Friday, August 31, 2012

Follow Friday

 
 
Feature and Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. This weeks question is:
 
 
Q: Best cover? What is the best cover of a book that you've read and loved?.
 
Wow, how hard is that question?  I think that the first really good cover that comes to mind is any in the Mortal Instruments series - they are all really good and it would be incredibly difficult to pick one out over the others.  I think Christinabean would agree with me on that one.  It is closely followed by the Beautiful Creatures et al covers.  There is something so stark and haunting about those covers that just gets to me.
 
 
        
Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.
 
Check out yesterdays post about Pushing the Limits for a chance at a copy - it's really good.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry Review and Giveaway


Published: July 31st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Copy: Courtesy of publisher and Netgalley


"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

"An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!"-Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series.

About author Katie McGarry:
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.

* Check out Katie's website: www.katielmcgarry.com

Review
Regular readers will know that angsty, contemporary novels are really not my usual genre du jour, but I'm happy to say that Pushing The Limits was a wonderful read for me.  I was enjoyably surprised with this edgy romance, and raced through it, barely stopping to take breath.

Both characters are so fractured and fragile, yet so believable.  Not once did I feel that Echo or Noah were overdrawn or over-reacting to situations.  Echo's family is seriously warped, yet I can see why they want to protect her - possibly for selfish reasons. As a parent, it's hard to know what to do for the best, we want to protect our children from harm - so while I don't agree with her father's reasoning, I do understand where it came from. The fact that they are able to eventually overcome their problems is a testament to therapy.  Ms Collins is a shining example of the 'understanding authority figure', and I loved her methods.  She was never over the top and her concern for Echo and Noah always seemed genuine.

As for Noah, well what can I say.  He was trying to help his brothers in all the wrong ways for all the right reasons.  I felt that his situation was exactly what is meant when you hear the phrase 'there, but for the grace of God'.  He is landed in an untenable situation, through no fault of his own and is branded a trouble-maker for trying - unsuccessfully - to do the right thing. Your heart will just bleed for him.

There has been a lot of positive press about this novel lately and I can only add that as far as I'm concerned it has all been justified.  Pushing The Limits is a taut, engrossing story that will tug at your heart-strings.  Definitely a book worth reading.

For those of you who have not yet had a chance to win a copy of Pushing The Limits, fill in your deets below and you may still get lucky.  Good Luck.

(Sorry I was having issues and couldn't get the form to fit properly.)








Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - August 29

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is


I'm a big fan of Melissa Marr and her Wicked Lovely series.  Carnival of Souls is her newest title...wonder if it will be another hit series?  Outpost is #2 of the Razorland series.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Musings by Knitwits - Jam On by Laena McCarthy

 
 
 
 
This months selection is for the cooks in the audience.  Ever wanted to try your hand at making Jam:
 


Published: August 2012
Publisher: Studio
Pages: 272
Copy: Publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

In Jam On, New York’s “Jam Queen” Laena McCarthy shares her love of making inventive handmade jam with delicious recipes and canning techniques. Her down-to-earth approach and unique, easy method allows even the novice cook to make fresh and exciting jam. The recipes in Jam On use less sugar, making the jams not only healthier, but more intensely flavorful than your average fruit concoction. With step-by-step instructions and four-color photographs throughout, McCarthy guides readers through the canning process and offers inventive herb and spice combinations for a range of signature jams.

Recipes include:
• Grapefruit & Smoked Salt Marmalade
• Strawberry Balsamic Jam
• Easy Like Sunday Morning Blueberry Preserves
• Tiny Strawberry Preserves with Thai Basil
• Rhubarb Hibiscus Jam
• Spiced Beer Jelly
• Hot Fireman’s Pear Jam
• Lime & Pandan Marmalade
• and much more


Last year I spent a fair bit of time making jam.  160 jars of it in fact, that we used as favours at my daughter's wedding.  Thankfully we had extremely good feedback on it and actually had several people ask for seconds.  I wasn't too adventurous, just making strawberry, raspberry, strawberry peach and a mixed berry.  How I wish I'd had Laena McCarthy's Jam On by my side when I had been slaving away.

