Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (38)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

By C.J. Skuse
Publication Date: November 1, 2012

She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage?
Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit, loses her precious moon rock, and bodysurfs backstage, she ends up with more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. And now he doesn't want to leave.
It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series . . . but who got punk'd?








By Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: November 6, 2012

After a tragic stint in the National Guards, Adam Connelly returns to Idaho and to Belle Haven, the animal shelter he owns with his brothers. All Adam wants is to be alone. Then he opens the door to the past—the woman whose heart he once broke. Still gorgeous, still tough-as-nails, but this time, unusually vulnerable.

Holly Reid learned the hard way to never depend on a man for anything. Now, of all men, it’s the last one she wants to see, and the only one she needs. Her father has gone missing in the Bitterroot Mountains and she could use someone with tracking skills to help find him.

For Holly and Adam, each with their ghosts, a trek this desperate, this unpredictable, and this intimate, will have its share of risks—including opening their hearts one more time.(


Monday, October 29, 2012

A Peek in the Bibliobin (42)



Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the Biblio-Bin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

This is what we have in our bin this week. Tell us what's in your Biblio-bin!






Review
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Undeadly by Michele Vail

 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

YA Mythology Giveaway Hop!



There are few people I know who are bigger fans of mythology related books than I am, so I was much too excited to discover the YA Mythology Giveaway Hop being hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and About to Read.  My only problem was deciding what to give away! 
 
We have had lots of giveaways featuring one of my favorite mythology series, the Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep, so I thought maybe we should try something new.  Perhaps the Half-Blood series by Jennifer Armentrout?  Oh. My. Gods. or Sweet Venom series by the super sweet Tera Lynn Childs?  Pegasus by Kate O'Hearn?  The ever awesome books by Rick Riordan?  I could go on and on.

I honestly couldn't decide and you really don't want to know what my convoluted thought process was to get to my choices, but here you go -



 
 And

 

There are lots of blogs participating, so please check out their giveaways too!  Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

~Shel

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis


* * *
 
 
 
Everything has always come easily to Ben Bright. He’s a solid student, landed the lead in the high school play, and has been with Ariela, his amazing girlfriend for as long as either of them can remember.  Everyone expects great things from Ben. So when Ben enlists in the army right out of high school, they are devastated. His parents don’t understand, Ariela feels abandoned. But when he explains that he feels a deep need to give back, to protect his country, his friends and family reluctantly rally around him and support him.

No one expects the phone call about Ben being in an attack.  He has suffered a brain injury, and the doctors don’t know how extensive the damage is. When Ben comes home, he can barely speak or write or walk – or remember anything about his identity, his family, or his friends.

 

 

Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am was not what I expected. When I picked it up, I thought that I’d get a glimpse inside Ben’s mind as he undergoes the long and hard recovery towards something resembling normal. Instead, the story is more about how everyone is affected by Ben’s decision to join the army.  

I’m not normally a fan of stories with multiple pov’s. The storyline can get too convoluted and burdensome. In this case, it worked effectively.  Ben sets it up at the rehearsal for his play where he’s reveling in the last few days of normalcy with his friends. He hasn’t revealed his intentions to them yet. However, his best friend Niko knows what’s up and calls him out on it. Niko forces him to explain himself. And even though not everyone can comprehend his decision, they are supportive of him.

It’s when the subsequent chapters featuring how the others cope with Ben's leaving that the story gets very engaging.  His absence leaves a gaping hole in their lives and you come to appreciate how much he means to each of them. You also get the heavy sense of their constant worrying about his safety and overall well-being.  Probably the toughest storyline to follow is that of Ben’s brother, Chris who’s autistic. Chris is so detached from what’s happening and knowing how much Ben loves his little brother, everyone makes a point to look out for him while he's away.

I won’t say that Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am is a fun read but it's so well written and offers contrasting insights into the lives of loved ones left behind. Each character has remarkable  presence and the different pov’s give the story deeper resonance.  It’s a quick read that I managed to finish in a matter of a few short hours. While it didn’t head in the direction I thought it would, I was pleased with where it ended up. I'll even say that I teared up just a wee bit.

