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Ember (X) (Death Collectors, #1)

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Ember by Jessica Sorensen is a true breath of fresh air. Not only is this book one of a kind, but it had me guessing until the very last page and let me tell you, that's a hard thing to accomplish. Ember is tired. Tired of seeing how everyone will die, tired of being alone, and tired of being death's constant companion. Things are about to get much worse with the arrival of two new guys to her small town. One is bright and shining and the other is dark and enigmatic. Both men want her, but what for? With talk of Grim Reapers and Angels of Death nothing will ever be the same for Ember again. Throughout the whole book readers are drawn to Ember and the insane agony that is her life. The poor girl literally lives with death and where she goes it follows. Her whole life seems to be one catastrophe after another from seeing things when she was young, to being blamed for deaths and disappearances. Despite this she isn't a girl that gives up. You can't help but go through the book hoping that something good will finally happen to her. Ember's best friend Rave is the perfect foil. Bubbly, care free, and living for the next party she keeps Ember together, but readers get a sense that in the end she might be Ember's downfall. The arrival of Cameron and Asher had me hoping that Ember just might get a happily ever after, too bad they brought nothing but mystery and trouble. I couldn't tell who I liked the best or what "team" I'm on. Each character has their own little story that adds to the overall depth of the book. They build a world of death and secrets that readers will get lost in. This is a dark and bleak book where you don't just fall in love with the characters, but the story as a whole. Speaking of the story as a whole... it was amazing. With the recent popularity of YA books it is hard to find one that is truly original. Jessica Sorensen is an author that has. I have never read a book that combines these particular "creatures" in quite this way. What a combination they make! I definitely will be getting the second book. I give this book a 4 1/2 STAR rating. *** I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Biting Cold

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This is a hard review for me to write. Biting Cold is the number one book I have been looking forward to in 2012 and Chicagoland Vampires is in my top 5 favorite series ever! The last book Drink Deep left readers (at least me) dying to read this upcoming installment. For some reason this book just didn't hit it for me, in fact this is my least favorite book in the series. Don't get me wrong I still liked it, but it wasn't what I had hoped for. Biting Cold seems to leave from the typical story due to the Mallory and Tate aspects. Readers learn more about who and what they are taking away focus that had previously been on other characters. Let's just say that there are some BIG surprises in store that I never would have guessed. Whether I liked this surprise or where it took the story is a different story. It came out of "left field" for me despite the build up in the previous books and to top it all off, the way everything wrapped up was a little too predictable and easier than expected.The supernatural creatures and relationships tying them together were a shock and opened a whole new door for any creature to make an appearance. Perhaps the biggest thing I missed in this book is Merit's relationship with all of the other characters. Lindsey, Jeff, Catcher, and the occasional Gabriel have really grown through the series and they seemed to only be superficially present and make a sparse appearance here and there in Biting Cold. Despite this, the two characters I missed the most were Morgan and Jonah. There is just an extra spark that they bring to the book. They are on a couple of pages, but I want them to have some real interaction with Merit. I'm not the biggest fan of Ethan and they lend that option of another love interest. Speaking of Ethan... he is more wish-washy/self sacrificing than ever and constantly keeps Merit on the fence about their relationship. A decision needs to be made. The best part about the book is the ending. While all of the drama with Mallory going big bad evil witch and Tate revealing what he truly is the Cadogan house is still dealing with the ramifications of giving the Greenwich Presidium the blow off when Ethan came back. They don't let up in Biting Cold. Choices will be made that have me clambering to get my hands on the next installment. I may not have loved the book, but my love for the series is just as strong as ever! I give this book a 3 1/2 STAR rating.
Beautiful Disaster: A Novel