This book is absolutely wonderful.  The colour photographs alone are enough to get your taste buds humming.  And there is so much selection. Just look at the names above in the blurb. Each recipe does not make a huge quantity, about four jars each.  Enough to get a good taste, but not so much that it's a waste if, however unlikely, you don't like the results. 

There are general how-to directions at the beginning and then full instructions for each individual jam, jelly, preserve, marmalade, chutney, butter or more.  How about Watermelon and Lemongrass Jelly; Brooklyn Green Tomato Chutney: Elevenses Peach Jam (sugar-free); Blackberry and Lavender Jam; Sun-Gold Tomato Jam; Big Apple Butter, or even Pickled Strawberries.  There are just so many delicious alternatives that it would be almost impossible to choose.

Jam On is an amazingly informative book that  makes no assumptions as to your ability and offers many alternatives for just about every fruit you can think of.  This book would be perfect for both beginners and expert jam makers alike.  I'm certainly going to add this one to my cook book collection tout suite. Now, I'm going to try out a couple of the pear altrnatives. My daugter has two pear trees in her yard that are just dripping with fruit. Hot Fireman's Grilled Cheese anyone, using the Hot Fireman's Pear Jam? Sounds good to me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stacking the shelves


Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received. These past few weeks I've been loading my e-reader with books borrowed from the library for road trips.  I have to say, one of the things I LOVE about borrowing from the library in e-format is that they automatically expire after a certain timeframe so I'm not paying fines (I always owe the library for fines...). So here's what I've snagged - 







Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shout Out to Indies



We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting. Lastly, for you readers, this is a bit of a test so please do comment and let us know what you think. We will also be offering up giveaway copies whenever we can! So without further ado, here are this week's picks -



Summary (by Goodreads)
Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant. 

Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure. 

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?

Interested in this title?  Miss Holle has kindly offered to give away a paperback copy of her book, t-shirt and swag (bookmarks and bookplate) to one lucky winner.  Open internationally.  Please leave a comment indicating that you'd like to enter at the bottom of this post.  Winners will be drawn in two weeks.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thumped (Bumped #2) by Megan McCafferty - Guest Post

 
Published: April 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray Publishing
Pages: 290
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.
I’m going to cheat a little and review the books as a whole, although my focus will be on Thumped, since that’s: a) where it ends and b) the one I’ve read recently.

I am probably the only person I know that hadn’t read Megan McCafferty before Bumped. *gasp* I know! I haven’t yet gotten to the Jessica Darling series. One day. Eventually. So I was engaged with Bumped, and enjoyed the lighthearted writing style McCafferty embodies, even while tackling what can be a pretty touchy (punny!) topic – teen sexuality.

Some have argued that the narrative on teen sexuality in this duo of books is preachy – and I can see that. And maybe that was the point, to give teens a bit of an eye-opener when they read. Because really, what would happen if only the under-18s group could reproduce? What if reproducing suddenly became not only necessary for that age group, but profitable?

Scarily enough, it sort of did. MTV’s show 16 and Pregnant reportedly caused an entire town of 16 year old girls to get pregnant on purpose so they could be on the show. McCafferty gives us that same type of scenario, with a lot more heart, some funnier language and a less heartbreaking ending (re: the show declined to have any of the girls on the show).

Was it predictable? Yes. I knew how the books would end before I had reached page 50 of Thumped. But I still enjoyed getting there. And even knowing what the rhetoric was (Practice safe sex! You have a choice! It’s your body!), I still enjoyed them – I didn’t mind having that message thrown in my face with McCafferty’s delicious writing style. And the characters are so wrapped up in this ridiculous game they’ve played, they keep forgetting what their purpose is. They keep forgetting that they are people – not ends to a means. It’s endearing. Melody and Harmony (who only met in Bumped – they were twins separated at birth) are close enough to be believably instinctive sisters, but distant enough that you don’t question the fact that they only really met 9 months ago (and have spent much of those same 9 months apart). Ram and Jondoe are hilariously competent – they try so hard and it’s adorable. Light, with a great message? Bumped and Thumped are thumbs up for me.

