Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Drink, Slay, Love
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Vampires, Unicorns
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon and Schuster Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 386 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2373-2
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire, fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil...until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her Family think she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist) and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The vampire king of New England has chosen Pearl's Family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure then to the king's feast--as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends--especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache--to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her Family. What's a sunlight-loving vampire to do?


Pearl is a vampire who sees humans as only a food source to be tapped then forgotten until she's hungry again. All that changes one night when Pearl takes her dinner out back of the Dairy Hut and ends up being staked by a unicorn instead. Yes, a unicorn. Pearl can't believe it, either. She also didn't expect to still be alive and resistant to the sun.

What's worse is she's having the beginnings of a conscience. When Pearl's parents insist she go to high school to find a food source for the vampire king of New England's Fealty Ceremony, she never thought she'd start caring for the humans. Especially the luminous-eyed Evan and "Miss Perky" Bethany. When you're a vampire and your "food" becomes your "friend," disaster is just after sunset.

Pearl Sange is a sixteen-year-old vampire who likes her blood sweet, so she visits Brad at the Dairy Hut every once in a while for some ice cream and a quick sip. But everything changes when Mr. Sparkly-and-Pointy stakes her with his horn. She's not only still alive, but resistant to the sun. She's awestruck the first time she sees the sun and how it shines and reflects. Though she loves being able to go out in the sun during the day, she absolutely hates the inconvenient feelings she's having as a result of her impalement. As Pearl changes (in many different ways) she's torn between loyalty to her Family and her new friends.

I didn't know what to expect when I first started reading Drink, Slay, Love. I thought the story would be a lot darker than it turned out to be. There are the cruel, evil vampires and their macabre world, but on the other side there's the unicorns and their world of light and love. And Pearl has one foot on each side, straddling both worlds.

The story is a lot more humorous that I expected, too. I love how sarcastic and witty Pearl is, as well as her I'm-not-a-damsel-in-distress, I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude. And let's not forget the rest of the cast of characters. There's the dangerously hot Jadrien, sparkly luminous-eyed Evan, "Miss Perky" Bethany, the bumbling idiots Matt and Zeke, and a whole assortment of other characters that make this book work.

Everything from the unique vampire society and culture, unicorn mythology, literary quotations, and multi-dimensional characters, combine to make a humorous vampire story that's not afraid to show its dark side.

Excerpt (Pages 127-128):

Last period of the day was new: gym class. According to her trusty schedule, she had it twice a week, and it was her only class that didn't include Evan, which was a relief. For forty-seven minutes, she wouldn't have to worry about his scent causing her fangs to poke out. She didn't know why he, out of all the humans, had such an effect on her, but it was annoying. She should be functioning at peak concentration, but he and his luminous eyes kept distracting her. First opportunity I have, she thought, I'll bite him.

About this Author:

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of Drink, Slay, Love (coming Sept 2011), Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. She has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old and holds an English degree from Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. For more information, visit her at

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen

Title: Snow in Summer: The Tale of an American Snow White
Author: Jane Yolen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fairy Tale Retellings
Elements: Magic
Publisher: Philomel Books, Penguin Group
Format: Hardcover, 243 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-25663-9
Release Date: November 10, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 3.5/5

Tagline(s): Fairest of Them All

Summary: With her black hair, red lips, and lily-white skin, Summer is as beautiful as her father's garden. And her life in the mountains of West Virginia seems like a fairy tale; her parents sing and dance with her, Cousin Nancy dotes on her, and she is about to get a new baby brother.

But when the baby dies soon after he's born, taking Summer's mama with him, Summer's fairy-tale life turns grim. Things get even worse when her father marries a woman who brings poison and a magical mirror into Summer's world. Stepmama puts up a pretty face, but Summer suspects she's up to no good. Is Summer powerless to stop her?

Master storyteller Jane Yolen crafts a brand-new Snow White tale filled with magic and intrigue, set during the early twentieth century in Appalachia, that will be hard to forget.


Snow in Summer takes place in West Virginia's Appalachian Mountains during the 1940's. Jane Yolen re-tells the fairy tale of Snow White in a more modern time that we're familiar with.

Summer's life was like a fairy tale until the day her mother and baby brother died and her father retreated into himself from heartache. Then Summer's father starts visiting her mother's grave every night after dinner and she hopes it's a sign that her father is coming back to her. What she didn't expect was for her father to walk down the mountain one day from visiting her mother with a woman on his arm. Summer and Cousin Nancy quickly realize that Summer's father is besotted and under the woman's spell. With no defense against the woman's magic, Summer is easily beguiled by her. Unable to please the woman who becomes her stepmother, Summer is hunted by the man her stepmother hired to kill her. She is able to escape and finds safety in the mountains with six German jewel mining brothers. But she can't escape her stepmother that easily.

