Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grave Mercy by Robin Lefevre

Published: April 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Houghton, Miflin, Harcourt
Pages: 549
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

One of the things I enjoyed about Grave Mercy is the fact that it is set at a certain point in French history and then that history is twisted to include old Gods and new assassin nuns.  Alternate histories are wonderful things.  You just have to include the bare bones of our actual history and then you can pretty much do what you like with it. 

Ismae has some interesting decisions to make and one of the great decisions is not to follow blindly, but to question her orders.  I've always believed that following orders is fine, if those orders make sense, but if they go against your gut feelings, it's not so wrong to question a little and then make a decision.  Ismae does this and I think it makes her a more believable character.  In many ways, she is still very young and just because she knows what to do, doesn't mean it's easy to do it.

Gavriel Duval is just the kind of young man we all wish we could meet.  Young, good-looking, strong, faithful, trustworthy - ahhhhh, I could go on and on here, but you know what I mean.  There's a nice romance going on here that is not the insta love type and grew very sweetly.  Remember what it's like when someone walks in the door and you think your heart is going to beat its way right out of your chest?  Young love is wonderful, isn't it?  I did work out fairly early who the real 'bad' guy is, but I didn't' work out why, and it was well worth reading to find out. 

All in all, I really enjoyed Grave Mercy.  There were a few instances where I raised my eyebrows a bit, but nothing to really hinder my enjoyment of the whole, and although it is a long book at over 500 pages, I managed to read it in a couple of days.  Recommended for those who like their historical romances with a twist.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Same Book, Second Look - The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Published: May 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 473
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them."

My first introduction to Kady Cross was with a free prequel found on Google Books.  I initially gushed about this author hereAfter reading The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, I was pumped to start reading The Girl in the Steel Corset.  Miss Jayne was such a character that I wanted to read more about her.  It is not often that I do this but I actually read The Girl in the Steel Corset (book #1) and the Girl in the Clockwork Collar (book #2) at the same time (gasp!  the horror!!).  You can catch my review of book #2 in a future post.
So imagine discovering that you have some kind of superhero strength that you cannot control.  It is like there is another part of you, a darker part of you, that takes over when you aren't looking.  Welcome to Finley Jayne's world.  She definitely is an unusual character. Lucky for her, her world collides with another band of misfits who want to help least most of them do. 
The Girl in the Steel Corset features a great kick ass heroine who struggles to trust herself and not succum to her darker side (maybe she should pass on her advice to a certain Anakin Skywalker...).  But take heed, she is not just the muscles in the group, she has a seductive feminine side that likes to flirt with handsome men, both good and bad.  This was another fun read for me.  I loved watching Finley stand her ground and use her feminine wiles to tempt the bad guys to do her bidding.  I just hope Mr. Dandy doesn't place too high of a price on the favors she's asked of him.
I have read very mixed reviews on this title.  I think part of it is what you are expecting.  While the author wanted to create a mix of X-Men and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, you have to remember that this is not a graphic novel.  There is a steampunk edginess to this series and a potential on-going romance and action/adventure.  Have fun with it!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Follow Friday

Friday 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 wil answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact.
This week’s question – Q: What is the BIGGEST word you've seen used in a book lately - that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.

Ok this might sound really weird, but I don't often notice if a book has 'big' words in it.  My kids are always saying that I use big words all the time and it has turned into a bit of a competition at mealtimes to see who can use the biggest words, so I don't really notice them when I read them.  In fact I cannot recall any at all in recent books, though I'm sure there must have been some.  Sorry to disappoint you guys.  I'm sure Christinabean has some for you though.

This question is a toughie but to be honest, nothing comes to mind.  Yes, I sometimes look up words in books but recently, I haven't been doing that. I've had some fantastic reads lately and most of them have been fast-paced.  When you're reading something so good, who has time to go "Oh, wait a minute!  I need to look that up".  Not me!!
- 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, September 27, 2012

Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Published: September 2012
Publisher: Del Ray
Pages: 495
Copy Provided by: NetGalley
Summary: Goodreads

Can the living coexist with the living dead? 

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.

