Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: The Goddess Legacy by Aimée Carter

The Goddess Legacy
(The Goddess Test #2.5)
By: Aimée Carter
Pub. Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 395
Source: Netgalley
For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimée Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness...

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal...

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another...

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before...

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope...

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages. 
I've read many Greek retellings, but The Goddess Test series is by far my favorite. From the very first page of the first book I was captivated by the characters and their stories. When I heard that Aimée Carter was going to be writing five stories in the POV of some of my favorite characters, I jumped at the chance to read it. I was not disappointed at all and I thought it was an excellent addition to a wonderful series.

The Goddess Legacy is split up into five different stories:

The Goddess Queen

The first story is in the POV of Hera, or Calliope as we have come to know her as. In the books we see her as vindictive, brutal and bitter, and it's very hard to even like her a little. But in The Goddess Queen, we see a sad, lonely and caring Goddess who just wants the best for the humans and her family.  Set right after the Olympian Gods won the war against the Titans, we see Hera's marriage to Zeus and we learn how her life starts to fall apart. I felt so bad for her, and I really enjoyed getting to know her better in her story.

The Lovestruck Goddess

Not much has changed from the Ava we are accustomed to and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love we see in this story. One might think that Ava isn't a good person because she cheats, but we learn that she doesn't cheat to hurt anyone, she just has so much love to give. I've always been a fan of Ava and The Lovestruck Goddess just made me love her more. It was interesting to see her many loves and also be a mother.

Goddess of the Underworld

I never liked Persephone and her story made me like her even less. She's selfish and a hypocrite. She hurt Hades time and again and I think she could have handled herself completely differently. Her story takes us on a journey through her and Hades marriage, and all I saw was Hades giving her everything and Persephone cheating on him.  I did enjoy seeing their marriage play out, even though it was very sad to read.

God of Thieves

Every time I read a scene with James I get excited. He is so much fun and really brings life to others around him, but in God of Thieves we see a whole other side of him. We see him fall in love, first with Ava, and then with a human girl named Tuck. He was admiral  and honest. I loved seeing Hermes in this light.

God of Darkness

Oh Henry. His whole existence has been so lonely and sad and this story was particularly sad. In God of Darkness, Henry has made the choice to fade away. When he finally tells his brothers and sisters what he plans to do, they make a deal with him, which leads them to finding girls to complete the tests in order to become immortal. I enjoyed reading about the different girls who participated in the tests and I loved the ending. I thought it was absolutely perfect. 

Overall, I loved everything about The Goddess Legacy. Being a huge fan of the series, I loved getting an inside look at some of the characters. This really is a series that should not be missed! 

Other books in the series:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood
(Anna # 1)
By: Kendare Blake
Pub. Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 316
Source: Bought
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story... 

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
I have no clue why I waited so long to read Anna Dressed in Blood. This book is awesome!! I've read some great reviews on it, but I really didn't know what to expect. Ghost stories are my favorite type of supernatural genre so the bar is set pretty high for me. Anna Dressed in Blood exceeded all of my expectations and more!

Thesius Casio Lowood, who goes by Cas, has inherited his father skill of killing ghosts as well as his fathers Athame, the knife used to destroy those ghosts. Cas travels around America with his mother destroying the ghosts that harm others. Cas is an awesome character! He's confident and smart and completely sarcastic in a hilarious way. He's also brave as hell. He definitely reminds me of Dean Winchester from Supernatural, and I totally imagined a younger Dean as Cas. Anna Dressed in Blood was told in his POV and I absolutely loved that! We need more YA male POVs!

Due to a tip Cas receives, he decides that Anna will be the next ghost he "kills". Anna was such an interesting character. She was murdered in 1958 and since then she has brutally murdered every single person that enters her home. Even though Anna is terrifying, it's hard not to feel sad for her, especially when we learn the story on how she died. Cas and Anna had a very interesting connection. He's never met a ghost like her before and I loved watching the two of them grow close.

For the first time in Cas' hunting career, he has brought outsiders into the mix.  He's never had friends before, so I liked how Thomas and Carmel, whom he met at school, were there for him. Cas is used to being alone, so it was especially sweet how the three of them formed a team.

Anna Dressed in Blood is a fast paced and exciting read. I was completely captivated by the stories, the writing and the characters. It deserves all of the hype it has received and I can not not wait to see what Kendare Blake has in store for us next with Girl of Nightmares.

Other books in the series: 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Arise by Tara Hudson

(Hereafter # 1)
By: Tara Hudson
Pub. Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 404
Source: ARC from ALA
Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together. Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.

