Monday, December 31, 2012

Mainstream Monday: 2012 Recap and 2013 Excitement

Happy New Year's Eve readers! 2012 was a year full of great books and with 2013 just around the corner it looks like it could top the previous years.

Some 2012 favorites include: 
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare 
  • Insurgent by Victoria Roth 
  • Dreamless by Josephine Angelini 
  • The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa 
  • Hidden by P.C. and Kristin Cast 
 Some books to look forward to in 2013:  
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Oh MY GOD, the way Clockwork Prince ended, we need the third and final installment. It's a necessity.  
  • Goddess by Josephine Angelini. There were so many lose ends and complete distruction left in Dreamless that this book is going to be great. Will Helen find out the truth about Lucas or who her dad is? Will they demigods stay demigods or are they destined to take the place of Zeus, Poesiden, and Hades? Will Helen choose Lucas or Orion? I CAN NOT WAIT TO FIND OUT!!  
  • Angel Fever by L.A. Weatherly With pretty much every human brainwashed and the angels hunting them down, Willow and her friends will have a huge battle a head of them and at this point I'm really wondering if they'll make it out a live.  
  • Avenger by Heather Burch  The Gardians was some serious exciting new discovery smack down.  Nikki is really a Halfling and she and Raven are both barely hanging on to the light.  Is she going to be with Mace or Raven?  Will she give in to the Darkness and get revenge on the people that took her entire life away and give Damon what he wants?  This book is bond to be full of excitement.
  • Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris. The final installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I love these books other than Lafayette was killed off and I love his character in the show. These books remind me of summer and they are great easy reads. Also, who isn't dying to know if Sookie finally says hell with all of the supes and settles down with a semi normal guy. BTW this is my second favorite final book in a series title. 
Do you guys have books that you're looking forward to this year?  Any that you recommend from years previous?  Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR READERS!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Feyland: The Twilight Kingdom by Anthea Sharp

**Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read Feyland: The Bright Court yet, then you may want to wait to read this review.**
"THEIR LAST CHANCE...
Jennet Carter and Tam Linn are almost out of time. Feyland, the most immersive computer game ever designed, is about to be released into the world - along with the Realm of Faerie's dangerous magic.
WIN THE GAME...
The faeries, desperate to break free from their realm, have set treacherous plans in motion. Despite magical allies of their own, Jennet and Tam have no idea what dire threats await, both in-game and out.
OR DIE TRYING...
Battling for their lives against the united powers of the Dark Queen and Bright King, Jennet and Tam's quest to stop the fey takes them into the perilous Twilight Kingdom, where illusion reigns - and magic can break all the rules"
 Jennet and Tam have got quite the mission on their hands. They only have a few weeks before VirtuMax releases their newest computer game, Feyland, to the world. But what the company doesn't know is that the game is actually being used by the Realm of Faerie as a gateway to the mortal world. As members of the beta-testing team for the game, Jennet and Tam must find a way to stop the gateway from being opened. And, as if they didn't have enough problems, it looks like the Dark and Bright courts of the Realm of Faerie have joined forces this time. Will they be able to stop the faeries from entering the mortal world and wreaking havoc? Feyland: The Twilight Kingdom is the third and final installment in the Feyland trilogy by Anthea Sharp.

I rate this book:


Just like the other books in this series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. And, as usual, the latest installment of Anthea Sharp's Feyland series did not disappoint. It had absolutely everything that made me fall in love with the series from the very beginning. I loved the imagery that was present throughout the entire book - it really helped to keep me interested from start to finish. The description used makes you feel like you're actually right there in the Realm of Faerie with Jennet and Tam.

I also really liked that the story had a few different levels to it. It wasn't just about Jennet and Tam struggling to save the mortal world from faeries. There were some different issues that each character had to deal with, on top of everything else. This was something else that really helped to keep me interested in the book. Without it, I think the story would have gotten quite repetitive and boring.

Another thing I loved about this book was the way Anthea managed to bring the many different characters together for the common goal of saving the world. In the past two books, it's just been Jennet and Tam facing off against first the Dark Queen and then the Bright King. But now, they have other people to help them out. I think that really demonstrates good character development and it definitely helps move the story along, too.

If you guys haven't picked up this series, you're definitely missing out. It has everything necessary for an interesting fantasy read. So, check out Feyland: The Dark Realm, if you're just hearing about this series for the first time. But, if you've already read the first two books, then you should grab Feyland: The Twilight Kingdom. You won't be disappointed. 

Growing up, Anthea Sharp spent her summers raiding the library shelves and reading, especially fantasy. She now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest, where she writes, plays the fiddle, and spends time with her small-but-good family. Contact her at antheasharp@hotmail.com or visit her website – www.antheasharp.com.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa Letter # 3

Here is our third and final Dear Santa letter for you before our give away.  This one is written by Vine, a lost boy from the Halfling series by Heather Burch.  Warning, there are some spoilers.

