Contest Alert--at Bitten By Books


Today is an extra special day at Bitten By Books! In separate interviews/Q&A sections, both Jeanne Stein and Kelly Gay will be by!

There will be an interview and then the time for questions and of course a chance to win prizes!

So head on over today! The chats go live at 12pm Central!

Click here for Kelly Gay and here for Jeanne Stein!

September Spectacular Reading Challenge


I decided to partake in this challenge that I just heard about over at Reading Angel! It sounds awesome and I think I can manage it! Should be able to, since it's my normal pace as long as nothing major happens.

Here are the details that I borrowed from Angela at Reading Angel:

It's easy go to Thoughts of a Book Junky to sign-up.

How does it work?

•It will start September 1st and go on through September 30th.

•There will be a 5 book reading challenge, ( one book a week) that you will have to read. Which books? Any 5 you want. Its your choice... Easy huh. At the end of that week you will post your review on your blog and add your link to the Mr. Linky at the bottom. ( If you don't have a blog you can either post a comment, letting everyone know what you think about the book or sent me an email with your review) * Sep first starts on a Wednesday so you can start your first book on Sunday the 29th if you want.

•At the end of each week a giveaway will be posted. That's 5 giveaways!! The only thing you have to do to enter is, link your review on that weeks Mr. Linky. Plus get an extra entry if you add the September Spectacular button to your post or sidebar! (Open Internationally)*

So go sign-up and Happy Reading!

*The giveaway may be over at The Thoughts of a Book Junky! Just so you know.

So far my five picks will be:

Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson
Blameless by Gail Carriger
Hallowed Circle by Linda Robertson
Fatal Circle by Linda Robertson
Alpha by Rachel Vincent---I'm having high hopes that I can find a copy before October 1!

My list obviously will be subjected to change based on other books coming into me sooner than I expected, such as Alpha. Or three other books that I ordered/won that might come in the mail in time to partake in the reading event!

Review--Chosen by Jeanne Stein


IT'S BEEN ALMOST A YEAR SINCE BOUNTY HUNTER ANNA STRONG BECAME VAMPIRE, BUT AS SHE'S ABOUT TO DISCOVER, HER GREATEST POWERS HAVE YET TO BE UNLEASHED...

Though Anna has become accustomed to the fact that she's now vampire, she still enjoys the illusion of being human. So when she suddenly notices that her primitive urges are getting harder to control, she's worried. Then she's attacked, narrowly escaping with her life. The only person with enough motive to want her dead is her old foe--Warren Williams. But another, more dangerous enemy lies in wait.

What Anna doesn't know is that she's far too valuable to kill. For she's been chosen to shape the destiny of the vampire race--and of all mankind...

Whoa! Finished Jeanne Stein's Chosen a few hours ago--took a break to see if I could track down a copy of Blameless, but had no luck! The stores said maybe later this week if not next week!! Ugh! Moving on--and it was amazing!

As the BOC tells you Anna has been a vampire for a year now. Close to it anyway and there is a prophecy describing The Chosen One--yes, capitalized! And vampires, like Warren Williams and a few newbies you'll meet, believe this is Anna.

But Anna doesn't think so. Why her? She questions the whole destiny thing and doesn't really buy into it all that much. But then she's attacked in her driveway when coming home one night and escapes remotely unscathed. Luckily, Lance is there for her, both for the emotional and physical needs. Their relationship gets a little more intense in the beginning. Lance even offers to take Anna away for awhile to one of his houses. To get away from it all and shake off the effects of her attempted murder. And of course to bury the body of the attacker along the way. (Shouldn't be too much of a spoiler, since if Anna escapes a-would-be murder attempt, the murderer has to be eliminated somehow.)

Anna discovers a whole other side to Lance on this little vacation. She learns things, not all good either. Secrets unbound! Wow! I mean a lot of it shocked me. Some were minimal details about his past, but other things that pop up later on in the book are ultimately shocking!

There are other surprising developments that weren't the main attraction, but for some reason seem to hold promise for problems down the way for Anna. New characters, we'll say. I don't want to get into it too much in case they're a little too spoilery for you. But it doesn't really effect the plot.

Frey even returns to help Anna out with her predicament. Which it's hard to remember which predicament it was that led to his involvement. Poor Anna has quite a bit of action and trouble going on in the book.

There was a bit of romance here and there between Anna and Lance. Not a whole lot, but enough to keep you contained if you like the romance aspects of Urban Fantasy which doesn't tend to have a whole lot, one of the reasons why I like it so much. A little more action than romance, but still some romantic elements.

Overall it was GREAT read! The ending was spectacular! Wish I could say more than that, but I can't. Really looking forward to the next Anna Strong book, which likely won't be til next year, but still this was a GREAT read and the ending while tying up the main story arc still left room for more problems for Anna down the road. So you already know there should be a few more books down the way. I can't recall how many Jeanne said there would be, but I do believe she has an end to Anna's story somewhere down the line. Hopefully not too soon!

My rating is definitely 5/5 stars! While these may be quick reads for me, there is still so much action and details that make it hard to put down. One of the reasons why it is a quick read!

Now I have to search my TBR pile for a read since I was unsuccessful in my quest for Blameless.

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly blog post by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

Almost finished with Chosen! It's really GREAT so far! My review will be up sometime before the end of the day. Have to find the time to stop reading my next read and write my review!

