Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Release Day: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Yet another ending to a great series has come! Today, Into the Still Blue, the final book of Under the Never Sky has been released. So sad to see Aria and Perry go, but I'm so excited for this book! Through the Ever Night was AMAZING, and I can't wait to see how Veronica Rossie wraps up the series. We will read it ASAP and get a review out for it soon. 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)
Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

Veronica Rossi BETTER fix the Roar situation. I'm not kidding. I know Aria and Perry will be fine, but Roar? I kind of want him to fall in love with someone else, since I don't like seeing him cold and downright depressed, but at the same time I don't. He and Liv were perfect and no one else is right for him. I just don't think anyone else is really going to compare, right? I just hope that everything will turn out okay, and by the gods Roar better not be killed or any junk like that as a "fix" for the problem. He's my favorite character. I won't let anything happen to him.

Today, Into the Still Blue was released with several other Harper Teen books, including The Dark Curiosity by Meaghan Shepherd, and Infinite by Jodi Meadows. Any of these on your to-read list?

Happy Reading! ~


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Steph's Rating:  3 stars
Dani's Rating: 4 stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Format: ebook
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: December 11th, 2012
Pages: 412

Goodreads Synopsis:
 In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Steph's Review:

Falling Kingdoms is a very solid story with an intriguing plotline, and I did enjoy reading this book. It is set in multiple POV's of characters within the books, four main voices that represent all of the "worlds" -- the drastically different kingdoms -- of the land. 

The three split kingdoms of Auranos, Paelsia, and Limeros are  all vying for the domination over all three.  Auranos is the wealthy kingdom, where there is plenty. Paelsia is a kingdom that has been completely devastated, where citizens' only hope is the rumor of their Chief's magical powers. Limeros is a cold and hard kingdom with a face of stone--highly militaristic, yet successful--and the biggest rival to Auranos. With the advent of magic returning to the land once more, a war for power begins amongst the three kingdoms, beginning the fall of each nation as people know.

Since this is a very character oriented book, I'll do a character talk for this one:

Cleo: Crown Princess of Auranos, excessively spoiled and used to getting her way. Despite her faults, she is my favorite character in this book because she's brave and loyal to a fault. When illness descends upon her family, and chasing the dream of magic is the only way to save them, she raises her hand first to search for a cure even when it means traveling straight into the depth of a deathly domain.

Magnus: Crown Prince and heir of Limeros, who has a secret--he's in love with his own sister Lucia. The incest thing first really freaked me out, but once I got over that after a few chapters, I really loved Magnus. His father, the King, is cold and sadistic and hopes his son will follow the same path. Magnus is more soft-hearted than the King, but he has to constantly put on the facade of being a perfect son. I do love Magnus, but not as much as Cleo because Magnus has one great fault: cowardice.

Lucia: I really don't like Lucia. She's Magnus's sister but she's so...naive. And stupid so to say. Sure she's got a pretty face that attracts Magnus to her like a flock, but otherwise? I couldn't connect with her. Of all the characters, I disiked reading her POV the most. She's boring, and like a sheep--just takes whatever she's told and accepts it, with no mind for herself. 

Jonas: I didn't love Jonas, and didn't hate him. The most feeling I had for him was pity--his brother was killed through a misunderstanding with Cleo, and his desire for revenge overrides rational though for him. He tried to lead a Paelsian rebellion, and didn't always realize that his goal and the Chief of Paelsia's goals were not one and the same. I'm hoping he will turn out to be a better character in Rebel Spring (Book 2). 

Each of the characters represents a very extreme POV within the book, so I don't know how Morgan Rhodes is going to tie their story up, but can't wait to see how she expands this story.

The main reason I gave this book 3 stars was because it was so predictable. Since there are four POV's going on, suspense was basically killed. The reader knows exactly what to expect in the next chapters, etc. Another reason for the 3 stars is instalove alert. The characters fall in love every which way like crazy without buildup, especially Cleo.

