Ericka reviews Black Ice (Midgard #2)

By Susan Krinard
Published on August 12th 2014
Published by Tor Books
Source: Publisher
New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard continues the thrilling urban fantasy series that began with Mist in Black Ice.

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie known as Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

The trickster god Loki has reappeared in San Francisco, and he has big plans for modern-day Earth. With few allies and fewer resources—but the eyes of the gods and goddesses of an old world upon her—it’s up to Mist to stop him before history repeats itself.


Oh Midgard, so full of people and references I still have yet to understand!  This time around, it was not nearly as bad as the first book in the series, Mist.  However, if you did not have the strong urge to pick up a Norse God Dictionary after the first one, you still might be a little lost here.

Our adventure picks up exactly where it left off.  Loki is still causing a lot of trouble.  Freya seems to have multiple plots up her diaphanous sleeves.  Odin may or may not be in trouble and may or may not be around to help.  Or not help.  Honestly, I am not sure that a lot happens in this book.  There IS a bit of a whoa, shocker, which I had pegged incorrectly, so that was exciting.  The rest of the story just seems to be a stop-gap.  Hopefully this is all leading to a ridiculously big battle where Mist fully comes into her own.

Would I recommend this?  I am not sure.  I mean, I liked it, and it progressed the story, but you definitely should not read this if you did not enjoy or understand the first book.  Personally, I would still like to see where it is all going and would be happy to read the next installment, so I guess that is something.

I have to apologize for the bland and somewhat uninformative review.  Really, there is not much to say!

Ericka


Crystalee reviews No One Needs to Know

No One Needs to Know
By Amanda Grace
Published on September 8 2014
Published by Flux
Source: Net Galley
Olivia's twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam's girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam's latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia's tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he's in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?
Um, I honestly don't know where to start with this one. I've previously read, reviewed, and enjoyed Amanda Grace's The Truth About You and Me, and I usually enjoy books that address teen LGBT issues, so I thought this was right up my alley. I wanted to like it so much, but I was left confused and disappointed.

My main concern was with how fast relationships were formed. Olivia and Zoey's relationship is initially so full of animosity that when they make the change into "more than friends" it seems so sudden and unrealistic that I actually went back and re-read a couple of pages just to see if I missed something. I never actually figured out what happened. Zoey and Liam's relationship was so one dimensional that I never got the feeling that Zoey liked him at all. They rarely ever kissed or even hung out much after Zoey and Olivia got together, and it definitely didn't seem like Liam was "in love with" Zoey. He never noticed or became suspicious when Zoey and Olivia started hanging out together. The whole thing didn't feel realistic to me at all.

I found myself wondering through the entire novel if either Zoey or Olivia had ever been in a relationship with another girl before. The reader learns that answer really late in the novel, where it seems inserted in order to tie up loose ends. Maybe it's just me, but I expected the girls to grapple with the issue more. Occasionally, one of the girls wondered to herself  "what is this thing we have?" but they didn't seem concerned about whether their relationship made them gay or bisexual, which I found odd. Don't get me wrong. I would love if we lived in a society where labels didn't matter and therefore books could exist where relationships happen and aren't a big deal. . . but we don't. I was actually kind of disturbed by the fact that this book made it a non-issue. I want to read books where the main characters struggle because of their moral or ethical beliefs, or because external forces try to prevent them from acting the way they want, because that's reality. Zoey and Olivia may have hid their relationship from Liam, but they still had it way too easy.

The icing on the cake was the ending, which was also too convenient, too sudden, and too "happily ever after" for my taste. Over all, things moved way too fast and didn't feel realistic at all. I don't think teenage girls reading this book will relate to Zoey and Olivia's relationship, which is a shame, because we need more good books about LGBT teen relationships.




Feuds Blog Tour






By Avery Hastings
Published on September 2, 2014
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Publisher

In this breathless story of impossible love, perfection comes at a deadly cost.

For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.

Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.

Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world...in Avery Hastings's Feuds.



I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did.  I expected a typical dystopian that has the same storyline as every other book.  Although I did enjoy this book- there were elements that were familiar (but lets be honest, that is a common occurrence in books).  I don't think those similarities took away from the story at all though.

