Currently Reading

Tegan Mae's bookshelf: currently-reading

Witch Finder
0 of 5 stars
tagged: currently-reading, a-little-witchy, advanced-copy, first-reads, net...
0 of 5 stars
tagged: currently-reading, historical, queens-and-kings, ya, the-tudors, an...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Title: Gilt
Author: Katherine Longshore
Type: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tea: Lady Earl Grey, a classic with a twist.
Rating: 4 out of 5.


I previously found Gilt at Barnes & Noble over the summer, but didn't buy it then, though it intrigued me. When I found it at my library I just knew I had to read it. And I'm really glad I did.

First off the title itself is a great name for the novel. It suits it as the royal court in the Tudor era was very opulent and wealthy. It also fits as guilt is a prominent theme throughout the novel.

I didn't know much about Catherine "Cat" Howard until I read this novel. This isn't your typical historical fiction novel. It's like a cross between Gossip Girl and an episode of The Tudors, which is frankly what I imagine the court was like. The language, though not particular to that era, made the book go along quickly and makes it easier for a Young Adult reader to relate too.

Cat is your typical mean girl, a la Regina George in Mean Girls, and Kitty is the passive aggressive best friend that just can't seem to get out of her clutches. I know that there were liberties taken with historical fact and timing, etc, but I loved this book. It was juicy and it had me wanting to keep turning the pages. The only reason it's getting 4 stars instead of 5 is because the beginning started a little slow for me.

This novel made me want to learn more about Catherine Howard and her reign as queen. I also enjoyed that Ms. Longshore took a relatively unknown figure in this period, Katherine "Kitty" Tylney, and gave her a voice and a story.

Having been to London and several of the places mentioned (The Tower of London, the Hamptons, etc.) it really brought the novel to life. I can't wait to start her next novel, Tarnish, about Anne Boleyn.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2014 Alphabet Challenge

Hey fellow book lovers! I've decided to institute some book challenges for myself and will be keeping track of them monthly right here on T and a Book! If you would like to participate in the challenge yourself, here's the rules for the list:

The alphabet challenge is simple, simply pick a novel or an author's name that begins with the letter it corresponds with in the alphabet ("The" and "A" don't count)! Also, no re-reads on the list. This will be a list of books new to you! I'll post my list below as an example. Please let me know if you're going to participate and post your list in the comments section! This challenge will also be posted on my corresponding Goodreads group, Pages and Leaves.

Tegan Mae's 2014 Alphabet Challenge List

A. All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
B. The Diviners by Libba Bray
E. Evermore by Alyson Noel
F. Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
G. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
H. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
I. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
J. Touched by Corrine Jackson
K. The Shining by Stephen King
L. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
M. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
N. Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
O. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
P. Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
Q. The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
R. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
S. Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley
T. Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
U. The Unearthly by Laura Thalassa
V. The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
W. A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
X. Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
Y. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Z. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter 2013-2014 Reading List

Hey everyone! I thought I'd put up a list of the books I'm planning on reading this winter and a little synopsis of them. If you're interested in reading them with me, let me know! Here are the books in no particular order (and all synopsizes are from Goodreads).


 The daughters of a ruthlessly ambitious family, Mary and Anne Boleyn are sent to the court of Henry VIII to attract the attention of the king, who first takes Mary as his mistress, in which role she bears him an illegitimate son, and then Anne as his wife.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory weaves witchcraft, passion, and adventure into the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the War of the Roses. 

Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta has always had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she meets his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and recognizes her own power in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the “wheel of fortune” before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.

Married to the Duke of Bedford, English Regent of France, Jacquetta is introduced by him to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the Duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the Duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

Drawing on years of research, Philippa Gregory tells the story of the Woodvilles who achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty of the House of York.

Jacquetta fights for her King, her Queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth Woodville, a young woman married to a neighbor for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.

A sweeping, powerful story based on history and rich in passion and legend, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother to the White Queen. Philippa Gregory is writing at the height of her talent.


Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.


Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.


A captivating novel of rich spectacle and royal scandal, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow spans fifteen years in the fateful reign of Marie Antoinette, France’s most legendary and notorious queen.

Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.

From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever.


Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library,she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...


I am now a condemned traitor . . . I am to die when I have hardly begun to live.

Historical expertise marries page-turning fiction in Alison Weir’s enthralling debut novel, breathing new life into one of the most significant and tumultuous periods of the English monarchy. It is the story of Lady Jane Grey–“the Nine Days’ Queen” –a fifteen-year-old girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of the religious and civil unrest that nearly toppled the fabled House of Tudor during the sixteenth century.

The child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she is merely a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, Jane Grey was born during the harrowingly turbulent period between Anne Boleyn’s beheading and the demise of Jane’s infamous great-uncle, King Henry VIII. With the premature passing of Jane’ s adolescent cousin, and Henry’s successor, King Edward VI, comes a struggle for supremacy fueled by political machinations and lethal religious fervor.

Unabashedly honest and exceptionally intelligent, Jane possesses a sound strength of character beyond her years that equips her to weather the vicious storm. And though she has no ambitions to rule, preferring to immerse herself in books and religious studies, she is forced to accept the crown, and by so doing sets off a firestorm of intrigue, betrayal, and tragedy.

Alison Weir uses her unmatched skills as a historian to enliven the many dynamic characters of this majestic drama. Along with Lady Jane Grey, Weir vividly renders her devious parents; her much-loved nanny; the benevolent Queen Katherine Parr; Jane’s ambitious cousins; the Catholic “Bloody” Mary, who will stop at nothing to seize the throne; and the protestant and future queen Elizabeth. Readers venture inside royal drawing rooms and bedchambers to witness the power-grabbing that swirls around Lady Jane Grey from the day of her birth to her unbearably poignant death. Innocent Traitor paints a complete and compelling portrait of this captivating young woman, a faithful servant of God whose short reign and brief life would make her a legend.


Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.


Elizabeth Tudor's teenage years are hardly those of a fairy-tale princess. Her father has beheaded her mother; her jealous half sister has her locked away in the Tower of London; and her only love has betrayed her in his own quest for the throne.
Told in the voice of the young Elizabeth and ending when she is crowned queen, this is the second novel in the exciting Young Royals series.


Young Catherine de' Medici is the sole heiress to the entire fortune of the wealthy Medici family. But her life is far from luxurious. After a childhood spent locked away behind the walls of a convent, she joins the household of the pope, where at last she can be united with her true love. But, all too soon, that love is replaced with an engagement to a boy who is cold and aloof. It soon becomes clear that Catherine will need all the cunning she can muster to command the respect she deserves as one of France's most powerful queens.


Mary Stuart was just five years old when she was sent to France to be raised alongside her future husband. But when the frail young king dies, eighteen-year-old Mary is stripped of her title as Queen of France and set adrift in the harsh world, alone. Determined to reign over what is rightfully hers, Mary returns to Scotland. Hopingthat a husband will help her secure the coveted English throne, she marries again, but the love and security she longs for elude her. Instead, the fiery young queen finds herself embroiled in a murder scandal that could cost her the crown. And her attempts to bargain with her formidable “sister queen,” Elizabeth I of England, could cost her her very life.


Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.



This simple question launches acclaimed author Nathaniel Philbrick on an extraordinary journey to understand the truth behind our most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. As Philbrick reveals in this electrifying new book, the story of the Pilgrims does not end with the First Thanksgiving; instead, it is a fifty-five-year epic that is at once tragic and heroic, and still carries meaning for us today.


London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches.

Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette (Young Royals #6) by Carolyn Meyer

Title: The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette
Author: Carolyn Meyer
Type: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tea: Scarlet Cloud, an elegant and sophisticated tea.
Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second I saw this book on the shelf at the library I knew I had to read it. I've always had a connection with Marie-Antoinette and her story. I read plenty of historical fiction and non-fiction, but nothing quite gets to me like Marie-Antoinette. I couldn't wait to read The Bad Queen and I'm so glad I did.

