Giveaway Reminder: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

The Splash into Summer Hop ends May 31st---if you haven't entered our giveaway yet, fill out the form below to enter to win a copy of Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter!

Reading/Real-Life Crossover

Does your reading life ever cross over into your real life? Mine does, all the time. Below is a recounting of a conversation between me and my husband, Toby.

Toby: Thank you for making spaghetti tonight.

Kelli: That's just one of the many benefits of me being a stay at home mom. (This is a comment made quite often since I left my job at the end of January).
Toby: Well, I appreciate it. It's a perk of having a wife who is a SAHM.
Kelli: Actually, I would prefer to be called the Housemaster. Housemaster Kelli. Because the Housemaster is in charge of all things in the household and makes all the important decisions. Everyone does what the Housemaster says to do. Everyone respects the Housemaster.

Toby: Is this from one of your books?
Kelli: NO...

Toby: Yes it is. I know it is. You and these weird books! Which one was this Housemaster business (edited due to language) from?

Kelli: Wither.
Toby: Why is it that all of your books seem to have the same titles?

Kelli: I don't know. I'll ask the Housemaster and get back to you.

And that's just one of many examples of book-related conversations my husband and I have!  What about you?  Do you talk about your books with your families?

Book Review: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

Release Date: February 21, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Borrowed

I knew Fever was going to be great.  How could it now be, with as good as Wither is?  But I was expecting the normal lag of a second book in a trilogy.  I was expecting things to slow down and maybe drag a little bit in the middle.  Boy, was I wrong!  Fever had the same intensity, the same emotion, the same thrills that Wither had.  But in a totally different way. 

Like with Wither, I stayed up late reading Fever.  I read it in the span of a few hours---I just could not rest until I had gobbled up every word.  And I did read and really take in every word of DeStefano's writing.  Her writing is so nuanced that if you are skimming or reading too fast, you'll miss a lot of hidden meaning in her books.  

I loved the descriptions of what Rhine and Gabriel go through.  Their adventures are action-packed, but they pack more of an emotional punch, with the way DeStefano writes.  I absolutely could not believe the twists at the end, which totally took me by surprise.  I remain impressed at DeStefano's ability to surprise the reader and take the story in a direction you would never expect.

It goes without saying that I am absolutely dying to read book three.  I really don't know how I'm going to be able to wait to find out what happens next!  

Second Opinion: Wither by Laren DeStefano

I loved, loved, loved Wither and knew that I wanted to read it again before Fever's release.  (Read my original review of Wither here).  What I didn't know, though, was that I would love it even more the second time around.  I found myself wanting to speed through the book the first time I read it, just out of anticipation regarding Rhine's fate.  I simply could not rest until I knew what was going to happen to her!  I stayed up very late, which is very unusual for me, knowing I could not sleep until I had finished the book.

I was able to read at a normal pace this time, and picked up on quite a few details I missed the first time around.  I loved being back in Rhine's world, and was just in awe of DeStefano's creativity.  The world she has created is so unique, so nuanced, so easily imagined.  I love her creativity and her writing.  

My husband saw me reading Wither and asked, "Haven't you already read that book?  I remember you staying up late reading it.  I remember that crazy cover!"  I told him, yes, I had read it already but I was re-reading it to prepare for the release of the second book in the series.  He said he understood but then asked why I was felt like I had to read it in one day, since I already knew what was going to happen.  And while I did know what was going to happen, it did not dampen my enjoyment of the book in the least.  I was able to relax and take it all in this time, and enjoyed the book even more the second time.  

If you haven't read Wither, you should.  It is everything that I love best about dystopia and YA.  It's one of the genre's great reads, and should not be missed.

I love you, Barnes and Noble!

I have had Richelle Mead's The Golden Lily pre-ordered from Barnes and Noble for months now.  I ordered it in hardback to go on my "Richelle Mead bookshelf".  I love Richelle Mead that much, that I have an entire bookshelf in my bookcase devoted to her.  

Anyway, something big happened this week, well, something big for me.  I got an email Tuesday from Barnes and Noble saying that The Golden Lily had shipped.  What in the world, I thought...I knew the release date was supposed to be 6/12/12.  So, I went online and looked on Barnes' site, Richelle's site, Goodreads, and Amazon and they all listed the release date as 6/12/12.  