Arise, the second book in the Hereafter series is even better then the first book! Set a few months after the events of Hereafter, we find Amelia and Joshua still happily in love, but a whole new set of problems threaten to tear these two apart. Arise is a lot more darker and serious then the first book, and I loved every minute of it!

One of my favorite things about this series is the forbidden love between the ghost, Amelia, and the human boy Joshua. The two of them are so cute together. Despite everything that they have faced, and everything that they continue to face, they still love each unconditionally.

When Arise starts, the two of them are desperately trying to find a way to stop Amelia's nightmares. When visiting Joshua's family in New Orleans, they think they finally have found the answers they have been looking for. Voodoo, ghosts, and secrets are what wait for them in New Orleans, and it couldn't have been more exciting!

Amelia is one of my favorite ghosts in YA literature. She has a great sense of humor, despite everything that has happened to her. She loves Joshua so much, and puts him first before her own happiness. Also, the fact that she still wanted to protect his family, even though his sister can be bitchy towards her, and his grandmother wanted her exorcised, she still wants to protect them and will do anything for them. Her inner monologues in Arise got to be a little too much for me to handle at times, but besides that, I think she is a story, brave and a kick ass character!

I also enjoyed the new characters, Gaby and Felix. They were an interesting duo, and I liked how for the first time in a long time, Amelia had a real friend in Gaby.

New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the US, and I automatically love all books that take place here, especially ghost stories. The setting was absolutely perfect and Hudson did a great job capturing the beauty of New Orleans.

Arise is a fast paced read that will keep you captivated till the very end. I thought the ending was beautifully written and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Books in the Series:

Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls
(The Mortal Instruments # 5)
By: Cassandra Clare
Pub. Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 534
Source: Bought
The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.
Out of the entire Mortal Instruments series, City of Lost Souls was my favorite cover, but it wasn't my favorite book. As much I love Cassandra Clare's work, sometime I think she should have stopped after the first three books. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it, I did enjoy it and I am looking forward to the sixth and final book. I just didn't like it as much I was hoping I would.

In CoLS, Jace is under the influence of Sebastian who basically wants to destroy the world. The clave and Jace's family can not find him, no matter what spells they use. Clary decides to take matters into her own hands and joins Jace and Sebastian. She is hoping that she can save Jace before the Clave finds him, because if the clave finds them first and kills Sebastian (which is the plan), Jace's connection to him would cause him to die as well.

As always with Clare's work, there is so much going on in CoLS, and there was never a dull moment. While Clary is trying to save Jace, back in New York, Simon, Isabel, Magnus, Jordan and Maia are also doing what they can do to save him. We saw an entirely different version of Isabel. We see a more vulnerable side to her which was nice. Jordan and Maia were also very sweet together, and I loved seeing them forgive each other and themselves for what happened in the past. The character that stood out most for me was Simon. I always loved Simon but in CoLS he really had my heart. He was willing to put himself in complete danger to help his friends, while dealing with a lot of issues regarding his family. The scene between Simon and his sister almost killed me!

I missed Jace though. I loved the Jace from the first three books and I really wanted the old Jace back. I miss that tortured Jace!! I also had issues with Alex and Magnus. While I love them together, they need to learn how to be more honest with each other. The two of them were very aggravating!

Out of Clare's two series, I definitely love The Infernal Devices more, so I was completely excited to see all of the ID references!

Overall, while CoLS wasn't my favorite in the series, it was still very enjoyable and I am very excited for the last book, City of Heavenly Fire.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Hereafter by Tara Hudson

(Hereafter # 1)
By: Tara Hudson
Pub. Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 404
Source: Bought
Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life--or her actual death--she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but "will" him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, "Hereafter" is a sensation you won't want to miss.
What instantly drew me to Hereafter was that it was a ghost story. I am a sucker for a good ghost story. Hereafter did not disappoint and it is definitely up there as one of my favorite stories featuring ghosts! It is a beautiful supernatural romance about a ghost named Amelia, who only knows that her name is Amelia and that she is dead and Joshua, the boy she saved from drowning and the only living being that can see her!

Amelia roams aimlessly around the river and bridge where she died. She doesn't know when she died, or how she died.  She's lonely and confused and the days and nights just drag on. The instant she saves Joshua, her life starts to change. She starts to have quick moments of recollections from her life. Not only that, but for the first time since she died, someone can see and talk to her! She wants to know more about Joshua, just like Joshua wants to know more about the ghost that saved his life.

