Thursday, October 27, 2011

If You Like: Books with Male Narrators

"If You Like…” is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.

This week's books all have male narrators. So, if you want a book with an authentic male perspective, check these out!


by Jennifer Bradbury

Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.

This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain. (description from

I LOVED this book. I had seen this book in our collection at the Library and thought, oh looks okay, I kinda like the cover...then I received the audio book to review. I am SO glad that I "read" this book! Jennifer Bradbury did a fantastic job on this historical novel.

Now, the author's note reminds readers that she did take some liberties in the timeline - mummy unwrapping parties did NOT occur at the same time as the war with Napolean. The intriguing idea of having a coded spy message smuggled into the country through a mummy's wrapping was just too cool to pass up...and I agree! If you like The Secret History of the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig, you will LOVE this book. It has a very similar spy theme.

Another reason that I really loved this series was Agnes herself. This is no average debutante. This is a girl who has taught herself 10 languages...10! She longs to actually go out and explore the world. Unfortunately, due to the rank she is born into, this is not in the cards for Agnes. She will be expected to marry well and produce heirs. She longs for adventure, though, and after finding a secret message in the mummy, she definitely gets it!

For a great spy adventure with romance, fun languages, historical facts, sprinklings of Jane Austen, and a girl who I want to be... you should definitely check out Wrapped! I'm only hoping that Jennifer Bradbury hopes to write a follow-up book (please, pretty, pretty please???).

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Destined - Book Trailer and Giveaway!

Are YOU as excited about the next House of Night novel as I am?

In Destined, Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet – which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together – if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow…

And check out this trailer:

Doesn't it look great? I can't believe that the series is drawing to a close...I'm so addicted! Now, my lucky, lucky friends...if you're as addicted as I am, rejoice! I have a copy of Destined to give away to one lucky fan. *squee!*

For a chance to win, all you need to do is leave me a comment with your name, your email address, and your favorite character from the House of Night series before Wednesday, November 2nd. On Thursday, November 3rd, I will randomly draw a winner and they will have until Sunday, November 6th to get back to me with their full mailing address (US/Canada only per publisher - Sorry!) so we can get the book mailed out.

Good luck!!!

Cover Craving...

by Myra McEntire
sequel to Hourglass

Publication date: June 12, 2012

SOOOOO Gorgeous... love this cover. Can't wait to read this one, either! :)

If You Like: Stories with Dead Narrators

"If You Like…” is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.

It sounds like a strange topic, but this week's recommendations all have dead narrators...and believe me, some of these are really great! Check it out...

Monday, October 24, 2011


Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
Edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new landscapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved. (description from

This was a great collection of paranormal short stories. Each story was strong on its own. Some are connected to the "world" that that particular author is famous for (Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, etc.) and some were in whole new settings (Jessica Verday). They ran the gamut from short and sweet, to dark and heartwrenching.

My favorites were:

Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting - Rafe is a boy who sometimes sees reality in his dreams. Today, he's seen something that he can only hope will not come to pass...but his greatest fear is that he's already too late.
*This one made me cry and I immediately tweeted KD to let her know how good it was! Gut-wrenchingly emotional.

At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday - Jane's family hunts the things that go bump in the night. When she decides to take on a pack of cannibal girl scouts on her own, though, everything that possibly could go wrong does...
*Definitely my favorite of the whole book. I mean, how could you not love the idea of cannibalistic girl scouts?? Not to mention de-fanged vampires and a weird tie-in to the Rocky Horror Picture Show! This one's been rolling around in the back of my brain for days...I can't let it go!

IV League by Margaret Stohl - Wren is a Drinker. She and some of the other Drinkers from her town are heading up North to check out colleges...and the potential Breathers they may be able to feed on during their college years!
*This was an intriguing new look at vampires. I liked the writing style a lot. I'm curious to see if Margaret Stohl's books may delve more deeply into this world in the future...

