Thursday, February 28, 2013

Follow My Book Blog Friday (78)

This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

Question: Confess your blogger sins! Is there anything as a newbie blogger that you've done, that as you gained more experience you were like-- oops? 

Answer: Hmmm the only thing I can really think of is when I got so excited when authors would contact me that I accepted anything and everything. That meant books from self-published authors that were absolutely horrid. Yet, crazy me, has an issue with not finishing a book, so I would force myself to finish their book no matter how bad the editing or plot or characters were. And then I had to write a review about them. I was just dying from reading so many books that I just didn't want to read...

Now, I know to only accept books I actually want to read and have a good feeling will be enjoyable. My TBR list has grown SO big that I don't want to pile it down with books that I don't even want to read. I'm so happy I learned this lesson because after that short little period of hating reading books that were just awful, I can really appreciate the awesome books I read now. Just because a book is free, doesn't mean it's going to be good! So be careful what you accept :)

Book Review: The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

The Fairest Beauty
By Melanie Dickerson
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Source: Publisher
Summary: A daring rescue. A difficult choice. Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom---but can she trust another person to keep her safe? Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible---she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else---he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what. When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help---but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them---they must also protect their hearts.

Review: I am such a huge fan of any kind of retelling in YA novels, so when I had the chance to review this Snow White retelling, I immediately jumped on it. Who doesn't love a good fairytale with unique, new twist? Well, that's definitely what you get with The Fairest Beauty!

When an old lady shows up at the castle of Gabe's family with the claim that his older brother's deceased betrothed is actually living as a servant to the evil Duchess, no one knows if they can trust her. Since his brother's leg has just been broken and won't set for 5 weeks, Gabe's father and brother decide to wait until then to check out the woman's story. But Gabe is longing for adventure, so he takes off in the middle of the night to rescue this lost beauty and bring him back to his brother to marry. What he didn't expect to find, though, was to find such a sweet, beautiful, resilient servant girl. Sophie had been bullied by the duchess her entire life, so when Gabe shows up to rescue her, she doesn't know if she can trust him. But when they escape to the Cottage of the Seven, Sophie finds herself falling for Gabe. Romance, though, should be the last thing on her mind with the evil duchess out for her death. 

I'm not sure what kind of retelling I was expecting when I went into this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the author created Sophie's character and her journey of being rescued by a handsome man. Sophie, of course, is beautiful but her life as a servant has left her a humble and sweet young lady, creating a protagonist you can't help but love. Gabe embodies the perfect hero of the story; he's not exactly the best brother, but he has so many endearing qualities that you want him to win the girl in the end. The way their relationship grows is so sweet and even though you know how it's going to end, you can't help but read in anticipation anyways. 

It was really cute, too, how the author decided to make the seven dwarves. In the novel, they were the men living in the Cottage of Seven and they were all lovable in their own ways. In the end, though, they all held one bond: Their love and protective instincts towards Sophie. While the story did tend to get slow at times, it was just so cute and fun to read. The twists the author added to the fairy tale were unique and created a great young adult story. If you love Snow White or any kind of fairy tale, I would definitely recommend checking this one out! It's a simple story that tends to slow down at times, but you can't help but feel happy and satisfied when it's finished. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (80)

This is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where every Wednesday bloggers highlight a book that they are eagerly anticipating the release of!

Spies and Prejudice
By Talia Vance
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Summary: Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either. 

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death. 

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.

I love any contemporary fiction that has to do with the classics, so when I saw this one, I got way too excited. Jane Austen has become one of my favorite authors and this sounds like a super fun spin on Pride and Prejudice. And you can never go wrong with a good spy book :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week bloggers share a list of books for the prompt given. So hopefully I'll have a new list to share with you all each week!

This Week's Topic: Top Ten Authors I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List

1. Nicholas Sparks 
I really don't think I need to explain this one. Seriously, anyone who knows me knows that I'm obsessed with him. I only have two books to go before I've read every single one of his books. Every time a new book is coming out, I always pre-order it so that I have it the moment it comes out! The man's a genius when it comes to romance. 

2. Jennifer Echols
Ever since I read The Boys Next Door, I've been obsessed with Jennifer Echols. And now that she's branching out into New Adult and Adult Romance, I'm more excited than ever to read them. Seriously, I haven't read a book by this woman that I haven't loved!

