Wednesday, December 18, 2013


IT'S MY FIRST BOOK BLITZ AHHHHH I'm so excited!!!! Can you tell?! I've already hosted my first giveaway this year, my first cover reveal, and now my first blitz! And it's a good one! I've had many opportunities to host a blitz, but I picked this one because you KNOW I love me some YA Fantasy!
This blitz is to promote Ondine 0.5, details below. The giveaway is at the bottom of the post, with many entry options to win: 
Ondine 0.5
Whirl (Book 1)
Billow (Book 2)
PLUS a super special signed swag pack from Emma Raveling! 

Ondine by Emma Raveling 
(Ondine Quartet 0.5) 
Publication date: December 19, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

“I shouldn’t get involved.”

Rebellious and headstrong, sixteen-year-old Kendra Irisavie doesn’t have much respect for authority. An ondine with the powerful gift of Virtue, she uses her tough attitude and Empath magic to navigate through high school and keep others away.

Because being an ondine also means keeping secrets.

Kendra and her mother are Rogue water elementals in the middle of an ancient war. They hide among humans, their survival constantly threatened by monstrous Aquidae demons.

Along with a rigorous training regimen to mold Kendra into a lethal fighter, her mother has instituted four rules to keep her safe.

Trust no one. Relationships are weaknesses. Emotional attachments are dangerous. Be responsible only for yourself.

But when Kendra witnesses a classmate in trouble, she intervenes and her decision to break the rules comes at a price.

Sometimes, humans could be more dangerous than demons.

Ondine is a short prequel novella for the young adult urban / paranormal fantasy series, the Ondine Quartet.

Will be found here come release day:


I’m a fantasy writer who lives a slightly eccentric life with my accommodating husband and our charming, neurotic dog. I'm currently working on the Ondine Quartet, a young adult urban fantasy/paranormal series featuring a kick-ass heroine, powerful magic, and the complex world of water elementals.

I have a weird love of spreadsheets and organizational tools because they give me the illusion that I am somehow in control of the chaos that is my life. I adore beautiful art such as painting and sculpture, classical music, lyrical writing, and great graphic design. My all-time favorite books (as of this writing) are Immortality by Milan Kundera, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.

Author Links:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Before I give my review of Defy, I wanted to give another s/o to my newest followers! I hope you enjoy my reviews! I'm on Bookdictive Reviews every day, preparing posts and changing the smallest things about the layout. I couldn't do this without you guys!

Now on to my review of Defy!

Book: Defy by Sara B. Larson
Bookdictive Categorization: YA fantasy 
Rating: 5/5 stars
Procurement: Netgalley ARC
Recommend? If yes, to whom?: Absolutely! I would recommend this to any YA fantasy lovers, or even someone who just wants an fast-paced, romantic fantasy story. 

"True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful soul shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see."

I seriously couldn't put this book down. Even with finals, I had to finish Defy. I mean, if you're reading books from the library that haven't been checked out since 1996, you'd be wanting a break, too. But I didn't need Defy for a break. I just needed it. Defy is the YA fantasy that my soul has been longing for since Poison Study, and I am ready to be obsessed with this series (YES IT'S A SERIES, IT'S BEEN CONFIRMED)!!

Also, no spoilers abound. When I give a five star review, I'm not going to spoil anything because I want you to go read it for yourself! But just so you know, I left out a lot. ;) 
Basically, this girl named Alexa loses her parents when a sorcerer comes to her village, and to prevent herself from going to the birthing houses--kind of like those depressing asylums we learn about in the Victorian era that are filthy and people get mistreated, except this is specifically to birth more children for the kingdom's army--she chops off her hair Mulan-style and pretends to be the twin brother to her twin. Now please excuse my Mulan gifs because she literally has her hair chopped off in the first chapter.
Three years later, we meet "Alex," who is a guard for Prince Damian, the asshole son of the evil king. Alex is basically a BAMF that can't be beat, and only barely missed being the captain of the guard because "he" is too young. Don't fight her, because she'll beat even the most seasoned warrior. 
Surviving for this long as a dude, I don't blame Alexa for getting comfortable and rising up to a very public position in the kingdom.
Then THE CHANGE happens, 
...and suddenly, she's noticing that her eyes are lingering a little too long on not just Prince Damian, but also another member of the prince's guard named Rylan.
One girl...two guys...wait, this sounds familiar...I may be awful at math but I think I can solve this...is that..is that a...DEATH TRIANGLE OF LURVE?!

