Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

AMY has left the life she loves for a world 300 years away.

Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she's due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy's lost on board and nothing makes sense - she's never felt so alone.

Yet someone is waiting for her.
He wants to protect her -
and more if she'll let him

But who can she trust amidst the secrets and lies?
A killer is out there - and Amy has nowhere to hide..

Source: Reviewer borrowed book from the library

My Review

WOAH, WOW, and HOLY SH**!!! This was my second try with an audio book. I'm like a 3 year old when it comes to attention span. I am seriously blown away with this story. This is a sci-fi/dystopian novel about a girl named Amy. She and her parents are being frozen for a journey to a new planet. She's leaving behind every thing she knew to go. The chapters rotate between her point of view and Elder, an inhabitant of the ship taking them to the new planet. She has been consciously dreaming while being frozen and thinking of what is to come. Elder, the future leader of the ship, is unaware of the cryogenic-ally frozen people that are on an unknown part of the ship. Moving forward...Amy is unexpectedly awakened. Things aren't what they seem on Godspeed and Amy and Elder will not stop until they find the truth.

Just when you think you have the story figured out, there is a new twist thrown into the mix. I will admit that I had my suspicions from the get go. I was right but the way the story went made me have my doubts. Oh man, the revelations will have your head spinning. This book is full of intrigue, mystery and even a wild goose chase! Sci-fi is not usually my cup of tea but I think I'm having a change of heart. The last few sci-fi's  I have read were fantastic. I am definitely interested in reading the rest of this series. I can't believe it took me so long to read it. I feel like slapping myself silly. If you haven't read it, you definitely should check it out.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: The Domino Effect by Andrew Cotto

Young Adult-Coming of Age

The Domino Effect is the story of Danny Rorro, a charismatic kid from Queens poisoned by the past. A series of painful defeats have left him scarred and isolated from his neighborhood, his parents, and, most significantly, the benevolent ways of his childhood when he was known as “Domino.” With great insight, imagery and wit, Danny recalls his past in Queens and his coming-of-age at Hamden Academy. This fast paced and powerful story is rich with conflict, humor, tenderness and music—just like life, especially when coming-of-age.

Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

 My Review

This story takes place in the 90's. Danny's childhood wasn't all fun and games. His father always taught Danny to be the bigger person when it comes to acceptance. Danny, aka Domino, was dealt a bad hand when he tried to include the new arrivals at his school. He lived in a predominately Italian neighborhood and there was an influx of Spanish families moving in. The neighborhood wasn't as accepting of the new kids and caused some problems with Danny that lead to his downward spiral. His parents think it wise to move from the neighbor and start fresh elsewhere. Fast-forward two years... Danny starts school at a boarding school in New Jersey. (WOOOO JERSEY!!) Sorry, had to show my Jersey pride there. During his time at Hamden, Danny will have his heart broken, fall in love and come into his own skin.

I was really surprised with this book. Danny's behavior was childish and he seemed a bit stubborn. But then I remembered what it was like to be a teenager. Danny really transforms himself by the end of the book. It was incredibly moving and downright hilarious at times. It really made me feel like I knew Danny. It all makes perfect sense in the end and the cover is a nice touch. I always enjoy when the cover has something to do with the book. This is definitely a great read for teens but I'm not sure how relatable it would be to them. Again, I grew up in the 90's so this felt like home to me. Definitely recommend.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Fantasy

Darkness never dies. Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

My Review

Five stars does not even touch how amazing this book is...WOW...Leigh Bardugo has created an breath-taking, phenomenal world...As you are reading you feel as though you are living every moment with the characters. Alina is such a strong heroine. Her drive to fight the Darkling and save Ravka makes me want to fight with her and she deals with so many emotions along the way. Several new characters are introduced as well as the return of some of my favorites and I loved every one of them. I wont give away too much since this book does not release until June but I wanted readers to know that Leigh Bardugo does NOT disappoint with this sequel. Usually it is hard to love a sequel more than the first but with this one YOU DO!! You learn so much more about each character and there is non-stop action. The Darkling is as "dark" as ever and it just made the story more momentous. So needless to say...I COMPLETELY LOVED this book and cannot wait to read the conclusion. Alina & Mal are some of my most favorite characters ever written. Well done, Leigh Bardugo....Well done....

You can Pre-Order Siege & Storm here:

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children's/Macmillan) is now a New York Times Best Seller.  Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she hides out in Hollywood and indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson.