3. Eloisa James
Fairytale retellings are some of my favorites, so it's no wonder I fell in love with Eloisa's fairytale romances. They are so amazing and I am so ecstatic every time a new book of her's comes out. The next one is about Rapunzel and it comes out in May. It's definitely on my to-buy list :)

4. JK Rowling
I don't know what I'd do without JK Rowling. When The Casual Vacancy came out, I knew it wasn't going to be anything like Harry Potter, but I wanted to read it anyways. I've got myself a copy, now all it's going to take is me actually finding the time to read it!

5. Stephanie Perkins
Oh my goodness, who doesn't love Anna and the French Kiss? I went crazy when Lola and the Boy Next Door came out and now I'm very impatiently waiting for Isla and the Happily Ever After to come out! How do they expect me to wait until September to read her next book???

6. Kieran Scott
I didn't know it, but I've been a Kieran Scott fan for FOREVER. She writes under the pen name Kate Brian and Emma Harrison, and I'm obsessed with the books by those names as well as her books as Kieran Scott. And I had no idea the same person was writing those books! Needless to say, I'm a fan of her writing no matter what her name is. 

7. Sophie Kinsella
Sophie's books are just so gosh darn amazing and I can't help but become completely immersed in each and every one of them. They're so witty and charming! This girl definitely knows how to write those adult contemporaries. 

8. Jessi Kirby
Ever since I read her first novel Moonglass, I have been a die hard Jessi Kirby fan. I've eagerly awaited the release of In Honor and managed to get my hands on an ARC of her newest novel Golden. To say I'm over the moon excited to get into that one is definitely an understatement! 

9. Cassandra Clare
I'm pretty sure it was Cassandra Clare who got me turned onto the paranormal/fantasy genre and I couldn't be more thankful. Her writing is amazing and the worlds she creates are just impossible not to love. I haven't started her Infernal Devices series, but I do have copies sitting on my shelf! I'm so excited for the day I can finally sit down and read that series because I just know I'm going to love it. 

10. Simone Elkeles
If there's one YA series I'm absolutely obsessed with, it's definitely the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone. Her Leaving Paradise series would have to be close behind. Simone definitely knows how to give you a YA contemporary romance that you will obsess over. It's been forever since she's released a new book and I'm absolutely dying to read something new by her. Her new series Fullriders is supposed to come out in 2013, but that's all I know. I need that book now!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: The Queen Is Dead by Kate Locke

The Queen Is Dead
By Kate Locke
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Source: Publisher
Summary: When her brother Val gets in over his head in an investigation of Half-Blood disappearances and goes missing himself, it's up to Xandra, newly crowned Goblin Queen, to get him back and bring the atrocities to light. Xandra must frequent the seediest parts of London, while also coping with what she is, the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who wants her head. Add this to a being a suspect in a murder investigation, a werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy, and Xandra barely knows which way is up. One thing she does know is that she's already lost one sibling, she's not about to lose another. 

Xandra Varden is the newly crowned Goblin Queen of England. But her complicated life is by no means over.

There are the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who for some reason wants her head. Not to mention her werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy. Now she's the suspect in a murder investigation --- and Xandra barely knows which way is up.

What she does know is that nothing lasts forever---and immortality isn't all its cracked up to be.

Review: I fell absolutely in love with this steampunk world Kate Locke created in the first book God Save the Queen, so I couldn't wait to jump into the story again and see what she had in store for us in book two!

When her brother Val goes missing, Xandra, who has just been crowned the goblin queen, is determined to find him. But when she starts digging into his disappearance, she realizes Val was investigating some seriously dangerous stuff involving torturous genetic experimentation. With the help of her Were boyfriend and the goblin prince, Xandra gets closer to the finding her brother and finally accepting her newfound power as Queen of the goblins. 

Right off the bat, we're dropped into the insanely hectic drama of Xandra's life and I just couldn't put this book down. I love Xandra's character so much, especially now that she knows she's part Goblin and queen of a race she used to think were monsters. What's most awesome about this book, though, has got to be her relationship with Vex. There was a lot more emphasis on their romance and how they were both growing closer and closer while trying to protect each other from the dangers of their own lives. Mmmm my life would sure be awesome if I had a hunky Were to wake up to every morning too!

