Friday, March 30, 2012

REVIEW- Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

You can view the synopsis for Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready by clicking the title (via Goodreads.)

First off. Let this be known. A note to the DMP: You can kiss my donkey-butt!!! Love, Kimberly

Welcome to #ZORA Land, (props to whichever #TeamKilt member came up with Zora. I’m so sorry I don’t remember your name.) where you can aboard the Shine-A-Lator; a roller coaster filled with fist clenching, gut wrenching, stomach stays in a fisted knot until the very end, butterflies dancing epicness… and is a whiplash of an emotional ride! Shine is the third and final book in the Shade Trilogy by Jeri Smith-Ready.

The Shade World. Gosh. I (Kimberly) can’t rant enough about it. (Me too! Me too! ~Britney) It’s my favorite fictional world to be in. Every possible sentiment a person could endure is had while reading Shine, along with the first two novels, Shade and Shift (you can view Kimberly's review of Shade and Shift by clicking here). This trilogy is my top favorite in the YA genre and will forever be irreplaceable. I’m locking these books in my heart and throwing away the key. The characters, the plot, the setting, the emotion- Oh, the EMOTION! … just everything. These books are full of young romance, mystery, science, and fate. Each book in this trilogy has a unique premise and the plot has been carried throughout impeccably. The author has a way with words that strike you to the core of your heart and provides such wonderful images in your thoughts. Jeri captures every ounce of our souls in her writing.  It truly makes it a very fascinating experience while reading.

Shine was a huge anticipated read for me and Britney. We thought about reading it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. since we'd heard of its release. Of course obsessing over The Woman Upstairs, Zachary, Logan and sometimes Aura’s tweets kept that feeling very much alive. So, when I (Kimberly) found out that I won an ARC from the author herself, Jeri Smith-Ready, I literally hit the literary lottery! This was an extreme bitter-sweet read for us. Bitter, because we absolutely, without a doubt did not want this series to end; but sweet because of the perfect ending; the discoveries, the closure. Thank the literary Gods Jeri announced she will write a novella in Zachary’s POV, called Shattered. And may we request a spin-off series of the Shade trilogy, please? That would just be splendid!

By page 2 the sobbing queen in us made her appearance. “One boy was gone forever. The other was gone now.” OH.MY.EFFBOMBS! We were a complete snotty mess. Plenty of tears were shed and wide smiles of happiness were endured during reading Shine. Different scenarios filtered through our heads as we read each sentence and we had to tell ourselves to just read!

(The next two paragraphs are character/scene descriptive in a non-spoilery manner.)

Logan is with us in warming spirit and is kept alive through memories. “Now that he’d found his peace, we each had to search for our own.” Oh dears… *Holds self. Rocks back and forth.* Our favorite little mack-daddy Keeley brother to crush over, Dylan, makes his come back. The ever loathing DMP (WE SPIT ON YOU! *HUCKpooot*) is present along with an adjoining partner. Aura and Aunt Gina still share their snippity-snappity love and we adore the BFFness that Megan and Aura have. High fives to Siobhan and Connor. And Micky, we just want to give him a BIG hug lock. -- May we interrupt this paragraph with a note from Britney: Ok, Micky is actually one of my favorite characters! I constantly want to throw my arms around him and tell him everything will be ok. If he were real, he would be my project. Goals: make him smile, make him laugh, make him kiss me. Umm, sorry Megan. Ok, I’m done. Long story short. I. LOVE. MICKY. -- Now that, that was stated, moving on (LOL)… Some new characters were introduced and we cannot wait for you to meet Martin! He is just absolutely fuckin’ adorbs! All of these fantastic characters Jeri has in this trilogy made a lasting impression on us. And a little worship from me, Kimberly: In the name of Logan, Zachary, Dylan, and Martin, Fic-men. These boys will forever be known to me as the Holy Quadrupinity.

Aura really shimmered in Shine. We get to see her bravest side and all that she’ll face to be with Zachary. She’s so kick-ass and is a real spit fire. She is by far a favorite female character of ours and possesses a true nature. 

Have mercy we were so worried about our sexy, swoon-worthy green eyed sugar tush, er, Zachary. The boy totally makes warmth spread throughout our chests. (It’s a Zachary thing.) “Like I was a pane of shattered glass, and you’re the only glue that’ll stick.” Oh our heart. It made us wanna swaddle him! The challenges Aura and Zachary had to encounter threw us through a maze of angst.  And- Aye, Aye, Aye!!! The infamous castle scene we’ve been hearing about and waiting for… *coughs- Prince of Wank- coughs* IT WAS PERFECT AND BY FAR THE BEST YOUNG ADULT INTIMATE SCENE WE’VE EVER READ! (I actually texted Kim nearly that exact same sentence when I read the scene!!!! ~Britney) Oh my smack! Zach attack! Hot damn that boy is so sweet he gives us a cavity.

