Jan 30, 2014

"Cursed" by Lizzy Ford

Title: Cursed

Author: Lizzy Ford

Series: Voodoo Nights, #1

Publisher: Evatopia Press

Publication date: February 9th, 2014

My rating: 2 of 5

(Book read from January 19th to January 20th, 2014,  from an eARC received from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review.)


The Red Man is coming ...
Five years after her sister disappeared, seventeen-year-old Adrienne finds the strength to return to her father’s home in New Orleans. But soon after she arrives, the mark of a curse appears on her, leaving her worried. Will she be the next victim of a four-hundred-year old family curse ... the next to be claimed by a serial killer roaming the back alleys of the city?
The day before his senior year begins, Jayden is given a skeleton key passed down through his family for generations -- a gruesome reminder of how his ancestors betrayed their own people and sold them into slavery. He doesn’t believe in the curse the key allegedly bears and puts it away with the intention of forgetting about its message. Until he meets Adrienne, a girl he’s compelled to for more reasons than her beauty.
He’s not the only one who notices her. A man in a skeleton mask and a voodoo gang member are also drawn to Adrienne. One is determined to protect her. The other intends to mislead her. Haunted by the mythical Red Man, all are connected to the ancient curse.
Can they overcome their misgivings about one another and prevent the dark prophecy looming over them? Or will they be lured away from each other by evil’s siren song? 

My Thoughts on the Book:


First of all, I have to say that this won't be a good review, but I'll try not to turn it in a rant.
Cursed has a very good premise & idea for a great story. A mix of potentially interesting characters, curses, voodoo, prophecy, mystery & a serial killer - it definitely looked like an interesting story when I started reading it, but that's all just it was - a potentially good story, but the execution of it really, really sucked.

The biggest problem for me were without a doubt the characters. They were just so, so silly. The way they act, the way they think, just silly & ridiculous. At first, I found them a little bit amusing with their silliness, and for most of the book I was snorting at them (I know, not a pretty image). But, their continued silliness & increasing stupidity made everything worse, I couldn't even try disliking them, they just weren't worth it.

I don't even want to talk about each character separately, because I probably want be able to stop myself from ranting.

The second biggest problem was the writing itself. There were these sentences (mostly when describing a character's attractiveness), that they really felt out of place. It was like they suddenly jumped straight from an adult paranormal romance & they decided to join the party. They were so weird & absurd among the rest of this silliness. 

And the "romance", if I can say that it was a romance - almost awful. It could've been cute, if it was only between Jayden & Adrienne, but it ended up being bad also. Adrienne was all over the place, really inconsistent & flaky, also quite gullible.

In the end, even though Cursed wasn't the worst book I've ever read, it was definitely the most ridiculous one, and I'm sad to say it. I usually love those books where the deeds in the past have consequences in the future, where the past is connected with the present & the future, and on top of that, there is mystery & curses, and magic, etc. But, unfortunately, the author just didn't deliver, so I can't recommend this book, even though I know there are those who had enjoyed it a lot, so, thanks, but, no thanks.



Jan 29, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday #145: Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Shadow Hand
(Tales of Goldstone Wood, #6)
Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Publication date:
February 1st, 2014

She will take your own two hands
to save your ancient, sorrowing lands.

By her father's wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. Unable to bear the future she sees as her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.
But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal fey parasite . . . .
A world that is hauntingly familiar.
What are you waiting for this week?
Leave me your WoW links!

Jan 28, 2014

"The Christmas Train" by David Baldacci

Title: The Christmas Train

Author: David Baldacci

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

My rating: 5 of 5

(Book read from November 8th, 2013 to January 28th, 2014,  from an e-copy received from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review.) 


Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to L.A. in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight "misunderstanding" at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people's essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost. 

Equal parts hilarious, poignant, suspenseful, and thrilling, David Baldacci's THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischiefand shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles.  


My Thoughts on the Book:

The Christmas Train was simply a delight to read. After the slow beginning (which was the reason why after starting it in November, I put it aside until now), I was sucked in & had the time of my life. Despite the holidays being over, reading this book made me feel like it's the holiday season all over again, and the snow that started falling here today only contributed to that feeling, so it was the perfect day for me to return to this book, and once I did, I couldn't stop reading it until I finished it.

You know those lovely Christmas or holiday-themed movies that bring you a smile to your face every time you watch them, and you'll never get bored with them, well, The Christmas Train was like that. It was fun, with some colorful & interesting & lovable characters, it was humorous, sweet, and it had a mystery, some romance, delightful dialogues, an unexpected twist at the end, and even some danger. It might not have been the most perfect book, but it was the perfect holiday-themed book, and I'm glad I read it.

I highly recommend this book to every lover of Christmas-themed, or just holiday-themed stories!

