Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Nightmare Affair Blog Tour: Favorite Quotes and Giveaway (INT)

Hello lovely people and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Mindee Arnett's upcoming YA novel The Nightmare Affair! Below you will find info about the book and author as well as some of my favorite quotes. Oh, and there is a giveaway for two SIGNED copies, and it's international! So summon your luck and enter, because this is a fun and entertaining read ;) My review should be up by next Tuesday, which is when the book will be hitting the shelves.


Release date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teens
Format: Hardcover, 367 pages

Goodreads description:
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. The setting is Arkwell.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.  

Website     Twitter


When Eli comes to the magickind-only academy and first enters the cafeteria:
Eli was the true weirdo here. He was one hundred percent ordinary. Talk about being a disadvantaged student.
Dusty and her mom:
"You are so stubborn." Moira shook her head. Encouraged by her frustration, I added, "You forgot rebellious and smart-aleck."
She glowered at me for a second, then grinned. "I know. I'd expect nothing less from my daughter."
The sheriff upon hearing one of Dusty's excuses:
"I expected a little more originality from Moira's daughter."
"Yeah, well, the dog ate my notebook with all my good excuses."
A bit of trivia:
Most  magickind teenagers were fanatics about ordinary pop culture. Almost everybody was a Comic-Con-attending, play-dress-up fan boy. And he had the nerve to make fun of me. Go figure.
About Nightmares:
"That's one reason why the Magi only want you to feed every other week. A fully charged Nightmare can do whatever they want inside a dream. Here, we're like gods."


What do you guys think of my quotes, the trailer, and description? I'd love to hear from you in the comments :) Also, don't forget to enter the giveaway below :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This tour was organized by Shane Morgan from Itching For Books. Click the banner below.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dark Between, by Sonia Gensler

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine to spotlight upcoming book releases that we're excited for.

My pick this week:
Add it on Goodreads
Release date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages

Goodreads description:
 A supernatural romance about the powers that lie in the shadows of the mind, perfect for fans of Sarah Rees Brennan, Alyxandra Harvey, and Libba Bray.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave—or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

I think it's awesome that quite a few books set in this period and around séances etc. seem to be coming out now! I love the early twentieth century. And the plot sounds really interesting too, the connection between science and mysticism. Plus, Sarah Rees Brennan and Libba Bray? Count me in ;)

What do you guys think of my pick? And what did you feature this week?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors on my auto-buy list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week the participants post their top ten to a specific topic.

This week is about authors that are so amazing and that we trust so much, we'd buy anything they wrote.

There are only a few authors from whom I'd buy absolutely *anything*. I mean, if I read the book description and it's about an issue that just doesn't interest me, or if they suddenly go into another genre, or if their new book is about a topic that is a trigger for me, I'd stay away, or at least not buy the book immediately. But there are many authors that I trust and whose writing I am totally in love with so that I preorder their books.

