Blurred by Tara Fuller

Blurred (Kissed by Death, #2) Blurred by Tara Fuller

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Entangled
Release date: July 2, 2013

Series: Kissed by Death #2

Source: Review copy from publisher

Reviewed by: Helen

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Cash is haunted by things. Hungry, hollow things.

They only leave him alone when Anaya, Heaven’s beautiful reaper, is around. Cash has always been good with girls, but Anaya isn’t like the others. She’s dead. And with his deteriorating health, Cash might soon be as well. Anaya never breaks the rules, but the night of the fire she recognized part of Cash’s soul—and doomed him to something worse than death.

Cash’s soul now resides in an expired body, making him a shadow walker—a rare, coveted being that can walk between worlds. A being creatures of the underworld would do anything to get their hands on. The lines between life and death are blurring, and Anaya and Cash find themselves falling helplessly over the edge. Trapped in a world where the living don’t belong, can Cash make it out alive?

The first book in this series, Inbetween, was the very first book that I was given for review. So obviously, when I had the opportunity to review Blurred, I was beyond excited! Blurred expands upon the storyline of Cash and Anaya, both of whom were side characters from Inbetween. I enjoyed Cash’s character so much in the first book, and getting a chance to know him better in Blurred was such a great experience. We also get to see a few glimpses into what’s happening with Finn and Emma as well.

In Blurred, Cash is in an expired body. He’s dying from the inside out. And there’s nothing that can be done to stop it. Anaya is the reaper that is responsible for keeping him here on earth past when his soul was ready to move on. She’s been given orders to keep his soul in his body and ultimately deliver him to Balthezar when he gives the order. Even though she’s not sure her boss’s reasons for wanting Cash to himself are on the up and up, she’ll do anything to be reunited in heaven with her love, Tarik.

Everyone knows that there’s something different about Cash’s soul. He shouldn’t still be alive in an expired body, but his soul is hanging on. He’s suddenly able to force souls into corporality and to cross the boundaries between Heaven, Hell, and the Inbetween. And both sides are interested in using that to their advantage. But when an unknown stranger starts recruiting Cash as well, he has to decide who is truly telling the truth, and who has been lying to him the whole time. But his time is running out. His body will expire, and soon. And the shadow demons that have been hunting him are just waiting to devour his soul.

The characters in Blurred were vivid and the plotting definitely kept me turning pages as quickly as I could. This series does suffer from a twinge of insta-love. I had the same issues when reading about Finn and Emma in Inbetween, and was hoping that the relationship in Blurred would develop more organically, but unfortunately it was more of the same. Though I fell in love with the characters, there really isn’t much relationship building that we’re able to participate in. With all that said, I felt that the story line and the mystery surrounding the characters was more than enough to compensate for that.

Read an excerpt

 

disclaimer_thumb[2]

SS: Interview with Jennifer L. Armentrout

 
I am so happy to say that one of my favorite authors, Jennifer L. Armentrout, was able to stop by for a quick interview for our event! Check out her responses to ORIGIN related questions below. I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for book four in her lux series!
 
———————

1. What inspired you to come up with the Lux series?
 
Actually, after turning in another project, my editor asked if I wanted to write a story about aliens in high school.  Initially, I laughed at the suggestion and said no.  I wasn’t really sure how to make aliens sexy or interesting, but I started thinking about the possibility of writing about aliens anyway.  I came up with Katy and Daemon and then the storyline that evening. I sat down and started writing Obsidian that same night.
2. If the Lux series ever became a movie, who would you want to cast as your main characters?  
 
I’m terrible at answering this question.  I really have no idea, but my readers usually come up with some good suggestions.  I would love to see who would ultimately be cast as Daemon and Katy if the series were made into movie, though.
3. Can you share a few fun facts about ORIGIN?  
 
There isn’t much that I can say about Origin right now.  The book is in dual POV, alternating between Daemon and Katy.  So, readers will get a lot more of Daemon in this book.  There are definitely a couple of surprises in Origin, too.
4. Which character have you enjoyed the most while writing the Lux series? 
That’s a tough question.  Daemon is fun to write just because he’s sarcastic and arrogant.  When one of my characters has those qualities, I always enjoy writing the dialogue and banter.
5. How has the major success of the Lux series impacted your life?
 
When the Covenant series and the Lux series were published, it definitely changed things for me.  I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so it’s amazing to be able to write full time.  I didn’t really expect to be writing every day and traveling to events and signings.
6. How would your characters celebrate the summer solstice? Have you ever celebrated the summer solstice?
I’ve never celebrated the summer solstice, but I think Dee would probably plan a big bonfire down by the lake for Katy, Daemon, and all of their friends.
 
