31 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

This is the first time I do this. It sounded like a good idea so I'm going to try it out.

As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding
Dreg City #2

Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light…

…or the power to die and live again in someone else's borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.

Amid weres, Halfies, gremlins, vamps—and increasingly outgunned humans—a war for supremacy is brewing. With shifters demanding justice, her superiors desperate to control her, and an assassin on her trail, Evy discovers a horrifying conspiracy. And she may be the only person in the world who can stop it—unless, of course, her own side gets her first.

Release Date: July 27th.

30 March 2010

Review: The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

The Spellman Files
Spellman Files #1

Meet Isabel "Izzy" Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors -- but the upshot is she's good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family's firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people's privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.

Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who's become addicted to "recreational surveillance"); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed "Lost Weekends"). But when Izzy's parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy's new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there's a hitch: she must take one last job before they'll let her go -- a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.

I had really high expectations on this book, and at the end it let me down. This novel is told from the perspective of Izzy, but she has so many interactions with so many different characters (and with each of them she told a different story) that I ended up tired. I wanted the book to get focused on one thing instead of telling many short stories.

My favourite parts of the book where the ones that included Rae, Izzy's 14 year old sister, and the ones that happened in the bar. Milo, the bartender, is a saint (he has to hear all the complaints from Izzy and Rae).

The mystery that is set at the beggining of the book is resolved in around 10 pages. Let's just say that the rest of the book is how they got into that situation in the first place.
This book is a light read, a little crazy and don't expect too much mystery in it even though Izzy and her family are all PI.

Memorable Lines:

Isabel, Age 8
"Isabel, did you sneak into your brother's room last night and cut his hair?"
"No," I say.
Long pause.
"Are you sure? Maybe you need some time to refresh your memory."
Albert takes a seat across the table and looks me straight in the eye. I quickly look down but try to mantain my ground.
"I don't know anything about a haircut," I say.
Albert places a pair of safety scissors on the table.
"Do these look familiar?"
"Those could be anyone's."
"But we found them in your bedroom."
"I was framed."
In fact, I was grounded for a week.


28 March 2010

ARC Review: Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre

Hell Fire
Corine Solomon #2

As a handler, Corine Solomon can touch any object and know its history. It's too bad she can't seem to forget her own. With her ex-boyfriend Chance in tow-lending his own supernatural brand of luck-Corine journeys back home to Kilmer, Georgia, in order to discover the truth behind her mother's death and the origins of "gift".

But while trying to uncover the secrets in her past, Corine and Chance find that something is rotten in the state of Georgia. Inside Kilmer's borders there are signs of a dark curse affecting the town and all its residents-and it can only be satisfied with death...

At the start of this book we have Corine and Chance on their way to Kilmer to find out what happened to Corine's mother. When they arrive, they notice that it seems like nothing has changed in the little town, and that is very weird ( they don't even have ATM machines!). Soon they discover that Chance's "luck" doesn't work there, and neither do cell phones or internet. It looks like they are stuck in town without any help from the outside.

When someone tries to kill Corine and the sheriff arrests Chance for the strange death of the library caretaker, it seems like things couldn't get worse but then Jesse Saldana comes into town to try to help them. What is the secret the town is keeping? And are they willing to risk their lives to find out?

I found this book a little slow and sometimes I wished the mystery could advance faster. The relationship between Corine and Chance was a big plot point, but I didn't like how Corine ended up playing with both Chance and Jesse. I know she had to choose, but I would have prefered if she had done it without yanking the chains of both of them. Also, I didn't like how she didn't take into consideration Chance's feelings. It seemed like only hers mattered.
I loved Shannon, the new character that was introduced in this book. Also loved Butch, the little chihuahua, he's very funny and I liked his danger detector abilities.

In short, this novel felt like a transition book to me. It ties up looses ends but I didn't feel like it made the series go forward. I liked Blue Diablo better, and I can't wait to see if in Shady Lady we finally get to know what happened to Montoya and what kind of retribution he's seeking.

Rating: 1/2

More International Giveaways

Here are a few international giveaways:

Midnight Glance is having a 50 followers contest. She's giving away your choice out of 10 books.
It ends on April 1st.
Enter here.

Pure Imagination is giving away a copy of Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles.
This ends on April 13th, which is the date of the US release of the book.
Enter here.

