Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Bourne

Bourne (River of Time, #3.1)Bourne

Series: River of Time, 3.1
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Features: Time travel
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: February 28, 2012 (eBook only)
Source: Author for review
*Note: The text featured in this post is from an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC). Changes may have been made in the final proof.
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The River of Time Series--a Top 10 Pick for over 20 YA book bloggers in 2011! If you like romance, adventure and a dose of medieval Italian culture, you'll love WATERFALL (book 1), CASCADE (book 2) and TORRENT (book 3). Hint: They’re not just for teenagers.


BOURNE, a novella (one-third the length of a normal novel), picks up right where TORRENT left off...Find out what has happened to men returning from the battle, gravely wounded, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men they love, and just who is hunting them next...
Knowing that this was a book from Lisa T. Bergren's River of Time series, I just knew this had to be good. And it was. It had the usual action, romance, and humor, told from the viewpoints of our two awesome female heroines. I was really happy with how Lia was featured so much more in this, and I have a feeling she'll have her own chapters in Tributary, too. It was fun to see Lia and Luca together. I mean, Gabi and Marcello are married now. That's boring. We want young, budding love!


You meet a new character, and while she only has a small part in this one, she'll probably be in Tributary a lot more. Lord Greco, who at the end of Torrent betrayed Firenze, is one broken character. You can't help but feel sorry for him. I felt like this novella really did the job, bridging books three and four together. It was short, only about 100 pages, but it contained a lot of content that answered questions from previous books, but opened even more for future installments. (As of now, there's only going to be one more, but one can always hope, eh?)


This book, being in this series as it is, means you will love it. At least, I did. It continues the adventures of Gabi, Lia, Marcello, and Luca and shows promise of even greater things to come. Having written three fantastic books already, it's hard to repeat many times over, but I have faith in Ms. Bergren and I can't wait for Tributary.

First Line:

"M'lady! They approach!" the guard yelled down to us from the walls.


Read my reviews on the other books in this series: Waterfall|Cascade|Torrent

Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Cross My Heart

Cross My HeartCross My Heart

Standalone or Series: Standalone
Author: Katie Klein
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Romance
Publication Date: March 14, 2011
Source: Purchased
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True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .

Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past-a reputation-and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there's no reason why, when they're assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn't be falling in love.

As they bond over Edith Wharton's tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the "bad boy" vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own "good girl" image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype.

Still, Jaden can't shake the feeling that there's more to Parker than he's letting on. He's hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she's grown to love with the person he really is. Because it's possible that his life inside the classroom-everything Jaden knows-is one, massive lie.
After reading a smashing review about this book from Confessions of a Bookaholic, I had to pick it up. Usually I'm not that easily convinced, but I must've been really tired or something.

Anyways. I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written, and there was a twist in the end that was pretty surprising and kind of cool. I couldn't sympathize with Jaden. She was... too much like me. It was kind of weird. But she was funny and really smart. I just wish there was more focus on her friends in this book. Plus, the book had some parts where it's obvious something's happening that the character in the book does not understand it happening. Which makes you want to bang your head on the wall. She constantly had these thoughts of "he smelled so good" and "I felt myself leaning towards him..." Okay, hon, that's usually a sign of attraction. Just saying.

I did, however, like reading about how Jaden changed. She grew into a more real and believable character. The entire time, I felt like the author was emphasizing the fact that nobody is perfect. Jaden lives in a drafty, leaky, old house. Her "perfect" boyfriend isn't, well, as perfect as you might think. It's a good message. :)

There are many references to other novels in this one, because both Jaden and Parker are bookworms. (Another plus.) Thanks to Ms. Klein, I went ahead and got Wuthering Heights for my Kindle. I hope to tackle it soon.

Parker was amazing. Why are authors just so... amazing at creating ultimate boy characters? I wish they have the ability to make them real, too. Parker is dark, mysterious, and lonely. But really, he's a brilliant student with a troubled past. Or is he more than he looks? Yep, I just threw a monkey wrench.

While kind of cliche and an obvious HEA novel, it was a good read and made me finish with a sigh. A happy sigh. The ending was handled perfectly. Would I recommend this book? Romance lovers, read to your heart's content. I am definitely looking forward to future and other novels from Katie Klein.

First Line:

Never underestimate the power of glitter.
(LOL.)