——————
 
Thank you again for stopping by, Jennifer. I can totally imagine Dee going all out just for the sake of going all out.
 
Check out more about ORIGIN below:
 
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? And will they even be together?

 
———————–
 

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins. (Source)

lilisig

Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsession by Jennifer L. ArmentroutObsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book stats:
Reading Level: Adult
eBook: 284 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Release Date: May 31, 2013

Series: Arum #1

Source: Bought

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon

He’s arrogant, domineering, and… To. Die. For.

Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn’t chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.

Serena Cross didn’t believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something… unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.

Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life… or is it Hunter?

It’s no secret that I love Jennifer L. Armentrout, so I was beyond excited to immerse myself into the same world as her beloved Lux series, except from an adult standpoint. Couple that with the fact that our hero in this one is an Arum instead of a Luxen and my curiosity was most definitely piqued. I pre-ordered the book from the iBookstore and started reading immediately that weekend. This book takes place in the same world as the Lux series and takes place between Lux books two and three, OPAL and ORIGIN. There are some crossover characters from her beloved young adult series, but this is most definitely an adult book.

I think that the most fascinating aspect of this entire story to me is the fact that an Arum is our anti-hero. For the first time we were able to see the universe from an Arum’s perspective as opposed to the perspective of a Luxen. The lore immediately drew me in and the complicated web that Armentrout weaved kept my interest from page one. She added a lot of unknown facts to the original lore of the Arum and Luxen and I can honestly say that I love both races equally despite the fact that her series obviously tend to favor a certain species over the other. Whereas I originally thought the Luxen were aliens trying to save their diminishing race it now almost seems like their leeches trying to suck the life out of the universe. The different viewpoints in regards to this war were not only done well, but convincingly. It allows the story to start off quickly and to never slow down. I could not get through it fast enough and I’m shocked that I got through it so fast.

I also have to say the characterization was dead-on. Hunter is very much your kick-ass guy. He’ll kill you, he’ll threaten you, he’ll take what he wants and leave without hesitation. He’s brutally honest, he knows he’s attractive, and he hates way more than he loves. He’s full of sarcasm, arrogance, and confidence. But somehow he’s an Arum with a heart. Granted, it’s buried deep, but it is sure as hell there. To put it simply he’s a sexy alpha-male. Serena is strong and feisty despite her small stature. She’ll get in Hunter’s face, stand up for what she believes in, and fight until the very end. I respected her characterization a lot for that and their differences made way for an awesome romance with a lot of truly entertaining bantering.

But the romance is also something I question. When I finished the book and took a breath to think, I realized this book really only spanned a few days, possibly two weeks unless I got the counting wrong. Point is this book most definitely lasted for less than a month. So while this was not a case of in-your-face insta-love, it did exist. I was a bit put off by the fact that Hunter just took what he wanted and Serena went right along with it. He knocks her out consecutively (even if it was by accident) and when he’s not knocking her out they’re doing something sexual every night. There was not a non-sexy night in this. And while I get that that appeals to some people I can’t say I was a fan of the execution. By the end of the novel I really believed in their romantic bond, but I desperately wanted more emotions behind it. While the emotion was given to me via the alternating perspective chapters and Hunter’s possessiveness and journey to realizing loving someone isn’t a weakness, I just wish the relationship progression was smoother. I like depth, not sex sex sex. If Hunter wanted it, it happened. It ended up bugging me that the concept of willpower was unheard of in this novel. Serena’s habit of rolling over to Hunter’s every sexual whim went against her characterization of being strong and independent and made her slightly hypocritical–that’s the real problem that I had. Then again, that’s just how the entire situation came off to me and hypocrisy is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Upon writing this review I also realized that this book is now to be a series. JLA herself originally told me that OBSESSION was meant to be a stand-alone and I think it was perfect that way, but I’m curious to see how Hunter and Serena’s relationship progresses now that he realizes that he has a heart and is capable of loving and being loved despite the fact that he’s an alien, and a not very kind one at that. This may just be a stand-alone that can make one amazing series!

As always, Jennifer L. Armentrout is addicting and her characters are easy to love. I don’t think that she can ever truly disappoint. This book is great for fans who read her Lux series that also read adult work. If you know anything at all about JLA, you know what she’s capable of delivering.

Read an Excerpt

<img style="background-image: none; border-right-width: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; padding-top: 0px" title="lilisig" border="0" alt="Lili" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-K1wL7-qkvhw/UYQxqQ_oQAI/AAAAAAAAG3M/EnaK6x1ILL8/s1600/lilisig.png"

Gone with the Wolf by Kristin Miller

Gone with the Wolf by Kristin MillerGone with the Wolf by Kristin Miller

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
E-book: 207 pages
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Covet
Release date: April 23, 2013

Series: Seattle Wolf Pack #1

Source: eARC via Netgalley

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match—and now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate—he hatches a plan to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he might have to pay with his own life.

