Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

Title: Breaking Point
Author: Kristen Simmons
Series: Article 5 #2
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 2, 2013

The second installment in Kristen Simmons's fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series.

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?


“This or That”
with Kristen Simmons

Rain or Snow – Rain every month but December, then I want a white Christmas!

Red or White Wine – Neither! I’m actually allergic to alcohol, so both would probably kill me. 

Heels or Flats – Not crazy high heels, but heels. My husband’s tall and I’m…not. So I like wearing a little bit of a heel.

Skirt or Pants – Pants. I’m not much of a lady.

Angels or Demons – Angels. There seems to be a lot of evidence out there in the YA world that demons, however sexy, smell like brimstone. 

Good or Bad boy – Take a bad boy out. Bring a good boy home.  

Unicorn or Dragon – Dragon, preferably the Eragon/fire-breathing/BFF’s 4eva type.

Coffee or Tea – Tea! Coffee = BLECH! 

Coke or Pepsi – Root beer 

Cabin in the woods or Condo on the Beach – Both please. A cabin for snowy time snuggling and a beach condo for midnight skinny dipping.

Kisses or Hugs – Hershey’s Hugs are soooo good. White chocolate AND milk chocolate? My mouth has found supreme happiness.

Cash or Card – Cash. It’s much better when I know exactly how much I can spend.  

Print or Ebook – Print. Although I like to read manuscripts on a Kindle. It’s so much easier than reading on my laptop. 

Voice or Text – Oh man, I love talk texting. It’s the best! Especially when it messes up and writes something completely random or inappropriate and I send it without looking. Er, I mean, not those times. 

Cake or Pie – Both please. With whip cream. Specifically red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, followed by pumpkin pie. Followed by Funfetti cake. Followed by apple pie with caramel topping. I may or may not have a sweet tooth.  

Gold or Silver – Silver. Definitely.

Romance or Passion – I believe you can have both in the right relationship.

Night or Day – Day. I’m a morning glory not a night owl.

About Kristen Simmons

Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She lives with her husband Jason and their precious greyhound Rudy in Tampa, Florida.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads


The Giveaway

gggBreaking Point 1
1 Winner will receive One Signed Copy of Breaking Point, Postcard & Button
3 Winners will receive One Finished Copy of Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons.
7 Winners will receive One Breaking Point Postcard & Button by Kristen Simmons.
1 Winner will receive One poster, One Bookmark, and One button of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
10 Winners will receive One bookmark of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 17, 2013

REVIEW: Soulless by Robert J. Crane

Soulless (The Girl in the Box, #3)
Title: Soulless
Author: Robert J. Crane
Series: The Girl in the Box #3
Other Reviews: Alone (#1), Untouched (#2)
Pages: 152
Publisher: Self-Published
Date Published: August 23, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Received from Author for Honest Review

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After six months of intense training with the Directorate, Sienna Nealon finds herself on her first assignment - tracking a dangerous meta across the upper midwest. With Scott Byerly and Kat Forrest at her side, she'll face new enemies and receive help from unlikely allies as she stumbles across the truth behind the shadowy organization known only as Omega.

*May Contain Minor Spoilers for Books #1 & #2 in this series!*

Soulless picks up about 6 months after the end of Untouched.  Sienna is now in the Directorate training program, along with Scott and Kat.  Of course, she's up against a brand new enemy in Soulless, but she's beginning to understand that it all leads back to the mysterious Omega.  She doesn't know why, but Omega wants her.

Soulless is definitely the best book in this series so far.  Sienna, Scott and Kat are being treated more like allies of the Directorate and are sent on missions.  This book is packed with the action and adventure that we've come to expect in this series, and Crane does an amazing job with the fight scenes once again.  I'm always amazed at the beatings Sienna can take and still keep fighting.  In Soulless she is placed in some very difficult situations, and she must make some extremely difficult decisions.  If there's one thing Sienna's good at it's making bad decisions.  We are once again led to question the loyalties of so many people, and we get to meet a few new people.