I have no idea what happened, but I have my copy of The Golden Lily in my hands as of this evening.  My faithful UPS man delivered it to me at 5:30 today!  And you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm going to be reading it as soon as my baby goes to bed tonight! 

So, what I want to know is: Am I the only one that this has happened to?  Am I really this lucky?  Or is The Golden Lily releasing earlier than expected?  Has this kind of thing ever happened to you?


Giveaway: Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop

We are excited to be taking part again in this year's Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Page Turners Blog

 Our giveaway is... 

A hard copy of 
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter  
Click here to read my review of Goddess Interrupted

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter

Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person whom she would really rather not meet. Henry's first wife, Persephone.

Release Date:  March 27, 2012
Age Group:  Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Review copy from publisher

I really enjoyed The Goddess Test (book one in this series) and read Goddess Interrupted immediately after finishing The Goddess Test.  I just love it when I can read two or more books in a series in a row, don't you?  It makes the books so much more enjoyable when the events of the previous book are fresh on my mind.

I liked a lot of things about Goddess Interrupted.  I liked watching both Henry and Kate change.  I liked it when Kate took charge and took action against Cronus.  She really took responsibility for Henry and the other gods and goddesses.  I liked that she was not content to sit back and let everyone else do the work, she jumped right in and did her part to save the world. 

What I really liked were the events that led to Kate seeking out Persephone.  She knew how hard it would be to face Henry's first wife, the woman she is endlessly compared to, but she did it anyway, for the good of everyone.  Imagine having a someone whom you can never live up to.  And then you find out that that person is your sister.  Everything you have, she's had first.  From your mother, to your husband, to your job, even.  She's had it first, then rejected it, leaving the leftovers to you.  That's how Kate feels about Persephone, and I really felt for her.  She has a lot to overcome, and a lot of negative feelings to let go over, and I really enjoyed her transformation.

There was a lot of back-and-forth between Henry and Kate.  Henry is kind of hot-and-cold towards Kate, which got old.  On the one hand, I was tired of it, but on the other hand, I understood where Henry was coming from.  What was he supposed to think when Kate spent her entire summer alone with James?  Henry was left to imagine the worst, and he does.  At his core, he feels unlovable, after Persephone's rejection, which he has not been able to overcome despite hundreds of years of effort, and he transfers some of those feelings on to Kate.  When they finally straightened things out between each other, I wanted to cheer, I was so happy!

The ending was a neat twist.  I really didn't see it coming, which I love.  I can't wait for book three: The Goddess Inheritance!

Book Review: The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1) by Aimee Carter



It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.


Release Date: April 19, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Review copy from publisher

I went into The Goddess Test with no expectations.  I like it when I can do that---so often, I am influenced by either good or bad hype and expect too much or too little out of a book.  I had not heard of The Goddess Test before I started reading it, which was unusual for me, but it allowed me to start the book with a clean mental slate, so to speak.

I wasn't sure what I would think of the book, based on the summary.  I think it's hard to get an adaptation right, but Aimee Carter did a great job.  I thought The Goddess Test would be dark, based on the fact that Henry is actually Hades, god of the Underworld and ruler of the dead, but it really wasn't.  It wasn't overly light and fluffy, either.  Carter managed to strike the perfect balance between dark and light.

I really liked Kate, the main character.  I just have to admire someone who has been the primary caregiver for a terminally ill person for years.  And that is what Kate has done for her mother.  She cares for her with love and patience, and I loved that side of her character.  Kate was also very level-headed, which I appreciate in a YA heroine.  I can't stand irrational heroines who make decisions based purely on emotion.  Kate was considerate and kind to everyone around her, and thought of others instead of just herself.

The imagery in The Goddess Test was excellent.  I loved the descriptions of Eden Manor, Central Park, and the Underworld.  I liked the seven tests Kate had to undergo, and how they really tested her character, morals, and integrity.  I liked the surprise of who the Olympians really were, and although I had a couple of them predicted, there were several characters who surprised me when their true identities were revealed.

My one complaint about The Goddess Test was the age difference between Henry and Kate.  I know, I know, how could it be any other way when this is an adaptation of a Greek myth?  Still, really old guys who look young paired with teenage girls irks me.  It just doesn't feel like an even match.

However, I was able to overcome my objection once I really got to know Henry.  In some ways, he was just as young as Kate.  I liked seeing him grow and change alongside Kate.  And I loved watching their relationship develop.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and thankfully, was able to dive right into book two: Goddess Interrupted.