 ~ Bel

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop 2012





This is our second Spooktacular Giveaway Hop and we couldn't be happier to participate!  Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm for hosting.  We love Halloween here at BiblioJunkies HQ, so we really wanted to give away something spooky and halloween-ish for this hop.  So, we are giving away a couple of Nat & Bel's favorite spooky reads! 
 
Nat had to have her hubby escort her to their upstairs while reading Anna Dressed in Blood (I can't wait to hear how she freaks out while reading Girl of Nightmare).
 

 
And Bel is freaking out reading The Madness Underneath - the sequel to our second awesomely spooky book.
 
 
 
Here's the fine print - the giveaway runs from the time of this post until 12:01 a.m. November 1, 2012.  This giveaway is open to shipping addresses in the continental U.S.  Check out the rest of the details in the rafflecopter below.  Happy Halloween and good luck!
 
Check out the 200+ blogs on the hop to enter to win even more awesome stuff!

~Shel
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

***1/2

 

From Random House:

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.

The first in the series, Juliet Immortal, was one of my favorite books of last year.  You can read the review here.  Romeo Redeemed picks up where Juliet Immortal left off and without getting into spoilery territory, Romeo’s soul has been returned to his original body, a rotted, disgusting corpse that has been decomposing for centuries.  He is approached by an Ambassador of Light and given the chance to redeem himself – accomplish his task and his soul will be sent to the peaceful “mist” until he is needed again.  Fail and his soul will be returned to his corpse until it rots away and then his soul will remain tethered to this world, lost and tormented. 

His task is to make Ariel fall in love with him, to show her the power of love and light.  We met Ariel in Juliet Immortal and she is teetering on the edge of dark and light.  A girl with burn scars over half her body and episodes that make epilepsy look like a walk in the park, Ariel has always been ostracized from her classmates, mistreated and labeled a freak.  Not to mention that the body Romeo’s soul is sent to inhabit has just been busted trying to hook up with Ariel to win a $500 bet.  All this will make Romeo’s task nearly impossible.

For me, Romeo Redeemed is a story about the atrocities people will commit in the name of love and light and the lengths people will go to when they lose their way.  That even those who fight for good can lose sight of what’s really important in the name of the “greater good.”  Juliet Immortal was more about self-discovery and learning to forgive yourself and those who have hurt you.  Both journeys and stories are important, but I found Juliet Immortal to be more moving.  I also had no expectations of liking Juliet Immortal, but after being blown away by it, I definitely had expectations going into Romeo Redeemed.  Both books are exceptionally well written and captivating and I highly recommend both.  I am hopeful that we will see at least one more in the series. 

~Shel
P.S.  Kudos to whomever chose the covers for this series - they are both beautiful!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Demon Eyes Blog Tour - Scott Tracey Guest Post and Giveaway!



Today is our stop on the Demon Eyes Blog Tour!
 



Demon Eyes (released October 8, 2012) is the second book in the Witch Eyes Trilogy.  We are celebrating the release of Demon Eyes with an awesome guest post by author Scott Tracey and a giveaway of Witch Eyes AND Demon Eyes!   

Scott Tracey is the author of Witch Eyes and the newly released Demon Eyes.  Phantom Eyes, the last installment in the Witch Eyes trilogy ,will be released in the fall of 2013.  The first book in Scott's new Moonset series will be released April 8, 2013

We have been following Scott on Twitter almost as long as Bibliojunkies has been in existence.  In addition to some wonderful fun and snark, our favorite Scott Tracey tweets have been those that contain the hashtag #actualhouseconversations.  Scott has graciously agreed to share with us the history and hilarity of these conversations and at the same time makes us wish that we could hang out with him and his friends. 





