Thursday, June 27, 2013

Duty and Devotion (Faith, Love and Devotion #3) by Tere Michaels

Duty & Devotion  (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #3)* * * * *

After their happily ever after in Faith & Fidelity, Matt and Evan move forward to a new chapter of their lives -- inside the bedroom and out -- with some surprises in store for both. Evan struggles with labels and feelings even as he wants to give in to his baser desires. Matt, now the ideal househusband of Queens, New York, has his own set of struggles -- who is he now? What does he need and want?

A visit from his friend and one-night stand Jim Shea (of Love & Loyalty) throws everything into disarray as Evan's jealousy and unease push Matt's buttons -- and not always in a good way.










Review:

Remember how I got all gooey over Matt and Evan in Faith and Fidelity?  Well lucky for me they get two more follow ups.  Duty and Devotion (Faith, Love and Devotion #3) and Cherish (Faith, Love and Devotion #4).

Faith and Fidelity took us through the rocky beginnings of Matt and Evan’s relationship.  Leaving us with hope that these two men will be together for the long run.  But love and relationships never come easy.  They require work and dedication.  And thankfully these guys are willing to put the work into a relationship that is proving to be just as difficult as it is rewarding.

Duty and Devotion begins months after the end of Faith and Fidelity.  Matt and Evan are out.  They have bought a house together and Matt has become an honest-to-god house husband…grocery shopping, cleaning house, cooking, laundry, childcare…you name, he does it.  And you know what?  Even though it surprises him still, he LOVES it.  He loves Evan.  He loves the kids.  He loves his life.  But there is still that little tickle of doubt.  The fear that he has assimilated so much to Evan’s life that he is missing out in pursuing something that is just for him.

But that fear is nothing compared to his concern over Evan’s homophobia and jealousy.  Evan is struggling to define their relationship in public and in the bedroom.  He is in a committed romantic relationship with a man but can’t even say the word gay without turning red and having a panic attack.  He maintains that he just doesn’t want to put a label on their relationship but even Matt can see Evan is just using that as an excuse to avoid addressing the discomfort he still feels being in a gay relationship.

When Matt’s one-night-stand-turned-good-friend (Jim O’Shea) comes out to visit, Evan’s discomfort and jealousy come to a head.  Due to an unexpected series of events, Matt is given a chance at a new career.  And Evan is thrown into further contact with Jim and his boyfriend and in turn forms a tentative friendship that helps him face his insecurities head on.

In my review of Faith and Fidelity I mentioned how realistically messy these characters are.  In Book 1, Matt’s pushy and overly demanding attitude made his imperfections stand out.  In Duty and Devotion, Evan’s ridiculously uptight passive aggressive self is given a chance to shine.  But there is now doubt that they balance each other out.  And there is no doubt that these two people will get their happily ever.  Because despite their imperfections and failings they are willing to put in the effort to make it work.

Yet another 5 stars to Tere Michaels.  Her portrayal of relationships is too wonderful to deserve anything less than the very best rating from this Bibliojunkie.

Nat

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (69)


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


The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date:  September 17, 2013

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hidden (Avena #1) by Marianne Curley

* * 3/4





For as long as Ebony can remember, she's been sheltered. Confined to her home in a secluded valley, home-schooled by her protective parents, and limited to a small circle of close friends. It's as if she's being hidden. But something is changing in Ebony. Something that can't be concealed. She's growing more beautiful by the day, she's freakishly strong, and then there's the fact that she's glowing.

On one fateful night, Ebony meets Jordan and she's intensely drawn to him. It's as if something explodes inside of her--something that can be seen from the heavens. Ebony still doesn't know that she's a stolen angel, but now that the heavens have found her, they want her back.



Since there is a lot to this book that would be hard to talk about without giving away details and spoilers, I’ll summarize it this way:

What I Liked …

I was pleasantly surprised that the description did not give away the entire plot. There really was a whole lot more to it. It wasn't just Ebony and Jordan’s story even though it was told from either of their perspectives. There were other players involved who had something at stake. And how they're all connected is the giant puzzle that needs to be put together. I wasn't immediately able to discern who the good and bad guys were. I viewed each character skeptically and it was nice to be kept on my toes that way. So it felt real that Ebony felt the same and was not easily swayed by what was revealed to her all at once practically.

