Best of 2012

I've been seeing a lot of posts about blogger's favorite books of 2012 and I thought, "Why the heck not?" Now not all of these books came out in 2012, as some have yet to be released, but I read them for the first time in 2012 so that counts for me! These are also in no particular order because I'm not even TRYING to rank them. They were all awesome for different reasons, feel free to check out my linked reviews for more info!



Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.




With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well...not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.

But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?




Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.




Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.




In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.




She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real...

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies...





In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.





“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them... until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Perfect Pins (3)

Welcome to PERFECT PINS! Perfect Pins is a nod to my newest obsession: Pinterest. Pinterest is AMAZING and I am so addicted to that site! I've gotten so many awesome ideas, DIY projects, and recipes from the site and I've really started to accumulate a list of things I've tried. So I figure once a week, I'll highlight something (or things!) amazing that I've pinned.

Today's pin is an idea that I used in my wedding:


Pinterest is a GOD send for people planning weddings. I saw this sign on Pinterest that you could buy through Etsy (which is another AMAZING site) but I decided to make my own because it was WAY cheaper. I designed it using the same fonts shown in the picture through Microsoft Word 2010 and then had it printed at Office Max on heavy card stock. Put it in a picture frame and voila! Wedding genius!

This sign was especially fabulous for us because we ordered custom wedding invites through Etsy that had the "Eat, Drink and Be Married" slogan on them. Super awesome way of bringing our theme all together on our big day. If you're getting married, or know someone who is, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE direct them to Pinterest. We found SO many ideas on there that we incorporated and the day just wouldn't have been the same without them. Enjoy! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Crash


Synopsis:

If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.

So I have to admit that I was a little unsure about whether or not I wanted to start this new series by Lisa McMann, not because I haven't enjoyed her writing in the past (because I really have!) but because I was so majorly disappointed with the third and final book of her Wake trilogy. Well, let me tell you... I am SO happy I put aside that bad experience and decided to read this book because Crash was really great! A wonderful start to a promising new series. Yayyy!

So the synopsis really says it all... Jules is bombarded with horrible visions of a grisly accident that leaves nine people dead, including the boy she's been in love with for as long as she can remember. She's tasked with finding a way to prevent the accident from happening which is much easier said than done! Not only is Jules dealing with her own doubt about her sanity, but who will else will actually believe her? It's a race against time as Jules tries to solve the puzzle and prevent the death of innocent people.

As if that wasn't enough to deal with, Jules is confronted with old family secrets, secrets that shed light on the feud her family has with the Angotti family. The family her crush happens to be a part of. Joy. Will Jules figure it out in time or will she be too late? Or worse, will she end up in a body bag herself? You've got to read to find out!

I really enjoyed this book. It's a SUPER fast read because you won't want to put it down! I'd give it a solid 4 of 5 stars. And the ending... what a cliffhanger!!! Cannot wait to see what will happen next. I'd definitely recommend this book to others because it's engaging, fast-paced, and will have you unable to put it down. What more could you ask for in a book?

My only complaint with this book would be Jules' phrase: "Oh my dogs". Which is weird enough, at least to me because I've never heard it before, but it's more the fact that she says it WAYYYY too much. Repetition is quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine in books so I'd love to see that phrase forgotten as the series continues.

But hey, I'm nitpicking which means all in all, I REALLY liked this book! I bet you will too. Be sure to check it out when it releases in January. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: January 8, 2013 by Simon Pulse

Perfect Pins (2)

Welcome to PERFECT PINS! Perfect Pins is a nod to my newest obsession: Pinterest. Pinterest is AMAZING and I am so addicted to that site! I've gotten so many awesome ideas, DIY projects, and recipes from the site and I've really started to accumulate a list of things I've tried. So I figure once a week, I'll highlight something (or things!) amazing that I've pinned.

Today's pin is a recipe... Snowflake Cupcakes:



I LOVE baking and let me tell you, these were the MOISTEST cupcakes I have ever made. They were completely fantastic! And the frosting was totally yum as well! I highly recommend making these scrumptious treats if you're looking for a total win recipe. The only thing I struggled with was the snowflakes... I ended up using a snowflake candy mold. Ah, well. My snowflakes might not have been as pretty, but this cupcake was amazing in my mouth and that's what it's ALL about!

Click here for details on how to make these glorious cupcakes. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Waiting on Wednesday (34)


Synopsis:

Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look.

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story.

Expected publication date: May 21, 2013 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

YOWZA! This one sounds awesome. I'm particularly interested in reading it because I work as a counselor in a high school and "sexting" has become SUCH a huge issue! Young girls don't seem to understand the possible ramifications from such an act. I think this book is BRILLIANT and if I like it, I'll be recommending it to a lot of the girls I work with.

What are YOU waiting for? Leave me a link and I'll check it out! *XOXO*

Teaser Tuesday: Fifty Shades Freed


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James:

"I would build this for you," he whispers. "Just to see the way the light burnishes your hair, right here, right now." He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. "You look like an angel." He kisses me just below my earlobe, takes my hand in his, and murmurs, "We despots do that for the women we love." (13% through the Kindle e-book).

If you've read my reviews of the first two books of this series, you know it's no secret that I'm not a huge fan. I'm really struggling to get through this one, I've been reading it for a week and a half and I'm only 13% of the way done! But to each their own. I tried to post a sweet, not raunchy, spoiler. Gotta keep things PG! *XOXO*

Perfect Pins

So I'm thinking about doing something new here on the blog since I've usually got a gap on the weekend now since I rarely ever post an IMM post anymore. I've just been VERY busy this fall and winter and I haven't been reading nearly the volume that I had been before. AND I made an agreement with myself to try to read through some of the books I've bought that are sitting on my shelves, impatiently waiting to be read. I've got well over a hundred books so I'm trying VERY hard not to buy new books. The only exceptions I make are for open series cause it's just too darn tempting to continue on with a series I've already started.

Anywho... so I'm starting PERFECT PINS which is a nod to my newest obsession: Pinterest. Pinterest is AMAZING and I am so addicted to that site! I've gotten so many awesome ideas, DIY projects, and recipes from the site and I've really started to accumulate a list of things I've tried. So I figure once a week, I'll highlight something (or things!) amazing that I've pinned.

