Thursday, February 26, 2015

Daughter of the Howling Moon by R.H. Burkett Review

Hey readers! Happy Thursday! I've got a bit of a late night review for you folks tonight. I devoured this read and could not wait to share my thoughts with all of you guys. All you paranormal readers better be paying attention, I'm about to shake up your TBR! What am I raving about? Daughter of the Howling Moon by R.H. Burkett! Here's a bit about the novel and our author before we get to my thoughts:



From time to time--when the need is great, when injustice can no longer be tolerated, when the very heavens cry "Enough!"--a champion is born. Even though she doesn't know it, Bethany Ann is such a champion. Fiercely loyal 
to what's right, a defender of the weak and innocent, she is the
Daughter of the Howling Moon.



(Note: this official synopsis does no justice to how absolutely incredible this novel is! Also, how awesome is that cover?)






R.H. Burkett

RH Burkett was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and was famous from birth because she and her brother were the first set of boy/girl twins born at the local hospital. She studied drama at the University of Arkansas and joined Rogers Little Theatre acting in many musicals and productions. She married a United States Air Force Sergeant and moved to Salem, Massachusetts, to work for Parker Brothers Games as a sales analyst. From there she moved to Galveston, Texas to work in banking. A hurricane brought her back to Fayetteville.
Burkett is a professional Tarot card reader who discovered her gift for writing when she penned her first novel, Soldiers from the Mist, which broke open the dam for many more novels to follow.
She has won many writing awards, including the Ozarks Writer's League 2010 Book of the Year for Soldiers from the Mist; Storyteller Magazine People's Choice Award; The Clouse Literary Arts Award; and the 2010 Hightower Award.

Find R.H. Burkett


*********************************************************************************
My Thoughts:

Allow me to start out by saying that this is my very first read from the mind of R.H. Burkett. I have heard about this novel for months via social media, and have always had it on the back burner. I didn't know what to think about this read, and the synopsis really didn't speak to me. What is this? Great question. Who was this written for? Better question. Did I devour the entire thing in an effort to find out? You better believe I did.

Oh man readers, I don't even know how to BEGIN this review. Actually yes I do. WHY ARE YOU READING THIS?! Go buy this book!! Seriously guys. Woah. As any of you guys who follow me know, I read a whole lot. But honestly, what book blogger doesn't? In addition to blogging, I'm also reading for my agency internship, so seriously, book are my life right now.

Over the past two months, I've been on a roller coaster of reads. Everything is staying pretty mellow for me, then every 4-5 books, one knocks it out of the park and raises the stakes. Every so often, a book totally takes me through a cobra rolling-corkscrew twist of events (some roller coaster lingo for you guys there). It isn't often that a book pulls me in for the ride and won't let me off, but guys, let me tell ya. I rode this ride, got off, and got RIGHT back in line. Can you say incredible? Holy hell Batman, in-cred-i-ble!

So, in true One Guy's Guide to Good Reads fashion, allow me to start out with my negative critiques of the novel. Here we go. Well..... it..... Hmm..... Well guys, this part is going to be real short. Guess what? I don't have a SINGLE negative thing to say about this novel. Not a ONE. When was the last time you saw that in one of my reviews?

Rather than critiquing, here's a few "warnings" you may want to be aware of. There are a couple of special topics that some readers will want to be aware of. First, this book does deal with some pretty dark material, primarily rape and murder. It's heartbreaking, but an all too real part of life for lots of people. Burkett does an incredible job of showcasing such delicate topics with grace and maturity, something that isn't easily done in the book world. Also, religion plays a huge role in our story. Not in any kind of pro or anti-God kind of way, I just know that some readers like to know what they are getting themselves into! Like Camille Faye's Voodoo Butterfly, which I reviewed a few months back, this novel also takes place in the Louisiana bayou and is full of voodoo and mysticism. Fair warning, it puts the awesome in awesome-sauce.

Now let's get to raving about this incredible read!

So let's start with the setting. The swamps of the Louisiana bayou. Mysterious, dangerous, eerie? Oh yeah. Maybe it's my love of all things voodoo and paranormal, but I love anything that is set in this area. I just feel like there is a lot of fun to be had, especially during this time period. Burkett never gives a specified data, but one of our main characters fought in World War II, so I am imagining this story takes place in the early 1950s? I could be wrong, but that's what I pictured. A simpler time of RC Cola and enjoying a mild summer breeze on your front porch. Southern culture oozed out of every crevice of this novel and I loved it!  Burkett does a whole lot with only a little in this novel. Sure it isn't 300 pages, but I haven't connected this well to a setting or time period in some time. With Burkett and this novel it's all about the quality, not the quantity!