You can contact Leigh Bardugo here:

Review: Our Blissful Bayou Beginnings by Danielle Peterson

Paranormal Murder Mystery/Romance

The Duck And The Doe is the tale of two immortal beings whose eternal love has soured a bit in the last two centuries. Written as memoir by the "hero," this novella is a musing on both what love is and how much America has changed since the early 19th century. The first volume deals with both the supernatural and the racism of the old American south. Told with humor and passion (and the occasional rant) the story of these strong characters, including a wealthy young lawyer and a clever courtsean, will change your idea of what "love forever'' really means

My Review
This book was provided from the author in exchange for honest literary review.

Remi enganges the reader in the story of his 200+ plus years right from the start. Long before it was acceptable to date out of his ra,e, he fell in love with a striking mulatto woman. A woman who would eventually be the demise of his mortal existence.

This is the story of how his life with Ma Bichette and how they turned into immortal beings. How love can grow and die over lifetimes, knowing you are eternally tied to one another. It is a new concept on immortality, a sort of cross between vampires and zombies.

First of all I loved the French infused language used by the author. Remi gives us insight into his character through his ramblings but I didn't find out as much about ma bichette as I wanted to know. This is a quick and interesting read,however. It is worth the money. On the downside, there is some editing and grammatical errors which could use some polishing. The cliffy ending leaves the reader wanting to read part two, regardless. Solid novel.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Becoming Jolie by Monique O'Connor James

YA Paranormal Romance

Jolie Bourque is trying to finish her thesis and get on with her life. She wanders into Folette, Louisiana, a place plagued by ghost sightings, convinced the residents are all crazy. No one wants to help her, no one except, Hutch Landry and his brother, Tucker. 
Will she find the monster that is preying on the town's children? Can she stay sane surrounded by madness? What are her ties to the small town? How will she choose between the brothers?
This is the nightmare that is her life and all just a part of Becoming Jolie.

Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

My Review

Becoming Jolie was a decent read! I really fell in love with the story line and the plot. But the story just did not quite flow with me completely. It seems as though Jolie is in a the town of Folette for her thesis paper that she has to finish and it has something to do with ghost. Well the people there are seeing ghosts but no one from the outside wants to help the town's people. I would have liked more back story with the towns people. If Jolie was doing her thesis paper, then I believed she should have come across as the type who would stop at nothing to get answers. But it seemed that just because the town did not open up she just stopped pursuing the answers, and hardly did any research. I take it this book was suppose to be about ghost sightings, but I felt as though there was not a lot of mentions about them. I can say maybe a handful of times were the ghosts mentioned in my thoughts.

I also would have liked to have her characters develop a bit more as they had great potential to be more. I found the scene with the officer and Tucker to be surreal. Why did Frog not go after Tucker?
It did seem at times that the story was rushed instead of adding a few more details here and there. I did enjoy how it came to light that she was from the town, and her back story. You get that towards the end of the book. I thought that was a nice little twist into the book. There were some surprises that you may or not may see coming.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: In My Dreams by Cameo Renae

YA Paranormal Romance

It was happening again. The dreams. The nightmares. It was something that seventeen year-old Elizabeth Hayes thought she d outgrown; dreams that would come true; detailed premonitions of how people would die. This time she dreams about her boyfriend, Michael Young, and soon discovers that he has been found... dead.
He has not crossed over because he was murdered, and now the murderer is after Lizzy. His spirit won't rest until she is safe. As a newbie spirit, the easiest way for him to make contact is through Lizzy's dreams. When she dreams, it's as if he hasn't died. Lizzy must learn to pull on her inner strength to survive horrifying events, and is faced with a most difficult decision. Would she risk her life to save her best friend and the very person responsible for Michael's death?
Meanwhile, Michael learns everything he can about his supernatural gifts to help. But will it be enough to save her?

Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

 My Review

I am at a complete loss for words right now. This book had me all torn up. My heart is in pieces on the floor right now. It was a good ending but how can I be happy about it?! I've never read a book that had me crying for at least 60% of the book. I am still crying. This book will keep you hooked from beginning to end. A beautiful, thrilling mystery that will keep you guessing. I kept waiting for the big twist to come. It was is the later part of the book but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

I was so upset for Lizzy with her loss of Michael. When she began to see him again in her dreams, I was elated. Their love for each other was so powerful. They would do anything for each other. Lizzy finds out that her life is in danger. Michael's murdered knows who she is and will come for her. Lizzy's strength throughout the book is amazing and Michael will help her in any way he can.