Dear Santa,

I think I've been good this year.  I began my first mission as a Halfling, to protect Nikki Youngblood.  But the real mission has been to keep Mace and Raven from ripping each other apart.  They both are in love with Nikki, which would have put them on the naughty list for sure except that we just found out that she's a Halfling too, although not a normal one.  I'd imagine she's on the naughty list by now but that's neither here nor there.  I've done my best to keep the peace between the three of them but with Raven and Nikki barely hanging on to the light side and Mace's new found temper it's become quite the job.  He is so passive aggressive.  I've barely had time to eat my candy.  While we were at school at the beginning of our mission I also was careful not to fall for any of the human girls even though they were all fawning over my hair.  It was difficult because I've never had that kind of attention before.  It was nice to be noticed for a little while. 

Anyways, if you could throw a few months supply of sour gummy worms in my stocking I'd greatly appreciate it.  With all of the stress coming  up I'm going to need those.  Also if you feel like making a Christmas miracle happen could you magically make the three problem children act right for one day?

Sincerely,
Vine

Don't forget to submit your own Santa letter before December 25 for a chance to win a Hedwig plush and a Harry Potter ornament!

Review: Guardians by Heather Burch

 Vigilance.
The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have.
Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny? -barnesandnoble.com


Nikki Youngblood has lost everything.  Her parents, her dog, her motorcycle, even the home she grew up in.  She is stuck with three gorgeous half angels, two of which she is falling for, but has to avoid them at all cost even though she needs them both now more than ever because if they fall for her they turn themselves over to the dark side of their beings, a line that Raven is teetering on, and will be damned for eternity.  When she finally gives in to Mace, causing Raven to leave, it seems to turn everyone against her and after a brief misinterpreted goodbye to Raven, Mace feels the same.  Nikki turns to the only person she believes she has in the world, Damon.  Guardian has that love triangle that so many love in a book, adventure, darkness, action, and whopping smack in the face of where did that come from by the end of the book that makes it better than it's predecessor.

  
Although for the character they are not good, I really liked the changes in Nikki throughout the book.  In the first book she is strong even before she loses everything.  But in this book she is not just strong throughout the book she slowly becomes harder and darker as everything is thrown at her from Raven leaving, Mace and the other Halflings turning their backs on her, to seeking her revenge for her parents death with Damon.  Through it all she becomes stronger than all of them but it consumes her she finds that she can't even be nice to the few people that have always been there for her and have been nothing but kind to her with nasty things flying out of her mouth without even realizing where the thought had come from.

If we are choosing sides, I am team Raven all the way.  Especially after this book.  Mace was the nice responsible guy in the first book.  But in Guardians he was a bit annoying.  I understand that there's the whole damned for eternity if a Halfling falls in love with a human but if he cannot stand Raven and Nikki flirting because Raven is much more forward than Mace he should try to truly move on or risk it.  Considering the fact that I'm team Raven, Mace's broodiness is just fine for my cause.

Damon didn't really make too many appearances in the first book but in this one he around quite a bit.  In the first book as the reader I knew there was something not right about him.  In the second book he puts on a super nice act with Nikki but as she continues to change you know that it is him that is the problem and there is something really wrong happening.  Throughout the first book and most of Guardian you know there is an ulterior motive and by the end of the book we finally know what it is but I'll let you guys read and find out for yourselves ;]  But it's pretty mind blowing.
   
I really liked the change of scenery in this book.  The whole first half of it was on a boat or in Europe, giving the book a good summer read feel even though it is clearly not summer.  There is also a small handful of new characters that lighten up the book a bit as well as some mystery of who was that and will we find out who that stranger was in the next book.  This book ended with plenty of unanswered questions that leave you impatiently waiting for the third book. 

Heather Burch is the author of the Halfling series.  She grew up loving fiction books and after marrying into a family of published authors she discovered that fiction writing was her passion.  She lives with her two sons and husband in Florida. 



Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa Letter #2

Hey guys! Here's another Santa Letter for you as part of our Christmas Giveaway. This one is from Samantha White from H.P. Mallory's Dulcie O'Neil series. Be advised, if you haven't read up to the third book in the series, you'll want to hold off on reading this letter, too. Enjoy! 

Dear Santa,

     This past year has been unbelievably crazy. Between Dulcie's beyond complicated relationship with Knight and the things going on in the Netherworld, I'm not sure how things could get any crazier. But, knowing my luck, I have a feeling that the insanity is just beginning. And now, on top of everything else, I can't even go home. I miss my apartment and my normal life more than anything. I'd give anything to have it all back. All of my potions and spell books are in Splendor -- do you know how hard it is being a witch without having access to any of that stuff? Hopefully, this plan goes over smoothly and we can all get our lives back again. 
     Anyway, if you could leave a new spell book under my tree this year, that'd be awesome. Who knows, maybe it'll help me feel like I'm useful around here. It would be so nice to have some way to contribute to the plan, some way to help the others out.