  1. Melissa Marr
    I love love love her writing style. I've read all her Wicked Lovely stories including the mangas, many stories she has in anthologies (though not all because there are so many and I only have so much money and time) as well as Carnival of Souls. However, not sure about that middle grade series she has coming out soon... but that's because at this point I'm just not into MG.
  2. Holly Black
    Her. Writing. Is. Magic. I've loved it since I read (and reread and reread and re-borrowed so I could re-read before I had my own copy) Tithe. I'm so excited about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown coming out in the fall! And the Curseworkers books just blew my mind.
  3. Kim Harrison
    The Hollows series. Rachel. Jenks. Ivy. Al the coffee-loving demon. Kisten. Enough said ;)
  4. Jeaniene Frost
    Cat and Bones are among my favorite couples :) Also, I love how she combines fun writing and banter with action and creepiness. She creates memorable characters that come to life on the page!
  5. Richelle Mead
    Fun, action, heartbreak, redemption... I've read all her books apart from the Dark Swan ones because I haven't gotten to them yet. Her style is just so readable for me, I don't want to stop and just dive into the worlds she creates :)
  6. Kelly Creagh
    Her writing is just sooo beautiful! I love how she brings the Poe elements to life in her books but also twists them and makes them her own! I read her books slowly just so I can savor them. I'm very curious about what her next project after the Nevermore trilogy will be!
  7. Rachel Vincent
    Her writing is just so gripping and real! And I love the characters she creates. She doesn't shy away from letting them make risky decisions and facing the consequences. Very strong heroines. No sugar-coating the bad things. I'm very curious about that new YA project she's been hinting at!
  8. Erin Morgenstern
    She's only published one book but seriously I loved The Night Circus so much I couldn't even review it because I have no idea how. It's a masterpiece. I'll buy whatever she releases next without thinking twice about it.
  9. Kate Griffin
    What an imagination! I love her version of urban fantasy. So magical! Gives me a book high and lets me see the world with fresh eyes. Also, reluctant heroes that don't want to do heroic things by default. Love it :) Oh Matthew Swift...
  10. a tie between Julie Kagawa and Sarah Rees Brennan and maybe Cassandra Clare
    Yup. Julie because I was hesitant about trusting her with the vampires but she was amazing at it, and I also loved her adult story in the 'Til The World Ends anthology. If she decides to go for adult horror next, I'm in.
    Sarah Rees Brennan because her writing is jus so fun and addictive, but also heartbreaking! She sure loves to torture us poor readers :P I loved the Demon books and Unspoken, but I haven't bought Team Human yet. I just don't know if I want to. I'm sure it's funny but... I dunno. The co-authoring bit might also play into my decision...
    Cassandra Clare because I don't know if she can do anything non-Shadow Hunters. I love those novels, the Infernal Devices even more so. But another trilogy? I mean, I'll certainly read it, but I'd also like to see her branch out a bit. I read a non-nephilim short story of hers in an anthology once but that one didn't really do it for me...

There are quite a few authors I feel sort of bad about not including but yeah... there can only be ten. And unlike for other people, J.K. Rowling is not an auto-buy for me.

What do you think of my list? Anyone you'd like to chuck out? Someone you also picked? Also, leave a link to your own list, I'm curious about maybe discovering new authors :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Masquerade, by Melissa de la Cruz

Release date: May 1, 2007
Publisher: Atom books
Format: Paperback, 305 pages

Goodreads description:
Schuyler Van Alen wants an explanation for the mysterious deaths of young vampires. With her best friend, Oliver, Schuyler travels to Italy in the hope of finding the one man who can help - her grandfather. Meanwhile, back in New York, preparations are feverishly underway for the Four Hundred Ball, an exclusive gala hosted by the city's wealthy, powerful, and unhuman - a true Blue Blood affair.

But it's at the after-party, a masquerade ball thrown by the cunning Mimi Force, that the real danger lurks. Hidden behind the masks is a revelation that will forever change the course of a young vampire's destiny.

Rich with glamour, attitude, and vampire lore, this second installment in the Blue Bloods saga will leave readers thirsting for more.

The following review is based on a copy I purchased myself and represents my honest opinion.

This review contains spoilers for the first book, Blue Bloods.
It took me a long time to finally pick up Masquerade… it sat on my shelf for a while and I did want to read it, but I couldn’t really remember what happened in the first book all that well so I put off reading it. But I’m glad that I finally got around to it! Like the first book, I enjoyed it. Quite a lot, actually. I had forgotten relatively much of the vampire lore and how their world works, but I found my way back fairly quickly. The fallen angel thing had completely slipped my mind to be honest, and I still find that connection really imaginative!

The book starts off in Venice, where Schuyler and Oliver are looking for Schuyler’s grandfather, Lawrence. Her grandmother told her that he has information about the Silver Bloods who have been killing Blue Blood teenagers, and Schuyler wants to get his help. It takes her a long time to find him, and even longer to convince him though. Back in New York, Mimi Force still hates her, Jack is still torn between his bond to his twin-sister/mate and what he feels for Schuyler, and the Blue Blood council acts as if the Silver Blood threat is over and resolved instead of just lying dormant.

