Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Oracle of Dating - Allison van Diepen

No one at Kayla’s school knows she’s the famous Oracle of Dating—the anonymous queen of dating advice, given through her own Web site. Kayla doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make her focus on everyone else’s love life. But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating--and she knows just where to find one...
(Synopsis taken from

Title: The Oracle of Dating
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Dating,
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
My Rating: 4/5

This was a lighthearted read, and the story was overall enjoyable. I found that Kayla had very sage advice, and I think this book would be a good one for teens (and certainly adults) to read. All of the relationship advice seemed to be spot on. I did find that the book seemed to be too short, and that it wasn't as in depth as I hoped it would be. It had a lot of good advice, but it just seemed like the story was lacking in depth. That is not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did, I just wanted more. I'm glad to see that there is another book coming out as I'd like to see what happens next. For the most part everything is resolved, but there were a few threads left dangling that I assume will be picked up in the second installment.
Overall, I'd say this was a short, sweet, satisfying read and it gives an excellent look at relationship advice.

Disclaimer: This book was obtained through netgalley, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Harlequin Teen for sending me this copy to review.

In My Mailbox -22-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.

For Review
1. Bullet - Laurell K. Hamilton
2. Promises to Keep - Jane Green

Thank you to Bronwyn and Barbara from Penguin Canada for these books for review!

1. The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan (signed)
2. Infinity - Sherrilyn Kenyon
3. Cheat the Grave - Vicki Pettersson
4. Club Dead - Charlaine Harris

That's what I recieved in my "mailbox" this week, what did you get in yours?

Friday, May 28, 2010

I've hijacked I Swim for Oceans

Like the title says, I've hijacked Melissa's blog, I Swim For Oceans, for a questionable post. She sends out the most off the wall questions and lets people answer them any way they want. I hope my answers aren't too out there for you... you may be thinking that I'm crazy by the time you finish reading the last question. I assure you, I'm not crazy. (Well... that's debatable.)
I digress.
Please check out Melissa's blog, because it is awesome, and she has some really good content. One of the reasons I love her blog so much is because of her tuesday teasers. She posts snippets of her own work, and it always leaves me wanting to read more! Other reasons are because I like her review style, and sometimes in her movie reviews, I can't help but explode with laughter. Always a GOOD thing! :)
So please, check her blog out, follow her, and comment (or run fast in the other direction) on the posts. (You'd probably be running away from my post... not hers. I just wanted to clarify that.) ;) She's awesome. All good reasons to head over there now, right? :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blood Oath - Christopher Farnsworth

Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he's partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. A vampire bound by a special blood oath, Cade has spent more than 140 years in service to the president, battling nightmares before they can break into the daylight world of the American dream.
Immediately Zach and Cade receive their first joint assignment: one that uncovers a shadowy government conspiracy and a plot to attack the United States with a gruesome new biological weapon. Zach soon learns that the world is far stranger, and far more dangerous, than he ever imagined. . . and that his partner is the least of his problems.

Title: Blood Oath (The President's Vampire #1)
Genre: Adult fiction, Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
My Rating: 5/5

I love the idea that the author took a true historical moment and thought, what if? I enjoy reading about history, and I love the liberties that Farnsworth took with this book.
The book starts off with Zach Barrows being relocated to a new position in the White House. He doesn't enjoy the idea that he is now "stuck" in this position, as he had plans to further his career in the White House. He attributes his career change to his relations with the President's daughter. However, all is not as it seems.
This book grabbed me immediately. I devoured this book, and could have read it primarily in one sitting. However, I didn't want to read that fast, as I wanted to savour the book. I loved the characters; Cade, Zach, Griffin, etc. I really enjoyed their personalities and found myself laughing out loud at several junctures in the book. I found the characters were very strong, and their witticisms were appropriately tongue in cheek. This was an excellent paranormal thriller. It was fast-paced, engaging, and extremely toxic to my social life. I couldn't put this book down, and re-read passages several times as I found them so well written. Honestly, I probably read the book twice with all of the back and forth I did because I didn't want to miss a single thing. With that said, I cannot wait for the next book to come out!
I definitely would recommend this book to fans of supernatural thrillers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. In fact, I have already been recommending it to others. I found that I enjoyed it immensely, and I know that this is definitely a book that I will be re-reading. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't read it yet, so I won't go into more detail. However, I will say that it was a real treat to sit back and read this book, so I highly suggest checking it out. You won't be disappointed.

