Thursday, February 17, 2011

Like "Ghost," but less pottery. REVIEW of "The Ghost and the Goth" by Stacey Kade

The Ghost and the GothWhy this book?: It just looked cute. Plus, I love the whole idea of two people so incredibly different being forced together.

Disclaimer: Library Book.

Type: Young Adult, Series, Book One, Oh Crap I'm Dead, I see Dead People, Goth boy meets Preppy Girl, Highschool sucks, Evil black clouds, Nice Teeth are a Plus

About the book: Alona is dead. DEAD! This is so not happening. And not only is she dead, but she hasn't moved on to those great fluffy clouds in the sky. Oh no, she wakes up every morning right where she died, the street infront of her highschool. At first it wasn't so bad, getting to see how her funeral went, going around school to see who still missed her - that is, until she caught her best friend making out with her boyfriend. Losing her grip on life, Alona begins to disappear, and afraid of whats happening she begins to cry.

And that's when she notices Will Killian, laughing at her. Not only can he see her, but he's LAUGHING at her. After waking up on the road, once again, she rushed back into the school to find Will already being harassed by a gang of ghosts. And after accidentally claiming Will as her own, Alona becomes his official Spirit Guide. And maybe, along the way, she finds out nobody Will Killian isn't as lame as she first thought.

My Review: Told from alternating perspectives, "The Ghost and the Goth" is a cute tale of two completely different people working together to help Will deal with his abnormal ability. Will can usually just tune the ghosts out with the help of his handy dandy iPod, but Principal Brewster, who has had it out for Will from day one, took it as punishment for being one minute late to class. So Alona, mostly for her own selfish reasons, and a little accidentally, steps in to help out. After all, he's the only one that can see her. The budding relationship between the two is best described as adorable. Will had fantasies about perfect cheerleader Alona in the past, but having her all to himself isn't exactly like he pictured.

"The Ghost and the Goth" is part romance, part coming of age story, with a dash of mystery for that extra spicy flavor. Will is getting attacked by some malevolent ghost, and its up to Alona to help. You can really see the growth in the two characters - with Will finally discovering maybe everything isn't so bad, and the people he trusts aren't so great, and Alona realizing life is not just about perfect hair, perfect shoes, and perfect image. I personally look forward to reading the sequel "Queen of the Dead (A Ghost and the Goth Novel) coming out later this year.

Cover Loving: Yes. Aww, how cute. I think it fits pretty darn well with the book.

Recommendation: Fans of paranormal young adult fiction will enjoy "The Ghost and the Goth." Or if you just love the idea of two people that would never speak to each other normally being forced to work together.

Final Rating: THREE POINT FIVE out of FIVE (3.5/5). Good, enjoyable read. Will continue with the series.

Have you read "The Ghost and the Goth" by Stacey Kade? Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Want to read it? Pick up your copy at! And keep a look out for book 2, "Queen of the Dead (A Ghost and the Goth Novel)" coming June 2011!

Until next time, Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whatcha Got Wednesday #16

Welcome everyone! Another edition of "Whatcha Got Wednesday," where I talk about all my goodies - I'm excited to share what I got. I've heard some great things. And if any of you have read any of these, please tell me your thoughts!

First up! The books!
"Where I belong" by Gwendolyn Heasley
- I was shopping to use up the rest of my gift card, and I couldn't pass this one up.
"Broken" by Shiloh Walker - Went to an author signing, picked this one up, and knew I had to have it - and Shiloh Walker signed it for me!
"Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins - A lot of the YA authors I love say they love this book - I'm banking on them having good taste, haha.
FOR REVIEW (for Romance Reviews Today)
"The Vampire Voss" - Colleen Gleason
- AHH, I am so excited to review this series!
"The Restorer" by Amanda Stevens - You know me, I loves me some Paranormal Romance =)
"Mercy Burns" by Keri Arthur - I have never read this author before, super excited!