What about those characters? Bethany Ann is going on my list of favorite book heroines, no questions asked. Raised by a loving mother and a father who is the epitome of crazy, Bethany Ann has seen a lot in her short life. When a starting secret about her lineage changes her life forever, Bethany Ann takes ownership and blossoms into an amazing character. Strength, clarity, intelligence, Bethany Ann is everything you want in a protagonist, and more. As for Benjamin, our male MC, WWII vet and current sheriff deputy, I was just as impressed. Male characters written by a female author tend to be pretty boring, in my opinion. It's as though all women authors view men in one way and for one purpose. Not Burkett! Benjamin played just as pivotal a role in our storyline as Bethany Ann, and I thought that in itself was awesome! Our characters develop so much throughout these 200 pages, that is is hard to believe it's the same characters by the end of the novel! As per Jedidiah Wayne? Holy smokes! I seriously think Burkett may have created one of the most evil villains I have
ever had the pleasure of reading. Kudos to you for that Burkett! Seriously, this guy was EVIL.

The plot for this novel was one of my favorite parts about it. After reading that synopsis, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. After reading the back cover, I was even more confused. The best thing I can say about this novel is this: just read it. Don't ask questions. Extremely unique, Burkett has taken an original idea and howled her way into my bookish heart. Daughter of the Howling Moon is the perfect read for paranormal lovers!

Burkett deals with a plethora of themes in this short read, but the one that sticks out to me the most is revenge. Revenge is never an easy topic to think about. We all know it's wrong, but at what point does revenge become necessary to procure justice? Burkett hits home with this theme in the novel as we see multiple characters struggling for the right answers. She definitely keeps you guessing until the very end, and does not disappoint!

Not really related to the novel specifically, but I'd like to make a few comments about Burkett's writing style. This being my Burkett novel, I wasn't sure what to expect. As soon as I opened the novel, I fell in love. Why? Burkett isn't trying to fluff up her writing. Burkett writes it like it is. Straightforward and to the point. Something I have massive amounts of respect for. In this read I was able to escape from the craziness of life for a full 190 pages. I didn't have to decipher her writing or spend extra time analyzing her verbiage and allegories in order to thoroughly enjoy this novel! Especially with a title such as this, I found myself comparing Burkett to the great Charlaine Harris in terms of writing style. They are both extremely fun and gripping with their words, while creating beautiful worlds where the readers can full lose themselves. Huge kudos to Burkett! I know she has gained quite the fan in this reader!

Okay, enough raving. Let's wrap this up. All-in-all, I am granting Daughter of the Howling Moon by R.H. Burkett a well-deserved 5-star review. Seriously ya'll, I loved every second. I don't know if Burkett has considered developing this read into a series, but I can absolutely tell you I will be first in line for a copy, if so. Do yourself a huge favor and get yourself a copy ASAP!

*********************************************************************************

Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Daughter of the Howling Moon by R.H. Burkett. While this was my first read from Burkett, it most certainly will not be my last! I have a mountain of reads on my TBR right now, but I have added her other works to the stack. I urge any and all paranormal fans out there who are looking for their next favorite read to check this one out! It's exceptional. I have no doubt this will be making an appearance on my favorites lists this year! Maybe if we're lucky, we can get R.H. Burkett to participate in the 2nd Annual Halloween Author Invasion in October? What do you guys think!? Head over to get your copies of this incredible novel now! Also, go give Burkett a virtual high-five via Facebook or Twitter; tell her Ethan sent ya!

**Special thanks to the author for supplying me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review**

Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen Trailer Reveal


Hey readers! I've got an awesome post for you guys today in the form of a trailer reveal! I won't lie, I've been excited about this read for quite some time, it looks incredible! You may have first seen it yesterday, as it was my Waiting on Wednesday this week, but today I am thrilled to show you guys the official trailer! Before we get to that point, however, here's a bit about the novel and out author:

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: March 31st 2015
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?



Suzanne van Rooyen

I'm a YA author with a penchant for the dark and strange. I primarily write speculative fiction but enjoy literary writing as well. I occasionally delve into adult genres too.

I'm a musician and have a Master's degree in music, but I prefer writing strange stories, baking peanut butter cupcakes and playing with my shiba inu.

I'm repped by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

Publicity manager for Anaiah Press.


Exclusive Trailer Reveal



Well readers, what do you think? Sounds like a pretty intriguing read, right? I know I can't wait to check it out! I will most definitely be buying myself a copy as soon as it releases! Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!

