Interview with Jess Haines (Free E-book Download!)

I'm pleased to announce that I have a blog interview today with Jess Haines, author of the H&W Investigations series! Her latest release Taken by the Others releases January 4, 2011 and it is a GREAT read. See my review here.

Now onto the interview!

JESSICA: Is it hard to write a character who started with some prejudices about vampires?

JESS: In some ways, yes. Being a person who adores vampires, I knew that it wouldn’t be terribly interesting to write about someone interacting with a vampire who already has the hots for all things supernatural. Where’s the tension in that?

Instead, I figured it would make more sense to take someone who was downright phobic of them and have her draw their interest. Think about it—a hot, sexy vampire getting in your personal space when you’re terrified of being bitten or magically enthralled? And, being human, having no real defenses to speak of? Makes for some very interesting times…

JESSICA: Shiarra is an interesting name for your main character, where did you come up with that?

JESS: I’ve always been a gamer geek, so coming up with odd or unusual names is something of a specialty of mine. You might notice the occasional subtle (or not so subtle) hints to my geekier nature sprinkled here and there throughout the books. I’ve given a wink-and-nod to just about everything in my novels—from EverQuest to World of Warcraft to AD&D to Vampire: the Masquerade—nothing is sacred!

JESSICA: How many books do you have planned for the series?

JESS: I’m contracted for six right now. Will there be more? We’ll see…

JESSICA: What can we expect to see from Shiarra in Taken by the Others?

JESS: All kinds of nifty and terrible things!

Shiarra gets to deal with her phobia of vampires in a major way. She gets beaten, kidnapped, bitten, and otherwise knocked around, but—taking a cue from good ol’ Harry Dresden—she keeps on ticking. Let’s not forget the White Hats (crazy and/or extremist supernatural hunters) are still trying to recruit her to their cause, and someone is trying to kill her werewolf boyfriend, Chaz. Lucky for her, the one thing she doesn’t have to deal with (much) this time is her parental units giving her grief about her job, her love life, or spending time around Others.

For the Chaz and Royce fans in the audience, don’t worry—there’s plenty of face time for both of them this time around!

JESSICA: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? Benefits and negatives to your choice?

JESS: Full-time non-fiction (technical) writer, and part-time fiction writer. My day job consists of writing manuals and policy, which is just as boring as it sounds, but pays the bills.

Writing fiction is my reason for living. I have loved creative writing from the time I was a teenager. I have literally hundreds of thousands of words written simply for the fun of it. It's hard for me to see a down side, since I never expected something done mostly for kicks to take off like it has. The first novel in the H&W Investigations series, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, was the first book I ever sought publication for, and it’s now selling internationally, going to be translated into two languages (German and French), with five more books in the series on the way. That’s a heck of a leap for something I was fiddling with in my spare time. The way things are going, and if I’m lucky, maybe some day this will be what I do full time for a living!

JESSICA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

JESS: Aside from surfing the internet and lurking on random blogs, I’ve recently discovered the joys of Twitter. I enjoy reading, of course—mostly horror, fantasy and science fiction, though I will occasionally delve into romance, history, philosophy, etc. I’m not great at it, but I like to sketch. Watching (and MSTing) movies with my friends is one of my favorite pastimes. Don’t ask about the time we almost got thrown out of the theater while watching New Moon. When I have time for it, I like to go hiking or walking on the beach, too.

JESSICA: What book are you currently reading or read last?

JESS: I’m currently reading Mark Henry’s BATTLE OF THE NETWORK ZOMBIES (Amanda Feral #3). It’s delightfully inappropriate!

JESSICA: Thanks for taking the time to come over and answer these questions!

JESS: Thanks for having me over! 

You can now read the first H&W Investigations novel, Hunted by the Others, for FREE by Amazon kindle and you don't have to have a kindle for it, just download the app for your computer or cell phone device.

Hurry with this offer, it goes from December 31, 2010-January 2, 2011!!

Here is the link for Amazon US

Here is the link for Amazon UK

Cover Art--2 Titles!

I was over at Dark Faerie Tales this morning and saw some AWESOME covers that release next year so I thought I would share them here!

First off we have Merrie Destefano's Feast!


Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods…

Madeline MacFadden (“Mad Mac” to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest…the time to feast.

Once again Maddie’s dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own…

This title releases June 28, 2011

Then I saw Jocelynn Drake's next Dark Days novel, Burn the Night and I loooove it!! Mira looks so kickass and like she is going to burn the night!!! And this is supposed to be the last one from what I've been hearing.

No cover description yet that I could find, but will post once I find it! 

This title will release on June 28, 2011 as well.

Review--ARC Taken by the Others by Jess Haines

Jess Haines draws readers deep into the mesmerizing world of the Others–werewolves, vampires, and mages who make their home among humans, and are turning Shiarra Waynest’s life upside down…

Once, New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest’s most pressing problem was keeping her agency afloat. Now she’s dealing with two dangerous, seductive vampires who have been enemies for centuries. The only thing Max Carlyle and Alec Royce agree on is that they both want Shia–for very different reasons.