Snow in Summer is an innocent girl who has a big name to live up to. She loves fairy tales and believes in True Love. And she knows evil when she sees it. She's called Summer by her family and friends, but Snow by her stepmother. With her mother gone and her father lost in heartache, Summer quickly grows really close to Cousin Nancy. But when she's beguiled by the woman who would become her stepmother, she desperately wants a mother's love and tries her hardest to get her stepmother to love her. But when she realizes that her stepmother can't love her and she sees how evil her stepmother really is, she tries to escape. When she is being hunted by the man that her stepmother hired to kill her, she finds a safe haven with six German miners in the mountains. She finds happiness there, but she knows she must always be careful in case her stepmother finds her.

I like how Jane Yolen stays with the main elements of the Snow White tale, but adds a few unique touches all her own. I also like the heroines name. It shows the two sides of the story. Snow (which she's called by her stepmother) shows the cold and oppressive side of the story. When the heroine is trapped by her stepmother. And Summer is the warm and hopeful side of the story. Where True Love is found and good always wins.

Quote: After all, it was True Love from the very first moment we met. the best kind, born out of adversity and hard work and destined to last happily ever after. Of that we are both absolutely certain. - Page 243

About this Author:

Yolen was born at Beth Israel Hospital, the first child of Isabel Berlin and Will Hyatt Yolen. She and her family moved to California when she was young but returned to New York a few years later. After her younger brother was born, her father joined the army and served on the European front during WWII. Yolen spent her childhood taking piano lessons, ballet dancing and writing a neighborhood newspaper with her brother. Yolen spent her teen years in Westport, Connecticut, and became involved in choir, basketball, debate, language clubs and the school paper. She graduated from Smith College with several publications in literary magazines already to her name.

In 1962, Yolen married David Stemple. They had three children together and six grandchildren. Stemple passed away in 2006 from cancer. Yolen now divides her time between her homes in Western Massachusetts and Scotland.

Yolen has written over 280 books, including picture books, books of poetry, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and more. Her books are part of the core curriculum for schools across the country and have been translated into several languages.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: Purpose by Kristie Cook

Title: Purpose
Series: Soul Savers #2
Author: Kristie Cook
Genre: Young Adult (Older Teen) Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Angels, Demons, Vampires, Warlocks, Shapeshifters
Publisher: Ang'dora Productions
Format: Kindle Edition eBook
ISBN-13: 978-0984562138
Release Date: August 7, 2011
Source: Author {Kristie Cook}
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): Defending souls is her purpose...but can she save her own?

Summary: Lost in despair, Alexis teeters on the edge of an abyss, her lifeline of hope fraying into a thin thread. If it snaps, she'll plunge into complete darkness. With the help of her son and her writing, she's been able to hold on. Until now. Erratic impulses, disturbing delusions and her own demonic blood threaten her sanity. When she's forced to choose between hanging onto hope or letting go to serve her Amadis purposes, she faces a decision with inconceivable sacrifices.

Alexis runs to the one place she thinks will provide answers, only to find herself at the center of another battle of good versus evil, not only with the Daemoni, not only within herself...but also against the worst opponent imaginable. But even if she wins, what will she lose?


Purpose is even better than the book that came before it! If I could give this book an infinite rating, I would. In Promise, Kristie Cook showed us the joy and happiness of first and true love. But in Purpose, she shows us the opposite; the heartache and despair left behind when that love and hope is taken away.

It's been seven years since the Daemoni attack that took Tristan away from Alexis. It's unknown whether he's alive or dead. The only things keeping Alexis from plunging head-first into darkness are her son Dorian, her writing, and the thin ray of hope that Tristan is still alive; but that hope is dwindling.

When the Daemoni threaten to take away the only things left in her life that are keeping her going, Alexis travels to the one place she believes still holds a strong connection to her lost love. With the Ang'dora fast approaching, the battle of good versus evil not only against the Daemoni but within her own mind, and a battle against the one opponent she could never kill, Alexis will have to find the strength to save herself and those she loves.

As I said in my review for Promise, I love how Kristie makes her characters so real, but it's the emotion of the characters and the story that stands out the most. I don't think I've ever read a book or series that made me feel as much as this one does. The emotion rolls right off the pages and wash over you. There is no way you could feel nothing while reading this book.