Book Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Release Date: April 3, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: NetGalley

Going off of the summary, I thought that Grave Mercy was going to be a very dark and violent book.  I don't like to read about Hell or the devil, and feared that a book about a convent of sisters serving Death would be very close to that.  But Death is not the devil, and this book was not about Hell at all.  Instead, it is about Ismae, and her evolution from a young girl who is woefully mistreated by her father and everyone in her village, to a dangerous assassin who fearlessly metes out St. Mortain's orders.

I liked Grave Mercy from the very first page, and liked it even more as the book progressed.  I really felt for Ismae, as she has never known love, kindness, or acceptance.  Her mother tried to kill Ismae while she was pregnant, and Ismae bears the scars of the poison her mother took, as well as the emotional scars of feeling unwanted and unloved.  Everyone in her village knows that Ismae is different, that she was sired by Death, and she is feared and teased mercilessly.  Eventually, Ismae's father arranges a marriage to be rid of her, but her new husband does not know Ismae's secret.  When he finds out, he nearly beats her to death, but she manages to escape, and is taken in by the nuns of St. Mortain.

But the convent of St. Mortain is not your typical convent: instead, these nuns serve as Death's handmaidens and are skilled assassins.  They act upon Death's orders, and kill those who have the mark of Death upon them.  Ismae trains for three years, and then she starts to receive assignments.  Her second assignment is to travel to the high court of the duchess of Brittany to help protect the duchess.  Ismae poses as a mistress to Gavriel Duval, and that's where the story really gets interesting.

I loved the historical aspect of this book. It really made the story so special for me.  I love historical fiction and have never read about Brittany before, so I found that aspect of it very interesting.  I also love reading about high court politics and intrigue, and Grave Mercy had that in spades.  Grave Mercy reminded me a lot of Philippa Gregory's writing, in the best of ways.  I loved the huge cast of characters, which kept my mind engaged and kept the story challenging.

I also loved that while this is a series, it looks like each book will feature one sister from the convent.  So, it appears that Ismae's story is complete, and we will next read about Sybella (based on the teaser for book two that was included at the end of my ARC).  I love it when series are set up like that---you get closure with each book but still get to see your favorite characters living out their happily ever afters in subsequent books.

Overall, I loved Grave Mercy.  I see that Robin LaFevers has written quite a few other books, and will definitely be reading more from her.  This book had it all: a unique paranormal aspect, romance, an intricately detailed plot, and best of all, a strong female main character.  Awesome read!


We've Been Quoted!

One day, while waiting for her daughter to finish her karate lesson, Natalie learned something really exciting from a friend at the karate studio.  The girl had been at the bookstore, browsing the YA section, and saw a quote from I'd So Rather Be Reading in one of the books!  Needless to say, Natalie was thrilled!  What was troublesome, though, was that our source could not remember exactly which book contained the quote.  

After calling me with the news, and much squealing from both of us, we decided that one of us simply HAD to visit the bookstore to find that quote!  We had not been contacted about being quoted so this came as a total surprise.  And what a great surprise it was! (Incidentally, has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever been quoted without knowing about it?)

The next day, me, my mom (who was even more excited than we were) and my baby were at Books a Million shortly after it opened.  All we knew was that the book containing our quote was on a table featuring popular YA books.  After going through several possibilities, I picked up Switched by Amanda Hocking.  This was a book I read at the end of 2010, one I bought for myself, and reviewed on the site without thinking my review would be read by any authors or publishers.  Read my original review here.  I opened the book, to find our quote listed second on the very first page of the book!  Here's what was quoted:
Switched is paranormal YA with a fresh twist.  It has a more deliberate pace than other YA fantasy...and more emotional thrills.  I really appreciated the realistic development of the love story, and the characters feel well developed.  Recommended.-----I'd So Rather Be Reading
I've been quoted before, but never in a USA Today Bestselling Author's book!  I am just so thrilled, and proud of all the work we've put into I'd So Rather Be Reading.  Natalie and I want to thank Amanda Hocking, St. Martin's Griffin, and most of all, our readers for your continued support.  Thank you! 

Book Review: Night Sky by Jolene Perry

Girl I’ve loved, girl I’m falling for. Now that they’re both in view, the problem is clear.

After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her.

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast.

But Sky’s need for honesty somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior year.

