Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Book:  Black City
Author:  Elizabeth Richards
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Date:  November 9, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
My grade:  A

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths. (Cover and description from

Initial Reaction
Dystopian vampires??  Yes, please!!!!

Cover story
This cover is absolutely stunning!  I love it!  And the title is great also.  But just look at that cover!  I can’t stop staring at it!!

What’s the Story?
I really thought that I was done with vampire books.  Seriously.  I’ve read some pretty bad ones since Twilight came out.  Then, I picked up Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules and realized that people could still write phenomenal vampire novels.  So if Julie restored my faith, Elizabeth Richards has just made me a born-again vampire lover.  I will never doubt the greatness of a fabulous vampire story again!

This one is very unusual.  There are different types of vampires and the vampires actually breed.  So this means that they can also breed with humans and that leads us to Ash, the half human, half Darkling hero of this book.  Ash is such a tortured hero and I love him for that.  In fact, he feels like the quintessential Byronic hero in many respects.  He is a cynical loner who holds both the human society and the Darkling society in contempt, yet he is loyal to a fault to those he loves.  He is intelligent and cunning and can be prone to some criminal activity, yet the reader is drawn to his goodness.  He is such a contradiction in terms and that makes him a wonderful protagonist to read about.

I really liked Natalie as well.  Even though I didn’t find her character quite as compelling as Ash, I really enjoyed watching her transform from a protected, naïve rich girl into someone who cared about the world she was living in.  The supporting cast of characters was also very well done.  They were fairly multi-faceted for secondary characters and I’m interested to see what will happen with all of them in future installments.

This novel has a little bit for everyone.  It is part romance, part mystery and part social statement on the ills of racism in society.  It is obvious that the author has drawn on racial slurs in existence as well as the Nazi treatment of the Jews to show how the vampires are discriminated against in this novel.  I was really glad that I had some knowledge of the history of Nazi Germany because I think it was helpful in reading the book.

This plot was wonderful.  It kept me on my toes the whole time, trying to figure out who was doing what and where it would all lead.  In many parts of the book, I was literally holding my breath, wondering what would happen next.  I felt totally immersed in the world that Elizabeth Richards created in this book.

The Soundtrack

Half of My Heart by John Mayer and Taylor Swift
Once you read the book, you’ll understand why this song is so appropriate.

In This Heart by Sinead O’Connor
This song is very haunting and reminds of some of the songs that the Darklings sing in the novel.

Vampire Heart by H.I.M.

Invincible by Muse

Forbidden Love by Madonna (from Bedtime Stories)

Forbidden Love by Madonna (from Confessions on a Dance Floor)

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is an A.  I was completely enthralled with the dystopian vampire world created in Black City.  I loved the story and I loved the characters and I am anxiously waiting the next book in Ash and Natalie’s story.  If you think that you don’t want to read about vampires, just give this one a try.  It’s not your typical vampire book.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Recommend a......

Recommend A...... is sponsored by Chick Loves Lit .  Every Monday, I just recommend one book that meets the weekly criteria! Hooray!

This week's prompt is recommend a:

Book That You Got at the Library  

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

This is not a book that I recommend a lot and I'm not sure why.  I think it's because I just assume that everyone already knows how awesome Sarah Dessen is.  But I checked this one out of the library because I didn't think I would like Sarah Dessen.  Boy, was I wrong!  This novel was great and had a lot of depth to it.  It was not the fluffy read I thought it would be.  So, I keep promising myself that I will pick up more Sarah Dessen and I hope to follow through on that promise sometime soon.

What books did you get at the library that you would recommend to me?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Book:  Rockaholic
Author:  C.J. Skuse
Publisher:  Scholastic
Date:  Available now
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  B-

She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage? 

Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit, loses her precious moon rock, and bodysurfs backstage, she ends up with more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. And now he doesn't want to leave.
It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series . . . but who got punk'd?

Initial reaction
Ok, that book turned out waaaaaaaay better than I thought it would at first.

Cover story
I like both of them.  The cover is sort of cute but you get the whole rock vibe with the sunglasses and the black fingernail polish.  It works.  I probably wouldn’t hold it up in public, but that’s because I’m a 40-something year old woman.  The title is good too.  So, all in all, title and cover are alright.

