What I'm Reading: House of Hades by Rick Riordan * Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Revealed by P.C. and Kristin Cast


The big day is here! I hope you all have the costumes and the candy ready! I'll be handing out candy tonight, and hopefully getting to see my cutie pie nephews in their costumes! Today, I chose to review P.C. and Kristin Cast's Revealed, the penultimate book in the House of Night series. As many of you know, I've been with this series since the beginning, but have started to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. I was pleased to see in the last book, Hidden, that things were starting to look up.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Drastically altered after her fall at the end of Hidden, Neferet is now more dangerous than ever—and her quest for vengeance will wreak havoc on humans, as well as Zoey and her friends. Chaos is loosed in Tulsa and the House of Night is blamed. Can Zoey stop Neferet in time to keep her anger from escalating to full-on war? Or will someone else have to step in to take the fall?

What I Liked: 1) Surprisingly, I actually liked the story coming from multiple perspectives. The story has become much more focused in Revealed, but if it had stuck with just Zoey, I think it would have been very flat. I think the multiple POVs were very important, because it was important for the reader to see how Zoey's behavior was affecting those around her, and what they saw when they looked at her. 2) Aphrodite and Shaylin. Aphrodite has been around for a while, and I've really grown to like her brutal honesty. I feel like she brings a level of maturity to the story that Zoey is SORELY lacking. True she isn't very nice, but after eleven books, her arrogance has grown on me. Especially because we get those little glimpses that she does believe in what they are all fighting for, and her genuine gentleness and vulnerability that shows up every once in a while. Shaylin is newer to the group, and because she is she has a little bit of a different perspective of things. It's nice to see things through her "fresh eyes" and get a sense of what is going on inside their group from someone who is new. I also like her loyalty and how she cares about everyone. 4) The focus. Like I mentioned before, the story has become much more focused and I sincerely appreciate that. For a while these books just seemed to be chaotic. But we've finally got some more focus to the story, a clearer sense of what needs to happen. I'm so glad that there is some method in the madness that we can see now that we're finally coming close to the end. 5) I liked the way it ended, because I think it set up some great things to come in the final book of the series. I'm really looking forward to finally having an ending.

What I Didn't Like: In my review of Hidden, I talked about the passage of time being glossed over. I still have an issue with not knowing that. But it's mostly because Zoey still talks like a six year old. For crying out loud, she's seventeen years old. She needs to grow up and use her words. And I'm not talking about "four letter words" because there is plenty of that floating around this book. But the word "potty" is, in my opinion, inappropriate to use after the age of six, unless you have a child under the age of six.

Overall Thoughts: I'm glad to have read Revealed and learned what all has been going on with the House of Night. The multiple perspectives really made this book a good read, because you can see the events happening from all angles. I think this was one of the best additions to the series, and with the set up at the end, I can't wait to see how PC and Kristin finally wrap everything up.

My Rating: 4 candy corns

Once again, I just want to say Happy Halloween and I hope y'all have a lot of fun celebrating!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Halloween Edition

The big day is tomorrow! Do you have your candy purchased, or your costumes picked out? I hope so! Anyway, today is Wednesday, which means, of course, another Waiting on Wednesday! Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is...

This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink
Release Date: November 14th, 2013

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Claire Kincaid’s family has been in business for over fifty years. The voodoo business. Part of the International Guild of High Priests and Priestesses, a secret society that have practiced voodoo for generations, the Kincaid’s run an underground supply house for authentic voodoo supplies. Claire plays along, filling orders for powders, oils and other bizarre ingredients in the family store, but she has a secret. She doesn’t believe. Struggling to reconcile her modern sensibilities with a completely unscientific craft based on suspicion, Claire can’t wait to escape New Orleans – and voodoo – when she goes to college, a desire that creates almost constant conflict in her secret affair with Xander Toussaint, son of the Guild’s powerful founding family. But when a mysterious customer places an order for a deadly ingredient, Claire begins to realize that there’s more to voodoo – and the families that make up the Guild – than meets the eye. Including her own. As she bands together with the other firstborns of the Guild, she comes face to face with a deadly enemy – and the disbelief that may very well kill her.

Sounds pretty exciting! The whole voodoo aspect is gaining in popularity in YA lit, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. What are y'all waiting on this October Wednesday?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trick or Treat! Giveaway Winners

Happy Tuesday!

Today, I'm announcing the winners of the Trick or Treat giveaways! 

