Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Beyond the Pale by Henry Herz

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Title: Beyond the Pale
Author:
Henry Herz (editor)
Publisher: Birch Tree Publishing
Acquired Via: Editor
Release Date: July 7, 2014

Beyond the Pale contains eleven dark fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors:

  • "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" by Saladin Ahmed (author of Throne of the Crescent Moon)
  • "The Children of the Shark God" by Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn)
  • "Misery" & "Shadow Children" by Heather Brewer (author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
  • "Even Hand" by Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files)
  • "Red Run" by Kami Garcia (author of Beautiful Creatures)
  • "Pale Rider" & "The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones" by Nancy Holder (author of Wicked)
  • "Frost Child" and "South" by Gillian Philip (author of Rebel Angels)
  • "A Knot of Toads" by Jane Yolen (author of Owl Moon)

The noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, "beyond the pale" means foreign, strange, or threatening. You are about to go Beyond the Pale.

My Review

I love love love to read short stories (the literary ones from college are my favorites!), but I don't think that I've ever reviewed an anthology. Since I was so intrigued by the authors and the premise of Beyond the Pale, I figured that I would give it a shot.

I have to be honest and say that I skipped some of the stories for various reasons. I know that Jim Butcher is everyone else's favorite here at Bibliophilia, Please, but I am yet to read The Dresden Files. (Before you string me, I bought them on Kindle and Audible, so Storm Front will be happening soon.) I also skipped Frost Child by Gillian Philip because I wasn't in the mood for fairies at the time. Jan Yolen's A Knot of Toads and Nancy & Belle Holder's The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones were both passed over, as I could get into them. That being said, these stories will not factor into my overall rating of the book.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spotlight (Excerpt and Giveaway): The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

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Title: The Hook Up (Game On #1)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Self
Released Date: September 8, 2014

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on.


Excerpt

My mother once told me that the most important moment in my life wouldn’t be when I won the National Championship or even the Super Bowl. It would be when I fell in love.

Life, she insisted, is how you live it and who you live it with, not what you do to make a living. Given that she told me this when I was sixteen, I basically rolled my eyes and worked on practicing my pass fakes.

But my mother was insistent.

Blog Tour (Excerpt & Giveaway): Iron Pendulum by Megan Curd

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Title: Iron Pendulum (Periodic #2)
Author:
Megan Curd
Publisher: Self
Release Date: August 28, 2014

A month ago, Avery thought the world ended outside Dome Four. Thought she was one of the few of her kind. Thought the war that brought the human race to the brink of extinction was over.

But a month can change everything.

After fighting to escape a tyranny she didn't even know existed, Avery has had to come to grips with all the secrets she's uncovered. But more secrets continue to come to light, revealing how little of her world she truly knew. When evidence starts to show that Dome Four might be under siege, Avery knows what she must do.

Returning to the dome she longed to escape is a challenge for Avery, but now she knows there’s corruption lurking in the shadows. A massive steam shortage leaves half the dome without power, and people are falling ill. Dying.

And they’re blaming Avery.

A month can change everything. One more month could kill everyone. The clock is ticking.


Excerpt

He’d said he’d do anything to find a way to gain the upper hand on Xander’s plans, and I couldn’t argue with that. Xander ripped apart my family, murdered my mother, and took me under his wing as he plotted all of it.

He needed to go, and the sooner the better.

Jaxon breathed lightly, the wind tickling my ear, as he examined the blueprints and pulled me out of my murderous reverie.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Humble Bookperk Bundle

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Okay, if you don't already know about Humble Bundle, you're going to be incredibly excited. I know I was when Bookboy told me about it when it was having a Doctor Who bundle and then again when Amber reminded me about it during their audiobook bundle. They have a LOT of awesome stuff, no matter what the week and/or deals are. And if you're a gamer, you'll be in hog heaven.