Today's pin is a DIY craft project and gift idea for Christmas. I made candy sleighs for token gifts for my coworkers and they turned out SO cute! The picture below shows 6 sleighs but I ended up making 12 because they were just so easy and fun to make:



For inspiration, click here. And HAPPY PINNING! *XOXO*

Waiting on Wednesday (33)


Synopsis:

The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.

Expected publication date: May 21, 2013 by Viking Juvenile

Yayyyyy! I really enjoy Susane Colasanti's writing and can't wait to scoop this one up! There's something oh-so-romantic about summer romances... whether they are just flings or become something more. This one sounds like a PERFECT beach read and I totally plan to read it either poolside or laying on a beach this summer.

What are YOU waiting on? Leave me a link and I'll check it out. And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Fifty Shades Darker


Synopsis:

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven, and demanding Fifty Shades. While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront her anger and envy of the women who came before her and make the most important decision of her life. Erotic, sparkling and suspenseful, Fifty Shades Darker is the irresistibly addictive second part of the Fifty Shades trilogy.

Hmmm. Not quite sure where to start about this one! Fifty Shades Darker is the second book in the insanely popular Fifty Shades trilogy and I say "insanely popular" because I'm not quite sure how it gained so much fame! There are so many things wrong about these books but for some reason, women seem to be inhaling them and loving every minute. I was hoping to start feeling some of that magic myself in the second installment, but unfortunately it too fell flat for me.

Some reasons this book just didn't do it for me: The repetitiveness. I am so over hearing about Ana's inner Goddess and what she's doing and also her snarky subconscious. Um, really. Do we need an update on those two entities over and over and over and over... you get the point. And let's not even go there with Ana's constant insecurities. And I'm tired of hearing about her not eating. This is relevant how? She does mention at one point that she likes being this slim *eyeroll*. I found her beyond obnoxious at some points in this book.

Something else super annoying: The CONSTANT fighting between Christian and Ana. They have sex, they fight, they have sex, they fight, repeat over and over and over and you've got the gist of this book. They're oh so in love with each other after barely knowing each other and all I can think is it must be lust because ALL they seem to do is have sex and fight.

I still have some issues with the writing, mainly due to the same repetitive words and phrases being used WAYYYY too freakin' much. If Christian is called mercurial one more time, I may chuck the book against a wall. Another thing? I really think the author pulled the old, "high school student writing a research paper" thing and pulled out a thesaurus sometimes to try to make her writing seem more sophisticated. She used some big and unnecessary words at times. Your book? Not a literary masterpiece. Feel free to stick to your normal vocabulary.

*sigh* Now I'M being snarky. You may ask WHY in the world I continue to read these when I find so much fault with them and there's two answers to that question. For one, I had purchased all three e-books and I hate not reading something I've paid for. The second reason? I hate leaving things undone. That includes reading a series. And I will admit... for the FIRST time, I had an emotional reaction when reading this book. There's a scene late in the book that had me tearing up a bit. I've been a bit emotional the past couple days (fellow ladies can gather why, haha) so I'm sure that contributed but at least I had a reaction to this series other than disgust.

SUPER happy this series is only a trilogy. It definitely seems as if the author is trying to add additional layers into the story. There's some drama going on other than Christian and Ana's childish bickering. That being said, I'm still thrilled this story is almost over. One book to go! *cheers*

FUN FRIDAY (17)


Happy Friday!! :) Welcome to FUN FRIDAY where I reveal something about me, some personal tidbit that will allow my followers to get to know me better. I follow several blogs and I sometimes wonder who the bloggers REALLY are behind the words, so I thought it would be a cool thing to open up a bit and to reveal more about who Karen really is.

Today I want to chitchat about two amazing kitchen gadgets that I have recently discovered that I NEVER want to live without. The first is my Kitchenaid stand mixer. I love him so much, I named him! (Mjolnir. Yup, Thor's hammer. If you knew my husband and his obsession with Thor, you'd get the name choice). Mjolnir can do it ALL. Shoot, I shredded chicken with him the other day! He's made my baking a million times easier and shredding cheese? No problem! The attachment for that is pure awesomesauce.

My second kitchen love is my Keurig. He's a new addition so he doesn't have a name yet, but he's quickly become one of the most-used things in our home. I've primarily been rocking the hot chocolate, but the husband has made every flavor coffee imaginable and it's just SO FAST. Truly amazing stuff.

So why am I thinking about this tonight? Because these two boys joined forces for me tonight to create the best hot chocolate with whipped cream EVER. Mjolnir did the whipping, and the Keurig did the hot chocolate. Talk about a fabulous way to unwind after a super intense work week. Love my boys! Yeah... the husband too. Life is good. Hope y'all can say the same! Have a wonderful weekend and as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

Must Have Book!

Soooo.... I totally missed Waiting on Wednesday this week. I'll blame my job which has been INSANE due to irresponsible seniors. (I work in a high school so I don't know why I act surprised when the seniors can't get their act together!) Anywho... I got an email from Barnes and Noble about this book and just had to squee publicly a bit:



Synopsis:

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon.

Ummmm.... YES, PLEASE!!! I loved Gayle Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went and can't wait to dive into this next duo of what I am SURE will be fabulous books. YAYYYY! Check out her writing if you haven't before, it's really good! And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

Amazon's 12 Days of Books Sweepstakes!



In case you haven't heard, Amazon is doing a deal on books right now. 12 Days, 12 Deals! In addition, they're having a sweepstakes where you can enter EACH day to win a $250 Amazon Gift Card. For my fellow book addicts, $250 can go a LONG way!! Make sure you check it out. Happy Holidays and as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Fifty Shades of Grey


Synopsis:

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

I honestly debated for quite some time about whether or not to write a review of this book. Fifty Shades of Grey seems to be an obsession for so many women and I decided I just HAD to see what all the fuss was about. In the end, I was left majorly disappointed and a little peeved that I bought all three books. I definitely should have read the first one before making that commitment!