The other …

I really wanted to get carried away by this book but there were times when I found my interest waning because the conversations didn't flow naturally for me. I admit that I did put the book down for a day or so but my curiosity got the better of me and I knew then that it was still a story worth reading because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I mentioned previously that there were quite a few subplots which was fine though they did feel cluttered at times. And there were events I felt happened too quickly, awkwardly or unnecessarily. But all that can be put by the wayside because it all came to a pretty intense climax that I thought was rather clever because of all the dubious characters and side deals that threw me off.

So my ultimate take on Hidden is that it's a decent read and it's a story that has potential. Curley offers up a different take on angels and the idea of heaven versus hell, good versus evil, science versus religion  all new concepts to embrace. I'll be interested to see where she takes this as the series progresses.

 ~ Bel


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #67




Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's 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.  
What's in your BiblioBin?

Friday, June 21, 2013

In Too Deep by Coert Voorhees

* * *



Annie Fleet, master scuba diver and history buff, knows she can’t fight her nerd status as a freshman at her Los Angeles private school. And she doesn’t care—except for the fact that her crush, Josh, thinks she’s more adorable than desirable. Annie is determined to set him straight on their school trip to Mexico. But her teacher has other plans: he needs Annie to help him find Cortez’s lost-long treasure.

Suddenly, Annie finds herself scuba diving in pitch-black waters, jetting to Hawaii with Josh, and hunting for the priceless Golden Jaguar. But Annie and Josh aren’t the only ones lured by the possibility of finding the greatest treasure ever lost at sea. Someone else wants the gold—and needs Annie dead. In deeper danger than she ever imagined, can Annie get the boy and find the Jaguar, or is she in over her head?

Critically-acclaimed author Coert Voorhees delivers breathtaking romance and non-stop action in his newest novel, the spirited and captivating In Too Deep.

Annie is a girl after my own heart with her love of archaeology and treasure hunting. Where I like to look at nature from a distance, she will actually get out into the field and get her hands dirty or wet in this case. 

When Annie's teacher presents her with the opportunity to go to Mexico to perform some charity work and may be find a little treasure on the side, she jumps at the chance.  Once she arrives there, she finds out the true mission of the trip and agrees to go along with it. It's a dream come true and it's more than flattering to have her teacher rely on her expertise. However, this has to be kept quiet from the rest of the group. It's tough keep secrets especially when things become precarious but Annie's pretty smart and finds ways in and out of some harrowing danger. 

It was fun to read something contemporary with plenty of action in it and best of all, a good mystery to be solved. I mean who doesn’t love tales of treasure hunting? There was definitely a good balance of humor and high-school romance thrown in as well. And even though the trip starts out with an unlikely group of teens, they do end up working together as a team. 

In Too Deep will make a perfect addition to your summer reading!

~ Bel


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rainbow Trilogy by Alex Sanchez

* * * 



Rainbow Boys (Rainbow Trilogy, #1)
Kristin @ Blood, Sweat and Books was
awesome enought to point out that the
cutie in the back is a young Matt Bomer!
Rainbow Boys

Jason Carrillo is a jock with a steady girlfriend, but he can't stop dreaming about sex...with other guys.
Kyle Meeks doesn't look gay, but he is. And he hopes he never has to tell anyone -- especially his parents.
Nelson Glassman is "out" to the entire world, but he can't tell the boy he loves that he wants to be more than just friends.
Three teenage boys, coming of age and out of the closet. In a revealing debut novel that percolates with passion and wit, Alex Sanchez follows these very different high-school seniors as their struggles with sexuality and intolerance draw them into a triangle of love, betrayal, and ultimately, friendship.