I was thrilled to see Lia Habel's Dearly, Beloved offered up on NetGalley and proceeded to read it directly after reading Dearly, Departed.  I often think about how difficult it must be for an author to continue the second book in a series.  If your first book is such a hit with the readers, how do you keep their interest piqued?  Miss Habel took her idea of a zombie apocalypse and expanded it to include all of the difficulties a dystopian universe would encounter when integrating a new species/culture.  She introduced themes of prejudice, insecurity and a lack of central government and law.  How can the living and the non-living coincide without trust?  If you really wanted to dissect this idea, you could certainly turn Dearly, Beloved into an interesting ISU paper.  I however, was reading it purely for entertainment, hoping it would be as witty and consuming as Book 1.  

So the real question is, did Lia succeed in achieving a second book as enjoyable as the first?

Answer: YES!

Dearly, Beloved is such a fun read and reminds us all not to take ourselves too seriously.  The entire idea of this book was so unbelievable yet I found myself becoming engrossed in the characters.  Ms. Habel made her characters likeable and believable even though they were dead.  There was plenty of action and an interesting story line.  Like I mentioned before, tackling the Dearly series in an ISU novel study might be a stretch for some but you could draw some great ideas from this novel.  Be prepared to be entertained with this one!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

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

Summary (by Goodreads)

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

Sounds like a new fairytale/classic novel mashup.  I love them!  I think I'm in some kind of Zombie phase when it comes to reading...first the Gone with the Respiration series by Lia Habel and now Alice in Zombieland!  Bring on the undead!    

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Musings by Knitwits

Another selection for the cooks in the audience, particularly the budding or challenged cooks. 
Published: February 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 208
Copy: Courtesy of publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads
From a creator of the internationally bestselling 4 Ingredients series comes a new, must-have cookbook designed to bring joy and flavor back into the kitchen. 4 Ingredients One Pot, One Bowl is an ingenious collection of sweet and savory dishes full of fresh, easy-to-find ingredients that require only one pot and one bowl. That means less cleanup and more time enjoying life and delicious food with the friends and family you love.

In this book, you’ll find more than eighty recipes for tasty and deceptively simple casseroles, roasts, soups and stews, pizzas, pasta, pies, and desserts. Imagine Creamy Bacon & Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken, French Lamb Casserole, Apple Crumble, and Baked Rice Pudding—all using four or fewer ingredients. With One Pot, One Bowl, life just got easier… and a whole lot more delicious
Ok, biggest selling point for this book - each recipe really does use only four ingredients and one pot.  If you really felt like cutting back on your washing up, you could always save on the plate or bowl and eat right out of the pot - only kidding :)
There is a fantastic selection of breakfasts, snacks, lunches, desserts and a choice of some recipes that can be cooked in a slow cooker or casserole.  Your choices are simple, fast and elegant and you will have a hard time choosing what to make first.  I'd love to try the sausage bake, or the macaroni bake, they both look so good and how about chocolate grapes for dessert, or baby banoffees?
This looks like the perfect cookbook for anyone who is unsure in the kitchen, or who has less than the usual number of utensils and pots.  I'm thinking it would be great gift for my son when it comes out.  Pity that's not until February.  Mark this one on your 'to buy' list. 

Monday, September 24, 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. 

My holds came in from the library this week.  Here's what I took home!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blog Tour and giveaway - The Pack: Retribution by L M Preston

Published: September 28th, 2012
Publisher: Phenomenal One Press
Pages. 246
Revenge doesn't have a name, but has chosen a victim—Shamira. But she's never been the type to lie down and let someone hurt her family or her friends. In order to find the mastermind behind the threat to all she cares about, she must give up the one person who's found his way into her guarded heart, Valens. Valens refuses to back off easily, and neither will Shamira's friends. They join forces with her in order to deal with a new enemy who seeks to kill everyone in Shamira's life that dared save the missing kids on Mars.

L M Preston was kind enough to join us today on the first stop of her blog tour.  Check out her advice below:

Guest Post: Following Your Gut


While writing The Pack-Retribution (Book 2 in The Pack Series) I pulled a bit of my own experiences growing up into creating a myriad of characters who fought through impossible odds to become - heroes.

One of the main gifts, Shamira, the main character of The Pack series uses to her advantage is her - gut or intuition. Trusting your own gut feelings is one of the best gifts we have to protect or warn us of danger.  We all get that little ‘twinge’ when something just isn’t right.  When that happens…LISTEN TO IT!  Trust yourself or your ‘gut’ some call it.  Trust it at all times, it will never steer you wrong.