DON'T TWEET THAT!
by: Scott Tracey


So for those of you who don’t know, Leah Clifford and I started this game a few years ago on Twitter, called #actualhouseconversations. Basically, what we would do is take our actual conversations out of context and tweet them. Because there are so many times where we say things, and one of us realizes just how that sentence sounds out of context. Here’s a few examples:

 
"You can wiki-wiki-wiki down the stairs." #actualhouseconversations
 
“I think you’ll feel much better after you have some sleep. Or slaughter.” #actualhouseconversations
 
“Stop tazing your boyfriend!” #actualhouseconversations

 
And my personal favorite:
 
“Don’t tweet that!!!” (which gets said ALL THE TIME around my house – and basically just ensures that whatever it is WILL get tweeted).

This is actually something that started between Leah and I almost *mumbles an inarticulate number* years ago at college. We’d randomly hear things that people were saying, and be captured by the beauty of the sentence, and be forced to write it down for posterity. We had sheets of legal paper filled, both sides, with these choice quotes, many of which are not safe for work. ;)
Unfortunately, not many of those overheard quotes are fit for public consumption (mostly because many of them aren’t PG-13), so I can’t give you many of them, but here’s one memorable one.

“Wow, it looks like someone sneezed in your pile of blood!”
 
Which honestly is just better out of context.

Anyway, it’s something we’ve done on and off for years. It’s probably one of the best games we have, next to “the best band name ever” in which random phrases are always deemed“the best band name ever.” A bonus #actualhouseconversation for you. We were staying at a friend's lake house, and got to talking about horror movies or something, and someone said, "Now is not the time for lake house slaughter." And then the other one said, "Lake House Slaughter would be the best band name ever." And thus, two weird games were born.
 
So there you have it, the origin of the #actualhouseconversation. Just know that we’re not actual crazy people, we just have crazy conversations. ;)

Scott Tracey
 
Thanks for stopping by, Scott!  We will be keeping an eye out for more crazy #actualhouseconversations on Twitter :-) 
 
As part of this tour, we are giving away a copy of both Witch Eyes and Demon Eyes to one lucky winner.  You know the drill.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to US Residents only.
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey

* * * * 1//2

Demons don't die without a fight...

After destroying the demon Lucien, Braden—son of Belle Dam’s most powerful warlock, Jason Thorpe—doesn’t need the power of his witch eyes to see that everything in his life is turning against him: friends, family, and even his visions. When disturbing nightmares of Lucien’s return haunt him, Braden discovers that the simmering feud between the city’s two witch dynasties is fast approaching its explosive boiling point.

While struggling to come to terms with his attraction to Trey, Catherine Lansing’s son who should be his mortal enemy, a diabolical plan starts to unveil before Braden’s eyes. Young women are disappearing from Belle Dam, and as he investigates, Braden is forced to explore the dangerous unknown power within himself. But when the truth about his family is revealed, Braden must pay a terrible price.
 



When I reviewed Witch Eyes, I listed what I loved and didn’t love about the story.  But Demon Eyes?  I honestly can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like.  Scott Tracey really outdid himself this time.  Braden’s story continues with more action and strengthened characters which in turn gave me a story that I couldn’t put down.   

The cast of characters really won me over this time around.  If you have ever read a review of mine you will know that characters, more than anything, are what really draw me into a book.  Braden reminded me a lot of Sam Winchester from the show Supernatural.  If you have ever watched it you will understand how I can say Braden is quite angsty, a bit of a martyr and yet, at the same time, so stinkin’ loveable.  Everything he does (even when it seems misguided) is done to protect him and those that he loves. Yeah, Braden is a keeper and is quickly working his way to the Forever Boy list. 

Braden’s friends (a relative term in some cases) provide a lot to this story. My favorite this time around was Drew.  We met Drew in Witch Eyes but he plays a bigger role now that he is the only person that will openly be friends with Braden.  He is an unlikeable jerk (his usual MO) but his snark perfectly balances out the angst.   