Overall, I really recommend this collection to anyone who skews like me to the paranormal in their reading tastes. If so, this is a veritable smorgasbord of fantastic little stories!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds
by Lisa McMann

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret--behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation.

But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle. (description from

This was a fantastically fun middle grade adventure book. The cover says "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter"...and I was skeptical at first. So many things get compared to both of those series now, that that type of comparison is almost meaningless...unless the book really pulls through. Happily this one did!!

I was so intrigued and awed with the imagination in this book. Artime was an amazing place that I would LOVE to visit. The kids that inhabit it, the Unwanteds, were so complex and varied. Though they are all artistic, they view life differently, they view others differently...they were each their own fabulous individuals. Aside from their own distinct personalities, they each had their own magical skill sets.

The amazing magic of Artime. Never would I have thought that paper clips could be weapons. That clay could contain. That paintings could become magical doorways. Well, I did...but McMann does it sooooo well. The magic used to protect Artime is awesome.

This is a magical dystopia of the highest order. I CANNOT wait to read the next book in the series.

In My Mailbox - October 23, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

For Review:

Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix
City of Orphans by Avi
Traitor's Son by Hilari Bell
*Thanks to SLJ*

From the Library:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer by Cecily Von Ziegsar
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Floors by Patrick Carman
Fateful by Claudia Gray
*This was a SUPERB week at the Library. I can't wait to dive into a couple of these... I've been waiting forever for LOLA!!!*

Friday, October 21, 2011


by Jon Lewis
C.H.A.O.S., book two
Publication date: Jan. 3, 2012

After his parents were killed in a car accident, Colt McAllister was drawn into a world he thought only existed in comic books-one where mind control, jet packs, and flying motorcycles don't even scratch the surface.

Along with his best friends Oz and Danielle, Colt is now training at the secret Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural academy. But strange accidents seem to follow him. . . even with the security of the school grounds. What first seems random soon turns deadly. But who is targeting Colt?

As the alien invasions increase in frequency and force, C.H.A.O.S resources are taxed to the limit and they're forced to utilize the new recruits. In the midst of battle, Colt will discover some startling revelations . . . about himself, his friendship with Oz, and why he has been chosen to defeat this alien attack against earth. (description from

This book read just like a good science fiction movie. Lewis writes in short chapters and though it is science fiction, it's not SO out there technology-wise that you have to get used to it. There are aliens, there are robots, and there is a cool military training academy. There are car chases, there are explosions, and there are simulation training programs.

There are best friends, supportive family members, and there is attempted murder. This book is exciting, fun, and has some great relationships in it. Which is good for Colt, considering someone is most certainly trying to take him out! His friends are there to support him, his new classmates respect him, and he has both family and other responsible adults in his life to keep his as safe as possible.

When Colt finds out why he has some amazing reflexes, why the aliens really want him, it's crucial that he keeps these relationships going... I'm very excited to see what happens in the next book, now that his secret is "out" within his that he knows his destiny.

Full disclosure: ARC received to review for VOYA

The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune
by Rick Riordan
Heroes of Olympus, book two

In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a blood-chilling quest:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Who are the other four mentioned in the prophesy? The answer may lie in another camp thousands of miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea. . .
(description from

I am so excited to have Percy back! Though I really enjoyed The Lost Hero and found Jason, Leo, and Piper's adventure exciting, there is just something I'm not even sure what about Percy. As a reader, I just connect so strongly to him, that just having him as the narrator again made this book worlds better than the last.

However, there were other things I loved besides Percy. Getting to see the ins and outs of the Roman demi-god camp was awesome! Their war games, training rituals, and gods were really interesting. I love all types of mythology and I really loved how Riordan is able to make other cultures' beliefs so accessible. The comparisons between the Greek and Roman mythology felt so organic in the storyline. Very well done!

I love the foreshadowing about the two camps coming together to be part of the big prophecy. I'm also really intrigued to see what part Annabeth plays in the next book. There were some comments in this one that gave an onimous impression...