Anyway here are:

The Rules:
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER free
4. Name the title, author, etc.


"For a minute I stare at him, uncomprehending. The animal disappears when the human Anna grasps what she's seeing. My stomach lurches. What have I done?" p 67.

TITLE: Chosen
AUTHOR: Jeanne Stein
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: August 31, 2010

Review--Hunted by the Others


They are the Others--the vampires, mages, and werewolves once thought to exist only in our imaginations. Now they're steeping out of the shadows, and nothing in our world will ever be the same again.

IN A TOWN LIKE THIS, BEING A P.I. CAN BE MURDER.

Shiarra Waynest's detective work was dangerous enough when her client base was strictly mortal. But ailing finances have forced her to to accept a lucrative case that could save her firm--if it doesn't kill her first. Shiarra has signed on to work for a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact owned by one of New York's most powerful vampires.

As soon as Shiarra meets sexy, mesmerizing vamp Alec Royce, she knows her assignment is even more complicated than she thought. With a clandestine anti-Other group trying to recruit her, and magi being eliminated, Shiarra needs back-up and enlists her ex-boyfriend--a werewolf whose non-furry form is disarmingly appealing--and a nerdy mage with surprising talents. But it may not be enough. In a city where the undead roam, magic rules, and even the Others aren't always what they seem, Shiarra has just become the secret weapon in a battle between good and evil--whether she likes it or not...

Lately I've been picking up new to me authors and new authors just in general. Gotta support the newbies you know, I'll be one soon someday too! I hope!

Anyway, I just finished Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines and it was fantastic! I loved it from beginning to end! It was a rather fast read too, despite having to work and still work this weekend. I found myself addicted to reading, not wanting to stop at all!

The book was pretty fast paced, but in a good way. The action just kept on going and going. There was hardly ever a dull moment! Even when Shiarra must take a "break" from the going ons--murders and trying to find the focus--she still attends her brother's birthday part at her parents' house. And who does she find when she walks in the door? Why none other than her ex-boyfriend! That's when he steps into the picture as the BOC describes!

It was a rather comical moment almost, because she showed up with her new mage friend, and yeah, the mage is a guy. So that presented some good dialogue and whatnot!

Shiarra was a great character too. She was flawed but still good. There is a prejudice amongst the humans and the Others. The Others are the supernaturals and not everyone likes them, some even want them dead, such as the White Hats. They are the ones trying to recruit Shiarra as well and they are a persistent bunch and deadly scary too, despite being just humans. I liked the Shiarra was s slightly flawed, she couldn't help not being a big fan of the Others, but she does learn more about them and tries to overcome this prejudice. *Hope that's not too spoilery, it doesn't really feel like it is.

Other characters that were great were Sara, Shiarra's best friend and partner in her P.I. business. Sara was a great friend and witty too. She would say the most unexpected things, yet you know you were possibly thinking of them too. Chaz, her ex, was a great character too, even though we don't see too much of him. We learn more about him a little bit when he talks to her, getting his side to their breakup. Arnold, her new found mage friend was great too! He was basically the image of a computer/video game geek, but he was still rather intelligent and proved to be a good friend in the thick of things.

Alec was an interesting character too. He was the vampire Shiarra had to work with in some ways and he was very mysterious and intriguing. There is more to his character development but it would lead to spoilers, so I will have to stop there.

There was a little bit of romance too. Not a whole lot, so this book was really great to me! There was romantic tension quite a bit in the ending half, but this definitely wasn't a romance kind of book!

The ending was great too. The mystery/crime is solved and resolved. There are a few loose-ends here and there but nothing over the top. One thing, I did guess at, because there was a little hint. But one of the other BIG things, I sort of guessed but then dismissed happened at the end too and it was still a shocker!

Overall a fantastically GREAT read! I give it 5/5 stars!

This is definitely a book you ought to check out, it has a lot to it, vamps, Weres, mages! Looking forward to the next book in the series Taken by the Others which comes out January 4, 2011!

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly blog post by Kirsti over at The Story Siren.

Not too much in my mailbox this week. Plus I had to and still have to work all weekend long which does not allow me to travel to Borders other than the one that's on the way. Which I went there already and they didn't have any of my books! :(

But I did go to Walmart and finally got my next read! Yup, I found Jeanne Stein's Chosen! So can't wait to read it. I was hoping to find it this weekend and I did!


















I hope to finish up Hunted by the Others soon. But with my work schedule, it still might take awhile! It's really great so far! Can't wait to read the end!!

So what did you get in your mailbox today? Leave a link! ;)

Vampire Diaries Season 2

I saw this just today! Don't know where I've been. Wasn't really watching The Vampire Diaries repeats. But wow! Season 2 is going to be sooo cool! I had thought Katherine would "disappear" after her surprise visit! But by the looks of this preview, that isn't the case! Check it out!

Don't forget Vampire Diaries returns to the CW September 9!

Contest Alert--at Bitten By Books




Yup, another contest to mention today! Over at Bitten By Books, Dakota Banks will be by! The standard interview/chat will be up and of course the chance to ask questions.

Her Mortal Path series is on my back-burner list. Basically book 1 might be going on my B-day list! My TBR pile is still pretty high, but this series does sound promising and I read great reviews over at Larissa's Bookish Life!

