**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kindle deal you cannot miss! Today only!

I don't really post kindle deals anymore, but this one you cannot miss!

ALL of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books (including The Ruby Circle!!!) are 2,99$ a piece! TODAY ONLY!

I can't stress enough that you must purchase them if you haven't read those series yet.

Embedded image permalink

Embedded image permalinkHappy reading!


Stacking The Shelves [148]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


I only have a few books to share with you this week. I've been away on vacation for the last few weeks so I haven't really had the chance to add to my shelves. However, I can't wait to dive into Red Queen, a debut novel Tynga really seemed to enjoy, that was released earlier this month.

sts 148


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands

Iron Axe by Steven Harper

What's new on your shelves this week?

stephsig moon

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Friday, February 27, 2015

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

What if your destiny wasn't set in stone? What if you could change it? That's exactly what Ivy and Adrian are hoping for because if Destiny has it its way, Adrian is bound to betray her. And it might just crush them both.

The Beautiful Ashes is the first book in a new series by Jeaniene Frost, and I truly enjoyed it. The one thing that fells weird though, is that I am so used to reading Jeaniene's books in the Cat & Bones & Vlad world, that if I hadn't known she had written Beautiful Ashes, I probably wouldn't have guessed. Don't get me wrong, both series are equally awesome, but they are soooo different, Broken Destiny doesn't scream Jeaniene Frost, you know? I guess I'll get used to it lol

Ivy really impressed me with her inner strength. She starts the book as a loony girl (because she sees things everyone else can't see) and when her sister goes missing, and her parents die while looking for her, she choose to investigate and stumbles into the world of Archons (angels), Demons, and sexy-as-it-gets Adrian. Despite the whole thing being quite the shock (to say the least) she takes everything is stride and commits a 100% to rescuing her sister. Her determination is unwavering in front of less-than-stellar chances of success and her devotion is commendable.

Adrian is too damn good to be true, and it's the correct definition. Sexy as a god, with impossible abilities, the guy is also full of secrets and bound by his destiny to betray Ivy. I truly liked him. He was the perfect blend of bad boy aiming for redemption, yet not quite succeeding. He has a crushing past, revenge on his mind, and yet the best of intentions he can get, but it still isn't enough.

The two of them were magnetic together and I loved watching them collide, argue and fight will battles. In dire moments, their complicity was spot-on yet they couldn't stand to be in the same room most of the time. Both of them together really was like a weird tango, both parties trying to dominate. Adrian clearly has the advantage, but it won't stop Ivy to keep pushing.

Secondary characters were also great and I wonder how big of a part they will play in the next installment.

Frost blessed us with a plot filled with danger, cliff-hangers and twist-and-turns that would make a roller-coaster proud. She drops each bomb-like revelation at the right timing, destabilizing both the characters, and the readers.

I was highly satisfied with the conclusion and I can't wait for the second Broken Destiny installment. Ivy's  quest, and her relationship with Adrian will keep me riveted to the pages I'm quite sure! The Beautiful Ashes is a must-read for Jeaniene Frost fans and new readers, both.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Loop by Karen Akins

Look at that cover!  Isn't that a pretty pink cover with two people kissing?  So wouldn't you think, from the cover and the tagline ("An accident forced them together.  Will time tear them apart?") that this is going to be a time-travel romance?  I did!  But it is SO SO SO much more!  And I loved it!

The cover doesn't lie, per se.  Bree and Finn, the main characters, are from different times.  Bree lives in the 23rd century, where time travel is an accepted norm.  Finn lives in the 21st century, where no one (to his knowledge) time travels.  And Bree really does accidentally travel back in time and meets Finn, and really does accidentally bring him back to the 23rd century.  But personally, I thought the main plot of the book was more about Bree trying to save her mother and fix her mistake than about falling about love.

You see, Bree's mom is in a coma, and Bree's scholarship position at time-travel boarding school is in jeopardy after she breaks a major time-travel rule.  (Yes!  We also get boarding school in this book!)  She falls in with a bad guy who offers to pay her mom's medical bills if Bree will run an errand for him in the past.  Of course, students are forbidden from "going rogue" during time-travel trips, because of the fear that they could alter the past and impact the future (present?).  But Bree is desperate.  I really admired Bree:  her mom is in a coma, and everyone, like even the newspapers and politicians, are saying that her mom is at fault for her coma.  They use the word "tink" to describe her mom, which is like using a racial slur today.  Bree is already kind of an outcast at school because her mom is a single mom and she's on scholarship; now her mom is accused of breaking a time-travel rule and is in a coma... life is not great for Bree.  I admire that she never gives up or gives in.  There's not a single moment in the book where she accepts defeat or pity.  She's always looking for solutions to her problems, and trying to be a good friend and a good person.

When Bree accepts the task from the bad guy and travels back in time to do his errand and makes a mistake, she immediately starts trying to fix it.  Along the way, she'll uncover clues that lead her to believe that her mom's coma was not an accident, and that she, too, is in danger.  Most of the book follows Bree and Finn as they try to unravel the mystery without getting caught and without getting hurt.  I felt like the romantic development was just a side product, and not the main focus.  I would totally hand this book to both guys and girls, because Finn plays a cool role in the book.  Could you imagine being transported from our time to the 23rd century?  He's just as fascinated with how everything from locks to cars work in the future as I would be!

I often worry, going into books that contain time travel, that I'll get confused or lost with all the "present tense me" and "future me" and "what century are we in again?"  I can happily report that I was never once lost or confused while reading Loop!  I think Karen Akins does a great job with subtle reminders from the characters' actions and dialog as to which century they were in, and how their actions will affect other times.  I love that she worked in a "Doctrine of Inevitability" to explain why they are able to travel to the past without seeing major changes in their present.

