with everyone in a way that would hopefully get the word out about this book, was too much for me to resist.

Of course, the danger of signing up for a tour is that while we can hope a book will be the most awesome thing under the sun, there is no guarantee. Strength is an interesting story and there are some really great things going on in it. But there are also certain things that drove me a little up the wall. I can't quite sing the praises and give the gushing review I had hoped for, but hopefully I can give you all information to help you decide whether Strength will be worth checking out for you. Despite any flaws I do feel it has, I am glad that I read it.

(Summary from GoodReads)
When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation--and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do--even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

First, I want to praise the paranormal elements in this book. They were interesting, well handled and original. They were also integrated very slowly into the story, allowing the reader to get a handle on the characters, what their concept of "normal" was and showing interest between Rena and Wallace before things shifted too much. This created an interesting mystery, and many questions, as I read. I knew from the blurb that things weren't going to be what they seemed, but the pacing regarding this element of the story gave me time to guess things, come up with theories, etc. in a way that isn't always common in paranormal or urban fantasy. 

Unfortunately, this came at the cost of the opening being a bit slower then I would have liked. Things moved about in what I felt was a rather odd fashion and there were several times early on where the book lost my attention because of strange plot shifts that (at the time) did not make any sense. 

I also had a lot of "Why are you telling me this?" moments as I read. This is bad for two reasons: (1) If I am asking the author this, it means I am not being pulled into the text, which means I'm not seeing / hearing / practically tasting it the way I tend to when I read something that has really sucked me in. (2) This often results in pacing issues that hold back my need to keep reading. I don't know about anyone else reading, but if I walk away from my kindle and haven't left myself at a point where I'm dying to go back it can be really hard for me to pick it back up. As an author, you really don't want that loss of momentum in a story because most readers won't be reading the story for a tour like I was. There's no guarantee they will pick the book (in general--I don't necessarily mean *this* book, just to be clear) back up.

However, the above issues are honestly side effects. The real problem for me, I think, was that I never really connected with Rena. There are several reasons for this. When we meet her at the beginning of the story her immediate and pre-existing judgments about Wallace are (or were for me, at least) very off putting. It may not be fair, but I found myself annoyed with her on page one. Now, this is a gutsy move on Carrie Butler's part and the way it allowed her to open the story did up the tension and make me have an immediate need to know what the heck was going on. But unfortunately, for each thing that I learnt about Rena that brought her a step closer to being likable or relatable, she would inevitably do or say something that would push her back onto my shit list. It's very hard to root for a character when I feel like that, and when I'm not rooting for them to succeed, it ties back into what I was saying about the plot and causes my "care meter" to start nose-diving and my interest in continuing the book to wane. 

Fortunately Rena is countered by the intriguing and endearing Wallace, whom I immediately liked and felt deeply sorry for. It's to Carrie's credit that he, as a character, was just as interesting and memorable as the mysterious circumstances surrounding him. Every time that Rena did something that made me want to use my Kindle for a frisbee, Wallace was the saving grace that kept the Kindle in one piece and the book being read. 

The other thing I want to praise on the character front is the very real feeling and unique friendship between Rena, Gabby and Aiden. I liked the grounding presence this friendship added to the story, even if it was sometimes responsible for the plot taking a bit of a lull. These characters do not fit into some type of pre-existing clique or stereotype. They felt real, unique and like the kind of trio that could actually exist within a college setting. They were both parts loyal and able to push each other's buttons, which made them feel very fleshed out and memorable. 

That's the final thing I want to make clear before I move on from characters. Despite any complaints I may have given here, and despite how they may have effected my reading experience, these characters were all well created with depth and individuality. Given a choice between a character like this not working for me or the author chickening out and creating something more palatable, but also more cardboard, give me this any time. Because even in a situation where a real character does not work for me, I would not want to deprive another reader from discovering a character her or she may really love. I don't get along with everyone in real life and I don't expect fiction to be any different. 

The imbalance in my feelings toward the characters did cause me to not be as invested in their romance as I would have liked to be.

Speaking objectively I can tell you that there is no weird funky insta-love here, although there is definitely some attraction to Wallace on Rena's part from word go. 