Jeri has mentioned both on Twitter and in the Acknowledgements of Shine that the band Frightened Rabbit was used for inspiration in writing Shine. In honor of that, here's our favorite song by FR, In Living Colour. Thanks to her, we’ve become a fan of the band.

 **Oh, and as a great little surprise, we, along with tons of other awesome #Team Kilt members, are listed in the Acknowlegements! Yep, WE’RE. IN. A. FREAKIN’. BOOK! ;) Thanks Jeri, we appreciate you for appreciating us so much!!!!

By the way. N.F.F!!!! #Team Kilt 4-eva!

The release date for Shine is scheduled for May 1st. You can pre-order a signed by the author copy at Constellation Books, Jeri’s local indy book store, or a copy at Barnes and Noble/Amazon/The Book Depository. Don’t forget to order the re-designed Shade and Shift paperback copies, which both match the prettiness of Shine’s cover. (Shade- Constellation Books/B&N/Amazon - Shift- Constellation Books/B&N/Amazon) You can view bonus material for the Shade Trilogy by heading over to Jeri Smith-Ready's blog (side panel) by clicking here.

Thanks for checking our review out. We give Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready FIVE zillion out of this world stars!!!

Kimberly and Britney

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Early Review: THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman

AUTHOR: Robin Wasserman
PUBLISHER: Random House Children’s Books
IMPRINT: Alfred A. Knopf BFYR
PUB. DATE: April 10th, 2012
CATEGORY: Fiction – Juvenile
SOURCE: Netgalley

One girl is determined to find the truth and avenge the dead.

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Thoughts:

This book was incredibly impressive! The storyline, the characters, and the history were impeccable, and I could not put it down. I’m actually having a difficult time putting how I feel about this book into words. I’m trying very hard not to just sit here and gush about it, because I really want to convey how I loved every aspect of THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW.  It’s complicated; every part of it, but in an incredibly good way. So, I’m going to attempt to lay it out without stepping all over myself in excitement. So, here it goes.

The Story:
The attention to detail was amazing, in both the historical and fictional aspects. Everything was so well developed that I felt like I understood everything Nora did and why she didn’t understand some things.  The complexities of some plots often cause confusion for some readers; however, the complexities within The Book of Blood and Shadow, though numerous, were so well developed, explained, and executed, that I found the confusion limited to the things Nora found confusing. The history was intricately and seamlessly woven into the fiction, and the past was fascinating. I’m not usually a history buff, but the Voynich manuscript and the historical locations and events were amazing. The Latin ingrained in the story was intriguing, and the Elizabeth letters, though fictional, were fantastic and well written! The imagination behind the Lumen Dei and the societies associated with it, the Hledacˇi and Fidei Defensor, was incredibly imaginative and the histories behind them were detailed and believable. I would not have been able to separate fact from fiction without the details being provided.** I also loved how part of the story was set in Prague, and there are several historical locations visited. The setting really added to the story and made it memorable.

The Characters:
The characters in The Book of Blood and Shadow are, well, amazing and so are the relationships between them.  Nora, the main character and narrator, is extremely intellectual. She translates Latin texts at a college for fun, and I love that the narration is so in character. The word choices for her reflect her level of education and her interests in Latin. I could clearly see how her past affected her present and how the relationships she had were affected by it as well. So overall, she is an extremely well developed character, and I felt so close to her that I wanted to cry with her even when she wouldn’t allow herself to do so. I felt her every pain, loss, and betrayal, and when she was alone I felt alone. It was truly amazing. After a while, I could even tell when she was lying to herself, and only seeing what she wanted to see. It was heartbreaking and eye-opening at the say time.

There are four other characters of significance (in my opinion). The first two are Nora’s best friends Chris and Adriane. These three have been inseparable since they first met, and their relationships to each other are as complex as the plot while at the same time as simple as can be. I don’t want to give any part of the story away, so I will just leave it at that, but this relationship is an aspect of the plot that was very important. There’s also Max, Chris’s best friend, and Nora’s boyfriend. He’s one of the most complex characters in the story. He’s the group transplant that makes Nora no longer the “3rd wheel” but he doesn’t exactly fit in seamlessly. And he’s just as vague about his past as Nora is, which seems to suit her just fine. Max’s motivations and actions are a huge source of mystery and unease, and his devotion to Nora is, well interesting.

The fourth character, and perhaps my favorite, is the mysterious Eli. I don’t want to give away his role in the story, but he quickly became my favorite. His diverse skills, questionable family background, and ability to show up at the best and worst of times was surprising. And the relationship he develops with the group and his interactions with minor characters along the way left me, along with Nora, questioning his every move. He seems to play the role of Nora’s protector, but that’s supposed to be Max’s role. The developments among the group dynamics become complex and problematic; relationships are challenged, betrayals are confirmed, and lives are never the same.