Ms. Meyer painted the portrait of Marie-Antoinette beautifully. As I've already learned a lot about her and read many books about her nothing surprised me as far as facts go while reading this. But Ms. Meyer's way of telling the story is great, especially for younger readers that are just learning about Antoinette. Just like with Mary, Bloody Mary it is straightforward and the reader isn't confused as to who the characters are or what's going on. I also enjoyed seeing the writing mature as Antoinette did, as well as clearly being able to tell when Marie-Therese was writing. Ms. Meyer stands out as being able to have a unique voice for each character.

Antoinette is a horribly misunderstood queen. Yes, she was extravagant, but no one taught her any different. She came from simpler ways in Austria, but had the glamor of the French court forced upon her. She watched Louis the XV lavish his mistress, Du Barry, with jewels and a pleasure house. She became queen at a young age and wasn't taught what was expected of her and how she should rule. Why shouldn't she have lavish things if that was what was expected of her and if that was the norm?

France had it out for her from the beginning, calling her the Austrian bitch. The common people may have loved her, but when they started having their own problems used her as a scapegoat. It was just an unfortunate circumstance: a young queen and king that have no idea what they're doing combined with a revolution. Louis was often the reason for the issues Antoinette had, albeit not on purpose. He wouldn't consummate their marriage, therefore not giving her children and creating new rulers for France. He ignored the advice he was given on how to help France and how to protect his family. He was made a king without even knowing how to rule. It would be like a 16 year old being made President, everything would fall apart.

Thank you Ms. Meyer for showing the truth about Marie-Antoinette and I only hope that people won't see her as a bad queen, but just a lonely girl that did she felt she had to do. And she also did what any other girl would to make themselves happy. She felt alone in a country that hated her and plotted against her, I can't imagine how that felt.

Please read this book, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Descent (The Taker Trilogy #3) by Alma Katsu

Title: The Descent
Author: Alma Katsu
Type: Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy/Erotica/Romance/Paranormal Romance/Urban Fiction
Tea: Earl Grey Creme mixed with Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls, a delightful addition to something already great.
Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was lucky enough to receive and advanced copy of this novel from Net Galley. When I found it on the site I knew I had to read it. I just loved the first novel and I wanted to be one of the first to read this one. The Descent did not disappoint.

This novel picks up four years after the end of the second novel. I was curious to see where Ms. Katsu was going to take the story, as it had already changed quite drastically from the first novel. I wasn't the biggest fan of the second one, I enjoyed it, but it didn't do it for me like the first. Thankfully, the third one did.

This novel was very different than the first and the second, but had a magic all its own. The same characters were there and the story line still made sense and still went along with the other novels, but it was going in a new direction, which is much like life. I enjoyed that her characters weren't perpetually doing the same things throughout the trilogy, as that is what many series are today.

I enjoyed the magical side of this novel, as well as learning A LOT more about Adair's past. I enjoyed seeing Ms. Katsu's take on many different ideas, such as the underworld. I enjoyed seeing both Lanny and Adair grow and change. This novel also had me guessing and I never quite knew what was going to happen next.

If you've read the first two novels, definitely pick this one up, you won't be disappointed. If you haven't read the series yet, get on it! You'll love it.

I can't wait to see what Ms. Katsu writes next. I can only imagine it will be great.

Mary, Bloody Mary (Young Royals #1) by Carolyn Meyer

Title: Mary, Bloody Mary
Author: Carolyn Meyer
Type: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tea: Himalayan Splendor: a simple, traditional black tea, but has quite a backstory.
Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. I've always been interested in the Tudors. From learning about them in school, to watching the show with Johnathan Rhys Meyers, to visiting London and so on and so forth. I knew the story of Mary Tudor, but was curious to see this Young Adult take on her life. I was not disappointed by Mary, Bloody Mary.

