What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

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!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trick or Treat Tuesday with Krissi Dallas

Happy Trick or Treat Tuesday! Today I am so excited to invite one of my favorite authors and good friends, Krissi Dallas to join us here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books! If you've been following FCB for any amount of time, you've seen that I've read and reviewed the first four books of Krissi's Phantom Island series here on FCB, the most recent of which is Watermark! Watermark will hit shelves next week, on October 29th, but feel free to check out my review in the mean time! Being that it's getting closer to Halloween and all, Krissi is here to talk to us about what scares us! Or, specifically what scares her. It might not be what you're expecting...

How To Give Someone A Phobia 

It’s Halloween season, which means it becomes culturally acceptable to both expose and exploit the human condition common to us all—FEAR. Almost everyone I meet will admit to having some kind of phobia—most commonly ones like spiders, snakes, small spaces, heights, etc.

I happen to suffer from a crippling fish phobia.

And I made the mistake of going public with this weirdness when I gave my main character, Whitnee (in the Phantom Island series) the same fish phobia. Ever since, I have become the victim of fish pranks ALL. THE. TIME. And you might think pranking would be hard to do when fish require water/oceans/lakes in order to survive. But, oh, my students have found ways. “Let’s decorate Mrs. D’s classroom like an underwater nightmare and put a REAL FISH in the center of the room.” “Oh, let’s leave a fish in a plastic bag hanging from her sideview mirror when she goes out to the car.” “It’s her birthday, we should get her a fish-themed present.” (This actually turned out well since it comprised of candy and goldfish snacks.) Or more recently, from a friend of mine, “How funny would it be to transpose Krissi’s face on a gigantic catfish and post in on Facebook for all the world to enjoy?!”

ERMAHGERD!! So. Not. Funny.

Once readers find out that Whitnee’s fish plight is based on my own, I almost always get the question of “Why FISH?”… Well, if you have a phobia, you know it’s not always easy to explain and it’s especially not fun to talk about. But it’s Halloween. And whether you have your own phobia and can relate, or you want to help create a phobia for someone else, we’re going to do a case study here…using the life of yours truly. 

The cold, hard truth is that phobias don’t always develop after one teeny-tiny incident. It can take several psychologically damaging incidents that both hinder a person socially, physically, and emotionally. For me, it started small and got worse over time. The following incidents occurred between the ages of four and fifteen. (WARNING: Fellow fish phobia friends should stop reading now.)

Incident #1 – I was four. Being born into a fishing, camping family, I was not afraid to touch fish, look at fish, even hold minnows and hook them onto a fishing rod. (GASP.) One day, at my grandparents’ lakehouse, I watched my two-year-old brother squeeze a minnow so hard, its eyeballs exploded and guts oozed out between his grubby little boy fingers—right before my sensitive gray eyes. Disgusting, but not enough to make me frightened of fish the rest of my life. Just grossed out. A little.

Incident #2 – I was five and fishing with my grandparents again. My grandpa caught a catfish and demonstrated how to identify him by his whiskers. While holding the live, squirmy catfish in his hands (its ugly mouth gaping open), one catfish whisker sliced across the palm of his hand. Blood, water, and mud mixed in with the fish’s glittering, putrid, scaly skin. Suddenly a catfish appeared dangerous and gruesome. After all, it had made my Papa bleed—a lot. (SIDE NOTE: This was also the same day that my fishing rod came unwound and hooked my little brother in the rear. More blood. Whoops.)

Incident #3 – Same day as the catfish incident, my grandmother was frying up the fish from that day’s catch. She offered me a little piece straight out of the frying pan. “It tastes like chicken,” she promised. With one bite, I was the one out of the frying pan and into the fire, because my throat closed up in a dangerous allergic reaction. The last thing I remembered that day was being rushed to the hospital in the back of a green station wagon—NOT BREATHING. Apparently, fish were not only dangerous alive, but they had the power to kill me when all dead and fried up too.

Incident #4 – I was eight. My grandma was skinning fish for the family dinner (Of course, there was an alternative allergy-free meal made just for me). I walked through the kitchen just in time to see Nanny slice a pregnant fish in half. Didn’t know it was pregnant until we saw inside and, yeah, I most definitely cannot go into detail on this one. Use your imagination—it was THAT horrible. I’m sick just remembering right now. 

Incident #5 – I was thirteen. I had learned to just avoid fish as much as possible. But my family still went camping on the Frio River for family vacations and the river made me skittish. In fact, the only way my aging grandma could get me to snorkel with her was by allowing me to swim on her back and look at the fish over her shoulder. Pathetic. One afternoon, my brother and I were loading up the van with our friends. The boys had, of course, been fishing and had a bucket of minnows in the back. As the family videographer, I was graciously filming the boys while they talked about their experiences on the river that day. Kevin, my devilish little brother, decided to use a minnow for a demonstration. After removing the little pest from its bucket, he brought the fish too close to the camera and “accidentally” dropped the minnow into my lap with video rolling! I freaked out and jumped frantically around the back of the van to flick the foul creature from my lap. The stupid thing got caught, squirming and writhing, within the creases of my jean shorts. The incident ended in ruined video footage, panic, lots of tears, and cries of “MOOOOM!! Kevin did it on PURPOSE!” 

