Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised by Wolves
Title: Raised by Wolves
Author:  Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Hardcover: 432 pages
Published: June 2010
Reading Level: YA
My Copy: Around the World Tours
My Rating: 4 out of 5 wicked hearts

Blurb from

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it.  That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two. 

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped? 

My quick wicked thoughts...A kick ass heroine that is submerged in pack politics, stalker drama and hot werewolves.

Why I was tempted to read this...The cover caught my eye and the blurb about it reeled me in.

Cover thoughts...dark blue and mysterious, I like it

Romance Meter...umm oh yeah and pretty hot when Chase is around.  Unfortunately they are separated for most of the book, but they work to overcome this. I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 on romance.

Character and Plot...Bryn is a headstrong, tough, never-give-up kind of girl and I love that about her.  She kind of reminded me of Mercy from the Patricia Briggs series.  When she puts her mind to a task, she will get it way or another, sometimes with disastrous consequences! Bryn was raised by the pack, but not "in" the pack...always holding herself apart and "safe" from their pack mentality and politics. When she finds out Chase is locked up at the alpha's house, she requests permission to speak with him and the alpha makes her do numerous things before he will grant his permission. Bryn believe Chase is her link to remembering what happened when her parents were killed by a rabid wolf, but as she starts remember and talking to Chase, she finds out a lot of other things also. There is a lot of growing as a person that Bryn does in the book as well as taking responsibility for her actions.

The Ending...There is quite a journey to get to the end and so many dynamics change around in the book, but it is set up perfectly for a sequel.  The ending is just right, not disappointing but also leaves the door open for a lot to happen.
Sequel... YES! per the author's website, Trail by Fire will be published Summer 2011! I look forward to it!

Review: Deception (A Haunting Emma Novel) by Lee Nichols

Deception (Haunting Emma)
Title: Deception
Author: Lee Nichols
Hardcover: 336 pages
Reading Level: YA
Published: June 2010
My Copy: Around the World Tours
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 wicked hearts

Blurb from

When Emma Vaile's parents leave on mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian—her college-age "knight in J.Crew armor," Bennett Stern—and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.
After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can't shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain, as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Emma doesn't trust anyone anymore—except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life. 
My quick wicked thoughts...A fast-paced, enthralling, gothic ghost story with awesome characters.

Why I was tempted to read this...I had read a few glowing reviews on it and immediately added it to my wish list.

Cover thoughts...It's pretty spooky and gothic, I like it!

Romance Meter...the romance was suspenseful because you just didn't know who to trust and who was telling the truth.  I would give it a 4 out of 5.

Character and Plot...Emma was a completely likable character that handles a lot of responsibility and drama.  She takes up the reins when her parents leave her unexpectedly, the adult that is supposed to watch her resigns, and she is left to her own devices managing their antique store, unable to get in touch with anyone.  When she gets in trouble and Bennett rushes in from nowhere and saves her, she's off to another part of the country with a new school and living in a museum.   Her only contact is Bennett and he is often MIA so she does a lot of fact finding on her own when she figures out she is a Ghostkeeper.  The characters are engaging and the plot is dynamic and keeps swiftly moving from one thing to another.  I inhaled this book and didn't want to put it down.

The Ending...A perfectly executed cliffhanger that will have you eagerly waiting the next book in the trilogy!  Who to trust?? Who to trust??

Sequel...yes of course! Word is Betrayal will be out sometime early next year...not sure I can wait!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: Penitence by Jennifer Laurens

Title: Penitence
Author: Jennifer Laurens
Paperback: 322 pages
Published: April 2010
Reading Level: YA
My copy: Around the World Tours
My rating: 4 out of 5 wicked hearts

Blurb from

Book Two. Seeing good and evil spirits is a gift Zoe guards with her life. Despite her guardian angel's disappearance, Zoe forces herself to accept that she still has a purpose-but how does she carry the weight of her brother's drug abuse, the hardship of living with an autistic sister, and a best friend who's obsessed with a guy who only wants Zoe? She's never felt more alone. When a mysterious spirit appears, Zoe thinks she has a new guardian angel. Instead, her brother's addiction worsens, her parents are on the brink of separation, and her best friend tries to kill her. The spirit she thinks is her new guardian isn't there to protect her: he's out to destroy her family and seize Zoe's soul. . . for Hell. Will Matthias' return mean that he is Zoe's guardian angel again? Or is their love the reason the jaws of Hell now gape open? 

