Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review ~ Night House by Rachel Tafoya

TITLE: Night House
AUTHOR: Rachel Tafoya
COPYRIGHT: 12/9/2014
TYPE: Urban Fantasy
PAGES: Ebook

REASON FOR READING: I saw the blurb and thought oh this is a book I have to read... Also this was offered up as an ARC for my honest review

Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth's strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she's worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

I have to say at first I was a little torn on the book.  We met Bianca a self proclaimed Vamp Tramp who is addicted to nauth which as described above is a drug that gives the person being bitten a high like cocaine or better. Anyway we are introduced to her as she is getting high and yet knowing it was wrong. At the same time we meet James who is an empath and literally feels everything including Bianca's high and hangover. Then it did eventually pick up and I found myself interested in the characters and starting to get invested in them. Bianca trying to get pass her addiction felt real. In his own way James is fighting his own battles of feeling everything around him and let's be real that has to be extremely hard and I applaud the author for showing his struggles. 
This is a book that kept me turning the pages I had to know what happened next. It is a new take on the vampire novels and I enjoyed reading it. It is clearly set up for another book so at the end if you dislike a book ending in a way that leaves you wanting more or asking questions be prepared. However, I will say that this is one that I would recommend to any vampire loving reader and or urban fantasy reader!

You can find out more at Goodreads:

And you can purchase the book here:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound

Giveaway information: Winner will be drawn January 9, 2015

About the Author: 

Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.

Connect with the Author:  Tumbler | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review ~ Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

TITLE: Snow Like Ashes 
AUTHOR: Sara Raasch
COPYRIGHT: 10/14/2014
TYPE: young adult/Fantasy
PAGES: 422
SERIES:  yes


Been in the must read pile forever due to the interesting plot and story line was very curious about this one.

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

This book started off really high for me. A traditional fantasy with a young lady as the main character. She was tough, witty and boy did she want to prove herself like something fierce. She appeared capable, strong and willing to do what needed to be done. Sure at first she could come off whinny and trying too hard to prove herself. She had a lot of internal struggle of I want to do the best I can for Winter and yet I want to be me. At first that all was fine with me, but then half way through I was annoyed. GROW UP! I got tired of the constant fighting and wanting to play with the boys. I got tired of the I don't want to be a pawn. Yet I want the best for the people of Winter but only if I set the rules. After awhile the romance with Mather got really old and then we had the dreaded love triangle. Problem is I actually liked the second guy who understood her and wanted to be with her just b/c he wanted to be with her. He was nice, caring, capable and strong, and let's be honest he truly is the only one who tried to help her. He didn't care what she was or who she was he just wanted to help her succeed. And I'm not sure that Mather didn't know the big secret the whole freaking time. 

The Love triangle didn't work for me then again it never does and I hate them moving on.
I didn't like the "BIG SECRET" come on I figured it out very quickly and when I say I am the last one to know who the killer is I truly am the last one to know. I never catch on to anything this time I did.
The main character got really annoying really quick but then again so did everyone in Winter. 
 The plot is interesting and I have to say the world-building was done in a beautiful way. I didn't feel as if a lot was told to me. I like the idea behind seasons being kingdoms and even how the magic worked. 
I think that it will have  good place to spin off from it wasn't a cliffhanger (BONUS hate those as well) and at the same time still left the reader wanting to know more. 

ARE YOU KEEPING IT OR PASSING? It was a library book so no
Goodreads Grade: 3 out of 5 stars
Would you recommend this book to a friend? I think if you like fantasy I would recommend it with the warning about the triangle and "secret" 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reading Challenges...

Oh to do or not to do...

Yep it's that time again... time to sign up for some Reading Challenges... In 2014 I took a small break and only participated in my New Author's Challenge I aimed for 15 and thus far I have managed 17 (once I finish the review of Snow Like Ashes). I also did a personal reading challenge on Good reads. and I am almost done with that one.. only 4 more

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Sarai has read 48 books toward her goal of 52 books.

So now I have to decide since school is over what I would like to do for 2015... do I continue to work on New Author's Challenge or do I do a TBR shelf that seriously needs some help on cleaning out some of the books that I no longer need in there...

