Cover Reveal: Release

I've been a big fan of M.R. Merrick's books, a fantastic self-published Canadian author. His books are true gems in the YA world and I sing their praises at every chance I get!

I was super excited to hear that there was more information about the final book in the trilogy, Release, including a cover reveal and I'm so happy I get to share it with all of you today!

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems. Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates. Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna. One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

I love all Matt's covers, but this one is a perfect addition. It will look fantastic with the other two, and I love that they're all gender-neutral. I love a gorgeous, female-oriented cover as much as the next person but these covers do such a great job on completely capturing the feel of the books and definitely wouldn't isolate either gender.

For more info, make sure to check out:

M.R. Merrick | Goodreads | Exiled (Protector #1) | Shift (Protector #2)

So tell me, what do you think - good cover? Good fit for the series?


Stacking the Shelves {14}

Welcome to another week of Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga!

As Tynga explains, all you have to do is:
  • Create your own Stacking The Shelves post. You can use my official graphic or your own, but please link back to Tynga’s Reviews so more people can join the fun!
  • You can set your post any way you want, simple book list, covers, pictures, vlog, sky is the limit!
  • I am posting Stacking The Shelves on Saturdays, but feel free to post yours any day that fits you.
  • Visit Tynga’s Reviews on Saturday and add your link so others can visit you!
  • Visit other participants link to find out what they added to their shelves!

This last picture is my gift bag from the Bookstravaganza event put on by Random House Canada & Chatelaine Magazine! They always put together such fun events, and Bookstravaganza was an incredible night getting to learn about some exciting upcoming fall books. Plus both Shauna Singh Baldwin and Annabel Lyon were in attendance to mingle and sign books :)

It was definitely a VERY exciting week for me in terms of bookish things, and I can't wait to see what the rest of you enjoyed this week as well! Make sure to leave me a link in the comments so I can see what you received as well :)


Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake
Release Date ~ June 5, 2012
Poppy ~ Hachette Book Group
ISBN13: 9780316213271
Review copy received from HBG Canada for my honest review

Goodreads Synopsis:
A breathtaking new vision of a legendary tale. Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman who was dispatched to kill her.

First of all, I should let you know that I haven't seen the movie version of this (yet). So there's zero comparison to the  movie here. I am, however, a big fan of fairy tale retellings - the more creative, typically the better as long as the story still holds some fairy tale charm.

And this is where Snow White and the Huntsman had a great feel - the premise is incredibly creative and exciting, a great way to update an old story by including more action and a stronger heroine. The problem, I found, was that it sacrificed too much of the Snow White story to really resonate and moved at a pace that was too fast to carry out the plot.

  1. Plenty of story & action without romance:

    I really liked that the romance took a backseat in this story; there was definitely enough plot in terms of drama and action to keep the story moving along nicely without it. I didn't really feel like I was missing anything. And that was extremely refreshing.
  2. Darker twist on an old fairy tale:

    If you've never read some of the older, more "traditional" versions of your favourite fairy tales, I HIGHLY recommend you do so. It's surprising how much darker they are, especially for those of us who may have grown up with the Disney versions (although I do love Disney). It definitely gives you a better idea of just how versatile these stories are and how there's so much you can do with them. And the darker tales are a bit more fun when you're older.
The problem with the romance which I didn't mention above is that while there is very little (and I liked that), the little that there is ends up being incredibly awkward. There's next to no development for it and it just feels odd and out of place when it does happening.

Ultimately, that was a complaint which rang true for most of the book. The story simply didn't have enough explanation for events why they happened that way - such as Snow White's awakening. There's no reasoning for it. It just happens.

Lastly, besides Eric the Huntsman, there's very little development for the remaining characters, Snow White included. They felt incredibly 2D to me and didn't have distinctive voices from each other. The characters are one of the main ways an author can bring a story to life, and without any that are properly developed, you're really just left with words on a page.

The unfortunate part for me was that I could really see how this story could work better as a movie - there's enough action and creepy twists in here to keep me visually pleased, even if the story is subpar.


