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Reflections of a Bibliophilic Barista

a caffeine addicts reviews of YA books with a few extras…

Taking a Break

I feel like I’ve been absent from blogging for so long, and I’ve fallen so far behind it’s borderline stressful thinking about trying to get back into at the moment. So, I’ve decided I’m going to take a break. This year has been a bit rough, I’ve had tons of things going on; so many commitments that take up lots of time, some rough family moments including the loss of two amazing Grandparents, and some changes with both of my jobs. Since I haven’t managed to find myself in a steady routine with daily life I’m having a difficult time getting a blogging routine together. I don’t want to give up forever, especially since I was so new to blogging that I never really got a steady rhythm going between reading, reviewing, and blogging. So I’m going to give myself a break for the next few months. Hopefully by August I will be back… but for now I’m just going to spend time enjoying family and friends and of course reading.

Cover Share: Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake

 MortalGodscover

Mortal Gods

Book 2 in the Goddess War Series

by Kendare Blake


How exciting is this cover??!! I know I’m in love already…

After reading Anna Dressed in Blood, I immediately fell in love with Kendare Blake’s writing and devoured Antigoddess (Goddess War #1). It had so many of my favorite elements: action, mythology, kick ass characters, and an amazing twist on the gods/goddesses that I grew up reading stories about.

The anticipation for the title and cover of the second book in the series was almost too much for me… but I made it, and am now ecstatic that I can participate in sharing this wonderful cover! (Now I just have to survive until the release date…)

Look for Mortal Gods to hit shelves on October 14th, 2014!

(Find it on Goodreads)


 And if you haven’t already read book 1….

antigoddessAntigoddess (Goddess War #1)

by Kendare Blake

GoodreadsB&NAmazon

 

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god. 

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning. 

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out. 

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

Dwellers of Darkness by Stacey Marie Brown Blog Tour

 
 
Dwellers of DarknessTitle: Dwellers of Darkness
Author: Stacey Marie Brown
Genre: New Adult fantasy/paranormal romance
Series: Darkness #3
Publication: February 27th, 2014 by Twisted Fairy Publishing
 

 

Some days feel like years, but in Ember Brycin’s case just the opposite is true. She had only been in the Otherworld for a day or two when she returned back to the Earth’s realm. But it is three years later on Earth. Em is now 22. It would matter if she was human, but she’s not. She is a Dae, part Demon and part Fay, with a little Dark Dweller thrown in to make her even more of a freak.

Seeing Seattle rebuilt only confirms she has been gone three years. For her it was not long ago that the Seattle area was just rubble of concrete and death. All done by her hand.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is her undeniable connection to Eli Dragen, who is sexy, gorgeous, and even more volatile and frustrating. But her problems go way past him. The Seelie Queen of the Otherworld still holds Mark, Em’s father, and her friends, Ryan, and Josh as hostages. Em needs to rescue them without, once again, getting caught and being used as a pawn to help the Queen regain possession of Earth. At the same time Ember is in hot water with Lars, the Unseelie King, after breaking her contract with him.

As some secrets have come to light others seem to become even more enigmatic. The only truth Ember knows is,everyone is harboring secrets. As Eli’s past is revealed, Em understands more clearly why he acts the way he does and how much their lives are intertwined. But she also knows Eli is holding something back, something that could change their relationship forever.

Em herself continues to wrestle with her feelings toward Torin and her own secret she’s withholding from Kennedy. As the tension for war mounts between the Seelie and Unseelie (Light and Dark), the tension at the Dark Dweller’s compound mounts even more as they prepare to obtain the sword no matter what the price. But is Ember the answer to the location of the sword? Is she the one to fulfill the prophecy? As usual nothing is ever what it seems.

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

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My Rating: 4

My Thoughts:

I have to  thank Ms. Stacey Marie Brown for once again sucking me into the amazing world that was created with the Darkness series. Starting right where we left off in book two, Ember finds her self staring at Seattle, which was in ruins when she left it and is now shiny and new. In her mind only a few days had passed, but in the real world it had been three whole years…. not only does she have to deal with the realization that a lot has changed but she’s now stuck standing next to a Mother she thought was dead and the man she thought helped to kill her. The action in this story started right from the first page and just kept on going right until the end. It was so easy to find myself falling back in love with the characters and setting in this series, and it was hard to put it down once I started.