I hate that we have to wait all the way until next fall!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Secret War

The Secret War
by Matt Myklusch
Jack Blank Adventures, book two

Jack and his fellow students are now well into their School of Thought training and are “sidekicking” for official, card-carrying superheroes. But even though Jack feels more at home in the Imagine Nation, he’s still hiding secrets from his friends Skerren and Allegra.

Jack is trying to find out how far the RÜstov sleeper virus has spread, working to find a cure, and striving to avoid the dire future that Revile warned him about. Meanwhile, Jonas Smart is working just as hard to discover what Jack is hiding from everyone. When a rogue Secreteer—the protectors of Imagine Nation citizens’ secrets—starts selling info to the highest bidder, Smart is ready and waiting. If Jack is going to help prevent a second RÜstov invasion, keep Smart from discovering his secrets, and find out what a shadowy, half-mad Secreteer knows about his long-lost father, he’ll need to learn to trust his friends and find the true path toward becoming a hero himself.(description from

Though I have not yet read the first book in this series, I absolutely plan to go back and do so. Matt Myklusch has created a captivating and imaginative new world! I love that superheroes, villains, ninjas, robots, and more all live together in the Imagine Nation. If you check out his website, you can even see the different and awesome sections of Empire cool!

There are really wonderful characters in this series, too. I love the yoda-like Stendeval, the morphing Allegra, and of course our accidental hero, Jack! Listening to this book also added another dimension as Norbert Leo Butz gives each character their own distinct, and often humorous voice. Each character really came to life with their own faults, foibles, and yes, super powers!!

This was a great adventure with a lot of heart. Jack is keeping all kinds of secrets from his friends, the biggest being his knowledge that their greatest enemy may in fact be him! To see him struggle with this knowledge and learn that the best thing he can do is trust his friends really brought emotional depth to the book.

Well done! I can't wait to see what happens next.

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile

Short Story Mini-Reviews

Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang did not believe in ghosts, until she sees her dead cousin in a dark alley. She did not believe in vampires, until she turns into one. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead and walk away from everything she knows, or join Shadow Falls, a camp for special teens. (description from

Intriguing. I really liked Della's personality and the combination of all different types of supernatural beings that know about one another. I love the premise, though the author's writing style jars me a little. I am definitely interested in going to read the first book in the Shadow Falls series now.

Meet Jessie Gillmansen as she realizes that things might not be what they seem in the town of Junction. (description from author's website)

This one didn't thrill me at all. I don't know if it's because it was so short or if it just didn't really hint at what the series is really about...I don't think I'll follow up with this one. Too many other things I'm dying to read!

I am Gwen Frost, and I have a Gypsy gift. It’s called psychometry – that's a fancy way of saying that I see images in my head and get flashes of other people’s memories off almost everything I touch, even guys. (description from

Very well done. I loved the way that Gwen discovers her friend's secret and how it affects her own personal life so strongly. I'm absolutely going to go get the first official book in the Mythos Academy series because I can't wait to see who she ends up going to school with!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Makes YA Fiction So Hot? A Virtual Panel Discussion on Jonathan Maberry's Big Scary Blog

Hey! Just wanted to point y'all over to this panel discussion on Jonathan Maberry's blog. It was a lot of fun to participate in!! I hope you'll check it out. :)

What You Wish For book launch event at the United Nations in NYC

Yesterday, I was extremely privileged to be invited to a special book launch event at the Der Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at the United Nations in New York City. The program was co-sponsored by the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) and the Book Wish Foundation.

The event was to launch What You Wish For, a book of short stories and poems written by some of the bestselling and most highly honored young adult authors. What really makes this book special is not only all of its contributors, or the fact that they contributed their work for free, but that ALL proceeds from the sale of this book will be sent directly to fund the founding of libraries in the camps in Eastern Chad housing displaced refugees from Darfur.

