Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Poppy Books, Hachette Book Group
Format: Hardcover, 236 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-316-12238-2
Release Date: January 2, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Summary: Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.


I fell in love with The Statistical Probability of Love at First first sight. When I heard about this book I was curious. I don't usually read a lot of contemporary romance novels and it takes a lot for me to really like them. But when I saw the cover of Statistical Probability, when I read the synopsis, I just knew I was going to love this book. And Jennifer E. Smith did not disappoint me.

Aside from the romance, what I really liked was all the small things; all the tiny coincidental things that had to happen to bring Hadley and Oliver together. Some are obvious and some you could totally miss of you're not paying attention. What would have happened if it weren't for those first four minutes? If there wasn't a nice old lady in their row that gave her seat to Oliver? And let's not forget their little buzzing friend from the plane. All of these small events are what bring, not only Hadley and Olive together, but the story as well.

The romance is so sweet. I found Hadley and Oliver so completely adorable and I really wished the book has been longer so I could read more about them. Their love isn't, BAM! I love you, forever. It's slow and steady. They talk for hours on the plane and get to know each other and, in the end, even help each other cope with family issues. I love when the characters don't fall in love instantaneously. It's more believable when it happens at a believable pace.

I want more! I loved the characters and story so much and I want to know what happens after the first meeting; after the first 24 hours. What happens when they return to Connecticut? Do Hadley and Oliver last or was it just for that moment? I sincerely hope that the author at least considers continuing Hadley and Oliver's story--even a short story or novella would do. I just want more.

Quote: "When you're on the other side of it, fifty-two years can seem like fifty-two minutes. Just like when you're young and in love, a seven-hour plane ride can seem like a lifetime."
- Chapter 4, Page 48

Book Trailers:

Meet Hadley

 Meet Oliver

About this Author:

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of the three young adult novels: The Comeback Season, You Are Here, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned her master's degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City.

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Prince
Series: The Infernal Devices #2
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Demons, Werewolves, Vampires, Fae, Warlocks, Nephilim
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon and Schuster Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 502 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street--and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move--and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will--the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.


In Clockwork Prince, Cassandra Clare takes us on the continued search for the Magister and shows us the political intrigue of the Clave; while still enthralling us with heart wrenching romance and taking us deeper into the relationships of the characters.

The Magister is more elusive than ever, always seeming to be one or ten steps ahead of the Shadowhunters. Charlotte's job is made even harder when the Magister knows their weaknesses--Will's family, Jem's illness, etc. And with betrayals within the Clave and close to home it may be impossible to catch the Magister before it's too late.

"Master Will has always been the brighter burning star, the one to catch attention--but Jem is a steady flame, unwavering and honest."

The triangle between Will, Tessa, and Jem is more intense in Clockwork Prince. Will's walls are crumbling and he's changing; Jem is becoming more honest and forward; and Tessa, caught in the middle, is more confused and torn then ever.

Depending on what team you're on, Team Will or Team Jem, you'll either be overjoyed or completely heartbroken. Both boys completely open themselves up and bare their hearts to Tessa. One's heart will be healed  and the other's will be completely shattered.

There is so much that happens in Clockwork Prince, but Cassandra meshes it all together to seamlessly that it's not overwhelming and you can breeze right through the book. The prologue draws you in with a glimpse of Will's inner turmoil and you'll be desperately wanting more after the surprise ending. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll never want to leave this world of Shadowhunters and demons.

Book Trailer:

Dirty Sexy Balcony Scene: 

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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Title: Bloodrose
Series: Nightshade #3
Author: Andrea Cremer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Shapeshifters, Werewolves, Witches, Incubi, Succubi
Publisher: Philomel Books, Penguin Group
Format: Hardcover, 407 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-25612-7
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): Is true love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Summary: Calla has always welcomed war.

But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnameable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keeper's magic once and for all. And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to a breathtaking trilogy.


Bloodrose is the final book in the amazing Nightshade series. Bloodrose is full of twists and turns that will leave you reeling.

I viewed this book as really bittersweet. It seemed that for every victory there was a tragedy, for every joy a sorrow. There was a moment toward the end that left me completely heartbroken. I had to stop reading so I could collect myself.

My favorite part of the whole book was the romance. I enjoy reading stories involving love triangles and anticipating who will eventually end up with who. Though Calla decided she wouldn't choose between Shay and Ren until the war was over, I felt that Ren was never really given a fair shot. It seemed like Calla's decision was made that night in the garden with Shay in Wolfsbane. She always seems to be pushing Ren away instead of giving him the shot he deserved. As a member of Team Ren that kind of bothered me. There were a lot of great swoony moments between both couplings, but my favorite was the shower scene with Calla and Ren.

