Sunday, May 15, 2011

Illusions by April Lynn Pike

I have been eagerly awaiting the next installment in April Lynn Pike’s series. This is one of the books that was released on May 3 that I have been trying to read six books and review them J Needless to say reading them won out…
"I don't do patrols, I don't go hunting, I just stick close to you. You live your life. I'll keep you safe," Tamani said, sweeping a lock of hair from her face. "Or die trying."
Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.
But just as life returns to normal, Laurel realizes that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

Wow I loved this book. I actually waited until I had read all of the other books before I started this one and it was one of my favorites. I had anticipated getting a little tired of the love triangle between Tamani and David. However, that wasn’t the case. April was able to bring new aspects to the love triangle and Laurel didn’t spend the entire book an angsty mess.

The plot continues to thicken in this book as you try to get to the root of who is causing all of Laurel’s problems. I would say the last few chapters are quite a plot twist and the ending completely leaves you hanging. For those that hate books with cliffhangers then you might want to wait until the next installment is out before reading this book.

Tamani really comes into his own in this book. You see more of his love for Laurel and how much he struggles seeing her with David. In the past two books you have seen a lot of David and his side. In this book you see all of Tamani including some passages from his POV. I have to say that I really enjoy books from both characters POV.

Overall, I give this book a 4.5/5. Faeries aren’t my favorite thing and I am not a fan of cliffhanger endings. However, the book has so many good points that it really balances out. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz

I found Spellbound through NetGalley and loved the cover. The summary that is given on both Amazon and NetGalley is a little vague and had me concerned this was another Romeo and Juliet type story where they couldn’t be together. It is similar but isn’t ultimately the same. Here’s the description from Amazon:

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

I really feel that this summary does not do the story justice so I am going to attempt to add some information that I feel is really good to the story. Emma is a survivor. She has survived a drunk stepfather and the loss of her mother. Emma moves in with her wealthier family members in New York for a fresh start where she meets Brendan. They are mysteriously drawn to each other and as they grow closer someone is trying to warn Emma of the danger of a curse. If being together means suffering from a curse is it really worth it?

Shultz weaves an incredible love story that is believable for such young teenagers. The love between Emma and Brendan is both intense and sweet. Emma is a great lead because while she doesn’t conform to the typical cliques in high school, she is still social and isn’t the typical outcast or martyr. She fits in without having to be a part of any one group.

I also like that this is a self-contained novel. It doesn’t appear to be a series but it could be expanded into one later. This is a refreshing twist to the paranormal genre. Additionally, this book has barely a touch of paranormal to it. If you are looking for a heavily paranormal book then this probably isn’t the right one for you. While there are some plot points that lean that way, it definitely doesn’t dominate the story.
I do wish some of the secondary characters were fleshed out a little more. You see a lot of Emma and Brendan, but you don’t really get insight into the other characters. Overall I give this book a 5/5 for a great story and strong leads.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Wow! My life has been crazy the past week. I teach and with seniors leaving it has been a whirlwind of grades and exam writing, etc. So without further ado here are the winners from the Ethereal contest:



Congrats to you both & I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot is one of my favorite authors. I read all of her books both YA and Adult. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Abandon since it was announced last fall or summer. I am excited that I finally got a copy of it! Here’s the summary from Amazon:

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Sadly I was disappointed in Abandon at first. The story takes a really long time to get going and I almost put it down several times. It is too mysterious in the beginning. There isn’t enough information for the situation and I found myself as a reader getting very frustrated as I tried to understand what was going on with Pierce.

With about ¼ of the book left to go, I finally got really into the book. I read the last part of the novel without stopping after three days of trying to get through the beginning. If the entire book had been as good as the end then I would definitely give it a 5 star rating. However, I think that for me the start took a lot away from the story.

Pierce’s character is not as relatable in the beginning as in the end. It is almost as if she is numb and adrift in life. I personally can’t seem to relate to that feeling. However, as the story goes on she finally seems to come out of it a bit and becomes a bit easier to relate to.

I will say that when romance finally does come into the book it is hilarious. It definitely has that comical feel to it as both characters are incredibly stubborn and the conflict over two people being strong willed and stubborn ensues. I find this to be extremely hilarious in the sense that I can foresee some real fun moments in this relationship.

As a whole I give this book a 3/5. However, if the next books continue the way this one ended I am really excited to read them. It has tremendous potential. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Last Chance to win!!!

Don't forget to check out my interview with the Awesome Addison Moore and enter the contest to win one of 2 electronic copies of Ethereal. Click here to enter!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

I found Hereafter through NetGalley and was curious about the plot. I haven’t read much in the realm of ghosts and the books that are love stories always get me. That’s probably why I enjoy reading YA literature so much. The story of first love is always breathtaking. Here’s the summary from Amazon:

Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.
I had some trouble getting into the story. Hereafter is a star crossed lover story with a ghost twist. I typically shy away from the ghost story line but the summary really intrigued me. Once I got past the first few chapters the story really began to draw me in. The love between Amelia and Josh grows very quickly and Tara does a great job describing their joint story.
Hereafter almost reads a little like a horror story. The things that Amelia deals with after her death are definitely of the horror quality. Also, the story behind her own death has a nightmarish quality. The story is definitely dark outside of the love between Joshua and Amelia.
I think this book is better suited to readers that liked stories like Fallen and Beautiful Creatures. If you like stories with a dark side to them then you will love this novel. It is well written and the plot flows in a flawless manner. However, it is definitely dark. I am not as big of a fan of the dark side of the paranormal genre so I would give it a 3/5 for that reason. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Interview & Contest with Addison Moore

I am so happy to have the author of the independently published novel Ethereal, Addison Moore, here with us today. If you missed my review of Ethereal you can find it here. Addison has also agreed to giveaway 2 copies of Ethereal! In order to win simply leave a comment with your email address. The winner will be chosen on May 7.