Max is determined to destroy Shia for killing his progeny, while Royce’s interest is a lot more personal. That’s not sitting well with Shia’s werewolf boyfriend, Chaz. As the feud between Max and Royce gets ever more deadly, a powerful vampire-hunting faction is urging Shia to join their side. Shia has always believed vamps were the bad guys, but she’s discovering unexpected shades of grey that are about to redefine her friends, her loyalties–and even her desires…

I received this ARC in a contest from Jess Haines herself. 
I read Jess Haines' debut Hunted by the Others a few months ago and immediately fell into her world that seems so much like ours but in the distant (maybe not so distant, lol!) future. Taken by the Others picks up a few months later and Shiarra's life is just starting to get to somewhat normal when more trouble strikes, for any book wouldn't be interesting if there wasn't a whole mess of trouble!

Shiarra finds herself neck deep in trouble when another vampire, Max Carlyle rolls into town and wants revenge against Royce for past injustices. And he plans to take out his revenge by using Shiarra. 

The action picks up rather quickly I think, it's a gradual pace but still written well so we are not immediately thrust into the thick of things. It is sort of like moving from point A to point B but at a steady yet fast pace. I have become really taken with Haines' world of vampires, Weres, and mages, for it seems more lifelike in some ways. How there is a sense of prejudice and injustice to the supernaturals. Humans either fear/hate them or some are totally enamored by them. You don't usually see this too much, there's either a hate or love for vamps and whatnot right away in a book--of course this is just something I noticed in the books I read, and I don't read absolutely everything so don't think I'm preaching that this is the "only" book that does this.

Basically I just like the confliction Shiarra has for the supernaturals. She has always kind of feared and disliked them, but her opinions tend to change as the novels proceed. Just a little, step by step and I like that she can overcome her prejudice at times with the right supernaturals. Of course since the bad guy is usually a supernatural as well it still makes things difficult.

The romance in the book wasn't really noticeable either, nothing intense. There are "moments" I guess you can say that are somewhat romantic but not the full thing, for as is noted by Shiarra, she and Chaz can't do "the nasty" unless she signs a contract. So things between them are somewhat platonic...for the meantime at least. Although, Royce is still another thing entirely. As we learned at the end of Hunted by the Others, but I won't touch on that matter here.

The ending was good too, it wrapped things up without much of a cliffhanger. More of just a wondering what's next. And there is a sneak peek at the next novel Deceived by the Others which releases July 5, 2011, but I had to pass on reading it for sneak peeks are just plain evil to me!

Overall I give the book 5/5 stars and looking forward to the next!

This title releases on January 4, 2011--so really not a long wait at all!

Top Reads of 2010

Over at Nice Girls Don't Read Naughty Books, Heidi has posted the top reads of 2010 from a few bloggers and I was one of them along with my friend Claire from Cem's Book Hideout, and Nikki from Evilqueen's Realm of Ensorcelled Reads.

There you will see our top 5 fave books from the year along with a cover. And Heidi is also having a contest as well for a chance to win a E-book copy of Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Keep!

So head on over for a chance to win! Click here.

Quickie Reviews

Since these two were rather short, the reviews will be brief. I loved Jenna Black's debut YA novel, Glimmerglass, so I jumped at the chance to receive this short story, Remedial Magic, for free via Amazon.

It was short like I said, but it dealt with Ethan and his sister, Kimber. Since it's been several months since I last read Glimmerglass, it took me awhile to remember the characters. But as it was short, I didn't stay too long in this world.

It basically deals with Kimber trying to learn magic. Or more magic. Whichever, and it results in quite a surprise. Like a horror version of Toy Story, but not quite Chucky.

Overall I'd give it 3.5/5, it was good and perhaps it was the distance from reading Glimmerglass that made it harder for me to remember the characters. Not a bad read really. Just a few pages long, but Dana wasn't in it, so that might have made it a little harder to connect with as well.



And as you know, I LOVED 13 to Life so I nabbed Shannon Delany's prequel story, Beasts and BFFs as well.

This one seemed shorter to me and was another okay like read. Since it's a prequel we don't get to see everyone, in fact we just see Jessie, Sarah, and Amy.

There wasn't much to the storyline here except seeing a moment with the friends, or rather Amy's dislike of Sarah, which we learned why back in 13 to Life!!

But basically the girls have a close encounter with something scary and hairy while on a jog and that was the gist of it.

Again, nothing major happening here either, but it was still pretty enjoyable for a short prequel story. Can't expect too much out of them but it was kind of interesting, because we see how the friends are with one another and Amy's strong dislike of Sarah.