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks goes to Bronwyn from Penguin Canada for sending me this book to review.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Clearing - Heather Davis

Amy, a sixteen-year-old recovering from an abusive relationship, moves to the country to start a new life with her aunt–all she wants is for everything to be different. In the clearing at the back of Aunt Mae’s property, she makes an amazing discovery—Henry, a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. Henry and his world become Amy’s refuge and she begins to learn that some moments are worth savoring. But when the past and present come crashing together, both of them must find the courage to face what is meant to be, even if it means losing each other forever.
(Synopsis obtained from

Title: The Clearing
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Graphia
My Rating: 4/5

This book is such an elegant read. It starts off with Amy relocating to her Great Aunt Mae's after an abusive relationship. She needs time to heal, and finds herself drawn into the mist in the clearing on her Great Aunt's property. She soaks in the feeling of being completely hidden in the mist, but once through it, finds herself in another era. The contrast between now, and 1944 was brilliantly explained. I really felt like I was swept up along with Amy and placed in the 1940's alongside her. There, she meets Henry, and slowly falls in love with him. I loved the imagery, the perpetual summer, and the feeling of wanting more. Being a country girl, I could relate to the authenticity in Henry's world.
I really loved how slowly this story was told, but wish that it had been longer. As much as I loved the ending, I wish it could have been summed up in more than one page. It would have ended things beautifully then. This was definitely a poignant, and mesmerizing read, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. I will also say there isn't a lot of action, but the meandering pace works well for this book.
All in all, it was a great coming of age story, and it really drew at my heart strings. If you like a slowly developed story, without a lot of action, this is the book for you.

Disclaimer: This book was obtained through netgalley, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for sending me this copy to review.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

In My Mailbox -21-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.

For Review

1. Wind Warrior - Cynthia Roberts (Not pictured. Copy received is in e-book format.)


1. Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead
2. Hard Magic - Laura Anne Gilman
3. Demon Hunts - C. E. Murphy
4. Stop Me - Richard Jay Parker
5. The Hunt for Atlantis - Andy McDermott
6. The Tomb of Hercules - Andy McDermott
7. The Secret of Excalibur - Andy McDermott

That is what I received in my mailbox this week, what did you get in yours?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Her Sanctuary - P.Q. Glisson

Shannon Mallory was a woman on the run….not from outside forces but from her own wounded heart. When she pulled up into the parking lot of The Last Resort Café, in the town of Sanctuary, little did she know she would find the one thing she never even knew she was searching for….true love.

Seth Proudfoot wasn’t looking for anything, except an end to his miserable existence. Accused of a crime he couldn’t remember committing, he was ostracized by a town that, ironically, bore the name of the one thing he could never find….Sanctuary.

When the two meet, neither can ignore the magnetic pull between them, but will Shannon allow her damaged spirit to trust a man…a man who may have murdered his own family?

Though Shannon is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, it is her spirit that breaks down the iron-clad shield around his heart. Their desire burns hotter than the Arizona desert, threatening to melt the very mountains that loom like silent Gods above their heads. But can their love survive a betrayal that could very well cost them both their lives?
(Synopsis taken from

Title: Her Sanctuary (e-book)
Author: P.Q. Glisson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: iUniverse
My Rating: 3/5

I'll admit I was unprepared for the amount of sexual gratification there is in this novel. If you are a fan of lots of smut, then this is the book for you. If not, I'd highly advise not picking it up. The story opens with Shannon rolling into a little town called Sanctuary, and as she is inquiring about work in a small diner, she happens to see Seth and sparks fly. They both are attracted to each other and quickly develop a relationship. I was surprised at how quickly they consummated their relationship, especially considering both of their past histories. Shannon had been in an extremely volatile and abusive relationship that lasted for 10 years; and Seth had lost his family in a tragic accident. It was touching though, to see that they wouldn't let their respective pasts affect their futures.
I enjoyed the storyline, but thought it was bogged down almost too much with the steamy scenes. It seemed to stall for a bit, but then it picked up and the mystery came into play. I also thought that I was accident prone, but Shannon has me beat. She manages to nearly kill herself several times--accidentally of course!
The book was quite engaging, and it was a relatively quick read. I enjoyed the mystery in the story and thought it could have been explored more. I loved Millie's character, and wish that we could have learned more about her.
I found the narrative jumped around a lot though, and in several paragraphs, it would jump several times between Seth and Shannon. Once you got to know the characters it was easier to tell who was narrating as their voices were distinctive.
All in all, the book was good, though I wished it could have been fleshed out more in certain areas. It definitely is a romance with a little mystery thrown in.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. A huge thank you goes out to Phyllis Glisson for sending me this e-book for review.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spotlight On: Michael Harvey

Hey all, I was fortunate enough to receive The Third Rail for review, and I absolutely loved it. You can read my review here. Now, I am pleased to let you know that I have been given an excerpt of the book to share with you. (Thank you, Julie!) I really hope you enjoy it! Michael Harvey is a brilliant author, and I hope this excerpt will whet your appetite and incline you to add this book to your reading list. Enjoy!

