Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review of TWISTED REFLECTIONS by Shay Fabbro

Series:  Book 2 in the Alexis Davenport series
Blurb via smashwords:
Alexis Davenport wants to be rid of her gift of time travel and the duty to protect the time line from an evil lunatic. When Alex travels back to ancient Egypt, she meets a fellow Traveler who can help her figure out how to use her powers to stop Drifter from altering the past. But can she learn how to control her gift before Drifter finds a way to stop her from meddling in his plans?

My Review:  4 stars
At the end of Dangerous Reflections things are starting to look up for Alex.  In Twisted Reflections, Alex finds herself putting more of the puzzle pieces - of her gift, her situation, her purpose and her adversary - together.

Alex experiences some vast improvements in her life.  She and her mom have moved out of her aunt's guesthouse and into a really snazzy place of their own, close by.  Alex is STOKED about having a large bedroom with her very own bathroom.  She has a boyfriend, she's excelling in drama/theater and she's still working in her aunt's boutique.  Those are the ups.  The downs are that she's still seeing reflections in the mirror of historical females, she's being hunted by a maniac who can time travel as well, she's being overworked in her aunt's boutique and her dad is still MIA.  All of this leaves little to no time for her to be involved with her friends and it starts wearing her down to the point of depression.  I really started to feel for her.  She can act pretty spoiled at times and throw typical teenage tantrums, but she also shoulders an extraordinary amount of responsibility.  Our history as we know it is threatened by an evil man with sinister plans.  And it seems Alexis is the only one who can stop him.  Or is she?

I didn't become as quickly caught up in Twisted Reflections as I did Dangerous Reflections.  But the last half of the book made up for it.  The last half was when I couldn't put it down.  Alex gets to inhabit the body of some really fierce, powerful women in this sequel and that was one of my favorite parts.  In the first book, she trades places with more people, but I thought the ones she got to become in this book were more exciting and interesting.  There's also the introduction of a new character who I absolutely adored.  This is all I can say without spoiling the surprise.  I'm hoping to see more of this person in book 3.  I also hope to get some more answers to some of my pressing questions like, "Why does she feel such intense connections to certain men during her jumps?" and "Why is her mom so hard on her when Alex has done nothing to warrant such restrictions?" and "Where in the world is her dad?".

One of the things I enjoy most about Shay's stories is that everyone who reads her books and follows Alex's adventures, gets a few history lessons too. You can always learn new and fascinating facts or details every time Alex makes a jump.  Even if you've never been a history buff, she finds a way to make it fun and interesting. - her history tidbits are candy-coated goodness.  As I read and gain clues from Alex about the women reflected back at her, I like to see if I can guess which era she'll be headed to, before she does.

As evidenced by the covers, the Alexis Davenport books have an innocence to them that you don't easily find in the young adult genre - especially in paranormal reads.  Her series is one that, as a mother, I can easily recommend to a younger crowd of girls than I would books like Twilight, Nightshade or Hunger Games.  This is the kind of book that offers adventure, fun, teen drama, supernatural abilities and mystery - and you don't have to feel nervous or iffy about letting your young teens read it.  There is the rare use of a swear word or two in the book, but it's in the realm of 'damn' or 'bastard' and no further.

With the events that made up the cliffhanger in Twisted Reflections, I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment.  The plot thickens!  I recommend this series for ages 12 and up. Find my review of book 1, Dangerous Reflections here.

*Be sure to visit the previous blog on her tour where she plays 20 questions with Laird Sapir and is giving away 2 signed copies of her book!

Connect with Dr. Shay Fabbro:

Shay Fabbro was born in Longmont, CO and moved to the town of Grand Junction, CO in the early 1980′s. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Mesa State College before earning her doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO.

Dr. Fabbro currently lives in Grand Junction with her husband, Rich, and their two cats. When not writing novels, she teaches biology classes at Mesa State College. She is hard at work on the second novel in the Portals of Destiny series, Shattered Destiny, as well as a new young adult series, The Adventures of Alexis Davenport.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review of PROTECTED by Cindy M. Hogan & Giveaway

PROTECTED by Cindy M. Hogan
Series: Book 2 in the Watched series
Blurb via Goodreads:
She has the guy. The terrorists have been taken care of. She has a shot at becoming popular.
Life is great!
Until they find her.
Now she must run and leave behind everything she knows, including herself.

My Review: 5 Stars
*Warning:  Spoilerish, only if you haven't read Watched*
Christy imagined she'd get back to her life at school and be accepted by the 'in' crowd - since she did it in Washington D.C., why not?  She couldn't be more wrong.

Although Christy has been forever changed by her ordeal on the field trip - having witnessed an actual murder and been shot at and barely survived - it's hard to change the perception kids at school have of her.  Especially, when she can't breathe a word of what she's been through to anyone, not even her parents.  Since she feels so different, when she shows up to school and nothing has changed, it comes as a bit of a shock to her.  She's still being bullied by some and overlooked by the rest.

