Posted in Book Reviews, Books To Read, Highly Recommend, Must Read, NetGalley, Publisher, Scholastic

Review | The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

[amazon_image id=”0545327865″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Dark Unwinding[/amazon_image]

[amazon_link id=”0545327865″ target=”_blank” ]The Dark Unwinding[/amazon_link] by Sharon Cameron

Scholastic Press | September 1, 2012 | 336 pages

Launch Party

Monday, August 27, 6:30-8 pm

Parnassus Books, 3900 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215

Procurement

eARC from publisher via NetGalley

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting: 6

Writing: 5

Originality: 6

Characters: 5

Romance: 5

Overall: 32/30!! A++++

Title/Cover Bonus: 5

Overall

An engrossing tale of a strange old man who loves his playtime, a niece who learns to love playtime too, amoung other things, a house full of endearing servants, tunnels and a most unusual self sustaining estate.

Continue reading “Review | The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron”

Posted in Book Reviews, Books To Read, Highly Recommend, Must Read, Read in 2011

Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley


Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

272 pages, Knopf Books for Young Readers, (2012-02-14)

$11.46 (Amazon.com)

Procurement

eARC from publisher via NetGalley

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting: 5

Writing: 5

Originality: 5

Characters: 5

Romance: 5

Overall: 30/30 So swoon-worthy it’ll burst your heart!

Title/Cover Bonus: 3

Overall

So much swoon I nearly died by heart bursting! An epic tale of finding love, acceptance, painting, and broken noses.

Continue reading “Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley”

Posted in Awesome Authors, Book Reviews, Books To Read, Highly Recommend, Must Read, NetGalley, Read in 2011

A Must Read Preview: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

So, I started this book last night and finished it this afternoon. I’ve written my full review for it already. (Aren’t you proud!?)

The problem I’m having is that IT WAS SO FREAKING GOOD! I have to share it with you now. A little bit any way. The other problem is that it doesn’t come out until Valentine’s Day 2012!

It’s available on NetGalley so if you’re a member go grab this now and read it!

So, read this little bit of my review that’ll post in full on Feb. 13, 2012. You will love this book if you love YA Romance at all. Think Simone Elkeles.

Graffiti Moonby Cath Crowley272 pages, Knopf Books for Young Readers, (2012-02-14)

$11.46 (Amazon.com)

Overall

So much swoon I nearly died by heart bursting! An epic tale of finding love, acceptance, painting, and broken noses.

Summary (Goodreads)

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she’s going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He’s out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy’s stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she’s managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they’re suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

Most Memorable Scene

Goodness me! There are way too many. The scene where Malcolm finds Ed and Lucy in the park is one of the best! Lucy sure knows how to handle herself.

“Why don’t you give it to Leo? Wait, I know, it’s because you’re scared of him, you cockroach-eating-coward motherfucker.”

I look at her. “Motherfucker?”

“Motherfucker,” she says.

“The next one to call me a motherfucker takes the message,” Malcolm says.

Motherfucker“, Lucy and I say together.

Romance

Gah! This book is so packed with so much swoon it’s not even funny! I thought for sure my heart was going to burst a few times with the amount of “Awwww” that came pouring out of some of these scenes! I was a giddy teenaged girl all afternoon! Yes, I read this in only one afternoon! It’s amazing and you have to know what happens and it’s so easy to read the words just flow into you and fill you with pure joy.

Preorder this book. I promise you won’t regret it!

Posted in Awesome Authors, Books To Read, Highly Recommend, Karen Marie Moning, Must Read, OMG! I wantz it!

OMG! Fever Series Update!

I know I just posted about this series the other day but this truly deserves another dedicated post!

Karen Marie Moning just announced on her Facebook page that she has contracted to write a trilogy set in Fever-Dublin featuring Dani, Christian MacKeltar, Ryodan, and the mysterious “Dancer”! And the cherry on top? She’s agreed to write TWO MORE books after the trilogy back to the core story featuring Mac and Barrons!!!! SQUEE!

If you have no idea what I’m even remotely talking about you need to go purchase the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning RIGHT NOW! It’s the best Urban Fantasy series ever, well, it’s bloody amazing in the least.

Slideshow of books available via Amazon.com below:

 
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Posted in Book Reviews, Must Read

Review: Rampant (Killer Unicorns, Book 1) by Diana Peterfreund

Rampant (Killer Unicorns, Book 1) by Diana Peterfreund

HarperTeen (August 25, 2009)

416 pages, Young Adult

$12.23 (Amazon.com, Hardcover) $9.99 (Kindle Edition)

Procurement

I won this via a contest on Dark Faerie Tales.

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting:

Writing: 5

Originality: 5

Characters: 5

Passion: 5

Overall: 30/30! A++

Cover/Title Bonus: 5

Summary (Goodreads)

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

First Line(s)

1

Wherein Astrid Is Thrice Tested

“’I will never really leave,’ said the unicorn. Diamond sparkles floated from the tip of its glittering silver horn. ‘I will always live in your heart.’”