So if you want a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card, head on over to BBB today!

Contest Alert--at Bitten By Books

Hey all, late in posting this, but Jennifer Lynn Barnes is over at Bitten by Books today! I was at work so I just headed over there awhile ago. Wanted to let you all know!

There's an interesting interview up too.

Head on over for your chance to win a gift card to Amazon!

Review--Night Myst


EONS AGO, VAMPIRES TRIED TO TURN THE DARK FAE IN ORDER TO HARNESS THEIR MAGIC, ONLY TO CREATE A DEMONIC ENEMY MORE POWERFUL THAN THEY COULD HAVE IMAGINED. HAVING QUIETLY AMASSED THEIR STRENGTH FOR CENTURIES, THE VAMPIRIC FAE ARE DETERMINED TO ENSLAVE THE WORLD. NOW MYST, QUEEN OF THE INDIGO COURT, IS RISING AGAIN--AND A LONG-PROPHESIED WAR IS ABOUT TO BEGIN...

Cicely Waters, a witch who can control the wind, has returned home to New Forest, Washington, after learning that her family is in danger. The Indigo Court holds the city in fear. People are vanishing, and strange deaths plague the town. And when she is swept into an unexpected and passionate reunion with Grieve, the Fae prince who taught her how to harness the wind, Cicely finds herself with a fierce and territorial lover.

But Grieve has become enslaved by Myst's court, and now, caught between two evils, the lovers must survive the machinations of the Vampiric Fae queen, even as Cicely untangles hidden secrets of her own heritage.

Finished Night Myst today. Had it on my TBR pile for awhile. Finally got around to reading it!

It wasn't too bad. The first half was a little easier to understand, but by the second half things get a little more complex. There was a lot of talk with the Fae, the Vampiric Fae, Vampires, etc. It just got a little confusing because there was sooo much to know! There is this big battle going on between the vampires and the Vampiric Fae. The battle doesn't actually happen, it's just something going on. The two are enemies and Cicely falls in the middle.

Upon returning home she starts working for the vampires and is trying to rescue her friend and family member from the Vampiric Fae who captured them.

Her lover, Grieve is on the opposite side. He is a member of the Vampiric Fae. He's dangerous and yet he and Cicely are still attracted to one another. There is one really intense romantic scene between them and a few others that are not as intense. So the romance was spread out here and there and wasn't too heavy.

The plot moved the book along fairly well. There were a few parts that seemed to drag. Like when Cicely was going to meet the vampires and discuss business. It just took a little too long for me.

There was a lot of prepping of going into the woods where the Vampiric Fae live before they rescue their friends.

Overall it was an okay read, to be honest. I was curious about the series because the cover was wicked awesome! The story wasn't too bad, it was just filled with a lot of details and info regarding these two different races and the battle between them. Then the battle hasn't even really taken place just yet. It's one of those stories that builds the battle up, there is tension between the races, but nothing catastrophic happens just yet.

I give it 3.5/5 stars. And since I finished it a little early and I haven't made it to the bookstore yet, I will have to go to my TBR pile for my next read being as I don't have Chosen, yet!

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog post by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights releases we're eagerly awaiting.

I possibly did a WoW post for this, but since I'm just moving down my little list, I figured, what the heck. I'll do it again!

This week one of my agonizing waits is Rachel Vincent's Alpha! Once again, don't read the BOC if you haven't read Shift yet!



YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE FAYTHE…

The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc, and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder, and treason. Yeah, we’ve been busy. But now it’s time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother’s death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.

It’s not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I’m heading for a final showdown that can—that will—change everything forever.

TITLE: Alpha
AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
ISBN-13: 978-0778328186
RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2010

Review--Red Hot Fury


AS A FURY, MARISSA HOLLOWAY BELONGS TO AN ARCANE RACE THAT HAS AVENGED WRONGDOING SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL. AS BOSTON'S CHIEF MAGICAL INVESTIGATOR FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, SHE'S DOING WHAT SHE WAS BORN TO DO: SOLVING SUPERNATURAL CRIMES.

It's far from business as usual when the body of a sister Fury washes up in Boston Harbor. But when Riss reports that the corpse's identity has been magically altered, she's immediately--and inexplicably--suspended from her job. Then a human assassin makes an attempt on her life, and Riss realizes that someone is trying to stir up strife between mortals and arcanes.

When a Fury gets made, she gets even, and Riss is determined to uncover the truth. Without the support of the mortal PD, she turns to the one man she can trust to watch her back: shape-shifting Warhound Scoot Murphy. But since Scott is also Riss's ex, she'll have to keep a short leash on more than just the supernatural rage that feeds her power as they try to solve a murder--and stop a war...

Finally finished Kasey Mackenzie's Red Hot Fury and it was awesome!! Was curious about this book when I saw the cover and found out that she was a local author! And plus the storyline sounded interesting. I love Greek mythology and found out that the Furies here are Roman based, as Greek and Roman mythology tend to be somewhat similar, but with differences. So I was all over this book from the moment I read all about this!

It wasn't a letdown either! It starts off right away with Riss finding the body of her sister Fury, but as the BOC says magic is involved, leading the body to only look like another Fury when really something else is going down. Way down.