This is a completely personal opinion, and I'm not saying that I didn't like Bloodrose (I did indeed love this book), but I was kind of disappointed with how the book ended. It wasn't anything like I thought it would end. Most series finales leave a feeling that the characters are still living on and the story continues, but the end of Bloodrose seems more final. Though I didn't like the ending myself, I think that there will be quite a few who do.

This may be the end of the Nightshade series' main story, there is the prequel, RIFT, to look forward to in the summer.


I'd always welcomed was, but when the last battle ends, what life is left for a warrior?
- Chapter 31, Page 395

Book Trailer:

About this Author:

Andrea Cremer spent her childhood daydreaming and roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Minnesota, but she thinks of her homeland as the “Canadian Shield” rather than the Midwest.

Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but she only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional writing. When she’s not writing, Andrea teaches history at a very nice liberal arts college in St. Paul.

In the little spare time she can find, Andrea stares up at trees, rescues infant rabbits from predatory cats, and invents names for pug puppies with her husband. She has an unfortunate tendency to spill things – white carpets beware!

Her debut novel, NIGHTSHADE, the first of a YA fantasy series, will be published in fall 2010 by Penguin (Philomel). 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Giveaway Winner: Devotion

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Congratulations to Proserpine Craving for winning an eCopy of Devotion!

Be sure to contact me at with your email and I'll pass it along to Kristie!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist Volume 1 by Kazue Kato

Title: Blue Exorcist Volume 1
Japanese Title: Ao no Exorcist
Series: Blue Exorcist #1
Manga-ka: Kazue Kato
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels, Older Teen Ages 16+
Publisher: Viz Media, Shonen Jump Advanced, Shueisha Inc.
Format: Paperback, 181 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-4215-4032-0
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): Fight hellfire with hellfire!

Summary: Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth--the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin's veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won't be easy, especially when drawing his father's sword releases the demonic power within him!


A lot happens in Volume One (as with any manga)--Rin awakening to his demon power, meeting Satan, swearing to become an exorcist, attending True Cross Academy, fighting his first demons, reconciling Father Fujimoto's death with Yukio, and meeting Shiemi.

I liked Rin from the very first page, although I always seem to like the bad boy characters. This characters type always has a tough exterior, but a more sensitive interior. Rin comes off as hot-headed and brash, but he want to help people and become a respectable person. I loved how he declared to Mephisto, "I'm not a human or a demon. But I will be an exorcist!!" He doesn't want to be an exorcist for revenge, but to become stronger so that no one else dies to protect him again. He has nobility and honor you wouldn't expect from a demon.

In this first volume the supporting characters we meet are: Father Fujimoto, who raised Rin and Yukio; Yukio, Rin's younger twin brother; Mephisto Pheles, Father Fujimoto's friend and president of True Cross Academy; and Shiemi, the cute and shy girl that Rin develops a crush on (although she seems to only have eyes for Yukio!). As the series goes on we'll meet more characters from both sides: the exorcists and the demons; as well as Rin's exorcist cram school classmates.

Volume One mainly consists of Rin awakening to his powers and being introduced to the world of the exorcists. We see some of Rin and Yukio's past and their reasons for wanting to become exorcists. I thought this was a strong beginning to the Blue Exorcist series.

About this Manga-ka:

Kazue Katō (加藤和恵, Katō Kazue), born on July 20th, 1980 in the district of Shinjuku, in Tokyo, is a Japanese mangaka, author of shōnen manga. She is mainly known to be author of Blue Exorcist. She also created Robot to Usakichi ( ロボとうさ吉 ), for which she received the price Osamu Tezuka Award.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Novella Review: Never to Sleep by Rachel Vincent

Title: Never to Sleep
Series: Soul Screamers #5.5
Author: Rachel Vincent
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Necromancers, Reapers, Bean-sidhes, Demons
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Format: Kindle Edition eBook
ISBN: 978-1-4268-3414-1
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Source: Purchased on
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): Don't Close Your Eyes

Summary: Sophie Cavanaugh is not going to let her freak of a cousin's strange psychiatric condition ruin high school for them both. Not after all the work she's put into cultivating the right look, and friends, and reputation. But then, Sophie sees something so frightening she lets out a blood-curdling scream—and finds herself stuck in a bizarre parallel world where nothing is safe and deadly creatures lurk just out of sight, waiting for her to close her eyes and sleep...forever.