Rainbow High (Rainbow Trilogy, #2)
Rainbow High

Jason Carrillo, the best-looking athlete in school, has had his eyes on the prize from day one: a scholarship for college.
But then his eyes turn to love -- and Kyle.
Kyle Meeks, swim team star and all-around good guy, is finally in the relationship he wanted. Being in love feels so good, in fact, that he can't imagine giving it up to go to Princeton.
Something he's worked for his entire life.
Nelson Glassman, outgoing and defiant, might be HIV positive. Jeremy, the boy he loves, is HIV positive. Although Nelson fears testing positive, if he is infected Jeremy might stop protecting him and pushing him away.
They can be together.
High shool's almost over. Graduation is ahead. Life's a bowl of cherries, right? Right...




Rainbow Road (Rainbow Trilogy, #3)Rainbow Road

Jason Carrillo came out to his basketball team senior year and lost his university scholarship. Now, with graduation behind him and summer ending, he's asked to speak at the opening of a gay and lesbian high school across the country. But after spending years in the closet and losing his scholarship dream, what message can he offer?

Kyle Meeks is getting ready to go to Princeton in the fall and trying to see as much as possible of his boyfriend Jason before they have to separate. When Jason tells him about his speaking invitation, Kyle jumps at the chance to drive across country with him. Yet he can't help worrying: Will their romance survive two weeks crammed together in a car?

Nelson Glassman is happy his best friend Kyle has found love with Jason. Now he's looking for his own true love -- and hopes he might find his soul mate during the road trip. But will being the "third wheel" in a trio ruin his friendships with Kyle and Jason?

During an eye-opening postgraduation summer road trip, each of the three very different boys also embarks on a personal journey across a landscape of love, sexuality, homophobia, and above all, friendship.



Review:

Over a year and a half ago I went in search for gay YA titles.  One of the first things that came up in my search was the Rainbow Trilogy by Alex Sanchez.  I added them to my Nook wishlist but then ended up getting distracted by the gazillion other titles that I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) say “no” to.  Then last week I was at the library signing me and the kiddos up for the summer reading program.  Before we left, I made the requisite trip to the Teen Room (yeah, my library has a Teen Room – how COOL is that?) and started browsing.  Because, you know, I need more on my TBR pile.  Some how, The Rainbow Trilogy jumped out at me from the bottom row.  Actually the audio books jumped out at me which made me think, “Hey, I’m finally going to read these!”  And then I turned the corner and grabbed the printed books.



So I brought them home. And I read them.  And they were alright.  I could (and would like to) go into a long discussion about these books and my thoughts on them but it would be one sided and not nearly as fun as it would be to discuss them with someone else that has read them – hint, hint to anyone that has read them.  I would love to discuss these in the comment section so don't be afraid to engage.  I really want to know how others feel about this trilogy.

To make this a little easier for me, I have decided to break this down Shel-style.

The Good:

These books address a number of issues that gay teens might experience – coming out, parental abuse, bullying, insecurity, tolerance/acceptance, sex, the intricacies of gender identity…just to name a few.  They are fast and easy reads and are a great educational resource for teens. I would actually recommend this to most teenagers and use it to open dialogue.

The Bad:

I loved that these books were educational.  The problem is that so much is covered that some issues were not given enough detail.  But then what is covered might make someone ask enough questions that they will look for further detail in another book.  The one other thing I did not like about these books was the writing style.  It made me feel like I was watching an after school special.  The dialogue left me feeling completely un-connected to the characters.  And we all know how much I love to be connected to my imaginary book friends.

The bad aside, I can’t deny that these books are a wonderful resource for teens and many will identify with the characters and the issues they face day to day.

Nat


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (68)


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

I was just about to type something like, "Hey, y'all know how much we love Amy Lane and her Promises series?"  And then I realized that you may know how much we love Amy but you don't know how much we love  Keeping Promise Rock, Making Promises and Living Promises because we HAVEN'T REVIEWED THEM YET!!!  What on earth is wrong with us?  I can only say that these characters are so real to us that we are afraid of not showing them the appropriate amount of love that they deserve.  But we are going to fix that very soon.  Everyone should have their hearts broken and then mended by this series.  Everyone.  On top of that Making Promises features one of my favorite Forever Boys of all time - Shane Perkins.    Watch out readers.  You are going to experience what happens when we REALLY let our fangirl out.


