Suped Up! Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass 3
Format: eGalley
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA | Fantasy


Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?


I think [Celaena] like to suffer. You collect scars because you want proof that you are paying for whatever sins you’ve committed – Rowan

She would not let that light go out.
She would fill the world with it, with her light–her gift. She would light up the darkness, so brightly that all who were lost or wounded our broken would find their way to it, a beacon for those who still dwelled in that abyss. It would not take a monster to destroy a monster-but light, light to drive out the darkness.

Lots of people have and will review HEIR OF FIRE which is fine by me, gives me the perfect excuse to do a lazy girl review…
There are wyverns and badass witches and this is from the Baba Yellowlegs thread. I don’t know yet if these nefarious witches led by this lady called, Manon, will be Celaena’s allies or nemesis but they sure are a curious and scary bunch. Their storyline sure was interesting even if they pose a threat.
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I love Aedion, Celaena’s long lost cousin. He is like the combination of Legolas and Eomir with his fae looks, keen sense, ruthlessness in the battlefield, and loyalty to Celaena/Aelin’s memory. 
Dorian is coming to his own. I’m glad that his infatuation with Celaena is finally put to rest however it seems like tragedy isn’t far behind…
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… and well you know how this ended. 
Oh Chaol, why do you have to be such a hero?! 
As for Celaena, this girl is barely unrecognizable and she went full on Carrie here, I loved it!

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She has grown tremendously in HEIR OF FIRE. I could write up a review just about her character alone but I thought I’d “sing” it instead. This is a lazy girl’s review after all…

*fast forward to 3:53, to me that’s how it felt like when Celaena
faced off with Queen Bitch Maeve*

So boys and gals, the mad gushing and wild fangirling is valid, HEIR OF FIRE, the latest Throne of Glass novel by Sarah J. Maas is EPIC! It’ll make you feel a wide range of emotions from the wholesome, to the romantic, down to the bloody and manic. I surely took my time reading this baby, savored each and every chapter for days because I don’t want it to end. I have to make myself slow down otherwise this will be a quick read not because of its length but because its packed. HEIR OF FIRE killed it! This book is a game changer in more ways than one starting with the genre. IMO, HEIR OF FIRE transitioned the series from YA to full on epic fantasy. So if you’re a fan please do us and yourselves a favor, get the book today and start reading. If you haven’t started this one yet then you’re missing out on something really good. Every installment is jaw dropping. SJMaas is a true fan of fantasy, she knows what we readers love and she delivered.

DNF: Zomburbia by Adam J. Gallardo

Series: Stand-alone (?)

Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: K-Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA-Fantasy

“Welcome To Zomburbia.”

My name is Courtney Hart, and I’m here to tell you about things that suck. Being born in a podunk town like Salem, Oregon, for one. Living in a world infested with zombies? That, too. And the meat heads I go to school with? I think I’d actually take the undead over them most days. But I have a plan to get out of here and move to New York. I just have to keep selling Vitamin Z along with your fries at The Bully Burger. The secret ingredient? Zombie brains.

I’ve noticed things are getting even worse lately, if that’s even possible. The zombies seem to be getting smarter and faster. If I can avoid being arrested, eaten by shufflers, or catching the eye of some stupid boy, I should be able to make it through finals week still breathing…

