Monday, September 29, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
The Mortal Instruments Series, Book 6

Note:  This is the last book in a series.  If you haven't jumped onto the Shadowhunter train yet, get your butt on it.  I'd recommend not reading the stuff below if you're unfamiliar with the series...

Description (taken from Goodreads):
In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

Sebastian is going to destroy the Shadowhunter society by turning them against each other.  Using the Infernal Cup, he takes away their will and souls turning them into a fighting army that reports to him.  But when Sebastian's plans come to fruition, he decides it's not enough.  He has a different goal in mind.

Clary has just survived a battle between her brother and the Endarkened.  When the Clave deems Sebastian and his army a small threat, Clary finds herself battling against the Clave to get them to understand the seriousness.  But with the small steps taken forward in regards to Downworlder relations, we find everyone running backwards to their old prejudices.  But Clary's going to do her hardest to bring peace to the Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

The last book in a series, and it was huge (~725 pages).  We've got some fighting, some love stories, some paranormal species, and learning moments.  I was so excited to read this last book, and I plowed right through it.  And while I loved the story, I hated to see it end.  And I felt like the ending wasn't enough of a bang for me (I might be a little too hard on last -books-in-a-series).  But that shouldn't stop anyone from reading these books.  They're good.

For anyone unfamiliar to Cassandra Clare, I highly recommend you read her books in the order they were published.  And keep going even if you're not quite sold on City of Bones.  My favorite books were from The Infernal Devices series.  But you need both series to get the whole story.  (By the way, having stories from the other series tie into this one was sweet!!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it spotlights upcoming books that we as readers are anxiously awaiting...

Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost
Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance
Night Prince Series, Book 3
Jeaniene Frost's website
Expected publication date:  January 27, 2015
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Jeaniene Frost's website):
Play with fire, pay the price.

Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…

Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

I was kind of hoping this third book would be involve the number three in its title.  Bummer I guess.  So I really don't care for these steamy guy covers, but I devour the books anyways.  I guess I'm a paranormal romance kind of reader...

By the way, this is my first WoW in a long time...  I'm going to try to get myself to do these at least once a month.  Hopefully, you'll be seeing more of me.

And in case you're interested in a giveaway, click here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Genre:  YA Fantasy Romance
Throne of Glass Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

Celaena is spending a life sentence in the dingy salt mines of Endovier.  She was once the country's most well known assassin of all time.  After being caught and sent to die in the mines, she has been determined to survive.  And she'll go as far as proving she can escape if she has to.  Fortunately for her, the Prince of Adarlan has plans for her.

When given the opportunity to become the King's Champion by entering a tournament, she goes for it.  As she goes back to the city courts, she must get back in shape and resume the court intrigue that she left behind.  But she can't reveal who she really is and has to portray herself as someone of little consequence.  With magic in the air and random deaths of would-be champions, Celaena finds herself in a very complex plot.

I need to start with this:  I did not like this book at all.  I felt like the book was all: "I'm an assassin.  Now I'm all googly eyes over some guy.  You can not beat me because I'm an assassin.  But wait, I'm a girl now."  I guess the only thing I have to say to Celaena is prove it.  I felt like she was all talk and the pacing for the book was super slow.  And I don't know how to make my brain say this book was great and jump on this band wagon.  It just didn't work for me.  Agh, I tried so hard.  But after taking a week to finish the novel, I felt like scraping my nails on a chalkboard would be a more pleasant experience.

Something's obviously wrong with me for not liking this book.  I guess I couldn't find the character believable.  And now I feel left out because I see so many people reading this series and loving it.  But I can't continue it.  Boo...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: Tempted by a Rogue Prince by Felicity Heaton

Tempted by a Rogue Prince by Felicity Heaton
Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance
Eternal Mates Series, Book 3

Description (taken from promo):
An elf prince on the verge of losing himself to the darkness, Vail is maddened by the forty-two centuries he was under the control of a witch and forced to war with his brother. Now, he roams Hell seeking an escape from his terrible past and the heads of all who bear magic. When demons of the Fifth Realm capture him, he sees a chance to end his existence, but when he wakes in a cell to a beautiful female, he finds not death but his only shot at salvation—his true fated mate.

Captured by the enemy of the Third Realm when the war ended, Rosalind has spent months in the cells of the Fifth Realm with her magic bound, forced to heal the new king’s demon warriors, and haunted by the lives she has taken. When she’s brought to heal an unconscious man, she discovers her only hope of escape has come in the form of her worst nightmare and the first part of a prediction that might spell her doom—a devastatingly handsome and dangerous dark elf prince.

Unwilling to fall under the control of anyone ever again, Vail must escape before the Fifth King can use him as a pawn in a deadly game of revenge, but he cannot leave without Rosalind, the woman who looks at him with dark desire in her stunning eyes and awakens a fierce hunger in his heart. A witch who drives him mad with need even as the darkness within whispers she will enslave him too.

