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July 30, 2013

New Design!

I don't know if you guys have noticed but I got a fabulous new blog design courtesy of Katie at KD Designs! I love it and think it fits my blog perfectly!

Besides being a fabulous designer Katie is also a book blogger at Sophistikatied! I really recommend Katie's design services because she did everything in a timely manner and she also was able to bring my (confused) vision to life. If you are looking for great design services look no further.

So what do you think? Let me know in the comments and check out Katie's other designs at http://www.kdcreates.com/!

July 29, 2013

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen (Audio Review)

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)

Title: The False Prince
Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Received From: Library

Synopsis: THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.
I listened to The False Prince on audio and I really enjoyed it! The reader was fantastic and he totally embodied not only Sage but all the other characters. I think when I read the second book it will probably be in his voice. So if you have the opportunity to listen to this one I definitely recommend it! Also it would be great for road trips with your family because it is technically middle grade.

I love fantasy books. While I really enjoy all other types of books, fantasy is my love. Though even I can admit sometimes the plots feel contrived. Not The False Prince, the idea is very similar to others. A group trying to take over a country you know the story. But how often does it happen that they try to take over the country by trying to essentially bring the Prince back from the dead. (He has been missing/presumed dead. No sorcery or necromancy here)

I loved all four boys. They were all so different and so like many other boys that I have known over the course of my life. But even with that I fell in love with Sage. He is the perfect middle grade boy character. His is a rascal, smart, and funny. Plus he has a few more tricks up his sleeve than you may think.

Jennifer Nielsen created a richly developed story with just enough twists and turns to make it interesting. Also, I loved the major plot twist. It was perfect and executed so well!

Basically if you are looking for a book to read with your kids or just plain want a good fantasy to read yourself, The False Prince is right for you. And even better the second book; The Runaway King is already out so you don't have to wait!

It is debated on whether or not The False Prince is MG or YA but it does not really matter since it is really good for MG on up!

Also through the 31st The False Prince audiobook is one of the free SYNC titles so if you want to try the audio: http://www.audiobooksync.com/2013/07/25/sync-has-a-secret-identity-week-9/

July 23, 2013

Body and Blood by Amanda Havard Excerpt and Contest!

Today the third book in Amanda Havard's Survivors series Body and Blood is coming out! 

If you have not yet read the first two books you are in luck because there is an awesome contest at the end of this post that you will want to win! Also the first book in the series; The Survivors is free from July 23- July 26th so get on that!

Here is the synopsis of Body and Blood for you to check out! 

How many answers you seek are just a part of you, waiting to be found?

The game has changed.

Fresh from her first brush with mortality, a fragile Sadie Matthau is playing human with Cole Hardwick while the Survivors endure unimaginable tragedy. Wrought with the first deaths of their own kind, a tyrant who will torture them, and an opponent more terrifying than anyone could have foreseen, the Survivors are facing their end.

Told from three points of view, The Survivors: Body & Blood is a bloodcurdling, mind-bending, heart-stopping ride. As Sadie and the Winters uncover more enemies, more history, and more answers, they find themselves brought closer together and ripped further apart. And all the while, a haunting Alexander Raven lurks at the edge of Sadie s lifeline, at the darkening fringes of her mind.

As the Survivors descend into chaos, Sadie realizes a painful truth: the deepest of secrets leave the darkest of marks.

Caught between a terrifying fantasy and her own grim reality, Body & Blood is the story of Sadie s dance with her demons, future, past, and present.

And now I have an exclusive excerpt from Body and Blood enjoy!

