Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review: Banished (Forbidden #2) by Kimberley Griffiths Little

First thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title.  I loved the first book, Forbidden, so much, that as soon as I saw this was available, I downloaded it to read.  Once again I'm participating in a tour with Dena from Batch of Books for this series.  If you haven't read the first book,  you need to go click on my link above to read that review, because there is a very good chance that this review of the 2nd book will have spoilers for the first book.  I am glad to say that other than one or two tiny details, I was able to dive right back into the story without forgetting what had happened before. And honestly, those details were very vague already in my head, and I soon remembered them as soon as there was a mention of those things in this story.

We join in with Jayden alone in the desert.  She has escaped Horeb and knows that she must look for Kadesh, even though as far as she knows, Horeb killed him.  But it's obvious that since the story goes on, she will find him.  But he's really injured, Horeb has done so much to him in that fight where he said he'd killed him.  But Jayden doesn't care, she loves Kadesh, and she tells him so.  The tribe that has rescued him accepts Jayden as his future wife, and promise to protect her as well.  However there is at least one man in the tribe that Jayden remembers from when her family's tribe had been attacked in the last story.  But supposedly he has sworn to help with the rest of his tribe.  And the prince of this new tribe, not only does Jayden see him meet with this tribe member, but he seems to be developing a romantic interest in Jayden as well. 

The tribe must move on as they soon find out that Horeb is on their tail, he wants to take back his betrothed, Jayden, any way that he has to.  First Jayden will want to save her family.  Going back to her own tribe, Jayden finds them turned against her, thanks to Horeb's mother, and they threaten to stone her.  Only Jayden's grandmother is there, her father has gone back to the city to look for her sister.  Kadesh's friends in the tribe will do their best to help Jayden get as many of her family members back as she can, and then take them all to Kadesh's kingdom, Sariba.  But things won't be the perfect ending and happily ever after once they reach Sariba.  Kadesh hasn't told Jayden everything, and there will be obstacles to face in order for things to go the way they should. 

The end of the book leaves us wondering how Kadesh's tribes will fight off Horeb.  After having dealt with some betrayal, soon they will have to fight members of their own kingdom who have their own sights set on the kingdom.

Once again I fell back in love with Jayden and Kadesh, although the bit in the kingdom, when we learn of Kadesh's secrets, it was emotional.  I did cry.  Such great emotion in this story.  I love all the historical parts especially.  The stoning, the worship of different gods, and even the locations are so fascinating.  Once again I love how the author gives some insight into the history at the end of the book.  We just finally got our copy of the first book in the library for my students to read.  I can't wait to get this second book ordered and added to the shelves for my students when they finish the first book. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Promo Post with Giveaway: These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker


Book Details:
These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: February 9th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, 
Young Adult

Synopsis:
Evelyn has no interest in marriage and even the dashing Mr. Kent can’t make her want to live up to society’s expectations. She’d much rather assist her beloved sister Rose in becoming the world’s first female doctor. But everything changes the night she meets Sebastian Braddock – not only is the reclusive lord both vexing and surprisingly attractive, he’s also quite possibly mad, and his interest in Rose is galling. So when Evelyn wakes up to discover that Rose has disappeared, she immediately suspects Sebastian.

But then she discovers that Sebastian’s strange tales of special powers are actually true, and that Rose’s kidnappers have worse in mind for her than simply ruining her reputation. Surrounded by secrets, lies, and unprecedented danger, Evelyn has no choice but to trust Sebastian, yet she can’t help but worry that Sebastian’s secrets are the most dangerous of all…



Purchase:
 Excerpt:
I have Powers Moment

Set up: Mr. Braddock has revealed that Evelyn’s missing sister has been seen in a dancing hall with a rather unsavory reputation. Evelyn insists on going to see for herself.

      “I have no care for your concerns,” I said. “This is the only way I will be convinced it’s her. I came to London against my parents’ wishes, and I am perfectly capable of doing this alone, as well.”

      He crumpled the paper in his hands, registering how futile it was to argue. He returned to pacing the length of the small garden, shaking his head, and fussing with the seams of his cuffs.

      “Very well,” he said. “Then I will be here this evening at seven.”

      “Unnecessary. I shall be fine myself.”

      “You will be eaten alive.” His voice rasped with scorn. “If you are going to be so foolhardy as to go through with this plan, then I will accompany you.”

      “I don’t need a chap—” I automatically snapped, but the memory of the drunken men in the alley was too fresh. I stood up, unable to resist the wine any longer. I poured it into a teacup and ignored the snort behind me.

