Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mel previews The Originals by @seecatwrite

The Originals by Cat Patrick
Possible Release date: May 7, 2013
Published by: Little, Brown Books
Pages: 304
Source: ARC from Bookstore

17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones.

When Ella meets Dave and Lizzie meets Sean Kelly the sisters and their mother have to choose who will date and who will miss out. As the relationships develop, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.


The Ending:
This surprised me!  I was happy and excited to find out what happened because throughout the book I wondered what the outcome would be for the girls and their mom.  There were definitely some moments throughout the book that made me wonder if this would be a series or if the ending would be something that would freak me out or if I'd love it.  Have to say I loved it.  There was the right amount of conflict that I sat down and read this straight through.  I wanted to know what happened right away.

The Characters:
Lizzie's point of view in this book reminds me of being her age.  I could feel how much she loves her family even with the decisions each of the girls and their mother make.  Their mom drove me a bit nutty but she is a good antagonist.  Going against the girls and what they want for what may or may not be a valid reason.

What I Loved:
Sean Kelly.  I loved Sean.  I don't think I have anything more to say about this.

Overall:
Betsy, Ella and Lizzie are all courageous and fun characters.  While this storyline felt complete, I could quite happily sit and read books based on Betsy and Ella's perspectives of their future endeavors.  I wish I am excited about reading Cat's other books.  In fact I have 'Revived' and I'll be reading it soon!  I highly advise you pre-order The Originals today!




Heidi reviews 'Revived' by Cat Patrick HERE and check yesterday's post for Candace's review of 'Forgotten'.


If you want to read more like this:

'The Lost Girl' by Sangu Mandanna and 'Slated' by Teri Terry


Disclosure: I picked up the ARC of 'The Originals' at the bookstore I work at. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

This review is by Mel:

Mel is a bookaholic as well as loving music. She just recently moved to the Portland area from the Midwest and has been enjoying exploring the whole area, including the Coast and downtown Portland. She has been blogging at Shot in the Arm since May 2008 but has had a couple other blogs before that at various places around the web. Young Adult is her favorite genre but she loves to read most other genres including Romance, Fiction, Sci Fi and some Historical Non-Fiction. You can find her at her blog, her twitter and on Goodreads. Stop by and say hi!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Candace reviews The Forgotten by @seecatwrite


Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Release Date: June 7th, 2011 
Published by: Little, Brown
Pages: 304
Source: Big Honcho Media

Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

This review was originally posted at Candace's Book Blog
Wow! This book was good! I was completely blown away by it's unique-ness and complexity while at the same time it was beautifully simple. The characters were amazing, the romance was oh -so -sweet, and the mystery completely surprised me.
 
I really liked London and was surprised how well she took things. I mean imagine waking up everyday and remembering nothing from your past. Now I thought it would be like having amnesia everyday, but really it's different because she knows the future. She remembers backwards. So she knows her mom because her mom is in her future. She survives school each day because she knows everything from the future. I just thought the whole thing was crazy awesome. The author pulled it all off wonderfully!
The romance. Omygoodness, the romance was amazing! Luke won my heart, I can tell you that! I loved that everyday she was seeing Luke for the first time. And everyday she blown away by how handsome he is. Now you're thinking that shouldn't she know what he looks like from her future? Well, for some reason she doesn't see him in her future. You'll have to read the book to find out more about all that.

On top of her crazy memory issues she is haunted by a funeral she 'remembers' (remember she remembers the future). So she's trying to figure out who it could be. This turns into some crazy'ness and some revelations. And a mystery from her past is revealed. 
 
I couldn't really recommend this book any more highly. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down and I read it in no time at all!

Check out Heidi's review of Revived and Mel's review of 'The Originals' tomorrow.

Disclosure: I purchased this book myself, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog athttp://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mel reviews Harmonic Feedback by @authortarakelly

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Release Date: May 29, 2010
Published by: Henry Holt
Pages: 278
Source: Borrowed

Sixteen-year-old, music- and sound design-obsessed Drea doesn't have friends. She has, as she's often reminded, issues. Drea's mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on "a touch of Asperger's."

Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a band after an impromptu, Portishead-comparison-worthy jam after school.