Ember has so many things to deal with in this book that it was almost hard to keep track of them all. Somehow she manages to juggle all the different obstacles thrown at her and still stay just as spunky and sarcastic as she was in the first two books. I still loved that she wasn’t perfect, and she did have some break downs throughout the story, but that’s part of what makes me love her… she just keeps going even when the odds are stacked against her again and again. She also becomes even more fiercely protective of the people she loves, including her friend Kennedy who became an even more interesting character in this story as she came into her Druid powers. Ember’s relationship with Eli was once again thrown into turmoil from the beginning, and I have to say I don’t think I could ever hate Eli even though he managed to become even more brooding and angry throughout this story. I will continue to root for Eli and Ember until the very end… partially because Eli still makes me swoon and partially because I can’t stand Torin (who managed to be even more irritating this time). My only pet peeve with Eli and Ember’s relationship at this point was that when it did heat up, I felt like it did so very quickly and very frequently.

There were some secrets revealed in this story that made me even more curious about what Ember could possibly find out next, because let’s face it, there is bound to be more life altering things people are keeping from her. I was once again thrown for a few loops when we found out things along with Ember, some of my guesses throughout the story were right but the ones that were wrong were way off! Besides having fallen in love with her writing style and characters, I think the fact that she has the ability to surprise me by the end of a book is one of favorite things about Ms. Stacey Marie Brown’s writing. Once again I can not wait to find out what’s in store for Ember and her friends in the next part of this series.

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Other books in the Darkness series:
 
Both just 99¢
 
DOL  FITD
 
Darkness of Light (book #1)
 
Fire in the Darkness (book #2)
 
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About Stacey

Stacey Marie Brown by day is an Interior/Set Designer, by night a writer of Paranormal Fantasy, Adventure, and Literary Fiction. She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. Even before she could write, she was creating stories and making up intricate fantasies. Writing came as easy as breathing. She later turned that passion into acting, living and traveling abroad, and designing. Though she had never stopped writing, moving back to San Francisco seemed to have brought it back to the forefront and this time it would not be ignored.
When she’s not writing she’s out hiking, spending time with friends, traveling, listening to music, or designing.

 

Website | Facebook Twitter | Darkness of Light on Facebook

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Out of Town

I know that I’ve had almost no posts all month, and unfortunately I don’t foresee many more. After a death in the family we’ve been out of town and won’t be back for a couple more days. Hopefully April will be much more productive. I have gotten some reading done which is good, so once I get home I’ll have to catch up on all my reviews.

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Reflections (Audiobooks) – Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Since I immediately bought, downloaded, and devoured books 2 and 3 so quickly after I finished book 1 I’m just going to review both of them at once. You can see my review for book 1, Ruby Red, here.

Both books are for the following challenges: 2014 Audiobook Challenge, 2014 T.B.R. Pile Challenge, and 2014 Series Challenge.


sapphire blue»Translated by: Anthea Bell
»Series:
Ruby Red Trilogy #2
»Genre:
Young Adult, Historical Fiction/Urban Fantasy
»Publisher:
Henry Holt
»Hit the shelves on
October 30th 2012 (U.S.)
»Pages: 362 (hardcover)
»ISBN0805092668
»Barnes & Noble
»Amazon
»Audible (8 hrs and 57 mins)
»Narrated by:
Marisa Calin

 

 

((May Contain Spoilers if You Have Not Read Book 1))
Summary (from Goodreads)

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

My Rating: 5

Emerald Green»Translated by: Anthea Bell
»Series: Precious Stone Trilogy #3
»Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction/Urban Fantasy
»Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
»Hit the shelves on: October 8th 2013 (U.S.)
»Pages: 464
»ISBN: 0805092676
»Barnes & Noble
»Amazon
»Audible (12 hrs and 42 mins)
»Narrated by: Marisa Calin

 

 

((May Contain Spoilers if You Have Not Read Books 1 & 2))
Summary (from Goodreads)

Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.
She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.
This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate

My Rating: 5


After listening to these one after the other I’m having mental separation issues with the parts of each story, in my mind it’s just blending into one big story. So I’m going to combine my reviews for Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green. I’m going to try and keep it short, since I don’t want to give spoilers for either book. If you haven’t started this series you may want to check out Ruby Red first.

Thoughts on the audio…

Once again I was mesmerized by Marisa Calin’s accent. By the time I was an hour into book 2 I’d listened to her tell the story for so long I couldn’t imagine hearing it in any other voice (I honestly think if I would have picked up the book in print my mind would have attempted to conjure up thoughts of her accent). She did amazing with all the characters (especially for me Xemarius and Gwyneth), and her cadence and inflection created vivid images of the story in my mind. When I first started Ruby Red I wasn’t sure I would like the audio for this series, after I while I had  really hard time turning it off so I could do something else. In the end I can’t imagine having switched from the audio to print (although it may be a series I end up wanting to have a hard-copy of later).