This week's Book Bundle is (that you pay various amounts for):


Another thing that I especially like about this site is that you get to decide how much of the money you pay goes to Humble Bundle, the publisher, and various charities. The charities this bundle supports are First Book, Science Fiction Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund, and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

I just wanted to share with you guys. You are now free to return to your regularly scheduled programming.

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I have not been compensated in any way for this post. I am merely sharing something that I personally enjoy with people that I like very much - you.

Review: Evernight by Kristen Callihan

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Title: Evernight (Darkest London #5)
Author:
Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Acquired Via: NetGalley

Once the night comes . . .

Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.

Love must cast aside the shadows . . .

Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she's the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.


My Review

This review will not contain spoilers for Evernight but will possibly contain spoilers if you have not read the previous books in the series.

Darkest London is one of my favorite steampunk/historical romance series out right now. Will Thorne and Holly Evernight may have just been my favorite couple yet!

I felt so bad for both Thorne and Holly - Holly for being forced into hurting people, Thorne included, and Thorne for being tortured into a monstrous being and a painful wreck of who he used to be. From the beginning, these two make for an interesting and amazing story. The novel almost immediately begins with a bang, with Holly protecting herself from Thorne and other assassins trying to kill her (because Thorne blames Holly for his current maddened state). Then, once Thorne realizes that Holly can calm him and make the metal retreat, they make a deal. Thorne will protect Holly from whomever is trying to kill her, and Holly will calm and soothe Thorne from the madness and metal.

Waiting on Wednesday (69): The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3)
Author:
Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 4, 2014

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.



Well, it's been so long since I read The Evolution of Mara Dyer that I can barely remember anything about it. I do remember really enjoying the first two books, and also being enraged at the terrible cliffhanger ending (although, I don't remember exactly what the ending is and why I was enraged). I might just have to re-read books 1 and 2 before this one comes out to refresh myself. Here's to hoping that the release date doesn't get pushed back, again.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

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Title: Storm Siren (Storm Siren #1)
Author:
Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins)
Acquired Via: NetGalley
Release Date: August 19, 2014

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.


My Review

Storm Siren had a lot of potential, it just didn't quite get to great. The best part was the characters, but even those weren't as strong as they could be. Some of the secondary characters were awesome - Colin and his sister. I was so excited that Colin and Nym had a pretty much platonic relationship. I thought I was going to love Nym at first. She was strong but compassionate. She had some spunk, but she needed some self esteem. We meet her at a slave auction, where she is being sold for the 14th or so time, and she is "rescued" by a crazy person who wants to use her as a weapon in her kingdom's war. Yet, she never really grew up. She never got past that her "curse" was dangerous, but if she would have just learned to control it instead of fight it, she would have been less dangerous. Also, I just didn't care about the love story between Nym and Eogan. Storm Siren would have been much better without it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read But Do Not Own Yet

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Want to Read But Do Not Own Yet

I'm not supposed to buy any books other than Kindle books and Audible books (I have the limited book space issue). So, mostly my book reading options tend to go 1. Auto-buy author (wherein I justify my purchase) 2. Library 3. Audible. I can get through a ton more books with my Audible membership, and would easily get most of the books the library doesn't have through Audible if Audible had them instead. So, most of the books on this list are either not at the library or Audible hasn't added it yet.



1. Sister's Fate (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #3) by Jessica Spotswood

Audible only has the first in the series, so Audible needs to get on that soon! My library purchased the first two in the series, so I'm going to try to hold out for the library to purchase the third. If not, I'll probably end up buying this one sooner rather than later, because I really enjoyed the first two. It's a different take on alternate history and an extension of the Salem witch trials.



2. Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Audible only has Conjured by Durst, so they need to get this one as well! I really liked the first Durst book I read this year, The Lost, and I have her next one, Chasing Power, on my review schedule. So, once I get through some more books, I see myself buying this one, and probably a few more of Durst's backlist.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

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Title: Illusions of Fate
Author:
Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: September 9, 2014

"I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have."