Incident #6 – I was fourteen and at a family reunion in Minnesota with my stepmom, Dawn. Some of the cousins were fishing out on the dock—I knew by now to steer clear of this scenario. So I was lounging comfortably up at the cabin playing cards with Dawn when her teenage niece came running in screaming that she had caught a big bullfish. And yes, she was holding the monstrosity in both hands. Oh, and you know exactly who she ran to first—Dawn and me! Red flags were definitely going up in my head, but I tried not to overreact at first. She was standing a couple of feet away, I might be safe. But, no, just like destiny (or Satan) would have it, that dang fish slipped out of the girl’s hands and launched itself right at me. It slithered down my arm, leaving tracks of muddy water and a murky red substance that is still unidentified to this day. (Fish poop or urine? Dear God, please don’t let it be so.) I screamed and knocked the fish away—right into my stepmom’s lap. More screaming. The girl desperately scrambled to pick up the flip-flopping fish from the floor, and I ran to the bathroom to hide my tears and wash my arm off. I still remember the panic attack that commenced as I tried to calm down all alone in that bathroom. The phobia was definitely getting worse. 

Incident #7 – I was a freshman in high school when I went on a beach trip with my youth group. I had my reservations about getting in the ocean, so instead I had tons of fun on the beach. When I did finally decide to brave the water, two of my “big brothers” in the youth group—seniors who liked to tease me mercilessly—thought it would be funny to dunk me and then steal the shorts I had been wearing over my swimsuit. The guys played Keep-Away with the shorts and I, of course, refused to get out of the water without them. Finally I stood up, hands on hips, and demanded they give me the shorts back. At that exact same moment, a demon-possessed jumping fish flew right out of the water, brushed my arm, and flopped around in my hair. I was so horrified that I screamed the entire clumsy dash to the shore and didn’t even care that I was shorts-less. The guys felt so bad that they gave me the shorts back, but not until after they nearly drowned laughing at me. (NOTE: Now that we’re adults, one of them has officially apologized for causing me “mental harm” but still refuses to accept responsibility for the rogue fish. Ugh, boys.)

There are so many more incidents I could detail out for you—the fish that kept nipping at my butt while tubing down the river, the fish that attacked and ate another fish right in front of me—and just in the “growing up” years. I won’t discuss the recurring fish nightmares that haunt me every six months or so and only perpetuate the feeling of being victimized by these monsters. As an adult, the phobia is way worse. I don’t want to look at them. I don’t like them in the lake, the river, the ocean, and definitely not in aquariums (because aquariums are just glass-casings that can explode). I hate the way they smell, the way they move, the way their eyes stare sightlessly at me. I. Don’t. Like. Fish.

Oh, and just because my life needed the irony, guess what’s on the cover of my 3rd book, Watercrossing? A lovely little fish. RIGHT UNDER MY NAME. And he appears on Watermark, my 4th book, too…which releases exactly one week from today. Happy Halloween to me!

So I’m pretty sure I know how a phobia develops. But I have no idea how you get rid of it. If it has anything to do with more exposure to the offensive creatures, then COUNT. ME. OUT. Fish are my mortal enemies, the villains to my happy story. Take me to a haunted house with monsters and staged murders, and I can dig it. But stick me in a public aquarium and you’ll get to watch me pee my pants and rock in a corner. That’s REAL fear, people. And I will not be exploiting it this Halloween.

Now it’s your turn. Do YOU suffer from a phobia? What caused it and how do you deal? Maybe we all need some support group therapy. If so, share it below and stay SAFE this Halloween!

It still cracks me up that there is a fish on the cover of book 3, Watercrossing. I call him Gus. Krissi cracks me up, and if you haven't had the time to check out her Phantom Island series, make sure you do! I don't have any phobias that are as interesting as Krissi's. I used to have a recurring dream about spiders being in my bed that had to be killed with blueberry yogurt, heh. Do y'all have any phobias to share?

I have another treat for you my friends, a copy of Alethea Kontis's Hero. I know it isn't really a "Halloweenish book," but it's a great series that bring together a bunch of fairy tales. So enter in the form below!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Welcome to another edition of Costumed Character Monday! Today I've chosen to feature Teri Brown's Born of Illusion. Because I love the 1920s, they fascinate me and always have. So I couldn't resist trying to put together a Halloween costume based on this 1920s young magician.
Anyway, here's the summary of Born of Illusion from Goodreads: Anna Van Housen has a secret. A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future. But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?