Oh, and quick high-five to Ms. McCafferty to sticking to her guns and keeping this a duo of books (which I’m guessing is partly because of Melody and Harmony being twins, and both being set to deliver twins. Twos all around, folks) and not going with the YA trend of trilogies and series and dragging things on and on and on. It wrapped up nicely. In two books. It can be done!

Many, many thanks to our dear friend and co-worker Special K for her unique views on books that Christinabean and I just don't have the time to get to.  Thank you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mortal Instruments news




A few weeks ago we updated you with the newest cast members for the upcoming film of City of Bones.  Well, just in case you haven't already seen the newest update, there is a firm date for the release of the film. Drumroll please .............

August 23rd, 2013.

 
 
So put this one on your calendar right now.  We'll see you in the line-up.
 

Check out the official movie page if you're interested in more cast info. http://themortalinstrumentsmovie.com/

Follow Friday




Feature and Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. This weeks question is:

Q: Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book that you've read and loved?.

This is really hard.  There have been a lot of so so covers, but I think the one that I felt least portrayed the book is Gone by Michael Grant.  The US/Canadian covers don't give any real hint of what is going on inside the book, nor do any of the sequels.  I absolutely love the series, and the covers have constantly disappointed me.  Especially when the UK covers are so stark and have such a WoW factor - although they don't convey what the books are about either, come to think of it.  What do you think? Which do you prefer, UK on left - US on right?



 


Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blazing the trail by Deborah Cooke


Published: June 5th, 2012
Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 310
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads


It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and Zoë Sorensson’s love life is heating up. Cute, loyal, and understanding, wolf shifter Derek is pretty much the perfect guy. He likes Zoë, and he knows what it’s like to have to keep a secret. Yet, Zoë can’t help but wish it was rebel rocker Jared asking her to the Valentine’s dance instead. But Jared’s too busy playing hot and cold with her heart, calling Zoë his dragon girl one minute and then taking special interest in her best friend the next.



Zoë is just about ready to breathe fire, especially once she uncovers a new threat that targets her friends. Although Zoë thought the Mages were defeated, they’re back and have invoked an old spell to give them new power—they plan to eliminate all shape shifters on the night of the big dance. Now, Zoë must lead an alliance of young shifters to battle the Mages and figure out exactly what—and who—she wants, before it all goes up in smoke…

Deborah Cooke's Dragon Diaries series was a pleasure to read.  Perhaps this was partly due to the fact that I did not have to wait more than a few weeks between each book, but it was only a small part.  From what I can find out, this is Ms Cooke's first foray into YA and I sincerely hope it won't be her last.

Her character development through the three books: Flying Blind; Winging It and now Blazing the Trail, has been steady and believable.  Zoe has so much to learn as the only femaile dragon, and taking her place as Wyvern requires a huge learning curve.  She is amenable to suggestion and allows her friends to help her whenever possible. Zoe is smart and sassy, but never forgets her friends.  What a wonderfully strong heroine she is, learning from her mistakes and always willing to try again.

There are so many wonderful secondary character in the trilogy that it's hard to mention them all.  Meaghan, Zoe's best friend is 'the genius' but she is such a likeable person that it's hard to hold that against her.  It's so funny watching someone get excited over mathematics :)  Jessica is a bit of a mystery, but by this book, she has developed into a solid character and you can't help but appreciate her.

Of course the hot guys are tripping over themselves, but most have their vulnerabilities - Liam getting teased about the peach fuzz on his top lip was so cute and Derek showed real strength of character in his relationship with Zoe.  Jared shows up again - the enigmatic 'stranger' who flits in and out of the story, but he definitely has a heart of gold.

For me though the storyline itself was what kept me coming back for more.  The twists and turns with the three fates Urd, Skuld and  Verdandi, or Granny, were impressive and the introduction of Sigmund, the ghost of Zoe's older brother was superb.  Something I appreciated in this series was that the mages were the bad guys and the shifters are the good ones.  Reading about a large group of different shifters putting aside their differences and working together was intriguing and well done.  Put together dragons, magic, shifters, ghosts and romance - lots of different romances in fact - and you have the recipe for a perfect series.  I'm just sorry it's over.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - August 22

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is


We love Canadian authors and one of our favourites is Lesley Livingston.  Starling is book #1 of her newest series!



