Book Review: The In Between (Book One) (Catherine Converse)

Adie Brighton is a college-bound soccer star who dreams of murders before they happen and has since childhood, although she’s never told anyone. Her life begins to change when she’s recruited to be a visionary for a secret underground intelligence agency. Now she actually has a chance of stopping the murders before they happen with the help of her troubled partner Dannika, her new love interest Jeff, and a team of dedicated IPA agents.

But anything is possible in a world where dreams reveal murders before they happen, and Adie and Dannika soon find themselves in danger. Can they stop the perpetrators before it’s too late, or will they become the next victims?

THE IN BETWEEN is a YA crime/sci fi thriller recommended for ages 13 and up. Even though it’s a little out of the scope of what I normally read and review, I enjoyed it, especially the character of Dannika who is as complex and interesting as they come. It’s truly unlike anything I’ve ever read before, although I would say that if you enjoyed the movie Inception or are a fan of crime TV shows then you will like THE IN BETWEEN.

Rating: Four wings.

The series:

The In Between (Book 1) Amazon * Goodreads

Fade to Silver (Book 2) Amazon * Goodreads

Coded in Stone (Book 3) Coming Fall 2013

For more information visit the author’s web site at www.catherineconversebooks.com.

DISCLAIMER: Amazon affiliate links are used above, and I was given a free review copy by the author.

Mini-Review Compilation Post: Cinder, Origin, Wither, The Selection

It’s almost the end of March and I have neglected to post a single review all year! I am currently 21 weeks pregnant and lately the idea of writing a full review seems daunting. I also took a break from reading for several weeks, and started implementing a “close it and move on” policy for books that I start reading but weren’t enjoying.

Therefore I’ve decided to do this mini-review compilation post of the books I’ve read and enjoyed recently to touch base and catch up. Coincidentally, all of the books feature girls who are trapped in one way or another and three of the four feature sci-fi elements (which I’ve never really gotten into previously). Three of the four also feature a dystopian/utopian society/setting and are the first in a series.

CINDER (Marissa Meyer) is a re-telling of the classic Cinderella story with a sci-fi twist. Cyborgs exist in this futuristic tale and the charming Cinder falls for a Prince who she thinks could never love her due to her true identity. It’s extremely engaging and well written, and I look forward to reading book two of The Lunar Chronicles, SCARLET soon.

Amazon * Goodreads

In ORIGIN (Jessica Khoury), Pia is an immortal and the first of her kind who was created by a team of scientists in a lab hidden in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. She dreams of becoming a respected scientist and creating a slew of immortals to keep her company. But when she meets a charming jungle boy, suddenly her eyes are opened to a whole world of possibilities, and secrets are uncovered that change her life forever.

Amazon * Goodreads

Rhine lives in a world where the women die off at age 20, and the men at 25. She was kidnapped and sold off to be a sister wife to a wealthy governor. Although she now lives in a mansion and has servants at her beck and call, all she can think about is getting back home to her twin brother. With the help of the servant she finds herself thinking about more than her husband, escape just may be possible. WITHER (Lauren DeStefano) is the first installment of the Chemical Garden Trilogy.

Amazon * Goodreads

America has been selected to be one of the 35 girls to live in a castle and compete for the heart of Prince Maxon. Only she doesn’t want to be there, because her heart belongs to Aspen who is a caste below her. THE SELECTION (Kiera Cass) is book one in the series of the same title. Part HUNGER GAMES (without the fighting) and part fairytale, I devoured this in one day.

Amazon * Goodreads

I give all four books listed above a four-wing rating.

Have you read/do you plan to read any of them? Share you thoughts in the comments!

Book Review: The Iron Legends (Julie Kagawa) (Iron Fey Novella Collection)

THE IRON LEGENDS is a collection of three novellas plus bonus material including a guide to the iron fey, short Q&A with the author, glossary and quotes game.

The novellas–WINTER’S PASSAGE, SUMMER’S CROSSING, and IRON’S PROPHECY–are intended to be read in between the Iron Fey novels and were originally released (and can still be purchased) as individual ebooks.

In WINTER’S PASSAGE, Prince Ash escorts Megan back to the Winter court where his mother, the cold and cruel Queen Mab awaits. But first they take a detour to check on Meghan’s best friend (and Ash’s sworn enemy) Puck. Hunted by a mysterious being, Ash must get Meghan back to Tir Na Nog alive.

It’s a little odd that Ash would agree to Meghan’s request to track down Puck when he’s under orders, but can be justified by his forbidden love for Meghan and his uncertainty over what will happen to her when he turns her over to Mab. Still, this was my least favorite of the three novellas.