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I've seen this book floating around for a while now, both in print and ebook, and finally I couldn't pass it up anymore. I devoured this 432 page book in a couple of hours. I yelled at and was downright mean to anyone who interrupted me. Abby is a "good girl" who is trying to escape a troubled past. The last thing she needs is a buzz cut, tattooed, underground fighting, playboy chasing after her. She knows Travis is a bad idea; everyone tells her he will use her and break her heart. Travis is convinced they can just be friends. And then a bet is made that will change their lives forever. Jamie McGuire has created one wild ride of an emotional train wreck that is nothing short of amazing. The sexual tension in Abby and Travis's relationship and the build up between the two kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Abby is clueless/just doesn't want to see what is in front of her and Travis is a self destructive saboteur. They hated each other, the were bffs, they liked each other, they were just friends, and they hated each other again. By the time I finished this book I was tired...but in a good way. My emotions had just gotten off of a roller coaster. Travis and Abby weren't the only awesome characters of this book. I loved the part that America and Shepley played. They were the perfect foil to Travis and Abby's instability. These two are quite a pair. Are they the perfect characters or even the perfect couple? No. Abby is too wishy washy and gives up easily just to dive back in a short while later. Travis is a violent and temperamental hot head who borders on having a stalker like obsession. Despite these obvious flaws I found myself liking him anyway. This is a great book and the only problem I had was with Abby's background. I don't want to give it away (the mystery is part of the book), but found it a little unbelievable. Let's just say that the odds of the people she knows at school who she/her father is is slim to none. When it was finally revealed I couldn't help but think, "Seriously? That's the big secret?" This wasn't a big detractor from the book though. The last thing I want to gush/mention is the age of the characters. The characters in this story are in college! The college age group is on the verge of young adult/adulthood. There is a serious lack of writing that utilizes this age group and Jamie McGuire tapping into this niche made me love this story even more. Lastly, believe it or not, the ending surprised me in a good way. I totally did not see it coming. So, now for the final verdict. Was this a great book about realistic expectations of a college romance/experience? No. Did I absolutely love it and recommend it to all of my sappy romance inclined friends? YES! This book gets a 5 STAR rating!
Witchful Thinking: A Jolie Wilkins Novel

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Witchful Thinking by H.P. Mallory is the third book in the Jolie Wilkins series. Before the review I just want to say how much I love the titles of this series. The may be cheesy, but they are just so cute! Witchful Thinking picks up where Toil and Trouble left off. The events of the last book have left Jolie a boat load to deal with. Previously having traveled back in time, bonded with Rand, been killed, brought back to life, and declared Queen of the Underworld by the Prophetess have completely overwhelmed our heroine. Poor Jolie doesn't want to be Queen. She wants a normal life with Rand...too bad Rand doesn't remember their time together in 1876 and she is scared to tell him about their forgotten past. Complicating their relationship even further is her feelings for the sinfully sexy vampire Sinjin, Rand's enemy, and her new bodyguard. Add in the fact that Jolie is destined to unite the underworld against the Lurkers... Jolie is in for one bumpy ride. Where to start? I loved the first two books, but just sort of liked this one. There is little if any action, but the drama is non-stop. Drama, especially the love triangle kind is always a favorite, but between that and her not wanting to be queen...there isn't really anything else to the book. Let's tackle one thing at a time. Jolie becomes queen of the underworld. Not only does she not want to be queen, but she displays no leadership qualities at all. Then there is Mercedes the Prophetess who is constantly pushing her along on every little decision. She is wholeheartedly unlikable and somewhat shady. For the majority of the book I kept waiting for Jolie to punch her and tell her to shut up because she is queen. Now, onto the love interests. Rand and Sinjin vie/shun Jolie's affections for 90% of the book. Rand supposedly loves Jolie, but keeps finding the smallest reasons why they can't be together. I don't know about other readers, but he is starting to come off as uninterested and wishy-washy. Then there is poor Sinjin. He seems to constantly pine for Jolie and is always there when she needs him. The problem is she "loves" Rand and despite having feelings for Sinjin, she doesn't quite trust him. I honestly feel sorry for him. She constantly yanks him around and quite frankly if he turns out to be shady and turns on her...she deserves it. Despite what it sounds like, I didn't absolutely hate this book. I liked seeing Jolie's power grow and anything that involved Sinjin was great. Witchful Thinking just felt like a filler/bridge book. A bunch of drama to build up to the oh-no-she/he-didn't bombshell of a cliffhanger H.P. Mallory leaves us with in the end! I refuse to give up on this series and Sinjin. I will continue with Jolie, but this installment was a bit of a let down. This book gets a 2 1/2 STAR rating.**The audio was pretty good. This is the first book narrated by Allyson Ryan that I have listened to. At first some of the characters sounded a little over the top, but I got over it.
Full Blooded