The program began with moving presentations by Udo Janz, Director of UNHCR (far left), and Grainne O'Hara, UNHCR Senior Policy Advisor (far right), who discussed her experiences while in Darfur in 2003-2005. Then John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project, (second in from the left) who has also created a sister schools project that connects students in the US and in the Darfur refugee camps via Skype. Lastly, Mohamed Yahya, Co-Founder of Damanga and an actual survivor of the war in Darfur, thanked everyone for caring enough to come to an event that will support the future of his people.

During this presentation time, Udo Janz explained that while ofttimes other funds from the UN are devoted primarily to security, food, and medicine in the camps (considered life-saving necessities), the money from What You Wish For can only be used for the libraries. Many of these camps do not even have schools, let alone a library to help the refugees develop literacy skills. Every dime from selling copies of this book will go to this "secondary" concern in the that I feel is eminently important!

As I mentioned, there are some fabulous contributors to this book! R.L. Stine, Meg Cabot, Cornelia Funke, Alexander McCall Smith, Jeanne DuPrau, John Green, Ann Martin, and more. During the second half of yesterday's book launch, I was lucky enough to be able to hear from many of these authors about their decision to contribute to this important book.

(R.L. Stine and Ann M. Martin have a pre-event tete-a-tete.)

(R.L. Stine sitting front and center onstage)

(The author panel - from left to right - Marilyn Nelson, Karen Hesse, Sofia Quintero, R.L. Stine, Nate Powell, Ann M. Martin, Jeanne DuPrau, and via Skype, Cornelia Funke and Meg Cabot.)

Each author discussed their contributions to the book, why they feel that this type of organization is important world-wide, and their writing in general. Here are some snippets of what they discussed:

Cornelia Funke-Fantasy gives her a more accessible way of talking about some of the harder things in life. Many kids read stories that have difficult themes when their own lives are not great.

Meg Cabot-Reading often takes you to another world. Fun books can often help you work through your toughest problems.

Jeanne DuPrau-Libraries are a wonderfully quiet place to reflect. "Libraries have been huge in my life."

Karen Hesse-Her contribution to the book developed when she challenged herself to write a picture book a week or a novel a month...what she ended up with was the short story that appears in What You Wish For.

Ann M. Martin-Her Ann Martin foundation helped to support a library in Ghana by providing books and funding. Now she works with Lisa Libraries to help repair damaged libraries.

Marilyn Nelson-"We're ridiculous." Humor helps to remind us all who we are in relation to the world.

Nate Powell-Comics are actually 1 to 2 decades "ahead" in foreign countries (esp. Japan and France) from where they are in the US. They can be a definitive gateway to literacy around the world.

Sofia Quintero-She "grew up under hip-hop," in a time period when young people were able to create something out of nothing. They used their bodies to make social impact. "Young people are not the future, they are the PRESENT." "They can be a part of saving themselves." Libraries are sacred and open to everybody, often safe even when nowhere else seems to be... "books are the building blocks of creating a safe place to go in your own head."

R.L. Stine-"Safe" scary books allow kids to explore things that scare them when they are in a safe place.

They all agreed later during the question period that YA literature may seem dark, but that the darkness shows the moments of hope and light in our lives in a much brighter way. Reading these books allows teens to meet the darkness in a safe place. These are themes that can be recognized the world over...

If you want, you can see the entire event here:

It's about two hours long, and I don't expect anyone to watch it in it's entirety, but if you want to see the information about Darfur, that's in the first hour. If you want to see the authors, that picks up at the second hour. The question and answer section with about half an hour left, and if you want to see me ask a question (*squee!), I'm at about 1:36:00.

Overall, I have to say that this was one of the best author events I've been to to date. I truly believe that this book is worth talking about and asking if you will think about buying a copy because the money goes to such a fantastic cause. So, if you are interested in getting a copy and helping to build libraries in Darfur refugee camps, check it out here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In My Mailbox - October 16, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

From the Library:

Dark Hunters: Vol. 3 by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Between by Jessica Warman
Are You Going to Kiss Me Now? by Sloane Tanen

For Review:
(not pictured) DJ Rising by Love Maia
*Thanks to Little Brown!*

Friday, October 14, 2011


I am beyond delighted to report that Bloomsbury is coming out with a sequel to the much beloved Princess Academy by one of my favorite authors, Shannon Hale!!!

