Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Crave by Melissa Darnell

By: Melissa Darnell
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: Oct. 25, 2011
Series: The Clann (#1)
Pages: 416
Genre: Paranormal
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….

I was drawn to this book because of its cover and its synopsis. Magic, secrets, forbidden love...Crave promised all of these great aspects of a paranormal story. I had high hopes for this book, but in the end I found myself a bit let down.

Savannah Colbert has spent her entire life in Jacksonville, a small East Texas town ruled by the Clann. Although she used to be friends with Clann members, including Tristan Coleman, they were forbidden from speaking in the fourth grade. Since then, Savannah has stuck with a small group of non-Clann friends, though she still didn't feel like she truly belonged. And then a sudden illness sends Savannah's life spiraling in a new direction. Suddenly she's being given explanations that couldn't possibly be true...only they are. As Savannah tries to deal with their implications, she can't help but find herself drawn to Tristan more and more, despite what her family might want. And maybe, just maybe, he wants her as well. But would the consequences for giving in to him be disastrous?

Like many books, Crave has its strong and weak points. It took me some time to get into this story. After Savannah's illness, I was hoping that things would pick up, and they did, but only for a while. Then things became more intense again toward the end. However, there was a long portion in the middle that seemed very bogged down with day-to-day events - namely, Savannah's work with the Charmers. I think that some of the more mundane activities could have been omitted, as well as some of Savannah's worry; at some points I found myself thinking that I had just read the same exact passage a few pages before. In addition, I was unsure sometimes as to whether I was reading a paranormal or contemporary book. I would have liked to have seen the paranormal/magical aspects of the story fleshed out a little more.

However, there were some things I did enjoy about this book. Crave is narrated by both Tristan and Savannah, and I liked seeing their dual perspectives. Savannah is a strong character who does try to do the right thing, both for herself and for others. While she's not immune to worry and moments of self-pity, she's also not afraid to stand up for herself. There was also the romance aspect of this book. Tristan was incredibly endearing, and some of the moments between him and Savannah are very sweet. I also liked some of the minor characters, especially Savannah's friend Anne, whose no-nonsense attitude but loyalty made her a friend you would want to have, and Tristan's sister Emily, whose intelligence and caring gets Tristan out of more than one scrape. Also, even though Crave is the first book in a trilogy, it doesn't end with a complete cliffhanger; events are wrapped up, though the story is far from over.

Even though I had some issues with this book, the premise behind it is still interesting and I think that the next book has the possibility of being more exciting. If you like a sweet romance sprinkled with a dash of magic, then Crave will appeal to you.

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. Each week we will share the books we have just finished reading, are currently reading, and are planning to read.

Just Finished Reading:
Crave by Melissa Darnell
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Currently Reading:
In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton

Planning To Read:
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

What are you reading this week?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that was started by Kristi at The Story Siren with some inspiration from Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. It features books or book-related things that have been bought, borrowed, won, or received in the mail. Be sure to check out The Story Siren for a list of all the other blogs participating!

For Review:

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Received courtesy of Random House Children's Books via Netgalley


Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Weekly Recap:

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

YA Spooktacular: Story 3

Review: Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Monday Reads
Teaser Tuesday: Crave by Melissa Darnell
"Waiting on" Wednesday: Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
Book Blog Hop & Follow Friday

What books did you get this week? Please leave a comment or link to your own IMM post!

Friday, October 28, 2011

YA Spooktacular: Story 3

Welcome to another stop for the second annual YASpooktacular, hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books.

This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.

There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for Story 3 will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YASpooktacular prize packs!

About the Author

As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters. Her first novel, Haven, came out in January of 2012. She’s currently working on the sequel, Mirage.

You can find Kristi on Twitter, on her blog, on Goodreads, and you can order her books here.

To start at the beginning of the story, click on the image.

Kara screamed, her eyes wide with terror.

I would have joined in, if my constricted airways had allowed it.

“Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God!” Kara scrabbled backward, half crawling, half stumbling.
I reached for her arm, tightening my fist in her hoodie’s sleeve as I dragged her to her feet. “We’ve got to get out of here,” I said.

She fell against me, her sticky, wet hands gripping my wrists. I flinched, bile rising in my throat. Don’t puke, I told myself. Just…don’t.

At once, the lights snapped back on—just like that. An ice-cold breeze rippled through the cornstalks, creating an eerie howling noise that made gooseflesh rise on my skin. I glanced down at Kara’s pale face. Her eyes were wide, her bottom lip trembling.

The sound of pounding footsteps drew my gaze toward the bend ahead of us. In seconds, some guy I’d never seen before sprinted toward us and screeched to a stop, his arms pinwheeling. “Dude, we gotta get out of here!” he gasped. “Someone”—he shook his head, his eyes wild—“something is killing people.”

His gaze shifted to the viscous reddish-black puddle on the ground, smeared where Kara had slipped in it. “Is…is that…” He trailed off, swallowing hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.

With a hiss, the lights popped off again. Kara pressed her face against my chest, a moan escaping her lips.

And then the lights popped back on and began to flash—off and on in quick succession, like a strobe light. I blinked hard, raising one hand to shield my eyes from the dizzying effects.

“Are you okay to run?” I asked Kara.

She nodded, the movement terrifyingly eerie beneath the strobe. “Yeah, I am. Are you?”

“Yeah.” I took a deep, steadying breath.

“Go,” the stranger urged. “Run!”

But it was impossible to run, impossible to maintain your equilibrium as the lights continued to flash. Instead we lurched forward haltingly, bumping into sharp, scratchy stalks as we shuffled on.

I had no idea which way was out. Which way was up. Which way was down.

Still, we continued on, clutching each other tightly.

After what felt like hours but was probably only a minute or two, we came to a fork in the path.
“This way.” Kara tugged on my sleeve. “To the right.”

“Are you sure?” I asked with a wheeze. “Where’d that guy go?”

“I have no idea, Josh. No idea where he went, and no idea which way to go, okay? I can’t believe you dragged me in here; that you--”

“Do you hear that?” I interrupted

It sounded like laughter. Soft, low laughter, off to our left.

“Hear what?” Kara’s voice rose a pitch. “I swear, if this is some kind of joke, I’m never going--”

“Sssh!” I hissed, my gaze darting around as I held Kara close.

We weren’t alone. There was someone there, someone who wasn’t the guy we’d seen before.

“Are you crazy?” Kara tugged me toward the right. “Why are we stopping? Let’s get out of here.”

I shook my head, rooted to the spot. I felt his presence, whoever he was. A shudder worked its way down my spine.

Evil. Pure evil.

The strobe light stopped, and for a moment we were in total darkness again. I could feel my heart banging against my ribs, could hear Kara’s ragged breathing beside me.

When the lights popped back on again, there was a man standing not five feet from us, leaning casually against the stalks, watching us.

His skin was pale, his eyes a piercing pale blue, his lips almost unnaturally red.

Beside me, Kara gasped, her grip tightening on my arm. I took two steps back, dragging Kara with me, wanting to put as much distance between him and us as possible.

“Who…who are you?” I stammered, hating the way my voice shook.

He smiled then, his lips lifting slightly to reveal sharp, pointy incisors that looked vaguely like…like…fangs?

“Why, the Corn Stalker, of course,” he answered with a slight bow. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

If you're brave enough, continue the story here.

And don't forget to enter the Story Three Prize Pack tomorrow by going to Escape from Reality.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (15)

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books. In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So visit Crazy-for-Books to grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list there!

This week's question:

“What is your favorite Halloween costume?
Even if you don’t celebrate, what kinds of costumes do you like?”

I was actually never that fond of elaborate costumes, though I did always think it would be fun to be Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz and wear a dress like that. The costumes I usually ended up falling back on were a blue M&M and the Phantom of the Opera.