Can Rosalind escape her fate as they embark on a journey fraught with danger and resist the temptation of her rogue elf prince? And can Vail overcome the memories that madden him in order to seize his chance for salvation and the heart of his fated female forever?

Author Interview: Felicity Heaton

Q:  Favorite coffee shop beverage?
A:  I’m a huge fan of the caramel macchiato.

Q:  Contemporary or fantasy?
A:  Fantasy every time. I like to get away from the world and slipping into a nice fantasy book or something fantasy based on TV or in a movie is a perfect escape.

Q:  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A:  I was always looking at my feet or looking at the stars, because I could never decide whether I wanted to be an archaeologist or an astronaut.

Q:  Mountains or Beach?
A:  Mountains most of the time, as I really love the wilderness and the savage beauty of nature, and mountains always seem to encompass that sense of “wild” for me, but I have been known to enjoy a nice beach holiday, normally mixed with some local culture and beautiful old cities. My reason for hitting the beach is purely about snorkeling though. I’m not the type of girl to sunbathe with a book. I would rather be swimming with the fish.

Q:  What degree did you graduate with?
A:  I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design, which I now put to fantastic use when I’m designing all my books covers, advertising graphics, and also building my own website and newsletters.

Q:  Summer or Winter?
A:  I really like winter. Don’t get me wrong, I do love summer sunshine and blue skies. It always puts a smile on my face. I like the snow side of winter. We don’t get much of it in the UK and so I’m drawn to it. Sitting curled up in the warm while it’s a howling snow storm outside has a certain appeal.

Q:  Favorite sport to play? Watch?
A:  Favourite sport to play is archery. I’m a keen archer and shoot recurve bow, but my schedule has been too hectic to allow much practice this year. My favourite sport to watch is football, which seems to get called soccer everywhere outside Europe.

Q:  Vampire or werewolf?
A:  Vampires. I’ve always been a huge fan of vampires, and whenever I’m presented with this choice, I have to stick with them. I love werewolves too, and write both of those paranormal species, but I always have to go with my first love.

Q:  Favorite book?
A:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I love the whole concept of love overcoming adversity.

Q:  Describe your book in two sentences.
A:  Tempted by a Rogue Prince is a heart-wrenching paranormal romance about Vail, an elf prince on the verge of losing himself to darkness after enduring forty-two centuries under the control of a dark witch and forced to war with his brother, and Rosalind, a light witch who is brought to heal him when he’s captured by demons and a woman with a terrible prediction hanging over her head. They have to learn to trust each other in order to escape captivity and overcome Vail’s past and Rosalind’s fated future if they are to seize their forever after.

Q:  Who is your book meant to be read by?
A:  Adult fans of the paranormal romance genre and readers of authors such as Lara Adrian, Larissa Ione, Kresley Cole, Donna Grant, Laura Kaye, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Gena Showalter.

Q:  Who was your favorite character to write about?
A:  Vail. Since beginning the Eternal Mates series with Kissed by a Dark Prince in November 2013, I have fallen deeply in love with Vail. He’s broken and tormented by the things he has done, but not beyond redemption. I’ve been looking forward to writing this book and giving him a brighter future with his fated mate, setting him on the path towards being healed and leading a normal life again. Writing his book really was everything I had expected it to be—a very emotional journey. He made me cry a few times, and readers have blamed me for a tissue shortage in their houses because of this book. Now, I'm looking forward to catching up with him in future books in the Eternal Mates series.

About the Author

Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.


Felicity was kind enough to offer one of my readers an ebook of any already-released novels in her Her Angel series.  This giveaway will end on October 12th.  You can enter by doing one of the following:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Only Gingers can be Witches by JA Trevor

Genre:  Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Two weeks ago, thirteen year-old Ally would have laughed at the thought of running around in the middle of the night, waving bundles of herbs at imaginary ghosts. But the new girl in town, Hanna, is into that sort of thing.

When the two girls become unlikely friends, Hanna's world of witchery invades Ally's own and turns decidedly dangerous. Flocks of crows descend on the streets, shadow-men stalk Ally's front yard, and a ghoul nests like a spider in the local library's basement. Together, the girls set out to quickly uncover the sinister culprit behind it all--before someone gets hurt.

But then a mysterious stranger emerges from the shadows to snatch Hanna off the streets for use in a nefarious plan. Ally has never had to save anyone before, and isn't sure she's up to the task. In fact, magic in general is out of her experience entirely; because as everyone knows, only gingers can be witches... or can they?

Ally lives in a small town where new things like recycling and the internet are barely beginning.  Yes, we're moving back in time a bit before phones and mp3 players became a thing.  Ally is one of those do-gooders that's trying to do well in school and get her parents to go a little green by recycling.  Basically, she's the girl that's going to make things happen when she grows up.  But our story happens now, and someone new is going to push her to be amazing.