Tales of the Ravenous Reader is having a March Madness book contest. You could win Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson or The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan.
This ends on March 31st.
Enter here.

Urban Fantasy Blog is giving away a choice of Shadowglass, The Body Finder or Warriors.
This ends on March 28th.
Enter here.

Hey! Teenager is having a massive book giveaway. You can pick 2 books from her list plus win some swag.
It ends on April 30th.
Enter here.

The Raving Readers are giving away 3 copies of Demonkeepers by Jessica Andersen.
This ends on April 1st.
Enter here.

Parajunkie's View is having a 666 followers contest. You can win 2 books from her list (all of the books have demons in them) or instead a 10$ amazon giftcard.
Ends on April 20th.
Enter here.

The Book Junkie's Bookshelf is giving away the New Moon DVD and The Blind Side DVD.
This contest ends on April 1st.
Enter here.

Book Blab is having a 300 follower contest. She's giving away a 50$ credit for The Book Depository, a copy of the super secret YA novel and a book from her book pile.
This ends on May 4th.
Enter here.

Juiciliciousss Reviews is having a Random Big Giveaway. There will be 2 winners and each will get a box full of YA novels (they'll receive around 8 or 9 books).
This contest ends on April 21st.
Enter here.

10 March 2010

Review: Fade to Black by Leslie Parrish

Fade to Black
Black CATs #1

After transferring out of violent crimes and onto the FBI's Cyber Action Team, Special Agent Dean Taggert is shocked to encounter a case far more vicious than any he's ever seen. A cold and calculating predator dubbed "The Reaper" is auctioning off murder in the cyber world and is about to kill again-unless Dean and beautiful sheriff Stacey Rhodes can stop him.

Dean Taggert joined the CATs (Cyber Action Team) to get a shared custody of his son from his ex-wife. He thought it wouldn't be so violent as his last job. He was wrong. A man called "The Reaper" kills his victims, tapes the act and then shows it on the web to a select few. When the team gets an ID of the victim, they go to her home town and then they meet sheriff Stacey Rhodes. She was a cop in the city, but something went wrong in a case and she decided to get back home and replace her father as sheriff. When she finds out that the girl that went missing 18 months ago and that everyone thought had skipped town was instead murdered, she teams up with the CAT's and especially with Taggert to bring the killer to justice.

When the deaths start escalating and the killer decides to auction the method in which he will kill his next victim, the stakes get raised, and Stacey and Dean will try harder than ever to catch a killer, especially when they realize that he lives in the little town and nobody had ever notice nothing out of the otdinary.

I really didn't have any expectations when I started this book. It was entertaining but sometimes I wished it would go faster. The relationship between Stacey and Dean was one of the high points of this novel. It was very well handled and also beliveable. Both of them have things to overcome to be able to be together and close the case.

I knew who the killer was at the middle of the book, so it wasn't really surprising. It took me time to get into the story, and I had to force myself to keep reading until the story sped up. It was an ok debut book, and I'll probably read the next one, but it's not on my high priority list, which means that I'll read it when I don't have anything more interesting in my TBR pile.

Memorable Quote:

"Sheriff Rhodes?" he asked, his tone gentle. "Can you identify the woman on the photographs?"
She swalloded visibly, then nodded once. "It's Lisa Zimmerman"
"You're sure?"
"Even if I didn't recognize her face inmediately, I'd know her by that bumblebee tattoo on her shoulder. She was a finalist in a statewide spelling bee in elementary school. She had that put on a couple years ago, I guess to remind herself that she'd once accomplished something." She pushed the pictures away, the tips of her nails touching the very edges, as if she couldn't bear any more contact with them. " So she's dead?"
"We haven't found her body," Wyatt explained. The man sounded cooly profesional, as always, but also quietly subdued in respect of the sheriff's obvious dismay. "But yes, there seems to be no doubt the woman in these pictures is dead."


International Giveaways

Sidhe Vicious Reviews is giving away a copy of Shadowglass by Erica Hayes.
This ends on March 14th.
Enter here.

25 Hours Books is giving away the Sookie, Night Huntress or Anne Rice book of your choice.
This giveaway ends on March 17th.
Enter here.

The Bookette is giving away When I was Joe by Keren David.
This ends on March 26th.
Enter here.

Holes in my Brain is having a contest in celebration of her 102 posts. She's giving away The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting.
This contest ends on March 21st.
Enter here.