Jan 27, 2014

"Daughter of Smoke & Bone" by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1

My rating: 5 of 5

(Book read from January 8th to January 20th, 2014,  for a read-along.)  


Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Thoughts on the Book:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is one of the most hauntingly & beautifully written books. I just have to start with the setting & the author's writing style. The way Laini Taylor manages to capture the atmosphere of Prague & the rest of the cities & places in this book is absolutely amazing. She will enthrall you & enchant you, so you will feel like you can almost see & feel those streets, that art, those characters, that world. Slowly, she will spin a web around you with her words, and before you realize, you'll be caught between that place where you want to continue reading, yet at the same time, you don't, because you don't want to leave that place. Almost every second of it was woven perfectly, and I'm glad I finally read this book, because I didn't know what I was missing.

As for the story, I thought it was great, and I was actually quite surprised by it, at least at first. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of books with angels, probably why I've been postponing reading this book, but I loved Laini Taylor's spin on them, it was definitely unexpected & different. And even though it was a little bit on the obvious side about who Karou is, that didn't diminish at all my enjoyment.

One thing I didn't like was the whole "Romeo & Juliet" spin - it was fine for a meeting place, but that whole "Paris" thing I really, really didn't like, though maybe it was necessary, I don't know, I haven't decided, but after overcoming my unhappiness about it, and returning to the book, in the end it definitely worked.

I thought that all the characters were quite interesting & intriguing & unique & likable, but my favorite without a doubt was of course Karou.

If you're like me, and you still haven't read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, what are you waiting for? This book is so, so great! Especially, if you love books that are written in such a life-like & fantastic way, then this book is a must-read for you, and I can't recommend it enough.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is now one of my favorite books, and I can't wait to read the sequel, and I'm definitely going to read everything else Laini Taylor writes, too.



Jan 26, 2014

The Fantastical Tour!

The Tour:

January 26 @ Blogs everywhere: Launching the Tour
January 27 @ Mythical Books: Shadowskin by Bethany Cassel
January 28 @  Wonderings of One Person: Beyond the Hollow by Kristy Tate
January 29 @ I Am a Reader, Not a Writer: Enchanted Fairytales by Cindy C Bennett
January 30 @ A Backwards Story: EnchantedHero by Alethea Kontis
January 31 @ Bookworm Lisa: The Fairytale Keeper: Avenging the Queen by Andrea Cefalo
February 1 @ Blogs everywhere: The Grand Finale

January 27 @ Mythical Books


Cursed with a deadly touch, Pomona never thought she would leave the royal gardens of Norarchland, where she uses her magic over plant life to make the gardens flourish. But when she discovers a magic mirror beneath the roots of an apple tree, she learns a horrifying truth: the life of the beautiful Princess Nevea is in danger, and Pomona is the only one who can save her. Pomona flees with the princess into the dark forest, where she is taken in by the mysterious Selene Magna and her huntress companion, Callisto. They claim that the Tenebrari-short, magical beings responsible for Pomona's curse-are trying to conquer all of the kingdoms of Archland. Even more, Pomona is destined to play an important role in their defeat. The cursed gardener must now embark on a journey far beyond her imagination to stop the Tenebrari, or else she and all those she cares about will be cursed forever.

Bethany Cassel lives in a land surrounded by forests and cornfields, and she was lucky enough to grow up in the same house all her life. Falling asleep to the sound of waterfalls and seldom-disturbed quiet provided the perfect environment for her to develop her passion for writing. Inspired by the beautiful landscape around her, Bethany created Archland, a world with deep forests, rolling hills, and fierce winters, home to dozens of fairy tale characters.

When she is not writing, Bethany is a voracious reader, known to finish the likes of "Seraphina" by Rachel Hartman in two sittings (it was a great book)! Her favorite writers are, in no particular order, Sir Thomas Malory, J.K. Rowling, John Keats, Victor Hugo, Kendare Blake, Jay Asher, Toni Morrison, and Marissa Meyer. This list is by no means complete. She is about to earn her Bachelor's of Arts in English from SUNY Geneseo and plans to continue her education in literature in graduate school. Besides all things literary, Bethany enjoys archery and bow hunting, drawing, playing piano, and volunteering with ministries in her community. She currently lives in Western New York with four dogs, twenty-ish chickens (she lost count), a lizard, and a couple of frogs.

January 28 @  Wonderings of One Person

Beyond the Fortuneteller's Tent (Beyond #1)

When Petra Baron goes into the fortuneteller’s tent at a Renaissance fair, she expects to leave with a date to prom. Instead, she walks out into Elizabethan England, where she meets gypsies, a demon dog and a kindred spirit in Emory Ravenswood.