What I Liked: 1) Anna. Anna is one of those strong female characters that I really admire. She's spent most of her life taking care of her dramatic and flighty mother's whims. And while she manages to do that, and squirrel away money because her mother has some exorbitant spending habits, she also figures out how to have a life. She becomes both more trusting and more independent at the story continues, and I thought this kind of character development made it very easy to relate and enjoy her. 2) Cole. Mysterious and charming. What's not to like? There wasn't as much development of his personality in Born of Illusion as there was of Anna's, but he was still an easy character to like. My favorite part about him was how much he seemed to care about the people around him. 3) The setting. Maybe not the physical setting, but the fact that it was set in the 1920s, and that there were recognizable parts of 1920s history. This is where the details came into play. There were so many great details included in the book that it was easy to slip into the 1920s and just feel like you were living the story right alongside Anna and company. I love it when a story comes to life so vividly. 4) Harry Houdini. I've admit I know very little about him, other than the name. Though I've already decided I'm going to try and find a biography about him. But he was such a presence in the book (while actually showing up only rarely) that it was a great unifying force for the different story lines. Do y'all know anything about Harry Houdini? If I find a good bio, I'll definitely recommend it!

What I Didn't Like: Well, there was this whole...supernatural element to the book that felt as if it was supposed to be the main focus. But it really, really wasn't. I mean...it wasn't even necessary to the book. I personally think it would have been better without it. Once I finished the book I was actually kind of angry about it. I'm calmer now, I promise. But if that was the purpose behind the story, to look into this supernatural power, then the ending should have been way different. Just sayin'.

Overall Thoughts: With one glaring exception, I thoroughly enjoyed Born of Illusion. I firmly believe that the entire supernatural element could have been completely eliminated and the book would have been just as good. The details bring the 1920s setting to life and the characters are fun to follow along with. This is definitely a book to look into!

And as promised, an Anna Van Housen-inspired Flapper Halloween costume!

My Rating: 4 candy corns

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

Happy Friday everyone! We've finally had some cooler weather this week, and I have to say...I love it! It feels so much more Fall-ish when it's cool in the mornings. So are y'all ready for another Creature Feature Friday? This week I've chosen to feature Julie Kagawa's Faeries! I've been reading her Iron Fey series for almost three years now. I have really liked most of them. I could have done without The Iron Knight, but oh well. If you haven't been following along, The Iron Traitor is the second in Miz Kagawa's companion series to the original Iron Fey series, this one called The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten. I read and reviewed book one, The Lost Prince a few months ago, feel free to check out that review here. If you enjoyed that one as much as I did, you've been looking forward to reading The Iron Traitor - only a little longer to wait! It hits shelves on October 29th! **Also, as I always say when reviewing a sequel, I will avoid spoilers for this book, but be wary if you haven't read The Lost Prince yet!**
Here's the summary from Goodreads: In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again. But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.
What I Liked: 1) The new story. Many of the elements that I loved about The Lost Prince were present, but the story took a different turn and made the plot much more interesting to me. No matter how much Ethan knows about the Nevernever and the faery influence, he is still surprised when he runs into people who believe his story (not that he shares is with very many people. And I was surprised to, because the more that is revealed about the Fae, the more Ethan and his companions see their presence in the "real world." 2) There was a great mix of the being in the real world, and the Nevernever. Changing settings and going back and forth between the two isn't new for the series, but Miz Kagawa always seems to find new places to bring into the stories. It keeps things fresh. I also noticed that there were a lot of details about the settings. It made things seem very real. I always love when I'm given the opportunity to feel like I've stepped into the story. 3) I really like Ethan. It's actually funny, because he really does his best to be...not likeable to pretty much everyone. But then he's with Kenzie and his soft mushy side comes out a little. The thing about these characters is it doesn't seem like they are revealing much of themselves, but the longer you read, the more you realize you are slowly getting to know them. It's a fairly unique form of character development, but very effective. 4) We learn so much more about the Forgotten Fae, what's happened to them. A majority of the story is dedicated to finding a way to stop the fade, so it's a lot different than the plotlines we've encountered in the previous books. 5) I hated the cover for The Lost Prince, so I'm glad this one went back to the style of the earlier Iron Fae books. I like this style a lot better. That doesn't really mean much to my enjoyment of the books, but still. There it is, for whatever it's worth.

What I Didn't Like: No complaints! Oh, there could have been more Grim. He's one of my favorites that's been there in every book. But he was conspicuously absent for most of this book.

Overall Thoughts: This series is a lot of fun, and I look forward to each and every release. The Iron Traitor brings one of the Nevernever's biggest problems to the forefront. If these new issues aren't enough to keep you interested, the hunt for Kierran, plus Ethan and Kenzie's developing relationship adds even more depth to the story. I think this is a great addition to the Iron Fey series, and I can't wait to read the next book (A YEAR AWAY!). Especially after that cliffhanger!

The Iron Traitor will be on shelves October 29th, so put it on your calendar!