What’s the Story?

I seriously thought several times that this would be a book I did not finish.  I really, really did not like Jody, the main character.  In fact, throughout most of the book I thought she was a spoiled, selfish, immature brat.  I mean, what kind of girl/woman, who is already out of school and works full time, gets that obsessed with a band and then takes the lead singer away and hides him in the garage???  I could not handle her.  She was so self-absorbed and the way she kept fawning over Mr. Rock Star and ignoring the wonderful person of Mac, who was standing right in front of her, was just too much for me to take.

Then, a funny thing happened.  I kept reading, hoping it would get better, and IT DID!  Jody started to grow up.  She saw how demanding and mean Jackson really was.  And she started to realize just how wonderful Mac was and how she had always taken him for granted.  This was when I realized that I really liked the book after all.  Let me clarify and say that I always liked Mac.  I could tell from the beginning that he was a really awesome guy.  I’m just glad that Jody finally noticed that too.

Now, I have to admit that the whole premise of this novel is a little preposterous.  Who kidnaps a rock star?  But ridiculous premise aside, I was glad to see Jody grow up so much during this novel.  If she hadn’t started changing some, I would have shut this book and never looked back.

I have to admit that I’m not sure why she and Mac were not in school.  They were both 18 (I think), but Jody had a full time job in a daycare center.  I wish that I understood more about the British school system and if this book is going into the American market, it might warrant a bit of an explanation somewhere.  Just sayin’…..

If you decide to pick up this novel, just stick with it a little while.  Jody’s whining and self-absorption does get better.  I promise.

The Soundtrack

Realize by Colbie Caillat

Friend of Mine by Lea Salonga

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg

Anyone Else But You by The Moldy Peaches

True Colors by Glee cast

Superstar by Taylor Swift
I know a country song really doesn’t belong on a soundtrack for a book about a rock star, but the lyrics to this song were just perfect!

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is a B.  The beginning was not so great, but once Jody started to pull her head out of her rear, I liked it a lot better and Mac was great the whole time.  If you don’t mind slogging through the whininess, then you’ll be rewarded with a great ending.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop at Into the Mystic!  Halloween is my favorite holiday, so to help you get in the mood, I am giving away your choice of a book (up to $15) that is about something Halloween-related such as vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, ghosts or any other scary things!  Just check out my Rafflecopter below and get busy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out all the other blogs on this giveaway hop:

This awesome giveaway hop is sponsored by Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.  Check her out here!

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is:

The Top Ten Books to Get You in the Mood for Halloween

     Hello!  Demonic possession get anyone in the mood for Halloween?

   Silver by Talia Vance

      To me, nothing screams Halloween like the ancient Celts.  After all , they are the original celebrators of Halloween.


     No Halloween list would be complete without a book about the zombie apocalypse.

   The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

  Seers that speak to the dead? Yeah, you can find that in this creepy read!

       Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

       A creepy mystery, an odd family returning to town and tales of murder most foul.  This book will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween.

      Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

     This one is a zombie book set in the Victorian era!

      The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

      You can't have a Halloween list without a vampire book, and if you are going to read a vampire book this year, it must be this one!  Julie Kagawa has worked her magic on the undead.

      Misfit by Jon Skovron

      This book features demons galore!  A half-demon heroine, her demon mother and other demons chasing her down. 

      The Cellar by A.J. Whitten

    This zombie book is for those who like a little more gore with their zombies.  There were scenes that really squicked me out in this one!

    The Hollow by Jessica Verday

    This is my required ghost read.  This book not only features ghosts, but it's set in Sleepy Hollow!

     Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

     I know that this is actually number 11, but I just had to put this book on the list.  It's not scary at all, but this tongue-in-cheek look at vampires is so, so entertaining!  Think of it like the book version of the Monster Mash!

So, these are my Halloween reads.  What books would you recommend to get in the mood for Halloween?



Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Recommend a..........

Recommend A...... is sponsored by Chick Loves Lit .  Every Monday, I just recommend one book that meets the weekly criteria! Hooray!

