Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: Moonshifted by Cassie Alexander

(Edie Spence)
Cassie Alexander
Release: November 27, 2012
Add to Goodreads   Buy at Amazon
After surviving a brutal vampire attack, Nurse Edie Spence is ready to get back to work—attending to supernatural creatures in need of medical help. But her nursing skills are put to the test when she witnesses a hit-and-run on her lunch break. The injured pedestrian is not only a werewolf, he’s the pack leader. And now Edie’s stuck in the middle of an all-out were-war…

With two rival packs fighting tooth and nail, Edie has no intention of crossing enemy lines. But when she meets her patient’s nephew—a tattooed werewolf named Lucas with a predatory gleam in his eye that’s hard to resist—Edie can’t help but choose sides. The question is: can she trust this dangerous new ally? And can she trust her own instincts when she’s near him? Either way, Edie can’t seem to pull away—even if getting involved makes her easy prey…

Moonshifted is more interesting than its predecessor, Nightshifted, but still suffers some stumbles. The first half of the book meanders along and I'm not really sure what the heck was supposed to be happening, but it wasn't. Things finally come together in the story's last half, with the pace picking up significantly.

Although I like Edie's world in theory I still have difficulty connecting to her as a heroine. I appreciate that Edie is just a normal person surrounded by the supernatural, but it does grate on me a little that she can't do anything to protect or defend herself.

I do like all of Edie's supernatural friends. Anna, the vampire child that Edie saved in the previous book, needs Edie's help again. Although she's not really in the book that much, Anna still stands out as one of my favorite characters in this series. I also like Asher, Edie's sometimes lover and always friend. His shapeshifter abilities are slightly creepy, but he's always there for Edie when she needs him and something about him is sexy.

New in this installment are a family of werewolves and I really loved everything about them. The politics and deception was terrific, but it was Lucas, the sexy wolf next in line to be the Alpha, who really won me over. I wanted him to possibly be the romantic interest I've been waiting for in this series, but Edie acts like a complete weirdo with everything involving Lucas so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

At least Ti, Edie's zombie ex boyfriend, is absent for the entirety of this book. He is not my favorite character in this series, but it does look like he's expected in the next installment.

I'd recommend this series, but with reservations. It feels like sometimes the author is stumbling through the story and other times things feel right on track. I continue to read these books hoping she will finally hit her stride, and so I will check out the third in the series for sure.

Recommended for fans of: hospital drama, paranormal creatures, and werewolves.

This review is based on an advance copy of the book, provided by the publisher.

 3.5 / 5 stars

My reviews of other books in this series:

Nightshifted (Edie Spence #1)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 2012 Challenges - Wrap Up Post

It's time! Here's how I did in my challenges from the past year!

This is the challenge I hosted this year. It was to read 2012 new releases in adult UF and PNR.

I went with dedication level Take Me to the Fae Realm, which means I planned to read 21 - 30 books that fit this challenge. 

Here's my list:
1. The Shadow Reader (McKenzie Lewis #1) by Sandy Williams 
2. Sacrificial Magic (Downside #4) by Stacia Kane
3. Blood on the Bayou (Annabelle Lee #2) by Stacey Jay
4. Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost
5. Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6) by Chloe Neill
6. Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell #2) by Jenn Bennett
7. Chasing Magic (Downside #5) by Stacia Kane
8. Gilded (St. Croix Chronicles #2) by Karina Cooper
9. Shadows Before the Sun (Charlie Madigan #4) by Kelly Gay
9. Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues (White Trash Zombie #2) by Diana Rowland
10. Shadow Bound (Unbound #2) by Rachel Vincent
11. God Save the Queen (Immortal Empire #1) by Kate Locke
12. Firelight (Darkest London #1) by Kristen Callihan
13. Nightshifted (Edie Spence #1) by Cassie Alexander
14. Moonglow (Darkest London #2) by Kristen Callihan
15. The Shattered Dark (McKenzie Lewis #2) by Sandy Williams
16. Discount Armageddon (Incryptid #1) by Seanan McGuire
17. The Kingdom (Graveyard Queen #2) by Amanda Stevens
18. The Prophet (Graveyard Queen #3) by Amanda Stevens
19. A Blood Seduction (Vamp City #1) by Pamela Palmer
20. Dire Needs (Eternal Wolf Clan #1) by Stephanie Tyler
21. The Seduction of Phaeton Black (Paranormal Investigator #1) by Jillian Stone
22. Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda Bonilla
23. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones
24. Mr. Real (Code of Shadows #1) by Carolyn Crane
25. Demon's Curse (Imnada Brotherhood #1) by Alexa Egan
26. Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronilces #1) by Karina Cooper
27. Leashing the Tempest (Arcadia Bell #2.5) by Jenn Bennett
28. Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark #1) by Gena Showalter

28/28 books read; CHALLENGE COMPLETED!