Special thanks to the team at XPresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

The Hidden Library by Heather Lyons Release Day Launch (Excerpt + Giveaway)

THL RDL Banner  

We are dying to jump back down the rabbit hole with Heather Lyons' THE HIDDEN LIBRARY! THE HIDDEN LIBRARY is an Adult Romantic Fairy Tale, full of adventure and fantasy and the second book in Heather’s The Collectors' Society Series! Check out the latest fantastic installment in this series that brings you some of the classics with a twist.



Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .

Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.

On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.

Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.


Heather Lyons

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—she’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Find Heather Lyons




Have you read book one? The Collectors' Society was one of my Top Reads of 2014! You won't want to miss it! Click the cover below to be taken to my 5-star review!


Don’t miss the first book in this series, THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY!

 
The Hidden Library Excerpt

We are about to open the conference room door and enter the hallway when he stops. He turns to me, his lovely eyes achingly sincere. “I want to take you on a date when all of this craziness is over. A real one. We’ve kind of gone about this all backwards, haven’t we?” One corner of my mouth lifts up. “Are you saying you’d like to court me?” There is no playfulness to his face, no quirk to his own lips. My heart flutters at his seriousness. “Yes.” He wants to court me. Too many emotions rush around in a caucus race throughout my body. I have no doubts of Huckleberry Finn Van Brunt’s feelings toward me. I understood them two minutes ago just as well as I did this morning when I woke up and from the night before and from the day in Wonderland where he said, in not so many words, that he was falling in love with me. I told him he was my north star, and meant it. He countered we are binaries. He and I . . . We’ve never said those words, though, not the ones that truly spell out fragile, deep secrets of a heart and soul. Words so easily and yet unfortunately uttered by many, be it to express their appreciation of fried bits of potatoes to sports teams on the television. Words offered so frivolously about a variety of subjects and yet can be the most difficult, most painful, most meaningful, most cherished syllables we gift another person. I have said these words before, to another man. Another man I still love. One I know, in the deepest confines of my heart, that I will love until the last breath escapes my body. A man who courted me in secret and then publicly in the face of astonishment, disapproval, confusion, and, in the end, prophesies. I have willingly given the man in front of me my heart, though, whether he knows it or not. He now holds it in his hands, and while I pray he is my future, there is still a part of me that bucks in conflicted confusion and delight by this declaration of his. He wants to court me. And yet, as sweet and romantic as such a gesture might be, I require no such formalities. My affections for Finn Van Brunt have already solidified into something real and wonderful and meaningful.

  THL Teaser
  Giveaway 


THL Available Now

Alright everyone, that's all I have for you today on the topic of The Hidden Library by Heather Lyons. If I thought book one was great, this one is beyond words! I had a chance to read an early ARC of this one for the blog tour next week and devoured it ASAP! You guys will LOVE this read! Let me know what you think in the comments below! Don't forget to enter the giveaway before you leave. Special thanks to the INCREDIBLE Heather and the team from InkSlinger PR for allowign me to participate! Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday {25}


Hey everyone and welcome to my weekly Waiting on Wednesday meme post! This is just a once a week deal where each Wednesday I post about one book I am looking forward to reading and then link it up to the host blog, Breaking the Spine, where I can be connected to over 200 other readers and bloggers who are looking for a new read! My friend Kim from kimberlyfayereads participates in this meme each week and it has always looked like a great time. Below you will find the book cover, synopsis, Goodreads link and my reasons for waiting on this read! Enjoy!

This week's WOW is... Gentle Chains by Nazarea Andrews!

Title: Gentle Chains
Author: Nazarea Andrews
Genre: Science Fiction/New Adult 
Release Date: March 5, 2015


 

When slavers steal Juhan and his twin sister Chosi from their home planet of psychics, their only comfort is in the fact that they’re together. When they are separated at auction, Juhan swears to find his sister, no matter the cost.

Juhan is bought by the spoiled daughter of a political scion. Caught in her glittering world of intrigue and politics, Juhan is startled to find Sadi playing a long game to change intergalactic politics and Juhan is merely a pawn in her game. But as his vow and Sadi's lies takes them across galaxies, he begins to wonder if his young owner is more than an arrogant rich girl. And he has to consider the cost of his promise—especially when people they both care for begin to die.

A galaxy away, Chosi is sold into blood sport. With her psychic ability, she earns a precarious position of value within the gladiator school, training the draken—wild creatures of smoke and fire—for the arena. In the midst of that hell, she forges a friendship with the slave Jemes and the draken she cares for. But when her defiance comes with devastating results, Chosi contemplates suicide as an escape from her chains. Yet, she can't forget the brother who promised to find her, and even as she welcomes the risk of death, she clings to that promise.