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fantastic Fairytales The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones



Published: February 2007
Publisher: Eos
Summary: Goodreads


Swept away into a court of magic and beauty, she discovers she is Tania, the lost princess of Faerie: the youngest daughter of Oberon and Titania. Since Tania's mysterious disappearance on the eve of her wedding five hundred years before, Faerie has been sunk in darkness and gloom. The courtly Lord Gabriel Drake, who Tania was once to marry, has found her and brought her back.

With Tania's return, Faerie comes alive again as a land of winged children, glittering balls, and fantastic delights. But Tania can't forget Anita's world, or the boy she loved there.

Torn between two loves and between two worlds, Tania slowly comes to discover why she disappeared so long ago. She possesses a singular magical ability and she must use it to stop a sinister plan that threatens the entire world of Faerie.

Ok, time to fess up.  I haven't read this book.  I own a copy that I snagged off the sale cart at the library a few weeks ago, but I haven't got around to reading it yet.  I have been looking at this book for years - literally.  I even took it home a few times, but for one reason or another never read it.  It sounds wonderful, so I don't know why I haven't read it.  Is there anyone out there who has read this one and can tell me whether it's worth cracking open or not? I'd love to hear from you and get your opinions on this one.  If it is good there are more in the series, but I have so much to read right now I feel reluctant to start another so-so series.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received.

 I loaded up my e-reader again with the following titles.  I'm getting revved up for a long cross-country road trip.  Which begs the question - what have you been reading while on summer vacation?






 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spark: Elementals 2 by Brigid Kemmerer


Published:; August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Kteen
Pages: 432
ecopy: Courtesy of publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.


Spark is smokin', in more ways than one.  Four hot brothers, four budding romances and an arsonist.  Is it Gabriel, the brother who can control the element of fire? No it's not, but I'm not telling who it is.  And I didn't even have a glimmer of a guess until almost the end of the book.  My initial suspicions were waaay off - not even close.

Unfortunately I have not read the first title in this Elementals series: Storm, and I really wish I had.  Not that it was difficult to follow along at all - Ms Kemmerer did a very good job of filling in some back story where needed, but this book was all about Gabriel.  As the first book appears to have been all about Chris the youngest brother, my not reading it did not seem to impact my enjoyment of Spark. 

Gabriel is hurting.  He's suffering from a major case of guilt and his actions make him appear like the logical choice for the arsonist.  His anger and frustration seemed genuine, and while I've never understood the teenage males' propensity for violence, my son tells me it rang true. (I've always been more of a 'use your words' kind of person.)  Layne is a fragile girl, who hides her beauty behind her brains, and tries never to stand out.  There is a very disturbing scene of teen bullying, that to my mind fully illustrated some of the negative things that are going on in high schools today.  In fact there are several such scenes, but again, my son tells me that's what happens.  They were each integral to the story, and helped to illustrate the types of people we are dealing with in the story.

Spark is one of those tales where you are almost sure you know what is going to happen, but the getting there is all the fun.  Gabriel, Nick, Chris and Michael are very convincing as brothers and Layne, Quinn, Becca and Hannah were all wonderful in their own way.  Yes, Spark is romantic, but it's the tension over the fires that will keep you reading.  It is a fun, exciting paranormal mystery and I for one will be back for more.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Burn by Heath Gibson



Published: August 8th, 2012
Publisher: Flux
Pages; 264
ecopy: Courtesy of publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads


All it takes is one spark.


William Tucker loves being a volunteer firefighter (maybe it's no coincidence that a pastor's son would enjoy saving people). And after he rescues his crush, Mandy Pearman, she undergoes a profound transformation for the better. In fact, it seems like a lot of good comes from the embers of tragedy in his small Alabama town. William may not be able to meet his father's expectations, force his mother to ditch the gin, or protect his gay brother, but for those who need a second chance at life, William isn't afraid to light the match--and become the hero the town needs.