Quotes/Excerpts:
"Maybe. But you know, when you love someone you love them. And every day you sit back pretending that you don't is one less day you have with him."

"If I meet you at your third floor window tonight, will you let me in?" he whispers softly against my ear, hardly a murmur.

"Sometimes I get lucky and we have real meal…like Hot Pockets."

Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Author Interview: S.R. Johannes


Please give a warm welcome to S.R. Johannes, aka Shelli Johannes-Wells!
Hello, I’m Shelli – friend, foe, writer, marketer, wife, mom, animal lover, yoga-er, brownie troop leader, over achiever and under developed. I’m boring, the only person who laughs at my own jokes, and I love to laugh.
3LB: Who or what inspired you to write? Do you have any role models, whether in writing or life in general?
I love John Steinbeck, Ian Fleming, John D MacDonald, and James Patterson. I grew up reading my mom’s thrillers so those authors had a huge influence.
3LB: Synopsis in a Tweet! Describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Untraceable is a teen wilderness thriller with a mystery, murder, a kick butt heroine, and of course two hot boys :)
3LB: If you were stranded in an area with lots and lots AND lots of snow, which one of your book characters would you want there with you?
Grace. My next book in this series (Uncontrollable) is in the winter and Grace has some serious winter survival tips.
3LB: Do you have anything that you need to have around you when you write, such as a specific playlist/radio station in the background, coffee, a desk in a quiet room?
I build playlists for every book with a song for each chapter that sets that mood when I start writing a book. But when I’m editing, its classical music.
3LB: What writing plans do you have for the future?   
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE – a tween guardian angel story comes out Jan 31st. I am in an anthology Feb 14th with other indie authors called IN HIS EYES, short stories about love from a hot guy’s perspective.
3LB: What other hobbies do you enjoy aside from reading and writing?
Bikram yoga. But really I just spend time with my family.
  3LB: If you had to live your life as an animal, what would you be?
Oh gosh, this is hard. Something at the top of the food chain. To be eaten alive would be horrible. I love owls, dolphins, and dogs but I don’t see myself as one. Oh I know – a platypus. Because they are unique and no one still knows what they are. That’s me.
3LB: Name one guilty pleasure you have.
Only one! Man you are tough. I would say “Double caramel magnum ice cream bars”. They are sooo good. I can only buy one box every 30 days. It has 3 bars in it so I have to spread them out.
3LB: Time travel: Future or past? And where and when would you go to?
I’d love to go back and find out where the Bible really came from. Just to settle it once and all. I’m kidding. I would love to go back to when I met my husband and start the last 10 years over. They have been so good I’d love to do them again :)
3LB: Tell us five interesting things about yourself.
Impossible. I am not interesting. I can tell you crazy things…
  1. I don’t separate my washing – colors and whites go together. (Am I crazy or what?)
  2. I have a very sensitive gag reflex that my friends love to try and set off.
  3. I argue with myself.
  4. I laugh at my own jokes.
  5. I am an overachiever – big time.
~~~
Thank you, Shelli! For more information about Ms. Johannes and her books, visit:
Purchase Untraceable, available now!
16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. After finding a Cheetos bag and stolen government file, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy who has an intoxicating accent and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged, Wyn.

After a few run-ins with the town's police chief, her father's partner, and some new evidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence.

Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Author Guest Post: Lois D. Brown

Lois received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a news correspondent in Washington D.C. She later completed a master’s degree in communications and moved into the corporate world, creating her own freelance business.
Recently she has turned her interest to writing fiction after realizing the bedtime stories she tells her four kids never put them to sleep.
Make Lemonade by Writing About Life’s Lemons 
Bumps in the road. Who doesn’t have them? And for some people, they’re more like large boulders.

A few years ago, one such bump appeared in my path. In 2008 I was diagnosed with having Simple Partial Seizures. These kinds of seizures typically don’t affect motor skills, but they can affect all of your five senses (hence their other name: sensory seizures.) Mine created an odd mesh of symptoms, the most disconcerting of which was MASSIVE déjà vu where time slowed to a crawl and everything around me faded in and out. It was like I had lived that moment a thousand times before in a different life.

The diagnosis left me feeling pretty low. It meant I had to be on some pretty serious medication. It also meant the memory loss I had been experiencing probably wouldn’t come back. And it meant if I had another seizure I could lose my driver’s license. What is a mother with four kids supposed to do without a driver’s license?

Needless to say, I was stressed. I went to bed one night thinking about my recent trip to the neurologist. In my sleep, I had a vivid dream where there was a girl who had frightening feelings of having already experienced things before but in another lifetime. It wasn’t like reincarnation—the same soul come back to earth to live as someone or something else. Instead, it was like her life just kept repeating itself and she had moments where these “other-life” memories were intensely strong.

I woke up and knew I was going to write a book. A novel. Fiction! For me, that was something I never thought I could do. You see, I had been a freelance writer for twenty years, ever since graduating in journalism from college, but I had always told myself that fiction was way out of my league.  
Writing the book CYCLES was therapy for me. Sure, the story is fake. Sure, things that happen in the book aren’t real, but in a weird way it helped me come to terms with my own “bump” and move on. Better yet, I learned I LOVED writing fiction. Twenty years of being afraid of writing a novel were gone.

I’m not alone in using fiction writing to work through hard things. A friend of mine lost her husband at the age of 26 in a flying accident. Simply tragic. It took her a year, but she finally wrote a short story about . . . you guessed it: someone losing their spouse and having to get over their fear of losing someone else. The story is called The Second Storm. It was hard for her to do, but it made a dent in the grief she was working through,

So, give it a try. Go ahead and make some lemonade with your writing. It’s certainly better than sucking on a sour lemon! 
She remembers things that never happened.
She's a stranger in her own home.
She always knew she was different.
She just didn't know why.
Until now.

Renee Beaumont is about to die . . . again.   
CYCLES is the first book in a series. SPACES, its sequel, will be released in 2012.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (33) and The Week in Review

In My Mailbox is a meme designed by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie to promote blogger interaction and put new books on the radar. 


