Sunday, October 7, 2012

{ Uncontrollable by S. R. Johannes }

Sept 24, 2012 by Coleman & Stott
Format: ebook
Source: Author for review

From Goodreads:
As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants.

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.
My Review:
Once again I was so thankful and thrilled when author S.R. Johannes added me to the list of Bloggers to receive an ebook ARC of Uncontrollable. You all know how much I loved the first book in this Trilogy and book two did not disappoint.

Once again Grace is such a refreshing main character. She is strong, smart, loyal, dedicated to what she believes in and pretty darn funny at times. She was put through the ringer in book one and still has a lot of healing to do. I love how Grace is still as strong as ever, but we do get to see her vulnerable side as well. One thing that I love about this story, is that Grace is also surrounded by loving supportive family and friends. Yes, perhaps there are many individuals in town who are not her biggest fans, but she does have great support. One of the biggest is her Grandmother, Birdee. Birdee is such a great addition to this story. She is one tough old 'Bird' and adds a lot of comical moments. Especially at the end where Birdee gives the thumbs up to a certain young man's bottom. :)

Okay we also have a 'love triangle' to deal with. However, for me this is not a typical or the usual annoying 'love triangle'. The reason for that is Grace. She is not an annoying girl that flip-flops on who she wants to be with. She knows what she wants and never wavers. However, she is one lucky girl to be surrounded by two very yummy boys.

One of the best aspects to these books is the backdrop of the Smokey Mountains and the wildlife. In this book we are given a taste of the plight of the Red Wolves and author Shelli Johannes has provided links and ways for readers to get involved if they so choose.

In the end, I recommend Uncontrollable to all YA and Adult readers who enjoy strong female characters, family bonds, the outdoors, mystery, action and of course some yummy boys thrown in for good measure. I for one, look forward to more in the Nature of Grace series and anything else Shelli decides to 'Grace' us with. :)
5 Stars

Monday, September 24, 2012

{Uncontrollable Release Day}


Yay! Uncontrollable is out today!
Uncontrollable is the second book in "The Nature of Grace" series by S.R. JohannesUntraceable, the first book in the series, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".
Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."
If you like a page turner, you will love this series!
Head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more.
To continue on with the blog tour, check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways.
Book Summary
As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 
While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 
After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 
Little does she know, she is being hunted too. 
On Sale Now! 
Uncontrollable is on sale in paperback and ebook at all major
booksellers including Amazon, iBooks/Apple (coming soon),
If you haven't read Untraceable, you can get it in paperback and ebook
at all major booksellers including AmazonAppleSmashwords,
and B&N.
Author Bio
S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.  Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.
S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult). Untraceable was also recently named a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Indie Book of the Year (YA)
After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. 
Follow S.R. online on her websiteTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest
You can also sign up for her newsletter to keep up on author or book news.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

{ Untraceable by S R Johannes }

November 23, 2011 by Coleman & Stott
Format: ebook
Source: from Author for review
From Goodreads:
16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.
My Review:
I was lucky enough to receive an email from author S. R. Johannes asking if I would be interested in a free copy of her book Untraceable in exchange for an honest review. Well, of course I jumped at the opportunity. As I have read...and Loved...Shelli's other two books, On The Bright Side and Suffocate, I knew that I would enjoy Untraceable. Not only did I enjoy it? I loved it!! Shelli had me hooked from the beginning and I could not put this one down. First off I loved the storyline. I am a lover of the outdoors, camping and of course wild life, so that alone had me hooked. But these characters?
Grace is an amazing young women. She is strong, smart, funny and everything I like to see in a YA female character.  But we also get to see that she is vulnerable too. She is put through an array of very tough and often horrific situations, that as an adult, I am not sure could withstand. I love Grace.
Then we have Mo. Yummy, yummy Mo. I must admit, that I was a bit worried that the relationship between Grace and Mo was going to be too quick, and forced like is often seen in a lot of YA books. However, it was not forced at all. These two were just made for each other. I was also worried that we were going to have to deal with an annoying love triangle between Grace, Mo and Wyn. But no. We got to see Grace's internal struggles, but it was not an in your face type of thing. And Wyn? Well, I must admit I am a fan of his as well. He's the perfect 'best friend' turned boyfriend.
I also love how each and every character had a part in this book. I know, I know. Of course they did. No really. This book would not have been what it was without each and every one of them. Including the river, the forest and the animals. Everything just came together and fit perfectly. This book really has it all. It is a mystery, coming of age, romance, suspense and adventure story all rolled into one amazing little package.
In the end? I would highly recommend Untraceable. Author S. R. Johannes is one of my new go to authors. I look forward to more in the Nature of Grace series and anything else she 'Graces' us with!!
5 Stars!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

{ Cover Reveal...Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut }

I am super excited to share with you all a cover reveal for my friend Darby Karchut's newest trilogy which is set to be released next spring! Me...and my 10yr old...are Super excited for this one. Love to know what you think?