Excerpt from The Third Rail
By Michael Harvey

Chapter 1

Robles had been on the platform for less than twenty seconds. He leaned against the railing and peered through layered curtains of snow, at the stone faces of apartment buildings crowding close to Chicago's elevated tracks. The row of windows across from him was dark. The street below, quiet. Robles turned back toward the crowd waiting for the train. To his left stood a secretary type, keeping Chicago's winter at bay with a heavy brown coat that ran to her knees. Beside her was a guy barely out of law school, toting a briefcase that was barely out of the box. A clock wound down inside Robles' head. Fifteen more seconds and he needed to move. He gripped the gun in his pocket and walked back toward the entrance to the L platform. A dark-eyed woman was putting on lipstick and standing by the stairs. Her bad luck. He moved closer and snuck a look down the stairwell. No one coming up. More bad luck for her. Robles pulled the gun from his pocket and held it straight in front of him. He focused on the blue pulse beating tiny wings inside the woman's left temple. Then he pulled the trigger, and the woman dropped straight down. Like a puppet with the strings cut, she was all here and there, arms, legs, and a smear of lipstick across her lips and down her chin. She gurgled once or twice and might have even gotten a look at him before the darkness dropped across her eyes. Ten seconds later, Robles was back on the street. He didn't run until he got to the corner and, even then, not too fast. He didn't want to attract attention. More important, he didn't want to get too far ahead of the man he hoped would pursue.

Chapter 2

I took the stairs two at a time, slid over the turnstile and out of the L station. A kick of wind hit me fat in the face, and snow fell sideways as I shouldered my way down Southport Avenue. A soft frat boy and his softer girlfriend stood stiff at the corner of Southport and Cornelia, wearing Northwestern and Notre Dame sweatshirts, respectively, and pointing their slack jaws and wide eyes east. Even if I weren't a detective, it wasn't hard to figure which way the shooter had run. I pulled my nine millimeter, held it low by my side, and turned down Cornelia. A half block ahead, a slip of dark fabric disappeared into an alley. I followed, past a run of single-family homes, two- and three-flats, a block from Chicago's Brown Line. At the mouth of the alley, I leaned up against a graystone and took a quick look around the corner. The run of pavement was empty, save for a string of Dumpsters and a rat the size of a cat that, thankfully, took off for points unknown. I slowed my breathing and listened. The wind had died and the fall of new snow deadened everything, including the footsteps of the guy who had just shot a woman on the platform of the Southport L. I crept up to the first Dumpster. A scuff of fresh powder told me my guy had turned in to a second alley that snaked off the first, running parallel to Cornelia. I pulled my gun up to shoulder height and crept forward again. More footprints in the second alley, chalked in white and headed east. Whoever he was, he had turned the corner and just kept moving. I slipped my gun back into its holster and took off at a run. I had made it a good ten yards before a body flew up from behind and to my left. I sprawled toward the dusting of snow and hard cement underneath. He kept his body weight balanced and center of gravity low. I tried to shift, but he slipped an arm across the back of my neck and ground my head against the pavement. I relaxed for a second, hoping my guy might as well. Then I felt steel pressed against the base of my skull and stopped moving altogether. A gun will do that to you.

"Easy," the man said and backed off the pressure on his forearm a little. The gun stayed where it was. "Turn around."

I turned my head just enough. The shooter wore a black overcoat with black buttons. A fine spray of liquid clung to the hem of his coat. Blood splatter from the woman as she fell. I looked up. He had a black stocking hat on. A ski mask covered his face. I took all that in even as my brain processed the final piece of the puzzle, the dark hole of a .40-caliber handgun, sitting six inches from my forehead.

"Ready to die, hero?" He said it more like he was curious than anything else. Really, genuinely interested in my comfort level with impending mortality. I figured anything I might say would just kick off the festivities. So I didn't say anything. Just looked at the mask and tried to fathom the face beyond. He lifted the gun a fraction and began to pull back on the trigger. You might think you can't see that kind of delicate pressure on a trigger. Trust me, when you're up that close and personal, you notice. So he squeezed back, a pound or two of pressure. Then he stopped, lifted the gun another inch or so, and brought it down, fast, heavy, and hard. After that, it was the rush of Chicago asphalt toward my face and darkness.

Chapter 3

Robles was two miles and thirty minutes removed from the Southport L stop. He'd changed into an oversize sweatshirt with a Nike logo on the front and black slashes down the sleeves. He had the hood pulled low over his eyes and stared out a window as the number 136 bus pulled onto Lake Shore Drive for its journey downtown. The snow had stopped as quickly as it started, and the winter sun poured cold light over the city. A woman in a Honda Civic cruised close. She had a cell phone cradled at one ear and fussed in the rearview mirror with the corners of her mouth. Robles watched as her front wheel wandered to the edge of her lane and past, brushing close to the side of the bus. His driver laid on the horn. The woman took her eyes off herself, pulled her car straight, and flipped a middle finger toward anyone and everyone who ever rode the CTA. Then she snapped the cell shut and went back to her face.

