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The end of the year is a time of reflection. Since I enjoy reading and friends constantly ask for book recommendations, I’ve looked back over the past year (thanks to Goodreads) and have picked my top books of 2012. If you are looking for a new book/series to read, I suggest these:
This series is a pleasant surprise. Plum creates a new paranormal species, the revenants, and goes into detail about how they are created, what their purpose is, and the cool abilities they possess. Her writing style is natural and she quickly captures her young adult audience. Action, drama, and romance are all contained within the pages.
Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones
(First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, Third Grave Dead Ahead, Fourth Grave Beneath my Feet, Fifth Grave Past the Light)
I read this series after my mother recommended it to me. It has the style and wit of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, but Jones kicks it up a notch in the romance department. Jones does an amazing job creating dynamic characters that are easy to relate to and fall in love with. As a bonus, if you love audio books, the narrator for this series is phenomenal… just don’t listen to it with the kids in the car.
Beyonders series by Brandon Mull
(A World Without Heroes, Seeds of Rebellion, Chasing the Prophecy)
Next time you take a road trip with the family, pick up this audio book. I promise you will not be disappointed. It is perfect for family reading–kids and adults will both enjoy it. Mull creates an imaginative world filled with original creatures. He sends his main characters on a quest, so the readers get to explore his whole world. And the narrator for the audio book does a wonderful job with character dialects.
Fifty Shades series by E.L. James
(Fifty Shade of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed)
I read this naughty book after several of my book loving friends strongly encouraged me to read it. They even loaned me the first two books in the series. I was actually impressed by the story. Yes, there is a lot of sex, but the book it more than just that. There is an actual plot line, and James fills the pages with wit and drama. Plus her writing style is captivating and pretty easy to read. Even if you skip over the risque scenes, there is still enough of a story line to keep you entertained.
Fans of the Hunger Games series must give this book a shot! It is set in a futuristic dystopian society where everyone must select a faction–Erudite, Candor, Amity, Abnegation, or Dauntless. The factions will be the core values you believe in going forward. Once the main character makes her decision, the action really begins. At times there is brutality, but there is also compassion and a touch of romance.
The above books are my top picks, but there are more that deserve honorable mentions:
The False Prince by Jennifer Neilsen- Love the setting with the kingdom, royal court, and swordplay.
Teens/ Young Adult
Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill- Love the action, humor and setting (on Mars).
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- Slow start but when the story gets going it is amazing!
Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh- Love the spin on angels and vampires. The attraction between the main characters is intense.
Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall- I really hope I would react like the main character did when she found out the paranormal world is real.
So, what books have you read that would make your top picks of 2012? Leave me a comment and let me know.
After telling several of my friends about Divergent and how amazing it was/is, one of them loaned me the second book, Insurgent, to read. Too bad it was given during a time when I had several blog tours going on. Sadly, I had to move it to the back burner. Recently I was caught up with my reading and cracked open the book. OMG, why did I wait so long? I’m kicking myself in the rear. If you’ve read the first book, go ahead and continue on with the second book. I promise you won’t regret it!
After Tris’ initiation day turned into something nightmares are made of, she and her group must decide which faction(s) they can turn to for help. With war looming on the horizon, every action counts, especially when the Erudite want to control everyone in each faction. When Tris learns that there is a secret about the reason for the Erudites attacking the Abegnations, Tris will stop at nothing to find out what that information is–even at the risk of betraying those that she loves.
Readers are thrust back into the action and chaos that they left in book 1, only this time it is a much darker world. Tris and Tobias know that they must stick together in order to get through this ordeal, but learning who they can trust is a bit of trial and error. They also learn how true the mantra “faction before blood” is.
There is less romance in the second book than there was in the first book. Tris and Tobias’ relationship is tested. Secrets are kept from each other and that means they question how much the other trusts them. Tris repeatedly defies Tobias and puts herself in harms way. It is only when she is near death that she learns to value her own life. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the third book.
Insurgent is the type of book where you want to speed read to find out what will happen, and at the same time you want to read it as slowly as possible so you can hang on to the story and savor it. I kept thinking YES, only X amount of pages left while at the same time thinking NO, only X amount of pages left. The reason is that Ross’ writing style sucks readers in and her plot keeps them glued to the pages. It is very difficult to put the book down.