I was only left with one burning question at the end, but I know that there's a sequel due out soon.  I'll just have to read Twist to find out what happens next!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus #1 By Terry Goodkind

Magda Searus is a newly widowed woman who's husband was the First Wizard.  With no real magical abilities of her own, Magda is left to defend herself with her strength of will and her wits.  This, the beginning of her story, takes us deep into political, societal and magical intrigue.

When I first picked up this book, I had no idea what to expect from it.  I enjoy high fantasy and hadn't delved into it in earnest for a while now.  The First Confessor gave me a chance to get away from modern cities, shiny vampires and werewolves with cellphones.  Those are all fun and I love variations on themes but, sometimes you need to go old school.  This book takes us back to castles, armor and wizards.

Magda comes off as a strong and strong willed woman in a society that usually does not put up with  that sort of thing.  I love strong female characters, lead or not.  Magda is not quite the "Mary Sue" type of character.  She has plenty of faults and makes a misstep or two along the way.  Most of the rest of the characters do have a tendency to fade into the background unless they are directly interacting with Magda.  Some of the characters were a bit flat especially in comparison to the main character.

I liked the overall story and the magic system of the book.  There were times when the characters were a bit loquacious and repetitive.  I understand the use of repetition to illustrate length or depth.  This did not seem to be that.   Most of what I noticed could easily been cut back some and the flavor of the story not be harmed.

Overall, this is a good story of awakening power and the struggles of good and evil.  I don't know if I will pick up the rest of the series but, for those who like high fantasy I would recommend trying it out for yourself.  There are some violent enough scenes that but this deep into PG13 area.


Roberts Signature


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Giveaway: Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

In her Morris Award-winning and New York Times bestselling debut, Rachel Hartman took our breath away with an utterly original alternative-medieval world full of dragons, Seraphina. This novel took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and appeared on numerous “Best of” the year lists. Now Random House Children’s Books is proud to announce the release of SHADOW SCALE. At last, Rachel’s eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—with an epic battle between humans and dragons.
Shadow Scale by Rachel HartmanThe kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together

they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?


Random House is offering 1 copy of Seraphina to celebrate the release!

Open to US & Canada only

Ends March 10th, 2015

Fill the Rafflecopter form to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author: As a child, RACHEL HARTMAN played cello, lip-synched Mozart operas with her sisters, and fostered the deep love of music that inspired much of her award-winning debut novel, Seraphina. Born in Kentucky, Rachel has lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She now lives with her family in Vancouver, Canada. To learn more, please visit RachelHartmanBooks.com and follow her on Twitter @_rachelhartman.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Rogue Hunter by Lynsay Sands

I used to read so many more paranormal romance books and I really don't know why I slowly reduced the amount of them on my to be read pile. There's just something fun and entertaining about PNR that always makes me come back for more.

I read a few "Argeneau" books a few years back and I sort of lost track of the newer releases so I decided to checkout a few from the library, just to see if I would enjoy them as much as the first few books. THE ROGUE HUNTER is actually the first book of a mini-series within the larger series so for anyone new to Lynsay Sands' vampire world this is a good place to start. This novel is about Mortimer, a vampire, or as they prefer to be called, an immortal who is hunting a rogue in Ontario cottage country. Rogues are immortals that have broken the immortal council laws and Mortimer just happened to be a council enforcer that owns a cottage near the rogue sittings.

Things get interesting when Mortimer and his team of enforcers meet the women that own the cottage next to his. One of the three sisters, Sam, is an uptight lawyer who never takes a day off and is trying to unwind on her much deserved vacation. Mortimer immediately realizes that he cannot read or control Sam's mind which is the first sign that she's his life mate. Sam definitely feels the attraction that pulls her towards Mortimer, and it definitely helps that her two sisters push her towards Mortimer so that he can "help her unwind and get over her ex." Life mates are so rare and hard to come by so Mortimer definitely feels a little possessive. It's kind of cute how he follows her around and does many things to help her out. I loved the two of them as a couple, even though they were a little awkward together at first.

The romance is definitely the major plot of the novel. Mortimer kind of gets sidetracked from his job as he helps Sam with an unexpected task from her boss, despite the fact that she's on vacation. The search for the rogue is always present but the immortals are kind of searching blindly without any major lead. Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy the novel but I would say it's more romance than paranormal.

The dialogue and the character interactions are really the best part of the novel. The author really knows how to give each character an individual voice. Even the secondary characters were entertaining and realistic.

If you're looking for a quick, fun, paranormal read full of romance and quirky characters, you really want to add this book to your pile. I look forward to reading the rest of the mini-series and possibly the rest of the Argeneau series. These immortal vampires are definitely sexy and I want to find out which immortal will be the next to find his or her life mate.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Giveaway: Some Fine Day by Kat Ross


You may remember SOME FINE DAY from last year, when I reviewed the title. Well, shortly after SOME FINE DAY  was released, the YA Angry Robot imprint Strange Chemistry got shut down, and SOME FINE DAY had to find a new home. I'm so pleased to tell you that Kat's book was just released by Skyscape on Tuesday, with a fun new cover.

Here's the scoop on SOME FINE DAY in case you need a refresher:

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross (cover 2)A generation ago, continent-sized storms called hypercanes caused the Earth to flood. The survivors were forced to retreat deep underground and build a new society.

This is the story that sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist has heard all of her life.

Jansin grew up in a civilization far below the Earth’s surface. She’s spent the last eight years in military intelligence training. So when her parents surprise her with a coveted yet treacherous trip above ground, she’s prepared for anything. She’s especially thrilled to feel the fresh air, see the sun, and view the wide-open skies and the ocean for herself.

But when raiders attack Jansin’s camp and take her prisoner, she is forced to question everything she’s been taught. What do her captors want? How will she get back underground? And if she ever does, will she want to stay after learning the truth?

