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Sunday, July 31, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Bad Girls Don't Die
Rating: 5 out of 5

Bad Girls Don't DieSummary: Alexis lives with her parents and 13 year old sister Kasey. Things at home aren't the best, but they're not so bad. Alexis tends to get herself in trouble at school though. However, things start to get a bit strange in their old house. Her sister Kasey starts acting strange, seeming to switch personalities, and she has black outs; bits of time where she can't remember the things she's done . When Alexis' and Kasey's father is in a car accident, they assume it was just that, an accident until Alexis remembers running into Kasey in the hallway the morning before the accident. She seemed off, and she was sure she had been in the garage. Slowly, things start to unfold and we learn that the house they've lived in for years is hiding a secret, a ghost that just won't leave and her next victim is Kasey.

My thoughts: I read this book in one day, it was that good. I really liked the two aspects of this novel. At first it seems like we're just dealing with someone that could possibly have a personality disorder, but then, when we read more into the story, we actually realize there is a paranormal side that is threatening to ruin everything everyone knows about this small town and old house.

I really liked Alexis' character and really hated how everyone was so ready to blame her for everything. I really was drawn in because I kept getting angry when those closest to the sisters ignored exactly what was right in front of them. It just seemed so very obvious but maybe it was just me.  I've never really read paranormal fiction that revolved around ghosts and spirit possession so as my first novel with that story line, I really was quite pleased with it. It's a must read as far as I'm concerned!
Thursday, July 28, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Lessons in Love: A Cambridge Fellows Mystery by Charlie Cochrane

Lessons in Love: A Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 1
Rating: 4 out of 5

Lessons in Love: A Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 1Summary: Jonty and Orlando live in a time where being gay is dangerous and maybe even illegal. Both professors at an all male college, the two men, after getting off to a bad start become quite good friends. They share many thoughts over tea and coffee, and they even spend late nights playing chess or cards. When a student ends up dead, they begin to help the police solve the murder, questioning their students to see if anyone might now what became of the dead man. When it's brought to the attention of the police that the student may have been murdered because he enjoyed the company of men over women, the police begin to pursue that angle. Jonty and Orlando begin to explore their relationship as well. When two more students are found dead, the two begin to question whether or not they'll be able to keep their love a secret among the chaos of a murderer on the loose.

My thoughts:  When I got this book from Amazon it was a free title. I thought it sounded interesting so I got it. I wasn't disappointed with the title, but some may find this title disturbing because it is about a gay relationship. However, there is a mystery to solve and when everything comes to light, it's not hard to feel sorry for the one committing the crimes. There is a sad story to tell, but it's nice to see our two main characters, Jonty and Orlando grow as friends and as lovers.

My only real complaint about this title is that the ending was too soon. I wanted more to their story. I really didn't want it to end as fast as it did. This is a pretty short read, with lots of previews of other titles from Samhain Publishing. There are several other books in this series, so their story does continue. I just wanted a slightly longer novel.
Monday, July 25, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement
Rating: 4 out of 5

The ReplacementSummary: 16 year old Mackie Doyle is a changeling, a replacement child left behind when beings from the other world stole the real Malcom Doyle. The Doyle's try to keep this a secret, they have very strict rules the family must follow to ensure that no one knows that Mackie isn't their real child. He can't attend his father's church, he can't eat food from metal cans, and he can't stand blood. This makes life for him interesting. Then, one day, he meets a stranger in a club that tells him shocking words, "you're dying". Then, his sister Emma comes home with a vial of something he is supposed to drink. The tonic does something wonderful, he feels much better than he has in years. The only problem is, their help comes with a price. When he begins working for The Morrigan, trying to gain the admiration of the people in the town of Gentry, his mother forbids him to go back. It seems that Mackie isn't the only one with a secret. And then, there's Tate, a girl that just lost her sister, but she claims the girl that was buried isn't her sister afterall, but a changeling. Can Mackie help put an end to the kidnappings once and for all?

My thoughts: I really wasn't sure how to take this novel at first. You're thrust right into the middle of the story and the strange things that Mackie goes through on a daily basis. However, we're not quite sure what's happening to him, so it all seems a bit strange until we realize that there is more to this Mackie Doyle character than we at first realize.

I really enjoyed reading this story though. I think my favorite parts were the underworld stories and the characters that are living in those underground area's. They're mysterious, strange but fascinating all at the same time. It's interesting to see how many people really are changeling children, striving to live their lives as best as they can, trying to shy away from being weird.

