Friday, August 27, 2010

An awesome announcement

So! Now that it's all official and I have gotten my first assignments, I have decided to share the news with you guys ...

I'm now a reviewer for Romance Reviews Today!

I'm very excited, this means more opportunities for review books, as well as a chance to learn and (hopefully) be a better reviewer. Now, my reviews for these books will have to be posted on the RRT site, but I can at least tell you all what books I got, whether I enjoyed them or not, and when the review goes up, I can link to it.

BUT!! This doesn't mean I will be ignoring my blog from now on - no way! I actually have three (and possibly more) books in line waiting to be reviewed on here, and I can't wait to share my thoughts with you all.

Have a wonderful Friday - and of course... Happy Reading!!
~!~ Morning Glow
a.k.a. Amanda ^_~

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cover for "This Side of the Grave"!!!

I'm sure you've all seen these by now (and if not, WHY NOT?!) but it never hurts to oogle a little more. I'm a huge, huge, HUGE fan of the Night Huntress series and World books. In fact, I love Bones. I'm still waiting for him to leave Cat and come be with me. Of course, I love Cat too, so that might end up being an awkward situation.

Oh, right, I was showing you all the covers....

I simply cannot wait until February 22, 2011 (the official release date)

And the stepback? EQUALLY YUM!!!

There are no words for how much I am in love with this book cover. Seriously. And Bones. Oh yum Bones.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review of "Goddess Boot Camp" by Tera Lynn Childs

Goddess Boot CampThis is book two in a series, find my review for book one ("oh. my. gods.") here.

Disclaimer: This book is on loan from my local library. I was not given this book in exchange for a review, nor have I received any sort of monetary incentive for a positive review.

Type: YA Fiction, Mythology, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Running a lot

From the book jacket: "   Phoebe, who recently discovered she's a descendant of Nike (the goddess, not the shoe), is finding out that supernatural powers come with a crazy learning curve. A few months ago, when Phoebe's mom married a Greek guy and moved her halfway around the world to the tiny island of Serfopoula, she had no idea that she'd soon find herself surrounded by the descendants of the Greek gods, let alone that she'd learn her own heritage was more mythical than mortal. But because she still doesn't quite have her new powers under control, something that can be dangerous since the gods are known for smoting those who use their powers recklessly, Phoebe's been enrolled at Dynamotheos Development Camp, also known as Goddess Boot Camp, for the summer. What kind of earthly torture will Goddess Boot Camp be? Well, it can't be any worse than Hades, can it?   "

I love Young Adult Paranormal Fiction. Come on, being a teenager is hard enough, but throw in otherworldly things, and imagine the drama. Finding out Greek gods are real? Yikes. Finding out Greek gods are real and you're a descendant of one? Double yikes. Find all that out, AND you still have to go through highschool (homework and tests included), plus deal with teenage drama? HOLY COW! That's probably why I continue to read Young Adult fiction, even though I tend to enjoy books with a higher "heat" rating.

And while this book is a good and quick read, much like the first one, I was missing the drama. Oh sure, Phoebe has drama to deal with - learning her powers, her boyfriend is hiding something, and she's left alone with her stepsister for two weeks, but I wanted.. more. It seemed the element of mystery was a more popular subject in this book. What was the test she had to pass to show control of her powers? What was Griffin hiding? Who's sending her these emails about her dad? But I wanted the boyfriend drama. Griffin was indeed hiding something from Phoebe, and maybe it's a little selfish of me, but I got maybe one good chapter out of that subplot before it was ignore almost completely. It felt a little inconsistant - the Greeks invented drama, for heavens sake! Shouldn't there be more of it?

I went to the author's website and checked for any info in the form of a new book in this series.. but so far, nothing. We were introduced to a cool new character in "Goddess Boot Camp," named Xander. First off, loner guys equal awesome. Of course I want to hear more about the quiet loner guy with a seedy past. Second? Love the name Xander. If a character is named Xander, good guy or bad, I'm interested. But, so far.. no more Xander. Sigh.