Robles felt the anger, hot and uncomfortable inside, but tamped it down. He pulled out a street map of Chicago and took a look at the Loop. He knew the block and traced the route with his finger for what seemed like the hundredth time. He liked to run things through his mind. That way, when it came time to act, there'd be no thinking. Just hit the button, play the tape, and follow along.

Robles stood as the bus turned onto Wacker, walked to the back door, and reached for the grab bar overhead. An old lady sat nearby, tapping her foot and cursing softly under her breath. At first, Robles thought the "motherfucker"s were for him; then he realized she was just another nut job riding the CTA. Robles smiled at the old lady and pictured himself cutting her throat. She looked up, tapped her foot again, and called him a cocksucker. At the front of the bus a radio crackled. The driver picked up his two-way and listened, then asked a question Robles couldn't quite make out. Didn't matter. He had a feeling he knew exactly what all the chatter was about and pulled the cord to request a stop.

The bus angled to the curb at Wacker, on the edge of Chicago's Loop. Robles got off and walked south on Wabash to the corner of Lake. The building was about four or five stories high, cut rough from blocks of Indiana limestone and black with soot from the big city's breath. He pulled on a pair of gloves and stepped inside the front door. There was no one in the vestibule, just a line of metal mailboxes and a set of wooden stairs, sinking to the right and winding up. Robles took the stairs, two at a time, until he got to the top floor, turned a corner, and walked to the end of a hall that was long, narrow, and smelled like old diapers. There was a small window at the end, letting in a sad trickle of light onto a wooden door with a silver doorknob. The key was taped under a corner of the synthetic orange carpet, just to the left of the door. Robles turned the lock and walked in.

It was a one-room apartment with a single light in the middle of the room and a second door that probably led to a bathroom. Directly in front of him was a set of three more windows. Larger than the one in the hall, they looked south, out over a landscape of smoke and steel. In the foreground was a curve of green girders and the Loop's elevated tracks, wrapping around the corner at Lake and Wabash.

Robles opened one of the windows and leaned into a cold draft circling up from the street. A pigeon hopped onto a ledge below him and stared. Robles ducked his head back inside and drew a shade across each of the windows. Then he walked over to a white sheet, spread out on the floor in the middle of the room. Under the sheet was a gray gun case. Inside the case, a Remington 700 rifle with a Leupold scope and a box of .308 Winchester ammo. Robles took out the weapon and broke it down. A train rumbled by, rattling the windows in their frames and vibrating the boards under his feet. Robles smiled. They hadn't stopped the downtown runs. Even after the thing at Southport. He didn't think they would. No need. Not yet, anyway.

Twenty minutes later, Robles had reassembled the rifle and loaded a five-round magazine. He spread out a floor pad by the windows, cracked the middle shade to half-mast, and opened the window itself six inches. Four trains had passed since he'd entered the apartment, about one every five minutes. On the sill in front of him was a CTA train schedule. There'd be another in a minute and a half. Robles slipped the barrel out the window and looked through the scope. It was blurry, so he adjusted, using a billboard asking Chicago to support their Bulls as a marker. Derrick Rose's face popped up in the sight. Another adjustment, and Chicago's savior sharpened into focus. Robles heard a rumble as a train approached the curve of track. His train. Right on time. Robles slipped his finger onto the trigger and leaned into the rifle stock. Then he pulled his head back and listened. The scratching at the door was soft, but close and very much there. He waited, hoped whoever it was might go away. The knocking, however, persisted, grew louder, and Robles knew it was fated to be so.

He placed the gun back in its case and covered it over with the sheet. Then he closed the shade, slipped off his gloves, and opened the door just as the train rushed by. On the other side was an old face, hammered down between two shoulders and pinched with anger at a life that had somehow wound up here. Robles cared not a bit for any of that. The face was in the way. The face needed to go away.

"Sorry," Robles said. "I was in the can. You need something?"

"Name's Jim Halter. I manage the place."

Halter's smile revealed a row of large teeth that looked like unwashed elbows. His eyes were black and busy, slipping over the threshold and into the room, hungry for whatever there was to be had: a young girl, a stash of drugs, maybe a whiff of cash. Robles angled his body to give the building's manager a better look.

"Nice to meet you, Jim. You want to come in for a second?"

Halter raised a long, veined hand to his face. The nails were calcified, the skin, spotted.

"No, no," Halter said as he stepped across the threshold. "I just wanted to check in. Make sure you got settled okay."

"Sure." Robles swung the door shut.