It's obvious that Drea can't hide behind her sound equipment anymore. But just when she's found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?
The Ending:
I'm going to be a bit different and start here.  I cried.  I think I cried through the entire last chapter of this book.  I was sad but the ending worked perfectly.  Sitting here thinking back, I do not have a better idea for how this book could have ended.

The Characters:
Drea interested me from the get-go.  I loved her honesty and to-the-point conversations.  Naomi was intense and she added enjoyable conflict to the story.  Justin was a guy I want to date.  In fact, if you find him let me know.

What I Loved: The story arc.  Instead of this being a dramatic teen saga it was real, down to earth, and I fell into the story easily.  In fact, instead of going to bed I stayed up late after being out all day to read the other 60% of the book.  I also loved Drea's thought process and musical abilities.  She's an amazing character and if there was another book about her I would be first in line to read it!

What Frustrated me: At times Naomi annoyed me, this made the story even more interesting and kept me on my toes (not literally) wondering what she would do next.  I felt how conflicted she was by her home life, friendships with Drea and Justin, and the other influential characters in her personal life.

After reading this book, I followed up by reading 'Amplified' also by Tara Kelly the very next day.  Yes I read 'Amplified' all in one day.  Here is the review Candace posted of 'Amplified' by Tara Kelly: HERE.

If you liked this book you might enjoy:


'Five Flavors of Dumb' by Antony John and 'Marcelo in the Real World' by Francisco Stork
I would definitely recommend reading 'Amplified' if you haven't already.  Later this year, you should look for Tara Kelly's next book which is the follow up to 'Amplified'.



Disclosure: I borrowed 'Harmonic Feedback' and 'Amplified from the library. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

This review is by Mel:

Mel is a bookaholic as well as loving music. She just recently moved to the Portland area from the Midwest and has been enjoying exploring the whole area, including the Coast and downtown Portland. She has been blogging at Shot in the Arm since May 2008 but has had a couple other blogs before that at various places around the web. Young Adult is her favorite genre but she loves to read most other genres including Romance, Fiction, Sci Fi and some Historical Non-Fiction. You can find her at her blog, her twitter and on Goodreads. Stop by and say hi!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Heidi Reviews Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor


Days of Blood and Starlight
Hardcover, 517 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of
bloodshed and war.
This is not that world.
Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always
sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes
another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed
her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must
decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty,
secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on
opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva
wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

This review was first posted at Rainy Day Ramblings.

A stunning series!
Karou finds herself thrust back into the world of the Chimaera. She works tirelessly to
aid the rebels led by the White Wolf. After the treacherous betrayal by Akiva, she has
turned her back on love and the chance to build a new world. Now she takes up
Brimstone's trade and crafts new soldiers. The war is relentless, bloody and never
ending. The battles have taken a cruel twist as the innocents on both sides are
slaughtered. This heartless bloodshed is causing warriors, chimaera and seraphim
alike to rethink their actions, but the heartless leaders press on and insist on more
slaughter. Can there ever be peace?
What I Liked:
• Once again, I loved immersing back into Laini Taylor's world of chimaera and
seraphim. The world building continues to be masterful and astonishing in this series.
I am so impressed by the intricate and detailed world Ms. Taylor has crafted and that it
continues to stir the imagination.
• I am happy to say that this book does not suffer from a second book syndrome. The
story in some ways is more engaging and more complex and it is has a number of
stunning twists. It is much darker, though and instead of a love story this one plunges
you right into the trenches of war. It is dark and sorrowful and a horrific picture of the
evils of war. But there is always that shimmer of hope.....that possibly after all the
horror, sorrow, bloodshed, heartache and death there can and will be a new world....
• Karou's growth in this novel is tremendous. She has recovered her memories from
her former life and she is in the middle of the never ending war. She struggles with
the past, knowing she gave her heart to the one who helped destroy her people. She
is bitter, sad and determined. She is far removed from the fun, care free, somewhat
rebellious teenager we met in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Now she is a fierce
woman bent on helping her people, yet her heart bears an enormous burden of sorrow
and shame.
• I loved that this book gives us a plentiful dose of Mik and Zusanna. The two love birds
bring some lighthearted comedic relief to the book, and definitely help to lighten up the
mood with their fun and witty banter. I liked how determined Zusanna is to find her
friend, even if it means believing the unbelievable. It was also nice to see their
romance in full bloom. The pair are a shining beacon of light and love amidst the
chaos.
• This is one of those books that you need to set aside plenty of time for as it is full of
cliffhanger chapter endings. If you pick this up thinking you can read just a couple of
chapters, you are wrong. Time and time again, there is a dramatic chapter ending that
will have you saying, I can't leave it on that note, just one more chapter....The story
line is riveting and there are some big surprises! The plot is also intricate and complex
and I was left eager for the next installment.