The mystery of where Val was and who was behind the genetic experiments made the story so intriguing and engaging. Seriously, I hated putting this book down to do anything and finished the entire last half in one sitting. I just couldn't get enough of this steampunk world! There's a ton of action, romance, mystery, and paranormal elements that there's something for everyone to love. 

Kate Locke definitely knows steampunk and she has written yet another phenomenal steampunk novel. I loved the clothes Xandra wore and everything about their lives that you definitely don't find in today's time. I honestly don't know why I don't read more steampunk because after reading Kate's books, I'm hooked! If you haven't started this series yet, you've got to find yourself a copy! Right now! You're missing out on a spectacular story with a spunk that pulls you in and refuses to let you go until the last page.

Weekly Roundup [2/19-2/25]

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I got to spend mine at home with my family, so I'm starting off this week to a pretty awesome start. Since I went home, I finally have the books that were sent there, so I have a ton of great books just waiting for me to read. I can't wait to dig into all of them!

Book Reviews
Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt 
Heart of the Demon by Cynthia Garner
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey
By Jane Austen
Release Date: December 1817
Source: Own Copy
Summary: Jane Austen’s first novel tells the story of Catherine Morland, the very ideal of a nice girl. But her na├»ve heroine is also in possession of an overactive imagination, fueled by her obsession with gothic novels. When Catherine meets Henry Tilney, she’s instantly smitten. But when she’s invited to his home, the sinister Northanger Abbey, she learns not to interpret the world through the pages of lurid thrillers.

Review: I don't know how I waited so long to read Jane Austen. This one is my third book by her and I fall in love more and more each time! Though Northanger Abbey is definitely not her most romantic, it still has a fun story you can't help but become entranced in. 

Catherine Morland is a nice enough girl; there's nothing really special about her and she just goes through life doing what's expected. She spends 6 weeks in Bath with family friends the Allens, where she meets the charming Eleanor Tilney and her even more charming brother Henry. When it's time for the Tilney's to return home, Catherine is invited to spend some time with them at their home, Northanger Abbey. Catherine is ecstatic to be living in an Abbey and lets her imagination run away with her of stories she's only used to reading in the Gothic novels she loves so much. But her imagination about General Tilney and his deceased wife goes a little too far, forcing Catherine to face reality and leave her bookish-induced imagination for her dreams. 

I was a little surprised that Catherine didn't actually go to Northanger Abbey until well past half way through the book, but following Catherine around her life in Bath was just as entertaining. Catherine is entering society and I loved her world of going to balls, the Pump-room, and walks around town just to see and be seen. The society during this time period is so intriguing and I can't get enough of it. 

Everyone who goes in and out of her life are such fun characters as well. Whether it's her brother James, her newfound friend Isabella, or Isabella's too-attached brother John, there seems to be someone worth paying attention to at every turn. Then, the Tilney's come into the mix and things just get even better. Catherine is far from a perfect heroine, but I think that's what makes her perfect for this novel. I can relate to her naivety and infatuation with books. I'm rooting for her the entire book and just want to see her happy in the end. 

Overall, I loved this book as much as I loved Jane Austen's other books. I couldn't put it down and I hated leaving the early 1800s world Catherine lived in. While I know many people don't like Catherine's character, I thought she was an endearing girl I could really connect with. I would definitely recommend reading this one if you're looking for a classic to read! While there's very little romance, Austen's take on the Gothic phenomenon is fun and far too addicting. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (42)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what they got throughout the week!

From Publisher

I'm home this weekend and I had all of these AMAZING books waiting for me. I'm so excited to get into them! I'm reading The Queen Is Dead right now and it's so good! I can't wait to get into Jessi Kirby's new book too. She's one of my favorite authors, so Golden is bound to be an awesome read. 

From Giveaway

I won this one from a giveaway and it looks like a fun read!

From Edelweiss 

Gahhhh I am SO excited for this one! Jennifer Echols is literally my favorite author, so when I had the offer to review an e-galley of her new adult book (as in the genre NA, not normal adult. Haha, that's  confusing), I pretty much flipped out. I can't wait to see how this one turns out! 

And that's it for me! I'd say it was a pretty awesome week :) What did you all add to your shelves this week?
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