      “Ah, so you know what to do when a man takes you for a doxy?”

      Mortified, I felt my face flush, but somehow kept myself from spitting out the wine. “When a man takes me for a . . . doxy? So you see it as an inevitability—why, thank you.”

      He prowled uneasily close to me, and I fumbled and dropped the cup. I only heard it shatter, unable to look away from the advancing oaf.

      “Forgive me for sullying your innocent ears, but if you go to a dancing room unaccompanied, you will hear much worse. And you will inevitably be taken for that kind of woman even if you’re wearing a nun’s habit.”

      “Ah, and you know this with all your infinite brothel experience.”

      “Yes,” he said firmly, not acknowledging the insult. “Now, seven o’clock—I will be here. It’s no longer a question. Be ready and wear a plain, unadorned mask—the sort you might wear to a masquerade ball.”

      Insufferable. I had nothing left to say to the obstinate man. “Fine,” I muttered. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have better places to search this morning.”

      “Very well. But let me help—” he said, leaning forward to assist with the cup’s sad remains.

      I blocked his way. “I will be quite fine.”

      He nodded and drew back gracefully. “Do try to stay out of trouble today.” I could hear the smirk in his voice. He buttoned up his coat and opened the door while I knelt to pick up the shards of porcelain with as much dignity as I could muster.

      “You too. Try not to pick a fight with Tuffins as he lets you ou—!” But the final word became a yelp as a sharp ceramic edge drew a ragged cut over my palm, blood pooling up over the torn flesh.

      Mr. Braddock was gone. I stared down at the glassy red coloring my hand, both nauseated and abstractly intrigued by the sight of my own blood. It welled into a small pool and dripped onto the wine-stained dirt below.

      I carefully wrapped a handkerchief around my palm and headed upstairs to wash the cut clean. But when I took it off mere minutes later, only smooth, unbroken skin stared back up at me. I began to wonder exactly how much wine I had drunk. It could not have been enough for me to hallucinate, could it?

      I hastened to my reticule, wildly grabbing a card—Mr. Kent’s, actually—and sliced at my finger, causing a stinging paper cut. Though the graze still smarted, I watched closely as my skin knit itself back together in a matter of seconds.

      The room spun. The blood on the handkerchief was all I could see, mocking me. I could no longer ignore the evidence.

      I truly had the ability to heal.

Author Details:

AUTHOR BIO:
Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These Vicious Masks a few years later.

Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.

Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance.


Links (Kelly):

Giveaway:
  • One (1) finished physical copy of These Vicious Masks. Open to US and Canada only.
   a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Audiobook Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

This is going to be a hard review to write because of the amount of love I have for this book, not to mention just how much of a book hangover it gave me, one that I still get twinges from once in awhile.  This was the last audiobook I checked out from the library.  It was my first experience with this author.  I have never really thought that I wanted to read her books. They just didn't sound up my alley.  But for some reason, the synopsis on this one just totally caught my attention.  Here, let me share it:

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.


So, I think that it has to do with maybe the author and his muse bit.  Or the fact that it sounds a bit like the book/movie One Day.  Only, this book, THIS BOOK!  I don't know how I can express just how much I loved it.  I listen to audiobooks in my car, or when I'm on the treadmill.  That's it.  There have been times that I've sat in my car a few more minutes just to hear a little bit more of a book that was really good.  But this one, it sucked me so far into it, that I just couldn't stop listening.  The 2nd to last day I was listening to it, I was at the gym on the treadmill.  It was a bit awkward at first because I was listening to a part that made me want to cry.  

 

But then, as I kept walking, and the two girls on either side of me left and then two guys began using the treadmills on either side, the story changed from sad to sexy.  Yeah, that was a bit awkward!  


Then, the day I finished it, I had about 40% left in the book when I had to get out of my car and go into work that morning.  I couldn't even imagine picking up my e-reader to read the book I was in the middle of reading on it.  So I had to drive out and get lunch.  And not just go and get lunch and go back to work.  No, I went to Sonic, and that way I could sit in my car and eat and listen.  Still getting back to work after lunch was hard.  So on the way home, I went 15 minutes out of my way, just to keep listening.  And I still had to know how it all would end.  So I went into my house, I didn't turn the tv on like I normally do first thing.  I ate my dinner listening to the audibook. When I was done with that, I sat on my couch and listened for 40 minutes until I finished it. Can I just say that I love this book?  I don't think I can express how much, but I do. Sooooo, soooo much!


