Throne of Glass Read Along

Discuss Chapters 1-28 for 2015 TBR Pile Challenge

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (Review)

"unlike any book I've read before"

The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts (Review)

"as things normally go, it is in the darkest moments where we see some sort of light."

Accordance by Shelly Crane (Review)

"Accordance was a great second installment to one of my all-time favorite series!"

From Ashes by Molly McAdams (Review)

"The romance was amazing, I became so invested in the characters, and the story held me in its grasp from beginning to end."

The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter (Review)

"white-hot romance, amazing characters"

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday (Review)

"The world was spectacularly built ..."

Blood-Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera (Review)

"a bit too confusing and foreign for me to fully enjoy"

Monday, January 26, 2015

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday (Review)

Horror, Historical Fiction, YA
Publication Date:September 9, 2014
Published By:  Egmont USA
WebsiteOf Monsters and Madness on Goodreads

Jessica Verday Website
My review copy: Provided by publisher for honest review

Where to get:

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father's home in 1820's Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father's assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they're letting on.

  Her voice is low, and I am conflicted.  I should not be listening to their private conversation.  Yet my curiosity is overwhelming.  What has Father done?

  My thoughts turn to dark things.  Who would be down there?  Was it father again?  Does this have anything to do with Mrs. Tusk?
  A giant, crudely made table stands in the middle of the room, surrounded by rough, hand-hewn wooden benches.  Fresh bloodstains mar the table's surface, and an assortment of surgical instruments sit on a nearby tray.
As I part my lips to breathe, I find I want to draw him in even closer.  And, as if by some unspoken magic, he leans in.
  And then he kisses me.

    This is my first read by Jessica Verday.  Admittedly I have her other Trilogy (The Hollow) sitting on my shelves and heard amazing things, I have just never gotten around to picking them up.  However, the allure of, Of Monsters and Madness was just too much to pass up.  This book was dark, haunting and somewhat romantic.  It was the type of dark that slips under you like a shadow and then swallows you whole before you even realize that it has happened.  I'm not sure if her other books are like this but if they are, I may have found another auto buy author for myself.

  The world was spectacularly built and I found myself slipping seamlessly into 1826 Philadelphia.  Into a world that is still growing and there are certain expectations from the society of those that come from a higher station.  Though this book largely takes place in her family's home, it is pointed out that Annabel has not had the proper upbringing, due largely to her spending most of her life in Siam with her mother.  This is brought up periodically throughout the book in neat ways as well.  This being said the consistency and all around pacing of the book is wonderful.  Verday doesn't allow the story to become boring but she also does not rush through things and miss details that truly make this story.

Annabel Lee herself is a spectacular character.  Given there were time that I wanted to give her a bit of a smack because she was doubting herself in her new world.  However, I also accepted it to an extent because she was far removed from everything that she knew and placed into a world where you are expected to be everything she never had to be.  But the thing about Annabel was that there were certain things that she just refused to compromise, like her desire to practice medicine.  Though her father forbade it and she wanted nothing more than to be accepted by him, she would not compromise that part of herself.  She was also devoted and kind, especially to her maid Maddy.  Basically she is the type of girl that would go out of her way to help people.  She also was fascinated with the macabre things that went on, and was not horrified at the things most others would have been.  Annabel was a truly unique character.

  Allan is a sweet boy that always seems to be there in Annabel's times of need.  He very much comes off as a rescuer and seems genuine in his concern with Annabel's safety.  Though his coming and goings are odd, he appears to have a good heart and seems well liked by those that know him.  The connection between him and Annabel is undeniable, but it is an attraction that leaves questions.  These two exist in a time when it is improper to be alone but their stolen moments are almost perfect.  The only question that is really left between them is his distaste for his cousin Edgar.  All run ins with Edgar seem to be innocent enough but everyone including Allen seems to believe he is bad news, even though Annabel is not convinced of the same thing.

  I can't express how much I look forward to the next book in this series.  Verday did end it with a bit of a cliffhanger and with a huge choice being given to Allen himself.  This book had me hooked from its gruesome start right to its finishing pages.  The way in which Edgar Allen Poe is incorporated is magnificent to say the least and I love how the author used a period of time in which this story itself could have taken place.  It is a work of fiction but for anyone that loves the dark and gothic feel of Poe this book will be a quick and enjoyable read.  For fans of Verday, be prepared to fall in love with her new series!   

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No Place for Kids by Alison Lohan {Book Review & Giveaway}

No Place For Kids by Alison Lohan
Goodreads | Amazon

Paperback 135 pages
Published 2014 by Heritage House
Sisters Jennifer and Sarah were once part of a happy, stable family, but their idyllic life comes to an abrupt halt with the death of their mother. Unable to cope with his grief and the needs of his two young daughters, their father finds comfort in alcohol, gets fired from his job, and loses his grip on his family.
As twelve-year-old Jennifer approaches maturity, she starts to develop a tough exterior, especially when she attracts unwelcome attention from one of her father’s friends. With nothing left to lose, the two sisters decide run away to their mother’s sister in Vancouver, setting out with very little money and no clear plan. Along the way, they must overcome fear, loneliness, illness, and the conflict inherent in their sibling relationship. This emotional story deals with mature themes, but is ultimately about the enduring bonds of family. Suitable for readers aged nine to eleven.

