Thursday, July 31, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week [28]

This is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/ films/ J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! She is picking a topic within HP for us to focus on each week and then if anyone wants to take part feel free! All she asks is to link back to her blog :). There is now a full list of the topics to come here.

 Most Inspirational Moment/Passage


There's way too many to choose from. I could list nearly anything that Dumbledore says, in his wisdom he shares a lot of inspiration. 

BUT: "The boy who lived, come to die."

Harry walking into that forest facing his destiny, knowing that he was going to die has to be absolutely the most inspirational moment. It takes a level of bravery beyond anything else.

What it boils down to is all of those who sacrificed themselves for the 'good of the cause' and Harry himself - James and Lily Potter, Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, Hedwig, Moody, Dobby, Fred, Lupin, Tonks. All such hard moments to face, but they did what their hearts told them to. 

What do you think is the most inspirational moment or passage?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Excerpt: Be the Death of Me (The Guardian Chronicles #1) by Rebecca Harris

Published: August 25, 2013 Phoenix Flying, Inc.
Genre: YA Paranormal

Goodreads Summary:

BILLIE FOSTER is a seventeen-year-old with a bit of an attitude problem. It wasn’t long ago that she had it all: booming social life, loving boyfriend, anything and everything a beautiful, popular teenage girl could want. That is until her life is taken by a violent and mysterious fire, leaving her trapped in limbo, alone and jaded in the afterlife. Upon arrival, Billie is put to work, assigned to the organization known only as THE GUARDIANS, a group of spirits charged with the task of keeping the living alive. But Billie is no “employee of the month.” Fed up with her cynicism and total disregard for authority, her boss, THE CAPTAIN, gives her an ultimatum: work with a partner or face the consequences of her carelessness. TUCKER REID is a charming and hardworking member of the Self-Sacrifice organization, and much to Billie’s dismay, exactly what The Captain orders. Right off the bat, Tucker proves he's not afraid to keep her in line, refusing to back down from what he knows is right. Little does Billie suspect, however, that Tucker carries with him secrets of his own. Can they work together? Or will their differences be their ultimate downfall?


Chapter 1:

I can still see it sometimes.  Smell it.  Taste.  Touch.  If I squeeze my eyes shut against a stark, bare reality and flood my mind with memories, it's almost as if I'm back there.  The scent of the smoke, the feel of the cool linoleum against my back, the color of a world going up in flame, I haven't lost it.  Not yet.  I keep them only if I try, and I'm not ready to surrender just yet.  I refuse to give them up, terrifying and grim though they might be.  The sound of a strangled cry, the taste of ash, thick on my tongue.  I can... I can...
“Goooooood morning!”  The voice breaks through my strained reverie, severing my past like a cold blade.
I groan and wish for something to throw at the small, black box hanging over my head where a thick female voice rings through the crackling P.A. system.  “It’s time for the daily announcements!”
I settle for giving it the stink-eye and step into a well lit hallway, scuffing the toe of my shoe against an immaculately clean floor in frustration.
“All personnel are reminded that floors 460 through 462 are off limits until further notice.  Offices on 460 and 461 have been relocated to 290, while all offices 462 are still missing.  Your cooperation is appreciated as we try and locate them.
“New arrivals are asked to please check-in at Room 111 before being placed.  If you have any questions or are unsure of where to go, please follow the sound of perpetual screaming or simply check at the second floor information kiosk,” the voice says, the same sugar coated voice I’ve heard every day for the last four years.  “It promises to be another exciting day, so let’s remember: The world looks brighter from behind a smile!”
The intercom system clicks off with a short pop, the echoes dying away and leaving me in silence.  I run my fingers habitually through a sheet of glossy, blonde hair, leaving all thoughts of the past behind me, walking with neither direction nor destination in mind.  The hallway stretches out before me in a relentless metaphor; an ongoing journey into madness, a never-ending walk of shame.  Enclosing me are shades of white.  White on cream.  White on pearl.  White on silver.  White on white.  The floor, ceiling and walls seem to sparkle with an unattainable shine, glimmering with the cleanliness of perfection.  I continue my trek, rhythmically placing one foot in front of the other.
I’m not really sure what I thought death would be like before I got here - I never was one for organized religion - but it wasn’t this, this metaphoric halfway house built with smoke and mirrors.  Behind the shadows lie only want and crisis.  Want smothered by work, crisis covered by career.  Acceptance hides beyond, acceptance many of us never reach.  There’s no future to look forward to and nothing behind us but memories so lovely, so painful, we’d choose a second death rather than face our pasts.  So we fall in line.  We live and not live.  We wait.  For what, I’m still not sure.
I wish someone had told me that I would end up as literal debris, the flotsam and jetsam, the proverbial punch line of death.  No one told me death had a wicked sense of humor.  There's a darkness here, behind every glistening corner, in each labored step.  It fills me with a sick sort of laughter, building in my stomach, burying itself in my throat, dying on my lips.
Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t exactly call snuffing it a laugh riot.  Funny?  No, that can’t be right.  Scary?  Definitely that.  But there’s something else, too.  Something I’ve overlooked or forgotten.  What’s the word I’m looking for…?
“Billie Foster, please report to Human Resources.  Immediately.”
Oh yeah.  Inconvenient.
I choose to ignore the command ringing through the P.A. system and continue my walk.
“That means now, Billie!”
I roll my eyes turn back the way I came.  “Alright, alright!  I’m going.”
I take the first right I come to.  Then a left, a right, another right, two more lefts and one very odd yield along yet another spotless corridor before I reach my destination.  Headquarters.  Human Resources.  The heart and soul of our department, quite literally the center of operations.  We come here for assignments, our promotions, our demotions.  Called Human Resources for a reason, HQ is constantly bustling with not exactly “life”, but with a strange alternative.  My colleagues, my people, come and go, eager for jobs, hoping for groundwork.  Waiting for the moment they’re given a new assignment, another precious human life to protect.
Every assignment is given a file, every file sent here to be stored and organized  humans still in trouble, those yet to be assigned.  The entire left wall of the sixty-first floor is lined with hulking, black cabinets, filed alphabetically by last name.  Thousands upon thousands.  Millions upon millions.  Billions upon…
One might assume that with such an array of files to choose from these fortresses of folders might differ in some way, that surely there would be some method to determine one from the next.  But, no.  These files, these humans we’re left to categorize and sort are all the same, yet the single definable quality of these cabinets is one they all happen to share.
They’re all locked.
In the center of the wide room, resting on pale gray carpet is an oddly shaped, though familiar desk.  It curves into a circle of cherry colored oak, meeting at the back where a crystal clear tube stretches from the floor to the ceiling.  There’s a loud sucking noise as I enter, like that of a high powered vacuum, and a round, black canister shoots up and out of sight.  I watch as the outgoing message disappears.
I smile at the girl sitting behind the desk.  “Hey, Abby.”
You would think accidentally overdosing in a hippie-filled tent at Woodstock would put a serious damper on one’s sunny disposition.  Yet, she’s a genuine sweetheart despite being stuck here with the rest of us.  Maybe that’s why she works reception; I know I would never have the patience to deal with the idiots that come in and out of this department all day long.
“Hi, Billie!” the flower-child calls.  Abby’s cocoa cheeks pull into a smile, revealing perfect, white teeth.  Her bright pink shirt contrasts nicely against the dark beauty of her skin and hair.  “I heard you might be stopping by.”  Her laughter is light and easy.
“I think everybody heard,” I grumble, resting my elbows on the granite countertop.  “Miss P.A. better watch out.  I’m going to find out where she’s hiding one of these days and take away her magic microphone…and then beat her with it like it’s a sock full of nickels.”
“Oh, go easy on her.”  Abby’s brown eyes twinkle as she passes me a small slip of wide-ruled paper.  “The daily announcements are probably all she has going for her.”
I almost don’t hear.  My eyes grow wide at the sight of the three words written across the scrap of paper in my hands.  Three words that were it possible, would send a ripple of shivers across my skin.