So why did this book disappoint me so much? I think that a major reason for this is that I just don't feel the connection to Christian Grey that so many readers seem to feel. And that's really SHOCKING for those who know me and the way books usually resonate! I just don't get his appeal. At all. And I'm usually all about the bad boy so it's really surprising to me! Yeah, he's supposedly really good looking and has more money than any person could possibly need, but he's SERIOUSLY messed up. Deal breaker!

And then there's the writing... *shudder*. This book is no literary masterpiece and I'm a pretty forgiving reader. I mean, I enjoyed the Twilight books! But seriously, the writing is repetitive with the same phrases being repeated over and over and over and the writing just hasn't hooked me in to an emotional connection with the characters. I want to LOVE the characters but haven't been given enough to get there.

There ARE some seriously steamy passages that are hot, I will give the book that. But I guess BDSM just doesn't do it for me because some of the passages had me rolling my eyes and cringing. But hey, to each their own. Some people LOVE these books and good for them. I plan on finishing the series because I already paid for it and that just irks me enough to ensure I see it through to the end. But I can already guarantee these books are going on the "never-to-be-read-again" list. You be the judge! And as always, HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

I'm BAAAAAAACK!



Woot, woot! I got MARRIED on November 17th and it was awesomesauce!!! Everything went off without a hitch which NEVER seems to happen but I can say that we were completely and totally pleased with everything and it was the best night of my life! *happy dance*

After the wedding, we went on a week-long cruise to the Bahamas which was SUPER fun. It was so hard coming back to work this week! I've spent the past couple days trying to get back into the swing of things and I'm happy to say that I'm almost there. So be expecting more activity on the blog again, YAY! And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Finale


Synopsis:

Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank's absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels - destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.

Ohhhhh.M.G. Finale was everything I hoped it would be and was a fanTABulous ending to a truly beloved series. Becca Fitzpatrick pulls out all the stops as she wraps up the story of Nora, Patch, and the gang. Alliances are made, betrayals abound, twists and turns are around every corner, and impossible choices must be made. And, oh yeah... there's a whole LOT of Patch. What more could you possibly need?

Finale picks up right after Silence and Nora is still reeling from the choice Hank Millar forced upon her... newly Nephilim and tasked with leading Hank's army against the fallen angels, Nora has never been more conflicted. While she strives for peace and can't imagine eradicating the fallen angel race, especially considering her heart and soul belongs to a fallen angel, there's a large part of her that sympathizes with the Nephilim cause.

Enter Dante, Nora's sexy first lieutenant, and Nora finally begins to train and learn more about her Nephilim powers. Dante also introduces her to the dangerous and addictive devilcraft. As Nora becomes more involved in the Nephilim society, will she be able to ignore their desires for freedom, siding with Patch and the fallen angels? Or will her conscience become too great to bear? The powers of heaven and hell collide in the epic conclusion to the Hush, Hush series.

EEP! It is REALLY challenging to write a review when you desperately don't want to spoiler the book for others. I LOVED this book... and that's not to say that it was perfect cause rarely does a book achieve that status, but it was a perfect ending to this series and I can walk away from it now feeling content and very, very satisfied.

The greats: PATCH! Good lord, I love him. He has his flaws, sure, but his intentions come from such a great place. And the way he loves Nora? *swoon* I just adore him, he will go down as one of my fave lit boys ever. Then there's Scott. YAY Scott. I really, really like the way his character progressed over the series and I just love him.

More greats: The pacing, this story was HOPPING! I never felt bored and it was sooooo unbelievably hard to put the book down! I inhaled it in less than 2 days and considering I'm getting married in 2 days, that is REALLY saying something! And the ending? The ending! I loved it. Plenty of twists and turns and shocking revelations all lead up to one fabulous twist that just makes my heart smile.

The not-so-greats: I think Patch kind of took it overboard sometimes with the over-protectiveness. While it's one of his best traits as well, putting a tracking device on Nora was a bit much!! I could see a lot of readers having a problem with that but for me? Patch would still totally be worth it and could be my personal bodyguard ANY.DAY.OF.THE.WEEK. *ahem* Sorry. And then there's Marcie... oh, Marcie. EVERY single time I have tried to give this girl the benefit of the doubt, it's been thrown in my face! I'd really like to smack her.

Anywho... I could go on and on and on about this book but you REALLY owe it to yourself to READ THIS BOOK. Seriously. If Silence didn't quite do it for you, don't give up on this series! I think Finale was everything a fan of this series could hope for, and more. Read it. NOW! And enjoy... cause you will. *XOXO*

Waiting on Wednesday (32)


Synopsis:

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Expected publication date: April 16, 2013 by HarperTeen

Taken has definitely got me intrigued! And there's really something about that cover that just reels me in, I think it's the pretty colors and the contrast. Even though you're not supposed to, I TOTALLY judge a book by it's cover and this cover has me sold. Hope the book is as good as it sounds! What are YOU waiting for? Leave me a link and I'll check it out! *XOXO*

Teaser Tuesday: Finale


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick:

How to fulfill my promise to the archangels and my oath to Hank? I would lead Hank's army. To peace. Probably not what he had pictured while forcing me to swear the oath, but he wasn't around now to argue the details." pg. 35

And for my fellow Patch lovers out there, a quote from him somewhere in the book, not revealing a page number on this one! *wink*

"I feel your love, Nora. Inside me. It means everything to me. I wish I could feel you the same way you feel me, but I have your love. Nothing will ever outweigh that. Some people go their entire lives never feeling the emotions you've given me."

Awhhhhh. I just love me some Patch! Leave me a link to your teaser, I'd love to check it out! And as always, HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Silence


Synopsis:

WHEN SILENCE IS ALL THAT'S LEFT, CAN THE TRUTH FINALLY BE HEARD?

Nora Grey can't remember the past five months of her life. After the initial shock of waking up in a cemetery and being told that she has been missing for weeks - with no one knowing where she was or who she was with - she tried to get her life back on track. Go to school, hang out with her best friend, Vee, and dodge mom's creepy new boyfriend.

