*REVIEW* Flicker and Burn


Sara Jane Rispoli is still searching for her missing family, but instead of fighting off a turncoat uncle and crooked cops, this time she finds herself on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and pale white skin chasing her through the streets in ice cream trucks; they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They're terrifying and hell bent on killing her, but they're also a link to her family, a clue to where they might be and who has them. While she battles these new pursuers, she's also discovering more about her own cold fury and more about the Chicago Outfit, how the past misdeeds--old murders and vendettas--might just be connected to her present and the disappearance of her family. But connecting the dots is tough and time-consuming and may finally be the undoing of her relationship with the handsome Max--who's now her boyfriend. But for his own safety, Sara Jane may have to end this relationship before it even really starts. Her pursuers who've shown her her mother's amputated finger and the head of the Chicago Outfit who's just whistled her in for a sit-down make a romance unthinkable. The only thing that matters is finding her family and keeping everyone she loves alive.

Flicker & Burn is the sequel to Cold Fury and like often happens with sophomore books, this one fell a little flat. While there was plenty of action and intrigue to keep readers interested, it lacked a certain quality that the first book had and the addition of the "Ice Cream Creatures" was odd and off-putting at first, even taking me out of the story at times. Here's hoping the third book feels more like the first and regains some of the magic of the first book.

Flicker & Burn picks up with Sara Jane Rispoli desperately trying to find her family, and keeping things safe with the Outfit in the meantime by her acting as counselor-at-large. It seems as if she's only a step ahead of the strange and terrifying ice cream creatures which have been chasing her all over Chicago, and frighteningly close calls lead her to actions that she never thought herself capable of. The constant need for secret-keeping drives a wedge between her and Max--a wedge that may be uncrossable. The only person she has to rely on is her friend Doug, but when she has to risk his well-being to get closer to the leader of the ice cream creatures, will their friendship be able to survive?

Shocking secrets, surprising family visits, friendship, loyalty and betrayal abound in the second tale of the Cold Fury Series by T.M. Goeglein.

Like I said above, this book wasn't as good as the first but it wasn't terrible. It had it's moments where it was really good and I have high hopes for the next installment. I hope the third book is more like the first. I rated this 3 stars on Goodreads because I was feeling generous that day, it may be more like a 2.5. But I WILL be reading the next book so that says something. Judge for yourself when it releases in August. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: August 20, 2013 by Putnam Juvenile

*REVIEW* Through the Zombie Glass


Inspired by the childhood classic Alice in Wonderland, this harrowing and romantic story features teen zombie slayer Alice Bell who has lost so much—family, friends, her home. After a strange new zombie attack, Alice fears she may be losing her mind as well. A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do wicked things. The whispers of the dead assault her ears and mirrors seem to come frighteningly to life. She’s never needed her team of zombie slayers more—including her boyfriend, Cole—than she does now. But as Cole strangely withdraws and the zombies gain new strength, Ali knows one false step may doom them all.

SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!! This book was INCREDIBLE! I inhaled it in two days and found myself almost whining when I had to put it down for things like sleep and hanging out with friends and family. Doesn't the world know that when you're reading a book THIS good, you need zero interruptions?!? This series has seriously become one of my FAVES ever. The first, Alice in Zombieland, was amazing and the sequel did not disappoint. 5 stars! 5 stars! 5 stars!!!

Through the Zombie Glass picks up after the first and how wonderful for us readers because Ali and Cole are together and things seem to be settling down in Ali's life. She's training, slaying, and making out with her steamy hot and protective boyfriend. Ali is bitten on a patrol and strange things start happening to her--it seems that she's awakened something evil inside, something determined to destroy everything Ali holds dear. In addition, a couple new slayers have arrived in town and when Ali locks eyes with one of them, the cute and cocky Gavin, she is thrown into a vision, visions she used to share only with Cole. And the vision portrays her in a very unlikely scenario with Gavin...

As Cole begins to withdraw from her, and become closer with Veronica, the other new slayer in town and his ex-girlfriend, Ali is heartbroken but must persevere because things are getting more and more complicated inside her mind. Shocking events caught on camera lead Ali to be sequestered for her own good, and the good of others. A stinging betrayal lands Ali and her friends in the most dangerous predicament yet. Will they survive before the evil inside Ali threatens them all? Will Ali and Cole find their way back to each other? Will the meaning behind the new visions become clear? All will be answered in the second amazing installment in the White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter.