Release Date: March 1, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Tribute Books
Source:  Review copy from publisher

Night Sky was such an intense book.  From the very first pages, I was drawn into the story and found the book impossible to put down.  Jameson is our narrator, and I usually don't love books with a first-person male narrative, but it really worked here.  I feel like I will never truly understand men, so it was nice to have an inside look of a young man in love.

I loved knowing Jameson's innermost thoughts and feelings, especially when it came to Sarah and Sky.  His internal dialogue was funny and made me smile many times.  I grew to really like Jameson and respect how honest he was with himself and, eventually, everyone around him.

I really liked Jolene Perry's writing style.  The words just flew off of the page.  The story moved quickly and the plot development kept me interested the entire time.  I kept reading late into the night (finishing this book in the span of just a few hours) because I had to know what happened. 

The twist with Sky towards the end of the book was a real surprise to me (and, apparently, Jameson too).  I just could not believe the turn of events.  I don't personally agree with the choice Sky makes, but I do respect her for it.

Overall, Night Sky was a fast-paced, sweet story about the love between two best friends, and later, the love between a young man and woman.  I really enjoyed it and would definitely read more from Jolene Perry in the future.

Book Review: Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10) by JR Ward

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. The city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Now back in the Brotherhood - and unrecognisable as the vampire leader he once was - Tohrment is physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair. When he begins to see his beloved in his dreams - trapped in a cold, isolating netherworld - Tohr turns to a self-serving fallen angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. When he's told he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed . . .

Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King's throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past, and a very hot, passion-filled future . . . but can his heart let go and set all of them free?

Release Date:  March 27, 2012
Age Group:  Adult
Publisher: NAL
Source: Purchased

I have been following the Black Dagger Brotherhood books for years now, and I have to say that these books keep getting better and better.  I was just in love with Lover Reborn, and tried to slow my reading pace to make the book last longer.  And it was a big book: my Nook version was 601 pages.  And I can honestly say that I would have happily read double that many pages, this book was that good!

I've always liked Tohr through the glimpses we've gotten of him in the other books but never really knew him.  I like him even more now, even though there were times I just wanted to smack him for being so obtuse!  His love and devotion to Wellesandra and their unborn child really endeared him to me, and I felt so badly for him.  His loss was unimaginable, and Lover Reborn finds him trying to pick up the pieces.

One of my favorite things about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is the interwoven stories.  I love how each book features one Brother but each Brother and their respective mates are part of each story.  I love seeing characters living out their happily ever afters, and this series provides that in spades.  There are some HEAs we are still waiting on, though, namely Blay and Qhuinn.  I just don't know how much longer I can wait for their story.  I really, really want them to have their own book, but fear that Xcor or Throe's book will be next.  There were a few scenes with Blay and Qhuinn, but they were few and far between and I was left wanting much, much, more of them together.  Ward did throw me a bone there at the end, but it was such a tease that I am tempted to go read some fan fiction to satisfy my appetite for Blay and Qhuinn. 

One of my complaints about the last couple of BDB books was that there was a lot of darkness: especially with the Omega and the lessers.  I am so happy to report that Lover Reborn did not have such a dark, violent feel to it.  Of course, there was still a lot of fighting and killing, but it didn't have such a sinister feel as Lover Mine.

What really stood out for me with Lover Reborn was the intricate plot and the pacing.  The way Ward writes just makes me want to sit and read, read, read until the book is over.  I found myself going hungry (I think I even missed one meal---gasp!) just to keep reading.

If you haven't read the BDB, start with book one: Dark Lover.  And be advised that the series gets better and better as it goes.  Be prepared for violence and sex (about on the level of an HBO series), but overall, be ready for some excellent books!

Happy Mother's Day!

We want to wish all of our fellow moms a very happy Mother's Day!  

Do you have a Mother's Day tradition?  Last year, my baby was only 6 weeks old on Mother's Day so we had a quiet day at home.  This year, we'll be spending time with our extended family.  And I'm also saving City of Lost Souls to read during the precious nap-time hours!  Natalie gets her favorite breakfast and lots of family time on Mother's Day.  

Do you have any special plans for the day?  


The Marina's Tales Series by Derrolyn Anderson

I just finished a great contemporary, paranormal YA series called Marina's Tales by Derrolyn Anderson.  Read my reviews of the four books in this series here:
And now, to celebrate the completion of her series, Derrolyn is offering ALL of our blog readers a chance to read book one, Between the Land and the Sea, for free!