But there is this voice in the back of her head, an idea that she can almost reach out and touch. Visions of angel wings and unearthly creatures that have nothing to do with the life she knows.

And this unshakable feeling that a part of her is missing.

Then Nora crosses paths with a sexy stranger, whom she feels a mesmerizing connection to. He seems to hold all the answers...and her heart. Every minute she spends with him grows more and more intense until she realizes she could be falling in love. Again.

Silence is the third book in the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick and it's another fabulous installment with Nora, Patch and the whole gang. While I didn't love it as much as the first two, it was still an extremely solid read and I'm super anxious to start Finale, the fourth and final book in the saga.

Silence picks up a couple months after the ending of Crescendo and Nora finds herself in an unusual circumstance--she's alone in a cemetary with no recollection how she arrived there. Turns out, she's lost 5 whole months of her life and no one seems to be in any huge rush to fill in the missing pieces.

In addition to the trauma of not remembering the kidnapping, Nora is plagued with what the doctors are telling her are hallucinations, but Nora gets the feeling that they may be something more--bits and pieces of her forgotten past. Enter a sexy stranger, Jev, who Nora has an immediate and intense reaction to and Nora is more confused than ever...

As events start to help Nora put the pieces back together, she slowly relearns the secrets of her past and the new horrors plaguing her future. Finding Patch again lends Nora the strength to face down her demons, but when the time comes to make a heartbreaking choice, a choice that could ruin everything, will Nora be able to sacrifice her heart for the lives of others? Be sure to buckle in for this one, plenty of twists and turns abound in this gripping third installment of the addicting Hush, Hush series.

YAYYYY! Love this series. Silence is another fabulous installment in the series and while I wasn't as in love with it as the others, I stil inhaled it and really enjoyed it. It dragged a little in the beginning and that was mostly from the fact that as readers, you want to snap Nora out of her memory loss because it's hard watching her re-learn things that as a reader, you're already privy to. It felt a little slow in parts because of that. I wanted the plot to jump ahead, but it couldn't get there until Nora had re-learned her lost knowledge. Once that started to happen though, the book sped ahead at warp speed and things really started to fall into place.

Something about this book that does not in ANY way disappoint is Patch. Ahhhhh, Patch. Back to perfect form after some baffling behavior in Crescendo. Patch is caring, protective, sexy as hell, and just plain awesomesauce in every moment. I want Patch! *whine* REALLY pleased with his character in this third book and cannot wait to see where the next (and final! *sniff*) book takes Patch and Nora, and the rest of the characters as well. I HIGHLY recommend this series to all because it's just that good. Enjoy! *XOXO*

TBR PILE Reading Challenge: October Update!



Well, I'm super late in getting this posted, but I'm getting married in 6 days so to say I'm super freakin' busy would be a teeny bit of an understatement, haha. Reading of course has been challenging, but I DID manage to get a book read for the challenge:


I so love this series! Reading Crescendo this month brings my challenge total up to 23 books. I don't know if I'm going to make my goal of 31-40 books but I'm not giving up hope yet! Hope you all are successful with your own reading goals and as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Touched


Synopsis:

Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.

OmiGOSH, I ADORE this book! I could NOT put it down, every time I tried, it ended up luring me right back in. There was something truly addicting about this book. It's got romance, supernatural powers, mystery, family drama, horrifying abuse, and uplifting hope. I want to re-read this book already and I JUST finished it!

Touched introduces us to Remy, a teenage girl living in an impossible situation. Remy's stepfather, Dean, is abusive and has been tormenting her and her mother for way too many years. Remy's secret talent of being able to heal others, and then herself, has kept her and her mother alive but one time, Dean goes too far...

Remy is sent to live with Ben, her estranged father, and his family. Even though she's hesitant at first, Remy soon begins to discover love, family, and trust for the first time. Remy also discovers Asher, an extremely gorgeous teenage boy who is hiding some major secrets of his own. As Remy becomes entangled with Asher and begins to learn his secrets, she makes shocking revelations about herself and her powers, secrets that could forever unbalance her world... secrets that could shatter the new life she has built for herself.

EEP! It's hard to write a review when you desperately don't want to spoiler anything! I so enjoyed this book though and would HATE to take that experience from someone else. Like I said above, I could NOT put this one down! Corrine Jackson weaves a highly entertaining tale full of all the best things about YA fiction. I have a feeling there will be some Twilight comparisons, but when isn't there comparisons?

The REALLY amazing things about this book: Remy. She's so strong! She's been through hell and back and has really learned to take care of herself. In fact, there were times when I wished she wasn't quite so independent! I feel so much for her and I want to find and stab Dean myself! What a CREEP! Anywho... another good: ASHER! *swoon* I just love him. He's got all the makings of a YA heartthrob. I also LOVE Remy's family... her dad, sister and stepmom welcome her with open arms and it's so touching to see them build a relationship with one another.

Would I recommend this book? UM, do I need air to live? Seriously. GET THIS BOOK. I read an ARC of it but you best believe I'll be buying my own copy when it releases later this month. November 27th. Put this on your calendar NOW! It's so amazing, you will love it! Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: November 27, 2012 by Kensington Teen

Teaser Tuesday: Touched


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from Touched by Corrine Jackson:

The pain didn't ease, but I struggled to get my barricade in place to block the onslaught of energy still pouring from Asher. He reached inside me with his power, as if he scanned me. Only he wasn't healing me. THIS was the danger he'd warned me of. As he stretched his senses through my limbs, his energy grew and expanded, while mine weakened. I understood, then, what he'd tried to tell me.

He didn't just hold my energy hostage, he could steal it. He was a thief. (pg. 91)

I'm currently reading the ARC of Touched through Around the World Tours and let me tell you, it is SUPER enjoyable. I am FLYING through it and get bummed when I'm forced to put it down! Curse you, work! CURSE YOU!!!! Seriously though, this book is awesomesauce and I'm in love with it so far. Highly recommend EVERYONE add it to their TBR pile. It's set to release November 27th, make sure you add it to your list! Enjoy! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Out of the Easy


Synopsis:

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Well, this one was definitely not my cup of tea. I've never really been into historical books, but that really wasn't my issue with Out of the Easy. As much as I tried, I just couldn't form a strong emotional connection to the characters and while I was interested enough to read to the end to find out all that happened, I really wouldn't have been upset no matter how things went. That generally isn't a good sign for me when it comes to books.