Overall I give this on a 3.5/5 as well, mostly because I was hoping for the appearance of a certain someone, but alas, he was not there...in the way I wanted to see him at least. ;)

You can find these titles for free at Amazon for a short time I believe, unless they're free forever...not sure about that, so nab them while you can. Just click on the title links to be directed to their page on Amazon.

Cover Art--Adrian Phoenix

Saw this cover over at ATUF and thought I share it here since I can't wait to read this one. I enjoyed Black Dust Mambo so I want to give Black Heart Loa a try!

Looove this cover!


While searching for her missing bayou-pirate cousin, Kallie Riviere, a fiery Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a talent for trouble, finds out the hard way that someone’s undoing powerful gris gris down in the bayou and changing the very nature of magic. Suddenly working magic is like rolling a handful of dice—random and definitely not what you planned.

Now the wards woven by conjurers to protect New Orleans and the Gulf coast are in danger of unraveling, leaving the city and the coastline vulnerable just as the deadliest storm—an unnatural storm—in a century is born. And aims for the heart of New Orleans.

As Kallie races to uncover the random magic’s source and restore the wards, she learns a dark and unsettling truth: she might be the source. And she and everyone close to her—including a certain sexy nomad who can wear wet boxers like no other man—are being hunted.

Then Kallie steps right into the most dangerous trap of all, a trap set just for her in the form of a tall, dark, and grumpy loup garou designed to steal her heart. Literally.

This one releases June 28, 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.

Well moving down my list already has me skipping 2 releases since I read them early and LOVED them, which I'll still be buying copies, so my next book I can't wait to read is Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright.

As you know I'm not a Twilight fan, but I still plan on reading this new version of Red Riding Hood next month that's from the Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke. Mostly because I love retellings of fairy tales. And I already plan on seeing the movie too.

I read quite a few of fairytale retellings in the YA line and I did read a Red Riding Hood one where the wolf was a werewolf and Red Riding Hood falls in love with him. Most likely a totally different story from this one, but when I heard there was a book coming out months before the movie, I thought I had to check it out!


The body of a young girl is discovered in a field of wheat. Her flesh mutilated by telltale claw marks. The Wolf has broken the peace.

When Valerie learns that her sister has been killed by the legendary creature, she finds herself at the center of a dark mystery, one that has plagued her village for generations. It is revealed that the werewolf lives among them, and everyone in the village immediately becomes a suspect. Could her secret love Peter be behind the attacks on her town? Is it her betrothed, Henry? Or someone even closer to her?

As the men in the village hunt for the beast, Valerie turns to her grandmother for help. She gives Valerie a handmade red riding cloak, and guides her through the web of lies and deception that has held her town together for so long. Will Valerie discover the werewolf's identity before the town is ripped apart?

This is a dangerous new vision of a classic fairy tale, the happy ending could be hard to find.

TITLE: Red Riding Hood
AUTHOR:
Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
GENRE:
YA Fantasy
RELEASE DATE:
January 25, 2011

Review--E-ARC The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

MY NAME IS MEGHAN CHASE.

I thought it was over.That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stay by my side. Drag me into the core of a conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

THIS TIME, THERE WILL BE NO TURNING BACK.

I received this ARC of Julie Kagawa's The Iron Queen from NetGalley.

Finished The Iron Queen today and I am still in shock!! Oh wow. The excitement and adventure and the danger really pick up in this book! And there was a point I was afraid of the end's outcome, but I had to remind myself that there will be another book in 2011, November, from what I've heard, called The Iron Knight and that one will be really juicy!

Meghan has come a long way since we first met her in The Iron King. When we first see her, she's the awkward girl with the major crush on the most popular boy in school and has one incredible best friend. She's your average 16 year old, until the day she realizes that she's not so average and that is where her transitional journey began.

Meghan is pretty fierce now. After being exiled from Faery with her boyfriend Ash, she returns to the mortal world thinking things might finally go back to normal now that she is basically banned from anything fae. But trouble arrives at her doorstep quite literally when she goes to return home. The Summer King and Winter Queen might be done with her, but The Iron King is not. Along with another member of the Faery world.

But Meghan first decides to deal with the problems she has with the mortal world and the In Between. Where we learned last time a certain someone is with the Exiled Queen. That is where the first part of the novel takes us and it was quite thrilling even though we weren't in Faery. There was still plenty of action here and there and other exciting moments involving graveyards!

Part 2 is when Meghan is asked to return to Faery to defeat the Iron King once and for all so that Faery can continue to exist without the Iron Kingdom taking over. But it is not an easy battle for Meghan and her friends Ash and Puck. They're going to need all the help they can get. Also, the Iron King is finally revealed and I was so on par with his identity.

There was plenty of action in the later part of the book for that was when the war between kingdoms occurred. Summer and Winter versus Iron. And what a battle it was. There were so many surprises in this latter part of the novel that I found myself not wanting it to end! There was so much wondering for me with the characters and the ending was to die for! I can't get into the details, but as I said there were several shocks and surprises all throughout the novel and the ending was no different.

