Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nobody's Damsel

Author: Emily Mah Tippetts

Source: Paperback from author.

Summary: (goodreadsChloe has finished her masters degree and taken a job as a forensic scientist back in her home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, only the press will not leave her alone. They follow her to crime scenes and report on her every move, eager to show that her marriage to Hollywood A-lister, Jason Vanderholt, is on the brink of collapse. Millions of fans who dream of their own celebrity romance with him want this more than anything. This scrutiny comes at a particularly bad time as Chloe's first case is a crime against a child roughly the same age that Chloe was when she survived a homicide attempt.

Now that she sees the case from an adult's perspective, she realizes it's much harder than she ever dreamed. It's even worse for Jason, who is two steps removed from the crime. He must watch and try to support his wife as she battles with past demons and tries to keep up with a nameless suspect who evades identification and capture. Never has Jason been more frustrated with his job, its frivolities, and its lack of connection to the real world. When he storms off the set of his latest movie, the press goes wild with conjecture. While he says he wants to work on a project that means something, his agent and manager fear this may be the end of his time in the spotlight. Perhaps he never was anything more than a pretty face after all.

Together, Chloe and Jason must find their way past all the popping flashbulbs and through the dark maze of the criminal investigation to discover whether they can balance their professional goals with the demands of a celebrity marriage. The odds are entirely against them

Review: Better than the first book, Nobody's Damsel has much more than a girl's love story to share with the reader. This one is about what happens after achieving your dreams. Does it end there? Does that fairy-tale love last forever? There is so much more that happens after the gorgeous wedding and things don't always turn out according to plan.

The realistic scenarios in Chloe's marriage connect her with the reader. After graduating with her degree, Chloe's dreams change. Now she is determined to get involved with the victims, but that really isn't part of her job. This journey will be about how to juggle work with family. About how work must stay work and also the emotional turmoil associated with traumatic jobs. Not everyone can take on such a challenge, but Chloe Winters is almost fearless. The part that isn't is kept under lock and key, but Jason must step in to make their marriage work.

Either Tippetts writing has highly improved, or Chloe's new life has made for such a great book. I only took a break from it when I was forced to answer the call of nature, but the story never left me. I appreciate the honesty with which the novel progresses. The reality is what is portrayed, although marrying a celebrity may not really be all that realistic...But sure is nice to think about. Just know that, for Chloe, it isn't all rainbows and roses. Excellent read!

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Other Books in the Series:

1. Somebody Else's Fairytale (review) (goodreads)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ambril's Tale: Return of the Dullaith

Author: Wendy D. Walter

Source: Publisher

Summary: Fourteen-year-old, Ambril struggles with the mystery surrounding her father’s death when she moves back to the mysterious town where she was born. When she accidentally uncovers a secret which threatens to destroy her entire family, she continues her quest, against all odds, to clear her father’s name. But will she be able to claim her magic and and heal the rifts in her family?

Review: Hello! Today I am happy to be part of the blog tour for Ambril's Tale. The author will also be guest posting on January 3rd. Subject? Gnomes xD Apart from my review, keep scrolling to read an excerpt from the book and also a list of other blogs hosting. Although I am not holding a giveaway for this one, others on the tour are. And Wendy herself is giving away a hand-painted gnome, so be sure to check that out below. And on to the review!

Whoa. I think that is the best single word to describe my experience with this distinct work. From the get go,  Ambril is a character easy to sympathize with. She has had to move so many different times and her family is like the symbol of dysfunctional. Seemingly normal, her mom is pretty high strung and the sibling rivalry is intense.

The crazy factor is sky high in the beginning and just overwhelming. As the story progressed, things started to get explained and it was easier to swallow that vegetables had been raining from the sky. Although wacky, the writing and the non-chalance of the characters make it a whole new world to be a part of. Ambril is a wonderful main character and I look to reading more about her unusual abilities.

Favorite scene? So many funny things happen in this ridiculous novel, but my personal favorite is the one with the garden gnomes. Grumpy and cynical. Absolutely my favorite characters ever!

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Excerpt Chapter Five

Chapter 5: Fowlclun to the Rescue

Ambril sighed as her thoughts brought her back to the present. So here she was, feeling safe and snug. Deep down though, she knew the chicken-legged monster had done her in.

Well, at least her death had been painless. It smelled nice in heaven too, kind of like cookies. But when she tried to turn her head, she realized that she hadn’t made it to heaven yet. Pain shot through her body, making her wince. She was definitely still alive. She gingerly explored the top of her head and found a throbbing lump. Someone had thoughtfully placed an ice-filled cloth on it, which almost helped. That was what covered her eyes. She thought about the chicken-legged monster again. Silhouetted against the sky, the thing had been as big as a house.

