Monday, October 31, 2011

Best of the Bunch: October 2011



"Best of the Bunch" is a meme hosted every month by Lyrical Reviews. It spotlights our absolute favorite book we read this month. My Best of the Bunch pick for October is:

Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls #2) by C.C. Hunter

Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the extent of her supernatural abilities.  But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her sixth sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is quickly put on hold. 

To make matters worse, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away.  When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point.  Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie--and it'll take all her resources to get back to Shadow Falls alive...

Pretty much every book I read this month has been radtastic, and if I could list all of them as my Best of the Bunch then I would. But since there can only be one, I definitely pick Awake at Dawn. This series has been one that I've consistently LOVED. This book is the second book in the Shadow Falls series, the first book is Born at Midnight. If you haven't started this series yet, I highly recommend that you do--especially if you fancy shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, fairies and witches. This book has a little something for everyone! There's also a fair amount of romance/sexual tension and humor. Plus, several of the characters are extremely awesome, especially Kylie! My spoiler-free review of this book can be found HERE. =)

Which book received your Best of the Bunch award?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson

Published: 9-29-2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal YA Fiction
Series: Shades of London
My rating: 5/5 stars


Synopsis from goodreads:

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

This book was incredibly radtastic! The author's writing style is quick and witty, as well as snarky and sarcastic at times--in other words, her style is just plain delightful! The theme of this book is also very hard not to like. I've been fascinated with the whole Jack the Ripper case ever since I first learned of it as a kid. Who hasn't though? I mean, it's been over 100 years since the murders took place and people are still coming up with theories as to who the killer was. "Rippermania" is still being kept alive by some, and if you don't know what "Rippermania" is, you will most definitely find out about it while reading this story. You will also get a dose of the ghost activity around London, which makes this book all the more enjoyable and interesting.

Aside from all of the riveting facts on the Ripper and his victims that I wasn't aware of before and the incredible suspense that this book puts you in, it's an absolute delight to follow Rory and her friends through London. I've never been out of the country, but let me tell you that London is now a place that I would LOVE to visit. Also, I always enjoy reading about the life of a boarding school student. Even better than the location of the book, though, is Rory and her interactions with the other characters in this book. She is hilarious, random, brave and a little goofy, even. I could go on and on about how awesome she is, but you really just have to read this book to get the full effect. I absolutely love her friends as well. Especially her roommates (Jazza & Boo are so great in their own ways) and the "ghost police" she comes into contact with. I will say though, that I'm not entirely wowed by her love interest, Jerome. Don't get me wrong, I liked his character just fine and he'd be fun to be friends with, but as a match for Rory, I'm just not feeling it. I'd much rather see her with Stephen, the young policeman. There's just something about him that's hot. Maybe it's his confidence and somewhat powerful demeanor, but whatever it is, I'll be glad to see more of him.

This book opens up so many possibilities and I know that there will be so much more to uncover about Rory, the secret "ghost police" and London. I can't wait to add to the already shocking and unexpected knowledge I gained from this book-- Maureen Johnson definitely has my attention! I have several more thoughts on this story that I would love to convey, but then this review would be way too long. So, I suppose I will just have to stick with saying that this book will not disappoint you and I very highly recommend it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls #2) by C.C. Hunter

Published: 10-11-11
Format: Paperback
Genre: Paranormal YA Fiction
Series: Shadow Falls
My rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the extent of her supernatural abilities.  But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her sixth sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is quickly put on hold. 

To make matters worse, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away.  When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point.  Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie--and it'll take all her resources to get back to Shadow Falls alive...

This book is the second one in the Shadow Falls series, Born at Midnight is the first book. I absolutely adored Born at Midnight and I am so pleased to report that Awake at Dawn was JUST as fantastic! The plot is easy to keep up with and it runs pretty smoothly as far as jumping from one moment to the next. There's also quite a bit of teenage hormones and angst, which is one of the aspects of this book that is completely believable. I also really enjoy the fact that C.C. Hunter creates characters that make me laugh like a crazy person, and that her characters are so diverse that there's a different reason to enjoy every one of them!

After Kylie accepts once and for all that she isn't completely human, she struggles with gaining answers and a definition to just what exactly she is. It was amusing and interesting to see her go through many changes in this book, both emotionally and physically. It becomes obvious that she's unique, and trying to guess what she is proves to be extremely difficult for both the reader and Kylie. Unfortunately, she's got bigger problems than her lack of answers involving her heritage. She has the difficult task of trying to decipher the urgent message of a ghost and trying to defend herself against a very unstable rogue vampire and unseen presence--all of which are creepy on different levels. 