"OH DIVINE BEING!" you think, ready to throw the book across the room (s/o to my #1 fan Andrea for that!). Can we ever have a book that doesn't draw this stupid shape?? It's so annoying, contrite, OVERUSED! I don't mean for all books, but in YA literature it's probably the most overused theme of all time. 

Buuuuuuuuuuut you can kind of tell from the start who she's going to pick. Alexa is a smart cookie, and knows that her feelings for one of the guys isn't there. The triangle doesn't dominate the book--yes, it's a central theme, but it doesn't distract from the story. Alexa remains a BAMF and while some reviews have claimed that Alexa's guy problems are too emotional, I wasn't bothered at all. She's a TEENAGED GIRL LIVING AS A GUY, AND NOT BECAUSE SHE ACTUALLY WANTS TO. That's like complaining about Harry being too whiny in Order of the Phoenix when everything goes to complete shit. HE'S A TEENAGER. Please tell me that you'd be totally "whatever, I'm a stone cold betch" if you were in this situation. If I'm not bothered by this, then you won't be. As I always say, I'm not afraid to hate on a book, and this book doesn't deserve my wrath. The pacing is superb, it's not completely predictable, and it leaves you wanting more. I'd have loved to see more world building, but I have a feeling that there will be more in the next book. I look forward to seeing this series continue! 

***an electronic ARC of this book was provided to me through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review, and in no way reflects anything beyond my gif-induced beliefs***

Monday, December 9, 2013

SALT Cover Reveal and Giveaway

About the Book
Author: Danielle Ellison
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
& Noble

Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting
humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her
parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something
she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force,
Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can
squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find
"her" demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He
knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because
Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons
have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

Exclusive Excerpt!
 “Jealousy is cute on
you, Pen.”

“Don't call me that,” I snap, pushing my coffee away from
me. “And I'm not jealous.”

He leans back on the chair. "Sure. And I don’t think
you’re adorable." I jerk my eyes up. He’s smiling. Screw this—this is so
frustrating. I tap my foot under the table.

"We're stating the facts, right?" he says.

“Right,” I say.

I don’t have time for this. And what is wrong with this
coffee? I feel like I swallowed a fire and it’s all just burning at my stomach.

“You look sick again,” he says.

The poorly—or perfectly—timed waitress comes back with
Carter's coffee and a whole tray of drinks. Carter, obviously, flirts again. I
don’t know if he’s doing it to get a reaction out of me, but I’m not going to
give him one. I watch him and say nothing, but the whole time it feels darker
inside my head and my stomach whirs. It’s more empty, and more full, and
unsettled at once. The waitress turns to leave a when it happens.

The waitress coughs, as if she suddenly can’t breathe, and
trips. She flies across the air. The tray spills all over a table of four. I
gasp, horrified. Another waitress grabs her by the waist, trying to give her the
Heimlich. The waitress coughs out the gum. She’s crying hysterically,
apologizing to the customers dripping with water.

The weirdest part? As soon it happens, all the fury that was
building up inside of me disappears. It’s calm again, normal. The change is so
sudden that my fingernails dig into the table. All I can hear is the waitress’s

"I don't know what happened," she sobs over and
over again. I close my eyes. Everything inside me is completely still. No
storm, no clawing, no emptiness or fullness. In fact, I’m suddenly starving.
Carter's looking at me when I open my eyes. There's
something unsettling in his gaze, something suspicious.

“I gotta go,” I say. He starts to say something. I don't
stay long enough to find out what it is.
Somehow I just did magic.

About Danielle:
Danielle Ellison is from a small town in West Virginia. She
spent her childhood pretending to fly and talking to imaginary friends. When
she grew up, she finally flew away (in an airplane) and started traveling the
world. She hasn’t stopped yet, but someday she may decide to settle in one
place. Her real life friends would definitely like that; they would probably
also like if she stopped talking to her characters out loud.

SALT comes out in August 2013, and then it's sequel. In October 2014, FOLLOW ME
THROUGH DARKNESS (book one of the BOUNDLESS Trilogy) comes out. She's got a
busy few years! 