The pacing of this book was just marvelous! I mean there is a definite mystery to solve here, but Riss is thrown off the case moments after it begins! Then there's the assassination attempt and Riss is forced to seek outside help. Of course the only person she can trust is her old lover and Warhound Scott Murphy. Hence more troubles begin.

Riss and Scott's actions can be a little predictable, but it's not a bad thing really. It doesn't detract from the writing. Tensions definitely run high between the two as they are forced to work together. And it doesn't help that Scott's younger brother, only by a few years--can't remember the exact difference, has a crush on Riss. And he's not too bad looking either! Not to mention that other members of the family aren't too pleased with her. Fun times all around!

Riss herself is just a riot! Her attitude is just funny to me. She has a bit of an attitude, but I guess that comes with being a Fury. Like with my teaser from earlier today, near death experience and she decides to go shopping! She was just funny!

There are a lot of twisted secrets involved too! It was great watching them all develop and reveal themselves in the end. Some were just such shockers! I mean another one I sort of guessed something was up, but I was nowhere near close enough to seeing what actually happened! The shockers are quite good too! Especially ones at the end! ;)

I sort of took a guess to a part of the outcome, like the who-done-it, but never really made it my official guess. So take that as you will! I like trying to guess the who-done-it bit, it can be fun and really challenging because some times I sooo don't see it coming! This time I was mildly prepared, but not entirely.

That being said, there is a lot of action to the book as well. Riss gets herself into a lot of trouble. But luckily she has great friends to help her out. Her partner on the force also joins in with her supernatural crew. In this book, the world knows about supernaturals, Riss's job position is proof of that as well, being the Chief Magical Investigator. It's refreshing some times to be in a setting where everyone knows about supernaturals, that way there is no need to have to convince others of their existence, they just know. But the opposite can be good too.

I loved this book. As I said I love Greek mythology and Roman as well, so I loved the little bits of mythology that Mackenzie used in the novel. There was a reference to the Orpheus myth as well. There were also Harpies as well as Furies. It was just awesome!

There was a little bit of romance in the story as well. Not a whole lot, but there's enough romantic tension between Riss and Scott to build up. Won't go further then that on that part of the book!

Overall I give the book 5/5 stars! It was a really amazing read! A GREAT one too! Kasey Mackenzie is definitely making my author list and I am now addicted to her series. Looking forward to more from her soon!

Cover Art


EEP!


I just saw Jeaniene's cover for This Side of the Grave!!! LOOOOOOVE IT!!!! The bottom part, which will be on the inside flap, is what the puzzle pieces started out as. Luckily we have the whole thing now, because those pieces were agonizing!! This one releases February 22, 2011! A long wait, but luckily they're plenty of GREAT reads along the way!!

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly blog post by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

Due to my mini vacation I didn't get much reading done. My current read is still going good, but like I said vacations kind of take time away from reading. Anyway, moving on!

The Rules:
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER free
4. Name the title, author, etc.

"I wrapped my arms around myself, taking pleasure in the fact that he trusted me enough to follow where I led. 'Where else would a woman want to go after a near-death experience? Shopping!'" p177

TITLE: Red Hot Fury
AUTHOR: Kasey Mackenzie
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: June 29, 2010

Contest Alert

Just saw this contest via another blog and had to pass the word along. It's another chance for me to win an ARC of Nightshade, the book I'm desperately trying to win because I want to read it so badly. I've entered and lost 6 contests now. I have 2 I've recently entered in hopes of winning. Fingers crossed!

Over at Reading Teen, the reviewers have several books up for grabs. Including:

The Duff by Kody Keplinger
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
You by Charles Benoit
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Other by Karen Kincy
Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Dark Song by Gail Giles
Kiss Me Deadly Anthology multiple authors

Contest ends September 24. Good Luck!

Hollywood, Chloe Neill...and Vampire Blood

Hey all! I'm back from my mini vacation to Cedarburg, Wisconsin! And it was GREAT! Not only was the weather beautiful, much better than the upper 90s and humidity that's in St. Louis, but I had a lot of fun!

First off to explain the "Hollywood" portion of my blog post. While in Wisconsin I went to Port Washington, which is near Lake Michigan, because they had a few ships at the port and one of them was used in the Pirates movies! I don't know which ship this one was, likely one of the Commanders or something, definitely not The Pearl, nor do I know which movie it was in, other than that it was in at least one of the movies!We didn't ride it, it cost some odd dollars to ride it for awhile. None of us were in the mood since it was still early in the morning and our stomachs just weren't up to handling the waves of the lake. But still, just to see it was awesome!



Next up on my "Hollywood" venture, was the Art Museum in downtown Milwaukee. This is where they did some filming for the upcoming Transformers 3 movie. I haven't seen the second one yet, not sure if I'm seeing this one either. But still, seeing a place where they filmed for a movie is still pretty awesome. And the museum itself wasn't too bad. A little pricey, but luckily I had my student id with me to get a little bit of a price break. Even though I'm no longer a student, oops! But hey, I look it! ;)

This is the museum when it's closed. And this is when it's open. It was pretty cool!
This part is called The Burke Brise Soleil.


And here's a pic of the inside where the wings opened up.