At the moment, they are just calling it Princess Academy 2, but it sounds amazing. From Shannon Hale's blog post announcement:

The new novel picks up where the 2006 Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy left off. Miri and a few of the academy girls travel to the capital city of Asland to help the princess-to-be. But while continuing her studies, Miri befriends some other students who seek to overthrow the crown. Torn between her friendship with the princess and her belief in her new friends’ daring ideas, as well as an old love and a new crush, Miri struggles to find her place in the larger world.

I am SOOOO excited for this and will be anxiously hoping to pick up an ARC at BEA this summer before it's official release in August 2012.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Winner - My Life Undecided!

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the My Life Undecided giveaway (via random drawing at is...


Tayte, check your email...and get me your mailing address before the end of the day on Sunday, October 23rd, so that I can have the publisher send the book out to you ASAP! Congratulations again!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Anxiously Awaiting...

I know I'm a little behind everyone, but in case you hadn't yet heard...


by Kristin Cashore

Publication date: May 1, 2012

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire, book one

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.(description from

An absolutely epic series opener.

I can't even really decide what to say about this book. I watched the first season of Game of Thrones on HBO and decided I had to read these books. (Not to mention I had seriously good recommendations to read these from about five really trusted friends - Geri, Jen, McKean...I'm looking at you guys, especially! :P) I'm so glad I did not just decide to watch the show. Yes, the show is awesome...seriously if you don't get HBO, when the DVDs come out, get it from the library...seriously. You will not regret it! But...the book gives you sooo much more background info.

There were a lot of political and family histories that I did not understand all the nuances of as I watched the show. Martin has so many characters and intricate plot lines going at once that you need to have the explanations that you can't get visually. Martin is a storytelling genius that manages to keep track of a million things and has built a world so EPIC that it defies all expectations. I am in total awe of his abilities as a writer and as a reader, I just want to dive right back into this fascinating world.

For a thousand and one almost unexplainable reasons, I have to give this book a GOLD STAR review. If I did double gold star reviews, this book would get one.

If you love fantasy, you MUST give this series a try.

Now, the book size can be daunting...each book has around 800 pages...but, I read this on my Nook, a few chapters at a time between other books and it was very manageable that way. I'm not sure I can read the second book that slowly, as I will probably read it before the second season of the show comes out and I'll be dying to know what happens, but I do plan to get it on my Nook because an 800 page book is SO much easier to carry around that way!! LOL.

Final thoughts - I had a dream when I was little that I would grow up to have a baby dragon that rode around on my shoulder. This was directly related to reading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger, Dragonsong, and Dragondrums several times as a child. Imagine how my heart sang when I discovered a very similar scenario in this book????


by Kate Brian
Private series, book fourteen

Following the murder of her newly discovered father, Reed is reeling. Billings House has been destroyed and that seems to represent the state of her life. She chooses to use the money her father left her to rebuild Billings House, a symbol of hope and home to Reed, and hopefully the same for future generations. As construction begins, though, so do ominous accidents. Reed's life has never been simple since coming to Easton. Can Reed discover the culprit and survive long enough to see Billings return?

Though this was not my favorite book of the series, I thought that Kate Brian did a good job ending Reed's story. This poor girl has been through it all, but by the end she is surrounded by people who love her and she has a clear and bright future. The road getting there was certainly bumpy, but Reed takes charge of her own life and continues until she is certain things will finally work out smoothly.