In Purpose, Alexis is lost in the despair and heartache of Tristan's absence. Hanging on the edge of sanity, her mind has fractured to help cope with the loss: there's Almost Alexis who is close but not quite Real Alexis, Foggy Alexis who keeps her in a state of numbness, Swirly Alexis who mixes fact and fiction, Psycho Alexis who lashes out at the slightest provocation, and then there's Evil Alexis who is her own Daemoni side whispering evil in her ear. If not for Dorian and her writing, she would surely have given up hope. But now with the added threat of the Daemoni, as well as the Amadis, threatening to take that hope away permanently, Alexis is more determined than ever to hang on no matter what. So she travels to Florida where the beach house Tristan built her is located, hoping that their happy memories will help strengthen her resolve. While there she makes an unexpected and unbelievable discovery, comes into her powers as the goes through the Ang'dora, and once again has to battle the Daemoni.

Her son, Dorian, is such an adorably sweet little boy. Already coming into his father's warrior strength, and possessing his mother's fierce protectiveness, Dorian is wise beyond his six years of age. He also holds Alexis' great capacity to love. Having never met Tristan, and because of Alexis making sure that Dorian knows who his father is and that he is loved by Tristan, Dorian is able to love and miss this father. That love causes him to get into numerous fights at school when the other kids say horrible things about Tristan. As a very young boy he has a strength of character that I can't help but admire.

There is so much more I would love to say about Purpose, but I really don't want to give anything away and spoil the story for anyone else. Where Promise ended bitter-sweetly, Purpose finishes on a much better note. I'll leave this review with this thought: The best kind of true love is born from adversity and hard work and is fated to last forever.

About this Author:

Kristie Cook is a lifelong writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle. She can be found at

Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Nephilim, Demons, Vampires, Warlocks, Fae
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon and Schuster Inc.
Format: Paperback, 496 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7587-8
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

Summary: When Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother in Victorian England, something terrible is waiting for her in London's Downworld. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she has the power to transform into another person. The Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James and Will. As Tessa is drawn deep into a plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, she realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.


Clockwork Angel takes place in Victorian England's city of London. Cassandra Clare does and amazing job in making the world of the book feel real. It's almost as if she's really in 1878 London telling us what's going on around her and taking us along for the ride.

Cassandra tells the story using the era's speech patterns; with all it's formality and respect. She meticulously describes the clothing, furniture, buildings, landscape, and atmosphere of London at that time. This all combines to give us a clear picture of the setting and story.

When Tessa travels from New York to London to meet her brother she ends up being kidnapped and imprisoned by the Dark Sisters. They practically torture her in training her to use an ability she never even knew she had. After hearing that she's to be married to someone called the Magister, Tessa tries to escape but is easily recaptured. Later that night she's saved by a boy calling himself William Herondale.

The investigation into the young girl found dead in an alley leads Will to the Dark House. While searching the house Will meets Tessa after the hits him with a jug and demands to know if he's the Magister. After assuring her that he's no the Magister they take their leave of the Dark House, although not without a fight.

Tessa finds refuge and safety with Will and the Shadowhunters at the Institute. Though it's become clear that her imprisonment, her rare ability, and the dead girl from the alley, are all part of a much bigger plot. As the investigation continues, secrets are revealed and loyalties are tested.

Tessa is a young woman in need of help in the beginning of Clockwork Angel. That isn't to say that she's weak, though. Underneath it all, she's got a spine of steel that she's just afraid to show; though we see more of her strength as things play out. After observing the female Shadowhunters and hearing Will's story of Queen Boadicea, Tessa realizes that it's all right for women to be fighters; to be brave and fierce. As she learns more about herself and her ability to Change, she feels more and more inhuman and set apart from everyone and everything. She fears that every time she Changes she loses a small piece of herself that makes her Tessa Gray. Tessa is fiercely loyal and has a great capacity to love. She's well-versed in literature and is very opinionated (though she tries to hide it).

It's apparent in the very beginning that arrogance and sarcasm run in the Herondale family. But behind all that arrogance and those sharp words is something breakable in Will. He doesn't allow anyone to get too close, not even Jem, his best friend and parabatai. But on the rare occasion when someone does manage to get past his barriers, he lashes out and can be quite cruel in his words and actions. Something about Tessa leaves Will unbalanced, and she's usually the one who gets hit the worst by Will's "moods." Though he doesn't allow himself to show it, he cares a lot about those who live in the Institute with him (with possibly the exception of Jessamine). No one knows anything about his life before he came to the Institute. He's well-versed in literature and loves books, almost, if not more so, than Tessa.

Jem is the opposite of Will in both looks and personality. He has a calm and almost gentle atmosphere about him. He's very philosophical and always seems to be pondering about something. Jem has had his own share of darkness in his life. He was tortured and his parents murdered by a demon out for revenge. The lasting result of his torture is an addiction that he can't shake off and is slowly killing him. The drug he must take has leached all color from his hair, eyes, and skin; leaving this hair and eyes a silvery color, and his skin very pale. Jem is very talented in playing the violin and his words and presence bring much comfort to Tessa.