I love how the ending leaves it open to have a sequel. I don't know if that is in the works but I would definitely love to read it. My heart is still breaking after writing this review. When the author said "it may make you cry," I thought she was joking. I was thinking "yeah, okay, that's what all the authors say about their work." Ya know, since that's their baby and all. I will definitely be reading her other book soon. I'm going to go back to crying while eating this popcorn now. I think I'm too heartbroken to read another book tonight. I definitely recommend this book to anyone. It's YA but definitely a good read for adults. I told my nurse yesterday that she needed to read it. She asked me what I was reading that had me so entranced.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: Independence by Shelly Crane

Young Adult Paranormal Romance

In the fourth and final installment, Maggie and Caleb must tie up all the loose ends of their lives and make a way to be together completely on their own. With everything that happened with Bish and Maggie's father, she's almost reluctant to move on and move out. And now she must figure out all of this...stuff...with Haddock. But of course, nothing can stay simple for the Jacobsons. Enemies who were thought to be dissolved have decided to not go down so easily. And old flames come calling for more than just Maggie. Caleb is torn between leading his family and personal wants. Maggie is torn between Caleb and being the leader of their people. But neither will let what they need most to be pushed to the wayside. They are determined to make it all work, design a plan toward destiny, and make everything right again for themselves and their family.

And then there's a wedding...

Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

My Review

I cannot believe that I'm getting choked up over a book right now. I have to explain it to you because this is so emotional for me. I only started reading a year and a half ago. Significance, the first book in the series, was my first indie and I fell in love with the series. I love the characters and I will really miss Maggie and Caleb. I can barely type this right now because my eyes are blurred from tears. I'll admit, I procrastinated while reading this book. It's so bittersweet and I didn't wan't it to end. I wanted to savor every second of Caleb and Maggie that I could. I felt like I knew these characters. Shelly created a fantastic world with the race of the Aces. 

This is only my second time completing a series. I've avoided finishing the last book in a few series because of this very reason. But they aren't as close to my heart as this series. GAH I'm such a baby. STOP CRYING, REN!! You're being ridiculous. It started out with a BANG! I kept thinking "Oh hells to the no, Shelly did not just do that." Everything is right in the world again. Yes, this book lived up to my expectations and the only reason I rated it 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 was because of the predictability. I can't tell you why since it's a huge part of the story. Shelly Crane always delivers a happily ever after. Thank God because I would have been an emotional wreck...more than I already am.  I can't tell you how highly I recommend this series. You will fall in love!  OMG I can't believe it's over. I need a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream. Oh, and how could I forget?! Caleb and Maggie FINALLY get married!! So cute! I can't wait for everyone to read this series!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ren's Hottie Author List

This list is meant to be fun so I hope people don't read too much into it. I always joked that I wanted to make a I'm making it. I need to get out of this funk that I'm in so I thought I'd do this. I'm definitely not tagging any of the authors because that would be super duper AWKWARD! My dudes list is a lot shorter than the chicks. I'm open to suggestions so shoot me a message with your hot picks! I will probably add more as I go but this is my preliminary list. Not in any specific order.

They're hot and they write books?! I'm in loooooove!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ren's Top 12 of 2012

I was feeling a little out of the loop with these top lists of 2012. I don't usually like to do memes and other things that bloggers do because 1. I'm lazy and 2. I'm in my own world half of the time that I don't even know what day it is, let alone what year LOL. I'm going to cheat a little bit on my list. Now don't go rolling your eyes at me. I can see you shaking your head. I have good reason so hear me out. 

When I was younger, I hated reading. And when I say hate, I really meant a burning passion to loathe reading. Required reading at school was horrible for me. They never let us read what we wanted and I eventually gave up. Plus I was a jock all throughout middle and high school, leaving pretty much no down time. I starting reading again sporadically around 19. I read about 10 books and then adulthood happened. I got into trouble a lot in my early 20's. I know, hard to believe lol. I can tell you the day that I became hooked on reading again. It was 2011 and I was 26. I grabbed a book off the sale cart at the library that I work at. The book was titled Evermore by Alyson Noel. I took it with me when I went to the dealership to have my car worked on. I was enthralled from that moment and went through the entire series within two weeks. I decided it was time to buy a Kindle. "Why would you need a Kindle?," they asked. "You work in a library," they said. I like to keep my books. Yes, I'm one of those horrible library patrons that never returns their's horrible. When I got my Kindle, the very first book I purchased was Significance by Shelly Crane. This opened me up to the world of independent publishing. I'm not gonna lie, I had no idea indies existed before I got my Kindle. I would love to read as much as I did a few months ago, but life got in the way. 

