Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: Wolf Pact (Part 1)

Wolf Pact (Wolf Pact, #1)

Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Pages: 57
Publisher: Hachette Digital
Source: Review copy- thank you!
Synopsis: Part one of the hot new four-part eBook companion to Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series! The ancient wolves were once proud guardians of time. Now they are enslaved in the underworld, mere extensions of Lucifer’s will. Lawson's pack managed to escape this fate by fleeing aboveground. But when the hounds capture the girl Lawson loves, he will risk everything — including his own brothers’ freedom — to win her back. Meanwhile, Bliss Llewellyn is adjusting to humanity after giving up her immortal vampire life. When her Aunt Jane is kidnapped by the Hounds of Hell, Bliss vows to do whatever it takes to save her — even if it means joining forces with the dangerously good-looking boy with a wolf's soul and a too-intimate knowledge of Jane's captors.

Buy the book (Amazon)

Wolf Pact Part One is very hard to describe because it was a short read with a bit of an abrupt ending. That was to be expected but I was so caught up in the story I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did.

It's a nice beginning and gives the reader some good setup and background information on all the characters. The premise is fantastic and the book does a great job at keeping a good pace and also getting the reader into the story. There's not much development of anything besides background and the story being set so there's not much I can say except that I'm a little bit worried that the characters won't be properly developed. I barely got to know the pack in this installment and now they're gone.

Even though it's less than 60 pages of writing, a lot is in those pages and I found it very entertaining. My only complaint is that I wish I could read more.

I'd say that if you're a fan of Blue Bloods you should keep an eye on Wolf Pact. So far, I'd recommend waiting until all four parts are out and then by the book because Part 1 felt a bit like a teaser. Once I was truly getting acclimated to the story it ended. Also, remember that Wolf Pact is only available online. This book is very different compared to what I usually read, especially considering length, so I don't think it warrants a rating just yet.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cover Wars: The Elite vs Shadow of the Mark

Cover Wars is when I post two covers, and you basically get a week to vote for your favourite. The winner continues on to next week, and it's kind of cool seeing which covers work and which don't. In the comments section we can discuss what we like about what cover, and it's basically some fun and friendly competition.

Last week's battle resulted in a comfortable win for The Elite, a cover that's turning out to be a force. This week The Elite face offs against Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon. Both girls are in dresses, both covers are moody, and both covers have this simplicity to them that I love.

The Elite (The Selection, #2)Shadow Of The Mark (Carrier, #2)

I love pretty dresses and these dresses are both gorgeous. I like that both covers feature dresses that flow down and that those dresses are the focal point of the cover. Beyond that, I think any of these covers could win. It's up to you though.

Here's what you do: vote. I'll have the poll up all week, so you can support the cover you love.

Which is your favourite cover?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Uncontrollable

Uncontrollable (The Nature of Grace, #2)

Author: S.R. Johannes
Pages: 300
Publisher: Coleman & Stott
Source: Review copy (Thank you!)
Sequel to: Untraceable (The Nature of Grace #1)
Synopsis: As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 

Little does she know, she is being hunted too. 

Buy the book (Amazon)

Untraceable took me two weeks to read. Uncontrollable was finished in less than a day. Since I knew what to expect in this series everything in the sequel flowed very well and I liked the story even more.

The thing I was so impressed with was how everything was not tidy. Asheville was shaken by the events at the end of Untraceable and there was grief and anger. Grace did what she thought was right and there were severe consequences for her decisions. Seeing the hurt she caused others, the pain she kept within herself, and everyone's struggles to let go and move on gave this book some real depth. There were two scenes in particular that stood out for me; one with Skyler, one with Tommy.

Grace herself grew into a character that I liked a lot. She's been through a lot by now and it's obviously she's crumbling at times. She isn't broken. Grace has this incredible fighting spirit. She's someone that just plain cares about the world and although she still does have a tendency to make completely irrational, impulsive decisions it's more endearing now that she sometimes thinks her plans through.

I enjoyed the side characters a lot. I said this story has great depth- the side characters helped with that. Although Uncontrollable is another mystery, it's also the story of people trying to heal. I loved some of the quirky characters like Birdee. One thing I didn't like was the love triangle. I feel like someone might get hurt and the would make me sad because I liked both love interests.