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I saw this book in several places and I just had to get it. Rush delivery and it arrived on my doorstep in two days! From page one Full Blooded had me hooked. Jessica is trying to live her life as best she can, minding her own business, and running a private investigation company with her best friend. That all changes the night she turns into a werewolf...goodbye privacy, goodbye normalcy and hello trouble. As the daughter of the pack alpha Jessica is no stranger to werewolves, the problem is that female werewolves aren't supposed to exist. Jessica's turning brings to up an ancient prophecy of a female werewolf that will be the downfall of their entire species. Her pack is on the fence about her and they aren't the only supernaturals to have taken notice. Hopefully Jessica can stay alive long enough to prove the prophecy and everyone else wrong. Jessica is a heroine that you can't help but like and admire. She lives life on her own terms, can take care of herself, can kick some serious ass, and isn't afraid to be who she is. She is witty and funny and just a character that will pull readers in. You can't talk about Jessica without mentioning her wolf half. I love how they are together, but separate. Her wolf is a whole different part of her that promises to be an interesting part in book two! There isn't really a "main" supporting character that sticks out (for me at least), but they are all equally important and really flesh out the book. Hopefully a few will have a more signigicant part later on. One of the things that I loved about Full Blooded in the beginning was that romance wasn't a central part of the book. I enjoy a good romance as much as the next person, but too often it becomes what the entire book is about. In the end Jessica's romantic interest and their relationship became a much larger part and I can see that being the main focus of the next book in the series. If there was anything that could have been improved in Full Blooded it was the very end. It was a little anti-climatic compared to the rest of the story. The fast paced nonstop action that I had come to love all but disappeared in a rushed and not too exciting, but still good ending. Despite this I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to all of my paranormal loving friends! I give this book a 4 1/2 STAR rating!
Twelve Months

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When I first picked up Twelve Months I had some reservations. I tend to stay in my literary comfort zone and Twelve Months just didn't fall into that circle. Well, I gave it the old college try and was blown away. Not only did I love this book, but it had me crying like a big baby. The ability to relate to a character is always the first thing I want when reading a book. Call me shallow, but I had serious doubts about being able to relate to a retired grandfather living in the North. Don DiMarco is someone that I came to care for, cheer for, and cry for throughout the book. Twelve Months not only touched me on a heartbreak level, but a personal level. Several people very close to me have cancer and this book just hit home for me. Don is so brave throughout the book. He literally lives like he is dying and tries to fit a lifetime of living into twelve months. One of the most heartbreaking things is that many people try to do this, but it always seems to come to late. After all, we can put it off until tomorrow. We have all the time in the world.One of the fascinating things this novel explores is how Don's diagnosis affects his family members, from his wife to his daughter, grandchildren, and son-in-law. The emotional stress that it puts on the family was heartbreaking to read. Putting the fact that the story is good readers must take into account the writing style. Steven Manchester writes beautifully. The descriptive and flowing writing had me at page one. Twelve Months by Steven Manchester is a novel about a man living his last moments to the fullest that he can and the journey and toll this takes on a family as a whole. This is one novel that you should not miss, especially if cancer has impacted your life in any way. I give this book a 4 1/2 STAR rating.
Twcie Shy

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First off I love the cover of this book! A Girly-Goth-Zombie...bring it on! A new disease/virus has swept the world turning people into zombies. Most of the infected die and their families have to say goodbye forever, but not all. Ani and her mom fight everyday to keep Ani as human as possible, but living life like this is starting to take it's toll. Ani can't be out in the sun, can't do anything physical, and for some reason she can't stop thinking about eating people. Twice Shy follows Ani as she becomes more and more discontent with her zombie affliction. Add into this a possible budding romance and a stalker and you have an awesome zombie book. However, Twice Shy gets bonus points. So many books today have predictable endings. Let's just say that Twice Shy ended on a shocking note that was completely brilliant! If you are looking for a good zombie book whith humor as well as horror Twice Shy is the book for you.
The Kiss Off