Forever Promised by Amy Lane eBookBy Amy Lane
Publication Date: June 28, 2013


Keeping Promise Rock: Book Four

Crick has been home from Iraq for five years, Jeff and Collin are finally married, and Shane and Mikhail are quietly making lives better for the dispossessed teenagers who come their way. Everything is right in Deacon's world, but nothing ever stays the same.

When Deacon's best friends, Jon and Amy, answer the call of an opportunity in Washington, DC, Deacon figures that’s life. You love people, and they leave you, and you survive. Even Benny, Crick’s little sister, is close to grown and ready to start her own future. But Benny loves Deacon, and she owes him—she may move beyond The Pulpit and Levee Oaks one day, but not without leaving something of herself behind. And so she offers Deacon and Crick an amazing gift… and a terrifying decision.

Benny’s offer forces Deacon and Crick to dredge up every past mistake and offer of redemption. And not just the two of them—everybody is forced to examine the chances they've been given and the promises they've made. In a real family, a child is a promise, and to the men and women of Promise Rock, keeping that promise will change their lives forever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout




From Entangled Teen:


The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane. 

Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in. Captivated. Lured. Loved.
Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence…and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself.


The Bad:
This is supposed to be a prequel novella.  There is nothing novella about it!  I would caution you that you will probably not be able to finish this in an hour before bed, so do not start it when you have to get up super early.  Also, I hate the ending to this book.  Not because it is not well written or does not flow or any of the other critical reasons, but because it is so sad and I NEED to know what happened!   

The Good:
I really enjoyed Shadows.  The contrast between Dawson in Shadows and Daemon in Obsidian is startling.  Dawson is so sweet and nice and a bit bumbling with Bethany.  It's really cute and so heartbreaking.  I definitely recommend Shadows and the entire Lux Series.  Aliens usually aren't my thing, but I will make an exception here.  :-)

~Shel

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #66



Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's 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.  
What's in your BiblioBin?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

*** 1/2

From Goodreads:

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

Take a Bow is a sweet story about people learning to stick up for themselves, all in different ways.  Emme is by far the central character, but each of the four main characters go through major life changes in the span of the story.  Despite it's relative short length, Eulberg makes you feel for these characters and gives a surprising amount of depth to Emme, Ethan and to a lesser extent Carter.  Sophie's character lacks depth, but that really is the point of Sophie's character.  

If you are looking for a story about the perils of love and friendship that will leave you feeling contented, then Take A Bow is a perfect fit.  

~Shel

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

* * * 





Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.


It took me a while to really get into this book.  I liked Vane. He’s a typical teenage boy though he has a bit of a problem in the girlfriend department i.e. he can’t keep a girlfriend. Turns out every time he’s tried to date someone, there’s always some sort of mishap and he inevitably ends up looking like a jerk. Though that bothers him, he’s more intrigued by the mysterious girl who haunts his dreams. She could hold the answers to his past that he can’t remember.

Audra, on the other hand, is quite single-minded about her mission to guard and train Vane. She struggles to compose herself throughout the story whether she’s working with Vane, dealing with her unaffectionate mother or the untimely death of her beloved father. Those mixed emotions fuel her determination to help Vane remember his heritage so that they can fight the oncoming evil together.

As far as characters go, Vane is a fun, sarcastic guy who is not quite as inept as he comes off initially. He’s a great kid who gets along with his parents so when Audra finally steps into his life and he starts behaving strangely, his parents have cause to worry. Audra took a bit longer to grow on me. Nothing irritates me more than when one character keeps the other in the dark because they think they can’t handle whatever the truth is. I was so annoyed by Audra’s stance to not clue Vane in on what was going on especially because she herself knows how time is running out. It’s bad judgment on her part and a major waste of time.

Let The Sky Fall was fun to read and worth it especially if you’re looking for something  different. The idea of windwalkers is refreshing though it took me a while to get into it. Give me vampires, shadowhunters, dragons, fallen angels, werewolves but for some reason, I was initially skeptical about people who can control wind. I know – it makes no sense. Once I became more fully invested in Vane and wanting him to succeed and be safe, I got over it and enjoyed this fantastic new world.