John got back to his feet and in unsettling, invasive move put his hands on Hannah’s shoulders. “You see, children. Sadie’s dark power is so strong that even your eldest Survivors have succumbed. We know the ways in which Satan works. Sadie is doing his work.”
“He’s lying!” I cried.“You and I both know that you have brought nothing but tragedy and desecration to this family. If we are in peril, it is because of you,” he said. Then turning to the crowd, he screamed, “It is because of Sadie!”Half the crowd hailed his words, but the other half looked unconvinced, and he could tell. Suddenly, he put his hands to his head and dropped to his knees in the dirt.“Wait! Family! I am hearing something from the Lord! He says that Satan has possessed our daughter Sadie, and there is no hope for her. He says that if you don’t believe, then we must search her body, for it is covered in the Devil’s Marks.”It was straight out of the Salem history books.“You’ve got to be joking,” I huffed. But no one thought he was joking. The thoughts of every living Survivor swelled in my mind and consumed me, their doubt and fear and outrage spinning around my brain, choking down my throat.“You can’t listen to him! He’s manipulating you. He’s not telling the truth!”“Am I? And if I were, why would our dear Sadie have her body so covered even on this summer day?” he asked. The scars. That bastard. They’d see my scars, and they’d believe they were the Devil’s Marks because not a one of them had ever seen a scar.I wanted to keep it together, to keep some kind of cool in the face of this insanity, but hearing what they thought of me, and feeling the hatred they felt for me was too much.I flung my jacket and shirt off until I was standing in front of everyone I’d known in my life in only a bra and jeans. My arms and neck mangled from suicide attempts and Fateor collections, even the imprint of Sam’s teeth in my stomach and back were there for the world to see. Exposed.“Is that what you wanted to see?” I screamed, the slight grip I had on sanity slipping. “Is this what makes you think I’m of the devil? These scars I have inflicted upon myself, these wounds caused from my own pain? Yes, these are what I’ve been hiding. They are not of the devil but only by my own, pained hand. I’m not afraid to show you what I really am, even if it is something you’re afraid of, because I am nothing to fear. I have given this family everything, have given away my life and my freedom to protect you, and for what? So you can think I am damned? There is only one evil being inside these walls, and it is John!” I charged him then, grabbing the wand from Adelaide’s hand and stabbing it at John’s throat, not that I knew how to use it or what it could do. “He is evil, and if you can’t see that, then I can’t help any of you!”But John’s calculated malevolence outpaced me, and he could turn any moment into an opportunity. So instead of cowering or further shaming me, he swallowed hard and then spoke loudly and clearly. “Now is the time to make your choice. Either go with your family and God, or go with Sadie, the Winters, and their evil,” John said.“I’m with Sadie!” Hannah cried out. “And if you have any loyalty to this family, you will be too. I have seen the future, and Sadie is good.”“I’m with Sadie,” Sarah said. That was as much as I could hope to get out of the elders, I was sure.Ben stumbled to his feet. “I’m with Sadie,” he said.And then there was silence. 132 Survivors said nothing.
Sounds awesome right?!

Well you have a chance to win Body and Blood plus so much more!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the rest of the tour for some more awesome content!
July 22

July 23
A Reader’s Adventure

July 24

July 25

July 26

July 27

July 28

July 29

July 30

July 31

August 1

August 2

August 3

August 4

If you are still unsure about the series check out my reviews of the first two books! The Survivors, Point of Origin And be sure to check out my review of Body and Blood coming soon!

July 15, 2013

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Cover Hysteria Megan Miranda
Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Walker Children's
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Received From: Netgalley in return for a honest review

 Synopsis: Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.

 I have yet to read Megan Miranda's first book but I had heard good things about it so I was excited to read Hysteria. 

Now I am a big wimp. I don't watch horror movies or read books that are marketed as horror so I was nervous about how scary Hysteria was going to be and I am happy to say it was not too scary. Yes I was freaked out but not too much that I could not enjoy the book.

That being said Hysteria is not really a horror book. It is more of a thriller and thrilling it was. I mean the main character KILLED her boyfriend. This is not one of those books where the main character might have killed someone. We know from the very beginning that she did it. But we have to learn along with Mallory why she did it.