The romance between Ash and Meghan also continues to grow with a few bumps here and there. And I find myself totally loving their romance. It's so endearing and heartfelt. Much different from the love between mortals and supernaturals. Love between mortals and the fae always seem more intense and powerful. For the fae are incredibly mysterious and dangerous, and let's face it sexy, that the love and affection they hold for a particular mortal is breathtaking.

I am completely addicted to this series now and have been for awhile. The characters are so lifelike and complex, I love them! Grim is always mysterious and seems cold at times, but he is truly a good friend to Meghan. Puck, you gotta love him even if the romance between him and Meghan is not a possibility, he is still a great friend to Meghan and he is full of laughs! I mean really, how can you not laugh at one of his quips? And Ash, what's not to love about a mysterious faerie who's dangerous and deadly, but is madly in love with you and will do anything and everything to protect you and keep you safe?

So yes, I am completely smitten with this series and so cannot wait for The Iron Knight! Overall this book gets 5/5 stars from me!

The Iron Queen will release on January 25, 2011

My Soul to Steal

As you might know I am a HUGE Rachel Vincent fan and I just wanted to take this moment to remind you that Rachel's next YA release, My Soul to Steal is January 1, 2011. Technically that's the OFFICIAL release date, but you might be able to find the book out now. I have mine in my TBR pile that I hope to get to very soon, but I have some ARCs to read first for review.

Anywho here is the fabulous trailer that Rachel has for MSTSteal. It's fabulous! I already know I'm going to love this one for the BOC has had me craving it for a long time now and with the way MSTKeep ended, I'm really looking forward to this one!!


Here is the BOC incase you were wondering too:

YOU WANT MY SOUL AND MY BOYFRIEND?

Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.

And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.

I DON'T THINK SO.

Teaser Tuesday

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

Thanks to my BFF NetGalley, I'm reading The Iron Queen right now and totally loving it!! It's so exciting and picking up pretty much right where we left off in The Iron Daughter! As I write this, I'm not that far in, but it is still exciting, for Meghan's purpose/goal is just beginning!!

So of course, I had a hard time trying to pick just one teaser. So I find myself cheating again. ;) It's hard not to be bad, and hey Christmas is over, Santa is on a break!!

Teaser Tuesday 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.


"'Ash, I've been through Arcadia, Tir Na Nog, the Briars, the Between, the Iron Realm, Machina's tower, and the killing fields of Nevernever. I don't think there's a place capable of freaking me out anymore.'

A trace of humor touched his eyes, a silent challenge. 'All right, then,' he said, leading me out, 'Follow me.'" p 32-33 (*page number and quote comes from my E-ARC  edition and therefore are not final)

"As I ducked through the frame, something dripped onto my shoulder from above, something warm and wet and slimy. I put my hand to my neck, it came away covered in frothy drool.


Heart in my throat, I looked back and up." p 39 (* see above statement)


"And without waiting for a reply, the Unseelie Queen whirled and stalked away from us. Though I couldn't see her face as she left, I was almost sure she was crying." p 148 (* see above statement)

TITLE: The Iron Queen
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
GENRE:
YA Fantasy
RELEASE DATE:
January 25, 2011

*Review--E-ARC Unearthly by Cynthia Hand*

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees...

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

I received this e-ARC of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand courtesy of NetGalley.

I'm new to the angel of urban fantasy, particularly with YA as well. Slowly dipping into it. I read Angelfire, which my review for that will be up in February. And I received Hush Hush for Christmas (I assume since I write this early, it may have been my birthday) and now I've read Unearthly.
I'll admit it took me awhile to get into it. I don't know why. Maybe because it was YA and a little too high school-ish at times? I had to remind myself that it was YA and was for high school students, but I did enjoy some of it. There are two guys Clara deals with one, being Christian, the boy she dreams about saving, and the other is Tucker, the guy who annoys the heck out of her. His behavior reminded me something of the guys I went to school with, although there were definite differences between them, Tucker for one was not a complete a-hole!

Clara was an interesting character, I liked that she had a mind of her own and yet still wanted to be dutiful and respect her angel duties. She has but one purpose on this earth as we learn and she learns it rather early, the purpose comes at any time during an angel's life.

Hand does explain some of the angel thing in general so that's it's rather understandable. The only thing that confused me was how her mother didn't age, she's part angel too--not much of a spoiler because Clara tells us this moments after tell us she's an angel--her mom has been around longer than Clara thought, we learn how long a little ways into the book, but I just didn't quite understand her slow aging bit, it wasn't explained real well to stick with me if it was explained at all.

But overall the book was pretty decent. It was paced pretty good, there were some slow times when I felt like I wasn't really reading a book with something supernatural or "unearthly" in it. Where it became a book with normal people doing normal things, that was when it became hard to continue reading.