Soulless is an excellent addition to The Girl in the Box series.  The series has quickly become an addiction for me, and I love that Crane is quickly feeding my habit! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

ARC REVIEW: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett

Rapunzel Untangled
Title: Rapunzel Untangled
Author: Cindy C. Bennett
Pages: 304
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Expected Publishing Date: February 12, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Received from Publisher via NetGalley

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Rapunzel is not your average teenager.

For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.
I absolutely adore fairytale retellings, so I jumped at the chance to read and review Rapunzel Untangled.  Writing a retelling has to be a very difficult thing for any writer.  How do you take a story that's been told for years and give it your own unique twist?  It's all been done before!  Well, Cindy Bennett has done an amazing job of giving us a unique and imaginative story while keeping to the basics of the classic fairytale.  This is probably the darkest Rapunzel story I've heard.  Most all have the same basic plot:  Rapunzel is kidnapped as an infant by the witch Gothel and grows up in a tower, trapped there for years.  Sometimes Rapunzel lives as a prisoner, sometimes as a daughter of Gothel.  This story is no different, but that is where the similarities end.  Rapunzel Untangled is modern and fun, but gives us a twist filled with darkness and horror.

Rapunzel is nearly 18 years old, and she has lived in her rooms in the tower of Gothel Mansion all of her life.  She has a serious illness that makes it impossible for her to go outside without getting sick.  Her mother, Gothel, is the only other person she has ever had contact with.  She does all of her schoolwork online, and when she accidentally finds this wondrous site called Facebook she realizes she can use it to connect with other people her own age.  This is how she meets Fane.  At first they only correspond online, but Rapunzel eventually agrees to meet him.  He climbs her tower and the two become close friends.  When Fane convinces Rapunzel to sneak out of her rooms one night, they find stairways that lead nowhere and doors that open up to cement walls.  There's also a creepy room covered with black scorch marks and decorated with 6's.  Soon Rapunzel starts questioning everything she's been told.  Things don't add up.  The more Rapunzel learns the more questions she has, and the answers aren't at all what she wants to hear.

I enjoyed the uniqueness of Rapunzel Untangled.  It was unexpected and refreshing to read a story that's so classic, yet it's turned into something so much more modern and fun.  Rapunzel transforms throughout the book from the quiet girl that obeys every order to a strong woman willing to risk everything just to live a real life.  What we see of Fane is great.  He's funny, and he's completely loyal to Rapunzel.  I'd like to have seen more of his personality.  This would have been a great book to have alternating points of view.  His mind had to have been blown by the circumstances surrounding Rapunzel, but we don't really see that.  I also found the ending bit incomplete.  It would have been nice to see more about Rapunzel's real family.  Without a doubt, Rapunzel Untangled was a great read, and a great fairytale retelling.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

REVIEW: Charade & COVER REVEAL: Facade by Nyrae Dawn

Charade (Games, #1)
Title: Charade
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Series: Games #1
Pages: 245
Publisher: Self-Published
Date Published: October 22, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Bought

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Nineteen-year-old Cheyenne tries to portray the perfect life to mask the memories of her past. Walking in on her boyfriend with another woman her freshman year in college threatens that picture of perfection.

Twenty-one-year-old Colt never wanted college and never expected to amount to anything, but when his mom's dying wish is for him to get his degree, he has no choice but to pretend it's what he wants too.

Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.

Both Cheyenne and Colt know life is never easy, but neither of them expect the tragedy that threatens to end their charade and rip them apart forever.

I am a huge Nyrae Dawn fan!  I loved her What a Boy Wants series, so I was extremely excited to read Charade.  It definitely didn't disappoint!  I love how well Nyrae does male POV.  She nails it every time.

Charade begins with Cheyenne walking in and finding her boyfriend, Gregory, in bed with another woman.  She already has abandonment issues because of her mother, so she takes this even harder.  She decides that what she needs is a fake boyfriend to make Gregory jealous.  When she sees him get into an argument with Colt she decides he's the perfect guy for her charade.