Simply go to the Smashwords page here, add the book to your cart, then enter coupon code FM28V during checkout.  And Between the Land and the Sea is yours to read for free!  Enjoy!

Read this book for free!!!

Book Review: The Turning Tides (Marina's Tales #4) by Derrolyn Anderson

Marina has been through a lot in the past year; she knows what she wants, and she decides to take matters into her own hands to get it. When a twist of fate takes her away from Aptos, she returns to find that her whole world has changed once again. A fortune teller’s ominous prediction seems to be coming true, people around her aren’t who they appear to be, and to top it all off, she’s being followed again. 

Marina and Ethan only want to be together, but find they are being torn apart by their very natures. Can they overcome a final obstacle to build the future they dream of?

Release Date:  March 11, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Review copy from author
Other Books in the Series: Between the Land and the Sea, The Moon and the Tide, The Fate of the Muse

This was the best book of the Marina's Tales series!  It was so good, and a perfect ending to what was a very enjoyable series for me.  I love the mix of contemporary YA and fantasy that Anderson provides with this series.  I loved how we got the perfect amount of closure for each character in the story.  I came to love the minor characters just as much, if not more than, the main characters in this series.  So it was great to see all of them get their own happily ever afters.

My favorite thing about The Turning Tides was Marina's personal growth.  She finally decides to stand up for herself in every way: she has a "get out there and get 'em" attitude towards the bad guys which I really liked.  She also finally starts to stand up to Evie, her well-meaning but overbearing "aunt."

I love Anderson's treatment of the love story in this series.  It is slow to develop, and so sweetly portrayed.  There is just the right amount of tension and discord to keep things from getting stale.  Marina and Ethan's relationship felt very realistic, which I appreciated.  I hate reading about too good to be true couples!  I loved watching Ethan and Marina grow as a couple, and was very satisfied with the ending to their story.

Overall, I would heartily recommend the Marina's Tales series.  This is a perfect example of a self-published series that is so worth your time.  People tend to overlook self-published authors, but authors like Anderson challenge, and hopefully will start to change, that kind of thinking. 

Book Review: The Fate of The Muse (Marina's Tales #3) by Derrolyn Anderson

Trouble is stalking Marina. She’s already escaped the clutches of her formidable foe once, but fate has even more trials in store for her. There are evil plans in the works– plans that threaten both her and her newly found family. 

As she struggles to come to grips with her unwanted powers, outside forces threaten to tear Marina and Ethan apart, making her doubt their vision of an idyllic future together. Can first love be true love?

Release Date: September 16, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Review copy from author

I have really enjoyed the Marina's Tales series, loving its humor, sweet love story, light-heartedness, and plot twists.  As far as main characters go, Marina is not one of my favorites.  I like Marina for her loyalty to her friends and family, and to the mermaids.  I don't like her stubbornness and tendency to make bad decisions.  She keeps secrets from her boyfriend, Ethan, secrets which ultimately put her life in jeopardy.  And she takes a long time to learn her lesson about that, but she finally does.  That growth is what kept me from really disliking her as a character.

Marina is a mermaid-human hybrid who has muse powers: she enhances the talents and emotions of everyone around her. I think that is such an interesting power, and it is neat to read about her effects on those around her.  For example, her cousin Cruz is a budding designer, and because Marina wants him to succeed, great things start happening for him and his career.  

Marina's power as a muse is what eventually gets her in trouble, though.  Other people know about this power, and are intent on capturing it for themselves.  The other threat is to Marina's mermaid family.  People want to capture the secret of immortality for themselves, and want to use the mermaids to experiment on.  Marina and Ethan's relationship is also in peril.  They are at odds for part of the book and I almost thought they were going to be done for good a couple of times. 

Overall, I enjoyed The Fate of the Muse.  The plot had more layers than the first two books, which I loved, and the ending sets things up perfectly for book four, the final book in the series.  

If you like reading about mermaids, you'll love this series.  If you like reading contemporary YA, you'll also like it.  The Marina's Tales series has a little bit of everything, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all ends in The Turning Tides.

Book Review: A Perfect Blood (The Hollows #10) by Kim Harrison

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth--a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons. But it can't be done without Rachel's blood, in this latest blockbuster by a "New York Times"-bestselling author.

Release Date: February 21, 2012
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Purchased

This was one of my favorite Rachel Morgan books so far.  I loved everything about it: the plot, the characters, the pacing, and the action.  Rachel has finally, finally embraced who she really is and it was great to read about her self-acceptance.  She has really grown a lot throughout this series.