Thanks,

Sam

There you have it! Now, don't forget to submit your own letters from your favorite character by December 25th for a chance to win a Hedwig plushie and a Harry Potter ornament.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien


"Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum."

In honor of the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that comes out this Friday, I've decided to treat you guys to a classic tale of dwarves, elves, wizards, and other fantastical creatures. This prelude to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one that will grab your interest and keep it until the very last page. The Hobbit is a must read for everyone.


As I've said before, rereading books isn't really my thing. I rarely ever pick up a book that I've already read before. But since the movie comes out this weekend, I thought I'd pick The Hobbit up again -- especially since I hadn't read it in years. And once I did that, I was reminded of just how much I loved it all over again. One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book was Tolkien's ability to paint a picture with his words that allows the reader to really feel like they're right there with the characters throughout the entire story. His descriptions are so realistic that it's hard to remember that you're not really experiencing it all, you're just reading about it. This is a technique that not many authors today are able to imitate nearly as well as authors past have done.

Another thing I really enjoyed about The Hobbit was the character of Gollum. This scary little creature provides some of the most humorous lines in the entire book -- which is a rather impressive feat, considering he doesn't appear in the book for very long. Gollum is possibly one of my favorite characters in this book, for exactly that reason. He is such a peculiar little character that it's funny to see him interact with Tolkien's more "normal" character of Bilbo Baggins. This makes it extremely difficult to do anything but love and enjoy the character for as long as he's present in the story.

Finally, I am once again amazed at the scope of Tolkien's imagination at the time that he was writing this book, as well as the other books that were set in Middle Earth. The fact that he was able to create this entire world, complete with histories about the different races that inhabit that world, is truly fascinating. And it definitely helps to make an extremely intriguing story, too. Combined with his ability to describe everything in Middle Earth down to the minutest detail, Tolkien's imagined world of hobbits, dwarves, elves, and other mythic creatures is one that I, as well as many other readers I know, would love to live in.

While I enjoy Tolkien's ability to describe everything in great detail, if there is one thing I didn't particularly care for in The Hobbit it would have to be the author's need to describe everything. This is the one aspect of Tolkien's books that I have a sort of love-hate relationship. I enjoy the descriptive detailing in this book, but there does come a point where I feel like it sometimes takes away from the story itself. Nevertheless, I'm still going to insist that you guys check this book out. The Hobbit is a book that you will love from the very beginning, I know it. And honestly, the excessive details are well worth reading through, in this case. So, go ahead: Step into Tolkien's magical world of Middle Earth with The Hobbit. You'll never want to leave. Oh! And be sure to check out the movie this weekend. Looks like it's going to be awesome!


J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 -1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Giveaway/ Santa Letter #1


Hey everyone,
It’s time for our Christmas giveaway! Everyone get out those pins and papers and get ready to write your very own letter to Santa… in the perspective of your favorite book character! Over the next 3 weeks Meg, Crissy and I will be sharing our own letters.
The prize you may ask? An adorable Hedwig plushie and a Harry Potter ornament!
You have until Christmas day or December 25th to get your get your letters in to us. Simply respond in a comment below with your letter and your name and an e-mail address we can contact you by. We will go through the letters and find the most fun and creative as the winner. The winner will be announced New Year’s Eve.
Now without further ado…. My very own letter from Miss Dulcie O’Neal from H.P. Mallory’s series. But I should tell you now that if you haven’t caught up to the third book in the series you  may want to hold off on reading this letter! Spoiler alert.

Dear Santa,
                It’s me, Dulcie. I know that things may appear over the past year as if I have been quite a naughty girl. Working for my father and dealing the Draoidheil... but I didn’t want to do any of those things. I spent just as much time trying to make things right. I was thrown into a corner trying to protect the man I love by my very own father, if you could even call him that. Not that I should have to tell you but I didn’t even know that Melachoir was biologically a part of me until recently. Did I mention how difficult it usually is for me to admit the “L” word to anyone?
                So if you could throw one of those shiny new handguns under my tree that would be really helpful. I promise my heart is in the wrong place with The Resistance.
Thanks Santa,
O’Neal

Now it's your turn! Show us what you got.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Denied by Kinley Baker


"When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.
Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.
When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other."
 Caleb is the new leader of the Varner and carries a heavy responsibility on his shoulders - he's been tasked with finding a way to save his race, whose women and children have all been killed. His only hope of securing a future for his people rests in his ability to gain the approval of King Valerian and the Ancestor gods of the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Caleb is determined to gain this acceptance for his men, but something he didn't count on was finding his aroha - his destined mate - among the Shadow Shifters. Tabitha is a female who was born with the Warrior spirit and wants nothing more than to be the first female member of the king's guard, even though such goals run counter to the ways of the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. As she meets Caleb, she begins to hope that he will be able to help her accomplish these goals - that is, until she realize that they conflict with the beliefs of the Varner. Yet, when the kingdom is under attack, both Tabitha and Caleb must put aside their differences in order to ward off the threat to everything that they both desire. Denied is the sequel to Ruined, Kinley Baker's first novel in her Shadowed Love series (you can find the review for Ruined here).