There are also "bad angels" in the book as well, Clara learns many things about her angel life that she didn't know before because her mother didn't tell her. Which makes Clara wonder what else her mother is keeping from her.

There is sort of a love triangle going on, or the start of one really. It's hard to explain without giving something away, but it was done really well I think. And there was a HUGE twist at the end, but I kind of, sort of, started to wonder at it and was thinking something was up, but I still never had a clear idea as to what the HUGE event was. But I knew something was up!

Overall it was a decent read, although I did struggle with it here and there. Clara was a good MC, I liked her independence and willingness to rebel and be daring. I won't say the causes of course, but she had a good balance to her. She did what was right and what she believed was right in her heart, and there were some conflictions sometimes, where she didn't know what to do. She was a very real character, except for the angel bit!

I give it 3.5/5 stars, really really close to 4 though, there was just the bits here and there that lost my interest. But the book was a decent read, really good in fact. When the second book comes out, which there has to be with the sort of cliffhanger that we had at the end, I will likely read it as well!

This title will release January 4, 2011

Top 5 Sundays

Top 5 Sundays is a weekly blog meme created by Larissa at Larissa's Bookish Life.

Here's a little info about the meme taken from Larissa's blog:

Every Sunday I will post a TOP 5 list on the blog. It can be about anything and every week I'll have a new theme {You can vote on next week’s theme on my left sidebar!} and I will ad the Mr.Linky bellow the post so you can do a list with the theme and add you link to it.

Rules:
1 - Write a post listing your TOP 5 choices within the theme I chose (or was chosen on a poll) for the week.
2 - Mention this Blog on the post and link back to it.
3 - Fell free to use the Feature's image (there is a smaller size version of it bellow)
4 - After you've finished your post, add you link (of the post, not your blog's main page) to the Mr.Linky at the end of that week's post.
5 – If you don’t have a blog to post, just leave your list in the comments =)

This week's theme is: BEST BOOK COVERS OF 2010!

Wow! This is gonna be a toughie for there were tons of magnificent covers this year that were just beautiful!! Both YA and adult!

So naturally these will be in NO specific order!!

It was the cover that grabbed me at RT so it has to be the first one I share here yet again:

Shannon Delany's 13 to Life! Is anyone really surprised by this? ;)

Then another cover that I totally LOVED this year was...


Andrea Cremer's debut Nightshade! Again, another novel that dragged me in by the cover alone!! And I use to agree with the expression Don't judge a book by its cover, but now it's kind of different. I fall in love with books because the cover totally grabs me!


Vicki Pettersson's Cheat the Grave! Possibly my fave of the series covers so far! Although, there was an early version that had a guy behind her and that wasn't too bad either! But still the end result was pretty wicked!

Kalayna Price's Grave Witch was stunning! I like the dark gray color scheme and then her top is the only stark of color! It's just awesome!

Stacia Kane's Unholy Magic, the second book in her Downside series. I really like the color scheme here with the blues and purples, very cool!

And another notable nomination that I had a hard time deciding between was Devon Monk's Magic on the Storm, because I love the blue behind Allie and the storm along with the symbols!

In My Mailbox

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

This will also be my Christmas edition IMM for there were a few goodies from Santa that are book related as well!!

First up I got my Tour T-shirt I bought from Kim Harrison's Pale Demon tour! She'll be hitting St. Louis on the stop in March so I had to get a one!




Then I got some swag and a Supernatural Underground button from the authors at the Supernatural Underground



Then I got a SIGNED ARC of Taken by the Others by Jess Haines that I won in a contest at her blog! Thanks again Jess!




Then I went out the day before Christmas eve into Borders madness with everyone doing their last minute shopping before the snow came, it was insane, but TOTALLY worth it because look what I found while I was there and waited in a looong line for:

Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Steal!!! Yay!!

And then from my friend NetGalley I got an E-ARC of Jaye Wells Green Eyed Demon!!!


Then for Christmas from my aunt, I got a copy of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


I also got some Borders gift cards as well to keep me satisfied for a little while this year at least!!

And then the creme de la creme was gift from my sister which I totally wasn't expecting:


A Kobo e-reader! Not the best pic what with Bush on the reader, but it was easier to grab the one from Borders' website! It was a real shocker, because I had been on the fence about the e-reader, but my sister made the decision for me! Might take a little bit for me to get into it really since I have some books already download on my laptop, was going to try to see if they might get on my  Kobo, but not 100%. Have to look into this!

So that was my wonderful Christmas mailbox that I got! LOVED it all!

I also got a Christmas card with some swag from Jami at YA Addict! Thanks Jami! I love getting mail so a Christmas card was much appreciated! Thanks!


Hope everyone had a GREAT holiday if they celebrated with a mailbox filled with everything they wanted! So what did you get in your mailbox this week?

My First Challenge!