And what you see above is all the swag I got from the Valentines Book Signing at Barnes and Noble! I got to see Heather Webber, who signed my ARCs for "Deeply, Desperately" and "Absolutely, Positively." When she saw me at the signing, she got up and gave me a hug to thank me for my review of "Absolutely, Positively!!!" I was so honored!
I also met and had a great chat with author Jillian Kent. We talked about reviewing, and her upcoming book. Unfortunately she didn't have a book to sign (her book hasn't been released yet!), but it was great of her to come out and chat with everyone!
I also talked to author Renee Vincent for a little while. I desperately want to read her Emerald Isle Trilogy, which begins with "Raeliksen." Unfortunately, they didn't have it at Barnes and Noble - BUT she promised she will have copies at the Lori Foster Reader/Author Get Together, which we both will be attending this June!
I also briefly spoke with LuAnn McLane and Kerri Stevens, as well as Lori Foster herself. It was a great trip, and I absolutely love that Barnes and Noble continues to invite such wonderful and kind authors to stop by for signings.

That's it for me! But what a great week it was! Now, c'mon.. share! What did you get this week? Anything you're looking forward to?

Have a great week, and of course - Happy Reading!!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I want a Marcus Flutie! REVIEW of "Perfect Fifths" by Megan McCafferty

Perfect Fifths: A Jessica Darling Novel (Jessica Darling Novels (Three Rivers)) Why this book?: FYA talked about it ages ago.. and I've been working my way through the five book series since. The final book in the series, I can't believe it's over!

Disclaimer: Bought this book. It's all minez. I did not get it in exchange for a review.

Type: Series, Young Adult to Adult, Ultimate Loner Dude, Complex Relationships, Chick Lit and Romance combine to make a super series, Marry ME Marcus Flutie!+

****WARNING: The rest of this review might contain spoilers if you haven't read the rest of the series. And if you haven't read them - JUST DO IT! Seriously. You'll thank me. ****

About the book: Jessica Darling is super late for her flight. In her hurry to catch the plane on time, she runs into someone. And not just any someone - him - Marcus Flutie. After a rollarcoaster ride of a relationship, and so many years apart, it's more than a little awkward. Having missed her flight and deciding to try flying standby, she manages to save Marcus from being hauled away by security for loitering, and the two end up talking. After this long, can they forget their past and move on, or will everything come flooding back?

Told from alternating points of view, Perfect Fifths is just the ending I needed it to be. It's not perfect, not everything is hunky dorey - but perfect isn't Marcus and Jessica. The entire book goes through one day, the day where Marcus and Jessica reunite, and the sparks fly once again. It was good to see the two remembering old times, talking about how everyone they knew has changed, and how they have grown. And they have. I wasn't a fan of the fourth book, I thought Jessica was a little too self-involved. And Marcus just aggravated me, I think he did that in the third book as well, actually. And with the years apart, Marcus and Jessica grew up enough to realize who they were, what they wanted from life, and how they will fit together.

As I stated, I was happy with this book. It felt right for the character, and for the long, emotional journey the three of us went through to get here. The readers literally got to watch Marcus and Jessica grow up, from highschool, to college, and now into real life. It's hard to review just this book, and now the whole series together, because this book is nothing without the ones before it. I'm sure if someone picked up just this last book, they'd not like it very much. But fans of the series, like myself, probably rejoiced.

Cover Loving: Yes. It fits with the series.

Recommendation: I'm recommending that you all READ THIS SERIES! C'mon, do it. It goes Sloppy Firsts: A Jessica Darling Novel, Second Helpings: A Jessica Darling Novel, Charmed Thirds: A Jessica Darling Novel, Fourth Comings: A Novel (Jessica Darling), and finally Perfect Fifths: A Jessica Darling Novel

Final Rating: FOUR POINT FIVE out of FIVE (4.5/5). I'd give it a perfect rating, but it wasn't a perfect book. It was a GOOD book. It was a GREAT ending. But it wasn't perfect. Jessica and Marcus wouldn't want something perfect, they'd want something RIGHT. They'd want something RIGHT NOW AND...