~ Bel



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (67)


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

This week's choice is no surprise.  We love Mr. Levithan and we can't think of a greater way to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of his first novel, Boy Meets Boy, than the publication of a new Levithan title geared towards a new generation of gay teens.

Two Boys KissingBy David Levithan
Publication Date: August 27, 2013

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

This follow-up to the bestselling Every Day showcases David's trademark sharp-witted, warm-hearted tales of teenage love, and serves as a perfect thematic bookend to David's YA debut and breakthrough, Boy Meets Boy, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy Novella) by Jennifer Estep

****


From KTeen:

I'm Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy.  At least I was - until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I'm fine, that Loki and the Reapers don't have a hold on me anymore, but I can't risk it.  I can't risk hurting Gwen again.  So I'm leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what's happening to me, whether I'm safe.  I can't tell her, but this is my story...

Anyone who reads the blog knows that I am a huge fan of this series.  What i loved most about Spartan Frost was that it is told from Logan's point of view and after what he went through in Crimson Frost, it was awesome to get inside his head.

So, if you are looking for something to hold you over until Midnight Frost releases at the end of July, grab Spartan Frost.  It ends on a cliff-hanger, so feel free to tell Jennifer Estep that it was just mean, I did!

~Shel

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Immortal Circus Act II - Book Blast & Giveaway


We are excited to be participating in the book blast to celebrate the release of A.R. Kahler's THE IMMORTAL CIRCUS: ACT TWO today!

To help spread the word about its release in Kindle serial format, we have a GUEST POST from Mab, Ringmaster of the Cirque des Immortels, some information about this second book in the series and a couple of awesome giveaways to share.

With its stunning cover, its description which hints of dark things to come in this sequel and the even darker things that Mab alludes to in Vivienne's past, I am so unbelievably excited to be able to share this book on my blog.

Now let's turn things over to the Ringmaster...

***

GUEST POST from Mab – Ringmaster Extraordinaire and Circus Fashionista

Hello loves,

A few months have passed since we did our last tour, and oh, how I've missed you all.

This week, I am pleased to announce the next installment in our little show. Although it pains me to admit that we will not be doing a full blog tour, I am sure the tale ACT TWO weaves will keep you entertained. So many of you were dying to know more about Vivienne's past. In fact, many people seem to be dying when it comes to Vivienne's past but...I'd hate to spoil her surprise. Needless to say, this will be a show she will never forget.

And for those of you who need more than pretty words to tempt them, I am also hosting a giveaway. Five winners will receive Immortal Circus trading cards and a signed bookplate. One lucky winner will also get a signed copy of book one.

Six prizes, six winners. Six is my favorite number.

Step right up, loves. ACT TWO is just beginning....

Kisses, Mab

***

About the Book


Title: THE IMMORTAL CIRCUS: ACT TWO (The Immortal Circus #2)
Author: A.R. Kahler
Publisher: 47North
Release date: June 11, 2013
Format: Kindle serial eBook (current). Paperback edition to be released.

Vivienne is almost content with her new life in the Cirque des Immortels. She has moved up from selling cotton candy to telling fortunes, she has a gorgeous, magical boyfriend, Kingston…and no one has been murdered since the clash between the otherworldly Courts. Her life under the faerie big top would be perfect, in fact, if not for the nightmares and visions that compel her to seek and confront her half-remembered past. But for Viv, not knowing her past may well be a blessing. There's a reason she ran away. But can she truly escape herself?

The second act of the fantastically evocative Cirque des Immortels series, The Immortal Circus: Act Two draws readers further into a world that’s at once wonderful, seductive…and deadly.

Step right up…


***

About the Author



Most little boys dream of running away to join the circus.

Alex didn't just dream it: he did it. But then, he rarely lets a good dream pass him by.

In the past six years he's toured and trained across America and Europe. He's performed in Amsterdam, taught trapeze in Madrid, studied in Glasgow and even had a stint as assistant to Holly Black and Cassandra Clare in New England. He's constantly on the lookout for new places to explore and new worlds to invent. He's a Sagittarius fueled by full moons and espresso. The way to his heart is a latte and fan art. Just for the record.