Okay, let me give you my summary of the book.  There are two main characters, Fallon and Ben.  Fallon is a girl who was burned in a fire when she was 16 so badly that she now has scars down one side of her body, including her face.  At the time she'd been a star in a tv series, which all changed once the fire happened.  She is meeting her dad for lunch, on the anniversary of the fire, November 9 if you couldn't guess.  The fire took place at his house.  And for some reason, he had forgotten she was there that night and so didn't go to save her.  No one knew to get her until they heard her screams from inside.  On this day she is going to tell her father that she is about to move to New York City.  Her father is kind of an ass though.  When she tells him that she wants to maybe try out for Broadway plays, he basically tells her that because of her looks now, she should know better.  There's this attractive boy, Ben, that Fallon had seen sitting at the booth behind their booth when she'd gone to the bathroom earlier.  It's after one of these things her father says that Ben slides into her side of the booth and puts his arm around Fallon, then acting as if her is her boyfriend.  He helps her kind of tell her father off, kind of puts him in his place.  Fallon goes along with it, wondering what in the world is going on.  Soon her father leaves, and Fallon and Ben decide to hang out for awhile before she has to get on her plane to go to NYC. There's something about Ben.  It's like he doesn't see her scars, or like he thinks she is beautiful, not in spite, but because of them.  He does a lot for her confidence, and they  have a lot of fun being pretend boyfriend-girlfriend for the day.  But Fallon doesn't want to get into a relationship now, in fact she doesn't want it until she is 23 because of what her mother has told her about being old enough to really know yourself and be ready.  So the two agree that they will only see each other on November 9th each year.  They won't talk to each other at all throughout the year.  No phone numbers, they block each other on social media.  They only know that they will meet the next year at the same restaurant at about the same time as this year.  And so goes the story.

We get parts of the book from both Fallon and Ben's viewpoints.  So it is great to kind of see what each of them is going through.  We get more from Fallon until the end.  Each November 9 is so different. Each one brings so many different feelings as I read.  The first one goes so well.  The 2nd one, wow, sadness, happiness, and then more strong feelings as decisions must be made.  But then the 3rd one comes and there's so much hope for it to go more like the 1st one, but it doesn't.  Again, as they say, this one has all the feels.   And the 4th one, looks like maybe it won't happen.  But what does happen, again, happiness, that sexy time I talked about above and then, a major cliffhanger on what will happen for the final November 9. And that my followers, that is the part that I couldn't stop listening to for the last 40 minutes of the book.  I can't tell you much more without giving things away.  Just that Ben is really the perfect guy.  The way he loves and treats Fallon.  But his secret, I thought maybe I might know what it was at the beginning, but when nothing happened to even point that way, I figured I must be wrong.  In the end, it was basically what I'd thought.  But the way it happened, and how Ben told about it, incredible, emotional.  And Fallon, even when she should have hated him, or totally given up on him, the reasons she didn't hate him, or didn't give up on him, so perfect, in my opinion, so right, so much the way I believe I would have chosen, or anyone should have chosen.

I wish so much that they would make a movie of this.  While I pictured Ben from the description, I need to SEE him.  I just do.  I need to own this as a movie.  A movie to watch to laugh, to cry, to feel the heat between them.  I have to stop now.  I could go on and on.  But hey, if this book sounds good to you, I do have a giveaway going on up until Valentine's Day that you can enter to win it, just go to the post HERE

One way to tell my  love is the fact that I had to use Supernatural gifs in my review.  So one more to leave you with for this review.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Romance is the Air Giveaway Hop


Thanks to Book  Hounds for hosting this giveaway!  I decided to join in because I have read some books in the past 6 months that the romance has just blown me away!  My prize for this giveaway is any of the books pictured below, some have notes that I will order others in the series if you've already read the first one.  If the Book Depository ships to you, then you can enter!




1st or 2nd book in the series

Or any book in the Lux series

Any of 3 books in the series




1st or 2nd book

2nd one pre-order for March 1

So, those are your choices on this stop.  Be sure to enter the rafflecopter, and then hop to the other giveaways below that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Waiting on Wednesday: The Awakening of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #2) by Paige McKenzie

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  This week I chose a book that is a sequel to another book that I really enjoyed.  I received an ARC  of the first book, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl in the mail from the publisher last year.  I'm a little disappointed I didn't get an ARC of the sequel.  :-(  But that's  how the cookie crumbles.  Anyway, I saw this posted on another WOW in the last week or so, and I knew it had to be my next pick!  Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Having passed her test in Book One, Sunshine’s Luiseach powers are now fully awakened: for months now, Sunshine has felt spirits everywhere: heard voices, felt emotions – intense and sometimes overwhelming. She tries to ignore them, but it is impossible. Hoping to get her powers under control – and hoping for answers to her never-ending questions – she agrees to undergo training with her Luiseach mentor, even though she still hopes to give up her powers someday.

