Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: "Sapphire Blue" by G. Doucette

WARNING: DARK THEMES, EXPLICIT CONTENT Has Mara lost control, or has it been taken from her? Mara Cantor’s life is boring and uncomplicated, and she likes it that way. She has her internship at the museum—a job she shares with her roommate, Davis—and while it is low-paying and occasionally mind-numbing, it gives her all the free time she needs to finish her thesis. And that is just fine. But when Argent Leeds, the internationally famous playboy and raconteur, visits Mara’s museum, he brings with him the most exciting archeological discovery in decades: the Pazuzu gemstones. Long assumed to be nothing more than a myth by most scholars, the gemstones are rumored to possess mystical powers. Between Argent, his gemstones, and Davis, Mara’s boring life has suddenly gotten very complicated. Now she is caught up in a sexual adventure that is either the most exciting time of her life . . . or the most terrifying.
 Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.
Hmmmm, how to describe this book?  Unique, erotic, and surprising.  Yep, that about sums it up for me.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I'd have to say the further I got into the book, the more surprised I became.  I think it was the paranormal aspect that drew me in, although initially I was leery of it.  I'm not usually much of a paranormal enthusiast, but something about the Pazuzu gemstones was really creepy-cool.

From the start, I could tell something was up with Argent.  He had some sort of hold and power over Mara, where he could coerce her into doing things she normally wouldn't even think of doing - Argent would just suggest something and Mara would go along with it as if in a trance.  The beginning third of the book was a bit slow, but it seemed to be laying the foundation.  Once I got through the preliminary groundwork, thing picked up and I just HAD to find out how - or if - Mara was going to get out of this warped relationship.

For G. Doucette's first foray into the erotica genre, I think he did a great job.  I would definitely be interested in reading more along this line from him.

My rating:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review: "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.  I also have a physical copy of this book.
This book was really just so cool!  I've never read anything quite like it.  The writing is absolutely beautiful, and I looooooved the overall setting.  The author takes us from Prague to Marrakesh and through to another world, seemingly effortlessly and with such description that I was able to vividly picture each location in my imagination.  Now that's talent!

I really enjoyed all the characters, most especially Karou's friend Zuzana.  Even the bad guys were memorable - I loved Razgut and Kazimir, and even Thiago!  Thiago is just so believably creepy.  The chemistry between Karou and Akiva is awesome.  I suppose some people might complain about the inst-lust between these two, but I think in the context of this book, it works.  The romance is not over the top, but definitely left me with some cool shiveries!

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is absolutely going on my 2014 list of favourites, and I'm very keen to see what happens next in this series.  If you like a bit of magic in your YA reads, you should pick this one up, ASAP!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: "Masquerade" by Nyrae Dawn

A biker. A tattoo artist. A love to last a lifetime. Maddox Cross has always had to be tough. When his father went to jail for murder, the teenager took care of his sister and mother. Now on his own and working security at a night club, Maddox wants to become a tattoo artist-a dream that comes closer to reality when he falls for the hottest, most tatted woman he's ever seen. She's wild and beautiful, and Maddox will do anything to be with her. Bee Malone came to town to open up her new tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Since being kidnapped as a young girl, Bee has had trouble getting close to anyone. But when she meets Maddox, she sees that under his hard biker's body is the sensitive soul of an artist. What starts out as a sizzling one-night stand soon becomes so much more. Bee wants Maddox to join her tattoo business, but letting him into her life means revealing all her most intimate secrets. And as the past begins to intertwine with her present, Bee fears their love may not be as permanent as their ink . . .

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

I can't help but compare "Masquerade" to "Facade", the only other Nyrae Dawn book I've read and second in this series, and I'm sorry to say that "Masquerade" fell short by just a wee bit.  I can't put my finger on exactly why this happened, but it could have something to do with the fact that "Facade" was such an emotional journey, it would be hard to follow that up with anything! The bar was set extremely high!

