Sunday, April 29, 2012

Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2) by Amanda Hocking



Title:   Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2)

Author:  Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Published: February 28, 2012

My Rating:

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Amazon | Barnes&Noble | The Book Depository |
                          Goodreads


From Goodreads: 

Wendy Everly was shocked to learn she is a changeling switched at birth. In Torn, book two in Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series, her story continues in a world where nothing is as it seems….

Wendy’s connection to her Vittra rivals is very close; they will stop at nothing to lure her to their side. Yet, with the threat of war looming, Wendy’s best hope of saving the Trylle is to master her powers—and marry a royal who is her equal. But how can she walk away from Finn, her handsome, off-limits bodyguard? And then there’s Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares an attraction.

Only Wendy can decide her fate, but she recognizes that making the wrong choice could cost her everything—and everybody—she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.

My Review:
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It’s not often that I enjoy a sequel even more than I enjoy the first book in a series, but I am happy to say that this is the case with The Trylle Trilogy. I loved Torn! I read it in one sitting and am wielding enormous amounts of willpower to stop and write this review instead of diving right into Ascend, the third book in the series.


Normally, I’m a bit suspicious when new characters are introduced in a sequel, but Oren, Sara, Loki, and Duncan are all fascinating characters that I immediately wanted to know more about. I had heard the buzz over Loki, and I can certainly see his appeal. The guy is pretty funny and charming:


“I would simply take you in my arms and hold you there until you swooned.”


And he’s probably the only person who would ever have the guts to say this to the frightening, icy Queen Elora:


Elora: “You think you can use your charm to get out of anything,
but I don’t find you charming at all.”
Loki: “That’s a shame. Because, with all due respect, Your Highness, I could rock your world.”


I remain firmly on Team Finn, though this “I can’t love you, because I care about you” stuff is getting O.L.D. Man up, Finn. We need you!


“Right then, it didn't matter what his reasons were.
 All I knew is that I was sick of him breaking my heart.”


I actually liked Wendy a lot better in Torn. I hope it is because she grew as a character and not just because I became immune to her whining. I do feel for her and the position she finds herself in. I can’t imagine what it would be like to find out the shocking truth of a life you never knew existed.


I adore Tove, and the plot twist involving him was awesome. I love the message in his storyline, and I’m rooting for Tove to have his happily-ever-after.


“Tove had blown the doors open with his abilities, and he stood on the other side of them, looking astonishingly bad ass.”

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“Good.” He exhaled and looked back down the hall. “This is good, right?”
“Yeah, I think so,” I said, and I did mean that.
“Yeah,” he nodded. “I sorta feel like throwing up now, though.”


There’s a lot more I could say about Torn, Amanda Hocking’s incredible writing, the fascinating world she has created, and these easy to fall for characters.... but Ascend awaits, and I simply can’t stand the suspense any longer!


Giveaway of Insurgent ~SIGNED~ by Veronica Roth


Who’s excited for the release of Insurgent by Veronica Roth? Me, me, me!!!!  When I ordered signed copies of this most anticipated sequel for myself and my book soulmate,  I thought... why not order a copy for one of my awesome blog followers?? You guys rock my face off - so I'm getting you one, too! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. This giveaway is open to US and International followers.   Good luck and happy reading!

Note:  The signed copy of Insurgent is being sent from The Book Stall at Chestnut Court and will be shipped shortly after the book's release, May 1.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) by Amanda Hocking


Title:  Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1)

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Publication date:  January 3, 2012

AmazonBarnes&NobleThe Book Depository |
                         
Goodreads


My Rating:
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From Goodreads:

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…


My Review:
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Wendy spent her entire life knowing she was different. Feeling as if she didn’t belong. Her mother attempted to kill her on her 6th birthday and never believed Wendy was her real daughter, or even a real human, for that matter. Now, Finn Holmes, a gorgeous, yet creepy, guy from school, won’t stop staring at her. Turns out, he’s not a creepy stalker... he’s a Tracker, and his job is to bring Wendy home - to her real home, her birthright.  She’s going to find out the truth about who or what she is. A truth that the woman who raised her... might actually have been telling all along.