Just a disclaimer, I DISLIKE tagging and writing DNF posts for obvious reasons but there are instances where I feel compelled to explain why I’m rating the book as such. And this is how I feel regarding Adam J. Gallardo’s ZOMBURBIA
First of all, ZOMBURBIA is my first ever zombie book. After watching The Walking Dead and enjoying the blood, gore, and decay of these undead, I felt like I’m finally ready to read books about them. Alas things didn’t pan out that way here. I stopped at 40% and continued to skim until the end for the sake of closure. 
It’s not all bad though, I love the idea behind ZOMBURBIA. The zombie apocalypse happened a long time ago, it was bad but people managed to survive, adapt, and rebuild. There are still walkers loitering around and the world is still not a safe place but the uninfected, like Courtney Hart, placed systems to keep them out and the remaining healthy populace safe. I imagined things to be similar to Warm Bodies minus the humor and likable characters. Another interesting twist is the healthy people found a new drug in zombie brains and Courtney is a dealer, selling this disgusting drug on the d/l so she can save enough money to move out, live in a different city, and go to college to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor and finding a cure for the disease.
What didn’t work for me is Courtney Hart herself. As the story is told in her POV and she’s basically driving the story, it was difficult to be objective and focus on the plot per se. Here’s why Courtney and I didn’t get along: SHE ANNOYED THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF ME. At first I was loving Courtney’s sarcasm, snark is my favorite characteristic in a heroine and Courtney has an abundance of that. But as the story kept moving along, she quickly crossed the line from cute to bratty, condescending, and ungrateful. Even her friends are complaining about her attitude and how she takes them for granted and makes them feel like they’re beneath her. 
One thing you should know about Courtney is she’s not one of the popular kids, she’s one of the “outcasts” and takes pride in being one. Until she caught the eye of one of the jocks, Brandon Ikaros, then things turned for the worst for her friends. Slowly but surely, Courtney was sucked in to the clique she allegedly despises, blowing off her friends so she can hang with Brandon, lying to them about things, etc. What grated on my nerves even more is after committing offenses that betrayed their friendship, and Coutney’s clearly in the wrong, she refused to apologize which annoyed me even more. I mean I’ve met a LOT of snarky heroines but their redeeming quality lie in that they are kindhearted and are wise enough to know what matters and what doesn’t. Courtney didn’t demonstrate any redeeming qualities in the first half of the book, the redemption happened after she lost her friends because of her selfishness. 
Of course I’m just one reader so DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! I’m sure your experience will be different from mine and you’ll probably end up loving ZOMBURBIA. So please, read it and let me know what you think.  

A Shot of YA: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Series: Stand-alone

Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA Contemporary

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

I am loving how YA contemporary is ramping up its game tackling socially relevant issues and not just limiting to the ebbs and tides of romance. High School in particular is/was a significant phase for a lot of people and I think you can all agree with me that it’s more than prom, dating or school. Well Chelsea Pitcher may not have written what it’s exactly like for teens but she did raise a lot of thinking points in her debut novel, THE S-WORD. Let me ramble a bit.
  • Bullying, suicide, homophobia, labels, these are the predominant issues tackled here. Lizzie Hart’s story might be fictional but I’m sure a lot of people, young and old, can relate to her pain and suffering when she was labeled a slut after she allegedly cheated with her BFF’s boyfriend on prom night. 
  • THE S-WORD vaguely reminds me of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why because of it’s suicide theme and Lizzie herself. 
  • I was caught up in Angelina’s investigation on who started the (Suicide) Slut campaign. I was itching to know who the heartless perp is. When the guilty party’s identity was revealed, I was shocked, angry and didn’t buy the reason. I think CPitcher is aiming for poetic justice but I didn’t get that vibe. 
  • THE S-WORD is so tragic and heartbreaking! I was so mad when all the pieces are finally laid out. I think this is one of the saddest stories I’ve ever read. Lizzie’s secret is filled with love and longing and to me she died in vain.
  • So many secrets! Made me admire Lizzie for her ability to carry all of those for a long time without breaking from its weight. 
  • Angie’s valiant attempt for justice infuriated me. “Better late than never” doesn’t apply here, she could’ve done so much, fought with Lizzie, pulled her hair, ANYTHING that would open dialogue while she was still alive instead of ignoring her completely. 
  • The secondary characters are great.
Lizzie Hart had my heart. I loved how THE S-WORD was told and its message, suicide among teens due to bullying is a serious issue. Nobody has the right to antagonize someone to the point where their lives are ruined and they can’t look at themselves in the mirror. On the same note, we should also value our voices more and the power it has not just on others but on ourselves too. THE S-WORD is an amazing read, it’s a gateway to a lot of pertinent discussions and something a lot of people can benefit from.

Suped Up! Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls 3.5

Format: eGalley
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: MYA-Paranormal


A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?


I don’t really like team sports unless I’ve invented both the team and the sport. – Cole

Cole St. Clair, returning rock star, and Isabel Culpeper, emotional assassin, became my eyes and ears. As I wrote the hot-cold relationship of two people who took turns being the sinner and the sin… I hope that those who don’t need the truth in it will see only the werewolf,  and I hope that those who do need the truth will see only the human.
- Maggie Stiefvater, Foreword, Sinner

I can get addicted to this kind of hot-cold relationship. It’s angsty but not slash-my-wrist-with-a-butter-knife kind of angst, it’s more like I-love-you-and-it-scares-me. Fans of the series, I know you’re with me in saying that WE WANT MORE OF COLE & ISABEL! Maggie Stiefvater, please let them have their spin-off… pretty please with lots of cherry and whip cream on top! 