Halter took a quick look behind him and might have been a little spooked. Then he noticed the white sheet in the middle of the room. The slippery eyes widened a bit more and a tongue moistened lips the color of liver.

"The e-mail said you'd be in today," Halter said. "I was a little leery of leaving a key. But I guess it worked out all right."

Robles showed him the key. "Worked out fine. Thanks."

Halter nodded and took a second step into the room. Robles crowded close behind. The manager's Adam's apple rolled in its pocket of flesh, and Robles slid the room key back into his pocket.

"What sort of business you in, sir? If you don't mind me asking, that is?"

Halter created space as he spoke, fluttering, like an old and desiccated moth, to whatever sliver of flame lay underneath that magic sheet. Robles let him drift, fitting a six-inch hunting knife to his hand and feeling a familiar hole at the back of his throat. Wet work, Nelson called it. Robles took a calming breath. Wet work it would be.

"Reason I ask," Halter said, "I have a lot of expertise. Connections in the area."

"You do?"

"Sure." The manager began to turn back toward Robles, eager to strike his bargain. Eager to discover what lay hidden. Eager for his piece.

The manager made it, maybe, halfway. Robles grabbed him under the chin and stretched his neck. The cut was clean. Halter collapsed in a rush of air, the wound making a sucking sound like he was trying to breathe through his throat. Robles stepped back. The manager slipped the rest of the way to the floor and lay there, wet, red, and shivering. A soft moan followed and a roll of eyes across the room.

"Shit." Robles took another step back. Halter was bleeding hard, the body in spasm, but well on its way to dead. Robles used the sheet to cover him over. Within a minute or so, the shivering had stopped and the white cotton ran crimson. Robles wiped his blade clean on the sheet and took a quick inventory. He had a smear of blood on his pants and some on his shoes. He cleaned them as best he could. Then he wiped down the doorknob and door. It would have to do.

Robles checked his watch. The whole thing had taken less than five minutes. Not a problem. He slipped his gloves back on, picked up the rifle, and headed back to the windows. He arranged the floor pad again and sat, rifle cradled in his lap. Then he closed his eyes and waited for his pulse to slow. After a minute or so, he opened his eyes, took a deep breath and long exhale. He felt good again, back in the moment. Robles raised the middle shade and reseated the rifle so the barrel was sticking three inches outside the window. He'd been half expecting something like Halter and was glad it was over. Now he fixed his eye again to the scope, scanned the tracks, and waited.

Excerpted from The Third Rail by Michael Harvey Copyright © 2010 by Michael Harvey. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Harvey, author of The Third Rail

Author Bio

Michael Harvey is the author of The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor, and is also a journalist and documentary producer. His work has won numerous national and international awards, including multiple Emmy Awards, two Primetime Emmy nominations, and an Academy Award nomination. He holds a law degree from Duke University, a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a bachelor's degree in classical languages from Holy Cross College.

For more information, please visit
Become a fan of Michael Harvey on Facebook and follow him on Twitter: @thechicagoway.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Third Rail - Michael Harvey

A woman is shot as she waits for her train to work. An hour later, a second woman is gunned down as she rides an elevated train through the Loop. Two hours after that, a church becomes the target of a chemical weapons attack. The city of Chicago is under siege, and Michael Kelly, cynical cop turned private investigator, just happens to be on the scene when all hell breaks loose.
Kelly is initially drawn into the case by the killers themselves, then tasked by Chicago's mayor and the FBI to hunt down the bad guys and, all things being equal, put a bullet in them. Kelly, of course, has other ideas. As he gets closer to the truth, his instincts lead him to a retired cop, a shady train company, and an unnerving link to his own past. Meanwhile, Kelly's girlfriend Rachel Swenson, becomes a pawn in a much larger game, while a weapon that could kill millions ticks away quietly in the very belly of the city.
The Third Rail is stylish, sophisticated, edge-of-your-seat suspense from a new modern master.

Title: The Third Rail
Genre: Adult Fiction, Suspense, Crime Thriller
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
My Rating: 5/5

Before I write my review, I'd like to draw everyone's attention to an article that the author, Michael Harvey, has written. It brings to life the city of Chicago. You can find the article on Knopf's website, but I'll also link it here.

This is an excellent book, and it is exceedingly well crafted. I found it quite gritty, edgy and true to Chicago's way of life. The book opens up with a brutal killing of a woman while she is waiting for a train. Incidentally, private investigator Michael Kelly is a witness to this despicable act and he is drawn into the case.
The tone is very dry, very straightforward, and very engaging. The characters are likeable, and certainly complex. The plot is also complex, and full of surprises. Several situations leave you wondering what will happen next. I found that this book is realistic and has connotations for today's world. It definitely gets you wondering if the scenario given in this book is plausible in today's society. Harvey pulls no punches with this book. I couldn't put it down!
I didn't realize that this was the third book in a series. I will definitely be reading the first two installments. I hope Harvey continues with Kelly's story as I want to find out what happens next.
All in all, an excellent book from an up-and-coming author. It is definitely a book to read, and Harvey is an author to watch.

