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Rogue (The Talon Saga Book 2)
Rogue (The Talon Saga Book 2)
Offered by Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I love me some good rogue dragons!!, May 16, 2015
I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

I am in total awe of the amazing Ms. Kagawa, as I've mentioned before, but even I wondered how she was going to take dragons and assimilate them into the everyday contemporary world as sleeper agents, even if they had learned how to look, talk and act human. The catch is, dragons can mimic humans, but they don't have the emotions to back up the feelings. Until Ember Hill, that is. She embraces life 100%, both her dragon side and her human side, and finds the constraints of the dragon hierarchy in Talon (the group of dragons all over the world who work together to prevent the extinction of their race), too much to accept. At the end of the first book, Talon, she goes rogue with the very sexy dragon Cobalt, human name Riley, and vows to break her human boyfriend, Garrett, out of the worst place a dragon can go: into the belly of the beast, which in this case is a compound crawling with soldiers from the Order of St. George, an order put in place hundreds of years ago with the sole purpose of eradicating all dragons from the face of the earth. As Garrett got to know and love Ember, he realized that the Order had been lying to him all of his life about how all dragons were evil, even hatchlings, and had to be killed, and as Ember learned more about Talon from Riley, she realized that they were doing the same thing, only with humans. Because Garrett helped Ember, Riley and two young hatchlings escape from a much older dragon, Lilith, who was a Viper, which is a dragon assassin sent out to hunt and kill rogue dragons, he was caught by his own Order, and scheduled to be put to death by firing squad because he maintained that the soldiers were wrong about all dragons, which was considered treason. And while Riley would love nothing more than to get rid of the annoying human who had feelings for his Ember, he goes with her to break Garrett out before he is executed, Yes, people, this is exciting stuff!!!

I haven't even mentioned Ember's twin, Dante, who is team Talon through and through, and who turned Ember in when she was leaving to go rogue and asked him to join her, but in his defense, he doesn't see Talon for what it is and honestly believed that Lilith would bring Ember back alive and he would be able to make her see the light and drink the Koolaid and join Talon 100%. But you guessed it, that doesn't go down quite as planned and he ends up scrambling to save face and come up with a new plan to bring her back. He is determined to become one of the executives of Talon eventually, and maybe even run the organization one day, but will he sacrifice Ember to do it?

Once again, Ms. Kagawa has proven that she is a master storyteller by weaving romance, both between two dragons and an unheard of human and dragon, intrigue, action, and much, much more. I already love this series and can't wait to read more. I give this book a very, very enthusiastic 5 stars!!!!!

Ink (The Paper Gods)
Ink (The Paper Gods)
by Amanda Sun
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.77
84 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Ink (The Paper Gods), 5 stars, April 30, 2015
This review is from: Ink (The Paper Gods) (Paperback)
I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I was so intrigued by this title when it came up on NetGalley because it just seemed so different from other books in its genre, paranormal young adult books that also include mythology, something new to shake up the lovers of this genre. And shake me up it did! To begin with, it was set in Japan and dealt with Japanese mythology, something I admit I know little about, which just made me want to read it more so I could learn about it. I had no idea there were such things as kendo or Kami (the Japanese Gods), but I enjoyed learning about all of this, and much more about Japan in general. The descriptions of the sights, smells and tastes of Japanese life were amazingly well done, and when ink started dripping off of drawings and out of notebooks, I got chills!

The main female character, Katie, was very likable. She lost her mother and was sent to live with an aunt she doesn't even know very well in Japan. Instead of crawling into a shell and just trying to get through each day until she can go back to the US and live with her grandparents, Katie takes the opportunity to immerse herself in the Japanese culture. She soaks up as much as she can, and even begins to thrive, especially after she meets the "gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school's kendo team." She finds that she has a weird connection with Tomo, but unfortunately Tomo also has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being around Katie is making him lose control of his abilities, which I will not describe here because it is a long and very interesting story that you must read the book to learn.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series, Rain. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to my friends, and to all lovers of paranormal young adult books that have a bent towards mythology, because unless you read YA books that deal with Japanese mythology on a regular basis, this book will definitely appeal to you.