Anyway, SINNER might be tagged as The Wolves of Mercy Falls 3.5 but it’s a full-length novel, picking up a couple of years after Forever. The tone is quite different from the original trilogy, it’s grown-up, not as ridden with drama and conflict, and paved with tears. I love that MStiefvater didn’t dwell on everything that’s wrong in Cole and Isabel’s respective personal lives, it wasn’t glossed over either, rather it felt like closure as these two have been working out the kinks from the start. 

As for the paranormal aspect, it’s barely there. For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Wolves of Mercy Falls, towards the end of the trilogy the characters were able to find a “cure”, if you can call it that, to control their wolves. Cole isn’t immune to his wolf’s calling and there were moments wherein he surrendered to it but it felt more metaphorical, poetic even, than a detailed or important scene. I thought it would bother me that SINNER‘s supernatural aspect is watered down but it made a lot of sense based on where the trilogy left us and SINNER‘s premise called for it to be like that. 
Now the blurb may say that this can be read as stand-alone, and I guess you can because this is the next chapter in Cole and Isabel’s lives. However I still encourage you to read the first three books so you can get acquainted with their history, the hows, whys, and whats that led them to SINNER. I’ve been a fan of these two and rooted for them from the beginning because of their intense attraction to each other and their undeniable chemistry. They compliment each other pretty well and it’s a no brainer that they should be together. They’re both strong individuals who pulled a lot of strength from their problems be it with their family, substance abuse, or personal malfunction, and watching them work through it and gain maturity from all of their shiznit was quite the experience. 
I love everything about SINNER! I’m so thankful that Cole and Isabel’s muse pushed and inspired MStiefvater to write this installment. This little trip back to the wolf world she created all those years ago sure is both a treat and a gift to us fans. Not only that, MStiefvater is a phenomenal writer, I’ve always been a fan of her word plays and ability to draw out emotions from her readers at the slightest provocation. SINNER is not as flowery as The Raven Cycle but it’s just as pretty albeit more peppy and contemporary thanks to Cole St. Clair’s sense of humor and Isabel’s signature teen snark. 
So whether or not you’ve read The Wolves of Mercy Falls and/or The Raven Boys, or you only read contemporary new adult/young adult, I assure you that you will LOVE SINNER, it’s simply transcendent.

Steampunk Sundays: The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

Series: Steampunk Chronicles 4

Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Recommended By: Novels on the Run
Genre: YA | Steampunk

In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.

London’s underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End’s most dazzling circus.

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.

Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist’s maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.

THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART, the 4th book in Kady Cross’ YA fantasy series, Steampunk Chronicles, is my favorite installment ever! There are two stories in one book, a story arc closed (maybe), an awesome budding love story, and filled with action and fantastical things! 
So I mentioned that THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART is a two-in-one kind of thing therefore I’ll focus on that and not bore you with the details that other bloggers have already mentioned. I’m sure other readers have already prodded and dissected this book to it’s basest particle so I’ll even be more subjective and a little vague for those of you who are unfamiliar with Steampunk Chronicles.
Griffin & The Machinist: These arch nemesis finally battled it out and it. Was. Pure. Suspense! These two have been dancing around each other since book 1 and the showdown finally happened! I have to admit, I was doubtful for a while there because The Machinist is one clever SOB and Griffin doesn’t play dirty, the former brought the war to Griffin and took him to the Aether (like the spirit world, loose comparison) where he grew even more powerful. True, Griffin can manipulate the energies in this plane but so can The Machinist. Good news is Griffin’s got a great team on his side and Finley likes to color outside the lines so they found a way to save him. Gosh, if I were the type who bites my nails, mine would be stumps by now. I was doubtful that Griffin and/or Finley would survive, KCross was relentless and kept things hanging on the edge. It was torture but I loved every minute of it!
The Crime Lord & The Automaton: I love Jack Dandy and Mila the snarky robot (oops, is that politically correct?) together! I was wishing THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART is Adult Steampunk instead of YA just so KCross can be liberal with Jack and Mila’s budding romance. Simply put, the tension and delicious romantic push and pull we read in historicals, Jack and Mila have except for the blistering smex. Mila may be an automaton but she’s wonderfully made, snarky, sexy, smart, and a quick study. She keeps Jack on his feet and undoubtedly his equal in so many things. Jack may invoke the fear of God in a lot of people but he’s putty in Mila’s hand. Who doesn’t love a powerful and notorious man in love? These two are the unlikeliest couple but they work and so far, the most entertaining pair in the series. Forget Griffin and Finley, let’s shift to Jack and Mila instead! Now it’s important to mention that part of Jack’s backstory has been revealed which made my jaw drop. I can’t say I was surprised since it’s been speculated and to avoid spoilers, I’ll sum it up in one word: SCANDALOUS! 
Obviously THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART is a great series installment. I can’t wait for the next one because I’m curious who the next super villain is and which character s/he will battle with. I hope it’s not Griffin or Finley, let them rest for a bit, that way the other characters can shine and maybe Sam and Emily can redeem themselves, they were kinda boring in book 3, and allow the supporting cast to step up to the plate and shine on their own. Better yet, why not give us more of Jack and Mila? These two are firecrackers and I sure wouldn’t mind more of the automaton and the dashing crime lord.