Purchase Links
United States


Blog Tour: Nerve

NERVE is an exciting new YA release from Penguin and I am SUPER excited to be able to share with you an excerpt of the book to give you an idea of whether you'd like it before you buy it, AND a special giveaway!

There are also a number of stops on the tour, and there are a total of 7 excerpts - make sure to check them all out to learn more about NERVE! Find the full schedule for the tour here.

About NERVE:

A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly.
When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?
Debut author Jeanne Ryan delivers an un-putdownable suspense thriller.

You can also find out more on Jeanne's website.


From chapter two, fallout from the first dare, which didn’t go as planned...
John and Max give me weird smirks. Is it my imagination? I’m being paranoid, right? Those guys are always smirking. Without making further eye contact, I put everything away, then head out to the fire escape, which fortunately is empty, thanks to Seattle’s strict public smoking laws. I pull out my phone and click to the NERVE site. There are a hundred and fifty comments linked to my video. Do I dare read them? Part of me feels mortified, yet a tiny part feels flattered to get so much attention. Not flattered enough to actually read the comments just yet, so I click over to my favorite shopping site and drag some high-end hair care products onto my wish list, even though what I really need is a good cut. Shivering, I wish I didn’t have to go inside for the intermission curtain. What if I just left it for someone else? But of course, I don’t do that. I’m the responsible one, despite what my parents currently believe. With a deep breath, I enter and scurry to the wings. As soon as the act is over and the drape drawn, I run back toward the fire escape, but Sydney catches up to me. “We need to talk.” Uh-oh. I keep going, but she follows me outside, tugging at my arm. “Matthew just whispered something about you playing NERVE. What’s he talking about?” My lungs deflate. I lean against the rough brick wall. “Okay, don’t get mad. It’s just that I was bummed about not being able to go to Ashley’s party last night. So I did a tiny little prelim dare.” Her body seems to rise off of the ground. “You what?” “I know. It was stupid. And it kind of went wrong. I had to dump water over my head, but then it made my shirt all see-through and, oh God, it’s such a mess.” I put my head in my hands. She makes a pursing sound with her lips. “Stop. It’s probably not a total disaster. We’ll take care of this. Where’s your phone?” I use my elbow to gesture toward my pocket, not wanting to take my face from my hands. She pulls it out and I hear clicking. Of course she knows exactly where to look online, being a NERVE wannabe. For a second, I feel a moment of satisfaction that I’ve actually done something that Syd had her eyes on before she was able to. But that feeling is soon squashed when I realize that she never would’ve been dumb enough for things to end up the way they had. “So which dare did you do?” she asks. “Coffeehouse,” I say through my fingers. More clicking. Then, “Oh, I see.” I lower my hands. “Told you.” Her face is serious. “Well, okay, let’s stop and think.” In addition to being blond and beautiful, Syd maintains an A average. “No further thinking required. I want to go home.” “Uh-uh, running away is only going to make things look worse. Besides, it’s not like the video shows that much. You weren’t naked. Maybe we can turn this around. Tons of celebrities got their start with leaked sex tapes.” “Um, my career goal doesn’t include reality TV.” “Okay, but the way those girls got through it was by holding their heads high. So, number one, don’t apologize. Just smile when people mention it and shrug, like aw gee, it could’ve happened to anyone.” I take the phone back from her and start scrolling through the comments. Sure enough, there’s one from Matthew that says, “Little Vee, I didn’t know you had it in you!” I close the link to the site and check my messages, finding a few from my friends with WTF subject lines and a few from acquaintances with lots of exclamation points and question marks. There’s one from a girl I’ve never heard of with a subject line that says SLUT. How did she get my address? I delete it before turning off the phone. Syd’s at the door. “You ready?” “I guess.” I try to keep my head up as we march inside toward the girls’ dressing room. In my peripheral vision, faces turn my way. When we enter the room, Sydney announces, “My best friend had the balls to do a NERVE dare!”

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Teen Review: As Dead As It Gets

As Dead As It Gets (Bad Girls Don't Die #3) by Katie Alender
Release Date ~ May 15, 2012
Hyperion Books
ISBN-13: 978-1423134725
Novel purchased personally

Goodreads Synopsis
 It's been three months since Alexis helplessly witnessed Lydia Small's violent death, and all she wants is for her life to return to normal.