I happily give it 5 stars.

Holiday Hats for Babies: Caps, berets & beanies to knit for every occasion
Holiday Hats for Babies: Caps, berets & beanies to knit for every occasion
by Debby Ware
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.93
66 used & new from $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Holiday Hats for Babies, 5 star review, April 30, 2015
I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion, and that opinion is that I loved this book! I very rarely review books about knitting, but when I saw this book offered, I just had to take a look inside, and I'm so glad I did! This is not just your regular, every day book on knitting baby hats, with the standard patterns repeated over and over, or with a few variations thrown in to shake things up. Each hat is uniquely different from anything I've seen before, more like something an artist would draw rather than something a knitter would knit. I guarantee you that no other baby in your Mommy and Me group will be wearing anything close to what your little prince or princess will have perched on top of their little head!

Although there were some patterns in the book that I would not personally choose to make, each one was festive and fun, with clear, easy-to-read and follow instructions. Each pattern tells you what weight yarn you will need and then lets you know what yarn was used to make the sample in the picture, which I find very helpful. It's not really that big of a deal, but sometimes I just don't want to take a chance on substituting a yarn and not getting the desired result. It's just nice to have both options. The book also shows multiple views of each hat, both on and off of the very adorable babies who are modeling them. Sizing is done by head circumference rather than age, which just makes more sense to me. Some of them are one size fits all, and some have a small and large option, but again, the head circumference is added for each one.

My personal favorites include the Holly Holiday Hat with giant holly leaves and bright red berries on it, the Glitter and Glow Beanie which they say is a snap to make, and you get to tie the top of it up with a giant fancy ribbon, adding your own personal touch to it, and the Halloween Hat, a little pumpkin hat on which the eyes and hat are added using the Duplicate Stitch, giving you the freedom to create any expression you want.

In summary, I found this book a delight to read, with simple instructions, and hats that are so unique you will not find anything like them in any book other than this one. I would happily recommend it to my friends and anybody who is looking to knit something a little bit different for their unique little one.

I give this book 5 stars.

Monstrous Beauty
Monstrous Beauty
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $7.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different type of mermaid tale!, March 13, 2014
This review is from: Monstrous Beauty (Kindle Edition)
My Opinion: I was quite impressed with this book as it was different from most other mermaid books out now. I tend to love mermaid books anyway, and this one was unique enough to really grab my attention. To begin with, it's written from the POV of two different female mermaids, one in our time (Hester) and one who lived one hundred and forty years ago (Syrenka)! Then we have poor Hester, whose family history shows that to fall in love means death. Since Hester thinks it's a family curse, she is determined never to fall in love, but as we all know, teenage hormones are not going to go along with that at all! First she starts having feelings for her neighbor and friend, Peter, and when she runs away from him, she runs smack dab into gorgeous Ezra on the beach! What's a girl to do? Then there's the weird happenings at the church and in the graveyard that I'm not even going to tell you about because I want them to be a surprise :)

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Syrenka and Hester had very different voices and ways of talking so it was easy to switch back and forth between their POVs, which is always a plus. The characters were compelling, the pace of the book was spot on, and I definitely recommend it to all lovers of YA mermaid tales :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Oh. My. Gods.
Oh. My. Gods.
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Great take on YA Greek mythology!, January 2, 2014
This review is from: Oh. My. Gods. (Kindle Edition)
I love Greek Mythology and thought this was a very fun addition to all the fictional mythology books out there! The characters were likable, except the ones that weren't, and those were fun to hate! I'm very glad I decided to try this series and look forward to reading the next book in line :D

Skyship Academy: Crimson Rising
Skyship Academy: Crimson Rising
Price: $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Book 2 was as good as book 1!, July 20, 2013
My Opinion: My opinion is very simple: I loved it!! What an awesome installment in what is becoming one of my favorite series! This book blends action, suspense, and science fiction perfectly!