Could this world be real? Or does insanity run in the family...?


I was really excited when I heard about this novella in the Soul Screamers series. Never to Sleep takes place during the If I Die timeline from Sophie's point of view. I'd like readers to note that this review contains spoilers from If I Die. 

Sophie's going about her day a usual--wading through the social hierarchy and political intrigue, while trying to avoid her cousin, Kaylee at all costs--when she meets Luca, a new student. After he literally smacks her with a classroom door (accidentally), he offers to help her carry the dance uniforms back to the gym. They take the long way back to the gym and that's when they happen to come upon Tod and Kaylee's PDA moment and the beginning of the ensuing fight between Tod and Nash. Not wanting to be involved in Kaylee's drama, Sophie leads Luca back the other way and that's when things start to get weird. 

Out of nowhere pops a boy with no irises or pupils in his eyes. Sophie is so terrified she lets out a blood-curdling scream--transporting her and Luca to the Netherworld. 

Now the question I had while reading Never to Sleep was--Is Sophie really a bean sidhe, or, because she's half-bean sidhe, does she only have half the powers of a full-bean sidhe? It seems that Sophie is only able to open a way to the Netherworld when she's really terrified.

I never liked Sophie as a character and I still don't really like her. She showed great strength and intelligence while in the Netherworld, but her ego and arrogance upon returning home overshadowed those qualities. If she had stayed humble I may have changed my mind about her. 

I can't wait to see how Sophie's attitude changes when she finds out the truth and that her tiny little victory in the Netherworld doesn't even compare to all that her cousin, Kaylee, has been through. It'll be interesting to see if her view of Kaylee changes at all in Before I Wake. 

Now Luca, as we find out, isn't exactly normal (no one new who comes to town is ever 100% normal). Turns out he's a necromancer--and not in the raise-the-dead way, but more like he's able to recognize and communicate with the dead. We don't really know if he's a good guy or a bad guy, but it definitely seems like he's got some kind of ulterior motives. I don't think it's such a good idea for Sophie to trust him as much as she seems to at this point. 

Though Never to Sleep didn't change my dislike for Sophie, I did enjoy getting a closer look at things from her POV. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all translates into Before I Wake. 

About this Author:

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.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Challenge: Review Copy Cleanup

The Review Copy Cleanup Challenge is hosted by Vicky @ Books, Biscuits & Tea and Celine @ Nyx Book Reviews!

Challenge guidelines:

✦ This challenge runs from 1 to 31 March, 2012
✦ Sign-ups are open until 15 March 2012. After that the linky list will be closed and participation in the challenges and giveaways won't be possible for anyone who hasn't previously signed up.
✦ To sign up, just fill in the Mister Linky form below. Link to your sign up post directly, please! The Linky is the same for both our blogs, so you only have to sign up once.
When you post your sign up post on your blog, either include the challenge button with your post or link it back to this article so that people know where to sign up. Thank you!
✦ Every book you received for review counts towards the challenge, both ebooks and hard copies, including all genres and lengths.
✦ You don't need to follow the two hosts in order to be able to sign up for the event (although it's appreciated), but you do have to follow us in order to be able to enter our giveaways. In order to be entered in the giveaway, simply complete the given challenge and add the link to your post in the linky list.
✦ Challenges will be posted every week on Fridays and will last throughout the week until Thursday the next week. Every challenge ends with a giveaway. To enter in the challenges and giveaways, simply add the link to your challenge post in the Linky list in the main challenge post. It will be posted on both blogs.
✦ At the end of the event we will host our Massive Giveaway. This contains tons of prizes donated by awesome authors. All you'll need to do in order to enter this giveaway is to fill in a Rafflecopter form - as simple as that. :)
✦ Most of our giveaways will be open INTERNATIONALLY but you'll find all the relevant info about each giveaway when we post the challenges.
✦ Feel free to use the #RCCleanup hashtag on Twitter for your RCC related tweets or join in the Twitter party at and meet lots of lovely bloggers :)

Challenge schedule:

✦ March 2 - Show Off Your Pile
✦ March 9 - Cuddle Up With a Book
✦ March 16 - Don't Be Such a Tease!
✦ March 23 - Mysterious Meet-up
✦ March 30 - Love Will Find a Way

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tour Review: Devotion by Kristie Cook (Giveaway)

Title: Devotion
Series: Soul Savers #3
Author: Kristie Cook
Genre: Young Adult (Older Teen) Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Witches, Vampires, Faeries, Shapeshifters, Warlocks, Angels, Demons, Sorceresses
Publisher: Ang'dora Productions
Format: eARC
Release Date: February 10, 2012
Source: Author {Kristie Cook}
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): When secrets and betrayals abound, where will her devotion lie?