I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and forced myself to continue reading.

Plot

Wow. This was the most unique adventure I’ve ever read. The plot was awesomely thought out and everything flowed and moved along awesomely. The unicorns and Astrid were two aspects that made this book unforgettable.

Setting

It started in the backyard of the house Astrid was babysitting at and ended up in Rome. Rome was portrayed perfectly, that I could picture the setting as if I was there. There were no times that I couldn’t visualize any scene. I totally felt as if it were a movie reel in my head. True, most books feel like that but some are just better than others.

Writing

I loved the writing in this book. The descriptions of the cloisters was perfect. I truly felt like I was there. I loved seeing it all from Astrid’s point of view too. She was a true, down to earth girl that kicked some major ass.

Originality

Um, hello, unicorns? Enough said. I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to react to reading about unicorns and killer ones at that but it was truly an amazing subject to be introduced to. I can NOT wait to read more about the unicorns and Astrid.

Characters

Astrid is the kick ass lead female character. She advances from a normal teenage girl with a unicorn crazed mother set on turning her into an unicorn slaying warrior into, well, an unicorn slaying warrior. The magical aspects intertwined in this story were astonishing.

Phil is Astrid’s cousin and is there the whole way through Astrid’s adventure. I liked her free spirit way and how it rubbed off on Astrid when she really needed a break away from the stress that is  unicorn slayer training.

There are a ton of minor characters, some forgettable, some memorable.

Passion

Astrid meets a boy while in Rome. Giovanni is a sweetheart. Their relationship is challenged but honorable in the end. I can’t wait to read book two to see how their future really is.

Overall

Amazing. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the action. I loved how true Astrid felt. I loved being in Rome. The unicorns were both awesome and terrifying. Diana Peterfreund is a new favorite author for me and I will be pre-ordering the next book in this series, Ascendant, which will release in September 2010.

Cover/Title Bonus

The cover is well fitting. The title, however, is not clear to me. I’m guessing it’s stating that the unicorns are rampant but I’m not sure. I guess that makes sense.

Series

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

 Ascendant (Killer Unicorns, Book 2) coming September 2010

Connect with Diana Peterfreund

ico_wwwblogger_icontwiiter_icongoodreadsamazon-icon_bigger_normal_normal    

I’d label this book a must read. Have you read it? What did you think?

Jess Sig

Disclosure:
Amazon.com Associate. If you click on my links and purchase anything I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price. All funds are used for shipping on contests.

Posted in Book Reviews, Must Read

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

TDDcover
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Egmont USA (December, 22 2009)
384 pages, Young adult
$12.14 (
Amazon.com, 09/20/09)

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting: 4

Writing: 5

Originality: 5

Characters: 5

Passion: 5

Overall: 29/30 = 96% =A

Cover/Title Bonus: 4



I won this ARC on Bree’s blog in one of her monthly pre-release celebrations for The Dark Divine. I also got a bottle of matching nail polish as seen on the cover and a pedicure kit! 🙂

Summary (Bree’s website)

A prodigal son
A dangerous love
A deadly secret . . .
I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel’s dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

Excerpt (Bree’s Website)

The first chapter is available to read on Bree’s website. It’s very good!

pdflogo

Plot

The above summary does an amazing job at explaining what’s going on without saying too much. This book is written so well it all flows amazingly well and keeps you guessing what will happen next.

There’s a major artist theme going on in here too. Both Grace and Daniel draw/paint, him better than her, and it’s a very cool common bond they share.

The ending was handled wonderfully. I enjoyed this entire book.

Setting

The town is said to be near Apple Valley. A lot happens in the art class, the parish, the Divine house and backyard and downtown.

It’s a fairly common setting with nothing really standing out.

I particularly enjoyed the tree climbing and finding baby James the best. OH! And the angel memorial: awesome.

It’s present time.

Writing

Amazing. Seriously. I can’t explain how it’s written but it’s written very well. It’s not like books I’ve read recently. The tone is unique in a way that makes me second guess myself each page turn. The details that you’ll be guessing at are within reach but you don’t reach them until the exact moment that Grace does. LOVE THAT! I hate figuring it out before the main character. I had my guesses but so did Grace but neither of us knew until it was there.

It’s written in Grace’s POV the entire time. I wished I could get into Daniel’s head a time or three. He was very interesting and I wanted to know more about him.

Originality

I knew what Daniel was when I read the first chapter on Bree’s website. But like I explained above Bree had me second guessing myself the entire book. So, even though I’d figured it out already I just didn’t feel 100% confident that I really knew and that kept my interest at top notch. I honestly couldn’t put the book down! I finished it at 2:00 am!

What Daniel is is easy to figure out but it gets explained very well. I enjoyed the details and thought they were very original.