Emory must thwart the plans of religious zealots. His mission is dangerous, his enemies are fanatical, and Petra Baron is a complication that Heaven only knows he does not need. Or does he? Although Emory is on Heaven’s errand, he learned long ago that Heaven does not always play fair.

As Petra slowly falls for Emory, she wonders if he really is who he seems, or if he is just as lost as she is. How can they have a future while trapped in the past? Or is anything possible Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent?

Beyond the Hollow (Beyond #2)

Petra Baron and her immortal boyfriend, Emory Ravenswood, are living their happily in modern day Orange County, California, until Dane shows up: a heart-stoppingly handsome man from Petra's past. Petra can't remember Dane, or anything else about her time in Tarrytown, New York two hundred years ago. But Emory does remember, and he knows she's lucky to have forgotten all about Dane and the nightmarish episode in 1810.

After Emory disappears, Petra is determined to find him again. Yet she doesn’t know whether Dane can lead her to Emory, or to the nightmare she can’t remember. The one thing she does know is that once upon a time really means two hundred years ago, and that if she wants to find Emory the first place to look is Sleepy Hollow, 1810.

With a collection of Washington Irving's writings in her hand, and a prayer that some nine-pin-playing ghosts will give her a drink of the same magic ale they gave Rip Van Winkle, Petra heads into another time-defying adventure.

Kristy Tate

Kristy studied English literature at Brigham Young University and at BYU's International Center in London. Although a long time resident of Orange County California where she lives with her family, Kristy's heart belongs in her hometown of Arlington, Washington, AKA Rose Arbor--the fictional setting of her popular Rose Arbor series.

For updates on Kristy's upcoming novels, please visit her blog at kristystories.blogspot.com and sign up for her newsletter, where discounts and freebies are sure to happen.

Other books by Kristy:
The Rhyme's Library (2013 Kindle Book Review Awards semi-finalist)
Hailey's Comments (an Amazon Breakout Novel quarter-finalist)
Stealing Mercy
Rescuing Rita
A Light in the Christmas Café
Losing Penny

Enchanted Fairytales

Enchanted Fairytales is a series of short stories based on beloved fairytales. The stories are written as if the fairytales never existed. are contemporary, some are paranormal, some have elements of fantasy or magic. 

Beautiful Beast: After a cruel prank, Calli is forced to move into “Monster House” to befriend the beast. Alex is determined to hate Calli, who he believes is there to get a peek at the beast. Calli must convince Alex that she isn’t there to harm him, and that her feelings for him are very real.

Red and the Wolf: A sudden increase in the violence and frequency of wolf attacks in the forest surrounding Piera has all of the residents on edge. Ruby, contending with the news that Rafe has come home after leaving her three years earlier, and staving off the advances of his brother Lowell, doesn’t have time to deal with wolves - until she finds herself fighting against a wolf for her life.

Snow White: Snow White, sent into the forest to be killed, escapes. She stumbles upon a tiny, magical kingdom called Fableton, where time stands still for its trapped residents. Phillip, blinded centuries ago by a vengeful love, believes Snow is the key to breaking the curse and freeing them all.

The Unmasking of Cinderella: Forced into servitude by her wicked stepmother, Amella longs for the simple freedoms her stepsister takes for granted. When she bumps into Char - literally - her world is suddenly turned upside down. Amella begins to believe that she can have a life she previously thought nothing more than a dream with Char by her side.

The White Swan: Cursed to live as a swan by day by the jealous Benno von Rothbart, Odette desires nothing more than to tell Victor what’s happened, but can’t out of fear for what Benno might do to him. Victor discovers her secret and together they try to break the curse. But the cost of doing so might just be too much.

Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords * Createspace

Cindy C Bennett is the YA author of several books. She lives in Utah with her two daughters. Both of her sons have married, giving her two more daughters (in-law). She loves gooey cookies, dark chocolate, and cheese popcorn. She hates housework and cooking, and has no plans to become a domestic goddess. She occasionally co-hosts a geek podcast with her son, called Geek Revolution Radio. Her favorite pastime—other than writing—is riding her Harley.

Other books by Cindy: 
Rapunzel Untangled, 
Heart on a Chain, Geek Girl, 
The Experiment, 
Whispers of Razari, 
Immortal Mine, 
In the Beginning, 

January 30 @ A Backwards Story


It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?


Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.

New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a goddess, a force of nature, and a mess. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, turning garden gnomes into mad scientists, and making sense out of fairy tales.

Alethea is the co-author of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter Companion, and penned the AlphaOops series of picture books. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a myriad of anthologies and magazines. She has done multiple collaborations with Eisner winning artist J.K. Lee, includingThe Wonderland Alphabet and Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome. Her debut YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012 and was nominated for both the Andre Norton Award and the Audie Award in 2013.

Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea now lives in Northern Virginia with her Fairy Godfamily. She makes the best baklava you’ve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie.