The new prep school is so creepy. You could not pay me to go there. And it gets even worse when some kid shows up dead. Of course everyone thinks it was Mallory, but Mallory is not sure. Everyone is creepy and I did not know who Mallory should trust.

Overall Hysteria is a great psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what on earth is going on. And if you are like me you will be surprised by the ending.

July 12, 2013

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Title:Going Vintage
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Received From: Netgalley in return for a honest review

Synopsis: When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

I really liked the premise of Going Vintage. I mean who doesn't want to give up technology for a few days? Especially after a big breakup? But Mallory takes it to the next step, she decides to live like she lives in the 60's.

I personally thought Mallory took it too far to the extreme. She put herself at risk a couple of times and I felt she should have made exceptions at those times. But overall I really liked Going Vintage.

Mallory grew a lot throughout the course of the book. She learned about the past and how things are not all ways as they seem. She also learned a lot about herself. I think many of us would benefit from taking a break from technology just maybe not as drastic a break as Mallory.

The secondary characters and their story lines make this book. Mallory's sister pushes Mallory to commit fully which I could totally see a little sister doing. And her grandmother and mother have some secrets of their own that really play into the family dynamic.

At times Going Vintage was a little slow but other than that it was a great read!

July 11, 2013

Less Than a Gentleman by Kerrelyn Sparks

Kerrelyn Sparks, Revolutionary warTitle: Less Than a Gentleman
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: July 2, 2013 (pbk August 6, 2013)
Received From: Publisher in return for an honest review

Synopsis:In this never-before-published historical romance, New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks returns to the 18th century, where the fight for freedom is as dangerous as the fight for love.

Between searching for the missing Munro sisters and South Carolina being all but lost to the British, Captain Matthais Thomas has more important things to worry about than finding a bride. But his mother has other ideas. When Matthais finds a beautiful woman in his bed who claims to be his betrothed, he is suspicious of her identity…and determined to discover the truth.

Caroline Munro had few options. The British burned down her home, and now, traveling with her very pregnant sister, Caroline is pretending to be someone she’s not so they can have a safe place to rest. But she didn’t count on a matchmaking matron or her rogue of a son…and certainly never dreamed she would fall in love with a spy.

 I don't know about you but when I think of romantic time periods I don't usually think about the Revolutionary War; but maybe that's just me... After reading Less than a Gentleman that opinion has been changed because the Revolutionary War can be romantic and action packed.

Caroline is not to be trifled with. She is a strong-willed and courageous woman who does what she has to do keep her family safe. Even lying about being someone else to get shelter. I mean a girl has gotta do what a girl has gotta do. Granted she does feel terrible about it.

Speaking of lying there is quite a bit of lying in Less Than a Gentleman. Most of it is well founded and understandable. But at one point I was yelling at a character to just tell the truth already. Of course they didn't listen to me, not that I honestly thought they would.

The romantic scenes were HOT, obviously because this is a romance novel. But they were not too over the top so if you are not into the explicit this book is for you.

One thing that I was really surprised about was how much action there was in Less Than a Gentleman. This is not a romance that takes place in drawing rooms and stately mansions. Though there are drawing rooms and a plantation this book mostly takes place in mills, secret passageways, swamps, and docks. And don't you think for a moment that Caroline is going to let the boys have all the fun. She can hold her own against the British.

Even though I enjoyed the whole book my favorite part was the secondary characters. From Dottie and Becky to Charlotte and Jacob all the characters added so much to this story and really fleshed it out. There are no characters that are gratuitous, and they will make you fall in love with them.

Basically if you are a fan of historical romance or romance in general you should read Less Than a Gentleman.

July 10, 2013

Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Title: Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles #1)
Author: Ellen Oh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 2, 2013
Received From: Library

Synopsis: The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

I love fantasy books, give me a stack of fantasy novels and I am set. So I was super excited to read Prophesy which is a fantasy inspired by Korean myths.

