ARC Review: Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer

Author: Maureen McGowan
Genre: Fiction, YA, Fairy Tales, Paranormal, MG, Choose Your Own Adventure
Release: April, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5
Description: In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read! Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.

What I Didn't Like
  • It's marketed as a book for young adults, but I think the language is more on the middle grade level. Just my opinion.
  • It got silly at times throughout the novel.
  • The "choose your own adventure" part of the book has you thinking for Lucette rather than Lucette thinking for herself.
What I Liked
  • Ms. McGowan gives an interesting twist to a classic fairy tale. I love the "fractured" fairy tale...some more so than the classics.
  • What I liked about the "choose your own adventure" bit was the fact that it made you a part of the story, despite the fact that you did the thinking rather than Lucette. Kids would love to be able to make the decisions, so it works for them.
  • Princess Lucette is your regular damsel in distress. Instead of a helpless princess waiting on her prince to rescue her, she's a brave, strong princess who does the saving along with her prince. She's also more of a tomboy than a pampered, spoiled princess.
  • I liked the twisted curse: During the day, while the everyone in the kingdom was awake, Lucette slept. During the night, when the vampires roamed, Lucette was awake while the kingdom slept.
Overall, Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer was a pretty good book. I enjoyed the twist and loved the fact that Lucette was an awesomely brave heroine. If you love fairy tales with a twist, this book is definitely for you.


ARC Review: God's Answers 4 UR Life

Author: Steve Russo
Genre: Christian, Nonfiction, Young Adult
Release: April, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5/5
Description: Searching for real answers about life—helpful answers that you can really trust? God’s Answers 4 UR Life responds to 125 everyday life issues from popular Bible versions. With relevant topics that include body mod, consequences, depression, eating disorders, music, purpose, and more, you’ll find just the answers you’re seeking as well as relevant life application sections written by popular youth speaker and ministry leader Steve Russo.

Review: I enjoyed reading God's Answers 4 UR Life. Each topic is alphabetized, which makes it easier to find. Each topic is short and sweet with simple language...language that won't go over the head of the youth reading it. Mr. Russo adds what he thinks on the topic (without being too preachy or judgmental) then adds what God has to say through scriptures. Although it's geared more towards youth, anyone can benefit from reading it, no matter where you are in your spiritual walk.


ARC Review: Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Volume 1

Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy; Graphic Novel
Release: March, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3.5/5

Description: Mercy Thompson inhabits two worlds without truly belonging to either. To the human inhabitants of the Tri-Cities she's an oddity, a female mechanic operating her own garage. To the town's darker residents, werewolves, vampires, and fae, she's a walker, a last-of-her-kind magical being with the power to become a coyote. Mercy warily straddles the fine line dividing our everyday world from that darker dimension... 'till a boy, mauled by vicious werewolves and forever changed by the attack and on the run from those who committed the crime, appears at her door. Now her two worlds are about to collide! Outnumbered and out-muscled, can Mercy possibly save the boy... or even herself?

Review: Mercy Thompson is a one-of-a-kind shapeshifter who can shift into a coyote. She's also a car mechanic who has her own shop. When Mac, a runaway werewolf shows up on her doorstep, Mercy takes him in. Eventually, she saves him from thuggish wolves, killing one of the wolves in the process. Afterwards, she hands Mac over to Adam, the local Alpha wolf. One night, Mercy finds Mac dead and Adam wounded, causing her to search for who's responsible.

What I Didn't Like
  • Mercy is half Native American, so I'd think the artist would make her skin color a little browner.
  • Sometimes, it was hard to tell the difference between some of the male characters. It tripped me up when I thought the character portrayed was someone only to find that he was someone else.
  • The extra chapter at the end. Tho I'm glad I got a look at how Mac came to be, the writing just didn't catch me. And the illustration wasn't on the same level as the illustration throughout the novel.

What I Liked
  • Mercy is such a kick-ass character. I'm a sucker for novels with strong heroines...especially when the book shows her vulnerable side (she's not all hard, but soft sometimes).
  • I like the fact that I didn't have to read the original novels in order to figure out what was happening. I didn't even know about Ms. Briggs' Mercy Thompson series before seeing this graphic novel.
  • Besides the fact that the illustration of the men were confusing at times, I liked the illustrations overall. Great details.
Overall, I liked Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Volume 1; enough to want to read the original series. This book will appeal to those who are already Ms. Briggs' fans as well as new fans.