The people of Albion are different from anyone Jessamin has ever known: harsh, uptight, and obsessed with wealth and rank. Jessamin knew as much when she left her sun-drenched island home to attend school in their gray, dreary country. But she had no idea how different they truly were.

She never thought she would discover a house with doors that open onto a hundred corners of the city or a book that spends its days as a bird. She certainly never expected to become a pawn in a political and magical power struggle between the sinister Lord Downpike and the handsome, charming Finn Ackerly. And she never so much as imagined she'd win Finn's affections—or that one day his shadow would follow her every step.

Fortunately for Jessamin, fate has other ideas. . . .


My Review

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White was the perfect book for me to read when I read it. I had been mired down when some really deep adult fiction and some mysteries, so there is nothing to lighten up my reading mood like a good ol' comedic fantasy. The book has fantastic characters: a spunky heroine, a pet bird, a persistent love interest, a best friend I want to steal, and a pretty villainous villain. It also reminded me very much of a certain fantasy favorite from my younger years.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Tour (Audiobook Review & Giveaway): The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

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Title: The Typewriter Girl
Author:
Alison Atlee
Publisher: Audible Studios
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Blog Tours
Audible Release Date:
April 4, 2014

ALL BETSEY DOBSON HAS EVER ASKED IS THE CHANCE TO BE VIEWED ON HER OWN MERITS, BUT IN A MAN'S WORLD, THAT IS THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN

When Betsey disembarks from the London train in the seaside resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After attempting to forge a letter of reference she knew would be denied her, Betsey has been fired from the typing pool of her previous employer. Her vigorous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her character permanently besmirched. Now, without money or a reference for her promised job, the future looks even bleaker than the debacle behind her. But her life is about to change. . . Because a young Welshman on the railroad quay, waiting for another woman, is the one man willing to believe in her.

Mr. Jones is inept in matters of love, but a genius at things mechanical. In Idensea, he has constructed a glittering pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Betsey, he recognizes the ideal tour manager for the Idensea Pier & Pleasure Building Company. After a lifetime of guarding her secrets and breaking the rules, Betsey becomes a force to be reckoned with. Now she faces a challenge of another sort: not only to outrun her sins, but also to surrender to the reckless tides of love ...


My Review

I jumped at the chance to review The Typewriter Girl when it was presented because I've not done a lot of blog tours for audiobooks. (They're my favorite way to sneak in my personal reading choices.) I was also drawn to these two words: "Victorian England". I haven't read a lot of books set in that time period, but most of what I have read revolves around royalty. Or were written by Marion Chesney, but that's neither here nor there. So I took on The Typewriter Girl to expand my reading horizons from the comfort of my car.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blog Tour (Giveaway): Storms of Lazarus by Karen Kincy

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Storms of Lazarus Tour Schedule

Welcome to my spot on the Storms of Lazarus blog tour! I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Shadows of Asphodel, so I'm excited to share the sequel with you today. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of my post! And don't forget to go check out the other stops on the tour!



Title: Storms of Lazarus (Shadows of Asphodel #2)
Author:
Karen Kincy
Publisher: Self
Tour Organizer: CBB Book Promotions
Release Date: July 13, 2014

Sometimes escape is impossible. Sometimes love isn’t enough.

1913. Christmas Eve. Ardis hardly expects a quiet holiday with Wendel, between fleeing Constantinople and hiding from an ancient society of assassins. And they owe a debt to a certain archmage.

In K√∂nigsberg, Prussia, they work with Konstantin on the next evolution of Project Lazarus. Wendel once called K√∂nigsberg home, the city now besieged by the Russians and their clockwork engines of war. This may be Wendel’s last chance to save his family and find redemption, but he’s tormented by nightmares and tempted by laudanum. Ardis fears her love isn’t enough to save Wendel. Her hands are full piloting the automatons, and she’s terrified to tell him a secret of her own. Will they—and their love—survive the storms of war?


Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Other Books in the Series

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blog Tour (Guest Post): Dark Aemilia by Sally O'Reilly

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Title: Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady
Author:
Sally O'Reilly
Publisher: Picador (Macmillan)
Release Date: May 27, 2014

A TALE OF SORCERY AND PASSION IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY LONDON—WHERE WITCHES HAUNT WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND HIS DARK LADY, THE PLAYWRIGHT'S MUSE AND ONE TRUE LOVE

The daughter of a Venetian musician, Aemilia Bassano came of age in Queen Elizabeth’s royal court. The Queen’s favorite, she develops a love of poetry and learning, maturing into a young woman known not only for her beauty but also her sharp mind and quick tongue. Aemilia becomes the mistress of Lord Hunsdon, but her position is precarious. Then she crosses paths with an impetuous playwright named William Shakespeare and begins an impassioned but ill-fated affair.

A decade later, the Queen is dead, and Aemilia Bassano is now Aemilia Lanyer, fallen from favor and married to a fool. Like the rest of London, she fears the plague. And when her young son Henry takes ill, Aemilia resolves to do anything to save him, even if it means seeking help from her estranged lover, Will—or worse, making a pact with the Devil himself.

In rich, vivid detail, Sally O’Reilly breathes life into England’s first female poet, a mysterious woman nearly forgotten by history. Full of passion and devilish schemes, Dark Aemilia is a tale worthy of the Bard.


Selected by O, The Oprah Magazine as one of 17 Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down!

Praise for Dark Aemilia

“A gripping novel that gives feisty feminist voice to the unknown woman who inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets… O’Reilly brings her star-crossed lovers together and drives them apart through plot twists that are, for once, credible outgrowths of the characters’ personalities and beliefs, finally giving them a tender, heartbreaking parting. First-rate historical fiction: marvelously atmospheric and emotionally engaging.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“[Dark Aemilia] mesmerizes with its descriptions of the Bard’s London…O’Reilly casts her story with witches, doomed royals, evil courtiers, and star-crossed lovers, as if it were a Jacobean play. But her finest accomplishment is not the tribute she pays to these historical figures, but the bold imagination she displays in bringing them together.” — Publishers Weekly

“With elegant style, masterly wordplay, and an eye for historical detail, O’Reilly beautifully relates a passionate and tragic love story, worthy of two such well-known figures. With Shakespeare’s 450th birthday approaching this April, fans of historical fiction writers such as Philippa Gregory, Anne Easter Smith, and Tracy Chevalier won’t want to miss this one.” — Library Journal

“O’Reilly’s American debut is an imaginative take on the life of poet Aemilia Layner, a contemporary of William Shakespeare…. This is a lively, vividly rendered novel about the dramatic life of an extraordinary woman.” — Booklist

“Seductive, sharp-witted lady-in-waiting Aemilia Bassano, who later becomes known as England’s first published female poet, falls into a love affair with the Bard himself, loses favor with the court, and resorts to black magic and sorcery to save her child in this textured work of historical fiction.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“I just finished this, and I’m jumping at this opportunity to recommend it to book lovers far and wide... Dark Aemilia is a must-read for all lovers of Shakespeare and old England, and while it is written from the perspective of a woman, I am confident men will enjoy it, too. I am usually careful with my books, but this one quickly became a victim of dog ears and pencil-marks, because O’Reilly touches on so many crucial historical moments and writes with such intelligent elegance.” — Anne Fortier, BookPage

“We all know Shakespeare wrote love sonnets. Now, O’Reilly’s new novel brings us the Bard’s sonnet-writing lover and sonnet-inspiring muse.” — The New York Post