This book is yet another one that I found by searching through Amazon. I remembered how much I enjoyed reading Ruined and wanted to see if Kinley Baker had any other books out. So, I was extremely excited to find this book. Something I liked about it immediately was that it was set in the same realm as Ruined, which makes a lot of sense, considering Denied is its sequel. When I'm reading a good book, it's extremely hard for me not to become invested in the characters that I'm reading about. So, when I recognized some familiar names in Denied, I was that much more eager to read it. Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that the writing style for Denied was similar to that of Ruined. This similarity was comforting to me, in a way, because it reminded me of a book that I had loved so much. I also liked that there were consistent aspects of the story from Ruined that helped me when reading Denied, like particular bits of the Shadow Shifter or Varner histories that were mentioned in Ruined. These aspects greatly aided in my understanding of things that were happening in Denied.

However, while there were things that I really liked about this book, there were still some things that didn't particularly appeal to me. For example, with Ruined I was able to jump right into the story almost instantly. Yet, Denied was a struggle to get into. It took me longer to get invested in the plot of the book than I'm used to. After the slow start, I was able to eventually garner some interest in the book, but it was nothing like what I'd experienced when reading the first book in the series. I also wasn't particularly fond that the characters that I'd fallen in love with before seemed to take more of a backseat than was necessary in Denied. After all, they were what had drawn me to this second book to begin with. These things certainly weren't enough to keep me from finishing Denied, but they definitely influenced my thoughts about the book once I did finish it.

I rate this book:


As always, I want to caution you guys against simply taking my word for it about this book. I fully realize that my opinion of Denied was, in part, heavily influenced by my love for Ruined and I understand that I came into reading this sequel with a lot of expectations, based on my opinion of the first book in the series. So, please don't take my opinion as gospel and write this book off solely because of my rating. Check out the first Shadowed Love novel, Ruined. While it's not necessary to read this book first, it will definitely help provide you with a decent backstory for the events of Denied. If you enjoy Ruined, then you should definitely give Denied a shot. 

Kinley Baker read her first romance novel at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. Kinley is also the author of Ruined, the first novel in her Shadowed Love series, as well as Freed, which serves as a prequel to her other two Shadowed Love novels. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mainstream Monday

Happy Mainstream Monday!  As most of you know, last week, not one, but two major books to movie teaser trailers premiered!!  Both The City of Bones and The Host.   Did you all see them?  If not, look no further.

The City of Bones


 The Host


 What do you guys think?  Are you pumped or what?  Personally, I may combust from anticipation before The City of Bones comes out.  I haven't been this excited for a book to movie since the Harry Potter films.  I was a little disappointed that Jame Campbell Bower was cast as Jace but it seems like he really captured him in this first trailer although only the movie will reveal that in full.  I love Lily Collins too and the overall cast seems fresh and talented so I am ready to see this thing.

I haven't read The Host myself, but it looks like I may need to add it to my Christmas Break reading list because the movie sounds like it's going to be pretty good.  It's nice to see something a little more SciFi hitting theaters as opposed to vampires and the now popular Zombies.


Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

"Don't look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.
That is Ethan Chase's unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he'd dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister's world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten." -barnesandnoble.com


Ethan Chase would love nothing more that to be left in peace.  But apparently that is too much for someone that was kidnapped and held in the Iron realm of Never Never and lived to tell about it.  Because of the fey Ethan has been forced to learn to defend himself through the art of Kali, avoid all contact with any people especially after what happened to the one friend he'd ever had, and has been labeled a delinquent by pretty much any adult after being kicked out of several schools simply because the fey won't leave him alone.  You'd think that the younger brother of the Iron King would have some authority but no.  When this new form of fey emerges attacking half faeries and summer/winter faeries alike Ethan has no choice but to go to Meghan as a last resort and drag Kenzie, little miss can't leave him alone, into the Never Never with him.  The Lost Prince an excellent novel with action, love, hatred, and plain ole teenage angst that we all seem to love so much.  

This book is a 5/5 because it was fabulously written.  There was now awkwardness about writing this spin off for Julie.  I love that she capture new characters while still maintaining the old ones.  One might be skeptical of there being a new type of fey but it all just worked together and made for an exciting story.  I also love that the title has a double meaning, I think, correct me if I'm reading too much into this, that you don't realize until a good chunk of the way into the book. 

First off, I have been dying for this book to come out ever since I read the Iron Fey series back in the spring. I had wondered what would happen to sweet Ethan the four year old that Meghan left behind even though he equally need her protection too being born with the sight and all.  That sweet little kid is gone and has been replaced with a strong, brave, angry, almost man.  I like that Ethan tries to be so selfless.  Something that isn't so common in the world but seems to come up again and again in books.  Maybe some of us can learn something from these novels.  He has ultimately learned to take care of himself and do his best to have as few people to worry about as possible.  