But normal people don't see decaying bodies haunting photographs. Normal people don't have to deal with regular intrusions from Lydia's angry ghost, sometimes escalating to terrifying attacks.
At first, it seems that Lydia wants revenge on Alexis alone. But a girl from school disappears one night, and Alexis spots one of Lydia's signature yellow roses lying on the girl's dresser the next day. Soon, it becomes clear that several of Alexis's friends are in danger, and that she's the only person who can save them. But as she tries to intervene, Alexis realizes that her enemy is a much more powerful ghost than she's ever faced before... and that its fate is tied to hers in ways she couldn't possibly imagine.
Not even in her worst nightmares.

So I completely forgot that this book came out in May, or else I would've bought it as soon as it came out.  I found myself in Barnes and Noble one day, and to my surprise, I found it on the shelf.  I grabbed it, and did a little victory dance because I've been dying for this book to come out!  The last book left me hanging, and there was so much that happenned in those last fifty pages that I knew the next book would be awesome.

  1. This novel is different than others in the series:

    One thing that I really like about the Bad Girls Don't Die series, is that I find each novel has a very different feel to it.  The first novel, Bad Girls Don't Die, has an overall creepy and disturbing feel to it, as opposed to the second novel, From Bad to Cursed, which had a bit more of a psychological thriller feel to it.  I found that this book was very...  Unsettling.  That's really the only way I can describe it.  I got so many bad feelings about events, people, and there was a dream sequence that scared me silly.  There were too many coincidences, and I knew that there was something dreadful going on beneath the surface of everything. 
  2. Lexi's Attitude:

    Unlike a lot of heroines, Lexi doesn't like fighting ghosts.  She doesn't fight because she really wants to fight ghosts, she fights because she knows that she is one of the only people that can help.  In the book, as soon as she realizes that there is violent ghost activity in her town, she knows that she has to fight back.  I don't really think that Lexi would really bother too much with fighting ghosts if they didn't begin to affect her so much, which makes her seem a whole lot more real to me.
  3.  Loose ends are tied up:

    For those of you who have read the previous books, I'm sure the the last book's ending drove you crazy, as it did me.  At first, I was afraid that all the loose ends from the other book would just be ignored and forgotten about, and none of them would ever get tied up.  I can assure you that all loose ends are tied.
I really like this book, and I think that it's a marvelous conclusion to the Bad Girls Don't Die series.  I'm really sad that this trilogy is over, but I'm also really excited to see what Alender comes up with next.

Purchase Links
United States


Author Interview: Sarah Beth Durst

Last week was the release date of Sarah Beth Durst's YA epic fantasy VESSEL, and I was so very fortunate to be able to interview her in anticipation of this release! Sarah had some great answers to share with us about Vessel to give us a better idea of what her new book is about - which is great since I'm sure that most of you haven't read the book yet (I haven't either, but you know I'll be picking up a copy of Vessel as soon as I have the opportunity to)!

One of the main reasons I'm really looking forward to VESSEL is because I love the idea of a desert world and fantasy blended together. Could you tell us a little bit more about the kind of world you created and/or why you chose this setting for your newest release?

As someone who grew up surrounded by pines and maples and oaks and firs, I've always thought of deserts as these impossibly-faraway magical places -- the endless sand, the lifesaving oases, the brutal sun. Writing about one was a way to travel there without leaving my trees (or my air conditioner!). Even more, it was a way to travel to my ultimate desert -- a land filled with wolves made of sand, sky serpents of unbreakable glass, monstrous worms, gods and goddesses that inhabit human bodies... In VESSEL, I created a desert world imbued with magic and mythology so that I could travel there -- and hopefully bring readers with me!

Was writing VESSEL notably different from your previous experiences in writing books?

Yes. It was much more immersive. During each writing session, I'd try to sink into Liyana's world so I'd be riding with her on desert horses, dancing with her in the moonlight, and facing down the emperor of the Land of the Crescent Moon.

Would you say that it's very different from your other books? Because I was left with that impression after I read Tamora Pierce's early thoughts on it and I have to say that I'm intrigued by that.