One of my favorite Asian inspired fantasies is Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, so while I was letting Prophesy stand on its own I wanted it to be just as good as Silver Phoenix. Unfortunately while I liked Prophesy, it had no where near the magic of Silver Phoenix. 

Kira is a very, very strong female lead. She kicks ass and takes names all while being hated by everyone in the city, because her uncle the king won't allow them to know what she does. But when the city gets attacked only she can protect the prince.

I loved the ancient lore that we learn throughout the book. If you have read my blog for long you know that that is one of my favorite parts of fantasy novels and Prophesy was no exception. Though I do wish that the Monks had been a little less vague. The kind of acted like they did not really know what was going on either which was frustrating for both Kira and I.

There is a hit of romance in this book but not so much that it took away from the plot which I really appreciated.

The only real problem I had with Prophesy was that I found it predictable. Not all of it but the major plot points I guessed right away. I still enjoyed the book but it took a little of the magic out of the story.

Overall Prophesy was a captivating read and a great addition to the YA fantasy genre.

Check out my review of Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon here

July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday- Movie Adaptations

So I have decided to start participating in Top Ten Tuesdays hosted by the Broke and the Bookish
This week’s topic is Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

  1. The Hunger Games- I actually enjoyed the Hunger Games movie more than the book. I liked how it was in 3rd person and I think it added a lot to the material in the book.
  2. The Wizard of Oz- This movie came out forever ago and is still amazing. 
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird- Watching this movie as a child impacted me more than reading the book alone.
  4. A Series of Unfortunate Events-Was it completely accurate? No. But was it still fun and good? Yes.
  5. One for the Money-I have not read the books but the movie was fun and made me want to read them!
What are your favorite movie adaptations?

July 8, 2013

Keeper of the Lost Cities #1 by Shannon Messenger (MMGM)

Title: Keeper of the Lost Cities
Author:Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Received From: Bought

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

I actually read this book a few months ago and am kicking my self for A) not reading it sooner and B) not getting the review up until now.

I don't read too much middle grade and I really need to because there are some great things happening in that corner of the bookstore that I just cannot ignore. When I do read MG I tend to lean towards Fantasy, and so when I heard about Keeper of the Lost Cities I was in. And boy am I glad I picked it up!! I fell in love with both the plot and the characters.

Sophie is a great main character, she is both strong but she has just enough insecurity to be relatable. She also reacts to things in a similar way that I would think I would. Even though she is a lot stronger than I would be in her situation. All the secondary characters help bring this world to life.

The world that Shannon Messenger has created is so original and beautiful, if I could visit I totally would. And I hate to say this but the whole book had a very Harry Potter vibe. It is completely different but the magic was there like when I read Harry Potter.

This is a long book but younger readers should not be afraid because it just flies by, and by the end I was clamoring for the next book!

July 6, 2013

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Received From: Publisher in return for a honest review

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm

I really liked Shadow and Bone. So I was very excited to read the second book in the trilogy Siege and Storm; though I was a little worried about there being a slump in this second book like there are in many other series. But I could not have been more wrong. Siege and Storm was even better than Shadow and Bone and was one of the best books I have read this year so far.

Siege and Storm starts off not to long after the ending of Shadow and Bone. And while I thought that we would have peace for a little while in the beginning I was wrong. The action starts pretty quickly after the beginning of the book and does not stop till the end.

There are some new characters introduced in Siege and Storm and I loved all of them! Especially Sturmhond. LET ME LOVE YOU. He was so snarky and awesome I adore him.

Mal kind of bugged me in Siege and Storm. He was very needy and was not very nice and supportive of Alina which was lame. Yes, Alina changes a lot from the beginning of Shadow and Bone and not all for the better but he still needed to support her and not be an ass.

The Darkling was barely in the book, but he is a shadow over the story. So if you are a big fan of the Darkling he is not in it as much but he is still a force to be reckoned with!

Basically I LOVED this book and cannot wait for the next one. You should totally read this series!!!

Check out my review of Shadow and Bone here