*REVIEW* Spellcaster


When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future... until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them.

I was super excited to get my hands on Spellcaster because in addition to a very interesting synopsis, I am quite a fan of Claudia Gray. I really enjoyed the Evernight series (even though the last book was a disappointment but that's a WHOLE different issue) so I was excited to see what Claudia Gray had in store for readers with this new series. And witches? YAY! I love books about magic so I was super stoked to give it a go. Before I get to my thoughts, how about a quick summary?

Spellcaster introduces us to Nadia, a teenage witch who has recently been dumped by her mother. Magic is passed down in families through the women and Nadia's mother left the family before she could complete Nadia's training, leaving Nadia feeling like much less of a witch than she was destined to be. Nadia is hopeful that moving to a new town with her father and brother will be the new start they all so desperately need. Unfortunately, Captive's Sound turns out not to be the blessing she had hoped, but rather a town that is smothering underneath evil, dark magic.

Nadia befriends Mateo and Verlaine, two fellow students who have also been touched, or affected, by magic. Together, they discover the truth behind the horrors facing the town. Will they be able to stop their adversary in time, or is the magic Nadia possesses just not enough? And will Nadia be able to help Mateo escape the curse that has plagued his family for generations? Powers of good and evil collide in this magical tale by Claudia Gray.

Okaaaaaaay... I had really high hopes for this one but I'm sad to say it fell a little flat for me. I DID like it, and rated it 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads, but that was about it: just like. There was no awe, no love, no "OMG, this book is amazing!" going on. It was a good and engaging read but that's it. I think the storyline has definite potential but I didn't really enjoy the POV, nor the number of them, and it felt a little predictable at times. That being said, I will be tuning in to the next book to see what happens next.

For fans of Claudia Gray, I especially recommend this series to you. It is NOT as good as Evernight though so please go into it well aware of that fact. I'm really hoping that the next book becomes something I REALLY like, or even love. We'll see! If you're interested in Spellcaster, good news! It releases next Tuesday. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: March 5, 2013 by HarperTeen

Perfect Pins (9)

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 pin is a SCRUMPTIOUS casserole recipe. The husband and I made this for dinner last night and we ate the ENTIRE thing! Hahaha. It was THAT good:

It's called DORITO CHICKEN CASSEROLE and it is SOOOOOO yummy. For directions on how to make this super easy, yet totally amazingly delish dish, click here. Enjoy! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* The Wise Man's Fear


“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view—a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicles, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

OH. MY. GOD. This book was INCREDIBLE!!!! If you read my review of the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles, The Name of the Wind, you know that while I really liked it, there were some things that really bothered me, things that kept it from being a 5 star book. Well, let me tell YOU, Patrick Rothfuss seems to have been able to read my MIND because The Wise Man's Fear was everything I wanted this series to be... and more.

CAUTION! Contains some spoilers:

This book picks up the story of Kvothe and the pace is fast, fast, FAST. SO much happens that it feels impossible to do a proper summary of it. Let's just say that Kvothe gets the better of Ambrose, leaves the University, is in the employ of a very influential man, saves said man from being poisoned, eradicates pesky bandits, encounters a member of the Chandrian (though he doesn't realize it at the time), calls down lightning to save himself and his fellow travelers, spends time with the sexy and powerful Felurian, travels to Ademre and studies fighting under Adem mercenaries, learns to call the wind better than ever before, has numerous encounters with Denna (when she's around), returns to the University, finally gets hold of some money, and so much more.


*Deep breath* Seriously, this book was almost 1,000 pages. It was more like 3 books and it took me ages to read it because I kept having to take breaks to read borrowed books. I am in LOVE with this book though. Not only is the story super engaging and jam-packed with action, but we see little Kvothe grow up SO much and begin to start resembling the hero we hear so much about. And we get to know the other characters, YAY! That was a major beef I had with the first book but I finally feel like there's a difference in voice between Sim, Wil, and the other host of secondary peeps.

I just can't say enough good things about this book. I adore Kvothe and he's getting HOT! Haha. He's pretty freakin' badass in several different spots in the book, he becomes much more skilled with women, and he really seems to be coming into his own. EVERYONE should read this series. It's SO good! You won't regret it! *annoying sing-song voice*. Enjoy!