Something I really enjoy about these novels is that we get various POVs but Melissa de la Cruz manages to write the story in a way that still leaves the reader guessing about what is going to happen. Simply because we know more than single characters doesn’t mean we have all the info – it can also be very misleading. To come back to the POV issue, I still rooted for Schuyler because she has her head screwed on right and is a very kind, responsible person for the most part. I enjoyed to see her less innocent and more mature and aware of what’s going on now that she knows about her heritage.
Also, I had forgotten how much I like Bliss, how different she is from Mimi (who is still a selfish bitch). She’s still reeling from Dylan’s death, but there are events that make her doubt that he truly is dead… after all, his body was never found. And then there are her strange blackouts that lead to her waking up in places without any memory of how she got there. Let’s just say that between that and her growing but mostly unacknowledged rivalry with Mimi, Bliss has got her hands full. I’m very curious to see where her arc is going, especially after that ending!

This second book in the series provides yet more background knowledge about the heritage and customs of the Blue Bloods, and these world building aspects are something I enjoyed a lot! I also liked that Schuyler learns more about her abilities, but also about her weaknesses as a half-blood. Then there is the question of whether or not she should take her bond to Oliver (dear, loyal Oliver! My heart goes out to you) to a whole new level…
Oh, and there’s a new guy, Kingsley, who is an iridescent but somewhat mysterious character. Who is he behind his Johnny Depp-ish rebel façade? What does he want? Friend or foe?

But despite all these things, it takes quite a while for any major action to go down. This didn’t necessarily disturb me because there are a lot of long-term developments going on, also about the relationships among the older vampire generation, but I felt the need to point it out. I wanted to keep reading and I felt absorbed, but it wasn’t in a breathless ‘oh my god I have to know what happens next!!’ type of way. I liked to puzzle and guess about who was hiding the Silver Bloods and come up with theories about other stuff, but when I had to put the book away for a couple hours, that wasn’t really a problem either. I was quite surprised when the pace suddenly picked up so much at the end, and even though not all that happened came as a surprise to me, some things did.

As you’ve maybe noticed, I feel a bit conflicted over this series. On the one hand, I really like it a lot. On the other hand, it’s sort of like Gossip Girl for the fanged, and I’m not always sure how I feel about that. The writing is solid and the different character voices distinguishable, but it’s nothing spectacular or breathtakingly beautiful. I like the interspersed snippets from old newspapers though, just as I did the diary entries in book one. Furthermore, I didn’t know what to think about Jack in this book. I understand him, but I wish he’d make up his mind and take a stance. However, after what happened near the end, the next book should definitely interesting when it comes to the dynamic between him, Mimi, and Schuyler.

All in all, Masquerade is a good continuation of the series. It picks up on old issues and brings new developments, new characters and new insights into the relationships between old ones. While I didn’t fall head over heels for it, I find the world building intriguing, the writing engaging, and I will definitely pick up the next book.

Have you read the Blue Bloods novels? What do you think of it? Do you have similar conflicted feelings or is it different for you? Tell me in the comments, but please no spoilers for the following books ;)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Know Me Better: where I'd like to live, what makes me happy, favorite sayings and characters

Know me Better is a meme hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Every week she posts 5 questions from her author interview list that the participating bloggers then answer and link to.

This week's questions:
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Favorite Literary Characters?
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Things that bring a smile to your face?
Do you have a favorite saying?

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
This is a hard one. I love Zurich, but for what I want to do with my life, Switzerland just isn't the best country for me (even though I really appreciate our health and general insurance and education system). I'll probably have to move to the US or UK sometime within the next 5 or so years. I've been to London several times and really love the vibe of that city and how many different faces it has! But I'd also really like to go to California one day, especially San Francisco. And I've wanted to see Japan for a long time, though I can't imagine settling there permanently. Basically I just love to travel :)

Favorite Literary Characters?
Ugh are you trying to kill me by making me pick? >.<
Alright, some favorites from Classics: Jane & Rochester, Dorian Gray, Marianne in Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White, Hermia in Midsummer Night's Dream, Septimus and Thomasina from Tom Stoppard's Arcadia...
From more modern books: Cassel Sharpe from Holly Back's Curseworkers Trilogy, Nick & Mae from Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon, Mackie from Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement, Varen Nethers from Kelly Creagh's Nevermore, Adrian from Vampire Academy/Bloodlines, Death from the Sandman graphic novels, Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices, Steve & Ghost from Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls, Rachel from Kim Harrison's Hollows series, Tris from Divergent... I could go on forever.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
This is total wishful thinking and there are tons of authors I admire, and I don't even know if I *could* co-write with anybody, but I think my top pick would be Holly Black. Her writing is just amazing and very courageous. Sharp as needles. I've loved her books for almost 10 years now.

