August 30, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Series: n/a
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
My Thoughts:
If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while then you know I don’t read a lot of vampire books. The ones that I have read, I’ve only read after many positive reviews from bloggers I trust. But this vampire book? It sounded so very different from other vampire books, and I keep hearing about how great Holly Black is, so I knew I had to check it out.

I was intrigued by the set-up of having “Coldtowns” where vampires (and humans who want to be vampires) are quarantined. It was fascinating to read about vampires as a known part of society, but still separate to an extent. The way things were run in Coldtown and the many different groups made things quite compelling. Also fascinating was the way vampirism worked in Black’s world: the idea of becoming “Cold” and feeling the urge to complete the process, but still a chance to wait it out and remain human.

I loved the beginning of this book, but while the premise and the world building were fascinating, there were parts of the book where things dragged. While we learn a lot, and go on a journey with the characters, there isn’t actually an intricately structured plot. There are interruptions in the story which give us background information, and while these are interesting, they definitely distracted from the main story.

I liked the characters, but I never wholly connected with them. I’m not sure if it’s because there was so much going on that’s morally grey (or, let’s face it, morally black in some situations) or because I couldn’t understand Tana’s decision making process. Maybe it was the third person narration that left me a little distant from what exactly Tana was feeling and thinking.

Did I like this book? I did, because I found the setting and the idea of the book to be very interesting. But my lack of full connection with the characters, as well as the fact that the beginning of the book was my favourite part of it, stopped me from truly loving the book. In the end, I think the book felt incomplete. It's not that I really think it needs a sequel (although I think the great world building would allow for one), but we're definitely left with questions.

The Cover:


Find The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

August 29, 2013

The Triangles Win a Frikkin' Cruise Sweepstakes!

The Triangles

Win a Frikkin' Cruise


The Grand Prize Winner gets to go on a cruise!

Two runners-up will win $50 gift cards from Amazon (in US) or Book Depository (Worldwide).

What do you do?  

Buy Triangles! 

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

See all the ways on enter (including a "no purchase necessary" option) on THIS PAGE.

They MUST have your entries by September 14th. 

Drawing on September 16th.

August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature upcoming book releases that they're looking forward to.

This week I'm eagerly anticipating...

The Accidental Assassin
by Nichole Chase

Publisher: Self-Pub
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London. When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try.

Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list.

As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?
Add to Goodreads

I enjoyed Suddenly Royal by this author, and I think The Accidental Assassin sounds just as much fun, with some crazy high stakes mixed in. Can't wait to check it out!

August 26, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 405
Series: n/a
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
My Thoughts:
I swear this is the perfect story. I just loved everything about it, most specifically the wonderful characters and the emotions it brought out in me. 'Fangirl' is a must read for anyone who has taken part in fandom, especially the Harry Potter fandom. More specifically, anyone who has ever written or read fanfic obsessively will relate to this book. You can tell that Rainbow Rowell really gets fandom and fanfic, that she's been a part of it and respects what it is. She understands fan devotion and how big a part of your life it can be.

Our main character, Cath... I just loved her. Not always, but so many times, I felt like she was me. I could relate so much to how she felt, with being socially awkward and wanting to stay home instead of going to a party. I mean, Cath takes being anti-social to a level that not even I could relate to, but things like not going to the dining hall for so long because she was afraid of looking dumb? This was completely me, my first year of university. Cath feels things so deeply, like feeling betrayed by people moving on, or not believing or understanding when a guy likes her, and I could completely empathize with her.

I don’t think it’s too spoilery to say that the book contains a slow moving relationship between Cath and Levi, and I completely adored them. I ship them like woah, and considering the topic of the book I just want someone to write fics of them, especially kissing ones. 'Fangirl' is also a book about family. Cath is drifting apart from her twin sister, Wren, at a time when Cath really needs her. They have a Dad who's a bit messed up, and a mother who was absent for too long. I loved how effortlessly these different aspects were woven into the story, because 'Fangirl' really is a story about stories. It’s about the structure of them, about how we write, and where we get inspiration.

I really can’t praise this book enough. It’s rare for me to remember specific details and feel the emotions of the story months after I’ve read the book, but as I write this review I feel excited about the book all over again. I can’t wait to re-read 'Fangirl' and experience the story all over again.

The Cover:
So cute!!


Find Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

August 23, 2013

Price of a Kiss by Linda Kage

Price of a Kiss by Linda Kage
Release Date: August 15, 2013
Publisher: Self-Pub
Pages: 373
Series: n/a
Review Source: Originally an eARC from author; purchased finished copy from Kindle

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
I don’t care what my cousin says; I am not the queen of impossible relationships. I mean, just because my last boyfriend tried to kill me and left a bit of a scar on my neck, then forced me to move across the country and legally change my name to Reese Randall to escape him, does not mean—

Oh, who am I kidding? For a freshman in college, I have to have the worst dating track record ever.

It’s no wonder love is the last thing on my mind when Mason Lowe enters my life. But the chemistry between us is like bam! Our connection defies logic. And he’s just so freaking hot. Being around him makes me feel more alive than I’ve ever felt before. I even like bickering with him. He could be my soul mate...except for one teeny tiny glitch.