Kenzie, I found annoying at first but she grew on me.  She is tough as nails, brave, and has a passion for life despite all that has been thrown at her.  She is the saying "when life throws you lemons make lemonade".  She wants the most she can get out of life and is good for Ethan, who could really use someone to talk to about the weirdness that is his life.  

The whole time I was reading this I was like where is Puck!!!! And just when I thought he wasn't going to show up there was the raven.  Puck, as always, I a complete delight and brings humor to otherwise not so funny situations.   And of course Grim, Meghan, Ash, and Glitch all make an appearance as well and while I love those characters, this isn't there story anymore and I'm happy to find that Ethan's story is told clearly and distinctly.  It is his own which sometimes gets mixed up when authors try to do spin offs.  

*Spoiler Alert*If you've read the Iron Knight, you know that there was a possibility in Meghan and Ash having a son and you know that time in Nevernever is drastically different from the real world.  So when Keirran appears in the books I was more than pleased to meet his acquaintance.  Puck makes multiple references to himself and Ash about Ethan and Keirran but as of now I don't see it.   

Julie Kagawa is a resident of Louisville, Ky (got to support the locals!!).  She is a kungfu enthusiast and writer of not only The Iron Fey series but Iron's Prophecy, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, and Blood of Eden series.

Sadly we all have to wait until September 2013 to read the next installment, The Traitor Son.  Hmm wonder what that ones going to be about.

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

"My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn’ darkmyr Tallyn. I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…
To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl—smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.
With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end—a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.
To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice."
-Barnesandnoble.com 

"Where have you come from, traveler?"
"I have come from the end of the world," said a quiet voice that made my heart stop beating. "From the River of Dreams, through the gantlet and the Briars and the Deep Wyld, in order to stand before you today.  I have but one request-- to take my place at your side.  To resume my duty as your knight, and to protect you and your kingdom for as long as I draw breath."  He raised his head and pushed back the hood, and a gasp went around the throne room.  "I am yours, my queen," Ash said, looking me straight in the eye. "If you'll have me." 

There is rarely a book series that I have read where I loved every single book.  There's Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, and then The Iron Fey series amongst the few.  Usually when I read a series that has as many as three books at least one of them flops for me so I was pleasantly surprised when I got through all four books in less than a week with no complaints.   The Iron Knight is an adventure that will have you dying to get to its inevitable, fabulous ending that revivals even the greatest of love story endings.


If The Iron Knight had been written in Meghan's point of view, like all the other books, not only would it have been wrongfully named but it wouldn't have been nearly as good.  Meghan's story had rightfully ended at least for the readers with The Iron Queen but, at least for me, the story still wasn't over for Ash.  I love getting into other characters heads and frankly this was the only way to get to know Ash properly because he's so closed off from other Meghan's point of view.  Ash isn't the cold winter prince that can only show kindness for Meghan that he appears to be in the other books.  He is a very torn person that is bond by words he had spoken in anger and sadness that he had never felt before and there is nothing he can do to take it back.  You learn about his past and his inner feelings that are more dark than you can imagine.  He has an opportunity to turn back time and time again and even has opportunity to rekindle things with his first love but proves to be the man faery we all hoped he was by the end of the book.    

I like that the new characters that are introduced to the story especially The Big Bad Wolf that we all know and love from The Three Little Pigs story or Little Red Riding Hood.  He isn't so big and bad when becomes a friend to Ash and Puck as he accompanies them on there journey to the end of Never Never and even sacrifices his self for the greater good and does his best to refrain from eating Grim.

Throughout the series they mention that faeries exist based on stories being shared of them and those that believe.  So what happens to those that stories are forgotten?  In this book the reader finds out that those particular faeries slowly fade away and don't even remember themselves and eventually disappear.

Julie Kagawa is a resident of Louisville, Ky (got to support the locals!!).  She is a kungfu enthusiast and writer of not only The Iron Fey series but Iron's Prophecy, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, and Blood of Eden series.

 
   

Fun Friday Post



Here's a little something fun I found on tumblr to get you through the last day of the week.