**Possible Spoilers if you haven't read Heavenly**

My quick wicked thoughts...2nd book in the series does not disappoint with action, drama, romance and a surprising change up of characters.

Why I was tempted to read this...I **loved** Heavenly and after reading chapter 1 of this in the back of it...I knew I had to read this asap!

Cover thoughts...Kinda underwhelmed just like Heavenly, I think they could be more dramatic,.

Romance Meter...A surprising twist of a love triangle in this book, I won't give away WHO but if you read Heavenly, you will be shocked...and shocked when your opinion of the guy in question changes too! I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 since Matthias is missing a good part of the book and the new guy isn't trusted much.

Character and Plot...All the same characters are back with a few new ones to stir things up.  The book picks up after Zoe is ripped from Matthias' arms in Paradise and plunked back down in the real world.  She is trying to embrace this new chance and life the best she can while missing Matthias who has gone MIA with no word.  When things start spiraling out of control with her family, her brother and her best friend, she needs Matthias more than ever but has to turn to an unlikely person for support.  As she begins to trust this person, Matthias comes back in the picture to stir up her heart once again.  Enter the creepy guy in black that is following her around and you have all kinds of drama.

The Ending...It was a solid ending but left the door wide open for book #3, Absolution, due out 10/11/10.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Hardcover 336 pages
Published: March 2, 2010
Reading Level: YA
My copy: Book it Forward Tours
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Blurb from

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her. 

My quick wicked thoughts...A fun and drama-filled read about witches, spells, school and of course...a forbidden cute warlock.

Why I was tempted to read this...Well I have been wanting to read it for a long time, I knew this kind of book was right down my alley, and I was not disappointed!

Cover thoughts...Well my ARC was just plain and white but I really love both the US and UK versions of the cover!

Romance Meter...Oh  yeah...definite chemistry between Sophie and Archer.  While they didn't get to explore that spark much because Archer was dating the queen bee of the witches (with a B), there were moments together where it was undeniable. So I would say a 3.5 out of 5...but I think the 2nd book will heat up the romance factor some!

Character and Plot...Our main character, Sophie, is a witch that unfortunately hasn't had formal training since she lives with her human mother and her warlock father has been absent her whole life...this leads to a lot of trouble which gets Sophie sent to Hex Hall for school.  There she makes friends with her outcast roommate (the only vampire student) and makes enemies of the clique of beautiful witches.  She also starts a love/hate relationship with Archer, a cute warlock.  When member of this clique start getting hurt in the same way that a witch died in last year, all fingers point to Sophie's vampire roommate.  Sophie refuses to believe this and goes on her own mission to find the truth.  In the meantime, a ghost from her family line shows up to help Sophie out in magic. The plot was fast moving and action packed, it kept me interested and flipping pages until the end.

The Ending...The ending was not so predictable, the author shook up some things and people that you thought were one way, were actually another...or so you think at this point. Is that vague enough? ha ha  There is plenty of room for changing stuff around for sequel.

Sequel...YES according to the author's blog.  It is titled Demonglass and scheduled for release in March 2011.  Can't wait to read it!  And as an added tidbit...Demonglass was actually the name for Hex Hall before it was published but they chose to go a less "dark" direction with the 1st book.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Linger (ARC) by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Hardcover: 368 pages
Published: July 20, 2010
Reading Level: YA
My copy: Around the World Tours
My rating: 4 out of 5 wicked hearts

Blurb from author's website:

This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.

But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it's only me who's not firmly in my own skin. 

My quick wicked thoughts...The 2nd in a trilogy packed with wolves, parental boundaries, teenage rebellion, and friendship. There is also the addition of a few new characters.