Without a doubt, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series has become one of my
absolute favorite series ever! The writing is amazing, the world building top notch, and
there are riveting story lines and memorable characters. I am stunned at how talented
and amazing Laini Taylor is. If you have not yet experienced her work, do yourself a
favor and pick up her books immediately! She is a writer you do not want to miss! I can
honestly say that I will be on auto buy for anything she writes in the future!

Favorite Quotations:
"It was one of those dreams that invade the space between seconds, proving sleep has
its own physics--- where time shrinks and swells, lifetimes unspool in a blink, and cities
burn to to ash in a mere flutter of lashes."
"Or...perhaps Fate laid out your life for you like a dress on a bed, and you could either
wear it or go naked."
"These weren't her folk, but....they were, and maybe that meant that anyone could be
anyone's, which was a sort of nice thing to think, with the world falling apart."
"The fox solider had been Madrigal's friend once, and her soul was the touch of sunset
and laughter, with a bite like the sting of nettles; Haxaya was someone you wanted on
your side..."
"It is bodies that make us real. What is a soul without eyes to look through, or hands to
hold?"
"She smelled of the river and trembled like a breeze on a butterfly's wing, and Ziri
cradled her as if she were their world's last hope. And maybe she was."
"You've always felt the truth in him, then and now. Your heart is not wrong. Your heart
is your strength."

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not
compensated for this review.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Heidi Reviews The Pledge by Kimberly Derting


The Pledge is a fresh introduction to Kimberly Derting's new, dystopian
series.
A cheer squeals from the mob squeezed around the main square of Ludania. A wave of bodies clawing and pushing to peer at the imminent execution. In Ludania, Queen Sabara rules the land with an indomitable, iron fist. The slightest infraction, such as failure to divert your eyes when addressed by someone of a higher class, will earn you a one way trip to the gallows. It is a land organized into a caste system with deep divisions. Each class has their own language, while Englaise is the universal mode of
communication. It is strictly prohibited to learn a language outside your social status.
This separation of the population allows the Queen to divide and control the rabble.  The communicative barrier is meant to inhibit rebellious uprisings. Yet, in spite of her stringent domination, there is a revolt in the land. Each day the rebel force draws closer to the capital. On her lofty throne the aging Monarch Sabara is trapped in a decaying, frail body. Hungrily, she seeks an heiress; since she is cursed with a line of male
progeny, who are of no use in this matriarchal society. Meanwhile, in the streets inhabited by the working class, seventeen year old Charlaina shudders and hurries away from the roar of the masses. Clutching her passport she maneuvers through the clogged roads. Ducking and averting her eyes, trying to hide the secret that could kill her. Charlaina, was inexplicably born with the ability to translate and understand any language. Then a chance encounter with a handsome stranger threatens a revelation of her talent. Suddenly, she finds herself thrust into a fight to save her family. Caught between two mysterious men. Whom can she trust?

This review was also posted at Rainy Day Ramblings.

