Monday, September 30, 2013

ARC Review: Skulk by Rosie Best @strangechem

Title: Skulk

Author: Rosie Best

Publication date: October 1st, 2013

ISBN: 9781908844705

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
To some, Meg Banks' life might look perfect--she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school, and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg's only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.

While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox... a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. It isn't long before Meg realizes that she's also inherited the power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.

She is plunged into the shodowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters--the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, however, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.

Review:
A copy of this book was provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

I have developed a tendency to request practically every book that is offered to me by the publicity department of Strange Chemistry. I have yet to find a book published by them that I do not either love or like quite a bit. Skulk was really no exception.

The story opens with a teenage girl from a privileged upbringing ventures out on a quest to paint a political statement on the wall of her all girl's upper-class school. What starts out as a simple act of rebellion and an attempt to express herself the best way she knows how, ends up becoming entry into a world she never would have imagined existed. She comes face-to-face with what she believes in a dying fox, but as she approaches the wounded creature cautiously, hoping she can find a way to ease it's suffering, the small orange and black creature shifts into a naked man covered in blood and dying right before her eyes with a cryptic message of "stay away from the fog..." and a bright blue gemstone laying beside him.

Meg stumbles home, shell-shocked and confused, to her absent and neglectful father and emotionally (and often physically) abusive mother. She soon comes to realize that she can shift into a fox much like the dying man could. Soon she finds she is not the only person in London with the ability. She meets men and women who can turn into foxes, spiders, rats, ravens, and, even, butterflies. They are guardians of these mysterious gemstones, one of which is in her possession.

Meg confronts crazed wizards, stubborn shapeshifters, suspicion, wonder, and even a dash of love in her quest to find herself and her purpose in life.

I found Skulk to be an original concept on shapeshifters. It was nice to branch out from the stereotypical wolf shifters into something vastly different. While there were some areas where I was a little put off by Meg's inability to realize things I had suspected early on in the story. Granted, Meg was meant to be kept in the dark until the very end, much as the way with most books. She just seemed a little duller than I would have liked her to be. I didn't find myself connecting with any of the characters in the book. I liked all of them alright, but I didn't feel any sort of resonating kinship with any of them. I wish I had since all of them were different in sexuality, race, and financial standing. Perhaps having so many differences was the reason I didn't find it as appealing. Being well rounded is one thing but attempting to cover EVERY difference in society makes the world seem a bit unrealistic. Nobody is the same? Odd.

Skulk is a world of wonder and intrigue that presents a conspiracy of mysteries and betrayal. It will keep you guessing and makes everyone a suspect.

Available at:
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves @NetGalley @DuttonBooks @tgarvisgraves

Title: Covet

Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves

Publication date: September 17th, 2013

ISBN: 9780525954071

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
From the author of the New York Times bestseller On the Island.

What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?

Chris and Claire Canton's marriage is on life support. Downsizing during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he's offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire's concern their time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can't weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.

Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they're spending hours together.

Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and they way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire's marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn't take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she'll never cross.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have been attempting to branch out in the types of books I choose to read. A paranormal lover to the core, I didn't know how I would feel about a book that's main focus was the struggle to remain faithful in a failing marriage performed by a suburban house wife and the token sexy police officer. I am not the type of person who generally goes for those types of books, but I was drawn in by the eppervesent cover and the question of whether the tempted soccer mom goes through with her torrid affair or if she shows restraint that most women in her situation would be physically, mentally, and, above all, sexually unable to do so.

The love triangle of Chris, Claire, and Daniel starts with the presentation of a marriage that has seen happier days. Chris is a workaholic with no work to speak of after being laid off for a year from his job as a software sales manager. Despite having the picture perfect family, Chris is unable to find the happiness he needs to enjoy his life. Bills are piling up and the recession has put a hurtin' on the job market. Chris takes the first job in his field that comes along. The drawback? He is to be spend almost all of his time traveling without seeing his wife or his children. Chris's philosophy is to do what needs to be done to provide for his family and fix the emotional ramifications once they are back in the black financially. What he doesn't count on is the fact that his family may not be satisfied with "hold on a little longer".