A creepy tale of murder, betrayal, history and mystery, that will mesmerize and entrance teens and adults alike.

**Details regarding the fictional and historical aspects (including plot and characters) provided by the author in the Afterword of the book.

Pre-Order Here:
Random House

ROBIN WASSERMAN is the author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Hacking Harvard, and the Skinned trilogy, which bestselling author Scott Westerfeld called "spellbinding." She has a master's degree in the history of science, and is fascinated by Renaissance philosophy, religion, magic, science, and the interplay among them. She lives in Brooklyn.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forbidden Deals: 1 Day Only + Free Books!

She reads minds.

He controls minds.

Together, they might get out alive.

Everyone loves to dabble in the forbidden, which is why Evolved Publishing is giving you a free teaser into the award-winning Forbidden Trilogy by author Kimberly Kinrade.

On Tuesday, March 27th, Forbidden Mind, a YA paranormal thriller/romance and winner of the Forward National Literature Award, will be FREE on Amazon, on the same day the sequel, Forbidden Fire, launches!

Read a free sample of Forbidden Mind and get it FREE here>>

**Read my (Britney) review of Forbidden Mind here. 

Check out some of these reviews:

"...a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment." - Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

"Do not make any plans on the day you begin, as once you start, you will not be able to put it down." - L.M. Stull

"...hooked me in from the beginning." - L.E. Manning

"Forbidden Mind is beautifully written and worth your reading time." - BookWormSans

Sam thinks she's months away from freedom. After spending her life in a secret school, rented out to the rich and powerful as a paranormal spy, she is ready to head to college like any normal eighteen-year-old.

Only Sam isn't normal. She reads minds. And just before her big going-away party, she links to the mind of a young man who changes everything.

Drake wasn't raised as a 'Rent-A-Kid.' He was kidnapped and taken there by force. But his exceptional physical strength and powers of mind control make him very dangerous, especially to Sam.

When they meet, Sam is forced to face the truth of her situation, and to acknowledge that not all is as it seems in her picture-perfect world. For what awaits her on her eighteenth birthday isn't a trip to college, but an unexpected nightmare from which she may not be able to escape.

To survive, they must work together.

But will their powers be enough to save them before it's too late?

Get it FREE here>


More Forbidden?

Do you like to have the next book in a series ready to go before you read the first? Have you already read Forbidden Mind and are chomping at the bit to find out what happens next?

 The sequel, Forbidden Fire, officially launches on Tuesday as well. Twice the length as Forbidden Mind, with more of the characters we love: Sam, Drake, Lucy and Luke! So get Forbidden Mind for free and pick up the sequel at the same time.

Read a sample and get Forbidden Fire here>>

About Forbidden Fire

She escaped, but she'll never be free.

"Time held no meaning as my mind darted in and out of memories. Past and present collided to create a full-sensory collage out of my life: playing hide-n-seek with my best friends Luke—who always cheated by walking through walls when he was about to be caught—and Lucy; Mr. Caldrin critiquing my sketches and offering ideas to make them more realistic; targets changing faces, blending into the same person, their thoughts rippling through my mind like waves. Through it all, a demon stalked me from the shadows of my memories, never quite showing its face, but crouching, waiting.

And then I dreamed...."

Sam and Drake may have escaped, but they aren't free—not with a powerful Seeker after them. As Sam struggles with the ethics of her new powers and embraces a blossoming physical relationship with Drake, Lucy and Luke face challenges of their own.

With forces coalescing inside and outside the Rent-A-Kid dorms, it's only a matter of time before the fire they started forces each of them to make choices they can't undo. But will it be enough to save them?

Read a sample of Forbidden Fire and get it here>>


More FREE books?

Yup! It's not over yet! Evolved is offering 8 more free books on Tuesday, in addition to Forbidden Mind, including Kimberly Kinrade's children's illustrated fantasy chapter book, Lexie World.

Written for 4-9 year olds, but great for all ages, Lexie discovers the consequences of her littering. Lexie World is overrun by Garbage Goblins and she and her sisters must cross the Waters of Waste, climb the Mountain of Lost Clothes, and retrieve a piece of the Mirror of Ice, in order to break the curse and save the world.

With the help of her new Unicorn friends, Lexie must find the courage to face her fears and find her true self in this wonderful adventure book for children.

Read a sample of Lexie World and get it FREE here>>

And if you like this book, check out the next in the series, Bella World. Bella learns important lessons about sharing and anger from a misunderstood Dragon in Bella World.