Video editor being horrendously laggy today, so I went back to my old photo-slideshow-video thing.
Masters of the Veil by Daniel Cohen (ARC) plus Spencer Hill Press swag
Croak by Gina Damico swag
Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
In Between: A Katie Parker Production by Jenny B. Jones
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Thanks to Kate Kaynak and Spencer Hill Press, Gina Damico, Simon Pulse, Bloomsbury Children's, and Netgalley!


THE WEEK IN REVIEW
Three wonderful guests visited. You may recognize them from Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Check out my interview with them!
Jennifer Armentrout

I also reviewed three books: So Over My Head by Jenny B. Jones, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, and The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard!
So Over My Head (The Charmed Life, #3)Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)The Secret Year
The author of The Secret Year herself, Jennifer R. Hubbard, stopped by with an interview and a giveaway post!
Try Not to Breathe
Oh yeah, and Jay Asher commented on the post! Yeah, no big deal or anything... I didn't fall off my chair when I first read it.... or start squealing like a fangirl...
Imaginary Reads has been hosting a Characters in Love event on their blog, filled with guest bloggers, authors, and giveaways! You should definitely check it out. (Especially my guest post, hehe...)
Current Giveaways and Contests:
*BaSatai: Outside In ARC Giveaway - Five winners, International
*Try Not To Breathe Swag Giveaway - Two winners, US Only


Upcoming Song of the Week:
Happy Reading!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Characters in Love Event

Happy February! To celebrate this month, the month of love, Hikari and Kris at Imaginary Reads have been running an event, all about our most favorite topic! I'm featured today on their blog with a guest post... go and check it out!


And they have a million other awesome posts and giveaways!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Jennifer R. Hubbard

Please give a warm welcome to Jennifer R. Hubbard!
I love hiking, and chocolate, and (of course) books. I’ve lived most of my life in New England and Pennsylvania, with visits elsewhere. The last time I left the country, it was to visit Iceland. I own one cat—or rather, he owns me.
3LB: Who or what inspired you to write? Do you have any role models, whether in writing or life in general?
I can’t remember not being able to read, and I was trying to write my own books at a very early age. A writer whose style inspired me is Jack Kerouac: the rhythm and flow he used made me see that prose could have poetic qualities.
3LB: Synopsis in a Tweet! Describe your book in 140 characters or less.
The Secret Year: a secret relationship, a sudden death, a diary left behind.
3LB: I feel that names hold meaning and importance to characters. How do you come up with or decide on the names for your characters? Do they hold meaning?
Colt’s original name was Clayton, Clay for short. I felt that it suited him—the association of clay with river mud, and so on. The computer file that holds my early drafts for the book is called “ClayJulia,” after the main characters. But when I was on the verge of submitting my book about a boy named Clay who finds the journal his secret girlfriend left behind after her death, I saw the advance notice for a book that was coming out soon. It was about a boy named Clay who finds autobiographical audiotapes that his secret crush left behind after her death.


This kind of coincidence happens to writers all the time, but it’s always 
disconcerting at first. By now you probably recognize the second book as Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, and if you’ve read it you know that it’s not that similar to The Secret Year. For example, it focuses much more on suicide, which isn’t the case in The Secret Year. But 13 Reasons Why wasn’t out yet, and all I had to go on was the synopsis, so I changed Clay’s name. I picked Colten because it was close to his original name, and I liked the horse-and-gun associations with the nickname, Colt. Finally, I chose the variant spelling (“Colten” instead of “Colton”) just to keep from further coincidences with anyone else’s main character name!
3LB: I gotta ask, do you have a book playlist? If so, how did these songs inspire your writing/book/characters?
For The Secret Year, I listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Tom Waits. Two of the songs I played a lot seemed especially appropriate for the book: Fleetwood Mac’s “Big Love” (the 1997 live version), and Tom Wait’s “Temptation.” I’ve also come to see that Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” works, too.
3LB: What’s next for you? What other books have you written?
My second book Try Not to Breathe, just came out. It’s about a boy who’s recovering from a suicide attempt, and his friendship with a girl who is trying to reach her dead father through psychics.
3LB: If you could bring to life any book character in history, who would you chose?
Maybe Anne of Green Gables? She would be a lot of fun, I think.
3LB: This or that…
Dog or cat? I currently have a cat, but like both.
Summer or winter? Summer! I like barefoot weather.
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate.
Tea or coffee? Iced tea.
Morning or night person? Night. I don’t really see the point of mornings.
3LB: Tell us five interesting things about yourself.
  1. When I was in junior high, I had to memorize the first part of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” I still remember some of it.
  2. I sold my first short story at seventeen. But it was a long time until the next sale.
  3. I went caving once when I was in college. That’s how I realized I was claustrophobic.
  4. When I was twenty, I worked for scientists who were conducting a study of heavy-metal poisoning in a mining area.
  5. Most people seem to find bagpipe music annoying, but I like it because one of my relatives played the bagpipes, and I associate the sound with childhood memories.
3LB: If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
Life is short; be kind.
~~~
Thank you, Jennifer! For more information about Ms. Hubbard and /her books, visit:
Purchase The Secret Year and Try Not to Breathe, available now!
Try Not to BreatheLearning to live is more than just choosing not to die, as sixteen-year-old Ryan discovers in the year following his suicide attempt. Despite his mother’s anxious hovering and the rumors at school, he’s trying to forget the darkness from which he has escaped. But it doesn’t help that he’s still hiding guilty secrets, or that he longs for a girl who may not return his feelings. Then he befriends Nicki, who is using psychics to seek contact with her dead father. This unlikely friendship thaws Ryan to the point where he can face the worst in himself. He and Nicki confide in one another the things they never thought they’d tell anyone—but their confessions are trickier than they seem, and the fallout tests the bounds of friendship and forgiveness.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy V-Day from iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books! Today isn't just for your special someone (although I'm sure they deserve some extra attention), but also for spreading love to your friends, family, strangers, and even enemies! Do a RAK for someone: give them a compliment, bake them cookies! Man, I miss those elementary school days when you had to give everybody a valentine. And got lots of candy.