Claire, the lonely and forgotten housewife, finds her way into a friendship with a police officer that pulls her over one day for a broken taillight. The "ridiculously good-lookin' officer" quickly starts plaguing her thoughts and her bruised heart. She reluctantly enters into a comfortable friendship with the man, telling herself that it will not go any further than just that. What she doesn't count on is how quickly and easily Daniel starts to take the place of absentee Chris. Staying away from Daniel is starting to become harder and harder. Can she continue to resist the officer who has his own loneliness and abandonment to deal with? Can two kindred spirits find solace in each other while not finding their way into a scorching hot affair?

I am absolutely and completely against cheating. It's something I am as passionate about as most people are about religion and politics. It is simply my belief system. With the premise of this book, I was so worried it was going to become something I just couldn't deal with. I even made grumble that I knew I was going to have to rate this book poorly once it came to reviewing it. Surprisingly, I found myself completely consumed by this absolutely plausible read. I felt for Claire, Chris, and Daniel alike. There was not one that I couldn't understand their point of view and feel exactly how they were feeling.

Covet is an all-American read of temptation, romance, family, and the resilience of love. Garvis-Graves has a way with words that causes the reader to feel exactly what the characters themselves are feeling at any given point in the story. It's a skill not many authors have been able to accomplish. This is a contemporary work of masterful fiction that even hardcore paranormal buffs like myself could enjoy.

Available at:
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Wait For You by J. Lynn @JLArmentrout @TLCBookTours

Title: Wait for You

Author: J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout)

Series: Wait for You #1

Publication date: February 26th, 2013

ISBN: 9780062294777

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
#1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling phenomenon.

Some things are worth waiting for...

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Mogansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago--an even that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe--please God--make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn't need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing...

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that's just so... so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should be kept quiet...

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for...

Review:
I received an ARC of this book from the publishers in exchange for participation in a blog tour as well as an honest review.

I have read and reviewed several of Jennifer L. Armentrout's young adult paranormal reads and was anxious to branch out into her new adult books written under the pseudonym J. Lynn. I was approached by TLC Book Tours about participating in the blog tour for Wait for You and I jumped at the chance. I was a little anxious when I started reading the book because I was afraid one of my favorite authors could possibly end up letting me down as she attempted a slightly different genre than her normal young adult books.

Wait for You opens on an emotionally damaged nineteen-year-old girl named Avery who has decided to move across the country for college in an attempt to run from her past and get some space from her burdensome family. She never imagined how freeing it would be to walk a school campus and have no one whispering behind her back or glaring daggers at her when she came near. She allowed herself to make new friends and even ended up "plowing" into one of the hottest guys on campus.

Cam is intrigued by the awkward, skittish Avery from the moment he laid his baby blue eyes on her. He was determined to get to know her. Little did he know that Avery's behavior was due to a traumatic past that causes a wall to form between the two in which Cam must find a way to beat down at all costs. Cam too has a past he is ashamed of and doesn't wish to alert Avery to. Perhaps between the two of them they can find a way to heal their festering wounds with a love that melds hearts and souls as one.

I completely DEVOURED Wait for You. I could not put it down to eat, sleep, shower, or any of the normal human behaviors. I needed to know what was happening with two of the most well developed characters I have ever met within the realm of fiction. Avery resonated with me heavily due to her haunted past. I think everyone has some sort of past that they are either ashamed of as Cam was or devastated by as with Avery. This book covers all of that and causes it's readers to feel a kinship with either or both of the characters. Their courage to confront these hardships gives its readers faith in themselves that they can do the same.

The romance between Avery and Cam is the stuff of fairytales. Cam truly is the white knight with slightly scuffed armor who is sent to not rescue Avery, but show her that she can rescue herself. Wait for You is my first experience with the genre of New Adult and it has made me hungry for me.

Available at:
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Rest of the Tour:
September 3rd: Why Girls Are Weird
September 5th: Dear Brighton
September 10th: Schmexy Girl Book Reviews
September 12th: Mom in Love With Fiction
September 13th: From the TBR Pile
September 13th: Tina's Book Reviews
September 15th: Cupcake on Books
September 16th: Appraising Pages
September 17th: Sweet Southern Home
September 18th: Into the Hall of Books
September 19th: Tiffany's Bookshelf
September 23rd: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
September 24th: Ladybug Literature
September 25th: Books a la Mode
September 27th: Book Marks the Spot


About the Author:
Jennifer L. Armentrout, also know as J. Lynn, is the USA Today bestselling author of the Lux and Gamble Brothers series. She is also the author of the award-winning Covenant series. She writes young adult fiction for Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Publishing, and Disney/Hyperion and adult fiction for Entangled Publishing. When she's not busy writing, which is next to never, she can be found procrastinating on Twitter or messing with her dog, Loki. She lives with her husband in West Virginia and is addicted to 5-Hour Energy drinks.