Finn Finnegan
Finn (not bleedin' Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.

Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn's survival. Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of "fighting Irish."
Title: Finn Finnegan
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (
ISBN: 978-1-937053-32-1
Release Date:
March 12, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book
Genres: Middle Grade/Young Adult, Fantasy

{ Florence by Ciye Cho }

July 1, 2012 by Studio Amazepop
Format: ebook
Source: from author for review

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.

My Review:

When I was approached by author Ciye Cho to read and review the first book in his new series...well, I was prepared for a wild ride. One thing I learned from Ciye's first series? He has one wicked imagination! You know what? I was pleasantly surprised by this new series. I found myself totally immersed in his world of Mermaids and Mermen. The world of Niemela and these characters were so easy to adore.

Florence was not only believable, but likable too. And one thing I loved is that we see her grow a great deal throughout this story. Princess Yolee is the perfect little sister. Adorable! Loved her! Prince Kiren and Prince Rolan are the perfect balance between the good and evil, even if at times the lines are blurred on both sides. Author Ciye Cho did a great job of developing these characters and slowly introducing us to a budding romance...between who...I'll never tell. But I will say this? Rolan could definitely creep up to one of my top swoon worthy characters of all time...just saying.

Not only do we get an amazing visual of the world of Niemela, but there is action and danger at every turn. This is a YA series, but I would definitely recommend this one to middle grade readers too...of course Adults too! This is a perfect summer read for the beach. It's a fast easy read, filled with a fantastical world and illuminating lovable characters.

In the end, I highly recommend Florence to anyone looking for something a little different, something fun with just a hint of romance. I can not wait to see where book 2 takes Florence and the world of Niemela. Thank you Ciye Cho for a GREAT read!


 4 stars!

{ Into The Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick }

November 10, 2012 by Darkside Publishing
Format: Ebook
Source: from Author for review

From Goodreads:

Fans of the TV series ‘Heroes, the film ‘Push’, and the book ‘The Hunger Games’ will enjoy Into the Shadows, a modern and paranormal thriller. This is the first book in the Into the Shadows Trilogy.

Paivi Anderson has it all - friends, a spot on the varsity basketball team, wonderful parents, and quite possibly, her first boyfriend. It was everything a freshman in high school could ask for. Her perfect life begins to crumble when she discovers her name on a list distributed by a power-hungry presidential candidate. How could anyone think of Paivi as an Enemy of the State? Could it be because of her special powers? No one was supposed to know about them, but the mysterious messages in her tater tots say otherwise. In INTO THE SHADOWS, Paivi quickly learns who her friends are and is forced into a reality she didn’t see coming.

My Review:

When I was approached by author, Karly Kirkpatrick to read and review Into The Shadows, I knew right away that I had to give it a read. I was a HUGH Heroes fan and thought we need a book like that in the YA world. I will admit though, that I found myself a bit disappointed in the beginning. I found this book to be quite slow and sluggish to get into the nitty gritty of the story. Sadly, it took a good chunk of the book before that happened. Also, at times I found that the writing and dialog was more middle grade than YA...but perhaps that was just me.

The characters were more of the same for me. Some I was easily connected to and others not so much. I am not even really sure what it was. Perhaps it was more of a believability issue for me. Like Paivi's parents. They were loving parents yes, but at times it just seemed that they were like these weird 'pod' parents or something. And they talked down to their kids quite a bit. Actually now that I think about it, it was more of the author talking down to the reader. Yes, having life lessons embedded into the story is great, but talking to your readers like they are your 7 or 8 year old children? Doesn't work. Also, some of the dialog between some of these characters just was not believeable. This is not how teenagers talk to eachother.

So did I enjoy it at all? Yes. The last 4 or 5 chapters were awesome! And on a whole, the story really is original and exciting. I was excited to see how this book would end and really do want to continue this series and see where these characters and this society go from here. I truly hope that author, Karly Kirkpatrick can continue on this road for the remainder of this series. I feel it could end up to be a truly great one!