DISCLAIMER: This book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review. A big thank you to Julie from FSB Media for sending me the book to review.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In My Mailbox -20-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.

I didn't get around to making an IMM post last week, so I've combined the last two weeks worth of books for the post. :)
For Review
1. Blood Oath - Christopher Farnsworth
2. Her Sanctuary - P.Q. Glisson (Not pictured as the copy I received was an e-copy.)

I also received some e-books through and hope to review them soon as well. Be on the lookout for those shortly. :) I'll list the netgalley titles below.

1. The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa
2. The Oracle of Dating - Allison van Diepen
3. The Mermaid's Mirror - L.K. Madigan
4. Tyger, Tyger - Kersten Hamilton
5. The Clearing - Heather Davis
6. Out of Sight - Stella Cameron
7. Manifest - Artist Arthur
8. Majix: Notes from a Serious Teen Witch - Douglas Rees
9. Daughters of the Witching Hill - Mary Sharratt

Many thanks goes to P.Q. Glisson, Bronwyn from Penguin Canada, Harlequin and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the books, e-books, and galleys.

1. Shade - Jeri Smith-Ready
2. Roadside Crosses - Jeffery Deaver
3. Love in the Time of Dragons - Katie MacAlister
4. Kiss of Death - Rachel Caine
5. Rogue Angel: The Bone Conjurer - Alex Archer
6. The Covenant of Genesis - Andy McDermott
7. Touching Darkness - Jaime Rush
8. The Princess Bride - William Goldman

That's what I received in my mailbox this week, what did you get in yours?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Radiant Shadows - Melissa Marr

Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.

Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument in Ani's death.

Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans--and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in the penultimate volume of Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series.
(Synopsis taken from

Title: Radiant Shadows
Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: Young Adult, Faery
Publisher: Harper, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
My Rating: 4/5

I was a little apprehensive that this book was about Ani as I wasn't a major fan of her character in the previous books. I shouldn't have been worried though, because she really comes into her own in this book. I really enjoyed the chemistry between her and Devlin, and I was actually really happy to learn more about Devlin. I find that I am enjoying the "Dark Court" books more than the other ones. I like the depth and character of the Dark Kings and the Dark Court more so than the Summer Court.
I loved seeing Devlin struggle between his duty, and his heart. I loved seeing the friction between him and Ani. She has really come into her own and she was well-deserving of this story. I really liked seeing her learning to control, or curb her appetite and how this affects her relationship with Devlin.
Based on what has happened in the book, I am really curious to see what is going to happen next in the last book of the series. Everything seems to be in fluctuation and I really want to know what is going to happen with all of the courts.
I found it strange that I didn't really miss any of the characters from the Summer Court that I enjoyed reading about in the previous books. Then again, I love Irial and Niall's characters, so I was really happy with them in this book. I really wasn't impressed with Sorcha though, and thought Bananach was portrayed better--though I don't like her either.
All in all, this was a solid performance, and it opens up the possibilities for the final book of the series. We get a glimpse of the inner workings of Faerie and it is definitely not one to miss!

This book was received through the Borrow My Arc Tour hosted by Katrina over at Bloody Bad.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reading Habits Meme

I have seen this "meme" or questionnaire go up on several blogs, and thought that since I have time to kill, I'd fill it out. (D isn't here yet.) Anyway, the list of blogs that have participated are...

Simcha - SFF Chat

All of the blogger's blogs are linked to their reading habits blog post. (Try saying that 10 times fast, eh?) :)

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:
It depends on the book... I try to be good and don't snack. But if I do snack, my snack of choice is smarties... (or chips, which is a habit that I need to break.)

What is your favourite drink while reading?
I'm going to say anything goes really... as long as it fits in a glass, or bottle, I'll drink it while reading... but normally (and yes, I need to stop this habit too) I drink Dr. Pepper or other carbonated beverages.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I will not mark up a book. The only book that should be written in is a notebook. (Well, in my opinion that is.) If I had to mark up a book though, (and this is a big maybe) I'd try to use pencil so I could erase it later.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
When I was young, foolish, and didn't know any better, I dog-eared books. Safe to say I think most of those were library books. But, this was a long, long time ago. Now that I have my own library in my livingroom, I won't dog-ear a book. I only use bookmarks now, library lists, receipts, or envelopes. Whatever is handy.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
I primarily read fiction, but I have been known to read non-fiction. I really enjoy auto-biographies of those who have traveled and lived in Central or South America.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
I surprisingly can stop anywhere. I rarely will read to the end of a chapter and stop.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
I have actually only done this once. It was with James Clemens (James Rollins' pseudonym) book Wit'ch Star. He killed off one of my favourite characters and I was very distraught. I wouldn't finish reading the book. I have since re-read the series, and finished said book. (It is ultimately one of my favourite series ever.)