Amelia and Joshua had one of the sweetest romances I have ever read about. But obviously, this is not your normal boyfriend, girlfriend relationship and they have some problems. For one, when they try to kiss, she vanishes. Secondly, turns out Joshua is a seer who comes from a family of seers. Not only can his grandmother see Amelia too, but she wants to send her to hell where she thinks Amelia belongs. Lastly, there is this creepy dead guy hanging around Amelia who thinks the two of them belong together. Despite everything against them, I loved how they wouldn't let anything come between them.

Hereafter is a fast and charming read and I am so looking forward to seeing where this story takes us in Arise!

Books in the series:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: Revived by Cat Patrick

By: Cat Patrick
Rub. Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Pages: 336
Source: Borrowed
As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger—and more sinister—than she ever imagined.
I read Cat Patrick's, Forgotten last year and absolutely loved it, so I was very excited to hear that she was writing another stand alone novel. Revive did not disappoint. It was fast paced and original and had some great characters!

Fifteen year old Daisy has died five times and each time that she dies she is brought back by the experimental drug, revive. After she comes back to life, Daisy and her "pretend parents" (they are really scientists testing the drug), Mason and Cassie, have to move and start completely fresh. Daisy has never been able to make friends until she moves to Omaha, Nebraska and meets siblings, Matt and Audrey. For the first time,  Daisy is experiencing real friendships and crushes and she will do anything to keep the life she has there.

There was nothing that I did not like about Revive. The writing was fantastic and fast paced and I read the book in one sitting. I also thought it was a very interesting and original concept. I loved the mystery and the science surrounding the drug.

My favorite aspect of the book was the characters. From the moment that I met Daisy, I liked her, but I felt bad for her. Being able to see Daisy experience her first friendships was really nice. Her and Matt had a very cute relationship and I enjoyed seeing that grow and prosper. Matt and Audrey were such good people and the perfect duo for Daisy. They both taught her a lot and she taught them. Audrey had so much personality and really lit up every single scene she was in. Matt was very sweet and the way he was dealing with things felt very realistic to me. Lastly, even though Mason wasn't Daisy's real dad, you could tell that taking care of her was more then a job for him. He really did care about her and loved her like a father would.

Overall, Revive was a perfect blend of intrigue, mystery and fun. I would definitely recommend this book. If you haven't read anything from Cat Patrick, you are missing out!   

Friday, June 22, 2012

Follow Friday # 29

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read! It's a great way to meet new blogger friends!

This weeks question is: 

If you could "unread" a book, which one would it be? Is it because you want to start over and experience it again for the first time? Or because it was THAT bad?

I would want to unread Lover Awakened, book three in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I would love the opportunity to experience that book all over again. Z's story is so heartbreaking and it filled me with so many emotions. I think about re-reading his story everyday. 

I would also love to experience Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater again. This is another book that I absolutely loved and would be happy to meet Sam and Grace all over again. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

What I Didn't Say
By: Keary Taylor
Pub. Date: April 30, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 326
Source: Netgalley
Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.
While searching Netgalley I came across What I Didn't Say, read the synopsis and was instantly intrigued. I was very excited when I was approved and I read it right away. The story follows Jake Hayes. Popular, friendly and athletic, he has everything going for him, except the girl. For the past four years he hasn't been able to tell the girl he has a crush on that he likes her. After homecoming, Jake and his friends get drunk and get into a bad car accident. The accident destroys his voice box and Jake will never be able to talk again.  His life changes completely but the only thing he can think of is that he never told Samantha Shay that he loves her.

My favorite thing about this book was the relationship between Jake and Sam. Since the accident, Sam played a much bigger part in Jake's life. I enjoyed watching their friendship grow into something more. I thought Jake was suffering, but Sam's story is heartbreaking, and she was able to hold herself together in a way I wouldn't think was possible. I loved how sweet they were together and how they helped the each other in their healing process. Jake helps her with the many secrets she is hiding and Sam helps him get out of his lonely depression and accept what has happened to him.

I enjoyed Jake's family. There were so many siblings and I loved how supportive they were of Jake. I also really liked the character of Kali, the homeless kid who helps Jake learn sign language. We don't know too much about him, and I would have loved to learn more!

Overall I really enjoyed What I Didn't Say. It was a sweet story that packed in a lot of emotion. I can't wait to see what Keary Taylor has in store for us next!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

(Divergent # 2)
By: Veronica Roth
Pub. Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 524
Source: Own
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
I don't even know what to say except that Insurgent was amazing! It was everything that I loved about Divergent and more. There were surprise plot twists, character growth, and fast-paced writing and action.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris is trying to come to terms with the events that happened and the parts she played in the fighting. I was really frustrated with Tris in this one. She kept putting herself in some really stupid situations, and even though I understood her reasoning behind them, it didn't make me any less frustrated. Tris and Four definitely had some problems in this one. Between Tris putting herself in danger and Four being very secretive, I really didn't think they were going to make it. But they have such a beautiful connection and they really do love each other. I loved their stolen, secret minutes that they shared together.