What I Liked:
• I was intrigued by the dystopian society presented in The Pledge. The distinction of
the people through language was a clever concept. I also appreciated the
atmospheric tension and the way it builds throughout the book. The suspense
crescendos at a nice, steady pace. This isn't a heart pounding, edge of your seat
thriller but it does provide plenty of anxious moments. This book also has just a hint of
fantasy that is cohesively slipped into the story.
• I liked the use of the dominating, evil monarch. The Queen is twisted, cruel and
manipulative. For me, Queen Sabara is reminiscent of Queen Marie Antoinette, who
ruled over France during the time of the French Revolution; she sent thousands of
people to an untimely end courtesy of Madame Guillotine. Sabara comparatively has
the same penchant for hastily ordering death sentences. I personally enjoy reading
dystopian novels that allow me to draw parallels between our world and the one
presented in the book.
• I loved the way the characters were unmasked. All the major players, Charlaina,
Brooklynn, Max, Xander, Charlaina's parents and Angelina all have secrets and the
reveals are so much fun. I was definitely caught by surprise with some of the
discoveries. Be prepared for exciting twists and turns!
• The romance in this book starts as a little spark, an unexplainable attraction. The little
glint flickers as Charlaina grapples with her shaky, butterfly feelings. Further
interactions between Max and Charlaina strengthen the little light as they get to know
and understand each other. The progression of affection moves slow and steady
allowing the little flame to flare and glow. A sweet, easy romance, just right.
• I was relieved that Ms. Derting furnished her societal development with history and
background details. Imparting some of the events that lead up to the timeline of the
story gave me a richer experience while reading since I had a clear understanding of
the environment. One of my peeves when reading dystopian is lack of information in
world building. This book does an excellent job in crafting and creating the land of
Ludania.

The Pledge is a good introduction to a new series by Kimberly Derting. This book
provides a nice framework for future novels. If you are a fan of dystopian novels this is
a enjoyable entry in the field. While it may lack the gripping scenes of terror it does
produce a distressed and fearful climate splashed with a bit of fantasy. Ms. Derting has
a pleasant, fluid writing style that draws you into her world. Fans of her Body Finder
series will enjoy her entrance into the dystopian genre. If you are an avid reader of
dystopian novels this book provides the thrill you crave. I am interested to see where
she will take the series.

Favorite Quotations:
"I loved voices, I always had. Words held meaning, but voices held emotion."
"The voice that interrupted my thoughts was like delicate silk to my ears and coarse
sandpaper to my nerves."
"My resolve slipped, and then crumbled. I took harbor within his arms."
"He leaned in then and kissed me again, sweet and soft and tender, silencing my
arguments and stealing my breath, making me wonder how one simple gesture could
be so tragically lovely."
For more reviews visit: http://rainydayramblings.typepad.com

Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Heidi Reviews Velveteen by Daniel Marks


Velveteen (Velveteen #1) by Daniel Marks
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman
named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no
heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a
job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really
on her mind.
Bonesaw.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured
out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days. It’ll be brutal... and
awesome. But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating
consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and
jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her
reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And
she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

This review was also posted on Rainy Day Ramblings.
A book with a dark theme, incredible world building and an unexpected
romance.
Velveteen once again returns to the scene where she was brutally murdered. Hoping
that she can somehow find a way to exact her deadly revenge. Unfortunately, as a
ghost she hasn't found a way to stop the insane murderer, Bonesaw. He is evil
incarnate and he took her life. After flooding his kitchen, Velvet rushes outside to find
that he has another victim tied up in his shed. Desperately, she tries to free the terrified
girl, but Bonesaw returns and interrupts her attempts. Frustrated, she heads back to
Purgatory. Later that night a devastating shadowquake erupts, and Velvet and her team
are sent to stop the black magic that is causing the devastation in Purgatory. The
shadowquakes are becoming more frequent and violent. It is evident that someone is
out to use some very dark magic to destroy Purgatory and set the souls trapped there
into the real world to possess the living. Velvet must now try and find out whoever is
behind the shadowquakes and stop Bonesaw, but time is running out. Can Velvet catch
a killer and save Purgatory?
What I Liked:
• This book opens with a terrifying and chilling story thread as Velvet once again
confronts her murderer who is attempting to carve up another girl. Bonesaw is crazy
and frightening, and I found myself riveted to the horrifying scene, only to find the story
thread tugged away and sent back into Purgatory with Velvet. The story takes on a
new life as it enters into Purgatory. I admit, I was frustrated to be torn away from the
confrontation with the crazed Bonesaw, but the thread was always there tugging at
me, trying to pull me back despite all the happenings in Purgatory. It was this
haunting and shocking story line that kept me reading, eager to see if Velvet was
going to get her revenge. The scenes with Bonesaw are full of terror, but I liked that
there was just enough detail to haunt me and set my imagine into a frightened frenzy,
but that it was not over the top gory. I shuddered every time Velvet's memories fall
back to the scene of her death,worrying about what horrors awaited, whether it would
be too much, thankfully it is well done and nothing too terrible.
• I loved the detailed world building in this one. Velvet after her death is sent to
Purgatory, the place where souls reside who have unresolved conflicts or issues that
must be dealt with before they can dim and move onto another realm, either Heaven
or Hell. Purgatory is a vast world, powered by gas lamps and trains, and built from
items scavenged from the living world. Mr. Marks does an excellent job dishing out
the details that carefully define Purgatory. I am a stickler for strong world building and
I was pleased to find that this book succeeds in creating the world of Purgatory.
• I enjoyed the different story lines in this one. There is the main thread of Velvet trying
to decimate her killer, then Velvet is trying to uncover who is behind the destruction of
Purgatory and finally, a sweet and unexpected romance. At the end, the pieces all
come together and, I admit, I was caught off guard by some of the revelations. I liked
how everything came together at the end, and while I found the answers to many of
my questions and most of the main issues where resolved nicely, Mr. Daniels is
careful to stretch out some new story threads to follow in the sequel. No dreadful
cliffhanger in this book!
• Finally, I was taken by surprise by the fun little romance in this one. Velvet is a strong
girl who has shut off her emotions. She is not prepared for the arrival of Nick and
certainly not expecting to fall for him. What follows is a sweet little romance full of
stutters and shakiness until it finally takes off. For the record, Nick is adorable and
one can't help but to like him. Even though Velvet, a goth girl, and Nick, a handsome
jock, would probably never have hit it off in the real world, their unexpected attraction
and sparks lighten up the dark tone of this one. I loved that this was a hesitant and
believable romance, no insta love or love triangle!