Revised edition: This edition of Some Fine Day includes editorial revisions.

Jenn's thoughts

Purchase: Amazon


Kat is giving away a bunch of prizes to some lucky readers:

Grand Prize: Kindle Paperwhite with custom cover, preloaded with SOME FINE DAY

Second Prize (2): Signed copy of SOME FINE DAY

Third Prize (2): CD audiobook of SOME FINE DAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Stacking The Shelves (147)

Stacking the Shelves

puStacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Well, I've done it.  I've completely caught up on the Dresden Files series.  Admittedly I've only read one of the graphic novels but, they don't count in my mind.,

The Dresden Files Book Covers.

I really enjoyed this series. It's a well told and easy to read series with a lot of funny and thought provoking moments.  I will suggest, again, to read Side Jobs last.  One of the advantages to an established series is being able to keep the momentum up by going to the next book right away. Going back and forth in time could cause temporal instability in your story conceptualizing.

The First ConfessorJohn Quincy AdamsThe Rithmatist book cover ,


The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus is a high fantasy book you'll hear more about it later from me.

The Ritmatist remains one of my least favorite Brandon Sanderson books but, is still a very entertaining read.

I got the John Quincy Adams book for a bit of literary palate cleansing.  I look forward to the difference in genre.

Like I said before, now that I have caught up on the Dresden Files books, I'm looking for another established series to take its place.  I've been toying with the idea to use one Wednesday a month to review a book from that series in order as a kind of 'Catch up' project.  If anybody has any suggestions, please let me know.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Take Two: Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

taketwoJenn reviewed this book when it released in 2013 and you can read her thoughts here, now it's my turn to give it a go!

Jessica has had a lot on her plate since this journey started (was it really just a week ago??) and this time won't be a vacation either. It's in fact her toughest challenge yet, but she must rise and shine if she hopes to save her mate from an angry, sadistic Goddess.

If I had one word to choose to describe Hot Blooded it would definitely be action-packed. From beginning to end there isn't a single down moment, so don't even think of taking a breath! Jessica sets on her mission with her twin brother, their friend Danny and a duo of unreliable vampire siblings. On their journey, they face challenge after challenge and the things they have to face are simply unpredictable. Carlson dug up some really old mythology to throw in the mix and surprise us, and she did it well.

If I had one complaint about this novel it would be how Jessica's blood always seemed to be the answer to every challenge they faced and how her 'instincts' were always right. She has no idea why she does this or that, but when confronted by Tyler, she just says she has no idea but it feels right. It just felt like an easy way out. I wish she'd made at least one or two mistakes, the whole thing would've felt more plausible. I mean, she's a newbie werewolf, with no idea what she's doing, facing a Goddess backed up by the Underworld and she makes no mistakes? Please...

The whole story revolves around a limited number of characters and it felt right in such a retrieval mission. Everyone contributed and felt equally important, even human Ray, whom I came to appreciate along the journey. Naomi (one of the vampires) also turned out to be a pleasant surprise and I hope we see more of her in the future.

I wish Rourke had been present, but since the whole deal was to save him it makes sense he isn't there lol But I would lie if I said I wasn't impatient to know more about him and to finally see Jessica and him as a couple. Their relationship has been pretty chaste thus far and it would be about time they get down and dirty hahaha

Overall, I liked this installment and I would definitely recommend this series to urban fantasy lovers. You will find sassy and loveable characters, action-packed encounters and thrilling plot-lines. I'm sure you won't be disappointed!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ink by Amanda Sun


I am kicking myself for missing this when it first came out!  I saw lots of reviews of people love love loving the cover, but it didn't grab me.  I don't say this often, but I was wrong.  This is a fantastic book and lots of people should go read it.  Good news:  because I'm so very behind on this, you don't have to wait to read the sequel!  You can binge-read the first two books now and be ready for the trilogy finale in June.  Yay!

Katie is dealing with a lot.  Her mom has just died.  Her dad was never in the picture.  Her beloved grandparents can't take her in because her grandfather is suffering with cancer.  She's sent from everything and everyone she knows in New York to live with her aunt in Japan.  There she finds herself one of very, very few foreigners, or gaijin, in her smallish city.  Fortunately, she is able to quickly make two friends, Yuki and Tanaka, and catches the attention of a boy *wink wink* named Tomo.

But all is not as it seems.  Tomo is very mysterious and aloof.  And Katie witnesses him dumping another girl rather coldly.  Who is he?  Why is he so distant?  Did he really brutally attack another boy a few years ago?

The answers are all in the ink.  Katie and Tomo forge a bond over pen and ink drawings and kendo, which is like Japanese fencing.  However, there's definitely an air of danger around their clandestine meetings in the park.

I was sucked into Ink rather quickly and completely.  At first it seemed ludicrous that Tomo's drawings were moving... like, coming to life.  But Amanda Sun works it all back into Japanese mythology, and that makes the premise pretty solid.  Believe me, it works.

My only little gripe with Ink was that I wanted even more answers and information than I was given!  I wanted even more information about the kanji and the Japanese social customs and more time to get to know the characters.  Thank goodness there's two more books.  ;)  There were a few points where I felt the plot was a tiny bit jumpy, but I did read an ARC; that might've been smoothed out in the final publication.

I love characters and the setting!  I read that Amanda Sun spent part of high school living as an exchange student in Japan, so she was definitely capable of writing the character of Katie, a foreigner looking in.  Katie reads so very real.  She's confident and capable and responsible.  Because she's so aware of the differences between American and Japanese culture, she makes the reader aware also.  I feel like I didn't get to know Tomo nearly well enough, but I think that's because Japanese are so much more reserved than Americans.  So naturally he can't give away too much about himself and also be true to his cultural background!

