Monday, July 21, 2014

Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) 
by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt BYR
Hardcover 489 pages
YA Fantasy
Reviewed e-ARC provided by publisher
AmazonKindleBN/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo
Goodreads:  In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.


So as always, I chose the book a long time ago and get approved to read it. I don't read the summary again so I am totally blind going in to read the book. Best way to do it. I was thrilled with Lia! She is a fabulous princess because she is so unlike a princess! She doesn't have the haughty airs of a royal at all and I'm pretty sure, from reading accounts of her previous adventures, she never had any. She is a born rebel! I thought she was a little reckless with her safety in the beginning but I believe it just came from growing up in a palace surrounded by people that constantly protected her. She wasn't aware of danger. It just didn't register with her like it did everyone else. Her enjoyment of her freedom is addictive. She finds the smallest things bringing her the greatest joy, things the townspeople ( and I) would take for granted- the colors of the shops, the smell of the air, the pleasure of a bath even in a cold stream. Her character just continues to grow throughout the story and I continued to love her. Oh, she could dish out the coldness when it needed to be. And toying with suspicions, metting out revenge, stoicism. I could go on. My admiration for Lia just continued to grow throughout the book and it ends on a very high note.

This story, what a crafty weaver of tales Ms. Pearson is! I was so hooked leading me along the merry path, thinking one thing, something I really didn't like. I actually discussed it with my husband told him how much I liked the book and all, except for this one thing.  And then bam! Hit me right between the eyes and I had to go back and reread. I had assumed some things that were absolutely not true. Next day had to explain to my husband again about the book and how I was enjoying it so much more because of the same thing I hadn't liked the day before I had been wrong about it. A sharper reader might not have gotten fooled. I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer these days. But God did I love being wrong!!!
(And my husband didn't fall asleep either night when I explained the book to him, miracles).

So here's what I think, there are a lot of "songs" in the beginnings of each chapter that refer to religious texts and tales from the gods. Not a lot is explained, it sort of slowly unfolds, but I wasn't completely clear. Lia does tell the tale about The Remnant so it is more or less explained but much is left to be told. That didn't bother me.  Just skipped right over what I didn't know. I concentrated on what I did know. Lia, the people she knew, the countries that were allied, the "barbarians" and the action. There is so much going on that you really shouldn't get hung up or even have time to think about what you don't know. There are so many delicious little hints about what might be and I kept waiting for some things to happen that never did, but I just know they are coming. The only thing I hate is that it will be another year before the next book comes out. As excited as I am about Lia and this book, I hope I can remember my enthusiasm by the time the next book rolls out a year from now.

Recommended for lovers of fantasy, young adult, romance, strong female characters and a lot of action. I think I was tired after reading everything that happened. There is some violence and some crude sexual references, but nothing terrible. No sex, no bad words and no nudity.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Forgiven by Rachel Morgan

Forgiven (A Trouble Novella) by Rachel Morgan
Available Now
New Adult (without the explicit sex or major drama)
Amazon Digital Services 
E-book 76 pages
FREE on Kindle
FREE on Nook
FREE on Kobo

Goodreads:  Three hundred and six days ago, Julia ran away from home. Abandoning her family, friends, boyfriend, and university plans, she fled with no explanation. She can’t hide forever, though, and now it’s time to face the mess she left behind.


I know the first thing you're going to think, "I don't like novellas!" (some of you might not feel so strongly as the exclamation point, but you have let me know, not interested). But before you rush to judge, let me tell you why you should give this one a try. First it's a prequel to a new series by Rachel Morgan. I don't know if you remember me singing the praises of her Creepy Hollow series (The Faerie Guardian, The Faerie Prince,  The Faerie War) which started as monthly novellas and then turned into full length books. I LOVED that series. It was the perfect mix of adventure, disaster, faeries, unique magic, and romance. Rachel's voice is easy to connect with and I find myself easily slipping into the character's mind as soon as I start to read.