In the end, I do recommend it, just be prepared for a slow read up until the last quarter.

3 Stars

Friday, June 8, 2012

{ Suffocate by S R Johannes }

May 21st 2012 by Coleman & Stott
Source: from Author for review
Format: Ebook ARC

From GoodReads:

Suffocate is the first novelette in THE BREATHLESS series. It is a 15,000 word young adult thriller that combines the dystopic and science fiction genres.

For centuries, the world outside the Biome has been unlivable. Today, marks the first time anyone will attempt to leave the suffocating ecosphere. Eria is not worried because her scientist father has successfully tested the new Bio-Suit many times. It's a celebratory day until something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of tragedy, Eria uncovers a deep conspiracy in her perfect bubble. If those responsible find out what she knows, they won't stop hunting her until she takes her last breath.

The 2nd novelette in the series, CHOKE, is scheduled for Fall 2012. The 3rd, EXHALE, is scheduled for Winter 2013.

My Review:

I will be the first to admit that novella's are not really my thing. While, it's nice to pick up something and finish it within a few hours, I just find that there is never enough time to get fully invested in it. And Suffocate...totally changed my thinking! Wow! This one starts with a bang, takes hold and does not let you go. The characters were believable and so engaging. The story line is so utterly up my alley and that ending?? Awesome. I am very excited to see where author S R Johannes takes this story in the next installment. Shelli...Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me review this one.

I became a fan of Shelli's after reading On The Bright Side and she now has a new 10 year old. She absolutely LOVED OTBS as well. With Suffocate, I think Shelli has managed to bring the genre of Dystopian to a larger audience. This book is definitely suited for all ages, not just the older YA readers as many of the Dystopian books out there are geared for. However, coming from a 40+ mindset, I really enjoyed this one as well!

If you are a lover of YA you all know that I am...or if you are a fan of author S R Johannes other novels...pick this one up. You will enjoy the ride!!

Rating: 5 Stars!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

{ City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare }

May 8th 2012 by Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Hard Cover
Source: My Bookshelf!

From GoodReads:

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My Review:

I have said it before and I will say it again. Cassandra Clare speaks to my soul. I will be the first to admit that okay, this may have not been the BEST BOOK EVER! But, this series is one of my guilty pleasures. And I will admit that the whole Clary and Jace thing has gotten off track. Luckily we have other relationships to feed off of.

First off, Simon! I must say that after the last book I was starting to see Simon in a whole new light and now? Huge, Simon lover here!! Simon really has grown so much over the past 2 or 3 books. The developing relationship between Simon and Izzy is so very appealing. They are both so strong, so funny and so very stubborn. You have to love it. Okay...and the whole biting scene? One of Clare's best scenes ever!

And of course, I am still a huge Magnus Bane lover! He has to be one of the best characters out there. I just love every scene he is in. He brings so much emotion. He makes me laugh, cry, laugh, frustrated, laugh, angry, laugh...well you get the picture. I just love him. Right now, I am feeling very heart broken and worried for Magnus...and Alec. I can not wait for COHF!!

Putting aside my love for this series and this book, I will admit that the biggest portion of this book, dealing with Clary, Jace and Sebastian was a little...well, not really needed and a little weird. I think that most of us can agree that Sebastian's incestial tendencies were a little creepy. However, I get where Clare was going with all of it. Sebastian is crazy and the true definition of evil. I get it. And he does it well. But could the story have gone on without it? Perhaps. It is what it is and it did not deter me from going forward with this series, or lessen my love for this series or for Clare. I still adore them both. And I loved this ending! I know many people out there wanted a nice happy ending to this 5th installment. Not I. Not at all. I loved it! I just wish I did not have to wait so VERY long for COHF!!

In the end, I whole heartily recommend this book and this series. If you have not jumped into this one? Please do. It is one of my top favorite series and always recommend it to everyone I know. Thank you once again, Cassandra Clare.

Rating: 5+ Stars!

Monday, May 21, 2012

{ Insurgent by Veronica Roth }

May 1, 2012 by HarperTeen
Source: My Bookshelf
Format: Hardcover

From Goodreads:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

My Review:

Wow! Amazing! Loved it!