I hold it up for Abby to read.  She teases me with a grimace.
“Any idea what he wants?” I ask, wadding the paper up in my hand.
She smirks the way she does whenever she’s holding back something juicy.  “I don’t really know if I should say…”
“Oh come on, Abby!  If the Captain wants to see me, you know it’s got to be important.”
The Captain: our department head.  The Boss.  The Chief.  The Man with the Plan.  The Big Kahuna.
“Well,” Abby fidgets, nervously twirling a strand of raven hair between her fingers.  “Rumor has it you’re going dirt-side.”
“Are you kidding me?”  I bounce on the spot.  This is a joke, right?  One of those candid camera shows?  Surely there’s been some sort of oversight.  Why would the Captain give me another assignment?  Especially after what happened last time.
She shakes her head.  “About time if you ask me.  Suspension or not, you deserve a second chance.”
“A seventh chance, you mean.”
She swats a hand at me.  “Not important,” she shrugs.  “What is important is that the Captain thinks you have what it takes.”
I flash a final, half-hearted smile, and take the hallway on the left.
Maybe Abby’s right.  So what if I have the worst record of anyone in the department?  So what if six people haven’t exactly lived as long as they should have?  Nobody’s perfect.  People make mistakes.  Just because they died on my watch doesn’t necessarily make it my fault…
I find my way to the Captain’s office, a room I haven’t seen in ages and yet still manages to fill me with a sense of overwhelming dread.  The door is closed upon my arrival; big surprise.  I didn’t exactly expect him to adopt an “open door” policy in my absence.
“Get your ass in here, Foster,” a deep voice rumbles before I have the chance to knock.
When first entering the spacious, well-lit office, one might assume it’s like any other.  The décor is business chic - a large, wooden desk, several comfortable looking chairs, ornamental brass lamps and a grand expanse of window revealing a blindingly blue sky.  That is until you realize the crystal sky is actually a mural, and the window nothing more than a wall painted to resemble a perfect afternoon, the swirls of wispy, ethereal clouds and sublime rays of sunshine no more than an artist’s rendering.  My money's on Cézanne.  I heard he used to hang around these parts.
The man who has ordered my presence is older but not elderly; in his early fifties.  Built like a steel beam, his sharp face is decorated by a trimmed, bristle-brush mustache.  A plate of thinning red hair parts neatly to one side shimmering slightly beneath the soft haze of light each of us wears like a glowing badge of honor.  If you can find any honor in dying, that is.  Rumor is he died of a rogue bullet in the 1940s.  Or maybe it was the 1840s.  No one knows for sure.  He’s the sort of man who is just as likely to have been a priest in his former life as a hired assassin.
As usual, he’s dressed head to toe in black.  Slimming, yes, but also providing him with the unfortunate side-effect of appearing like an Irish country-western singer.  Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Johnny O’Cash!
“Foster,” he greets me with a glare, as if reading my thoughts.  In his right breast pocket is a single white flower, clean and pure.  Beautiful, though unnerving and a bit effeminate for someone so rough around the edges.
His scowl is to be expected.  “Hey, Cap,” I say, trying to crack a smile.  “You wanted to see me?”
“Sit,” he gestures to a chair positioned on the opposite side of his desk.  “No doubt Abby has already told you why you’re here.”
I offer him a flippant wave of my hand.  “Are you kidding?  No way.  Abby would never…”
I stop when I see the look on his face.
“She may have said something, yes,” I finish quickly, looking away.
“You’re probably wondering,” he goes on without missing a beat, “after years of consecutive failure…”
“Thanks for the reminder.”
“…why I’ve decided to give you another assignment.”
“Can’t say it hasn’t crossed my mind,” I allow.  What I’m really wondering is if it’s possible for a complete non-entity to suffer a head injury, because the Captain is showing definite signs.
He reclines in his chair, settling into the posture of a man who knows he’s in a position of power.  “I have my reasons,” he states calmly, staring me down from over the top of a pair of square, wire-rimmed glasses.
I shift awkwardly in my seat as the seconds tick by and the silence drags on.  “You aren’t going to say I know something you don’t know, are you?” I say finally.  “Because as a teenage girl, I may have an issue with that.”
“Cut the crap, Foster,” he snaps, reverting back to the Cap I know, love and fear.  “I’m giving you this assignment because I can.  End of story.  Do you want it or not?”
“Of course I want it!  I’ve been cooped up without work for months.  I’m going crazy here.”
“I’ve had to pull quite a few strings to get you back on the job,” he goes on grandly, almost as if he expects me to kiss his ring in gratitude.  “Need I remind you what happened to your previous assignments?”
“I’d really rather you didn’t.”
“First up, Thomas Reynolds.  Recent graduate from Yale Law, 4.1 GPA, top of his class.  An up and comer with nothing but a bright future ahead of him.  And what happens?”  He pauses, waiting for me to fill in the blank.
I bite the inside of my cheek and answer.  “He’s electrocuted.”
“He’s electrocuted!” Cap shouts.  “By the faulty switch on a toaster oven no less.  An easy save, and yet…”  He allows the obvious to go unsaid.  “Then there was Sylvia Meyers.  Recently remarried.  Found the love of her life for the second time at age 46, and just when she thinks she’s going to spend the rest of her days in wedded bliss….BAM!  Head on collision.  Quite nasty.”  He bows his head for a moment in mock bereavement.  “After her came Ian McDoyle.  Drowned.   Marcus Harper.  Fell out of a twelfth story window.  Ellie Samson.  Walked into oncoming traffic.  Arthur Redding…”
“Yeah, I get it, Cap!” I interrupt.