Though an unbelievable amount of ungodly things happen to Reed, almost enough to make the whole setting of this series circumspect, it is a full-on guilty pleasure to read. What was really surprising, though, was how along the way Kate Brian managed to take readers on a real emotional journey with the main character. Reed grows tremendously from a self-conscious girl, in awe of the older, cooler Billings girls, and generally easily swayed by any hot guy that comes her way, to a girl who finally knows her own heart and can hold her own amongst the social elite. This is a girl who becomes a savvy businesswoman and the leader of an elite secret society...I mean social group. It was amazing to see where, and who she ends up being, at the end of this series.

For me, this was a bittersweet read. It was well done and time, I think, but I will also heartily miss the way that my palms would begin to sweat as soon as I knew I could get my hands on the next Private book. *sigh* The hunt must begin for another soap-opera series...any recommendations?


by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Tantalize, book three

Quincie P. Morris, teen restaurateuse and neophyte vampire, is in the fight of her life -- or undeath. Even as she adjusts to her new appetites, she must clear her best friend and true love, the hybrid werewolf Kieren, of murder charges; thwart the apocalyptic ambitions of Bradley Sanguini, the seductive vampire-chef who "blessed" her; and keep her dead parents’ restaurant up and running. She hires a more homespun chef and adds the preternaturally beautiful Zachary to her wait staff. But with hundreds of new vampires on the rise and Bradley off assuming the powers of Dracula Prime, Zachary soon reveals his true nature -- and a flaming sword -- and they hit the road to staunch the bloodshed before it’s too late. Even if they save the world, will there be time left to salvage Quincie’s soul? (description from

I thought this was a great wrap-up to the Tantalize storyline. It brought the characters from both Tantalize and Eternal together in a very well done way. I had actually forgotten how much I enjoyed Quincie as a character. She's tough, tough enough that you almost forget how young she is...until she does something that only a teenager would do. It usually ends up working out in her favor, though!

Her relationship with Kieren, muddled by what they each are, is heartwarming. They are beyond devoted to one another. Even when Quincie is presented with a very yummy Guardian Angel, she is never tempted to stray. Speaking of Zachary...his goodness is just so believable. He's not perfect, but he's determined to do the best he can, for himself and everyone around him.

I loved how Smith combined their two destinies. It was really well done. Without getting too spoilery, all I can really say is that they both had their faiths tested and each taught each other quite a bit about life...and death. Their sacrifices were thoughtful and never over the top.

I also just want to mention that it had never occurred to me that in a world of shape-shifters that there would be such a creature as a WerePossum, but apparently there can be...and he was hilarious. Poor guy steps out of his nature to be one brave little Possum and his heroism was truly inspiring!

Full disclosure: ARC received from publisher, audio book received to review for SLJ
2011 Shifter Reading Challenge title

In My Mailbox - October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

On My Nook:

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan


The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
*You could not imagine how excited I was when this one finally came in the belated birthday gift!!!*

From the Library:

Working Stiff by Rachel Caine
Where There's a Wolf, There's a Way by Lisi Harrison

Enthralled ed. by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong


City of Lies by Lian Tanner
*Won from Publisher on Twitter!*

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Dreamland by Alyson Noel


by Claudia Gray
Evernight, book four

Destiny awaits Bianca and Lucas . . .

Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a wraith but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.

Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help . . . Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her ghostly transformation has given her.

A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They've overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life? (description from

I'm so glad I finally read the conclusion to this series! It's been awhile since I read the third book and I'd forgotten how smooth I find Claudia Gray's writing style. This book drew me right in and before I knew it, I was turning the final pages. Absolutely riveting.

I really like both Bianca and Lucas. The secondary characters are well done in this series, as well, with almost every character being tested in some way to show the multifacetedness of their character. No character is entirely good...or evil. My favorite will always be Balthazar, though, so you could not imagine my sheer glee when I found out that there is at least one companion book (Balthazar, March 2012) featuring my favorite vamp as the main character!

This series is full of twists, unexpected loyalties and betrayals. Every time I think I know what is going on, Gray throws another surprise into the mix. These books will definitely keep you entertained and on your toes. I look forward to finding out what will that everything in both this life and the next, has changed!

Full disclosure: egalley received from Netgalley