Colt walks around like he doesn't have a care in the world.  He's sarcastic and angry, and he can be a real ass.  But he's also lonely.  In reality, everything is falling apart.  His mother is terminally ill, and when she's gone, he'll be alone.  The last thing he needs is to play games with a pampered princess, but when she offers him money he can't refuse.  He needs it to pay for his moms pain medicine.

I love how both Cheyenne and Colt find each other frustrating and aggravating.  They fight each other and how they feel until they can't hide it anymore.  The relationship between them starts slow and grows...not rushed, love at first sight.  I like this!  It makes it more real.  Charade is a sweet romance, but it's also a heartbreaking story.  Both Cheyenne and Colt have had their share of past hurts, and they lean on each other when things get even tougher.  Charade will make you laugh, it'll make you cry, and the romance will make you swoon.  It's an altogether great read, and I can't wait to get my hands on Facade
“This isn’t a fucking game anymore. No charades here. I don’t know exactly what to call it, but whatever it is, it’s ours. I’m going to latch onto it. And never let go.”


Facade is Book #2 in the Games series. Facade is about Colt's friend Adrian, and is sure to be just as amazing as Charade. Check out the amazing COVER REVEAL below!


Title: Facade
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Series: Games #2
Projected Release: March 2013

No one knows who twenty-one year-old Adrian Westfall is behind his façade. After what he’s done, he deserves to live alone with his pain, even if he’d do anything to forget. Anything for a moment of quiet without his past haunting him.

Eighteen year-old Delaney Cross wants nothing more than to absolve her family from her father’s sins. To keep her suicidal mom off that ledge, and help her brother Maddox get the light back in his eyes. She thinks their road to freedom is through Adrian.

Adrian and Delaney are bound together by tragedy… Only Adrian doesn’t know it.

As their lives intertwine, they find a solace in each other they never knew existed. Laney knows she needs to tell him—to come out from behind her smoke screen, but to say the words could mean losing him.

Two people. Two disguises. True love.

Will it be enough to save them when all secrets are bared?

FACADE is a New Adult book and intended for mature readers.

Monday, January 7, 2013

REVIEW: Ocean Kills by Jade Hart

Ocean Kills (Book One of the Ocean Breeze Series)

Title: Ocean Kills
Author: Jade Hart
Series: Ocean Breeze #1
Pages: 404
Publisher: Self-Published
Date Published: December 8, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Received from Author for Honest Review

Goodreads ~ Amazon

Around the world, murderers and rapists pick off the innocent. Killing loved ones, separating families, and ruining lives.

As an eight-year-old girl, Ocean witnessed her family’s massacre and something altered inside her. Twisting her genetic code… unlocking an ability to teleport.

Ocean Breeze was never destined to be normal, especially having been named after air-freshener. She’s a shadow, a ghost—a dark saviour of the innocent. Armed with a switchblade in her bra, and a box-cutter in her pocket, she hunts the filth of the world.

Callan Bliss is a Sydney police officer whose skill-set is far above that of a normal cop. All his fellow officers see is a hard worker who loves to catch perpetrators and surf, but that’s because they don’t know about his past. When Callan arrests a suspicious-looking prostitute, he comes face-to-face with a self-confessed vigilante, and suddenly, his secrets aren’t so easy to keep silent.

Ocean hates the police with a passion, and has no intention of being held captive by a cop, even if he is sexy as hell. Teleporting from under his nose, Ocean hunts her next target—a man responsible for the largest sex ring in South Africa—and now he’s about to die. But she doesn’t count on Callan giving chase, nor the body-quaking lust that consumes them. However, Ocean's dark hobbies take precedence over what her heart wants—her thirst for murdering is killing her too, and not even Callan can save her.