When I was young I lived in the inner-city of Washington , DC .  The neighborhood I called home, had gangs, drugs, muggers, killers, and lots of kids and family nearby.  However, with all of these things present, I didn’t realize that my gut instincts were strengthening with each day I played outside, walked to school, to the bus, or traveled the city alone.

Teens have power when they use their intuition to lead them.

When you are in a situation with a friend or an adult, and you get that feeling that something isn’t quite right, then you are most likely correct.  Learn yourself, and test this ability.
If your friend tells you that you should sneak out to go to that great party that so-and-so is going to, then you feel this tickle in your tummy, and you hesitate.  This is your gut talking to you.  It’s telling you … hold on … don’t jump into this.


Never, ever, feel like you don’t have the right to ask a question.  Asking a question only gets you in trouble when it hasn’t been asked, or the person of whom you are asking the question doesn’t want to give you an answer.


When something doesn’t make sense, or the story just sounds down right disjointed, and you have a feeling in your chest telling you that something is off.  Then trust yourself, something is off.

If you get that feeling something isn’t right take action.
Remember, just because you are young you do have power to speak out. And in doing so, you are a hero too!

Thanks so much to L M Preston for joining us today.  Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below to win a Grand Prize: Tshirt, $20 Amazon Gift Card, 1 Ink Pen, The Pack Series (Book 1 & 2 in print), Flutter Of Luv ebook copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9/23/2012 – The Paperback Princesses-
9/23/2012 – Black Words White Pages -
9/24/2012 – Eva’s Sanctuary -
9/24/2012 – My Home Away From Home -
9/25/2012 – Writer’s Ally -
9/25/2012 – Mpax Author –
9/25/2012 – My Four Monkeys -
9/25/2012 – Insatiable Readers -
9/25/2012 – The Magic Reads –
9/25/2012 – The Curiosity Key -
9/26/2012 – PanDragon Dan -
9/26/2012 – Reviewer Rachel -
9/26/2012 – Escape Through The Pages -
9/27/2012 – I Want to Read That -
9/28/2012 – YA Book Central –
9/29/2012 – Comfort Books -
9/29/2012 – A Little Bit Of Reviews –

TWITTER PARTY: Friday, 9/28 at 7pm-9pm EST, use the hashtag #ThePackRetributionParty and @LM_Preston prizes include $10 Amazon Gift cards for 3 winners & books, swag prizes

FACEBOOK PARTY:!/events/337549946331607/
Starring eight other authors and blog hosts, tons of prizes and fun.


Saturday, September 22, 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 -

To Dance in Liradon, Coming September 2012 from Soul Mate Pubishing

When Brigid suddenly finds herself torn between two men and two worlds, her struggle leads her into the glittering, ruthless world of Faerie where she must rescue her true love from a terrible sacrifice or lose him forever. 

A little bit about Adrienne Clarke 

Adrienne has previously published short stories in The Storyteller, Beginnings Magazine, New Plains Review, and in the e-zines A Fly in Amber, Grim Graffiti, Les Bonnes Fees, The Altruist,  The Devilfish Review, and Rose Red Review. Her short story, Falling was awarded second place in the 2008 Alice Munro short fiction contest. To Dance in Liradon is her first published novel.

An avid reader of fairy tales and other magical stories, a thread of the mysterious or unexpected runs through all of her work. When she’s not writing Adrienne can be found searching for faeries along with her daughters Callista and Juliet.

Bridgeworld and Encounter at Atlantis by Travis McBee

 William Haynes was the guy that every boy wanted to be. He was an honor roll student and captain of his middle school football team. He was dating the most popular girl in the school and had dozens of friends. Yes, life was perfect for Will…that is until a strange man shows up and forces his parents to reveal a secret they have kept hidden since he was born. He is told that he has been given a scholarship to a prestigious private school that his parents attended, a private school that happens to be in space. Will must choose between a life many would die for and a life none could imagine. A life where he is no longer perfect, where he must make new friends, and where he must survive a school rivalry like no other. Published July 2011 and September 2012

Guest post from Travis McBee

Someone once asked me what I was working on. I responded by telling them about a young-adult novel I had just signed a contract for, and how I was mid-way through a middle-grade book. They looked surprised. “Why are you returning to young-adult books?” they asked me. By that time, I had published two more novels along with a few short stories, and they were far from young-adult. It took me a while to figure out what they were talking about. I mean, why wouldn’t I write young adult?  Did they think that just because I could write more adult books, that I was wasting my time by not doing so? It almost seems expected for writers to seek to break from the YA mold, to progress up into the big boys. I wondered if I was wasting my time, if I should focus on the big books, but then I thought about it some more and realized that the reason I chose that genre for my introductory novel, and why I keep coming back to is very simple.

