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A Good Challenge is Never Hard to Find

I've been extremely busy with work so my blog progress has been slow. I've decided I'm going to make some changes but there will be more on that later. For now I need some motivation to really dig into my TBR pile so I've joined another challenge!

Hosts:

Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie

Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown

Bonnie from Hands and Home -
@HandsHomeBlog

Donna from Book Passion for Life - @BookPforLife

Caitlin from Watch YA Reading - @Caitlingss

Rie from Mission To Read - @Missiontoread

Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette

Christa from Hooked on Books - @ChristasBooks

Jenna from Fans of Fiction - @fansoffiction

Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions



Levels
1-10 - A Firm Handshake (This is my target)
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath #1
Pub Date: 1-24-2012
Pages: 370

"Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's..."


First of all the cover art for this book is amazing, and even more so in person. I felt like I wanted to blow it up and hang it on my wall. With this amazing cover came an amazing book. I adore the way Brodi Ashton has written Everneath.  Starting in the core of the conflict then kind of spreading out both backwards and forward from there. It made the characters a little more endearing I felt by being able to pick and choose the flashbacks. You didn't have to waste time with the filler. It also kept my attention, not only did I want to know what was going to happen, I wanted that glimpse of what did.

Normally I'm all about the bad boy, but I loved Jack's dedication to Nikki. I felt like Cole couldn't hold a candle in that respect. He was interesting and mysterious but I'm not sure I really ever got a grasp on him. Is he really in love with her or does he just want power. He kind of seems confused on the subject himself. While Jack, even though he gets mad at times, even though he was hurt by Nikki, he wants to help her anyway. He cares enough about her to see through all the nonsense. Jules the conflicted best friend fell a little flat for me, but I didn't think she was pivotal to the story so I don't think she was supposed to stand out.

When I was a kid, I read book after book of mythology so I loved how this incorporated some of the myths. I found it was unique and well done, giving them that slightly modern twist but still preserving some of the romanticism myths are known for. It actually made me want to pick up a couple of my mythology books and reread some of the stories.

Honestly I couldn't get enough of this book, I can hardly wait for book two.

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

"Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart." ~goodreads


You can never be too sure how a second book is going to turn out. I feel often times it is really difficult to top a first book in the series but Julie Kagawa delivers with The Iron Daughter. This book is equal to if not better than the first book.

Be warned there might be spoilers

I really liked how this book started out, with Meghan already captive in the Winter kingdom. She reflects on Ash and her journey to there and that Mab pretty much tossed her in a room to deal with her later. She also already has an established frenemie. At first Meghan seems a little bit on the sappy love sick side but I think it makes sense. When the going gets tough she snaps out of it and I like the fact that she has a hard time being mad at Ash even though she wants to.

I felt the journey in this book was more heart wrenching then the previous. I found myself loving characters I previously hated and getting annoyed with ones I previously loved. Not Ash of course he can do no wrong. :o) Some of the dynamics between the characters change and you kind of pause and think hmm.

Of course what's a good book series without a love triangle? It was in the first book but I think it really takes form in the second book. I like that Meghan however isn't just bouncing from guy to guy. She is very truthful about her feelings and doesn't skirt around her own faults in the situation.

The world of Faery that Julie Kagawa has created is addicting. I find myself get a little jolt of excitement when they are going to take a new trod or experience a new area. It's easy to create vivid images in my mind from the detail she puts in to each part of faery.