Things that bring a smile to your face?
Lots of little things mostly, many of them silly. Seeing people do every-day, kind things for each other. Watching teens be silly. Seeing someone read a book I love. Watching goofy interviews with bands I love. Being with my sister or a good friend. Seeing the sun glint off of the lake or the snow. Anything I find beautiful :)

Do you have a favorite saying?
Many, but of course they slip my mind right now. Also, some of them are Swiss German and don't have a good translation...
'Karma is a bitch' tends to be true.
I also like these quotes by Oscar Wilde: "A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." and "Be yourself - everyone else is already taken."
I don't know where this one is from but I think it's accurate: "When the soul can't find words, it sends tears."

Your thoughts / reactions? I'm also curious about everyone else's answers, so leave a link to your post or tell me in in the comments if you didn't make a post :)
You can hop to the other blogs here:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: hauling in two week's worth of awesome

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase all the books we got in the past week. Those can be bought, won, gifted, for review, borrowed, print or ebooks... no matter, just share what you got :)

My haul this time is fairly big because I didn't do one last week. I was generally MIA apart from a promo post I had already agreed to. Why? I had to finally kick my own ass and finish the Paper Of Doom. But here are my new lovelies from the past two weeks...


Insomnia, by J.R. Johansson
Strange Fates, by Marlene Perez

I've highlighted Insomnia as my WoW this week because the premise is just so awesome. Strange Fates is something I stumbled upon on NetGalley. It involves the Fates of Greek legend but it's set in the present day, with a male protag, and kinda UF sounding. Loved the idea, and it was Read Now, so no need to request if you'd like to head over and snag it yourself ;) In fact I like the description so much that I'll probably squeeze it in really soon. I really feel like reading something like that at the moment.


How to Date an Alien, by Magan Vernon
How to Break up with an Alien, by Magan Vernon
How to Marry an Alien, by Magan Vernon

I won this in a giveaway on the blog tour a while back. Not my usual read, but I like to go out of my comfort zone every once in a while and the books sounded really fun in the reviews :) I used to say 'nope' to aliens but see how that turned out in the case of Obsidian... :P

Bought online:

Opal, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Indigo Spell, by Richelle Mead

I'm reading Opal right now and still loving the series :)
I read The Indigo Spell last weekend and it was AMAZING!! If you haven't ordered it yet or not started the series, go do it! I hope I'll get around to posting my review soon.

And I went and ordered a crap-ton on TBD that I'm now waiting for >.< Remember that book buying ban I wanted to do a couple weeks ago? are the death of me. I mean come on, a print book for 3 to 4 euros?! At the store I'd pay like 15 or 16.


Kingdom Series Collection, by Marie Hall
Wings of Arian, by Devri Walls
The Torn Wing, by Kiki Hamilton

Wings of Arian and The Torn Wing were free on amazon when I got them.
The Kingdom Series was a totally spontaneous buy last week. I'd never heard of it before, but I fell for the cover and checked out the description. It's three stories centering on Alice and the Mad Hatter, Beauty and the Beast, and Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. The twists for the retellings sounded really cool so I bought it :)

Book store trip:

Just One Day, by Gayle Forman
Rapture, by Lauren Kate

I don't usually do book store buys anymore because I can save so much money by ordering online, but every once in a while I just can't resist... and there was a special 20% discount for students. It also ensures that I definitely get the right edition, so when Rapture was finally out in the one that matches my other books, I had to have it. Even though I have a strange relationship to the series. I'll probably make a 'book thoughts' post about the whole series once I've read Rapture.
And Just One Day, well... all those reviews! I needed it. I couldn't believe they actually stocked it. It'll be my first Gayle Forman book because I still haven't gotten around to that If I Stay copy I bought secondhand a while ago.