One of the things I enjoyed the most in Clockwork Angel is all the references to literature. Every chapter has a line or verse that acts as a sort of preface for the chapter. There are also many references made by the characters that help them bring a little something extra to the points they're trying to make (this is mostly done by Will and Tessa). All the literature is something that would be familiar to Tessa and everyone else in that time period. For instance: Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and William Blake; also quite a few passages from Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

I love the cover. Everything from the clockwork cogs, cams, and pistons in the far background, the backdrop of London in the near background, and Tessa's little clockwork angel, all show pieces of the story. The model on the cover who is portraying Will has the Marks of a Shadowhunter and is wearing the clothing of the time. The only thing that bothers my is the hat. It's said in the book that Will never wears a hat, so why is the model lifting a hat off his head?

Magnus's Vow, which is an original bonus story at the end of Clockwork Angel, takes place during City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments series. It's after the party, the first time he met Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, and Simon; and that meeting brought back memories of Tessa, Will, Jem, Jessamine, Charlotte, and Henry. He can't help making comparisons between the two groups. It was Will who changed Magnus's life and introduced his to the idea that Downworlders and Shadowhunters could be friends. Then he thinks of Tessa who will never die, just like he will never die, and how she loved a mortal who was destined to die and leave her behind.
"Knowing Will and his friends had made Magnus swear to himself that he would never again get involved in Shadowhunters' personal business. Because when you got to know them, you got to care about them. And when you got to care about mortals, they broke your heart."
Magnus's Vow makes you contemplate how lonely an immortal life must be. As you meet people and come to care and love them, you only get to be with them for such a short time before you watch them begin to age and eventually die, while you stay the same and continue on without them. It's just so heartbreaking to even think about, much less experience. It's easy to see why Magnus wouldn't have wanted to get involved with another group of Shadowhunters so much like the group before them.

Book Trailer: 

About this Author:

Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review: Promise by Kristie Cook

Title: Promise
Series: Soul Savers #1
Author: Kristie Cook
Genre: Young Adult (Older Teen) Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Angels and Demons
Publisher: Ang'dora Productions
Format: Kindle Edition eBook
ISBN-13: 2940032868668
Release Date: August 7, 2011
Source: Author {Kristie Cook}
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): Her life is full of promise...but not all promises can be kept.

Summary: Alexis Ames has a life full of promise...but not all promises can be kept.

When Alexis Ames is attacked by creatures that can't be real, she decides it's time she learns who she really is, with or without the help of her mother, who guards their family's secrets closely. After meeting the inhumanly attractive, multi-talented Tristan Knight, however, Alexis retreats behind her facade of normalcy...until she discovers he's not exactly normal either. Then their secrets begin to unravel.

Their union brings hope and promise to her family's secret society, the Angel's army, and to the future of mankind. But it also incites a dangerous pursuit by the enemy---Satan's minions and Tristan's creators. After all, Alexis and Tristan are a match made in Heaven and in Hell.


Kristie Cook's Promise left me breathless. It's about true love, soul mates, good vs. evil, and everything in between. I was completely blown away and I wasn't expecting to be left wanting so badly to continue reading non-stop. When I wasn't reading I was agonizingly wondering about what was going to happen next. I was even dreaming about different scenarios that could possibly happen from where I left off. And when I started reading again I was on the edge of my seat, my face practically smooshed to the screen. There were moments when I was practically bouncing off the walls with happiness, crying my eyes out, or holding my breath in expectation. I loved the story and characters so much I don't think there's anything negative I could say about Promise.

Alexis knows she's not completely normal (though she desperately wishes that she were), but her mother refuses to tell her anything about them and their family. Having decided that she's had enough of her mother's evasiveness, Alexis does her own research with little to no results.

On her first day of college, Alexis literally runs into Tristan Knight and sparks fly. Their connection is instantaneous and very strong. When Alexis' mother finds out about Tristan she's adamant that Alexis stay away from him. She refuses and after overhearing a conversation between her mother and Tristan she realizes that they know each other. After an accident leaving Alexis seriously injured and Tristan mysteriously unharmed, it's decided that she should be told the truth about herself, Tristan, and the world they're a part of.

What really stayed with me about Kristie's writing was the believability of the characters and the raw emotion leaping off the pages. Alexis and Tristan, Sophia and Rina, Owen and Stefan; all the characters felt so real to me. I felt as if I was right there with them, seeing everything so clearly. The emotion in this book affected me the most. I could feel their happiness, their sadness, their anger and hope. It's all so intense and real.