There was nothing 'wrong' with the romance. Rather, I just felt like Wallace and Rena didn't fit together quite the way I like a couple to. This likely, again, has much to do with how I felt about them. I honestly couldn't imagine becoming interested in someone who had previously been (at least partially) responsible for an entire dorm thinking thinking I was crazy, and while I admired Wallace's obvious capacity to put that behind him my own biases (I have never been a real social butterfly, and university was not any better then high school) likely played a part here. 

Strength is by no means a bad book. It just wasn't as good (as far as my own reading experience) as I would have liked, and this was largely due to a disconnect between me and Rena, who was a first person narrator. That is a key danger of first person: the narrator gets to have a lot of influence on how the story feels overall and can work wonders or wreck havoc. 

Strength is well written and has some really original ideas. I don't want to make it seem like there was a tremendous error on the author's part, because that is not so. Rather, Carrie Butler took some interesting chances and for me, some of those paid off while others, well, didn't. If you've been looking forward to reading Strength, though, you really should. There is some real brilliance here and as I keep saying, your experience and mine may differ greatly. 

A huge thank you to Xpresso Book Tours, Carrie Butler and Sapphire Star Publishing for having me along. :) 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cover Reveal: Runes by Ednah Walters

Today I'm thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for Runes by Ednah Walters. I thought the premise here sounded quite interesting, so I couldn't resist taking part.






(Summary Provided by Xpresso Book Tours)
Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

Are you intrigued? Add it to your GoodReads!

My Thoughts:

I think this cover is quite well done. I love the shades of blue and purple, and the clean yet interesting choices for the typography. I'm not totally sure, based on the cover, what's going on in the book. But that can be hard to pul off and the fact is, this would draw my eye long enough for me to check the summary, so it works. 

About The Author:

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN.

Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS.

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She's presently working on book six. You can visit her online at www.ednahwalters.com or www.ebwalters.com.

So, what do YOU think of the cover for Runes? I'd love to know! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cover Reveal: Afterlife Academy by Jaimie Admans

Today I'm thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for Afterlife Academy by Jaimie Admans. When I read the blurb for this I knew that I had to do something to get the word out about it. I'm bound to check this out in the coming months, because it sounds really great. But you're not here to listen to me babble. Let's get to the pretty, shall we?






(Summary provided by Xpresso Book Tours)
Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.

Dying wasn't on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson's to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she's stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she's stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever. In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back to her perfect life, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as perfect as she thought it was.

And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all...

Welcome to Afterlife Academy, where horns are the norm, the microwave is more intelligent than the teachers, and the pumpkins have a taste for blood.

Sounds totally fabulous, right? Add it to your GoodReads

My Thoughts On The Cover: 

I love the colors--and lack of colors--here. I think that the way that this plays into the whole afterlife aspect of the premise is very clever. It gets all the better when I consider the fact that the lips--that part of us which allows us to draw breath (and therefore life) are pink: innocent and trusting, a doorway looking back on what may have been lost. And then, in contrast, we have the red of the rose and of the word after. A color of passion, blood, life or loss and (sometimes) love. 

When you have these two things pop out against the rest of the cover, which is all grayscale, it just seems really clever to me. Of course this is just a cover analysis. How much it fits in with the actual book is something I'd need to read it to totally weigh in on. But with a premise this interesting, that seems really likely to happen. :) 

About The Author: 

Jaimie is a 27-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps.

She has been writing for years, but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. She writes mostly chick-lit and young adult. Kismetology is her first novel and there are plenty more on the way!

As always, thanks so much for having me along! :)

So, what do YOU think of the cover and blurb for Afterlife Academy? I'd love to know! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Winner!: My Super Awesome Birthday Giveaway!

Hey guys!

Sorry for the delay in choosing a winner for my birthday giveaway. Things have been a bit busy here and it slipped my mind for a day or two. But you're not here for my excuses. You want to know who won!

The winner of my Super Awesome Birthday Giveaway is...

Mary (Comment #5 to clarify, since there were two of you.) 

I have e-mailed the winner and they have 72 hours to get back to me with their address. If that doesn't happen for some reason, a new winner will be chosen.

Thanks so much to everyone who took part in the giveaway and who wished me well!

Didn't win this time? Don't feel bad! There are plenty more giveaways where this one came from. Good luck next time! :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Hype. It can be such a rush. But it can also be a dangerous and cataclysmic force that can bring a blogger to her knees. I know I'm not the first to talk about it. I know I won't be the last.