ARC Review: Bite Me, Try Me, Fang Me

Author: Parker Blue
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
Release: March, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5/5

Description: An edgy book for teens that spans the gap between YA and adult fiction. Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Val Shapiro is just your ordinary, part-demon, teenaged vampire hunter with a Texas drawl. And a pet hellhound named Fang. Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.

Author: Parker Blue
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
Release: March, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5

Description: This part-demon teen vampire fighter and her faithful terrier hellhound are once again patrolling the dark city streets of San Antonio, Texas. Val's hunky human partner, Detective Dan Sullivan, is giving her the cold shoulder since she beheaded his vampire ex-fiancée. Vamp leader Alejandro is struggling to keep the peace between vamps, demons and humans. The mucho powerful Encyclopedia Magicka has been stolen, someone in the Demon Underground is poisoning vamps, and Val's inner lust demon, Lola, is getting very restless since Val's now partnered with sexy Shade, the shadow demon with the blond good looks of an angel.

The second book in Parker Blue's Demon Underground urban fantasy series plunges readers deeper into a heady world of passion, friendship, intrigue and mystery.

Author: Parker Blue
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
Release: March, 2011
Rating: 4/5

Description: The vampires want it. The demons want it, too. And someone is willing to kill Val for it.Val and Fang have to find the powerful Encyclopedia Magicka before either of San Antonio's warring underworld factions locate it or the consequences will be deadly for the entire city. As usual, Val's vampire enemies (they still call her The Slayer) want her dead.

Even some of her fellow demons may be less than trustworthy, since they'd like to grab the legendary book of spells before she does. Val has a personal claim to the Encyclopedia--her demon father left it to her when he died--but someone stole it recently. And that can't be good.Battling vamps and dodging demons, Val struggles to unravel the mystery and find the thief.

At the same time, she's fighting her attraction to sweet, sexy Shade--her favorite shadow demon. Rumor has it that Val will lose her part-demon, vampire-fighting powers if she gives herself to him.With a crowd of vamps and demons out to trick her or kill her, it's not a good time for her to risk her job as the city's best vampire hunter by falling in love. The stakes are high and aimed right at her heart. But Lola, Val's hungry little lust demon, doesn't like being denied. Will Lola finally get her way?What's a part-lust-demon-teen supposed to do? Whatever it takes.

Review: I love the character of Valentine "Val" Shapiro! She's definitely kick-ass, and I love that her vulnerable side shows also. Fang, her dog (part hell-hound) is seriously one of my favorite characters. The banter between him and Val is funny. In Bite Me, I liked how the love interest, Dan, stood up for Val to her family. I didn't quite like how he treated her in the end, but that only left the door open for Shade to move in. The reader sees growth in Val throughout the three books. In Bite Me, she's trying to find Fang Me, she has answers. This series is definitely fast-passed. It has action for the action junkie, romance for the romance junkie, mystery for the mystery get my idea. And the ending of Fang Me...I so hope there's another book in this series!


ARC Review: What Can't Wait

Author: Ashley Hope Perez
Genre: YA
Release: March, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5/5

Description: "Another day finished, gracias a Dios." Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over.

What Can't Wait—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.


  •  I honestly can't think of anything I didn't like about this book.

  •  I loved the character, Marisa. Such a strong, resilent girl with a good head on her shoulders. She could've whined about the cards life dealt her, but she doesn't. She's very loyal to her family, but in the end, she wants to do what's best for her.
  • I liked the fact that this character doesn't let her environment define her. She's not exactly rich, surrounded by people who got pregnant young, etc. She's determined to break the cycle.
  • Man, this book brings me through the emotions. I found myself cheering for Marisa, crying with her, etc.
  •  This is a very realistic book.

Many teens, especially teens of immigrants, will be able to understand Marisa's struggles. Even if you haven't been in the same situation, you can still understand the character. Marissa's determination will have you cheering her on. I loved this book!


ARC Review: Stroke of Midnight

Author: Bonnie Edwards
Genre: Erotica; Romance
Release: January, 2011
Rating: 2.5/5


An unlikely Cinderella…
When hardworking single mom Jaye Sinns meets younger playboy Alexander Carmichael, the sexual chemistry between them is undeniable. So Jaye gives in to temptation and allows him to whisk her away for her first-ever vacation. Two glorious weeks of no inhibitions, no strings and no responsibilities.

A charming prince of a guy…
Life with Alex is every woman’s fantasy—sizzling sex in the back of a limo, on a private plane, in exotic settings. But it’s not enough to fulfill a woman like Jaye for long. No matter how hot the sex is.