Velveteen was an exciting and terrifying read with a complex plot and solid world
building. I enjoyed the writing and was thrilled to encounter a sweet, believable romance
in an unexpected place: Purgatory. Velvet is a fierce character, one that you can't help
but to root for, and Nick is just adorable. There plenty of snark and humor along the way
that lighten up the dark theme of this novel. This is certainly a series that I will be eager
to continue!

Favorite Quotations:
"Death causes people to reevaluate their beliefs. It brings up questions you don't want
to ask; it creates anxiety."
"Shark attack victims complaining about pains in a leg that isn't there anymore because
a great white ate it and pooped it out a long time ago."
"There was only one real purpose for the social workers---or in Mrs. Allerdice's case,
antisocial workers---and that was to figure out where new souls would fit into purgatory's
cogs and gears."
"She's got the whole bitch thing down, but instead of making me want to turn the other
way and run---I don't know---for some reason, it's kinda hot."
"The guy was captive to his groin. Just like any other boy. Nothing special."
"His smile was unforgettable and unfortunate. It was the kind of smile that made knees
shake, wicked and divine."
"Her brain was scrambled. Fried. Over easy. No. Not easy. Over hard."
"Lust is a gateway drug for boys."
"In the courtyard, Nick was surrounded by a handful of Collector girls and one boy, all
seemingly hanging on every one of his no-doubt brilliant words like he was the second
coming of Jared Padalecki."
"But that's just boy science. Two boobs plus one snootch equals boner."
"Velvet's mind was in the blender. Ideas, plots, predicaments, and motives whirred
inside."
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. I was not compensated and all opinions expressed are my own.


Heidi 
I have always had a healthy passion for reading.  My love of books started at an early age, as soon as I could read my life long love affair for books began.  Reading to me is one of the finest pleasures in life.  My guilty indulgence is a good book, a soft blanket and a cozy concoction.  It is thrilling to hold a book in your hands and wonder at the secrets that are buried deep within. Then page by page the story pours out revealing it's heart and soul until there is nothing left to show; nothing left to say. To me a good book is one that continues to call to you after completion.  The characters are still whispering in your mind; their story threads reaching out to entangle you even as you pick up another book to start the wonderful process anew.  Each book is a new adventure, a new story, another find.  That is why I read!
I am currently a stay at home mother of two toddlers, who keep me very busy. I also have a wonderful, supportive husband without whom this blog would not be possible.  I am a recent transplant to the rainy, region of Portland, Oregon; thus the reason for my blog Rainy Day Ramblings.  The many rainy days here provide me ample time to snuggle up under a comfy blanket with a cat and read while the rain drips down my window.
I also, when I find time, enjoy baking, candle and jewelry making, cross stitching and spending ample time with family.
Find me on my blog, facebook, and twitter.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Heidi Reviews Ironskin by Tina Connolly


Ironskin (Ironskin #1) by Tina Connolly
Hardcover, 304 pagesPublished October 2nd 2012 by Tor Books

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her
cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate
situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed,
and that she can help. Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough;
she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward
Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of
women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the
fey. Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.
This review was also posted at Rainy Day Ramblings.