“I don’t think you do,” he counters quickly.  “I really don’t.  We are here to help those still with purpose to fufill their calling.  It is our job, our duty to keep these people alive.  And you, little girl, have failed spectacularly.  I suppose that’s why it is such a tragedy.”
“What’s a tragedy?”
He laughs bitterly.  “Everything about you is tragic, Foster.”  He composes himself and lets the subject drop.  “I’ve taken time out of my busy schedule to set this up.  It wasn’t easy, let me assure you.  The Elders were not quite so forgiving.  But with a little persuasion they’ve agreed to give you another chance.  A final chance.”
I nod in understanding.  The Elders.  The end all, be all of the afterlife.  Some say they are death itself.  Others refuse to speak of them, fearing their name above all else.  Nobody has ever seen them, at least not that I know of.  No one knows where they are, who they are, what they are.  “Better to not ask questions,” I’ve been told on one too many occasions.   I try my best to contain a shudder.
“Consider this a probation run,” Cap goes on.  “You do well on this assignment, and things might just turn in your favor.”  I bite my lip to keep from smiling.  “However,” he adds dramatically, “in the unfortunate, and might I add, likely event this turns out comparable to your other catastrophic forays, your future will take a very severe turn for the worse.”
“Worse than already being dead?”
“Being on probation,” he goes on, letting my comment slide, “there are of course certain conditions you must agree to before going back in the field.”  He folds his strong, aged hands together.  “Protocol that will be followed to the letter.”
I nod again.  “Yeah, sure.  Just name it.”
“You will report back to me daily.  I expect full coverage regarding your new assignment.  I want to know his every move.  Where he goes, what he does, who he talks to.”
“He?” I pick up on one key word.  “Is he cute?”
Again, he ignores me.  “While some may find your techniques of protecting a tad unorthodox, I find them dangerous.  Your indolent, devil may care attitude will not work this time, Foster.  Do you know what happens when you ignore the rules?”
“Fun?” I answer with a sly grin.  “Happiness?  Laughter?”  He continues to glare, and I manage to turn my laugh into a hacking cough.  “Come on, Cap.  Lighten up.”
“This is a human life we’re talking about,” he scowls.  “Do not tell me to lighten up.  You cannot succeed at this job simply by winging it.”
“I’m hurt, Cap.”
“This is not a joke.”
"It's like you don't know me at all."
“I'm sorry, but that’s who I am.”
“And that is why every last one of your assignments has ended in failure!”  His face has gone the color of an overripe tomato.  Odd, considering that like the rest of us, he has no blood circulation.  He calms himself by slicking his hair along the sides, and smoothing his copper mustache.
“Which is why,” he jumps back in as soon as he’s composed enough to refrain from launching over the desk and strangling me, “the Elders and I have come to the decision that from now on you will work with a partner.”
A full and abrupt silence fills the room.
“Excuse me?”  My eyebrows rise practically to my hairline.  “I must not have heard you correctly.  I could have sworn you said…partner.”  I sneer even saying the word.
The Captain’s lined face breaks into a genuine smile.  “I did.  Did I not mention that before?”
I fold my arms across my chest and glower.  “You seemed to have skipped over that tiny jewel of information.”  I set my jaw in an attempt to look fierce, a kitten trying to pass as a lion.  “Sorry to burst you bubble, Cap, but I can’t work with a partner.  I won’t.”
“You can and you will,” he states as if the conversation is no more than a giant waste of his time.  “It’s one or the other, Foster.  Work with someone, or don’t work at all.”
“But…I…you…you can’t do this to me!” I stammer.  “You just…can’t!”
“It’s already done.”
I know the subject is no longer open for debate.  I may as well be arguing with his sky-painted wall.  “Well, who is it then?” I pout.  I can’t help it.  My five year old instincts emerge before I can stop them, leaving me dangerously close to puffing out my cheeks and throwing a tantrum on the floor.
The Captain chuckles, no doubt amused by the immense amount of restraint I’m showing.  “They’re bringing in someone from the sacrifice division.  Someone we feel is deserving of a promotion.  Not a terrible idea, if you ask me.”
“Sacrifice?!?” I explode.  “Are you kidding me, Cap?  Those guys are such martyrs!  And why do they get special treatment, huh?  What’s up with that?  Why do they get rewarded just because they died?  Hello?  We’re all dead!”
“Jealousy doesn’t suit you, Foster.”
“If you want my opinion…”
“I don’t.”
“…I can do this job on my own.  I don’t need someone from downstairs watching my every move.”
“Oh, now that hardly seems fair,” he smirks.  “Better downstairs than upstairs,” he points a malicious finger to the ceiling and I know he’s speaking of the Elders.  “Am I right?  Or should I ask them to look in on you personally?”
My mouth gapes open.  “No…  I didn’t mean….  I’m sorry…”
“Easy, Foster,” he croons.  “Everything will be alright so long as you keep your head down and play nice with your new teammate.”  He smiles.  “Or should I say, schoolmate?”
“Schoolmate?  What are you talking about, Cap?”
“You did attend West Rosemont High four years ago, did you not?”
I nod.
“As did he.  Small afterlife, isn’t it?”  He flips through several pages, bending them back over the clipboard.  “Ah, yes.  Here we have it.  Mr. Tucker Reid.”
The name doesn’t ring a bell.  “I don’t know who that is,” I mumble through stunned lips.
“Then it sounds like you two will have plenty to catch up on now, doesn’t it?”  The Captain pushes a small, black button on his boxed intercom system.  “Abby, please send Mr. Reid to my office right away.”
Mr. Reid?  I’ve been here four years and he’s never once called me anything other than “Foster”.
Steady footsteps resound from the hallway a moment later, coming to a sudden halt just outside the room.  The Captain straightens his collar and turns expectantly to the door.
“Foster,” he says, proving my point.  “Meet your new partner.”