So why wasn’t she dead?

Her limited experience with monsters had been that they generally wanted to eat her, not tuck her into bed with an ice pack.

So just where was she? Then she became aware of the odd, rocking sensation again. Wherever she was, she seemed to be moving.

There were also sounds of movement nearby. She heard the whuffle of fabric, the crinkle of paper, and a grating ping, as if someone were hopping around on a metal-tipped pogo stick. There were whispers too. Perhaps the monsters were planning a dinner party–with her as the main course.

She had to find out. Slowly, Ambril reached up and moved the ice pack from her eyes. She was lying in a huge bed layered with patchwork quilts. The vaulted ceiling above her was covered with a fuzzy, warm fabric. Judging by the swinging lanterns hanging from the rafters, they were moving along at speed. She looked around with her eyes half closed. The spacious room was filled with comfortable furniture which had softened with age. As far as she could tell, she was alone. Where were the whispers coming from?

She took another look. There was an old-fashioned kitchen, a huge stone fireplace, and an umbrella hopping around all by itself.

She stopped and looked again.

As she watched, the umbrella flapped its fabric as it preened. The ornate bird’s head carved on the handle yawned and blinked. Ambril scanned the room quickly and swallowed hard when she saw a feather pen sweeping crumbs off a kitchen table.

What had happened to the world? Ambril’s body went rigid as she clamped her eyes shut and wished she could just reset the clock, go to sleep and wake up in her old familiar room with the sound of the streetcars outside.

But what was she thinking? They didn’t even live in San Francisco anymore. In fact, they didn’t live anywhere. Even if she managed to escape, how would she ever find her family? She imagined herself tacking up signs all over the forest:

One blonde mother - One grumpy brother
If found, send up a flare

She had to smile at that and smiling helped calm her. Her breathing evened out just as the whispers became loud enough for her to make out what was being said.

“–Such a slip of a thing and chilled to the bone. How she ever took on a Dullaith is beyond my thinking!” A young girl’s voice tisk-tisked from across the room.


Giveaway Info

Stop by Wendy's website to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. There will be surprise prizes and you can enter to win the grand prize of a gnome hand-painted by Wendy! Oh and don't forget to come back  here on January 3rd when Wendy will be here to guest post on guess what? Gnomes! Gotta love those awesome creatures :)

Click here to see the other stops on the tour and enter their contests for a paperback or e-book version of this quirky book. Or look below. This list was taken right off Wendy's site.

About The Author: Wendy D. Walter
Writing was an early passion for Wendy. As a kid, she wrote lots of stories, but being shy, they usually ended up under the mattress. When she finally set out to tell Ambril’s Tale, she decided not to write a story but a world, full with her own marvelous illustrations. She considers The Return of the Dullaith as just the curly tip of the fairy boot. Wendy lives near San Francisco with her husband, daughters, cat and border collie. More information about Wendy's book and art, check her site:


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18: Top Ten Books I Read In 2012

This weekly feature was created by the gals over at The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to see upcoming topics! This week is the top ten books read in 2012 and it was certainly a challenge to choose ONLY ten. I scoured my blog and my goodreads and my library checkouts and came up with these. Although not all of these received five stars, they stayed with me a lot longer. Being memorable is one of the most important things for the books I end up re-reading and consequently recommending long after my reader high.

In no particular order, these are my top ten:

1. Burning Blue by Paul Griffin: There will be a review here sometime soon for this one, but I've just got to say that it surpassed all my expectations. The characters where heartbreakingly real, and the psychological aspects explored in this novel were so much more in depth than I would expect from a YA novel. The writing was great, and the villain was someone that I couldn't have foreseen. Suspenseful and action-packed.

2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: It is under 24 hours that two people meeting under less than desirable circumstances find the answer a whole lot of their individual problems. I can't express how believable the romance is in this story. Skeptics of first love will also be convinced that the relationship between Hadley and Oliver is based on a whole lot more than just looks. You can check out my review for PBR here.

3. Mad Science Institute by Sechin Tower: Guess what? This book is from a small publisher and although I had my prejudices when I started it, Mad Science Institute is a book that I will re-read. The main character is absolute hilarious! And the comic-book villain is loads of fun. A definitely unique cast of characters and compelling storyline got this one on my top ten. My review here.

4. Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran: This is probably the longest book I read this year at a hefty 446 pages. But every single one of those pages was compelling and full of soooooooo much information. I had to take frequent breaks just to absorb the events surrounding it, but this overload was effective in getting a response of distress out of me as I imagined what our main character was going through. It spans a huge period of time, but gives the reader a wonderful story and accurate information on the French Revolution at the same time.