He's a gigolo.

Boy, do I know how to pick them.
My Thoughts:
I had the privilege of beta-reading an early draft of this book and I totally loved it! I'm happy to say that on re-read of the finished book the story completely held up.

The chemistry between Reese and Mason is off the charts, and I just adored how there was a deep friendship connection beneath the lusty one. My main pet peeve about romance is when the characters have no real thing in common besides their attraction to one another. Attraction is important, don't get me wrong, but I can never really love a book unless that attraction is to each other's personalities as well. In this book Linda Kage does a phenomenal job of building up the friendship between Reese and Mason, having them really like one another, bonding over things like Harry Potter, as the physical attraction continues to build.

What I also love about this book is that on a very bare bones level 'Price of a Kiss' follows a lot of New Adult tropes (broken girl who has a tragic past with guys, broken boy with commitment issues and a tattoo) and yet it felt fresh for two main reasons. First: Reese is just adorable. She's so optimistic and sweet, and even though she worries about what's happened to her, she doesn't let it define her or paralyze her like so many other NA stories start off with. Second: a gigolo?! What?? That was basically my first reaction when Linda pitched the story to me. But as soon as you start reading, it makes sense, and I love how it's completely unique and a totally different take on the usual manwhore character. Believe me, you will totally fall for Mason alongside Reese.

What also makes this story shine are the secondary character, most specifically Mason's sister, Sarah. So adorable! Reese's cousin is a piece of work, but she's an interesting contrast to Reese's personality. Really I just can't say enough good things about this book. Reese and her comments to the reader are laugh out loud funny, and I think her voice is what makes the book truly stand out among other NA titles. If you're looking for a unique college romance, you should definitely pick this one up.

I can't wait for more people to read 'Price of a Kiss', because I have a feeling they'll love it as much as I do.

The Cover:


Add Price of a Kiss by Linda Kage on Goodreads. Purchase the ebook through Amazon, B&N, AllRomance, & Smashwords. Buy the paperback on Createspace & Amazon.

August 21, 2013

Shudder by Samantha Durante (Tour Promo)

Shudder by Samantha Durante
Release Date: June 15, 2013
Pages: 348
Series: Stitch Trilogy
It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.

Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.

And then there are the visions.

The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…

The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante’s shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.

Purchase Shudder:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Kobo

Need to catch up on the trilogy? You can find a guest post from Samantha and my review of Stitch here. You can also purchase Stitch on Amazon for only 99 cents!

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series.

Where to find Samantha:
Website / Samantha's Facebook / Stitch Trilogy Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter

August 20, 2013

Excerpt: Stained by Elizabeth Marx

“Is that why you were living in the same city as me and you never came to see me?” I asked a little bit more accusatorially than I meant to. “Why didn’t Mandy call me or come to see me?”

His jaw seemed to harden as he looked over the top of his sunglasses. “Do you want to know about me or Mandy?”

I rolled my eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“Maybe I was just admiring you from afar as I always have.” Revell merged onto the highway in the direction of Crossroads.

I snorted. “What’s Mandy’s excuse?”

Revell took one hand off the steering wheel and rubbed the back of his neck. “She took Daddy’s death hard and she’s been busy with school there.”

“So for some reason, which you won’t explain to me, one of few people I consider a true and loyal friend came to live in my home town and she didn’t even want to see me?”

Revell sighed. “Since you didn’t come here when Daddy died, maybe she thought your friendship was over.”

“Is that what you thought? That our friendship was over?”

“We weren’t friends, Scarlett, don’t fool yourself into believing that!”

“Then I’d like to know what we were?” I countered angrily.

He wouldn’t look at me, and his voice was rough and tense when he spoke. “You knew I’ve wanted you in every way a man can want a woman since you were fifteen.”

“Friendship is better than nothing, especially when what you wanted to happen between us was completely inappropriate.”
“It was only wrong if it was one sided or if I’d acted on it when you were under age.”

“The summer I was fifteen and Mamaw found us in the deer stand you came pretty close to you going to jail.”

“The age of consent in Alabama is bit lower than it is up North.”

“You were twenty, it was a crush on an older man on my part. What was it on your part?”

Revell paused, turned, and looked me up and down. “It was I’m going to rot in hell because I want a minor or I’m going to die a slow death because I don’t believe I can live without her.”

I grumbled in disbelief, “And yet here you are perfectly healthy and happy.”

“You were the one who just said that I don’t smile the way I used to.”

I moved away from his ire closer to the door. “Are you blaming me?”

“I’m not blaming anyone, I’m just trying to tell you how I feel because you wouldn’t let me tell you back then, and you never came back to let me explain how it was.” Revell sighed. “Why didn’t you come when I wrote you?”
“I couldn’t.”

“Couldn’t or wouldn’t?”

“Couldn’t, Revell, couldn’t.”

Pre-order Stained on SMASHWORDS.

Add Stained to your GOODREADS want to read list!