Tour Hosted by:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid @Month9Books @NetGalley

Title: Pretty Dark Nothing

Author: Heather L. Reid

Series: Pretty Dark Nothing #1

Publication date: April 23rd, 2013

ISBN: 9780985327811

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
It's been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don't make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

Review:
I received an e-copy from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was intrigued by how dark and spooky the cover portrayed the book to be. It seemed like it would be more horror than anything else. The premise even gave the same impression. I had am always a fan of reading debut novels for new authors and seeing how their skill grows throughout their various books afterwards.

Reid's debut book opens on a very troubled girl. She has lost her boyfriend of three years to the school slut, as well as her arch-nemesis, and she is struggling with hallucinations and voices speaking within her head. She doesn't know how to deal and she slowly loses all the people who she could once trust. As part of the social dynamic of most high school dramas, as soon as the popular boy dumps someone that person loses their social standing. Quinn, attempts to find peace in her chaotic life, but her only saving grace is Aaron.

Aaron is inexplicably drawn to Quinn and has no clue why. Sure, Quinn is cute and sweet, but his obsession with protecting her and loving her borders on obsessive. When Quinn faints in the hallway of their school, Aaron is there to catch her and makes it his mission from that point on to find a way to be with Quinn.

Aaron and Quinn's relationship is a constant rollercoaster. They are constantly doubting each other's loyalty as well as whether they should in fact be together. They attempt to get over their instant love for each other by distracting themselves with other people. This, of course, poses more and more drama for Aaron who can't remember his life before his accident and for Quinn who is struggling with dark, supernatural forces.

This book was not for me. Aaron and Quinn's romance was incredibly frustrating. They were avoiding each other, loving each other, then trying to hurt each other at every turn of the page. I just couldn't handle it. Not to mention, the big baddies that Quinn had to deal with were a steady steam of the same thing. Making Quinn feel worse and worse about herself until it comes to a shaky and completely unnecessary ending. I think for a first go, Reid has a lot of ways she could improve. Props for the effort and with this being a serial book, she has the next book to tweak and fix some of the flaws in this book. I have faith. I will definitely give the second book a go if and when it is published.

Pretty Dark Nothing is an interesting twist on all the angel books out there in today's age. Where most books focus on the beauty and majesty of angels, Pretty Dark Nothing draws upon the darker side of the romanticized creatures.

Available at:
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Gargoyle Addiction by Livia Olteano

 

Title: Gargoyle Addiction

Author: Livia Olteano

Series: Otherworlds Summons #1

Publication date: July 12th, 2013

ISBN: n/a

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Summonari don't trust. Under their command, they summon any number of creatures from the Otherworlds--but never trust them outside of the summoning.

Gargoyles don't love. Fierce descendants of dragons, they function on power and fear--never love.

Karla isn't the happily-ever-after type of girl. No territory-hungry guy is going to stick flags all over her unclaimed grounds. Kann's world is death and betrayal. As Dar Primus of Haus Varis, he's unexpected to follow tradition but he's not your regular gargoyle. In fact, he's anything but.

One fateful Friday night, Otherworlds collide. Stuck together in one world or another, Karla and Kann face everything from Awakenings and turbulent love to Festnavals and bloodthirsty scorned suitors.

If there's one thing they can't escape, it's the addiction to each other. And they've got it bad.

Review:
I received an e-copy of Gargoyle Addiction from blog tour host to review for promotional purposes.

When I first laid eyes on the cover of this book I had been fascinated by gargoyles. I had just read another book about the supernatural species and was quick to want to read another book that may be even more interesting than my first introduction.

In Gargoyle Addiction, Karla is celebrating (with copious amounts of alcohol) her birthday. Her gay best friend and his smitten-with-her brother have taken Karla out for a night on the town. Upon her return home, her best friend, Mike, gives her a gift she has been dying for, an advanced readers copy of the next book in her favorite series, The Risen Chronicles. Tipsy and giddy she dives into the fantasy world that she loves. When a drunken desire stirs her less-than-human blood into action she summons the dark, mysterious gargoyle from her favorite book series. She had a book boyfriend crush on him from her reading, but meeting the handsome Kann in person terrifies and arouses her more than she would wish to admit.