Burn is a surprisingly good little gem that I hope does not get missed by readers.  When I first started it I was hesitant, not sure that it was my style, but it surprised me, got under my skin, and then blew my socks off with it's ending.  Can't say a lot without major spoilers, but WOW, I wasn't expecting it.

The main character, William is from a dysfuntional southern family that at times reminded me a little of the Beautiful Darkness series - minus anything supernatural.  He has a very self-deprecating sense of humour that was both sad and amusing and it's easy to like him as a character.  He is a good friend and he has a good heart, but all is not as it seems.  I wondered a little at why he started behaving the way he did, but really, with a family like his, it wasn't all that surprising - something had to break.

Burn is a short but very interesting  look at why we might be tempted to do something wrong, for the right reasons.  A compelling read.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Follow Friday




Feature and Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. This weeks question is:

What blogger inspires you?  It can be any kind.  It doesn't have to be a book blog.

That's easy - Tynga from Tynga's Reviews because she is so freaking busy with her blog.  She does reviews and always manages to run these massive giveaways.  Plus, now she's a new mom.  I don't know how she does it!
The second one who inspires me is Liz from Midnight Blooms.  She is such a sweetheart.  We met a couple years back at an author signing and she was a student.  Again, I don't know how she manages to read so quickly and still goes to school.  I know Liz follows us because every now and again I'll see her comments pop up.  So that means she's using her reader too.  Yet another busy blogger!
Ladies, you're awesome.

- Christinabean

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas


Published: August 7th, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 416
Copy: Publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads


After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

First off, I have to say I loved Throne of Glass.  I have read countless reviews over the past few weeks saying what is right and wrong with the characters and the story, but to my mind you just have to get over one thing.  The world's best assassin is 18 years old?  Uh, uh!  Never going to happen! She just couldn't possibly have had the experience to make her 'the world's best' at that age.  One of the best - definitely - that's plausible.  But THE best - sorry, no.

Once we get that little inconsistency out of the way, all the little niggly things about the story just disappear and you can enjoy it for what it is.   A superb romantic fantasy, with great characters, wonderful action and intriguing mystery.  Enough said.  Bring on number 2, I can't wait.

Forgiven by Jana Oliver



Published: March 2012
Publisher: St Martins Griffin
Pages: 354
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…


I have thoroughly enjoyed the Demon Trappers series.  Each volume has been exciting and engrossing, and Forgiven brought everything together nicely and to a satisfying conclusion .... or not.*

Riley's growth as a character increased with each volume.  It's nice to see a character learn from her experiences and use what she learns.  She doesn't wallow in self pity, or leave solutions to others.  It was also nice to see her deal with paying bills and going to school (afternoons only in an old Starbucks!) - mundane tasks that keep her grounded in reality, and boy, does she need to be grounded!

"Oh, and I got to talk to the Prince himself.  He's one spooky guy, that's for sure."
Her friend's brain reengaged. "You got hot and heavy with a Fallen angel, then you chatted up the Prince of Hell?"
"Yeah. I owe Lucifer a favor, so he doesn't let Ori kill everyone I love." Like you. (p43)

And you gotta love a book that channels Buffy!

"Why does this feel like a bad episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?" Riley smiled through her tears. "What would Buffy do now?" Peter thought for a moment. "She'd kick some ass and look smoking hot doing it." (p45)

There are lots of secondary characters, both good and bad, and all very individual.  I could just see Mort shrugging and blushing and Beck lining up his beer bottles.  Beck was one of my favourite characters - without giving too much of a spoiler, his affection for a certain small furry animal really showed his soft side, which I loved.  Ms Oliver did a stellar job of showing the differences between Demon Hunters and Demon Trappers, yet through it all she kept everyone 'human'.  That is of course unless they were demons and there are a lot of very nasty ones to keep everyone on their toes.

The series is about the perennial battle between Good and Evil and the vulnerabilities of those of us caught in the middle.  It's an exciting, sad, spine-tingling, emotional roller coaster ride with Fallen angels, demons, necromancers and witches to sweeten the deal.  Great reading, especially for anyone who enjoyed Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon trilogy

*On a side note, I had thought that this would be a trilogy, but as the ending showed clearly, there is more to come.  The 4th and final book, Foretold, is due out in the US in December this year, but I'm really hoping that since we're in Canada I'll be able to snag a UK edition which comes out this month.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire


Published: August 14th, 2012
Publisher:
Copy: Publisher via Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.