Ms. Meyer, it turns out, wrote another one of my favorite series, The Royal Diaries series (like the Dear America books, but with royals). Once I found that out I just knew I had to start the Young Royals series. And the first novel had me hooked. I read it in one sitting.

Everyone knows the story of Henry VIII and his six wives. You hear mostly about Anne Boleyn and what happened to Queen Catherine in the aftermath, but what about his daughter, Mary?

This book is great, as it is straightforward and doesn't confuse the reader. You get all the facts without being bogged down and trying to figure out who is who and what is going on. Ms. Meyer successfully made me feel like I was Mary. There were points where my teeth would be on edge and I would be genuinely upset, like I was there.

Seeing how this poor girl was treated and seeing the madness of her father explains how she acted later in life when she was Queen. Yes, she said she would never do what her father did, but after being treated the way she was, is it such a surprise that she broke? It would be enough to drive anyone insane.

I'm also interested to read Ms. Meyer's books involving characters from this novel, such as Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth (Mary's half sister) and Queen Catherine. I'm curious to see how she writes them from their points of view and how they viewed Mary.

I would recommend this book to anyone, but it is especially great for young adults, as it will catch their attention and have them wanting to learn more. I also appreciated the historical note at the end, informing the reader of what the rest of the main characters' lives were like.

I think after this book I'll be on a Tudors/royals kick for awhile. Be prepared! :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Reckoning (The Taker Trilogy #2) by Alma Katsu

Title: The Reckoning
Author: Alma Katsu
Type: Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy/Erotica/Romance/Paranormal Romance/Urban Fiction
Tea: Earl Grey: great, but doesn't have the same kick as the others in its family.
Rating: 4 out of 5.

*Warning! Here be spoilers!*

I was very excited to read The Reckoning after finishing The Taker, as I fell in love with the story and the characters. Sadly The Reckoning fell a little flat for me after The Taker. I think it suffers from the unfortunate middle book syndrome, getting the reader from the first book to the last.

I was so excited to find out what would happen with Lanny and Luke now that Adair escaped his prison. I expected his anger to go to new levels and have some very intense interactions. Yes, this happened, but not nearly on the same scale.

It was made clear in the first novel that Adair has feelings for Lanny and they are beyond any sort of feelings he has had before. And I know he has a hard time dealing with these feelings in The Reckoning, but it almost seems like his transition to loving her was too simple. Yes, he does some horrible things to her when he eventually finds her, but he quickly does the right thing and lets her go. I know he's supposed to have changed, but really? After being trapped behind a wall for 200 years by someone you love, would it really be that simple?

I enjoyed the flashbacks and learning more about Lanny and Adair's lives, as well as Savva, another of Adair's companions. But there was not nearly enough flashbacks for my liking. That was what made me love the first novel so much. Though it was interesting watching Adair adjust to modern living after being trapped for 200 years.

Luke and Lanny's relationship needed a major reformation, so I'm glad in the end they got that.

I was fascinated by Adair bringing Johnathan back from the dead. I would've liked to have learned more about what was so different about him now that he's back. It would've been great to see him and Lanny interact. I also wanted to learn more about the queen of the underworld (which thankfully is a large part of the third novel, The Descent).

To me it felt like The Reckoning was mainly a segue from The Taker into The Descent. I did enjoy it and looked forward to reading it, but for me it didn't have the depth and scope that The Taker did.

The Taker (The Taker Trilogy #1) by Alma Katsu

Title: The Taker
Author: Alma Katsu
Type: Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy/Erotica/Romance/Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Tea: Earl Grey Creme, a sophisticated and unique take on a familiar premise.
Rating: 5 out of 5.

*Warning! Here be spoilers!*

I stumbled upon The Taker while on Goodreads about a year ago. I was instantly fascinated by the premise. I've read many paranormal romance/fantasy novels and this one was entirely unique. I just knew I had to read this book and I was not disappointed.

Lanore McIlvrae, better known as Lanny, is on the run from authorities as she is accused of a murder. Which she actually did commit. And thus starts this fascinating adventure.