The reason is the most important aspect of reading, if you ask me,. It’s the simple fact that young-adult books are a ton of fun to both read and write. I’m twenty-two years old, have a vast collection of books at my disposal including numerous classics, and read widely. But time and time again, I find myself drawn back to books that I’m supposed to have “out grown.” In the past month alone, I’ve read: The Lost Years of Merlin,  Artemis Fowl, and The Seventh Tower. All of them are intended for middle school to early highschool age students. But I love them. I throw them in between readings of Dickens, Stoker, King, and Grisham. You see, young adult books are written for the purest of reasons. They aren’t there to preach at you, to convince you to see their way, or to enlighten you to some great disaster in the works. They aren’t meant to shake your faith in humanity or to make you too scared to sleep without a nightlight—well sometimes they do; I’m looking at you R.L Stine! They’re only there to entertain you, so when life gets a little too hectic, too stressful, or just plain too serious, I reach for a young-adult book to take a load off. Because when you read young-adult, pretensions disappear. You’re reading for fun, plain and simple. So if you’re ready to just relax, enjoy a casual afternoon with a good story, pick up your son or daughter or nephew or maybe even the kid next door’s book—he keeps leaving stuff on your lawn, so it’s only fair.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Follow Friday

Friday 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 wil answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question – 

What hyped up book do you think was worth all the talk?

For me, it was definitely Divergent.  I can't believe I waited so long to read it.  Oh wait...and the Vampire Academy series.  It quickly morphed into one of my favorites!
- Christinabean

I think mine would be Graceling.  I just love that book whether its print or audio. Fire and Bitterblue did not disappoint either.
- Curlypow
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, September 20, 2012

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Published: Oct 2011
Publisher: Del Ray
Pages: 470
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie? 

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. 

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

Loved this.  Who knew zombies could be so entertaining and humorous about their lack of body parts and appearance?  Miss Habel demonstrates her wicked sense of humor in this Dystopian meets Steampunk meets Paranormal novel.  It was just the kind of read I was looking for.  Something light , a bit quirky with a kick ass heroine who just so happens to catch the leading deadman's cloudy eye.  Although Nora Dearly doesn't pick up and deliver the same Katniss skills when it comes to fighting, she still exhibits a whiplash tongue and always seems to have a snappy comeback when it comes to verbal dueling.  

The characters in Dearly, Departed are so likeable.    Sure, they are hideous when described but it's what is inside that counts, right?  I found myself loving the banter between them and the camaraderie.  I would recommend this one to anyone who is looking for something fun, action-packed and a reader open to ahem, new "cultures" and conditions?  I enjoyed Dearly, Departed so much that I went out and sought book #2 in the series - Dearly, Beloved.  Look for a review shortly.   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Ten by Gretchen McNeil

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

Summary (by Goodreads)

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

ooooohhhh!!!  This looks so deliciously creepy....and I like creepy....(mwhahahahaha!!!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fantastic Fairytales - Starling by Lesley Livingstone

Published: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 341
Copy: My own
Summary: Goodreads

Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she's never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name--the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason's world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn's identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason's family--with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods--is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston's epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.

I suspect some of you will be thinking to yourselves  - why is Curlypow putting a book about Norse gods in the Fantastic Fairytales slot?  Well - Starling is a combination of Fae creatures and Norse mythology and one of the main characters is a member of the Janus guard (a la Wondrous Strange trilogy), which is to do with the Faerie realm.  Although if you haven't read Wondrous Strange et al, that fact is not really significant, 'cos it isn't mentioned in the book.  In fact the Fennrys Wolf has lost his memory, which causes all sorts of problems.  Let's just say that in my mind, it fits as a fairytale and leave it at that!

I think the only thing I didn't like about Starling is the main characters' name - Mason.  Just doesn't sound like a girls name to me - but the reason for it is very nicely explained and makes perfect sense.   Mason fences, literally.  You see she is on the fencing team at her school.  Comes in pretty handy when you're fighting of all sorts of nasty, clawing creatures.  She is a strong character with some vulnerabilities and I found her easy to relate to. The Fennrys Wolf arrives on the scene with a jaw-dropping bang, and even though I remember him as a particularly enigmatic character from previous books, you just can't help but fall for him here. Lots of interesting minor characters pop in and out and many will surprise you.  Allegiences are not always what you think they should be, and the twists and turns are fascinating.  Mason's brother Rory is a particularly nasty piece of work.