Out of the Easy introduces us to Josie, the teenage daughter of a prostitute in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Josie has struggled her entire life with the prejudices that come from being the daughter of a local whore, but has worked hard to ensure that she will never be forced to make the choices that her mother has made. Living independently since she was 12 years old, Josie is counting down the days until she can flee New Orleans once and for all, escaping her sordid-by-association past.

Before Josie can put her plan into motion, a high-profile murder takes place on New Years Eve and Josie is dragged into the middle of the investigation. Josie finds herself knowing more than she should, and then a shocking betrayal puts Josie right in the line of fire. Will she make it out of New Orleans alive, or will the French Quarter claim another victim? Death, mystery, betrayal, and heartbreaking choices abound in this novel by Ruta Sepetys.

I really struggled with rating this book because there is a lot of good in it... Sepetys did a wonderful job of making me feel like I was right in the middle of 1950's New Orleans. I feel like I got to know some of the characters really well, and it was a book that I found very easy to keep on reading. That being said, I still ended up rating it 2 of 5 stars on Goodreads, meaning I thought it was just ok.

I think it was hard for me to really get into this book because I just found so much of it SO freakin' sad. Josie's mother was just plain AWFUL and it's heartbreaking to think that a 12 year-old girl was forced to grow up under those conditions. And while I really liked Cokie, Sadie, and even Willie, it still made me sad that those were the people Josie had. What a sad childhood! And while I really liked Patrick and Charlie, that situation was just plain sad too. Sadness is overflowing in this book!!

But in fairness, this book is probably a VERY accurate depiction of life in the French Quarter of New Orleans back then. Historical books have never been my thing, so it may not be all that surprising that I didn't love this book. And while I doubt I'll ever re-read this one, I am pleased with where things ended up. Josie? That girl is going to be all right. She's a tough cookie and I think she'll find a way to overcome her past and carve out a new future.

Hurricane Sandy


Even though it feels super late in the season to be talking about a hurricane, that's EXACTLY what I'm going to do because I live in southeastern VA and we're getting pounded by Hurricane Sandy as I type this! Luckily, it's mostly a rain situation, the winds aren't too terrible so widespread power outages haven't occurred yet, but since our area is at sea level, rain of this caliber proves to be a MAJOR issue with flooding. Because of all the rain (on average, 6-10 inches from last night through tomorrow night), lots of flooding is occurring throughout our region. YAY. What does this mean for me?

Well, for one thing... I don't have to work tomorrow. Which normally, would make me jump over the moon excited, except the way our lovely school board has worked out our inclement weather days, if we miss a day before Veteran's Day (November 12) we have to make it up instead of getting that holiday. So instead of a great three-day weekend with at least the POTENTIAL of good weather, we're getting a three-day weekend of truly horrible weather, weather that's relegated me to my couch. I couldn't even get Chinese food for lunch today because they were closed. Yes, I'm whining... I can't help it!

The other bad thing for me is that Veteran's Day is the Monday before my wedding and I could REALLY use the time that week to tie up loose ends and whatnot. It sucks to get a day off now that's going to end up being a wasted day. So thank you, Sandy. You suck!!!

I did use the time today to wrap up reading Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Unfortunately, I didn't really like it. And hopefully the weather doesn't keep me from mailing it on to the next person tomorrow! I plan on making some hot chocolate and writing my review tonight. Got to find some way to pass the time! Hope everyone is doing well and that your weekend is drier than mine. And as always, HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Crescendo


Synopsis:

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.

If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

I ADORE this series. It had been a loooooong freakin' time since I had read Hush, Hush so I re-read it so I could read the rest of the books in this series since the fourth and final book came out yesterday. I'm pleased to say that Crescendo, the second book in the series, did not disappoint. I was worried that it would come off a little flat after the awesomeness that was the first book, but I found myself super entertained and engaged and now I cannot WAIT to start the third!

Crescendo picks up after the events of Hush, Hush and Nora has become quite comfortable with the arrangement of Patch as her guardian angel. Having your boyfriend as your guardian angel could never be a bad thing, right? Trouble is, Nora and Patch's relationship has caught the eyes of the archangels and Nora learns that Patch is risking being sent to hell by continuing a relationship with her. A messy break-up results and if that wasn't hurtful enough, it seems like Patch has immediately moved on to Marcie Millar, Nora's lifelong rival. Love, apparently, hurts like hell...

Enter Scott Parnell, an old childhood friend, that Nora finds herself spending time with, partly out of a desire to hurt Patch, and partly because something about Scott is very intriguing. Nora quickly learns that Scott has some major secrets--he also happens to have ties to the man who killed Nora's father. Nora dives into a dangerous world, trying to uncover the truth about The Black Hand and the secret Nephilim society hellbent on tearing down the fallen angels. Will she survive unscathed? Or will someone she never expected turn on her when she needs them the most? Crescendo is one hell of a ride, a ride you'll NEVER regret taking.

Mmmkay. I have to say this... WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THAT CLIFFHANGER?! UGH!!! Haha. Thank goodness I'm way late to this party and can start reading Silence, the third book, right away because that cliffhanger would have killed me if I had to wait over a year! And wow, wow, WOW! Talk about some plot twists in this one! Crescendo is a fast-paced speed demon of a book that will keep you on your toes all the way to the end.

Not that this book was ALL fabulous (even though I'd STILL rate it 5 of 5!) though... there were moments I wanted to chuck it against the wall! Patch was in fine form *sarcasm* sometimes and I wanted to punch him! Then there were times I wanted to punch Nora or give her a good shaking! And Vee borders between adorable and obnoxious off and on throughout the book. But all in all? It was FABULOUS. Good books are capable of creating intense emotions in readers. And this book? You'll be feeling some emotions all right!