My Rating: 5 candy corns

And don't forget to enter to win a copy of Mary Gray's The Dollhouse Asylum on this week's Trick or Treat Tuesday post! Good luck!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Scary Tales Thursday has come along again, and this week I have a review of a book I know a lot of people have been looking forward to reading. I was on the fence about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I wasn't sure that the plot appealed to me that much, but I really liked Holly Black's Curse Workers series so I went ahead and added it to the schedule.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave. One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

What I Liked: 1) I loved the way it started. This book starts off like a horror novel. Imagine waking up in a house after a raging party and everyone in the house except you is dead. If that's not a great hook, I don't know what is. So you jump in right away with this creepy mystery. But Tana knows what happened, and from there, the story develops a little more. 2) I think the way and the timing with which Holly Black releases the information and details about the plot is pretty fantastic. I noticed this in the Curse Workers series as well. Miz Black has a great sense of timing when it comes to plot development and it made the flow of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown easy to follow and enjoy. 3) Midnight and Winter. Recently (not just when reading this one) I've found myself following the secondary characters just as much as I've been following the main characters. Midnight and Winter were so completely different than Tana and the other MCs that they brought something unique to the story. They were funny and very...throw caution to the wind. Headed off to Coldtown because they want eternal life. And the development of these characters was just as good as that of the main characters, so they were easy to get to know. And because their purpose for traveling to Coldtown was so completely opposite of Tana's it gave me a new perspective as I was reading.

What I Didn't Like: There were parts of the story that were a little convoluted. A little muddled and led me in some confusing directions. Additionally, there were some parts that seemed to drag on a little too long. But other than that, I had no other complaints.

Overall Thoughts: Holly Black has added yet another good book to her shelf. There are some great characters in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - and it's a perfect read for Halloween. It starts off with a bang and the whole story unravels from there. Sometimes the story became a little muddled, but I thought the settings, the plot, and the characters all came together to make a very interesting story. Is it her best...not in my opinion, but it was still a lot of fun to read!

My Rating: 3 candy corns

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Halloween Edition

Happy October 16th! It's time for another Halloween Edition of Waiting on Wednesday! Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that highlights the books we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is...

Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Release Date: January 7th, 2014

Last year I reviewed Splintered and loved it. It's been a long wait, and yet there is still more waiting to come for the next in A.G.'s series, Unhinged. I can't wait for more Morpheus and to find out what is next!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of. That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs. As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind. If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

So...what are y'all waiting on this Ghoulish Wednesday? Have you entered to win a copy of Mary Gray's The Dollhouse Asylum? Make sure that you do!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Trick or Treat Tuesday with Mary Gray

Welcome to another Trick or Treat Tuesday! This week we're welcoming the fabulous Mary Gray, author of the upcoming The Dollhouse Asylum! I'm so excited that Mary took the time out of her crazy schedule to stop by and talk to us about her family's Halloween traditions. For those of you who may not be aware, Mary's book, The Dollhouse Asylum comes out on October 22nd, 2013 - so just next week! I've already pre-ordered my copy! On to the fun, please join me in welcoming Mary Gray!

Hi Mary!

Hi Courtney!

Okay, my tradition. My family loves to dress up in family themes. The first year we did it, I only had my son who was then a year old, and I found this awesome red little devil costume replete with a tail, and since he was definitely a little devil, I had to get it. My husband and I then went to the Halloween store, and when I saw Hercules and "An Athenian Goddess" costume, I had to get them. So that year, we were all wicked awesome gods... or Satans... however you figure. The next time we all dressed up together, I was pregnant with my second daughter. My son by this time was three years old and obsessed with pirates. (It also helped that my local Old Navy had the most adorable pirate costume ever.) My husband's always had a man-crush on Johnny Depp, so he naturally had to dress up as him (which was hilarious, since my husband has short bright blond hair, and Captain Jack Sparrow most definitely does not). I dressed up, too, but as I was trying to find a shirt that would fit over my 7 1/2 month belly, it hit me: I should draw on my belly "A Map." So my son was this cute little boy pirate, my husband was Jack Sparrow, I was a hot pirate chick, my and daughter was a map, making her an official Halloween dressee before she was even born. After my daughter was born, my son was then into Star Wars, so we had to dress up in that theme, obviously. My son was obsessed with The Emperor, right down to his sinister laugh and scathing expression. When we went to a Halloween party, the little man (who was four now) didn't break character once. My husband sewed his black cape, and we painted his face white. Then, since my daughter was just a baby, we simply had to dress her up as an Ewok. My husband was amazing whipping out that costume... especially when sewing with fur. She won "Cutest costume" at the party. My husband was Obi Wan Kanobi with the best brown cape ever, and I was Padme (I still wear the boots I bought for the costume--I love them so much!) Finally, last year my kids were playing a lot of Lego Harry Potter, so guess who we dressed up as? My son was Harry, my daughter was Luna Lovegood, my youngest son was Hedwig, my husband was Lucius Malfoy, and I was Tonks. This was my favorite costume so far since I found the perfect trench coat, combat boots, tights, and sprayed my hair pink. (Who wouldn't love to do that?) I also made a choker to look like Tonks' in the movie. This year, though, is going to be my favorite. We're preparing for my book release party, and I'm inviting attendees to dress up as tragic literary couples (just like in the book). The party's the Friday before Halloween, so I figure people are looking for ideas and venues for dressing up anyway. Plus, anyone on the internet's invited to take part by sending me a pic of their costume if they decide to take party. I'll be bringing all pictures to my launch party to share with the attendees, and I hope to find bloggers who will post about dressing up. So who is my family going to be? I'm going to be Cleopatra, my husband will be her forbidden interest, Mark Antony, replete with home-made leather armor. My boys will be Antony's fellow Roman guards, and my daughter will be a mini Cleopatra/Egyptian member in her kingdom. I am so excited! My daughter's costume is so stunning, and the leather working my husband is doing for the boys' costumes is crazy awesome. If you can't make the party, I will most definitely be posting pictures. 