Second reason to give it a try, new setting, at least for me- South Africa! I haven't read any books set there. I got a small sense of what it was like to live there. Some of the settings and expectations. It was a very different setting for me. And at first I was thinking Florida. So hope I didn't ruin that for you, but it isn't completely central to the plot of the story. I don't think it's a spoiler or I wouldn't mention it. 

Third, this is a complete story packed into these pages. Rachel doesn't drag out the drama unnecessarily. She relieves us quickly of our questions and honestly, my mind did not go to where the answers were until the very end. The story is resolved and no, I don't think it happened too fast. I think once the beans were spilled, the rest just fell into place. Julia has had almost a year to process what has happened between what happened and the days she has to confront the thing that made her run. She is not a child of ten, she is almost an adult.
Her coming back to celebrate her parents' anniversary I think is just an excuse. Okay, I'll stop psychoanalyzing. 

I really enjoyed the character of Julia and her relationships with her sisters. I loved that she was  so connected to them, despite having left them so abruptly. Her parents were very much a part of her life and she had great friends. Even her boyfriend was likable, lovable. Not one that you would run away from without a very good reason. Even though they are no longer together, they are still able to speak amicably to each other which speaks volumes for the type of guy he is considering how Julia left without even a goodbye.

So, there are my reasons for reading this novella. It has some adult content, violence of a sexual nature so it is for the older YA to NA crowd. And yes these characters, have graduated and are going to college. Kinda. There is romance for everyone that needs that with there story. You will be happy with it.

Oh and there is a nice bit of the 1st actual full length book in the series, The Trouble with Flying, at the end of the novella. And it involves some of the characters from this novella. 

Go on now, read it. Squeeze it in between the pool and dinner. Or while you're waiting at the dentist office. Or just taking one more weekend trip before (shh) school starts.

Happy Summer!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lost in Starlight Excerpt by Sherry Soule


Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She will be publishing a brand new Upper YA / Sci-Fi romance series: the “Starlight Saga” with scorching-hot character chemistry, exciting suspense, and epic romance on June 26, 2014.
To help promote this interstellar love story, “LOST IN STARLIGHT,” Sherry is doing this guest post to share the news with fellow booklovers.