Spun across space and exotic worlds, Juhan and Chosi try to find each other, and home in a stunning story about the lengths love will take you.


*********************************************************************************
Why am I waiting?

As many of you may know, I am a tad bit obsessed with Mrs. Nazarea Andrews. I have been closely following her career for about a year now and am slowly making my way through her entire omnibus. From romance to zombies and now sci-fi, Nazarea Andrews is a name you guys are going to want to add to memory! She's written more incredible novels in just a few years than most authors can write in a lifetime. If you aren't a Nazarea fan, what are you waiting for? Get to reading people! I have been BEGGING the book world for something new in the New Adult genre. I'm so tired of romance after romance and getting NOTHING new. A handful of authors are breaking the mold and I am so thankful for it. Nazarea is a trailblazer and always trying to put something new out into the book world. After reading a few of her novels, I am sure most all would agree! Why would I NOT be excited about this read? Be sure to add this on to your TBR! 
*********************************************************************************

What are YOU waiting on this week?




Thanks for stopping by, Happy Reading! 


-Ethan

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase Book Blitz (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Hey readers, got an awesome book blitz and giveaway for ya today! Check it out!

The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase
(The Apollo Academy #1)
Published by: Harlequin
Publication date: February 22nd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

Take off with this dynamic, thrill-seeking, sexy New Adult Science Fiction series debut. Welcome to the exclusive Apollo Academy, where Aurora is about to discover that achieving her dream is only the first step towards her future.

As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. But all she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-infested life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the exclusive Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting.
Flying is everything she ever dreamed, her best friend also got into the Academy, and the paparazzi is banned from campus. Everything would be perfect, but for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.

The most important education doesn’t happen in the classroom…

"I am obsessed with this book! Suspenseful, sexy, and just a great read!" - Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of LOSING IT.

“Exquisite worldbuilding, thrilling suspense, and a sexy flight instructor! Chase’s exciting debut novel is one you don’t want to miss.” - K.A.Tucker, Author of Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie

You guys KNOW how I feel about Cora and KA Tucker! So I KNOW I'll be checking this read out ASAP!



About the Author

Kimberly P. Chase holds a Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, which basically means she's kind of a geek and loves flying airplanes. Naturally, her books tend to include aviation, hot flight instructors, aviator glasses, and—let's not forget—kissing! When Kimberly's not writing or reading, she's hanging out with her husband, five-year-old son, and two dogs in Charleston, SC





Exclusive Excerpt

Whoop, whoop. ‘Thrust warning, loss of main engine one.’ Whoop, whoop.

The shrill warning bell caused the hair on the back of Aurora’s neck to stand on end. She thrust the throttles on the remaining two engines full forward. She knew Sky stood behind her simulation panel, probably smiling as she struggled to recover from the engine failure he’d just caused with the flick of a switch.

He'd been overseeing everyone’s progress and of course decided now to come over, waiting until she was at an extremely critical altitude before creating this failure for her to handle.

Whoop, whoop. ‘Stall imminent.’ Whoop, whoop.

Aurora knew she was approaching the aircraft’s stall speed, but the loss of a single engine made it extremely difficult to control the overly large shuttle. Her yoke shook, another warning that a stall was close.

Aurora had to resist the urge to pull the nose of the aircraft up.

"Aurora, you’re going to stall if you don’t increase your airspeed," he whispered right next to her ear. She jumped, accidentally pressing her foot down on the rudder pedal. She still felt his breath on her cheek. Sky’s constant hissing in her ear was more distracting than being yelled at.

“Shit!" She didn’t even have a chance to alter the course of events because she was at too low of an altitude to recover from the spin she'd just entered.

‘Terrain, terrain.’ Whoop, whoop. ‘Pull up, pull up.’

She wasn’t going to make it. It was like her last simulation flight all over again.

The screen cracked and blacked out when the shuttle hit the ground, killing everyone on board. This was followed by flashing red lights and a loud siren that alerted her and everyone else around her of the failure.

She slammed her finger down on the automatic warning system. The red warning lights swarmed around her, making her cringe in on herself. She already knew she had messed up; she didn’t need the incessant light show. If Sky hadn’t scared her half to death, she wouldn’t have stomped down on the rudder so hard at such a low speed. Okay, so maybe scared wasn’t the right word, but his breath on her face definitely distracted her.

"Damn it, Sky!" she said taking her frustration out on the one who was really responsible for her crash.

Now sitting down beside her, his large frame towered over her. He whispered in her ear, "Tell me why you crashed."

He was still too close. "Oh, I don’t know, maybe because you scared me half to death by hissing at me." She touched her ear. "Who does that? It made me stomp down on the rudder."