Ah, this sounds so cute, Mary! I can't wait to see some pics! Now guess what? I'm giving away a copy of Mary's book, The Dollhouse Asylum! Enter the form below to enter, and don't forget to come back and tweet about it once a day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 14, 2013

Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter

Welcome to another edition of Costume Character Monday! These are so fun for me. Today I chose Gena Showalter's Through the Zombie Glass. I really enjoyed Alice in Zombieland, which I read last year, so I was glad to add it to the lineup for Halloween this year. And as I was reading, I knew that Ali would make a great Halloween costume!

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Inspired by the childhood classic Alice in Wonderland, this harrowing and romantic story features teen zombie slayer Alice Bell who has lost so much—family, friends, her home. After a strange new zombie attack, Alice fears she may be losing her mind as well. A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do wicked things. The whispers of the dead assault her ears and mirrors seem to come frighteningly to life. She’s never needed her team of zombie slayers more—including her boyfriend, Cole—than she does now. But as Cole strangely withdraws and the zombies gain new strength, Ali knows one false step may doom them all.

What I Liked: 1) The first thing that struck me was how different the characters all seemed. There were certain personality traits that stood out in Alice in Zombieland, and some of those over the top characteristics weren't there in this book. But it was not a bad thing at all. If anything, it made them seem more realistic. Like they've grown up through everything they've discovered and they've kind of...calmed down. I thought it was a great technique for showing growth in the characters, and unique at least in the books that I've read. 2) I love, love, loved the tie in with Alice in Wonderland. I didn't notice it as much in Alice in Zombieland, but this one follows it's namesake very well, especially with the ideas of mirrors and seeing your real self in your reflection. It is not a traditional fairy tale retelling, but Through the Looking Glass gets high marks for being able to meld a contemporary zombie story with Carroll's classic tale. 3) The new ideas. I'm using that to mean the story arc that dominates this story. A few new ideas have been introduced, including the idea that if zombie and human can exist inside on person, maybe there are some medical discoveries to be made. A little of this was alluded to in book one with the introduction of Anima. But a much bigger story comes to light in Through the Zombie Glass, and it makes the whole series richer. 4) Zombie Ali. Okay, so she's one of the baddies of this book. But even so, I kinda liked her. Her badness was fun. Kinda like the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla) from Once Upon A Time is awesome to hate. That's what Zombie Ali reminded me of.

What I Didn't Like: I didn't have any complaints about this one!

Overall Thoughts: I absolutely loved Through the Zombie Glass. I think I liked it more than Alice in Zombieland. The characters were more realistic, showing their growth in a really great way. The storylines became fuller with the addition of some new ideas. And all of the elements I loved about the first book stuck around. Through the Zombie Glass is a fabulous addition to any bookshelf, especially with that eerily cool cover!

My Rating: 5 candy corns

And as promised, a few Through the Zombie Glass-inspired Halloween costumes for your enjoyment!

First off, Ali's fight outfit. It's stated in the book that she wears all black, which makes sense because they mostly patrol at night. So she gets black jeans and a black sweater, plus black combat boots. I gave her a spiky headband to keep her hair out of her face, a hard-core looking triple finger ring, and black eyeshadow for the dark circles under her eyes. And her knife, which seems to be the weapon she uses most often. I bet you can leave that at home though.

Second, for the Halloween Party, Ali is to dress as Alice in Wonderland (of course). So I put together an Alice costume for her! Blue dress, white lace cuff, red/white rose, black bow, striped tights...well, you get the idea.
Do y'all have any ideas for lit-inspired Halloween costumes?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Winds of Salem by Melissa de la Cruz

Creature Feature Friday! Today I'm featuring Witches, specifically from Melissa de la Cruz's Witches of East End series. I've reviews the first two books, Witches of East End, and Serpent's Kiss here on FCB so feel free to check those out.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Freya Beauchamp is trapped in 1692, in Salem of all places, with no recollection of her past. A powerful enemy spell has sent her spiraling away so that she is separated by centuries from her mother, Joanna, and sister, Ingrid. This is not good news for a twenty-first-century witch. Not to mention the immediate threat she faces from the wealthy and influential Putnam family. When little Annie Putnam is one of the first to make accusations of witchcraft, her landowner father jumps at the opportunity to consolidate his power and expand his holdings in Puritan Salem Town. If Freya is caught using magic, she will be forced to relive the witch trials, and this time, even her immortality is in question. Meanwhile, twenty-first-century North Hampton has its own snares. Joanna and Norm consult the Oracle for advice, and Freddie and his pixie allies search for a missing totem that could reopen the passages of time and help bring his sister home. When Ingrid bumps into an old flame, she finds that her new love for Detective Matt Noble is in doubt.