I love the beautiful red cover, and, while it has a girl in a dress (I promise I won’t go on another rant here), THIS dress is actually significant in the story. While I am a huge fan of Amanda Hocking and her Hollows series, I had some trouble getting into Switched. I'm blaming it on the fact that Switched was my first foray into audio books. Sadly, it may also be my last. Results: Not favorable. The narrator made Wendy sound like a whiny, spoiled brat, and Finn came across as a mean, controlling DB. I didn’t want the audio/narrator to ruin the story or the characters for me, and, fortunately, I had a physical copy of Switched, so I was able to continue the story the good old-fashioned, nature-intended way.

Things got much better once I was able to lend my own voice to these characters. Turns out, Wendy... well, Wendy really is whiny and spoiled, but Finn, on the other hand... Finn was just, well...he made me...

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Helloooo, new fictional BF.  He has brute strength, breath-taking looks, and the perfect amount of dry, unadulterated snark.


“‘The desperation was coming off you in waves. You were all but begging to dance with me. I am doing you a favor.’”


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“‘How did you even know I wasn't in my room?’"
"‘I checked on you.’ Finn gave me a look like I was an idiot. ‘I check on you every morning.’
‘You check on me when I'm sleeping?’ I gaped at him. ‘Every morning?’
He nodded.
‘I didn't know that.’
‘Why would you know that? You're sleeping,’ Finn pointed out.”



So, you can imagine how he makes me melt into a gooey puddle when he says things like this:


“‘I look at you because I can't look away.’”



And does things like this:

“He kissed me desperately, like a drowning man and I was his oxygen.”



As if that were not enough... he can play the piano. Be. still. my. heart.


Finn’s job is to keep Wendy safe - NOT to get involved with her romantically. Being a tracker makes Finn much lower on the Trylle social ladder than Wendy, whose position is quite high.


“Gently he placed his hand on my cheek, letting his fingers press warmly on my skin, and I stared hopefully at him. ‘I am not worth it, Wendy,’ Finn whispered hoarsely.”



Ahhh, the forbidden love. My FAVORITE.


A relationship between the two of them would be more than frowned upon.... it’s grounds for banishment. And given her new domineering, wicked mother figure, banishment would probably be the least of their worries. Seriously, the girl has the most horrible luck in the mommy department. Throw in a group of renegades known as The Vittra, who are hell bent on abducting her, and you’ll know why all the recently acquired riches in the world don’t make Wendy’s new life any easier than the one she was forced to leave behind.


The ending of this book has me eagerly starting the next two novels in this series. I can’t wait to see how Wendy’s character grows (fingers crossed) and what she faces, due to some of the decisions she made. Most importantly, I can’t wait to read more about the swoon-worthy Finn.


“When something is important to you, you make sure it’s safe.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows


Title:   Incarnate (Newsoul #1)

Author: Jodi Meadows

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Published: January 31, 2012

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | The Book Depository

   My Rating:
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From Goodreads:

New soul.

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul.

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart.

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

My Review:
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I loved every aspect of this book, from the gorgeous cover and the fascinating details of reincarnation, to the amazing characters and all the descriptions that fill these beautiful pages. This was a very unique book for me, and I was easily lost to the story that Jodi Meadows told.


In the Range, souls have been reincarnated for thousands of years... at least, that’s the way things were until Ana was born. Ana is not a reincarnated soul, and no one knows what happened to the soul that vanished. Most of the Society blame Ana for the loss of their friend, but no one detests Ana more than her own mother.

“‘Who am I?’ My first spoken words.
‘No one,’ she said. ‘Nosoul.’”



Ana’s mother only took care of her because the Council forced her to. Not exactly mother of the year material, to say the least. Ana’s upbringing was heart-breaking, but I love that it didn’t break Ana - it only made her stronger and more determined.


“I’m not going to waste time being angry about things I can’t control. If I only have one life, I should make the most of it.”