There's my story. It's now a year and 2 months since I started reading so I had a lot to catch up on. I have a list of 12, but there will be a few that are a series that I will group together. They might not have been published in 2012, but that is when I read them. Without any further rambling, here are my Top 12 of 2012.

1. Reswyt and Nekhet by David Mayer. Books 1 & 2 in the Dreamline Series. These two books are definitely deeper than most books that I have ever read. They really get the gears in your brain working on overhaul. Check them out when you can, you will not regret it!

2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I couldn't put it down. The story was so original and the end was phenomenal. 

3. Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie. This book will tug at your heartstrings.

 4. Fissure by Nicole Williams. This was about a character from her Eden Trilogy, Patrick. I loved that series and this one was just as good, if not better. 

5. Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay. Awesome paranormal twist on Romeo and Juliet. I devoured it!

 6. That Wedding by Jillian Dodd. Read the 1st book in a day and couldn't wait for this one to come out. Great contemporary romance!

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth. This was the 2nd dystopian that I read and it was awesome. I never thought I'd be into that genre, but I am now. 


 8. The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I don't know why it took me so long to read these, but I now own them all in paperback and had to get them signed. I also bought all of her other novels and had them signed. She sure does right some smexy stuff! 

 9. Eternal Hope by Frankie Rose. I was diggin' the first one, but it didn't make my top list for the year. However, the 2nd one blew me away. The author really ramped up the romance and action. Loved it!

10. Preservation & Love and Relativity by Rachael Wade. Yes, I cheated again. But technically not because these are by the same author :-) I just couldn't bear the thought of leaving one off. 

 11. Wishing For Someday Soon by Tiffany King. Heartbreaking tale with a great ending. I cried.

 12. Last but not least, Fragile by M. Leighton. This is another book that made me cry. 

I do have a book that didn't make it to my list, but will make my list for 2013. Yes, I'm cheating again because this book technically does not come out until later this month :-P

Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin


Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Young Adult Contemporary

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Source: Reviewer purchased book

My Review

This book was a hard pill to swallow. It was beautifully haunting and I couldn't stop turning the pages. It started off with my need to know what was so bad that Hannah felt the need to take her life. It couldn't be that bad, right? Wrong. This book goes to show you that everyone's actions have a reaction, especially in Hannah's case. She records her reasons for taking her life along with the names of the people who contributed to that decision. I almost forgot how teenager's operate. High school can be a cruel world for some and it will chew you up and spit you out.

Clay is the next person to get the tapes and he doesn't believe he had any part in Hannah's demise. Of course I'm not going to tell you whether or not that is true. You will have to read this compelling mystery for yourself. I really had a hard time finishing it because of the recent death of a good friend. Death is not something I'm comfortable with. No one is really comfortable with it but reading it is a different story. It brings up so many emotions. This book left me heartbroken and enlightened, if that's at all possible. I would definitely recommend this book to older teens and adults.

Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Young Adult Paranormal

Don’t Sweat.  Don’t Laugh.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.
Gene is different from everyone else around him.  He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is a human, and he knows the rules.  Keep the truth a secret.  It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

My Review

WOW...Where do I start with this one?  I have been told over and over I needed to read it but for some reason it just continued to sit on my shelf....hmm..BIG mistake. I began this book on the 2nd to last day of the year and finished it on January 1. So this book will go in my FAVORITES for 2012 & 2013!!!!I LOVED this book from the first pages. If you loved The Hunger Games and also love vampires then this is a MUST read. It is such a totally different book than anything I have ever read. I usually like to read books from a female point of view but I adapted to Gene so quickly it was really effortless. His character has such a deep will to survive and you cant help but "root" for him. I love the twists and turns in the story as well. I wont give anything away but I can say that at one point I was shocked...I did NOT see a character appearing that I should have from the get go! WOW! The book is written as if vampires are the leaders of the world and "hepers" also known as humans are the prey. There are very few hepers in existence and those that are are placed into a "Hunt" once every ten or so years to engage the vampire population and raise popularity for their Ruler. I loved the hepers instantly and began to root for them as well as Gene....All I can say is that you MUST read this for yourself. I turned pages well into the night...I literally could not put it down...ACTION PACKED but some parts do get a little squeamish...I mean we are dealing with VAMPIRES here!! ALL in all 5 stars for this one! and I literally cannot wait till January 31st when The Prey comes out!!!!