About Rebecca Harris:

Rebecca Harris discovered her passion for books at an early age. Presently, she works as a bookseller where she spends far too much time dreaming up new stories from behind the cash register. When she's not writing she enjoys reading classic literature, listening to the blues, and solving crossword puzzles. She currently resides in Tennessee where she lives with two very spoiled cats.

Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Web

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Tomorrow Wendell by R.M. Ridley

Published: June 28, 2014 Xchyler Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Format: ebook
Source: provided for honest review
Goodreads Summary

When predictions tell Wendell Courtney he’s going to die, he turns to the one man he hopes can help. Jonathan Alvey’s no stranger to the strange. But, unlike the private investigator’s run-of-the-mill zombie cases, he can find no trace of magic around Wendell, and no hint of an adversary. Alvey certainly has magic and wits enough to solve the mystery, but is his offering to the insatiable dragon black sufficient? Or is Wendell truly destined to die?

"And so, with this reassurance, I took a coin from my pocket. It cost only a nickel see, and I figured what the devil. Well, they do say you shouldn't tempt fate or the devil, don't they, Mr. Alvey?"

The Good

What interested me in Tomorrow Wendell was the private investigator mixed in with the magic story-line. The main character Jonathan Alvey is what you want in your PI. He's a bit rough around the edges with only a few friends to count on, and he drinks and smokes too much, but that's just to take off the edge that casting magic creates. I felt like I got to know him enough to understand him and why he sticks it out. Why he uses magic despite the cost and why he fights for the little guy when he's outgunned. I really liked how Ridley handled some of the magic casting and charms used in the story, the explanations he used and techniques he described. I liked that he didn't go with the usual magical creatures to fight as the book went on and went outside the box. I enjoyed the pace of the story as it didn't feel rushed, while at the same time I never felt bored and just wanted it to pick up.

The Bad

My only real complaint would be the abrupt end of the story. I felt like there were more than a few questions left unanswered, but I guess we'll call that a build up for the next book.

The Romance

Like any good private investigator, Jonathan does have a love interest. Their relationship felt a little cookie cutter for the situation. He has the dangerous job, but if he doesn't who will? She wants him to quit because she is afraid of what will happen to him, but he's stubborn. I like their relationship despite it being the common 'I wish you wouldn't but I have to' type deal.