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Allison Can Read. Visit either of their blogs for complete rules of the following fun!

This week's question:

"If you could have dinner with your favorite book character, who would you eat with and what would you serve?"

Oh my. So many answers come to mind, probably none of which need to be on a blog... So, for an answer that won't get me in trouble, I'll choose Nicci from the Sword of Truth series. As for dinner, Nicci has had everything from feast to famine, so maybe it would just be something simple like pizza (which she's probably never tried before). Nicci is an incredibly complex and strong character and I would love to learn everything she thinks and knows.

And if anyone's wondering...the answer that would get me in trouble would be a certain male from the Black Dagger Brotherhood...

What are your answers? Please leave a comment or a link to your blog!

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

By: Jessica Martinez
Published By: Simon Pulse
Release Date: Oct. 18, 2011
Series: None
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: BEA
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall....

I love books about musicians. Granted, I may be slightly biased, but I think that serious musicians, especially in high school, aren't always understood well and are often shunned by others who aren't as serious about music. I think it is great that books like this can help show others what life is like for them.

Carmen is a child prodigy and one of the best violinists in the world. She has toured the globe, played in some of the best concert venues, and even been homeschooled so that she can devote more time to practicing and performing. But one disastrous performance led her to Inderol, an anti-anxiety drug that she takes to get through her performances...and her lessons. Soon she's relying on these much more than she should. Enter Jeremy, the arrogant but oh-so-hot competition. They wind up talking one night, and Jeremy's description of performing causes Carmen to begin to question many things about her own musical life. As the prestigious Guarneri competition grows closer, Carmen finds herself more drawn to Jeremy and more inclined to rebel against her mother the manager. When an unexpected event calls the entire competition into question, Carmen must make an important decision - what is she willing to lose in order to win?

Virtuosity has a little bit of everything YA - the struggle to define yourself, the question of what do you really want from life, striving for independence from parents, and romance - blended together in a fresh and engaging way. I found Carmen's character incredibly easy to relate to. But even if you're not a musician with performance anxiety, we all have things that we dread. No matter what profession we're in or what our hobby is, there is always somebody who is better. This book explores those issues. And I loved the budding romance between Carmen and Jeremy. The cynicism of Carmen's mother Diana toward their relationship sounded just like the doubts that we all let ourself have. Virtuosity embarks on an emotional roller coaster that doesn't stop until the last page. The feelings, struggles, and situations were incredibly vivid, which made for a very intense (in a good way!) read.

There were a few things about this book that I found frustrating, however. Carmen's mother, for instance. She is your classic overbearing, controlling mother (not to mention she's Carmen's manager), and I wanted to defy her right along with Carmen. Even still, I couldn't hate her completely - unfortunate circumstances forced her to give up her dream, and so she shifted the pressure of success onto Carmen. Then there was something that Jeremy did. While some people may find it endearing, I was actually very annoyed with it. So, if you are like me, keep reading - you will be glad you did.

You do not have to be a musician to appreciate the depth of this book. Complete with the butterflies and beauty of first love and the quest of one girl to find her place in the world, Virtuosity is a debut not to be missed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection is:

By: Kai Meyer
Published By: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: Feb. 14, 2012
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn begins to fall apart, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where centuries of family secrets await her.

Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both fascinate and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

Hidden caves, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a history of familial bloodlust mean that Rosa can’t trust anyone. Torn between loyalty to her family and love for their mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love…or run as far and as fast as she can.

Why it's wanted:

I love books in foreign settings, and since I've never been to Italy, I would love to at least visit it in a book. On top of that, mafia connections, family secrets, and possible shapeshifting make this book sound incredibly intriguing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (14)

I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my teaser:

"Blinding rage filled me, and it was all I could do to keep my energy level contained and not burn the building down around us all. Starwick's face would more than pay for those bruises on her. If he'd done it, that is."

p. 205 (e-ARC) from CRAVE by Melissa Darnell

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Between the Sea and Sky

By: Jaclyn Dolamore
Published By: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Release Date: Oct. 25, 2011
Series: None
Pages: 240
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

First of all, how beautiful is this cover? I would have read this book without knowing anything about it based on the cover alone. But then you open the cover, and the story is beautiful as well. In Between Sea and Sky, Jaclyn Dolamore blends the lore of flying creatures and mermaids with siren mythology, creating a fairy tale that is all her own.