Summary: With powerful abilities gained from the Ang’dora and Tristan back by her side, Alexis thinks she’s ready for the next challenge— protecting her son from what appears to be the inevitable. But she has so much to learn about her powers, her new world and the people in it. Nothing is what it seems to be on the surface, including the Amadis. 

Power-hungry politicians comprise the council and make impossible demands. A traitor lurks among them all, inciting trouble that could destroy the Amadis and, ultimately, humanity. The Daemoni wreak havoc in the human world, with the ultimatum that they’ll continue attacking innocents until Alexis and Tristan are expelled from the Amadis’ protection. The couple’s own society begins to shut them out. But that’s not all.

Someone’s keeping a secret. A big one. Faith and hope in Alexis and Tristan will be restored if she can uncover the truth in time.

But the search for answers leads only to the discovery of more betrayals by those closest to Alexis. Her devotion is put to the test—devotion to her husband, to her family, to her people and to her beliefs—leaving her to question whom she’s fighting for and why she should even bother. But if she won’t fight . . . who will?


First of all, I just want to say, WOW!! Kristie Cook has done it again! I am so in love with the Soul Savers series, and it's become one of my favorite series ever. Kristie's writing is so smooth and seamless as you go from one book to the next--even when you take a break and read Genesis it's as if you're reading the Amadis history along with Alexis.

Devotion delves deeper into the politics of the Amadis society. Alexis believed them all to be good to the core, but what she finds is a bunch of politicians vying for power. And when she finds out about all the lies, secrets, and betrayals, there is no way Alexis will swear her loyalty and devotion to them. Not to mention that they seem to be doing everything in their power to separate her from Tristan.

As the secrets and betrayals are revealed, Alexis' devotion to not only the Amadis, but her family and even Tristan is tested. She'll need to trust herself and her power to find what is truth and what is deception.

It's amazing that after everything Alexis and Tristan have been through that they can come out of it even stronger than they were before. Most people would have been completely destroyed if they went through what these two did. No matter what's being thrown at them, or what direction they're pulled in, Alexis and Tristan's love and loyalty never break. It's may be shaken, it may waver, but it never breaks. Alexis really is the fierce protector, and Tristan the ultimate warrior. They still have many tests and battles ahead of them, but they'll be fine as long as they stick together.

Devotion's plot is pretty heavy and serious for most of the book, but Kristie gives us a great reprieve in a hilarious encounter Alexis has with a kangaroo. That's all I'll say about that so I don't spoil it, but I thought it was so funny that I was laughing about it well after I was finished reading Devotion.

Kristie is a truly amazing and inspiring writer. She's created memorable and lovable characters, a captivating world, and a story you can't help but fall in love with. Devotion will leave you desperately wanting more.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Connect with Kristie Cook:

Tour Hosted by Author Kristie Cook

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Title: Dearly, Departed
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Author: Lia Habel
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Elements: Zombies
Publisher: Del Rey Books, Random House Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 467 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-345-52331-0
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): Love can never die.

Summary: Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.


In Dearly, Departed, Lia Habel has created a unique dystopian world with a supernatural twist. The old meets the new. The past meets the future in this world where society has regressed and technology has thrived.

A hundred and fifty years earlier, the world went through an apocalypse of ice, pestilence, famine, and ash. Entire nations ceased to be, war broke out, and those who survived migrated south. After years of rebuilding the people never forgot the past and soon became more old-fashioned. Conservative clothing, polite etiquette, respect for elders, and the understanding of your social station became the norm. Violence and crude behavior is frowned upon. When it came to structuring their society, the people chose the Victorian era for its civility, order, and prosperity. They saw it was a Golden Age, but refused to see the dark side because they wanted peace, tranquility, and beauty. And for a while it was so, that is until the Punks showed up. They protested everything from the aristocracy to the advancement of technology, arguing that the New Victorians have forgotten the events of the past and would bring destruction upon the world once again.

This is such a unique world that Lia Habel has created. I love learning about history and I like that she chose to take society backward in time instead of into a futuristic time, though there are future advancements she included in her New Victorian world. Practically everything is digital--every citizen has a chip in their wrist, there are holograms, digidiaries, even the carriages are electric. It's a mish-mash of the past and future. But no matter how pretty the outside looks the ugly side cannot be completely hidden.