I've been extremely hyped to read Meant To Be. I've wanted this book for months. I've mentioned it in numerous blog posts. I've tweeted about it. I threw a pretty big fit when I finally got it in the mail from Amazon. And I decided to give it the dubious honor of being my Valentines Day Read.

No pressure, right?

You've got to be kidding.

I've built books up like this before and it's turned out okay, because they ended up being books I loved. But it was only a matter of time before my pressure cooker ways came back to bite me on the butt, and Meant To Be happened to be their catalyst of choice.

For what it's worth: hype is dangerous. And hype from yourself is likely the most dangerous kind of hype there is. Watch your step, guys. This review could get messy.

Warning: This is one of the most emotional and potentially venomous reviews I've ever written. Read with caution! I seriously lacked a filter here!

(Summary from GoodReads)
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

Meant To Be had all the substance of a piece of bubble gum. There just wasn't anything there.

I know that likely seems like a really weird way to talk about a book. I mean, I wasn't sitting down to read Great Expectations and I wasn't expecting that. But--and this is a big but--one thing I've come to expect from YA contemporary is that it tends to make me think and feel. That even if there is one plot line that has lots of sugar and sunshine, that there is often something deeper at work. Something to really sink my teeth into.

And in this book, that simply was not so. 

The trip to England should have been epic, but for me it was ruined by Julia randomly and subconsciously reinventing her character when the only thing *I* found wrong with her was a potential expectation that others should act *like* her. The "romance" between her and Jason was a hot and cold mess that I totally didn't believe in for multiple reasons. And since these two things basically summed up the plot... you do the math. I thought it sucked! 

The writing itself was beautiful and descriptive. The author did a good job on her research. But her pacing, her weird characters and the (obnoxious) message I took away from this book--essentially that being a moron is to be commended (Can you tell I didn't like Jason?)--made all of the technical praise I can concede to its credit not matter. Because...

I hated it! (Wow... I don't think I've *ever* said that about a book in a review before. Eep!)

Okay. Now that I've dropped the H-bomb on this poor book's head, I want to make something really clear: my feelings here are very personal. (1) We have the hype train I talked about in my intro. And (2) My actual feelings toward the book, my true reason for despising it, is deeply personal and probably won't effect 99% of those who read it. 

Julia: you are okay! You don't need to change (at least, not NEARLY as much as most people think you need to.) It's OKAY to be a planner! It's OKAY to be a bit nerdy / geeky! It's OKAY to have dreams and goals and go after them. And *gasp!* It's OKAY to follow the rules--as long as YOU believe they are right. 

It's NOT okay to find love with a boy who makes you feel you need to change the core of who you are in order to receive or be worthy of that "love"--because that is not what love is about! Love is, first and foremost, about accepting and appreciating people for who they already are. *headdesk times 1000!!!* 

It's DANGEROUS to go to random parties in a country you've never visited before with a guy who is clearly a moron. It's STUPID to chase some random guy all over a foreign city when you can't remember what he looks like.

Okay, guys. I'll stop. 

I thought that I was going to be getting a Lucy and Ed situation from Graffiti Moon, which is one of my favorite books ever. And that totally was not the case here at all. But, let's forget that... Let me yell at Jason now...

To Jason: You, sir, are a moron. I've never seen such an obnoxiously hot and cold "love interest" before, and I hope it's a long time before I see one again. I did not like you. Why you have my boyfriend's name I don't know--though I'll confess that *might* be part of the whole "the problem is me" thing I talked about above. ;) You could be funny, but half the time you were just obnoxious. Could Julia use a bit more fun? Sure. But last time I checked 'fun' and 'pain in the ass' have very different meanings and 3/4 of the time you were a total jerkface to her and if *I* had been your partner on a trip I'm very certain I would've been on the next plane back home.

Now, as a writer I must say that it's obvious that Julia and Jason are both a bit too close to caricatures to really get too mad at them. They took their roles as miss perfect and class clown to such an extreme that they lost a great deal of their realness for me. It's a shame it went this way because it lessened the story, it made them both extremely annoying, and despite all my complaining I think Lauren Morrill had (and has) the potential to do much better. Despite everything I'm saying here, I would not be opposed to trying another book by her in the future. 