Charles! I knew it from her second encounter with him. I hope we get a little bit more on that in the third book.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give to much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teasers!
~~~~~~~~~~~
TEASER:

She smiled, vicious and challenging, appraising me. "And what's a cutie like you going to do if I want that abomination out of my home?"

~pg. 174, The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe

Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe

"It’s the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind—part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven. 
    As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, but she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez’s newfound power rockets out of control, it’s a Narcolym who could change her fate… if she can trust him.

    Dez’s guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she's forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she's feared her whole life."~goodreads
Wow I'm so glad they changed the cover to do this book justice. I was immediately engrossed in the world Trisha Wolfe created in Destiny's Fire. I found it to be unique and interesting as the city grew out of the ground in my mind. All the pieces of the world fit together and made sense. The story was fast paced and action filled and I honestly can't think of one slow spot. There was enough twist to keep me interested. I felt like the book had a perfect balance of love and conflict.

The characters were great and easy to connect to and I loved the love triangle. That hardly happens, usually I find myself angry at one of the characters. Instead I could see why Dez was torn, I was torn. I thought I loved Jace, then Reese, the Jace, wait no no I love Reese. I also liked how her character would rather not be either boy then lose either. Dez was strong and loyal and I loved how her friends stand by her, it doesn't matter what she does. Which is how real friends are.





Wallpapery

I had forgotten I had made some wallpapers last week. Both based off of Alice in Wonderland... So this is one of them at least. Very simple.

From wallpapers

Book Trailers

I can either way with book trailers, when they are done well it's great. Sometimes though they can head off into a little bit too cheesy for me realm. I'm very picking and I'm not sure if it is because of my background in Media, or if I'm just picking. I think though simplicity can go a long way. Like this trailer....

You can't Nook me

So I have a firm policy with myself, that I don't do ebooks. Now to be honest I have read books/stories online. I used to read manga translations back in the day before scanlations and them actually be published in America. So I hobbled over to Barnes and Noble and decided to take a peak at the Nook tablet. It was easy to hold and I didn't have to keep one hand on the side of it to keep it from closing in on itself like a paperback would. The screen was bright, I wouldn't need a book light. I really did enjoy the kids book aspect of the thing, being my son (2yrs) is more electronically savvy then I am. It just wasn't the same as a real book. My husband thinks I am nuts and I think is tired of the stacks of books in our house, so I came up with a theory for him. What if the government is tricking us all into getting ereaders so we do away with paper copies of books. So once we have all converted it would be easy for them to control the content that we read. Then banned books could truly be banned. Now it might sound absolutely insane but I figured it was a better argument then saying....I just like them. Which is true, I love the feel, the smell and the way a real book looks. I haven't been convinced to convert yet.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

"Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings. Editor's recommendation." ~goodreads

Intriguing was the word that kept popping into my head when I was reading this book. Lauren DeStefano did an excellent job of making the gears in my head turn the entire way through Wither. I have read many books in the dystopia genre and I feel like the world that was created here is believable. People trying to mess with genetics to create the perfect child...haven't we heard this before in the news. Lauren DeStefano's writing is beautiful and haunting in this book. I easily got lost in the book and it's premise. I feel like most dystopia novels the characters are trying to escape from a situation like this, but here we find the characters knee deep in it right off the bat. I wasn't sure if I would like the whole sister wives idea in this book but honestly it seemed normal while you were reading. Like everyone does that these days.

Rhine, what a great main character. She's strong and has her wits about her. She doesn't give up on her ultimate goal, even when she finds herself getting comfortable in her new life. Rhine's sister wives Jenna and Cecily were the perfect compliment characters. Jenna was so easy to love and Cecily, well you get used to Cecily.

The romance was a little flat for me. I couldn't connect with Gabriel. Even Rhine herself mentions that she isn't sure what the outcome will be between them. I found myself extremely sympathetic to and liking Linden. He was such a weak person in the beginning and you could see how Rhine was making him stronger. It almost seemed that he was standing up to his father about certain request that wouldn't be fulfilled previously. Of course in the mansion there is not much that can go on when someone is always watching.

Vaughn definitely had the creepy factor and who knows what was really going on in his basement. He had the whole mad scientist aura about him and it seemed that many people alluded to how dangerous he was. You almost feel like Rhine could have a happy life at the mansion but you never knew what Vaughn would really be up to. Could Linden's love be enough protection.