A Shot of YA: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Series: Splintered 2

Format: eGalley
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Amulet
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA Fantasy

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

UNHINGED. I still don’t know exactly how I feel about Splintered 2. I know it’s as fantastical as the first one and I still like Alyssa as a heroine. I love the ongoing battle between her and Queen Red, her mom is still kinda quirky and her relationship with Jeb just got a bit complicated. A lot of you have either read the book and/or countless reviews so I won’t focus on being objective, instead I’ll tell you more about my experience with UNHINGED and other subjective points. 
It’s expected that a character as notorious as Queen Red will be hard to vanquish, what I didn’t expect is for her to bring the war to Alyssa and I love that little surprise. However I’m a little disappointed that I figured out Queen Red’s disguise right away, I wish Howard made it harder for us to figure that part out to make it more mysterious and the big reveal jaw dropping. I enjoyed Alyssa’s conundrum, as the reigning Queen Red, she has to choose between ruling her part of Wonderland or staying in our realm living as a normal teenager. That problem is semi-resolved at this point although with Howard, who knows what she’ll pull from her mad hat next. 
Next is Morpheus and this love triangle he’s insisting on Alyssa. Alyssa already made a choice and she picked Jeb, I don’t understand why this issue is still being pressed at this point. It almost feels like a forced drama just to create some romantic conflict between the characters. Also, Morpheus is one cunning and manipulative moth! I didn’t like him in Splintered and I still don’t like him in UNHINGED. As for Jeb, I feel bad for the dude with his memory is always getting messed up somehow. I won’t be surprised if Howard gives him a mental condition down the road to justify Alyssa and Morpheus being together.  
The big surprise for me is what Alyssa’s mom, Alison, revealed about her Dad. I sort of love/hate Alison for what she did but I guess it’s one of those situations where one’s choice is picking the lesser of two evils. Alyssa’s dad has been through so much at this point so in a way it’s a blessing that Alison did what she did.
Loved this installment and the intrigue it left us with. Of course UNHINGED and Splintered is one of those series that leaves its readers wanting more. Obviously I’m looking forward to Ensnared, it’s going to be mayhem and this is one family affair I won’t want to miss.

Steampunk Sundays: The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

Series: Steampunk Chronicles 3

Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Recommended By: Novels on the Run
Genre: YA | Steampunk

In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken…

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What’s left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends’ lives.

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist’s ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she’s to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn’t know she has.

What is it with mad scientist buggers who want to stick brains in places they don’t belong?

I’ve waited a darn long time to read THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH that’s for sure! Kady Cross’ YA steampunk books are always engaging quick reads that I breezed through this in a flash and I didn’t realize how much I missed Finley Jayne & Co. til I’ve read Steampunk Chronicles 3. What I love about this series is though there’s an overarching plot and Finley Jane is the lead, each installment tells the story of a member of their ragtag team. I love getting to know the secondary characters more which prevents the series from getting stale, all the while Griffin and Finley’s story is moving slowly in the background. The downside is you have to read the books in order and won’t be able to get away reading it as standalone. 
Now THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH picks up the thread with The Machinist, Griffin King’s arch enemy, who was introduced to us in book 1, The Girl in the Steel Corset. But instead of making a move directly against Griffin, The Machinist abducts technomancer, Emily, and forces her to assist him in his next evil plot. Of course Finley and her crew won’t allow that to happen so they plan a rescue mission but The Machinist is too slick and he lived on. The good news is, Emily was saved and a new member is added to their team, Mila, and automaton, whose story will be told in the next book. 
Though I love the world building and romantic developments amongst the characters, the plot development here is a little slow paced. For over half of the novel, they’re still speculating Emily’s whereabouts, consulting maps and sniffing around. Meanwhile, Emily, is making friends with Mila, the friendly automaton, and playing good prisoner. Sure there are other things happening in the background like Griffin and Finley taking their relationship a step further and some force manipulating the Aether but these are symptomatic compared to the main plot.