Ink had two big bonuses:  first, you get to learn so much about modern Japanese culture and a little bit of Japanese mythology!  There are Japanese terms scattered through the text (without it ever feeling confusing or overwhelming) with a glossary at the end.  And there's all these great descriptions of the setting, and references to Japanese school customs.  A second bonus:  my book included an interview with the author at the end!  That's where I found out that she studied in Japan as a teen.  Again, I read an ARC; I hope that was also included in the finished book.

I want to try to work this into every readers' advisory now!  Including you, reading this, who didn't even ask for my opinion:  GO READ INK!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Side Jobs - Dresden Files 12.5 by Jim Butcher

Anybody who has followed my posts over the last few months would not be surprised to see another Dresden Files book make its way into a review.  This one is special:  It's the last one I read of the series (until the next book in the series comes out).   Reading this last may puzzle anybody familiar enough with the 15 book series.  Yes, 12.5 comes before 15 but, I found this to be an excellent wrap-up for the series to date.  This way, I was able to keep the narrative going by reading the  regular books in order and then, later, get into all the in-between stories that Jim Butcher had written about Chicago's only openly practicing wizard.  I have to say, I'm glad I did and suggest anybody who hasn't made it that far in the series to do the same.  I'll do my best not to get to spoilery.

Side Jobs is a collection of short stories written about Harry Dresden and his friends.  Each was written for different purposes and Jim Butcher introduces the stories with the reasons behind them being written.  Sometimes he gives a little bit of background or insight to the subject or inspiration of each.  It was a touch that I thought gave them a bit more context  and clarity.  There are even a couple of stories written from perspectives different Harry's.  Jim Butcher did an excellent job of shifting into these voices.  I never got the feeling I was reading some reworked story of Harry's.  This book even contains the story that started it all: the story Jim Butcher wrote as an assignment for a college writing course.  The book is full of spoilers since so much of it is placed between books with one that takes place right after book 12.

Another, more notable, significance of this book is what it means for me.  I mean, now, I'll have a Dresden sized hole in my upcoming reading selection.  If anybody has any suggestions for an established book series I can play catch up on, I'd love to hear them.  Or better yet, is there a book series you've been afraid to try and you want me to be your "toe-in-the-water"  as it were, I'll welcome those as well.

I've loved the whole Dresden Files series thus far.  It has gone from mildly grown up to very grown up.  Definitely not for the little ones unless their heading off to college.  It's only a scene or two per book but, when you find them, you'll know it!  I hope some of you give this series a try!

Roberts Signature

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Free Agent by J.C. Nelson

I've recently become interested in fairy tale-centric stories and so FREE AGENT seemed like a good book to try. I loved the idea of a fairy godfather named Grimm and what it would be like to be traded into his employ but FREE AGENT didn't always hold my attention as much as I'd hoped. I've read some extremely positive reviews of the book, though, so perhaps my expectations were too high? Don't get me wrong, there are lots of good things in FREE AGENT. Much like INTO THE WOODS, this book explores the idea of what happens after wishes are granted, and shows us how they get granted in Marissa's world.

Sadly, despite an interesting premise, FREE AGENT fell very flat for me. It's a nice easy read but I wasn't overly captivated by Marissa's story. All of the usual elements are there but they didn't gel for me the way that the obviously have for other people. Despite that, there are parts of the book that I found admirable, the strongest being the world building. Nelson has created a very unique world for this series and I enjoyed exploring it as Marissa was sent on various missions. As a regular old human, Marissa needs Grimm's help to get into different realms but it's so wondrous that she is still captivated, even though she's been working as one of Grimm's agents for years. Nelson does a nice job of creating different environments and gives the reader a real sense of the different places that exist in the series. There was no unique elements in these worlds but the author does a nice job of putting them all together in an interesting way.

I also thought Marissa was an interesting protagonist, especially once you get her backstory. All of her memories before she started working for Grimm are obscured, at her own request, but it doesn't stop her from wondering, and eventually discovering why she asked to forget. It's tragic and fascinating and adds a lot of new levels to her character, which made her quite interesting to me. Unfortunately, the other characters weren't as compelling. They weren't bad in and of themselves but I didn't connect to them. They have some nice moments in FREE AGENT but I didn't feel like  particularly invested in them.

I'd like to stress that there's nothing inherently wrong with FREE AGENT -- it just wasn't for me. I'd suggest reading the excerpt below to see if FREE AGENT is for you. It wasn't my cup of tea but I think that it might appeal to folks who are interested in stories that revolve around fairy tales.

Read an excerpt


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stacking the Shelves [146]

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  The hubby and I got a puppy since my last Stacking the Shelves, so I'll be spending Valentine's Day with both my boys.  :)  :)  :)  Meet Tucker!  My new reading buddy.


Isn't he an adorable distraction?  Now back to talking books:

Stacking the Shelves

ARCs for Review!

Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner: I read and enjoyed Skinny, and I got to meet the author, so of course I want to try her latest!

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios:  I've been reading a lot of hype about this one.

Half Wild by Sally Green: Another one I've read a lot of hype about.

Paperweight by Meg Haston

The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak by Brian Katcher: I love reading Brian's reviews of YA books on www.foreveryoungadult.com, and am hopeful that his book is just as fun!

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg:  Totally judging this book by it's cover.  I love porcupines and the cover is adorbs.

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little: Another author I've met, and so I totally have to try her book!

The Revelation of Louisa May by Michaela MacColl:  a book about an author of books?  Yes, please!

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins:  Can you believe I haven't started this trilogy yet?  *hangs head in shame*  Maybe having an ARC of the third book will motivate me.

Finding Paris by Joy Preble:  Even though I had a few qualms about The Sweet Dead Life, I did enjoy the tone.  So I'm hopeful I'll like Finding Paris.