random family member or friend: *sees me reading and stops* ooh what's that? what's it about?
what I want to say: ITS ABOUT A RACE OF DEMON HUNTERS CALLED SHADOWHUNTERS AND THERE ARE ANGELS AND VAMPIRES AND FAERIES AND WARLOCKS AND THEY ARE CALLED DOWNWORLDERS AND MAGNUS OMG MAGNUS THE CREYS AND THERES THIS GIRL CLARY WHO KICKS ASS AND TAKES SHIT FROM NO ONE AND IS LIKE THIS ANGEL CHILD AND JACE IS ONE TOO AND HE IS A LIFE RUINER CAUSE HE WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE AND THEIR LOVE STORY WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO RIP YOUR HEART OUT AND SIMON IS JUST A SASSY HOT PIECE OF HEAVEN AND THE LIGHTWOODS ARE JUST AMAZING AND ITS A SERIES THAT SHOWS YOU THAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AGAINST YOU AND HOW YOU CAN STILL FIND LIGHT IN THE DARKEST OF PLACES AND HOW LOVE AND FAMILY CAN PREVAIL ALL AND HOW EVEN THE ORDINARY CAN BE FEARLESS AND EXTRAORDINARY OH MY GOD YOU DONT UNDERSTAND HOW THESE BOOKS WILL KILL YOU
what I actually say: oh...it's just about demon hunters hunting demons....
random family member or friend: ...oh

I found "and Simon is a sassy hot piece of heaven" to be the most hilarious description I have heard in a while.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Intuition by Amy A. Bartol

*Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read Inescapable, then I'd recommend that you hold off on reading this review*
"I don’t open my eyes so I can’t see him, but I can smell him. He thickens the air I breathe, choking me with his scent…his aroma. I shiver. I have to resist. If I’m not strong, then I will be relegated to the same fate as this predator whose sickness infects me even now. But now, I crave him and he knows that; he has been counting on my need to end the gnawing pain. How he would savor my surrender. I’m alive, but how much longer will it take until I beg him not to be?"


When we last saw Evie, she and her friends had successfully avoided some particularly nasty beings who were looking to use her for their own personal gain - and were very willing to do whatever necessary in order to get her to cooperate with them. She and her friends are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. At least, that's what they think. They soon learn that danger is yet again around the corner and that the Fallen aren't the only beings who are interested in Evie. In an act of self-sacrifice to save the ones that she cares about the most, Evie will do something that she may regret forever. Can she get herself out of this new predicament before it's too late? Intuition is the second installment in Amy Bartol's Premonition series and, like its predecessor, it will leave you with an indescribable need to know what will happen next for Evie, 
Reed, and the rest of the remarkable characters in the series. If you haven't yet checked out our review of the first book, Inescapable, be sure to check it out here.

I have to say, I loved this book. Just like Inescapable before it, Intuition hooks the reader from the very beginning. The characters were just as engaging as they were when I fell in love with them in the first book in this series. I especially enjoyed seeing the relationship between Evie and Reed grow throughout the course of this novel. I was also really impressed with the new villain that Bartol introduced in this installment of the series. Up until this point, the series has been full of angels - both Divine and Fallen. But now, you can see a new player in this fantastical world and it will be interesting to see how much further the story will progress in the next book.

While I loved this book, there were some things that I didn't particularly care for. For example, I was not a big fan of how the story seemed to turn toward a character that so closely resembles vampires. It was really refreshing to find a series that wasn't focused on vampires as much as all the other books out there today. Yet, somehow, that particular aspect of the fantasy world seemed to infiltrate even this series, too. And, while I wasn't a big fan of it, it managed not to ruin the series for me.

I rate this book: 


This series is still one that you guys should definitely check out. It has everything necessary to keep the interest of its readers - fantasy, suspense, and an intriguing plotline. I'm fairly certain that you guys will love this series just as much as I have. If you haven't picked up the first book in the Premonition series, Inescapable, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. If you have read it, then I know I don't need to tell you to pick up Intuition as soon as possible. 

Amy A. Bartol lives in Michigan with her husband and their two sons. Her family is very supportive of her writing. When she's writing, they often bring her the take-out menu so that she can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when she talks about her characters like they're real. They rarely roll their eyes when she tells them she'll only be a second while she finishes writing a chapter...and then they take off their coats. They ask her how the story is going when she surfaces after living for hours in a world of her own making. They have learned to accept her "writing uniform," consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at her nerdy bookishness whenever she tries to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get her, so they are perfect and she feels blessed. Check out her website: http://www.amyabartol.com.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Inescapable by Amy A. Bartol


"My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I’d been hoping that once I’d arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t. I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. I look for rational explanations to even the strangest circumstances. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he’s near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would be…if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that has ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life. What is the secret that he’s keeping from me? I’m hoping that it’s anything but what I suspect: that he’s not exactly normal…and neither am I. So, maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I’ve been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable."
Evie Claremont is about to start the next chapter in her life: college. And at the beginning, everything seems to be going well -- she's enjoying her classes, she's making new friends, and even finding time to try out some new sports, too. But that all changes when she meets Reed Wellington. Whenever she's around him, she feels automatically drawn to him, like there is something pulling them together. But every time he sees her, Reed acts as if he can't get away fast enough. It's almost as if he hates her for some reason and Evie can't seem to figure out why. Unfortunately, that isn't the only thing that she hasn't been able to figure out lately. The nightmare that has been recurring for a while now didn't stop when she went off to college, like she thought it would. Between this dark dream and Reed's odd behavior, Evie can't help but wonder if maybe there is something strange going on in the little town of Crestwood -- and if she might somehow be at the center of it all. Inescapable is the first in the Premonition Series and, as the title suggests, it proves to be a story that any reader will have trouble escaping from.