I complained about two things when I reviewed Witch Eyes.  The first was the adults – Catherine and Jason.  I was frustrated that even at the end of Witch Eyes I knew so little about them.  But by the end of Demon Eyes I had an understanding of what made Catherine tick and what her role is in the story.  Jason was somewhat non-existent in this installment but I think we are going find out a lot more about him in Phantom Eyes and I am looking forward to it.  Just goes to show me that I need to be patient.  It’s not like I can get all the answers at once, right?   

The 2nd thing I didn’t like in Witch Eyes was Braden’s love interest, Trey.  He came across as a controlling jerk and I didn’t feel like he was good enough for the very gentle Braden.  I want to give a huge thank you to Mr. Tracey for making me like Trey this go around.  He is still kind of a jerk…in the beginning.  But through the story you see Trey struggle with where his loyalties lie.  By the end of the book I was actually hoping that Trey and Braden would get their happily ever after.  Did they?  Yeah, like I am going to tell.  I will tell you this.  Scott Tracey yet again proves his ability to write a page-smoldering kiss.   

I enjoyed Witch Eyes.  But Demon Eyes?  I LOVED Demon Eyes.  It’s an angry sort of love, though.  Because I now have to wait another year before reading the conclusion of Braden’s story in Phantom Eyes.  Damn you, Flux! Couldn’t you put it out earlier? 
 
 
Nat

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa


* * * *
 
 
 
In Faery, there are always more tales to tell…
 
It has been thirteen years since Meghan Chase vanished into the Nevernever to become the Iron Queen, leaving her family and her half brother, Ethan, behind. But that doesn't mean the fey left them alone, or forgot about them. Now seventeen, Ethan Chase is an expert on all things faery and feels nothing but rage toward the creatures who stole his sister so long ago.
 


Bel's Top Three Reasons To Love The Iron Prince:
1) The book cover - have you seen it? It is hot!! What!?!
2) Grimalkin - who can't get enough of a dry-humored, sarcastic cat?
3) Puck - pure fun!

So if the above is not reason enough or doesn't qualify as a thorough review, then fine, I'll elaborate.

It's pure pleasure to return to Kagawa's world even if it comes with some baggage.  She starts off The Lost Prince with the same tone she set with the previous Iron Fey series.  From the beginning it’s clear that Ethan is troubled and spends a great deal of time putting measures in place to protect himself from the fey. His objective is to survive and to do so he’s put on the fa├žade of the bad boy loser you don’t want to mess with let alone sneak a glance at. No matter, trouble still finds him. The fey always seem to discover who he is and that he has the sight. Not to mention that he also happens to be the brother of the Iron Queen.  And since he's had no contact with Meghan in years, he's just a little bitter.

When Ethan starts at a new school, he’s careful to go into full a-hole mode. Unfortunately, the fey world catches up to him. When he happens upon some jocks bullying a kid – and not any kid but someone Ethan recognizes as part fey – he can’t ignore it and confronts the bullies instead. Ethan learns that this kid, Todd has also been covorting with the fey not realizing how dangerous that is. Ethan is reluctantly dragged into Todd's mess. Along for the unexpected ride is Kenzie, a feisty, no-nonsense schoolmate who is not in the least bit intimidated by Ethan. She finds him to be a curiosity and is constantly in his face. Well, she got more than she bargained for!
So as the adventure begins Ethan and Kenzie are dragged through the Nevernever and encounter good old Grimalkin again. He does have a brief reunion with Meghan though it's bittersweet as he’s forced to confront his anger towards her.  Ethan also receives a surprise about his family but all that is put aside to fight a new nemesis threatening both the fey world and the mortal world where exiles are disappearing in droves, including Todd. This puts Ethan in the very unfathomable position of helping the very people he despises in order to save another.