Kann was used to his kind being summoned by witches and wizards a-like to aid them in various duties. His own brother had been the subject of a summons not to long ago. So when he turns up in the human/sleeper world he is quick to just give his summoner what they desire so he return to his home. What he didn't expect was to feel completely consumed with a desire for the awkward sleeper woman who called him to her. Being quick about breaking the summons and returning home is a little less daunting with the vivacious, and often frustrating, woman beside him.

Kann and Karla start a wild romance with depths they never wished to explore. Neither of them want to admit that their physical attraction and need to be within reach of each other at all times, is anything but a mystical connection due to the summons. Could it be more? Are either of them capable of such a thing?

I liked this book, but I did not love the book. I thought the concept, characters, and pathway of the story was well delivered and some of the most original literary work I have seen in quite a while. As a paranormal romance enthusiast I sometimes find that a lot of the books out are extremely similar to others I have read or heard about. Gargoyle Addiction was vastly different and I couldn't think of one book that followed a similar storyline. The only issue I had with the book was the author's love affair with the word "turbulent". Everything from "turbulent love" to "turbulent path" to turbulent this or that. I got to the point where when it was mentioned I inwardly cringed. Just a small personal issue, I suppose.

Gargoyle Addiction is a fantastical work of fiction that draws its readers into a world where all the supernatural creatures of myths are alive and well only in worlds of their own.

Available at:
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About the Author:
Livia lives in Europe where she listens to obscene amounts of music and devours every reading material in sight. When she's not doing either of the two, she fiddles with anything remotely customizable within reach.









Giveaway!
Enter to win an ecopy of Gargoyle's Addiction from the author by following this blog on GFC and leaving a comment with the name you used to follow. That's it! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

ARC Review: Shadows by Paula Weston

Title: Shadows

Author: Paula Weston

Series: The Rephaim #1

Publication date: September 10th, 2013

ISBN: 9781770495470

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
It's almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn't help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who's been appearing in Gaby's dreams--he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth--and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series, is a standout paranormal romance for fans of Richelle Mead and Cassandra Clare.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am not sure where I learned about this book. I may have seen it on another book blogger's site or I may have just saw it on NetGalley and thought it would make for an interesting read. However I ended up learning about this book, I sure am glad I did.

Paula Weston's Shadows opens with a girl named Gaby enjoying the simplicity of her life. She gets a new job at a library, she lives with her best friend on a beachside bungalow, but she is nursing the emotional and physical wounds of losing her twin brother in a car crash. A year after the accident that stole her brother from her, she is still brokenhearted and devastated at the loss. She is plagued by grotesque and disturbing dreams of monsters and blood, to which she chalks up to a warped subconscious trying to make sense of her overwhelming pain. It is only through her determination to live her life that she ends up at a bar not far from her home and face-to-face with the boy who has become an ongoing feature in her horrific dreams.

Rafa believes Gaby is the girl he knew in the past. They had an constant rivalry that made pushing her buttons all that much more fun. However, when the button pushing only warrants a confused grimace, Rafa must face the truth that Gaby may have once been his best friend's twin sister, but is now a complete stranger. Rafa, desperate to believe the Gaby he once knew is still inside her finds himself in the position of protecting her from the demons and Rephaim that would do her harm in her current state. What neither he nor Gaby banked on was a sudden attraction to sprout between them in the path of such confusing and dangerous times.

With most of the books I receive for review, I read the synopsis only in order to request them and when I start reading them, I go in blind. I did not read the synopsis before hand and so was indifferent to the story once I began. That quickly changed as I found myself thoroughly engulfed in the stories of the Rephaim and Gaby's lost memories. The romance simmering between Rafa and Gaby hooked me into their world even more. I was gripping my Kindle as if I was starving and Shadows was the only substance that would sate me. I went on one of my customary book binges and could not put it down.

Shadows is a paranormal read that brings about more and more questions and intrigue with every flip of the page. It draws it's readers in and doesn't release them until the final word of the final sentence. Shadows gave me a book hangover on a monumental degree. What can compare? How can I find anything as all-consuming as the world Weston created? And most importantly, when can I get my hands on the sequel, Haze?

Available at:
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