Alexis seems like a normal teenager at first, but we soon learn of her unusual ability to heal fast and her amazing strength (which usually only shows itself when she's really angry). Because of her peculiarities she's never had any friends (besides her mother, Sophia) and was constantly picked on. She wants more than anything to be normal, to have a normal life. She's smart and is an amazing writer. her ability to love is immense, but she fears opening herself up to someone and possibly being hurt and betrayed again. When she meets Tristan she falls hard for him, but she has priorities and doesn't let her feelings consume the rest of her life. She's someone I would love to know in real life.

Tristan is amazingly gorgeous. Before Alexis, he never felt he had the ability to love. He's loving and protective, but not overly so. He knows Alexis' strengths and doesn't mind handing a situation over to her. Tristan is also very talented in many things, mostly in design---architecture, jewelry, etc. His love and devotion are unmatched, and he would gladly lay down his life for Alexis.

Alexis and Tristan's love is so intense and passionate, it practically oozes off the pages. They seem to be complete opposites at first, but are more alike than they thought. I like that they got to know each other first before declaring their undying love for each other. There were secrets and doubts, but even after everything was revealed they still loved each other unconditionally.

There are many twists and turns, surprise revelations, and heart-stopping romance. This book definitely will keep you on the edge of your seat and the tips of your toes.

True love can't be more dangerous or bittersweet than a match made in Heaven and Hell.

Book Trailer: 

About this Author:

Kristie Cook is a lifelong writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle. She can be found at

Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke

Title: Flying Blind
Series: The Dragon Diaries #1
Author: Deborah Cooke
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Dragons, Shapeshifters, Mages, Psychic Abilities
Publisher: New American Library, Penguin Group
Format: Paperback, 322 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-23388-2
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): ~None~

Summary: Zoë Sorensson is perfectly normal---well, as normal as a girl obsessed with drawing dragons can be. The thing is, she's always been told she's special and destined for great things. It's not just because of her good grades, either. Zoë is the Wyvern of the Pyr---the one female dragon shape shifter with special powers. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr, and her powers are AWOL. Worse, there's no reference book to consult, and the last Wyvern is dead... 

Everything changes when Zoë's best friend is bullied and Zoë reacts. Before she can blink twice, her inner dragon is loose, and she's suspended from school and headed to a shape shifter boot camp with guys she's known all her life. But soon she's doubting her powers---and even some of her friendships. 

Zoë quickly realizes she has to master her powers yesterday---there's danger ahead and boot camp is a trap. A secretive group, the Mages, wants to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line---unless Zoë and her friends can solve the riddle and work togetherto save their own kind.... 


To be completely honest, I didn't like the beginning of the book all that much. It starts with Zoë dreaming of a hot guy (nothing wrong with that), then she goes into a little about the Covenant (information is good, especially for those who haven't read the Dragonfire series). But what really bothered me was how much Zoë complained about her non-existent boobs and period. It's a bit immature for a fifteen-year-old. I was hoping the "Puberty Show" would get on the road, too, just so she would stop complaining about it even five seconds. Now when it comes to her Wyvern powers, I'd probably be doubting myself too if they hadn't manifested yet. 

I have to admit that I did admire Zoë's readiness to protect her best friend when she was being bullied. It shows us a glimpse of her inner strength that we don't see much of until later in the book. Zoë's anger at these mean girls is what triggers her first semi-transformation. But because she's being ruled by anger she doesn't have any control over her dragon. In the end, she ends up suspended from school (when she didn't even do anything wrong, she didn't even touched anyone), she broke the Covenant twice, and is headed for boot camp. 

I found Zoë's jealousy over Nick and Isabelle's obvious feelings for each other kind of annoying. (And in her jealous fits her immaturity shines bright). Having grown up with the Pyr she should have realized a lot sooner than she did that two Pyr cannot be mated. Sure, she was being influenced by a spell to feel that much jealousy, but I thought it was a little too much. Especially when there's Jared showing interest in her. Where can you go wrong with a guy who believes in you even when you don't believe in youself, and offers you support when you need it? 

I love the atmosphere that the setting of boot camp creates. What could be more foreboding that being stuck in a cabin in the middle of nowhere during a Minnesota blizzard? I love books that take place in my state where I live and grew up. I felt the Minnesota winter setting fit pretty well with the events happening at boot camp. Winter, in any place, but mostly those places where it's known to be really cold and snowy, like Minnesota or Maine, always gives off that "Oh no, what's going to happen next?" feeling. And the plot and storytelling help give it that foreboding, dangerous feel.