GONE WITH THE WOLF has been making the rounds on the blogosphere lately so I had to give it a try, especially after all of the good things I heard. This novel is a lot of fun but the romance didn’t resonate for me as much as I had hoped it would.

Let’s start with what I liked. Emelia is a great heroine. She’s feisty and determined and independent, all traits I love in a clear character. And she’s just a regular old human who gets dragged into the werewolf world when she goes after the mysterious CEO of Wilder Financial to try to get her bar back after Wilder Financial bought the building out from under her. She meets cute with Drake at a company party, not realizing that he’s the man she needs to talk to, and their chemistry just leaps off the page. It took me a little while longer to warm up to Drake because I felt he was a little cocky and autocratic but I was definitely won over as the novel progressed. His personal history is nicely complicated, and it added a lot of excitement in the latter part of the novel. I also really liked the way Emelia wasn’t afraid to stand up to Drake in all of his alphaness, but not too stubborn to understand her vulnerabilities as a human in this world. Despite this, I didn’t feel emotionally connected to these characters the whole time, which was a bit of a disappointment.

The werewolf society that Miller has created is also pretty interesting. I liked the way we learned about it gradually, as Emelia learns more and more about this secret world she finds herself in. I hope that we’ll get to see more of this universe in future novels, since Goodreads tells me that this is the first book in a series. I like what I’ve seen so far but there’s still a lot to be explored.

My final point is a small quibble. This cover really doesn’t match my mental pictures of Drake and Emie. It’s not such a big deal because covers are rarely exact matches for what’s going on in my brain but this seems really off to me. Emelia looks really petulant and Drake looks really young. I realize that authors don’t a say in their covers but I feel like this cover lets the novel down.

Although GONE WITH THE WOLF didn’t completely win me over, I did generally enjoy it. I’d suggest reading the excerpt linked below and decide for yourself. There’s some good stuff in this novel, even if the execution wasn’t perfect for me.

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Jenn

disclaimer_thumb[2]

Daring You to Read… Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 
For my first DYTR post, I’m daring you to read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
If you haven’t gotten your hands on this one yet, then you’re way behind.
Just kidding!
Mostly.
But, really. You need to read it.
 
Obsidian is the first book in the Lux series – a dramatic and somehow addicting series about a race of aliens called the Luxen and their interactions with the humans around them. As well as the troubles they face with the human government.
 
I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy Obsidian as much as I did – it was one of those books that I’ve seen floating around, but never really grabbed my attention very much. But after reading so many glowing reviews, I had to give it a shot.

Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Don’t let the synopsis fool you – though it may not sound like a heart-pounding ride of twists and turns, the characters in this one will definitely enchant you. The interactions between Daemon and Katy are addictive. The way they fight and bicker with each other is not only hilarious, but totally authentic too. By the end, you’ll have a total mental picture of these two – and I guarantee, you’ll be rooting for them.

Here’s a great quote that more or less sums up the first 50% of Daemon and Katy’s relationship:

“My palms itched to have a close encounter of the bitch-slap kind with his face.” – Katy

Obsidian is a fantastic opening book to what has become one of my favorite series! With plenty of humor and a cast of characters that will come to feel like family, I dare you to give Obsidian a try!
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Read an excerpt

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!
You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought! You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know! Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

helen

Bad Mouth blog tour: Interview with Angela McCallister + giveaway!

Bad Mouth blog tour banner

Today we have a new visitor here on Team Tynga’s Reviews: debut Entangled author Angela McCallister. She’s on tour to celebrate the release of BAD MOUTH, a paranormal romance with vampires galore. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview, and make sure to enter the two — that’s right, TWO! — giveaways we have for you today.

————————-

Welcome to Team Tynga’s Reviews! To start, can you tell us a bit about the world you’ve created for BAD MOUTH?
Thank you, Jenn, for inviting me! In Bad Mouth, a dual-caste vampire society, the Immortalis, maintains a delicate balance while trying to peacefully coexist alongside humans—well, most of them try ☺ I wasn’t so interested in traditional vampires, so the Immortalis don’t change into smoke, bats or wolves, and religious symbols are a non-issue. In spite of the Immortalis name given them by earlier civilizations, they’re not immortal. A well-placed bullet could kill one of them. I imagined there would be wide-spread panic if vampires became known to humans in reality so in my world the society is regulated by treaties with the humans via a Vampire Liaison Office. This is partially why the castes are at odds, and it’s also what’s at risk when vampire-on-human murders kick off Val’s role in the beginning.