This week's prompt is a fun one!  Recommend a:

Book That Kept You Up All Night Reading

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle 

OK, it technically wasn't all night, but I stayed up until 3 a.m. when I finished the book.  So that counts, right? 

I loved this book.  I could not wait to see what was going to happen and I kept anticipating much heart fail at the end.  I just hope and pray that she will write a sequel! 

So, what book has kept you up all night recently?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sam Cruz's Infallible Guide to Getting Girls by Tellulah Darling

Book:  Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls
Author:  Tellulah Darling
Publisher:  Te Da Media
Date:  October 17, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  Freakin’ A+!

Why the hell can’t chicks be more like guys?

That question plagues high school senior Sam Cruz. Sam is perfectly happy being a player. He just wishes girls wouldn’t change the game from sex to relationships. It makes him look like an asshole. But when Sam’s best friend, Ally Klinger, gets dumped, she begs him to transform her into someone who can screw around then screw off. No risk of heartbreak that way. It’s Sam’s chance to create the perfect female AND cheer up his best friend. Armed with Sam’s Three Step Guide to Backseat Success, Ally gets the game better than Sam thought she would and before long, Sam has his wish: the female version of himself. Too bad it’s driving him nuts. Told from Sam’s and Ally's alternating POVs, Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls is a fast-paced romantic comedy that follows these teens as they navigate the minefield of sex, love, and friendship.

This book contains strong language, drinking, euphemisms, and lots of “bow chicka wow wow.”
(cover and description from

Initial reaction
GAH!!!  This book was soooooooooo good!!!

Cover story
I have much love for both of these.  The title is already funny and gives you an idea of the fabulous humor found inside the book.  The cover picture of perfect and it reflects the content of the book without being embarrassing or clichéd.  It’s wonderful!

What’s the story?
So, Sam is a player.  Like, a big-time player.  He is a total love ‘em and leave ‘em guy.  All he wants is no strings attached sexy times.  He is best friends with Ally, a geeky, vegetarian granola girl.  So, when she unexpectedly gets dumped by her boyfriend, she decides that she wants to be a player like Sam.  So, she asks him to teach her how to do it and she gives herself a makeover from hippie to hottie.  Of course, as Sam sees boys starting to notice her, he starts to notice her as well and mucho trouble and antics ensue.  See why this is a great book?

I loved the characters in this book.  Sam was such a great character!!  He was such a charmer and the reader of the book is not immune to his killer charm either.  Of course, watching him flounder about and try to make sense of his life is just so funny.  The book is told in alternating points of view and Sam and Ally both are so snarky and smart, so the narrative is just hysterically funny.  Their voices combined with the string of romantic misfires just made this one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in quite a while.

Now, I have read some rather scathing reviews of this book because of the amount of sex, drinking and profanity in it.  There is a lot.  After all, this book is about a guy who basically searches out one-night stands and how he teaches his girl best friend to do the same thing.  A lot of people have said that this book is in no way realistic, but I beg to differ.  I teach high school and people, believe me when I tell you that these kids are drinking and having sex way more than they should be.  Also, their language is horrible.  I hear more f-bombs in the hall than the Germans dropped on Britain.  So, I think that this novel actually captures a lot of what it’s like to be a teen today.

Of course, the whole point of the novel is to watch these two navigate through this total car wreck they’ve created and have Sam eventually realize the error of his ways, right?  Which means that he has to have wicked ways to begin with!  In any case, the language, sex and drinking really didn’t bother me as far as seeming unrealistic and even though I thought that they both were making poor choices, if they hadn’t done so, there would be no story!
I thought this book was fantastically entertaining.  I could not put it down.  I actually read it at my desk while my student teacher taught on Wednesday.  I finished it in a day.  I thought it was funny, snarky and smart while also being at times heartbreaking and endearing.  Tell me the last time you found a novel that could deliver all that?!?