A happy ending?
Alex is soon craving more than Jaye’s body: he wants her love and admiration, too. For the first time in his life, he can’t buy the thing he desires most; and now he must decide if he’s willing to work at being the kind of man that Jaye needs, and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves.


What I Didn't Like
  • The ending felt rushed. It was a happy ending and there was just felt rushed.
  • It had a Cinderella premise, but was kind of predictable. Typical rich man meets and falls for poor girl...not much to set it apart.
  • The fact that Jaye was kind of quick to leave with a guy she just met. Would single mothers worried about their kids really leave for a whirlwind vacation with a stranger? I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

What I Did Like
  • Although it was quite predictable, the Cinderella theme kind of works for the story. I just wish there was something to set it apart from the other "Cinderella" romance stories.
  • The characters were well-developed despite the short length.
  • Jaye was a hardworking mother...I loved her strength.

Overall, it was an okay, but quick read. While it wouldn't be on my "Read Again" list, I enjoyed it. The love scenes were quite descriptive. Very hot and steamy. Lol!


Mail Call: Dubai Edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Here, we post books that we have bought, borrowed, or received.

About 2 weeks ago, I visited Dubai, which is only about an hour and a half away from me. One of the places on my "Must Visit" list was Book World by Kinokuniya in Dubai Mall. My goodness the place was HUGE! So. Many. Books. We're talking about 68,000 sq. ft. of awesomeness here. You know I was in heaven, right? Cos I was. Book Nerd Heaven.

I had to stop myself from going crazy with the book-buying. I ended up buying a few books. Just a few...

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
Modelland by Tyra Banks


Update/Future Plans

I'm still alive. I promise. Adjusting to living and working in another country has taken longer than I thought it would take. But I AM adjusting and that's what counts. I've just been totally drained by the end of my work days. Who knew teaching 20-something 3 and 4 year olds who don't speak speak your language could be so tiring. Because of my lack of energy, my writing, reading, and blogging has fallen behind. I'm hoping this is only temporary...something I'm experiencing cos I'm in a new country. Adjusting to a new environment takes time, right?

The end of the 1st trimester is near, so I should be good. I plan to relax and enjoy my WELL-DESERVED break in December. Of course, I plan to catch up also. There will be a few changes to both blogs for the new year. What changes, you may ask? Well, you'd have to wait til 2012. Until then, I'll be posting book reviews for the rest of this year.
Stay tuned...


Tickle-Me Tuesday

funny pictures


Man-ificent Monday: Udi Karni

Manificent Mondays are back! This week's cutie is actually from my side of the world. Udi Karni is an Israeli athlete turned model. Aren't his eyes gorgeous? And I love his lips.
Word(s) to Describe: Cutie pie. Gorgeous.


Inspirational Sunday

"All the believers were united in heart and mind."

Acts 4:32
Rae's Thought: This is a previous post. I'm going to focus on lessons 21st century Christians can learn from 1st century Christians.

Lesson #1: Believers should be united in heart and mind. Somewhere between the first century and now, Christians became divided over the legalities (how to worship God, church laws, what should be worn, etc) of Christianity. Now, we have several groups separated - and sometimes even warring - with each other. But it wasn't always like this. There was a time, in the infant stage of Christianity, when believers were just that...believers.

Christianity was birthed during the first century. At that time, the death/resurrection of Jesus was fresh on believers' minds. Some believed because they witnessed the events first-hand, while others became believers simply because they heard and chose to believe. Either way, the Bible says they were "united in heart and mind." There were no Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc. They were just Christians - those who believed in the resurrected Savior, the Son of God. They may have disagreed with each other on certain things, but still they were united.

We, as twenty-first century believers, must become united. Sometimes we get so stuck on whose way is better, on who's the better believer, that we forget that it isn't about us, but about God. When we focus on the differences, not only do we become divided, but we also take the focus off of God and put it on us.

The Bible later tells us that "God's great blessing was upon them all" (Acts 4:33). Do you know how much more God would bless us if we move our focus of off us and put it on Him? Do you know how big of an impact we can have on this world if we were united in heart and mind. We live in a dark world, thirsty and desperate for light. WE can be that light. But first, we need to get over our differences and realize that, under all the legalities, we're all believers who love and believe in Jesus, the Son of God and the resurrected Savior.


Random Thoughts Thursday: I'm Baaaaaack!