How did you get started writing paranormal romance?
I went for a walk on a full moon and something bit me. Or I wish it were that dramatic. Really, it’s what I happened to read the most at the time. My first romance loves were Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, Nalini Singh, etc. I love all the possibilities for the imagination and having so much control over the world in paranormal. I’m not such a control freak in real life *g*

Why vampires? What makes them so appealing?
Alexander Skarsgard in BattleshipI never thought about writing vampires initially. Then I met Alex Skarsgard, spending hours with him while he was on my Destroyer to film Battleship. He was fantastic (and sexy and had his arm around me, lol). Kade’s friend, Ezra, is loosely based on my impressions of Alex in person. Aside from that, I looove vampires. They’ve always had that “bad boy” effect, and you can’t help wanting to be the one to inspire the good in them.

In your opinion, who are the most over- and underrated vampires these days?
Can I plead the fifth??? I don’t begrudge any vampires. However, I do personally prefer my vampires on the darker side, barely leashed, and not sparkly. I recently read the WVMP series, and I adored the concept of the vampires stuck in the rut of their “death” decade. DJ vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires. I enjoy when traditional vampire concepts are modified.

How does your life in the Navy impact/influence your writing?
It’s why I began writing in the first place. Being separated on deployment from family while working ridiculous hours with scarce sleep makes every day endless and repetitive. Reading saved me—a book per day—and then I was challenged to write one and I ran with it. I figured that book would be the end of it, but it wasn’t. It was extremely well-received, and I had requests for a sequel so I wrote it, and then I never stopped, lol. I often include a lot of military mannerisms, especially the language and our tendency to bond and bicker like family, good and bad, when we’re deployed.

Why do you think Kade and Val will appeal to readers?
Kade says outright what’s on his mind, as genuine as they come. He’s alpha without being a completely angsty caveman, and when Val begins to change his view of humans, he doesn’t beat readers’ heads over and over about his hatred. He deals with the next challenge, of which there are plenty. Val is not a typical heroine, and in fact, I don’t often write snarky types. You could consider her an ordinary, though beautiful, woman, who stands out not because she’s warrior-like, but because her dedication and self-esteem give her a backbone even in the face of fear and uncertainty. She’s passionate despite her conservative upbringing and has a strong sense of justice and integrity.

Bad Mouth by Angela McAllisterHow did you come up with the title BAD MOUTH?
I listened to a song I’d heard hundreds of times, Bad Mouth by Fugazi, an indie rock band. It struck me that title would be a great triple-entendre for a vampire romance. After searching, I found no vampire books by that title so of course I had to write it, lol. The coolest thing ever was that I emailed Fugazi after I sold the book and vocalist Ian personally wrote back to me!!!

And with a title like that, I have to ask: is it easy to write the dirty talk and sex scenes? Or is it a challenge? 😉
Well, I’ve been a Sailor for over sixteen years, and the rumors about our language are no exaggeration. It was a challenge to tone it down! After immersion in jokes about everything for so long, it’s difficult to judge when something will seem offensive to a general reading audience so part of me wanted to go quite a bit further than I did. Kade is definitely offensive enough to shake up conservatively-raised Val’s world 😉

Did you do any research for BAD MOUTH? If so, could you share an interesting bit of trivia that came up?
Heh, I tried to calculate how fast an object would have to travel to be invisible to the eye, and I learned there’s no clear answer. It’s completely dependent on distance and field of view. I also found interesting places around Seattle of which, though I’m from Washington, I wasn’t aware. I love Pike Street Market but never knew about the “gum wall.” Yes, it’s literally a wall of gum with slobber from around the world. Probably. As many times as I’ve been to Seattle, I’ve never visited the Fremont Troll. There truly is a giant troll under the bridge.

You have a three-book deal with Entangled. What can we expect from you next? Any exclusive tidbits you can share?
The next book features another bad vampire. To Alice, Killian (AKA Ian) is just another bad cop as detestable as the one who destroyed her family, and regardless of her attraction to him, she has no respect for the way the vampire threatens his way into her agency’s murder case. Ian doesn’t much care for her judgmental opinions on the way he goes about obtaining justice, but when the new case raises the ghosts of an old case he believed long dead and buried, his law-bending ways could end with his execution. The second Alice becomes a target, his heart that he’d thought murdered along with his maker during that old case flares into blinding existence. The question is will following the law save her or end with a devastating repeat of his past?

————————-

Thank you, Angela, for stopping by! For more Angela, check out her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also see the rest of Angela’s blog tour by clicking on the tour button below.