Sam cupped her face as he pulled back just enough to look her in the eye. “I don’t want to lose you.”
“You won’t. You won’t ever lose me, I promise.” And she meant it. “And someday, I’m going to make it so that all you want to do is smile.”

The story picked up for me towards the latter quarter of the story. KCross upped the ante and it was at a breakneck speed from that point til the end. Not only do we see the range of Emily’s abilities and Sam’s devotion to her, their relationship also got solidified here and I guess they’re officially a couple now. What I find interesting and am excited over is the next story. The handsome, magnetic, and very mysterious, Jack Dandy found himself an admirer in Mila. It’s safe to assume that theirs will be the next HEA to be told on top of this ongoing battle between Griffin and The Machinist. 
So if you’re a YA reader I sure hope that Steampunk Chronicles is on your to-read list. 

A Shot of YA: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Series: Fire & Flood 1

Format: eGalley
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA | Dystopia

Time is slipping away…

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

FIRE & FLOOD is so awesome!!
Photo credit
*insert high-pitched fangirl scream*  
See I sort of promised myself that I’ll read more YA this month because I need to diversify my genre and I’m in possession of quite a few good ones. FIRE & FLOOD by Victoria Scott included. I should say that I regret not reading this sooner but I think this book deserves more enthusiasm than I could muster when I got it so better late than never. 
Now this book has been around for quite some time and have received mad gushing from lots of book bloggers so I’ll do my best not to repeat what you’ve already read and/or heard. Let me say briefly that it does remind me of The Hunger Games because of the contest rules and fight to the death nature of the Brimstone Bleed. At the same time, Suzanne Collins dominated this genre with her trilogy, epitomized the essence of Dystopia, and inadvertently set the benchmark for future novels. So to be fair to VScott and her fantastic writing, I will instead focus on the things that stood out for me: 
  1. Tella Halloway is definitely no Katniss Everdeen, she complains a lot, can be self-centered and vain, is into fashion, and would rather play with make-up than be bothered by more important stuff. Talla isn’t a leader either, she’s more of a loyal and good follower than the person you look to for guidance or advice. However it’s her propensity for great empathy that endeared her to me. And it’s this same kind-heartedness that prevents her from being ruthless even when being a successful Contender calls for it.
  2. Aside from Jay Kristoff’s The Lotus War series, I haven’t read a YA book where some sort of an animal is a main character. The concept of Pandoras is delightful. They’re man-made beasts hatched from an egg and as they are genetically engineered, each has a special ability that can be utilized by their Contender. Their emotional/mental connection is quite advantageous as these Pandoras have saved the lives of their respective Contenders on several occasions. Talla’s Pandora, Madox, appears to be a harmless little fox but Madox is some sort of a Pandora doppelganger and would transform into whichever creature is best suited for the mission. They also remind me of Pokemons
  3. I’m not taken by Guy, Talla’s love interest, and I also didn’t connect with their budding romance. 
  4. I love the pace and the ruthlessness of the other Contenders. This isn’t a group of purely teenagers some of them are kids, parents, daughters, cousins, etc. Basically every face and person that can be stricken with the burden of seeing someone you love die slowly in front of you because of some disease. 
  5. I love the backstory behind the Brimstone Bleed. It’s not all encompassing like a government mandated competition. It’s very elite and personal. 
  6. This didn’t feel like Dystopia to me, more of like YA Fantasy. 
So these are my highlights and obviously I can’t wait for the next one. 

Year 3.3: Jessie Lane Books + Chat & Giveaway

Walk On The Striped Side | The Burning Star
Big Bad Bite 2 | Star 1
Jessie Lane
Paranormal Romance | Young Adult Fantasy
February 25, 2014 | May 23, 2012
Whiskey Girls Publishing
Walk On The Striped Side

Does he have his claws in her for good? Or is she just yanking his tail?

Elena Demos’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother has passed away, leaving Elena and her two half-sisters to deal with their mother’s will and the crazy stipulations it contains. For the three sisters to inherit the substantial amount of money left behind, they have to go to work with two aunts they’ve never met, in the family business they’ve known nothing about, Amazons Inc. If that isn’t bad enough, she runs into the man who once broke her heart, and it’s only their first day on the job.
Gage Ivanov is a stupid beast. He let the woman who should be his mate go because she couldn’t be told of his Other identity. Now, Elena’s back, but she refuses to give in to his demands for her to be his mate. The timing for all of this couldn’t be worse, either, because Gage and his circle of friends are trying to subdue a rogue pack of wolf shifters in Germany who threaten to out the Others to the world of humans. Will he be able to juggle the oncoming conflict and win back his mate?
Claws, love bites and handcuffs – OH MY!