In "Masquerade", we've got Maddox and Bee.  Both seem to be going through something of an identity crisis, and both definitely have attachment issues.  Once you get their background stories, it's easy to see why they each have their individual troubles.  Are they likable?  Despite their rough edges, I'd have to say yes.  I love how Bee is so forward about sex and what she does and doesn't want.  It's pretty cool.  And Maddox is the same way, only for a guy, sad to say it's more the norm.  I really enjoyed watching their relationship develop, especially since neither of them wanted one in the first place. 

There are a couple moments of crises, not exactly surprising or twisty, but heart-warming just the same.  In short, I found "Masquerade" a quick, enjoyable read and I"m looking forward to reading more from Nyrae Dawn.

My rating:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #4

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's Top Ten list is:

Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in X Genre (you pick the genre!)

So I decided to list my top ten favourite New Adult books (please note: this list is subject to change as I read more and more great New Adult titles!).

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think of them?  If you leave a link to your top ten list, I'll be sure to check it out!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Review: "Defy" by Sara B. Larson

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle. Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory. The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

My apologies in advance if this review seems a little disjointed, but I feel the need to write down the notes I took while reading "Defy".

At 25% I wrote: "So, I kind of like this book, but I have some questions.  I'm 25% in, and I don't know what the "war" is about!  Why are there these breeding houses?  And where are all the adults?  Were they all killed like Alexa and Marcel's parents?  And why is this book set in the JUNGLE?!  I assumed it was in a land like Merry Olde England, because that's the kind of land where you wear vests and boots and live in castles.  If you say "jungle", I think India with silk saari's and turbans and the Taj Mahal.  Servants cooling their masters by fanning them with palm fronds and feeding them grapes.  Actually, after this little mini-rant, maybe I don't like this book!"

Later on, I wrote this note about the breeding houses:  "Were they just thrown in for shock value?  I think the idea was that men - the king's guards?  All the men in the kingdom?  Author doesn't really specify - would rape and impregnate all the young women in order to provide a new generation of soldiers.  Like, how long is this war supposed to last?  Fifteen or twenty years?  The king would be dead by then!  The whole idea just doesn't make any sense!"

And at the end: "Just finished, and this book was just okay.  Boring and predictable.  The love triangle was just lame.  I'm not sure what all the hype was about, especially if you compare this to other YA fantasies out there.  My advice - skip this and read "Falling Kingdoms" or "Finnikin of the Rock" instead."  

My rating:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Feature and Follow Friday

Hi there, I'm happy to be participating once more in Feature and Follow Friday!

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say "hi" in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn't have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  8. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
This weeks Question:

Recommend some of your favorite back-list books – books that are at least a few years old (I’m thinking 5-10 years old rather than classics)

Looking back at my "favourite" list from Goodreads, it appears that my taste has changed a lot in the last few years.  I read more YA/NA these days than literary fiction, but these are some books that I always remember as being the best of the best!

What's on your list of favourite backlist reads?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments, and if you decide to follow me, I'll love you forever and follow you back!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jennifer L. Armentrout's "Stone Cold Touch" Cover Reveal!!!

It's Time!! The STONE COLD TOUCH cover is here!

We cannot wait to share the cover for Jennifer L. Armentrout's STONE COLD TOUCH with you all! STONE COLD TOUCH is a young adult paranormal romance by Jennifer L. Armentrout and is the second full-length novel in The Dark Elements Series being published by Harlequin Teen. You'll want to add this to your TBR pile ASAP. Check out this amazing cover! Cold Stone Touch   Isn't it awesome?! You can Pre-order it right now!

**Amazon** **Barnes & Noble** **iTunes** **Kobo**

STONE COLD TOUCH Synopsis: Every touch has its price Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could. But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay… "Constantly entertaining...the narrative sizzles with as much tension as romance." Kirkus Reviews on White Hot Kiss
And...Don't forget to check out the first book in The Dark Elements Series,


White Hot Kiss ABOUT WHITE HOT KISS: One kiss could be the last. Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

**Amazon** **Barnes and Noble** **BAM** **iBooks** **IndieBound** **Kobo** **Walmart**

  Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout: # 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

The Dark Elements Series Website




Jennifer L. Armentrout Goodreads



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Sapphire Blue" Blog Tour!