I cannot praise this book enough.  As long as you are not easily offended, you should run to your nearest book shop and purchase this one as soon as you possibly can.  After all, Sam is definitely not looking for a long-term relationship here, so you better get a piece of him while you can. : )

The Soundtrack

Mr. Heartbreaker by Chanelle Ray

If I Was a Man by Pussycat Dolls

Pimpin’ All Over the World by Ludacris

She Is by The Fray

Come On Get Higher by Matt Nathanson

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is A+!!!  I loved it!  If you are looking for a funny read that’s a bit on the naughty side, pick up this book.  The guide won’t get you any girls, but it will get you a good dose of laughter and feel good!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Losing It by Cora Carmack

Book:  Losing It
Author:  Cora Carmack
Publisher:  Self-published
Date:  October 16, 2012
Source:  purchased
My grade:  A-


Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.
(cover and description from

Initial reaction
This is exactly the type of book I needed to read right now.  Heavy on the romance and cute factor.

Title and Cover
Ok, I hate both of them.  In fact, if I hadn’t seen such a blitz of reviews come from bloggers everywhere, I never would have picked up this book.  The title is total cheese and the cover is cringe-worthy.  I really don’t want to read a book in public with a girl looking like she is in the middle of an orgasm on the cover.  I was really glad this was on my Nook.

What’s the Story
This is the first book I have read in New Adult genre.  Be aware that there is a lot of talk about sex and partying in this book.  However, I don’t think that it’s a bad choice for more mature teens.

Having gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the book.  I will admit that I tend to steer clear of self-pubs.  I know that sounds snobby, but I’ve seen too many that were so poorly edited and I just can’t stand to read a book when I’m distracted by improper placement of apostrophes and the misuse of their and they’re, etc.  So let me set your mind at ease when I tell you that this is NOT one of those books.  In fact, there was only one mistake that bothered me; the author used “once and a while” several times and I believe it is “once in a while” that is correct.  But it only happened twice, so I can overlook it.

This was not a very serious, angst-ridden story.  It was a cute read about a girl about to graduate from college and she feels it’s time to give up the V-card.  So she picks up a hot BRITISH guy one night, takes him back home and proceeds to have a panic attack right before they get busy.  Then, she arrives in class the next morning only to discover that said British hottie is actually her new professor.  Bom,bom,bom!!!

This is a great set-up for some good sexual tension and some laugh out loud embarrassing moments, all leading up to a happily ever after, of course.  Poor Bliss is just a mess of nerves and embarrassment most of the time and this makes for a very entertaining, if sometimes cringe-inducing, read.  I felt so embarrassed for her at times!  But she’s a good girl, if a little self-involved at times.  She is well-meaning and just a tad naïve, but I liked her as a character.

Now, Garrick?  What a hot mess he is!  He’s cute, he has an accent and he’s just so darn nice!  And the fact that he is Bliss’ professor really did not squick me out like I thought it might.  For one thing, he is not that much older than she is and for another thing, it’s college.  It’s not like some pervy old guy taking advantage of a 16 year old girl.  Also, I think it makes a difference that they met before they knew he was her professor.  But anywho, Garrick is a great guy.  I can see why she would fall for him.  I think I fell for him too.

There was just enough angst to make a good story line without getting me all upset and worried.  This book was just what I needed to read, because I had started about 4 different books before I read this one.  If you are in a book slump, try picking this book up.  It’s a short read at 143 pages and it was a super fast read.  The story progressed at a quick pace, but never skipped important details and I closed the book with a satisfied smile on my face.

The Soundtrack

This book is really pretty funny and poor Bliss with her failed attempt to lose the V-card is just sad… I made her a sexin’ up playlist instead of a soundtrack!

Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye

Gettin’ You Home by Chris Young

Grind With Me by Pretty Ricky

Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon

Strip by Chris Brown

Secret by Maroon 5

Turn Me On by Norah Jones

Rude Boy by Rihanna

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book was an A-.  This was a fun, fast read that made me laugh out loud at moments and had a great set-up for an interesting story.  This book was a great mix of heartfelt emotions, college parties, bff’s, hot boys and sexy times.  It wasn’t all fluff, but it was pretty sweet.  It was a lot like a snickers bar; junk food that doesn't pack much nutrition, but it's chocolate-y and totally satisfying!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

Book:  Romeo Redeemed
Author:  Stacey Jay
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Date:  October 9, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A-

Seductive companion to the popular Juliet Immortal, in which former lovers—Romeo and Juliet—meet, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.
(cover and description from

Initial reaction
After all that I’ve read with these books, how is it that I can still find Romeo so swoonworthy?