Like a friend of mine on Facebook so wisely said...
Valentines Day is about loving one another unconditionally. Whether it be the person you're dating, a friend, or a stranger. Don't be sad if you don't have a "special someone" you're spending it with, look at it as an opportunity to show your heart to the entire world, not just one person.
Happy Reading!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: The Secret Year

The Secret YearThe Secret Year

Standalone or Series: Standalone
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: February 17, 2011
Source: Purchased
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Colt and Julia were secretly together for a year, and no one ever knew, not even Julia's boyfriend. Why would they-they were from two different crowds. Julia lived in her country club world and Colt . . . didn't. Then Julia dies in a car accident. Colt is devastated but can't mourn openly, and he's tormented that he may have played a part in her death. And when Julia's journal ends up in his hands, he is forced to relive their year together-just when he is trying to forget. The problem is, how do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with?
While reading the premise for this book, I already started gathering an idea about how the story would end. I mean, how else would a relationshipin which one-half of it diesend? The other half would either die from heartbreak or get over it and move on. Colt was an interesting character (and a bit of a jerk). He was the poor farm boy. Julia was the rich girl with a perfect life and a perfect boyfriend. The whole time, I couldn't really figure out what their relationship was. Colt didn't even seem to know. On the blurb of the book, it says "How do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with?" and that makes me think that this was more of a "friends with benefits" situation than anything else, especially not love.