Anyways, all that said, I'm giving "Goddess Boot Camp" a THREE out of FIVE (3/5). It was good, quick, but lacking in the drama. It had the element of mystery, the element of "oh crap, I don't think I can do this" but I want more boyfriend drama. There's never enough of that in the world.

Read it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Want to read it? Find it at!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review of "How to Succeed Without Dying" by Becky A. Bartness

How to Succeed Without Dying: A Kate Williams mysteryI was lucky enough to review the previous book in this series (Book three, "How to Lose a Client"). You can find my review here.

Disclaimer: I, the reviewer, was sent this book in exchange for a review. I have not received any sort of monetary incentive for a positive review.

Type: Mystery, Lawyers, The Dead Guy Has No Head!, and Hospital stays.

From the back of the book: "  Kate, along with M.J., her fashion-challenged paralegal and Sam, her obsessive compulsive investigator, are off and running on another investigation with more twists and turns than a tilt-a-whirl. She is joined by an interesting cast of characters, many of whom have appeared in previous novels in the Kate Williams mystery series. After discovering a headless body in a Phoenix cemetary, Kate and her colleagues are shocked to discover that it's a well-respected county attorney. In How to Succeed Without Dying, Kate undertakes the representation of the alleged murderer of Mitchell Alvarez, deputy county attorney. Hints at Alvarez's involvement in the activities of a Mexican cartel bring Kate and her staff into contact with the dangerous world of drugs and violence. As usual, the action is fast moving and at times hysterical.  "

This must be my week for mysteries.. second mystery in a week! For those of you that have been following my blog, mysteries aren't something I read a lot. But I've definitely decided stepping out of my usual genre is not such a bad thing. Speaking of bad things, I think I'll start this review with my only issue. There were a few times when a relationship or even a name was said wrong, and it did pull me out of the story. For example, Arnie (the accused) is very close to his grandmother, and even lives with her. But at one point, his grandmother was accidentally called his mother, which confused me for a few moments. And similarly, a character, who was in the story for just a few pages, was called both Bernie and Bennie. It only happened once, but it was one of those "Oh wait..." moments. Not really that big of a deal, but every reader has their "Uhhh." issue.

I liken the Kate Williams  Mystery series to the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. That's certainly not a bad thing, Stephanie Plum has a huge fanbase. But for longtime readers of the Plum series, one has to notice how some of the plot has gotten sacrificed for character drama and senseless humor. For some people, that's okay. But for me, well, I enjoy some mystery in my mystery series. The Kate Williams series is perfect for that occasion. There's humor, definitely. In fact, there was several occasions I chuckled to myself, and even read a few lines to my mother. She looked at me strangely, so I guess context does matter when it comes to some of the amusing parts. But it's not just funny, and it's not just the main character drooling over the men (or in this case man) in her life. There is actual mystery, real drama, and it keeps the reader guessing until the end. Frankly, most mysteries I have read, you can guess the bad guy fairly early on.. it's just figuring out how it happened. But I can honestly say this book, and the previous book in the series, kept me guessing up until the end. And then when I thought I finally had it figured out.. BAM! Something new, and the evidence of the past was brought back into question.

I don't think I've ever read a book where the character spent this much time in a hospital. And the reader could definitely see her (what I like to call) "lawyerness" come out near the end of the book. She's mad about how she's being taken care of by the police officers and federal agents, as well as the lack of any staff around in the hospital. I was quite amused by her running tally of defendants and evidence going through her head as she wandered the halls.
I'm going to give "How to Succeed Without Dying" by Becky A. Bartness a FOUR out of FIVE (4/5). I did enjoy the book, and I'm going to recommend this series to anyone that enjoys a good mystery, and any fans of the Stephanie Plum series.

Read it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Want to check it out? Find it at!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review of "Lost Innocents" by Sonnet O'Dell

"Lost Innocents" by Sonnet O'Dell is the second book in the Cassandra Fairbanks series, paranormal mysteries. You can purchase this book here.

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author in exchange for a review. I have not received any monetary incentives for a positive or negative review.

Type: Series, Paranormal Mystery, Vampires, Werewolves, Cops, Fairy Tales

About the book: "  Two Worlds. One Mystery.