Then on Saturday, I went to Bayshore Mall and met Chloe Neill! It was a very small gathering since she was just there to sign books. Very informal. But she still answered questions and whatnot. It was still fun. And I got my books signed! Which is always a treasure! Meet the author and get all her books signed! Yes, Saturday was a very fun day indeed! I also got quite a bit of swag! Gotta love swag!!

And finally for the last bit and perhaps the most intriguing part of my blog title...the Vampire Blood! Not too long ago, I saw this on Nicole Peeler's blog and thought, I HAVE to HAVE it!! It's from Bath and Body Works. It's a little bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel and it's called Vampire Blood! How awesome is that?! It's so cute too, nice and tiny! I had to have it, so luckily while at Bayshore Mall, they had a Bath and Body Works so I bought a bottle. Then I went ahead and got one for Chloe too. I made a mad dash back to Barnes and Noble and gave it to her. A Vampire author has to have a bottle of Vampire Blood!


Overall it was an incredibly GREAT weekend! I loved every minute of it. I'm a little glad to be home, but of course it means I have to get back to work soon. I haven't called in yet to get my schedule yet and I do have to admit, I'm putting it off because I don't want it to spoil the remaining hours of my day off. Who knows how much I have to work this week.

I didn't get too much reading done even while in the car because I was talking with my "people" ;) driving me and didn't want to be rude since she was the driver and I had to talk her into coming with me this weekend. So I'll be looking for a nice Teaser from that one for tomorrow. Also this week I need to work on some revisions in my current writing piece. I heard back from my friend who read it over and now I need to do another set of revisions and then...pretty soon...I'll be querying for an agent because my story is done, it just needs some tweaking. Wish me luck!

See you all tomorrow for Teaser Tuesday!

In My Mailbox



In My Mailbox is a weekly blog post by Kirsti over at The Story Siren.

This week I received some books that I won in a contest awhile back. Was very happy to see the nice package in my mailbox. Nothing says a good day like getting an envelope full of books!

I got Fatal Circle by Linda Robertson (signed!)




















I also got Hallowed Circle by Linda Robertson (signed!)




















Then I got a copy of Kelly Gay's Better Part of Darkness




















And finally I got Carole Nelson Douglas' Brimstone Kiss



















As I said a wonderful package of books! Can't wait to read them all!! So what did you get this week?

Contest Alert

ARCs ARCs and more ARCs!!

Over at Babbling Flow, a blog I just discovered the other day, Sara, the reviewer is having a MAJOR contest where she has tons of ARCs as the prizes! Including SIGNED copies of Beautiful Darkness and Beautiful Creatures!

There are 8 ARCs up for grabs. Head on over today to enter!

Good Luck!

Review--Dreaming Anastasia


ANASTASIA ROMANOV,

THE DAUGHTER OF THE LAST TSAR OF RUSSIA, IS BELIEVED TO BE DEAD BY THE WORLD. BUT SHE IS ALIVE, AND WHEN SHE SLEEPS SHE DREAMS.

ANNE MICHAELSON

DOESN'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT RUSSIAN HISTORY: SHE IS MORE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING INTO A GOOD COLLEGE. BUT THEN THE DREAMS START...

In her dreams Anne is somewhere else. She is someone else. The dreams seem as real as her waking life, and they terrify her. Then a stranger offers to explain them--a boy who by all appearances is her age. He claims he has been waiting for someone who can help save Anastasia. And through him, Anne sees: you don't need to be imprisoned to be trapped.

Finished Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble today. And just before I had to go into work! This was a book I won in a contest and I finally got around to reading it and it wasn't half bad.

The history behind Anastasia Romanov has always intrigued me on some level. I don't know that much about it. I saw the cartoon movie as a kid, so that's pretty much my knowledge right there, except for the fantasy bits not being true.

And there is a lot of history put into the story. We get to learn about some details of Anastasia. I want to say they're true, but don't know for certain. How much was writing on the author's part and how much was research.

The novel also brings in the fairy tale Baba Yaga, which I distantly recall as well. There was a great twisting of fairy tale and historical info into this book and intertwined with the characters in a modern day setting.

It was a little complicated at first and at certain points, because there would be what felt like history lessons. It wasn't too bad, it was just that not all the info was familiar and some of it was, but I couldn't decipher what was fact from fiction. So it made reading a little complicated at times. Another thing that sort of complicated things was when the narrator changed and the time changed. Mostly the story is told through Anne and Ethan--the mysterious boy. And there is a day and time stamped at the beginning. Which was fine, but it got more complicated when Anastasia, who is being held by Baba Yaga somewhere, narrated for a short chapter.

The setup of it is easy to understand, but just when you get comfortable with a character it changes and possibly the time as well. But it didn't happen too much. It was just a few little things like that, that bothered me about the novel. Otherwise it was very interesting.

There is definitely a nice buildup of mystery here. We don't really know who Ethan is at first or why he's interested in Anne. There is a brief idea thrown around, but we don't understand it completely until he explains things to Anne.

Anne is quite the character too. She reacts very realistically to her situations when they come up. For there are quite a few unbelievable ideas for her to accept and she doesn't do so right away, which is something real.

Her best friend, Tess, was a riot! I love that girl! She really knows how to lightened the mood and say whatever she's thinking, regardless of how appropriate it may be! She was there to ease the tension when it built up. She was also a very devoted friend to Anne and she proves this through her actions and words several times.