Why I was tempted to read this...Shiver was just awesome and I could not wait to hear more about Sam and Grace.

Cover thoughts...Understated but also cool in the fact that it looks like tree limbs, but one of them is actually a girl walking.

Romance Meter...Well hello, Sam and Grace were together most of the book!  If you read Shiver and remember the book store nook know what to expect.  While the romance isn't so much new anymore, it is comfortably settled and they are always in the others thoughts.

Character and Plot...The book told from 4 alternating view points and surprisingly flows extremely well. I usually feel a little cheated when the author is popping from person to person, but this is seamless.  The two obvious voices are Sam and Grace, also added in was Isabel and Cole.  Cole is one of the wolves newly turned by Beck to help carry on the pack since Beck was convinced he was not coming back from being a wolf this year.  The whole book spans the winter months so you really get to see very little of the other wolves, it is mostly tied up in the drama of Grace's sickness and the issues she is having with her parents.  It seems a little slow at times and I wonder why we are not getting to the part we have been waiting for the whole book, but there is plenty to keep your interest. Sam is having to deal with a few of the new wolves, stepping into Beck's shoes, which he really wants no part of, especially the troublemaker, Cole.  I really wished we learned more what was going on with the other wolves, there are mysteries galore that I am sure the author will clear up in final book, or I certainly hope so!

The Ending...The ending was not surprising, but was left wide open for the final book, Forever, coming out July 2011. 

Fun Author Fact...If you are like me, and really unsure how to pronounce Stiefvater, Maggie gives you some help on her website FAQ. It is pronounced "Steve-Otter". 


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review: Low Red Moon (ARC) by Ivy Devlin

Title: Low Red Moon
Author: Ivy Devlin
Hardcover: 256 pages
Published: September 14, 2010
Reading Level: YA
My copy: Around the World Tours
My rating: 4 out of 5 wicked hearts

Blurb from

Low Red Moon is about Avery Hood, who is reeling from the loss of her parents--and the fact that she can't remember what happened to them even though she was there.

She's struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn't like any guy she's ever met before.

It turns out there's a reason why, and Ben's secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents...

But what if that secret changes everything she knows about--and feels for--Ben? 

My quick wicked thoughts...Murder, romance, mystery and werewolves packed into a pretty quick read.

Why I was tempted to read this...I enjoy reading about werewolves and this one looked to have a different take on it.

Cover thoughts...The ARC cover is not the final cover to be used per the author's website, and I forgot to take a picture of it before I shipped it off, sorry!  It was pretty cool...lots of red and spooky trees and a moon.  I heard the final cover is amazing, can't wait to see it!

Romance Meter...There was definitely some sparks going between Avery and Ben, especially when he would give her smoldering looks and his eyes flash silver.  I would give it a good 4 out of 5 on the romance meter.

Character and Plot...I have to say when I was about 1/4 of the way thru this book, I just thought the story and telling of it was just...weird.  Not necessarily weird-bad, just different so it took me awhile to be immersed in the story. That being said, I certainly didn't want to walk away from the book, I needed to know what was happening! Avery is a strong female character that was being raised quite "green"...for a lack of a better word. She lived with her parents out in the woods with unreliable electric service so they survive with solar panels and grow most of their own food.  Her parents were murdered but Avery doesn't remember anything about it except a flash of silver.  Avery then goes to live with her Grandmother, who appears to have her own secrets, but she is a rock for Avery even though they were not previously close.

The Ending...Avery's journey to discover what happened the horrible night that her parents died spans the whole book, with various tidbits of things she remembers on the way. The ending is not necessarily predictable so I enjoyed not really knowing for sure what happened until the end.

Fun Author Fact...The inside cover of the book stated the Ivy Devlin is a pseudonym for a popular and critically acclaimed author of teen fiction.  News around the merry-g0-round is that it is Elizabeth Scott, who you might recognize wrote The Unwritten Rule and Something Like Fate.  Her website does not confirm this.
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