I rate this book: 


I'm the kind of reader that will read anything and everything that she can get her hands on, and won't pass judgment until she's finished the book. I'm usually looking for something to read, especially when I've zipped through every book in a series or I'm waiting for the next installment to come out. While browsing Amazon one day, I came across Inescapable and, on a whim, I decided to give it a try -- and I'm so glad I did! This book is amazing. The characters are really down to earth and easy to relate to, which is always something that makes reading through a book go smoothly. But what I really enjoyed about this book was the story itself. I wasn't able to put this book down, the plot was that interesting. I was hooked from the very first page and continued to be drawn in with every secret that was revealed about the characters. It's no surprise that immediately after finishing this book, I rushed to purchase the next one in the series. Inescapable is definitely worth a read. It's a refreshing new series that hooks you from the beginning and keeps you enveloped in its world well past the final page. Be sure to check it out! You won't be disappointed. 

Amy A. Bartol lives in Michigan with her husband and their two sons. Her family is very supportive of her writing. When she's writing, they often bring her the take-out menu so that she can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when she talks about her characters like they're real. They rarely roll their eyes when she tells them she'll only be a second while she finishes writing a chapter...and then they take off their coats. They ask her how the story is going when she surfaces after living for hours in a world of her own making. They have learned to accept her "writing uniform," consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at her nerdy bookishness whenever she tries to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get her, so they are perfect and she feels blessed. Check out her website: http://www.amyabartol.com.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back

Sometimes after the first few books of a series the author seems to lose there creative edge.  But this is not this case for Julie Kagawa.  The Iron Queen was fabulous, like the rest of the series.  Meghan really shows what she is made of in this one.  In the first book she was the mind blown girl looking to save her brother and get the heck out of faerie.  But, as we know that didn't quite workout so well.  In the second book we find her stuck in the winter court freezing her booty off and continously in heart ache because of Ash.  The third books starts out with Meghan and Ash banished from the faerie world and all Meghan really wants to do is go home.  Apparently that is too much to ask for.  Meghan and Ash have to find Meghan's 'father' and to do so she has to get her memory back from the oracle in New Orleans.  Turns out Puck is exiled as well and decides to join Meghan and Ash in their journey to find Meghan's dad.  The iron fey are destroying NeverNever under the rule of the false King.  King Oberon and Queen Mab agree to unexile Ash, Puck, and Meghan if Meghan will go into the Iron Realm and defeat the false king.  The Iron Queen is full of friendship, loyalty, love, and bad a** fight scenes as well as sacrifice and heart break that may leave you crying like a baby at the end. 

 
I really like has Meghan has evolved from book one to now.  In the first book she just wanted to save her brother and didn't care how it happened.  She was likeable but reckless and making promises, friends, and enemies left and right.  In the second book she starts out heart broken and imprisoned and devestated for a large portion of the book.  But in this one she begins to own her powers and earns her rightful place in the land of NeverNever.  Despite all of the major events that happen in this book she stays level headed and doesn't need to be saved every few minutes by the boys.   

Ash shows a new side of himself that you don't get to see in The Iron King and The Iron Daughter.  In the first two books he cold and very much the winter prince he was raised to be.  But by the end of the second book when he chooses to be with Meghan and go into exile over NeverNever and the winter court he shows that he really does love Meghan.  In the Iron Queen you see that grow even more and he seems to warm up and become more friendly to even Puck.  Don't get me wrong he will always be the fierce Prince Ash but there is much more to him now.  Plus you can't go wrong with his and Puck's squabbling. 

There is an event at the very end of the book that is my favorite part.  It's very minor but for anyone else that was wondering about this very minor character I don't want to give it away.  It was something that had really been bothering me since book one and thought that it was completely forgotten about.  So to see it pop up at the end of book three I was fantastic.




If you guys didn't know Julie Kagawa's newest faerie book, the Lost Prince came out this past tuesday!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

"Everything is in ruins. A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them. So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all. But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her."
Imagine a city where everyone lives in fear -- fear of losing a loved one, fear of contamination, fear of any form of human contact or emotion. Imagine a place where the wealthy live their lives sequestered in towering penthouses, while the less fortunate are forced to live in filth and are exposed daily to the dangerous disease that nearly wiped out the city's population. If you can imagine such a place, then you can glimpse the kind of life that Araby Worth has been forced to live. The daughter of the scientist who developed the masks that the fortunate wealthy now wear to protect themselves from disease, Araby is one of the lucky people in the city. Not that she feels fortunate at all. Because the life that she lives now was bought with a price that she was never willing to pay and, after paying that price, she wants nothing more than to forget it all. Until she meets Will, and then Elliott. Both men have secrets that they keep from her, but that's okay. Because she has her secrets, too. But when these secrets are shared, Araby may find that one thing that she needs to live -- and fight -- for, no matter how great the cost is. What transpires within the pages of Masque of the Red Death is a story that draws you in and refuses to let you go, even after you've reached the novel's end. 