Bad Mouth blog tour banner

————————-

And here’s the scoop on BAD MOUTH:

After her ex-husband’s obsession with vampires, Valerie Craig is on a mission to stop transformations. Of all vampires, Kade Rollins is the worst of the worst, but when multiple murders plague Seattle, Val is forced to enlist his aid. Kade’s crude wit and seductive nature attract her like no other, but she can’t ignore his violence toward his human servants, no matter her yearning to forget.

She’s torn when she learns Kade may be behind the murders. Val’s worked hard to protect humans from vampires, but the truth surrounding the murders could ignite a bloody battle between their races, one humans are sure to lose. Someone is pulling strings to build a vampire army and spark the war—setting Kade up to kick it off. But if she trusts the vampire prince, she risks her job, her integrity, and her heart if he betrays her as all the men in her life have.

Purchase: Amazon

———————————

giveaway

Angela and Entangled are offering two giveaways today!
Make sure to check the Rafflecopter forms for mailing restrictions.

Giveaway #1: One (1) lucky reader will win an e-copy of BAD MOUTH

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2: There is also a tour-wide giveaway of an author-signed paranormal book bundle and a $50 Amazon/B&N gift card

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

———————————

Angela McAllisterAngela McCallister is a US Navy Sailor and author of Paranormal Romance repped by the fabulous Nalini Akolekar. Spoiled by the gorgeous weather of Southern California, she spends her days reading and writing whenever she’s lucky enough to be away from work. In fact, she’s never to be found without a book hidden somewhere on her person. Over the past two years, her writing has finaled in multiple RWA writing competitions, and her debut Paranormal Romance, BAD MOUTH, won MERWA’s 2012 Everything But The Kitchen Sink Competition.

Jenn

Prophecy Girl by Cecily White

Prophecy Girl by Cecily WhiteProphecy Girl by Cecily White

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
eARC: 360 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled
Release date: April 2, 2013

Series: Angel Academy #1

Source: From Publisher For Review

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Amelie Bennett. . . . Ending the world, one prophecy at a time.

I was born to slay Crossworld demons.

Big black flappy ones, little green squirmy ones. Unfortunately, the only thing getting slain these days is my social life. With my high school under attack, combat classes intensifying, and Academy instructors dropping right and left, I can barely get my homework done, let alone score a bondmate before prom.

Then he shows up.

Jackson Smith-Hailey. Unspeakably hot, hopelessly unattainable, and dangerous in all the right ways. Sure, he’s my trainer. And okay, maybe he hates me. Doesn’t mean I’ll ignore the wicked Guardian chemistry between us. It’s crazy! Every time I’m with him, my powers explode. Awesome, right?

Wrong.

Now my teachers think I’m the murderous Graymason destined to bring down our whole race of angelbloods. Everyone in New Orleans is hunting me. The people I trusted want me dead. Jack and I have five days to solve the murders, prevent a vampire uprising, and thwart the pesky prophecy foretelling his death by my hand. Shouldn’t be too difficult.

Getting it done without falling in love. . . that might take a miracle.

Unfortunately, this review will be rather quick. I went into this book looking forward to something very entertaining, but a beginning that started out with a bang quickly fizzled out into a less than stellar novel that left me wishing for something different.

I first found this book to be entertaining because it was up to date. There were plenty of popular culture references that teens—the target audience—could easily understand and possibly even agree with. But as I read more I realized that this novel had a plot line that I found to be incredibly familiar. Upon browsing similar opinions on the novel, it did click to me that this book reminded me very much of Vampire Academy. Several series now have reminded me of VA, and it’s hard to hold a candle to such a series. It’s no surprise to me that PROPHECY GIRL can’t. But if you compare both MCs and the overall plot line in both, than it’s quite apparent that there are many similarities between the two. This made the book get old to me pretty fast and leant the novel to predictability. It’s one of those moments that you saw coming from miles away and you just roll your eyes when all of the characters are in complete and utter shock at the big reveal.

Furthermore, my biggest pet peeve occurred in this one—the purely physical relationship that dominates the plot. I’m all for some awesome romance. I love it, really, but my biggest worry in relation to the way that the YA market is turning nowadays is the newfound focus on purely physical relationships and the lesser focus on truly getting to know each other, the camaraderie that leads up to a relationship. You know, the actual relationship that occurs when the two characters aren’t getting physical. Steaminess is fine, but I love the raw emotion and passion behind it all. I can’t say this book had much of it. I felt as if Jack and Amelie’s relationship quickly overran the plot and if this was the case, I think it needed to be better developed. Emotionally I felt incredibly disconnected from them since everything was all over the place. They were either getting extremely hot and heavy or their relationship was near non-existent. There was no connection between the two of them unless they were doing something physical and the relationship really dragged for me because of this. Where is the love, the feelings, the emotions and enviable connection? I can tell you it was not here.