VOLUME ONE: Starlight Saga
High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.
Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.
They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.
Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life....
Enjoy this sneak peek!
I don’t usually stalk boys, but if I hadn’t been spying on Hayden Lancaster, I never would’ve seen the mind-blowing fork-bending incident.
I scoot back the creaky plastic chair and rest my chin on my fist. Lunch hour is the best time to study my classmates undetected. Especially the tall, hot, and broody ones.
Not that I’m a bad person. Honest. I’ve never narked on anyone. I don’t kick puppies. And I normally don’t play at undercover agent. Well...until today.
“Are you scoping out a new story?” My best friend, Viola Saks, shifts in her seat, her nose stuck in the latest Jack Kilborn novel. Viola prefers her book boyfriends over real guys, and I gotta admit, she has a point. Fictional hotties are way more exciting than the real thing.
“Yup. But right now, I’m only observing,” I say. “People watching.”
Tiny white lie. I’m secretly kicking off: “Operation Lancaster.”
Haven High’s cafeteria is the perfect spot to catch up on gossip, observe clique wars, and witness any mean girl activity. This is where I discover the most newsworthy stories.
As two girls pass our table, one of them bumps my chair without apologizing. To me, the lunchroom is more than just a place to chow down on industrial-grade food. It reminds me of a prison scene, with its hostile mingling and violent chaos, like inmates at mealtime. Saying the cafeteria is only for eating is like saying an underground lair is only for plotting world domination. If you can survive a high school lunchroom, then you can survive anything. Well, with the exception of a zombie apocalypse.
The double-doors swing open and in walks Hayden Lancaster, chin held high. Next to him is his younger brother, Zach, bouncing a basketball with one hand and drinking a soda with the other. Hayden’s eyes are trained directly ahead as they stride across the crowded room.
About time. The focus of my newest article has finally arrived. Opening my purse, I get out my Hello Kitty spiral-bound notebook and pen. Now I’m ready.
The Lancaster brothers are both gorgeous in a way that should be totally illegal, but look nothing alike. Zach is a cocky, dark-haired, all-round jock, and Hayden is the quiet, rockstar-sexy, drummer-type. He’s one of those guys who prefers to function in his own little world. And I’ll admit that I sure wouldn’t mind a starring role on his planet.
But I’m not sure which social group they fit into...the misunderstood-brooding-hot-guys duo?
I covertly look over at Hayden sitting three tables away from mine. He’s six feet tall, and lean, yet muscular. The times we’ve passed each other in the halls, his eyes are usually twinkling as if he knows an intriguing secret. Today, Hayden’s wearing a dark blue short-sleeved, button-up shirt with faded skinny jeans, a studded belt, and scuffed Etnies. On one arm, he has several black rubber bracelets. Nothing too unusual about him.
Except for one very odd feature.
Hayden has two different colored eyes. He turns his head and his light brown fauxhawk falls over his forehead in a messy yet somehow deliberate way, landing over his one strikingly blue eye. The other one is green. Besides the rare heterochromia iridis, he seems to be just another smokin’ hot brainiac.
Flipping open my notebook, I write: Startling eye color and member of the Amazing Hair Club. Check.
Wait. Why am I thinking about how über hot he is? Seriously not important.
Viola lowers her book a fraction. “You’re totally staring at the Lancasters.”
“I’m not staring.”
“Oh, right, you’re observing.” She tilts her head. “Most girls can’t resist guys like them. They have that...”
Incredibly sexy quality?
“Dangerous vibe going,” Viola finishes.
I pull out a bag of celery from my lunchbox. “Yeah, I guess.”
Maybe I should write that down. Sexy bad-boys. Check.
Viola points at my lunch. “Your mom on that health food kick again?”
She reaches out a slender arm to nab a French fry.
 “Seriously? How are you supermodel thin when you eat stuff like that?” I groan and glance at her slim figure clad in a skintight black dress with thigh-high boots. A silver eyebrow ring glints in the dull light. “I could eat only yogurt for the rest of my life and I’d still be your chubby sidekick.”
She scoffs. “You’re not chubby, Sloane. You’re extra curvy.”
Whatevs. Guess that’s just what people say when you’re a foodie like me.
Viola’s flicks a page of her book. “So what’s this article on?”
I clear my throat. “Actually, I’m investigating Hayden Lancaster.”
“Should be interesting.” One brown eye peeks over the edge of the paperback. “Any particular reason?”
“Because of this hacker rumor going around. The gossip this morning was off the hook. Supposedly, Hayden hacked into the school’s computer system over the weekend to change some grades. School administrators are saying that they’ll probably need a day just to block any security breaches.”
She straightens, lowering her book. “That’s odd. Isn’t he on the honor roll? Why would he need to alter his grades?”
I shrug. “Beats me. Maybe he was doing it for someone else.”
As a reporter for our online newspaper the Haven Gazette, a hacker scandal is way huge. And since my college resume is in dire need of some padding, this assignment was just too juicy to pass up. Plus, a front-page byline will look much more impressive in a hardcore journalism-type of way than my own wicked cool column—Fright Night Babble—where I mainly review and chat about horror films.
My gaze strays back to the brothers. I can tell by Hayden’s jerky head movements that the brothers are engrossed in a heated discussion. Somebody’s not a happy camper. His angular features and flawless skin reddens, and Zach’s square jaw clenches.
Dang it. I’m too far away to read their lips.
Mid-rant, Hayden scoots his chair back, the metal legs squeaking on the linoleum floor. He slides his cell phone out of his pocket and reads the screen, then scratches the stubble on his cheek with a frown. Zach tries to grab the phone, but Hayden shoves it back into his pocket.
“You dumped her, bro?” Zach practically shouts.
Hayden’s hands curl into fists. “Will you stop making a big thing out of it!”
Viola and I exchange a look. For a minute, the entire cafeteria falls silent.
“Whoa.” She points a fry at the brothers. “I wonder what Hayden and Zach are fighting about. And who got dumped?”
“Sounds like it’s over some girl. I didn’t even know he had a girlfriend.”
But it would seem that he’s a free man now. Interesting…
“Neither did I. As far as I know, Zach and Hayden have never even dated any of the girls at this school.” Viola sighs. “Like they think they’re too good for us or something.”
I slam my juice box on the table, purple liquid shooting out of the straw. “Maybe that’s because everyone’s so damn cliquey at this school. It’s just wrong, the way the other kids treat them,” I say. “Did you hear? Someone jacked up Hayden’s locker again with spray paint.” I’m beyond disgusted by some of my classmates’ Neanderthal moves.
“Then maybe you should investigate who keeps screwing with the Lancasters, instead. Hayden and Zach can’t help being sexy and brilliant.” Viola is an advocate for social justice in high school, and totally reading my mind. “Besides, if Hayden got away with the hacking incident, there’s no real story, and you probably won’t find any credible sources to verify the allegation.”
I bite off the end of a celery stalk. “Are you kidding me? There’s a story here—I can feel it.”