She and her mentor clash left and right; he doesn’t understand or approve of her attachment to the humans in her life; and she can’t understand how he could give her up so many years ago, only to endanger her mother’s life as part of a test.

Sunshine’s training is every bit as terrifying and creepy as her test was, and along the way she meets and befriends another young Luiseach, forcing her to confront her feelings for Nolan. Though her mentor is reluctant to answer her many questions, she finally learns more about her lineage, as well as the rift that threatens the future of Luiseach and the human race... and the crucial part she has to play in repairing it.


I'm very excited to see where this book goes next.  Did you know that the books were based on a YouTube channel?  You can go see it HERE.  

So that's my big want for the week?  How about you? What are you eagerly awaiting?  And hey, check back later tonight, I'll have a post for the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop up! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Cover Characteristic: Skylines

The Cover Characteristic meme is hosted at  Sugar and Snark.   Here are the guidelines:

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).
You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!


This is another one that there were a lot of covers.  So I tried to narrow it down to the ones that were not necessarily exact pictures of skylines, but more of a shadow or outline.  Even with that, I still ended up with 10.  Here they are:


-->










  And  my favorite skyline cover:




So, what do you think of my cover choices?  Can you think of any other books with skylines on their covers?

And if you think you'd have as much fun as I do with this meme, next week's topic is statues, you can start working on your post now!
 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Marked by Amy Saunders

 
 

Book info:
Marked
by Amy Saunders
(The Birthright, #2)
Publication date: January 31st 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Starting over for Rosamund Brandt is more complicated than it sounds. Especially when the past keeps coming back to haunt her. As she and her mom and brother try to pick up the pieces in a new home, the universe seems determined to tear them apart even more as secrets multiply, and distrust grows.
While new threats and unknowns emerge, Rosamund struggles with her own inner battle. Her new powers are growing whether she wants them or not, and their origins and nature are sketchy at best. The more that’s revealed to her, the more uncertain she feels.
Choosing allies and facing new and old enemies alike may not be their biggest problems. Not if Rosamund’s worst fears come true. Could she be the one they should fear the most?

Sequel to:
 
25799251

EXCERPT:

Xavier turned his back to me, disappearing among the students walking in all directions. I gulped down the lump in my throat, and headed toward my locker on autopilot. I walked straight down the middle of the hallway, students veering around me one way or the other. Each step was like the last, until gravel crunched beneath my boot.
I stopped walking and glanced down. Instead of tile, I saw charred black gravel. When I looked back up, I was standing in a virtual field of the stuff. There was nothing else around me except some hills the same color. The sky was gray and wind blew strands of my hair across my face. When I brushed the hair away, I saw something glint among the rocks near my feet.
I bent down, brushing the blackened dirt away, revealing something silver. I grazed the edge of it with my fingertips, then plunged my fingers into the gravel, pulling out the object. I stood again, my hand wrapped around it. When I glanced up, I was back in the hallway, students parting around me.
Another memory. Each one seemed to get more vivid and real.
But then I felt something cold in my hand.
I slowly unwrapped my fingers, and charcoaled dirt sifted between them onto the floor, leaving behind a 3-D silver serpentine object the size of my palm. My hand shook. That wasn’t just a memory. I’d physically done something. Or, more to the point, I’d gone somewhere. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t on Earth.
I covered the object in my hand again. I took a step forward, totally ready to skip class to go have a meltdown in the bathroom, when someone grabbed my arm, dragging me across the hall into an empty classroom. I wrenched away, facing the guy from detention–who didn’t exist in school records.
“What are you doing?” he hissed. “Didn’t you grow up like this? I thought you’d know better.”



Author Bio:
Amy is a sci-fi/mystery addict with a soft spot for humor and romance. She lives in Massachusetts, and loves to bake and watch movies. Learn more about Amy and her books at http://amysaundersauthor.com.