Then, there is Sam. I love Sam, and it took me by surprise that I fell for him the way I did. I admit it, I like a bad boy in my books. You know the kind... tough, sarcastic, tattooed, dressed in head-to-toe black with a droll sense of humor. Well, that’s not Sam. Sam is... beautiful. The sweetest, kindest, most patient man. He’s not without his humor, though, and he and Ana were awkwardly funny at times. One of the things I loved the most about Sam was that he never referred to Ana as a ‘no soul.’ He called her a ‘new soul.’


“There's always the option of deciding for yourself who you are and what you'll become.”



My favorite part of this entire book was the music. I am a music lover. I sing and I play the piano, so you can imagine how thrilled I was with the parts of the book that focused around a piano. Composing, piano lessons, and just Ana’s awe of the music and the instrument from which it flows have made this book dear to my heart. When Ana sat in front of a piano for the first time, her excitement was palpable. Her love for music was this tangible thing that brought not only her, but myself as the reader, to a state of pure bliss. I don’t think I’ve ever related more to a character than I did with Ana.


“Music overwhelmed me, soaked into my skin like water. I didn’t have words for the squiggles and dashes across the pages, or the way his fingers stretched across the keys to make my heart race. If I could hear only one thing for the rest of my life, this was what I wanted.”


If you’re not a big piano/music fan, don’t worry - it doesn’t take up huge portions of the story. There is romance, action, adventure, and... dragons. That’s right, people - dragons! Incarnate has a little something for everyone.


Jodi Meadows has made a fan out of me, and I can hardly wait for her next book! 

Quotes I just can’t stop thinking about:

“He held on to me like I was a rock, the only thing keeping him from drifting out with the tide of dark memories. It was the first time I realized he needed me too.”
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“It wasn’t an easy, sweet kiss like I’d imagined my first would be, but frustrated and hungry. That was good, better than easy and sweet, because after everything, I was frustrated and hungry for him, too.”
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“‘I don't want to lose you,’ he whispered again. And I didn't want to be lost.”

 





Friday, April 20, 2012

Katertot's Review of The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith

The Storm Makers
Title: The Storm Makers
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 3, 2012

 Amazon | Barnes&Noble | The Book Depository

Katertot's Rating:
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From Goodreads: 

Enter the world of The Storm Makers, where there's magic behind every forecast.

What starts as an ordinary summer turns exciting and perilous for twins Ruby and Simon when strange occurrences begin happening on their farm -- sudden gusts of wind, rainstorms, and even tornado warnings -- that seem eerily timed to Simon's emotions.

Then a stranger arrives and tells the twins that Simon is a Storm Maker -- part of a clandestine group of people entrusted with controlling and taming the weather -- and that he is in great danger. Soon Simon and Ruby must race against the clock as they try to master Simon's powers in time to stop a rogue Storm Maker's treacherous -- and potentially deadly -- plans.

In this thrilling new adventure, loyalties can shift as quickly as the wind . . . and the ordinary can turn extraordinary in the blink of an eye.

Hi, everyone!  Mckenzie Kate aka Katertot here.  I'm filling in for my mom while she is lost in the magical land of Nevernever.  Don't worry, she's doing just fine, but I do often hear her mumbling the names Puck and Ash.  She only has one more book to go, though, so she'll be back soon.


Katertot's Review:

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Ruby and Simon McDuff are two very ordinary twins… or so they think. Once they receive a visit from a strange man named Otis, they aren’t so sure any more. Otis explains the reason for the turn of events in the weather lately. Like freak snowstorms all over the US, and even hot, scorching droughts in Wisconsin. Much to Simon's shock, Otis informs him he is a Storm Maker. Storm Makers don’t necessarily make weather, in spite of their name, but control it to protect the people of the earth. It’s hard to understand at first why Simon can’t seem to make as much as a snowflake or a gust of wind. Things aren’t working out quite right, and they’re all starting to doubt whether he’s really a Storm Maker after all.