I don't want to spoiler the plot twists but geeshhhh... not sure HOW I feel about the major one. I've really got to start reading the next book!!! If you haven't tried this series out yet, I'd give it a whirl. It's seriously entertaining and has a bad-boy character that will just have you swooning. He's so bad, it's GOOD. Enjoy! *XOXO*

The Power of the Re-Read


I read... a LOT. As I'm sure do all of you who blog or visit blogs like mine. Reading is amazing, an addiction, a fulfilling hobby... but there does come to be a point when it almost feels like too much at times. I know you're probably thinking, "This chick is crazy" but hear me out.

If you're like me, you have a lot of stuff on your plate. I work full-time in a pretty stressful job. Don't even GET me started on the mess I had to deal with today! Add to that, I have four cats, a new puppy, a wedding in less than a month, and that all adds up to me being one very busy chick. So sometimes reading is forced to take a backseat and that provides the first challenge for me in terms of remembering ALLLLL the different book series I'm currently following.

The second challenge is just the sheer NUMBER of amazing books out there. The more I read, the more I find I WANT to read. My TBR pile mocks me daily! And while I wish I could say my memory is awesomesauce, it just isn't. So when a book series is set to only release a new book every year to two years, that poses a serious issue for me in that I totally forget key points of the storyline by the time the newest release comes around. It's gotten to the point where I am purposely waiting for some series to wrap up before I allow myself to engage in the first book.

But what about those series that are just too fabulous to push off? I've found lately that I HAVE to re-read the book or books that came before. And while I hate it in a way, because it takes valuable reading time away from me, I'm finding that it's helping me enjoy these series much more than before. No longer am I confused and left to wonder, "What the heck happened in that last book?". And I'm REALLY trying to let a couple books get out before I do a re-read so that I have at least two new books to read. Sometimes it's hard to wait, but then I look at my TBR pile and realize that I won't be left twiddling my thumbs!

Anywho... just my reading ramblings of the day. Hope everyone is well! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Necromancing the Stone


Synopsis:

With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well... not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.

But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?

*SQUEEEEEEE* Anyone who has read anything I've ever said about Lish McBride and her books knows that I ADORE this woman. Her writing is fun, witty, entertaining, and literally makes me LAUGH OUT LOUD at points. I was nervous going into Necromancing the Stone, worried that it wouldn't live up to it's predecessor since Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is one of my all-time faves. Lucky for me, McBride struck gold again with another super enjoyable, fast-paced, wild and witty ride!

Necromancing the Stone picks up not long after the events of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Sam is busy trying to adjust to his new life--not only did he inherit Douglas' seat on the council, but he also inherited Douglas' house, a house that is full of interesting, and devious, creatures. Add to that the fact that his best friend is dealing with becoming a werebear, someone put a knife in Haley's door, and a shocking murder rocks the supernatural world, an event that places Sam directly in the line of fire.

As Sam begins to investigate the truth behind the murder, disturbing clues come to light, clues that have Brid and the pack questionning Sam's loyalty. Before Sam loses it all, will be discover the truth behind the attack? Or will it be too late for him--too late for them all?

I REFUSE to spoiler this book for a single soul because that would be criminal. Let me say though that I LOVED this book. So much so that at one point, I actually hugged it! Haha. It's got fabulous pacing, packs the same witty punch as the first book, and the storyline is just BETTER than the first, which I didn't think could be possible. Seriously, this book was awesome!!

While it was fast-paced and funny, it also was TOUCHING. I seriously cried at one point. This book made me fall in love with some of these characters! I especially was intrigued and entertained by James. I loved getting to know him more and I really, really, REALLY hope there is a third book in this series because McBride has just started tapping into all that could be there in that character. And his chemistry with another character is VERY intriguing!! Really want to see where that storyline may be headed.

So now it's time for me to plea... 1. To those unfortunate souls who have not tried this series, I beg you to consider it. It's REALLY good and you won't be sorry! 2. To Lish McBride, please write a third book cause I'm not ready to say goodbye to Sam and the gang! And hello, love cliffhanger! You owe us faithful readers another book!!! :)

I hope everyone loves this book as much as I did. And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

FUN FRIDAY (16)


Happy Friday!! :) Welcome to FUN FRIDAY where I reveal something about me, some personal tidbit that will allow my followers to get to know me better. I follow several blogs and I sometimes wonder who the bloggers REALLY are behind the words, so I thought it would be a cool thing to open up a bit and to reveal more about who Karen really is.

Today is more of an explanation... cause this gal has been BUSY! I haven't been blogging nearly as often as I'd like to and the major reason behind this is I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!! I think everyone knew that, but the wedding was supposed to be in June 2013. Because of some family issues, mainly an illness, we decided to move the wedding to this November. Talk about a whirlwind! We made the decision the beginning of August and have been frantically trying to wrap things up since then.

On top of that, I started back at work the end of August. I work in a high school as a counselor and the first two months of the school year are INSANE. And THEN... we decided to adopt a puppy. As if we didn't have enough going on! We adopted a 14 week old Boston Terrier and she is a hot mess! I've always been a cat person so it's been a huge adjustment for me but she's cute as a button. Our timing, admittedly, could have been better, but we're making things work.

Anywho... just wanted to explain my spotty attendance on here. I anticipate it will be like this through November. We're getting married November 17th and then going on a cruise for a week. But after that, life SHOULD *fingers crossed* return to normal. Hope everyone has been well and has been finding time to read! That's been a challenge for me but I did just finish Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride and loved it. Hoping to maybe get a review written today or this weekend. Take care! *XOXO*

TBR PILE Reading Challenge: September Update!



Wellllll, I don't know why I'm even bothering to post this because I read ZERO books that qualify for this challenge. EEP! In my defense, I'm a school counselor at a high school and since the kiddies come back in September, life gets INSANE and it's really hard for me to stay on top of things. Fun things, anyway!!