The Summary:
Mara Cantor’s life is boring and uncomplicated, and she likes it that way. She has her internship at the museum—a job she shares with her roommate, Davis—and while it is low-paying and occasionally mind-numbing, it gives her all the free time she needs to finish her thesis. And that is just fine.
But when Argent Leeds, the internationally famous playboy and raconteur, visits Mara’s museum, he brings with him the most exciting archeological discovery in decades: the Pazuzu gemstones. Long assumed to be nothing more than a myth by most scholars, the gemstones are rumored to possess mystical powers.
Between Argent, his gemstones, and Davis, Mara’s boring life has suddenly gotten very complicated. Now she is caught up in a sexual adventure that is either the most exciting time of her life . . . or the most terrifying.
Available From:
About the Author:
Gene Doucette is an award-winning screenwriter, novelist, playwright, humorist, essayist, father, husband, cyclist, dog owner – and a few other things, too. He is, in other words, a writer. A graduate of Boston College, he lives in Cambridge, MA with his family.
Sapphire Blue is Doucette’s first foray into the erotica genre, and will be available for purchase in both paperback and e-book formats on February 27, 2014.
Connect with G. Doucette:
Other books by Gene Doucette

Mademoiselle Alleman was an alarmingly thin older woman who resembled an unusually fleshy species of bird but who had at her disposal a dazzling array of high-end designer products that were so high-end Mara had never heard of any of them before. This was not, she granted, an ideal litmus test given her historical lack of funds and parallel lack of fashion knowledge. She knew what she looked good in, and she knew what fit, and for any additional details, she usually leaned on her friends.
The mademoiselle—she did not appear to have a first name—was seemingly happier to meet Mara than anybody had ever been to meet her ever, and while Mara was pretty sure Alleman greeted everyone with the same extraordinary level of enthusiasm, it rang so true she was happy to imagine this woman had been waiting for Mara all her life—or if not her, then someone just like Mara—to come along and try on some of the clothing she had lying around that was all about exactly the right size.
They began simply enough, by making sure the criminally short black dress Argent had picked out for her was properly sized. Mara thought it was a perfect fit—better than any other outfit in her wardrobe already—but the mademoiselle disagreed and ended up taking in an eighth of an inch at the waist and lowering the hemline by a quarter of an inch.
“You will see, chéri,” she said. “It will look perfect.”
It looked pretty perfect already, Mara thought. But she wasn’t the expert in the room.
Underwear came next, and that was just sort of strange. Mara had never had a personal shopper for outerwear before, but she liked the idea of it immediately. But Mademoiselle Alleman, a woman old enough to be her grandmother, had opinions on what underwear Mara should be wearing with the dress, and nobody was pretending this was going to be anything other than fuck-me underwear.
“I think Monsieur Leeds, he will like these very much,” she said, holding up a thong that was essentially three strings and an eye-patch. In the mademoiselle’s French accent, the suggestion sound perfectly normal, which made Mara wonder if her accent was even real or if she just used it to make these moments slightly less weird.
“It’s not very much of anything,” Mara said, “so yes, you’re probably right.”
“It is more than nothing, and that is the point, dear. Nothing is only nothing. Nothing is not mystery. This is mystery. Small mystery, but still mystery, and not nothing. It’s what you choose not to show that makes them want you. So you try these. And . . .” She grabbed a lacy push-up bra that appeared to be a solid match. “And this.”
Mara stepped behind the privacy screen—they were alone in a shuttered, private shop so there was no particular need for a full dressing room until such a time as Chalmers decided to check in from the car or something—to change into the lingerie.
“Have you known Mr. Leeds for long?” Mara asked.
“You suppose I know him?” the mademoiselle countered. “Perhaps I do not. He is a man who wishes to pay for your wonderful new clothing, is that not enough?”
“But you do know him.”
“Yes, chéri, Monsieur Leeds and myself are familiar with one another. It has been five years, I suppose.”
“Does he send all of his women here?” Mara asked, realizing after it had already been said that it came off as a little bitchy.
“Oh, haha. No, you misunderstand, chéri. You are only the second of his, his women as you say, to come here. The first was from five years ago, and Monsieur Leeds and I have remained acquainted through social circles.”
“So there was another woman, but five years ago?” Mara asked. She was now blatantly digging for information but didn’t seem to have any patience for a more nuanced approach.
“It has been since three years,” Alleman answered. “But Monsieur Leeds has, I’m sure, told you of her by now.”
“He has not,” Mara admitted. “But I haven’t asked. I’m not even sure if we’re dating, Mademoiselle Alleman, or if that’s what people still do. We’ve never really talked about that either.”
“It is just the sex, then.”
“It’s better if it’s the sex first, chéri. Love, romance, relationships—these are confusing. Sex is simple. Now you must be changed. Please. Show me how they fit.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #3