What I Liked: 1) Troy. I loved the introduction of Troy Overbrook into the story. I guess you could call him an old flame of Ingrid's, though she doesn't really have much experience. For me, I saw Ingrid in a different light, giving her more dimension and making her a lot more interesting (in my opinion). Also Troy is Thor. Troy. Is. Thor. Uh....yeah. I love Thor. And I just kept picturing Chris Hemsworth. Some of the characters started getting a little stale at the end of Serpent's Kiss, so it was nice that there was something new breathing life into them again. 2) The 1600s. I absolutely loved how much time we got to spend in 1692 with Freya and Mercy. I don't know how historically accurate it was (not that it gave me any reason to doubt), but I thought as a setting it was written very well and gave the reader plenty to both visualize and imagine. It also added a different arc to the story, which...could have become confusing, but it just made me more interested in finding out what was going to happen. 3) As this series has progressed, the main characters have shifted and their stories have become more separate and distinct. In this book, Joanna is less a main character than a supporting character, but Freddie is much more prominent. This is a kind of evolution that I don't see often in series. Companion pieces, yes. But not in a series. It was another aspect that gave the story new life just as it was getting slow. 4) The ending. I enjoyed the way this ended. It gave enough away that it can be a solid ending if this is is the series ending. I was satisfied with the way each character's story concluded, but at the same time I can see where there is a little wiggle room if there is going to be another book.

What I Didn't Like: Well...I would have liked more of an emotional connection from the characters to each other, to help me feel more emotionally connected to them.

Overall Thoughts: Winds of Salem is definitely a great addition to the Beauchamp Family series. The more we learn about Ingrid and Freya's history the more interested I become. I'll be sad if this one is the last story, simply because I'm not ready for it to be over. But at the same time I can be satisfied with the way it wrapped up. I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire series, and am adding more Melissa de la Cruz's books to my to-read list.

On another note: Did y'all know that this was made into a tv show? I watched the first episode of Witches of East End on Lifetime last weekend and thought it was great! Although it bugs me when they change characters names for no good reason. Like, why are they calling Bran Dash? Irritation. It's one of those inconsequential things that I think they change just to bug people like me. Anyway, if you haven't checked it out, it comes on at...9pm (central) Sundays on Lifetime. I'm pretty sure it's 9pm. Ever since DVR I really have no idea what time anything comes on anymore.

My Rating: 4 candy corns

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

                                                        Good morning and welcome to another Scary Tales Thursday.
The End Games is not something I think I would have normally just picked up to read. I don't know, something about it just wasn't speaking to me. But I thought it would make a good fit for Halloween, especially since it all started on Halloween, so I added it to the schedule.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: It happened on Halloween. The world ended. And a dangerous Game brought it back to life. Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks. In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good. But The Game is changing. The Bellows are evolving. The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules. And the brothers will never be the same.
What I Liked: 1) First off I have to say that I love the cover art. The way the "Bellows" look to be hand-drawn pencil sketches, it's very cool. 2) Michael is very protective of Patrick, and does a lot of things to make the whole situation a little easier for him to handle. I thought that he was very sweet to do everything possible to keep his brother safe, calm, and try to keep his fears in check. Sometimes I'll read a YA character that I think isn't really...at the correct maturity level for the given age. Sometimes I think they act too young for their age, and sometimes I feel that they act a little older than you would expect to find. But Michael, at age 17, I think acts his age. He does a few things that I think...well, that probably wasn't the best decision. But then I think, ya know, that's probably the decision a 17 year old guy in his position would make. I love it when I can recognize things like that in books. I was definitely pleased with how that turned out. 3) I liked the concept of this being a game for Michael and Patrick. But then...when I learned some of the details, it became something that I didn't really like. It's a huge part of the story and I can't go into a lot of details without giving some stuff away that is pretty important. Suffice it to say that I was expecting this to be something completely different, and...it gave me something to think about. So points for that. 4) If you haven't figured this part out yet...then I'll apologize. But the Bellows are zombies. That's what they are. I think you get that when you read the summary though, so I don't think I'm giving anything away. These zombies (okay, they aren't Jonathan Maberry's zombies) are freaky. They actually kind of terrified me because they seemed to think. At least about how to stay out of sight and then do the most damage. But they weren't even the scariest part. To me, Jopek was the scariest part of this story. The way Jopek terrorized Michael psychologically was what made this book a candidate for Scary Tales Thursday. I don't want to give away the details, but this kind of psychological warfare was not only one of the scariest parts of the story, it was one of the most interesting.

What I Didn't Like: Does anyone know if this is a series? *looks it up* Okay, after scouring Mr. Martin's website and Goodreads, it looks like no, this is not a series. Since that's the case, I'll say that this was a very unsatisfying ending. I would not be saying that if this was a series. Part of it is because you are left with the impression that...arg. Okay, I'm not going to give it away, but it is just not a very satisfying ending. There are enough questions left unanswered that you may (I did, anyway) think there should be another book. Because the way it ends...it kind of happens twice in the book, where you think things might be safe. So too many open questions for me to feel that this makes a good ending for a one-shot. Also, there were some issues with editing, in my opinion. Some sentence structure and word usage that could have been cleaned up a little better.