There is something about the way that Ms Livingstone strings words together that I just love. She manages to produce an atmosphere that will have your heart pounding. I find it so easy to actually picture scenes in my mind when I read her words. Now I'm prepared to admit that I am an absolute fangirl when it comes to Livingstone's work. The fact that I have met her and that she narrates her own audio books comes into play, because as I was reading, I could almost hear her in my mind, and she has this deep, plummy voice that is perfect for narration - well she is an actress after all.

Starling has multiple layers to it and as the story progresses you realise that there is much, much more going on than meets the eye. The whole story is based on Norse mythology that has obviously been meticulously researched  and the result is a tense, roller coaster ride that starts in the first chapter and doesn't stop - not even at the end - damn those cliff hangers. Exciting, romantic, thrilling and lots of fun, give yourself a treat and read Starling.  The only disappointment will be that we have to wait so long for the sequel.

Monday, September 17, 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.  This week I've found myself rushing off the library once again to pick up

Girl of Nightmares is book #2 in the Anna series (#1 being Anna Dressed in Blood).  I've noticed a trend in my reading pattern recently.  I seem to be sticking with more follow ups in series than to start new titles.  I have a young one who is just starting pre-k and I've also started working more so I have less time to read.  I guess I'm just getting more selective!  Looking forward to this read...gotta wait until I'm in the mood to be scared!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Same Book, Second Look - The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Today Special K is giving us her take on a book that I reviewed a short while ago.

Published: May 8 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 304
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

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?

I’m on a roll! I’ve had a zombie book that isn’t a “zombie book” (Rot and Ruin), a werewolf book that isn’t a “werewolf book” (Hemlock) and now…a vampire book that isn’t a “vampire book”!

The Hunt is wonderfully original – and leaves you with questions and hungering for the answers – how did the ‘people’ (re: the vampire-like characters) come to be? Is this set before our time? Long after (yes…that would make it a dystopia!)? Or is this something parallel, something separate? Where are we? Earth? Some strange and distant planet? And just how do you pronounce ‘heper’? (Hee-per? Heh-per?) [I settled on heh-per].

None of these are answered. And it’s still fabulous. We follow our main character – whose designation changes based on where he is – through his life of fakery. He lives among the people, but is not one of them. Instead he is a heper, and if he makes just once involuntary human move (a bodily function that should be there, a show of emotion on a face) he is done for. You would think this would either make for a lot of inner turmoil, or a very flat character- but Fukuda moves to neither extreme, and we get a wonderfully well-rounded character.

But let’s get onto what everyone is thinking – it’s The Hunger Games with vampires. Well, yes…sort of. There are some tweaks and changes – the game itself is fairly similar, but the story follows a very different aspect, due to the situation of our main character. But Fukuda does something wonderful, and he nods to his predecessor, and lets us know where things are going to be different:

He suddenly stops moving as if remembering something; he looks at both of us sternly. “Only know this: I want a clear winner. It’s always better that way. No ties. The public does not like ambiguity. If it comes down to just the two of you…well…there can only be one. You will know what to do. Correct?”

Neither Ashley June nor I answer.
(The Hunt, pg. 137)

Gee – wonder where that came from? Anyone remember a book with an ending like that? And there’s another nod to another predecessor:

After all, if the roles were reversed and it was people who became extinct, people theories would likely be rife with exaggerations and distortions: […] benign beings who could coexist peacefully alongside hepers, somehow restrain themselves from ripping hepers to ribbons and sucking down their blood; they’d all invariably be incredibly good-looking with perfect hair. There’d probably be some outright confabulations as well: their ability to swim with dizzying speed under water; and ludicrous and laughable notions about people-heper romances. (The Hunt, pg. 87-88)

I laughed for a good couple minutes over that one. Anyone remember a vampire with perfect hair?

Fukuda’s writing style is that excellent blend of description and narrative (which is important to the story – I won’t explain why, you’ll need to read it!), and his characters have few moments where they make decisions I seriously question. Plus he has his nods to the reader as I point out above, which make you feel better about reading yet another iteration of Twilight or The Hunger Games – because although this has its basis in both (sort-of…The Hunger Games more so than Twilight), he puts an original style and orientation on it that makes it unique and fresh.