A new spin on Jane Eyre with deadly Fey, steampunk and more.
Jane takes a deep breath and eyes the strange house, obviously of Fey architecture.
She is here seeking a governess position, and unfortunately for a girl like her she is
running out of options. Jane adjusts the iron mask on her cheek and tightens the long
veil around her face. She is greeted by Mr. Rochart. He seems unperturbed by her
masked appearance, and he immediately offers her the job. She is to help care for his
daughter who is cursed with some unique fey abilities. Jane has her work cut out for
her, but she settles in undaunted. But things are not as they seem in this house. Her
employer keeps odd hours and has an array of beautiful women as clients. He
supposedly is an artist creating masks that Jane considers to be hideous. Is Mr.
Rochart a dashing heartbreaker or is there something more?
What I Liked:
• First, I have never completed Jane Eyre. I tried to read the book twice during my
teenage years and I could not get through either Bronte sister book. Now, it isn't
because I don't have patience for the classics. I adore classic literature and have read
more than my fair share of these great works, but for whatever reason, Jane Eyre is
just one book that didn't appeal to me. Perhaps I should consider it again now that I
am older. Needless to say, I can't compare Ironskin to the classic, but I can tell you
after reading this one that it is a strong departure from the original. This book is set in
an alternate steampunk world populated by deadly Fey. So if you go into this one
expecting an accurate retelling of the classic novel you will likely be disappointed. If
you pick this up looking for something different you will enjoy it. So it is best to get rid
of any preconceived notions when starting this book.
• I thoroughly enjoyed Jane's character. She is bold, determined and very capable.
She is scarred and deformed but she does not let her appearance dictate her life. She
refuses to hide and pity herself. Instead of taking refuge with her sister and her
wealthy fiancé, Jane takes on a difficult governess job. Even when the child under her
care proves to be a challenge, she doesn't back down. I liked how fierce and
courageous Jane is throughout the book. I especially liked the way she dealt with her
deformity. I particularly enjoyed the added fey curse to Jane's injury. Jane's face was
scarred and deformed by a fae bomb, and now her cheek carries a fey curse that
causes rage. I thought this added unique aspect was particularly interesting, and I
liked watching how Jane's understanding of her affliction evolves. Jane is definitely an
admirable heroine.
• I liked the mystery in this book. There is the uncertainty of what is really going on in
the house, what is Mr. Rochart doing? I also liked the anxiety regarding the Fey. Not
knowing if they would suddenly materialize again and once again take up arms
against the humans. This book keeps you continuously guessing until the final pages.
• I personally enjoyed the romance in this one. It is a slow burner....Jane for the past
five years has hidden her face and accepted that fact that no man will willingly touch
her or pay attention to her because of her iron mask, but Mr. Rochart from the first
meeting is not intimidated by her appearance. What follows is a slow and steady
attraction, a touch here, a look there, denials, fleeting thoughts, blushing cheeks...
finally culminating with Jane's sudden realization that she has feelings for Edward.
This is certainly not a torrid romance, and for the most part it is quiet and not the main
focus, but I liked that it took its time developing. If you are expecting a hot fiery
romance, this is probably not the book for you.
• I enjoyed the fey elements in the story. The Fey are deadly and mysterious. A Great
War was fought against the Fey and now the world is in shambles without the fey
technology that the human race had grown so dependent upon. I liked that they were
always present even though the actual time that they are in the scenes is minimal.
There is a constant, uneasy fear and you are just waiting for them to make their
terrifying appearance.
• Finally, it was nice to read a book that did not have a love triangle or a cliffhanger
ending.