SUMMER’S CROSSING is the story of when Puck and Ash head into the Summer court to retrieve a stolen violin from Queen Titania (and make good on a debt). Told from Puck’s devil-may-care POV, it is a fun-loving romp through the castle and a lot of fun. My favorite of the three.

In IRON’S PROPHECY, an oracle disrupts Meghan’s first Elysium as Iron Queen with a warning–the child she is carrying will either unite the courts or destroy them. Megan, Ash, Puck and Grimalkin must travel to the Oracle in order to make the decision that will change the Nevernever forever.

Julie Kagawa is an amazing storyteller with a gift of creating intriguing worlds and likeable characters. Her Iron Fey series is easily one of the best on the market, and I highly recommend her work. True fans will love to add THE IRON LEGENDS anthology to their collection.

Rating: Four and a half wings.

The series:

THE IRON KING (The Iron Fey #1) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * View Book Trailer

WINTER’S PASSAGE (The Iron Fey #1.5) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

THE IRON DAUGHTER (The Iron Fey #2) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

THE IRON QUEEN (The Iron Fey #3) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

SUMMER’S CROSSING (The Iron Fey #3.5) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

THE IRON KNIGHT (The Iron Fey #4) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * View Book Trailer

IRON’S PROPHECY (The Iron Fey #4.5) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

THE IRON LEGENDS (The Iron Fey #1.5, #3.5, #4.5) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

THE LOST PRINCE (The Iron Fey–Call of the Forgotten #1) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * View Book Trailer

THE TRAITOR SON (The Iron Fey–Call of the Forgotten #2) * Add to Goodreads  (Coming September 2013)

DISCLOSURE: Amazon affiliate links are used above.

Book Review: Hades (Halo #2) (Alexandra Adornetto)

“A body is merely a vehicle. The deepest emotions are experienced through the soul.” 

Angel Bethany Church and her human boyfriend Xavier Woods are gearing up to spend their first Halloween together (yup) after having defeated demon Jake Thorn in HALO (not the video game, although that would be funny).

But a séance is all it takes to bring Jake back to earth, and he’s out for revenge. In fact, Jake takes Bethany on the highway to hell (cue music) in an attempt to wage war against Heaven by throwing the first punch.

Beth’s angelic brother and sister Gabriel and Ivy, along with Xavier and her friend Molly, must figure out to rescue Bethany from the depths of Hell before slimy demons defile and/or murder her.

HADES has a decent plot structure, some very high stakes and some good writing. Unfortunately it also has an irritatingly naive main character, heavy reliance on a plot device to “see” what’s going on back home, some sacrilege, and a bit of laugh-out-loud stupidity mixed in. It would have benefited from a stronger edit and better research, but overall it is an entertaining read.

Rating: Three and a half wings

The series:

Halo (Halo #1) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * View Trailer

Hades (Halo #2) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

Heaven (Halo #3) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * View Trailer

DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used above.

Book Review: Poison Study (Maria V. Snyder)

Yelena has committed murder, a crime punishable by death in the land of Ixia. But she’s offered a chance to delay her inevitable death by stepping up as the new food taster for the Commander.

Yelena must now answer to Valek, the Commander’s head of Security, a man with a troubled past who has more than a few tricks up his sleeve. As part of her new position, Yelena is poisoned with Butterfly’s Dust and must return every morning for the anecdote, lest she try to escape.

The castle is full of secrets and Yelena continuously finds herself in the center of conflict, while simultaneously developing feelings for Valek.

POISON STUDY is a well-crafted book with several layers. Just as you start to peel back one layer of a character or a plot point, another layer is introduced/developed. Not all “layers” come as a surprise and I particularly disliked the use of a ghost plot device, but overall it is a solid read.

Rating: Three and a half wings.

The series:

POISON STUDY (Book #1) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

MAGIC STUDY (Book #2) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

FIRE STUDY (Book #3) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

Would you rather face the noose for a quick death or tempt fate as a food taster with a possible slow and painful death? Share in the comments.

Book Review: Hallowed (Unearthly #2) (Cynthia Hand)

Our purpose on this earth is not one single event, an accomplishment we can check off a list. There is no test. No passing or failing. There’s only us, each moment shaping who we are, into what we will become.

Clara Gardner is dealing with the repercussions of not fulfilling her purpose last summer and is having a new vision, her brother Jeffrey is acting weird, mom and dad have some secrets they’ve been keeping, her best friend Angela is preoccupied with her own purpose, and Clara finds herself caught in the middle of a love triangle between her boyfriend Tucker and her friend Christian. Oh and there’s an angry Black Wing hot on her tail.

Despite all of this conflict, HALLOWED pales in comparison to its predecessor UNEARTHLY. It is a book of revelations, but at times feels contrived and hollow. It took me an unheard of 2 1/2 weeks to get through this book, and while I did enjoy parts of it, I did not feel the connection that so many other book reviewers raved about.