Julia was scared and insecure and a bit selfish. If she truly loved Colt, it obviously wasn't enough. Colt was also a little lost throughout the story. There was so much sex in this book. It covered such a huge portion, and was slightly disturbing. Can't this kid find something better to do? This book is definitely not for a young teen's eyes.

I suppose that Colt was aiming to get over his loss of Julia and move on with his life, but so many side stories and problems cut in through the novel that it became a little confusing. Many questions were left unanswered and the ending was a little too rushed for me.

Needless to say, this book was an enjoyable read, although not particularly a memorable one. It had a The Outsiders feel to it, with the rich/poor side of town and the time period and setting, which I liked. My satisfied feelings with this book and Hubbard's obvious talent for writing are making me willing to give another book from this author a try.

First Line:

Julia was killed on Labor Day on her way home from a party.

Quotes/Excerpts:
As she drove me over to the DMV, Mom said, "Now don't smash into anything during the test."
"Thanks for the tip. Because I was planning to crash into a couple of things."
"And make sure you put on your seat belt and check your mirrors. They look for any little thing like that to trip you up."
"Uh-huh."
"And signal when you change lanes," she said, swerving into the passing lane. Without signaling.
"If I pass the test, can I take the car tonight?"
"Already? Christ."
"Just to celebrate. After this, I'll pretty much be taking it to work and back."
"Celebrate, huh. The cops'll be peeling you off a tree."
"Cheer up. Maybe I'll hit a guardrail instead."

Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Sweet Venom

Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)Sweet Venom

Series: Medusa Girls, #1
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA UF, Mythology
Features: Medusa, Gorgons, Greek monsters
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
Source: Library
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Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.
After reading Tera Lynn Childs' Fins series, I was really excited to find out about her new book Sweet Venom and couldn't wait to pick it up. This book has Childs' typical humor, which kept me smiling the whole way through. The action scenes were exciting and intense, and the use of three destined warrior heroines was awesome and kick-butt.

The book is told from three different view points: Gretchen's, Grace's, and Greer's. Gretchen is the "commando chick." She wears cargo pants and hides daggers in her combat boots. Grace is your eco-friendly vegetarian that always sees the good in people and is a bouncy, optimistic, and loving person. Greer is the rich socialite who spends her time going to charities, balls and teas. I loved each unique view point and the way each girl's personalities stood out through her narration of the story. It made it really interesting.

Out of the three sisters, I liked Gretchen the most. Mostly because she didn't make me snore. No offense. Grace made me bored and honestly, Milo was just too perfect. Her "I'm smaller than everybody else in the world" just made me feel like she should stop feeling sorry for herself and do something about it. Gretchen, on the other hand, was not afraid to tell somebody what she wanted. Take Nick, for instance. That guy was kind of creepy. The way he basically stalked Gretchen was just weird. And a little hot. A little. And besides, I'm sure there's more to him than he seems. I mean, I think it's pretty obvious he can also see the monsters that Gretchen can. I figured that as a huntress, Gretchen would be more observant. Apparently not.

Speaking of the two boys up there, I found it a little coincidental that two perfect boys just magically appeared at the beginning of both Gretchen and Grace's stories. However, this book is less focused on romance, unlike in Forgive My Fins, but I still enjoyed reading this more adventurous book from Tera Lynn Childs.

Greer was snooty in the beginning, but I could definitely sympathize with her. When you had the most perfect world with your whole game plan laid out for the rest of your life, and suddenly your two long lost sisters appear on your doorsteps with news that you're a descendant of Medusa, you'd probably be a little freaked out. She warms up to her sisters really quickly (almost too quickly), and it's because of this and the general pacing near the end of the book that I found it a little too rushed.

I'm looking forward to the next installment, because I can't wait to what happens next, and this book ended with a lot of unanswered questions. While I liked the book enough, I expected more from it. I know that Tera Lynn Childs and her future books have the potential to become even better.