Overall, Tomorrow Wendell was what I was hoping it would be. A brooding PI racking his brain while running down leads to try and save his client. When trouble shows up, he uses everything from his fists, to his gun, to magic, to varying ways to fight back for overcoming the bad guys. It's not cover to cover action so if you need that, it's not going to interest you. I recommend this to anyone looking for a change of pace magic creature wise. No vampires or werewolves here.


"Stop after this one? And what about the next client? What do I say to them, 'Sorry about the nightmares hiding behind your mind that have started eating at your soul?' Do I ignore their needs, their missing children, their possessed spouse, or cursed parent?"

"What would I do without you and your uncle, Quan?" 
"I suspect, get very hungry,"  the kid said and then, looking at all the alcohol on the desk, added, "and very,very drunk."

"Do you smoke?"
"The ad said it was a smoking environment. It was clear about that," the woman pointed out.
"Yes, because I smoke, but that wasn't the question."
"Yes, I smoke."
"Good. I can bum yours if I run out."

"People start out life believing in just about everything. But as we get older, we are taught that our imaginary friends are not only not real, but frowned on - discouraged. One 
by one, beliefs are stripped away. You are made fun of, or disciplined, for things that don't fit everyone's beliefs."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

Published: June 12, 2012 Razorbill
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fantasy
Format: ebook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads Summary

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?

“You're in an awfully good mood," he observed. "Was there a sale at Khakis-R-Us?” 

Adrian Ivashkov is reason enough to read this series.

The Good

Sydney may have a more boring personality than the fiery Rose as a leading character, but she's also easier for me to relate to. I love that she puts her heart and soul into everything she does. She's smart and she knows it, and she doesn't give in to teasing or peer pressure. When she sees an area where she is weak, she works on making herself better.

The dynamics between Sydney and the other characters places her at the motherly role, Eddie is the body guard, Jill the little sister, Angeline the crazy cousin that they put up with, and Adiran is that hot but annoying neighbor that everyone says they wish would move...but they don't mean it. He grows on you unbelievably. This isn't exactly the roles they play in the book, but you get my point as to what their personality types are like.

In Golden Lily, Sydney is faced with the moral dilemma of becoming too involved in the lives of those Moroi and Dhampirs around her. Alchemists are loyal to their job and nothing else. They don't fraternize with those magic-wielding freaks of nature. So why is helping them what Sydney wants to do more than anything? She battles with her inner demons in this one as well as some other foes.

Next, Adrian is growing. He's still the sarcastic hotty I came to love, but he has a strong desire to better himself. When his father tore down his efforts, it was pretty hard.

The Bad

There was a ton of fore-shadowing so I felt those huge surprises that I've come to love from Mead were missing.

The Romance

There are quite a few crushes and pairings happening. Eddie and Angeline have to be the weirdest. Sydney gets a boyfriend who appears to be a clone of her on the surface, but is he really? Jill has some stumbling blocks in her relationship with Micah. There's more, but I'll leave it at that.


I love where this series is going from Golden Lily. I read it very quickly. Sydney is questioning everything and it absolutely needs questioning. Baddies are rising up out of the wood work, and this crew is determined to stomp them out. Definitely recommended.


“I’d mentioned this odd wardrobe choice to Adrian a couple of weeks ago:
“Isn’t Dimitri hot?”
Adrian’s response hadn’t been entirely unexpected:
“Well, yeah, according to most women, at least.” 

“For once, you're going to hear something that doesn't fit into your neat, compartmentalized world of order and logic and reason.” 

“It doesn't matter. Take Eddie's blood. Take Belikov's blood. Take your own for all I care. But If she doesn't want to give hers, then that's all there is to it. She said no. This conversation is done.” 

“Sage," he said. "What are you wearing?"
I sighed and stared down at the dress. "I know. It's red. Don't start. I'm tired of hearing about it."
"Funny," he said. "I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at it.” 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Cover Scramble [77]

Let's have some fun! I am going to post covers on here every Sunday that are scrambled up graphically, making it hard to tell what cover it is. I would like your guesses on what cover you think I've posted. I won't answer you until I'm posting the next one to let you know if you are right, allowing others to guess as well. Some will be hard, and others may be easy. Let me know in the comments if you'd like some more hints and I'll offer some more if no one guesses it correctly.

I'm changing up the format a little bit! I am going to be pulling covers off the Most Popular Page on Goodreads.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sidekick Showcase [86] - LOYAL AND YELLY

Sidekick Showcase, previously known as Sidekick Saturday, is a weekly bookish meme, hosted here by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! I will post my Sidekicks on Saturday, then whichever day during the week that you would like to post yours, you can put your link in on my page. Just do the following:

• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in the week's topic
• Share a picture (if you can) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• The day of your post, put your link in below and grab the code for your post so you can see the others that post their's throughout the week as well

Topic ideas for August:
Artistic, Musical, Twins, Humanitarians, have or should have a motorcycle, Adventurer

My choice is Ironhorse
The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa

Ironhorse picture created by Jaclyn Canada

IRONHORSE IS A FEY, A LARGE BLACK METAL HORSE WITH GLOWING RED EYES AND FIRE IN HIS BELLY, THAT IS ACTUALLY INCREDIBLY HONEST. He also really likes to yell so all his dialogue is in caps. He is a lieutenant for Machina and is an enemy to Meghan and group in the beginning of the series. He's beyond loyal to the point where sacrificing himself for his cause is not a problem for him. I found him to be a character I greatly enjoyed in this series. 