The Liberator Giveaway Winner: 
Jessica @ A Great Read

Through the Zombie Glass Giveaway Winner: 
Megan Bailey 

The Dollhouse Asylum Giveaway Winner: 
Marisa Hicking 

Hero Giveaway: 
Kathy Lynn 

Congratulations to all our winners, emails have been sent and books will be sent as soon as I receive your addresses! Thanks to everyone who participated, and make sure you stick around because there is more great stuff coming up here on FCB!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Liberator by Victoria Scott

It's the last Monday of the month, therefore the last Costumed Character Monday! I've chosen something particularly awesome for today: Victoria Scott's The Liberator! I was anticipating this book from the moment I closed the last page of The Collector, and as I read it, I knew it would be perfect for some Halloween costume ideas!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Bad boy, meet bad girl. Dante has a shiny new cuff wrapped around his ankle, and he doesn't like that mess one bit. His new accessory comes straight from Big Guy himself and marks the former demon as a liberator. Despite his gritty past and bad boy ways, Dante Walker has been granted a second chance. When Dante is given his first mission as a liberator to save the soul of seventeen-year-old Aspen, he knows he’s got this. But Aspen reminds him of the rebellious life he used to live and is making it difficult to resist sinful temptations. Though Dante is committed to living clean for his girlfriend Charlie, this dude’s been a playboy for far too long…and old demons die hard. With Charlie becoming the girl she was never able to be pre-makeover and Aspen showing him how delicious it feels to embrace his inner beast, Dante will have to go somewhere he never thought he’d return to in order to accomplish the impossible: save the girl he’s been assigned to, and keep the girl he loves.

What I Liked: 1) So...I love Dante. I loved him from the very beginning. He is so snarky and confident that his whole personality just oozes off the page. I'm so glad that all of that was still there in The Liberator, despite the major change that happened at the end of The Collector. His bad boy charm just draws everyone in, and now that he is trying to deny his urges (well, sort of), he's even more amusing. I know I said it before, but Victoria Scott really knows how to write guys! It's so rare to find a guy written this well by a lady author. So good! 2) Charlie really came to life in The Liberator. One of my chief complaints about The Collector was that Charlie was just a snoozefest. Not at all interesting, downright boring. But she has a spark now! Being in love with Dante has given her a fire that she didn't show in The Collector, and I so enjoyed getting to know her in The Liberator. 3) Aspen. Oh.Em.Gee. What a great new addition to this series. She's like the girl version of Dante. She's funny and clever, and really knows her stuff. She's strong and very brave, racing into danger if she thinks it will save someone she cares about. I understand why she fits into this group so quickly and easily. I love Miz Scott's characterization. The growth I've seen from The Collector to The Liberator is just phenomenal. 4) The plot. The whole storyline was pretty much a surprise to me. I mean, I knew what happened at the end of The Collector, so I sort of knew how Dante's life was going to change, but I just wasn't prepared for the direction that it took, and I loved how I was surprised by something on almost every page. There was so much going on, yet it never felt bogged down or confusing either.

What I Didn't Like: OMG, I need more!!

Overall Thoughts: READ. IT. The Liberator is an absolutely fantastic book from all angles, bad boys, good girls, bad girls...sorta good boys. Great plotlines, surprises, new settings, all in one, neat, leather-clad package. I loved it, and cannot wait to find out what's next!

My Rating: 5 candy corns

And now for the costumes! I have three for you today, because there is this one scene with a dinner party, and it really gave me some great ideas! So grab your buddies and y'all can all be characters from The Liberator!
For Annabelle's Dinner Party getup, she dons a lovely red gown and drips with emeralds. Red shoes complete the ensemble, but I must say, these won't be very comfortable for trick or treating!
Aspen's dress is a short navy dress and nude heels. And of course she is never without her her signature fingerless gloves. She tops it off with a sparkly headband.
Charlie's dinner party outfit is my favorite, because I love the pink and black together. I couldn't find a skirt exactly like what I wanted, but something similar to this one. And she can't be without the ivory horn around her neck that Dante's father gave them. I hope y'all have got your costumes all picked out, because the big day is coming up!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Happy Friday! It's the last Friday of the month! Can you believe it? And because it is our last Creature Feature Friday, and frankly, I couldn't wait any longer to read it, I've chosen the new Rick Riordan book, The House of Hades, for today's feauture. It's also riddled with all sorts of creatures, so it fits!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape? They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