Fans of Greek mythology will enjoy this new twist and find this book funny, energetic, and full of monster butt-kicking action.

First Line:
Hydras have a distinctive odor. It's somewhere between the acid tang of burning hair and a boat full of rotting fish. You can smell them from miles away.

Quotes/Excerpts:
I feel a tickle against my left ear, and when I jerk around at the sensation, I find a folded piece of paper waving before my eyes. I snatch the paper, throwing Nick a quick glare, and turn back to face front. I don't need Mrs. Knightly calling me out for note passing, especially not because of him.
For several long seconds, I sit with the note clasped between my palms, resting in my lap. Don't be curious, I tell myself. It's only going to annoy you anyways.
In the end, of course, curiosity wins out.
Carefully, so I don't draw any attention, I unfolded the note and slip it beneath my textbook. When I'm sure Mrs. Knightly is focused on the board, I slide it down to read: Can we talk after class?
Frankly, I'm a little disappointed. My imagination came up with so many better ideas for what the note might say. Like You fight giant scorpions often? Or Can we be more than friends now? Or even Thanks for leaving me with a concussion.
Can we talk? seems so tame in comparison.

Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: So Over My Head

So Over My Head (The Charmed Life, #3)So Over My Head

Series: A Charmed Life, #3
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Christian Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Source: Purchased
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Newly single, stalked by a killer, and in desperate need of some chic clown shoes--Bella is one skinny mocha frapp away from total meltdown. When the Fritz Family Carnival makes its annual appearance in Truman, Bella's keen reporter instincts tell her the bright lights hide more than they reveal. Her suspicions are confirmed when one of the stars is murdered. Though the police make an immediate arrest, Bella doubts this case is quite that simple. She needs her crime-solving boyfriend, Luke, more than ever. Problem is, his ex-girlfriend has moved back to town, giving Bella some murderous thoughts of her own. Then again, there's no time for a relationship crisis when Bella's doing her best to derail her father's wedding and stay one step ahead of a killer. Is God sending her a message in all of this madness? With a murderer on the loose and her boyfriend's ex on the prowl, this undercover clown has never had more to juggle--or more to risk.
Holy poop. Wooooooowwwwwwie. This book was amazing. This entire series was awesome, fantastic, remarkable, outstanding, marvelous, superb, and every other good thing you can say about something. Jenny B. Jones is definitely the latest of my favorite authors. She is  one to look out for, guys.

Now that I've used all those adjectives, I'm not really sure how to go on. "Her writing was fantastic... wait I already used that word. Dang it." Well, I loved her writing. It was quirky and out-of-this-world LOL hilarious. (Not LOL hilarious, but laugh out loud hilarious.) Bella is an awesome (there I go again, reusing words) main character. She's strong and super funny. Maybe not kick-butt like those fighter heroines, but she's strong-willed, stubborn, intelligent, and knows how to pull those sarcastic one-liners. It's great. And all the other supporting characters? They each had their one definitive personalities and they made a *racks brain for new adjective* sensational cast. Sorry. That was the best I could come up with.

The romance? If you like hot, buff nerds, then Luke Sullivan is your guy. Dark hair, laser blue eyes? Muscular, tall form? Snarky intelligence? Is your heart a-pounding? And the best part was that Ms. Jones didn't overdo it. You know how I hate drama (if you don't, well, now you do). But this book. This book didn't have those OHMIGOSH I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM BUT I DON'T-I CAN'T-BE WITH HIM BECAUSE I'M AFRAID HE'LL BREAK MY HEART LIKE THE FIVE MILLION OTHER GUYS I'VE LOVED super long mind-paragraphs where the MC just rambles on and on and I just want to bang my head on the wall again and again... Drama is to a minimum, just the way Lucia likes.
"Spin for Enrique," the man says. You have to wonder about people who refer to themselves in third person.
I loved everything about this book. The writing, the characters, the plot... You know what, just go and get one of this lady's books. And me? I'm going onto Amazon and buying the rest of hers.

First Line:
If my love life was the knife toss at a circus, I'd have Luke Sullivan speared to the wall with an apple in his mouth.