Lost for Words is having a 100 follower contest. You can win Hex Hall or In a Heartbear or Firespell. There will be 3 winners and each win a book.
Ends on March 26th.
Enter here.

The Raving Readers are giving away 6 copies of The Battle Sylph by L. J. McDonald.
This contest ends on March 12th.
Enter here.

YA Roundup is giving away a prize pack that contains an ARC of Under My Skin, a bookmark, a necklace and a set of character cards.
This ends on March 12th.
Enter here.

He Followed me Home is also giving away a prize pack containing an ARC of Under My Skin, a bookmark, a necklace and a set of character cards.
It also ends on March 12th.
Enter here.

Bibliofreakblog is giving away a signed copy of The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak.
This ends on March 11th.
Enter here.

Read Into This is giving away a copy of Dream Girl and an ARC of Dream Life by Lauren Mechling.
This giveaway ends on March 31st.
Enter here.

Read Into This is also having a 250 followers contest. They are giving away three books from the list to the first winner, 2 books for the second winner and one book for the third winner.
This ends on April 15th.
Enter here.

Book-lover Carol is having a really big giveaway. There will be 4 winners, and the first one will get all the books that can fit into a medium size box plus swag and nail polish, the rest of them might get a couple books an nail polish.
This giveaway ends on April 1st.
Enter here.

This Is Not My Day Job is having a 101 followers contest. She is giving away a choice between two prizes: the first is Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland and All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab; the second one is an adorable bag.
This contest ends on March 13th.
Enter here.

Elana Johnson is having a 700 followers giveaway. The prizes are 7 books, one for a different winner. The books are Bleeding Violet, Hush Hush, Prophecy of the Sisters, The Naughty List, Gone, Captivate and The Secret Year. They are all signed.
This contest ends on March 14th.
Enter here.

Queen Of Happy Endings is having a March giveaway in which the prizes are: Twilight, The Graphic Novel Vol.1 ; The Girls Who Chased The Moon; House Rules and A Reliable Wife.
This ends on March 31st.
Enter here.

Book Bound is having a 25 followers giveaway. There will be 1 international winner and 3 US/Can winners. You can pick the book you want from her list. Book included: The Maze Runner, The Dark Divine, Evermore, ...
Ends on April 15th.
Enter here.

Strange & Random Happenstance
is giving away the first 4 books of the Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz to 4 different winners. The books are all signed.
This ends on April 5th.
Enter here.

Brizmus Blogs Books is giving away The Dresskepper, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and the forst 2 books of The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.
There will be 3 winners, each get a different book (the trilogy books go together).
This giveaway ends on March 27th.
Enter here.

Brizmus Blogs Books is also giving away a copy of Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb.
This ends on March 23rd.
Enter here.

Choice of Book:

I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read is having a 25 followers contest. You can choose the book you want as long as it's under 20 $.
It ends on March 26th.
Enter here.

Book Reviews From Inside An Igloo is having a 30 follower contest. She's giving away a 20$ limit to the Book Depository.
It ends on March 31st.
Enter here.

Victoria Schwab is giving away Hex Hall. Enter here.

08 March 2010

Review: Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Child of Fire
Twenty Palaces #1

Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.

Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.

Ray is an ex-con and he works for the Twenty Palace Society. He made a deal with them and now he works for Annalise, a member of the group and a woman he once betrayed and who now wants him dead. The mission is to find out what is happening in a little town. Childs are disappearing, or more accurately, are being killed by some kind of magic that makes them burn, and then makes people forget that they ever existed. When Ray and Annalise see what happens with their own eyes, they know that what's happening is big and powerful.

When they both arrive at the town, named Hammer Bay, the first thing they do is find out where the toy factory is, because they are pretty suspicious of how toys that are so antiquated are in high demand. As soon as Annalise starts asking questions to the owner, the workers from the factory are somehow controlled and they try to kill both her and Ray. Annalise is severely injured and can't be properly healed by her usual methods, so Ray is left alone to figure out what's wrong in the town and who is responsible.

This is a very dark urban fantasy. Ray is an ex-con who does everything is his power to help Annalise, even though she ignores him most of the time. I liked how he tries his best every time, and when things start to grow worse, he makes the best of them, even though it means that he probably is going to get killed. When people get murdered, he worries about getting back in jail, seeing as how the cops in the little town are also very weird and suspicious. Also, the weapon he uses is unusual but very efficient.