Falling Kingdoms is a good read but didn't give me the "can't put it down" vibe. I will be reading the next book to look for improvements to the story. It's a good book to read in your spare time, so that you won't devote an hours-long block of time to finish it in one go.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Be With Me by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Amentrout) 5 Chapter Excerpt

Pleasantly surprised me! I get the cover to The Forever Song today, as well as a 5 CHAPTER excerpt to Be With Me by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout). This is the second Wait For You book that follows the story between Teresa (Cam's sister) and Jase (Cam's best friend). 5 Chapters is A LOT for an excerpt! Be With Me is out in less than two weeks on February 4th through Harper Collins. Be on the lookout for this on the shelves!

Be with Me (Wait for You, #2)Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not…


You can view this document on Scribd HERE.

You can view Jen's post about the Be With Me Excerpt HERE.

Happy Reading ~


The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa Cover and Teaser!

Julie Kagawa's silence is no more! Today she shared a picture of the cover to The Forever Song, book three and final installment in the Blood of Eden series. She also had the grace to share a lovely teaser with us :)

It is very simple like the other books of the series, but I love the birds and the infinite symbol they make. Cheesy? Maybe, but I like it.  Now, JK said she cried while writing this book. THAT has me severely worried. She's going to kill someone. I think. Zeke? Maybe Allie (won't ever make the mistake that a author won't kill their main character again, you know what I'm talking about)? For gods sake please not Jackal or Kanin either. I can't wait for this book, but now I am very, very scared.

Also, as you can see, the cover says that there will be a sneak peek at Talon at the end of the book, which I believe is the first book to Julie's new series on...dragons. 

Well I'll post the teaser Julie posted on her blog here for everyone to see, and link to the original blog post will be after the excerpt. Enjoy!

              The smell of blood grew thicker once we were past the wall, though nothing moved on the narrow path that snaked between houses.  The flimsy wood and tin shanties were silent, dark, as we ventured deeper, passing snow covered porches and empty chairs.  Everything looked intact, undisturbed.  There were no bodies.  No corpses mutilated in their beds, no blood spattered over the walls of the few homes we ducked into.  There weren't even any dead animals in the tiny, trampled pasture past the main strip.  Just snow, and dark, and emptiness.    
            And yet, the smell of blood soaked this place, hanging thick on the air, making my stomach ache and the Hunger roar to life.  I bit it down, clenching my jaw to keep from snarling in frustration.  It had been too long.  I needed food.  The scent of blood was driving me crazy, and the fact that there were no humans here made me furious.  Where were they?  It wasn't possible that an entire outpost of mortals would up and disappear without a trace.
            And then, as we followed the path around the pasture and up to the huge barn at the top of the rise, we found the townspeople.
            A massive, barren tree stood beside the barn, twisted branches clawing at the sky.  They creaked and swayed beneath the weight of dozens of bodies, hanging upside down from ropes tied to the limbs.  Men, women, even a few kids, swinging in the breeze, dangling arms stiff and white.  Their throats had been cut, and the base of the tree was stained black, the blood spilled and wasted in the snow.  But the smell nearly knocked me over regardless, and I clenched my fists, the Hunger raking my insides with fiery talons.  
            "Well," Jackal muttered, crossing his arms and gazing up at the tree, "isn't that festive."  His voice was tight, as if he too, was on the edge of losing it.  "I'm guessing this is the reason we haven't found a single bloodbag from here all the way back to New Covington."  He growled, shaking his head, lips curling back from his fangs.  "This guy is really starting to piss me off."
            I swallowed the Hunger, trying to focus through the gnawing ache.  "Why James, don't tell me you feel sorry for the walking meatsacks," I taunted, because sometimes, goading Jackal was the only thing that kept my mind off everything else.  He snorted and rolled his eyes.
            "No, sister, I'm annoyed because they don't have the decency to be alive so I can eat them."