What more can I say. Insurgent was well worth the wait. Veronica Roth did an outstanding job with this second installment. I will admit to being somewhat nervous going in. The second book in a Trilogy can sometimes be a disappointment. The momentum can be lost and you are left with a shell of what could have been. Not in this case. Insurgent was brilliant...or at least in my opinion.

Tris continues to be one of the strongest female characters I have read in a long time. I said after Divergent that I was a Tris wanna-be and I still am...maybe even more so now. Tris goes through so much emotionally and physically in this book and never does she become lazy and whiny about poor Tris and why are all these bad things are happening to her. She approaches each new horrific occurrence with a somewhat level level as one can expect really. No. She is not perfect. But she understands when she has made a mistake. She doesn't let it drag her down. She learns, she grows, she moves on. Okay. Yes she has scars and yes, she is gonna need some major therapy. But she is still one kickass girl. Gotta love her!

Then there is my Four(Tobias). He is still the same Tobias we all love. We get to know Tobias on much deeper level in this book and he still makes my heart beat just a little bit faster.

I always fall hard for a book that can make me feel. And this book and series continues to do just that. Not only are these two characters strong and have such a great connectibilty to them, but all of these characters do. Again, yes. This is a Dystopian. Yes, it is filled with death, destruction, violence, horrific events. But at its core, is love, our desire to be connected, to be wanted and needed. And even though on a whole the human race can be horrible to ourselves and each other, I like to think that in the darkest of times, we can also rise above.

Love and Hope.

On a side note? What about that ending?! I have to wait a whole year?? Really??

If you have not read this book or this series yet? Go! Now! No really. GO!!

Rating: 5+ Stars!!

It is May 21st and guess what that means?

S.R. Johannes’ Suffocate is out today!

Suffocate is the first novelette in THE BREATHLESS series. It is a 15,000 word young adult thriller that combines the dystopic and science fiction genres.

Here’s a little about the novelette…

“For centuries, the world outside the Biome has been unlivable. Today, marks the first time anyone will attempt to leave the suffocating ecosphere. Eria is not worried because her scientist father has successfully tested the new Bio-Suit many times. It's a celebratory day until something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of tragedy, Eria uncovers a deep conspiracy that affects the very air she breathes. 

If those responsible find out what she knows, they won't stop hunting her until she takes her last breath.”

The 2nd novella in the series, CHOKE, is scheduled for Fall 2012. The 3rd, EXHALE, is scheduled for Winter 2013.

You can purchase Suffocate for only 99 cents at

Amazon –

B&N –

Also you can add it on Goodreads! -

And in case you were wondering here is a bit about the author –

S.R. Johannes is author of the Amazon Bestseller Untraceable and a current nominee of the Georgia Author of the Year in the Young Adult category. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her goldendoodle Charley (notice he is listed first :), her British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.  You can find her hanging out online and visit her at

Can't wait to start this one!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

{ The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter }

April 19, 2011 by Harlequin
Format: ebook

From Goodreads:



It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.


My Review:

During the release of this book, there was a lot of hype in the book blogging world. I added it to my ever growing list of books to read like everyone else. I must say that enjoyed it. Now, I'm not sure that I loved it as much as some readers, but it is certainly a fun, light read. I will admit that I am not up on my Greek Mythology and really know very little. However, that aside, I felt like this book was more of a YA romance with a little Greek Mythology referenced. I would have expected these characters to be a little more dynamic, ruthless and in your face...I mean, they are Greek Gods! However, I realize that you have to put all that aside and take this book for what it truly is. Plain and simple. A YA romance. I would say it was enjoyable. Enough so that I look forward to the next book. I enjoyed the world building within the Goddess Test. It definitely takes on a whole new look at the afterlife and death. In that aspect this book is really quite good. Author Aimee Carter did a fantastic job of putting a different spin on it. Although, I do admit to being left a bit dazed and confused in the end...still not sure if that's good or bad.

Lets talk Characters. Kate. I really did enjoy Kate quite a bit. She's strong and loyal to the bone. Okay, maybe perhaps she has some issues. She has been living through her teenage life, basically waiting for her mother to die. So she really has not lived a normal life and been in a situation to fully grown into herself. Not that most teenagers know who they are or what they want to be, but for Kate it's been even more of a struggle.