I also developed a real appreciation for nature. I'm a city girl but I've always been fascinated by forests and conservation. There's a pretty big national park near where I live and I even saw a black bear there once so I could easily picture what Grace was seeing. I love that Johannes is using her books to inform people about animals like red wolves. I know a lot of people would care about these types of issues but there isn't enough coverage for the average person to hear about unless they specifically went looking for it.

Overall, I enjoyed Uncontrollable a lot. Although I ended up guessing who the villain was beforehand, I liked the direction of the story. This book felt much more compact and action packed than it's predecessor. It kept me into the story and I'm excited to read more! 4 stars,


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flutter by Melissa Andrea Blog Tour

You've probably seen Flutter around a lot on Tantalizing Illusions through Cover Wars. I'm also happy to be a part of the Flutter Blog Tour. I'll be doing character bios and I have an excerpt so I hope you enjoy them!

Character Bios

Sara Alejandra Marquez 

The Spanish beauty that attracts the attention of everyone with her dark, mesmerizing, shimmery, skin, cascading midnight black hair, and wild hazel eyes.

At 17, her problems should be minimal, but Sara finds nothing insignificant about being buried alive or the Fluttering sensation coursing just beneath her skin, coming to life every time she is around the mysterious boy. Sara can’t fight the attraction she has to Adan or the maddening effects he has on her. With the constant fighting out home with her uncle, Andres, she takes refuge in the arms of the wrong guy.

As Sara searches for answers, she finds the more time she spends with Adan, the more she realizes he might not be as mysterious as she thinks.

“The silkiness of his voice was a torturous caress that I was willing to endure for the rest of my life.” – Sara 

Adan Reyes Delacruz 

Is the new guy in town, with his striking dark hair, sun kissed skin, and intensely, electric blue eyes, that spark out of control every time he is around Sara.

Created for Sara and Sara alone, his need to live and die to keep her safe will go much further then just wanting to keep her protected. Having been close enough to touch her, smell her, he can longer blend into the background of her life.

Adan’s battle has been lost, but Sara’s war still remains and Adan must remember his mission and getting close to Sara can destroy everything.

“I tried to stay away from you Sara, I did, but that nearly killed me and I won't do it again. I can't." - Adan.

Andres Delgado

6 feet tall, dark and very dedicated to his responsibility and those responsibility just got a lot hard now that Sara knows something just isn't right with her life. Suspicious and angry over everything Andres says, he must learn to live with Sara’s cold shoulder.

 As Sara’s Watcher, Andres wants nothing more than to keep her safe and young at least until her birthday. He knows that is coming fast he will have to tell Sara the truth about everything: Who she is, what she will have to do and more importantly – what she is.

Excerpt from Flutter

“I’m a big girl Adan. I knew what I was doing.” I looked at him through my eyelashes. 

“And what were you doing?” he asked.

“Playing with fire.” 

“Me, being the fire?” 

“You, being my fire.” I looked up at him coyly, waiting for his reaction. I heard the low growl rumble through his chest, and his eyes blazed a stormy blue. 

“You have no idea, how much I like the sound of that.”


Sara's life is forever changed -
 Waking up, buried & hidden deeply in the last place anyone would want to be, will do that. She is determined to find out how she ended up there & why, but when the only person who can help her, continuously lies to her, she finds herself forced to suffer alone. She can't ignore the strange things that begin to happen to her nor can she hide from the nightmares that haunt her sleep. And when her world collides with Adan - the mysterious boy whom she can't seem to stay away from, literally - she is consumed by the flutter that sparks whenever he is around and she is desperate to discover the reason why.
But the biggest discovery will come from the secret of what she is…

Adan’s mission to find Sara has finally begun -
 It seemed simple: bring her back to the enchanted world that lives, breathes and survives because of her, but he quickly finds himself faced with an entirely new challenge. Immediately, Adan realizes that staying unknown to Sara is a task he will fail before he even begins; the pull to her is far too strong to refuse, and being with her will defy the very reason he existed. He was the key to her survival and loving her was not part of the path that he had been born to follow. Can he find it in himself too resist the urge to be with her and follow through with their destiny or will he destroy everything that had been left to Sara to protect and defend -
And the kingdom she is unaware she rules…

As Sara and Adan struggle to overcome their own separate battles - 
There is a far more determined evil that is stalking the shadows and waiting to annihilate them both. 
Sara will figure out that not everything is what it seems and knowing what she can and can not trust will be the key to finding out the truth of what happened to her, the reason why she was buried alive and who she really is…

Sara and Adan will discover  why she was the reason he existed and why he would be the reason she survived & together they will fight to change the rules and rewrite their fate.
Discover the Meaning, 
Discover the Secret,

Buy Flutter on Amazon/ Barnes & Noble 

Melissa Andrea

I find it hard to sum up my life in a paragraph, but I’ll try.