I've decided to do a challenge for the year, amidst trying to find a job and working to get myself another step closer in my own writing career, I thought why not make things more difficult for myself?! For the meantime anyway!
I decided to take part in the 2011 YA Debut Challenge created by The Story Siren. I already have a few titles I'm thinking of reading that are from debut YA authors that I'm really excited about and can't wait to get too!

Here is my list so far:

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Angelfire Courtney Allison Moulton
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
Haven by Kristi Cook
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Wither by Laruen DeStefano
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

I might have to wait on a few to see if I want to read them, but these are the ones I've heard about and know I want to read! And I have 7/12 right here then!

Head on over to The Story Siren for full details and see if it's something you want to participate in!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

The Booklover's Christmas Tree


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!

Review--The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she though loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey--ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Julie Kagawa's sequel, The Iron Daughter, totally lives up to The Iron King I think! It was an incredible and amazing read!! I leave behind my world of dark shadows, vampires and werewolves, and enter the Faery world and find myself loving it! There's danger and excitement at every turn!

We start off with Meghan returning to the Winter court as she promised she would to help explain the events that took place since her flight from the party last. But no one believes her story about the Iron fae. And when she turns to Ash for help, he scorn her and mocks her when she tries to plead with him. Meghan is taken aback by his sudden change of heart and wonders if he even really cared for her. She feels totally betrayed.

The adventure doesn't truly begin until the scepter that controls the changing of the seasons is stolen from the Winter court. Mab is infuriated and declares war on Summer, believing it was them who stole the scepter from her court, but Meghan knows the truth and when she tries to explain, she is once again not believed.

After a daring escape Meghan soon finds herself on the run with Ash on a mission to find the scepter, but Ash has different ideas in mind that don't comply with Meghan's. And when Puck suddenly appears healthy and well, things begin to get really intense.

When the journey should begin the following morning, Puck and Meghan find Ash gone, and Meghan is heartbroken, but knows she must move on and find the scepter before the war begins. Finding the scepter is vital, but they will need more help than they realize on this mission.

I will cut off here before I get into a play by play of what happen, because everything was so exciting! While it may have not moved as quickly as I described it was still rather well paced, maybe a bit slow in the beginning, but once the escape begins the pacing becomes really good in my opinion. Even in the somewhat "slower" moments when Meghan and Puck find themselves waiting for the next clue.

And boy were there a few surprises in this one!! First off, as the BOC eludes to, they gain help from an unlikely source, someone we've met before. And no it's not Grim, but the cat does come back! I love him! He reminds me of the Cheshire cat, which I do believe was intentional in some ways.

And I can't really go into the other surprises, but think back to the first book and the memory Meghan had to give up. The one she doesn't know she did. I had a fairly good guess as to what it was and I was right. This memory loss situation thing--hard to name it without naming it!--comes back into play!

The romance was still more romantic tension, although there are a few kisses here and there with Meghan and someone...;)  Yes, the love triangle becomes more noticeable this time around. And because of that, I really won't get into more details about the romance.

The storyline was extremely good! And still mysterious, for now there is a new Iron King, but no one know who he is. Enemies, both old and new come forth and I have a few suspicions about this and that about the mysterious Iron fey, but won't know until I read the next one, The Iron Queen!

Overall I give the book a 4.9/5, and I really won't get too mathematical about these ratings, just that I want to give this one a little better than 4.5, for it was truly magnificent, but the beginning as I said, was just a touch slow, but still rather interesting! This was still by far a GREAT read!! I'm really liking this series!

Review--The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

MEGHAN CHASE HAS A SECRET IDENTITY--ONE SHE COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth--that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no farey creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I didn't know what to think of The Iron Fey series when I first heard about it and may not have read it at all if I hadn't won the first two books in a contest. Which was awesome, because Julie Kagawa's The Iron King was incredible!

I've read books with faeries before, and while the rules are mostly the same, there is still always a different atmosphere and going ons involved that make the faeries vastly different. The faeries here are pretty different from Melissa Marr's as well as some of the other books I've read.

But right down to the nit and gritty some of the basic facts are the same. The fae are mischievous creatures and are never to be trusted. Those rules tend to stay the same. And I was really pleased to see that I recognized some of the fae that made their appearance in the book, for there was quite a variety and some were even new to me!

I loved Meghan, she was the sort of heroine who starts out simple like and just wants the basic things, a boyfriend, love, the usual YA thing, she had a best friend, who's identity became a little obvious as things moved along, but was still an incredible friend to her. Robbie's devotion to protecting his friend was very endearing. And can I just say that I am so glad to be done with high school, Meghan had to suffer through some pretty intense stuff, such as the cruelty of others. It wasn't pretty and Meghan wasn't the type to really stand up for herself in the beginning which kind of annoyed me.

But her character takes on a total change when her brother is kidnapped by the fae and Meghan will do anything to get him back. And she does. Making deals with the fae is never a good thing, their bargains are very tricky with so many loopholes that it's insane and you have to be devious yourself to be willing to deal with them.