I know. I've neglected this blog in the midst of my moving. It's just been...crazy, ya know? But I'm back. This blog is like the oldest child. Born first, had "mommy's" attention for a while, basked in the awesomeness that is being the only child then BAM! Another child comes along and steals the spotlight. Now, "mommy" is paying more attention to the younger child than she is the 1st one. Yes, my attention was pulled away to my 2nd "baby" (my other blog), but it doesn't mean I love this baby any less.

I'm the oldest child in my family, by the way. While it may have been cool being the only child for my first four years, I'm so glad my parents had my brother (4 years younger than me) and my sister (6 years younger than me). When they were born, they were my babies. Who needed baby dolls when I had real babies in the house? I love them to death. Even in adulthood, they're my babies. :) So anyway, I'm back. I may not be back at full capacity yet what with school about to start and this being my first year teaching in another country...but I'll be blogging as much as I can.

Ahhhh! It feels so good to be back!


Please be patient...

I arrived in Abu Dhabi last night. It'll take some time to get used to things and get settled in, so please be patient with me. I'll be back posting in no time. Promise. Until then, follow my adventures in Abu Dhabi on my other blog, The International Diva (
See ya soon!


ARC Review: A Silken Thread

Author: Brenda Jackson
Genre: Romance,
Release: April, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5

Description: For Erica Sanders, finding a soul mate was the easy part. Brian Lawson is the man she wants, and everyone agrees they're the ideal couple. Almost everyone. The one exception is Erica's mother, Karen, who prefers her daughter marry another man. Karen even hires a private detective to investigate Brian, but the truth he uncovers is the last thing she expected—a devastating betrayal that rips both families apart.
Convinced that her relationship can't be salvaged, Erica ends her engagement. Yet she has lingering doubts over her decision, especially once Brian's attractive single neighbor starts pursuing him. A chance meeting proves that the passion between Brian and Erica hasn't dimmed—but neither has the determination of others to keep them apart, or the shocking lengths Karen will go to in order to undermine her daughter's relationship.

As secrets old and new are revealed, Erica and Brian find themselves caught between the bonds of the past and an uncertain future, each making painful discoveries about who to believe and trust. Masterfully told and laced with the sensuality and drama that Brenda Jackson does best, this is an unforgettable story of relationships at their most complex, and how hard it can be to choose between living separate lives—or holding fast when love hangs by a silken thread…

  • The fact that Erica was so quick to believe the worse in Brian. When something came up against him, she was quick to believe he did it.
  • As much as I wanted to care for the relationship between Erica and Brian...I didn't. Well, not much anyway. It lacked spark...kind of boring.
  • The story was slow at times, especially in the beginning.
  • Despite the fact that their relationship was a bit boring to me, I still liked the fact that they get together despite the obstacles that tried to keep them apart. What's a romance without a happy ending?
  • I loved the subplots more than I did the main plot. The relationship between April, Erica's best friend and Griffin, the man Erica's mom really wanted her to marry and the one between Rita, Brian's mom, and Wilson, Erica's still married father were more interesting. I really wanted to see what happened to them.
  • The scandal/deceit/unexpected love made the book interesting.
I love Brenda Jackson. I just didn't fall in love with this book. It was ok. To be fair, though, it reads kind of like a soap opera, and I'm not all that big on soaps. I'd still read any of Brenda Jackson's work cos she's just an awesome writer.


ARC Review: Midnight Caller

Author: Leslie Tentler
Genre: Romance, Suspense, Mystery, Paranormal
Release: February, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3.5/5

Description: Late-night radio-show psychologist Rain Sommers is used to the crazies who call in to rage from the back alleys of the French Quarter and the shadows of the bayou. But one caller's chilling obsession with her and her long-ago murdered mother—an iconic singer beloved among the city's Goth community—has even the jaded Rain running scared as a sadistic serial killer known as the Vampire prowls New Orleans.

FBI agent Trevor Rivette is convinced her midnight caller and the killer are one and the same. As it becomes disturbingly clear that the Vampire has a sick bloodlust only Rain can satisfy, she allows Trevor to get closer and closer. But he soon discovers that his secretive past and troubled present are intertwined—and that he may die trying to keep Rain's fate out of a madman's control.

  • The fact that Trevor's dad, who was extremely abusive to his kids (he almost killed Trevor), did all he did and still was able to walk the streets freely. I get that he was a cop and cops protect their own, but I don't know. I think he got off too easily.
  • It left me hanging with the paranormal aspect. The serial killer drained the victims' blood and drank it, he looked impossibly young despite being an older guy...but it said nothing about whether or not he was a vamp or just a sick guy blessed with youthful looks.