1. Where did your inspiration come from for Ethereal?

     Hi Brandi! First thank you SO much for hosting me and my new book, Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1). I’m so happy to be here!

         My inspiration for this series actually came from the marriage of two former projects I had that didn’t quite make it to fruition. One story took place on an Island and revolved around a high school. The other story was about a girl who saw her guardian angel. I sort of morphed the two and a new creation was born altogether. It’s because of those previous works that I got to know these characters very well.

2. How long did it take you to write the story?

         With Ethereal it took some time, only because there were long-term story arcs to consider and both powers and weaknesses to map out as well as the factions. Even though it took months to develop it was a joy to finally hit the keyboard and let the story roll out of me.

3. Is there anyone you can compare how your characters look in your minds eye to?

         I think of Skyla looking a little like Blake Lively with Taylor Swift-ish hair. As for Logan and Gage, I honestly cannot pinpoint one celeb to reference, which is good because it’s so important that the reader create their own vision of what these two look like. Logan has sandy colored hair and is more your surfer looking type. Gage has black hair, piercing blue eyes and deep-set dimples. I tend to swoon for both. 

4. Did you have to do any research for your mythology?

         Yes! It was very interesting to see all of the differing opinion of who the Nephilim were and their connection to the ancient world. I took some liberties with the stories that were handed down, and molded my own version of who I thought they could be.

5. We only see glimpses of Chloe, how would you describe her personality? 

         In book one Chloe is more of an enigma, by book two Skyla very much enjoys Chloe’s company. Chloe however still holds her secrets very close to the vest. She’s not so much an open book like Skyla.

6. How many books do you think will be in the series?

         Right now there is no hard number, partially because I need the story to unfold naturally. It will most likely be five.

7. Can you give us any spoilers for the next book?

         In the next book, tentatively titled, TREMBLE, Skyla and Logan’s resolve as a couple is tested, and Skyla starts to see Gage with new eyes. A few new characters are introduced, one of which stirs the pot deliciously. Skyla is immersed in trying to save her father, and in the epic task of mapping out the Counts.

         I’m also currently knee-deep in book three, which will include Chloe’s Diary. I’m very excited to get it out this summer.

8. When will the next book be out?

         The next book is complete, but it’s currently undergoing a series of professional edits. There is no such thing as a stone too polished. I foresee it hitting the e-shelves sometime in May.

For aspiring authors:

9. What made you decide to self-publish Ethereal?

         I appreciate traditional publishing. The reason I decided to venture into self-publishing was I thought I had a unique story I wanted to share with readers. I knew in my heart that at the end of the day it was the readers who I wanted to reach with my work. Right now Amazon has the lions share of book and e-book traffic. It only made sense. It’s an even playing field when it comes to e-book distribution. 

10. Are you a full-time writer? If not what do you do for your day job?

         I am a full-time writer. I have files and files of regular and paranormal young adult fiction, women’s fiction, middle grades, you name it I’ve probably dabbled in it. My heart belongs to the world of young adult fiction and I hope to introduce several new titles throughout the year.

11. What suggestions do you have for writers to finish a novel and publish their work?

         The most important thing for a writer to do is write. Set a doable goal for yourself, whether it’s 500, 1000, or 2000 words a day and stick to it. I write every day, rarely do I take a day off, partially because my love of writing borders on obsession.  

Again, thank you SO much Brandi for hosting me!!! This was a blast! And thank you to the many kind readers who have delved into Skyla’s crazy world with me. I’m very much enjoying the ride and look forward to what the future holds.

You can find Addison at If you are interested in picking up a copy of Ethereal you can do that for only .99 through Simply click the link below and it will take you directly to purchase page. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ethereal by Addison Moore

I have really enjoyed the wonders of technology that make things available to us today. I love the fact that I can access great stories that have not been published through the traditional route through Amazon. I try to take a few chances on these books because I know it will help those writing and because on several occasions I have found a really good book. Ethereal falls into this category. The description from Amazon is:

Sixteen year-old, Skyla Messenger is a dead girl walking.

When her newly remarried mother moves the family to Paragon Island, to a house that is rumored to be haunted, Skyla finds refuge in Logan Oliver, a boy who shares her unique ability to read minds.

Skyla discovers Logan holds the answers to the questions she’s been looking for, but Logan’s reluctance to give her the knowledge she desires leaves her believing Logan has a few secrets of his own.

Skyla’s bloodlines may just be connected to the most powerful angelic beings that roam the earth, and the more she knows, the more danger she seems to be in.

Suddenly an entire faction of earthbound angels wants her dead, at least she still has Logan, or does she?

Skyla is a fun lead character. She reminds me a little of a younger Merit from the Chicagoland vampire series. She is strong, independent and doesn’t let anyone or anything get in the way of what she wants.

I found the mythology behind this paranormal to be very interesting. The underlying idea is that there are different factions of angels that have different sorts of abilities. The concept is that there is a certain faction that can’t be allowed to be together because they will produce strong offspring and will throw off the balance of things. This is quite different from most of the angel mythology I have read thus far. The human aspect that has been brought into the story intrigued me.

I have to say though that I am definitely a fan of Gage. I can’t wait to see what happens in the later books as his character becomes more prominent. I really think Logan is somewhat selfish, at least in an unintentional manner. He strikes me as the type of person that will never be really able to fully grasp putting someone else above his needs and wants fully. I will look forward to seeing what will happen with the triangle in this series in the future.

Overall I give this book a 5/5. Addison does an incredible job of making the world of angels seem possible and developing a set of characters that can be related to. Check back in on Monday for an interview with Addison!