THE IMMORTAL CIRCUS, book one in his Cirque des Immortels series, is now available from 47North. ACT TWO releases today, June 11, 2013.

MARTYR, the first book in his post-apocalyptic YA fantasy series, THE HUNTED, is set to be published October 28, 2014 by Spencer Hill Press.


***

About Book One



Title: THE IMMORTAL CIRCUS (The Immortal Circus #1)
Author: A.R. Kahler
Publisher: 47North
Release date: December 4, 2012 (serial eBook); January 29, 2013 (paperback)
Formats: Kindle eBook, Paperback

Murdered contortionists aren’t exactly what Vivienne signed up for when she ran away to join the circus. But like most things under the big top, nothing is what it seems. With a past she can't quite remember, Vivienne finds that running away forever might not be as appealing as it once sounded—especially not when she realizes the devilishly attractive ringleader Mab is the Faerie Queen of legend…and that she and the rest of the troupe are locked in an age-old rivalry between the otherworldly Courts.

Aided by her friends Kingston—a feisty stage magician whose magic is quickly stealing her heart—and his smart-ass assistant Melody, Vivienne finds herself racing against the clock to discover the culprit behind a series of deaths that should be impossible. However, the answer she seeks might reveal more about her own bloody past—and future—than she bargains for.

The show's just beginning.

Step right up…

***

The Giveaways


Mab’s Giveaways (US ONLY):

GRAND PRIZE – A signed copy of book one, THE IMMORTAL CIRCUS, The Immortal Circus trading cards and a signed bookplate. (ONE WINNER)

PRIZES – Trading Cards and a signed bookplate. (FIVE WINNERS)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***

Rockstar Book Tours Giveaways (International to anywhere that can accept eBook gifts from Amazon US)

A Kindle Serial eGift of THE IMMORTAL CIRCUS: ACT TWO. (FIVE WINNERS)

(All winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Peek In The BiblioBin #65



Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's 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.  
What's in your BiblioBin?

This week we have quite the collection. Our thanks to Goodreads, NetGalley, Edelweiss, the wonderful publishers, Amazon and our local libraries for keeping us busy and out of (too much) trouble ...


For Review:






Purchased:





Throne Of Glass e-novellas by Sarah J. Maas




Borrowed:










Friday, June 7, 2013

The Forever Of Ella And Micha (The Secret #2) by Jessica Sorensen

* * * * 1/2





Ella and Micha have survived tragedy and heartbreak. When they're together, anything seems possible. But now they are thousands of miles apart, and managing their long distance relationship will put their love to the test.

Ella is back at school, trying hard not worry so much about her future. But with her father in and out of rehab, she's having a hard time making it through the days. All she wants is Micha by her side, but she refuses to let her problems get in the way of his dreams.
Micha spends his days touring the country with his band, but deep down he knows something is missing. Being away from Ella is harder than he thought it would be. He wants her closer to him-needs her with him. But he won't ask her to leave college, just to be with him.

The few moments they do spend together are intense and passionate, but it only makes it more difficult when they have to part. They know they want to be together, but is wanting something enough to get them to their forever?

I think it’s been made clear how much of a fan girl I am for Ms. Sorensen (we are after all BFFs in my head) and how much I love/lust after Micha (we won’t even mention what goes on in my head with that one … wait. What?).  Even though The Secret Of Ella And Micha ended on a perfectly good note, after the emotional ride, it did leave us fans yearning for more. 

Forever kicks off a few months later with Ella back at school and Micha on the road with his band. Things seem to be going well.  Ella is making strides towards improvement by seeing a counselor to work through her issues. Micha enjoys performing but his mind always wanders off to Ella. They miss each other desperately but neither willingly admits to it for fear of disrupting the other one’s dream.