A great read – maybe even one I add to my own shelf, which is a high honour these days (I’m running out of shelf space, so my quality control standards have gone up). Look for the sequel The Prey, January 2013.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

Published: March 2012
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 435
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

I won't lie.  I wasn't a fan of Ms. Zink's previous series - Prophecy of the Sisters.  I just couldn't seem to get into the series or the finish the first book.  This series was intriguing though so I thought I'd give it a try.  I did finish it and it only took me a few days.  Michelle has a beautiful writing style and the first few chapters captured me.  I enjoyed the tension between Helen and Griffin but to be honest, I felt the lack of a timeline.  As the story wore on, I always questioned how things were moving so quickly and yet there was a lack of cohesion.  I can't quite put my finger on it but I felt like they had fallen for one another quite quickly considering the circumstances of Helen's arrival and there was a certain element that was missing.  I also found myself questioning Helen's background and would have liked more detail regarding her history.

Despite this, A Temptation of Angels started well and has piqued my interest to continue to the next book in the series.  I have not yet heard of the title of #2 but I'll put it on my TBR list.  It won't be at the top...but maybe about 1/3 of the way down the pile...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Winner of The Lure of the Shapinsay

Congratulations to Darkworld_cutie!

You will be contacted shortly by the author for your prizes.  Wanna see what she won?

A paperback copy

A t-shirt

A bookplate and bookmarks

Now don't you wish you had entered for your chance to win?  A huge thank you to Krista for offering up such great prizes from from an indie author.  Every second week we feature Shout Out to Indies and you can often win copies of the books featured in our meme. 

You can find out more about Krista Holle's new book here.  Need more?  Check out her trailer!

Follow Friday

Friday 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 wil answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –

Q: What hyped up book do you think was not worth all the talk?

For me it was definitely Shiver, Linger and Forever.  Or should I just say Shiver.  I tried so hard to read that book - three times in fact, but I just could not get into it at all.  The sad thing is it has made me hesitant to try Scorpio Races and now The Raven Boys.  Another one was Wither, the first in the Chemical Garden trilogy.  I did read it, but I definitely had a meh feeling at the end of it.  I didn't even finish Fever.  Isn't that one of the great things about books and reading though?  One persons favourite is anothers worst.  We just keep trying them all until we find the ones we like.
- Curlypow

Hmm...for me that was a title from a long time ago...Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.  Every vacation I used to take a book with me, read it and leave it for other vacationers to enjoy.  I took this with me to Vietnam and struggled through it.  If you are looking for something utterly depressing, here's the title to choose.  

During the time when I read this, I used to try and read literature, award winners, things that I thought would make me feel enlightened and intelligent.  Then I got smart and started reading for my own pleasure.  A friend once told me that I wasn't interested in a title after the first 50 pages, to move on to the next book.  There are no secret "reading police" that will fine you for not finishing something you don't enjoy.  My vacation would have been much better if I had had this advice in Vietnam...
- 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, September 13, 2012

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Published: May 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 399
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

In this dramatic conclusion to the Shade trilogy, Aura and Zachary’s relationship sizzles as the secrets of the Shift are revealed.

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

What a brilliant ending to the Shade trilogy.  I have been enthralled by Ms Smith-Ready's writing since I first opened Shade.  She did not disappoint with Shift, and Shine has been the icing on the cake.

 I think the best way to describe this trilogy is supernatural romantic suspense.   I've already talked about her astounding characters in the previous 2 books - they just keep getting better and better. The ghosts are real, charming, confused and abundant.  The romance is sweet, yet powerful, and will surprise you a little, I think.  There is a fair bit of mystery and the suspense just keeps ratcheting up, notch after notch.   I have been reduced to tears at least once in each book, so keep a box of kleenex handy, and I want to meet Zachary, please. 

To sum up - a little bit of everything that makes a trilogy great.  If you haven't yet visited this trilogy, start now.  I'm envious that you won't have to wait between books as I had to, but oh, it was so worth the wait.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

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

Summary (by Goodreads)

A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating—Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Debut author Jeanne Ryan delivers an un-putdownable suspense thriller.

Sounds interesting eh?  I wonder how quickly it reads?  Nothing like a great read from a debut author!