Another thing that I'm not sure I totally liked was the somewhat love triangle, true Meghan never clearly states that she loves her best friend Robbie, but you get the feeling that there is something between them. And then comes the dangerous fae prince who Meghan finds herself falling for and loving him is really dangerous for he is her fae father's enemy/arch-rival's son. Yes, we have a Romeo and Juliet spin here as well. The Winter Court and the Summer Court, Meghan comes from Summer and Ash comes from Winter. So that little aspect got an eyeroll from me, but it was still nicely written that I wasn't rolling my eyes the entire time, just the little fact that it has the R&J flavor to it.

Never free, no one died at the end of this book, for as we already know there are 2 more in the series, so Meghan isn't going anywhere!

Overall I have to say the book deserves a good 4.5/5 stars. Really I could get technical and say a 4.9, for it was a really great read. 

Just a few high school-like things annoyed me, but only because it's I don't like how the MC handles the situation. I want to jump in there and tell her what she should do to defend herself. But that was it mostly and the R&J thing was a little annoying as well, but the romance was still written nicely. It was a gradual buildup between the two so it wasn't completely instant like R&J. But that's just my somewhat cynic attitude that likes to pop up when reading YA, the attitude I had back in high school myself for it is tough to survive those 4 years unless you have good friends at your side, and luckily Meghan has just that!

Already immersing myself into The Iron Daughter and loving it!

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.

My pick this week is one of my most highly anticipated ones so far this year. Really my first HIGHLY HIGHLY anticipated reads: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning!

When you end on a cliffhanger the next book is always HIGHLY HIGHLY anticipated!


In Dreamfever, Karen Marie Moning has left listeners with the most heart-stopping cliff-hanger to date. Shadowfever will answer all the questions fans have been dying to know in the final chapter of MacKayla Lane's shockingly suspenseful and deeply satisfying adventure.

TITLE: Shadowfever
AUTHOR:
Karen Marie Moning
GENRE:
Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE:
January 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

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

More love to NetGalley since with their help I'm able to read Kim Harrison's Pale Demon 2 months early!! Loving it so far! A lot of laughs! And it was hard to choose just one teaser, so I have a few!

Teaser Tuesday 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.
 "'You've lost Jack!' I shouted as I pinched his wrist until he let go of the knife, then wrenched his arm up and pressed him into the nearby light pole. 'We've got Jill,' I said as he grunted, 'and no way are you getting that bucket of water in my garden. If you don't relax, I'm going to bust your crown. We clear?'" p 23 (*page number and quote comes from my E-ARC edition and therefore are not final)

"Jenks darted into the car as I got in, taking his usual seat on the rearview mirror. 'You're not going to swear all the bloody Tink-blasted way there, are you?' he asked." p 56 (*see above statement)

"What is wrong with me? I thought as I snatched my bag up from the bed and went out, slamming the door hard enough to shake the windows and let Trent know I left. Jenks had been kidnapped and I was thinking about Trent naked in the shower?" p 121 (*See above statement)

TITLE: Pale Demon
AUTHOR:
Kim Harrison
GENRE:
Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE:
February 22, 2011

Review--E-ARC Tempest's Legacy by Nicole Peeler

Jane True has become proficient in basic magics, confident in herself and her abilities, and happily rooted in Rockabill. Her life is still divided between her supernatural brethren and her human friends and family, but it’s a division she maintains with very little trouble.

Everything changes, however, when Anyan brings Jane news that will force her to confront her dichotomized existence – supernatural females are being murdered, or have simply disappeared.

Jane and Anyan must embark on a desperate search to find out who is abducting these women, and how Jane can be protected from them. Aiding them is Jane’s former flame, Ryu. But can his stated motivations be trusted? And who are the mysterious figures dogging Jane’s and Anyan’s footsteps if not minions of Jarl?

Eventually, the trio stumble upon a secret so huge that it threatens to disrupt the tenuous traditions keeping humanity safe from the supernatural community that has, up until now, been content to lurk in the shadows.

Will they uncover the truth in time to save Jane’s friends? And just how far will Jarl go to protect his secrets?

NetGalley is the best! I was able to get Nicole Peeler's Tempest's Legacy nearly a month early! I immediately devoured it and absolutely loved it! Of course I still have to buy a copy later to add it to the rest of my collection!

It took me a little bit to get back into the swing of things, for it has been awhile since I read Tracking the Tempest, but after a short little bit I was back into the story! And what a story it was! I barely recognize this Jane True from the Jane I first met in book 1. Jane even knows she's changed, she admits to being a whole new Jane even.

She is now a much stronger character, she's not afraid to speak her mind anymore and do what feels right, even if there are consequences. Something she soon learns all about with her decisions.

Bad stuff starts to happen, as the BOC says and it hits too close to home for Jane to ignore and soon she Anyan, Ryu and the others are on the case.