Cover Story
This cover makes me want to hide my head in shame.  I’m so glad I was reading this on my Nook because there is no way I could have taken this cover out in public.  Bodice ripper romance, anyone?  The title is fitting since, well, Romeo redeems himself in this novel.

What’s the Story?
I ran to this book as soon as I finished Juliet Immortal because I couldn’t wait to see what happened to Romeo.  In the first book, he is such a bad boy!!  But, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him and hope that he would get his Happily Ever After eventually, so I dove right into Romeo Redeemed.

While I did find this book to be a good read and very satisfying, it just wasn’t quite as compelling to me as the first book.  I think it is because I sort of know the story and what is going on with the fighting between light and darkness.  Since I didn’t need to figure  out that mystery, there was just the story of Romeo and Ariel.

Now, I DID enjoy this book, a lot.  I didn’t read it quite as fast, but I found the love story to be a little more believable, for some reason.  I think it’s because I could believe Romeo’s remorse and suffering for hundreds of years would change him as a person and that someone like Ariel could have a profound effect on him.  Don’t know, but I do know that I felt this romance a little more.

One of the things that made me like this book is that I loved the fact that shallow Romeo was finally able to see past the surface level of someone and learn to love them.  It was almost like a Beauty and the Beast type story, except that Ariel doesn’t lose her scars and become beautiful on the outside, but rather, Romeo is transformed from someone who only looks at the outside to someone who can find the beauty within.  This transformation was breathtaking.

I really liked the characters a lot in this book.  Romeo has a very rakish charm that works well and Ariel is so strong as a character.  Even though I liked Juliet, I never understood what made Ben so great, but with Romeo and Ariel, I can find the strengths and the weaknesses that each character has and see why they work well together.

Honestly, there were many parts of this book that I feel were superior to the first book, but for some reason, I just didn’t find myself ripping through the pages like I did the first book.  Of course, the story was still good and the ending was very satisfactory and I closed the book feeling happy about where both Romeo and Juliet were at the end of the story.  I really did feel that Romeo was redeemed from all his sins in this book and it made me love him just a little bit more.


Beautiful by India Arie

Beautiful by Joydrop

Wonder by Natalie Merchant

The Beauty in Ugly by Jason Mraz

Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

Better Man by Robbie Williams

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is a A-.  I actually liked the characters better in this book, but the story dragged a bit for me.  I still liked it a lot though and I feel really satisfied with where everything ended and that is a great feeling when you close a book.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Recommend a.......

Recommend A...... is sponsored by Chick Loves Lit .  Every Monday, I just recommend one book that meets the weekly criteria!  Hooray!

This week's prompt is.......

Recommend an author similar to an author you love…….

One author that I love is Cassandra Clare.  Everything she writes is just wonderful!  Her characters are great and the setting is phenomenal.  So, if I had to recommend an author who I like as much as Cassandra Clare and who writes books that are similar (urban YA fantasy)  I would recommend one of the following:

Kelley Armstrong
She is the author of the Darkest Powers series for young adults and also the Women of the Otherworld for adults.  Her books are urban fantasy at its best!  Full of supernatural creatures, kick-butt heroines and hunky guys, she will definitely provide an awesome read.


Kelly Keaton
She is the author of the Gods and Monsters series for young adults and she also writes adult urban fantasy under the pen name Kelly Gay.  I loved the books Darkness Becomes Her and  A Beautiful Evil and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.

So, what do you think of my recommendations?  Would you have different ones for fans of Cassandra Clare?

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation or just a little SOMETHING.

This week is something totally different.  I've been reading  Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay, so The Bard is sort of inspiring me this week.  I have some paintings of Shakespeare's characters by John William Waterhouse to share with you.

This one is called, appropriately, Juliet.

This one is Miranda from The Tempest.

This is one of Waterhouse's renderings of Ophelia.

And finally, one of my all time favorite paintings by Waterhouse this one of Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I hope you are as inspired by Shakespeare and Waterhouse as I am this week!  Share what has been inspiring you!