This book. THIS BOOK! So amazingly good. It's jam-packed and the pacing is superb, I seriously did not want to put it down! This has quickly become one of my fave series and there's no doubt as to why! This series has got it ALL--action, danger, betrayal, smokin' hot boys, romance, love, jealousy, zombies, bad guys, friendship, loyalty, family and so much more. And let's talk about Cole for a second shall we? Oh, Cole... you have rapidly slayed my heart and become one of my fave lit boys ever. He's hot, like smokin' hot, a little on the bad side, super protective, and yet sweet and loving all at the same time. RAWR. I could eat him up.

Seriously... if you haven't checked out this series yet, I beg you to do so immediately. Through the Zombie Glass doesn't release until September so you have plenty of time. You'll be so happy you did! Beware evil urges... and keep an eye out for rabbit-shaped clouds. Cause while most people can't see them, the zombies are out there hunting us all. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: September 24, 2013 by Harlequin Teen

Perfect Pins (13)

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 amazing that I've pinned.

This week's pins are two chicken dishes that were OUT OF THIS WORLD! The first comes from a controversial source, Paula Deen. While I'm not going to go into the whole scandal, I will say that the woman can COOK. And her recipe? Best chicken fingers I have ever had. They didn't even need any dipping sauce, they were seriously THAT good. To check out the recipe, visit here. A preview of the awesomeness:

The second recipe is Pretzel Chicken with a Mustard-Cheddar Sauce. Everything about this dish was phenomenal from the yummy coating to the tasty sauce. I could eat this every day! For information on how to create this mouth-watering dish, click here. Check out the image below:


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's tidbit is more of an explanation... because I have been one extremely busy chick this summer and it's prevented me from updating the blog as much as I would like. Life has DEFINITELY been getting in the way these days, in some fabulous, and in some not-fabulous ways.

First off, I'm pregnant! Which is super exciting and nerve-wracking and NEW. We only just went public with the news since we reached the 12 week mark and had a wonderful appointment and ultrasound. Our little bean was measuring ahead by a few days, had a strong and beautiful sounding heartbeat, and was moving around like crazy, quite an amazing sight. But before that appointment, we hadn't been back to the doctor in over 5 weeks so I've been avoiding the internet like crazy since I google things that freak me out WAY too often. But I'm feeling more confident that our little one may be sticking around for good so I'm not as anti-internet as I was before.

The second thing that's been keeping me so distracted is my father-in-law. He gave us quite a scare by ending up in the emergency room with a horrendous UTI that left him unable to relieve himself... at all. Led to quite the nasty infection and his temperature spiked to 105 degrees! Definitely a scare for everyone. He's been battling a couple different forms of cancer for quite awhile now so anytime he ends up in the hospital, you can't help but fear the worst. I'm happy to say though that things are peachy now! He's released, doing great, and we're all getting together for a pizza/pool party tomorrow. Yay summer!

I hope the summer is treating you all well and that you're getting to spend lots of time with your family and friends, cause isn't that what it's all about? And I hope you're finding some time for you as well... reading, beach time, running marathons, whatever it is that makes you happy. Enjoy life! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* The Dream Thieves


Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

I was SUPER stoked to get my hands on this book because the first, The Raven Boys, was really fantastic. Unfortunately, the first two-thirds of this book did not live up to my expectations and the only thing that saved this book, and solidified a 4-star rating, was the last third of the book. Woohoo for strong endings!

The Dream Thieves picks up after the events in The Raven Boys and the whole crew is still trying to find Glendower. The search for Glendower leads the group to discover a starling and disturbing fact--Cabeswater has disappeared. Something is disturbing the ley line and now Gansey and the rest are worried that the mystery of Glendower will never be solved. In addition, surges in the line have brought some unsavory characters to town in search of the elusive and unknown Greywaren...

Enter Ronan and a shocking secret he's been keeping from everyone--Ronan can control his dreams in unusual and shocking ways, including the ability to take from his dreams anything his heart desires. As he learns more about his gift, he enters a deadly game with another boy with the same unusual talent. As the stakes raise higher and higher, will Ronan be able to control what comes out of his dreams or will he be caught in the crosshairs?

It's hard to properly summarize this book without giving too much away because there's quite a lot going on, and some interesting new characters to contend with. Like I said above, the ending of the book really did save it but things were a bit choppy up until then. It felt like at first that Ronan's ability just came out of nowhere and readers weren't really given much explanation. But slowly the facts start coming out and things start making more sense and the dream "thieving" becomes very interesting.