  • Rain annoyed me at times, especially when the serial killer set his sights on her. I get being independent and wanting to take care of yourself, but I mean come on. When the killer stalked her and Trevor stationed an officer to stay at her house, she snook out of the house to meet Trevor's sister. She made a few not-so-smart decisions like that.
  • The description is excellent. I love it when the author's writing allows me to visualize the setting and what's going on.
  • Trevor Rivette. I mean, yeah he had major issues stemming from his abusive childhood, but I kind of liked him as a hero.
  • Trevor's siblings and the fact that they went on with their lives in spite of what their father did to them. They were still hurting and dealing with the issues, but they moved forward instead of stayed stuck. And they loved their big brother so much, that they wanted him to move forward also.
  • The twists and turns kept me guessing. The story was very complex, but it worked.
I'm looking forward to reading the second book, Midnight Fear.


ARC Review: One Hundred Candles

Author: Mara Purnhagen
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Release: July, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5

Description: It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….

But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I've opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.

Review: Charlotte Silver is the daughter of parents who make a living scientifically disprove the existence of ghosts. This is fine, except for the fact that Charlotte has been contacted by an evil spirit bent on harming her. And then, she goes to a party where they play a game called One Hundred Candles, which unleashes other spirits that may put her friends and family in danger. What's a girl to do?

  • The only thing I didn't like about this book is the fact that I have to wait til September for the next book, Beyond the Grave.

  • The spooky level in this book is high. I so wasn't expecting it, but boy did I enjoy it. Ms. Purnhagen's descriptive writing adds to the all-around creepiness.
  • Charlotte's character. She wasn't a whiny weak character. I love books where the heroine is flawed, yet strong and Charlotte is such a character. She's got a lot of spunk, even when it comes to dealing with the spooky factor. She has to deal with this evil spirit, whatever's threatening her friends, the problems her parents may be having in their marriage, and normal teenage problems, yet she doesn't bow down to the pressure. She's not emotionless, tho. The problems bother her just as it would other teens in her situation.
  • Sometimes, the love triangle thing gets played out in YA books, but it worked in this one. It wasn't a love triangle all the way cos one of Charlotte's love interest didn't own up to his feelings.

One Hundred Candles is a fast-paced, action-packed read. I didn't read the 1st book in the series, Past Midnight, so I love the fact that I didn't have to read it to know what was going on in One Hundred Candles.


ARC Review: Lost Voices

Author: Sarah Porter
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Release: July, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5

Description: Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?

The first book in a trilogy, Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

Review: Lost Voices is the first book in a trilogy by debut author Sarah Porter.

  • It was slow quite a few times in the book.
  • Luce was so bent on admiring Catarina, the tribe leader, even when Catarina treated her like crap. This made her seem desperate and a little...sad. Luce's attitude toward Catarina was a bit naive and annoying.
  • Most of the mermaids blended in with each other. There wasn't really anything special about them that made them stand out or memorable. Most of them were annoying.
  • I wasn't crazy about Catarina's (or many of the other mermaids') mood swings. One minute she was nice and sweet, the next she was mean and conniving.
  • The book didn't really address the abuse the girls went through as humans. They went through some pretty heavy stuff...not just beatings.

  • Ms. Porter does an excellent job in her descriptions. I could visualize everything while reading. Being a very visual person, this was all kinds of awesome.
  • Although Luce annoyed me with her blind devotion to Catarina, I like the fact that she didn't change and become a mean mermaid, although it probably would have made life easier for her.

I'd say Lost Voices is a bit darker, though not too much, cos of some of the elements (the abuse, the siren aspect, etc). Overall, it was an ok read. I may read book #2 in the series.


ARC Review: Dead Is Not An Option

Author: Marlene Perez
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Release: May, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4.5/5

Description: It’s springtime of senior year, and psychic sleuth Daisy Giordano is preparing to say goodbye to Nightshade High. But no college acceptance letters have arrived yet, and she’s beginning to worry about where she’ll end up come fall—and if it will be anywhere near her boyfriend, Ryan. But that’s not the only uncertainty Daisy’s dealing with. There’s a vamps-versus-shifters war going on in Nightshade, and things are so tense that there is talk of canceling the prom. The conflict is carrying over to the Giordano home, since Rose and Daisy are both dating werewolves and Poppy’s new boyfriend is a vampire.

Can the paranormal community in Nightshade finally find peace? And will Daisy and her friends survive graduation? All of these questions and more are answered in the latest explosive installment in the Dead Is series.