Sky grinned, showing off his dimples. "Are you saying you were distracted by my very presence?" He had the audacity to wiggle his eyebrows suggestively.

Heat ran to Aurora’s face, but instead of backing down like she normally would, she decided to wipe that grin off of his face. She'd had it with everyone treating her differently. It might not have been the best idea, but she flirtatiously leaned toward Sky anyway. His eyes widened in surprise.

Now that he was distracted, she discreetly pulled a piece of gum from her bag on the seat next to her. "Here, maybe next time your breath won’t cause so much trouble."

His mouth opened in shock, and Aurora took the opportunity to place the gum into his mouth. The instant she did it, she felt horrible. What was wrong with her? That was the most immature thing she’d ever done.

Sky calmly shut his mouth and popped a bubble, but the grin on his face was definitely gone.

Oh stars, he was going to make her regret that . . .

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alright everyone, what do you think? Doesn't that sound awesome? I cannot wait to get my hands on this read! Special shout out to the author and the amazing team at XPresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this blitz. Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday {24}



Hey everyone and welcome to my weekly Waiting on Wednesday meme post! This is just a once a week deal where each Wednesday I post about one book I am looking forward to reading and then link it up to the host blog, 
Breaking the Spine, where I can be connected to over 200 other readers and bloggers who are looking for a new read! My friend Kim from kimberlyfayereads participates in this meme each week and it has always looked like a great time. Below you will find the book cover, synopsis, Goodreads link and my reasons for waiting on this read! Enjoy!

This week's WOW is... Illusionarium by Heather Dixon!

Title: Illusionarium
Author: Heather Dixon
Genre: Science Fiction/Steampunk 
Release Date: May 19, 2015



From the author of Entwined, a brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. This sweeping, cinematic tale of an apprentice scientist desperate to save his family—and his world—is The Night Circus meets Pixar.

Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that is breathtaking and wholly original.

*********************************************************************************
Why am I waiting?

I'll be completely honest and say that I know absolutely nothing about this read. So why am I excited? Well. This is a fantastic question. I don't have much in terms of an answer. I am desperately seeking something... new. Something that isn't so... blah. It seems like every time I get excited about a read these days, I pick it up and am ultimately disappointed by it in some manner. Something about this novel is speaking to me. I don't know if it's the cover, or just the fact that I am obsessed with steampunk, but I have a good feeling about this one folks. Plus, I have YET to hear a negative thing about Heather Dixon. So why not be excited about it? I can promise you guys that this one will be read ASAP! 
*********************************************************************************

What are YOU waiting on this week?




Thanks for stopping by, Happy Reading! 


-Ethan
 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Queen of Someday by Sherry Ficklin Review

Hey everyone Happy Monday! I hope you guys are staying warm, I know most of my readers are dealing with some crazy winter temps and conditions right now. I'm doing my best to beat the wintertime blues by staying close to my Nook and a slew of amazing reads! This weekend I had to make an 8 hour (round trip) road trip, so what better way to pass the time than with an audiobook? I'll be honest with you guys, I've only listened to one other audiobook ever and it wasn't my favorite experience so I didn't know what to expect with this one. I can say without a moments hesitation that this experience probably ruined all other audiobooks for me. Holy hell. It. Was. Incredible. What am I raving about today? Queen of Someday by Sherry Ficklin! Here's a bit about the novel and Sherry before I get to my thoughts:

ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS' KNEES...

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?




Sherry D. Ficklin
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Find Sherry F. Ficklin




*********************************************************************************
My Thoughts:

I know I've discussed this with you guys before, but I am a bit of a history buff. Just a bit. Okay, maybe more than a bit. Aside from literature, history is my deepest passion. In fact, I just graduated this past year with my bachelors in the subject. Seriously, I love history. All kinds, all places, all periods. History is my thing. That being said, it should come as no surprise that I have a thing for Historic Fiction. Or basically any kind of historic anything. I love it all. In addition to loving history. I am obsessed with Russian culture. For my foreign language requirements in school, I took Russian, which included quite a bit about Russian history, culture, and customs. You guys can only image the shock I felt when I found out that a renowned Young Adult author was going to tackle the story of Catherine the Great in a new series. I was elated.

While I was more excited than words here can say, I was nervous. The story of Catherine the Great is not one for the faint of heart. It's not a particularly pretty story and it has a whole lot of "wwwwooooowwwww" moments. I was really anxious to see how an author was going to adapt that story for a young adult audience. Sherry Ficklin, of course, did just that, to perfection.