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Sunday, January 31, 2016

January End of the Month Challenge Wrap-Up (and One New Challenge Sign-up)

Hello everyone!  Since one of my blog goals for the year was to make sure I was keeping up on my challenges every month, I'll be posting an end of the month wrap-up, discussing my challenge achievements today instead of a Sunday Post. I'm also going to join into another challenge today and use this as my sign up post for it.  I'm actually a book behind on my Goodreads Chalelnge goal today, and I'm going to blame it on a book that gave me a severe hangover this past week, November 9.   I did a Stacking the Shelves yesterday, so that won't be included here either.  So, hang on, I hope you'll wade through my long post!



I think we should definitely start with my own Challenge.  I know I called it a series starter challenge, but the more I've thought about it, the more I think it is either a series, or an author maybe that is new to you.  So if you haven't joined in yet, please do HERE!  At the end of February I'll probably be hosting another giveaway for the people who are participating.  My goal was 4 new series this year.  And I would say I'm right on track with that.  Here is the link to the review of the one series I started this month:
If I choose to do the new author idea for myself for this series, I will have another one to include for February, and will also have to probably up my goal of 4 for the year at that rate.   If you've joined my Challenge, how did you do this past month?


For this challenge I have to actually use the same book as above.  It was actually one of my planned books from my original sign-up post HERE.  So I won't add it again to this post since you can just go click on the link above.  I'm right on track with this one as well, as my goal was only 11 most likely.


Now, for my goal on this, I was going to give feedback on 10 books to try to get my feedback rating back up to 80%.  I've got two books that I've done this with so far.
There are other books that I didn't finish, and I did try to go back and add feedback on them.
  • The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller - I didn't finish it, but reviewed it as a good book on Netgalley because it is something I would purchase for my school library.
  • Sneak Peek:  Soundless by Richelle Mead - I didn't even start this. When I first requested it, I thought it was the full book.  I don't like sneak previews.  I prefer to wait until the whole book is available to read.  And so that is what I added to the feedback on Netgalley.
I haven't actually raised my rating because I have added a few new books as well.  Oops.


  • My first goal was to subscribe to comments.  Well, unfortunately, I did this.  The reason I say unfortunately is because most of the time it isn't just subscribing to replies to my comment, it is to all comments on the post.  So I had to stop doing it.  :-(
  • I'm doing better about not actually downloading every egalley that I think I might want.  I am still writing all that are available down in my calendar.  What I need to do this month is make a mark of some sort on which 2 I actually have downloaded.
  • My next goal was about not having to post every day of the week this year.  It's really  hard to get out of that routine.  So much so that I've had to even take breaks, make myself take breaks and skip a day when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I've still got to work on not signing up for tours unless it is a book I already know I'm going to read or am dying to read.  And I've gotten better about that.  I've stopped looking through all the tour emails I get other than a quick perusal.  
  • Then my goal of an end of the month challenge post is starting out great with this post!
  • The two reviews a week goal, still doing well with keeping it up!
  • On my reading goals I haven't done any of that really, no recommended books, no classics, but I have worked on my Goodreads goal, one book behind though!
  • For my personal goals, I have actually been to the gym once, so kind of working on it.  Haven't done well with saving money though.  I did get some organizing done in my house, got my bookshelves worked on one weekend.  Shared some pictures of that back then as well.  
If you want to check out what my actual goals were, go HERE.



I've decided to go ahead and join into this Challenge again as I have at least read one to get going.  Here is the info on what it is all about:
This challenge is for all of you series readers who are scared to death of that last book in the series. You anxiously await it. You stalk it. You get your hands on it as soon as possible. But then…you put off reading it for fear that it might not be everything you thought it would be. Or, maybe you just have a backlog of series started and you need to finish that last book. 

Levels: (how many series enders you are planning to read)
Level 1: 1 – 5
Level 2: 5 – 10
Level 3: 10 – 15
Level 4: 15+

My goal is going to be Level 3 as I have about 12 or 13 I want to read.  One is already done, and I'll put the link below.
  1. Will to Survive (Rule of Three #3) by Eric Walters
  2. The Countdown by Kimberly Derting
  3. Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
  4. The Crown by Kiera Cass
  5. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins
  7. Reborn by Jennifer Rush
  8. Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
  9. Revolution by Jenna Black
  10. Redemption by Debra Driza
  11. Illusion by Martina Boone
  12. The Shadow Cabinet  by Maureen Johnson
  13. United by Melissa Landers
If you want to join in, go HERE to the sign-in page.  So I'm already ahead with even just signing up right now!

So there you have it.  A really long end of the month challenge check-in post.  Maybe next month I'll figure out a more streamlined way to do it.  How did you do on your challenges this past month?