*REVIEW* Life After Theft


Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.

No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.

Life After Theft was a decent, easy read. There's nothing about it that will blow your mind, but it's a solid YA read that many will enjoy.

Life After Theft introduces us to Jeff, a teenage boy whose family has done very well for themselves... so well in fact, that Jeff has transferred to a swanky private school complete with uniforms and rich, entitled kids around every single corner. One of the first students he encounters is Kimberlee, a stuck-up pain in the butt who just happens to be dead.

Kimberlee refuses to leave Jeff alone as he is the only person who can see her. She needs help with her "unfinished business" which she believes to be hundreds of boxes of stolen things from friends, classmates, teachers, and retail stores. Hilarity ensues as Jeff tries to return all of these items without getting caught red-handed. To further complicate matters, Kimberlee has some serious beef with Sera, the new lady in Jeff's life. Will Jeff help Kimberlee move on before she wrecks his existence? Or has he gotten himself in too deep?

Life After Theft was a decent read, as I said before. The premise of the book isn't mind-blowing and the story isn't either but it's about what you expect from the synopsis. There are definitely some cute parts and it's an easy, fast read. I rated it 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads because while I did like it, I wasn't blown away and I know that I would never re-read it. That being said, it's worth the day it will take you to read it, especially if you like the writing of Aprilynne Pike.

If you feel like giving it a go, it releases the end of April. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: April 30, 2013 by HarperTeen

In My Mailbox (27)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Here are books I've either won, been given, borrowed, or bought this past week:

For review:
Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz
Just for Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

All in all, a GREAT book week! I LOVE it when people get me gift cards for my birthday. I don't love that it took Barnes and Noble almost a MONTH to get me my order. What is up with that?! Just reminds me why I've been ordering more and more from Amazon instead. Anywho... how did you do this week? Leave me a link and I'll check it out! And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*


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: I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day. I work in a high school, so of course yesterday was big for the teenagers. Flowers, balloons, carnations being delivered in the middle of class... teddy bears, hearts, you name it were ALL over the place. And I admit, I used to love the holiday when I was younger. A day just to celebrate love? What's not to love? But as an adult, I can say that the holiday has really fallen flat.

I love my husband. With ALL my heart. And I tell him that, and show him that, every day of the year. Why do I need one special day to profess what he already knows? It seems like the Valentine's Day holiday is all about creating pressure and high expectations. I witnessed this first hand today when a coworker of mine was livid at her boyfriend because all he got her was a card and a necklace. REALLY?! The man is head over heels in love with you and because he fell short of your preconceived notions of how the day was supposed to go, you're threatening to break up with him? Call me crazy, but it seems like that's the opposite of what Valentine's Day is supposed to be all about.

My husband and I decided to put a $20 cap on supplies and hand-make our gifts for one another. Valentine's Day isn't about how much money you spend on someone, but the thought that goes behind the gift. And the biggest gift you can give your partner is the realization that it's just a day... show your loved ones how much they mean to you ALL the time and Valentine's Day won't seem quite so magical. Just my two cents! Hope you all enjoyed V-Day however is right for you. And for those who hate it? You've got a whole year before you have to deal with Cupid and all his nonsense again. Enjoy! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Notes from Ghost Town


They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.

Notes from Ghost Town was really, really good! It's got the perfect amount of mystery and intrigue, with a pinch of love, romance, and family thrown in. It's a fast-paced and quick read, mainly because you won't want to put it down! Best news? It releases TOMORROW so you don't even have to wait that long to scoop it up!

Notes from Ghost Town introduces us to Olivia, a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of the murder of her best friend, Stern. Complicating things further is that fact that her mother has confessed to killing him. Her mother had been spiraling further down into a schizophrenic episode so the best Olivia can hope for is for her mom to be found insane and locked away in a mental institution. The case seems all but solved until Olivia receives a shocking visitor--the ghost of Stern. Stern is convinced that Olivia's mom was not the one who killed him, but his memory is patchy and he needs Olivia's help to figure out what really happened.