5. all these things i've done by Gabrielle Zevine: If I absolutely had to choose a favorite of the year, this one would probably be it. Words are lacking to describe how I feel about this book. Although it wasn't as...criminally as would have been expected, the story was still superb. My review.

6. Fracture by Megan Miranda: Something about this book just got to me. The characters aren't always good people and the story itself isn't something uber spectacular. But the way the writing managed to weave magic and reality into something almost seamless was astounding. It was just one of those books that you don't know why you loved it so much.

7. Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier: Usually I am extremely wary of anything sounding like epic fantasy, mostly after trying, trying and failing to get through the 2nd book in the Inheritance Cycle. But this! Up my alley. Imaginative and action-packed, I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel. Review here.

8. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver: I actually read Delirium over the summer...but it just didn't live up to the hype. Lena seemed more like a twelve-year-old than anything with all the clingy-ness and pity-partying and just general whining. But I liked the story and I liked the writing, so I had to read on. And let me tell you that Lena grows up for this one. Her new-found strength made this book ten times better. There was also another great storyline with lots of fights and surviving and such. Although the romance less than convinced me, that ending was akdjskdjkds!!! High hopes for the next one!

9. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa: Published in 2010, this series blew up the blogosphere, but I am always wary of things that sound too good to be true. When I crossed paths with this book at my  library, I decided to see if it was worth the praise. And yes. Yes it is. There are no typical characters in this novel. All of them are different from what I expected and although they at first seem to fit a mold, as I progressed through the story, they revealed their gray areas. I've yet to pick up the other books in the series, but I promise to do so eventually! Review here.

10. Just One Wish by Janette Rallison: It is melodramatic. Sad, but moving. Family loyalty is a very strong theme in this book and although meeting a hot actor seems way out there, the writing will make you believe it possible. Wonderful book.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Author: Amy Brecount White

Source: Library

Summary: (goodreads) Something-some power-is blooming inside Laurel. She can use flowers to do things. Like bringing back lost memories. Or helping her friends ace tests. Or making people fall in love.
Laurel suspects her newfound ability has something to do with an ancient family secret, one that her mother meant to share with Laurel when the time was right. But then time ran out.
Clues and signs and secret messages seem to be all around Laurel at Avondale School, where her mother had also boarded as a student. Can Laurel piece everything together quickly enough to control her power, which is growing more potent every day? Or will she set the stage for the most lovestruck, infamous prom in the history of the school?

Review: My favorite part of this novel was the love relationship. Laurel and Justin were very slow in revealing their feelings which is something that can be lacking in many teen novels. There was more chemistry there, I felt, because of the gradual-ness of their progression. It was sweet! And made me smile all goofy-like! The concept of girls giving guys magical flower bouquets allows for some fairly funny business.

Laurel sometimes does act very young for her age, but it fits fairly well with her personality. She is kind of all over the place, what with having strange powers and trying to figure out the entire school's problems. The kind of magic that she can work may have some dreadful consequences for some of those exposed to it, but this book will be an interesting ride!

Rating: 1 2 3 3.5 4 5

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pretty Little Liars: Killer

Author: Sarah Shepherd

Source: Library

Summary: (goodreads) In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie— and so do Rosewood's four prettiest girls.
Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things—things they had to keep secret for years. And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn't die with her.
Hanna's on a mission to corrupt Rosewood's youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria's snooping into her boyfriend's past. Spencer's stealing— from her family. And pure little Emily's abstaining from abstinence.
The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali's killer was arrested and A's true identity was finally revealed. But now there's a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

Review: Another amazing book in the Pretty Little Liars series. I am so anxious to get my hands on the next one because some answers should begin to be revealed to this whole mess. The suspense of these books just grows and grows and grows and so does my addiction to them.

In Killer, there is a slight change in atmosphere. Things are getting darker and there is more attention to the emotional side of the Pretty Little Liars. The jabs from A are getting more serious while the reader is left wondering just how much A is really controlling and not whether A simply was a catalyst for the actions of the Pretty Little Liars. The psycho factor is definitely amped up in this book. And I feel I am going crazy too from all the theories I've tried to form.

It all seems like a huge conspiracy involving everyone in Rosewood and it leaves me anxious for an explanation. How can so many things go so right for A while they go so wrong for our main characters. I pity them really. Killer had an awesome-but-more-questions-than-answers ending to it that left me breathless. If you haven't read these books yet, please do so. Murder, mind-games, lies, and four pitiful Rosewood girls trying to get through the grief and guilt of losing a friend will make your world spin.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 4.5 5

This is number 6 in the Pretty Little Liars series.