The rest of the cast really didn't have enough depth for me to really say much to or about them. They did their parts and they didn't really hurt anything or effect why I felt the way I did about this book. Oh: I felt sorry for the poor English teacher. Yeah, that covers it. 

I did not buy into this one at all.That's really sad, because I know I am a *lot* like Julia and my own boyfriend, Jay, balances that super uptight I-must-plan-everything and OFFG I can't say / think / feel / do THAT it's *WRONG!!!* aspect of me. It took me years to get to the point that I'm at and, much like Julia, I didn't get the way I am from having anyone breathing down my neck. My family's really chill. It's just the way I am. 

(The huge difference between Julia and I--and the one thing I felt she needed to learn--was that it's fine to be the way we are, but it's not fine to expect anyone else to live up to our expectations for ourselves. That is unrealistic and does not work. We are a tip on the iceberg that is humanity and I do NOT blame people for not wanting to go near it! Forget how crazy we drive you and think for a moment how crazy we drive ourselves, because it *does* happen and it can be a daily struggle to remove head from butt and realize our anal retentive tendencies usually aren't going to be things that will end the world...) 

On a random and slightly amusing note: Jay predicted this book might tick me off. ;)

A guy like Jason (the hero of this book) would have been someone I would have kept as far away from as possible, because in real life a Jason would totally annoy me. But if he had worked well with Julia--if they had helped each other grow, rather then the book seeming to idolize his behavior and vilify hers, maybe I could have gotten behind these two more then I did. However, that is not the case (on both accounts). 

And again: the hot and cold thing with his attitude just really ticked me off. I would not put up with that and I don't like the idea of Julia putting up with it, either. Getting together with a guy who is a totally barf inducing jerkwad does not meet my definition for a "Happily Ever After". (The ending itself is 'right'--my problem with it is the character who causes that ending, since I didn't like him.) 

Okay, first my reaction: I can't remember the last time I was so utterly, heart-shatteringly, tear-inducingly disappointed in a book. I feel sad and angry and (this is going to sound weird...) betrayed. This one actually *hurt* to the point that I got all that fantastic stuff for my birthday and I haven't been able to bring myself to touch any of it--even now, two weeks later--because I am still reeling with grief over this novel. I honestly don't know how to move forward, and I *need* to because I know I have stuff I need to get read. (Both my stuff and review stuff.) I don't want to taint another book with my sorrow and rage and the slimy-gutted feeling of emptiness I'm left with over this one.

Now, my recommendation: Please, once again I want to make it very clear that my reaction to Meant To Be was deeply personal. There is a lot here that is well written and I can understand how many other readers have sat down with this book and totally loved it. It just wasn't for me, and it's level of 'not for me' was on a strong and almost repugnant level of not for me that I hope takes another two years of blogging (or more, please God let it take more time...) before I witness it again. 

If YOU are interested in reading this novel, you should go for it. (Provided something I've said doesn't trigger something from you, obviously.) But did I like it? I already answered that earlier, and I don't want to type that again. Words have power, you know. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feb. 2013 Reading Recap / March 2013 Reading List!

February Reading Recap:

I had quite an ambitious list for February, but between a visit from Jay, one book that put my whole reading mood into a major funk and the fact that I'm getting ready to work on Sealer's Promise revisions things did not turn out quite as hot as I would have liked. However, I did get a few books read so lets take a look at them.

4 / 5 hearts
3 / 5 hearts
5 / 5 hearts
5 / 5 hearts
2 / 5 hearrts

Short 'n Sweet Reviews:

The full reviews for these books are either up on my blog or scheduled for release. But if you want a quick glimpse of what I thought, you can take a look here.

The Vincent Brothers: Much better then The Vincent Boys. I figured I would like Sawyer more then Beau and I did. I also found Lana more relatable. Nearly gave this 5 hearts but it didn't *quite* reach that. Still highly recommended.

Rage: Another fantastic book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. Rage is definitely my favorite, likely because I loved Missy as a character and because I loved the scenes with her and Death together. This is not an easy book to read, but I knew what I was getting into and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Loss: I couldn't wait to read this after finishing Rage, so I didn't. It was 'Good', but it was not what I have come to expect from a Riders of the Apocalypse novel. I get why--and talk about that in my review--but I feel it's a shame the core issue couldn't have been dealt with more directly.