My only complaint is that this ended on a 'it's all about choices' ending. I expected something different. Something not as preachy. However, it was a good story. 
Friday, July 22, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: A Clash of Kings by George R. R Martin

A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two
Rating: 4 out of 5

A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book TwoSummary:  King Joffrey is struggling to keep ahold of his father's throne after his death. The Seven Kingdoms are in war, with Robb Stark pursuing revenge in the death of his father, Lord Ned Stark. Robb's sister Arya is still missing and presumed dead, with Sansa, still working to try and keep Joffrey happy and avoid his wrath. However, the kingdoms are slowly crippling, and let's not forget Danny, whom now holds three dragons,  birthed from her wedding gift eggs after her husband died. She's looking to retake her rightful place in the kingdom as well.

My thoughts: Let me start by saying this one was so much better than the first. This book got off to a bit of a slow start, but then again, we have to keep in mind the beginning of this book is kind of like playing catch up with all of the characters after we saw them at the end of the last. Small things happen here and there that keep us just interested enough to continue reading the book.

About 80% of the way through the novel, we finally hit the point where things start to get extremely interesting. It's like he kept all of the great suspenseful stuff at the end. We see kingdoms rise and fall and things change for some characters. Some make bold steps to taking hold of their own destinies, while other's are given a push in a direction that may or may not be good for them in later books.

There was one extremely frustrating point in this novel for me that really bothered me. Two characters, one that I grew attached two are murdered. I was very frustrated that they could so easily be disposed of. Then, the ending chapter is one giant slap in the face! My recommendation is to read this book if you've read the first. You won't regret it.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Love Lies Bleeding by Jess McConkey (ARC)

Love Lies Bleeding: A Novel
Rating: 5 out of 5

Love Lies Bleeding: A NovelSummary: Sam is the victim of a terrible crime, one that leaves her in the hospital in a coma for months and it left her with terrible anxiety and nightmares that are a constant reminder of what happened to her. Her family takes her to a secluded lake front cabin so she can work on her recovery and, Sam thinks, to keep her away from the public eye, as her family are quite well off and she doesn't think she wants them to know everything that is happening with her. Of course, her family knows best and this is a constant struggle for Sam as she must work to get better and finally put her foot down to do what is right for her. However, the entire community seems to have secrets and no one is safe. Sam once again finds herself in trouble and she must make a decision fight or suffer at the hands of another enemy.

My thoughts: I wasn't sure what to think about this but when I entered the contest on Library Thing for this book, I knew that I had to read it. I began reading it and couldn't put it down, it was that good. At first glance, this just seems to be a story about a woman trying to get better after a terrible crime, but the more you read into it, the more you realize that this tale is more than what it seems. It seems to have an air of paranormality to it as well, as Sam seems to be haunted by a woman that the entire neighborhood had dealings with. And then, you have her family. They treated her like she was a child and pushed her around over and over again claiming it was all in her best interest. They truly angered me. I really just wanted to give her dad a great big slap because I really hate how he treated his daughter. She's 35 and yet daddy dearest wanted to treat her like she was five. I guess that's a good sign, the book really got me really involved with Sam and her life even if I did dislike her family.

When we finally reach the truth about everything that happened in that lake front town, it's quite shocking. I didn't expect that character to be involved in any wrong doings. McConkey did a great job at steering us away from the real culprit. I had at least two other characters pegged for 'the one' but it turns out I was really wrong. If anything, I really hate those books that clearly give away the person that is the cause for the entire story, but this isn't one of them. This is truly a great read!
Monday, July 18, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday #8

Once again, for this edition of Mailbox Monday, I'm bringing you nothing buy NetGalley Books!

Ten PlaguesThe SleepwalkersThe First Victim
Saturday, July 16, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire Book 1) by Clay and Susan Griffith

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1)Summary:  In 1870, Vampires rise up from the shadows and from underground and begin their rise to power. They no longer hide from the world and freely attack and kill  as they wish. By the year 2020, the world is divided into sections, and the prince and princess of Equatorian empire, Simon and Adele are on an airship for a tour when their ship is attacked by Vampires. The airship crashes to the ground and a fight ensues. Adele is rescued by The Greyfriar; a warrior that is working to take down the Vampire's at every possible moment and rescuing those they intend to capture or kill. Adele believes her brother to be dead, so she runs with Greyfriar only to be captured by the Vampire Clan from Britain. They want answers and they are willing to hold her for as long as it takes but Adele doesn't break so easily.  Along the way, she meets with Gareth, one of the Vampire royalty that doesn't seem to be like the others, he seems almost human but Adele knows that's not possible, Vampire's are savage beasts bent on destruction and death. Or are they?