Hahaha, Jackal <3

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (16): The One by Kiera Cass

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish event hosted by Breaking the SpineThis is a meme that many book blogs participate in to goggle over highly anticipated upcoming releases and fabulous covers and authors!
So sorry I'm getting a WoW out so late in the game, but I really wanted to do one today. Today's spotlight is on The One by Kiera Cass, and the last book in The Selection series following America, Maxon, and Aspen in a fight for the royal throne. 
The One (The Selection, #3)Goodreads Synopsis:
The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.
I ADORE the cover to this book. It's just so beautiful and elegant and I think it really fits the series well. This is my favorite of all three books.
But besides the cover...what's up with the title? It doesn't sound that good, though I think there could be multiple meanings to it. I'm looking forward to this a LOT, but that title has me worried. Several of my friends and I think "The One" is a sign that America might choose "herself', a choice she posed for herself in The Elite, which might mean not choosing either Maxon or Aspen. If it really ends up that way, I can understand the fact the Kiera Cass wants to make The Selection original from other love triangles, but I won't like it. I'm Team Maxon alllllll the way so I am rooting for him! 
The One is out this May, is it on your TBR lists as well?
Happy Reading,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Excerpt from White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find an EXCERPT from White Hot Kiss lurking around the web today from RT Book Reviews. White Hot Kiss is out in late February, and this is still basically one of the first teasers we've gotten for the book other than it's first chapter that can be read at the end of it's prequel, Bitter Sweet Love. Can't, can't, can't wait for this book!


White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.


“So what do you know about your other half?”
And he was back to me again. I sighed. “Not that much. They told me my mom was a demon, and that’s pretty much it.”
“What?” Roth sat back. “You really are that innocent of your heritage. It’s cute, but oddly infuriating.”
I nibbled on my cookie. “They think it’s better that way.”
“And you think it’s okay for them to keep you completely in the dark when it comes to the other part of you?”
I took another bite, shrugging. “It’s not like I claim the other half.”
He rolled his eyes. “You know, it kind of reminds me of a dictatorship. The way the Wardens treat you, that is.”
“How so?”
“Keep the people in the darkness, away from the truth. Makes them easier to control.” He sipped his coffee, watch­ing me over the lid. “It’s the same with you.” He shrugged. “Not that you seem to care.”
“They don’t control me.” I broke off the cookie roughly, briefly considered throwing it in his face. But that would be a waste of a perfectly good cookie. “And I guess you’re on speak­ing terms with some of the world’s most infamous dictators.”
“I wouldn’t say I talk to them.” His lips pursed thoughtfully. “More like shove hot pokers through them when I get bored.”
I cringed. “For real?”
“Hell ain’t pretty for those who’ve earned their way.”
I thought about that for a moment. “Well, they kind of de­serve an eternity of torture.” I glanced around the cafĂ©, over the shimmering souls and framed portraits on the walls. They were pictures of former owners, each old and silver-haired. And then I saw her.
Or I saw her soul first.
Sinner alert. The essence around her was tainted, a kalei­doscope of dark shades. I wondered what she had done. Once her soul faded, I saw that she looked like a normal thirty­something woman. She was dressed nicely, wore really cute heels and carried a to-die-for purse. Her blond hair was a bit brassy, but cut in a trendy bob. She looked normal. Nothing to be afraid of or to run from, but I knew differently. Evil simmered under the normal facade.
“What is it?” Roth sounded far away.
I swallowed. “Her soul—it’s bad.”
He seemed to understand. I wondered what he saw: a woman in nice clothes, or the woman that had sinned so badly her soul was now tainted?
“What do you see?” he asked, as if he was sharing the same thought.
“It’s dark. Brown. Like someone took a brush, dipped it in red paint and flicked it around her.” I leaned forward, breath­less with want. “It’s beautiful. Wrong, but beautiful.”
My nails dug into the tabletop. “Yeah?”
“Why don’t you tell me about the necklace?”
Roth’s voice tugged me back to reality. Tearing my gaze away from the woman, I sucked in a deep breath. I looked down at my cookie, my stomach filling with lava. “What…what do you want to know?”
He smiled. “You wear it all the time, don’t you?”
I felt around until my fingers touched the smooth metal of the band. “Yeah, I’m not big on jewelry.” As if compelled, I turned back to the woman. She was at the counter, ordering food. “But I wear this all the time.”
“Layla, look at me. You don’t want to go down that road.”
With effort, I focused on him. “I’m sorry. It’s just so hard.”
His brows furrowed. “You don’t need to apologize for something that is natural to you, but taking a human’s soul… You can’t go back from that.”
So many emotions shot through me. First was surprise. Why wouldn’t Roth, being what he was, want me to jump out of this chair and suck some soul? But then the bitter lash of sadness followed. “Why do you care?”
Roth said nothing.
I sighed. “It’s not natural—what I want from her, or from anybody, for that matter. I can’t even get close to a boy, Roth. This is my life.” I picked up a cookie, waving it in front of my face. “This is all I have. Sugar. I’m a walking ad for dia­betes in the making.”
A deep frown pierced his striking face. “Your life is so much more than what you can’t do. What about all that you can do?”
I laughed, shaking my head. “You don’t even know me.”
“I know more than you realize.”
“Well, that’s creepy and you’re a demon preaching to me about life. There is something inherently wrong with that.”
“I wasn’t preaching.”
I glanced at the counter. She was gone. I sank down in my chair, the relief as sweet as the cookies. “Anyway, the neck­lace belonged to my mother. I’ve always had it. I don’t even know why. I mean, it’s stupid since she was a demon and didn’t even want me. And here I am, running around wearing her ring. Pathetic.”
“You’re not pathetic.”
I cracked a smile, not sure why I’d admitted that. It wasn’t even something I’d ever said to Zayne. I took another bite of the cookie and dropped it on the napkin.
Moving as fast as Bambi, Roth reached over the bistro table, caught my hand and brought my fingers to his mouth. Before I could even react, he licked off the tiny specks of sugar the cookie had left behind.
I gasped, but the air got stuck in my throat. Sharp tingles spread down my arm and across my chest, then lower, much lower. A heaviness settled just below my breasts, different and intense, but not unpleasant. “That…that makes me uncom­fortable.”
Roth peered up at me through thick lashes. “That’s be­cause you like it.”
A huge part of me did, but I slipped my hand free, glanc­ing around the small bakery. I felt unnaturally hot. “Don’t do that again.”
He grinned. “But you’re so tasty.”
I wiped my fingers clean on the napkin. “I think we’re done.”
He caught my hand again. “No. Don’t run off yet. We were just getting started.”
My eyes locked with his and I felt…I felt like I was falling. “Getting started with what?”
His fingers slid between mine. “Becoming friends.”
I blinked tightly. “We can’t be friends.”
“Why not?” Roth threaded his fingers through mine. “Is there a rule I’m unaware of?”
Suddenly, I wasn’t really sure anymore. He got up to take care of our tab while I tried to figure out what was going on between us. Could I be his friend? Did I even want to try? I probably should’ve made a run for it while he waited in line, but I didn’t.
A middle-aged waitress approached our table. Her soul was a faint pink—a complete contrast to the haggard look on her face and world-weary gleam in her eyes.
She picked up the napkins and empty plates as she glanced over her shoulder to where Roth stood. “That boy looks like he must be a handful.”
I flushed, at once very interested in the hem of my shirt. “You could say that.”
The waitress snorted and moved on to another table.
“Why are you so red in the face?”
“No reason.” I grabbed my bag, standing. “You promised to tell me about the one who could do what I can. I think now is the time.”
“It is, isn’t it?” He held the door open for me.
In the waning sunlight, all the buildings in the district looked old and unfriendly. We stopped near a small, neatly kept city park. I stared up at him, waiting.
“I know what you want to know, but I have a question to ask first.”
Fighting my impatience, I gave him a curt nod of assent.
He dipped his chin again, looking terribly innocent. “You’ve never been kissed before, have you?”
“That’s so not your business.” I folded my arms as Roth waited for an answer. “I think it’s obvious. I can’t kiss anyone. You know, the whole soul-sucking thing makes it difficult.”
“Not if you’re kissing someone who doesn’t have a soul.”
I made a face. “And why would I kiss someone who doesn’t—”
He moved unbelievably fast. I didn’t even have a chance to react. One second he was standing a good three feet away from me and the next his hands were gently clasping my cheeks. There was an instant when I wondered how something so strong and deadly could hold anything so carefully, but then he tilted my head back and lowered his own. My heart rate kicked into hyperdrive. He wasn’t going to kiss me. No way—
Roth kissed me.
The brush of his lips was tentative at first, an unhurried sweep of his mouth against mine. Every muscle in my body locked up, but I didn’t pull away like I should’ve, and Roth made a low sound deep in his throat that sent shivers down my spine. His lips caressed mine again, nibbling and cling­ing to them until they parted on a gasp. He deepened the kiss with a thrust of his tongue. My senses went into overload, fir­ing in every direction. The kiss—it was everything I could’ve imagined a kiss to be and then some. Sublime. Explosive. My heart fluttered wildly, from a yearning so deep, darts of fear shot through my veins.
“See,” he murmured in a thick voice, and he let go, his fingers trailing over my cheeks. “Your life isn’t about all you can’t do. It’s about what you can do...”

*Sighs*. Roth. I think I'm already Team Roth, thank you very much. Excuse me while I swoon. 

What'd you guys think of that excerpt? This was originally posted at RT Book Reviews, linky below:


Hope you enjoyed,

~ Steph 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review: The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima / Series Showcase

Special Review: To be exact, this isn't REALLY a review for The Crimson Crown only--this is more like a series review of the entire Seven Realms Series which consist of:
The Demon King
The Exiled Queen
The Gray Wolf Throne
The Crimson Crown

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms, #2)The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms, #3)The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4)

I'm doing this mostly because I just recently reread this series, fell in love all over again, and don't want to take the time to review it in increments because I know what happens after each installment. I'm afraid if I try to review each book separately, I'm going to either spoil something or talking about something that happened in a future book. But overall, I guess I will focusing more heavily on the ending of the series, thus why I will name this review for the fourth and final installment.

Series Book Breakdown Ratings:

The Demon King: 4 stars
The Exiled Queen: 4.5 stars
The Gray Wold Throne: 5 stars
The Crimson Crown: 5 stars
Overall Average: 4.6 stars

Steph's Review: There will be small spoilers for the first few books, since I will be reviewing the series with The Crimson Crown in mind.

The Seven Realms series might be on the more tween-teen side of high fantasy books, but nonetheless is still remaining one of my all-time faves. While the series started off on a rather predictable note, Cinda Williams Chima improved the plot and language with every book in the series and turned an average magic-genre book (The Demon King) into a highly epic adventure. If I had started reading these books as a middle-schooler, I know I would have been maniac obsessed with these and been that "special" (and annoying) kid that forces every single last friend she has into becoming an obsessee with her :)

Now, I can't express just how utterly perfect the ending to Seven Realms is. If anything, people should read this series to bask in the glory of the epilogue to The Crimson Crown. All the angst, tears, screams of frustration, and cries of sorrow that readers have invested into the series is definitely not for naught, and all the turmoil she put both her readers and own characters through ends on a perfectly-pitched high-strung chord. It. Was. PERFECT, ok? You don't get a lot of series where the author can make a good ending without seeming like they tried to make a HEA. To me, there's a huge difference to me between an author who tries to make everything work out (and you can tell especially when things get ridiculous--e.g. Maximum Ride) and one who writes so smoothly that there can only be an HEA. Cinda Williams Chima, with this series, falls into the latter category. I will read anything she writes now because I have assurance that her books will retain quality. 

In the final installment of this series, Han and Raisa have to find a way to battle their main opponent: The Bayars. Han has to fend off one of the most powerful wizards known to the Seven Realms, Gavan Bayar, and Raisa has to deal with the deceitful woos of Micah Bayar. They each have their own battles, but have the same enemy. The must not fail, or else it could spell the end to the Gray Wolf Line of Queens of the already fragile nation of the Fells.

For some reason, this book reminds me of the Greek story of Pyramus and Thisbe (the one about the two lovers who communicated through the holes and cracks between the walls that separated their homes) , except without the tragic ending. Han and Raisa come from completely different worlds but have the purest love for each other; they are really one of those great love stories that only come once every century. To the public eye, they would never be accepted as a couple, and they must work through the masses at the same time as battling their enemies to make their bright future. Han and Raisa couldn't always be together, and even if they were, they could only communicate shallowly--much like Pyramus and Thisbe whispering to each other through the few cracks in the thick walls that separated them.

The Crimson Crown has every element of my definition of a "good book"--a perfect harmony between suspense, action, an air of mystery, and the sweetest romance. The flawless writing contributes even more to this series more than anything, and simply, you just feel awesome while reading this series. I could not put any of these books onto my nightstand no matter how late it was; these books had a little voice I couldn't ignore that kept on calling me back to them whenever I tried to set them aside, and I would stay up until I finished the book. This entire series is a must, must read for all ages, a timeless fantasy that will always be a favorite!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (15): White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish event hosted by Breaking the SpineThis is a meme that many book blogs participate in to goggle over highly anticipated upcoming releases and fabulous covers and authors!

 Uhh, it's JLA. How could I possibly not be looking forward to this book? I've saved White Hot Kiss as a WOW to be my first WOW of the year. Can't express how excited I am for Jen's new series!

Goodreads Synopsis:

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)
One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

A Kiss of Death. It's a cliche topic, and Jen has already ventured into "touch of death" with Cursed, but I think that White Hot Kiss is going to be amazing. JLA always finds a way to turn cliche topics into a beautiful innovation, and I cannot wait to see where she takes this series. 

And no, I can't deny that I'm partly looking forward to this just for the guys. Zayne, Roth, perhaps some Dez, and god knows who else. I think she divined the future with this quite from Obsidian:

“Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys.”

Yes, indeed I believe WHK will be a holy trinity of hot boys. Can't wait for this, White Hot Kiss is OUT on February 25th through Harlequin Teen!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Excerpts from Ignite Me by Taherah Mafi!

Who's excited for when Ignite Me is released on February 4? This chica! 
Ignite Me is the 3rd and final installment in Taherah Mafi's Shatter Me series. 
Ms. Mafi posted some juicy entire pages of Ignite Me on her twitter page! They reveal so much and leave the reader thirsting for more, especially page 20. And page 18 made my jaw drop to the ground! These excerpts, and a fanatic friend's urging, converted me from TEAM ADAM to TEAM WARNER. I usually don't change teams, but hey, maybe you will too when you read these pages! Enjoy :)

Goodreads Synopsis and Praise:
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 1/7/14: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Yes! I promised myself I'd be back to doing Teaser Tuesday this year, so here is your first teaser of the year!
  • Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 
Today's teaser is from Steph's current read: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. I've actually only just started this book, which was recommended to me by a friend. I'm kind of on a Fantasy-genre roll right now, having just reread Crown of Midnight as well as the Seven Realms series! 

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)Goodreads Synopsis:

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Your Teaser:

“You mean to kill me to avenge your brother’s death.” Her throat thickened with fear.
His expression tightened. “No. My goal today doesn’t include such a pleasure as that. Your friend here, on the other hand, might find that today is his last.”
                “Cleo, are you deaf?” Nic snarled. “I told you to run!”

--Falling Kingdoms, pp. 182 of 293 (ebook edition)

I haven't even read that far in the book where the teaser is yet, so I'm excited for what's the come!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant #5)
Dani's rating: 5 stars 
Steph's rating: 5 stars
Overall rating: 5 stars

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: November 2, 2013
Pages: 297

Goodreads synopsis:
It's a beautiful day for a war.

As the mortal world slowly slips into chaos of the godly kind, Alexandria Andros must overcome a stunning defeat that has left her shaken and in doubt of their ability to end this war once and for all.

And with all the obstacles between Alex and her happily-ever-after with the swoonworthy Aiden St. Delphi, they must now trust a deadly foe as they travel deep into the Underworld to release one of the most dangerous gods of all time.

In the stunning, action-packed climax to the bestselling Covenant series, Alex must face a terrible choice: the destruction of everything and everyone she holds dear… or the end of herself

Dani's Review:
Spoilers if you haven't read the first 4 books. But if you haven't read the Covenant series yet, I don't know what you're doing with your life...Jk just read them ASAP!