The Lost Prince is like visiting an old friend. Everything is in its familiar place with some new additions but always with that gripping action we all love. This time most of the action takes place in the mortal world. Setting aside his bad memories and distrust of all things fey, Ethan summons all his knowledge and experience to work with them to find his friend and protect Kenzie.  It's almost therapeutic that he's finally confronting his nightmares. Ethan grows up quickly through the course of the book turning his animosity into motivation. As I mentioned at the top, it's pure pleasure to go on this spectacular adventure again!

~ Bel

 

 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Decked With Holly by Marni Bates


***1/2

From Kensington Teen:

Holly Dayton is about to go way out of her comfort zone…

Spending Christmas vacation on a cruise with her two cousins from hell isn’t Holly’s idea of a good time. And when in a moment of seasick-fueled desperation she lurches into an open suite—she’s greeted with an eyeful of pepper spray. The culprit? A gorgeous guy calling himself Nick. But when Holly goes to make her exit, she gets the shock of her life: a corridor crammed with screaming teenage fans. Because Nick just happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for ReadySet—one of the hottest bands in America.

Suddenly rumors are swirling, and Holly’s face is captured on countless phones and plastered all over the Internet. But the band can’t risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend—just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be fauxmantically involved with one of the cutest rockstars on the planet? Holly’s about to find out…
 

Decked With Holly is a very Cinderella story, complete with a wicked step-mother, horrible step-sisters and loveable orphan Holly.  In our story, Holly lost her parents as a baby and was raised by her aging, but loving grandfather.  Holly’s wicked step-mother is actually her Aunt and her female cousins play the role of the step-sisters.  And they are completely horrible people lacking any redeeming qualities.   And while Grandpa is old, there’s no excuse for him not telling his daughter and granddaughters to shut the hell up.  And the other men/guys in the book all sit silently by while the Aunt and cousins put the meanest of “mean girls” to shame.  Our rock star Nick isn’t exactly charming, but he is a modern day prince as the drummer in an uber-popular boy band.    

Decked With Holly is hilarious, which I wan't expecting.  I haven’t giggled that much during a book since Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich.  While the supporting characters are exaggerated, Holly and Dominic feel surprisingly honest in their one-on-one interactions.  I enjoyed Decked With Holly and think it should be on everyone’s holiday reading list this year.  I haven’t read Bates’ debut Awkward, but I am definitely going to pick it up. 

~Shel

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Peek in the Biblio-Bin (41)



Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the Biblio-Bin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dex in Blue by Amy Lane (Adult Romance)

* * * * 1/2
Ten years ago David Worral had plans to go to college and the potential for a beautiful future in front of him. One tragic accident later, he fled to California and reinvented himself as Dex, top porn model of Johnnies.

Dex’s life is a tangled mess now, but the guys he works with only see the man who makes them believe even porn stars can lead normal lives. When Kane, one of Dex’s coworkers, gets kicked out of his house, the least Dex can do is give him a place to stay. Kane may be a hyperactive muscle-bound psycho, but he’s also a really nice guy. What could be the harm?

Except nothing is simple—not sex, not love, and not the goofy kid with the big dick and bigger heart who moves his life into Dex’s guest room. When they start negotiating fractured pasts and broken friends, Dex wonders if Kane’s honest nature can untangle the sadness that stalled his once-promising future. With Kane by his side, Dex just might be able to reclaim the boy he once was—and if he can do that, he can give Kane the home and the family he deserves
.

 

Earlier this year, Bel read and reviewed her first Amy Lane book – Chase in Shadow.  At her urging, I read it as well and was completely enthralled and wrapped up in Ms. Lane’s character building.  I finished Chase in Shadow with a hard earned smile on my face (though not nearly as hard earned as the smile on Chase’s face) and an eagerness to know what would happen with all of my other favorite boys at Johnnie’s.  And apparently, Amy Lane aims to please, because this past week Dex in Blue (the story of two of my fave Johnnie’s models – Dex and Kane) was released. 