My thoughts: I found this book really hard to get into at first. I was really torn between enjoying it and hating it. For several chapters I wondered why I was even reading it. The reviews for this book were excellent and the price was great with the Kindle Sunshine deals back in June, so I bought it and I really wanted to like it right away. The Vampire's in this book are what people traditionally think of as Vampires which was refreshing but it's so hard to enjoy the story.

Then, things began to turn. We learn more about the Greyfriar and where he's coming from. We also learn about his motives for his actions and Adele rightfully so, acts with hate. It's a nice touch from how girls in these stories act around vampires and other worldly beings.  Near the end, I really began to enjoy the book more but it's still not a great novel, at least not in my opinion. There is another book coming out later this year that I may or may not purchase. It would probably have to be on sale again for me to consider buying it because it just wasn't that spectacular for me to consider spending almost $10 on this at full price.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (ARC)

Always a Witch
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Always a Witch
Summary: Tamsin is haunted by her grandmother's prophecy, her grandmother says Tamsin will have a crucial decision to make, one that could change everything. Then, she hears her family rival, Alistair Knight has gone back into time to Victorian New York to warn his family about Tamsin and the Greene family, she doesn't waste any time; she time travels to try and fine the Greene family so Alistair and the Knight family can be stopped once and for all. She doesn't expect to find herself work as a lady's maid in the Knight mansion, but when she realizes that's where she is, she decides to make the most of it, working from the inside to finally stop Alistair once and for all.

My thoughts: I read the first novel not long after it came out so sadly, you will not find a review for the first novel here. I was not too moved by the first novel but once I found out that a second book was coming, I decided I wanted to see how things ended. This book kept a lot of the elements from the first novel. One of my biggest problems from the first novel was I felt things were so rushed and there wasn't much detail. You didn't work up slowly to something, it was just thrown into your face. I felt the same with this book too. It wasn't bad, it kept the same magical elements, and magic is a large part of this novel. I feel though, the climatic parts of this book are just thrown together fast, coming to an even faster end.

I liked seeing the conclusion, and this book is a bit different than other YA novels. Tamsin has a difficult decision to make knowing that it will change her life and her families life forever. She comes to the realization as to why her grandmother raised her the way she did.  Many YA novels don't end on a sad note, they tend to end up a lot happier with everything working out perfectly for the main character in the end. This is NOT one of those novels. She has to accept the ramifications of the decision she made in the past. This book really pushes the idea of sacrifice sometimes being an important aspect of your life and how we sometimes have to sacrifice something we really care about for those that we love and even though it's hard, it has a greater purpose. This reads more like a 'moral of the story' novel than a 'here's a story I want to tell you' novel. All in all, it wasn't a bad read, I'd just like to see the climatic parts read more in depth and at a slower pace.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Catching Fire (Book Two Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
Rating: 4 out of 5

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)Summary: Katniss and Peeta survived the Hunger Games. They made it out alive because they outsmarted the government. They were forced to let them both live. Since Katniss survived, she should be left alone, to continue to live out her life as a victor, with all the money and food she could ever want.  However, the uprising's start, Katniss watches and elderly man die at the hands of the peacekeepers. Slowly, districts are starting to fight, attempting to let the government know they can't do this anymore, then the Quell comes. The 75th Hunger Games are made up of old victors once again fighting to the death. However, something doesn't quite seem right, Katniss wants to do nothing but protect Peeta, and send him home alive. Katnss is willing to sacrifice herself but it seems there are far different plans below the surface. The people are fighting back.

My thoughts:  As with the first book, this was amazing. However, I felt as if this story, especially the part where everyone is fighting in the arena is kind of rushed. We hear half the book about her life after the first Hunger Games and then we only get a short amount of stuff that happens during the current round of The Hunger Games. 