I thought I loved Four in Divergent, but in Insurgent, that love was brought to a whole new level. We learn a lot more about Four's past and his family, and it was hard to not feel for him. He kept his pain inside, and I kept wishing he would talk to Tris about it.

What I loved about Insurgent is that despite it being a dystopian, it felt so realistic to me. The characters were so real and they had to deal with the consequences of their actions.

We also learn a lot more about the different factions and even the factionless, which was very, very interesting to me. The mystery was that Abnegation and Euradite had a secret that they were willing to kill (and be killed) to keep secret. And whoa, is that secret a good one! I couldn't believe it. I am so looking forward to the third book. I can not wait to see where Ms. Roth takes us next! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blog Tour & Trailer Reveal: Anastasia Forever by Joy Preble

I am so excited to be a part of the exclusive ANASTASIA FOREVER BLOG TOUR!  Only a lucky few have the chance to debut this trailer, and I’m beyond thrilled to see where Anne’s dreams lead her in the third and final installment of the DREAMING ANASTASIA Series.  Will she unlock the secrets of the past before they destroy her future?

Here’s the scoop on the DREAMING ANASTASIA Series!

There is so much to love about this series as Joy brilliantly blends Russian history, romance, magic and mythology into an enticing adventure.

In DREAMING ANASTASIA, Anne Michaelson begins to have unusual dreams and discovers that she is the only one who can save the daughter of the last tsar of Russia, Anastasia Romanov.  Believed to be dead by the world, Anastasia has been kept captive all these years by the Russian witch Baba Yaga, and only Ethan, a handsome and mysterious 18-year-old, can help Anne free Anastasia. 

Anne once again leaves behind her ordinary life in HAUNTED to join forces with the mysterious and gorgeous Ethan as the journey with the Romanov continues.  This time she is haunted by classic figures from Russian mythology, a rusalka, a Russian folklore mermaid with a malevolent streak –  and a particular interest in Anne,  who tells her that Anastasia is still alive.  As she and Ethan team up, Anne’s search for the rusalka’s identity reveals deep and startling secrets - including the true source of Anne’s powers.

Now in ANASTASIA FOREVER, having survived Baba Yaga and the Rusalka, Anne finds herself bound by the witch to undertake a journey into past, present, and future that will determine her destiny - and that of everyone she loves.

Catch a preview of the danger, romance, and magic await Anne in this exciting glimpse ahead of ANASTASIA FOREVER by taking a look at a special sneak peak with the first three chapters here! 

ANASTASIA FOREVER comes out this August, be sure to look out for all things Anastasia at Joy’s website 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Double Review: Storm and Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer

(Elemental #1)
By: Brigid Kemmerer
Pub. Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: K Teen (Kensington)
Pages: 353
Source: ebook
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn't want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
 When I first heard about Storm, I knew I had to get myself a copy the second it released, and I was not disappointed at all! Storm had secrets, romance, humor, and most of all five amazing hotties (four in which are brothers) that you could not help but fall in love with!

Chris Merrick is 16 and can control the element of Water. One night he is getting beat up, when Becca chases the attackers off with her car. From that point on, Becca is caught in the crazy life of Chris and his brothers. I really liked Chris. He felt lonely within his family, and kind of kept to himself at school. It was hard not to feel for him. I loved Becca! She was definitely able to hold her own again Chris' brothers, especially Michael who was always a jerk to her.

I loved all of the supporting characters as well. Chris' brothers are Michael, who can control the Earth, and twins Gabriel and Nick, who can control Fire and Air. There is no denying that the Merrick brothers are damaged, but the lengths they were willing to take to protect each other was admirable. I am so looking forward to the next books in the series to see more of these guys! Then there is the new boy at school, Hunter. He was a very interesting guy and it was very hard to figure him out. I am looking forward to more Hunter as well.

The characters weren't the only good thing about Storm. I thought the storyline was very original and the writing kept my attention the entire time. It took me a little bit to get into, but once I was there I couldn't put the book down.

Overall, I thought Storm was an amazing start to what I feel is going to be an awesome series!

(Elemental #0.5)
By: Brigid Kemmerer
Pub. Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: K Teen (Kensington)
Pages: 50
Source: ebook
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they are more than you dream.

As an air Elemental, 17-year-old Emily Morgan doesn’t have much power. That’s okay—she knows what happens to kids who do.