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
If I'm near my computer, yes. If I'm not, I write it down and will look it up later.

What are you currently reading?
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr.

What is the last book you bought?
Stop Me - Richard Jay Parker. It's finally on it's way from the book depository. (YAY!!)

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
Well... I currently am reading Radiant Shadows (primarily) BUT I have had to put aside several books that I've started. To date I am still in the middle of...
1. Lover Unbound - J.R. Ward
2. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
3. Some Girls Bite - Chloe Neill

Those are the titles off of the top of my head that I have started, and had to put down for one reason or other. (Not because I didn't like them, because I do, but because I had to have other books read to return to the library etc). I'm famous for reading library books, or mainly overdue library books before reading anything that I've actually bought. I've also managed to order books through the library, read them, and go looking for something else on my shelf to find that I had said book on my shelf and didn't have to order it from the library.

Needless to say, I will be re-starting all of these books and reading them through because there is no way I'm going to remember everything in the books what with the amount of reading I've done since I set those books aside.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
I'm a night owl, but can read at any time. As long as I have a book with me, I'm set. I used to enjoy reading in bed, but now that I have my own place, I love curling up on the couch with a blanket wrapped around my legs/feet and a book in my hands.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
While I enjoy a good stand alone, I'd have to say I prefer series more. Once I am hooked on an author, I am hooked and will read everything by them. I really love following characters through a series because I think it just brings more to the table.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
I'd say that I've recommended... Hate List by Jennifer Brown, Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, and anything by Jim Butcher or Kelley Armstrong. Those are the top recommendations that I give out, and yes, I have gotten my brother hooked on reading. (Both of them actually.)

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)
I am REALLY anal when it comes to organization. (My family and fiance can attest to that.) ;) I have too many books right now for my shelves (once I move, I hope to get some more bookcases). Right now I am double stacking in the general area where the book should go. My preferred method of shelving is by author's last name. If the books are part of a series I will go by author's last name, and go chronologically through the series from 1 to whatever number it ends on. If there are more than one series, I will go by author, series title, then order in which they need to be read. The only separation I have with my books is between fiction and non-fiction. I haven't integrated them together, and don't plan on it.

You can take these questions and answer them on your own blog and join in on the fun. I hope you enjoyed my answers and I look forward to reading your answers as well. If you do take part in the meme, be sure to leave a link and I'll check out your answers as well.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Prophecy - Gill James

Kaleem Malkendy is different--and, on Terrestra, different is no way to be.

Everything about Kaleem marks him out from the rest: the blond hair and dark skin, the humble cave where he lives and the fact that he doesn't know his father. He's used to unwelcome attention, but even so, he'd feel better if some strange old man didn't keep following him around.

Then the man introduces himself and begins to explain the Babel Prophecy--and everything in Kaleem's life changes forever.

Title: The Prophecy
Author: Gill James
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: The Red Telephone
My Rating: 3.5/5

This could be considered my first foray into the world of science fiction. I don't exactly know what to think about this book. I enjoyed it, but there were certain things that had me looking at the page funny, and re-reading certain passages. I really enjoyed the unique spin that James took with this story though pertaining to the "Tower of Babel".
I found the first part of the book flowed fluently through the chapters, but over the last third of the book I noticed that things became more sporadic. For instance, the one chapter would end off in one scene; and the next one would continue 3 weeks in the future, leaving the reader dangling. I found that seemed quite choppy, but then it evened out again later on. It was a bit confusing, but once you figured out what was going on you were set again.
I really enjoyed Kaleem's character, and I liked the mystery surrounding his parents, his birth, and his "occupation". The holoprogrammes were neat, and I loved how Kaleem (and we) were shown how other people lived on their respective planets. Learning what one "civilization" did as the norm was interesting, knowing that another one would have approached the matter or problem in an entirely different way. I found that the book was very easy to digest, but some of the inventions could have used a bit more fleshing out, instead of keeping the reader guessing as to what they were.
Overall, the book was enjoyable and I found that as I became more immersed in Kaleem's world, that I am left wondering what's going to happen next. I definitely will be picking up the next book in the trilogy when it comes out.

DISCLAIMER: This book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Arson - Estevan Vega


Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl--who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin--moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.