Nora Dearly, though small in stature, more than makes up for her childlike appearance with her intelligence, stubbornness, and bravery. Unlike most heroines, Nora does not accept the supernatural element of the story--the zombies--right away. She takes time, and locking herself up in a room, to wrap her head around what can't even be possible. And when she finally feels she's safe to come out, she approaches the situation--and the zombies--with caution. And though she's a skilled guns woman, she knows her own strength and leaves the fights she can't win to the trained professionals. Nora's love and loyalty are unmatched. She'd risk her very life to help those she loves, and she'd never abandon them in their time of need.

Bram Griswold is...well...dead. Captain--in name only--of Z Company, Bram holds the respect of all the undead in the unit. For a zombie he's pretty good-looking--in fact, he's practically perfect, except for the whole being dead thing. No missing body parts, full head of hair, and no one can help but swoon when he wears his "sexy clothes." Bram is honest, noble, and more alive than most living people, for someone who's dead. He's very self-aware, he knows his situation and accepts it for what it is.

The love story of Nora and Bram is not instantaneous. It grows over time, and is one of the most honest and pure love stories I've ever read. They both understand the difficulties a relationship between them will have. They know they can't have a forever and just want a right now. It's a bittersweet love story that can't end any other way but in heartache. But the fact that they can love each other despite the differences between them and want nothing more than now together is what makes this a true love.

ZOMBIES! But there's a very big difference between the good and the bad. The bad zombies are your typical animalistic and cannibalistic nightmares. The good zombies are those like Bram, Chas, and all those in Z Company. They maintain their sanity, their selves, and are able to function as they normally did...mostly. Their resilience and strength make then beautiful in a way that the living cannot achieve. And they want, more than anything, for a vaccine to be found so others don't have to suffer as they have.

I love how this book is written from alternating points of view. Most of the story is told from Nora and Bram's  respective viewpoints, but intersperced through the book are viewpoints from Captain Wolfe, Dr. Dearly, and Pamela. This adds a depth to the story that a book from only one perspective just doesn't have. The morbid sense of humor the characters use to joke about the macabre world surrounding them actually takes some of the dark, doom and gloom out of the atmosphere.

With the mixed reviews I read for Dearly, Departed I wasn't sure if I would like this book, but once I started reading I really enjoyed it. I love the writing, the storytelling, and the world. The characters are believable and feel real--even the zombies. The romance is sweet and pure. Everything just worked for me in Dearly, Departed. I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel, Dearly, Beloved.

Excerpt (Pages 311-312):

Bram regarded me with soft eyes. He took a deep, chest-expanding breath, and when the air came out, he said, "I'm dead, Nora."

I'd known this was going to come up, either from him or someone else. "It's hard to think of you as dead when you laugh with me, walk with me, smile at me..."

He shook his head, some of his hair coming to rest before his eyes. He didn't brush it away. It shadowed his face, made him look sad. "I'm dangerous."

"Oh, and other people aren't?" I heard the growing temper in my own voice. "You've spent the last week convincing me that you're not a monster, and now you're going to make like you are? Don't try to pull that. Men turn on their wives of twenty years with hatchets, go insane and murder their children. Everyone is capable of becoming dangerous, going mad. What makes you so different?"

"Different?" He took a step closer and grabbed my wrists before I could back away. "Do living men have dreams about people dying? Do they occasionally get the urge to chase you? Do they--no matter how well they repress it, no matter how well-behaved they are--always have in the back of their mind the idea that your flesh would be the best thing they ever tasted?"

I held my ground. "Probably not," I replied. "But I have dreams about people dying. I've been so angry that I couldn't think straight. I know what it's like."

He let go of me, his expression folding into confusion. I slowly reached up and touched his bottom lip. He flinched away, but I persisted. "Go ahead. If you're so out of control, go ahead. This isn't my shooting hand."

Bram folded his arms over his chest. He didn't fight it as I traced his lips, his chin, the top half of his throat. He did catch my hand before it ventured any lower, though. My tongue flattened against the roof of my mouth as I kept my eyes on his, letting him do what he wanted.

He kissed my satin-robed wrist, over the glove's bottom opening, and dropped my hand.

In that moment, I found him fully, absolutely beautiful. The way he kissed me was so honest; the way he stood there, calmly embodying his own space, was attractive in that it simply was. He just was, when he shouldn't be.