So I think I am going to do the basic Reading Challenge of reading 52 books in 2015 (1 book a week I can surely do this next year with no school)  with a twist I might add in an Out Do Yourself Challenge

2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

This one is hosted by The Book Vixen and you can find additional info HERE...
I am going to do getting my heart rate up: 1-5 more books than last year

I am also signing back up for the New Author's Challenge

2015 which is hosted by Literary Escapism and you can find out more HERE. The basic goal is to read new authors and not necessarily modern authors but just authors that are new to you. I am going to shoot for 15 again...

And I for sure need to do a TBR pile challenge so I am signing up for

Hosted by Roof Beam Reader you can find additional information HERE

My 2015 TBR pile list is:
1. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
3. Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry
4. Matters of the blood by Maria Lima
5. Stormwalker by Allyson James
6. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
7. Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
8. A Covent Garden Mystery by Ashley Gardner
9. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
10. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
11. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
12. Birth Marked by Caragh M O'Brien

Alternatives are:
1. Stolen Heat by Elisabeth Naughton
2. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

I also think it would be fun to do the Alphabet Challenge for Titles

It is hosted by: Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book you can find out information HERE but it is pretty easy to figure out

And lastly b/c they all tie into each other I want to do Finishing The Series Challenge 

This is hosted by Socrates' Book Reviews and you can find out more info HERE

I am going to shoot for Level 3 Experienced which means I complete 3 series...

1. Jim Butcher's Dresden Series (1 left)
2. The Grey Wolves Series by Quinn Loftis
3. Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniel's Series

Last one is Let Me Count the Ways Audio Challenge 

This one is hosted by Avanti Ciera and more info can be found HERE.
I am going to shoot for Audio (b/c I have gotten into it this year) I am aiming for Silver which is 76-150 hours... 2 Stephen King books should do that ;)

WHEW that is a lot how about you? Doing any challenges this year? If so which ones? Also do you pick your books before you do the challenges or do you put them down as you?

If you are doing a challenge this next year good luck!! Keep me updated I love to see how everyone is doing!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review ~ The Blemished (#1) by Sarah Dalton

TITLE: The Blemished
AUTHOR: Sarah Dalton
TYPE: Dystopian/Ebook
PAGES: 328
SERIES:  yes…
1.      The Blemished

The premise sounded really interesting…

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):
A beautiful world comes at a price...

In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child.

Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to…

The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion.

This is going to be one of the hardest reviews for me to write. This book had me so conflict. On the one hand it was well written had an interesting plot and a great thought process before it. The scene was set up nicely and allowed for the reader to believe that in the future this might be where we will end up with the way technology is going. However, that was about all that I liked about this book.

Where to begin… First and foremost a love triangle that ends in a square. A SQUARE seriously?
The heroine evolves very quickly with her powers and then acts like no big deal to use them a lot like being able to save her people by taking weapons of like a lot of people with her mind. It didn’t work for me.
The heroes (both of them) where very flat neither of them did anything for me.
The plot while good in theory did not really end up where I expected.
It was almost too easy of an ending
Also the villain (a teacher) who bullies the heroine a bit to the extreme where it was almost uncomfortable to read at times and while I know it was for dramatic effect I still didn’t enjoy it.
Also there was a lot of questions that needed to be answered that did not and while I realized it was a series I still hoped that some things would be answered.

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Library book passing on it (have determined that I only read them once so no reason to buy them)

Goodreads grade: 2 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this book?  No I was not a fan of this. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review ~ Storm Front (Book #1 Harry Dresden) Audio

TITLE: Storm Front
AUTHOR: Jim Butcher
TYPE: fantasy/urban fantasy
SERIES:  yes…
1.      Storm Front
2.     Fool Moon
3.     Grave Peril
4.     Summer Knight
5.     Death Masks
6.     Blood Rites
7.     Dead Beat
8.     Proven Guilty
9.     White Knight
10.  Small Favor
11.   Turn Coat
12.  Changes
1   12.5 Side Jobs
      13.  Ghost Story
    14.  Cold Days
     15.   Skin Games

Have read this series numerous times over and was wanting to hear it in audio version

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):
Harry Dresden -- Wizard

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or
Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.