Hanna is that one who dresses a little differently, acts a little strangely, and couldn't care less about what anyone think.  But as all newcomers going to school know, she's still looking for a friend.  So when she meets Ally who's willing to go with her 'only gingers can be witches,' attitude, it's a match made in heaven.  The only problem is Ally will soon realize Hanna's not just imagining things, she's actually a witch.  And something wicked in town is brewing.

Ally and Hanna's personalities compliment each other really well in this story.  I loved watching their friendship grow and the witch history/teaching was all intermingled into the story.  And there was magic, rune stones, ghouls, and talk of other nefarious creatures.  I had fun with it.  When the supernatural occurrences happened, I loved seeing Hanna's can-fix-it attitude come out.  But we also got to watch Ally shine when she was faced with a sinister plot.  My only drawback was I felt like the characters behaved a little younger than their age (13), but I'm used to stories regarding older characters (so what do I know?).

This is definitely a story for middle grade students that shows two very strong female characters.  We don't get too many stories like that, do we?  In my opinion, we need more.  A fun one I would hand to kids ready for big-kid chapter books.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich

Genre:  Adult Detective
Stephanie Plum Series, Book 12

Description (taken from Janet Evanovich's website):
Stephanie Plum is thinking her career as fugitive apprehension agent has run its course.

She’s been shot at, spat at, cussed at, fire-bombed, mooned, and attacked by dogs. Time for a change, Stephanie thinks. Time to find the kind of job her mother can tell her friends about without making the sign of the cross. So Stephanie Plum quits. Resigns. No looking back. No changing her mind. She wants something safe and normal. As it turns out, jobs that are safe and normal for most people aren’t necessarily safe and normal for Stephanie Plum. Trouble follows her, and the kind of trouble she had at the bail bonds office can’t compare to the kind of trouble she finds herself facing now. Her past has come back to haunt her. She’s stalked by a maniac returned from the grave for the sole purpose of putting her into a burial plot of her own. He’s killed before, and he’ll kill again if given the chance. Caught between staying far away from the bounty hunter business and staying alive, Stephanie re-examines her life and the possibility that being a bounty hunter is the solution rather than the problem. After disturbingly brief careers at the button factory, Kan Klean Dry Cleaners, and Cluck-in-a-Bucket, Stephanie takes an office position in security, working for Ranger, the sexiest, baddest, bounty hunter and businessman in two continents. It might not be the job she’ll keep for the rest of her life, but for now, it gives her the technical access she needs to find her stalker. Tempers and temperatures rise as competition ratchets up between the two men in her life — her off-again, on-again boyfriend, tough Trenton cop, Joe Morelli, and her bad-ass boss, Ranger. Can Stephanie Plum take the heat? Can you?

Stephanie is throwing in the towel in regards to her bounty hunter gig.  She's done rolling around in trash just to catch an FTA (failure to appear) and get some bucks for rent.  She's going to get a grown-up, settle-down job.  And this is a definite turn-on for Morelli.  But Morelli and Stephanie are going to find out quickly that the craziness doesn't leave just because we've given up the bounty hunting...

Stephanie's being stalked.  And she's trying to figure out what's going on based on all of the clues.  But when she's faced with decisions like boinking Ranger or saying the infamous L word in front of Morelli, it's no surprise that her mind ends up elsewhere.  That is until a car catches fire.

I liked this one.  It had a definite change of pace as we watched Stephanie try new jobs and fail at them.  And the Ranger romance is getting hot.  But I've also got a soft spot for Morelli.  That's a definite love triangle that I don't ever want to see end (unless we can split Stephanie in two).

A super fun series that's going to keep you laughing.  Read them!  I've got ten more books to go...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.

It feels like forever since I've done one of these.  I actually suspended all of my holds at the library since I'm so far behind on my reading.  It's made me feel a lot better about catching up on books.  I recently got cable, and now I'm willing to watch every movie playing on tv.  Weird how that works.  I dyed my hair reddish brown yesterday, and I think it turned out well.  My weekend involves zumba, frisbee, cooking, and my books.  What are your plans?

From the Library:

  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • This book is huge!!!  When I saw it waiting at the library for me, I thought it was an encyclopedia or something.  I'll probably still get through it in a couple of days.  Once I start a Cassandra Clare book, my life revolves around it until it's over.

manda-rae's Past Four Weeks

I've been thinking about doing memes again (assuming I can set time aside for it).  Previously I've done Waiting on Wednesday and Top Ten Tuesday.  I quit doing the Top Ten a while back because I felt like I kept showcasing the same books every week (maybe I'm not a good multi-dimensional reader).  What are some of your favorite memes to see?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series, Book 2

Note:  If you haven't read this series yet, go read it now.  Reading anything below can threaten plotlines from the first book.  And oh, it's worth it to start the series knowing absolutely nothing about it.