About the Author: Windy City writer, Elizabeth Marx, brings cosmopolitan life alive in her fiction—a blend of romance, fast-paced Chicago living, and a sprinkle of magical realism. Elizabeth resides with her husband, girls, and two cats who’ve spelled everyone into believing they’re really dogs. She grew up in the city, has traveled extensively, and still says there’s no town like Chi-Town.


August 16, 2013

Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae

Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae
Release Date: July 29, 2013
Publisher: Flirt (Random House)
Pages: 233
Series: n/a
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Rising star Cassie Mae introduces New Adult readers to a practical soon-to-be college freshman who seems to have everything—until a special guy shows her what she’s been missing.

In the wealthy town of Sundale, Kelli Pinkins has hatched the perfect plan to capitalize on her sweet reputation. For a generous fee, she will be every trust-fund baby’s dream: a Friday-night alibi, the “girlfriend” or “BFF” that parents dream about. With college approaching in the fall, Kelli’s services are in demand more than ever, which means that her social life is nonexistent. But Kelli is A-okay with that. She’s raking in cash for school. Besides, relationships are tricky, and sometimes very messy. She’d rather be at home on Xbox LIVE, anyway. Then the unexpected happens: She meets college stud Chase Maroney.

Chase isn’t like the preppy, privileged guys Kelli usually meets in Sundale. For starters, he’s twentysomething, always wears black., and he shoots back one-liners as fast as she can dish them out. But Kelli’s attempts to drive Chase away falter when she realizes that he treats her like he really knows her, like he cares about knowing her. When Kelli finally gives in to the delicious kiss she’s been fighting for so long, she faces a tough decision: make Chase a real-life boyfriend and risk her heart . . . or keep her clients and lose her first true love.
My Thoughts:
‘Friday Night Alibi’ was a very cute book, and it ended up being something I enjoyed. I had kind of a rough start with the book because I wasn't enjoying the voice at all. Kelli seemed very immature, especially for someone who had graduated high school early, and Chase was immature as well. Neither seemed particularly likeable, which made me regret requesting the book for review. Then both characters started coming into their own, beginning to grow up, and with that my like of the book increased dramatically.

What I really liked about ‘Friday Night Alibi’ is that both characters had different insecurities. It was nice to see a love interest who wasn't physically perfect, and I liked how they were both inexperienced with the opposite sex. In regards to content this book was was relatively clean (minus some hot makeout scenes), proving you can write a New Adult book without sex.

Interestingly, regarding this book’s label of “New Adult” I’m not sure whether anything in it really makes the NA label necessary. It definitely felt very YA to me, and I don’t mean that as a bad thing. Kelli might be done high school, and Chase might be a bit older, but the self-identity and family issues that constitute the majority of the book felt far more YA than NA to me. Whatever the label, ‘Friday Night Alibi’ was a fun book that I ended up enjoying despite the difficult start.

The Cover:


Find Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae on Goodreads & Amazon. Other purchase links.

August 15, 2013

Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon

Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Blink (Zondervan)
Pages: 368
Series: Doon
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months.

But the Scottish countryside holds other plans.

Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for...or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.
My Thoughts:
‘Doon’ is a book which starts off a bit slow. I liked the characters (especially Veronica), but I wanted to see where things were going. Thankfully things do pick up, especially once the characters travel to Doon, and there’s a good combination of character development and action.

Veronica is a character who has never had a place that's truly home. She's been left behind by her family, and her best friend Kenna is really the most important person in her life. Kenna is an actress who is very focused on her future career. She cares about her friends, but she won’t stray from this path for anything or anyone. Jamie is a character who is very focused on leading his people and doing what is best for Doon, but he also has a fun loving side to him. Jamie’s brother, Duncan, is the type of guy who is outwardly always smiling and friendly, but he also has a deep love for Doon and wants to help his brother.

With two female leads and two main male characters there are also two romantic relationships presented. One becomes very serious very quickly, and yet somehow it really works, especially because one person is cautious of the other. The other relationship is more of a flirtation, but you can definitely see the chemistry there. One of my biggest pet peeves is when characters are forced into something just because it was “fate”, so I loved how there was a predestined/faith element to Doon, and yet the characters also had a choice. Just because Veronica has visions about Jamie it doesn't mean that they have to choose to be with one another. There’s prediction and the idea of being “meant” for one another, but it’s dependent upon the choice of two people, which I really appreciated.

This book was released under Zondervan’s new Blink imprint, which publishes books for the general market that still include some level of Christian values. ‘Doon’ is an allegorical tale, but not in a hugely overt way. There's worship and prayer and a theme of good vs evil, but it didn’t feel at all preachy to me, which I liked.

‘Doon’ is an entertaining tale loosely based off the musical Brigadoon. The book tells a complete story, and yet it also has an epilogue which leaves you knowing that there will be a second book to finish off the story for one character in particular. I really enjoyed reading about the land of Doon, and I especially loved the characters of Veronica and Jamie. If you're looking for a lighter fantasy tale, then this might be one you should pick up.

The Cover:
Very pretty.


Find Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


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