I'll admit I've been Team Ryu at first. The second book made put me in the middle, and now I totally love Anyan! No question about it! Even with this knowledge there wasn't a whole lot of romance in the book. There was one scene in the beginning, won't say who it involves! And the rest was a lot of romantic tension and sometimes that itself can be very satisfying!

I don't want to get too into the mystery element, because there is sort of a shocker that comes along with it so I have to forgo talking about it. Only that there was quite a shocker to it! And the ending was even more surprising! Like seriously jaw dropping! The bad thing about reading ARCs is that the wait for the next book becomes even longer, but still it's a sacrifice you have to make sometimes!!

I love Nicole Peeler's humor in the books as well. There is definitely a lot of snark in it. She might be influenced by her fellow Leaguers too much, Mark especially! That being said, I hope she keeps it up! Both her and Jane crack me up and Jane's friends are very funny as well and sometimes are the inspiration for Jane's humor.

The Jane True series has everything! Humor, action, mystery and a bit of romance! Everything for the urban fantasy girl like myself! If you have not read this series yet, I highly recommend it! The first book is Tempest Rising followed by Tracking the Tempest.

Overall I give the book 5/5 stars! It doesn't deserve anything less!

I received this E-ARC courtesy of NetGalley!

Top 5 Sundays

Top 5 Sundays is a weekly blog meme created by Larissa at Larissa's Bookish Life.

Here's a little info about the meme taken from Larissa's blog:

Every Sunday I will post a TOP 5 list on the blog. It can be about anything and every week I'll have a new theme {You can vote on next week’s theme on my left sidebar!} and I will ad the Mr.Linky bellow the post so you can do a list with the theme and add you link to it.

Rules:
1 - Write a post listing your TOP 5 choices within the theme I chose (or was chosen on a poll) for the week.
2 - Mention this Blog on the post and link back to it.
3 - Fell free to use the Feature's image (there is a smaller size version of it bellow)
4 - After you've finished your post, add you link (of the post, not your blog's main page) to the Mr.Linky at the end of that week's post.
5 – If you don’t have a blog to post, just leave your list in the comments =)

This week's theme is: BEST BOOKS [SERIES] OF 2010!

Wow this one is hard! Of course all the topics that come up each week tend to be hard to answer, because I always have more than 5 to answer for! So these selections will be from books that are in series that released this year, of course the book in the series itself won't necessarily be #1 or the last one!

And naturally they are in no specific order!


13 to Life by Shannon Delany, the first in her debut YA series, which is just titled 13 to Life Series, so far.


Rachel Vincent's Shifter series, this one ended this year with the conclusion to the series, Alpha! I adored this series from beginning to end. Even if Faythe drove me a little crazy sometimes!


Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series is one of my all time faves! I love how there is a different main character for nearly every book and how some characters return to be the MC for more than one, like Elena, Paige, Hope, and now Savannah! Waking the Witch starts Savannah's books, which if I recall is a 3 book situation! Still waiting for the day Cassandra tells her story, just waiting for Cass to tell Kelley!

Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mytsteries, I started this series just earlier this year and fell in love with it right away. It reminded me of Victoria Laurie's mysteries, which have a mystery and a little bit of paranormal into the mix! A Cast-Off Coven was the second book in the series and I can't wait for book 3, Hexes and Hemlines this June!

Nicole Peeler's Jane True series, I'll admit to having been skeptical about this series at first, because the cartoony cover threw me off. But then I picked it up, read the BOC, and then headed for the cash register because the storyline sounded really good! Can only say that I am glad I looked beyond the cartoony cover because this series is awesome! There is so much snark and humor in it that I LOL every time I read these books! And there is still action, mystery, romance and plenty more that make this a must read series! This cover was Tracking the Tempest, book 2 and I already read the third one Tempest's Legacy with help from NetGalley.


 Other notable mentions* 

Maria Snyder's Glass series, this trilogy came to its conclusion, with Spy Glass, this year as well. I liked Opal's story a lot. There were definitely some surprising twists that I wasn't expecting. Still like Yelena's slightly more, but it could just be because it was the first trilogy.

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, this one too came to an end this year with Last Sacrifice. I enjoyed it. Somethings disappointed me because they weren't further explained, but still love the series overall and will miss Rose and her friends, looking forward to the spinoff series like I mentioned earlier!

Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, I started this one this year, a few months ago actually and immediately fell in love with it at the end of Darkfever, book 1! It has a very interesting storyline and the characters are just filled with surprises. My only regret is starting this a tad too soon, because I was 2 months away from Shadowfever, the final conclusion. 1 month down, 1 month to go! 

*Notable meaning I'm cheating and want to mention a few other series that I totally love that had releases this year. Dreamfever was released this year in this paperback format, so it can count! ;)

**Also wanted to add that I would've put Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series up, but since there wasn't a release this year (2010) for that series, I withdrew that one. Although I did enjoy her Night Huntress WORLD series that released this year as well!