This book is the type of book that will be good for those looking for a quick read that is more entertaining than thoughtful. What it lacks in proper plot points and execution it makes up for in good writing and entertainment value. Those looking for some steaminess in the YA genre can enjoy it as well, but don’t go into this one expecting a proper relationship. As entertaining as this one is, I don’t think it was for me and I do not believe I will be continuing this series. As for everyone else, this is one of those books for you to judge for yourself. While I did not like it, I can see many adoring it.

Read an Excerpt

<img style="background-image: none; border-right-width: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; padding-top: 0px" title="jensig" border="0" alt="Lili" src=" http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kUMJiLCxJ-4/UUN0hhgrDWI/AAAAAAAAGuI/8y28Tne39Do/s1600/lilisig.png"

Naturals blog tour: Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt + giveaway!

Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt

Book stats:
Reading level: Young adult
Trade paperback: 400 pages
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: July 3, 2012

Series: Lost Souls #1

Source: Review copy from Rockstar Book Tours

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Life is bleak but uncomplicated for sixteen-year-old Tess, living in a not-too-distant future where the government, faced with humanity’s extinction, created the Chosen Ones, artificial beings who are extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

When Tess begins work at Templeton, a Chosen Ones training facility, she meets James, and the attraction is immediate in its intensity, overwhelming in its danger. But there is more to Templeton than Tess ever knew. Can she stand against her oppressors, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?

How had I not heard of this author before I saw the Rockstar Book Tours announcement for this review tour? CHOSEN ONES is a wonderful start to Tiffany Truitt’s Lost Souls trilogy, a set of young adult dystopian novels set in a very disturbing North America. It’s one of the gloomiest books I’ve read in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The worldbuilding is probably the most outstanding part of this novel; Truitt has created a dark, undemocratic society that I definitely wouldn’t want to live in. The country has been divided and wage war using chosen ones, male soldiers who are engineered, not born naturally. They have special gifts and fight for the naturals, who serve them and live a stark existence outside of the chosen ones’ compounds. Tessa, the protagonist of this trilogy, is sent to work at Templeton, one such compound, after her sister dies and Tessa is forced to assume her role. There’s no real hiring process; instead, there’s a public branding. That’s right, Templeton girls are marked with a brand on their necks. One brand means they work there, two brands mean they live there, three brands mean…well, no one knows what it means but there’s no one around with three marks so it’s not good.The things that Tessa sees at Templeton are truly horrific and highlight the injustice and oppression of the naturals’ lives. Things are definitely not rosy in the Lost Souls world, and you’ll know it from page one.

Needless to say, Tess’ life isn’t filled with happiness. Her parents are dead, her sister is dead, and her youngest sister and brother-in-law are all she has left. She doesn’t have friends or any other close relations. Everyone thinks she’s unfeeling but she’s actually brimming with emotion, as you’ll see when you read CHOSEN ONES. There are, however, a couple bright spots in Tessa’s existence, the main one being her blossoming relationship with James, one of the chosen ones.

James is a really interesting character. He’s a chosen one but he’s not like the others. Physically, he has a scar on his chin, which is really unusual since chosen ones are usually paragons of physical perfection. As Tessa later discovers, he’s also got some genuine emotions. I liked Tessa but I was really drawn to James because he’s so different from the other male characters in CHOSEN ONES. He could have been just a regular stock character but Truitt gives him a lot of heart and I really liked him.

I was also really intrigued by Tess’ dad. We get to know him gradually over the course of CHOSEN ONES even though he’s dead and getting to know him helps you get to know Tess. They also lead Tess to some moments of self-discovery and this is one of the ways that she grows as a character.

The only negative about CHOSEN ONES is the fact that some of the storylines are predictable. I found myself a little ahead of Tess in terms of understanding what was going on and what was being alluded to, but I still enjoyed the book. Younger readers may not encounter this problem but I found some of the big reveals to be somewhat predictable. There were times, though, when I was surprised and I think those moments were the best ones because they were so unexpected.

CHOSEN ONES is definitely an excellent young adult dystopian novel. It’s dark enough that even fans of heavier plotlines will be satisfied. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it and you can be sure I’m on the way to the bookstore to find a copy of NATURALS, the second book in the series, which is out now!

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

———————————

This review and giveaway are part of a tour organized by the awesome ladies at Rockstar Book Tours. (Thank you, Jaime and Rachel!) To see other stops on this review tour, click on the banner! You’ll find other reviews of CHOSEN ONES and also reviews of Truitt’s latest book, NATURALS!