Until . . .

She gets an unexpected visitor.  Alex.  He shows up one day in a convertible - almost as smokin' as he is - and saunters his way up to her in front of the cheerleaders, and whoever else happens to be in front of the school, and plants a kiss on her guaranteed to make her, and all witnesses, weak in the knees.  Actually, let's let Christy describe it:
"Then the unthinkable happened.  He kissed me.  It wasn't just a little kiss, either.  It was one that makes you feel like you could die today and it wouldn't matter.  When he finally released me, he said, 'At last.'"

It's that perfect moment we've all imagined as teenagers.  That EVENT that finally makes the popular kids realize you're not insignificant.  It wakes them up to your existence and proclaims that you have something they should envy.  Gorgeous Alex has put Christy on the map.  Problem is, her heart says one thing and her mind says something else.  She can't seem to get them to reconcile. *Sigh*  Who among us hasn't struggled with this, am I right?

Before Christy has the chance to see what Alex's display of affection has done for her social status, they find themselves in mortal danger, once again.  This time, there's no coming back.  She's forced to leave everything she knows and loves behind and enter Witness Protection.  It's the only option if she's going to protect her family and keep herself alive.

Her life becomes unlike anything she could've ever dreamed up or imagined it would be.  She's pushed to the extremes and finds that she is capable of so much more than she thought possible.  It's a rollercoaster ride an adult would have a hard time digesting, let alone a 16 yr. old.

Cindy Hogan wrote an incredible sequel to a great book.  With Protected, she hit it so far out of the park, that ball won't be recovered anytime soon!  I was so hooked on this book, I actually kept pressing the 'next page' button on my Kindle begging it to give me more story at the end.  Christy is practically unrecognizable in this book, which is the point of Witness Protection, right?  Just as it happened in Watched, the supporting characters won me over with equal intensity as the story's heroine.

I'm recommending this series to EVERYONE.  It's a very clean read infused with action, intensity, romance and intrigue.  The profusion of twists and turns, up and downs, left me breathless.  I guarantee you will be hooked on this series by the end of Protected, if you weren't already with Watched.

I feel so lucky to be part of this blog tour.  This is a sequel that I stand firmly behind as one of the best YA books out there.  Watched was a great read. but it's sequel, Protected, surpasses it in action, adventure, suspense, romance and breathtaking moments. I'm ready to lie, cheat or steal to get my hands on the third book.  Luckily you won't have to succumb to that kind of abhorrent behavior because you can enter to win either 1 of 2 e-copies of her book or a signed paperback of both Watched AND Protected!  My review of WATCHED is here.
E-books *open international
Paperbacks *U.S. only (due to shipping costs)

50 Follower Giveaway!

Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU!  You guys have helped me reach a goal of 50 followers and made me one very happy camper/blogger.   I'm inclined to show my gratitude in a manner that we all place value on. . . .A GIVEAWAY!

So, I sat down, put my thinking cap on, thought long and hard about what I should giveaway and I took a look at my cache.  I thought about what books are H-O-T right now and what types of giveaways I find the most exciting.  I came up with this - I will make up 4 packages or options and the winner can choose which one they'd like to win.  Awesome, right?  Who doesn't like to be given choices???  Since this is a thank you to my followers, only followers are eligible to win.  Makes sense, right?  EEK, I'm excited!!
Here we go:
INSURGENT (hardcover)
WATCHED & PROTECTED (SIGNED by author in paperback)

Book 1 and 2 in the WATCHED series

THE BODY FINDER (paperback, not signed)
with swag (SIGNED bookmark and poster, wristband and THE LAST ECHO inspired nail polish)

Picture of signed swag >>>>

Enter now in the Rafflecopter below.  Do it, do it!
*This is open international ONLY for what The Book Depository will ship to you - Insurgent, The Immortal Rules (hardcovers), Watched and Protected (paperback unsigned) and The Body Finder (paperback without swag).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In The Loop

If your TBR (to be read) list is looking a little low, here are  some titles to look into.  Some are the first in a series, others are sequels.  Click on the links, peruse Goodreads, read the blurbs and see if any of these titles tickle your fancy....
Noteworthy Titles That Are Released:
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Born Wicked  by Jessica Spotswood
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Tempest by Julie Cross
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes
Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Pure by Julianna Baggot
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Partials by Dan Wells
Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Fateful by Claudia Gray
Protected by Cindy M. Hogan
Goddess Interrupted by Amy Carter
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

April releases:

April 3 - Grave Mercy by R.L. Lafevers
April 17 - Glimmer by Phobe Kitanidis
April 24 - Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
April 24 - The Selection by Kiera Cass

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (5): The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.  