Overall Thoughts: The End Games is a nice choice for a Halloween read. Of course I always think zombies fit in well with Halloween, and then there is this one person who is just...well, he's just scary. So the scare factor is up there. I was sad that I wasn't really sure what ended up happening with the characters in the end. I like endings to be mostly wrapped up with a bow when I finish a one-off book, or a series. I know some people really appreciated an open-ending, where it's basically up to the reader to imagine what happens. But for me personally, I prefer to know for sure what is happening. It was a pretty good book, especially for a debut, and I think that Mr. Martin will continue to learn and grow in his talent and we should expect more and even better things to come from him in the future.

My Rating: 3 candy corns

Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Gena Showalter's Through the Zombie Glass as a part of this week's Trick or Treat Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Halloween 2013 Edition

Boooooo! Did I scare ya? Okay, I'm sure I didn't. But it's Wednesday again, which means another Halloween edition of Waiting on Wednesday! Are y'all enjoying my Halloween event so far? I hope so, because I am having a lot of fun! Anyway, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is...

Snakeroot by Andrea Cremer
Release Date: December 10, 2013

Okay, okay so call me predictable but Andrea Cremer's books just always say Halloween to me! I loved the original series and while I know the wolves (probably) aren't involved anymore, I can't wait to see where she takes these characters next!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Bosque Mar haunts the dreams of both Adne and Logan, trying to escape for the Nether, where Calla, Shay and the other Guardians trapped him in the final battle in the War of All Against All. Will he turn Adne to the dark side? Will Logan reclaim his birthright? And will darkness take over our world?

Yep. Can't wait! I wasn't really the biggest fan of the two prequels that she gave us, but I just think this one is going to be great. So what are y'all waiting on this haunting Wednesday? And don't forget to stop by this week's Trick or Treat Tuesday post and enter to win a copy of Gena Showalter's Through the Zombie Glass!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Trick or Treat Tuesday with Amy Rolland

Trick or Treat! Tuesday has come around again and today we are joined by the lovely and awesome Amy Rolland (or you may know her as A. Lynden Rolland), author of the upcoming Of Breakable Things. I asked Amy here today to talk a little bit about Halloween and also because I wanted y'all to get to know her a little better before her new book comes out next year because I am SUPER excited about it and can't wait to read it! (And I think y'all should all be excited too!) So please join me in welcoming Amy Rolland!

Hi Amy!

I grew up on a steady autumn diet of horror. My childhood home was nestled against a stretch of woods comprised of ghoulish trees with knobby bark and twisty branches, curling curiously toward my window like wrinkled witches’ fingers. On the other side of the woods rested a (somewhat) abandoned Victorian, infamous for its use during the fall season. The haunted house drew crowds from all over the state, due to its hideous scenes, intricate mazes, daunting illusions, and unpredictable surprises. I never lived down the experience of being escorted from a side door, sobbing, because a maniacal clown stalked me though three rooms. (Disclaimer: I was a leash baby because I would run screaming through the mall whenever the clown with the balloons came too close. *shudders*)

I was in love with the smells of fall even back then: pumpkin spices and hot apple cider, chimney smoke and new leather boots. Every fall season, I slept with my window open to enjoy the annual savors filtered by the neighboring Chesapeake Bay. However, this deliciously salty air came at a price. My autumn lullaby consisted of roaring chainsaws and earsplitting screams from the haunted house through the woods. I spent many a night sandwiching a pillow over my ears, but I wouldn’t sacrifice that fresh air for anything.

In Of Breakable Things, very few characters are actually living. It was the perfect opportunity to include my favorite season with the haunted house of my childhood. In the following excerpt, Alex, the main character, talks to the Lasalle brothers about how the newburies (newly buried) are used to create the superficial haunting of an annual fright fest.

“So what is this meeting about?” Jonas grumbled. “Besides hard labor.” Thick brown paper and pumpkin innards blanketed the tables in Grandiuse Hall. The entire student body was put to work carving jack-o-lanterns to decorate the streets of the town. Eidolon always seemed to have a marvelous charge in the air, but the Halloween season made the excitement electrifying, and consequently the Hall stunk of burnt pumpkin seeds. 

"Yes, because carving pumpkins is such hard work,” Gabe joked. 

Jonas sniffed. “Involuntary work.” 

Alex was not going to complain. This was better than another Grandiuse lecture on study habits, losing books, loitering in the courtyard, or the new consequences of bullying Rueben and the Bond twins. 

Reuben sat alone at a nearby table of chokers, a nickname for the newburies who still had difficulty coming to terms with their recent deaths. Jonas called them the “suicides.” They were the only spirits indifferent enough to allow Reuben at their table. He sat clutching a butcher knife in his pudgy hands, and his tongue stuck out from the corner of his mouth as he eyed his jack-o-lantern critically. Someone had dumped a mound of pumpkin guts on top of his backpack, which sat on the floor behind him. He hadn’t noticed it yet. 

“Do you think there will be a lecture today?” 

“I’m sure they’ll talk about appropriate behavior at the haunted house,” Kaleb replied. “You know, that we shouldn’t really be acting like ghosts.” 