Thankfully, we get to see the other districts and the people that live there. I think this makes things seem a bit more real. I really like hearing about the tension that each district is going through. Of course, people are on the run, and we hear things about District 13 that we never encountered before, which makes a lot of this book sound like a giant conspiracy theory. Nonetheless, it's a good book. However, I hope the last book ties up more loose ends than this one did. I feel as if it left so many things wide open. If the last book doesn't tie up all of those ends, then I'm not sure why we were given a second book in the first place. I'm really enjoying this series so far and will be reading the last book. 
Monday, July 11, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday # 7

I managed to snag two books from giveaways. The first book is from Library Thing and the second is from Good Reads. Love Lies Bleeding by Jess McConkey has already been read and the review will be up later this week! I'm really excited about that book; it's release date is sometime this month. The second is slated for release in December but I hope to get around to reading it before that!

Love Lies Bleeding: A Novel     Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel

I also received a few other novels from Net Galley for review.

Goddess With a BladeDeviantCold KissDarkness Falling (Forever Twilight)The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten SC
Saturday, July 9, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel
Rating: 4 out of 5

A Discovery of Witches: A NovelSummary: Diana works very hard to appear human, so much in fact that she rarely uses magic. You see, Diana is a witch and after her parents died, Diana swore of magic, much to the dismay of her aunts. Currently, she's a history professor at Oxford college studying alchemy texts. One day, Diana calls a book known as Ashmole 782 from the depths of the library to study, but something about it doesn't quite seem like a regular manuscript. It seems to ripple when she touches it and she can almost feel the magic radiating from the book, however, she just puts the book back like nothing happened. And then, they come, vampires, more witches and daemons. They come seeking Ashmole 782. Everyone knows that Diana can somehow break the spell that holds the books secrets, even if Diana doesn't know about it herself. Matthew Claremont, a research professor, and vampire begins to befriend Diana and eventually turn into her protector. Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to keep Diana safe from those that wish her harm and to find a way for Diana to learn magic and take her rightful place in the world of witches.

My thoughts: This is a massive book. It took me quite some time to read. I'm just glad it's over. The writing is lovely but I feel that we're given so many little details that mean absolutely nothing that it becomes almost a pain to read. However, I did enjoy reading about Matthew and his family. True to many vampire romances you see now, Matthew is extremely protective, still very dangerous and will protect the one he loves at all costs. So if you really enjoy that type of vampire romance, you'll enjoy this book.

I also liked the details that Harkness came up with for this tale. I loved the house Diana grew up in, as it seems to have a mind of it's own. The house rearranges furniture, knows when visitors are coming as it adds new rooms that kind of thing. Also, the house is haunted so there are very many eyes watching the whole fiasco take place. Their commentary is well placed and quite funny to read.

Diana is a stubborn character, also quite common of these vampire/human type romance types. Her vampire lover is all to willing to keep her happy and he enjoys 'playing house' if you will. That was kind of annoying because it's becoming kind of over done, however the story line is good. The ending sets us up for another book and I believe this will be a trilogy so it will be interesting to see where Harkness goes with the second.
Thursday, July 7, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
Rating: 5 out of 5

Club Dead: A Sookie Stackhouse NovelSummary:  One night Bill tells Sookie that he has to go away for awhile and that if anything happens, she is to look at his house or in the secret hiding spot Bill built into her closet. Sookie doesn't question anything though, she knows he runs errands for Eric all the time. However, when Eric arrives to tell Sookie that Bill is missing, Sookie is once again sent on a mission to help find the whereabouts of her vampire boyfriend, Bill. Sookie is paired with a Were and guarded by Bubba, she learns something about Bill that could change their relationship and she also has many close calls with her own demise.

My thoughts: I have to say that Bubba is quickly becoming my favorite character. I love his backstory and I love how loyal to a fault he is. He follows directions perfectly, he does not deviate from them whatever and regardless of how crude or disgusting he may be, he is actually quite a nice character as long as you stay on his good side. I'd really like to hear more about him and I hope I get to in later books.

The revelation of Bill's behavior regarding his relationship with Sookie is quite startling, I expected him to treat her a lot nicer than that. Also, Eric was an annoying character for me in book one. I began to tolerate him a little more in book two, but his character is really starting to grow on me now and honestly I'm beginning to wander how a relationship would fare between Sookie and Eric. Yes, I know, Bill has staked a claim but still, it could be an interesting read!

I was also surprised at how quickly Sookie owned up to the fact that with Bill and the vampire's she's constantly in danger and she's tired of it. I expected her to continue along with their wishes for some time before giving in. I did not expect her character to come to terms with it so quickly especially since she has been a pretty big advocate for vampire's.

This was a much more enjoyable read than book two. I will move on to the next.
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