We know that there's a back story to Ray and Annalise, but we don't really find out what it is and only get little glimpses of the issue. Annalise is cold and sees the world through a very narrow mind. She wasn't always that way, but some events from her past made her like that. There isn't a lot of worldbuilding, there was only the town, the characters and all the problems that happen when they are there. The magic is not very flashy, especially the one that Ray has. We don't really know a lot about the Twenty Palace Society and I expect that we're going to find out more about them in future books. Sometimes this book had more horror than fantasy. I didn't have any problems with that, because I like the genre, but some readers might find that it is a little too much. I know some people might start reading it because Jim Butcher recommended it, but I have to say, this is NOT a Dresden novel or anything that resembles it. If you're expecting something exactly liked that series, you're going to be disappointed.

All in all, I loved this book. I think it was a great start of a series that I will definitely follow and I would recommend it to someone who likes very dark urban fantasy, horror and mystery.

Memorable Quote:

I felt a pressure against my chest, just below my right collarbone. Strange. I tried to ignore it and said, “Do you folks need any help?”
The woman glanced up, noticing us for the first time. She had a terrified look on her face, but I knew it had nothing to do with Annalise or me. Her husband glanced back as he came out of the backseat. His glasses were smeary from the drizzle. “No,” he said too quickly. “We’re fine.”
The pressure against my chest increased.
Then their little boy climbed out of the car.
He was a good-looking kid, maybe eight or nine years old, although I’m no judge. His hair stuck up in the back, and he had scrapes on both elbows. “I feel funny, Dad,” he said. He laid his hands on his chest and pressed. “I feel squishy.”
Flames erupted around his head. I felt light-headed suddenly, and the pressure against my chest vanished. Before I could think about it, I ran toward them, stripping off my jacket.
The woman screamed. The flames around the boy’s head spread downward past his crotch. In an instant, his whole body was ablaze..


04 March 2010

A Few International Giveaways

Here are a few more international giveaways:

Rex Robot Reviews is having a giveaway with 6 winners and the option to choose from 20 books. The winners will be chosen on St. Patrick's Day, 17 of March.

Enter here.

Jennifer Laurens is giving away four of her books plus some goodies. The contest ends on March 14th.

Enter here.

Tiger's All-consuming Books is giving away Heist Society and Battle Royale. The winners will be chosen on March 10th.

Enter here.

Chick Loves Lit is giving away Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. This giveaway ends on March 12th.

Enter here.

Bewitched Bookworms is having a Beautiful Creatures contest. They are giving away a signed copy of the book. The winner will be announce on March 28th.

Enter here.

The Raving Readers are giving away a copy of Something About you by Julie James. It ends on March 5th.

Enter here.

The Undercover Book Lover is having a birthday bash contest.
They are giving away 12 books. The winner takes them all.
This ends on March 10th.

Enter here.

Dark Faerie Tales is having a 500+ followers contest.
There will be 4 winners. The first one can choose 5 books from the list, the second 4, the third 4 and the fourth 2.
This giveaway ends on March 21st.

Enter here.

GAL Novelty is having a 50+ followers contest. She's giving away a choice of two books: Exclusively Chloe and Mountain Girl River Girl.
The deadline is March 4th.

Enter here.

Delightful Reviews is giving away 2 copies of Before I Fall and another winner will get bookmarks.
This ends on March 14th.

Enter here.

Personal Demons is giving away a choice of a book from her list: The Body Finder, Forget Her Nots, The Line or Before I Fall.
This giveaway ends on March 26th.

Enter here.

Drey's Library is giving away Angelology.
This contest ends on March 30th.

Enter here.

Steph Su Reads is giving away both Audrey, Wait! and Good Girls to one lucky winner.
This will end on March 19th.

Enter here.


Imagination in Focus is giving away a book of your choice as long as it's under 20$.
This ends on March 16th.

Enter here.

In Which A Girls Reads is having a 400 followers giveaway in which you can win a book of your choice that costs under 20$. This giveaway ends on March 6th.

Enter here.

Weronika Janczuk is giving away a pre-order of Paranolmacy by Kiersten White, a book of the winner's choice and a critique of your 50 first pages. This ends on March 5th.

Enter here.