At first I thought it would be all contemporary and the story would mainly revolved around Lanny and Luke (the ER doctor she gets to help her in her plight), but I was, happily, mistaken. I loved the flashbacks we get in this novel to learn of not only Lanny's life, but Johnathan and Adair's as well.

There are so many fascinating characters in this novel and the back stories so well written that you aren't left feeling confused at all. This novel is a dark take on romance and shows how destructive love can be.

Lanny is in love with the beautiful Johnathan, but he can't love her back like she wants him to. Due to her obsession with having him she winds up pregnant and sent to a convent to have the baby. But instead of going where her parents sent her to, she winds up in Boston. And in the clutches of Adair, a handsome and mysterious stranger.

Lanny is fascinated by the glamorous life that Adair and his friends live, but she soon learns the truth and faces the consequences. Adair curses her with immortality. He chooses his companions based off of their past misdeeds. 

As time goes on we learn more about Adair and his past, which is very violent and horrible. Adair is jealous of Lanny's love for Johnathan and wants her to bring Johnathan to him. Lanny sees this as an opportunity to make Johnathan her's forever, thus turning him immortal as well.

Safe to say the shit hits the fan after all of this. Adair's companions are jealous of Lanny and Johnathan. Lanny is in fear for Johnathan's safety, as well as her own, with Adair. She also finds out Adair's deepest secret. His tale of being tortured by a physic and turned immortal turns out to be a lie. Adair is in fact the physic that tortured the boy and switched their bodies. In their fear Johnathan and Lanny decide to finally free themselves of this beast.

They trick him and wall him up in the basement of his house. But this is hardly the end of their hardship. Their relationship isn't what Lanny expected and they are separated for years. Their relationship ends in Lanny killing Johnathan, as the only way for him to die is for whoever gave him immortality to kill him themselves.

Lanny tells Luke her story and he assists her in escaping. While doing this they fall in love, but it is clear their relationship will never be normal either.

Throughout this novel Lanny looks like a 20 year old girl, as that's how old she was when she was granted immortality. But her character has matured so much throughout the years it's hard to envision her as a 20 year old.

Ms. Katsu takes an exciting new look at the paranormal romance genre. Seeing these people evolve through time and seeing how their relationships effected them was fascinating. I absolutely couldn't wait to read the next one. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Passage by Justin Cronin

This is a post of a previously reviewed books on Goodreads. Originally read July 2010, posted June 13, 2011.
Title: The Passage
Author: Justin Cronin
Type: Adult Fiction
Genre: Horror/SciFi/Mystery
Tea: Silver Yin Zhen Pearls, a fresh and superior take on something seen quite frequently.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I saw this book at Barnes & Noble when it came out last summer, but was going to wait until it came out in paperback to read it. I then took a quiz on (I know, I know...) about what book I should read for the summer and it was this one! I figured why not look on my Nook (which I had just bought) and it was only $9.99 instead of the $20-something it was at the store. And that's how this adventure began.

I'd never read anything by Justin Cronin before, but instantly fell in love. The correspondence had me wondering what the hell was going on right from the start. Learning about Amy's family and where she came from made me NEED to know what was going to happen to her. All these characters are easy to fall in love with and care about. Even the villains intrigue you and you want to know more about them.

There is so much in this book. It's over a large expanse of time, but Cronin pulls it off. I couldn't put the book down and when it ended I thought it was too short! His vision of vampirism is refreshing in this current onslaught of vampires the world is experiencing (and that's coming from an avid vampire fan, from way back). This is not a novel that you pick up and feel like you've read it before, just with different characters. Cronin creates a fascinating world that I didn't want to leave. I can't wait for The Twelve to come out! If only it came out this summer instead of 2012.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Ruining by Anna Collomore

"Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.
All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play?
"The Ruining" is a complex ride through first love, chilling manipulation, and the terrifying depths of insanity." Razorbill Publishing

Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Type: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Tea: Chai Yen Thai Tea: not quite sure what to expect, but had me guessing the whole time.
Rating: 4 out of 5.