Cassandra returns, still caught between realities, and she has another mystery on her hands. Eight-year-old Adam Baker is the latest in a string of children to mysteriously vanish, and when the bones of a young child are found, Cassandra is increasingly worried for his safety—and the Preternatural Crime Unit has ordered her to keep away from the case or else. Meanwhile, Aram is facing trial, and only Cassandra can save him. But does she want to?
Juggling a boyfriend, college, vampire politics and investigative work is difficult, and it doesn’t help that something seems to be wrong with her powers. Can she pull herself together in time to save all those lost in the night?   "

So I have re-discovered by ability to draw things on pages of a book in my ebook reader. This is great for making notes, however they do not always make sense later. However, I will gladly share these notes with you - "Funny," "Good description," "Blake-like," "Cool, Gargoyles!," a random squiggle, and finally "Whiny." So there you have it. My review.

What? Oh.. you want me to explain it? Fine. But we're working backwords so I can erase the notes as I go. Let's start with "whiny." Cassandra has a boyfriend, Magnus, who is supposedly several years (or decades) her senior. He is a half-elf, so he ages much slower, but he is still older and assumably more mature than Cassandra. But it's hard to feel this maturity level. On the page before my note, Magnus is practically pouting before Cassandra had forgotten about their date, and indeed she had.. but only because she had a lot of other things on her plate at the time. But then on the next page, she is calling Magnus a sweetheart, thinking of helping others. While yes, Magnus has shown several times throughout the book that he will help whenever she, or others, need it - sweetheart wasn't always the best description of him. Maybe sweetheart with a touch of whine-whine-whinerpants. That said, I did enjoy him, as well as some of the rather yummy descriptions of him.

A random squiggle was probably just me messing with the screen. Let's move past that one.

The next note is "Cool, Gargoyles!" - that's right, in his book we get to meet some gargoyles. Or.. gargoyle-like creatures.. I'm not sure if that's actually the name they're given. I have to say, this is not something I've seen a lot of in paranormal fiction, and I'm intrigued. The characters were interesting, and it seems they like to travel in packs, and even have mates. I love group dynamics, and I thought the author added an interesting spin with this type of mythical creature. It seems like the gargoyles are there to stay, so I hope Cassandra will get to see more of them in the future.

Next up is "Blake-like." Those who were fans of Laurell K. Hamilton's early part of the Anita Blake series will definitely enjoy "Lost Innocents," and I'm sure, the rest of the Cassandra Fairbanks series. Cassandra has the same drive, and to some extents, the same weird humor as Anita. And you get all of the nummy guys and interesting ties to them, without all of the uncomfortable weird sex scenes. I would suggest this series to anyone that enjoyed the first six or so books of Anita Blake, and it's definitely a series people should get into. It's a tough subject matter to deal with (children are being kidnapped and killed), but Cassandra is plucky, and she is willing to work hard to solve the case, even if it means getting herself arrested in the process.

"Good Description" - there's a lot of that in this book. O'Dell does quite well at setting the scene for the reader, and there were a few moments that stuck out to me. My favorite has to be when Cassandra first reaches the abandoned cathedral that plays an important role in the plot. The description was thorough and haunting.. which set the mood perfectly, considering Cassandra was there to examine some bones found.

And my last note is "funny." I truly loved Cassandra's sense of humor, and her quick comebacks. Everyone has heard the joke "if you look up stupid in the dictionary, there will be a picture of you." Cassandra's response is one of my favorite amusing lines in the book: " 'Well I'm not the one who had to look up 'stupid' in the dictionary,' I said, watching his laughter fae and his posture stiffen. 'And mine doesn't have pictures in it, moron.' " I chuckled while reading this scene. So despite the dark tone of the novel, the author provides the reader with a few light moments, so as not to bring you down.

That said, I'm going to give "Lost Innocents" by Sonnet O'Dell a FOUR POINT FIVE out of FIVE (4.5/5). I thought the plot was good, the characters were interesting, and I'm definitely feeling the urge to read more of the series (I hope there will be more!). As I said, I had a problem or two with a character (or two)... such as Magnus, who occasionally just needed to hush up and look pretty. But I really did enjoy the book. A lot.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow