Monday, December 30, 2013

*Top Ten Tuesday* Top Ten Books I Read In 2013 - So Many To Choose From!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and we all share our thoughts on that topic! I decided it was finally time to jump on board with this wicked fun meme!

For this week on Top Ten Tuesday, the topic is:

Top Ten Books I Read in 2013!

This was a very hard list for me to get through. I read over 380 books in 2013, and didn't DNF anything. I found myself eagerly awaiting releases by some of my favorite authors, and enjoying new author releases that came out in 2013. I eagerly anticipate an even better 2014!

1.  Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell # 3) by Jenn Bennett
2. Written in Red (The Others # 1) by Anne Bishop
3. A Cursed Embrace (Weird Girls # 2) by Cecy Robson
4. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass # 2) by Sarah J Maas
5. The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle # 2) by Maggie Stiefvater
6. Cold Blooded (Jessica McClain # 3) by Amanda Carlson
7. The Archived (The Archived # 1) by Victoria Schwab
8. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
9. Crewel (Crewel World # 1) by Gennifer Albin
10. The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Honorable Mentions:

Fire & Ash (Benny Imura # 4) by Jonathan Maberry
Descendant (Starling # 2) by Lesley Livingston
The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy # 1) Sherry Thomas
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Forsaken by the Others (H&W Investigations #5) by Jess Haines
Vengeance Borne (Sentry of Evil # 1) by Amanda Bonilla

Monday, December 23, 2013

*Top Ten Tuesday* December 24: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and we all share our thoughts on that topic! I decided it was finally time to jump on board with this wicked fun meme!

For this week on Top Ten Tuesday, the topic is:

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me!

Dearest Santa;

I believe that I have been a good girl this year (2013) and would kindly ask you to please bring me the following books. If you really want to impress me, you can ABSOLUTELY clear out my TBR pile for me! Thank you!

Your humble blogger,

1. Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep

2. Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

3. Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

4. Ruin and Rising (The Grisha # 3) by Leigh Bardugo

5. Alien Collective by Gini Koch
(No cover release as of posting)

6. Wild Things by Chloe Neill 

7. Cress by Marissa Meyer

8. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

9. Enslaved by the Others by Jess Haines
(Cover and Synopsis coming soon!)

10. Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

Saturday, December 21, 2013

*Early Review* Taste of Darkness (Healer #3) by Maria V. Snyder


She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.

*MY Thoughts*

Maria V. Snyder's Taste of Darkness ends the Healer trilogy in a fashion that should leave readers pleasantly surprised and not wondering what the hell just happened. While you still have to wonder if your favorite characters will be spared by the often times used kill them off before they can reach the conclusion of the series feature, I can honestly say that this books ending won't leave you tossing the book in the bonfire or screaming in agony.

I find myself wondering if I am a sadist since this is also the fifth story after Daylighters, Champion, Allegiant, and The Sharpest Blade, that I have read over the past week. All five novels have been the last book of their respective series. All five books gave readers some hints of despair and apprehension as to whether or not their favorite character, or couples, would survive and have their HEA. In most cases, the ending was expected, while a few others, had me hissing like a cat who doesn't want to be bothered with the silliness.

Healer Avry of the Kazan Realm has been through hell and back ever since she went on the run more than 3 years ago and found herself being saved by Kerrick and his merry band of men known as the Monkeys (Loren, Flea, Belen, and Quain). She's died several times. She's been revived and become stronger for it. She's lost her entire family. She's gained unshakable allies and friends. She's come to learn about Peace and Death Lily's while fighting Tohon and his allies. Avry has become one of the most interesting characters that I've read about. She's determined, strong, focused, as well as putting herself in the danger to save those she cares for, as well as her own patients.

Taste of Darkness takes an interesting trip that centers around Kerrick and his awakening abilities that come to light after he staggers off and is presumed to be lost after being stabbed with an infected blade. Kerrick has fought hard to be with Avry and their love has grown by leaps and bounds over this trilogy but there is never a dull moment when they can totally relax and let themselves have a happy moment. Avry is constantly in the middle of difficult choices, while Kerrick finds himself wanting to grab Avry and run off to distant lands in order to keep her safe. 

I can honestly say that I was not disappointed or put out over the challenges that Avry and Kerrick are forced to face in order to win the final battle with Tohon, Cellina, Sepp, Wynn, and a new nemesis known as The Skeleton King. I appreciated that Synder offered more than a few tender moments between the couple, while challenging them to their inner strengths and faults. I appreciated that there were moments when you were not sure who to trust, and the twists, and surprises, kept coming right to the end.

I enjoyed watching the new challenges that Flea has with dealing with his new death magic abilities while also thankful that Papa Bear Belen finds himself back into the storyline right when things aren't looking all that clear for the Avry and the gang. I respected that Snyder didn't push a 3 way love triangle on readers even though clearly there was that temptation to push Kerrick aside for others like Sergeant Odd, or even Tolon.

In the end, while perhaps not the strongest book that I have read by Synder, it was entertaining and filled with maneuvering that left me turning the pages as quickly as I could. 

On the negative side, I am puzzled why the decision was made not to break the book down by chapters, or even places where you knew who was the new POV. The sentences often times ran back to back from Avry's POV, to Kerrick's. You really have to pay attention or else you will miss the sudden switches. If this happens to be my only complaint about Taste of Darkness, I can absolutely live with it and move on.

09/26/2013 Recvd via NetGalley - Expected publication: December 31st 2013 by Harlequin MIRA

Author - Maria V. Snyder
Title - Taste of Darkness (Healer # 3)
Published by Harlequin Mira
Released December 31, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Paperback: 464 pages

Friday, December 20, 2013

*Cover Loves Friday* Featuring Jennifer Estep, Karina Cooper, & Amanda Bonilla!

Hello there my lovely followers!

I hope this finds you doing well and getting ready for the Christmas season!

As I have been a bit behind on my posts recently due to a trip to New York, I thought I would leave you with this last post of the year in regards to Cover Loves! Some really interesting and amazing covers were released! I hope you find something you like!

As always, all covers come from authors web pages, or Goodreads! 
Sixteen years ago, a plague wiped out nearly all of humanity. The Company’s vaccine stopped the virus’s spread, but society was irrevocably changed. Those remaining live behind impenetrable city walls, taking daily doses of virus suppressant and relying on The Company for continued protection. They don’t realize that everything they’ve been told is a lie…

Clover Donovan didn’t set out to start a revolution—quiet, autistic, and brilliant, she’s always followed the rules. But that was before they forced her into service for the Time Mariners. Before they condemned her brother to death, compelling him to flee the city to survive. Before she discovered terrifying secrets about The Company.

Clover and the Freaks, her ragtag resistance group, are doing their best to spread the rebellion and stay under The Company’s radar. But when their hideout is discovered, they are forced, once again, to run. Only this time, The Company has special plans for Clover, plans that could risk her life and stop the uprising in its tracks….

Expected publication: July 1, 2014 by Berkley Trade

In book eleven of her New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series, author Jennifer Estep continues “one of the best urban fantasy series going on the market” (Fresh Fiction).

Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.

There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…(less)
Kindle Edition400 pages
Expected publication: July 29th 2014 by Pocket Books
 Forced out of London's coal-blackened streets, Cherry St. Croix is faced with her most difficult undertaking yet: sobriety.

At long last, my guardian, the enigmatic Mr. Oliver Ashmore, has revealed himself—and his order is clear: I am to be dried out at once, regardless of my wishes.
I loathe the country estate I am imprisoned within. Footsteps follow me, voices call for me, and my sanity wavers. In my fevered dreams, I am haunted by those I failed, while waking proves no protection from the ghosts of my reckless past. The craving for laudanum plagues me. I require a distraction.
To unravel the alchemical mysteries of my mother’s family, I must rely on Ashmore’s tutelage. I am lured to the art and drawn by the secrets my guardian possesses. Yet the deeper I delve, the more I believe that something dreadful disturbs these haunted corridors. In my madness, I fear that what it wants me.
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Carina Press (February 10, 2014) - Pre-Order Available via Amazon!

Six months can feel like a just couple of weeks when you’ve been away in another realm. Literally.
Now that Darian is back in Seattle, she’s ready to face the life—and the man—she left behind. But it’s not going to be easy when a ghost from her past shows up looking to wreak havoc on Seattle’s supernatural crime scene.
Darian isn’t as careless as she used to be, though. She and Tyler, her sexy Jinn protector, have come a long way in the trust department. And it’s a good thing too—because when Ty contracts her to assassinate a wickedly powerful supernatural who goes by the name of Mithras, it will take all her faith in Ty, and herself, to get the job done.
While Darian does whatever it takes to get to her mark, Xander, the Shaede King is busy making plans of his own. With Darian’s attention divided between Lorik’s secrets and her mission she might not be able to stop Xander from doing anything in his power to separate Darian from her sworn protector and in the process, destroy his own kingdom…
Expected Publication: May 2014

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy. 

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved? 

Hardcover416 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2014 by Scholastic Press

Thursday, December 19, 2013

*Early Review* A Study in Ashes (The Baskerville Affair #3) by Emma Jane Holloway


As part of her devil’s bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies’ College of London. However, she’s attending as the Gold King’s pet magician, in handcuffs and forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes.

Not even Niccolo, the dashing pirate captain, and his sentient airship can save her. But Evelina’s problems are only part of a larger war. The Baskerville Affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day—or at least that’s what Dr. Watson is telling the press.

But their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels’ machines—and even then her powers aren’t what they used to be. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina’s soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is…he’s dead.

*My thoughts*

A Study in Ashes is the third installment in The Baskerville Affair. Like any good high fantasy novel, Ashes is filled with characters who you can't just ignore because there are too many points of view. Although the book is centered around Sherlock Holmes niece Evelina Cooper, it is characters like Nick, Tobias Roth, Prince Edmond, Poppy, Imogen, Alice and yes, even Sherlock and Dr. Holmes that you need to pay attention to or you end up missing out on important hints of what is too happen next.

A Study in Ashes finds Evelina at the university where she has become intertwined, (basically a slave) to the Gold King Jasper Keating after making a fateful decision at the end of A Study in Darkness and forcing her to wear silver bracelets that restrict her movements. Having made her bed, it is time for Evelina to focus not only on her studies, but also a way to understand her magical gifts she's been born with. Evelina finds herself the object of a character that readers of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries have come to know if Professor Moriarty. The one concern for Evie this entire series has been her inner darkness that has been cultivated by Magnus to the point where she doesn't know if she can hold onto her true self or not.

Yet, the story isnt' fully centered on the shoulders of Evelina. Imogen Roth along with Evelina's creation mouse and bird, has her own terrifying adventure. I think the one character that I really enjoyed reading about was 15 year old Poppy Roth. Poppy is headstrong, determined, unwilling to give up on Imogen, and understands more about life that anyone gives her credit for. Her adventures with Alice Keating-Roth really made for an interesting an enjoyable story. I think Poppy is the future of the Roth family and it would have been interesting to peek in on her in a few years to see what other adventures she gets involved in.

Ashes cumulates with a knock down battle between the Steam Council and Prince Edmonds rebellion to take back England. I think readers will find the battle agreeable and abrupt. With Silk being 672 pages in length, I was worried that the final installment would trim down some of the storylines. I am kind of sad at the ending of Ashes with how Evelina and Sherlock leave things. While I agree it is time for Evie to get on with her own life, it would have been nice to have one final adventure that she could have shared with Sherlock and Dr. Watson.

A Study in Ashes leaves more than a few questions especially about the fate of Professor Moriarty, and Tobias Roth. What will happen to Evie and Nick now that they have a new job? What will happen with Sherlock and his concerns about the Dark Kingdom? I would hope that Holloway would have another story put away for another time so that we can wrap up this series in a tight little bow instead of leaving unanswered questions.

Author - Emma Jane Holloway
Title - A Study in Ashes (The Baskerville Affair # 3)
Publisher - Del Rey
Released - December 31, 2013
Genre - Steampunk, Alt Historical Fantasy
Mass Market Paperback 672 pages
Recvd via Netgalley from publisher

Monday, December 16, 2013

*Top Ten Tuesday Presents* Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and we all share our thoughts on that topic! I decided it was finally time to jump on board with this wicked fun meme!

For this week on Top Ten Tuesday, the topic is:

Top Ten New-To-Me AUthors I Read in 2013:

2013 was a fantastic year! New series were introduced, old series ended, and it appears that 2014 will be even better! These are just SOME of my favorites for the year. I will say that I could have added a dozen more but didn't want to go overboard!

1. Alexandra Bracken for The Darkest Minds
2. Lee Collins for She Returns from War
3. Kasie West for Pivot Point
4. D.T. Dyllin for the PJ Stone Gates Trilogy
5. Victoria Schwab for The Archived
6. Leigh Bardugo for The Grisha trilogy
7. Amie Kaufman/Megan Spooner for These Broken Stars
8. Emma Jane Holloway (The Baskerville Affair)
9. Terah Edun (Courtlight Series)
10. Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls Series)

*Cover Reveal* Stakeout by Nikki Jefford (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #2.5)


Stakeout by Nikki Jefford 
(Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #2.5) 
Publication date: January 14th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy


Noel Harper got a second chance at life when the government recruited her as an undercover vampire informant. Since the day they brought her back from the good-as-dead, she has wanted to prove herself worthy.

When a member of her investigative unit is murdered, Noel is paired up with a vampire hunter named Dante to spy on a suspect in Fairbanks. The problem? They’re not the only ones on stakeout. Taking down murderous vampires is one thing. Dealing with the past is another. But this time, Noel isn’t letting fear win. She’s calling in help from the other side and learns a shocking secret along the way.

(STAKEOUT is an Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter novella told from Noel Harper’s POV. Approximately 40,000 words.)

Purchase Book 1:

Purchase Book 2:


Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (Wash.) where she is once more neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light. She loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.

When she's not reading, writing, working, or out on a nature walk, she's out riding her Suzuki DRZ400SM.

Author links:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

*Early Review* The Spider (Elemental Assassin #10) by Jennifer Estep


The tenth book in the bestselling and “outstanding” (Romantic Times) Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series finally reveals for the first time the origins of Gin Blanco’s career as the deadliest of assassins.

For the first time, the origins of Gin Blanco’s career as the deadly assassin “the Spider” are revealed in full. In a story that pre-dates the other nine books in the series, Gin Blanco goes through her paces to become the most feared assassin in the Ashland.

*My Thoughts*

"It all begins with a girl-a stupid, arrogant girl who thought that she could do no wrong.." Gin Blanco

In the 10th installment of the Elemental Assassin series, Jennifer Estep takes her character, Gin Blanco aka the Spider, back in time 10 years after she receives a mysterious package of Dark Blue Roses with a note attached saying "Happy Anniversary." Who is the mysterious person sending Gin roses? Why is Gin receiving them on this particular date and time? Is this person an enemy, or someone Gin met along the way as the Spider?

Gin then tells a whale of story to Owen Greyson, who she is back together again after the tumultuous events of Widow's Web and Deadly Sting left many readers wanting to strangle or gut Owen. The story is one fraught with a painful experience that Gin won't soon forget and a deeper understanding about who Gin the assassin really is. Estep also tosses in a few bread crumbs about the mysterious M.M. Monroe who has yet to be exposed to Gin and readers but always seems to be in the background just waiting to pounce.

Our heroine in The Spider is a 20 year old gang buster who has been trained by Fletcher Lane for the past 7 years to be an assassin. Gin still has no clue who the Fire Elemental is that killed her mother Eira, and older sister Annabelle. She has no clue that her baby sister Bria is alive and well and living with a loving couple in Blue Marsh even when she is confronted by someone who looks like her. She has no clue that her life as she knows it will fundamentally change forever because of one horrific mistake that leads to 10 years of being a guardian Angel to a young girl who witnessed the entire episode because of Gin's mistake in killing an innocent man, and then falling for his son.

Gin truly believes she is unstoppable and tries to live by the rules that Fletcher has set for her. Don't Be Memorable. Don't do anything to attract attention to yourself, and Don't engage potential enemies or targets in anyway. For Gin, this story gives you an idea that Gin hasn't always made the correct choices, and her mistakes always come with severe consequences for those she loves. By breaking the rules that Fletcher has sought to live by, Gin makes a bad choice that leaves her fighting for her life. 

The Spider features some series mainstays like Finnegan Lane, Sophia and Jo-Jo Deveraux, Jonah McAllister, Mab Monroe, Xavier Grant, and Roslyn Phillips. Like I said above, there is a hint that M.M Monroe has been in the background the entire time. It will definitely be interesting to find out when Estep releases this person's true identity, and whether it will be the finale we are all expecting to go out like gangbusters.

In the end, The Spider is a nice walk down memory lane. For me, I can't really get enough of this series and will be sad when it comes to an end. Learning more about Fletcher Lane and how he took Gin under his wing and trained her to become an assassin, has always been appealing. Personally, I would love to go back in time and read a Fletcher Lane's story about what he actually saw in the 13 year old Genevieve Snow and also Gin's relationship with Finn which surprised me. 

ARC provided by Pocket Books via Edelweiss

Recvd via Edelweiss 10/08/2013 - Expected publication: December 24th 2013 by Pocket Books

Author - Jennifer Estep
Title - The Spider (Elemental Assassin # 10)
Publisher - Pocket Books
Released - December 24, 2013
Genre - Urban Fantasy
E-ARC received from Pocket Books through Edelweiss

Saturday, December 14, 2013

*Early Review* Fireblood (Fireblood #1) by Trisha Wolfe


To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.

When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father’s capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin.

Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult.

When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart’s twisted world, Zara’s path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara’s hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father’s evil nature, or they will take him out.

But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels’ command and where the prince’s heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she’s truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.

*My Thoughts*

Fireblood is the first novel in a new series by Trisha Wolfe. Wolfe creates an interesting world that is apparently caught somewhere between Camelot and a dystopian society. Fireblood is set in the Kingdom of Karm which was created to protect people from the Outside. The Outside is a vast wasteland thanks to the nuclear fallout of the Final War that started in 2016. Karm is ruled by an egotistical madman who truly believes that the people should take up the mantle of Camelot including talking the dialect (Nay, I won't do it!) and wearing the eras clothing (long gowns for women). Anyone who speaks out about his rule, may find themselves on the Outside, in the Oubliette, or worse.

King Hart uses his Knights of the Force to keep the citizens in line and taking care of anyone who steps out of line including Rebels who want a change in the way things are done in Karm. Even though residents of Karm are protected by a force field, they understand that they are carriers of the Virus that was created during the Final War by a government scientist and that at any time, they can end up Taken away and left to die.

When 19 year old Prince Sebastian goes in search of his betrothed, 17 year old Zara Dane has absolutely no clue that she will be chosen. The fact is that she has no use for the royals, and never wanted to step a foot inside the castle is beyond her control. She likes spending time with her father Rorick cloning animals and her bestie Hadley. When she is named as Sebastian's betrothed in a surprising announcement, and her father is taken away by the Force, Zara finds herself stepping into a situation and world where she has to make her own choices and decisions as to which way her life will go. One wrong move, and it might be her last. She has to ask herself why was she chosen over those more wealthy and deserving? How long had Sebastian been planning on naming her his future Queen? And, who can she trust, the heir to the crown, or Sir Devlan Capra, Sebastian's former best friend now turned First Knight who becomes her protector.

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting Fireblood turned out. It mixes a Camelot setting with a dystopian twist in that there still is some modern conveniences. Zara is a character who has to quickly learn who to trust and make her own decisions about her future before someone else does it for her. She has to choose between being the new Queen of Karm, being with Sebastian, and trusting the Rebel faction that wants to put an end to the Hart rule, and go in an entirely different direction in which the citizens have a voice and a choice in their own lives and they're not being used as chew toys for the monsters outside the walls of Karm.

I will also say that I was happy, yes, HAPPY, that the twisted 3 way love triangle between Zara, Sebastian, and Devlan did not make it through the story without being beat down, and stomped to death. I had hoped that Zara would make the early choice between the two, and it was the correct choice in my opinion. My personal feelings were that Sebastian wasn't to be trusted and that he was somehow using Zara for his own gains. I saw Devlan differently in that here was someone with a similar past to Zara's and they should have some common ground to fall back on.

Although this is part of a series, Wolfe could have ended it right where she does in Fireblood. There may or may not be other stories with Zara and Devlan involved. Will it follow a new couple? Where this series goes from here, is anyone's guess and only Wolfe knows for sure. I will definitely stay tuned for more information!

Author - Trisha Wolfe
Title - Fireblood (Fireblood # 1)
Publisher - Spencer Hill Press
Published - December 17, 2013
Genre - Fantasy, Dystopian
Received from Spencer Hill Press via Netgalley