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The Kiss Off sounded like a cute book, so I picked it up and thankfully it was! Poppy is an angry, sarcastic, songwriting mash-up of teenage girl and drama. Boy was this book filled with drama. Poor Poppy has been wronged by her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her with her ex-friend/coworker. So, what does she do? Write an angry girl song about and put it on YouTube. An up and coming band recognizes it for the genius that it is and has a meteoric rise to fame due to said song. Poppy and the lead singer hit it off and a relationship ensues. The this is Poppy is only 16 years old and might not be ready to deal with not only a long distance relationship, but having a rock star for a boyfriend. To top it all off her ex-boyfriend is showing interest again their breakup might not have been what she thought. I must admit I loved Poppy's boy drama, especially because it isn't mine. Both of the guys in her life have their good and bad qualities. Cam is the ex and throughout the story readers can see that he still feels something for Poppy, whether friendship or something more...you'll just have to read and see. Then there is Ty the super talented and sexy rock star who loved her song. He is nice and seems to sincerely like Poppy, but there is always the question of if he really likes her or just her song. Add to that the troubles that come with being a celebrity boyfriend on tour and Ty and Poppy are in for a bumpy ride. There is a host of other characters, but my favorite by far was Poo Bum the dog! I loved his stinky doggy self and the comedic relief he added to the story. The only characters that I wasn't too impressed with were Mads and Vanya. Mads seemed to do a complete 180 and Vanya had all but disappeared by the end of the book. . Last and most pickiest was some of the phrases seemed a little off...almost British. Perhaps it was just me. I definitely can't wait until the sequel comes out. I give this book a 4 STAR rating!
The Hunt

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The Hunt was a refreshing new take on the vampire story. Normally I am not a fan of books written in the male perspective, but The Hunt was extremely well done. In fact it has one of if not my favorite male point of views. Gene is intelligent, thoughtful, and resourceful. He has had to live his entire life hiding that he is a human. One of the things I found most interesting about this is Gene sees himself differently from the humans/hepers that are in captivity. He more so identifies with the vampires. In this The Hunt presents a very complex view of how we see ourselves and will make you wonder what you would do in his situatio. Gene's female counterpart Ashley June intrigued me from the very beginning and kept it up throughout the whole book. Readers will constantly wonder is she a blood thirsty vampire or maybe she is a vamp with a heart. There is one part in the book where she describes what she wants from Gene and it was absolutely beautiful. I can't think of any book that describes what someone witha one sided love wants more. This book has so many wonderful components it is hard to describe them all. If you are someone who likes their vamps mean this is the book for you! They are superior, mean, and as blood thirsty as ever! The only negative or part of The Hunt that threw me for a loop was the "armpit" thing, but I'll let you discover that for yourself. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda is a must read for 2012! If you liked the movie Daybreakers you should give this a try.***I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program
The Mage in Black

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Sabina Kane has had one wild ride recently. She learned that all she ever knew, all she ever believed in was a lie. She will do anything to bring Lavenia the alpha of the Domniae and her grandmother down. She has been lied to since birth and nothing would be a bigger betrayal to her grandmother than to explore the mage side of her heritage. With the help of Adam, Gighoul, and long lost mage family members she hopes to learn to use her magic and beat Lavenia. She wasn't counting on an ancient prophesy getting thrown into the mix. Sabina's complicated life just became more complicated and more deadly. If you liked Red-Headed Stepchild, then you will love The Mage in Black! Sabina and her pack of friends pick up right where the last book left off. From the beginning the action is nonstop. Despite Sabina ditching the Dominae it's harder for her to ditch her kill first never look back ways. They get her into a few scrapes in this installment. Her growth as a character is more subtle in this book. The little things like how she treats Gighoul, her feelings for certain male characters, and a protective streak she develops all demonstrate her gradual change. I love how her change isn't over night, but a slow build up. Speaking of Gighoul...I wish he was my familiar. He is a combination of ugly-cute sarcastic cat and kind of naughty bad ass demon. He is much more present in this book, for which I am very thankful for. I was a little disappointed by the lack of page time Adam got. I really wanted to see how things between him and Sabina would play out, but he was really only in the very beginning and the very end of the book. Hopefully in the next installment we get to read more about his sexy mageness. The Mage in Black reveals some of Sabina's mysterious past and adds a little more spice to the mix as an old flame resurfaces. Add to that all of the new mage characters and readers have a whole host of new people to love or hate. That said, I didn't really like many of them; most of the mages were kind of snotty and the "bad guy" was easy to guess. Sabina's awesomeness makes up for it in the end. The big finish was a little abrupt and a past bout of arrogance from the previous book comes to haunt Sabina. I can't wait to read the next installment. Last but not least is the narrator. As usual Cynthia Holloway does an excellent job of voicing the right amount of snark and kick ass in our heroine.
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