While you may think a lot has changed, certain things have remained the same. Ella is still hiding. Hiding from herself, from Micha, from her family. Her dad is finally in rehab and she’s trying to move forward. As much as she misses Micha, she also worries about losing him. And in worrying about losing him she thinks it’s actually better to let him go so she won’t have to experience losing him. It’s sound logic for someone who has been so let down by the important people in her life. Micha in the meantime is growing weary of life with the band and questioning where exactly he wants to be. Issues with his dad mess with his mind and he resorts to destructive ways of dealing with them. Of course, with so much they need to and should talk about, they avoid it like the plague. They do more to undermine their relationship than any of the outside influences. Truly, they need to be smacked upside the head Gibbs-style (NCIS reference there).

When they finally have to coexist in the same space for an extended period of time neither can even begin to talk about things sensibly. It’s so maddening when it leads to misunderstandings. The crazy thing is that Micha is so freaking patient with Ella, you want to nominate him for sainthood. And that’s saying something  because it is Micha after all! And Ella keeps confusing things with the whole let's-be-friends-but-may-be-more-than-that-but-really-no-touching-because-I-just-want-to-be-friends-because-I-need-space-but-really-can-I-take-your-shirt-off-but-just-as-you-know-friends? Those two can never keep the lines from getting blurred between being friends and lovers. Once again as much as I love them, I want to shake them.

So how does Forever stack up to Secret? A couple differences to speak of. To a certain extent it’s heavier. Ella dealing with her emotional health and Micha dealing with his family problems often weigh them down. This time around they also have to figure out their future and whether that includes each other. Once again with so much unsaid because they’re stubborn and afraid, they tend to push each other away before hurtling back together over and over again.

In Secret their unspoken sexual tension propelled the story. In Forever, it’s no longer unspoken. The “magic time” is abundant because they just can’t keep their wandering hands off each other. Hey, I’m not complaining at all. Those charged moments are one of the many reasons I love the books. In fact, one of the scenes made me just as giddy as the first time I’d read it as one of the teasers Sorensen had previously released. Reading it in context just made it more fun.

Lilah and Ethan are a big part of the story too. They should be given awards for being such awesome friends to those two knuckleheads. Ethan in particular raises eyebrows a few times with his insightful comments though he tends to follow those up immediately by joking. God forbid our favorite tattooed sidekick get mushy!

Anyone who enjoyed Secret will certainly enjoy Forever just as much. Ella and Micha are both healing and maturing. They're coming to terms with who they want to be and who they want beside them. You know when this comes out in paperback, I'm going to own that too, right? And Jessica Sorensen, thanks for being my BFF if only in my head :)

~ Bel


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Faith and Fidelity by Tere Michaels

Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #1)* * * * *

New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He's trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He's depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.

The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly -- can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity?









Review:

This is how I have found many of my favorite authors - We attend a YA event or author signing at our favorite Indie bookstore and meet authors that are such lovely engaging speakers that I walk out the door with a new BFF (at least in my head) and a stack of their books.   And when I go home and read said stack, I find that their writing is just as lovely as the person.  These authors have included Maggie Stiefvater, David Levithan, Amy Garvey, Libba Bray and Heather Brewer.  Just to name a few.  And I have a new author to add to that list.  Tere Michaels.

When we were at The Romantic Times Convention, Bel and I attended a reader event called Rainbow Pride: Over the Rainbow.  It was set up with a number of large round tables and at each table was an author or two that sat with the attendees and chit chatted.  We had no idea where to sit and somehow found our way at a table with L.A. Witt/L. Gallagher and Tere Michaels.  These ladies were AMAZING.  So kind and so willing to chat about their genre and their own books and even recommended other books for us to read.  Tere was closest to Bel and I and she chatted with us the entire time.   One particular piece of that conversation had us in such giggles that we will be repeating it for years to come.  Unfortunately it doesn’t translate well to the written word but if we ever meet you in person and give you a poke in the arm and then start laughing and laughing just shake your head and humor us.  Much like Shel does.

So that’s how we met Tere Michaels.  And that is how we came to buy two of her books - Faith and Fidelity and Duty and Devotion.  And then I read those books and I fell in love.  With Tere.  With her heroes.  With everything.