What I Liked: 1) This series gets more complex the longer it continues. The plot is so intriguing that I often forget that it's technically a Middle Grade book. Not that I'm saying MG books can't be intriguing, obviously they can. But the intricacies combined with the Greek and Roman histories overlapping make this plot one of the highlights of the story. 2) A lot of questions I've had, particularly regarding some of the characters, were answered in this book. Certainly not everything, but enough that I felt a sense of relief to finally have some of those answers. 3) My favorite part of the book was the time Annabeth and Percy spent in Tartarus. It's such a different setting than we've visited throughout the series and it was so graphically detailed that it was easy to picture. And because Tartarus is basically an unknown, the characters have no idea what reaction their actions will cause. It makes every page turn exciting and new. We also had the chance to meet and re-meet some different folks in here that offered assistance to Percy and Annabeth, some unexpected new friends. I'm glad we got to spend some time in that particular setting, because it opened up a new world of ideas for the plot.

What I Didn't Like: Okay, it was a little long. Not really a big complaint. But my real complaint is that there are too many main characters, and the POV changes to frequently. As much as I love the characters, and couldn't choose any to get rid of, it becomes a little redundant and hard to read, because it prevents the plot to travel in a linear fashion. That's something that is challenging for me personally, because I have a linear brain. It might not be a problem for others.

Overall Thoughts: The House of Hades is an excellent addition to the Heros of Olympus series. There is never a dull moment in the book, and the jumble of characters will give everyone a person they can relate to. I love that the Greeks and Romans have come together, at least in part, to defeat Gaea. If you like things like plot lines to travel in linear pattern, like me, the multiple POVs and number of main characters might force you to read a bit slower than you normally would, so you can absorb all the info, but overall it was very enjoyable!

My Rating: 4 candy corns

And make sure you enter to win a copy of Alethea Kontis's Hero on this week's Trick or Treat Tuesday post!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

Only one more week until Halloween! And today is Scary Tales Thursday! I chose Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst for today, based mostly on the cover. It's kinda creepy. But I also know that the last Sarah Beth Durst book I read was very funny, so it might not fall into the "scary tales" category.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember. At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

What I Liked: 1) I want to start with the concept. The idea of the MC having amnesia or not remembering who she is seems to be a theme that is gaining in popularity. But the way that author Sarah Beth Durst brought it into the story, alongside a supernatural aspect and witness protection is very exciting. It's as if she's pulled three different books together and found the one way that they could actually meld. But it wasn't overwhelming. There was a lot happening, but it all fit together perfectly, like a puzzle. 2) There are some parts of the book that are pretty creepy. Particularly when you find out more about her past and who she really is. I can't give it away, but I absolutely loved this. It was so unique and creative, and completely surprising to me. And also, creepy. It's this revelation, when Eve figures out her past and what it means, that is the real high point for the story. Everything is leading up to that. There is still quite a bit of book left after that, but in my opinion that is the true climax. 3) Eve and Zach. First, what book lover doesn't think a relationship that begins in a library is adorable? Because I do. What a great setting for romance. Do y'all agree with me? Their relationship is so refreshing, especially with Eve's memory problems, she basically has to be reintroduced to him every few days. I would have liked a little more character development for Zach, because he isn't the kind of book guy that I just fall in love with, but he was goofy and quirky, and helps to keep Eve grounded when everything else around her seems to be crazy. 4) The ending. It's rare that a book will completely change settings in the final pages, but it worked for this book, and I loved the new dimension it gave to the story. Like it could just keep going forever.

What I Didn't Like: As I said before, I would have liked some more development of the characters. Not only Zach, but Eve and Aiden and the rest of that crew. I know it was challenging to develop them because there was so much they didn't know and Eve didn't know. But I would have been even more invested in the story if their personalities were three dimensional, instead of two dimensional.

Overall Thoughts: Conjured is definitely one that many people will enjoy. For me personally there was something to be desired by character development. But for those of you who love plotlines, this one will be right up your alley. The focus is definitely on plot, but the relationships are fun to follow as well. The humor that I've come to expect from Sarah Beth Durst was there, but slightly different - fitting in with the story.

My Rating: 4 candy corns

And don't forget to enter to win a copy of Alethea Kontis's Hero on this week's Trick or Treat Tuesday post!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Halloween Edition

Welcome to this Halloween Edition of Waiting on Wednesday! As usual, waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is...

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Release Date: November 19th, 2013

I'm a big fan of all of Richelle's Vampire Academy books and the spinoffs, so I'm really looking forward to The Fiery Heart!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . . But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.
What are y'all waiting on? Halloween is getting close, any Halloween-themed books on your list? Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Alethea Kontis's Hero on this week's Waiting on Wednesday post!