“Right. The Briars. Just a second, Princess. Hey, Rusty,” he called, motioning to Ironhorse, who pinned back his ears, “why don’t you walk ahead of us, huh? I want your big ugly ass where I can see it.”

“WORRY NOT, PRINCESS,” Ironhorse said, and I gaped at him, not believing my eyes. Where a horse had been, now a man stood before me, dark and massive, with a square jaw and fists the size of hams. He wore jeans and a black shirt that bulged with all the muscles underneath, the skin stretched tight over steely tendons. Dreadlocks spilled from his scalp like a mane, and his eyes still burned with that intense red glow. “YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH A FEW TRICKS UP YOUR SLEEVE, GOODFELLOW,” he said, a faint smirk beneath his voice. “NOW, GO. I WILL BE RIGHT BEHIND YOU.”

“STOP!” Ironhorse bellowed as Puck immediately pulled out his dagger, shoving me behind
“Oh, I don’t think so, Rusty,” Puck sneered, as we began backing toward the
edge of the village. “I have a better idea. You stay there until we get to Oberon, who will rip
you apart and bury your pieces so far apart you’ll never get put back together.” 

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Soul Twister Blog Tour: Review, Character Bio, and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Soul Twister (A Touched Girl #3) by Robyn Jones Blog Tour!

Soul Twister (A Touched Girl Novel #3) by Robyn Jones
Published: July 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Goodreads Summary:

Months into recovering from the bloody events that took place in Soul Bender, Anna Pierce is ready to get back out there and fulfill her self-crafted destiny. Sadly, no one in her life feels the same way. The emergence of buried memories and out-of-the-blue powers send her straight into regular sessions with the school counselor. If only she could talk about her overly protective vampire boyfriend or the real threat posed by former friends turned enemies or her new guide who makes her former guide look like a bowl of sunshine. Anna has a lot going on, but at least she's too busy to think about her first Christmas at Ella's.

The Good

Anna is still that one-of-a-kind girl. Not only does she make everyone around her fall in love with her, but she does it to me as well. She is extremely quirky, loving, and forgiving.

In Soul Twister, she is visiting a counselor due to insistence. She needs to get past what happened in the last book. Thankfully, she has a ton of family, friends, and vamps that are willing to help her with that. The counselor sessions are some of the funniest parts.

The characters are great. I love every one of them, even the ones I really should hate. Trent grew on me a little more in this one. I've always loved Betsy and her glorious snarky nature that's now rubbing off on Anna. 

It was interesting reading about her doing these normal things like searching for college and going to school dances in the midst of her supernatural life. There were definite supernatural influences at all of those events though.

The Bad

I do get annoyed with how flirty Anna is with all the other guys in her life other than her boyfriend. She's really a kissing girl. It's ingrained on me to hate cheating, so this side of her is difficult for me to read, even if Peter is working to accept it.

The Romance

First, I have to say that I'm so glad Ella has her boyfriend, Ted. It's such a sweet grandma relationship. I also really love Peter and Anna together. They make gah-gah eyes to each other one minute, and stop talking to each other the next minute. It feels like an honest, loving relationship.


The characters are a lot of fun, and it's hard not to love every one of them. The story is interesting and draws the reader in. Jones is great at making the reader really care about what's happening. Recommended for Paranormal readers.


“Peter and I are about to play a game. Don’t help him.”
“Game?” crazy Shopgirl asked.
“A hunting game,” Peter answered. His voice had a new quality to it. He caught me staring and instead of smiling, he held my eyes. “First one wins the bite. I’m going to win, Anna.” (Soul Twister)

I pulled him as close to me as our partially clothed bodies would afford. When I heard him moan and not growl, I whispered how much I wanted him, all of him. It was just the two of us as the world faded away. 
“No more boys in your room!” Ella’s angry voice shattered our tropical magic land. I turned and looked at her with pure bliss stamped on my forehead I was sure of it. 
“Sorry, Ella.” I knew she wanted me off my boyfriend’s lap, but she was standing right there. If I stood up now, she’d see my scars, and it would be just as upsetting for her as it was for Betsy.
“Anna, get off his lap now.” I heard Betsy laughing and then running to the room. 
“Oh, that is so hot.” Peter kept his head facing the opposite direction from our onlookers, but I felt his stifled chuckle. 
“Ella, if you step out, I’ll get dressed.”
“You’re shy now?” (Soul Twister)

At the front door, the smell of too many vampires hit me. How many were in Peter’s house? It was candy land in there. The door opened just as I reached it. If Jared had been the one standing there, he would have imitated my girly yelp. Peter took one look at me and growled.
“I was hoping to clean up here,” I said, soaking in the sight of his beautiful face.
“You’re bleeding.” The various stings just started making their appearance. It was easy to lose track of injuries in the middle of a skirmish.
“So may I come in?” 
“We’re having a meeting.” It was my turn to growl. He didn’t want me to hunt. I had to. He would not win this argument. I decided this was as good as any place to have it out. My fists settled on my hips. Through his anger and worry, I caught a glimmer of amusement. Maybe it was the porch light bouncing off the yellow flecks in those dark eyes, but I decided it was a smile deep down he tried to hide. (Soul Twister)

Character Bio: Peter

Name: Peter Davis

Description: Shoulder length straight dark hair, rich light brown skin, according to Anna smells like peaches and the ocean, she likes the bursts of yellow in his dark eyes

Common quirks: Anna makes him blush

Family: None (who are still alive)

Girlfriend: Anna Pierce without question no matter their current status

Hobbies: Making out with Anna, hunting evildoers, watching over Anna

Favorite stress reliever other than making out with Anna: hunting, drinking, draining

Quote: “I know you, who you are, your favorite things. I know what makes you dance and twirl, what makes you clap and squeal.”
“I do not squeal.” I went to slap his chest, but it was bare and hot and so soft, so instead I stroked it. He laughed until I kissed that chocolate brown skin.
“You squeal and giggle and blush like any other girl in love. You love me, Anna. So much.”