I enjoyed the relationship between Davis and Cole, and although things seem to get heavy quickly- Davis realizes that perhaps this is a stupid idea.  I enjoyed reading the idea of a people who are so economically in the advantage are actually at a disadvantage and they don't even realize it.

It was interesting reading about people who have become so advanced in technology that they are able to make themselves better.  Then those people are the same ones who have a virus that can kill them easily.  It was an interesting look at how nature is kept in check and the balance of life and death.

Feuds was a good book  and a solid start to a new dystopian series.

Visit author Avery Hastings' Wattpad page for exclusive bonus content, including deleted scenes!




Avery Hastings is an author and former book editor from New York City. Avery grew up in Ohio, graduated in 2006 from the University of Notre Dame and earned her MFA from the New School in 2008. When she's not reading or writing, Avery can usually be spotted lying around in the park with her affable dog. Like her protagonists, she knows how to throw a powerful right hook and once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. In addition to New York, Avery has recently lived in Mumbai and Paris, but is happy to call Brooklyn home (for now).


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Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway- Blog Tour Review (by Jaime!) and Giveaway!


Tour Schedule can be found at Chapter by Chapter



By Elizabeth Holloway
Published on September 9, 2014
Published by Month9Books, LLC.


The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake -- and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn't shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron's the local Grim Reaper... and he only saved Libbi's life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark... but only if she accepts Aaron's job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.



Review

I haven't really read a ton of books about Reapers, but I tend to enjoy the ones that I do read immensely. Call Me Grim is no exception. I truly enjoyed this story, and the lore of the Reapers was original and intriguing.
Libbi is an artist who has just won her first blue ribbon in a major art competition. While standing at her painting, admiring the beautiful blue ribbon, she meets this guy who seems a little.... strange. Her mom shows up to see her prize, and to take her and her brother home and Libbi doesn't consider the strange boy much more. Until the next day in class when he shows up outside of her classroom door. It appears that Libbi has a stalker. On the way home from school, she is trying to get away from him when he saves her from being a Libbi-Pancake. From there, things get really, really weird. Her life is about to change, and it will never be the same again.
Aaron, the grim reaper and Libbi-Pancake prevention, offers Libbi a job. His job as the local Grim Reaper. She has two days to accept or she dies. On top of that, one of her best friends has been marked. A choice has to be made, and for Libbi there is only one choice she can make.
This is a fun, fast-paced story with a great Reaper history, and very cool Reaper abilities. The story is kind of dark, with some pretty emotional and disturbing scenes, but there are definitely some lighthearted, humorous parts, too. Elizabeth Holloway strikes a great balance in the book. Her characters are all well-written with distinct personalities. I enjoyed reading from Libbi's perspective. She has a very tough choice on her hands, and the emotional turmoil she goes through is palpable. She is strong but also human, and makes mistakes. Aaron is a broken boy, with a good heart. He is a great teacher, and very tolerant of Libbi. His story is a rough one, and the pain he has lived with for so long comes across very well. The secondary characters are also very distinct individuals, and they all served a purpose to the story.
The romance is NOT INSTA-LOVE! The relationship evolves from mistrusting, almost hating to friendship and to a sweet romance between two characters who learn to lean on and care for one another. The ending of the story was a great set-up for book 2, and I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on.



About the Author

   Elizabeth Holloway is a registered nurse living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children, Bam-bam the dog, and Tinkerbell the cat. CALL ME  GRIM is her first novel.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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Amanda thinks Becoming Audrey Hepburn would look good on TV

By Mitchell Kriegman
Published on September 16, 2014
Published by St Martin's Griffin
Source: Publisher
In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator, Mitchell Kriegman, tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn’s dress from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings and “the shore.” She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time.

Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey’s iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she’s not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she’s faced with choices that she would never imagine making – between who she’s become and who she once was.

In the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, this is a coming of age story that all begins with that little black dress…


Whoever wrote the summary above is absolutely right.  This book reads like a combination of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada.  It was a fun read  that was so visual I could see it happening in my mind.

If you are not a fan of fashion, this may not be a book for you.  This is a book that describes each outfit that Lisbeth wears in a loving fashion.  It gives us each detail and accessory that Lisbeth wears and even gives us a bit of history with the designers.  This is a book for fashionistas absolutely.