We first meet Detective Evan Cerelli at his wife’s funeral.  His pain and grief as well as that of his in-laws and children absolutely spill off the pages.  You just want to hold this family and take all that pain onto your own shoulders so they don’t have to feel it anymore.   Fortunately we aren’t forced to dwell on that scene for TOO long (although it’s impossible to forget).  Fast forward a year or so and Evan is barely getting by emotionally.  If it weren’t for the help of his oldest daughter and his mother-in-law…well he doesn’t even want to think about that.  The constant attention of his co-workers, particularly his partner, is grating on him.  While attending a retirement party that those annoying co-workers and partner drag him too he meets ex-detective Matt Haight.

Thanks to having a sense of honor and unwillingness to protect law-breaking co-workers, Matt was “demoted” from his detective position to being a beat cop.  He eventually ended up leaving the police force and started working for a security firm.  A number of years later he is still depressed over the fact that he was forced to leave a job he loved and is now living day to day with no focus and only alcohol as comfort.

Both Evan and Matt recognize each other’s sadness and end up hitting it off right away.  They become fast friends that spend their spare time together at a bar eating wings and sharing a pitcher of beer.  As the months go by, they are both surprised to find that since being friends they have both become happier.  Having someone to unload on without the weight of pity and scrutiny has been good for both of them.

What neither of these men expect is for their friendship to turn into attraction.  An attraction that confuses the hell out of both of them.    But they decide to act on it and see where it goes.  Matt finds that after all those years of shallow relationships he is capable of finding love in the unlikeliest of places.  And Evan realizes the he is being given a second chance at something that he thought he would never have again.

Have you ever read a book where once you are done you just can’t stop thinking about it?  So much that you have to re-read and re-read to purge it from your system?  It is safe to say that Evan and Matt will be with me forever.   This is a story about love and relationships and family.  It’s not a simple story.  The characters are not perfect.  They will both piss you off and then make you smile on the next page.  They are messy just like real life and because of that I will love them forever.

Thank you Tere Michaels.  For chatting me and Bel up at RT.  For convincing us to buy your books.  For writing something so wonderfully moving and meaningful.   Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Nat

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (66)


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


Dance of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #2)By Bethany Griffin
Publication Date: June 11, 2013

Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death.

In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city.

Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero.

With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)* * * * 1/2

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.


Review:

Blue is the only non-seer in a house full of psychics.  A house full of psychics that all agree on one thing – Blue will kill her one true love.  The one thing lacking from their prediction is the who, when and where.  But one thing Blue knows for sure is that the who could never be one of the pretentious and spoiled Aglionby Raven boys.

Gansey has one obsession.  And that is to find the body of the old king Glendower.  Gansey, a natural leader, has won the loyalty of three Aglionby classmates – Ronan, Adam and Noah.  With the help of his friends, the quest for the ley lines that lead to Glendower’s resting place eventually drops them at Blue’s house for a psychic reading.

Blue never in a million years would have believed she would befriend one, let alone four, Aglionby boys.  But after a chance meeting and a psychic reading that poses offers up more questions than answers, Blue can’t help but join Gansey’s misfit crew in their quest.

As we all know, I adore Maggie Stiefvater.  She is my girl crush.  Don’t believe me?  Even she agrees….



But I don’t think I am being partial (at least not too much) when I say that this story is wonderful.  The characters are ALL engaging and described in such a way that they just pop right off the page.  Besides the purposely quirky Blue, there is the confident yet sometimes self-doubting Gansey and his friends – “elegant” Adam, “sulky” Ronan and “smudgy” Noah.  Stiefvater leaves no room for doubt as to who these kids are inside and out.

When I was a kid I would hide in the back of my long dark and old closet and close my eyes while I imagined that the back wall would open into Narnia.  With the imagery that breathes life into every page, I felt like I was living their magical quest.  I am not ashamed to admit that after reading this I found myself doing the modern version of what I did as a kid - imagining the places I could go while I went on my own search for ley lines and old kings.  As you may have guessed, The Raven Boys is a book full of adventure that I would recommend to pretty much everyone.



Nat