For a limited time, the First 2 Touched Girl novels are on sale for $.99 at Amazon!

Purchase Links:     Soul Walker |    Soul Bender |    Soul Twister

About Robyn Jones:

I laugh when people fall down. It's a glitch in my programming, but even my mom has suffered this quirk. I have a BA in Studio Art from the University of Puget Sound. My boys make me laugh every day. I steal pens; I try real hard not to. I collect those free bookmarks at the checkout counter at libraries. I've had more stitches than anyone I know. I love stories; writing them, reading them, watching them. You can email me at

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Win the Rings by K.D. Van Brunt

Published: May 7, 2014 Evernight Teen
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifters
Format: ebook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads Summary

Jace has been the property of the U.S. Army since they found out about her when she was five, and now she has become one of its most valuable weapons. But Jace is not the only one of her kind. Gray is one too, but with the help of his sister, he has spent most of his sixteen years hiding from the Army. Now, the Army has found out about Gray and they cannot allow him to roam free. Operating on the theory that it takes one to catch one, Jace is send out with a special ops squad to hunt Gray down. But Jace is not the only one pursuing Gray, and the competition is after her too. What ensues is a desperate chase through city after city as duty and honor collide with love and sacrifice.

"It's simple. If things go bad, Nia over me. Promise?"

The Good

Where to start? I love the characters, so we'll start with them. The writer lets us get to know them just enough so we can like them and form opinions about them, but not get smothered in their life story. He also does a really good job of balancing enough characters to fill multiple scenes in multiple locations without drowning you in names that you just don't care about. Not once did i find myself having to back track to try and remember who someone was and how they related to the story line. Which is important to me when you have so many named faces. I thought he did an outstanding job in this aspect of the book.

I love how their power works. Not only do they take the form of who they shift into but they get thoughts and memories and can even pull items that are in their pockets through the contact into their own pockets.

I do want to touch on two characters in particular, Jace and Grey. Jace, because she just may be one of my favorite female bada**** of all time. I love how she doesn't look for trouble, and in her own way she even tries to give those who mess with her a way out. But when they push, or are too dumb to see the gesture for what it is, she goes full on. Cobra Kai and shows no mercy. Then with Grey, you have this kid whose grown up on the run with his older sister. They've survived by stealing from dishonest people. Kind of the Edward Cullen 'only eat serial killers and rapists' motto. And it works for them, but Grey still tends to make mistakes as he is only sixteen. The thing i like about Grey is he comes off as the crafty, sarcastic look-out-for-the-little-guy type even if it means he gets hurt in the process. The possibility of Jace and Grey teaming up, her the fighter and him the sneaking street-smart mouthpiece, with equal billing intrigues me to no end.

I loved the pace of the story as I was able to pick it up and read right through to the end in two sittings. Would  have been one, but work got in the way. I never found myself hoping he would just get on with it. It's not cover to cover action, but at the same time, it had the potential to have a fight break out at any given moment which I enjoyed. He did have a few surprises for me with some of the characters. One in particular he got me to like and root for where before I thought I didn't care for them at all. Yeah i didn't see that one coming. While he has the obvious good and bad guys, he did a phenomenal job mixing in the hidden mole or moles leaving you wondering who will betray who. Plus, I'm wondering what other abilities will show up since we've seen more than shape-shifting already.

The Bad

My gripe is how easy Jace understood relationship issues. I get she leads the girls and had for a long time, but she didn't really like them and did distance herself from them. Most of them seem to dislike her. So with her growing up in the army's care since she was 5 years old and never having been in a relationship or seemingly having an interest in one, she handled their problems like an old pro. Small gripe and something she may have picked up from the old leader before she graduated, but it still read off to me just a bit.

The Romance

Well in book one, it's more about the love than the romance. While there are a few short relationships, the only one that stands out is the brother/sister relationship of Grey and Nia. So as I said, not really romance but love does effect a good portion of the choices made in the book. I really like the way he handled it as well. The way Nia treats Grey feels so natural it's as if the writer just observed a brother and sister in this situation, but I'll assume he doesn't know anyone on the run from the law, and if he did that they didn't invite him along to observe them just for his book. Let me just end this part by saying the brother and sister bond is something I look forward to the most in the next book.


Money well spent. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat to anyone that enjoys the paranormal/fantasy genre. I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series and seeing how the characters develop. Win the Rings has become an instant favorite of mine. It's worth reading over and over again. Until part 2 is out, I'll just chill on this cliffhanger he left us on. Don't worry there's plenty of room for you to join me.


"Just tell me, are you like an alien, like that salt monster on Star Trek?"

"Shifters are valuable. There are groups that would pay an arm and leg to get one."