The Burning Star
*This book is a re-release and revision from the original book. Please be aware that some things have been added, deleted or changed.*
Kay’s journey of a lifetime started in the woods outside of Asheville, North Carolina. It was there that the 17 year old met a beautiful man along with a monster. The chance encounter led her to an unbelievable world that shouldn’t exist; a place where myths and fairy tales were real, and in some cases, deadly. Kay knew she would have to brave this new world if she hoped to find a cure for her terminal cancer.

With a strange yet beautiful cast of characters that she would meet along the way, Kay uncovered truths that would change her life forever. However, before it was all over, it would become clear that Kay wasn’t the only one with problems.

Yet another 17 year old young woman was fighting for her freedom and her life.

Kira had lived in a magical world that Kay had only dreamt of. Despite this, her life had not been filled with many good things. As a matter of fact, she considered her empty, emotional solitude the only positive aspect of her life. She fought daily battles to escape abuse and torture.Trained to be an expert assassin, she was charged with kidnapping Kay and delivering her to Kira’s master, Lord Donovan.

As the two young women set forth in their journeys, their paths would cross in unimaginable ways. The only question that would remain was who would come out alive and whole in the end?

WARNING: This is a upper ya/young adult/new adult fictional story that includes some explicit language, graphic violence, and mild sexual situations. Recommended for ages sixteen and up.

Jessie Lane, Crystal and Melissa, is one of my favorite indie authors. Their books are always snarky, funny, and packed with the good stuff, it’s hard NOT to get lost in their tales. Not only that, these two are such sweethearts! Very personable, treating their “fans” like friends, zero diva airs. Win-win! 

Now the chat interview below is kinda important. Why? Because Jessie Lane is sans Melissa now… Juicy bit, right?

Hi everyone! Today, Melissa and I (Crystal), formerly the Jessie Lane writing duo, are stopping by Talk Supe today to interview each other! How’s that for a change? We’re going to talk books and what the future looks like for both of us after Mel has departed Jessie Lane. Ready for this? シ

Crystal’s Interrogation… err… Interview of Melissa:

CRYSTAL: You’ve just published your very first book, THE FROZEN STAR! CONGRATULATIONS LADY! How do you feel? Nervous? Excited? Anxious to move onto the next project?

MELISSA: Nervous and ready to move on at the same time. I have a lot of ideas about what I want to start next and can’t wait to get them going.

CRYSTAL: What was your favorite part(s) of writing THE FROZEN STAR and why? 

MELISSA: Having Liam beat the crap out Cole was one of my favorite scenes. I wanted to show the warrior/deadlier side to Liam since the beginning of the book. Liam reminds me of all the men in our family and what they would do to protect us.

CRYSTAL: What were some of the movies, books, music or other things that helped you delve into the fantasy/paranormal world of the Star Series for THE FROZEN STAR

MELISSA: I’m a geek and so is my hubby. So I watch him play video games and he always explains things “in detail” to me so when I asked about the mages or as I called them “spell-speakers”, he was my best resource for what they could and couldn’t do.

CRYSTAL: So, you and I have told the world through the Jessie Lane website that you’ve departed from Jessie Lane to pursue a solo writing career. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, tell everyone what you’re working on! What book will you release next? 

MELISSA: First up is the book I’m writing with my brother, Matthew, called Zombies Don’t Ride Motorcycles. Which we are aiming for a late summer or early fall release. I also am working on a romantic comedy inspired by the hilarious antics of my husband and our friends, the first book will be out this fall.

(Okay, Melissa, you gotta hit me up when this Zombie book of yours comes out)

CRYSTAL: From what you and I have discussed, you’re dabbling in a little bit of many genres. Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary Romance. What’s your favorite genre to write and why? 

MELISSA: At the moment it’s paranormal. I love the no holds bar aspect to the genre. My imagination has a mind of its own so it’s best to let it run free when it can. 

CRYSTAL: FUN QUESTION! If you could be transported to live inside the book of your choice, which book would it be? 

MELISSA: It would have to be one of Shelley Laurenston’s books.

Melissa’s Interview of Crystal:

MELISSA: Out of all the books that are under the Jessie Lane pen name, which one was the hardest scene for you to write? 