Reading has always been a passion for me, and writing as instinctive as breathing. Every inhale is an idea; every exhale a creation. Flutter will be my debut release, and I couldn't be more excited about it! The only thing I do better than writing you ask? Making beautiful girls. My daughter’s will always be my greatest accomplishment. 

I was born in Denver, Colorado –but I will always think of sunny Arizona as my home. I don’t have a big family, but I’m close with my sister, brother & my mom. My mom is my hero, my inspiration, and I couldn't have asked for a more amazing person to be raised by.

4 things you should know about me: I’m very girly, but I can get down and dirty with the best of them. I adore the color pink, I love things that sparkle (including vampires) and I like even numbers (hence 4 things about me, not 5)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cover Wars: The Elite vs Goddess

It's been a while, but there's finally a new Cover Wars! Thanks to everyone for voting and I appreciate your passion. It was a very hard fight last time with the results flip flopping around.

Cover Wars is when I post two covers, and you basically get a week to vote for your favourite. The winner continues on to next week, and it's kind of cool seeing which covers work and which don't. In the comments section we can discuss what we like about what cover, and it's basically some fun and friendly competition.

The Elite by Kiera Cass is now up against a new cover... Goddess by Josephine Angelini. Both covers feature very pretty models with dresses and both covers could easily win this. Take a look:

The Elite (The Selection, #2)Goddess (Starcrossed, #3)

They both have very different tones to them. The Elite is a warm copper while Goddess is coolness personified. Both covers are eye catching and use lighting very well to achieve their desired effects. I can't wait to see who wins.

Now it's your part! All you need to do vote now in the poll below! You have all week.

Let the Cover Wars begin! Vote & leave a comment letting me know why you liked the cover or any other beautiful covers to be aware of! 

Which is your favourite cover?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Untraceable by S.R. Johannes

Untraceable (The Nature of Grace, #1)

Author: S.R. Johannes
Pages: 315
Publisher: Kindle
Source: Review Copy (thank you!)
Synopsis: 16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

Buy the Book (Amazon/Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

It took me forever to read Untraceable. That shouldn't say much about the quality of the book though since I was actually very interested in the plot. Untraceable is a very unique book and it's very well done. I enjoyed reading about all the Survival Skills and that part was fun.

I'll start this review with a confession. I somewhat stupidly thought this book would be a paranormal mystery. I didn't read any reviews beforehand and the synopsis gives none of the twists away. I kept expecting something to happen and it took over a hundred pages for me to realize that, no, this was no paranormal. The author wrote a contemporary mystery.

After I realized that, the story flowed much more smoothly. There is an incredible amount of suspense in Untraceable. There are clues and suggestions everywhere that lead to a surprising ending. I honestly had no idea what to expect. Johannes writes a very unique plot twist and revelation that was probably the last thing I was expecting. I love that this story was unexpected. There was so much tension but I felt at times the story was slow. I was so confused- I had no idea what was happening and how to solve the mystery. For someone like me, some more hints would have been welcome. That being said I was impressed with the mystery.

The characters were a diverse group. I liked that a lot. Grace herself was independent and had this very admirable strength. There were many moments that I found I could relate to Grace, especially when she was vulnerable. She wasn't a bland character; she had personality. The side characters were well done too. I ended up being very upset with the actions of one specific character which was surprising because I never knew I cared that much about them.

Overall, Untraceable wasn't my usual type of read. That had its benefits but I would have liked to find the story more gripping. I know that other readers didn't have the same issue so take this with a grain of salt. If you enjoy a suspenseful mystery consider Untraceable. 3 stars,


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Weekly Progress (Where have you been all my life Edition)

Aloha! The last few weeks were incredibly busy but it's winding down so this is the perfect time to do a Weekly Progress post. I have a lot planned for this week. I will post fairly often since I'm going to be scheduling posts a little more now and I feel way less stressed than the last few weeks.