Characters

Grace is the main character. She’s the daughter of the Pastor. “Pastor D-vine.” 🙂 She’s still struggling with Daniel’s disappearance from a few years prior and doesn’t handle his return very well. She’s clearly head over heels for him and it makes her sad, angry, and heart broken.

Jude is Grace’s older brother. He’s a sweet guy, always helping others, but he’s troubled by the attack from Daniel a few years prior. He doesn’t like or trust Daniel.

Grace’s Dad is cool. He’s all about helping others too. He nearly goes mad trying to help Daniel and ultimately his entire family it seems. I enjoyed his character a lot.

Daniel. Daniel is the black sheep of his family. They abandoned him a few years back. His mom choose his dad over him, only a young boy. He returns to his home town looking for a fresh start.

Passion

This is my favorite category but sometimes it’s the hardest to review. There are major sparks flying between Daniel and Grace. I love that it was there in the story but it wasn’t the front runner. Their relationship plays a huge role in the book yet it was handled with great care. I enjoyed their relationship immensely. Me? Beat around the bush? No…..

Overall

Amazing. Awesome. Superb. An unexpected thrill of a ride. I knew it was going to be good but it surpassed my expectations. It was written so well. Everything was covered and it ended well wrapped up.

Cover/Title Bonus

The title is awesome. The cover….it’s beautiful and catches the eye but it doesn’t represent the book very well. I’m not sure if I’m missing something or what but I’m not crazy about the cover after reading the book. It’s gorgeous but it lacks focus or direct representation of the story.

Connect with Bree

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Your thoughts?

What do you think? Have you read this yet? Did you read the first chapter? What did you think?

Jess Sig
Disclosure:
Amazon.com Associate. If you click on my links and purchase something I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price.

Posted in Book Reviews, Must Read, Shifters, Vampires

Strange Angels & Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

I read Strange Angels by Lil St. Crow a while ago but I never did a formal review. I don’t know why sometimes I skip reviewing books but I do it sometimes.
Anyway, I LOVED Strange Angels

Summary

Dru Anderson has been “strange” for as long as she can remember. She travels from town to town with her father, hunting the things that go bump in the night and eat the unwary. It’s a weird life, but a good one–until it all explodes and a zombie busts into her new house.
Alone, terrified, and trapped in an icy town, Dru’s going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. Can she trust the boy who is just a little too adult–and just happens to get bit by a werwulf? Or the strange blue-eyed boy who tells her she’s heir to a long-forgotten power? Can she even trust her own instincts?
Because Dru is not the first in her family to be killed by the darkness of the Real World. The monsters have decided to hunt back–and now Dru has to figure out who to trust, who to fight, and when to run. And not incidentally, she has to figure out how she’s going to get out of this alive.
And she has to do it by sundown, or it’s all over…

PROS

Dru. She’s awesome. She does not get a single break in this book. One thing after another is thrown at her. Sometimes she stays and fights and others she halls ass to get as far away from her obstacle as possible. She’s a teenager I’m thinking 16?
Graves. He’s a newly acquired friend and he shows up at just the perfect time. Boy did Dru need Graves as a friend. He’s slightly Asian, tall, in that not quite man not quite boy phase, and he is very versatile. He proves to be well worth the effort Dru goes to protect him.
Plot. It’s quite crazy but I seem to like off the wall silliness when it comes to paranormal. Basically Dru is unique and all unique things are wanted by someone at some point and that’s now for Dru.
Christophe. His character is quite the mysterious one but I find myself drawn to him and he seems to be a huge character in the book even though we don’t find out in book one, nor book two, exactly who he is.
I don’t really have any cons about this book. Dru curses a LOT in this book but I find it very genuine to her character. I was only bothered by it once or twice in the beginning but then got used to it.
The ending of this book was fantastic. It left me on the edge of my seat, wanting more. Maybe that’s why I didn’t review it! My brain was not capable of processing a review without more story! 😉
I’d rate Strange Angels as 5/5!

Trailer (it’s kinda spoilery!)


Betrayals was slightly better than Strange Angels. Why? ACTION! It’s completely action packed.
The story continues with Dru being sent to a boarding school for her kind. Of course there aren’t many of her kind so she’s surrounded by males of her kind and male wulfen.