Rockstar Book Tours - Naturals by Tiffany Truitt

Naturals by Tiffany Truitt (The Lost Souls #2)Ripped away from those she loves most, Tess is heartbroken as her small band of travelers reaches the Isolationist camp in the mysterious and barren Middlelands. Desperate to be reunited with James, the forbidden chosen one who stole her heart, she wants nothing to do with the rough Isolationists, who are without allegiance in the war between the Westerners and Easterners. But having their protection, especially for someone as powerful as Tess, may come at a cost.

When James returns, Tess’s world once again feels complete—until she discovers her sister, Louisa, has taken up her old post at Templeton, the dangerous chosen ones training center and the site of Tess’s loss of innocence. Tess will do anything to protect her loved ones—but will the price be more than she can give?

This second book in Tiffany Truitt’s dystopian series is a thought-provoking, thrilling story that asks who the true enemy really is—the chosen ones who are different, or the naturals…who are just like us.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

———————————

giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway of three (3) e-books of NATURALS, the second book in the series!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

———————————

Tiffany TruittTiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of one McDonalds and Banana Rats (don’t ask), she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).

Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. The earliest books she remembers reading belong to The Little House on the Prairie Series. First book she read in one day? Little Woman (5th grade). First author she fell in love with? Jane Austen in middle school. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered “low brow” or outside the “classics.”

Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. She currently teaches the following novels: The Outsiders, Speak, Night, Dystopian Literature Circles: The Hunger Games, The Giver, The Uglies, and Matched.

Tiffany is proud to call herself an educator and Young Adult author. Her first book will be published by Entangled Publishing.

Jenn

The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy + giveaway!

The Cat's Meow by Stacey Kennedy The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
e-book: 256 pages
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Entangled
Release date: December 13, 2012

Series: Witch’s Brew #1

Source: Review copy from Bewitching Book Tours

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

When a magical presence is detected around a recent string of feline slayings, Libby, an enchantress, is determined to discover who is behind the odd deaths. Being a witch gifted by the Goddess to conjure spells won’t protect her from the sexy warlock the Coven sends to assist her. Kale weaves a spell more powerful than any she’s ever seen.

While having the muscle around proves to be useful in her investigation, fighting her growing attraction for Kale is worse than a hex, especially considering the secrets she knows he’s keeping. But when her spells turn up clues that point to something far more sinister than slaughtered cats, the elusive warlock becomes the least of her worries.

Libby finds herself in the midst of an uprising. She trusts no one and isn’t safe—not from the warlocks stirring up trouble. Not from the worrisome rebellion she can’t escape. And certainly not from Kale, who is weaving a very dangerous spell over her heart.

Don’t let the cover fool you: THE CAT’S MEOW isn’t nearly as silly as you might expect based on the cover art. I think the book got something of a raw deal with this cover (no offense to the designer) since it doesn’t really capture the full spirit of the novel and might have people discounting it. I know I was expecting something really fluffy and smexy when I first saw it and I was on the fence but I decided to request a review copy when I was won over by reading an excerpt.

Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely some sexy moments between Libby and Kale but there’s a great mystery at the heart of THE CAT’S MEOW: Libby and Kale are investigating a slew of mutilated cats, which eventually puts them on the trail of some serious dark magic. Libby’s used to investigating on her own as her coven’s Enchantress so she’s a little put out and confused by Kale’s presence. Kale is a new warlock in her coven, which puts her back up because (a) Libby has a grudge against warlocks and (b) she knows he’s keeping secrets from her. Watching her overcome her prejudices and some justified anger made THE CAT’S MEOW a fun, engaging read.

To be honest, though, there are some predictable elements in the story, especially if you tend to read a lot of romance, paranormal or otherwise. I was able to guess what Kale’s secret was, for example, but the predictability didn’t detract overmuch from my enjoyment of THE CAT’S MEOW since I was still charmed by Libby and Kale’s blossoming relationship, and by Libby herself. And a lot of the book’s elements are less obvious, so there were still moments that came as a surprise, particularly as the plot builds to the book’s climax. There are some really cool moments in the last third of the book and I was flying through the pages to discover what was really going on with all the dark magic around Charleston.

Plus, I can get past some predictability as long as the characters keep me hooked, and that was the case in THE CAT’S MEOW. I really enjoyed watching Libby and Kale fall for each other, and I really enjoyed Libby as a character on her own, right from the start. It took me a little bit longer to warm up to Kale, partially because he’s named after a vegetable and partially because of the walls he’s got up to maintain his mystery.

On the whole, despite some obvious plot points, I enjoyed reading THE CAT’S MEOW and look forward to seeing what comes next for Libby, since this is the first book in a series. I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled at the library when the next book comes out. I may not need THE CAT’S MEOW on my shelf but I’d definitely enjoy revisiting this world and these characters down the road.