Book Trailer: 

About this Author:

I'm an author, and consequently spend the majority of my days locked up in my own head. When I'm actually actively participating in the groundbreaking experiment in groupthink known as "reality," you'll find me designing and sewing costumes, trying to teach myself to play roller derby (I do not tackle pedestrians, contrary to popular belief), planning trips, and watching zombie movies.

Novella Review: Genesis by Kristie Cook

Title: Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella
Series: Soul Savers #0.5
Author: Kristie Cook
Genre: Young Adult (Older Teen) Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Angels, Demons, Vampires, Witches, Shapeshifters
Publisher: Ang'dora Productions
Format: Kindle Edition eBook
ISBN-13: 978-0984699001
Release Date: October 19, 2011
Source: Purchased on
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: A father who reveals his truth.

Twins who take different paths--one light, one dark.

Angels who have plans for them both.

And Demons who do as well.

So the Earthly battle for souls ignites...

A tale that is over 2,000 years old, this is the story of the Amadis beginnings.


Kristie Cook takes us 2,000 years in the past to when the Amadis got their beginning.

The Angel Andrew was charged with protecting Zoe, but he did more than that. He loved her. When Zoe is attacked by Daemoni, instead of staying in the Otherworld and obeying the commands he was given, Andrew crosses over and reveals himself. As punishment, Andrew is sentenced to live 200 years as a human man.

This is how Cassandra and Jordan came into being. Upon Andrew's death bed he reveals the truth to his children. But Cassandra and Jordan see completely different visions: Cassandra sees her father as an angel ascending back into Heaven; Jordan sees his father as a demon descending into Hell. And that's where the divide between Cassandra and Jordan begins.

Cassandra is such a kind and caring person. She shows amazing devotion to what she believes. She never gives into Jordan's attempts to get her to join the Daemoni. Someone with that kind of strength and her compassion for those in need makes Cassandra the perfect person to lead the Amadis.

Because Jordan believes whole-heartily that he and Cassandra are half demon and that it explains the darkness that he's felt building inside himself, he's become blinded to the truth. Once he finds the Daemoni, Jordan becomes obsessed with not only the power he can gain, but also with getting Cassandra to come with him. Jordan becomes so steeped in evil that it just oozes off him in waves.

I have come to love this series so much and I really enjoyed having the chance to read where everything began. Genesis is such a bittersweet tale. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad by the end.

I think it's best to read Genesis after Purpose, because at the end of Purpose Alexis is reading her book and the history of the Amadis. So it's like we're reading the Amadis origin with her.

I have to say that sometimes the purposes the characters in the Soul Savers series have are kind of sad. In Genesis, Jordan's purpose was to join the Daemoni and create a potion that would not only make the Daemoni more powerful, but give Cassandra the power to create the Amadis. And it was so heartbreaking when Jordan realized the truth.

But that's part of what makes Kristie's writing so amazing. She know how to draw in her readers and make the feel something for her characters. I'm so emotionally invested in this series that I'm definitely going to see it through to the end.

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


I'm participating in the Devotion Review Tour, so look for my review of Devotion, the third book in the Soul Savers series, on February 9, 2012 and enter the giveaway for a chance to win an eCopy of Devotion!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Bonded by Blood by Laurie London

Title: Bonded by Blood
Series: Sweetblood #1
Author: Laurie London
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Vampires
Publisher: HQN Books, Harlequin Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 378 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-77544-6
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): Some cravings are too powerful to resist...

Summary: Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy--

Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors. Now Guardian team leader Dominic Serrano will be forced to choose between the vengeance he craves and the woman he can't live without...

Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she's cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations--vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.

For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him--and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her....


Dominic Serrano is shot while infiltrating the Darkblood camp in search of information. Having escaped and dragged himself into the woods of a nearby cemetery he stumbles upon a beautiful blonde woman taking photographs of the old burial ground. Thinking that he could take a little blood to regain his strength, Dominic gains the woman's attention and as she comes closer he quickly realizes his mistake. It turns out that this woman has a rare blood and addictive blood type that's almost impossible for his kind to resist. Through sheer willpower Dominic is able to stop before killing the woman, but a bond like he's never felt before forms between them.

Mackenzie Foster-Shaw was looking for the perfect cemetery for a movie location and found it at the Bear Creek Pioneer Cemetery. That's not all she found when she was taking photos of the location. In the woods of the cemetery Mackenzie discovers the gorgeous and very injured Dominic. She approaches him to see how she can help and wakes up the next morning with a monster headache and no memory of the events of the day before. Along with her missing memory is a strange voice in her head and a connection to someone or something she can't understand or explain.