In the Pearl Wars, we're introduced to a post-apocalyptic/dystopian society where sources of energy, or Pearls, are desperately needed, so when one comes down from space, the race is on to see who will find it first. Enter Jesse and Cassius, one working for the Skyship Academy and the other working for the Unified Party, who find out that they are brothers. We also find out that they are aliens, which really intrigued me. Now they are both trying to learn how to use their powers (Cassius burns from the inside and has a bad habit of catching rooms on fire without meaning to, and Jesse can open Pearls, which comes in handy in this destitute world where they are in such demand). They are both also on the run and separated from each other, so they each have their own exciting adventures in the book before they come together for what turns out to be a big showdown.

I often find that sequels to books that I absolutely fall in love with aren't as good as the first, but that's not the case here. The writing was just as exciting, and the twists and turns that the story takes kept me on the edge of my seat! The characters, good and bad, are all well written, and the pacing is perfect. I honestly can't say who I like better, Jesse or Cassius, since I go back and forth all through the book, but I think that makes it all the more exciting!

In summary, I absolutely loved this installment in the Skyship Academy series and recommend it to fans of action packed YA sci-fi stories. I'm giving it a very enthusiastic 5 stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Girl with the Iron Touch (The Steampunk Chronicles)
The Girl with the Iron Touch (The Steampunk Chronicles)

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome conclusion to an amazing trilogy!, July 20, 2013
My Opinion: I was so excited when I got to read this book because Steampunk Chronicles is one of my favorite series, and I love Kady Cross's writing. I thought it tied things up nicely in most cases, but I felt bad for poor Jasper, one of my fave characters, who really didn't have much to do in this book and was just kind of hanging around. Fortunately, I got to see lots of Finley and Griffin, and Emily and Sam, with some awesome Jack Dandy thrown in for good measure, so I was a happy camper!

The gang has returned to England from their trip to and adventures in America, and everybody's trying to recuperate from that. Unfortunately, Griffin isn't doing too well, but he won't share what's going on with any of them, which really irks Finley. Emily and Sam are getting closer and are finally going to admit how they feel to one another when Emily is kidnapped, and the rest of them have to find her and bring her back, while keeping Sam under some control because he's totally losing it.

Since I already told you how much I love this series, it's not surprising that I loved all of the characters, and enjoyed going back and visiting them again. The writing was, as usual, exciting and the pacing was perfect. I have to say that I am going to miss these guys a lot!

I thought this was a good conclusion to the Steampunk Chronicles series and I give it an enthusiastic 5 stars. I highly recommend it to fans of YA steampunk :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Price: $6.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome take on reincarnation!, July 20, 2013
This review is from: Transcendence (Kindle Edition)
My Opinion: Cole (Nicole) Ryan goes on a business trip with her father and sister, Kat, to London, and while visiting the Tower of London, she has a vision of herself at the Tower (technically, at her own execution at the Tower of London back in the 1500s) and understandably thinks she's losing her mind. As fate would have it, she also meets a hunky American her own age there, who helps her after she faints, and who she later finds out lives very near her in San Francisco. Little does she know that Griffon knows a lot more about her than she thinks, including why she starts having these strange glimpses into previous lives. It turns out that she and Griffon are Akhet, people who can remember their past lives and connections. I have to say that I found this idea really appealing when I read the synopsis, and after reading this amazing book, I'm even more intrigued!

I loved the characters in this book and really enjoyed watching Cole learn about her past lives in flashbacks, trying to put them together like the pieces of a puzzle. She was a child prodigy on the cello with her future pretty well mapped out and this threw her into a tailspin as she realized that she had probably played the cello in a previous life, which is why has been able to play it so well pretty much without thinking about it, even as a young child, and this brought up the question: Is it cheating to use what you've learned in previous lives to become a world renowned child prodigy, or is it only cheating if you know you're cheating? It sounds confusing when I say it, but trust me, C.J. does a much better job of explaining it in the book!