Readers beware though, the ending will make you want to pull your hair out. You find out what the Erudites were hiding and it is definitely a bombshell. Just like the end of Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2), you will need the third book ASAP. The catch…THE THIRD BOOK WON’T BE OUT UNTIL FALL 2013! How are readers supposed to wait that long?! I know that when it comes time, I will definitely re-read the first two books so that I can easily transition into the amazingness that I know will be the third book. Don’t worry, this is a series that will be fun to re-read.
Want more info about insurgent? Check out the book trailer below
What if the last place you should fall in love is the first place that you do?
You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
You’d be wrong.
There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.
What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?
But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t—he can’t—the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.
And yet I can’t help but wonder…what if?
Sounds good, right? Check out this DEAR CASSIE excerpt:
We kept walking on the lake trail, the bullfrogs croaking. There was also a humming in my ears from the nicotine.
It could only be from the nicotine. It had nothing to do with being outside, at night, alone with Ben. It had nothing to do with Ben coming to the cabin and taking me instead of Nez and it definitely had nothing to do with the stars above us shining like they were the sky’s tiara.
I stopped on the trail and looked up, taking them in, when all of a sudden bright colored lights exploded in the sky—fireworks, one after another, on top of each other, huge kaleidoscopes of light, like sparkling rainbow spiders.
“How did you know?” I asked, my voice going softer, like if I talked too loudly they would stop. It was so beautiful, after weeks of so much ugly.
Ben turned to look at me, the colored lights in the sky turning his skin pink, blue, green. “I’m magic.” He shrugged.
I geared up to tell him to fuck off, because that was some corny-ass shit, but then I realized that he really kind of was. In that moment he was able to actually make me forget being me.
“I would try to kiss you,” he said, “but I’m afraid you’d kick me in the balls.”
“I probably would.” I laughed, the sky filling with noisy color like paint launching from a giant popcorn popper. “But like I said, it wouldn’t be about you.”
“I guess I’ll have to figure out how to make it about me,” he said, taking off his boots and socks and standing. “Come on.”
“There is no way I am getting near that water again,” I said.
“I’ll make sure nothing happens to you,” he said, holding his hand out to help me up.
I looked at his palm, open, waiting, just wanting to hold mine. For once, I didn’t think about anything except that there was a cute, sweet, smart-ass boy standing in front of me with his hand out.
I pulled off my boots and socks and took it.
We stood at the lakeshore, our hands still clasped, the water licking our feet, fireworks decorating the sky.
I turned to him. He was looking up, his mouth open in wonder like he was trying to swallow the moment.
It was definitely one worth keeping.
DEAR CASSIE pre-buy links:
PRETTY AMY Links:
About Author Lisa Burnstein
Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Fiction from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She lives in Portland, OR, with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Dear Cassie is her second novel.
Stalk Lisa on:
Lisa is hosting an EPIC CONTEST to celebrate DEAR CASSIE’ s cover reveal. Lisa wants you to share diary entries of your favorite fictional characters with me. That’s right, choose ANY character from books, TV, movies, a cereal box and write a 500-750 length diary entry from their point of view.
The top 5 will be selected and then the masses get to vote on their favorite. The favorite will be published in the final version of DEAR CASSIE. You read that right, published with the author’s name! The additional four will win $20 book buying gift cards.
So get diary-ing! Send you entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 1st!
Voting for the top 5 will begin January 7th, with the winner being announced January 14th!
Do not pick up this book right before you go to bed because once you start, it is difficult to put down. After working and doing my afternoon/nightly activities, I would read the book about an hour before I normally went to bed. Big mistake because it couldn’t stop reading at an hour. I had to stay up because I couldn’t leave Marilyn Phillips’ story. I needed to know what happens.
After being saved multiple times by Shadow, the new guy in town, Samantha is drawn to him, especially when he reavels information about her and her past. Samantha knows Shadow is holding back secrets and is determined to find out what they are. She soon discovers his secrets and the truth about the death of her parents. Now Samantha must try and stop Shadow from his mission, but will it destroy her relationship with him?