Holy daimon babies, Ms. Armentrout has done it again! Each sequel she writes somehow tops the previous one! Sentinel is a breathtaking, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, and tear-worthy finale to her amazing Covenant series. It is filled not only with Aiden and Alex's oh-so-sweet romance, but also ties all--well most--of the loose ends left over from the beginning of the series.

Apollyon ended with Ares's brutal mauling of Alex, literally tearing her apart limb by limb. *shudders* After a few appearances from Greek gods that hadn't been introduced yet until this novel, a more important character shows up...Remember Seth? Seth as in Alex's other half, the "First" Apollyon? Well, he's back and surprisingly doesn't want to destroy anyone--except maybe Aiden, but hey they've always had boy battles over Alex.

That's right, all you Team Seth ladies who held onto the tiniest sliver of hope that Seth would join "Team Good" again. Seth seems to have turned over a new leaf, but the "Army of Awesomeness" christened by none other than the hilarious Deacon, Aiden's little brother, has their doubts.

Sentinel had me laughing out loud, shedding tears, and seething with anger all within a few chapters. JLA's signature humor is still there, through Alex's various jibes and taunts that she both thinks her head and expresses vocally, but there is an overall morbid tone. Alex has to deal with her grief of fallen friends, worry over what will happen to the future of her fellow half-bloods if the Breed Order is still in power, and her fear of facing Ares in the final battle. Will she able to kill him, even with the power of the God-Killer? Will Seth let her transfer the power? 

I thought that the character development in Sentinel was extremely well down, especially how Alex and Seth changed since the first book, Half-Blood. Alex has matured and put on her "big girl pants". She knows what the worst case scenario of this war will be, and she accepts that it will happen. Seth is not the arrogant, big-headed douchbag he used to be. He is tormented by all the bad things he has done and wonders if he can ever be forgiven for what he did under Lucian's bidding.

Alex and Aiden's romance is as adorable as ever. JLA somewhat blended YA and NA in terms of the lovey-dovey scenes, but eh, Alex is a big girl now...right? However, while Sentinel does focus a lot on the love triangle, as it should, there are definitely many exciting action scenes as the Army of Awesomeness battles daimons, automatons, and gods.

Remember when Steph dubbed JLA the "Queen of Awkward Moments"? Well, Sentinel did not disappoint. Here's a sneak peek!

      "I don't know how many times I've told you two that you shouldn't be sharing a room." He turned to me. "I don't care how old you are or that you're an Apollyon, Alexandria. You're my niece; therefore, I am responsible for you. And you?" He spun on Aiden, whose eyes widened. "You know better."
    "Oh my gods," I moaned. I would have rather run naked through the quad than had this conversation both with my uncle and with an audience. Especially this audience.
     "Don't 'oh my gods' me." The color had returned to Marcus' face. It was red. "Do I really need to have a conversation with you about responsible sexual activity?"

LOL! I sincerely thought that Sentinel was a flawless ending to this wonderful series. The ending, OMG, the ending....It was the perfect way to settle the problem of having a God Killer in the Covenant world and let Alex and Aiden have their "happily ever after", but it was vague about a certain annoying blonde Apollyon. I predict more Covenant sequels! JLA is too nice to leave us readers hanging.

Sentinel really deserves all 5 of its 5 stars. It actually deserves 100 stars, no, all the shining stars in the night sky! But if you have been reading the Covenant series faithfully, you would already know that. ;)


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Steph's Rating: 5 stars
Dani's Rating: 5 stars
Overall Rating: 5 stars

Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: August 27th, 2013
Pages: 420

Goodreads Synopsis:
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Steph's Review: 

I did not expect to love Crown of Midnight as much as I did. Throne of Glass was a 4-starish book for me, but just let me say the COM makes it to the top of the 5-star list. I was thoroughly impressed by Sarah J. Maas's plotting this time. This is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2013...one that I forgot to finish reviewing...

Celaena Sardothien has won the title of royal assassin who answers solely to the king. She hardly follows her orders exactly though, a secret she must keep absolutely hidden or else she'll risk the lives of the few friends she has within the castle walls. The spirit of Queen Elena has given Celaena the task of finding the true source of the Kind of Adarlan's power, while a rebellion is brewing within the kingdom. It sparks old memories within Celaena's psyche, and she must decide where her loyalties really lie if they are not to the king. 