When Ocean Breeze (yes, that is her real name!) was eight years old she witnessed the extremely brutal murder of her family.  Something about the torment and torture she endured altered something inside of her.  The ability to teleport was unlocked in her.  Since then she has worked to keep the type of people that killed her family off the streets.  She stalks and kills the men that murder and rape and then teleports out of the scene.  But killing comes with a price.  With every life she takes she becomes less herself.  She becomes cold and uncaring.  Ocean knows that killing these men will eventually kill her very soul, but she feels she owes it to the would-be victims of these monsters, and she's unwilling to stop.

What I Liked:

*  I love Ocean's character.  She truly believes in what she does.  She's ruthless and angry, but she does what she does to save people.  Although she doesn't always make the right choices, her heart is in the right place.

*  Callan Bliss...Aussie.  Blonde.  Surfer.  Cop.  Do I really need to go on? 

*  The chemistry between Ocean and Callan...holy smokes!  Hot!

*  Maurice Green is like a father to Ocean.  He found her on the street and took her in.  He has some secrets still left untold, but it's obvious how much he adores Ocean.  He supports her decision to hunt and kill monsters, but he doesn't necessarily agree with her.  I love how supportive he is even though it breaks his heart.

*  The story:  I love the story!  Victim turned vigilante killer goes after sex trafficing ring...action, adventure and revenge.  It's a great plot.

What I Disliked:

Ocean Kills is a long book! I usually like a good long story, but with this one I felt like a lot of it dragged a bit.  Several times I found myself saying, "What?!  Where did that come from?"  Big sections of the book had no significance to the full story and could have been cut.  It would have helped with the overall flow.

*  Way too many quirky cliched sayings!   


Ocean Kills was a very enjoyable read.  It kept me up until the early morning hours, and that is the evidence of a great story for me.  I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

REVIEW: Untouched (The Girl in the Box #2) by Robert J. Crane

Untouched (The Girl in the Box, #2)
Title: Untouched
Author: Robert J. Crane
Series: The Girl in the Box (#2)
My Other Series Reviews: Alone (#1)
Pages: 206
Publisher: Self-Published
Date Published: April 21, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Received from Author for Honest Review

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Still haunted by her last encounter with Wolfe and searching for her mother, Sienna Nealon must put aside her personal struggles when a new threat emerges – Aleksandr Gavrikov, a metahuman so powerful, he could destroy entire cities – and he's focused on bringing the Directorate to its knees.

My Thoughts:
*May contain minor spoilers for Alone (#1)*

Untouched is the second book in The Girl in the Box series.  I am a huge fan of this author, and every Girl in the Box story just makes me love him more.  Once again the story is told from Sienna's point of view.  I love Sienna!  She is such a smart-ass, and I love her attitude.  I also enjoy getting to see inside her head.  She's so tough on the outside and refuses to show any weakness.  But inside her head you see her worries and insecurities.  She still hasn't decided who she can trust or who has ulterior motives.  Honestly, I'm still not sure who she can trust!  There are still a lot of unanswered questions and I just know we are going to see some major twists and turns in this series.

In Untouched, Sienna is working on adjusting to her new meta powers.  She has discovered that she is a succubus, a meta that has the ability to suck the life out of someone with only a touch.  Unfortunately, there are some negative side effects.  I don't want to spoil anything for you, but I'll just say that suddenly things have gotten very complicated for Sienna.  We also get to meet lots of new characters in Untouched, including the M-Squad, super powerful metas that work for the Directorate.  We are also introduced to Dr. Zollers, a psychiatrist for the Agency.  I love that he manages to get Sienna to open up about her past.  He seems totally genuine in his acceptance of her, and it seems to help her fit in in her new world.  I think maybe she could learn to trust him.