Emancipated by M.G. Reyes:  Emancipated teens... this is a new book topic to me!  Excited to try it.

Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton

The Cage by Megan Shepherd:  LOVE LOVE LOVE her Madman's Daughter trilogy; excited to try her new project!

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd:  I'm getting my own copy of this, so I'll pass along this ARC to "my" teens at the library.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman:  a book about a teen with mental illness, with illustrations by the author's son, who struggles with mental illness.  Of course I'm going to support this!

The Baby Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea adapted by Raina Telgemeier: I LOVED these books as  kid!  I'm SUPER excited to revisit them in graphic novel format!

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia:  Totally grabbed this because of the GORGEOUS cover.  I want to frame it as wall art!

Stacking the Shelves Dark in the City of Light Paul Robertson

A Gift!

On my personal blog, Marie's Reads, I'm doing Popsugar's 2015 Reading Challenge.  One of the goals is to read a book with antonyms in the title.  My super aunt sent me this book to fulfill that goal!  Thank you!

Stacking the Shelves

Library! (Free Books for Everyone!)

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw: I've heard nothing but praise for this one.  And it just won an American Youth Media Award.

In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes From Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Galimberti:  Oh, how I love grandmas.

Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges: My mom saw and recommended the movie; I plan to read the book first.

The Sweetheart by Angelinia Mirabella

Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries by Ander Monson: Why, of course!

Stacking the Shelves Dreamfire Alloway


Dreamfire by Kit Alloway:  Isn't that a pretty cover?

What about you?  What books did you bring home this week?

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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

The Storyspinner was quite an original tale and I really enjoyed it, even though it's nothing like I imagined it would be when I requested it. With an archer on the novel I really thought the main character would be an epic fighter, a Katsa-like girl with an alpha female presence and I couldn't have been farther away from the truth! Oh Johanna has quite a presence, but it's her art, her stage presence, that mesmerize anyone listening to her tales, not her physical prowess.

The lore is definitely a really strong aspect of this novel. A 'normal' medieval society fighting for a throne on one side of the mountain and mystical soldiers blessed with magical abilities ruling the other side. Things get ugly though when humans try to find and kill the young lost heiress to the throne and the Keepers get involved. The basis of this story is completely different from anything I've read and I really enjoyed it. Add a little gypsy spirit to the mix and you've got quite a great recipe.

One of the down sides, for me at least, to this story is the numerous narrators. There's just too many of them (5 or 6?) to really relate to a particular character and while I understand the author's desire to show many different perceptive, I think it could've been achieved much more smoothly with a maximum of three narrators. That being said, I really liked Johanna's dedication to her family and she impressed me with her strength of character. She was a strong multifaceted lead role.

The plot was engaging but I felt like it was a bit held back because of all the perceptive the author chose to include. I would lie if I said I was riveted to the pages the entire time, because quite honestly, I thought of giving up on this book many times. I'm glad I held on though because I liked the story and the end was a killer. Now I really want to read the next book, and I truly hope the aspects that bothered me will be more polished in the sequel.

All in all, it's a good debut novel, but I think it would've been even better with a little more work in the editing department. You should definitely give it a try though!



Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

Ohmygoodness did I ever LOVE this book!  I know it's early in the year, but this may be a Top Ten Read of 2015.  My aunt recommended this to me; I'm so lucky to have people in my life to introduce me to such great books!  It's got an author as a character (H.G. Wells no less!), time travel, Victorian England.... love it!

The Map of Time is told in three parts--or episodes--that all come together beautifully in the end.  It felt like Felix J. Palma was conducting a gorgeous, moving symphony of a story.  He was able to skillfully gather up and weave together all the disparate moving parts and characters at the end to give the reader a conclusive, satisfying, and exciting ending.  That, my friends, is talent.  

I want to go ahead an reassure you that The Map of Time never felt confusing to me.  The cast of characters was definitely manageable, especially considering the length of the book and it's subject matter.  The majority of the first part of the book is told from the point of a young man named Andrew; the majority of the second part is told from the point of view of a young lady named Claire; and the majority of the third part of the book is told from the point of view of the author H.G. Wells.  There is also an omniscient, unnamed narrator who helps fill in gaps and provide the reader with extra insight.  I loved that there were a few points where the omniscient narrator introduced a character by name, only to immediately tell the reader that it's not necessary to remember them; they only play a bit part in the larger story.  Whenever a plot point or a character were influential to the story, the author found a way for the narrator to subtly "underline" them.

The Map of Time may be a lengthy tome (656 pages!) with a sometimes-confusing subject matter (time travel), but I flew through it and felt like it ended too soon.  I'm so glad that it's the start of a trilogy!  I began recommending it to other book-loving friends before I'd even finished it myself.  In the first part, Andrew is a devastated young man.  He's contemplating ending his life after the tragic death of his beloved.  His cousin swoops in and takes him to H.G. Wells, who has just published The Time Machine and who, they believe, may have an actual time machine that Andrew can use to go back in time and save his love's life.  In the second part, Claire is a young lady who is disillusioned with Victorian England.  She signs up for an expedition to the future to escape the pressure to get married.  She believes that life will be better for a woman in the year 2000.  In the final part of the book, H.G. Wells himself is confronted by a time travel dilemma; and his choice could have rather large ripple effects on history.  It's not all smoke and mirrors; every time a character time travels or is confronted by a time traveler, Mr. Palma gives explanations as to how it was possible.  He even preemptively answered questions that I hadn't even considered!  There are no plot holes that I could find!  I also found it all very accessible.  I'm a library worker, not a scientist, and I didn't have any trouble keeping up with the action and explanations.