Review: I must say that I've loved this series. Dead is Not An Option is book #5 and the final book in this series featuring amatuer sleuth, Daisy Giordano. This is Daisy's final leg of high school and she still hasn't received a college acceptance letter. To make matters worse, her boyfriend, Ryan, may end up going away college. While dealing with normal Senior stuff, not getting her acceptance letter, and the possibility of having to part with Ryan, a new mystery comes up that Daisy can't resist. Add to that the fact that she's trying to release her friends from a spell and you've got a very interesting and enjoyable read.

  • This is the last book in the series featuring Daisy. *sad face* I really liked this series.
  • One of the characters dies. Not going to say who (you've got to read it to find out). The character wasn't a huge player in the story, but was important nonetheless. The death was sad.

  • I loved Daisy. She was strong, determined, likeable...a well-rounded character. She didn't seem too perfect. And I loved her voice. She experienced major growth throughout the 5 books.
  • All loose ends from the whole series were tied up by the end of Dead Is Not An Option. I wasn't left hanging.
  • Daisy's family. They were a good support system for her. Because I was raised in a close-knit family, I always love reading books with close-knit families and Daisy's was no exception.
  • I like that Daisy was able to handle Senior year, mystery of who's trying to kill off all of Nightshade's paranormals, mystery of what college she's going to, the possibility of not being with her boyfriend in the fall, and trying to release her friends from a powerful spell without going crazy.

Dead Is Not An Option is a light, enjoyable paranormal read and I definitely recommend the whole series! According to Ms. Perez's website, the Dead Is series will not end, just Daisy's reign as the main character. She (Ms. Perez) has two more Dead Is book coming out so far, Dead Is A Battelfield and Dead Is a Killer Tune, featuring a new character. I look forward to reading them.



I haven't been on my blog schedule as I'd like to have been. What can I say? Getting ready to move to another country is keeping my busy. I'll return to my regularly scheduled program in August...hopefully.

I've gotten so behind in my Netgalley reviews, so this weekend, I played catch up. So until I can get to the point where I can go back to my scheduled posting, please enjoy my book reviews (thank God for being able to schedule posts). I'll be updating my other blog, The International Diva, too. In case this is your first time visiting my blog (welcome) or you haven't visited in a while (welcome back), I'm moving out of the country to the gorgeous city of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), about 2 hours from Dubai. My other blog is where I'm chronicling my journey.

So, anyway, that's it. Y'all have an awesome week!


Arc Review: Famous

Author: Simone Bryant
Genre: YA
Release: December, 2010
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5

Description: Fame. Fortune. Friendship.
Two out of three ain't bad...

At prestigious Pace Academy, the Pacesetters make the rules. But in the world outside, being rich and popular doesn't always get you what you want...

Starr has ambition, charisma, and--thanks to her father's record company--all the connections to put together a music group and bring it major exposure. Just one problem: Starr can't sing, and now her friends are looking to replace her with her arch-rival, Natalee...

Dionne is excited about being the rapper of the group--even if her parents don't approve. But it's hard to focus on her rhymes when she'd rather be spitting game than writing sixteen bars.

Marisol loves the stage, though it's dancing, not singing, that's in her blood. She'd do anything for her friends--except give up her own shot at stardom...

With ego trippin' and infighting tearing their friendship apart, Starr, Dionne, and Marisol are finding that the big-time comes with even bigger problems...

Review: This is book #2 in the Pace Academy series (the first being Fabulous). It's written in the same tone as the Gossip Girl series, and centers around three girls, Starr, daughter of a record mogul and superstar singer; Dionne, daughter of a rap star; and Marisol, daughter of a baseball star. There's a new face that enters the mix that just may mess up the close friendship these girls share.

  • Some of the descriptions were a little irritating at times (rhinestone-covered picture...lip-gloss covered mouth, etc). The fact that they had an iPhone 4 was mentioned several times. We knew she had the phone from the first time it was mentioned, so there was no need to keep repeating it.
  • The end left me hanging...but the 3rd book in the series, Glamorous, comes out early next year.
  • It started off a little slow for me...didn't really get into it til before the midway.

  • Marisol is definitely my favorite character. She was strong and had her head in the right place. There for her friends, but she had her own dreams to go for.
  • I liked that I didn't have to read book #1 to understand what was going on. Famous each book can stand alone.

I wasn't really a big Gossip Girl fan, but, Famous is perfect for those who did enjoy it.