Olivia begins a desperate search for the truth, a search that leads her to shocking discoveries. On top of her search, Olivia begins spending time with an unlikely male admirer, even though her guilt over Stern makes things extremely complicated. Will Olivia discover the truth in time to prevent her mother from being found guilty for a crime she didn't commit, or will she be too late? And will discovering some secrets put her own life in danger? It's a race against time in this fast-paced novel by Kate Ellison.

YAY! What a great book. I admit that I had put some things together before they were revealed in the book, but that's pretty common I think if you're a detailed reader. Even with that though, the story was very entertaining and I did NOT want to put the book down! I think some of the things Olivia is going through, like her dad getting remarried, blending into a new family, is a common thing that many readers will empathize with. It helped keep her character relatable, even as she went through some VERY uncommon things, like going color-blind and rendezvousing with her dead best friend. You will find yourself rooting for her, hoping she can discover the truth before it's too late.

I really don't have many complaints with the book at all, it was a super enjoyable read for me. I AM glad they changed the cover though because I really didn't like the cover of the ARC. It looks like they decided to do a redesign and I'm glad they did because the new cover is way better. I highly recommend this book. I rated it 4 of 5 stars on Goodreads because I'm getting VERY picky about my 5 star books. But trust me, this is a solid read that you will not regret. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: February 12, 2013 by EgmontUSA

Perfect Pins (8)

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.

Today's pin is a trick I found that will make dessert decorating THAT much easier:

Dealing with melted chocolate can be an absolute NIGHTMARE... there have been times I have literally snarled in irritation. This tip is a baker's dream come true! Melted chocolate without the frustration and the mess. And the best part? You can buy those plastic condiment things at the Dollar Tree. Cheap, yet effective! LOVE it! I've already used it once and let me tell you, it was WAY easier than my old spoon drizzle method. Bakers rejoice! For more information, click here. Enjoy! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Nantucket Blue


For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

Words cannot express how much I adored this book! I INHALED it, reading it in just a couple days... days filled with work, open house, and several errands even! You know a book is good when it ensnares you when you don't even have time at the moment to get tangled up. I couldn't stand putting it down and when it releases in May, it will be the PERFECT summer book for EVERYONE.

Nantucket Blue introduces us to Cricket, a teenage girl planning to spend a fabulous summer on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules, and her family. Cricket has always felt like a part of the Clayton family, and when an unexpected tragedy befalls them, she knows that there is no where else she would rather be than at their side. Unfortunately, her summer doesn't turn out exactly as planned when she's forced to work as a maid at an inn in town to support herself and her summer dreams. Things plunge even further when Jules is cold and distant and pushes Cricket away, effectively ending their joint summer plans.

Cricket ends up salvaging her summer, forming connections at her work, and becoming an intern for a successful journalist. On top of this, she begins a delicious summer romance with someone she never could have predicted falling for. Just when things really seem to start falling into place for her, Cricket is caught in a precarious position... a position that could change things for her forever. Will she be able to salvage the relationships that matter the most? Or will she end the summer as she started it--confused and alone?

This book is awesomesauce!!! I just LOVED it. (Can you tell this is going to be one of those reviews where I just gush and gush? Haha) But seriously... Cricket is wonderful. She makes mistakes, but she keeps fighting and you really get to see her grow up some over the course of the summer. And her romance? SWOON! I adore her "secret lover". What a cutie! There's definite sadness in this book but there's always hope, forgiveness, and the power of moving on.

This book is simply wonderful and I think everyone should add this to their TBR pile right this very second. Seriously. GO! I predict Nantucket Blue is going to be a huge book this summer. It's really the perfect summer read. It's one of those books you can read while sitting under an umbrella with a warm summer breeze blowing through your hair. Ahhhhhh. I will definitely be re-reading this come summer! My only, and I mean ONLY, complaint with this book is that it ended! I wasn't ready and I want to know more about what happens next. Perhaps readers will bug Leila Howland so much that she will decide to write a sequel... crossing my fingers now!!

Enjoy this one, guys. I KNOW you will! Scoop it up as soon as you're able in May. Happy Reading! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: May 7, 2013 by Disney Hyperion

Teaser Tuesday: Nantucket Blue

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!