All of my books are fantasy. It's just the way my mind works. If I write about a closet, it's much more likely to hold a gryphon than it is to hold summer dresses. Beyond that, though, all of my novels are different flavors of fantasy. DRINK, SLAY, LOVE, for example, is a snark-filled contemporary novel about a vampire girl and a were-unicorn. VESSEL is my first high fantasy. It's a sweeping, epic adventure about a girl who is destined to sacrifice herself so that her goddess can inhabit her body and save her clan... but her goddess doesn't come.

Being the author of this book, could you share with us any sort of an idea of what this book means to you? Were there any paricular reasons that inspired you to write this story or any themes/messages special to you?

VESSEL is about losing your destiny -- and what happens after. I am fascinated by the conflict between embracing your fate and changing it.

Lastly, I've been stalking the design of this cover ever since I first saw the original photo on deviantart a few months ago. It really grabbed me, and I've been keeping an eye on VESSEL ever since. How pleased are you with the design? Do you feel that it does a good job representing the content?

I love my cover! It was designed by photographer Jaime Ibarra and the Simon & Schuster art department. I think it captures the tone of the story perfectly.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

And thank YOU, Sarah, for taking the time to answer my questions and share all these exciting tidbits about Vessel! And congratulations on your newest release :)

Because I'm so excited about this book, and my goal as a book blogger is to spread my obsession love with high/epic fantasy books to the rest of you, I'm offering up one copy of Vessel to a lucky commenter! Book is from The Book Depository, so this one's international.

Bonus entry if you tweet about this interview & giveaway: "Check out this interview with Sarah Beth Durst at Esther's Ever After on her release of VESSEL & enter to win a copy! http://bit.ly/UgejL5" Your extra entry will only count if you include the link to your tweet in your comment.

Also, make sure to leave an e-mail where I can contact you & answer this question to be entered:

Why do you want to read Vessel?

Giveaway ends October 8, 2012. Good luck!


Book Trailer: Entice

So, awhile back I showed you the teaser trailer for Entice along with some news regarding Entice Me Day (which was yesterday - I hope you all enjoyed it!)

But today, we finally have the ENTIRE TRAILER!


I'm super curious to here what you think of this one in the comments! I like it- it isn't TOO cheesy, which I love. But I'm also not crazy impressed with it, and I'm not sure it really gets across how crazy intense and exciting this book is!

You can also check out some exclusive content on the new Grigori kids who show up in Entice, nicknamed "the God Squad" here and read my review of Entice - don't miss the giveaway for a signed copy!


Blog Tour: Flight

As part of the blog tour for the first book in The Crescent Chronicles, Flight, I have my review and thoughts on the book along with a giveaway with 4 chances to win a copy! Stop by the rest of the tour stops here.

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy
Release Date ~ August 16, 2012
ISBN13: 9781478292845
E-gallely received from author for blog tour

Goodreads Synopsis:
Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

Throw away most of your expectations for this book, because once I started reading I realized most of mine were wrong. The premise ended up really surprising me and was far more than I had hoped for.

There are definitely a number of creative ideas, and while a few aspects were overly familiar and a bit overdone there was enough in it that was unique and exciting to keep me interested.

  1. New  Orleans makes a charming setting:

    One of the biggest factors of this book is the setting, and I thought that Alyssa did a fantastic job bringing the setting to life. I can't speak for its accuracy, having never been there myself, but I did appreciate how important the setting was to the story and how much effort was put in its descriptions. And there's someting very mysterious and magical about New Orleans, isn't there?
  2. Unique paranormal ideas/mythology:

    I won't spoil it, but te basis for the paranormal occurences and magic in the story is something completely different. There are some similar ideas, as there always there since they help to ground the story and keep it somewhat familiar enough for the reader, but the way it plays out is rather unique. I think Flight only hints at the creativity, I'm hoping for more to come in later books as well.
One of the issues I ended up having with Flight was the romance, ultimately I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel about it at all. I'm really not a fan of guys who tend to act like controlling jerks most of the time, but what I found interesting was how Allie didn't try to justify that or talk about how "loving" those actions were. It frusrated her too, so perhaps the readers aren't supposed to find it completely and utterly romantic? I kind of hope so, since I wasn't feeling it yet.