ARC Review: Mystify

Author: Artist Arthur
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Release: January, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3.5/5

Description:Sometimes being an outsider is the best way to fit in…

Sasha Carrington has grown up feeling like an outsider, and her parents are too concerned with scaling the Lincoln, Connecticut, social ladder to even notice her. They’d be really horrified to know about the supernatural abilities Sasha and her friends Krystal and Jake possess. But as part of the Mystyx, Sasha has found her place.

Now her parents have suddenly taken an interest in everything she does, and their timing couldn’t be worse. Sasha’s father wants her to become BFFs with snooty Alyssa Turner, who hates Krystal for stealing her boyfriend. Then there’s Antoine Watson, the boy Sasha has liked forever, the boy her parents would never approve of. But with the dark side getting more dangerous by the day, and the Mystyx’s own powers growing in unexpected ways, Sasha is facing choices that could affect her friends, her love life—and even her destiny…

  • There are a few questions that remain unanswered. I assume they will be answered before the series ends, tho.

  • Sasha was rich, but she didn't behave like a spoiled rich girl. She wasn't a snob, like her fellow rich teens.
  • Sasha was a strong character...not easily swayed by her wealth.
  • It was a little better read than Manifest.
  • Again, I love the multicultural cast.

Mystify is another quick read. I'm definitely looking forward to book #3, Mayhem.


Whatever Wednesday: Mail Call

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Here, we post books that we have bought, borrowed, or received.


Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson


Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs


Tickle-Me Tuesday

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @


New Blog!

Just letting y'all know I now have another blog, The International Diva, chronicling my adventures abroad. My first post just went up. Stop by and visit!


Man-ificent Monday: Men of Transformers 3

Since I've been waiting for this movie to come out and am planning on going to see it soon, I've dedicated today's post to the cutie pies of Transformers 3: Patrick Dempsey, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and Shia LaBeouf. Nothing like a good dose of eye candy!

PATRICK DEMPSEY: This cutie is now known for his role as Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy. He's also had roles in Can't Buy Me Love, Enchanted, and Sweet Home Alabama. He plays villian, Dylan Gould in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.

JOSH DUHAMEL: This cutie started out on All My Children as Leo Du Pres. He's also had roles on Las Vegas, Crossing Jordan, and Win A Date With Ted Hamilton. In Trasnformers 3, he reprises his role as Lieutenant Colonel William Lennox. His wife is singer, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.


TYRESE GIBSON: This cutie got his big break after appearing in a Coca Cola commercial singing the phrase, "Always Coca Cola." He's an R&B singer as well as an actor and former model. He's had roles in Baby Boy, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers and Fast Five. His fifth album came out this year. Tyrese reprises his role as Sargeant Robert Epps in Transformers 3.


SHIA LABEOUF: This cutie started out on Disney's Even Stevens as Louis Stevens. He later went on to have roles in Holes, Disturbia, I Robot, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Eagle Eye, and Wall Street. He reprises his role as Sam Witwicky on Transformers 3.



Inspirational Sunday

"All the believers were united in heart and mind."
Acts 4:32

Lesson #1: Believers should be united in heart and mind. Somewhere between the first century and now, Christians became divided over the legalities (how to worship God, church laws, what should be worn, etc) of Christianity. Now, we have several groups separated and sometimes even warring with each other. But it wasn't always like this. There was a time, in the infant stage of Christianity, when believers were just that...believers.

Christianity was birthed during the first century. At that time, the death/resurrection of Jesus was fresh on believers' minds. Some believed because they witnessed the events first-hand, while others became believers simply because they heard and chose to believe. Either way, the Bible says they were "united in heart and mind." There were no Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc. They were just Christians - those who believed in the resurrected Savior, the Son of God. They may have disagreed with each other on certain things, but still they were united.

We, as twenty-first century believers, must become united. Sometimes we get so stuck on whose way is better, on who's the better believer, that we forget that it isn't about us, but about God. When we focus on the differences, not only do we become divided, but we also take the focus off of God and put it on us.

The Bible later tells us that "God's great blessing was upon them all" (Acts 4:33). Do you know how much more God would bless us if we move our focus of off us and put it on Him? Do you know how big of an impact we can have on this world if we were united in heart and mind. We live in a dark world, thirsty and desperate for light. WE can be that light. But first, we need to get over our differences and realize that, under all the legalities, we're all believers who love and believe in Jesus, the Son of God and the resurrected Savior.


Upcoming Inspirational Posts

Twenty-first century Christians can learn so much from Christians of the first century. This month, my Inspirational Sunday posts will focus on lessons I've learned from reading about this first group of Christians in the book of Acts. STAY TUNED...