In true OneGuysGuidetoGoodReads fashion, let me get my criticisms/warnings out of the way first.

First, I will openly admit that this is not the novel for everyone. Glancing through the Goodreads and Amazon reviews, I can tell this really was not the novel for some people. I'll be perfectly blunt, if you can't handle historic stuff, stay away from this novel. Everything about this read has eighteenth century oozing out of it. If that is a turn off for you, don't even think about touching this read. That being said, I would like to give Ficklin the biggest praises that I possibly can for the importance she placed on historical accuracy in this story. Ficklin has openly said that she created some of the characters/storylines in this series, however, the plot line largely draws on actual experiences from Sophie/Catherine's life. Upon reading this novel, I was blown away at just how fitting this novel was for the time period. I honestly thought I was in eighteenth century St. Petersburg, at times.

Next, I have seen a lot of people complain about love triangles in stories. I will be honest, they really don't bother me. So long as the story has a driving plot that isn't the romance, I could care less what shape it's in. That being said, many reviews have commented that this novel wasn't to their liking because of one thing. There isn't just a love triangle, there is a love square. Yes, you read that correctly. One girl, three men. Holy smokes. I would be lying if I said that it wasn't a bit hard to keep track of everything happening at times. Now, those of you familiar with Catherine's life story will not be surprised, but to the casual reader who is looking for a fun Historic Fiction/YA Romance, be prepared. This is unlike anything you've read before. And the crazy part is that there really is love is all corners of the square. Generally I see authors who are bias towards one character or another, but Ficklin does an incredible job of giving each of the three male's their time in the spotlight so that we can really see why the story progresses in the way that it does. I am beyond curious to see where Ficklin goes with Catherine's love story from here!

Not so much a critique as a warning, but I did see a negative rating that pertained to this issue. Obviously if you realize that this novel is based on actual historic events, you know how it will end. A simple Google search can tell you everything you would ever want to know about Catherine the Great. Under Catherine's rule, Russia would emerge as one of the greatest powers in the world, but away from the throne room, Catherine's life was more dramatic than a soap opera. I only advise that if you do choose to research more into Catherine's life, you realize that you may be spoiling this series for yourself. I know this should be common knowledge, but you'd be surprised what I have been reading. *shaking my head*

I will also go ahead and admit that while this is a young adult novel, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is an easy one to read. This novel deals with some extremely mature material and also, in true historic novel fashion, is written in a historical narrative style of narration. It reads like a novel set in the eighteenth century. Just a warning. If you're looking for modern day slang and issues, you wont find them here. Ficklin does an incredible job at keeping with the time period, not only in speech, style, and clothing, but also in terms of culture. Many authors, playwrights, etc are mentioned in this novel that you may have only briefly heard of in the past. I think this novel could be used as a great learning tool to learn more of the artists that have shaped the various forms of entertainment that we enjoy today (art, music, theatre, etc).

Okay, critiques finished, let's rave!

Characters. Guys, I will be honest. I don't think I have fell this hard for a book girlfriend in some time. Holy hell. Sophie is everything I was looking for in a heroine/future queen and then some. She's smart, honest, kind, brave beyond measure, etc. Sherry seriously has a soft spot for this character because out of all the Ficklin characters I have been introduced to, Sophie is my favorite, by far. Other than Sophie, Peter, Alexander, Sergei, and the Empress were all written to perfection. This story has a rather large cast of characters and it can get confusing at times, but I can assure you that once you get your mind wrapped around who they all are, you will be amazed. The way that Ficklin has taken actual humans that have been dead for over 200 years and brings them back to life for an entirely new generation speaks volumes towards her writing style. The character development that we see in this story is among the best I have ever read. Sophie starts the story as a naive young girl traveling to a new kingdom, fearful for her future. By the time the novel ends we see a strong, proud woman who is ready to rule Russia with grace and power. Sophie does so much more than age in this novel. She perseveres and evolves. It's truly a beautiful thing. The other characters also evolve and change throughout the novel, but their evolution comes from the eyes of Sophie through her own evolution, which really is an interesting way to learn about the character development. Huge kudos to Ficklin for this aspect of her story as well.

Plot. Spoiler alert, anybody with Google knows how this one will end, but that doesn't stop Ficklin from throwing some massive curveballs into the mix. New characters and gripping emotions make this story leap from the pages of history and into your heart, granting it a well earned spot on your bookshelf!