Ironskin was an interesting and fun loose retelling of Jane Eyre. Keep in mind this
book is a strong departure from the original and enjoy the ride. My favorite aspect of
this book is Jane's fierce character and the inclusion of the deadly Fey. This was a
unique read and I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to seeing how the story will continue.
Favorite Quotations:
"He was not handsome, not as Helen would describe it---not soft and small-nosed, no
ruddy cheeks and chin. He was all angles, the bones of his cheek and jaw plainly
visibly, and his hair leaped skyward as if it would not stay flat."
"Almost spring was the worst--the last cold and wet of winter when you were dying for
bare arms and sunshine."
"The days passed and still he did not come. Jane looked for him in every shadow of
curtain, every stroke of clock."
"Jane couldn't live with herself anymore. She was the lit end of a firework, a short fuse
that would burst into a thousand stars."

Disclosure: I received an copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. I was not compensated and all opinions expressed are my own.


About Heidi:
I have always had a healthy passion for reading.  My love of books started at an early age, as soon as I could read my life long love affair for books began.  Reading to me is one of the finest pleasures in life.  My guilty indulgence is a good book, a soft blanket and a cozy concoction.  It is thrilling to hold a book in your hands and wonder at the secrets that are buried deep within. Then page by page the story pours out revealing it's heart and soul until there is nothing left to show; nothing left to say. To me a good book is one that continues to call to you after completion.  The characters are still whispering in your mind; their story threads reaching out to entangle you even as you pick up another book to start the wonderful process anew.  Each book is a new adventure, a new story, another find.  That is why I read!
I am currently a stay at home mother of two toddlers, who keep me very busy. I also have a wonderful, supportive husband without whom this blog would not be possible.  I am a recent transplant to the rainy, region of Portland, Oregon; thus the reason for my blog Rainy Day Ramblings.  The many rainy days here provide me ample time to snuggle up under a comfy blanket with a cat and read while the rain drips down my window.
I also, when I find time, enjoy baking, candle and jewelry making, cross stitching and spending ample time with family.
Find me on my blog, facebook, and twitter.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Candace Reviews Salvation by Anne Osterlund for the tour

Salvation by Anne Osterlund
Paperback, 288 pages
Published: Jan. 10th, 2012 by Speak (Penguin)
Source: Author

A smart, unexpected romance from an award-winning author.

Salvador Resendez--Salva to his friends--appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He's student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.

Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she's also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.

Popular guy and bookish girl--the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever--because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.

Then tragedy strikes--and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth's love be enough to save him?

Thoughtful and romantic, this is a beautifully written story about following your heart and fulfilling your potential.
This review will also be posted at Candace's Book Blog.
For me, while this wasn't an issue book, it was a very powerful read.  And an important one.  The thing that really hit me hard and made me think so much was that Salva is from an immigrant family.  His parents got Visa's so they're legal, but they don't necessarily have anything easy.  His father works incredibly hard so that Salva can study hard and be the best he can be.  And Salva is the head of the class, the most popular, the smartest, the class president... the list goes on.  But Salva's mother died when he was younger and he has younger sisters that he has to care for and he also feels a lot of pressure from his father.  In the book we really see how hard immigrant Mexican families have it, but while some may pull their kids out of school to help out, Salva's father is the opposite.  And while Salva does agree with his, he does want to be the best he can be, but his dreams are not the same as his fathers.

Finding YA books with minorities as main characters is surprisingly difficult.  And when we do it's often not something that's addressed much.  In this book we see that Salva is angry with the way people look down on them, how they have to give in to authority because they are afraid of being deported (or having those they know get deported).  We see more of their side of things.  And I think this is so important.  Where I live there are a lot of Mexican immigrants.  A lot of the kids were born here but they still face the prejudice and it's not in their control.  Their family moved here so they can have a better life, but sometimes it's hard to find the good when they have to deal with so much.  Salva has things good as far as that goes, but we see how it is, what his father fears and all that.  This is an important subject because so many people don't think to see things from the other side.