CRYSTAL: This is a toughie for me. There have been a few scenes that were hard for me for one reason or another, but if I have to choose one it would come from Secret Maneuvers. At the end of the Prologue, when Belle is fighting with her Dad and then receives Bobby’s break up letter had me in tears. Her sense of loss and helplessness is overwhelming and it’s always hard to read or write about a character who’s that broken. The second toughest scene I’ve written, funny enough, is in Stripping Her Defenses, the second book in the Ex Ops Series. I’m still working on that book.

MELISSA: I know you’re a music nut just like me, so tell everyone what’s on your playlist right now for your go to music to get you ready for the day. 

CRYSTAL: Five Finger Death Punch, Halestorm, Stone Sour, Shinedown, Of Mice and Men, Volbeat, Like A Storm and We As Humans. I listen to a lot of rock and metal when writing any Big Bad Bite Series book and I’m currently working on The Demon Who Loved Me.

MELISSA: If you could become a member of the Fae world, what race would you choose and why? 

CRYSTAL: Ohhhhh, this is a really good question Mel! Um, if I had to pick a class of Fae it would probably be the Sidhe. Not because it would put me in any “royal” family as it’s written in the Star Series world, but because the idea that I could have wings and powers. And I’d want to be from the Summer Court. They’re the “party crowd” and I think we all know I like to get wild every now and then, lol.

MELISSA: What is the next big thing you are excited about for Jessie Lane? 

CRYSTAL: I’m very excited about a few things coming up for Jessie Lane. The first would probably have to be the fact that both Big Bad Bite and Walk On The Striped Side are coming out on audiobook through Tantor! Big Bad Bite releases June 19th and Walk On The Striped Side releases July 10th. I’m also very excited to be working on The Demon Who Loved Me and I just bought the cover model photo for that book. I stumbled across a model who looks just like how I picture Kent in my head. I can’t wait for everyone to see the finished book cover in a couple of months!

MELISSA: What is your favorite genre to write in and why? 

CRYSTAL: I don’t have a favorite. I love paranormal and contemporary equally. The paranormal genre allows me to write out of this world scenes and unreal humor that would be over the top in a contemporary world. The contemporary genre allows me to delve into human emotions and how actions in life affect us. I love both aspects.

MELISSA: Your turn on the FUN QUESTION – If you could be transported to live inside the book of your choice, which book would it be? 

CRYSTAL:I’d love to live in a Karen Marie Moning book I think. I love all of her worlds and characters and wouldn’t mind meeting one of her sexy highlanders in person. Hee.

CRYSTAL: Before we go, a few people have inquired if things are still amicable between Melissa and myself since we’ve gone our separate ways. So let’s make that our last question that we’ll answer together to squash all the curiosity and possible gossip out there. Melissa and I are family. We’ll always love each other. So yes, not only are things amicable, but things are great. We’re both very excited about our future projects and what’s ahead of us. Right hoss?

MELISSA: Right. There are just a lot of things that are going on in both of our lives that require more attention and unfortunately I need to depart from the duo so that I can pursue mine on my own, but we don’t know what the future holds for us. We will always be family and therefore support one another in whatever we want to do.

CRYSTAL: I can’t wait for the world to see what Melissa has in store for them! I hope everyone enjoyed our interview today. Was there anything that wasn’t asked that you hoped would be asked? If so, feel free to ask us below in the comments section! Thanks everybody! And thank you Braine for having us by your super fabulous blog today. HAPPY BLOGOVERSAY LADY!

Thanks crazy Beeches for the updates which I’m excited for as well as ending speculations about y’all’s relationship. Love you, guys!
A Walk On The Striped Side Review & Links

The Burning Star Links

Crystal and Melissa often live half their lives with their heads in the clouds dreaming of alpha military hunks, werewolves and kick ass heroines crazy enough to chase after creatures that they unquestionably should know better than to chase.Their first YA novel, The Burning Star, was released in May 2012. Big Bad Bite is their second novel, but their first adult paranormal romance. They are now working on their next two novels, Walk On The Striped Side and Secret Maneuvers. With these projects underway, they are looking forward to showing the rest of the world their crazy stories, heroes and heroines that often plague their minds until written, and hope you will join them on their journey!

Stalk Them!
Signed print copies of WALK ON THE STRIPED SIDE and THE BURNING STAR is up for grabs, contest open international too, woot!

Also, don’t forget to enter the US Only Print giveaway bonanza! Links on the blogoversary header!