Then we have Henry. I really want to like Henry and I do. However, I felt conflicted most of the time with Henry. I get it. He is this strong silent type. He is a tortured soul...if he had one? But at times, it got a little annoying. I will admit, there were certainly times when I got Henry, though. Enough so that I truly have high hopes for him in the coming books. I just felt a real conflict through most of this book. I wanted to love it, but there were many YA cliches that just brought it down a few notches for me. I truly felt that Kate's love for Henry was forced...another case of instant love. Okay maybe not instant, but close. There were other enjoyable characters, but with the ending of this book...well, I am not too sure how I feel about these characters now.

In the end, I would recommend The Goddess Test to those who enjoy YA romance. Looking for a great Mythology based story? You probably want to skip this one.

Rating: 3 Stars

Sunday, April 22, 2012

{ The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda }

May 8, 2012 by St. Martins Griffin
Source: NetGalley
Format: ebook ARC

From GoodReads:

Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his

My Review:

I always find it hard to write a review when I did not really enjoy a book. The Hunt would fall into this category. While the premise sounded interesting enough, it fell short on all accounts. I pushed myself to finish this one and as a result it took me forever to work my way through it.

The main problem for me was the lack of believability of...well quite frankly everything. The characters were not believable and the story itself had so many inconsistency's, that I just had a hard time with it. I was confused as to what these things were. Are they vampires or something else entirely. If they are vampires, this story just did not work at all. The main character Gene, I also had a hard time with. At times I could understand why he is the way he is, but the whole inconsistency thing just took away from him and every other character in this book. The only characters that I really started to feel anything for were the humans...Hepers. For me any real enjoyment came at the very end of this book and it was a little too late for me.

There really is not much for me to say about this one. In the end, this is not one that I would recommend. If you are a true vampire lover and devour every vampire book out there? Perhaps you will enjoy it. Unfortunately, I will not be seeking out book 2.

Rating: 2

Monday, April 16, 2012

{ And the winners are... }

I want to say a big thank you again to Darby for helping me out with this giveaway and for introducing the world to Griffin and Basil!

And because I only had two takers on this's pretty easy.

yarereviews you have won a signed copy of Griffin Rising!

Sarah you have won a signed copy of Griffin's Fire!

I have forwarded your contact information onto Darby. I will be emailing you soon too, as I have some goodies for you too!

Happy Reading to you all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

{ Talisman of El by Alecia Stone }

May 20, 2012 by Centrinian Publishing
Source: from author for review
Format: ebook ARC

From GoodReads:


One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.
Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He's afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn't know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others.

My Review:

First off, thank you to Alecia Stone for the opportunity to read and review her book, Talisman of El. I knew as soon as I read the synopsis I would enjoy this one. And enjoy it I did. Talisman of El is quite the adventure! I loved this new take on Heaven and Angels. We have all grown up with this idea of Heaven being...well, up in the Heavens. But what if Heaven was actually in another dimension at the center of the Earth? What if Angels were actually warriors? Warriors who hold the powers of the 4 elements...Earth, Air, Water and Fire. This was a very cool combination of Supernatural, Fantasy and Mythology. My only negative comment would be that there was so much going on, at times I felt a bit confused and over whelmed. This is one of those books that I could have used a map and perhaps a character listing to keep track of the hierarchy within Arcadia. But really, it was not too much of a distraction that it took away from the story.

One of the biggest deal breakers for me is believable characters and a real connection to at least the main character of a story. This book was filled with some great and memorable characters for me. Author, Alicia Stone, did a fantastic job. Right from the beginning I felt connected to Charlie...and of course Alex and Richmond. What I love so much is the relationship that develops between these 3 and also the growth that we see within each of them. And of course the adventure/journey that they take on in Arcadia. Of course the true story really takes place in Arcadia and we are introduced to more great characters. One of my favorites has to be Ash. As I have said before, I love strong sarcastic characters and Ash was all of that and more. Ash is front and centre for many of the humorous moments in this book. Okay...and being able to shapeshift into a cool is that?!

As I was reading this book, I kept picturing this one on the big screen. This is only book one in a new trilogy, but I can see this being easily adapted to film and doing quite well. Again, this is just such a fun, fun adventure and filled with so many wonderful and colorful characters.

In the end, I definitely recommend this one. If you are a lover of Fantasy, Mythology, Adventure, Supernatural and perhaps something with a slight Spiritual/Religious undertone? You will definitely enjoy this book. I for one, am looking forward to the next instalment. Oh and a note to Alicia? Loved the ending!! Nope, no huge cliffhanger, but it was brilliant. It put a huge smile on my face and left me filled with great anticipation for book 2!