PROS

Plot. There’s a mole in the school feeding info to the council or something and Dru is supposed to help figure out who it is. But it never fails: the shit hits the fan.
Dru. She grows quite a bit and I love seeing that. She’s nearly “bloomed”. She kicks some major ass in this book. She is developing relationships with both Graves and Christophe, which I’m thinking will get resolved in book three since it’s named Jealousy. She doesn’t seem to know which guy she likes more, and she seems to like each one for different reasons. It will be quite sad when it’s determined who wins her heart because I like both characters. 😦
Graves. Wow. He changes a ton. He grows up and becomes “Dom”. He’s always there to support Dru and even gets a little protective. He steps up to the plate quite a few times.
Christophe. There’s something fishy about him. He constantly calls Dru “my princess”. I think there’s more to him than we know and I can’t wait to find out what it is. He pulls out all kinds of stunts to help Dru out. I was very impressed by him.
Lili St. Crow doesn’t fail to impress me. The one thing I love most about her writing is that she’s real. Real as in she mentions the things most authors don’t. Such as the characters need to pee. Here’s a passage I marked while reading, it’s during an exchange between Dru and Christophe:
page 48 – 49

“There’s a lot of things you didn’t tell me.” I tried not to sound accusing. I was suddenly very aware of the tank top clinging to me and cool air touching exposed skin. My legs felt very long, very skinny, and pretty unshaved.

Hey, I wear jeans all the time. You couldn’t pay me to wax, and who has time to drag a razor over everything every day? When we’d lived below the Mason-Dixon I’d kept up with it, but moving up with the polar bears and finding out I was a lot deeper in the Real World than I’d ever guessed didn’t leave me with a lot of time for hair removal.

I thought I might make some time for now on, though. My cheeks were so hot I was amazed steam wasn’t rising off the skin.

“Dru.” He took two steps toward me, his boots crushing the carpet. “I didn’t have time for a lot niceties. You realize that, right?”

I crossed my arms over my chest. Jeez, it was cold in here all of a sudden. And had he always smelled this good? Was it a cologne? Eau de Christmas Pie? “I guess,” I said finally. There hadn’t exactly been time for a lot of note taking, but he still could have told me a few things.

See what I mean? She mentions unshaved legs and hints at hardening nipples. The detail she mentions with such ease creates a near perfect image of the scene. Love it!

CONS

I have to mention one thing I had a total déjà vu on. At the school, in the locker rooms there are these healing tubs set in the floor with “not water” liquid in them, a liquid that resembles paraffin wax but thinner or something. I know I’ve seen such things in a movie. It was in Wanted starring Angelina Jolie. So if you’ve seen that movie then you’ll be familiar with the healing tubs in Betrayals. I thought it was a very nice touch to the story but it seemed like a “used” idea.
I rate Betrayals as 5/5!

Series

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Betrayals: A Strange Angels Novel by Lili St. Crow


Jealousy: A Strange Angels Novel by Lili St. Crow

I can’t wait for Jealousy! I’m thinking it might be the last in the series but I hope not. 🙂 It will be released July 29, 2010 and it’s already available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Connect with Lili St. Crow

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What do you think? Did you read either? Love them? Tell me about it!
Jess Sig

Posted in Book Reviews, Must Read

Soulless (The Parsol Protectorate: Book the First) by Gail Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate: Book the First) by Gail Carriger
Orbit Books (September 29, 2009)
384 pages, Historical Paranormal Fantasy
$7.99 (Amazon.com, Mass Market Paperback, 09/28/09)
$6.39 (Kindle, 09/28/09)

Plot: 5
Setting: 5
Writing: 5
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Passion: 5
Overall: 30/30 = 100% = A+ Freaking Amazing
Cover/Title Bonus: 5
Okay, so I first notice this book the day after I returned from BEA in NYC back in May. I was sooo upset because apparently Gail was at BEA and I missed the chance to pick up an ARC! I immediately contacted the publisher to explain my predicament. They generously sent me a copy to review!!! WOOHOO!
This book was brilliant. If you read nothing else of this review just know that if you enjoy paranormal or historical fiction in any sense this novel will blow your socks off. It’s hilarious, beautifully written, adventurous, and even a little bit scary.
Orbit has done a ton to get this book some well worth attention. Don’t forget to check at the end of my review for links to the amazing stuff! First chapter full cast audio and virtual dress up!

Summary (Gail’s web site)

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible.
Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Excerpt

Read an excerpt on Orbit’s blog.

Plot

Amazing plot. Alexia Tarabotti is not a normal human therefore it seems logical that her life would not be normal either. She seems to be swatting away vampires, insulting werewolves, and ever irritating her high society parents. She is set on helping the local “chief of police”, Lord Conall Macoon aka Alpha of the local werewolf pack and his Beta Professor Lyall. Their adventure to solve the mystery behind some murders is creative and lively. The main villain group has the symbol of an octopus, which is really strange and not explained in this first book. I’m hoping it’s explained in book the second, Changeless. 

Setting

It’s set in high society 1873 late Victorian London. There are balls, the whole attire of that century with things I didn’t even know what they were, which did hinder my ability to visualize everything accurately but I’ve seen enough movies set in this time period to have guessed pretty correctly, or so I think! The setting is depicted beautifully. It is one of the things I enjoyed the most. I love a good historical fiction novel but this blew all other historical novels out the window in comparison.