There was a bit of a budding romance between Anne and Ethan, but it didn't get too far. Really the book takes place in about two days or so. Two days where the main action takes place at least. There was probably a day or so of the buildup, but the pacing was incredible. So much happens and we get to see this with the time stamp at the beginning of each chapter.

There is a bit of magic involved, which is expected since fairy tales come into the picture and it wouldn't be complete without some!

Lots of deep dark secrets too! They intertwine with the mystery bits and it was all very shocking! Some of it got a little too deep, twisted and confusing, but they were still shockers! A little out there, but still shocking!

The ending was fantastic! While you can see some of it coming, the total outcome I didn't see coming at all! It was amazing! And there was just enough of a cliffhanger in the end to make me want to know what's going to happen with Anne next!

Overall I give it 3 1/2 /5 stars. Closer to 4, but some of the historical facts really threw me through a loop at times. But still it was a very GREAT read. Really enjoyable. One I highly recommend if you like fairy tales and some history--mainly pertaining to Anastasia of course!

Haunted, is her next novel in the series and it releases February 1, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog post by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights releases we're eagerly awaiting.

And even though Spy Glass is on my list, I got an ARC of that one so I no longer eagerly await that release, although I will still likely buy a copy to support Maria! You can see my review of that here, and also the book can apparently be found on shelves by AUGUST 24! September 1 is just the official release date. So yay!

So instead I move on down to Siren Song by Cat Adams! And with the ending of Blood Song, I realllllllllyyy can't wait to read this one!!

Once again, I advise you not to read ahead for the BOC if you haven't read Blood Song yet and plan to, there are SPOILERS ahead!





Nothing if not resilient, Celia Graves is slowly adjusting to being a half-human, half-vampire Abomination. But her troubles are far from over. Her best friend’s murder is still unsolved, the cops are convinced she should be in jail, and her old lover, the magician Bruno DeLuca, has resurfaced in her life, saying he has something important to tell her.

The vampire attack that transformed Celia kicked her latent Siren abilities into high gear, and now she’s been summoned to the Sirens’ island to justify her existence—and possibly fight for her life—in front of the Siren Queen. Celia isn’t sure she’ll survive to make the trip. The demon she defeated in Blood Song hasn’t exactly gone quietly—he’s left Celia suffering from a powerful curse.

TITLE: Siren Song
AUTHOR: Cat Adams
ISBN-13: 978-0765324955
RELEASE DATE: September 28, 2010

Review--Raised by Wolves


At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murdered her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn's been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.

But the pack's been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum's direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Sudden;y, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It's Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.

AN EXCITING NEW PARANORMAL ADVENTURE, WITH A HEROINE WHO RIVALS BUFFY, RAISED BY WOLVES WILL LEAVE YOU HOWLING FOR MORE.

When I was and still partially am on my werewolf craving a friend recommended Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised by Wolves, so I bought it but then other new releases got in the way. Now I am waiting on new releases so I'm tackling the other side of my TBR pile. Needless to say it did not take me long to finish this book.

I loved it from beginning to end. Bryn is definitely a strong character, she's human and raised by wolves as the title says. So it's safe to say that she is a bit different than the other humans her age. She has a different mindset, compared to the humans and compared to the wolves who raised her. She falls somewhere in between, but she is loyal to the pack that raised her. Especially to her mother-figure, Ali, who is human as well and married to a wolf. She raised Bryn practically since Bryn entered the pack at an early age after her parents' murder.

Bryn has never really followed all the pack's rules to a T. She tries her best to avoid them sometimes by finding loopholes. But when she discovers that in Callum, the alpha's basement, a young boy her age is being held prisoner in a cage because he's newly turned, her curiosity gets the better of her. He survived an attack, much like she did, but his resulted in him turning into a werewolf.

Bryn must succumb to the whims of her alpha in order to be able to spend time with the mysterious boy, Chase. She feels drawn to him and doesn't understand why. But as I mentioned her visiting him comes with a price, a steep price. She must undergo a lot of training, keep up her grades, open her mind up to the pack, thus basically being a perfect pack member, which she hadn't been lately despite her being human.

Bryn does everything that is asked of her just for the chance to talk to Chase. But soon things take a dangerous turn and things become extremely dangerous for Bryn and her family. Due to certain events Bryn and Ali along with two others flee the town they called home for reasons I can't explain and go to the far reaches of Callum's territory, to be with other pack members that live far away.

Bryn and Chase have a connection, a deep one. One that changes life as Bryn knows it. Secrets from the past are revealed that shatter everything she's known. She's going to need the help of her friends to try to solve the problem.

Overall this was a fantastic book! There are details that I wish I could get into to, but in order to explain them I have to reveal something that might be spoiler-ish. So sorry for vague details.

The pacing was great. Sure it started a little slow, but it was merely climbing the incline before diving down the hill, like a roller-coaster. And once the action picks up, it really stays there balancing itself out with the suspense!

Like I said there is this BIG secret that gets revealed and it is BIG which leads to other details that I can't discuss which leads to the phenomenal ending which I obviously can't discuss, but all those details made for a great story, a great world building! It was fantastic!

It was amazing all the things that Bryn did and had to do, and she's only 15, she can't even drive legally yet! But boy does that girl have stamina, I guess you would too when you were raised by wolves since you were four. She is very much like a Buffy character except she's not a slayer, but she is still a protector and a fighter!