Kylie's quest for self-discovery and dealings with dead/evil beings aren't the only complicated things in her life, though. Here enters Derek and Lucas: A smokin' hot fairy and a very seductive, bad-boy werewolf. I STILL don't entirely know which one of these beautiful specimen I want Kylie to end up with. Like so many other frustrating love triangles, it's hard not to like them both for entirely different reasons. Sigh. But I must say, I got a kick out of the enormous amounts of sexual tension that were filling the pages of this book whenever Kylie was around these two boys. I think it rings incredibly true to how a young adult/teenager feels in these types of sutuations.

Kylie's friends are also a very satisfying component in this book. The diverse group of people she hangs out with are stellar, and learning about their different abilities is pretty interesting. Della and Miranda are her best friends and roommates, and they crack me up. They each have their own endearing quirks. Kylie's mentor, Holiday, is also a favorite of mine. She sort of plays the role of the caring, big sister. I've also come to really like Burnett, the FRU agent and hot vampire who has some serious, angry sexual tension brewing with Holiday--can't wait to see where that leads!

If you couldn't already tell, I definitely recommend this book/series. It's got the perfect combination of humor, drama, action, creepiness and romance-- all with a supernatural twist. I'm eagerly anticipating what will happen next with Kylie and her friends, as she discovers more about who she is and what she can do. I'm also hoping she continues to kick some more ass, because it's awesome when she does!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Published: 10-4-2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal YA Fiction
Series: Hush, Hush
My rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

First and foremost, let me just say that I frickin' love this series!! There's just something about Nora, Patch, and the whole fallen angel/nephilim thing that really pulls me in. Silence basically picks up where Crescendo left off. The Black Hand abducts Nora, and a few months later, she's returned to her mother-- with a lot of confusion and a fair amount of memory loss. In the start of this book, Nora struggles with trying to recover her memory and get down to the bottom of several intuitive feelings and flashbacks she has. But when the smoke clears, it seems that Nora is a force to be reckoned with; and that's one of the things that I really enjoyed about this book. Nora seems to be a lot stronger, despite her obvious fears and confusion. She's tired of being the victim, and she's bound and determined to take down her enemy. Of course, Patch, also known as Jev, is there to do whatever he can to help the one he loves more than anything.

This book was pretty fast-paced, definitely more so than the last book, which is a very good thing. I was extremely involved the whole time. Have you ever read a book where you know something the main character doesn't, and you just want to shout it out loud in hopes that this fictional character will somehow get the message?? Well, that's exactly how you will feel in the beginning of this book, due to Nora's memory loss. The story that follows the initial frustrating beginning, however, will leave you just as in the dark as Nora was. Because holy crap, the continuous string of events that take place after Nora gets her thoughts together is out of control! I really didn't see any of it coming. Becca Fitzpatrick has a creative and well-informed imagination, I must say! Also, thank goodness that going into the book, I already knew there was going to be another one. Because the ending of this book leaves you hanging, with a myriad of questions that you couldn't possibly know the answers to.

Let me also just briefly go over some of the characters in this book that made it awesome: PATCH. Dear lord is this man the epitome of SEXY! When we finally get some Patch and Nora alone time in this book, it doesn't disappoint (although it never does, really). I also found myself liking Scott more in this book than I did the last. I initially didn't care for him all that much but he has some redeeming qualities and his friendship proves to be important to Nora. Speaking of friendship, I quite enjoy Vee, although we don't really get a whole lot of her in this book. I'm definitely expecting her to be more present in the next book though, along with Scott. I definitely can't wait for some more Patch action!

I can't wait to see what the next book will make of Patch and Nora's unbreakable romance, because their upcoming challenge will be anything but easy, and it is really going to have an effect on them. I'm excited to see how they will handle everything and hopefully they will grow into something even more amazing than they are now. =)


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Giveaway shoutout!

The lovely Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves is having a giveaway to celebrate the wonderful response she's received since she started her blog two months ago. Go to her page, follow her (cause she's super nice!), and enter the awesome giveaway! =)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Verita by Tracy Rozzlynn

Published: 5-16-2011
Format: Paperback
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Series: Verita Trilogy
My rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

My parents died, my boyfriend cheated, and my best friend essentially dumped me. Truly alone in the world, I agree to help colonize the newly discovered planet, Verita. Now I’m on a strange new world. I have an overwhelming attraction to Brody, despite the fact that he's totally not my type. Another boy Ryan, utterly hates me for reasons out of my control. And there are creatures in the forest that would like nothing more than to eat us for dinner. My heart and mind are fighting with each other. I'm constantly fighting with Ryan. Concentrating on my job is becoming more and more difficult. Plus I can’t ignore how strange it is that all my friends are falling head-over-heal in love. But when I find myself stranded in the wilderness. The only thing that matters is survival.