Then, a new character comes into the picture… a very mysterious and somewhat shady Rupert London, who Ruby distrusts immediately. And for good reason. A Storm Maker gone bad, London has decided to get even with the people of the world for all they’ve done to ruin the environment, such as oil spills, car fumes, etc. He has decided to destroy parts of the earth (killing people while doing so) by working to create tornadoes, hailstorms, and even avalanches. Ruby, Simon, Otis, and Daisy (another Storm Maker) have to work together to stop London from completely ruining everything Storm Makers stand for: controlling the elements to help people in danger - such as slowing down a hurricane, or holding off a forest fire. But London has other plans in mind…

An interesting, absorbing story with a wonderful twist at the end (gotta love those), The Storm Makers is a perfect story for anyone who loves reading about weather and exciting events that are very realistic. Jennifer E. Smith has sucked me in like a tornado with her excellent writing skills. Even though this is a kids’ book, the story is full of beautiful writing for all ages. Just out of the blue, like a flash of lightning (see what I did there?), a superb quote such as this would catch my eye:

There are days when time splits down the middle, and before and after no longer bear any resemblance to each other.”

I must name a few of my favorite characters:

~ Ruby: I adored Ruby, because she was a very bookish girl (who wouldn’t love a girl like that?) and a very smart person. She was always giving scientific facts and explaining things to people. Ruby was definitely a lead character that I had no trouble liking.

~ Otis: Otis was by far my favorite character in the book. He was so sweet, and I just loved him! He’s the kind of guy who you just like instantly. He was always looking out for Ruby and Simon, and he always had the right thing to say.

~ Daisy: As a mechanic on the side, and a Storm Maker full time, Daisy was a quirky and interesting character to read about. She was a lot like Otis in the way that she was a wise and good person, but her back-story was heart-breaking. I love Daisy because she reminds me of my mom. No, no, my mom is definitely not a mechanic… (hahaha) but both my mom and Daisy have useful insight whenever there’s a problem. They also are both good people and fun to be around (and no, she did not pay me to say that).

I want to mention the occasional illustrations throughout the book - I loved them! Ms. Smith has written a wonderfully exciting book. It’s hard for me to believe this was her first kid’s book, and I hope she writes many more!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Giveaway Winners of The Black Shard and The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox

And the winners are...


Nyssa:
The Black Shard

Christie, Sam, Heidi, and Serafina:
The Magic Warble



The winners have been contacted.
Thank you all so much for entering!  Enjoy your books!

Friday, April 13, 2012

And So It Begins....


The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, #2)The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3)The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)


I am one of the few people left on earth who have yet to read this series, but all that changes today! I've heard the most amazing things about these books and about Julie Kagawa. I finished The Immortal Rules and enjoyed it so much, I knew I couldn't wait another day to get started.  I won't be reviewing each book individually, since there have been so many fabulous reviews by all my blogging/reviewing buddies, but I will post updates regularly on Goodreads. So, come and join me here, and let's dish about this exciting series.  I have so many questions:  Who is Ash? What is a Puck?  Which team will I land on?
  Eeeep! Here I go......


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Expected Publication:  April 24, 2012

  Goodreads   Barnes & Noble   Amazon

  My Rating:
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From Goodreads: 

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

My Review:
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I was very excited to read my first book by Julie Kagawa. I have heard tremendous things about this author and her writing. If you find it hard to imagine reading yet another vampire novel, let me assure you, there are a lot more things going on in The Immortal Rules than just vampires. These vampires are not your stick-to-the-shadows, maybe-they-exist-maybe-they-don’t variety. These vampires rule whole cities, and it is the humans who have had to learn to stick to the shadows.

While I enjoyed the story very much, there were times it also felt very familiar. I felt as though I was reading several of my favorite books in this one action-packed story. I can’t complain, though - they are my favorite stories for a reason.

Allison has not led a privileged, pampered life. As an unregistered, she has struggled, scavenged, and grappled most of her life just in order to survive. And the fight for survival has fueled her hatred for one thing above all others - vampires. So what will Allie choose when she’s faced with the choice of an immortal life, or death?

I appreciate a female lead like Allie - she’s just the type of determined and tenacious heroine I delight in reading about. Her growth as a character was amazing, and I found her very easy to root for.