Monday, July 7, 2014

Books for A Cause

So if you saw my post last week you will know that I had a fun meet up with some blogging friends. One of them is Heather Anne from Turning Pages . She has a big heart and a big goal of raising $2000 for her Stand Up to Cancer Read-a-Thon and Giveaway Auction. She has a personal story on her blog that she willingly shares as to why she is doing this and is only asking for our help to spread the word, donate, participate in the read-a-thon or come up with some ideas for her to reach her goal.

One thing Heather Anne says that I have always found to be true is that Book Bloggers as a community really are a giving community. So lets help her out in whatever way we can. Okay? Spread the word. Visit her home page about this and see why this is so special to her. Get friends and family to pledge money to you for reading books (how great is that?) and fill out your pledge form.

Do whatever you can! Visit Heather Anne and let her know that you support her any way you can! Thanks in advance for your big hearts!! Books for a Cause

Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Fun with Friends!!

So I haven't been hiding under the bedcovers or anything, in fact, I have actually gotten out of the house with other book lovers, .....once.  Just the other night. Here we are in Birkdale, an outdoor shopping center with great restaurants, neat little boutique stores and of course, a bookstore, not indie, but a book store.

From left to right is Lisa of Diznee's World of Books, Heather Anne of Turning Pages, me, and Joli of Actin' Up With Books!  Thanks to Joli, I met Lisa and Heather Anne earlier in the year and was able to meet up with them again when Joli came to town. We had a fabulous dinner at Brixx Pizza and then went on to Barnes and Noble. We had fun there too. Evidence is below!
Book Binge!!!

 Show OFF!!

My Book Friends!!

Okay, so this is really more like the book stacks. My books are somewhere else. Lisa and I both bought The Sound by Sarah Alderson. According to Heather Anne it's really great.  

As we talked about books and were impressed by the YA section of the local Barnes and Noble (I haven't been impressed in the past but it has really stepped up it's game), I think we might have sold some books. I know somebody in our group helped someone find THE MAZE RUNNER for a young boy that wanted to read it. I'm also afraid I heard the parent trying to talk him out of it, but I'm hoping that wasn't what I heard. But yes, we talked books and found out all four of us had already read WE WERE LIARS and loved it.

So, I have to say, it was so much fun to hang out with adults. I don't think I have had a day without kids since school ended. And a girls night? Uh....maybe the last time a friend got married and I was catering it. Does that count? Yeah, no I don't think so. I had such a good time. It kind of filled the well for me. Each of us are very different but love books. It's common ground for all of us, I'm pretty much the grandmother of the group and Heather Anne is the baby. But none of that mattered. As you can see, we had a blast!

Hope you guys are having some book fun somewhere in the world this summer!!
And for the Americans in the group
Happy Fourth of July!!!


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