In Untouched, Sienna is still looking for her mom, meanwhile she's being pursued by a whole new set of dangers.  This time she's playing with fire.  Crane has filled Untouched with action packed fighting scenes, drama and adventure.  We're getting bits and pieces of the big story while filling in the blanks with one disaster after another.  There is also a little romance added to the mix, which brings a bit of quiet to the major action and drama.  I'm not sure where this is going, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

I am thoroughly enjoying this series.  Crane has an amazing storytelling ability, and this series can only get better from here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

ARC REVIEW: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover


Title: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
Pages: 391
Publisher: Self-Published
Date Published: December 19, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Received from Author for Honest Review

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Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Thoughts:
There is absolutely no way that I will be able to write a review that will do justice to how Hopeless truly made me feel.  I've read dozens of reviews that talked about how they read Hopeless in one sitting, never putting the book down.  It was totally the opposite for me.  The more I read, the more I had to pause.  Not because I didn't want to continue, but because my emotions were going crazy.  Even when I wasn't reading, Hopeless is all I thought about.  It consumed me and left me gasping for air.  It made heart skip a beat, only to send it pounding erratically later.  Emotionally, I simply couldn't keep up.  All of my emotions are still a jumbled up mess.  I wanted to laugh and I wanted to cry.  I needed to scream in fury and frustration, and I needed a hug.  A real hug, the kind where all of your pent up feelings burst free, and you wonder how you can even continue to stand upright. I loved every single word of Hopeless, and I hated every single word. There is nothing about Hopeless that I would change, yet I want to change everything. I know this makes no sense, and until you read Hopeless for yourself you really won't understand. I loved this book completely, but I have never had a fictional story break me so utterly. 
“It's amazing what the sound of a voice you've been longing to hear can do to your heart. He spoke five words just now, but in the time it took him to speak those five words, my heart was shredded and minced, then placed back inside my chest with the expectation that it should somehow know how to beat again.”
Sky is one of the most amazing characters I've ever met. She is so fragile, and she doesn't even realize it. From the outside looking in you see a sheltered, but normal teen.  She has a somewhat normal family life with her adopted mother, Karen, and her best friend, Six, lives next door.  While she puts up the front of a semblance of normalcy, she admits to having no feelings at all when it comes the boys she's had in her life.  But, all of that changes when she meets Holder.  He is the first guy that has ever given her that sense of butterflies, to make her heart skip a beat.  She finds herself swooning over a guy for the first time, yet there is also something about him that terrifies her.
“I can already tell he isn't the kind of guy a girl gets a simple crush on. He's the kind of guy you fall hard for, and the thought of that terrifies me.”

Dean Holder has his own demons. He has a bad boy reputation, but no one knows the real Holder. When he meets Sky he's drawn to her. Everything about Holder screams savior, yet he needs saving himself. Together, Sky and Holder open a floodgate of heart-breaking emotions, and they have no choice but to cling to each other and see it all through to the end. 
“You have to let it go. You can hold on to the hate and the love and even the bitterness, but you have to go of the blame. The blame is what's tearing you down, babe."
The dynamics of the relationship between Sky and Holder are mesmerizing. I love that even in the most messed up of situations Holder can manage to make Sky laugh. The connection between the two of them is so intense. I love the way Holder brings out such raw feelings in Sky. He manages to peel back the protective shell that Sky has around herself. He makes her feel.  
“We won’t go any further than this, I promise. But please don’t ask me to stop where we already are. I need to watch you and I need to hear you because the fact that I know you’re actually feeling this right now is so fucking amazing. You feel incredible and this feels incredible and please. Just… please.”
“And once again in my new world full of heartache and lies, this hopeless boy somehow finds a way to make me smile.”
Hopeless is dark. It's raw and heart-breaking, and it will leave you sobbing.  Just when you think you can't handle any more truth, things get uglier. When you think you have it all figured out...you don't.  But, it's also an amazingly beautiful story about friendship, love and truth and uncovering all of your scars so that you can learn to heal.  When you think it's all about to fall apart, the pieces begin to come together.  I fell completely in love with this book, even while it was breaking my heart into a million pieces.  Hopeless is a story that will forever be etched in my heart. 
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