I'm proud of myself that I still managed to read 5 books in September but unfortunately, they were all either ARCS or new releases. I'm not giving up though! I've still got time to reach my goal for this challenge. And it's not too late if YOU want to join in as well. Check out the link of my sidebar for more information. And as always, HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer



Some books just EXCITE you and for me, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is one of those books. I decided to re-read it because the sequel, Necromancing the Stone recently came out and it had been over two years since I had read the first one.

I'm happy to say that the magic wasn't lost the second time around. This book was just as entertaining, witty, and awesomesauce as it was the first time I read it. To read my original gushing review, please click here.

Now I'm off to start reading the sequel, woot woot! Here's hoping I enjoy it as much as the first one. Will keep you all posted! And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* The Archived


Synopsis:

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

The Archived is a fabulous and AMAZING read. 5/5 STARS!! I was engaged and entertained from the very beginning to the end and I CANNOT wait to see where Schwab takes this story next. I literally squeed out loud when I saw on Goodreads that a sequel is planned. Just one book in this series would never be enough!

The Archived introduces us to Mac, a teenage girl with one hell of a secret-- she's a Keeper, following in her dead grandfather's footsteps, performing an essential job for The Archive. Keepers are tasked with finding and returning awakened Histories, a job that can be extremely dangerous because Histories begin to slip into madness not long after awakening, a madness that leads them to extreme confusion and violence. While Mac has been excelling at her job, recent events have made her job almost impossible...

Something is amiss at The Archive and Histories are waking up at an alarming rate. Mac's list of Histories to catch seems to be multiplying each day and she's beginning to have a hard time wiping the list clean. In addition to this, Mac stumbles across an old murder in her family's new apartment and when she investigates further, a disturbing fact comes to light--someone has been tampering with the memories of Histories, removing entire months and moments. It's clear someone is hiding something and as Mac becomes more entangled in the investigation, things become more and more dangerous.

Will Mac solve the mystery in time to save herself, and possibly The Archive itself? And will she trust the right person when it matters? The fate of The Archive rests on her shoulders. Just another day in the office when your job involves the dead.

*SQUEEEEEEEEE* This book is so, so, so good! Schwab invents such a unique and interesting world and the pacing and story-telling is RIGHT ON. I didn't want to put this one down and that truly marks a fabulous book in my opinion. And the twists... THE TWISTS!!! This book caught me completely off guard a couple times and that is rare and simply wonderful when it happens.

As if the story isn't engaging enough, there are boys in this one... interesting and intriguing boys. Mac has her hands full for sure! Seriously, this book has it ALL. I can't overstate my excitement about it and the fact that I recommend it for EVERYONE. It's just that good. Put it on your TBR pile now and be sure to grab it ASAP when it releases in January. You WILL enjoy every minute of it. Happy Reading! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: January 22, 2013 by Hyperion

*REVIEW* Spell Bound


Synopsis:

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Yayyyy! I am such a fan of the Hex Hall series. Spell Bound is the third and final book of the series and we finally get to see what happens to Sophie and Co. as they battle the evil Casnoffs. Family, loyalty, and right and wrong collide in this epic conclusion.

Spell Bound picks up after the torturous cliffhanger in Demonglass and Sophie finds herself in an unlikely place—the Brannick compound. Turns out, Sophie has a connection to the Brannicks that she never EVER would have expected. The Brannicks believe that Sophie is the only person who can take down the Casnoff sisters and a plan is hatched to help Sophie regain her powers.

Before Sophie and the gang can act on their plan, Sophie and the other students of Hex Hall are magically transported back to the school against their will. Hex Hall has seen better days and the students are prisoners with no way to escape Lara Casnoff’s evil plan to turn all of them into demons. Will Sophie get her powers back in time to stop Lara’s plan? Or will getting her powers back turn her into a force of evil, under the control of the Casnoffs? Never a dull moment in the lives of Sophie Mercer and her friends! Get ready for a wild ride and a wonderful conclusion to this much-loved series.

*SQUEEEEEEE* I really, really love these books. I’d give Spell Bound a solid 4 of 5 stars, which is admittedly the lowest I’ve rated any of the three books. While I really enjoyed it, and thought it was a fitting conclusion, some parts felt a little fast for me, especially the big scenes towards the end. It was like, wham! Bam! Done. I guess because I enjoyed the story so much, I would have preferred a little more if that makes sense.

I just adore these characters and am really bummed that this is the third and final book in the series! Though I did see on Goodreads that there’s talk of a spin-off series so maybe we haven’t seen the last of Sophie, Archer, Jenna, and all them just yet. Here’s hoping! If you haven’t read any of the Hex Hall books yet, you should really get on that. They’re highly entertaining quick reads that will leave you wanting more. Write more, Rachel Hawkins! I beg of you! Seriously, they’re fantastic. Enjoy! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* The Innocents


Synopsis:

Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.

Friends didn't.

Boys couldn't.

Their family falling apart never would.

Until they got to Serenity Point.

The Innocents is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weave a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.

The synopsis of this book REALLY doesn't explain what it's about at all. Rather than focusing on the relationship between Alice and Charlie, this book is about serious secrets--secrets that threaten to unravel everything...

Alice and her sister, Charlie, have just moved to Serenity Point, a highly affluent neighborhood full of the rich and overprivileged. They were forced to make the move when their recently divorced mother married Richard, a recently widowed man who also had to bury his teenage daughter, Camilla. Camilla has left her mark not only on Richard, but on the whole of Serenity Point...

While Charlie seems to instantly fit in, becoming frenemies with Cybill, the Queen Bee in town, Alice remains more on the sidelines, minus the secret relationship she's been developing in the moonlight. As the sisters drift further and further apart, Alice realizes how much she and Charlie have been keeping from one another.

One of Alice's biggest secrets is the major sleuthing she's been doing into the past, a past that just doesn't quite add up. As shocking revelations come to light, will Alice have the nerve to reveal the truth to Charlie? And will she be able to come to terms with what the truth means for her? Serenity Point... where under the surface, things are anything but serene.

The Innocents was a surprise for me mainly because I REALLY didn't like it halfway through. I've discovered that I really do not enjoy books about spoiled rich kids, probably because I cannot relate to that at all. So the book really turned me off in the beginning. The drugs, the drinking, the complete lack of parenting... *shudder*. But halfway through, I got more invested in the story and it helped me put aside my reservations about the kids of Serenity Point.