Mystery Falls fits in perfectly with the young adult genre. Lovers of the Twilight series, Fallen series, and Hush, Hush series will thoroughly enjoy it. The book features a romance story between a human and supernatural creature–in this case an angel. Instead of having the female protagonist incapable of independent thought after she meets a boy, Phillps creates Samantha to be an indpendent thinker that can survive even without Shadow. In fact, Samantha even puts herself in danger in order to prevent someone from getting killed.
Phillips’ style is easy to read and very engaging. She captures her charater’s emotions and eloquently expresses them. She draws out the mystery and suspense and lets readers into the world of angels one step at a time. Although readers aren’t taken into any angelic areas, she satisfies readers’ main questions. Even though she answers the main questions, I still want to know more about Shadow and his history. I look forward to reading the next book and finding out more.
The only negative thing I can say about the book, is that Shadow confused me a little in the beginning. He kept coming up to Samantha and saying that she should stay away from him even though she actually was trying to avoid him and didn’t meet with him on several occasions when he requested the meeting. I gues Shadow should have said that Samantha should like/love him because he already knew how she felt.
I recommend this book to young adults that love supernatural romance. Phillips doesn’t get explicit with Samantha and Shadow’s relationship. It’s just a bunch of making out. Anything more would be an angel/human no-no.
I love discovering a new series and I enjoy helping others find new ones too. I’m excited to be helping reveal the cover of DOMINUS, the final book in the Requiem series by Christine Fonseca. Check it out!
“It’s been six months since my memories returned. Six months since Aydan was again ripped away from me. Six months since I broke a piece of my best friend’s soul. Six months…”
Nesy has found her memories, her life. Now all she wants is to forget and be human. Only human. But fate holds a different destiny. Forced into a war she wants no part of, Nesy is put to the test in ways she never thought possible as she seeks to fix the mistakes she has made. And the mistakes of her former master, Mikayel. Will she be the Sentinal she was destined to be and put an end to the fighting once and for all? Or will she fail and send humanity into slavery?
The future of three worlds depends on the choices, and sacrifices, she must make in this final installment of the Requiem Series.
Additional Titles in the series include:
- DIES IRAE (a Requiem Novella)
- LACRIMOSA (Requiem Series #1)
- MEA CULPA (a Requiem Novella)
- LIBERA ME (Requiem Series #2)
About author Christine Fonseca
Critically acclaimed nonfiction and YA author Christine Fonseca is dedicated to helping children of all ages find their voice in the world. Drawing on her expertise as an educational psychologist, her nonfiction titles address issues of emotional intensity, resiliency and giftedness. In fiction, she explores the darker aspects of humanity and delivers gothic thrillers that take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. In life, she teaches her own children to embrace their unique talents and find their voice by being a force of positive change in the world.
When she’s not writing or developing programs to support children with exceptional needs, she can be found spending time with her family, sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about Christine Fonseca or her books, visit her website – http://christinefonseca.com
Remember the following:
1. Visit each blog listed in the link above for a name or names (no more than two names per blog).
2. Jot down the prominent name you see in each picture on each post. Just the first name will be needed.
3. Then take the first letter from each name to create the secret phrase. The phrase will contain exactly 22 letters.
4. Once you have unraveled the letters and have found the secret message, fill out the form below to sign up. You must know the secret message in order to have your entry validated.
Thank you to all and the best of luck!
_ _ _ _
A special thank you to Jess Rissmiller, the artist responsible for Rocket’s rendition.
To view more of his amazing work please visit his site @ www.imaginextsoft.wix.com/2d#!
I’m excited to be part of the cover reveal Wolf Spell by M.R. Polish. There’s magic and battles and romance. An amazing mix of elements that makes me want to run out and get the book. Check it out!
With a death starts a new beginning…
Eighteen-year-old Esmerelda thinks she’s just a normal girl, but all of that changes the day of her mom’s funeral, when a warlock, intent on using her special powers, kidnaps her. Powers she didn’t know existed. Thrown in the middle of a magical battle, Es struggles to learn her magic while fleeing both vampires and warlocks, at the same time, hunting for the witches that can help defeat her advisory. The only problem is that they are dead.
Thankfully, she has the help of Jarak—her Guardian—who quickly captures her heart, but she wonders if she can win his? Just when she thinks Jarak is the one for her, Ian appears with daggers drawn to save Es from a vampire attack. Ian is cocky and rude, but there is something magnetic about him—something that attracts her to him. With her heart torn between two men, she faces the foes that are out for her blood. Can Es do the unthinkable and awaken them from their graves before time runs out?