This is the one that started off this 14 year obsession.  Here we meet the might Harry Dresden before he is mighty. This is when he is still discovering who he is as a wizard and where he stands. As well as who his friends are and who he should trust. Again great reading you can tell that James is still learning who he is as the character and there were some voices that weren’t the same but that was due to not knowing who or where he wants to go with the characters yet. That being said I still enjoyed it. Mr. Butcher is also finding his footing here with where he wants to go with the story and the character.  The story at times feels like it drags as Mr. Butcher finds his footing and pacing. There were times I wanted to scream SPEED IT UP!  There were other times when I was happy for more description due to knowing what he was setting up for other books down the line.

Pacing was a problem for a while
Backstory is always a problem with this series Mr. Butcher has to explain everything over and over like why the blue beetle is the blue beetle and what wizards can and can’t do etc..
Harry is still finding his voice and at times it comes across as too hard when it doesn’t need to be.  Almost as if Harry is trying too hard to be hard.
Harry always gets the snot beat out of him repeatedly over and over with no chance to win

The world itself is nicely done
The voices and timing of reading is done very well.
I could visualize everything that Harry did the colors and descriptions. I could feel why he thought what he though and his emotions. The writing was done nicely other than pacing. The story line in general was beautiful great story about a 3rd eye drug and other wizards. It was nice to see Harry under so much pressure to take up bad magic and still refrain.

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Library book passing on it (have determined that I only read them once so no reason to buy them)

Goodreads grade: 4 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this book?  Love this story and series can’t help it have re-read numerous times. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review ~ Twisted by Sara Shepard (Book #9 #PLL series)

TITLE: Twisted
AUTHOR: Sara Shepard
TYPE: young adult
PAGES: 320
SERIES:  yes…
1. Pretty Little Liars (PLL #1)
2. Flawless (PLL #2)
3. Perfect (PLL #3)
4. Unbelievable (PLL #4)
5. Wicked (PLL #5)
6.Killer (PLL #6)
7. Heartless (PLL #7)
8. Wanted (PLL #8)
9. Twisted

Well come on everyone needs a secret pleasure that is guilty and shame ridden…

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):
It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The pretty little liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild. 

Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship. 

Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore... eventually.

Okay I have to admit I thought what the hell seriously there is no way that 1. She can continue this story I mean after the way she ended the last one and 2. Where could she possibly go from here after all the secrets died with A right?! But then here comes book 9 and I’m like HOLY CRAP are you kidding me? How much more can these girls take and is this really necessary and why in God’s name am I still reading them like they are my cotton candy guilty pleasure. Yet I managed to read all of this in one freaking setting staying up til 2.

I have no idea where they are going to go with this. Eventually everyone will be A I think.
How much more can the girls take?
They are separated and not friends during half of the books which sucks b/c I like it better when they are together and sharing secrets.
New characters LORD save me I have enough people to remember please stop adding in more and more people.
My God when will these girls get smart and stop following for stupid idiotic things considering everything they have been through you would think they would think things out a little bit more before rushing in head first again to the same shit over and over. Yet there they go. Oh a photographer that seems shady and comes out of nowhere right when your dad is running for Senate yep don’t mind if I do lock myself in his room?!
Stealing money sure why not
Trying to out seduce the Finnish exchange student? Really? Come on…

We still have the girls who have survived the worse of the worse and still make enough mistakes with just enough secrets that you stayed glued to the page.
The girls are all alone which makes it easy pickings for the new A
And let’s not forget there is a new A someone new who knows all the old secrets plus some brand spanking new ones!
Also I am dying to know who is going to die
I am also wanting to know how are they going to figure out this A. Plus come on the secrets are juicier now. Spencer did something naughty to get into her top school. Aria is being forced out of the Khan relationship by an exchange student. Emily was PREGANT OMG jeez seriously and Hanna oh Hanna dear me she’s not going to get out of this one.

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Library book passing on it (have determined that I only read them once so no reason to buy them)

Goodreads grade: 3 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this book? Yes if you are a fan of the series already.   

Monday, December 8, 2014

Currently Listening To...

Title: Fool Moon (#2 Harry Dresden Series)
Author: Jim Butcher
Copyright: 2001

Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn't been able to dredge up any kind of work--magical ormundane.

But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses--and the first two don't count..