A Perfect Blood had the most depth of any of this series to date.  I loved the inclusion of the paranormal hate group, which really thickened the plot.  I also loved seeing more of Trent in this installment.  He is one of the most nuanced characters, and I have really grown to like him.  He's come a long way from book one, in my opinion.  I also loved getting a glimpse of Ceri's happiness, having not been able to read about her for the last several installments.

I loved the quirky ending, which left me just wanting to read more.  A Perfect Blood ended on an upbeat note, and left me smiling. For some reason, I really like Al.  I know I'm not supposed to, him being an evil demon and all, but I keep finding good parts to him.  He does serve as a great villain, and I find myself looking forward to his scenes. 

If you have not read this series yet, I would definitely recommend it.  It has witches, vampires, werewolves, pixies, fairies, and more, and it is set in present-day Cincinnati.  It is one of the best paranormal series out there, in my opinion, and far outshines the Sookie Stackhouse books.

Book Review: Shopaholic and Baby (Shopaholic #5) by Sophie Kinsella

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is pregnant! She couldn't be more overjoyed; especially since discovering that shopping cures morning sickness. Everything has got to be perfect for her baby: from the designer nursery . . . to the latest, coolest pram . . . to the celebrity, must-have obstetrician.

But when the celebrity obstetrician turns out to be her husband Luke's glamorous, intellectual ex-girlfriend, Becky's perfect world starts to crumble. She's shopping for two . . . but are there three in her marriage?

Release Date: January 1, 2007
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: The Dial Press
Source: Library
Read my Shopaholic Series Review here

I've been waiting to read Shopaholic and Baby for a while now.  I was on my library's eBook waiting list, and missed the email telling me it was my turn to read the book.  So, I had to go back on the waiting list (at the bottom this time) and wait my turn again.  In the meantime, I skipped ahead and read the rest of the Shopaholic series, knowing I would come back and read book five when the eBook became available.  I never read series out of order but made an exception this time.

I started Shopaholic and Baby knowing for the most part how things would turn out for Becky and Luke, having read Mini Shopaholic (book six) already.  But, I didn't know there would be so much relationship drama in this book.  Becky was at a real low point for part of the book, lower than she usually gets when she "overextends" herself.  I liked seeing how she resolves things, especially because it involved some character growth.  I also loved the change in Luke and how he cherishes Becky.

This book was a nice diversion from the usual Shopaholic series plot points: Becky overshops, hides the evidence of her shopping and subsequent debt from everyone, and ends up saving herself in a brilliant solution which usually involves her selling many of her belongings.  The addition of Becky's pregnancy took the book in a different direction, which I really appreciated.

Overall, this was one of my favorite books in the series, if not my most favorite.  Having just gone through a pregnancy myself, I really identified with Becky and thoroughly enjoyed the book!

Book Review: Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

Release Date: March 13, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley

This was such a neat book.  I loved the unique premise of old people "renting" young bodies.  I usually don't like to summarize a book in my review, but this book was so unique that I couldn't review it well without explaining it a little.

Callie lives in Los Angeles and has been on the streets for a year with her younger brother, ever since her parents died of the plague (released by Pacific Rim countries during what is called The Spore Wars).  Only the very young and the very old received vaccinations, and as a result, the population is now comprised of Starters: kids under 20, and Enders: people over 70.  The new life span is up to 200 years; therefore, the Enders have passed laws protecting their jobs and livelihoods, thereby preventing the Starters from making a living.  Most, if they have no surviving Ender relatives, live on the streets.

To get money to pay for medication for her younger brother, who has a lung condition, Callie goes to Prime Destinations.  She rents her body to a wealthy Ender who wants to feel young again for a month.  But, something goes wrong.  Callie wakes up in her renter's life, and can hear her renter's voice in her head.  Little by little, the evil plans of the people who run Prime Destinations are revealed to Callie, and she is soon in a race to save all Starters, and herself.

I felt like Starters was a little slow to get going, but once it did, I really enjoyed the read.  I loved the relationships and the character growth, especially Callie's growth.  I liked the ending, which although not totally conclusive, gave enough closure that I feel comfortable waiting for book two in the series.  My one complaint about Starters was that I was able to predict some of the events towards the end of the book.  That did not lessen my enjoyment; however, and I will definitely be back to read more from Lissa Price.