Rating: 4 stars

Monday, April 2, 2012

{ Darby Karchut interview and giveaway!! }

I am so very happy to have Darby Karchut join me today. Before we start, here is a little background...

All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.
Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.
Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.
Griffin Rising is her first novel. She is currently working on the next books in the series, Griffin's Fire (April 2012) and Griffin's Storm (both from Twilight Times Books). Her middle grade novel, Finn Finnegan, will be released March 2013 from Spencer Hill Press.

Welcome, Darby. Thank you so much for agreeing to join me here at TracysHappyBookShelf.

Hi Tracy! It is so fun to be here visiting with you and your followers. I’m all set for your
questions, so fire away.

As a kid, did you have an adult in your life that encouraged
and helped to create a love of reading in you?

Not a single adult, but rather a family that ate books. We always had books in our house, we received books as Christmas and birthday presents, and we were always going to the library. Oddly enough, I never wanted to be a writer. In fact, I had never written a thing in my life until I wrote Griffin Rising. I guess the old expression about the relationship between reading and writing is true: you read and read and read, gorging yourself on the written word, and then one day, you throw up a book. That’s what happened to me.

What was your all-time favorite book growing up?

Gosh, that would be a tie between The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. At one time, I wanted to be a bard!

What is your current favorite book of 2012?

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Her lyrical voice is unmatched. And her use of the water horse mythology is brilliant. Plus, I adore Sean and Corr. (I grew up riding and showing Arabian horses). The middle school where I teach has a weekly book club during lunch (over 35 members strong; mix of boys and girls) and the club read The Scorpio Races just last month.

What made you decide to become an author and why YA/Middle

Like I mentioned earlier, I never, ever thought about writing a book. It seemed like too much
work! I would much rather read. But one day, the idea of an apprentice angel and his stalwart mentor slammed into my head and I just couldn’t get it out. So I started writing and editing (and editing and editing) Griffin Rising. Then eleven months later, I landed my first publishing contract.

Why YA/Middle Grade?
My brain is hardwired to write this way. I couldn’t write an “adult” book to
save my life. Plus, I enjoy exploring the great questions of life through YA/MG

What has been the most difficult scene/character to write in
the Griffin series thus far?

Fight scenes are the most difficult. I really struggle with keeping the pacing tight and the
physical actions realistic. As far as characters, female characters are harder for me to write than males. I have no idea why, since I am a female. I guess I just identify with boys more.

Of all the characters in the Griffin series, which character do
you identify with the most and why?

It depends. As a middle school teacher, I find myself identifying with Basil quite often and his
struggles to raise a “good” teen. But I also see a lot of myself in Griffin: The insecurities, the need for a strong father figure, and the search for self-identity.

What has been the best ‘author’ moment for you thus far on your
journey with Griffin?

The moment during study hall last year when a student finished his homework and pulled a book out of his pack back. It was Griffin Rising. I could have wept.

Let’s add a few little fun questions too...

* Coffee or tea? Coffee and more coffee!

* Early bird or Night Owl? Early bird. If I am not up by 5:30, I consider the day half gone.

* Cats or Dogs? Yes, please. Plus horses, too.

* Favorite singer/band/musician? John Denver and Plain White T’s

* Favorite vacation destination? Anywhere with mountains. But I also love the high deserts of New Mexico, where I grew up.

* Favorite food? Key lime pie.

Thanks again, Tracy, for letting me visit and talk about my books. I loved every minute of it!

Thank you Darby! I have said right from the beginning, that there is nothing I love more than to share my love of reading and books with anyone and everyone who will listen. Being able to promote the books I love and to help spread the word about a book/author brings me great joy. Even though the blog is small, I still like to do what I can. I have read some amazing books over my past year of blogging and have had the opportunity to meet some great people. One of which is Darby Karchut. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being an added smile in my life. :0)

Okay...onto some more good stuff! Darby has graciously offered up a Signed copy of Griffin Rising and a Signed copy of Griffin's Fire! So yes, two winners and I also have a couple of signed postcards to add to those books as well.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite YA/Middle Grade read is thus far for 2012. Also, be sure to leave your email address, so that we can get in contact with you. That's it. Pretty easy, right? I would also, love it if you could spread the word. No, there will be no extra entries, but the more people we can introduce to Darby and to Griffin the better!!

This giveaway will be running until Griffin's Fire release date of April 15th. All entries must be received by 11:59 April 15th MST.
Thanks to Darby and all of you for stopping by today.