Quotes/Excerpts:
(If I could, I would give you all my favorite quotes... but that's the majority of the book. And that would be piracy, wouldn't it?)
~~~
As I drive to the carnival after school Tuesday, I punch the button on my phone with as much consideration as one would give the command for a nuclear bomb.
"Bella?"
"Hey, Hunter. It's me. I know, surprise, right?" Never thought I'd be calling my ex-boyfriend, pond-sludge sucker that he is. "Yeah, I'm good. Um, there's kind of a reason for my call."
"Missing me?"
Boys do they all think they God's gift to planet?
"No, I do not miss you."
"Give it time. You will."
Yeah, like the flu. I turn down my stereo as Hunter Penbrook prattles on about changing, turning his life around, mending his ways. Blah, blah, blah. Heard it all before. Even fell for it once. But never twice.
"Hey, Hunter, I hate to interrupt your dissertation on your virtues, and I think your new vegetarian diet is very noble, by the way, but I need your help."
Silence.

Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Character Interview: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Today, we have three wonderful visitors: Alex, Aiden, and Seth from Jennifer L. Armentrout's Covenant series! They were kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions from me.


Jennifer ArmentroutAlex, I know that you had a lot of conflicts at the Council, but what did you like most about it?
Alex: Yeah, I don’t think there was much I liked about it. Well, there was this one moment. It was perfect. I’ll probably dream about it.
After Awakening, you’ll gain a lot of power. What’s the first thing you’re going to do with it? Few people could stop you then.
Alex: I’d really like to zap Minister Telly into next year, but I doubt the gods will take kindly to that.
Tell me about. Minister Telly even made me want to give him a good kick in a certain area. 


With all the events at the Council and those leading up to it, what do you most regret doing or not doing?
Alex: Gods, there’s a lot of things I regret. I wish I pulled my head out of my rear a lot sooner than I did. I wish I could go back and change a few things. You probably know what they are. And I wish I never opened my mouth with that one thing.
Ah, yes. That one thing. I believe Pure readers will know what she is referring to. Everybody else? You'll just have to wait and see. :)

And just because I know you love school so much, what’s your favorite class?
Alex: Myths and Legends—I share it with Deacon. He’s pretty funny in class when he’s not sleeping.
Jennifer ArmentroutAiden, we see less of you in Pure, but you always seem to be in the right place at the right time. How did you know Alex was in trouble that night of the daimon attack at the Covenant?
Aiden: Well, the screams pretty much alerted everyone to the fact that someone was in trouble. That and the dead guards.
Oh. *slightly disappointed face* I was hoping for something like... an inner connection with Alex that alerted you and... *squeaksI will shut up now because you are giving me a death glare and I don't like it...

And... how was your birthday dinner? Rumor has it that Deacon wanted to play naked Twister at your party.
Aiden: Much to Deacon’s dismay, there was no naked Twister, party, or dinner. I cancelled. After everything…. I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate anything.
Jennifer ArmentroutSeth, other than training Alex and... er, “dorm hopping,” how else did you spend your time at the Covenant?
Seth: Isn’t training Alex and dorm hopping enough? Both of those things take up a lot of time and I’m a very busy Seth.
*coughs* Right. I'm sure.

Do you know if your runes mean anything?
Seth: I know what each of the glyphs mean. And I have a lot. Probably bore the crap out of you, but it would be a nice informative discussion one day.
Seth and Aiden: Just because I think you’ll have fun answering: Name one thing that you like about each other.
Aiden: He has nice hair.
Seth: He finally came to his senses.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Alex: I’m so confused.
Seth: I’m so awesome.
Aiden: Ready to smack someone. Sorry. More than three words, but I can’t help it.
Finish this sentence "I can't live without..."
Alex: Candy. I can’t live without candy right now.
Aiden: I'd rather not answer that at this time.
Seth: Can I say myself?
(Anybody else wondering why Aiden didn't answer??)

If you could be a Greek god/goddess, who would you be?
Aiden: I really don’t want to be any of them.
Seth: I have to go with Aiden on this.
Alex: Wow, all three of us agree on something.
What is your favorite food?
Seth: Anything red meat.
Alex: Same here. I’d do something real bad for a Big Mac.
Aiden: Chicken. I do have a soft spot for pizza and kettle cooked chips.
Thank you for stopping by Alex, Aiden and Seth (and also to Jen for letting them go for a bit; they were on their best behavior!) It was great having you! :)
Thanks for having us!
~~~
For more information about Ms. Armentrout and her books, visit:

Purchase Half-Blood (available now) and Pure (April 2012)!
Pure (Covenant, #2)
There is need. And then there is Fate... 

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

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