Title: Arson
Author: Estevan Vega
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Coming of Age
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises
My Rating: 5/5

Arson starts off slowly, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It engages the reader in the life of Arson, and we get to see what Arson's home life is like before Emery comes along. The tone is set right from the beginning, and we get to see how disillusioned Arson is. The characters were magnificent in their portrayal. Vega did an astounding job creating them, the depth, and the passion in them is absolutely remarkable. I found myself identifying with Emery almost immediately, and loved the spunk and defiance in her. I found the relationship between Arson and his grandmother, Kay, was bittersweet. I could completely understand his feelings towards her.
Do not let the cover fool you. This book is definitely not a horror novel. It is more of a coming of age novel. The cover is more symbolic than anything. We see Arson grow as a person, and learn more about himself, and we see how he interacts with others, given that he is different than most. I really enjoyed this book, and really connected with the writing style and characters.
I can't wait for the next book to see what Vega does to, I mean, with these characters. I have a feeling their story isn't finished just yet.
Vega is definitely an author on the rise. He knows how to mold characters that can infuriate you; or leave you feeling helpless because you are only an observer of the story and not physically able to help the characters in the story. It's been a long while since I've been that engrossed in a tale.
All in all, this is a must read. It meanders its way through the lives of Arson, and Emery; telling their story, all the while pulling at your heartstrings.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Arson Winner!!

Hey all, this is just a quick little note to say that the giveaway for Estevan Vega's Arson has ended. The winner (using was

#17. Brittany

I've already sent out an email and am waiting to hear back. If I don't hear back within 48 hours, I'll pick another winner. Thank you all for participating! Arson is out today, so help an author out, and request his book from your local book stores, eh? (Not to sound demanding or anything...) ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chasing Brooklyn - Lisa Schroeder


Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants, or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

Title: Chasing Brooklyn
Genre: Young Adult, Verse Novel, Grief
Publisher: Simon Pulse
My Rating: 5/5

I was so emotionally invested in this book. I was drawn in immediately and was thoroughly captivated by this story. For a novel in verse, it is brilliantly done. I can't believe how much emotion and depth is conveyed in just a few short sentences. We get to feel what the main characters are feeling, what they are thinking, their very personalities. It was a genuine show of emotion, and I really got the characters. I couldn't help but fall in love with them and hope that they could find happiness after the deaths of a boyfriend, brother, and friend. I was deeply invested in the outcome and held my breath as I kept turning the pages, voraciously reading every word. I can't believe how one sentence could be so powerful, and portray so much. The story was heartbreaking, breathtaking, mesmerizing, and all around beautiful. I loved the humorous passages interjected in with the more serious passages. The characters ran the gamut of emotions and I was there through every word. Through the sadness, grief, despair, fear, happiness, joy, love, heartbreak; all of it. This novel was exceedingly well crafted and I can't wait to read the next one when it comes out.

In My Mailbox -19-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.

For Review

1. The Third Rail - Michael Harvey
2. All the Way Home - Mary Suzanne Lopez
3. Radiant Shadows - Melissa Marr

Many thanks goes to Julie from FSB Media, Ryan from Yorkshire Publishing, and Katrina from Bloody Bad for hosting "Borrow My Arc Tour", for the books I received for review.


1. Burned - P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

That's what I received in my mailbox this week, what did you get in yours?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mieradome - Kate O'Hegarty

Mieradome, revolves around a young girl named Amavia, who believes she is a human girl, but slowly comes to find she is a faery in the world of Mieradome. Amavia's mother, Anastasica, had taken her out of the faery realm and hidden her away here in our human realm, so that she may be protected from her parents' past mistakes. But that was not enough, the forces that be found Amavia, and brought her back into the cosmos of the Grandmother Tree. There she meets other faeries, goblins, Telkar dragons, and Utopisols. Slowly who Amavia really was began to unravel to show the truth. The truth, that she just may be the evil they need to destroy. This is where the story begins.

*Synopsis taken from*

Title: Mieradome (e-book)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Faery,
Publisher: Hegarty & Co.
My Rating: 2.5/5

This is one of those books that I couldn't decide whether I loved it, or hated it. I think I fell safely in the middle though. There were times that I really enjoyed the story, and there were times where I couldn't stand it. The "bones" of the story itself were good, but the writing was very much underdeveloped. In certain areas, I noticed that we were told several times in a sentence that Amavia was in Mieradome. I found that that detracted from the story, because it seemed redundant. I also noticed that there were several key points that were mentioned in the middle, or end of the story, and I thought that they would have done much better at the beginning (or closer to the beginning), as they could have been explored more. However, in saying that, I think that the ending definitely is leading up to a second installment. Certain scenes contained too much description, but then in other instances I found the character development was lacking. I did find that there were some parallels between "Narnia" and "Mieradome" as well. I do think that O'Hegarty has potential, and I hope she keeps up with Amavia's story. I am intrigued as to how everything fits together. We are left with some questions at the end of the book that hopefully will be answered in the next one. All in all, I think it was a good first effort, and I hope she does continue the story as I do want to see what happens next.

DISCLAIMER: This e-book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review.