Dex is unofficially second-in-command at Johnnie’s.  He takes care of everything from scheduling and filming scenes to making sure the new models know what to eat and understand that it’s just a job and they should never get attached.   That is until he becomes attached to co-worker and ultimate jerk, Scott.  When he gains the strength to finally kick Scott to the curb, Kane is unexpectedly there to help.

Kane can only be described as simple.  Not stupid or dumb.  Just simple.  He doesn’t comprehend sarcasm.  He doesn’t read between the lines.  And he doesn’t do irony.  What he likes is straight-forwardness.  He wants to be able to take things at face value.  He loves kind acts and kind words.  And becomes he likes THOSE things he really, really likes Dex.  Dex is the guy who helps everyone out (including him) and he is hoping he will help him out again when he finds he needs a place to stay. 

Of course Dex says yes to taking in Kane (and his room full of pets).  But what starts out as “just helping a friend” becomes yet again breaking the rule of becoming too attached to a co-worker.  But as Dex and Kane navigate an unexpected relationship that includes the trials of helping friends in need, dealing with dysfunctional family and coming out, they find that they just might be able to have a happily ever after with each other.   

If you thought that the angst and sadness of Chase in Shadow was too much then Dex and Kane’s story might be for you.  Ms. Lane warned me on Twitter that I was going to enjoy Dex’s story since I enjoyed Making Promises so much.  And she couldn’t have been more correct.  Dex in Blue is an ultimate comfort read (my favorite kind!)  This is a sweet story about two very kind and loving men trying to take care of each other as friends and somehow along the way it becomes more.   

I am going to cross my fingers and hope there will be more in this series.  And I can only hope that Ethan’s story is next -because even I feel lost and lonely when Ethan isn’t being held.  Please Ms. Lane?  Pretty Please?

 

Nat  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (37)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.


I love this cover.  It screams Happily Ever After. - Nat


By Lauren Morrill
Publication Date:  November 13, 2012

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison weir

* * * 1/2


 

In this engrossing novel of historical suspense, New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir tells the dramatic intertwined stories of two women—Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet—separated by time but linked by twin destinies . . . . involving the mysterious tragic fate of the young Princes in the Tower.

When her older sister, Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, is executed in 1554 for unlawfully accepting the English crown, Lady Katherine Grey’s world falls apart. Barely recovered from this tragic loss she risks all for love, only to incur the wrath of her formidable cousin Queen Elizabeth I, who sees Katherine as a rival for her insecure throne.

Interlaced with Katherine’s story is that of her distant kinswoman Kate Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king. In 1483, Kate travels to London for Richard’s coronation, and her world changes forever.

Kate loves her father, but before long she hears terrible rumors about him that threaten all she holds dear. Like Katherine Grey, she falls in love with a man who is forbidden to her. Then Kate embarks on what will become a perilous quest, covertly seeking the truth about what befell her cousins the Princes in the Tower, who may have been victims of Richard III’s lust for power. But time is not on Kate’s side, or on Katherine’s.

Katherine finds herself a prisoner in the Tower of London, the sinister fortress that overshadowed the lives of so many royal figures, including the boy princes. Will Elizabeth demand the full penalty for treason? And what secrets will Katherine find hidden within the Tower walls?

History is amazing. It’s the ultimate soap opera , reality show if you will, featuring impeccable heroes, devious scoundrels, dysfunctional families and egomaniacs  hungry for power. Weir’s novel encompasses all that delivering a well-crafted story set during two of the most tumultuous times in England and featuring one of the most gruesome murders in its history.

Weir parallels two young ladies who are witnesses to their respective monarchy’s uncertain futures.  Kate Plantagenet is the illegitimate daughter of Richard, Duke of Gloucester who ascends to the throne after imprisoning his two nephews in the Tower.  Katherine Grey, a cousin of Elizabeth I sits in the precarious position of being the potential rival to the throne should Elizabeth I not marry and have children.  Both are distantly related and both suffer tragically at the hands of their families and the political turmoil that they are unwittingly drawn into.

