Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Under My Skin (Immortality Strain #1) by Shawntelle Madison

Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Shawntelle Madison
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Everyone wants to either be a member of the Guild or work for them. Little does the populace know that the Guild hides sinister secrets...
For Tate Sullivan, life in her small, coastal town is far from glamorous. The affluent lives of the Guild members and their servants isn't something she has ever wanted. But all sixteen year-olds must take a simple test, and Tate's result thrusts her into the Guild's world, one where they hide horrible plans for those they select. Tate must fight the relentless General Dagon for control of her mind, body, and soul to keep the one precious thing she has always taken for granted: herself.
Her only ally is the same handsome boy she is pitted against in General Dagon’s deadly game. Quinn desires nothing more than to end the life of General Dagon who has taken over Tate's mind. While romance blooms between Tate and Quinn, General Dagon plots to eventually take over Tate's body, and love might end before it even begins.



I wanted to love this one, but I just couldn't get into it.
The gist of the story is that in this dystopian world a group of people referred to as the Guild basically run everything.
Water Bearers are people who are 'chosen' as their servants through a draft-like screening process. If you get chosen, your family gets taken care of, and you supposedly live a relatively luxurious life.
Conspiracy! Conspiracy!
Yes, yes...of course there is.
Without spoiling too much, whether or not you like this story is going to come down to whether or not you like Tate, and her inner monologue.
I didn't.
I found her dull, uninteresting, and somewhat annoying.
There's a romance between her and the General's Blade Dude, but there was seemingly no reason behind their feelings toward each other. Or at least none that I could see.
They are both in a situation that they don't like.
And they are both THERE together.
Ta-Da!
Eh. I just wasn't feeling it.

I also found the rebels to be a bit idiotic. There were several things they could have done to weaken or even cripple the Guild, and I was a little surprised that nobody mentioned it.
At the very least, I thought it should have been discussed.
Click this link if you want the spoilers.

On a positive note, as I was reading this, I had no idea it was a self-published title.
Kudos to the author for doing such a good job! I love it when indie authors manage to look as glossy and well-edited as the authors from a big publishing house!
And while I'm at it, I have to give a standing ovation for that beautiful cover!
Several of my friends did love this book, so don't be afraid to give it a shot if it looks like something that would interest you.





Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Early Review: Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy #2) by Pierce Brown

Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within. A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.



Second Book Syndrome.
That was my biggest fear before I opened Golden Son up and started to read.
Was Brown going to shit the bed with this thing, and potentially taint one of my favorite reads?
Thankfully, the answer was a resounding NO.

Dear Mr. Brown, 
Thank you for not shitting the bed.
Sincerely, 
Anne

Golden Son takes place about 2 years after Red Rising leaves off, so things aren't quite the same as they were when we last saw everyone. Cuz, you know, it's been 2 years!
Anyway.
Darrow is at the Academy learning to command fleets of ships, and is just about to win another game against his enemies. He's older, he's got a bit more experience, and he's determined to do what needs to be done in order to win Augustus' trust. After all, if he wants to help Sons of Ares infiltrate the Golds and bring them to their knees, he's still got to worm his way to the top of that elite world.
Well, taking out Karnus au Bellona's fleet, and winning the Academy's Laurel will be a nice start.
Of course, Darrow has an excellent plan.
And then all hell breaks loose...
The End.

Yeah, I know. That doesn't make much sense, but once you read the book, you'll understand.

You can't explain a plot like this one. Not really.
All you need to know is that it's worth reading.
The opening scene sets the tone of the story, and that tone is this: Expect the Unexpected.
Every time I thought I had a grip on what was happening, the entire paradigm would shift, and I'd be sitting there gawping like a fish...or whatever else gawps.
So. Yeah.
It's got a few twists and turns.

My biggest problem?
I gave the first book 5 stars, but Golden Son blows Red Rising out of the water.
So, now what do I do?
Can I give this 6 stars? Am I allowed to do that?
No?
That's a shame, because this was such an amazing book. I had sky-high expectations for it, and it didn't disappoint me in the least.
That's something I don't get to say very often, you know?
Go get it!
But watch out for that ending...






Monday, December 15, 2014

Hottest Heroine Covers [Round 4] + Giveaway!


Thank you for joining our second annual Hottest Heroine Covers contest & giveaway! Last year's winner was Faith Hunter's Black Arts and I can't wait to see who you pick this year.
If you have any questions or difficulties with voting, please tweet me @heroinesaddict.




You can only vote once per day, but multiple covers can be chosen. 
I would ask that you please try and limit your choices to three.

The following were chosen based on three requirements: 1) A female character must be depicted on the cover. 2) They must have been revealed in 2014. 3) They must be badass.

While there may be an exception or two, the majority of these covers fall into the adult & young adult sci-fi & fantasy genres.


After voting, enter our Rafflecopter giveaway to win a $30 Amazon Gift Card (US/CA) or $30 in books from the Book Depository (INT).

You can receive an entry for each time you vote, so be sure to come back for each round. (Follow us via Twitter or Facebook to receive updates.)