*Warning! Here be spoilers!*

I found The Ruining at the library while sitting on the floor and trying to figure out what kind of book I was looking for. Turns out this was perfect! I love a good story that messes with my head. Anything dark and twisty is just up my alley and The Ruining did not disappoint.

Annie Phillips is starting a new life away from her hometown of Detroit, where life is less than spectacular (and the city was rated 2013's number one most miserable city in the United States, so there's that too). She's going to beautiful San Francisco for school and is going to work as a nanny for a beautiful family, the Cohens. Sound too good to be true? It is.

There are clues from the beginning, but reading it you don't realize these things until later. Or at least don't fully think of them. Like, who would really pay at nanny that much money to be able to afford college and have extra money to spare? I get these people are loaded, but they're sending the tuition checks? Dang. But more of that later.

Annie is also haunted by the death of her little sister, Lissa, which she blames herself for. Lissa drowned in the pool that their POS stepfather put in and wouldn't fix the gate for, while Annie was reading. Lissa's death has haunted Annie for her whole life. You can tell she's so excited to get away because she doesn't even wonder why a family who knows her background would let her be a nanny to a three year old girl after that. I'm not saying you can't be given a second chance, but most parents probably wouldn't risk that for their child.

Right from the start Libby Cohen had all kinds of red flags for me. No one, I mean no one, is that overly friendly. Especially with someone they've known for a day. Giving Annie her clothes? Getting your nanny drunk? This woman is clearly unhinged already.

As the novel progresses Libby is pretty nice and they have very few roadblocks and there's so confusing situations with Zoe (the daughter) and her referencing "mommy" and Libby not knowing what she's talking about. But when Annie goes to find Zoe's tricycle the shit really hits the fan. She finds evidence of Walker's (the husband) first wife and learn there's some weird stuff going on here. And Libby starts on a crazy spiral, dragging Annie down with her.

Libby starts, obviously, purposely messing with Annie's life. She knows Annie's past and Annie's insecurities, so she exploits those. She removes Annie's door from her room, she calls her "Nanny" and when she's questioned about it, denies it. She purposely takes Zoe swimming and makes it look as if she's drowned. She sabotages Annie's freshman year in college. And oh yeah, the hot guy next door, Owen, that Annie is seeing? Libby tries to mess with that too.

The book basically culminates in Libby convincing Annie she's insane and sending her to a mental hospital, where everything finally comes out, thanks to the hot guy, who also happens to be a computer nerd. Convenient. I feel bad for Annie for what happens to her, of course, but she had many chances to find out what was going on and chances to get out of there.

In the end, it was fairly obvious what was going on, but Ms. Collomore wrote it in a way that made me second guess myself. So even though I pretty much knew what happened, I was never set for sure. Libby, having been the nanny herself and taking over the household, was clearly intimidated by the fact that Annie knew their secrets. Libby killed Adele (Walker's first wife) and wanted someone around that could take the blame for Zoe's death. Who better than a girl who's little sister died under her care? She drove Annie insane so no one would question what happened, because clearly the nanny isn't competent.

At the end Owen saves Annie and she is finally able to move forward with the life she wanted. Yay, all is happy and good. But I still have some unresolved questions:

- How did Annie's mom not know who she was when she called? Did Libby get her in on it?
- How did Libby get Annie's phone calls not to show up on Owen's phone, when they do other times?
- How did Libby get Morgan's phone calls not to show up on Annie's phone? Or was Morgan somehow involved in the situation? Also, did Libby want Morgan to make Annie question her relationship with Owen?

Despite some unanswered questions the book was entertaining and I read it in one sitting. The thought of being psychologically manipulated is scary and Ms. Collomore handled this book very well. I'm looking forward to seeing what she writes next!   