“Draped in the lure of magic and fantasy that weaved its way through many of Shakespeare’s plays, Dark Aemilia lives and breathes the late 16th century... O’Reilly’s debut novel is a sweeping success, a tale full of action and intrigue and as deep as any ocean. Live vicariously through the eyes of one of the first proto-feminists to have lived. See as the author steps into her head and creates a world that is more realistic than the one outside your window. Let this book redefine the way you see love.” — Bookreporter

Guest Post

Dark Aemilia and my Favourite Discoveries
Sally O’Reilly

Dark Aemilia is my first historical novel, though I have written contemporary fiction already. I thought the research element might be quite daunting, but I was surprised to find that I loved it. I found this process a bit like equipping myself to pass through a portal into the past – finding the right clothes, the right words and the right physical sensations to be able to move through the streets of London four hundred years ago.

Waiting on Wednesday (68): The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

4 comments:

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1)
Author:
Kameron Hurley
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: September 4, 2014

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.

As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.



Epic fantasy written by a woman! Woohoo! Honesty, I don't need another reason to want to read this. But, it's also being published by Angry Robot. I loved their YA imprint, Strange Chemistry, which was sadly discontinued this summer. If the Angry Robot books are anything like their YA counterparts, I know I'll enjoy this one.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Clear Your Shelf #Giveaway Hop #5 (US)

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Welcome to my stop on the Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop hosted by the wonderful Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mary at BookHounds. I was lucky enough to attend ALA back in June, as some of my readers may already know, and I ended a lot of books. I've given several to fellow bloggers, coworkers in youth services, and friends. Anywho, I need to start moving out some books to make room for my new ones that I need to review. There will be giveaways of ALA stuff in the future, so don't worry if you don't win this time.

What You Can Win

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?



Giveaway

Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

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Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author:
Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: September 2, 2014

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty.

But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude.

Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel's glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence . . . and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess's petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

Debut author Amy Ewing expertly crafts an enchanting story full of riches, rivalries, and riveting twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.


My Review

A lot was promised of Amy Ewing's debut novel, The Jewel. It has been compared to The Handmaid's Tale and The Selection, both of which I love. Hell, it even started out strong with a heroine who saw the gross unfairness and horror of the system, yet did not lose herself while surviving. She even fought against it when she could. However, despite all the promise The Jewel held and how good the first half was, it ended up being the biggest disappointment to me so far in 2014.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Kayla Reviewed That I Need to Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Ten Books That Kayla Reviewed That I Need to Read

I'm going to do something a little different this week. If someone I know and trust recommends a book to me, I'll normally read it almost immediately if I can get my hands on it. So I don't really have a lot of book recommendations sitting around that I need to read. However, Kayla has been reviewing for quite a while and has an abundant amount of books that she rated highly. I've made my way through some of them, and this is a list of some of the books I need to read sooner rather than later.



1. Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
October 14, 2014

I am loving this science fiction fairy tale retellings trend. Snow White and a frozen planet - I'm sold. You can read Kayla's review HERE.



2. Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1) by Caroline Carlson and Dave Phillips

Cute adventure fantasy with a girl and a talking gargoyle wanting to become pirates. Of course I want to read this. Kayla recommended the audio version, so I jumped on the chance when Audible had a children's family sale. You can read Kayla's review HERE.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Blog Tour (Review): Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech

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Title: Season of the Dragonflies
Author:
Sarah Creech
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperColliins)
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Acquired Via:
TLC Book Tours

As beguiling as the novels of Alice Hoffman, Adriana Trigiani, Aimee Bender, and Sarah Addison Allen, Season of the Dragonflies is a story of flowers, sisters, practical magic, old secrets, and new love, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For generations, the Lenore women have manufactured a perfume unlike any other, and guarded the unique and mysterious ingredients. Their perfumery, hidden in the quiet rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, creates one special elixir that secretly sells for millions of dollars to the world’s most powerful—movie stars, politicians, artists, and CEOs. The Lenore’s signature perfume is actually the key to their success.