Travis Maddox is a walking, talking train wreck.  He's the good looking guy that you should avoid at all costs.  Talk about high maintenance?  I couldn't decide whether I wanted to slug him or hug him half the time.  That said, you can't help but like him - even though you know that he so wrong on so many levels.

As for Abby, well she should know better.  She repeatedly falls under Travis's spell even though it is so obviously the wrong thing to do. She seems to be a fairly strong character in every way, except where Travis is concerned, and appears to let him manipulate her. It's a strange relationship that the two of them have, but it is the sort of story that you want to keep reading just to find out what is going to happen between them. I don't know that I agree with her choices, but no-one ever said that love makes sense.

Travis's room-mate Shepley and Abby's best friend America, are also very much in the picture as a couple with very few problems and they serve to illustrate even more clearly how unlikely a pair Travis and Abby are. The college setting is a nice change from high school and allows for different behaviors. 

This is a nice crossover novel for older teens, but  I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers.  There is a fair bit of consensual sex, drinking and violence - of the bare-knuckle organized fight sort -but it all helps with the background of the story.  I was more than a little surprised with the ending, until I discovered that Beautiful Disaster is the first in a series/trilogy?  The second book, Walking Disaster, is apparently due out in April next year, and I'm sufficiently intrigued to see what happens next.  Try it out if you like edgy contemporary romances and you're ready for a change.

Waiting on Wednesday - August 15th

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is


I thought I'd go for a new WOW today from a new author.  Here's the summary (from Goodreads)

A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?  I suspect it be a new one on Curlypow's Fantastic Fairytales meme soon....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let's Hear it For the Boys - Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill



Published: March 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 701
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads
James Bond meets Dracula in this epic saga of one boy and a ton of weapons versus the world's oldest evil--vampires as you've never seen them before!

Sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter's life was violently upended when he was brought into Department 19, a classified government agency of vampire hunters that was formed to deal with a little problem . . . known as Dracula.

But being the new recruit at the Department isn't all weapons training and covert missions. Jamie's own mother has been turned into a vampire--and now Jamie will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on her captors. Even if that means facing down Dracula himself.

The Rising is a fast, furious, can't-turn-away thrill ride that will suck readers in just like a video game. This riveting second book in the Department Nineteen series is packed with cutting-edge gadgets, international locales, and daredevil action that tumbles ferociously across the page--perfect for fans of Darren Shan and Anthony Horowitz.
Wow, what a book.  It was just so much fun. At 701 pages it was not quick read, but there is just so much packed into it.   In this alternate earth, vampires are real and literary monsters are not just in our imagination.  Ancient vampires are out to take over the world and it's up to Jaimie and
his confedarates to make sure that doesn't happen. Will Hill does a fabulous job of suspending disbelief. It did not seem strange that a bunch of 16 - 18 year olds were fighting for a clandestine government agency, and I was just glad they were on my side, so to speak.
The Rising is graphic and gory - Tv's True Blood, exploding vampire, gory - and there are some very nasty vampire bad guys, doing unspeakable things, so if you have a sensitive stomach you might not enjoy this very much.  There is a lot going on over a very short time - just 6 days in fact - but there iis a lot of back story introduced in the form of flash-backs, which helped fill in some very necessary background information.
One of the things I enjoyed is that not all of the monsters are bad guys, and some can take you by surprise.  But conversely, not all the good guys are good, so beware.  The character development is stellar and is it wonderful to see outwardly confident kids struggle with their inner demons.  Some very strong friendships are formed and difficult decisions made.  Only once was a decision made by an adult that seemed just a little 'convenient', but I was able to get past it.
The Rising is an  explosive read that will grip you early on and keep you reading long past bedtime.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stacking the Shelves



Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received.