I liked how throughout the book we were given small doses of Pyr history without it all being dumped on us at once. That's really helpful when you haven't read the parent series that the Dragon Diaries is spun-off from. There's isn't a lot of romance in Flying Blind, but where it does show up it's very swoon-worthy. Finally, you have this younger generation coming into their own. It's a heart-warming moment when all their father's show such pride in them.

Zoë's connection to the other Pyr being blocked somehow is only the beginning as tempers flare, friendships are tested, and jealousy rages.

About this Author: 

Deborah Cooke has always been fascinated with dragons, although she has never understood why they have to be the bad guys. She has an honors degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. Deborah has written romances as Claire Delacroix and as Claire Cross. She has published over forty books and novellas, and has won numerous awards for her word, including the Orange County RWA Book Buyer's Best and the Colorado RWA's Award of Excellence. She has been a nominee for the Quill Award and for numerous Romantic Times awards.

Deborah makes her home in Canada with her husband. When she isn't writing or reading, she can be found knitting, sewing or hunting for vintage patterns.

Anthology Review: Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions {Anthology}

Title: Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
Author(s): Kelley Armstrong, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Caine, Ally Condie, Kimberly Derting, Kami Garcia, Claudia Gray, Melissa Marr, Jackson Pearce, Mary E. Pearson, Carrie Ryan, Jeri Smith-Ready, Margaret Stohl, Jessica Verday, and Rachel Vincent
Editor(s): Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Psychic Abilities, Ghosts, Zombies, Genies, Harpies, Fae, Werewolves, Necromancers, Witches, Sorcerers, Vampires, Cannibals, Demons, and Angels
Publisher: Harper, Harper Collins
Format: Paperback, 452 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-201578-5
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): ~None~

Summary: 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.


Every story in Enthralled, as the summary states, takes the characters and readers on a journey of some kind. Whether it's a journey of survival, love, hope, forgiveness, or any number of other things; every story, some more than others, will leave it's mark.

I really enjoyed reading the stories like "Niederwald" by Rachel Vincent and "Facing Facts" by Kelley Armstrong that return to the worlds of their bestselling series. We get to see what happens with our favorite (or least favorite) characters outside of the main plot.

There are a few of the stories that left more of an impact on me than others. Sarah Rees Brennan's "Let's Get This Undead Show on the Road" shows that even those you're not close to at first can become family once all the barriers are removed. Jeri Smith-Ready's "Bridge" shows us the healing power of forgiveness. Ally Condie's "Leaving" shows that even one person who's willing to reach out to you can change everything. And Mary E. Pearson's "Gargouille" shows that nothing can stand in the way of love. These four stories stayed with me even as I went on to read the next story.

With moments of happiness, sadness, anger, guilt, heartbreak, and loneliness, this anthology is an emotional journey any fan of paranormal YA shouldn't miss out on.

Quote: "And all the distances traveled tonight, the one I think of now is the one when Elio reached out his hand and touched me." - "Leaving" by Ally Condie

About these Authors:

Melissa Marr grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college literature for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing. Wicked Lovely was her first novel. Currently, Marr lives in the Washington, D.C., area, writes full-time, and still believes in faeries and ghosts.
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts, demons, and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the Darkest Powers young adult urban fantasy trilogy, the Women of the Otherworld paranormal suspense series, and the Nadia Stafford crime series. She lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada, with her husband, kids, and far too many pets.

A resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her workspace with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks-seriously-and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

Sarah Rees Brennan is Irish and currently lives in Dublin. For a short stint, she lived in New York and became involved with a wide circle of writers who encouraged and supported her, including Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. She has developed a wide audience through her popular blog,, where she writes movie parodies, book reviews and some stories.

Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready has been writing fiction since the night she had her first double espresso. She holds a master's degree in environmental policy and lives in Maryland with her husband, cat, and the world's goofiest greyhound.

Mary E. Pearson is the author of bestselling, award-winning novels for teens. The Miles Between was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox was listed as a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, an IRA Young Adult Choice, NYPL Stuff for the Teen Age, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She is also the author of A Room on Lorelei Street, David v. God, and Scribbler of Dreams. Pearson studied art at Long Beach State University, and worked as an artist before earning her teaching credential at San Diego State University. She writes full-time from her home in Carlsbad, California, where she lives with her husband and two dogs.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen. 

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She was awarded a Fulbright to do post-graduate work at Cambridge, and then returned to the states, where she is hard at work on her PhD. 