"I try to skim, and I'm good at skipping over the bad stuff in their minds, but still I've seen too much pain and agony that people store up inside. I've seen brutality, abuse, infidelity, and more. Everyone has skeletons locked away in their closet- one skeleton in my closet is that I'm a Peeping Tom." 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Excerpt of LOST IN STARLIGHT by author Sherry Soule

When Romeo and Juliet Go Intergalactic!

Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She just published a brand new novel, LOST IN STARLIGHT (paranormal romance with a Sci-Fi concept). 

To help promote this interstellar love story, Sherry is doing this guest post to share the news with fellow booklovers. 
Enjoy one her favorite character moments!

Hayden’s expression warms. “You’re a fascinating girl, Sloane.”

I flash him a smile. “You have no idea.”

He reaches out and his large hand holds my smaller one for a brief instant. My heart starts bouncing around my ribcage like a ping-pong ball. I lean back. Safety in distance.

“Besides a love of scary movies, hanging in graveyards, and eating cheeseburgers, what do you like to do?” he asks.

“I don’t know…stuff like reading graphic novels or shopping with my friends. And sometimes I like to stay up late and watch zombie flicks while munching on popcorn. The usual.”

“A lot of people are into vampires right now. So why are zombies your favorite?”

Ah, a topic I love chatting about!

“They just are. I mean, sure, vampires are way cooler, but zombies are so much creepier. Bloodsuckers have nothing on flesh eaters when it comes to giving me a good scare. I think it’s because vamps are mythical creatures, and in an apocalyptic scenario, zombies actually seem much more realistic and scientifically possible.”

“You have an apocalypse emergency plan ready?”

 “Oh, yeah. Learned all I need to know by watching The Walking Dead.” I wink at him. “I always kind of figured if there was an actual virus outbreak it would be like a form of rabies. Makes more sense, you know? I have a pack full of stuff in our garage, several bottles of water, some non-perishable food, first aid supplies, duct tape, Army knife, and a blanket. Even mapped out an evacuation route from my house to the woods.”

Hayden shifts and turns toward me. “I’m impressed. You can definitely join my survival team.”

“Ha! You can join mine. The control-freak in me has to be the leader. If you’re cool with that, then we can join forces.”

His lips twitch into a slight smile, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “So, which Walking Dead character would you be?”

“Michonne—duh! That chick is just all kinds of badass samurai.”

He shakes his head, that small smile still gracing his lips. “Do you even know anything about handling swords?”

“Nope. But I’m a quick study.” I twirl my straw. “What about you?”

“Ah, Carl is freakin’ hardcore. But I guess, Daryl, because he’s more of a rebel and survivalist. And that crossbow? Awesome.” 

High school is tough. Romance with a sexy alien—even tougher.

Star reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.

Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.

They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova. 

Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life....


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: City of Heavenly Fire (Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

Published: May 27, 2014 Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fantasy
Format: ebook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads Summary

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

So much magic, Clary thought, and nothing to mend a broken heart.

This is the ending to a series that I quite enjoyed.

The Good

All the characters that I've come to love through the course of the series get their time to shine in City of Heavenly Fire. All of them have a conclusion of some kind, whether it's death or a Happily Ever After. I appreciate knowing how all of them turned out. Like the 3rd installment, the main group is in a different setting for the majority of the story. All the places they visit are well-detailed and pull me in like I was there myself.

The plot kept my interest. The villain this time around is phenomenal. In the first few books, the group is up against Valentine, a Shadowhunter who is driven by ideas of grandeur. He was obsessed with ruling and ridding the world of Downworlders (vampires, werewolves, fae). Now, the group faces Sebastian, who is a Shadowhunter with demon blood. Sebastian, to me, is far more terrifying. He doesn't even have the capacity for love or empathy. He truly doesn't think like a human, even an evil one, at all and he wants to destroy the entire world.

There was a nice twist thrown in that I didn't see coming. I thought I knew what was going on. There was no way it could have played out the way that I was reading it, but I had no clue. I love being tricked.

The Bad

There are a few characters that show up over and over again that were never in any of the previous books. I was getting really agitated with the story switching to their POVs because I was not invested in their outcome. I finally realized that Clare must be using these characters in her next book. I did a quick Google search, and that was confirmed.

The Romance

There are some huge breakthroughs and setbacks in the relationships in this story. Jace and Clary thankfully got to spend an entire book together so that was absolutely fantastic. It was a great change to get to see their dynamics while actually in a working relationship. Simon and Isabelle, however, had some huge setbacks. I won't spoil there, but it definitely made for some interesting drama while reading. Alec and Magnus? Well, you'll have to read to find out.


So glad that I got to see how each of these characters end their time in the spotlight. Clare isn't afraid to kill someone off, and in the same paragraph give someone else an HEA. The twists and turns were fantastic, but the repetition of characters I hadn't seen before was boring. The villain is phenomenal, and the suspense was real. Recommended.


"Heroes aren't always the ones who win," she said. "They're the ones who lose, sometimes. But they keep fighting, they keep coming back. They don't give up. That's what makes them heroes."

"So what's their plan, hitting Sebastian over the head with Jace until he passes out?"

"Valentine Morgenstern nearly wiped out the Shadowhunters, and his son is twice as clever and six times as evil. And he will not come alone."

He doubled over. Something hot had lanced through him, through his shoulder down through his guts, like a spear of fire. He hit the ground on his knees, crying out.