Writing

You’d think after reading this that Gail lived during this time period. She is absolutely amazing. I LOVED the proper speech, the setting, the attire, and the fact that there were paranormal entities added the cherry on top of this wonderfully arranged piece of fictional art. I could not even begin to explain how amazing this book was to read. I was laughing, swooning, cringing with fright and periodically embarrassed for one character or another a few times. Soulless has it ALL.
The pace is awesome. There’s action, romance, lots of historical factors, and a horrifying abomination thing that scared the living hell out of me.
Soulless is written in third-person point of view. I loved this point of view!

Originality

Well, yeah, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this is just about as original as it gets. “A novel of vampires, werewolves, and parasols” is the blurb on the front of the book. Mixing all that together with the 1873’s high society, late Victoria London was genius of Miss Gail Carriger.

Characters

Miss Alexia Tarabotti is the main character. She’s preternatural: Soulless. She can void any supernatural ability with the touch of her hand. She’s fairly young at 26. She’s of Italian descent, which gives her a darker complexion. She’s very strong willed and a fun character to learn about.
Lord Connal Maccon is the “chief of police” or Earl, the Alpha of the werewolf pack, and swoon worthy. He is a truly remarkable specimen of a man and I love his character. He’s Scottish and his accent slips to the Scottish brogue every now and again and it weakens me at the knees.
SIDENOTE:
I play an online game called Counter Strike: Source, which has voice enabled communication so you can speak with the other players. I met a guy on there with a Scottish accent and I asked him if I typed something would he say it? He agreed, so I found a line from the book and asked him to say it and wow…..just wow. I think I’ll be buying the audio just to hear that brogue whenever I please. See the end of the review for the sample audio chapter! It’s awesome!
Professor Lyall is an awesome character too! He’s Lord Maccon’s second-in-command at the “police station” and also his Beta in the pack. Love his character. He’s the middle man between Alexia and Lord Maccon.
The abomination thing is scary as hell, as mentioned previously, it made me cringe as I was reading. I think I even had a nightmare or two because of it. That is one thing I’ll never forget about this book. It was incorporated in the plot of the book very well and added a hint of horrorificness, which made the book all that more enjoyable.
Lastly, Lord Akeldama is the most awesome character I’ve read in a long time. He’s unique and loved. He’s a very old, very strong, very solitary, and very flamboyant and gay. He was enjoyed immensely by this reader!

Passion

The blooming relationship between Miss Tarabotti and Lord Maccon is amusing, sweet, and destined. Their continuous banter is hilarious yet so true to both characters. Miss Tarabotti is a strong willed woman and Lord Maccon is refreshingly the Alpha male that women are attracted to yet do not fully surrender with out a noble fight: playing hard to get, which Alexia does very well.

Overall

A must buy. I will most definitely purchase the audio book for this and listen to it regularly. The story is strong, engaging, and mysterious. The characters are loveable and unforgettable. Miss Gail Carriger is my new favorite author. I’ll be putting her on auto buy and I will be stalking her future releases like a hawk. Well done Gail, well done.

Cover/Title Bonus

The title fits perfectly with this first installment to the series. I like the one word title. It’s simple yet perfect.
The cover is perfect. Love the model of Miss Tarabotti and the parasol is amazingly perfect.  I wonder if this was made after the book was written or if it was the inspiration to the book? I also like the font of the title and how it’s encased in the hot pink highlight. The front cover blurb is simple, yet again, oh so true to the book.
Gail wrote a lovely blog post that explains how the cover was made. It also explains the cover of Changeless.

Connect with Gail Carriger

ico_www livejournal blogger_icon twiiter_icon facebook_icon Orbit

Awesome Fun

Listen to the AMAZING full-cast audio complete with music, soundFX and soundscapping. Directed by J. Daniel Sawyer and produced by ArtisticWhispers Productions.
Should the below icon link not work for you, you can access it from this link. The below link goes directly to just the audio player.
Audio Book
Play with this awesome virtual dress up! I enjoyed playing with this!
Soulless Dress Up

Other Cool Things


Interview at Fantastic Book Review
Gail casts her book movie style
Interview at Babbling About Books, and More
Guest post by Gail at The Book Butterfly
Contest at The Book Butterfly | Ends 10/11

Other Reviews

Order

Pre-order! Also available on the Kindle!

Series

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book the 2nd) by Gail Carriger , will be released March 30, 2010 per Amazon.com. Followed by Blameless, the third book.
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So, what do you think? Are you ready for a magical tale in the form of a Historical Paranormal Fantasy novel? Pick up a copy tomorrow or pre-order it today!
Jess Sig
http://www.assoc-amazon.com/s/link-enhancer?tag=jesssramb-20&o=1

Posted in Book Reviews, Must Read

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
Leisure Books (August 25, 2009)
320 pages (ARC is showing 324)
$6.99 (Amazon.com, 07/23/09)

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Plot: 5
Setting: 5
Writing: 5
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Passion: 5
Overall: 30/30 – 100% – A+!