All in all, I was extremely intrigued by the book. We find out pieces of what happened to the world through Rhine's memories. Like pieces of a puzzle fitting together. I'm excited to see how things evolve.

Go visit Wither and visit Lauren's blog as well because I think she is hysterical.

TyPos

I have a weird knack for finding typos in books. I spotted three in Anna Dressed in Blood and at least one The Iron King. It doesn't deter me from reading the book, nobody is perfect. I get slightly amused at that moment, read the sentence out loud to myself or to whoever is in the room and then I move on. I am far from being the gramar police, I'm notorious for fragmented sentences myself. It's just kind of funny when you find them in a book that has been reread over and over checking for that very thing.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

"Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart." ~goodreads

I loved the adventure Julie Kagawa took me on in The Iron King. It reminded of so many different stories that I've love. Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland and a little The Never Ending Story. Not in a copycat kind of way at all, this story definitely had it's unique voice. It was a wild ride from beginning to end and I found myself not able to stop reading at some points. The story flowed easily from one conflict from the next and I found it easy to connect to the characters.

I loved Meghan in the book. Probably one of my favorite female heroines. She isn't a complete dip that kept obsessing over every little decision. She is strong when she needs to be and weak when anyone would be. She slowly comes into her true self, rather than walking into Faery and having super powers out of nowhere. I really liked the progression of her character in this book and am excited to see what new surprises lie in store for the rest.

Puck/Robbie is the easy going best friend who obviously has a crush on Meghan. I enjoyed the way his character ligthens the mood. I also like how Julie fits the lore of his character into the story as well. Although I could never picture Meghan with him, he reminds me of every girls best guy friend that is simply a friend. Ash on the other hand, I loved from the minute he was introduce. There is just something about the dark brooding type. I like the fact that he is kind of a villain, not the perfect prince charming. It gives a little more depth to his character. Besides who isn't a villain in the land of Faery. How could I not adore Grim, the matter of fact cat, he says how it is and doesn't spare feelings. I'm interested to see how he uses the "little favors" he seems to be collecting.

I never thought I was into Fey lore, or books about it. The more I read the more I enjoy it. It's a magical world that isn't poises and roses. The Fey are mean spirited and selfish and I'm glad it was kept in tact in The Iron King. The Iron Fey make perfect sense and fit into the story well. What a great job.

The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the romance between Meghan and Ash. I felt I needed a little more to make it believable. I kind of feel like there is more there. He never really acted like he hated her and had shown up in the mortal world which made me wonder how long he had been watching her. There is still much that is a mystery. I can only assume that their story will evolve more in the later books and this was simple the door that leads to that.

Overall what a great book. I couldn't put it down and I'm anxious to get the rest of the books. I'm so glad they are all already out so I don't have to wait.

The Baby Snatchers

So I'm reading The Iron King and the book reminds me of a lot of different stories. Alice in Wonderland and Chronicles of Narnia were a couple that kept popping into my head. Which doesn't bother me because I read those books when I was a kid and loved them. The book also reminded me of a movie that I loved when I was kid called Labyrinth. Now this is a very very 80s style movie and David Bowie plays the Goblin King so there is a lot of very 80s singing but I can't get the stinkin songs out of my head. So if you would like a good laugh, I suggest picking the movie up. If they still even make it anymore. The premise is that Sarah's baby brother has been kidnapped by the Goblin King and she has to go into his world to get him back. Meeting an interesting cast of characters as she goes. If you liked the movie Legend (one of Tom Cruise's first movies) you might actually like it.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

"Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life."

I normally do not read stories about ghost. There was something about the title, Anna Dressed in Blood, that drew me in. I pleasantly and creepily surprised by the quality of this ghost story. There were so many points when I thought in my head, holy crap did that just happen. I usually read late after the kids go to sleep and I found myself hearing every little noise in my house. Kendare Blake's writing sent chills down my spine at points but I couldn't stop reading it. I was so captivated by the characters and what their stories were. I was surprised for some reason every time someone was murdered. It was a creepy roller coaster ride with a lot of twist and turns and things you don't seem coming.

I really liked the characters in this book. Cas, the professional ghost killer, was easy to like. Even though he's shut himself off to the world with a no friends policy. You can see his tenderness in the way he treats his mom and his dedication to finishing what his dad started. Anna, the rampaging murderous ghost, was easy to feel sorry for. Even while she was murdering people before you knew what made her the way she is. Cas's white witch mom, black witch friend and the prom queen made a fun cast of supporting characters. I liked that the prom queen wasn't some mean dim-witted girl like you would expect. I connected to the characters easily.