You can also receive an additional giveaway entry by tweeting about the cover you voted for.
Example: I voted for Pure Blooded in the Hottest Heroine Cover contest! (Please include the contest URL).


Fallen Sirens Series | October 7th 2014 by Roc | Goodreads


June 1st 2014 by Escape Publishing | Add to Goodreads


Jessica McClain Series | June 16th 2015 by Orbit | Goodreads


Throne of Glass | Sept 2, 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens | Goodreads


The Jinni Series | November 25th 2014 by Orbit | Goodreads


Hunter Series | January 20th 2015 by DLZ Entertainment LLC | Goodreads






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Book Blast: The Last Enchantress by Scott & Judith Powell ($100 Giveaway)!

last enchantressThe Last Enchantress by Scott & Judith Powell Being nineteen for over three hundred years bites, and being single in New York with magical powers isn't much better. Eva is trying to live an everyday life in New York. When this fails, she takes a seemingly unmagical job as a translator for a wealthy American family in Spain. Eva cannot stay out of trouble for long as she runs into a friendly but hungry vampire named Louis. Eva feels drawn to this handsome, dangerous stranger who has problems of his own. Louis's life was just fine until Eva walked into his church. She smells like heaven. Or is it hell, always smelling but never partaking? Surely she is the devil coming to collect on his lost soul.

Download a FREE copy of The Last Enchantress
Available December 15th to 17th







Powell




Scott Powell was born in Burlington, Vermont, to a father who was a police officer and a mother who emigrated from South Korea. He received a degree in marketing from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, and a master's degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Scott served a two-year Spanish-speaking mission for his church. He is a mixed martial artist who continues to train with his father, a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do and a kick boxer. Besides being married to Scott for almost seventeen years, Judith Powell is a stay-at-home mom whose whole life has been full of stories. Being raised by an Irish storytelling father and a Native American mother, stories have filled her life and her head until they finally had no choice but to flow out through her fingertips.


PRAISE FOR THE BOOK What fun, and new perspective on vampires. And the intro of new specie, Enchantress, gives this novel a wonderful and imaginative take. It gives us another take on Vampires and the only Enchantress left in the world. The story flows smoothly and the characters are developed well. Let me just start by saying for the record I am not a huge fan of Vampires or flying humans, but this book has led me away from that concept with a fantastic storyline that focused on a man and woman who were meant to be. The fighting scenes were very detailed and visual as you can tell the authors made this a point of emphasis in preparing this book. 

add to goodreads 



The sun was just starting to rise, and I knew that her disturbing dream would not lead to sleeping late. I could hear her heart beating faster as she began to wake up. Wrapping myself in my cloak to protect my skin from the dawn’s light (the sun’s rays felt like hundreds of tiny needles on my flesh), I departed the room. Closing the French doors behind me, I waited on the roof for her to appear. I planned to spy on her until she exposed herself as the typical mortal that I knew she must be. A few moments later, she walked out through the same doors I had just used, dressed only in a cream translucent nightgown. Her ankles were bare and slight, and I could just see the outline of her slim legs beneath her nightdress as the sunlight began to touch her skin. She walked purposely to a small stone bench under a tree that had not yet awoken this year and most likely never would. Just as quickly as she had come, she stood and began to walk back toward her room. I was feeling playful. What did it really matter if I revealed myself? I jumped down without a sound and sat on the bench that she had just occupied. Even though she had only been here but a moment, I could still feel her warmth lingering on the surface. Somehow, she sensed I was there, and she began to run, which was not surprising. I was sure fear motivated her movement. There was no need to pursue. I could catch her easily. But then she did something that put all my old questions to rest and created new ones. She jumped up and grabbed the edge of the roof. Using it as leverage, she flipped her body up into the arch, doing more moves than a gymnast at the Olympics, and landed, facing me, on the roof.


100_Amazon_Paypal 
  Book Blast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/31/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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[Coffee Shop Talks] Did I Achieve My 2014 Goals?




Yes and no.  My goal for total number of books read in 2014 was 80 books.  Not too many, but this working mamma of three can only devote so much time to her favorite hobby.  As of today, I have read 92 books this year, so I crushed by goal.  




However, I also had a pile of books that have been laying around for a while that I promised myself I would read this year.  Titles in this book pile include The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons, Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge, Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis , Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens and On the Edge by Ilona Andrews.  I didn't read a single one of them.  So, that would be a big fail!  Just tack it onto my never ending TBR list for 2015!  



Did you read your bookish goals?
I'd love to hear if you did or if you couldn't quite make it, either! Happy New Year!






        

Friday, December 12, 2014

[Review] Dead of Winter (The Beautiful Dead #2) by Daryl Banner


Release date: November 6, 2014
Published by: Createspace
Source: Author

Buy Links:  Amazon 
Author links: Facebook |Author Web site



No one said being an Undead is easy.
Winter’s Second Life became a lot more complicated when the Living moved into her hometown of Trenton. Undead neighbors fight with their Breathing ones. Food is sparse. And, worst of all, the season is taking a change for the colder.  A desperate plea for help to a neighboring city turns deadly and soon Winter finds herself facing an old friend from her past whose plot to annihilate all life on the planet may have everything to do with her.  And what about the man-with-the-heartbeat in her house? Is there even room for love in such a ruined, unforgiving world?  New friends are made. Others are lost forever. In the dead of winter, no one is safe.