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Releases September 18, 2012
Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. 
A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

If I could recommend one YA book to everyone, it would be Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.  It was HANDS DOWN the best book I read in 2011.  You might be thinking, "Wow.  That's quite the recommendation.  What about this book got this chick so excited?"  Allow me to answer that thought.   The writing was superb, the story was breathtaking and the heroine. . . .magnificent.  Rae Carson wove a story so compelling, so thought-provoking, that I'm going to make it required reading for my daughters. 

 Elisa, the protagonist, is unlike any character I've ever read about in a YA book.  First off, she's of Latin or Hispanic or Spanish descent - I don't ever remember her ethnicity being stated for the record. 
But I'm comfortable with making that assumption, due to the fact that she's got darker features, a lot of the native language they use in the book is Spanish or at least closely Latin-based, her voice throughout the book, and especially some of the customs.  Why does that mean anything to me?  Because I'm Hispanic.  I'm tan-skinned with dark brown hair, brown eyes and I can speak Spanish (some) ;)  I was over the moon about this amazing story about a brown girl with weight issues.  I felt proud of the rich culture and heritage being spotlighted in the entire book.  And, truth be told, a bit relieved to have a break from all the pale, blond, blue-eyed heroines in every book I read.  I have nothing against blond, blue-eyed me.  I've spent most of my life wishing I was one of them.  Which leads me back to my daughters.  Although they're much lighter skinned than I am, I don't want them to ever wish they were or looked anything different than what God made them.  Elisa offers even a thirty-something year old like me, someone to look up to.

Okay, yes, for those of you who've read Girl of Fire and Thorns, I concede that that is not at all what she starts off as.  In fact, I remember wanting to smack her senseless for the first part of the book.  But, her growth from being an insecure, teenage wallflower to a strong woman who is a Princess in more than title, is MAGNIFICENT!  I love how the people around her are as responsible for her incredible transformation, at the end of Fire and Thorns, as she is.  She's not perfect by the end - she's a work in progress.  A butterfly emerging from it's chrysalis.  For this reason, and many more I didn't list, I can hardly sit still till September.  Crown of Embers is going to be epic. . . .I just know it.

What are you waiting on??? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (4): REACHED by Allie Condie

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.  

 R E A C H E D by Allie Condie (Matched, #3)
Releases November 13, 2012

Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

I've really enjoyed this series.  Book 1, MATCHED, has been my favorite - plenty of romance, angst, mystery and suspense.  Book 2, CROSSED, was good too, but much slower.  I admit, there were times I had a hard time picking it back up.  When it was good, it was really good, it just wasn't consistently exciting.   The cliffhanger ending was incredible and this is why I remain a fan and am anxious to get my grubby little fingers on REACHED.  With everything tying up and secrets revealed and Cassia choosing which love to pursue, it promises to be an epic ending!  Can't wait!  I'll be reading anything Allie Condie puts out, because you can bet it's going to be quality stuff.

What are you waiting on?? 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cover Reveal: To Ride A Púca by Heather McCorkle

I’m so excited to share the cover of my young adult historical fantasy novel, To Ride A Púca, with you. I’ve been waiting for so long to reveal the news and the cover that it’s been driving me crazy! This novel is special to me, as many of you know, because it felt like my heart and soul has gone into it. It isn’t a part of the channeler series, though it is a tie-in novel as it’s about one of Eren’s ancestors. This is a stand alone of a very different flavor and I hope you love it as much as I do.
Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

*This novel is intended for mature teens and adults as it contains some difficult subject matter.

I had to throw that warning in because I had one person who was disturbed by some of the subject matter in The Secret Of Spruce Knoll. To Ride A Púca is a much darker novel than Spruce Knoll and will certainly not be appropriate for some readers. Slavery, oppression, and violent situations are within this novel. It certainly falls under the dark YA catagory. But it is also about hope, love, and belonging. It releases this May! To add this novel to your Goodreads lists click here. To pre-order a signed hardback (to ship at the end of May), click here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (Book 2 in Darkness Rising series)
Release date: April 10
Maya and her friends--all of whom have supernatural powers--have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness.

What a gorgeous cover!  Why can't I look like this girl??  SO not fair.
Anyway, I have been on pins and needles waiting to find out what happens after that cliffhanger from The Gathering.  If you haven't read the first book, what are you waiting for? It's good.  It's my understanding that quite a few mysteries get solved in this sequel.  Liiiiike...what really happened at the lake the day her best friend died. 

Thankfully the wait is almost over.  It's finally April and I only have a few more days of limbo.  I've said it once and I'll say it again....Patience is not my greatest virtue.  I think I need to only start book series that are complete and fully released.  Maybe that way I'd still have fingernails.  HA!

What are you waiting on??

Monday, April 2, 2012

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight. 
Untraceable by S.R. Johannes
16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. 
And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.
 On Fallen Wings  by Jamie McHenry
Faeries are supposed to be perfect.
Rhiannon was. Her life was. Then her betrothed disappeared.
She tried to be strong. She asked for help. There’s only so much trying and asking will do.
So, she took action.
That’s when everything fell apart.

what's in your mailbox?