I rate this book: 


This book completely blew me away! There really is no other way to describe it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book -- so much so that, by the time I reached the end, I was bewildered that there wasn't more for me to read. Many times, when readers describe how it feels to read a good book, they say that they feel like they've been transported to another world. This statement could not fit my feelings while reading Masque of the Red Death any better. The plot of this book was so immersive that it left me craving more the instant I'd read the last page. I couldn't get enough of the characters, the scenery, or the plot itself. I wanted so desperately to know what would happen next, and was slightly saddened to realize that I had indeed reached the end of the book, because that meant that I wouldn't be able to keep reading about the characters that I'd grown to love so much while reading through their struggles and triumphs. I would encourage each and every one of you guys to pick this book up. If the magic of the book is as successful with you as it was with me, then you won't be able to put it down -- even after you've finished it! 

Bethany Griffin is a high school English teacher who prides herself on attracting creative misfits to elective classes like Young Adult Literature, Creative Writing, and Speculative Literature. She is the author of Handcuffs and Masque of the Red Death. She lives with her family in Kentucky.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mainstream Monday

Happy Mainstream Monday guys!!!

As you know all of us here at the Ink Puddle are pretty big fans of books to film and there have been a few more to add to your radar for possible must sees in the next few years.

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington has been picked up by the CW as a new tv show that is said to be the next Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The only news is that there is a script prepared but nothing else.  The story is centered around Violet, who becomes a key piece in the secret war between fallen angels and the protectors of Earth.  Along with angels there are magic tattoos and different small aspects that make me think of Cassandra Clare's shadowhunter series.  Obviously not the same but similar.  None the less the story the sounds pretty good and I, like a lot of people I've spoken to recently, are a little tired of vampires and happy to find something new.

Black City by Elizabeth Richards hasn't been released yet but it's right have already been taken by Screen Gems and they are currently looking for a screen writer.  So it may be a while, if ever, for this book too.  Black City is about wars between a Darkling race and humans.  The main character falls for a forbidden half darkling guy.  This is supposedly one of the most anticipated books of this year and is released November 13th.

If there are any Divergent series fans casting seems to be starting for the movie version.  Shailene Woodley, from The Secret Life of the American Teenager and The Descendants, is the main rumored actress to portray Tris.  I didn't really have anyone pictured for that character so to me she is as good as anyone else.  It would probably be a good oppurtunity for her to show of her talents or lack there of.  I'm excited to see who all will be casted for this movie.

Some other important dates for you guys:

If you didn't already know, Hidden: A House of Night Novel by P.C. and Kristen Cast came out last tuesday.

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa comes out comes out October 23.  I have been dying to read this ever since I read the Iron Fey trilogy.

The thrid installment of the Matched trilogy comes out November 13.

The Hobbit Part I comes to theater in December and Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II comes out in theaters in November.

And a completely off subject book I've been waiting a year for, The Big Book of Yoga by Kathryn Budig, comes out October 30th incase we have any yogi Ink Puddle fans out there.  

Are there any books hitting the shelves soon that you guys are excited about.  We're always interested in discovering new books so let us know.

--Meg

Infomation from hollywoodcrush.mtv.com and Hollywood Reporter.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Avenge by Sarah Ross


“Six months ago, Lucy Donovan thought that being killed by a drunk driver was the worst thing that could happen to her.
She was wrong.
Now, the person she loves most has been ripped away from her, soul held hostage, and Lucy has vowed to stop at nothing to get it back.
Part of a new team with enhanced powers, Lucy and her friends begin a quest to avenge the souls that have been stolen. Enemies of the Patronus have united, however, and a spy from within the Patronus realm is feeding the enemy their every move.
When a mission goes horribly wrong, Lucy’s soul becomes compromised. It will take a strength she didn’t know was within her to escape the darkness, return to the light and avenge the soul she loves.”
Avenge is the second book in The Patronus series and Sarah Ross brings it even more than she did the first time around. We have many familiar faces along with some new friends to tag along our group; my personal new favorite being the sassy Lola.

I loved the imagery Sarah brought. Going back and forth from their quarters to New Orleans (which I may be slightly biased because it is one of my favorite places in the world!), she did such a wonderful job of capturing the smells, the voices and landscape that just for a moment I could close my eyes and be right back there. From Bourbon Street to Café Du Monde, I loved it.

My rating for this book:

There were so many twists and turns in this book that I was really put on my toes. From the first time we see Jessica, to everything that happens when Lucy’s soul is compromised, to the mole hiding out stealthily, I was impressed and finished this book in record time.

So can Lucy get everything she’s lost back, including herself? Better start reading to find out!