I haven't read much steampunk in the past, but The Map of Time has peaked my interest.  I've already requested the sequel, The Map of the Sky, from my library!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ark Royal (Ark Royal Vol. 1) By Christopher G. Nuttall

This book is a retelling of the now classic story or humans first contact with alien intelligent life.  Told from the military perspective, many familiar tropes are used to tell the story.  We have the old warrior burned out from many years of hard use.  There is also the young warrior eager to make his way up the ladder and wield authority in the way he believes it should be done.  We have star crossed lovers (literally) living for the day. There are also the aliens who, for no known reason plunge all of humanity into a struggle for their existence.

These are not new ideas.  Then again, as I said in my post Soapboxing: Inspiration or Theft, the story doesn't have to be new, just well told.  In that, Ark Royal misses the mark by not having  texture and vision.  I'm not talking about just describing how things feel and look (though that would be a start).  A scene should be more than just a laundry list of objects and people.  All too often Mr. Nuttall's description were little more than that.  He didn't convey to me any feelings or impressions of the POV characters.  The interiors and exteriors of the ships weren't given a lot of detail for the reader to build on.

As for the characters themselves, there is a great deal of potential in them.  They are as varied as you would expect in a large military vessel (I have some firsthand experience).  They, too, lack some of the same texture and vision that the scenes are in need of.  They're not flat but, they needed a bit more personality to make them come alive.

I did like the way the author kept true to many of the details of military life and some of the details of living in close quarters.  All too often warships come across as pleasure cruisers in science fiction.  Much of the terminology and tactics had a good grounding in naval tradition and leant the story credibility.

Overall, I think Ark Royal is a decent book though it lacks something to make it memorable.  I still may look in on the second book in the series.  Mainly because of a relationship I suspect is going on between two of the characters.  This book has some graphic descriptions of sex that lands it a firm R rating.  There is also a bit a language and some very mild violence.

Roberts Signature

Monday, February 09, 2015

Burned by Karen Marie Moning

I'm having a love/hate relationship with this book. There are so many things that I loved about this book, yet it still left me unsatisfied with the direction the series is taking. I never thought I would say this, but after waiting for what feels like forever, Burned has left me disappointed.

First, I love that Mac is back! I really missed her in the previous book, which was all about Dani. Don't get me wrong, Dani can be a fun a quirky character, but personally I think she doesn't compare to Mac and isn't enough to be the main character of a book like she was in Iced. And she's kind of annoying. Originally, what made me fall in love with the series was Mac, and now it seems like the author has added so many point of views, it's hard to understand how it all pieces together. I'm just happy Mac is the (main) narrator again and it feels childish to complain about a few pages and a few chapters dedicated to other characters. However, I'm surprised by how much I like Lor. I did not expect to enjoy this woman loving, sex addicted character as much as I did. I love that were learning more about the mysterious group of Nine and that it's not just about Barrons and Ryodan anymore. I think Lor adds a new depth to the group, however, I'm not sure if I like this new Ryodan.  I guess you can say we see his softer side but it doesn't really work for me because I can only imagine him as a stern and rigid character.

The first half of the novel was kind of slow. As things slowly build up, I expected more out of this novel because of its length, but much of it is just filler. There was no clear antagonist in this novel so that might be another reason why it felt like the book was purposeless at times. It feels like Mac coasted through most of the novel which had me wondering when the real Mac would show up. I was surprised by our introduction to Jada and I'm still a little bit confused about her as a character and what it all means for the rest of the series. I don't want to discuss her too much because that would expose too many spoilers, but honestly I'm still not sure about her as character.

In the past, the heat between Mac and Barrons was enough to get me through anything, but in this novel, it feels like it kind of sizzle out. Their "inactivity" is boring, to say the least, and I expected more from the couple, especially in a novel titled Burned and with such a hot cover. The chapter before the prologue was pretty hot but just a flashback so it felt kind pointless and definitely a tease.

I'm having such a hard time writing this review, I think it's because I've never felt so disappointed by a novel before. Although it wasn't all that bad, my expectations were definitely set too high. I'm hopeful Karen Marie Moning will get back on track with her next book and that Burned is just an unfortunate event. Fans of the series still have to read this novel despite everything. Newcomers to the series will be disappointed and confused despite the glossary at the end of the book (which I thought was a great idea).

As readers, we could have done without Burned and hopefully it was just a way to set up the next great installment in the series.


stephsig moon

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder

Yelena, once so scared of magic grew dependent on her powers, and she realizes it when they are suddenly gone. A weird attack rendered her powerless and feeling oddly vulnerable. How did she live all those years so defenseless before she discovered her powers? She must keep it a secret though because many of her enemies would jump on this opportunity to put an end to her life.

I have been waiting for years for another Yelena & Valek book and I was so happy when Maria announced she's working on a new series featuring them. As much as I loved this novel, and I'll tell you all about it later, I'm afraid the years between the releases ( 7 since the last Study book, 5 since the last Glass book) played hell on my memory and I grew frustrated about all the details I had forgotten. To avoid this situation, I would suggest you reread the books before you get to Shadow Study, if it's something that would bother you too.

Yelena gained quite the reputation as the Soulfinder and liaison between Ixia and Sitia. She is almost bigger than life if you listen to all the gossip, so for her to be suddenly powerless and away from Valek was quite the challenge. I loved that even though giving in to despair was tempting, she never gave up and fought back with everything she had. This girl just doesn't have it in her to hide and wait it out. The mystery surrounding her magic's disappearance is quite thick, and I'm afraid we'll have to wait for the next novel to really know what actually happened. Thankfully, Snyder pointed us the culprit, which make the tension bearable, but barely. I really want to know how that person did it!

My favorite aspect of this novel, and by far, are all the visits to Valek's past. What happened in his youth, how he became an assassin, his struggles, meeting with the commander and finally, killing the king. I was completely mesmerized by those bit of tales speckled all over the book and I was craving the next one again and again. I admired his focus, determination and resourcefulness. Really, Ari & Janco can only dream of being that good, I was thoroughly impressed.