Willow, the coolly elegant Lenore family matriarch, is the brains behind the company. Her gorgeous, golden-haired daughter Mya is its heart. Like her foremothers, she can “read” scents and envision their power. Willow’s younger daughter, dark-haired, soulful Lucia, claims no magical touch, nor does she want any part of the family business. She left the mountains years ago to make her own way. But trouble is brewing. Willow is experiencing strange spells of forgetfulness. Mya is plotting a coup. A client is threatening blackmail. And most ominously, the unique flowers used in their perfume are dying.

Whoever can save the company will inherit it. Though Mya is the obvious choice, Lucia has begun showing signs of her own special abilities. And her return to the mountains—heralded by a swarm of blue dragonflies—may be the answer they all need.


Praise for Season of the Dragonflies

"Season of the Dragonflies is a magical, romantic, and riveting novel. You won’t be able to put it down, and as soon as you finish reading, you’ll begin waiting for Sarah Creech’s next book. What a dazzling new talent!" — Nina de Gramont, author of Meet Me at the River

My Review

When I was given the option to review Sarah Creech's debut, Season of the Dragonflies, I jumped at it. I know I read a lot of YA and "genre fiction", but I also have a deep love for "literary fiction". (I'm using quotation marks because those aren't my labels, as I enjoy them all.) Season of the Dragonflies did not disappoint, and I read it all in one sitting while suffering from insomnia. It has everything promised in the description, and so much more.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Excerpt (Giveaway): Light Up The Night by M.L. Buchman

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Title: Light Up the Night (The Night Stalkers #5)
Author:
M.L. Buchman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: September 2, 2014

Trisha O’Malley rebelled against her affluent family by joining the U.S. Army’s secret helicopter regiment, the 160th SOAR. Now a Chief Warrant Officer, she found her toughest fight yet in the pilot’s seat of an MH-6M attack helicopter.

William Wallace Bruce is an undercover CIA agent who doesn’t trust the military. But when the Horn of Africa is threatened by Somali pirates, Trisha flies out to recover ships and hostages…including one very ungrateful Will. Everything about Trisha triggers his mistrust: her elusive past, her wild energy, and her proclivity for flying past safety's edge. Even as the heat between them turns into passion's fire, Bill and Trisha must team up to confront their pasts and survive Somalia's pirate lords.


Excerpt

Trisha looked up at Billy. His narrowed eyes revealed that he was indeed totally perplexed.

It was perfectly clear to her, and she just figured out that meant she was too damn stupid to live. She shrugged to herself, feeling the warm weight of his large hands still resting on her shoulders.

Well, stupid is something I'm really good at, she had to admit to herself. With one foot she shoved the door to her cabin closed until the latch clicked. Then putting a hand on either side of his neck, Tricia pulled his face down to hers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blog Tour (Interview & Giveaway): The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

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Title: The Ghost Bride
Author:
Yangsze Choo
Publisher: William Morrow Books (HarperCollins)
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Oprah.com’s Book of the Week, a Carnegie Medal nominee, and Goodreads 2013 Best Fantasy finalist. The Ghost Bride is a historical fantasy.

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.


Author Interview

Kayla: Hi Yangsze, thank you so much for stopping by Bibliophilia, Please! Since a ghost bride is something that many people have never heard of, please tell us a little bit about what a ghost bride actually is.

Yangsze Choo: The Chinese custom of marriages to the dead is unusual and bizarre to many people, though growing up in SE Asia, I heard of several instances of it happening. The most common scenario is when two people are married posthumously so that they can continue their life together in the afterworld. Sometimes this happened because they were promised to each other and couldn’t get married when they were alive, and sometimes the whole affair is arranged after death, either due to family wishes or in response to a haunting! This is actually quite a common Chinese story, of seeing a departed relative in your dreams who has met someone they fancy in the afterlife and want to have a proper marriage conducted. In many ways, it shows how important ancestor worship and family approval is.