I know the Throne of Glass if going to take off and become an enchanting series. Sarah J. Maas knows how to put just the right touch of suspense to the amount of action in the book to give a fulfilling read. The protagonists are all awesome too--I don't dislike a single one of them! Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian each have their own unique voices, and it's very easy to tell who is narrating in a chapter even though Sarah doesn't say who's POV that chapter is in. 

Celaena is everything a girl looks for in a heroine story--she's got strength, smarts, and is daring enough to use both to the best of her ability. While I usually hate arrogant characters, Celaena just knows how to wear it correctly. It comes off as self-confidence instead of a pompous attitude. But despite this, I love how she's not faultless either. She has her fears and nightmares, her short temper, everything that keeps her real. If anything, one thing that really made me love Crown of Midnight is her expanding relationship with Chaol. In the first book, I hardly felt some kindling romance between the two even though Throne of Glass's synopsis hinted that there was going to be one in the first book. Chaol is just a true gentleman that I think every girl wishes they had, and I love him to pieces. 

Poor Dorian is slightly neglected by the two in this book, but I love Dorian so much more after this book too. As Prince of Adarlan, of course he has to be groomed to follow in his father's footsteps. Dorian really just grows a mind of his own in this book and starts questioning the beliefs he grew up on, and whether or not his father is a worthy ruler of the country. Dorian also has to keep a deadly secret at bay too--one that will be his death is anyone finds out. 

Fantasy books are common topic these days, but Crown of Midnight has a refreshing and clever voice amongst all of them. It is a well rounded novel with heart-melting romance, action, and apprehensive suspense. I seriously recommend reading this series!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Swoon Thursday: Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout (1)

This is our first Swoon Thursday!

The fabulous girls at YA Bound created this HOT meme.  Here's how it works:

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering?

Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog! I want to know & so do the chicks at YABound! 

My swoon is from Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Read our review HERE!

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series THE DARK ELEMENTS, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.
Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining balance between good and evil. He was her everything...right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.
And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again...
His lips pressed down on my jaw, a tiny, hot little brand. He moved to one corner of my lips and then the other. Air caught in my throat as he slanted his mouth over mine, kissing me softly. It was such a sweet, tender kiss, little more than a brush of his lips. Still, the contact sent a rush of fire through my veins, and then the kiss deepened, as it had before when he'd returned. 
I swayed when he drew away, swayed like a damn reed in a windstorm, and probably would've toppled right out of his lap if he hadn't tightened his arms around me.

~Happy 2014!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! -- 2014 Resolution

Well, well, Happy 2014! I ended up not blogging at midnight for it since I watched the Ball Drop. Hopefully 2014 brings great luck, smiles, and friendships to all of you! With 2014, Dani will also be back to blogging! (Remember the blogging break I told you about?)

I have a few resolutions this year for this blog. 2013 was basically our first full year of blogging and I guess the year we worked out what we wanted to do with this blog. So a few things:

1. Steady Posts: I had some months where I would go crazy with posting and be blogging almost every day and then some stunted months where I would have say...like 5 measly posts. No more of that. With this resolution, I'm going to put a minimum number of posts per month at 8 posts. That is a minimum, and we'll try to have more posts than that. 8 is just a safety number for me in case I have an especially busy month. 

2. Blogging Memes: Teaser Tuesday, what happened to you? I really slacked off on the TT's toward the end of the year even though it's my favorite blogging meme. This year I am determined to follow through with it to the end of the year. We also want to start doing some Swoon Thursdays. So for blogging memes, my goal is to try to do at least one meme every week. 

3. Review Requests: We were on and off for review requests in 2013 and overall, we just prefer reviewing at our own pace. We found that when we had lots of review requests, we ended up focusing our time onto things other than what we wanted to read. We are still open to requests, but we probably won't accepts as many anymore. 

4. 2014 Goodreads Challenge: 100 books was not enough last year. We finished that goal at the beginning of October. This year, we're going to up it to 120 books and see what happens. Easy? Difficult? 

Hope this will be a great blogging year for us! Happy New Year to you all!
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