My thoughts…

Both books start right where the previous left off… which made me very happy that I waited until the series was complete before starting it. I can’t imaging how I would have felt if I had to wait in between releases. The first and last chapters of each book give you insight into some of the events that happened to Lucy and Paul instead of being from Gwen’s perspective. In the first and second book this led to even more questions about what the heck was going on, but eventually it started to answer questions instead of confusing me.

In Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green Gwen is still in the midst of a trying to figure out her involvement in a completely confusing secret time travel society (The Guardians). Everyone seems to know more than she does, and they are trying their very best to keep it that way. There seem to be hidden agendas everywhere and so many secrets she really doesn’t know who to trust. With the exception of her demon friend Xemarius (who only she can see and talk to) and her best friend Leslie, who help her as much as they possibly can given the crazy circumstances. Everyone wants Gwen to fulfill her part of the Prophecy which will reveal “The Secret” that the Guardians have been working at uncovering over many lifetimes. Gwen still has to work with the occasionally arrogant, moody, and secretive and occasionally swoon-worthy Gideon since they’re the only two who are currently alive that possess the time-travel gene and can complete the circle of Guardians in the chronograph (which involves blood and time-travel and lots of confusion). Gwen ends up looking to the past to find some answers to the questions that no one seems to want her to figure out. As if time-travel and secret societies weren’t enough of a problem, Gwen also has to deal with learning how to fit in in the past without making a complete fool of herself and deal with normal teenage issues like school. (Click here to see the full review…)

Reflection – Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity»Series: The Madman’s Daughter #2
»Genre: Young Adult, Gothic Thriller/Retelling
»Publisher: Balzer+Bray
»Hit the shelves on: January 28th, 2014
»Pages: 420
»ISBN: 0062128051
»Barnes & Noble
»Amazon

 

 

 

This review may contain spoilers if you have not read book 1.
You can see my review for The Madman’s Daughter here.

Summary (from Goodreads)

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

My Rating: 4

How’d it get on my shelf?

I was so excited to get my hands on this book once it came out! I decided to use it for February’s word (Her) in the 2014 Monthly Key Word Challenge.

My thoughts…

I was incredibly excited for this book to come out. I loved The Madman’s Daughter, and am always up for a good retelling. Megan Shepherd did a great job of using Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as inspiration, and I felt parallels with the idea in so many different places. I felt like far more than just The Beast had Dr./Hyde qualities… Juliet herself battled her inner desires and weaknesses throughout the novel, and no one in the story really felt like they were exactly what they seemed to be on the surface. I ended up completely absorbed in the story, and enjoying every dark twisted moment of it. I was a bit nervous after being so excited for it and then reading quite a few negative/average reviews about the book, but while I can understand some of the points made in those reviews it really didn’t matter to me for the entire book… I fell in love anyway. The love triangle thing was a little annoying, but it was easy for me to get past it. The beginning wasn’t too action packed or quick paced, but once again it didn’t deter me from wanting to keep reading – and the story definitely picked up quite a bit in the middle. I loved the fact that none of the characters in the book are perfect, and half the time they make horrible choices; but personally that’s part of what I enjoy about the story…. all the crap situations everyone is constantly (and by everyone I mostly mean Juliet) getting themselves into just made me constantly wonder how the hell they were going to get themselves out again. This book was filled with moral dilemmas and dark elements that made it an intriguing read until the end. I never knew who to actually trust and who was going to end up with horribly sinister secrets and motives.

Conclusion…

I thought that this was a good second book for the series, and I am once again excited about the next one… especially after the ending. From the looks of it the third book will take inspiration from Frankenstein, which is one of my favorite stories!!!

Reflection – Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved»Genre: Historical Fiction
»Publisher: Vintage
»Hit the shelves on: June 8th 2004 (first published 1987)
»Pages: 324
»ISBN: 1400033411
»Barnes & Noble
»Amazon

 

 

 

 

Summary (from Goodreads)

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

My Rating: 2

How’d it get on my shelf?

I got this book from the library to complete February’s read for the 2014 Around the World in 80 Books Challenge, and February’s read for the 2014 Monthly Motif Challenge (Literary Award: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988)

My thoughts…

I had a really difficult time getting into this book, and sadly it just never really connected for me. It was one of those reads that for some reason I just felt like I had to finish, but at the same time wondered why I was trying so hard to get through it. In the end, I suppose I just needed closure for the story, but one of my bigger pet peeves is that by the time I got to the last page nothing really felt closed.