Jessica Verday is the bestselling author of The Hollow Trilogy, first published in 2009 by Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. Book Two in the trilogy, THE HAUNTED, debuted at #10 on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Book Three, THE HIDDEN, will be available September 2011. She wrote the first draft of THE HOLLOW by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of THE HAUNTED took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. THE HIDDEN took too many notebooks and too many pens to count. Her novella, FLESH WHICH IS NOT FLESH is now available for Kindle. Find out more at

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New York City. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading, and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

Jackson Pearce is twenty-five years old and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy. She auditioned for the circus once, but didn't make it; other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker-bar waitress, and receptionist. In addition, Jackson coaches both colorguard and winterguard at a local high school.

Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since.

Carrie Ryan was born and raised in Greenville, SC and is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now pursues her true passion and writes full time. Although Ryan's 2009 novel, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, is set in a world roamed by the living dead, before meeting her fiance JP she was actually a self-proclaimed "scaredy-cat" who avoided horror movies. JP was the one who convinced her to go to her first zombie movie and opened a whole new world up to her, which is why she dedicated her first book to him. The second novel in The Forest of Hands and Teeth Series, THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES, came out in 2010 and the final in the trilogy, THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES, will be out March 22, 2011. She lives in Charlotte, NC with two fat cats and one large puppy.

Rachel Caine is the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, and the new upcoming Revivalist series. She was born at White Sands Missile Range, which people who know her say explains a lot. She has been an accountant, a professional musician, and an insurance investigator, and until very recently continued to carry on a secret identity in the corporate world. She and her husband, fantasy artist R. Cat Conrad, live in Texas.

Kami Garcia is The New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly & international bestselling author of Unbreakable, the first book in THE LEGION series (Little, Brown 2013), which is being developed as a major motion picture by producer Mark Morgan (THE TWILIGHT SAGA & PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF).

She is also the co-author of THE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES NOVELS (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness & Beautiful Chaos). Beautiful Creatures has been published in 39 countries and translated in 28 languages, and it is currently in development as a major motion picture by Warner Brothers, with Academy Award nominated writer Richard LaGravenese adapting the screenplay and directing.
Kami grew up outside of Washington DC, wore lots of black, and spent hours writing poetry in her journals. She has always been fascinated by the paranormal and believes in lots of things “normal” people don’t. She’s very superstitious and would never sleep in a room with the number “13” on the door. When she is not writing, Kami can usually be found watching disaster movies, listening to Soundgarden, or drinking Diet Coke.

Kami has an MA in education, and taught in the Washington DC area until she moved to Los Angeles, where she was a teacher & Reading Specialist. In addition to teaching, Kami was a professional artist and led fantasy book groups for children and teens. She still lives in LA with her husband, son, daughter, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Margaret Stohl is the author of the forthcoming YA novel ICONS, the first book in the Icons Series – as well as the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Indie-Bound and internationally bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels with Kami Garcia, which have been translated into 28 languages and 37 countries and optioned for film by Warner Brothers.

A longtime veteran of the videogame industry, Margaret’s work includes - to name a few – Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Dune 2000, The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow, Defender, The Sopranos, Slave Zero, Apocalypse, Zork Nemesis, Zork Grand Inquisitor, Spycraft, Command & Conquer: Red Alert Retaliation, and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.

A graduate of Amherst College, Margaret earned a MA in English from Stanford University, and completed classwork for a PhD in American Studies from Yale University. Margaret was a teaching assistant in Romantic Poetry at Stanford, and in Film Studies at Yale. She attended the Creative Writing Program of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where she was mentored by the Scottish poet George MacBeth.

Margaret loves traveling the world with her daughters, who are nationally and internationally ranked epee fencers, and living in Santa Monica with her husband and two bad beagles, Kirby and Zelda.

I (Kimberly Derting) was born and raised in the Seattle area, with the exception of a few short stints in Phoenix, Boise, and San Jose. I had a colorful childhood, raised by a single mother who worked her butt off to make ends meet. She showed my brother and me how to enjoy life on a shoestring budget. She was the kind of person who, given the choice between paying a bill and taking us to the circus, would always opt for the circus…and somehow, she always managed to pay the bill. She was the one who taught me how to laugh.

My publishing career began at an early age, when I started making homemade coloring books with sheets of blank paper and a stapler, and then went door-to-door to sell them. Unfortunately, my neighbors had limited disposable income for such frivolous purchases, so I was forced to seek my fortunes elsewhere.

I first fell in love with writing (giving up my childhood dreams of being a veterinarian, and then my later aspirations of "lady trucker") when I signed up for Journalism as my 7th-grade elective. It was supposed to an easy A, but it soon became my passion. I moved on to be Copy Editor of the high school yearbook so that I could correct other people's writing mistakes and fill in when they missed their deadlines (and, hey, it was high school…deadlines were frequently missed!).