I won this book in a giveaway hosted by SupaGurl Books, and the author, Tracy Rozzlynn, sent it to me. Thanks again! Also, Tracy Rozzlynn is actually hosting a giveaway right now for this very book, along with her other book, Fast-Tracked. Go check out her blog by clicking HERE so you can enter the giveaway!

I found Verita to be an incredible mixture of adventure, romance, and science fiction. The main character, Brett, has lost everything-- her family, friends, and boyfriend. She's going through the motions and is just trying to get a grasp on her new, crappy life. When her life is basically at an all-time low, she is offered a very big and unique opportunity to literally leave her world behind, and start a new life. When she awakens on this new planet, along with many kids her age, there's no going back on her decision.

On Verita, Brett finds purpose and adventure with her assigned job as a biologist. She also makes quite a few friends, and even finds herself swept up in an attraction to two very different guys. I really took an instant liking to Brett's character. She is a very intelligent and passionate young woman. She's also quite witty at times, and I definitely had some laugh-out-loud moments while reading this book. Several of the other characters in this book were enjoyable as well. Andi is Brett's best friend, and boy is she full of fire! I also can't stress enough how much I love Ryan. He's a tad testy at times but his reasoning behind his motives are understandable. I got a kick out of his and Brett's interaction, whether they were yelling at each other or hitting it off. I just couldn't get enough of them!!

Aside from the characters, I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions and imagery of Verita. It sounds like such a beautiful and mysterious place, and the animals sound amazing. I was so mystified by the "meerkits", with their violet eyes and their overall personalities (I wish we had those here on earth!). Tracy Rozzlynn really does a fantastic job of making you SEE Verita in all it's entirety.

The last portion of the book had me crazed to learn the outcome, and I must say I am pleased. Thankfully, the last chapter didn't leave me with a ticked off, cliff-hanger feeling. Having never read a sci-fi/space-like book before, I really wasn't sure what to expect, but this story had my attention the entire time and I really wouldn't change a thing about it. I am very eager to read the next installment of Verita, so I can continue with Brett on her exciting discoveries and journey of the planet. I'm also very interested to learn what Brett will uncover regarding some of the many mysteries and theories she's encountered. Bring it on!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a fun way to exhibit the books we recently acquired. =)


Bought:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick
Misfit by Jon Skovron
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

-I can't freakin' wait to read all of these! I have heard so many great things about Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. As for Silence, I am a HUGE fan of the Hush, Hush series. I can't get enough of Patch! ;) Misfit looks awesome, and it's been on my wishlist for a while, so I'm psyched to read it.
-I totally forgot to put up a pic of The Name of the Star because I'm a doofus, but I did buy it. I can't wait to devour it!


Won:

Verita by Tracy Rozzlynn
Fast-Tracked by Tracy Rozzlynn

-Thanks again SupaGurl Books for hosting this giveaway, and thanks again Tracy Rozzlynn for sending the books to me. Tracy Rozzlynn is actually hosting another giveaway for both of these books on her blog, you can get to her blog by clicking HERE. 


Bought & Read:

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

-This book blew me away! If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend that you do so. My review of this book can be found HERE.

What's in your mailbox?  =)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Published: 2-22-2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal YA Fiction
Series: Gods & Monsters
My rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very…different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had a feeling that it would be awesome, because the synopsis sounds extremely promising and mysterious, but I underestimated just how amazing it would be. There were several elements to this story that I would have never guessed could go so well together and it blew me away! Kelly Keaton delivers a clear and powerful story that is riddled with Greek mythology, ancient curses, and powerful dark forces.

Ari is the main female character, and all she wants to do is find out where she came from so she can attempt to obtain some kind of normalcy in her life. This girl is pretty much everything you could want in a protagonist: funny, smart, tough, caring, independent, outspoken, unique, and all around awesome! Her discoveries and journey within her birthplace of New 2 (A.K.A. New Orleans) had me transfixed. I really enjoyed the interaction she had with many of the amazing characters in this book, especially Sebastian. He's powerful and sexy, which is a fantastic combination if you ask me. I can't wait to see what kind of road him and Ari will go down. I was also touched by the relationship Ari develops with Violet, who is a very interesting little girl. I dare you to read this book and NOT fall in love with her, or with any of the other "misfits" for that matter!

If you want a genuine story that is full of surprises and a lively main character, then I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. I really can't even imagine what else Kelly Keaton will lead us to discover about Ari and the people in her life, but I am certain that I will allow myself to be happily sucked into her world again, and I can't wait!  

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