Overall I give the book 4/5 stars. Looking forward to next book in this series!

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly blog post by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

Just getting into Raised by Wolves and already I am loving it! So appeasing my werewolf craving that I've been having!

The Rules of Teaser Tuesday:
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER free
4. Name the book, author, etc.

*Quick note, I picked more than 2 lines yet again! I'm a rule-breaker, much like Bryn is apparently!

"I took a step forward, drawn toward him, this boy in the cage.
'You smell good,' he said. 'Like meat.'
I immediately stopped moving forward. He sniffed the air again." p58

TITLE: Raised by Wolves
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
GENRE: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: June 8, 2010

Review--Death's Excellent Vacation


BECAUSE EVERYONE--AND EVERYTHING--NEEDS A BREAK FROM THE ROUTINE, CHARLAINE HARRIS AND TONI L. P. KELNER RETURN WITH AN ALL-NEW STORY COLLECTION OF POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE OF THE PARANORMAL WORLD...

It really can be an endless summer--if you're immortal. Though a vampire would be ill-advised to take a cruise to Bermuda, the possibilities for getting away from it all--and maybe snacking on some unsuspecting tourist--are many...

Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire friend Pam take a weekend getaway to Mississippi in #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris's "Two Blondes." And when they end up in a shady gentleman's club, to escape in one piece they need to do something involving a stage, a pole, and very little clothing.

New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister's "The Perils of Effrijim" follows a demon whose vacation in Paris is disrupted when he's banished to another plane, thus kicking off a crazy dimension hopping road trip across Europe.

Protecting an heiress from supernatural hit men isn't Cat and Bones's idea of a relaxing vacation in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost's "One for the Money", but it could get worse. And it does--when Cat's mother shows up.

With ten more original tales, editors Harris and Kelner bring together a stellar collection of tour guides who offer vacations frightening, funny, and touching--for the fanged, the furry, the demonic, and the grotesque.

The latest anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner, Death's Excellent Vacation, was a collection of 13 stories all about vacationing! And not all were happy endings either!

I bought this because I enjoyed Harris and Kelner's previous anthologies, plus 3 of my favorite authors were in there. Not a lot, but hey, there was a Cat and Bones story in there and I needed my Frost fix other than her last two amazing novels, I still wanted to see Cat and Bones as the lead! And boy did they have a good story!

Now for a break down of the stories included:

Harris's Two Blondes did in fact have Sookie and Pam going to a gentleman's club for what was supposed to be a "business meeting", but things take a wrong turn. And thus they end up in a situation with the stage, the pole, and little clothing.

Sarah Smith had a more complicated story, The Boys Go Fishing, in which there were superheroes and supernaturals together. Honestly this was one of the harder stories for me to get into. I didn't quite understand everything.

Frost's One for the Money had Cat and Bones spending their vacation protecting a spoiled rich brat from attacks on her life. And thus in the beginning of things she hits on Bones! Then to add the icing to the cake, they wind up sharing the house with Cat's mom! There were definitely a few chuckle moments and definitely some romantic ones too for a short story. Now we just need to begin the countdown to February 22 for more!

Daniel Stashower's Meanwhile Across the Caspian Sea, was another difficult one to get into. A man ends up working at a publishing house under a very difficult man who has secrets. Again, this was one of the harder stories for me to get into, there was a lot of detail to history since that MC was working to help publish a history book or magazine...plus I read this one early this morning so my mind is really fuzzy on the details.

A. Lee Martinez wrote The Innsmouth Nook, which was a rather interesting story with an ironic twist at the end. He and his "partner" (there's a joke there that you'll have to read the story to find out) run a B&B in a little town off the coast, that rarely sees visitors. The normal kind of visitors at least. There's an old legend about the town that no one really takes any merit to, until now.

Safe and Sound by Jeff Abbot involved a reporter trying to track down a missing young man who disappeared while on vacation. This was one of the stories that ended in an unexpected way. Although you can guess some of the facts along the way, but the ending was a real surprise. It was different, yet awesome!

Seeing is Believing by L.A. Banks was an interesting story as well. A different set of supernaturals and a dark past lead the two characters together and they realize they have more than just an attraction between them. Something else connects them together.

Katie MacAlister's The Perils of Effrijim follow the adventures of the demon who likes to be a dog (I haven't read this series so the characters were new to me) and while his "masters" were away, he was going to take his own vacation to see his girlfriend, but once again in the grand scheme of things, things take a dangerous wrong turn and the demon is waylaid by several days. Having to escape danger on a constant basis while on vacation and being in human form is not what he had in mind.

Thin Walls by Christopher Golden was another of those stories that didn't end exactly the way I thought it would. I didn't know how it should've ended either. It was different. A man is on a special vacation in honor of his wife's memory and his hotel neighbors spend their night with rather loud activity. But to be in this anthology, you know something supernatural is involved and it was a doozie! And if you are well-versed in urban fantasy, you can take a guess as to what's going on and likely be right!

Lilith Saintcrow's The Heart is Always Right was a very different tale involving gargoyles and a particular human. The concepts were a little strange to adjust to in such a short time, but given it's a short story I just rolled with it. Still it was rather interesting, much like all Saintcrow's work.