Friday, November 15, 2013

Incubus by Carol Goodman/The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

Title: Incubus (U.K.)/The Demon Lover (U.S.)
Author: Carol Goodman (U.K.)/Juliet Dark (U.S.)
Type: Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Erotica/PNR/UF
Tea: Chai tea, it holds you in its warm grasp and has an extra zing to it.
Rating: 5 out of 5.

Oh my, Carol Goodman can you do no wrong? Incubus, also published as The Demon Lover under the pen name Juliet Dark, is fantastic. This is a new spin on Ms. Goodman's repertoire of fiction novels. Most of her novels deal with fairy tales and reference them, but in Incubus the fairy tales are brought to life. And thank goodness this novel isn't a standalone. I just need to get my hands on the next one!

Callileach (Kay-lex) McFay, or better known as Callie, is a new professor at a small private school in upper New York, where many of Ms. Goodman's tales take place. This setting is fantastic for her stories. There is a mystery around the towns and a magical quality that is hard to find anywhere else. I want to visit someday and just imagine I'm in one of her fabulous worlds.

This novel is a very interesting take on Faerie as well as an interesting take on relationships. You can't help but to relate to this novel in one way or another. She also has great back stories that I hope will be talked about more in the next novel! While I figured out some of the plot twists fairly "early" Ms. Goodman managed to keep me second guessing myself, so I was never 100% sure what was going on.

I'd also love to see her write as Dahlia LaMotte! Those sections of the book made me want to read the whole "real book."

If you are a Carol Goodman fan, and even if you're not, I highly recommend this novel!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 3 of The Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce

Please check out my November 10th post for my review of S.M. Boyce's Grimoire Saga! Amazing! :) Also, check out her site to learn more!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 2 of The Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce

Please check out yesterday's post for my review of S.M. Boyce's Grimoire Saga! You don't want to miss it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce

Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things—Ourea.
Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea's royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

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 Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.

Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what—he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood.

To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.

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Kara Magari isn’t normal, even by Ourea’s standards—and in a world of shape-shifters and soul stealers, that’s saying something. To the royalty, she’s a loose cannon. To the masses, she’s a failure. But Kara’s arrival in Ourea started a war, and she’s going to end it. 
An ancient isen named Stone takes an interest in Kara’s training, and it turns out he has more answers than he originally led her to believe. In an effort to unearth a secret that might end the bloodshed, Kara instead discovers an ugly truth about her family—and how much she has in common with an infamous mass-murderer. 
Braeden Drakonin has slowly rebuilt his life after the betrayal that tore it apart. His father wants him dead, and frankly, his so-called allies wouldn’t mind that either. Private alliances are formed. Secrets are sold. Tension is driving the armies apart. A single battle will end this war, and it’s coming. Braeden may be a prince, but it will take more than that to survive. He must take the fight to his father’s door—and win.

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About the Author:

International Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga.
S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries.
Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

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One Lucky Winner will get a Signed Copy of Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M.Boyce. 
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Title: The Grimoire Trilogy
Author: S.M. Boyce
Type: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Tea: Gyokuro Genmaicha, a delicious complex tea that wasn't quite what you expected when you first saw it, in a good way.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 I was pleasantly surprised by Lichgates, Treason and Heritag. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially since it was being compared to some pretty big names, but I was not disappointed. S.M. Boyce is a master crafter of worlds. Very creative and complex. The characters aren't the typical characters you find in Young Adult literature today, a whiny girl and standoff-ish, swoon-worthy guy. Kara is someone that you would actually want to be friends with. And Braeden is actually someone you want to see the character happy with. Their relationship wasn't annoying, which is something I look for in a young adult novel, as I've put many of them down due to that very flaw.

S.M. Boyce wrote the book beautifully and transports the reader into Ourea. It takes a very skilled writer to bring a world to life. Yes, I can see where this book was compared to The Lord of the Rings and Eragon, but it has a life entirely its own and deserves to be judged on its own merit. The end of each novel had me itching to read the next one. Please keep writing Ms. Boyce, you're wonderful.