As Dominic and Mackenzie meet, get to know each other, and their bond deepens, both will have to make a choice. Can Dominic give up his revenge to save the woman he loves? And can Mackenzie let down her defenses and open her heart for a chance at forever?

Dominic is one of the Guardians of the Agency that protect humans from their Darkblood brethren. But he's also a man driven by revenge. His parents were murdered by Pavlos, the Darkblood Overlord, with his brother Alfonso's aide. Dominic's priorities change when he meets and bonds to Mackenzie. Mackenzie's blood gives Dominic strength and powers he didn't know he had. But with this new strength Dominic has to decide how he'll use it. Is his revenge worth Mackenzie's life?

Mackenzie is an amazingly talented artist and view the world with an artist's eye. But she's a haunted and hunted woman. Because of her family's rare blood type they have been hunted by the Darkbloods for generations. After her father and cousin go missing Mackenzie believes that she's next, and because everything seems hopeless she refuses to make any kind of long term commitment. But Dominic makes her want to believe in forever.

The Sweetblood world has two vampire coalitions warring against each other. The Guardians of the Agency are sworn to protect humanity from the Darkbloods. The Darkblood Alliance wants to go back to how things were when their ancestors ruled; killing indiscriminately. The vampires of this world aren't like your typical vampire. They can eat regular food, only need blood every once in a while, some can even go out in the sun. But they all, good and bad, have a weakness for Sange Dulce. Sweetblood is highly addictive and very rare. And the Darkbloods are in the business of harvesting and dealing Sweetblood to other vampires. For a price. They are like the vampire equivalent of the mob. And they are led by Pavlos, the Darkblood Overlord, and the man responsible for murdering Mackenzie's father and Dominic's parents.

I thought that the romance in Bonded by Blood was pretty strong, but other parts were kind of weak. All in all, I really enjoyed this unique world and the likable characters.

The next book, Embraced by Blood, is from Alfonso and Lily's point of view. It'll be great to learn more about Alfonso and why he made the choices he did.

About this Author: 

Laurie London is the author of the Sweetblood series, dark sexy paranormal romance from HQN Books. A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie now writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.

When not writing, she can be found running, reading, or riding and showing her horse. Someday she hopes to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show – that is, if her horse doesn’t get hurt again.

Review: Shadow of the Vampire by Meagan Hatfield

Title: Shadow of the Vampire
Author: Meagan Hatfield
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Vampires, Dragons
Publisher: HQN Books, Harlequin Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 361 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-77500-2
Release Date: July 1, 2010
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): Dark passion, deadly desire... / Even vampires should never sleep with the enemy.

Summary: Vampire princess Alexia Feodorovna has been undead for 125 years, so it's been a while since any man has made her pulse race. Until Declan Black. One look at his bronzed body and a fire like no other consumes her. Then she discovers that he's a dragon lord come to take revenge on the vamps who killed his parents. And claim a crystal said to imbue it's owner with incredible powers.

Alexia is ordered to torture and kill the dragon lord. Yet with each reckless encounter, she finds herself consumed by his fiery passion. A passion Declan battles, as well. Will he be able to resist the fire of lust she kindles within him and keep revenge in his heart? Or will he risk everything to quench the burning desire and claim the vampire as his own?


Meagan Hatfield has created a unique world secluded from humans where vampires and dragon shape-shifters are at war in Shadow of the Vampire.

Alexia is the princess and soon-to-be queen of the vampire horde currently at war with the dragon flock. She cares deeply for her people and everything she does is with them in mind. But she and her people are oppressed by the power-hungry soldier, Lotharus. Alexia really fears Lotharus after he forced her to submit to him and raped her. Now she's become passive and scared to stand up to him. But when Alexia meets Declan, the new dragon lord, her makes her feel strong, cared for, and truly wanted.

Declan became the King of his flock when the vampires murdered his parents. Seeking revenge and a crystal that could save or destroy them, Declan and his sister Tallon infiltrated the Horde's catacombs. To protect Tallon and the crystal, Declan orders her to leave with the crystal and is captured as a result. Imprisoned and tortured by the malicious Lotharus, Alexia provides a nice reprieve, and as he gets to know and care about her, he will do anything to protect her.

Both Alexia and Declan are rulers of great integrity and honor. Their respective peoples are their top priorities. Even when it comes to their personal wants they think about how it could impact their people. Although when it comes to one another, they will do practically anything for the other. Some may say that's selfish, but I think it's only selfish when it comes to something you want, not something you need. And Declan and Alexia literally need each other to function with any normality.