I loved the different paths the story took, by first introducing us to The Fringe, then, Kanin, and later, Jebbadiah’s group. While some of those things were, again, familiar, the rabids were not! Rabids are not what I first suspected, and, though these creatures are capable of haunting my dreams for many nights to come, I’m not sure who I would rather face: A rabid, or Jackal! Jackal was an extremely intriguing character, but I’m going to refrain from saying more about him, as to not give anything away.

The male protagonist, Ezekiel, aka Zeke, was not introduced in the beginning of the book, and I very much enjoyed that unique angle of the story. I liked Zeke for several reasons, not just because he was this handsome boy who had eyes for Allie. I liked him for his faith and for the kind of person he was: honest, kind, and very brave. Zeke had certain beliefs drilled into him since he was a little boy, so will he be capable of seeing past that, drawing his own conclusions, and, eventually, making his own decisions? That was something I found very relatable. Zeke’s story broke my heart, and a particular gut-wrenching scene involving him and Jebbadiah, really gives the readers insight into both of these characters. Zeke was definitely endearing, but he could also could be surprisingly funny! I do love a little humor in my man:

“‘You didn’t hear what she told me when I got up - you’re so cute I could put you in a pie. Tell me that’s not the creepiest thing you’ve ever heard.’”


Actually, there was humor infused throughout the book, even when the characters were in the most dire situations. I love it when a book has me nervously teetering on the edge of my chair one second, only to have me bursting out laughing and drawing looks from my family in the next!

“I ducked behind the corner again, heart pounding. You’ve got to be kidding, I mused, sinking farther into the concealing shadows, hoping they didn’t hear me. This just isn’t my night. Deer, rabids, and now freaking mole men in the tunnels. No one is going to believe this. I shook my head and huddled lower, clutching the handle of my knife. Now all I need is a vampire to come sauntering through and it’ll be perfect.


Both of those quotes are subject to change, as they are from the ARC, but I sure hope they won’t, because I adore them!

The ending of the book was killer, and I wish I had the next book in my hands now. To appease myself, I plan on starting another popular series by Julie Kagawa, The Iron Fey. I can certainly see why there is so much buzz about this author, and I can’t wait to read all of her novels.

Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mother/Daughter Review and Giveaway of The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox


The Black Shard

Title:         The Black Shard
Author:     Victoria Simcox
Publisher:  Two Harbors Press
Published:  November 11, 2011

Our Rating:
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From Goodreads:


Kristina's stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it's all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester's cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it's actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can't refuse.


Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends ... and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn't get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the "Black Shard," Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it's in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.

Victoria Simcox has outdone herself with her sophomore novel, The Black Shard. The second book in her Magic Warble series was exhilarating and as enchanting as the first book. This book is written for middle graders, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and believe it is fun for all ages. I love the world and characters that the author created, but what I love most is how perfect this book is for middle grade kids. My daughter adores it! It’s so wonderful and gives me such peace of mind to know she isn’t reading anything too mature and that the content is 100% suitable for her age. Not only did my kiddo love it, but she has read it twice now, and I’m still seeing her carrying it around everywhere she goes. This does a mother’s heart good! Thank you so much for helping to make readers out of today’s tweens and teens, Victoria! Because of Mckenzie’s devotion to this story, I’m going to turn this review over to her so you can get a real middle grader’s opinion:

Katertot's Review:
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I love when I am able to read and finish a book within hours of starting it. This is how it was with The Black Shard. I am in love with this book! There are no words good enough to describe it, but I’ll do my very best.

In the second installment of this lovely series, the two main characters, Kristina and Werrien, meet again in the magical land of Bernovem. Soon after, Kristina begins to feel odd and sick… . Something isn’t right, and no one knows what it could be. Kristina keeps seeing an ugly, old hag in the mirror when she looks at her own reflection, and, at one very interesting scene in the book, she sees the hag in the water and almost drowns. She soon learns that the old hag is trying to possess her soul and will not stop until she has.