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's Top Ten list is:

Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

Oooh, how fun!  I had to think hard on this one.  Here's what (or who) I came up with:

  1.  J.K. Rowling - I know, I know, I'm probably the last person on planet earth who hasn't tried this author.  I can't even really defend myself.
  2.  Rick Riordan - I've bought my kids every one of his books, and have yet to read one!
  3. Tom Clancy - My husband has his books all over the house, but I guess I'm just not interested in this genre.
  4. Wilbur Smith - Same as above, my hubby has a bunch of his books, although Smith's books sound more interesting to me than Clancy's.  
  5. Gillian Flynn - I have "Sharp Objects" on my bookshelf, just haven't got around to it yet.
  6. Dean Koontz - Too scary!
  7. Richelle Mead - Just not into vampires.
  8. L.J. Smith - Again, vampires.
  9. P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - More freakin' vampires!
  10. And last but not least, Kurt Vonnegut.
Are there popular authors out there that you've never tried?  Leave me your "Top Ten" link in the comments, I'd love to check out your list!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: "The Good Mother Myth"

In an era of mommy blogs, Pinterest, and Facebook, The Good Mother Myth dismantles the social media-fed notion of what it means to be a good mother. This collection of essays takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for real voices and raw stories, each adding to the narrative of motherhood we don't tend to see in the headlines or on the news. From tales of mind-bending, panic-inducing overwhelm to a reflection on using weed instead of wine to deal with the terrible twos, the honesty of the essays creates a community of mothers who refuse to feel like they’re in competition with others, or with the notion of the ideal mom — they’re just trying to find a way to make it work. With a foreword by Christy Turlington Burns and a contributor list that includes Jessica Valenti, Sharon Lerner, Lisa Duggan, and many more, this remarkable collection seeks to debunk the myth and offer some honesty about what it means to be a mother.
 Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.
Not really sure how to review an anthology.  I can't really review each individual story, but I guess I can start by saying how the book as a whole made me feel.

If you've ever felt overwhelmed, unprepared, or inadequate in your role as a mother, then you should definitely pick up this book.  Probably the most important thing (the take home message, if you will) I learned from this book is that I'm not alone in my struggles to be a "good" mother.  We all make mistakes, and it's okay to not be perfect, because nobody is, no matter how they appear to the outside world.

There was a recurring theme, as well.  Many of the stories involved some harsh judgement, and this went one of three ways - someone else was judging the narrator, the narrator spoke about judging another mother, or the narrator judged herself.  The most heartbreaking story for me was one of a woman who had been abused all throughout her life, by her mother among others.  Once in a stable relationship, she decided to not have children simply from fear of treating them as her mother treated her.  I had tears in my eyes after reading that one!  

My favourite, however, was "We Need to Quit Telling Lies on Facebook" by Sarah Emily Tuttle-Singer.  That one had me laughing my arse off - sooooooooo funny, and true!  I loved it!!!

My rating: 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #3

Stacking the Shelves, Hosted by Tynga's Reviews, 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!

Not much for books this week, only four - but this could be a good thing.  My TBR has gotten a little out of control, so best not to add too many every week, right?

For review:

What all did you get this week?  Was it lean, or did you splurge?  Leave me a comment and I'll return the favour!