I still live in the Pacific Northwest, which is the ideal place to be writing anything dark or creepy…a gloomy day can set the perfect mood. I live with my husband and our three beautiful (and often mouthy) children, who serve as an endless source of inspiration for my writing.

Ally Condie is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling novel MATCHED, and its just-released sequel, CROSSED. She is also a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, running, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar.

Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Title: Carrier of the Mark
Series: The Carrier Trilogy #1
Author: Leigh Fallon
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Magic, Druids, Spirit Guides, Deities, Mythology
Publisher: Harper TEEN, Harper Collins
Format: Paperback, 344 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-202787-0
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): Their love was meant to be.

Summary: When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRis.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago---and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.


I was intrigued by the use of the elements in Carrier of the Mark and how their power influenced Megan and Adam's relationship. I like how the story takes place in Ireland, a place rich with mythology and folklore, and somewhere I hope to visit one day. But most of all, I love stories with star-crossed lovers and their struggle to make their relationship last.

Carrier of the Mark follows Megan as she settles into her new life in Ireland---she makes new friends almost immediately, has a few run-ins with the mysterious and undeniably gorgeous Adam DeRis, and is able to finally call Ireland home. It makes you wonder whether Megan's easy transition is coincidence, fate, or something else. But her connection to Adam seems meant to be.

Megan is a very real character. She's someone many could relate to. She's had it rough after her mother's death---constantly moving and never having any lasting friendships---but she doesn't let that get her down. She's surprised by how smooth her transition into life in Ireland is. Megan is very mature and level-headed, even with all the unbelievable things being thrown her way. She doesn't freak out and try to run away. She faces it all head-on and doesn't give up when the going gets tough. Her determination to keep her relationship with Adam is so strong that some would consider her selfish, especially considering how important their duty is. Megan also shows amazing and fearsome power with her element.

Now Adam---who is usually calm, cool, and collected---becomes totally unhinged when he first sees Megan. He's tripping over his own feet, walking into doors, and making a complete fool of himself. But I have to say I found that side of him so adorable, and I even got a few chuckles out of it. Because of his family's need for secrecy, no one really knows Adam (which seems pretty lonely to me) until he opens up to Megan. He's very loyal, loving, and protective of those he cares about. His determination to stay with Megan is just as strong as hers is to stay with Adam which causes him to go into a research frenzy trying to find a way. Adam felt comfortable in the knowledge that he had the best control of his element out of those in his family, but a sudden increase in power teaches him that even he can lose control.

The question of whether or not the feelings Megan and Adam have for each other are their own or their element's attraction to the other adds drama and complication to their relationship. Do they really love each other or is it their elements pushing them together? And them there's the added problem of a Carrier not being able to be with another Marked One. Things could literally blow up in their faces. There is so much working to keep Adam and Megan apart, you can't help but wonder if there's any chance at all that they can make their relationship last. All of this makes for a really great star-crossed lovers story.

Leigh Fallon does such a wonderful job telling this story. Her descriptions of landscape, architecture, and the elements themselves is so vivid. I could picture everything so clearly I felt like I was right there walking those streets. The story grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I was completely blown away. Carrier of the Mark wasn't anything like I was expecting it to be. One thing I really likes was how she incorporated how to say the characters Irish names. A lot of authors don't do that and I'm left wondering if I'm saying their names correctly. She's created a world that I wish I could be a part of and that's what makes a memorable story I'm not likely to forget any time soon.

Quote: "Having these powers isn't all rainbows and moonbeams." - Chapter 11, Page 158

Book Trailer: 

About this Author:

I started out life in South Africa. A year later my parents moved home to Dublin, Ireland. When I was older and realized my parents had moved me from exotic Durban, to sedate Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, I was rightly ticked off. I fantasized about the amazing life I could have had in South Africa, and that fantastic accent that could have been all mine.

Instead, I got myself a fine Irish brogue growing up in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains where I went to a convent school and had to contend with uniforms, gabardines, and nuns.

During college I met a dashing sailor who swept me off my feet, all the way to Cork in the south of Ireland. I worked in corporate treasury and traveled Europe doing all sorts of fun finance stuff.

When I had my children I decided to take a career break, and soon discovered a love of writing. That career break became a career change when I wrote my debut novel, Carrier of the Mark.

I posted Carrier of the Mark on a HarperCollins website called inkpop. Within weeks it was voted into the top five books of thousands on the site, and was reviewed by a HarperTeen editor. Two months later that same editor offered me my first publishing contract.

My husband swept me off my feet again, this time in a westerly direction, we landed in Massachusetts, USA, where we now live with our four children and one double pawed cat.