Rating: Three wings.

The series:

UNEARTHLY (Unearthly #1) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * Watch Book Trailer

HALLOWED (Unearthly #2) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

RADIANT (Unearthly #2.5) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads (Coming Dec 4, 2012)

BOUNDLESS (Unearthly #3) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads (Coming Jan. 22, 2013)

Do you believe in angels? Share in the comments!

Book Review: Firelight (Sophie Jordan)

Jacinda is draki–a descendant of dragons. Their age-old secret is that draki can manifest from human to dragon form. As the first fire-breather in centuries, Jacinda is (begrudgingly) betrothed to the alpha in her pride.

But her mom has other plans, and whisks Jacinda and her twin sister Tamra away from the pride to the Nevada desert–where no draki can survive for long. You see, Jacinda’s mother let her draki side die off long ago, and Tamra never manifested, so Jacinda is the black sheep of the family.

Now forced to live among humans, Jacinda meets Will, a dragon hunter who makes her feel alive. Keeping her pride’s secret is now even more important than ever, but it’s a little difficult when Will’s kisses make Jacinda steamy–literally.

FIRELIGHT is a fun, interesting YA fantasy that poses the question, what do you do when you’re trapped no matter where you run?

Rating: Four wings.

The series:

Firelight (Firelight #1) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

Vanish (Firelight #2) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * Watch Book Trailer

Hidden (Firelight #3) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * Watch Book Trailer

DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used above.

One Lovely Blog Award

l have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award, thanks to the lovely Marla Rose Brady!

Seven Random Things about Myself

1.  I spent three weeks in a Scottish castle that was once FDR’s summerhome.

2. I have four tattoos.

3. I became a vegetarian 4 1/2 years ago after watching a PETA video starring Pamela Anderson.

4. My middle name is Helaina–a combination of my grandmother’s names (Helen + Elaine).

5. I danced on the bar at the original Coyote Ugly in NYC.

6. My parents let me skip school and drove me to Malibu to see Robert Downey Jr. in court not once but twice.

7. I saw TITANIC in the theater 7 times–and didn’t shed a single tear.

My Nominees:

If you have been nominated the rules are as follows:

Include the blog award logo in your post.

Thank the person who nominated you.

Share 7 random things about yourself.

Nominate 15 other people, and let them know you have done so.

Book Reviews: Creepy Hollow #1- #4 (Rachel Morgan)

Guardian-in-training Violet Fairdale just broke the first two rules of Faerie: don’t let a human see you and don’t bring a human into the Faerie realm.

But it wasn’t her fault that Nate could see through her glamour and grabbed onto her arm as she opened the portal. Now she’s in hot water with the Council, and is developing feelings for her human charge who she’s supposed to make forget.

GUARDIAN is a fun, fast-paced novelette and a great opener to the Creepy Hollow self-published novelette/novella series by Rachel Morgan.

In LABYRINTH, Violet has officially been suspended for bringing a human into the fae realm, but that doesn’t stop her from spending time with Nate.

But Nate many not be exactly what he seems, and the search for his mother lands them both in a labyrinth where no portal can be drawn to help them escape.

In TRAITOR, Violet discovers a mysterious eye-shaped tattoo on Nate’s back–a mark he has no memory of receiving. Now she’s on a mission to discover the meaning of the tattoo, a mission that uncovers an unlikely traitor.

Ryn and Violet were childhood friends, but when Ryn’s brother died Ryn turned his back on Violet and has been a pain in her side ever since. But in MASQUERADE, Ryn’s sister is missing and he needs Violet’s help to find her. Could teaming up with her rival create sparks?

Series Rating: 4 out of 5 wings.

The series:

GUARDIAN (Creepy Hollow #1) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

LABYRINTH (Creepy Hollow #2) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

TRAITOR (Creepy Hollow #3) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

MASQUERADE (Creepy Hollow #4) * Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used above.

Hot New YA Fantasy Releases — September 4, 2012

SWEET SHADOWS (Medusa Girls #2) by Tera Lynn Childs (Katherine Tegen Books)

Three teenage descendants of Medusa, now united, must claim their heritage to fight the monsters escaped from the abyss.

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters–after all, she’s spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss–but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes.

Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won’t leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home–like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He’s hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?

Check out my review of SWEET VENOM.

Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

CARNIVAL OF SOULS by Melissa Marr (Harper Teen)

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures–if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father–and every other witch there–fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series and “Graveminder,” comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one’s own destiny.

Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads * View Book Trailer

FATHOMLESS (Fairytale Retellings #3) by Jackson Pearce (Little, Brown)

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant — until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea — a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid — all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

Buy on Amazon * Add to Goodreads

DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used above.

Do any of these books sound interesting to you? Share in the comments!