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.