Books Read

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Catastrophic History of You and MeDreaming Awake (Falling Under, #2)

I was honestly not that impressed with this week's books. I'm not sure if I was just not in a reading mood or what, but I had high hopes for all of these books and I didn't get what I was looking for. I didn't connect very well with the characters in The Maze Runner although the plot was interesting. The Catastrophic History of You and Me was very slow at times, and Dreaming Awake (sequel to Falling Under which I adored) was underwhelming to me. Maybe I was really picky this week (I probably was) but I didn't love any of these books. 

Currently Reading

Still Waters

Maybe this is the book that'll get me out of my funk? 

Stuff I did while I was away

I went to some Teen Author Week events. I co-blog for the library, so I had some fun being a reporter and writing transcripts and taking pictures of the events. I met Leslie Livingston, Catherine Austen, Max Turner, Alex Sanchez, and Mariko Tamaki. 

I also got my G1 and went driving for the first time! I love it; I'll try to take official drivers ed classes in March. 

Recap of posts (ICYMI)

Believe it or not, I did post something while I was away. I posted my review of Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft (4 stars, check it out!), My Personal Yearbook, and Witch Hunt. I also wrote a bit about spoilers in blogs and my theory when it comes to them

That's it for last week!

I had a decent week but I'm hoping for more next week. I'll leave you with Rihanna's Where Have You Been, a song that is way too darn catchy (if not a little annoying). 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft (Audrey's Guides, #1)

Author: Jody Gehrman
Pages: 293
Publisher: Magic Genie Books
Source: Review Copy (thank you!)
Synopsis: Falling in Love, baking a magical cake, fighting an evil necromancer—it’s all in a day’s work for Audrey Oliver, seventeen-year-old witch-in-training. 

When her mother goes missing and her twenty-one-year-old witchy cousin shows up out of the blue, Audrey knows something’s gone horribly, dangerously wrong. Now it’s up to her to get her own magical powers up to speed before everyone she loves is destroyed by the sorcerer intricately connected to her mother’s secret past.

Buy the book (Amazon)

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft was another really fun read. There was so much good about this book. There were actually no real flaws and I enjoyed reading this.

I liked that the characters made an impression on me. I could clearly picture them and their different personalities. Audrey feeling like a wallflower, Meg shining with infinite coolness, Bridget's sweetness... Each character had some defining traits that stood out very well and none of them were boring. I also thought Audrey was a nice character to connect to. She had insecurities but she's a cool person that would do anything for the people she loves. I adored her habit of writing things down in a notebook type thing. The voice in the writing, sarcastic and insightful, was also really well done.

I'm going to talk about the writing shortly because I really liked it. I don't know enough about writing to be too technical but there didn't seem to be any mistakes whatsoever. Everything flowed so very well and I got into the story and was swiping page quickly. Especially at the end- that was kind of crazy. There were a lot of great one timers and stuff. Only thing I'd maybe nitpick about is one of the references- I know it's impossible to keep to date on current pop culture references but if an author doesn't use the right reference it will date their book.

There really isn't much to complain about in this story. I got to read another story about witches, which is awesome. They're not done- there are still so many possibilities with all the cool stories they could have so I love reading about witchcraft. I liked Audrey's world- it fit the story and was original. There were some new concepts that I'd love to explore.

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft is another novel meant to entertain and it does a pretty darn good job. It's funny, it made smile, and I was totally into it. Sometimes though, I would have liked if some characters were more defined and if the story went in more depth (i.e. Dallas, and the villain's motivation). I'm glad this is a series and the world will hopefully be explored more in the future.

If I can find the sequel, I definitely hope to read it. Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft is one of those books that's a pretty good package and solid in every aspect. I did try to include negative things in my review for the sake of balance, but there is no major or real issues. Overall, Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft is pretty great so I'm giving it 4 stars.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thoughts on Book Bloggers' Spoiler Theory Dilemma

This is something that has annoyed me a lot as a blog follower. See, I'll be browsing the Interwebz looking for new books when I stumble upon a review for this incredible book I've been dying to read for, like, ever. I'll open up the blog page, stare lovingly at the cover, read the synopsis, and then I'll finally take a peek at the good stuff- the review.

And I'm always left a bit upset when I see that there is a spoiler warning in the review. Like, for a review of an ARC or a book that has been released less than two weeks ago, the blogger is posting spoilers in their review. That somehow bugs me a lot. I notice it's a personal thing though- I haven't heard of anyone else finding this very annoying.