Cover/Title Bonus: 4

Leanna Renee Hieber contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing her upcoming release The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, a “Gothic Victorian Fantasy”. I said sure after checking out her website.

Excerpt (author’s website):

From the eternally dim shadows of the Whisper-world a voice resonated like a deep, angry bell tolling three o’clock: “Where. Is. She?”

“I’ve no idea, dear,” replied a softer, feminine voice. “Was I supposed to do something about her? I thought you’ve been looking all this time. While you’ve only just noticed, it’s been eighteen of their years. She could be anywhere. She’s not my responsibility, you know.”
The deep voice grunted. “Do. Something.”
The woman sighed, her fair skin glowing in the moonlight. Placing her hands to her coiled tresses atop her head, she found something sharp. With a hiss, she brought her thumbs back into view; their pricked pads sprouted thick, dark jewels, garnets that began to overflow and weep.
Lifting up her hands, she watched in fascination as the crimson trail spread from her thumbs onto her palms. She turned her hands one direction, then the other. “Hmm,” she said after a long moment.
“Well?” pressed the voice in the shadows.
“London,” she replied.
“Something wicked, then?” the voice gurgled.
The woman turned and smiled, nonchalant. “By all means, let the dog loose.”
There was a grinding of stone. A ferocious growl erupted from the deep, before a barking, snarling, ugly cloud leaped into the sky. It vanished into the shimmering portal opposite the shadows where the woman’s master stood brooding, a portal where now rose the Tower of London.
The voice tolled again from the shadows. “There will be hell to pay.”
I’m not a fan of this particular excerpt. It shows the darkest part of the book, which kinda scared me when I read it. I was afraid it was going to be too dark for my tastes but it’s not nearly as dark as this passage makes it out to be. A lighter excerpt that I’ve chosen shows the true nature of this book, which is to show that true friends can be just as grand as a tight knit family.
Page 58 – 59 of the ARC:
“Something amusing?” he asked.
At the sound of his low, rich voice, the group looked up and shrieked, delighted. Elijah cried out the first notes of Beethoven’s Fifth, unable to help himself. This did nothing for the others’ composure. In fact, Michael, head thrown back in a wail of laughter, lost balance and fell from his chair. No on bothered to stand and greet their leader properly.
“You really should have your own personal orchestra, Alexi!” Elijah gasped for breath.
“‘To be or not to be…!'” Michael wailed from the floor, waving an arm above him grandly.
“An appropriate theme for you, you must admit!” Elijah continued, offering Alexi a sharp-toothed grin.
Rebecca, flushed, stood with an uneven breath and handed Alexi the sherry bottle with its dusty ribbon tied lopsided around the neck. “Professor, your prize. I acquiesce to your eminence and superiority–sir,” she stated with a curtsey. There was a hint of a smile as she did so, however, and Josephine masked a sputtering giggle with a cough.
That scene is one of the best of the book.
Here’s the book trailer:

Plot:
Wow. This book’s plot was perfect. It had a true beginning, middle and end. It was very well planned out with all elements of a story line being touched on perfectly. The story centers around a young women new to the Athens school who is unlike anyone else. She’s ghostly pale and covers her eyes with shades and wraps her head and neck in scarves and wears long gloves. There’s a group of six that are charged with keeping spirits at ease. They are on a mission to find their seventh member.

Setting:
The setting is grand! Most of the story takes place in Athens Academy located in 1888 London, England. The school is massive with wings named after the different Greek Gods and Goddesses. It’s also set around the time when the Ripper murders were going on.

Writing:
Leanna wrote Miss Percy’s Tale beautifully, hence the title of the book! I love that it was written in third person point of view. The reader is able to get a much clearer picture of what’s going on and that’s important with this book because so much is going on. If this were written solely from Percy’s POV a lot of this story would have been lost and completely misunderstood. Everything flowed very well in this story and the writing. I did not have any hick ups at all.

Originality:
This story is completely original. Of course I’ve read stories of people seeing ghosts, a girl in a new school but not anything like this one was written. Percy’s story is truly remarkable. It’s about finding one’s self, over coming obstacles both physically and mentally and of course over coming fear and accepting love.

Characters:
Percy Parker is the main character. She’s truly unique seeing as she sees ghosts, has the fairest skin, hair, and eyes ever imagined yet holds remarkable beauty. She’s skilled in many languages but horrible in mathematics, which has her in one on one tutoring sessions with none other than the remarkably handsome Professor Alexi Rychmond.

Alexi is the leader of The Guard (I think that’s what it was called!), a group of 6 individuals with special powers to police unruly spirits. Their life mission is to find their seventh member to forever rid the world of the war between heaven and hell? Or at least the “Darkness” and the The Guard. The group include: Alexi, Rebecca (Headmisstress of Athen’s Academy), Michael, Josephine, Elijah and Jane.

Percy makes friends with a German student named Marianna. There’s also another character in the loop and her name is Lucille Linden.