Want to read this book? Get your copy from But since you can't read Perfect Fifths without reading the rest, I'm including the link to the entire series - you're welcome.   If you have read the Jessica Darling series, leave a comment and tell me your thoughts!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blog Tour: Author Jon F. Merz, talking about his new novel "The Kensei"

Happy Valentines Day everyone! Please help me give a warm welcome to author Jon F. Merz, author of the Lawson Vampire series, and all around cool guy (he's a ninja!). Since it's Valentines Day, he's talking about the relationships present in the Lawson series. To learn more about Jon, make sure to visit his website and play around - so many things to see! So without further ado... Here's Jon!

The Kensei: A Lawson Vampire NovelRelationships in THE KENSEI

by Jon F. Merz

One of the things I think makes my latest novel THE KENSEI such a fun read is the relationship between the hero, Lawson, and his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Talya. These two are about as unusual a pairing as you're likely to find in the pages of urban fantasy, but somehow, they work. And exploring their relationship is always interesting for me as a writer.

Of course, Lawson is a vampire. But he's not any old type of typical vampire. He belongs to a race of living vampires that have evolved in secret alongside humanity for thousands of years. And within vampire society, Lawson is pretty special. He's a Fixer - destined from birth to protect that secret existence of his race from humans. He's part-spy/part-commando and he's pretty damned lethal. Mix in with that a hefty dose of sarcasm and witty one-liners and you can see that he's some kind of dude to get involved with.

Talya, on the other hand, is human. She's a former KGB assassin who now freelances for various governments and private individuals. The product of a rape by a Chinese soldier on the border with Kazakhstan, Talya could have chosen to live her life wallowing in horror of her past. But she has instead chosen to be among the best at what she does and channels her money into helping children in impoverished third world countries. Her Eurasian beauty is compelling but it's the fact that she is every bit Lawson's equal that makes her so incredibly fun to write. Talya is no shrinking violet, even when confronted with Lawson's sarcasm or rather generous libido. Talya is empowered and fully in control of her own destiny, desires, and foibles.

When they first met in the pages of THE FIXER, Lawson had no idea what he was getting himself into. Neither did Talya. And as is so often the case with two relative equals, the dance they engaged in was very much a feeling out process that quickly developed into mutual respect and later affection. Lawson, as a vampire, is forbidden from openly being in a relationship with Talya, so they make it work covertly - something they are able to do quite well given both their backgrounds.

Talya, rather than cling or try to turn Lawson into a domesticated guy, is happy being off on her own. When they're together, it's great and it works, but these two don't see much reason to compromise their own lives and destinies for the sake of being with each other. At some point in the future, they'll probably reach a point where that may happen. But for now, they are two equals who enjoy being together when it works for their schedules. Otherwise, they're free to come and go and do as they please.

Given Talya's past and her upbringing, it wasn't too hard for her to buy into the notion that her boyfriend is a vampire. She's seen far too much during her wet work years with the KGB to even be surprised by the revelation. And Lawson, for his part, marveled at how easily she took the news. Talya's steadfast resolve is one of the many things that Lawson adores about her.

In THE KENSEI, Lawson and Talya get to reconnect in pursuit of a crazed evil genius intent on creating an army of vampire-human hybrids out of stolen body parts. The action is fast and furious and forces the two of them to learn how to work together the way they did once before. There are complications and challenges unique to their relationship that I think only enhances what they feel for each other. As a result, they come away with a better understanding and probably a whole lot more love than when they started out on this adventure.

In writing THE KENSEI, and the other Lawson Vampire books, it's always been one of my goals to make sure that the relationships I portray are as realistic as possible - even given the universe they inhabit. Blending that reality with the fiction and blurring that line between their world and ours is one of the ways I hope to make THE KENSEI a truly memorable and fun read.

And if things go well - then we'll be seeing plenty more of Lawson and Talya for many years to come. I hope you all grab a copy of THE KENSEI at your local bookstore. And you can also get caught up on the other books and stories in the Lawson Vampire universe with your Kindle or Nook.

A HUGE thank you to Jon for coming to celebrate his new release with us! Keep a lookout for my review of "The Kensei" coming later this week! And make sure to pick up your copy of "The Kensei" at!

Happy Valentines Day everyone! And as always, Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~