I'm not going to tell anyone to blog because who the hell am I to do that, so this spoiling thing left me with a question.

When is it appropriate to post spoilers on a blog? 

This answer depends a lot on the type of blogger you are and the type of blog you have. So there is no real answer. 

For me, I hate seeing spoilers in reviews. A review should inform me about the novel without mentioning the specific content. I know that it's hard though to write a good review without any detail. I've written a lot of awful ones because I didn't know what to say other than mentioning some crazy plot twist, especially if said crazy plot twist defined the book for me. 

I also assume most authors hate to see spoilers of their books if their books are new (I'm not sure about this- confirm in the comments?). I've been spoiled for one of my favourite series before and if you've met me in person you'll know how insane that drives me. I try my best to forget about the spoiler (it was tiny, I read it in a split second before realizing it was something I shouldn't know) but some stuff just sticks with you no matter how much you want to throw it away. 

The thing I'm iffy about is when it comes to discussion posts like this or feature posts. See, the point of a book blog is to talk  write about books. That's kind of hard though if you go by the rule of never spoiling anything ever. I want to talk about all the incredible series I read with the insane plot twists and go in depth and rant and gush and have fun. I'm not sure if I should do that. 

It would make me very sad to ruin someone else's reading experience. I try not to ever spoil, even if people ask me to. At the same time, I'm a little burnt out with talking constantly about new books and debuts in series. Most of what I read are books in the middle of series and it's hard to feature these books because to describe the later books there needs to be some sort background information, which would spoil the books. 

That's my dilemma. (I'm prone to extreme exaggerations, if you haven't noticed already.) 

To spoil or not to spoil- that is the question! When do you think it's okay, or if it is even ever okay to spoil on your blog?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: My Personal Yearbook

My Personal Yearbook

Pages: 63
Publisher: Prufrock Press
Source: Review Copy (Thank you!)
Description (from Prufrock Press): Kids will love looking back at their copies of My Personal Yearbook, complete with reflections about their lives, lists of favorites and hot trends, letters to their future selves, and more. Created by the editors of Creative Kids magazine, the fill-in pages of this book are full of color, cool graphics, and fun activities to help kids document their current passions and interests. Activities include creating a soundtrack for one’s life, making a mock social media page, writing an autobiography, preparing a Twitter-style feed documenting a day in their lives, creating a photo timeline, compiling friends’ advice and reflections, writing a bucket list, taking quizzes about their lives, and much more. Kids will not only enjoy filling in the many pages of this personalized yearbook, they’ll love looking back at it for years to come.

My Personal Yearbook is a fun activity book suitable for I'd say just about everyone. It's something that I've been doing every week or so, and I always end up writing on more pages than I thought I would.

I love the colours and illustrations. The layout is superb- everything just looks so good. It invites some weird doodles and haphazardly taped pictures. It's so authentic and I love that. It's something I have fun with now and in the future I'll appreciate doing. The only layout thing I don't like is that the book is not a hardcover. I think if it were it would be even cooler. It would have a scrapbook or photo album-like feel. It's something so important- you look back at this book and it will remind you of your life, so I'd like it if the binding was sturdier so I could write on it, and heavier so I could stick papers and drawings in that wouldn't fall when I move the book. If that's the only thing I have against the layout you know the book is awesome.

The pages are very complete and are so interesting! There are a lot of topics that I wouldn't even have considered writing down and I had a lot of fun thinking of my year so far. I always left some stuff black because I know times will change. This isn't just a book- at times it's an activity. It's a wonderful time to reflect the past and contemplate the future. The book tries very hard to capture your personality. There are features like "Dear Blabby" where you write a fake advice column which is really cool to look back on and see if you're opinions changed. There's page for texts, tweets, cool stuff, world issues, slang words and translations, and so many other things that are a part of daily life and that I'd want to remember.

I love this book. It's something I do every once in a while, and even after I've posted this review I will keep using My Personal Yearbook. Life is so fast sometimes; I always try to keep a diary or journal but it never works out. Sometimes I just want to slow everything down and appreciate my life, and My Personal Yearbook helps a lot with that. It's something that I want to complete and be proud of. It's decently long (a little over 60 pages), which means that there's enough to do to cover the entire year.

I recommend this book for everyone (especially students) who want to save a year in their life in a colorful, fun book. You won't regret it because it's a blast.
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