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

giveaway

We have one (1) e-copy of THE CAT’S MEOW for a lucky winner!

Open internationally

Ends on Thursday, February 14, 2013
(this giveaway runs for one week only!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

———————————

This post is part of Stacey Kennedy’s blog tour! You can check out the rest of the stops by clicking on the button:

The Cat's Meow Tour Button

Jenn

Lycan Unleashed blog tour + Giveaway!

LycanUnleashedTourBadge

To celebrate the release of her latest title, Tiffany Allee is stopping by to share with us what it’s like to plot in an open world (a.k.a. Paranormals are out of the closest) setup! Please welcome her warmly!
—————-

Plotting an Open World Paranormal

I don’t know about you, but if faced with a real vampire or werewolf or other supernatural creature, I think that I’d probably run the other way. But what if these paranormal beings were nearly as common as humans?

In the From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series, otherworlders are almost entirely out of the paranormal closet. So-called normals (regular humans) are fully aware of the OW’s existence. There are many different types of otherworlders like vampires, lycans, sirens, banshees, succubi, and salamanders. They exist side by side with humans (and each other), but as you’ve probably guessed, this togetherness isn’t always easy.

When building a world where paranormal creatures are out in the open, I think that a writer can go one of two ways: either keep things very similar to the real world and integrate paranormal elements into it, or create something very different. I tried to keep things very similar to the real world, because normalcy can breed acceptance, and it fit the stories I wanted to tell for this particular series.

Plotting in this type of world means keeping in mind how our world might integrate with the supernatural. And in my case, humans chose to regulate and integrate otherworlders, rather than freak out and kill the strange creatures (for the most part). There are anti-discrimination laws in place to keep businesses (or in the case of my main characters, police departments) from discriminating against applicants and employees for their otherworlder status.

Part of the fun of this integrated method for otherworlders was coming up with a way to police them. But how do you police creatures that are so much stronger than humans? Or who can use magic to cover up their crimes?

With other non-humans, of course.

There are specific agencies designed to police otherworlders like the Chicago Police Department’s Paranormal Unit. And, of course, the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency (OWEA), which in my world functions in a similar manner to the FBI.

The heroine of Lycan Unleashed isn’t exactly your run of the mill human. She is a sensitive, meaning can sense the energy emitted by otherworlders, including energy left behind on victims and in crime scenes. This is a super useful ability, but it doesn’t exactly help in a fight. As OWEA agent and lycan Mason Sanderson is quick to point out:

“Pardon?” I turned in my seat to face him.

He sipped his coffee, not at all ruffled by my tone. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go.”

“Why?” I said flatly.

“It’s not safe.”

“I’m sick and tired of people thinking I’m made of glass or something. Granted, I don’t have any offensive abilities, but a lot of normal cops don’t, and they manage just fine. I have a personal sidearm.” I didn’t add that it was still in the glove box of my car. He could see for himself that I wasn’t carrying at the moment. “And I know how to use it.”

“Not much help against a vampire. Besides, do you even have a permit to carry concealed as a citizen, not a cop?”

“Vampires will go down if you get enough bullets into them,” I countered, ignoring his permit question. I’d never needed a permit before, so of course I didn’t have one. But I viewed that as a technicality. I’d get my badge back, and his point would be moot.

Mason nodded. “Sure they will. If you can get one to hold still long enough to shoot him.”

Although weaker in a fight than most otherworlders, the heroine of Lycan Unleashed isn’t one to step back from doing what needs to be done. Of course, being raised in a world full of supernatural creatures might desensitize a person to their general scariness.

What types of details do you like to see when supernatural creatures are out in the open in a contemporary world?

—————-

Thank you Tiffany for stopping by!  Your take was really enlightening 🙂

More about Lycan Unleashed:

Detective Astrid Holmes is a sensitive, a human capable of feeling the energy of otherworlders. When she is dispatched to the horrific murder scene of a local vampire, she expects it to be just another day on the job. But when evidence is stolen on her watch, she is removed—not only from the investigation, but from her job as a member of the Chicago police department’s paranormal unit.

Astrid’s only hope of reinstatement lies with her ex co-worker and almost-lover, Lycan Mason Sanderson. But convincing the OWEA agent to let her assist with the investigation isn’t nearly as difficult as staying alive when the murderer realizes that Astrid may hold the key to unlocking his identity.

Fighting to take down a killer could have deadly consequences for Astrid and Mason, but working together puts their already fragile relationship in jeopardy.

Purchase: Amazon

giveaway

Tiffany & Entangled Publishing are offering one lucky winner a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a signed bookmark featuring the series.

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

Open internationally

Ends February 21st, 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway
tynsig