The Demon in the Dunes by Chris Grabenstein was another unexpected story about a man remembering one summer day when he was a kid in the 70s and how he saw his first demon. As to why he remembers it now nearly 30 years later is a mystery. Until the end! Another great surprising story!

Sharan Newman's Home from America was another surprising story. It took a little while for the story to take off but once it does, you easily figure out what's going on, just as the character discovers it. Of course, things go way, way wrong and it leads to the yet again surprising ending!

And lastly, Toni Kelner writes an amazing story called Pirate Dave's Haunted Amusement Park that involves a newly turned werewolf trying to take a little vacation away from making a HUGE decision and visit the park that was from her childhood. But something is definitely wrong with the park. Something hinky! Accidents keep happening and there are some surprises along the way as well. This ending was definitely something strange as well, but in a more lighthearted way. Hopefully that isn't spoiler-like. But after you read it you'll (hopefully) get what I mean!

A very nice anthology collection, overall I give it 4/5 stars! Hopefully you'll read this one too since summer is just winding down and fall returns. Although the weather here will definitely take a LONG time to turn fall worthy, but this was a great anthology and Frost's story alone makes this a worthy read!

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly blog post by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

Well I did some shopping this week, mostly online and they were bought last weekend, but arrived this week! Nothing like seeing that lovely brown box on your porch to brighten your day!

Inside I got Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson.




















Red Hot Fury by Kasey Mackenzie

















Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines
















A nice short stack to add to my growing stack! I don't know if I'll ever get back to the point of having nothing to read...YAY!

So what did you get in your mailbox this week?

Review--City of Ghosts


IT'S A THIN LINE BETWEEN ALIVE AND UNDEAD.

Chess Putnam has a lot more on her plate. Mangled human corpses have started to show up on the streets of Downside, and Chess's bosses at the Church of Real Truth have ordered her to team up with the ultra-powerful Black Squad agency to crack the grisly case.

Chess is under a binding spell that threatens death if she talks about the investigation, but the city's most notorious crime boss--and Chess's drug dealer--gets wind of her new assignment and insists on being kept informed. If that isn't bad enough, a sinister street vendor appears to have information Chess needs. Only he's not telling what he knows, or what it all has to do with the vast underground City of Eternity.

Now Chess will have to navigate killer wraiths, First Elders, and a lot of serious nasty magic--all while coping with some not-so-small issues of her own. And the only man Chess cant trust to help her through it all has every reason to want her dead.

Stacia Kane's City of Ghosts was one wild ride! From beginning to end the action is nonstop, the level of action varies, but Chess is one very busy girl. And the case takes a serious toll on her as does the after effects of Unholy Magic.

Chess is having to deal with the ultimate cold shoulder from Terrible as she just comes to grips with realizing her feelings for him. There's a lot of tension whenever they're together and since Bump wants to be kept informed on her new case, that means interacting with Terrible.

And this case of Chess's is huge! She has to take an unbreakable oath where she cannot tell anyone anything about the case or suffer the severe consequences. Which makes getting help from Terrible and other people almost impossible. Plus working with another person, Lauren, who is the Black Squad agent, who has more seniority than Chess and has more powerful connections.

The working relationship between them is like sticking the cheerleader with the outcast, for Lauren is totally preppy in some instances and while not a neat freak, gives off that attitude of being something like one. Can't explain it, but she thinks she's better than Chess and she's really kind of annoying of course we see this through Chess's eyes so my opinion might be biased.

The case is a real doozie too. There are tons of scary looking creatures popping up and lots of bloodshed as well. It gets really dark at times, but it sets the mood and the scene. Downside is a scary place especially after dark and the residents there are ultra creepy too, shady people.

Chess must work harder than ever on this case, let alone trying to mend the fences between Terrible. The case itself doesn't seem nearly as hard as the former since Terrible wants nothing to do with her. The anger from him is totally raw and gutless, he really makes her feel crappy about what she did to him and she already feels crappy enough.

Then Chess starts making discoveries about the case that are better left unknown and soon she realizes that she's too far in to back out and the consequences, once again, will be deadly.

In the end there are a lot of surprising twists and I wish I could say I saw them coming, but honestly I don't tend to analyze when reading and solve the case ahead of time. Sometimes I do, but it's an unconscious decision, so I didn't pay close enough attention to see these surprises. But wow, the extent of some of these twists at the end were shocking and made me need to finish the book that much faster to assure myself there was a resolution at the end...and you have to read it to find out if there was resolution in the end.

There are some pretty intense moments in here, won't get into some of them because then they turn spoiler like or will lead to spoilers. The action gets intense like I said and it really grabs you, especially if you're good at visualizing all the gory details! Books can be more gory than movies if you have the right imagination!

The ending was pretty damn satisfying as well, if I do say so myself. Of course the series will continue on next year, which I'm looking forward to.

Overall I give the book 5/5 stars!

Contest Alert

Quite a few book bloggers have birthdays this month and they are having amazing contests on their blogs! Wow! Their birthday and yet they're giving books away!

Over at Once Upon a Review, Khelsea has 4 prize packs she's giving away! All are amazing! Head on over today to enter and be sure to wish her a Happy Birthday! The big 2-0! No longer a teenager! Yay Khelsea! Happy Birthday again!!

Her contest ends September 25, 2010 at 11:59PM EST