Blogger Lift

Today, I 'm featured on In Between Writing and Reading. Stop on by and read my interview. Thanks so much, Jude, for this opportunity.


I'm baaaaaaack...

...and I SO missed blogging. I'm still busy (working and preparing for my trip), but I'm trying to get back to blogging. It'll be a little easier now cos I've got a new & better phone. I still don't have Internet access at home, but the Internet on my phone is so much quicker now.

Anyway, I've decided to leave my book reviews on this blog and start a different blog for my Abu Dhabi experience. It'll be up within the week.

That's it for now. Hope y'all are enjoying your weekend!


Random Thoughts Thursday

I promise I haven't forgotten about blogging. I've just been so busy getting things together for my move to Abu Dhabi (notarizing, authentication, travel forms, etc). I'll be back within a week or 2 (more like a week, tho cos I miss blogging). There are gonna be a few changes here in the next coming months. I'll go more into detail after I've worked things out. But I'll be back. Really. I promise. Pinky swear.


Man-ificent Monday: Nicholas Gonzalez

This week's cutie pie is actor, Nicholas Gonzalez, from San Antonio, TX. Nicholas is best known for his role as Alex Santiago in Resurrection Blvd in the late 90s. He's played on TV shows like The O.C., Law & Order: SVU, CSI: Miami, and Melrose Place. He had a recurring role on ABC's, Of the Map (I think the show is cancelled, though). He was romantically linked to Regina King a few years ago. Nicholas has also done some nude modeling. Yeah, uh...I got quite an eyeful while looking for pics to post. ;D

Word(s) to Describe: Sexy, Gorgeous


ARC Review: Sweet As Sin

Author: Inez Kelley
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Release: January, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5/5

Description: She was made for sin. Sin was something he knew intimately.

Bestselling YA author John Murphy is the acclaimed Master of Monsters. But when the door creaks shut, the monsters master him. His haunted past has destined him to hell, but he won’t let that get in the way of enjoying his present or his delicious new neighbor. Enthralled by her, his secrets begin to unravel and the pages of his latest manuscript are written by his deepest fears…and in blood.

Pastry chef owner of The Sugar Shack, Livvy Andrews is as sinfully sweet as the confections she makes and just as irresistible. Her hidden passions erupt when a spicy new neighbor moves in next door and she is powerless against the lure of a man familiar with the erotic delicacies of life. She realizes there are more layers to him than she imagined, each one a delicious or frightening discovery. As lust turns to love, Livvy will master the monsters John keeps in the dark— but at what price?

Review: When John met his next door neighbor, Livvy, his original plan was to have a hot affair. Livvy's original intention was to stay away from John and resist his charm. You know the saying, "The best laid plans often go awry." They find themselves in the middle of a hot and heavy affair, their feelings for each other growing each day. Will their love be enough to get them past the personal demons that threaten to overwhelm them?


  • Honestly, there's nothing I didn't like about this book. Maybe that it ended?


Where do I start?

  • I LOVED the complexity of the characters! Both Livvy and John are such three-dimensional. Livvy so dang lovable. She's strong, yet vulnerable. She sticks with John in spite of his personal demons. It takes a strong woman to stand by her man through his struggles. And John. Whew! He's a sexy bad boy. He's by no means perfect. At one point, he's an ass and nearly breaks Livvy's heart. We see his vulnerability big time in this book. The secondary characters are awesome, too, but Livvy and John are by far my fave.

  • The author's voice is awesomeness.

  • I was so emotionally connected to these characters that I wanted to know what happened even after the book was done. This book definitely took me on an emotional roller coaster. I mean, I felt what the characters were feeling, especially John. He went through hell in his tween/teen years and I felt for him...the kid John as well as the adult John.

  • I liked the fact that John was a best-selling YA urban fantasy author. He wrote under a pen name. The characters in his books represented different parts of himself. When he met Livvy, a new character came on scene. The books coincided with his personal struggles. You know how some kids create outlets to help them forget abuse. Well, John's was his fantasy world.

  • I loved the chemistry between John and Livvy. Can you say hot? There's some sexual tension, but they didn't automatically fall into bed with each other. I loved that.

  • I loved the fact that Livvy got her inspiration for sweet creations from everyday living.

Sweet as Sin is so much more than just a romance book. I loved it! It had me from beginning to end. I seriously stayed up all night to finish this book. If you love books with complex characters you'll fall in love with, a catchy storyline that'll grab at your emotions, a romance story that's o much more than just a romance story, and a fun, sexy read, Sweet As Sin is the perfect book for you! Inez Kelley now has a new fan.