“What do you mean?” Alex asked, analyzing the best angle to chip away at her pumpkin’s dangly tooth. In a way, it kind of resembled Jack Bond. “Isn’t the point of a haunted house to scare people?” 

“In theory,” Kaleb said. “But the real purpose of the Mansion of Morgues is kind of reverse psychology. If the haunting is considered a joke in this town, our presence is safe.” 

“A joke?” 

“I guess the more suitable word is scapegoat. Some towns are infamous for supernatural activity, usually because there’s some stupid Lingerer hanging out and scaring people. This has never been one of those towns. And ironically, the largest population of spirits in the United States is only a few miles away. The area is only known for superficial Halloween haunting. Pretty good diversion, if you ask me.” 

“Ghosts pretending to be people pretending to be ghosts,” Gabe murmured. 

Although the haunted house doesn’t earn a leading role in the story, it makes a strong cameo. I had fun indulging in a piece of my past but also embellishing the magical borders of the mind. Although its genre isn’t horror, Of Breakable Things contains a few scenes (particularly towards the end) that may affect readers’ pulses a bit.

Happy Halloween!

I love it when authors draw on something in their life or their past and bring it into their books, and it'll be interesting to see what kind of role Amy's haunted house plays in Of Breakable Things. I am so excited to read Of Breakable Things and to have had Amy here to talk a little about her book and of course, Halloween! And as an added bonus, here is the book trailer for Of Breakable Things!

And even more treats for you! I've got a giveaway here of Gena Showalter's Through the Zombie Glass! Make sure you enter to win, and you can tweet once a day for extra entries! Sounds like a super treat to me!
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Costumed Character Monday: Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Hi! Happy Monday, and welcome to the new Monday feature that I am so flippin' excited about! So on Costumed Character Monday, I'm bringing a review of something I've read that I thought might make an interesting Halloween costume! So in addition to the review, I've put together a costume idea based on a character in the book (thanks to Polyvore). It's been a lot of fun for me, so I hope you think it's fun! Anyway, a few weeks ago I received an ARC of Krelsey Cole's Endless Knight, the second book in her Arcana Chronicles series (big thanks to Kresley and her assistant Brooke for sending me a copy of this book), and I was so excited because I had thoroughly enjoyed Poison Princess (check out that review here).
Here's the summary from Goodreads: In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed. Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.

What I Liked: 1) Okay, first of all. Jackson Deveaux. Yes please. The bad boy is back, and learning about Evie's powers hasn't softened his mood. He's still so moody and all rough edges...but every once in a while he gets a little softer. Something about him just draws you in. I think it's the fact that he's written with a cajun accent. And brilliantly, I might add. I can actually hear it when I'm reading. *swoon* 2) I like Evie a lot better in this one. I didn't specifically have any complaints about her in Poison Princess, but she's gained a lot of confidence and she's stronger. I appreciated that growth in her character that has continued through Endless Knight. And you also get to see a different side of her as she realizes that she is stronger and becomes more protective, versus feeling like the one who needs to be protected. 3) Meeting Death. So, you know this is coming (it says it right there in the summary), but despite the fact that I knew to expect it...I think he surprised me. (Okay, actually...he reminded me of Edward Cullen - please don't throw things at me.) His personality is quiet and sophisticated, but not really...evil. So while he is supposed to be sort of the villain, he's also a victim of the Game as well. It adds a new aspect of the story and made me think about it differently. 4) Lark. Love her, hate her, she was a great addition to the story as well, for reasons that I won't share in order to avoid spoilers. I talk a lot about authors who create wonderfully rich characters, and Kresley Cole is one of them. She has designed her characters to draw you in to their world, no matter what form they are in. 5) Finally, I have to talk about this After Flash world. It is so easy to visualize the world that Matthew, Evie and Jack are traveling through because of how detailed the descriptions are, yet at the same time you don't feel as if too much of the focus is on the details and therefore detracting from the story line. 

What I Didn't Like: Nothing! Loved it all!

Overall Thoughts: Once again, Kresley Cole has hit this one out of the park. She's brought together the elements that I loved about book one of the Arcana Chronicles, thrown in some new characters and brought some new ideas to an already interesting plot. Miz Cole's detail-rich writing spins a world that comes to life right off the pages. It was a fantastic addition to the series, and I already CAN.NOT. wait for the next book in the series.

My Rating: 5 candy corns
Now for the costumes like I promised! I actually chose two characters to create costumes for Halloween, Lark (Fauna) and Evie (the Red Witch iteration of the Empress).

I gave Evie a red, gothic style dress, tall black boots and some red accessories. She can't be without the arm cuff given to her by Death, and her claw-like nails.

Fauna, being closely aligned with animals gets earth toned clothing including some camo that she is described as wearing in the book (although in the book it's a jacket and I just didn't find a cute on I liked for this costume) some hiking-ish boots, and cream colored beanie and some animal themed jewelry.

Have y'all ever done a lit-themed costume for Halloween? Share your thoughts in the comments! And today is the last day to enter to win a copy of Victoria Scott's The Liberator, so make sure you get entered to win!