Cole and Griffon's relationship starts to grow into love, but then something big happens that totally derails this, and I loved the twist, let me tell you!

I thought C.J.'s writing was phenomenal and I pretty much flew through the book. The pacing is well done, with lots of romance and intrigue to keep you turning the page as quickly as you can.

In essence, I thought this was a well written book with great characters and an awesome reincarnation storyline, that I highly recommend to fans of history, romance, and fantasy/supernatural storylines, and I give it 5 shining stars :D

If We Survive
If We Survive
by Andrew Klavan
Edition: Hardcover
45 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed Christian thriller!, July 12, 2013
This review is from: If We Survive (Hardcover)
My Opinion: In this YA book we find Will Peterson and three other young volunteers who go to Central America with their church group to help rebuild the wall of a one room schoolhouse for the members of a small,very poor village. Their group includes the four kids and their pastor. Everything goes fine until the day they are supposed to leave, when rebels take over the village and hold the group captive. Their only hope lies with the pilot who was supposed to fly them out, an ex-Marine by the name of Palmer Dunn, but will he help them or opt to save himself instead?

I will say upfront that I knew this was a Christian book when I requested it so I was expecting, and looking forward to, the religious aspect of it. I thought the author did very well at portraying the Christian teens realistically: i.e. they were as scared as anyone would be in their position, and although they did pray, they didn't count on just that to get them out of their predicament. The book was more about how they had to rely on each other and on their own inner strength to find a way to get out of Central America alive.

I liked Will a lot, and I found myself admiring Meredith's faith and strength and wishing I could be a little bit more like her myself. Nikki got on my last nerve, but I enjoyed watching her grow and come into her own over the course of the book. Jim annoyed the heck out of me, too, but that was because of his naive political views and his inability to see what was right in front of his face. He also grew quite a bit as he was forced to face the truth and realize that one of his idols wasn't who he thought he was at all. I would have to say that Palmer was my favorite character because he had the most going on under the surface which made him a lot of fun to read about and explore.

This book was definitely action packed; things moved very quickly throughout the whole story, which made it a very quick and easy read. I had a hard time putting it down at all because something was always going on! The characters grew immensely from start to finish, which is always something that I look for when reading a book that I know I'm going to review.

In essence, I loved this book because of both the never ending action and the ever evolving and growing characters, and I highly recommend it to fans of Christian YA fiction. I am giving it 5 glowing stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Branded (A Sinner Series) (Volume 1)
Branded (A Sinner Series) (Volume 1)
by Abi Ketner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.49
35 used & new from $9.06

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful story!, July 10, 2013
My Opinion: This was a very powerful book! I just have to say that right off because you need to be prepared for violence and the worst that people can do when you read it. In the society of Branded, anyone can be accused of one of the seven deadly sins, and if they are accused then they are sent to The Hole and branded without ever having a trial or being able to speak in their own defense. The Hole is a prison that is nothing better than a slum that the prisoners are forced to live and work in, with guards everywhere who would just as easily shoot you as look at you. The guards are sadistic animals for the most part, although there are a few good ones, one of which is Cole, the guard assigned to Lexi when she is falsely accused of the sin of Lust and is branded with a blue ring around her neck (the color that lets everyone know what her sin was) and thrown in the Hole.

This book moved very fast at times, and then at other times I felt the narrative bogged it down. I felt that the threat of death over both Lexi and Cole if they ever got close would have caused them to fight their feelings a bit more, but once you get past the slower parts, the book picks up again at an almost break neck pace, hurtling the reader to the conclusion.

Overall I enjoyed Branded and was able to deal with the violence because it wasn't gratuitous - it simply let the reader in on what it was like in The Hole, the "realness" of it is what kept me reading even when I was uncomfortable with it.

I look forward to reading the next installment and recommend it to readers who don't shy away from violence in a messy dystopian world. I give this book 4 stars :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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