While I didn't think that the revelations were SUPER shocking, if you read it carefully you'll be able to see them coming, I am curious to see where the author plans to take things next. And don't worry, not everything gets wrapped up so there's plenty left for the characters to unravel in the sequel. If this book sounds like something you'd enjoy, be sure to scoop it up when it releases October 16th. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: October 16, 2012 by Razorbill

Manic Monday (23)

Welcome to Manic Monday! Manic Monday is all about finding things to look forward to on Tuesday, because who loves Monday? And we all know Tuesday means NEW RELEASES!! So each Monday, I'll highlight a book or two that are coming out the next day. Just a little something to help you find that silver lining!

The book I'm highlighting this week is Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride:


Synopsis:

With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well... not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.

But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?

Necromancing the Stone is the sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer which is one of my FAVORITE books that not that many people I know have read. It's HILARIOUS and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend that anyone who hasn't read it correct that right this instant!! It's really that good. For proof of how much I love it, check out my review here.

Anywho... hope everyone has a fabulous Monday! And as always, HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Burning Blue


Synopsis:

How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy?

When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that—he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in—and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

Award-winning author Paul Griffin has written a high-stakes, soulful mystery about the meaning—and dangers—of love and beauty.

Burning Blue was good, not great. I definitely didn't fall in love with it and while it was enough to maintain my interest, and keep me flipping the pages, it didn't pack the punch I was hoping for.

Burning Blue is the story of a horrible act--an act that leaves one teenage girl scarred forever. Nicole Castro finds herself the victim of a terrible crime when she is assaulted by someone who throws acid in her face. The left side of her face is ruined and she is forced to undergo numerous surgeries to try to help repair the damage. Unfortunately for Nicole, her encounter becomes serious news in her town as she was extremely beautiful, popular, well-known and liked by MOST of her peers...

Nicole becomes friends with Jay Nazarro, a fellow student who knows a little something about being the object of unwanted attention. See, Jay has seizures--seizures severe enough that he had one at a pep rally in front of the ENTIRE school, resulting in an embarrassing pants-wetting situation. Jay and Nicole find it easy to bond with one another and through his POV, readers get to see the development of a true relationship between them.

Jay has a secret though... the boy has some SERIOUS hacking skills. He uses these skills to try to track down Nicole's attacker. As he gets further and further into the mystery, disturbing details are found out, and as the danger rises, no one seems to be safe. Will Jay discover who attacked Nicole before the attacker strikes again? Is it possible Nicole did this to herself? And will Jay and Nicole's newfound friendship, and potential relationship, be able to survive shocking revelations? You've got to read it to find out!

Like I said above, I liked (not loved) this book. It was interesting and I found myself invested in it, but it didn't grip me the way that I thought it would. I really enjoyed Jay's character and thought it was super neat how he could hack into almost anywhere. I have zero computer skills so I always like reading about that kind of stuff.

I found the ending to be disturbing and disappointing just cause I hate the result! The result of Jay's investigating is just so sad. I know it's a book and I shouldn't get bent out of shape about it but just UGH! It saddens me to know that there ARE people like that out in the world, people who are so damaged that they don't think or care about the pain they inflict on others.

All that being said, I still think this is a solid book to recommend to others. I gave it 3 of 5 stars and while I don't think I would read it again, it's got some powerful topics in it that many readers will enjoy. If you think you could be one of them, be on the lookout when Burning Blue releases in October. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: October 25, 2012 by Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated

*REVIEW* Let the Sky Fall


Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

This book was a total surprise for me! I had signed up to read an ARC through Around the World Tours and while I was excited to read it, it wasn't one of the ones I was dying to get my hands on. What a pleasant surprise to find that I couldn't put this book down. It totally blew me away... pun intended! :)

Let the Sky Fall introduces us to Vane, a teenage boy who survived a scary tornado that killed his parents. He can't remember anything about his past and childhood except one person--a beautiful, dark-haired girl who has shown up in his dreams since that fateful storm. And the strangest part? She grows up with him in these dreams, changing from a young girl to a stunning teenage beauty. Vane has never been sure if she's real or not until an encounter with her in person removes all doubt...

Turns out the girl is Audra, a Guardian sent to protect Vane from the Stormers who killed both of their families. Vane is the last Westerly and he is shocked to learn that the fate of his world rests on his shoulders. As him and Audra begin a massive race against time, training and hoping that Vane reconnects with his heritage, Vane begins to remember the past, and the thing that Audra hoped he would never remember.

Will Vane and Audra be able to face the Stormers, or will Audra be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice? Will the two be able to ignore their undeniable attraction for each other or will they form a bond that can never be broken? Let the Sky Fall is one wild ride that will leave readers begging for more.

I loved this book!! It's got something for EVERYONE... it's got romance, passion, action, heartbreak, pain, betrayal, and super cool supernatural powers. Windwalkers? Awesome! I've never read a book about sylphs before so this was all new for me. I also really enjoyed the writing in this book. Shannon Messenger is a really great storyteller and I enjoyed the switch of POV between Vane and Audra throughout the book.

I think the other thing I REALLY liked about this book was that it's different than a lot of the YA books that have been out there the past few years. Seemed for awhile, a pattern had been going on where you could take a supernatural being, most likely a vampire or a werewolf, add in a love triangle and some danger and VOILA! YA Gold. I've been so pleased recently by the shift in the books I've been reading. While many still have a supernatural element, they've been fresh and unique and how fabulous that Let the Sky Fall didn't have a love triangle!! I'm sure the potential exists for some complications in future books but this one thankfully stayed away from that overused element.

I give this one 5 of 5 stars. It's exciting, engaging, fresh, romantic, and I love the characters. And the concept of sylphs is just so cool. How awesome would it be to control the wind?! I highly, highly, highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. Make sure to add it to your TBR pile. It's set to release in March 2013 which is way too far away in my opinion! But this book is WELL worth the wait. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: March 5, 2013 by Simon Pulse
 
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