I joined the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, hosted by Evie at Bookish. This challenge was to help motivate us readers to get through those books on our shelves (or my Kindle) we've been wanting to read but haven't gotten to yet.

I chose "A Sweet Kiss". That means I wanted to read 21 - 30 books from my TBR shelf! Here's my list:

1. Alpha (Shifters #6) by Rachel Vincent
2. A Touch of Crimson (Renegade Angels #1) by Sylvia Day
3. My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers #2) by Rachel Vincent
4. Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelly Armstrong
5. Kindling the Moon (Aracadia Bell #1) by Jenn Bennett
6. Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead
7. One Grave At A Time (Night Huntress #6) by Jeaniene Frost
8. Ecstasy Unveiled (Demonica #4) by Larissa Ione
9. Sin Undone (Demonica #5) by Larissa Ione
10. The Hunter (The Legend Chronicles #1) by Theresa Myers
11. The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens
12. Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunters #4) by Nalini Singh
13. Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
14. Pure (Covenant #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
15. Red-Headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane #1) by Jaye Wells
16. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare
17. City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare
18. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare
19. City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
20. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
21. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare
22. Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
23. Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
25. Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance #1) by Larissa Ione
26. Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance #2) by Larissa Ione
27. Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (Rhiannon's Law #1) by J.A. Saare
28. Tempest Rising (Jane True #1) by Nicole Peeler
29. As Lie the Dead (Dreg City #2) by Kelly Meding

15/29 books read; CHALLENGE FAILED  :(

I failed this one! I've already signed up for the 2013 TBR Challenge though, and its my forefront goal to read more of my TBR pile next year. 

I also joined the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. For this one, you read at least 12 YA books published by brand new authors or authors never published in YA before. 

1. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer 
2. The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
3. Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
4. The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
5. Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
6. Hemlock (Hemlock #1) by Kathleen Peacock
7. Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1) by Bethany Griffin
8. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
9. The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
10. Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine
11. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
12. Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
13. Iced by Karen Marie Moning

13/12 books read; CHALLENGE COMPLETE!

So I did great on 2 of my challenges and sucked it on 1 challenge! 

I've already signed up for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge, which is hosted by a different blogger this time around, and the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge, which I'm making a big goal for 2013!

I'm also hosting a personal challenge, the 2013 Book Series Challenge, to read all those series I've been wanting to read but been putting off. I invite anyone who wants to join in.

Which challenges did you do in 2012 and how did you do on your challenges?

Review: Gilded by Karina Cooper

(The St. Croix Chronicles #2)
Karina Cooper
Release: December 26, 2012
Add to Goodreads   Buy at Amazon
In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary . . .

Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family's legacy.

Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.


Gilded is the second in Karina Cooper's St. Croix Chronicles, which follows a feisty and intelligent heroine through an alternate Victorian London. Cherry's life should be simple - attend fancy soirees, collect her inheritance when she turns twenty-one in less than a year, and marry a rich and handsome man that will take care of her. But instead Cherry lives a double life as a collector, battles an opium addiction, and can't stay away from hunting murderers.

All of my issues with the first book in this series are resolved in this sequel. The plot is faster paced and more exciting, as it focuses heavily on Cherry chasing down a murderer who is killing off professors. This plot line tied in nicely with the story line involving Cherry's father and alchemy from the first book. We get not only the mystery of who the killer is, but also a fun second mystery as to how the killer is doing it.

The plots involving Jack the Ripper and the sweet tooth killer are both in this book as well, but they don't play as much of a role for most of the book. It seems like Cherry might be pursuing these two throughout the whole of the series.

In Tarnished we were introduced to two would-be love interests for Cherry, both with their advantages and disadvantages. In Gilded we get to know one of those men a little better. Lord Compton's determination to make Cherry his wife is sweet and I found him very likable in this book. Even though I still don't think he is the right match for her, I warmed up to him in this one. His mother and all of her society friends are even crueler to Cherry in this book than the last, which I didn't think was even possible. There were many heart-wrenching scenes that made my heart go out to her.