Although a mermaid, Esmerine has always been fascinated with the surface world. She longed to become a siren, just like her older sister Dosia, and together they would explore the mainland and have adventures. After years of training, Esmerine is finally initiated as a siren. But on her first day in her new calling, her sister isn't there. Instead, Dosia has run away to the mainland - or maybe even been kidnapped and taken there. Esmerine's family searches for news, but they cannot learn anything for certain. Esmerine knows that she will have to go to the mainland and search for her sister herself. She transforms her tail into legs, enduring the pain each step causes her and making her way into the city. There she finds an old childhood friend, Alander, a winged creature who can help her search for her sister. But their search takes them far from the land that Esmerine has known, and it soon becomes a search for true self...and a quest for love.

Between the Sea and Sky transports you into another world, one full of magic and enchantment. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Esmerine's life under the sea, the theatricals and dances of the merfolk and their time scavenging in sunken ships. Yet even more than other sirens, Esmerine is drawn to the surface world. She learned to read and write, and her passion for stories and fairy tales was one of the things I liked most about her. In addition to this, her loyalty and kindness make her a character that you want to see succeed in finding her happily ever after. When Esmerine ventures onto land, the story still maintains its "once upon a time, in a faraway land" feeling, which I appreciated. I also enjoyed watching Esmerine come to truly understand herself and come to realize that not one thing is right for everyone.

However, I have to say that I did have some problems with the relationship between Esmerine and Alan. While at times it was very sweet, I would have liked to have seen it developed more. Even though I understood the reasoning behind it, I felt that they were both so distant from each other most of the time. In addition, a few scenes felt rushed or left me wanting more description. That being said, the descriptions that are given really make the story come alive; the reader lives along with Esmerine and Alan rather than simply following them.

If you are a fan of fairy tales, be prepared to enchanted by this book. I will look forward to seeing what Dolamore writes next!

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. Each week we will share the books we have just finished reading, are currently reading, and are planning to read.

Just Finished Reading:
Between Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Currently Reading:
Crave by Melissa Darnell

Planning To Read:
Remembrance by Michelle Madow

What are you reading this week?

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Welcome to this stop of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I am a reader, not a writer and The Diary of a Bookworm.

With so many great mysteries and ghost stories on the market nowadays, there's no better time than Halloween to curl up with a good scary story! Here's a chance to win some.


I have two great books to give away for this hop. They are:

Cryer's Cross (SIGNED) by Lisa McMann
Enthralled (ARC) edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

One winner will be chosen for each book.

The contest is open to US residents only. Must be 13 to enter. Please see my Contest Policy for more information.

Must be a GFC follower to enter.

This contest will close on Tuesday, November 1 at midnight CST.

Don't forget to visit the many other stops on this hop!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that was started by Kristi at The Story Siren with some inspiration from Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. It features books or book-related things that have been bought, borrowed, won, or received in the mail. Be sure to check out The Story Siren for a list of all the other blogs participating!

For Review:

Touch by Jus Accardo

Received courtesy of Entangled Publishing via Netgalley

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Received courtesy of Simon and Schuster via GalleyGrab


Between some great signings, an Amazon order arriving, and random trips to the bookstore, I ended up with quite a lot of books this week!

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Frost by Wendy Delsol
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Weekly Recap:

Author Interview: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Monday Reads
Teaser Tuesday: Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
"Waiting on" Wednesday: Dead to You by Lisa McMann
Book Blog Hop & Follow Friday

What books did you get this week? Please leave a comment or link to your own IMM post!
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