Author M.R. Polish info:
If I am not producing magic potions, traveling to far off lands and falling in love with mythical creatures, then I am awake – tripping over toys, chasing my kids and conjuring ways to unknowingly booby trap our house for my husband. (Yes its unknowingly, I swear I never placed the tiny plastic army man in his path for him to find in the dark of midnight!) I love my husband and my four wonderful children (all of whom help with the booby traps!) We are Nevadians and are happy, although I envy and miss the beautiful mountains of Idaho. I love writing Young Adult and Adult, Fantasy and Paranormal with Romance, although you never know what could show up in my books!
Do you love the ocean? Love the colorful fish, diverse plant life and mermaids? Oh yes, I said mermaids. In A Heart for the Ocean, author Taylor Lakke incorporates all of these elements and more.
While on her daily paper route, Madison McKinsey delivers to a new neighbor and is transported to an eden-like place . She soon meets Landon, the teenage neighbor of the house, who explains that the place is called Serenity by the Sea and most humans are unaware of the place. The two begin a relationship. They explore Serenity by the Sea and Landon introduces her to his mermaid family–who are in charge of protecting the sea. Landon asks her to help him with his special quest. Will Madison accept and can they protect the sea from the many dangers humans create?
The story has multiple points of view. Readers flip from Madison, to Landon, to Jared, to many of the mermaids and others. It’s good to see the multiple perspectives of the characters, but it sometimes distracts people from the plot line. Several times I had to stop and figure out which character the author flipped to.
Readers will quickly see how much Lakke cares for the ocean and marine life. This book really shows her passion. Lakke details specific acts that harm the sea–several that I’ve never heard of. Many are atrocious and are difficult to believe humans could be that heartless. I definitely learned a lot by reading her story.
Lakke’s writing style is simplistic and can be passive. Sometimes it reads like a journal entry even though I doubt she planned it that way. It’s not bad, just different and helps readers to connect with Madison.
I really enjoyed how Lakke detailed one of the mermaid ceremonies. She really fleshed that scene out and made readers feel like they were a spectator at the ceremony.
I recommend this book to readers who have an affinity for the water. Swimming, snorkeling, boating–Lakke has it all in her book and will have you eager to plan your next beach trip.
I’m so excited to help reveal the cover of TRAPPED–the second book in the HERE series by Ella James! I love this because it’s a sci-fi romance series, and the author is from where I live–Birmingham, Alabama! Check out the cover, blurb and author info below.
Summary from Book 1 HERE
When Milo Mitchell falls for the beautiful, tuxedo-clad guy she found wandering her family’s rural Colorado property, she never dreamed he was a scout from another galaxy, or that their relationship would leave him with an impossible choice: eradicating humankind, or initiating the end of his own people.
Nick’s job is finding the elements his people need to power their elaborate interweb of minds. Being a scout means he is capable of traveling to other planets on his own. It also means that, unlike The Rest, he has access to primitive feelings and individual desires. For eons, he was part of the whole, but when he encountered Milo, his obsession with her changed everything.
And now, the TRAPPED cover!
Nick’s partner, Vera, is capable of independent thought, but not compelled by it. She is satisfied with her existence as one of The Rest, and she won’t agree that humans are worth sparing; not when their planet has a precious cache of the gold her people need so badly.
While Vera tries to force Nick into endorsing an Earth invasion, working behind the scenes to tie his hands, and the Department of Defense lays a trap for them with Milo’s mom as bait, Nick and Milo are waging their own war – against a primal desire that can only lead to one thing: heartbreak.
TRAPPED will be released December 2012!
About Author Ella James:
She is a 20-something sci-fi nerd with a journalism degree and a serious York Peppermint Pattie addiction. I spend my days baby-wrangling and dog-chasing and my nights tapping on my laptop and hanging out with my writer/editor husband. A fun day for me involves lots of writing, running, and researching topped off with some quality Kindle time. My life’s goal is to find an empty cottage in an enchanted forest, install a solar panel for my laptop, and move in – never to be seen again – except in sweatpants.