Dead of Winter is the second book in the woefully under read Beautiful Dead series by author Daryl Banner.  It continues the story of Winter and her desire to find meaning, as well as fit into, the dystopian world she lives in.  This is a very hard series to review because I have the tendency to go all American Lit 101 with it, but the one thing you must know is that this book is WORTH it.   Banner uses a heaping of metaphors, allegory and symbolism to beef up this story, all with stunning results.

Dead of Winter takes place not too long after The Beautiful Dead ends.  The humans and Undead are living together under the pretense of cooperation in Trenton, with leadership coming from both parties.  Although it appears that everyone is getting along at the beginning of this novel, it becomes apparent that the trust between the living and Undead is superficial at best.  The truce is mostly a pretty window hanging to cover the distrust that the humans still have for the Undead.  Sure - the humans are happy that the Undead were able to save them from a terrible fate, but they would be ultimately content if the Undead would just go away.  Some humans are boarderline hateful towards Winter, the girl who saved them all.  And it's all about to become worse due to a lack of resources and the coming winter.

Themes of trust, reality vs. fantasy, love and loyalty are all explored in this novel.  Winter and John are the central characters in this book, and lead by example.  The human John is attracted to Winter but has a hard time coming to grips with the fact that she is not alive.  His entire life, he has been told to fear the Undead and to not trust them, and he has a serious man vs. himself battle when it comes to Winter.  After he finally accepts his feelings for Winter, John transforms into a male lead that I love. 

Winter is the epitome of selfless.  She is loyal to her friends, no matter what state of living they are in.  She risks herself over and over again in an attempt to save her friends and find a better life for them.  We learn more about Winter's first life and can see how she has changed as a person.   Winter also has the ability to take criticism in stride.  Although there are some awful things said about her, she fights through her own sadness and doesn't allow the comments of humans to control her life or her fear.

Winter is faced with a few faces from her past  - some good and others, not so much.  Some characters that we thought were all evil turn out to be not so bad, while others that we thought had a shred of decency hidden within them turn out to be as evil as you could imagine.  Winter faces all the adversity in this book with her head up and the best intentions in mind.  She is a very strong female lead, and refuses to take shit from anyone, living or dead.

The only thing I had an itsy, bitsy issue with was the quick development of the John-Winter relationship.  Yes, Winter has harbored feelings for him.  Yes, John has harbored feelings for Winter, although he was the one that needed to work through his issues with the Undead.  In my opinion, it was quick how John went from being angry and off-standing to being completely in love and lust with Winter.  Some additional build up would have been nice.  Also (okay, maybe I had two issues) is the cover.  I know that this cover model is someone the author knows.  He's not a bad looking guy, but the way the cover is arranged is bad.  I think that there is so much more that could be done to strengthen this cover and strengthen this book's first look appeal.

There is a cliff hanger at the end of this book, so be forewarned.  The ending of this book is full of action and danger, and many characters that I have grown to love are hurt or worse.  The cliff hanger had me very upset, but the book as a whole ended on a note of hopefulness.  
If you are a fan of dystopian or urban fantasy, you really should pick this book up.  This series is very well written and intricate.  More people should be reading this book because not only is it a great story, but it is completely different from any zombie book out there right now.  This is a series that must be read in order for it to make sense.  I can't wait to see how this story ends!




Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hottest Heroine Covers [Round 3] + Giveaway!


Thank you for joining our second annual Hottest Heroine Covers contest & giveaway! Last year's winner was Faith Hunter's Black Arts and I can't wait to see who you pick this year.
If you have any questions or difficulties with voting, please tweet me @heroinesaddict.




You can only vote once per day, but multiple covers can be chosen. I would ask that you please try and limit your choices to three.

The following were chosen based on three requirements: 1) A female character must be depicted on the cover. 2) They must have been revealed in 2014. 3) They must be badass.

While there may be an exception or two, the majority of these covers fall into the adult & young adult sci-fi & fantasy genres.


After voting, enter our Rafflecopter giveaway to win a $30 Amazon Gift Card (US/CA) or $30 in books from the Book Depository (INT).

You can receive an entry for each time you vote, so be sure to come back for each round. (Follow us via Twitter or Facebook to receive updates.)

You can also receive an additional giveaway entry by tweeting about the cover you voted for.
Example: I voted for Dreamer's Pool in the Hottest Heroine Cover contest! (Please include the contest URL).



September 30th 2014 by Ace | Add to Goodreads


November 25th 2014 by Pocket Books | Add to Goodreads


December 1st 2014 | Add to Goodreads


August 4th 2015 by Ace | Add to Goodreads


March 31st 2015 by 47North | Add to Goodreads


December 2nd 2014 by Signet | Add to Goodreads


November 4th 2014 by Roc Hardcover | Add to Goodreads







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