The world of Shadow of the Vampire is kind of shrouded in mystery. There's the vampire Horde that makes its home in the catacombs within the caves and caverns near the sea and below the earth. The dragon flock dwells in caves high in the mountains to avoid the human population. Despite the fact that the two clans are at war, they both favor caves as their dwelling places. The vampires are a matriarchal society ruled by a woman, whereas the dragons are ruled by a king and queen; the dragon lord and his mate. But we don't really know anything about the humans and their role in the world. It's almost like they don't exist. It's a mystical world where its inhabitants are at war; a war that may very well be misguided because of Lotharus's vicious influence.

I honestly didn't know if I'd like this book, but I ended up really enjoying it. I liked that the romance between Declan and Alexia wasn't instantaneous. It was allowed to grow with every one of Alexia's visits while Declan was imprisoned, and every time Declan came to Alexia's aide. The villain of the story, Lotharus, is especially cruel and vicious; delighting in murder, rape and torture. He's power-hungry and hates being ruled by women. He's one of the very worst of bad guys. And even though we don't know much about the world of the book, because it's a mystery it keeps you wondering. I'm really hoping that Shadow of the Vampire is the beginning of a new series. Though Meagan has two other books that are about other characters in this book, I'd really like to see where the story of Shadow of the Vampire can go. With the open ending and parts of the story not concluded, this book could easily be continued, possibly from Tallon's point of view.

Excerpt (from the first page preview): 

"Do you like what you saw, vixen?"

Embarrassment flooded her face. She wriggled beneath his hold, and barely moved an inch. "Let me go."

The dragon propped himself up on an elbow. His electric blue eyes slid from hers, to the flesh her leather bodice failed to conceal.


Her jaw slackened. "Release me or--"

"Or what? Don't tell me you're frightened of me now?" His thumb began to draw lazy circles over the pounding pulse in her wrist.

"I'm not frightened of you," she said, the words coming out in a breathy sigh.

His wing coiled tighter, crushing her breasts against the warm barrel of steel he called a chest.

"Then why are you trembling?" He dipped his head below hers. "I can hear you heart hammering. Right here." A hot, open mouth covered the pulse beating beneath the skin.

"You're--" she stammered.

"Hungry. And you look tasty."

His dark head swooped.

Book Trailer: 

About this Author:

Meagan Hatfield currently writes dark paranormal romances for HQN & Nocturne. When she's not hovered over her laptop (writing, not Tweeting of course) you can find Meagan shakin' it in Zumba class where she teaches seven classes a week.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Challenge: Women of the Otherworld Series

The Women of the Otherworld Series Reading Challenge is hosted by Lucy @ Moonlight Gleam!

The Challenge:

Each month beginning March 1st, 2012, challenge members will read or re-read the title for that month. In addition, challenge members will either post a review, their reading experience, character castings or anything else related to that title. You have freedom to have fun with your monthly post so be creative! Seeing as this series is 13 novels long, this challenge will last 13 months.


**You do not have to have a blog to enter this challenge. You must, however, have a Goodreads account if you don't, so that you can link to your posts there.**

**You do not have to participate each month if you don't want to. I want this to be a fun experience for everyone so, if there only a few books you want to read, please feel free to join!**

**If you did not find time to read the title of the month, feel free to write a post about it and indicate why. This will allow you to link up to qualify for monthly challenge giveaways as well!**

The Challenge Schedule:

(March 1st - 31st, 2012)

(April 1st - 30th, 2012)

Dime Store Magic
(May1st - 31st, 2012)

Industrial Magic
(June 1st - 30th, 2012)

(July 1st - 31st, 2012)

(August 1st - 31st, 2012)

No Humans Involved
(September 1st - 30th, 2012)

Personal Demon
(October 1st - 31st, 2012)

Living With The Dead
(November 1st - 30th, 2012)

(December 1st - 31st, 2012 )

Waking The Witch
(January 1st - 31st, 2013)

Spell Bound
(February 1st - 28th, 2013)

(March 1st - 31st, 2013)


What would a challenge be without some prizes to reward challenge members?

On the 1st of each month, beginning March 1st, 2012, there will be a post here on the blog, indicating the title challenge and giveaway prize for that month. This is where you will be able to link up your reviews/reading experience. Challenge members who successfully complete each monthly challenge will automatically entered to win that monthly giveaway!

At the very end of the challenge there will be a MEGA Prize Giveaway. Each time you enter a link throughout the challenge, this will automatically give you an additional entry. Only those who participate in the challenge and have linked to their posts will qualify to enter this giveaway.