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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
(Description from Goodreads.com)

This one's been sitting on my shelves for more than a year and a half now...and I'd been stoked to read it when I got it at BEA! I love Holly Black's writing and I knew if I was going to read any more vampire fiction (I've been sort of anti-vampire in the last couple of years...) that she would be the author to trust for quality and a twist on the traditional genre. 

In fact, I started this book by listening to the audio and from the moment that Tana woke up in a bathtub at a Daylight Party gone wrong, I was hooked.  The characters are fascinating.  Each one either trying to hide or embrace the darkest parts of themselves and still not really knowing exactly how dark life (or in this case, the afterlife) can get.  Black manages to keep readers on the edge of their seat, constantly drawing Tana to a place that could mean safety, only to pull the rug out from under her again and again.  

I was awed at how strong a character she was...often I wonder how I would react in the scenes I read. I know that if the events that occurred in Tana's life were to happen to me, I would have instantly been vampire food, but she manages through wit and grim determination to triumph again and again.  She truly is the "Coldest Girl in Coldtown."  I would LOVE to read a follow up to this book to see exactly where the next part of her adventure takes her... to see how she manages to defy what seems to be the only options before her, time and again.  

Is there a book two? Does anyone know?  

Full disclosure: Book from my Personal Library (ARC received at BEA 2013)/Audiobook borrowed from the Library

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blog Tour - The Traveling Tea Shop: Part Two

I'm very excited to be part of Belinda Jones' The Traveling Tea Shop Blog Tour! This book is a fun, romantic...and snack-inducing read.  In fact, I found it such a sweet read that I've actually already talked about it yesterday and I'm going to talk about it again today! 

The Traveling Tea Shop
by Belinda Jones
Love Travel series, book eleven

Love isn't always a piece of cake...

Laurie Davis has always followed her passion. After escaping family drama to start a new life in New York City, she’s up for whatever challenges life brings. So when an opportunity arises for her to use her travel industry expertise and serve as an assistant and tour guide for her idol, Pamela Lambert-Leigh, star of television’s Tea-Time with Pamela, she jumps at the chance.

But Laurie’s exciting adventure ends up entailing a lot more than scouting locations for the cake queen’s new cookbook when Pamela’s sassy mother and sulky, rebellious daughter tag along for the trip. As they cruise around bakeries in New England trading local delights like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pies for British specialties such as Victoria Sponge and Bakewell Tarts, more secrets than recipes are revealed.


Now, in between rediscovering romance, learning to forgive family, and finding the best dessert on the East Coast, Laurie, Pamela, and the gang might find there’s nothing a nice cup of tea, a sweet treat, and a little bit of friendship can’t heal… (Description from Goodreads.com)

I truly enjoy books that are FUN to read.  That's why the name of my blog has always been "I Read to Relax." Though I appreciate books that make me think and tackle heavy issues, I generally reach for something light or romantic or escapist first.  

This book had such great, fun elements to it.  Delicious descriptions of food (see yesterday's post), fun adventures in picturesque places, people coming together, and hints of romance.  Aside from drooling my way through the read, I found myself touched by the characters' stories, urging them to find their ways back to each other.  To find peace and embrace the joy that their road trip through New England could bring.  I was very pleased with the way that Jones was able to convey a lightness to the story even at small moments when things were going sour. 

 I think I'll be looking for more of Belinda Jones' books this summer. They seem like great beach reads! 

Author website: http://www.va-va-vacation.com/belinda-jones

Full Disclosure: Review Copy received from Publisher through Netgalley

Friday, March 20, 2015

Blog Tour - The Traveling Tea Shop

I'm very excited to be part of Belinda Jones' The Traveling Tea Shop Blog Tour! This book is a fun, romantic...and snack-inducing read.  In fact, I found it so delicious to read that I'm actually going to talk about this book on the blog both today and tomorrow! 

The Traveling Tea Shop
by Belinda Jones
Love Travel series, book eleven

Love isn't always a piece of cake...

Laurie Davis has always followed her passion. After escaping family drama to start a new life in New York City, she’s up for whatever challenges life brings. So when an opportunity arises for her to use her travel industry expertise and serve as an assistant and tour guide for her idol, Pamela Lambert-Leigh, star of television’s Tea-Time with Pamela, she jumps at the chance.

But Laurie’s exciting adventure ends up entailing a lot more than scouting locations for the cake queen’s new cookbook when Pamela’s sassy mother and sulky, rebellious daughter tag along for the trip. As they cruise around bakeries in New England trading local delights like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pies for British specialties such as Victoria Sponge and Bakewell Tarts, more secrets than recipes are revealed.

Now, in between rediscovering romance, learning to forgive family, and finding the best dessert on the East Coast, Laurie, Pamela, and the gang might find there’s nothing a nice cup of tea, a sweet treat, and a little bit of friendship can’t heal… (Description from Goodreads.com)

So, why do I want to talk about this book two days in a row?  Well...let's just say that not only is this book a great story, but it also meets my own personal favorite criteria for chick lit and cozy mysteries.  It involves lots of amazing descriptions of FOOD!! *drools* So, today I'm going to give you a little taste of the deliciousness of this book and then tomorrow I'll discuss the regular story line in more detail. 

Red Velvet Cake at the Waldorf Astoria 
Where to start?  Have you ever had a book make your mouth literally start to water? I have. This book did it to me.  When a book is about people traveling throughout New England to discover the best tea time treats available, I knew to expect a little of this, but Jones does an amazing job describing the cakes and goodies.  Red Velvet Cake happens to be my all-time favorite treat and let's just say that when they stopped at the Waldorf Astoria to make it from scratch, well, my mouth watered so bad we're lucky there isn't really an online cake delivery service... MMMMMMM.... 

I found it so very interesting to read not only the descriptions of how to many of these delicious treats are made, but also to learn about some things that were first made here in New England, but that I'd had no idea originated so close to where I live! Truly fascinating. I love learning that type of thing when I read.  I found myself make mental notes to stop by some of the places she mentions the next time I'm gallivanting about New England to try the ultimate examples of lots of my favorite sweets. 

My advice, when you read this book, read it with a full belly. Otherwise, you may end up finding yourself scrounging through the cupboards for something sweet to munch on... 

Stay tuned tomorrow for more about the Laurie's non-food adventures along the Traveling Tea Shop's tour of New England! 

Author website: http://www.va-va-vacation.com/belinda-jones

Full Disclosure: Review Copy received from Publisher through Netgalley