Like Michael Merrick. He’s an earth Elemental, one with enough power to level cities. Which makes him sexy. Dangerous. And completely off limits. At least according to Emily’s family.

But her summer job puts her in close contact with Michael, and neither of them can help the attraction they feel. When forces of nature like theirs collide, one misstep could get someone killed. Because Emily’s family doesn’t just want her to stay away from him.

They want him dead.
 Elemental is set five years before the events of Storm and this short novella is set around Michael, the oldest brother. Michael can control the element Earth, but he wants nothing to do with this power. All he wants to do is be a normal 17 year old boy, but he does what he has to do so hopefully his younger brothers never know what it is like to have these kinds of powers.

I read Elemental before Storm and it ended up leaving me confused, but in love with Michael. I wished that I would have read it after Storm. I think it would have made more sense to me if I have. In Storm, Michael is a no-nonsense 23 year old guardian to his three brothers, but here his parents are still alive. It was interesting to see how much he had changed in the past five years.  

Overall, Elemental is worth picking up. I think whether you read it before or after Storm, it will leave you wanting more Michael and more of the Merrick brothers!

Double Review: The Prequel Edition: The Ash-Born Boy by Victoria Schwab and Among The Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund

The Ash-Born Boy
(The Near Witch #0.5)
By: Victoria Schwab
Pub. Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 61
Source: Free on Publisher Website
Before he came to Near...
Before he met Lexi...
Before they faced the witch...
Who was the boy named Cole?

Follow us to Dale, a city on a hill, where in a matter of days fire will devour everything. Meet the Lord and Lady, and their son, the boy destined to inherit all...until everything turns to ash.

It's time to learn the truth behind the stranger's story.
From the moment that Cole appeared on the pages of The Near Witch I was intrigued by him. What we did learn about him wasn't enough, and I could only hope that one day the author would write something in his POV.  In The Ash-Born Boy my wish came true. Set before the events of TNW, we learn who Cole really was and what really happened that horrible night his entire village burned down. We also learn the extent of Cole's powers, how he came to learn about his powers, and what those powers meant for him and his family.

What stood out for me most with TNW was how beautifully written the story was and The Ash-Born Boy is written just as whimsical and lyrical. In only a few short pages, I learned everything I needed to know about who Cole really was. His story is a definitely a sad one and I could see why he was the way he was.

The Ash-Born Boy can be read before or after TNW and if you haven't read TNW, this short story will definitely make you want to pick it up!

Among The Nameless Stars
(For Darkness Shows the Stars # 0.5)
By: Diana Peterfreund
Pub. Date: June 4, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 60
Source: Free on Authors Website
Before Kai joined the Cloud Fleet, he wandered… AMONG THE NAMELESS STARS

Four years before the events of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, the servant Kai left the North Estate, the only home he’d ever known, and Elliot North, the only girl he ever loved, in search of a better life. But the journey was not an easy one.

Featuring narrow escapes, thrilling boat races and at least one deadly volcanic wasteland.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is one of my favorite reads of 2012, and Kai is one of my favorite characters in YA literature. He intrigued me so much, but I couldn't help but feel that I wish I knew him better. When I saw that Diana Peterfreud released a prequel story in Kai's POV about his time after leaving the North Estate, but before he joined the Cloud Fleet, I was beyond excited and Peterfreund officially became my favorite person ever!

Starting one week after Kai left the North Estate, we see the pain and  loneliness he suffered while trying to better his situation. It seems that whenever he was able to move forward, someone pushed him five steps back. But Kai refused to give up and I really admired that about him. He is such an interesting guy and I really loved being able to get to know him better. Among the Nameless Stars definitely filled the void I had about Kai when reading For Darkness Shows the Stars. It made me love and understand Kai so much more.

This free prequel can be read either before or after For Darkness Shows the Stars. It is a beautifully written introduction to a wonderful and interesting book. I highly recommend it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In My Mailbox (49)

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I Only Have Eyes For You- Bella Andre (via netgalley)
Dearly, Beloved - Lia Habel (via netgalley)
Every Day - David Levithan (via netgalley)
Florence - Ciye Cho (via author)
Kiera's Quest: Awakenings - Kristy Brown (via author)

Tomorrow Land - Mari Mancusi
Awry - Chelsea Fine

On June 13, 2012 I attended the Fierce Reads Book Signing at Blue Willow Bookshop here in Houston, TX. It was an awesome tour. The authors were great and I got to hang out with some of my blogger friends! Overall, a great night. 

I hope everyone had a terrific book week as well. Leave me your link in the comments section so I can check it out! 

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