When I read The Magic Warble (the first book by Victoria Simcox) I was intrigued by the storyline and knew that I wanted to read the second one soon. At the end of The Magic Warble, I was hoping that, in the next book, there would be a bit of romance… and I was very pleased that there was! Don’t worry - the romance is very innocent and very age-appropriate. Victoria Simcox has written yet another wonderful book, and I have fallen in love with her work all over again. There were so many pages that I marked because of a certain scene or a quote. I must have three dozen flags sticking out of the book right now.

I wish I could give The Black Shard ten stars! I adored it that much! I think one of the reasons is because the characters were a little older in this one, and I could really relate to them.

I loved this book so much that the day after I read it the first time, I read it all over again! I still read some of it every day. There were many parts in the book that had me giddy with excitement! There is so much more I could say about this amazing story, but I don’t want to give too much away!

The Black Shard feels more intense and even more exciting than The Magic Warble (if that’s possible), which is a big part of why I loved it so much. I needed more of these wonderful characters and this incredible book, and I was not disappointed in the least. The ending included a major cliffhanger, and I will be anxiously awaiting the third installment of this wonderful series.

A huge thank-you to Victoria Simcox for sending me The Black Shard for review!

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So, there you have it: Mckenzie Kate and Mom Approved!

The Magic WarbleThe Black ShardAnd that’s not all, guys!! Victoria has graciously offered to give away one hard copy of The Black Shard to US residents and four Ebook versions of the Magic Warble (Book 1) for international entrants. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below! Thank you for entering and good luck!


About the author:
Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.


The Black Shard

Purchase The Black Shard here:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate


Fallen in Love (Fallen, #3.5)

Title:   Fallen In Love (Fallen #3.5)
Author:   Lauren Kate
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Published: January 24, 2012

My Rating: 
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From Goodreads: 


Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.

And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine's Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect it. Roland learns a painful lesson about finding-and losing love. Arriane pays the price for a love so fierce it burns. And for the first -and last- time, Daniel and Luce will spend a night together like none other.

Lauren Kate's FALLEN IN LOVE is filled with love stories . . . the ones everyone has been waiting for.

True love never says goodbye. .

My Review
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Four short stories in one novella made for a pleasant and fast read. I wish I could rate each story individually, because my opinions on these stories vary greatly. The first story involves Miles and Shelby and is, in fact, a very cute story. For the first time, I found Shelby to be endearing, and I loved the “Gift of the Magi” moment she and Miles shared. I’ve always thought Miles was adorable in a goofy kind of way. I think Roland summed this up perfectly:

“Miles was all golden heart and very little badass.”

My favorite part of story #1 was when they ran into Roland, which segued nicely into the next story. Roland:  he’s always been a bit of a mystery to me, and, to be honest, he scared me a little. His story really shed some light on things and what happened to make him the Roland we know in the present.
 
The third story was, for me, the best of all:

“When one lover suffered from a broken heart, no matter how badly the other wanted to help, she couldn't be the one to heal it.”

I LOVED reading about Arriane and Tessriel. I think there was a wonderful message of acceptance and love with lots of underlying little gems, as well as the importance of free will. A beautiful, but heart-wrenching tale.

“As far as possible, Arriane realized, each soul had to be content alone before plunging into love, because one never knew when the other would move out of that love. It was the greatest paradox: Souls need each other, but they also need to not need each other.”

I would love to see more stories like this from Lauren Kate.

Then we have the fourth and final story. Luce and Daniel’s story was probably intended as a “save the best for last” kind of thing, but it wasn't my favorite.  Maybe, it's because I love Cam.  Maybe, I find myself growing tired of Daniel and Luce.  Most likely, I think I’m just more than ready for these two to get their happy ending and for the readers to have theirs. I did enjoy the sneak peek of Rapture, but mainly due to the sliver of Cam we received. I would have relished a whole story devoted to Cam. Perhaps, there will be one in the future.

I definitely recommend Fallen in Love to huge fans of The Fallen series, especially if you are team Daniel, or, if you’re like me, a bigger fan of the series’ supporting characters. There just wasn’t a whole lot for us “Cam girls” this time around. Rapture (Fallen #4) hits shelves June 12, 2012.

Thank you to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Fallen in Love (Fallen, #3.5)
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