Fans will be happy to know many old friends -and foes- are featured in this novel. A peculiar new character is also introduced, and she is bound to leave you scratching your head in wonder.

The plot is of course filled with intrigue, battles and twist & turns. I never would have guessed the extend of the different betrayals taking place in this book, and I can't wait to see all the consequences in the next novel, Night Study, expected in 2016.

If I had one complaint to formulate, can we please have Yelena and Valek together?? They were apart the whole time! *pouts*


Saturday, February 07, 2015

Stacking the Shelves [145]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Guys I had a couple of super awesome books to show you, but I've had a week from hell and I couldn't put a post together. Even As I am trying to rush this before i head to the doctor with my youngest my plugins are failing on me -.-

I promise I'll put something together for you next week. my apologies!


Turns out I got an appointment at 10 so I have time to put this post together afterall!

10979385_10152619713241709_344714425_nFor review:

The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (& pretty mask) - Thank you Lili! She's now an intern at Bloomsbury ^^
A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes


The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

It's been a long time since I've had such an awesome collection of books to show you. I hope you enjoy yours just as much!


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Friday, February 06, 2015

The Dragon Conspiracy by Lisa Shearin

[I'm writing this post very quickly due to work commitments so please don't mistake my brevity for anything other than a lack of time. THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY is a wonderful book from one of my favourite authors and I wish that I could do it justice with this post.]

With THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY, Lisa Shearin has gotten even more awesome! (I didn't think this was possible.) I was thrilled with the first book in the SPI Files and Shearin's done a remarkable job of making the characters and world more exciting in this, the next instalment.

This time around, SPI's turf has been invaded by an evil Russian dragon named Viktor Kain. He's shown up with the Dragon Eggs in tow, magical jewels with largely unknown powers. He claims it's to sell them but the eggs ended up getting stolen. Needless to say, an unhappy dragon, a mystery foe, and a flock of harpies (do harpies travel in flocks?) lead to a an exciting adventure for the readers, and extreme peril for Makenna, Ian, and the rest of SPI. We get to learn more about some of the other races that inhabit the series, which I enjoyed. I'm always interested in learning more about the worlds that authors create and Shearin has explores some new groups to the series, like harpies and gorgons. They're not terribly different from what you might expect but I particularly enjoyed her take on gorgons, which was neat. Shearin has a talent for taking existing ideas/beings and giving them a unique twist -- remember the grendels from THE GRENDEL AFFAIR? -- and I think she's done it again with the gorgons. I won't say too much to avoid potentially spoiling things for you but I will say that the SPI Files are a series to watch if you're looking for strong examples of world building.

We also get some nice insights into some less explored characters, like Rake Danescu. In many ways, THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY is Rake's chance to shine, which I enjoyed quite a lot, even though he's not exactly a good guy. Shearin is a master at writing bad guys shaded in grey, with just enough of a sexy rascal in them to make you root for them. (Tam fans, anyone?) She really gets to play with Rake this time around and his scenes are some of the best in the book. Of course, there are cracking scenes with Makenna since she always manages to get herself into awkward situations, especially when Ian's around. They give us some of the laugh-out-loud humour I expect from Shearin's writing -- and THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY does not disappoint. Other characters also have their moments to shine, which was very satisfying.

THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY contains all of Shearin's trademarks: witty dialogue, a winning protagonist, and a plot that doesn't quit. I can't recommend Shearin's work enough so I hope I've inspired you to give the SPI Files a try!

Read an excerpt


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

I want to flip things around in this review and open by talking about the great narration of Forever.  I listened to this on CD, and I'm so glad I did!  First, there's four narrators.  Each of the main characters are read by a different person, so it's easy to immediately identify which point of view the reader is hearing.  And here's the big, exciting part:  Maggie Stiefvater herself reads the part of Grace!  She does a great job.  How cool is it that you get to have the author right there, reading to you?  All four readers really give this book life.  The cadence is nice and even, even with switching between multiple actors.  The tone is steady; I never had to fiddle with the volume knob, even with the changes between male and female readers.  Overall, a fantastic audiobook.

Now on to the story itself.... In Shiver, Sam was a wolf and Grace was a girl; how could their love survive against those odds?  In Linger, Sam is a boy but Grace becomes a wolf; can their love continue to endure this shift?  Now, in Forever, Sam faces incredible odds as he tries to save the girl (sometimes a wolf) that he loves, and the rest of his wolfpack, as the town calls for a major hunt to eradicate the wolves from Mercy Falls.  He'll face these challenged head-on with Isabelle and Cole beside him. You'll notice the overabundance of the word "love" in my previous paragraph... if you're into romance, especially star-crossed romance, this is definitely the series for you!  Sam and Grace are so sweet together.  I love how they always tighten ranks to face adversity together; they never let rough circumstances or outside influences mar their devotion to each other.  Their relationship develops at a realistic pace too; they're teens, so it's a little quicker to get deeper than a more reserved adult relationship, but it's very much within the realm of possibility among young adults.  The fact that the characters are older teens, and that these books are aimed at teens, means that the shows of affection are mostly chaste.

All four of the main characters are very well-rounded by the time the reader gets to this third book.  One thing that I personally love in a book is dry, snarky humor.  Isabelle Culpepper delivers!  I love her sarcasm.  She's so confident and strong, and never hesitates to tell Sam and Cole exactly what she's thinking!  On the flip side, she's also fiercely loyal to Sam, Cole, and Grace, even to the point of going against her parents' wishes.  And we already know from the previous books how loyal Sam and Grace are to the rest of the group.  Their devotion to each other doesn't decrease in any way the time that they give to their friends.  And finally Cole... possibly the most complicated character that I've read in awhile.  On the one hand, he's a crazy rockstar living a rockstar life; on the other hand he's a quiet, introspective, and inquisitive guy.  Maggie Stiefvater does Cole very well; he is complex, but you never feel like he's bipolar.  He's just very multi-faceted.