Year 3.2: Silver Series by Cheree Alsop + 101 & Giveaway

Cheree Alsop
Young Adult
The Silver Series is a series about teenage werewolves trying to survive in today’s world. They face the trials and joys that come with being a teenager, as well as the additional challenges of a werewolf. The Silver Series consists of seven books. I have finished the first six and am currently writing the seventh.
Trivia: Cheree Alsop is one of the first indie authors I’ve featured when Talk Supe was still in its wee year. This lady’s books need more lovin’ because Cheree is a fantastic storyteller! Here’s more about her just concluded YA-Werewolf series, SILVER.


by Jaze Carso

“Werewolves hide among you; it’s a secret we have fought for centuries to keep. We were almost wiped out once, and know better than to let the secret out again. But just like humans, werewolves are impulsive and sometimes uncontrollable. That’s where I come in. My job is to protect the werewolves and help them live full and happy lives. There are Hunters and others who don’t believe werewolves have rights and should be hunted and exterminated like animals. I’ve done what I can to smooth Hunter-werewolf relations, but extremists, fighting rings, and covert agencies feel that the fate of werewolves should be to die, be forced to fight for the entertainment of humans who watch the mutilation and bloodshed like it’s a sport, or be experimented upon to unlock the secrets of our superior strength and increased healing capabilities.

I have seen things that would break me if I didn’t remember what I was fighting for. I found my father hacked apart by Hunters, and have rescued friends and comrades from fates worse than death. I feel a noose closing in as though those I care about are in danger, but I can’t find the source of it quickly enough to save them. There are so many werewolves in trouble, and though my team and the Hunters and werewolves that make up what some consider my private army work night and day to rescue them, it’s not enough. We need to do more, and so I am creating a team strong enough and smart enough to stop the threats hurled against us by ignorant humans who fear what they don’t understand.

I am a high school student, and my attempt to live a normal life is shadowed by the werewolves who need my help. Charts of recent werewolf activity hang from my bedroom walls in place of posters. A computer tracking the rogue packs that intimidate the local wolves and endanger innocent humans sits by my bed. In place of text books, pens, and paper, my backpack is filled with guns, knives, and the occasional bag of beef jerky (you don’t want to mess with a hungry werewolf). Instead of studying for classes, my friends spend their days creating high-tech monitoring devices and tracking down the locations of fighting rings, torture chambers, and laboratories.

I have loved with all of my heart, which is the way of the wolf. I have tracked through fields lit by the light of the full moon as it rested upon my shoulders like a cloak of strength. I have suffered to see the pains other werewolves have gone through, and almost died saving a human girl who stole my heart and gave me my life back. I live in the hopes of avenging my father’s death by saving those in pain, and I give every day-”

A sound reverberated through the room. Jaze Carso set down his pen and a smile spread across his face. The curtains to either side of the open window swayed gently in the breeze to create dancing trails of moonlight across the page. Jaze opened his hand and let it play across his palm. A welcome shudder ran through his body. He stood as the howl sounded again, more persistent this time. He took off his clothes and didn’t fight the phase. His joints shifted, pulling him onto his hands and knees. His ears elongated and moved to higher points on his head while his muzzle grew and sharp canines lengthened. Jet black fur ran up his arms and down his body, covering his shoulders and back in a soft undercoat followed by the thick, longer guard hairs. It felt good to be in wolf form again, like putting on a pair of worn shoes molded by time to fit only the wearer’s feet. Jaze shook to settle into his wolf form, then stretched.

Another howl rose and other voices joined it. The notes took on the warm, rounded tones of his pack ready for a night run beneath the welcome embrace of the full moon. Jaze pushed aside the curtain with his muzzle and the moonlight cast his brown eyes with a golden glow. Stars glittered within the inky blanket of night and the full orb above washed the city in an other-worldly glow. Eyes watched him from below, one pair dark blue, another deep crimson red, one set violet, and the last golden and deep with the secrets of the wild. Jaze gave a wolfish grin and leaped from the window.

Cheree Alsop is the mother of a beautiful, talented daughter and amazing twin sons who fill every day with joy and laughter. She is married to her best friend, Michael, the light of her life and her soulmate who shares her dreams and inspires her by reading the first drafts and adding depth to the stories. Cheree is currently working as an independent author and mother. She enjoys reading, riding her motorcycle on warm nights, and playing with her twins while planning her next book. She is also a bass player for their rock band, Alien Landslide.

Cheree and Michael live in Utah where they rock out, enjoy the outdoors, plan great adventures, and never stop dreaming.

Stalk Cheree!
Website | Facebook | @chereealsop | Goodreads

Cheree is giving away TWO sets of the SILVER series, all 7 books, via Smashwords. Codes will be provided to the winners. 

Also, don’t forget to enter the print giveaway bonanza! There are 18 books up for grabs so the odds are very much in your favor.