Giveaway Details:

1 eARC of SALT International

Severed: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Dax Varley

Book: Severed: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Dax Varley
Bookdictive Categorization: YA Para/Retelling
Rating: 3/5 stars
Procurement: Netgalley ARC
Recommend? If yes, to whom?: This isn't the kind of book to jump into my head when recommending, but I wouldn't not recommend it. The only reason I would strongly promote it to somebody is if they have an obsession with retellings, or are Sleepy Hollow fangirls/boys (do those exist? Is this a category??). 

When I was in elementary school, we had to watch The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was an animated-ish movie from the 80's I think, but in my young eyes, it was just another AWESOME excuse to watch a movie in class! I was so excited because Halloween was coming closer and I think that was the year I was dressing as Cleopatra which isn't really important but I thought I should mention it. :D
Fast forward to the end of class, where I was shaking and scared out of my mind. With Ichabod Crane looking like this,
and the scenery looking like this,
you can see why I was freaked out. I went home that night reassuring myself that Glenn Close, the narrator, was a nice lady and therefore the story wasn't real. But I slept with my bedside light on for fear of the Headless Horseman coming in and replacing my head with a pumpkin.
This story has therefore ALWAYS been creepy to me. There are few tales in American folklore that have stood the test of time, and there's a reason why this one has. We are fascinated by the unexplained dark magic of a ghost who cuts off people's heads and can scare an entire town senseless. Americans have always loved the unexplained. So though this story is creepy, I have always kind of loved it in a weird, perverse way. So I was totally excited to receive an ARC of Severed, a retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow from the perspective of Katrina, the love interest of schoolmaster Ichabod Crane. 
I am completely at fault for allowing myself to be blinded by the gorgeous cover and the lure of a retelling. I know better! But still, I built up my hopes. Would I survive this book, or would my head be chopped off in frustration?? 

I'm not too sure actually. I wasn't let down, but I did get my hopes up, which I guess places me in a hover or limbo. However, I do know why this book received such a mediocre rating from me. 
As always, spoilers abound below, though they are in smaller script than everything else this time. 
Problem the First
It wasn't Katrina, who was kind of a badass. She was contrary, but not annoyingly so. She saw all the bullshit happening around her in town--overprotective father, strict/conservative/stupid townspeople--and saw through it. She's the type of feisty heroine we bloggers love to read about, because we're tired of whiny ninnies who rely on the guy to solve everything. The only thing that I faulted her for, though, was her love for Ichabod and her rejection of Brom. 
Problem the Second
I liked Brom! I wasn't supposed to like Brom! But he was way better suited to headstrong Katrina. Ichabod was this flowery bookworm, and never seemed like more than a one-dimensional character. It was the weirdest matchup for Katrina. Brom is annoying I guess, but he's manly and overprotective and FREAKING SAVES HER LIFE WHEN ICHABOD DOESN'T. And then he DIES. Ichabod decides that he has been tricked by a witch with a love potion, which by the way, that story he told about the reason he came to Sleepy Hollow? It was totally weird and bothered me. It seemed like too much of an excuse so that Ichabod would look victimized and that only served to make him even more unlikeable. I was so mad that Ichabod bailed on Katrina when she was really in danger, only to just change his mind. Brom never wavered in his devotion, so this was another obtuse love triangle of death. 
Problem the Third
The ending. This is where the big climax of the story is, but I was okay with that because the original Legend sort of waits until the end too. It also doesn't exactly end happily in the book, but that's what happens in the original tale so this didn't bother me either. So I can appreciate all of that. This still didn't make me like this ending. The ending is when the book gets really good, and I was like, "Okay, I know this story. Ichabod is going downnnnn! He's totally getting his head chopped off." FALSE. JUST FALSE. That's all I'm going to say. I'm honestly not even going to reveal what happens, because it made me mad. I ended the book just feeling like "Wtf?!" was written all over my face.

Three stars is NOT a bad rating. But it's mediocre. It's a solid middle ground that I normally do not place books in: I'm far more inclined to award two- and four-star ratings. Too many things prevented me from giving it a four-star rating, like Brom getting mistreated as a character, Ichabod being so unlikeable for me, and some smaller things like the bitchy bff of Katrina that I didn't bother to mention because she's such, well, a bitch. What saved it was the delightful creepiness of the town and the Horseman, the suspense, and the impressive narrative of Katrina. 
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