The narration and the characters kept me interested in Forever through to the end, but I did feel like I had a bit of a rough start at the beginning of the book.  I felt like there was no plot, no development of conflict, throughout the first third of the book or so.  You know how books always have a build-up toward a conflict, then resolution?  At the risk of a bad pun, I thought it took forever to get to the plot point of Forever.  Never fear!  Be reassured: we definitely do get to a point eventually.  And perhaps I missed a hint or two earlier in the book; I was listening to this while driving.  I do not regret sticking to the book at all, and do plan to read Sinner before I leave the world of Mercy Falls.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Lock In by John Scalzi

This book is original and intelligent on so many levels that I really hope this review will incite at least a few people to read it. Personally, I didn't know what to expect when I picked it up. I thought a science fiction novel would be a nice change of pace, however, it's important to note that even if it does have its place in science fiction, it can also be categorized as a mystery thriller.

I love the tag line that's on my copy. On the cover it says "A novel of the near future" and that is chilling thought. To think that a global epidemic could affect so many people, kill a good percentage of the population, and render some people to be locked in, physically paralyzed but still aware, is probably closer to science than it is fiction. The present day outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is still a threat, and recent scares of influenza may have been dramatized by the media but the fact remains that some grave illness could in theory affect the world and the potential for an global epidemic is scary. Obviously Haden's disease in this book is fiction but I think the author did an amazing job in making it as realistic as possible.

For the characters in the novel that are locked in, science and technology has advanced enough in this near future to enable them to interact with the world via a neural implant in the brain that allows them to control a threep, some sort of vehicle/robot for their minds. The beauty of the written word is that even if the narrator of the book is the voice of a young man that uses a threep to get around, it's very easy to forget that his real body is hidden somewhere in a room, unable to move. The narrator, Chris Shane, is a poster child for Hadens, those who are locked in. As a new FBI agent, he didn't expect his first week on the job to turn out like this. As he and his partner, Agent Vann, navigate the world of major technology and pharmaceutical companies, what begins as a simple suicide/murder investigation turns out to be a major corporate conspiracy. The many twists and turns will boggle your mind and will have you rethink the idea of hacking and fraud.

Agent Chris Shane is a very likable character. As a young man of a billionaire family, I admire his commitment to not let his famous past define who he is. He does not want to be a hindrance to the community and as an FBI agent, he believes he can make a difference. It would be easy for any Haden to simply live off the system, to use their disability as an excuse to not work and not  contribute to society but all the Hadens we encounter in the novel are contributing members of society. Among others, we meet Hadens that are lawyers, doctors, coders, corporate CEOs and then some that are simply administrative workers. The possibilities are endless and I love that even if Haden's disease has defined who they are, they are still normal people, trying to live out their lives. We can analyse all we want, but their situation is comparable to those living with disabilities in our world. They are subject to prejudice and bullying, but at the end of the day, they are human beings and should be seen a such.

Overall, I think the author is a genius in combining scientific elements to a possible yet improbable future. As a science geek, I admire authors that blend science and technology in their writing and that aren't afraid to go into details. In this case, it was brilliantly done. I could see this novel developed into a series because the characters are likable and so well established. However, I would be as pleased with a series as I am with a stand alone. The conclusion of the story is open to endless possibilities, yet wraps up the novel quite efficiently. Lock In was the first novel I read from this author and if his other books are as engaging as this one, I will definitely check out his other works.

Read an excerpt

Read the prequel - Unlocked: An Oral History or Haden's Syndrome

stephsig moon

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Cursed by S. J. Harper

CURSED has a great blend of urban fantasy and procedural, with a nice helping of romance on the side. The first book in a new series from the writing duo of Jeanne C. Stein and Samantha Sommersby, CURSED employs Greek mythology but with a creative twist: the series centres on Emma Monroe, one of three Sirens cursed by Demeter for letting Hades make off with Persephone a long, long time ago. Even though they got her back, Demeter cursed Emma and her two unnamed sisters to live forever, saving young women and punishing them if they fall in love. In Emma's case, Demeter killed the man she married a few days after the ceremony. Demeter be pissed, guys.

As a Siren, Emma isn't gifted with super strength of accelerated healing; all she has is the gift of extreme persuasion, which puts her in danger every time she uses it, even if it's to save one of those endangered young women in her position within the FBI. Emma's in a very-losable-just-maybe-if-she-gets-lucky-winnable kind of situation. How could I wait so long to read this?

Emma and her new partner Zack Armstrong, a werewolf with a past life as a Black Ops sniper, are tasked with finding a missing artist, a case that eventually draws them into a much larger mystery involving multiple missing people. There are some really neat twists and turns that I won't give away but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the reasons that the artist (and everyone else) disappeared.

Of course, Emma and Zach have something of a history, which makes things a bit tangly on the romantic front. Emma spends a lot of time fighting her attraction to Zach because she doesn't want him to die if Demeter finds out the depth of her feelings. It's a nice Catch-22 since it avoids the insta-love HEA you can find in some other series in the genre while also giving readers the romantic element they might be craving. The chemistry between Emma and Zach is off the charts and it gives CURSED some steamy interludes.

All in all, CURSED is a great start to a series, by two seasoned writers (Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein). They've created a very interesting world and cast of characters and I've already got the next book loaded on my e-reader so that I can find out what happens to Emma next. (CURSED ends in a really powerful way and I'm so happy that I have RECKONING at my fingertips.

P.S. This cover model totally reminds me of Amy Acker (who I lurve!). Anyone else feel the same?

Read an excerpt (scroll down)