Today's teaser comes from Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland:

A warm wind twisted my hair. The boat drifted and his hands did, too, back to my legs, up my arms and neck. We kissed. We drifted and kissed and drifted and kissed as the sky flashed and clapped and bloomed and broke. pg. 159

I am in LOVE with this book so far! It is so, so good. Be sure to add this one to your TBR list immediately! You can thank me later! Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: May 7, 2013 by Disney Hyperion

*REVIEW* Crap Kingdom





With this mysterious yet oddly ordinary-looking prophecy, Tom's fate is sealed: he's been plucked from his life and whisked away to a magical kingdom to be its Chosen One.

There's just one problem: The kingdom is mostly made of garbage from Earth. Okay, well, two problems: the king hates Tom. Also, the princess likes to wear fake mustaches. And being Chosen One seems to consist mainly of cleaning out rats' noses at the Royal Rat-Snottery.

So, basically, the kingdom sucks.

When Tom turns down the job of Chosen One, he thinks he's making a smart decision. But when Tom discovers he's been replaced by his best friend Kyle, who's always been cooler, more athletic, and better with girls, Tom wants Crap Kingdom back—at any cost. And the hilarity that ensues will determine the fate of the universe.

Wellllll... no one could say that this book isn't unique. Crap Kingdom is unlike anything I've read before and while the premise sounded interesting, the plot ended up falling flat for me. It's not that the book was awful, it's just that I found myself not giving a crap (pun intended!) about what would happen next. That's NEVER a good thing.

Crap Kingdom introduces us to Tom, an ordinary high school drama geek who is constantly hoping that something extraordinary will happen in his life. Enter Gark: a mysterious person from another world. Gark takes Tom to the nameless kingdom where Tom is told a prophecy has named him as The Chosen One, the one destined to say the nameless kingdom. The problem? The king takes an instant disliking to Tom and relegates him to the Rat Snottery. Tom decides to turn his back on the nameless kingdom and forget the whole thing.

Tom is happy with his decision until he discovers that his best friend Kyle has taken his place and not only that, but Kyle is a way better Chosen One than he ever was. The nameless kingdom has completely fallen in love with Kyle and Kyle is making a difference and has achieved magical powers. Tom is flabbergasted and jealous and thinks it's completely unfair that the king never gave him the same opportunity.

Tom continues to travel back and forth to the nameless kingdom and a dangerous encounter sets into motion events that could impact the nameless kingdom forever. Will Kyle be forced to clean up Tom's mess or will Tom step up and save the day?

Like I said above, Crap Kingdom really fell flat for me. I think it was supposed to be funny but the humor just wasn't doing it for me. And while the world Pierson created is for sure unique, it was so strange that I had a hard time picturing things. I also really didn't like the pacing... I was beyond bored for the first half of the book and then it felt like the ending was wrapped up so quickly that things were left out and not explained well at ALL. This book left me feeling mildly frustrated and I would probably have been even more annoyed had I actually cared about what would happen to the characters.

If you think this book could be something you'd like, feel free to check it out in March when it releases. Hope you like it more than I did! Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: March 7, 2013 by Viking Juvenile

Perfect Pins (7)

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.

Today's pin is a copycat recipe I found on:

This recipe makes cinnamon butter that tastes EXACTLY like the butter at Texas Roadhouse. It is soooooo good!!! And super simple to make! Check it out:


1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Whip the room temperature butter with whisk attachment for 30 seconds
2. Add powdered sugar, honey and cinnamon and beat until completely combined and very smooth
3. Scrape down sides of bowl and turn up speed and whip for a minute or two until light and fluffy

That's IT! Super simple and wonderfully tasty. Enjoy! *XOXO*

In My Mailbox (26)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Here are books I've either won, been given, borrowed, or bought this past week:

For Review:
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Crap Kingdom by D.C. Pierson
*Thanks to Around the World Tours for the ARCs*

Resolve by Melissa Marr
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Fated by Alyson Noel
Echo by Alyson Noel
The Warlock by Michael Scott
The Enchantress by Michael Scott
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

I don't normally do IMM posts anymore because I've been trying really hard to not buy new books when I have SO many that are waiting to be read on my shelves... but it was just my birthday and people know me well! I LOVE gift cards for books. Makes my DAY! So I don't feel bad about buying all those because I didn't spend a dime. How did you do this week? Leave me a link and I'll check it out. And as always, HAPPY READING! *XOXO*
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