Theme. Ficklin really hits home with a plethora of themes in this novel. Coming of age, love, honesty, and familial ties are all really big ones. I believe that Ficklin hits a particularly strong note with her themes on family present in Queen of Someday. Sophie and her mother have some issues, and in the end Sophie has to make some very mature decisions pertaining to her family. Sophie really lives her life to please others for a long time and is always trying to make the most selfless decision. Her dedication to her family really has no limits, but at some point, we all reach our breaking point, right? Maturity is a big one here as well, not just in the emotional and mental sense, but in more than one instance here, the physical sense. Sophie is evolving into a woman and when you are royalty that means a great deal more than it does in today's world. From marriage physicals to the constant strains of being free of disease and healthy, your physical age can play a big role in shaping your life story. Fortunately Sophie learns this lesson and plays it to her advantage more than once. Of course, the themes of maturity also greatly apply to the excruciatingly difficult decisions that Sophie must make in her young life. I would be completely lying if at times I had to stop reading just to reflect on everything going on in this poor young lady's life. I don't know many who could withstand all she had to withstand. I believe Sophie could act as an incredible role model to young woman everywhere. Ficklin is usually spot on with the themes in her novel and did not disappoint me in any capacity!

Setting. Tsarist Russia in the eighteenth century? What's not to love. The vast palaces, the sprawling Russian countrysides? Yeah. I loved every second of this one. Ficklin put so much emphasis into the detail of this novel that I merely had to close my eyes and was transported to the halls of the palace of St. Petersburg. I could see the sights of the city and hear the sound of the grand balls. It was truly an incredible experience. Anyone who is looking for an authentic feel to their historical novels will not be disappointed.

So I've raved and raved until I don't know what else I can say. While I did have a few small critiques, I am proud to say that this was one of the greatest historical novels that I have ever read. Seriously. I don't know exactly what I expected to feel after finishing this read, but I can tell you that I wasn't anticipating the feelings that I felt. Ficklin broke me. If I wasn't completely in love with Russian history and culture before, I definitely am now. Sophie/Catherine has one of the most intriguing stories of any leader in history. I am so glad that her story has been adapted by an author as capable and mind-blowing as Sherry Ficklin. Intermingling history and a bit of her own brand of unique fictitious storytelling, Ficklin has granted us with what I would label one of the most near-perfect Young Adult Historic (romance) novels ever written. I'm serious people. If this read even somewhat strikes you as interesting, you will MOST definitely want to check out out. This read is worth so much more than the mere rubles they are selling it for online. It's a steal folks, get your copy now!

It should be of absolutely no surprise to anyone that I am granting Queen of Someday by Sherry Ficklin a hands down, no questions asked, well-deserved 5+ star review. If I gave out any higher numbered reviews, this book would get it. It's only February and I can already tell you guys now that this one will be going on my "best of" list at the end of the year. In the meantime, I will be anxiously awaiting the release of book two, Queen of Tomorrow, set to release this summer. I can only hope it gives me the amazing feelings that this first novel did!

*note* I listened to the Audiobook that was narrated by Elan O'Connor. This was the first audiobook I have listened to by O'Conner and I can say without hesitation that she is my new favorite narrator. Wow. She was absolutely incredible! HUGE kudos to your narration ma'am, seriously!
*********************************************************************************

Alright guys, I've raved so much I don't have much else to say. I am sure that more will hit me and I may have to come back and add to this review at a later date, but I know my overall thoughts will not change. I absolutely loved every second of this read and would love to have some of you guys read it as well! If you have had a chance to check out this incredible novel, let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Special thanks to our author, Sherry Ficklin for gifting me with an audiobook copy of this novel for review.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout Release Day Launch

The Return Release Week Blitz banner


Hey everyone! I don't have to say much about this novel to get everyone excited, in fact, I can already hear the fangirls screaming across the world. I have amazing news for you all, The Return is LIVE!! Get your hands on it today! In this awesome post I will be sharing an exclusive excerpt from The Return as well as sharing an incredible giveaway for a $250 Amazon gift card for one lucky winner! Here at OneGuysGuidetoGoodReads, we've been pimping out this book for months! Ethan was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this back over the summer and has read it several times in preparation of this day! I cannot wait for you all to get a chance to devour it!

  The Return - Cover

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Booksamillion


The Fates are cackling their bony asses off...

It's been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they've given him have been violent and bloody--which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He's got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy's deal might be, but it's a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.


Jennifer L. Armentrout

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.  

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Goodreads


Excerpt

I was a half-blood, but I was also the Apollyon, a child of a pure and a half, a union that had been forbidden for thousands of years because an Apollyon was more powerful than any pure or half could ever hope to be.

And I always got to the traitors’ hideouts before they did, so the Sentinels were usually left with the cleanup, which I was sure absolutely thrilled them.