I reloaded my e-reader with these great finds from the library and NetGalley this week -




Should be an interesting week with some interesting reads.  :D


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shout Out to Indies



We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting. Lastly, for you readers, this is a bit of a test so please do comment and let us know what you think. We will also be offering up giveaway copies whenever we can! So without further ado, here are this week's picks -


Summary (by Goodreads)

After her adventures with the Key of Amatahns, sixteen-year-old Janir Caersynn Argetallam returns home to find Brevia on the brink of war with a neighboring country, Stlaven. Her foster-father and even Saoven—a brave young elf warrior—think it will be safe at the castle where Janir grew up. However, while trying to unravel a looming mystery, Karile—self-taught wizard and Janir’s self-appointed best friend—becomes certain that there is danger in the mountains surrounding Janir’s childhood home and that it has something to do with Stlaven’s most powerful family, the Vanmars…


Summary (by Goodreads)
Clio Kaid may be 17 and just beginning the last summer before her senior year, but her life is anything but typical.
She's just discovered she was genetically altered before birth and is now headed to a top-secret Army campus to explore the surprising results of the experiment.
Follow Clio and the other teens as they develop fantastic super-abilities, forge new friendships, find love, and uncover a conspiracy along the way.


Summary (by Goodreads)
"Text Me, Guido" is the debut novel from author Adrian Staccato, and the first in a planned series. Told entirely through text-messaging conversations, the book follows five Italian-American college friends as they complete their final semester of school. They are: Enzo, Sofia, Giulia, Claudia, and Phil.

Enzo is your typical bronze-tanned Guido. The son of a wealthy home builder, he spends his days at the gym and his nights at the club. When he’s not buying drinks for his friends, he’s showering his longtime girlfriend, Sofia, with gifts – making her the envy of the neighborhood. Her friends, Giulia and Claudia, secretly hope the two will break it off, but Sofia is set on marriage and eagerly awaits Enzo’s proposal.

Enzo’s friend, Phil, is the outcast of the group. He dislikes to party, and attributes the “Jersey Shore lifestyle” to the decline of civilization. Nevertheless, he finds himself infatuated with Giulia – a crush since kindergarten. Giulia, however, is wildly insecure and has no interest in his bookish ways. She has her heart set on Enzo – and with a little maneuvering, she might just get what she wants!

Text Me, Guido, Solid and The Secrets of the Vanmars are all up for grabs!  Are you interested in some new indie reading?  These authors have graciously offered up one e-copy of their books.  Please leave a comment with which book (one, two or all three) that you would like to win!  This contest is international.  Winners will be chosen and contacted in 2 weeks!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blood Red Road by Moira Young


Published: June 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 459
Copy Provided by: e-book from the library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.
Review:

I was drawn to this title when it was suggested by a co-worker.  I have to say that as a cover love it or leave it kinda gal, I would have originally put it back on the shelf.  She did give me fair warning though - It takes awhile to get used to the language and tone of the narrator.  Huh?  What was that supposed to mean?  It did not take long for me to comprehend.  Ms. Young wrote this story in first person in the voice of Saba.  At about page 10 I thought to myself "How the heck am I going to get through all of the grammar and spelling errors? Did Moira Young turn off her spell-check??".  However, my friend said it was a great book so I stuck it out.  I was surprised at how Saba's "voice" and lack of correct grammar began to lend itself to the mood and depth of the story.

Blood Red Road is a cross between Dune, Robin Hood and Gladiator.  My initial impression was that it would be more Science Fiction but it was a little bit of everything rolled into one.  The story revolves around the central character, Saba, whom I did not initially like.  She treated her sister so poorly and seemed to only have her heart set on her brother.  It was sad to see but at least she was honest about it.  She seemed very simple but self-centered, had morals but had to re-evaluate them throughout her journey.  The author subtly had her learn lessons,  change her attitude and see the value of all different types of people, not just her brother.  She grew to be trustful, gain friends and even allow herself to depend on others.

Overall, Blood Red Road was an excellent start to a series that I will continue reading in the future.  There was TONS of adventure and action which kept the things moving quickly.... good thing too because I wanted to yell into my e-reader at the main character for the majority of my read.   Two thumbs up for Blood Red Road.  Just be ready to "read" in a different voice!



There was an error in this gadget