I am not much of a fan of middle grade books as I'm much older than that. However, this book grabbed my attention from the first few pages. I felt drawn into the story of Jennifer and Sarah. They are children but are forced to grow up way too fast. They are children but are forced to fend for themselves. They are children but are forced to run in order to feed themselves.

This story is heartbreaking at times but something we should all take the time to read. It is a lesson of how people, especially children survive in this world when it seems that no one is there for them. It is intense at times but the story also shows hope, survival and the growth of these two little girls. They only have each other but sometimes that's enough.

Jennifer is twelve years old and has hardened on the outside since her mother passed away and her father is so out of it most days that he doesn't even take his kids to school. Jennifer feels angry and responsible for her younger sister Sarah because as the oldest, she must take on the responsibility of feeding both of them. Her father certainly won't do it and the friends that their father lives with are just creepy. Jennifer has a big weight on her shoulder but somehow she keeps pushing on.
Sarah is the little sister and feels like all Jennifer wants is the push her around. She is scared and confused but still, she listens to whatever her sister wants because she feels like Jen wouldn't lead her wrong.

From the aches in their bellies, to the sleepless nights, this book is inspiring, eye opening and such an important read.

About the author:

Bio: Award-winning Canadian Alison Lohans has published 26 books with presses in Canada and New Zealand. Many of her books have been finalists for awards such as the CLA Young Adult Book Award, three different categories of the Saskatchewan Book Awards, the High Plains Book Awards, and the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award. This Land We Call Home (Pearson Education New Zealand) won the 2008 Saskatchewan Book Award for YA Literature. Her latest novels for readers of various ages include the newly re-released No Place for Kids(Heritage House, Wandering Fox Imprint, 2014); Leaving Mr. Humphries (Your Nickel's Worth, 2013); Crossings (Bundoran Press, 2012); Picturing Alyssa (Dundurn, 2011); and Dog Alert(Pearson New Zealand, 2011).Alison was first published at age 12. Realizing from an early age that it must be difficult to make a living as a writer, she decided to follow her second passion--music--as well, and taught instrumental music for a few years before "retiring" to start a family and concentrate more on her writing.
Alison's first book was published in 1983, and since that time she has given more than a thousand author talks in schools and libraries across Canada. She has taught writing and has mentored many other writers; in 2002-2003 she served as Writer-in-Residence for Regina Public Library. She was thrilled to serve in this role, and to be able to give back to the community, after she benefitted enormously when Canadian writer Janet Lunn served as Writer-in-Residence 20 years earlier. Many of Alison's former students have gone on to publish their own books, and have sometimes won awards. Alison was awarded the 2012 YWCA Jacqui Schumiatcher Woman of Distinction for her contributions to the arts, and her name has been placed on a City of Regina list for potential names for new streets.
Alison Lohan lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.
One lucky winner will get a paperback copy of No Place for Kids by Alison Lohan 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter (Review)

White Rabbit Chronicles #3
Young Adult, Zombies, Paranormal
Publication.Date:September 30, 2014
Pages:464 (hardcover)
Published By:  Harlequin Teen
Website:Gena Showalter

The Queen of Zombie Hearts on Goodreads
My review copy:
Borrowed from my local library

Where to get:

I have a plan.

We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us.

Either way, only one of us is walking away.

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice "Ali" Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.


I considered zombies the worst enemy ever to walk the earth.

I was wrong.

Humans can be more dangerous than monsters.
Me, the girl who valued truth above almost anything, lived in a tangled web of lies.
My knees knocked together. I fit my hands at her temples, my chest throbbing. Today's life lesson? One bad decision could mean a lifetime of consequences. "It didn't have to be this way," I said and closed my eyes.

I hate when my favorite book series end. Like, really really hate it. But when a series ends in such an amazing way, it makes the pain a little more bearable. The Queen of the Zombie Hearts is one of the those endings that gives me such closure and such an amazing feeling of hope.

Gena throws us into a full on war within the first few chapters. Anima attacks, slayers are missing and some are dead. Things for Ali and Cole, along with the remaining slayers, are getting more dangerous every day. They don't know Anima's plans and they're trying to recover from previous attacks while simultaneously preparing for future ones.

Ali is one of my favorite YA heroines and Cole a favorite YA boyfriend. Not only are these two individuals amazing on their own, but they're relationship is so stinking cute and strong - and it should be given all they went through in Through the Zombieglass.

There are so many plot aspects that I wish I could talk about, but I want you to be as surprised by them as I was. However, I will tell you that if you are a fan of this series, you want to read this book sooner than later. If you haven't started The White Rabbit Chronicles yet, you best get on that.

Gena is an amazing author and the way she ties all the lose ends, even ones she has introduced in this novel is nothing short of masterful. Her writing keeps you engaged in the story and flying through pages. Normally I can get distracted by outside forces (TV, Joe yelling at football, etc.), but while reading The Queen of Zombie Hearts it all just fell away.

The White Rabbit Chronicles has without a doubt earned a coveted spot on my "series I will fore sure re-read" list. With a white-hot romance, amazing characters (both main and supporting), gripping plots, and jaw dropping twists, these are books that need to visited again and again.

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