The first to enter was a female half-blood dressed just as I was. Her black hair was pulled back in a neat little knot at the top of her head. She was older, probably in her mid-thirties. It was pretty rare for a Sentinel to live that long. Her dark skin paled as she stopped just inside the entrance. She clenched titanium daggers in her hands like she expected something vicious to pop out from under the bloody mess.

The female Sentinel tipped her chin up, and the overhead light sliced across her broad cheekbones. She bore a jagged scar under her right eye, the skin lighter in tone. She saw me and froze.

My smile widened.

Behind her, another Sentinel rushed in, almost mowing her over. He saw me and whispered, “Seth.”

He’d said my name like I was the monster under his bed, and I sort of liked that. Then another Sentinel and another rolled in. The fifth took one look at my interior design work and keeled over. Slamming his hands on his knees, he hurled up his dinner.

Nice.

Our society existed completely unknown to the average mortal and had operated under what was known as the Breed Order for thousands of years. The Order had been dismantled, which meant halfs were no longer forced to choose between becoming Sentinels—hunting down violent creatures, protecting pures, enforcing laws, and otherwise usually dying pretty damn quickly on the job—or servants, which was a job that really wasn’t a job, but more like slavery. Since then, many pampered pures had signed on to be Sentinels, making up for the loss of the halfs who’d pretty much said “screw this shit, I’m out.”

This wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

For example, the dumbass puking all over my blood-covered floor was a pure. When he straightened, his face a greenish hue, he backed away, shaking his head. “I can’t,” he gasped out. “I can’t do this.”

Then he turned and hauled ass out the doors.
I sighed. This was why we couldn’t have nice things.


a Rafflecopter giveaway  

The Return -- Avaialable Now

Don't forget to enter that incredible giveaway before you leave! Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Reading!

PS. Jen, if you're reading this, prepare for MASSIVE flails in Austin next month! You know how excited I am to see you :)

-Ethan

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday {23}



Hey everyone and welcome to my weekly Waiting on Wednesday meme post! This is just a once a week deal where each Wednesday I post about one book I am looking forward to reading and then link it up to the host blog, 
Breaking the Spine, where I can be connected to over 200 other readers and bloggers who are looking for a new read! My friend Kim from kimberlyfayereads participates in this meme each week and it has always looked like a great time. Below you will find the book cover, synopsis, Goodreads link and my reasons for waiting on this read! Enjoy!

This week's WOW is... Hunted by Liz Long!

Title: Hunted
Series: Donovan Circus #3
Author: Liz Long
Genre: New Adult/Paranormal 
Release Date: March 20, 2015

  HUNTED Donovan Circus Cover

Lucy Sullivan finally belongs with the gifted Donovan Circus. Members are finding their rhythm, even the new folks from the Grayson Circus who joined after the last attack. Lucy feels like a trusted leader who can win the gifted battles and prevent humans from discovering their existence. When tragedy strikes camp, a distraught Sheffield sends Lucy and her gifted team to hunt down the enemy – Alex, a Chameleon with a wicked ability for war. He’s out for blood and won’t stop until Lucy and her friends are dead. This time, it won’t be Lucy’s gift that is tested – it will be her morality. To save her circus, the price will be greater than she ever expected. This time, she will lose someone she loves. And it will change everything.

*********************************************************************************
Why am I waiting?

Do you even have to ask?

Any of you who follow this blog regularly are well aware of the writings of Liz Long. I have a slight obsession. I met Liz last year at UtopYA, by chance, and immediately fell in love with her Donovan Circus series. I am OBSESSED with all things Circus. I have such an unnatural pull to this kind of thing that I couldn't resist. I am so glad I took the plunge, because this series quickly became one of my all time favorites. A group of adults living in a modern-day circus where the 'freaks' are really just gifted individuals? Talk about unique! Seriously, this entire series is unlike any I have ever read. I cannot speak highly enough about it. I flew through the first two novels and have been begging Liz for book three for months now. I finally got a glimpse of it a few weeks back and it was amazing. I cannot wait to see the finished version! This novel is extremely special to me and will forever remain close to my heart for a number of reasons, but I absolutely cannot wait for everyone to get their hands on this one! I've been waiting FOREVER to make it my WoW, but the cover was just released yesterday! What do you guys think of it?

I'd also like to add that Liz is one of the greatest authors I have had the incredible pleasure of working with. In addition to being one of my favorite authors, she's become a great friend of mine. She's great to her fans and never misses an opportunity to chat about the book world! You are not going to want to miss this one, add it straight to your TBRs!
*********************************************************************************

What are YOU waiting on this week?




Thanks for stopping by, Happy Reading! 


-Ethan