Passion:
Percy is intoxicated by Professor Alexi Rychmond. Percy suffers from visions, basically daydreams, much more often when she’s around him and he of course notices in his class. When the tutoring sessions start Percy is overcome with emotions and gratitude that the Professor is willing to help her, one of such fair skin. She thinks she’s ghastly and that no one would willingly subject themselves to her any longer than necessary. However, Alexi is drawn to her but he just doesn’t realize it! The passion with this couple is remarkable. It’s written so gently that towards the end of the book the scenes are so tangible with the passion it’s nearly maddening!

I was pleasantly surprised by the love story within this book. It’s one of the best aspects of the book and it was handled with great care and detail. Very well done.

Overall:
I loved this book. I’ve had a very busy week this week but I didn’t want to put this book down! I stayed up late last night trying to finish it but alas my eyes did not cooperate and I had to finish it tonight when I got home from my externship. Towards the middle of the book it’s nearly nonstop action packed, which is an element of a book that I really enjoy.

Cover/Title:
Eh, I like the title but it is very lengthy, which isn’t a huge deal but it’s a mouthful! The title fits because I honestly don’t know what else to call it! Maybe “The Guard of Miss Percy Parker” or “The Guard of Percy Parker”.

The cover is pretty vague though. You can tell it’s London and the glowing blue orb is cool, but it’s a little mute. I would have loved to have seen the glowing blue feather with the seal of Athen’s Academy. And even a ghostly female face somewhere on it would have helped. But with a title as long as this one, the cover is bound to be all font.

Connect with Leanna Renee Hieber:
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Pre-order this book from Amazon.com.

This book is recommended to anyone who loves fantasy. Historical fantasy especially.
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Posted in Book Reviews, Must Read, Rachel Vincent, Shifters

Prey (Werecats, Book 4) by Rachel Vincent

Prey (Werecats, Book 4) by Rachel Vincent
Mira (July 1, 2009)
400 pages (per Amazon.com)
$7.99 (Amazon.com; 06/25/09)

Plot: 5
Setting: 5
Writing: 5
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Passion: 5

Overall: 30/30 = 100% = A+

Cover/Title Bonus: 3

Procurement

Nancy over at A Lush Budget Production Tales of a Ravenous Reader lent me an ARC of Preya few months ago. I devoured it in a matter of hours. Thank you Nancy for sharing this amazing book with me!

Plot

Wow. The plot to this installment of Faythe’s life was more of emotional roller coaster than Pride and Pride was a pretty bumpy ride if you remember. It’s all wrapped around the fact hat Marc has been exiled to the “land of the strays” and he’s stolen (!) and the political bullshit that is the Pride council *cough* Malone *cough*. The fact that Greg’s Pride is currently housing 2 tabby cats has them all testosterone ODing. They are willing to do whatever it takes to reduce the number of tabbies in that pride. Even kill. Rachel released the follow excerpt of an attack on the pride ranch.

WARNING! Contains spoilers! Read at your own risk!

We burst through the backdoor almost as one. At my first glimpse of Jace—a deep shadow in the pre-dawn darkness—my feet froze on the porch, and my breathing quickened with shock. Owen ran right into me. He would have knocked me down all four steps if my dad hadn’t caught me.

My father paused only long enough to right me, then raced across the backyard with the speed of a much younger man.

Jace was halfway between the tree line and the back door, jogging unsteadily, his arms held awkwardly in front of his chest. When he stepped into the light from the guesthouse porch, I saw that he carried Kaci in both arms. Her head bobbed limply near his right shoulder, her hair brushing his hip with each step. Her legs dangled from his other arm, one foot bare. Blood dripped steadily from either his right arm or her head, staining the dead grass with a trail of fat, red drops.

Setting

Most of the setting is on the ranch with a good size portion being in the “land of the strays” where Marc has been living, including his little house. There’s some major ass kicking done by both parties. Rachel released a few “mini-excerpts”. Here’s a glimpse of a fight scene in Prey.

WARNING! May contain spoilers! Read at your own risk!

On my left, Ethan dropped to one knee, swinging his hatchet up. The blade caught a stray beneath his jaw, and almost cleaved the cat’s head from his neck. The body hit the ground with a nauseating two-part thud—first the torso, then the nearly-detached skull—and Ethan was in motion again. I would have been impressed, if I’d had time to think about it.

But I didn’t, because Vic screamed on my brother’s other side, near the end of the car. Then he stumbled into view and fell to the gravel on his rump. The cat he’d been fighting pounced, driving his shoulders to the ground.

“Ethan!” I shouted in mid-swing, because my brother was closest. He glanced at me, then followed my gaze to Vic.

“I’m on it.” He lunged to the left, swinging the ax up even as he dove for Vic’s shovel. His blow glanced off the nearest cat, but he came up with a weapon in each hand. Swinging wildly now, Ethan knocked the cat off Vic with the shovel, then threw the ax end over end so fast I could hardly trace it. The blade thunked into the side of another cat, who dropped to the ground, chest heaving and pouring blood.