Read a sample of Bella World here>>

Want another YA paranormal fantasy, a zombie western, an epic fantasy, a psychological thriller, an inspirational memoir, a Native American historical fiction and an anthology for FREE as well? Check them out here>>

Wow! What a day. Fill up your kindle for FREE and enjoy 9 great books, plus pick up 2 sequels.

No Kindle? No problem! Amazon offers free apps for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or smart phone right under the BUY button on the product page. Just download and enjoy a ton of FREE books.

Enjoy all these great books and come back and tell us what you thought. We'd love to hear about your favorites.

Forbidden deals never looked so good!

Monday, March 26, 2012

ADULT REVIEW- One Foot in the Grave by Jeanine Frost

You can view the synopsis for One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost by clicking the title (via Goodreads).

Hello Kitten!

One Foot in the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost is book 2 of Night Huntress Series and takes place four years after Cat’s adventures in vamp hunting and lusting over Bones in Halfway to the Grave. Cat continues her vengeance in tracking down rogue vampires and now works for the secret agency that she gave Bones up for. NOTE: Only for his protection. Screw emotional distance Cat! Jump on dem Bones! Every nerve in my body was craving for Cat and Bones to be together again and when they met up by coincidence, I was all SQUEEEEEEEE!!! I mean, I was in serious pain from their distance but the author didn't keep me waiting too long before their reunion.

Cat suffered from being away from Bones (and so did I) and when she sees him again, she knows she can’t part with him. Is she willing to take the risk in having him in her life? True meaning: “Once you go dead, no one’s better in bed.”  Why Bones, yes. Yes you are! Chapter 32- Talk about total tickle my fancy! 

We were well acquainted to Cat’s trusty mortal sidekicks in this book, and Cat’s ever so manipulative mother continues her tirade on vampires. (I may or may not have a crush on Tate. We’ll leave that to be determined in my reading of books 3-6.)

In this novel we get to see just how dedicated Bones is to Cat. Their passion for each other doesn’t disappoint. Cat understands how deep Bones love is for her and that he will go through any length to be with her. When she has a hit on her back, she realizes how much she needs him.

This novel was full of torment, longing, passion and non-stop action. I give it 5 stars.


ADULT REVIEW - Requiem for the Devil by Jeri Smith-Ready

You can view the synopsis for Requiem for the Devil by Jeri Smith-Ready by clicking the title (via Goodreads).

As you all know, I’m an avid fan of Jeri Smith-Ready’s work. What? You didn’t know that? ;) I was very excited to read her very first stand alone adult novel, Requiem for the Devil, published in the late 90’s. And oh what a delightful, interesting, dark, sexy, and at times humorous read this was for me!! Even in the beginning of this woman’s writing career she captured my attention from the first chapter. While I read, the perfect visions danced in my mind. 

Jeri had each chapter title written in Latin and it was quite appealing to decipher to English. Plus I received a little biblical education from the Appendix in the back.

Love overcomes beliefs.

I fear the devil. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? But, hell (ha ha, pun!) Jeri made Lucifer all lust worthy, Mr. Smooth Operator swooney- sheesh! *Imagines him playing piano and violin* I must admit, I practice his explanation of the Holy Trinity quite diligently. “Drinks. Dinner.  And Dancing.” Ha! Perfection. Lucifer and his posse, especially Beezlebub (dude cracked me up!) made me want to take a walk on the wild side!

Lucifer provoked evil and disaster… I mean, he was the devil. He was a magnet for despair and he fed on it; that was until…. Low and behold he met the fabulously mortal Gianna, and then his sexy, vulnerable side was revealed and we learned what he feared too.

Raphael gave the best advice to Lucifer. These words struck me and are so true. “If you follow love, you can’t go wrong, even if It leads to disaster. Trust It.”

I thought it was awesome the devil fell head over heels for Gianna. The desire they shared was so intense and it was quite an experience to follow the journey of their relationship and the hope and sacrifices they made and gave to each other. I really connected with Gianna, as I shared some of her same thoughts on religion and political rights. She was a very strong minded character. In fact, some of her dialogue made me think about things. The chick was a total liberated B.A. and she put the P in punk rocker! Wait til’ you read the lyrics she belted out… Babes in Toyland style.

The ending was a complete shocker to me. I didn’t expect a single word of it. However, there was  peaceful closure to this book.

Requiem for the Devil was a very thought provoking book in my eyes. It’s a recommended read for those who have an open mind with religion and politics. Although it was dark, it was very tastefully written and I found a positive premise to this story full of angst, love, and choices. This was definitely a clamp jaw of a read and being that I shared a good bit of the beliefs in this book; it was a powerful read for me. No matter the genre of Jeri’s work, I will forever escape into it.

Oh, and P.S. – DO NOT call Lucifer, Satan.

I give Requiem for the Devil 5 stars.