Though I am knowledgeable about fashion, to be honest, I don't really care.  I did enjoy the excitement the characters gave about fashion though- you could honestly tell the characters, and perhaps even the author genuinely cared about the subject.

This book was never really about the romance, although it is in there- it centers on Lisbeth's needs to be who she isn't and live how "the other side" lives.  It was an incredibly interesting look.  The characters seemed a little stereotyped (though never living on "the other side... aka rich" I don't really know how they act for real.) I do know, though, that this book would translate beautifully to tv and would be an interesting show to fill the Gossip Girl hole that is evident on TV.

This was a fun book, that I enjoyed reading, but I can't say it is one I will read over and over again.  I do hope, though that they put this on tv- I would enjoy reading it.




Jaime's Top Ten Tuesday!


Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish




Jordan Dane
 In the Arms of Stone Angels, On a Dark Wing, Indigo Awakening!



The Torn trilogy is an awesome series; fast-paced with terrific characters. I haven't read Dissonance yet, but I am not concerned in the least that I won't love it!



The Midnight Dragonfly series was perfect for me. I couldn't stop reading until the final page once I got started. 



Her YA series, The Dragon Diaries, was fantastic. I loved every second of this fast-paced adventure!



The Goblin Wars series is awesome. I have read it twice, and will read it again. 



Helen Stringer
The Spellbinder series is more of a middle grade series, but it is wonderful. Magical and imaginative, with great characters you can't help but love!



The Chronicles of Faerie series is the series that made me love any type of Fae story I could get my hands on, and I still compare them to this outstanding series. 



Ancient Legends series is a great one, and one of the many reasons I am a fan of self-pub and/or Indie authors. 



I loved the Dreaming Anastasia series. It is a GREAT story with truly amazing characters. 



The Spellbound trilogy and the Demonblood series are both awesome. I am a fan for life of this amazing author!



Shadows on the Moon was a beautiful story, and I look forward to reading the rest of this authors works. 



The Stork trilogy is a great story, fun and fast, incredibly funny with great characters!



Long Lankin was a creepy, dark story that was completely captivating. I can't wait to read The Mark of Cain



Shadows Cast by Stars is a book that has stuck with me since I finished it. It was beautiful, thought-provoking and original. 


I went over.... again! But there are so many authors that deserve more attention than they get. This is only a very few of them, but they each deserve a mention. Go check them out!

Amanda thinks Positive is a powerful book you should read!

By Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Published on August 26, 2014
Published by Harper Collins
Source: Publisher
In this compelling and compulsively readable memoir, nineteen-year-old Paige Rawl tells the story of how she was mercilessly bullied in middle school...and how she overcame the ordeal to change her world for the better.

In this astonishing memoir, Paige tells a story that is both deeply personal and completely universal—one that will resonate deeply with the thousands of children and adults whose lives have been touched by bullying.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth…but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. It never prevented her from entering beauty pageants or playing soccer or making the honor role.

On an unremarkable day in middle school, while attempting to console a friend, Paige disclosed her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. She was called "PAIDS," first in whispers, then out in the open. Her soccer coach joked that she was an asset because opposing team members would be too afraid to touch her. Her guidance counselor told her to stop all the “drama,” and her principal said she couldn’t protect her. One night, desperate for escape, Paige swallowed fifteen sleeping pills—one for each year of her life to date. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning.

The gripping first-person account of Paige’s life will pull in even the most reluctant readers of nonfiction, and her call to action to choose compassion over cruelty will stay with them long after they turn the last page.



Wow was this book powerful.  I found it almost painful to read at times and wanted to cry for Paige. It is hard to think about the fact that his happened in the 2000s and that this was a REAL story, not a made up one.

Paige Rawl is someone I want my children to have as a heroine.  She is strong, smart, and has a heart for other people.  For someone so young, she has been forced to be wise beyond her years.  It was so hard to read everything that happened to her.  As a teacher, I was horrified by the way Paige was treated- the names, the bullying, it was unbelievable.

The way Paige moved from a place of darkness to a place of healing is something that teens will relate to and be engaged with.  I would go so far as to make this book required reading for every high school class.  This a powerful book and Paige is someone who is a powerful voice for teens who are born with any sort of difference.


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