Great huh? If you were brave enough to read it Ethan kicks some werecat ass.

Writing

Rachel has done it in this book. She has written Prey so well that to not be effected by reading it would make you heartless. I like Faythe. I like Marc. But I LOVE them together and when they are not together it’s naked emotions running for them both. I say this even though it’s not necessarily written in the books but I just know that they are both traumatized when they are not together. Faythe puts on a very good facade but she just about loses it in this book with Marc missing.

My heart broke a few times reading Prey. With Marc missing, Kaci practically killing herself, Faythe being Faythe, and another event of which I can’t even speak of because it just rips open the wound in my heart, Prey left me weeping, sobbing, bawling. I can’t pick the right word for it. Just know that I burst out in tears, put the book down, wept my heart out, caused my hubby to pause his game to comfort me, snotted up a few tissues and then emailed Rachel to yell at her for being such an awesome author but I hated her at the moment for being so good. To have a book effect me in such a way proves that Rachel’s writing abilities are phenomenal. Thank you Rachel for being amazing. But please do NOT do that again. Seriously.

Originality

Wow. The plot of this book was AWESOME! It was probably the best one so far. The thought put into it had to be huge. It had me wondering throughout the entire book what was really going on. Especially since Marc was missing and people were dying and switching sides it was anyone’s guess of what was going to happen next.

Characters

Faythe shows just how strong she really is in this book. If she lives through this book relatively sane she can handle anything. She is the mortar to her pride now. I can’t even comprehend how the next book will unfold but I know this: Faythe will hold NOTHING back.

Greg, Faythe’s father, holds a special place in my heart. He’s such an Alpha male and a great father that I can’t help loving him. The BS that is the council pisses me off and I am so hoping he comes out on top in the end. I would be crushed if he dies. Seriously Rachel. Do not do that to me.

Marc is amazing. He’s a stray but really, what does that mean? If you can prove that you kick ass you should be allowed to enter a Pride and rule. He has the character and the ability to succeed with Faythe. He’s super smart and strong and he shows that in this book. Rachel visited yesterday and explained why she made Marc a stray.

Kaci is such a teenager! Sci Fi Guy had a great excerpt of a conversation between Faythe and Kaci on his review:

“Whoa, Kaci, back up a bit.” I shook my head and made myself meet her frank gaze. “You’re waaaay too young to be thinking, about sex.
She rolled her eyes, and the gesture was eerily familiar from my own adolescence. Okay, also from what little of my adulthood I’d survived so far.
“I was talking about kissing,” Kaci said, in that exasperated tone she usually saved for my mother, during home-schooling. “I just meant, how old were you when you first kissed Marc? But since you brought up sex…” Her eyes glinted with a spark of mischief. “Same question.”
Damn it! “Way older than you are.” My head was throbbing and pain was shooting through my chest. I was having a panic attack. The little whelp was giving me an aneurism!

She does a real number on Faythe. It proves that one day Faythe will be an excellent mother. She may not realize it now but she will rock.

Ethan and Jace are ever present in this edition of Faythe’s life and they both have some amazing scenes, as noted by the above excerpt.

Passion

Yup, Rachel knows how to throw this in there. It’s there and it’s craziness but necessary I’m afraid. I’m sure you’re wondering WTF I’m talking about but I can’t say much more. With everything that happens it’s understandable and I’m aching to know what happens in the next book. Clear as mud? Good. 🙂

Cover/Title

Eh, the title is okay and the cover is nice. I haven’t noticed if her injuires are accurate on previous covers but this one is.

Overall

This book rocked. It had the mystery element, the passion, the kick assness and it had the emotional pull that sucks me in to Faythe’s world. It left me wanting. I want to know what happens next like I wanted to know what happened next at the end of Pride. Exiling Marc? No big deal now. War amongst the Prides? Tell me more!

To Rachel

Thank you for being such an amazing author. Your writing has grown so much throughout this series. I think you proved to us that you’re not here to just write, you’re here to take our breath away. You’ve done that for me and I thank you.

Giveaway!
Rachel has graciously offered a signed copy of Prey to a follower! A separate post has been created with the information!

The series is as follows:

Stray (Shifters, Book 1): My Review
Rogue (Shifters, Book 2): My Review
Pride (Shifters, Book 3): My Review
Prey (Shifters, Book 4): My Review
Shift (Shifters, Book 5) coming March 2010
Alpha (Shifters, Book 6) coming October 2010

Connect with Rachel!
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Pre-order Prey from Amazon.com!

P.S. – Bitten By Books is hosting a contest! Click the below image for more info!
So, what do you think? Have you read Prey already? Did you love it? Did it effect you the same as me? Are you pre-ordering Prey now? Let me know!