Description (taken from Laini Taylor's website):
Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is--and what she is. But with this knowledge comes anoher truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope. But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Akiva cannot admit that Karou might be dead.  He barely found her only to have the truth open wide and watch her heart break all over again.  Even though he has done many wrongs, he will not give up Karou until he knows she's gone.  And what he finds in his quest begins with hope: karou.  But not everyone sees the same hope he sees.

Karou, a human girl who only dabbled in the mysteries of another world.  That is until an angel appeared one night and she broke a wishbone.  Suddenly, she's not that human anymore; she's a chimaera.  And the chimaera are losing an endless battle, but the war isn't over.  And with Akiva's betrayal, how far will Karou go to avenge her people?

I feel like I'm bursting at the seams to tell you a secret.  A really good secret that is totally worth it.  But I can't.  All I can do is hand you this book (or the first one) and tell you to read it.  Oh my goodness, I love this series!!  It's so unlike any romantic fantasy I've ever read.  And for once, I don't know who I'm rooting for.  You see people intertwined into varying plot lines until you're so tongue-tied you don't know what to say.  It's that good and beautiful!

You are truly missing out if you have not started this series.  It's a fantasy worth reading.  A romance that doesn't follow the normal trend.  Just go read it!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Genre:  YA Fantasy
The Grisha Series, Book 3

Note:  This is the third book in a series.  It can potentially hurt earlier book plots if you keep reading.

Description (taken from Leigh Bardugo's website):
The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Alina is trying her hardest to gain enough power to overcome the Darkling.  But the battle from the last book has left her with too much to recover from.  Staying in the Apparat's underground tunnel network, she is safe from harm.  But she's kept from moving forward and helping her country fight the Darkling.  That is until they can bring the sunlight into the tunnels.

Mal and Alina.  Alina and Mal.  Their destinies are intertwined, but they're not meant to be together.  And this book is going to challenge that.  This relationship is what makes me love these books.  That, and I have the hots for the Darkling (there's no rhyme or reason for my feelings).

I'm really not going to say much other than this final book was a little bit better than the previous 'final' books from other series that I've read this year.  While it still wasn't the awe and wonder I wanted, I was still very satisfied with the ending.  I just want more...

Seriously, fantasy lovers should check out this series.  It's so much fun to follow.  I loved every second of it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes by David S Atkinson

Genre:  Adult Coming of Age

Description (taken from David S Atkinson's website):
Don’t you hate it when you may (or may not) be trapped endlessly in a Village Inn with your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend, coincidentally your ex-best friend? That’s the kind of day Cassandra is having. In a homogenized world that is left mostly empty so everyone can feel comfortable, The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes explores the fictions we tell ourselves, and the fictions we tell ourselves about the fictions we tell ourselves.

Cassandra has agreed to meet her ex-boyfriend and ex-best-friend at a Village Inn for what she hopes will be the most momentous apology for ruining her life.  But when the real reason comes out, Cassandra's life goes from crap to crappier as she tries to walk out on them and finds she's stuck at the Village Inn.  When all three of them realize they're stuck and have to spend a lot of time in each other's company, it seems like the weirdest discussions will occur instead of working out the issues they face.

Cassandra has her surrounding strangers' stories figured out perfectly.  Her waitress is one who will never enjoy the intimate touch of another while the manager has a bizarre fear of pancake houses.  And of course, the discussions involving the perfect pancake and the best breakfast food helps keep them all talking and civil.  But with all this time on her hands, Cassandra finds herself still dealing the problem at hand, but she doesn't know if she can come up with a solution that will appease everyone.  And even if she does, will it be worthwhile if none of them can get out of Village Inn?

I must admit that this isn't my normal genre, but it draws funny parables to issues people face every day.  And I see the fictional fantasies that Cassandra draws out for the strangers she sees is something everyone tends to do (I love guessing some random stranger's life story based on what I see of them).  But I think the real thing this story gets at is watching someone's decision-making skills in action when faced with a tough decision.  We all get distracted easily and no one wants to choose one bad option over another one.  I'm definitely one of those people who avoids making a decision on difficult issues (like moving, dating, love, forgiveness, etc).  But as this book points out, your life will never move on until a decision is made, and not everyone's going to accept the choices you make.  It's probably why I picked the genre adult coming-of-age because adults might not be physically still growing up but we do grow from the decisions we make.

This is definitely a story where reading a chapter at a time and mulling it over is the best approach.  Because you've definitely got some crazy thinking and psycho-babble coming from a bored girl trying to deal with life.  But in the end, it's still a fun read that'll make you think about your own life situation.

Thanks goes to David S Atkinson for providing me a review copy.
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