In general I loved the story and I loved how it was written. It had me by locked in but I felt the end was a little rushed. They introduce a sort of new character and it seems like Kendare kind of speed through his role. I'm wondering if he will make a reappearance in the next book but we will see. It's the only reason I would give this 4.5 stars instead of 5. Even if you don't like ghost stories usually I would read this book.
I made a new button today. I actually have made a couple new wallpapers as well but I'm not sure I'm happy with them yet. Both are Alice in Wonderland inspired and match the couple of new buttons I have. So when I decide what I'm doing with them. I'll post them.

The Book Witch
<div align="center"><a href="http://booklovewitch.blogspot.com" title="The Book Witch" target="_blank"><img src="http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/1575/bookwitchbuttonsteam.jpg" alt="The Book Witch" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Challenge Me

I'm excited for this Challenge because I really need to get through some of my backlog books. So this will definitely motivate me. I'm only doing the 12 book challenge. Let's see how that goes first. I'm excited to make it through my library though.

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

"Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty… " ~goodreads

For some reason the synopsis of this book didn't grab me but the cover and great reviews did. I can't fathom why though, I love Historical Fiction and Fantasy and this book has both. Victorian London is such a great setting for a book like The Faerie Ring and Kiki Hamilton does a great job transporting us there. Not only does she do a great job describing the setting, there is a map provided at the beginning of the book and in the Authors notes at the end she tells you that you can visit the sites if you happen to be in London. If it were possible I would be on the next plane so I could I hang out in St. James Park and look for the fey.

Tiki was a great protagonist. She was strong and witty from the beginning and an expert at picking pockets. Which I have a suspicions that more about her talents will be revealed in later books. I felt like she was a more well rounded character. Her desire for a better life and sometimes just wanting to be a girl in pretty dresses. We see some sparks of jealousy that make her do silly things. Of course it always easy to bond with a character who spends her time in a bookshop. Rieker is of course dark and mysterious, who doesn't love that. I like the way he interacts with Tiki and that you can tell he is somewhat enchanted with her, even if he doesn't blatantly show it. The way the characters play off each other is what makes it believable. One of my favorite parts is when Tiki is trying to explain an argument that she has with him. Leo, Fiona, Shamus and Clara add depth to the story. I enjoyed the characters different qualities as well.

The plot flowed seamlessly. I had a hard time putting the book down. I would find myself reading over a hundred pages without even realizing it. Then I would be sad realizing I was getting close to the end. I'm so glad there are more books in the series otherwise I would be devastated. The way Kiki wraps up this book makes it so if you don't want to read the rest of the series you don't really have to. There was a good balance of unanswered questions and resolution but I'm not sure why anyone would want to stop. I'm excited to find out more about Tiki's life. In London and in the Otherworld. Now I just have to anxiously wait for the next book.

Eek!!! I love the cover!!!

USA Today revealed the cover just moments ago and it's terrific!!

I know people were hoping for a Magnus cover. Go with the theme of the first 3 books and feature one character a piece but this is good too. :o)

Crossed by Ally Condie

 Crossed by Ally Condie

"In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever" ~goodreads


Wow. You never know how a sequel is going to turn out but I felt that Crossed was an excellent second book to Matched. Ally Condie wasted no time getting to the meat of the story which I loved. I didn't feel like there was any slow parts in the book at all. It was fast paced and was easy to get sucked into.

One thing that did bother me is that sometimes I couldn't tell the difference between when KY was narrating and when Cassia was. I would have to double check the chapter title to make sure. It wasn't like that all the time, for the most part you could tell the difference.

I loved the new characters that were introduced and felt the loss when they would leave the story. There was not much of Xander in this book but he was not gone and forgotten. He showed up in their memories and thoughts. You could tell he is still an important part of the story. Cassia seemed to be coming out of her protective shell more and seemed to have more strength and determination then the first book. The other characters had their quirks but there was reasons behind the way they were. I actually started to like Ky in this book more than I did the first but I found myself still cheering for Xander towards the end. Both boys have their secrets. I don't know who Cassia will choose once they unravel.

There are still many unanswered questions about the Society and The Rising. You kind of get the sense that there might be similarities between the two. We seem to be learning about each thing at the same pace as Cassia is. Which makes sense for the story.

I really enjoyed the book and would have given it 5 stars except for the fact that I sometimes got confused between Cassia and Ky voices. Definitely a 4.75 though!!