Ronan isn't the only thing going on in this book though... there's Adam and the fallout from his sacrifice in the first book, Blue begins falling for the wrong person, and Blue's mother, Maura, begins dating a very dangerous man. There's definitely some sub-plots going on, some more interesting than others, but the overall effect is a book that, by the end, will definitely fall in the "not boring" category. I'm curious to see what happens in the next book and I do hope that I enjoy it more than I enjoyed the beginning of this one.

Form your own opinions when The Dream Thieves releases in September. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: September 17, 2013 by Scholastic Press

*REVIEW* Altered


Adelice always knew there’d be a price to destroying the Guild, but is she willing to pay it?

After a daring escape to Earth from Arras, sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys thought she would finally be in control of her own destiny. She would be free to be true to herself and to her heart—to love Jost, the boy the Guild said she could not have. But Earth is not abandoned, as she’d always been taught it was. It’s inhabited with survivors waging a war against Arras. The world that was supposed to offer a new beginning is still tangled up in the past.

Now Adelice is being called upon to harness her phenomenal power and break Earth from the grip of the Guild. But even as she uncovers the truth about her parents and her former life, she discovers that nothing on Earth is as it seems either. Everyone has secrets, especially those she loves most. What’s more, those secrets are driving Adelice and Jost away from each other, and Adelice into his brother Erik’s waiting arms. Now torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must decide what—and who-she’s fighting for, before it’s too late.

Altered was WAY better than I thought it would be! In fact, I liked it even more than Crewel, the first book in the series. While Crewel was confusing at times and took quite a bit of time to get into, Altered ensnared me from the very beginning and the constant twists, turns, and shockers kept me engaged until the very last page.

Altered picks up with Adelice, Jost and Erik's arrival on Earth. To their surprise, Earth is not abandoned but has numerous people fighting to survive, including many refugees who have fled from Arras. The trio gets on the radar of Kincaid, the local leader, and they are taken to his estate. There, they begin to learn of his plans to take out Arras once and for all. Shocking truths about Adelice's parentage and genetics lead her to discover that she is even more powerful than she realized.

Events drive a wedge between Adelice and Jost and when he takes off on a mission, Adelice and Erik begin to grow closer and closer. When Jost and the others return from their mission, a betrayal sends all of them fleeing the estate towards their only hope--the elusive Whorl. What they find will change things forever and Adelice is forced to make a heartwrenching choice, a choice that will alter her destiny... possibly forever.

This book was so good!!! It had everything you could possibly ask for: intrigue, mystery, family, BETRAYAL, love, fights, danger, and loyal allies. It was engaging and enjoyable from the first page until the very last one. I was sad to see it end! And I LOVED the love triangle, even though they usually drive me insane. I love Adelice and Erik together and it was really satisfying to watch them grow closer. I don't know how I'm going to make it SO LONG before reading the third book! Really can't wait. Scoop this book up when it releases in October. Enjoy!! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: October 29, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Series Highlight: Raised by Wolves

I read through the Raised by Wolves Series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes so quickly, I didn't review each book individually. But because I was so impressed with the series, I did want to do at least one post about it because these books are GOOD. Raised by Wolves, the first book in the series, is still my favorite. The interactions between Bryn and Callum are fantastic and the introduction of Chase will make readers very, very happy. This book is by far one of my favorite wolfy books out there. Phenomenal book.

Trial by Fire, the second book in the series, did lose a little bit of the magic for me, but it was still a solid book. Readers get to see Bryn come into her own even more and we get to see more interactions between her and her crew, meaning Dev, Lake and Chase. There are quite a few new additions in terms of characters, some lovely and some way less than. A big disappointment for me with this book was the lack of Callum. Callum features way less prominently in this book and I found I really missed his interactions with Bryn.

Taken by Storm is the third and final book in the series and up until the end, it was rivaling the first book as my favorite. But the end? UGH. Barnes delivered a massive disappointment with her choices to end the series. That being said, it's still worth the read and as a fan, I can only hope that she will one day return to the Raised by Wolves world and redeem herself.

My point to this post? If you haven't read this series, you owe it to yourself to do so. It's truly fantastic, even with some baffling ending decisions. Seriously one of the best shifter/werewolves books out there. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, y'all! :)

I love holidays, especially ones that bring together family, friends and really good food. The husband and I are headed to a pool party BBQ this afternoon complete with illegal fireworks and more food than anyone could possibly eat EVER. I hope you all have a fantastic time with family and friends! And try to carve out some reading time, I know that's MY plan. Enjoy! *XOXO*
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