Hawke, or Cage, is absent for a good part of the book. Fortunately, in the few scenes he is in he really shines. He is dark and mysterious and its obvious that even if he did have feelings for Cherry, which we still don't really know, his loyalty is to the Veil. I'm very interested to see where things with him will go in the next book.

Gilded is a wild ride of hunting down clues, navigating high-society, evading a murderer, and making tough romantic choices. And if that's not enough for you, the shocking events that occur in the last handful of chapters will have readers begging for book three!

Recommended for fans of: historical fiction, Jack the Ripper, murder mysteries, Victorian London,  and steampunk.

This review is based on an advance copy of the book, provided by the publisher.

4.5 / 5  stars

My reviews of other books in this series:

Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles #1)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Biggest Disappointments of 2012

With all the top 10 lists I've posted this week with my favorite reads of the past year, I feel like I must give fair time to the opposite end of the spectrum. I have never posted a list of my DNFs or disappointments before, but this year I am. 

This list is sure to be controversial, as opinions about books are incredibly subjective and often our feelings toward a book can be due to our moods. I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments below (respectfully)! 

These are my DNFs and disappointments for 2012:

The Hunt
(The Hunt #1)
Andrew Fukuda

This was supposed to be an exciting read, reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but I found myself totally underwhelmed by the silly world and unrealistic expectations of The Hunt. First of all, I was not at all connected to Gene, the story's main character, nor could I believe that his ridiculous habits would have really helped him stay hidden in plain sight for his entire life. Secondly, the vampire/monster people of the story had the most bizarre habits - they scratched their wrists in the place of laughter and they rubbed their elbows and armpits to make out. Too much. This was a DNF.

Darkness Before Dawn
(Darkness Before Dawn #1)
J.A. London

This book was too predictable for me with bumpy dialogue and cardboard cutout YA characters. I found myself feeling very ho hum about Dawn and her love interest, Victor, and I didn't really like many of the other characters. I also didn't buy the dystopian world. The things the vampires let the humans keep versus the things they banned just didn't make sense to me. This one had a lot of potential but things just didn't click into place for me. I technically read the entire book, but there was A LOT of skimming involved.

Blade Song
(Colbana Files #1)
J.C. Daniels

I was super excited to read this one after several friends loved it, but clearly I somehow got a totally different book than they did. The main character is supposedly a badass with her sword, to which she has a special connection even. Too bad she rarely used it in the book. She was also not incredibly likable, especially with her not-so-stellar decision making skills. Oh, and the hero shows how much he likes her by slamming her head against a car trunk and choking her until her vocal chords are temporarily damaged. Hot, right? Nope. DNF.

(Struck #1)
Jennifer Bosworth

This was one of my highly anticipated YA books of 2012, so imagine my genuine disappointment that this one was slowly paced, confusing, and riddled with religious undertones. I just couldn't get into it, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn't really understand what the heck was going on with the group of teens that wanted her to join them and I was not even into Jeremy, the love interest. All around a big bummer. DNF.

Boyfriend From Hell
(Saturn's Daughter #1)
Jamie Quaid

This one left me feeling Meh. Tina, the story's heroine, could have maybe been a likable character but I couldn't connect with her and I just couldn't get myself to care what happened to her. I also found the fact that she walked with a limp kind of weird, considering her badass pose on the cover of the book. The worldbuilding was kind of lackluster and may have been explained better as the book went on, but, again, I just couldn't get myself to care that much to keep reading. Lackluster is the best descriptor I can think of. DNF.

Shadow and Bone
(The Grisha #1)
Leigh Bardugo

Although many seem to have loved this book, I did NOT. I was bored with constant info dumps and paragraphs about stupid details like the color of people's clothes but not enough info about the important stuff, like the powers that the Grisha use. I also couldn't look past the glaring plot holes that drove me crazy. This is another case of, "Did I read the same book that everyone else read?". I did actually read this one to its end, but it still didn't impress me.

Alice in Zombieland
(White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Gena Showalter

With a name like Alice in Zombieland I expected a fun and edge-of-my-seat book about zombies. Umm, no. Instead I got a wet noodle for a heroine, plot holes that left me with too many questions, and some sneaky religious undercurrents. I didn't really like Ali and wondered why Cole was so into her, but I especially wondered why there was such a focus on their ridiculous relationship and not enough focus on her training to be a zombie killer. Read this one to the end, but painfully.

Do you agree with my list of disappointments?
Have you read any of these books?
What books do you think should have made my list?

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