Lastly, I was disappointed with some of the dialogue. It had a tendency at times to feel stilted and didn't flow as nicely as it could have. And some parts, such as the abrupt ending, just felt awkward like the book had ended in the middle of a conversation.

But I have to admit that I did enjoy this (very fast) read and I'd say it's somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Quick, easy, and strangely addictive in its own way. I'm really curious to see how some of these problems are worked out later on, because they're not going to be easy ones to fix.

Purchase Links
United States
You can find the author at:
Author Website: http://www.alyssaroseivy.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AlyssaRoseIvy

Twitter: @AlyssaRoseIvy, https://twitter.com/AlyssaRoseIvy

There is 1 print copy open to US readers & 3 e-book copies open to International readers! Just fill out the form and good luck :)

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Entice Me Day: God Squad

Entice Street Team
The Entice Street Team, along with Sourcebooks Fire, has been putting together some special character posts for you featuring the characters in the second Embrace/Violet Eden series, Entice, as part of the celebration for its release and upcoming debut of the trailer on Entice Me Day (a.k.a September 15th)! Follow along for exclusive content, and BIG giveaways that you DON'T want to miss :)

A Terrifying Trio

For Exiles that is! The Man With Something to Prove. The Foreigner. The Rebel. They may just be Grigori-in-training but whether they’re together or on their own, these three pack a real punch.

Spencer Gregory: Best Friend in a Brawl
He’s 17 and looks it, with floppy sandy blond hair green eyes and slender, but fit build. As a Grigori-in-training he dreams for the day when he’ll be allowed to fight—even though he doesn’t yet have a partner. He just pretty much he just wants to bring down the
baddies.  And get the last word in.

Salvatore Gavi: The Seeker of Lies
He may not speak English but he is one tough, strong Grigori-in-training. He has dark brown hair, bushy eyebrows, and broad shoulders—but don’t let his appearance fool you, he is very warm and approachable. He may not have a girl to call his own, but with Steph in the picture his relationship status is definitely changing…

Zoe Clarke: Emo Grigori-In-Training
Zoe is one short spiky haired, heavily rimmed eyeliner chick you don’t want to mess with. She has an affinity with nature and a gift of manipulating with motion. She loves dying her hair and has a weakness for M&Ms.

Listen as Jessica explains some new insights into Violet’s comrades-in-arms from gorgeous Balmoral Beach.  You couldn’t find a better place to hang with your friends!

The God Squad kids were one of my favourite things about Entice - just LOVED these characters, and they really added a bit more spark and fun to the book. You'll definitely want to check out their quick fact sheets on the Embrace Series site here to learn more! I'm especially a fan of Salvatore's future plans haha!

The Embrace site also has a really neat quote quiz - I don't know about you, but I'm a bit of a quiz-aholic. I'm always taking quizzes to learn more about myself. It's fast, it's fun, it's easy and you can do it here!

We also have a SUPER SPECIAL video from Jessica sharing some top secret info on these three. This is some pretty exclusive content, so make sure to watch the video (and check out the other videos from the other character posts - you can find the schedule here)! The schedule page also has more info on ENTICE ME DAY, coming up on September 15th and you will NOT want to miss that with a HUGE giveaway (including a Nook colour!!) and special author chat - RSVP here!

Entice Me Day

And if you're still looking for more - you can learn more about the book by reading my spoiler-free review here!

And lastly... a special giveaway for you!

First of all, I want to remind you of the huge Embrace Sweepstakes that Sourcebooks is hosting - you can enter until September 15th, by filling out the form here. But here's what you can win:
  • Nook colour! WITH e-books of Embrace, Entice, early chapters of Emblaze, as part of a "YA Starter Library" for a total of about 10 books. THIS IS HUGE. DON'T MISS IT. (I will add that it's US only, you lucky Americans you.)
BUT NEVER FEAR: because I have ANOTHER giveaway here for you. Standard giveaway rules apply, check the form and my policy page for those. This one is US/Canada only since I'm shipping.

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And one last thought before you leave... Ahem. Team Lincoln

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