My Soul To Take: My Book of the Month choice for March and by far (okay, Rage was pretty close but I featured Hunger a couple months ago, sooo...) my favorite February read. My only regret about this book is that I didn't read it sooner. If the rest of the series is this fabulous, I'm pretty confident I have a new addiction.

Meant To Be: This book totally broke my heart and it was for all the wrong reasons. My review will be up on Tuesday, and for anyone who read my Thinking On Thursday post yesterday, this is the book I was talking about. I thought I was going to fall madly in love with this book and that just did not happen.

March Reading List: 

1. Strength by Carrie Butler -- This is for a book tour and I need to get going on it. I've wanted to read it for ages but last month went from crazy busy to crazy moody to just plain crazy. But this is definitely priority #1 because my review goes up March 15th.

2. The Devil's Triangle by Toni De Palma -- Another book for a tour. I jumped at the chance to read this one because it reminded me of the movie Bedazzled, which I totally love. Really really need to remember to put my Kindle on the charger tonight (I keep forgetting...) because this one has a stop here on the blog on March 18th.

3. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead -- Remember how I mentioned that really moody reader thing? Well, I *know* I like Richelle Mead's writing so I'm going to wager that Bloodlines will be a safe bet as a book that I will enjoy. (I double checked and read a few pages--right now I don't totally trust anyone because I know how grumpy I am.) This looks like it should be great, though. :)

My Soul To Save by Rachel Vincent -- After how much I loved My Soul To Take I can't wait to read this one. I'm really glad that I found the Soul Screamers Read-A-Long and I'm having a lot of fun reading this series.

Pivot Point by Kasie West -- The premise for this sounds freaking awesome. I've been looking forward to this one for a while and I pretty much got it at launch. The only reasons I haven't devoured this yet are that I've been busy and moody. But I can't wait to start and it looks like it should be an interesting read.

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay -- The idea of Romeo and Juliet having a very different resolution to its ending, complete with an interesting sounding paranormal twist, has definitely perked my interest. It's true I'm probably *more* interested in seeing how this book will set up the sequel (Just how "bad" is Romeo? What does the paranormal element fully consist of and how will it carry through the books? Will I want Romeo to have a chance to be redeemed?) but Juliet Immortal doesn't look like it's going to be a slouch--I'm counting on this to be a good story in it's own right.

Bonus Round Books: 

These are my back ups incase I read everything on my list, or something on there just doesn't work for me.

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead -- I am already over half done with Bloodlines from when I started this post, and I'm totally loving it. So if I have time, or the mood simply demands it, I may go ahead and read The Golden Lily since I have it sitting here, too.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han -- I won the entire "summer" trilogy last year and I never actually got around to starting it. It's another thing I want to fix this year and since I've been suffering the late winter blahs a summery book like this might be a good fit. Also, I always try to have something contemporary among all the fantasy, paranormal and dystopian I read incase I start to feel like it's all blurring together.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand -- I've tried this one before, but I now know things that will make me able to keep going with it. I know that might sound kinda wimpy or pointless, but for me romance is about the how and why people fall in love--I prefer the who to be obvious, if I'm being totally honest. Anyway, I've got all three of these now and if the mood strikes I might be reading the first one.

A Big Heads Up:

I've taken a few months to get some space between myself and my novel, Sealer's Promise, but it's almost time for me to take all the notes I've compiled or been given by my betas / crit partners and try to write the third draft.

The book is getting a HUGE overhaul because of some of the feedhback and decisions that have been received or made so this is going to be a lot of work. Writing and Reading take a lot of time when I try to put them together, so the blog might not be quite as focused review wise as it has been the last couple months. I am going to strive to keep it more up to date and active then I did last year, but my book is my dream so it will be getting quite high priority once I've read and set up my reviews for the two tours I am on.

Part of the focus of the blog will likely shift to updating you all on my progress (and making myself accountable by doing so *laughs*). I'm both excited and nervous to start work on this, because I really am hoping I can juggle it and the blog and because I hope that this will be the "last" major revision. I must keep reminding myself, though, that I do believe that this last major round is in both the book and the series best interest.

I hope you'll all wish me luck! :)

My goal for March is to read at least six books and to provide at least one review a week (this may or may not count my tour stops, but those will obviously be happening.)

Anyway, time to go and finish Bloodlines and then get started on Strength.

What are YOU reading this month? I'd love to know! 

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