Rather than spell out how the story goes, I’ll explain how simply engrossing A Dangerous Inheritance is. Weir is an established historian and one of my favorite authors. (Yes, I did squeal like a little girl and do the happy dance when I received this ARC.) She has written extensively on the monarchy (I own many of her books) and her knowledge comes through very distinctly.  Two of her books in particular came in handy for me as I read this book, The War of the Roses and The Princes In The Tower.  Handy for me because I get geeky and like to research and look at genealogy charts.

What impressed me most was how Weir managed to make Richard III, one of the most reviled and ridiculed monarchs in English history, sympathetic through the eyes of his daughter Kate. She loves her father unconditionally and aims to disprove the malicious gossip at court surrounding her father’s unprecedented usurpation of the throne.  Many years later and Katherine Grey is embroiled in a Spanish conspiracy to depose Elizabeth I and plant her on the throne to restore Catholicism. Both girls, young and impressionable, are pawns in a volatile politically charged arena.

Whether you’re a fan of history or simply like some mystery with your historical fiction, A Dangerous Inheritance will pull you in. Weir is a remarkable writer. No matter fiction or non-fiction, she has always drawn me into the worlds she creates and I'm glad to feel as if I'm in the thick of it, not just a bystander reading words on a page. It’s not necessary at all to have previous knowledge of the political background in order to appreciate the course of events as they unfold in A Dangerous Inheritance. Weir does an excellent job of explaining the relationships and political ties without getting bogged down in too much weary detail.  However, if after reading this book, you feel so inclined to learn more about the of these families and the events mentioned, then I highly suggest her other two books I mentioned above.

~ Bel

 

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Peek in the Biblio-Bin (40)




Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the Biblio-Bin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

We missed last week's post.  Add that to a great couple release weeks, an amazing YA conference, a very lucky trip to the library and some generous approvals on NetGalley and our Bin is serioulsy overflowing. 

This is what we have in our bin this week. Tell us what's in your Biblio-bin!


Bought -

Dex in Blue by Amy Lane
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi
Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Soulbound (Legacy of Tril) by Heather Brewer
Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Every Day by David Levithan
Charlie Collier: Snoop For Hire (The Homemade Stuffing Caper) by John Madormo
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein


Borrowed:

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson



Review:
When the Siren Calls by Tom Barry
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Cleopatra Ascending by Maureen Lipinski
Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis







 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (36)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

We know, we know.  It's Thursday.  I've (Nat) been a bit off this week.  I seriously thought Wednesday was just starting.  Well, at least this means Friday is closer. 


By Scott Tracey
Publication Date: October 8, 2012 (rumor has it that this one has already been seen out in the wild...)

Demons don't die without a fight...

After destroying the demon Lucien, Braden—son of Belle Dam’s most powerful warlock, Jason Thorpe—doesn’t need the power of his witch eyes to see that everything in his life is turning against him: friends, family, and even his visions. When disturbing nightmares of Lucien’s return haunt him, Braden discovers that the simmering feud between the city’s two witch dynasties is fast approaching its explosive boiling point.

While struggling to come to terms with his attraction to Trey, Catherine Lansing’s son who should be his mortal enemy, a diabolical plan starts to unveil before Braden’s eyes. Young women are disappearing from Belle Dam, and as he investigates, Braden is forced to explore the dangerous unknown power within himself. But when the truth about his family is revealed, Braden must pay a terrible price.




By Stacey Jay
Publication Date: October 9, 2012

Seductive companion to the popular Juliet Immortal, in which former lovers—Romeo and Juliet—meet, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.





By Daniel Marks
Publication Date: October 9, 2012

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.

Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.




Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend by Katie MacAlister

***

 
 
From Author’s Website:
GOT FANGS?
Originally published January 2005
All sixteen-year-old Francesca Ghetti wants to do is have a normal life where she’s one of the crowd, blending in so no one will know just how much of a freak she is. Dragged to Europe by her mother to join GothFaire, a travelling band of psychics, magicians, and assorted other oddities, Fran has to cope with not only the normal angst of always being a fish out of water, but also with her own fate as a psychometrist.
Enter one Moravian Dark One (referred to by most people as vampires) named Benedikt who claims Fran is the key to redeeming his soul, a mysterious horse who seems to have an involved past, an immortal friend who remembers what Mozart was like, and a demonologist who thinks he’s Elvis, and you can understand why Fran despairs of ever fitting in.
CIRCUS OF THE DARNED
Originally published January 2006
I’ve given up all hope of having a normal life. As if things weren’t freaky enough traveling around Europe with a group of witches, mediums, and magicians who make up my home-away-from-home (aka the GothFaire), now I also have to cope with a mysterious man who wants to steal my horse, and a time-travel counselor who insists I’m Cleopatra reincarnated.
I just want to go on a date with Benedikt, but when your boyfriend’s a vampire, nothing is easy. Not only is Ben keeping secrets from me, but somehow, I raised an entire battlefield of warring Viking ghosts–all of whom refuse to be sent back.
And I thought all I had to worry about was what to wear on my date…
The Bad:
The problem with having two short novels or novellas means that Ben and Fran’s story felt unfinished.  I know their story continues in Katie’s adult book, In the Company of Vampires, but I was really enjoying the YA stories. 
The Good:
This shouldn’t come as a surprise given Katie MacAlister’s prolific sales and writing, but she is a fantastic writer.  Confessions is Fran’s coming of age story.  She begins to accept herself, freaky abilities and all, but also to accept those around her and their freaky abilities.  Most of all Fran finds her place, not just in the circus, but with Ben.  Like her Dark Ones series and the dragon series, Confessions of a Vampire’s Girlfriend is compelling, funny and impossible to put down.  You kind find out more about Katie and her books, www.katiemacalister.com. 
~Shel
 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Alex Van Helsing: The Triumph of Death by Jason Henderson

****

 
 
 
From HarperTeen:

Within months of discovering he's next in a long line of vampire hunters, Alex Van Helsing has already defeated two powerful vampire leaders. Not bad for a fourteen-year-old.
But when a newly risen vampire queen threatens the fate of the world, Alex faces his deadliest challenge yet. Teaming up with a motorcycle-riding witch, Alex jets between Switzerland, the UK, and Spain in a frantic race to prevent the queen from unleashing a curse that will plunge the world into darkness.
With the clock ticking, Alex barely has time to breathe, let alone see his friends, and he's beginning to wonder if being a vampire hunter is worth all its sacrifices. In this thrilling finale to the action-packed series described as "James Bond meets Dracula," everything—Alex's future and, ultimately, that of the world—hangs in the balance.

This third installment of AVH has Alex and a mysterious new friend, Astrid, trying to stop the “Triumph of Death” a spell which would create darkness and allow vampires to essentially take over the world.  While Alex discovers his magic half, races to save the world, and defies his superiors in the Polidorium, he struggles with how to be a friend and yet protect his friends at the same time.  And is it even possible to have friends or a personal life when you are fighting to save the world?

If I had to come up with one complaint about The Triumph of Death, it would be that we did not get enough time with Paul, Minhi and Sid.  They are such great characters and were such a huge part of the first two books, I missed them while reading Triumph. 

As with the rest of the series, The Triumph of Death was fast-paced action-adventure and completely irresistible.  Alex is such a lovable character and the world created by Henderson is so much fun.  Probably the most mature 14 year old I can think of Alex's adventures are great for all ages.  I've recommended this series to people from age 6 to adults in their 50s and 60s.  Whenever I recommend the AVH series to someone, I tell them to think of modern day Hardy Boys with high tech gadgets and vampires. 

I know the book description says that this is the final installment in the series, but I really hope that isn’t so.  I would hate to say goodbye to Alex and friends!   I have been thinking all day that I cannot be the only person who thinks AVH would make a great movie or tv series...
~Shel