This may be a great book for someone else, and if you really enjoy delving into deep and tangled metaphors with symbols and similes stacked on top of them then this may be the perfect book for you. I unfortunately am not that person. At some point I just felt that the writing style was using symbolism for the pure sake of symbolism. I felt like there were a lot of characters introduced in this novel, and sadly I never felt any sort of connection or love for any of them. The writing style felt really choppy and a lot of times just left me feeling confused. There was one point that the characters went into a stream of consciousness style, which was made up completely of so many symbols it made my head spin, on top of wondering which character was actually thinking at that moment.

(Click here to see the full review…)

TGIF – Friday Finds and Friday 56 (Feb. 21)

Friday 56The Friday 56

Hosted by: Freda’s Voice

Rules (from Freda’s Voice):
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Go back to Freda’s Voice (just click on The Friday 56 logo) add your (url) post in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.
 

 Her Dark Curiosity

This week’s Friday 56 is from Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter #2) by Megan Shepherd

Everything seemed equally unreal, just vague suggestions of furniture and people. Everything that was except for the young man whose gold-flecked eyes met mine.


friday findsFriday Finds

Hosted by: MizB at Should be Reading

Friday finds is a weekly meme so bloggers (and readers.. just comment if you don’t have a blog) can share all the wonderful things they’ve found and added to their TBR list (they can be found from anywhere… they don’t have to be books that were bought).

(you can click the image to see the book on Goodreads)

Run To You    Sea of Shadows

Suspicion    The Circle

The Deep End of the Sea    White Space


Do you have an interesting Friday 56 this week? Did you find some amazing new books? I’d love to hear about them in a comment, or just leave me your link! Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Reflection (Audiobook) – Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red»Translated by: Anthea Bell
»Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #1
»Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction/Urban Fantasy
»Publisher:  Henry Holt
»Hit the shelves on:  May 10th, 2011 (U.S. version)
»Pages:  322 pages (hardcover)
»ISBN:  0805092528
»Barnes & Noble
»Amazon
»Audible (8 hrs and 50 min)
»Narrated by: Marisa Calin

 

 

Summary (from Goodreads)

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My Rating: 5

How’d it get on my shelf?

I had seen so many great reviews for this one so I bought it on Audible. It’s one of my books for both the 2014 Audiobook Challenge and the 2014 T.B.R. Pile Challenge.

My thoughts…

I absolutely fell in love with this story. I was a bit skeptical at first, after scanning through so many great reviews I didn’t want to get my hopes up and then be disappointed. I shouldn’t have been worried though, because this was one audiobook that kept me captivated from very early on. It had a fun mix of modern and historical fiction all set in London.

Gwyneth is a sixteen year old girl dealing with a very strange family including an up-tight Grandmother, full of herself Aunt, and stuck up-cousin all living under the same roof. She also lives with a mysterious “family-friend,” brother, sister, a Great Aunt who’s a little crazy (in a good way), and her mother who is clearly keeping secrets. The whole household is a little overwhelming for her at times. To top it all off, they are all preparing for her cousin, Charlotte’s, first time travel journey…. or so they all think, until Gwyneth is unceremoniously dumped into the past with zero preparation or warning. After this happens Gwyneth realizes that someone must have made a terrible mistake. The family chaos only increases at this point when everyone realizes that Charlotte is not the family’s gene carrier, and Gwyneth’s mother may have some interesting information she’s been keeping to herself. Now it is the unprepared Gwyneth who must go to the secret society of the Guardians and sift through more mysteries and secrets with the arrogantly attractive Gideon de Villiers and the chronograph. (Click here to see the full review…)

W.W.W. and Waiting on Wednesday (Feb. 19)

wow  Waiting on Wednesday

   Host: Breaking the Spine

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine to help us share those books that we can not wait for much longer!

 

 

 Gilded Ashes

A Novella in the same universe as Cruel Beauty.
Expected Release: April 1st, 2014
“A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale”
(-from Goodreads-)

After finishing Cruel Beauty and absolutely falling in love with it, I immediately pre-ordered this novella and am more than excited for it to come out soon!


www wedW.W.W. Wednesdays

Host: Should Be Reading

A weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. Join in and answer these three questions 1) What are you currently reading? 2) What did you recently finish reading? 3) What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Her Dark Curiosity
 

1Cruel Beauty     Emerald Green

The Graveyard Book  The Devil's Metal

Currently:  Finishing up Her Dark Curiosity.

Recently: Just finished Cruel Beauty and on audio Emerald Green.

Next: I’ll probably go with The Graveyard Book and maybe The Devil’s Metal on audio.


What’s everyone reading and waiting on this week? Hope you all have an amazing day!

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