Okay, enough about that.  This is about Salva, who you already know about now.  But Salva isn't so great in his AP English and like everything else he does he needs to do well.  So he asks the class brainiac, also called the walking disaster, Beth, to help.  Beth has liked Salva for years but had finally gotten it through her head that she would never get him, so she's a bit afraid of allowing herself to get very close to him.  But as you have probably figured out, they do get close and eventually more happens between them.  I really loved that a lot of time passes with them working together and really getting to know each other before anything happens.  So there's no insta-love and there's no love triangle.  The way the romance progresses is realistic and full of that fantastic tension that we all love (at least I know, I love it).  And when that kiss happens I know that you'll all swoon right out of your socks because this is not some average every day kiss.  Nope, it's certainly not folks!  And I loved that these two communicated.  Once they were declared a couple, anyway.  There's not a ton of drama involved and that was like a breath of fresh air for me.  Loved that!

This felt more like Salva's story to me, but we get a lot of Beth's story as well and see what she's thinking and has going on.  She has an absent mother and is still grieving the loss of her grandmother.  While her issues weren't as numerous as Salva's she's definitely going through stuff as well.  And she was a strong character with a strong personality.  While she may duck her head around school to avoid being made fun of, she doesn't hesitate to tell Salva straight up what she thinks about his situation and schoolwork, etc. 

I loved this book.  Absolutely loved it!  The story, the characters, the romance, it's all great!  And while it may all seem so predictable and all that, it's not.  There's actually a big thing that happens at the end that totally surprised me. 

While I would think this is probably a stand alone I would love a sequel or a companion.  I want to know how things go in their future and I would definitely love more of these characters!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.


Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jennifer reviews The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George



The Edge of Nowhere (Saratoga Woods #1) by Elizabeth George
Published Sept 9, 2012 by Viking



Book Synopsis:
Becca King is on the run. Her ability to hear “whispers”--the thoughts of others--has put her at risk from her stepfather, whose criminal activities she’s discovered. When she arrives on Whidbey Island, beautiful, wild and a world apart, she embarks on a life very different from her old one, with new friends that include, Seth, a kind-hearted dropout turned gypsy jazz musician; Derric, a Ugandan boy adopted by a local family; Diana, with whom she shares a psychic powers; and Debbie, who makes a habit of helping runaways.


I was very excited to read the beginning of this new Young Adult series from Elizabeth George because I have enjoyed her mysteries in the past. This book held the promise of mystery and romance with a paranormal element among a secluded locale which should have been thrilling to read. The only problem was that this book didn’t follow through with any of these aspects that were promised. Becca King, the main character, has a hearing disability that is helped via an auditory device that can drown out excess noise to help her focus when others are speaking. When she doesn’t use this device, she is able to pick up “whispers” from people, which are snippets of their true thoughts. This helps Becca discover people’s most intimate thoughts and feelings, even when their facial expressions portray something else entirely. She is currently on the run from her stepfather, because she learned from his “whispers” that he killed his business partner and covered up the crime. She is brought to Whidbey Island to stay with a family friend, but nothing goes as planned and Becca finds herself living alone in a strange city with no one to help her.

To me, Becca was a very sad character that spent most of the book feeling sorry for herself instead of looking for anything positive in her new surroundings. The pacing of the story was very slow and the mystery aspect of this novel turned out to be not a mystery at all. I have enjoyed Elizabeth George’s Adult mysteries but I was very disappointed in this installment in her YA series. The second one may be more interesting but I was unable to connect with these characters and will not be reading the next one after reading The Edge of Nowhere.

Order Online:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell's

Find more on Elizabeth George at her Website



Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
This Review was done by Jennifer. Jennifer is a wife and mother of an over-active daughter. She is a bookaholic that has been reviewing books since 2010 and currently reviews books on Books-n-Kisses.com. She currently enjoys reading contemporary romance, mystery, paranormal and YA titles.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder Book Trailer and Giveaway!


Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder was amazing, absolutely amazing.  So I just have to share the book trailer with you all and I'm also giving away one finished copy of the book to one lucky person, open internationally!


Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder
Hardcover, 355 pages
Expected publication: Jan. 1st, 2013 by Simon Pulse
Source: Author
Rae's always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her...and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.

Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves.

Here's the trailer for you:
 
Giveaway:
One finished hardcover copy to one winner.
Open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to you.
Must be 13 or older to enter.
Ends 1/14/13
Fill out the form!
a Rafflecopter giveaway