January 31 @ Bookworm Lisa

The Fairytale Keeper: Avenging the Queen

Anonymous, nameless, Adelaide Schumacher should have been lost to history. Medieval girls do not make legends. If they are lucky to live long enough, they make babies.

Adelaide’s mother, Katrina was the finest storyteller in Cologne, but she left one story untold, that of her daughter, Snow White. A rampant fever claimed Adelaide’s mother just like a thousand others in Cologne where the dead are dumped in a vast pit outside the city walls. In an effort to save Katrina’s soul, Adelaide’s family obtains a secret funeral by bribing the parish priest, Father Soren.

Soren commits an unforgivable atrocity, pushing Adelaide toward vengeance, but the corruption in Cologne reaches far beyond Soren, and the cost of settling scores quickly escalates. Avenging the mother she lost may cost Adelaide everything she has left: her father, her friends, her first love, and maybe even her life.

The Fairytale Keeper casts the famous villains, heroes, and damsels of Grimm’s fairytales into Medieval lives. Seamlessly weaving historical events and Grimm’s fairytales into a tale of corruption and devotion, The Fairytale Keeper, leaves the reader wondering where fact ends, and fiction begins.

Read the first part of the novel for FREE:
Andrea Cefalo is the award-winning author of The Fairytale Keeper series. The Fairytale Keeper series is a Medieval tale of corruption, devotion, and the origins of Grimm’s fairytales. It was a quarter-finalist in Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest and has been recommended by Riffle, Copperfield Review, and other various independent reviewers. The second novel in the series, The Fairest of All, will debut in 2014. When Andrea isn’t writing, she enjoys blogging and tweeting about the Middle Ages, teaching authors how to effectively use social media, and presenting in schools. She resides in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and their two border collies.

February 1  – Grand Finale

Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

January 26 - February 10
There are FIVE chances to WIN!!
Winners will be drawn randomly, entries will be validated and the IP Addresses checked for shipping qualifications to award winnings in order of preference, if indicated. See Rafflecopter entry. Additional restrictions on Rafflecopter apply.

1 - Signed print copy of Shadowskin by Bethany Cassel plus a signed sketch of the Main Character by the author! (US Only)

2 - eCopies of both books in the Beyond series by Kristy Tate: Beyond the Fortune Teller's Tent & Beyond the Hollow!  (International)

3 - eCopy of Enchanted Fairytales by Cindy C Bennett! (International)

4 - FIVE Signed paperbacks of Enchanted by Alethea Kontis plus swag! (US Only) (That's five winners. Woop!)

5 - eCopy of The Fairytale Keeper: Avenging the Queen by Andrea Cefalo! (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jan 25, 2014

"The Lost Planet" by Rachel Searles

Title: The Lost Planet

Author: Rachel Searles

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Imprint: Feiwel & Friends

Publication date: January 28th, 2014

My rating: 2.5 of 5
(Book read from January 21st to January 23rd, 2014,  from an eARC received from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review.)



For fans of Star Wars and Star Trek, Rachel Searles' debut middle-grade novel delivers an epic space adventure full of action and heart, with an eclectic cast and a hidden mystery.
This is what the boy is told: 
  • He woke up on planet Trucon, inside a fence he shouldn’t have been able to pass.
  • He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
  • He has no memory.
  • He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
  • His name is Chase Garrety.
This is what Chase Garrety knows:
  • He has a message: “Guide the star.”
  • Time is running out.

My Thoughts on the Book:

The Lost Planet is a middle-grade sci-fi adventure book, that I was really looking forward to reading it.

The cover is beautiful, and I love the way it depicts almost all the important characters in the book.

But cover aside, I wish I felt about the book itself, the way I do about the cover. The book wasn't bad, but it wasn't quite good either. 

I enjoyed quite a lot the beginning, the world-building & the storyline was interesting enough, and entertaining, too, and the characters through the whole book were quite likable as well, but there was just something missing.

There was mystery, and danger, and lots of action-packed run-for-your-life moments, but in almost every aspect there was just something missing. I know I'm not the targeted audience, being older and all, but there are plenty MG books that despite my years, had managed to capture me with it, but The Lost Planet unfortunately wasn't one of them.
Also, now that I've finished it, I have trouble with the title of the book, too. The Lost Planet doesn't fit at all, although to be honest, I wouldn't know how to name it, also.
Also, it seems that this is planned to be a first book in a series, but to be honest, I don't think I will be picking up the sequel. Overall, I liked it, and I'm glad I read it, but I'm not interested enough to see what will happen next.

But, if you enjoy sci-fi & middle-grade books, and maybe you're not too demanding like me, I recommend to try The Lost Planet for yourself & decide. Maybe The Lost Planet is just what you need.