Oh, and guess what?!?! I GOT A KINDLE FIRE :D No more reading ebooks on my phone!
But there are a couple issues I don't really get and which annoy me. If anyone has one and would be okay with me sending them a couple questions via email or whatever that'd be awesome! It mainly concerns how to get ebooks not from amazon (but in mobi format) and ARCs to show up with the books instead of as coverless documents.

Oh, and one more cute thing I wanted to share. It was my birthday recently and a good friend I don't see all that often gave me this when we met a couple days ago:
It's Oliver the owl from Skelanimals!!! He's so cute ^_^ I had to set him there a bit awkwardly because he kept falling of the shelf, but doesn't he make a cute book owl together with Billy the Bat? Erm yeah... as you can guess, there's still a 17-year-old emo girl living somewhere in my heart :P Can't resist creepy things that are also a bit cute.

Okay, I think that's all... hopefully I didn't forget any books. What do you think of my haul (or my sanity, haha)? Any of those new to you? Got ideas about my Kindle issue? And please share the links to what you got in the past week :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Radiant, by Christina Daley

Hi everyone and welcome to the Book Blitz for Christina Daley's novel Radiant, organized by Xpresso Tours! Below you can find some more info as well as an excerpt. There's also an international giveaway for winner's choice of an ebook copy or a signed bookmark!

Radiant by Christina Daley
Publication date: February 12th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Mary is part Vietnamese. Carter is a complete jerk. Normally, they don't talk much.

But when Mary's in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life. The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary's feeling the full weight of survivor's guilt.

However, Carter's back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed.

As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling him is having the time of its life learning to be human.

Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny "paranormal-lite" story about being human, being in love, and being healed.

Goodreads     Amazon     B&N     Smashwords 


"What about the kid the red car?" Mary asked.
The doctor took off his glasses. "I'm sorry. He didn't make it."
Mary stared at him. "But he looked at me."
Mom and the doctor exchanged concerned glances. Mary looked down at her bandaged hands, trying hard to remember. A lot of details still weren't clear, but she did remember Carter opening his eyes. If only for a quick moment. "Can I see him?" she asked
"I don't know if that's a good idea," Mom said.
"Mom," Mary said. "Please."
Mom's brow wrinkled. Then, she sighed. "We can see if his parents will allow it."
The doctor released her, and Mary left the room with her mother. When they got to the end of the hall, they saw a homely couple speaking with one of the ER surgeons. The woman was crying, and the man clutched her as if he was keeping her from falling apart.
"I'm very sorry Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell," the doctor said.
"We're not the Maxwells," the man said. "I'm Marcos Romero, and this is my wife Linda. We're their housekeepers. Carter's father and stepmother are out of the country right now."
"I see," the doctor said. "Have either of you contacted his parents? Or his mother?"
"I called and left a message for Mr. Maxwell," Mr. Romero said. "Carter's mother past away several years ago from cancer."
Mrs. Romero wailed. From the way she was crying, she might as well have been Carter's mom. Mary wished that she could cry with her. Mom once joked that Mary was born with the tiniest tear ducts in the world, so she didn't cry often. Now, she wished she could drum up a couple tears, if anything to not seem so unsympathetic.
Mary looked at her mother, who nodded. Then, she cautiously approached them. "Excuse me. But I'm Mary. I'm the…what I mean is…." She couldn't find the right thing to say. Mary had always been terrible with words. Especially the sensitive ones needed for things like this.
Mrs. Romero looked at her disheveled school uniform and her bandaged hands and knees.  "You were the girl who was almost hit by the bus," she said.
"Are you all right?" Mr. Romero asked.
Mary nodded. "I am, thank you. But I was wondering if I could see him? Carter, I mean."
"I would advise against that," the surgeon said. "The body…I mean Carter…is not—"
"Please," Mary begged.
The stout couple looked at one another. At last, Mrs. Romero said, "Let her."
The doctor looked at her. At last, he sighed and gestured for Mary to follow him.
Mary was used to hospitals, ever since Mom became a nurse. But she had never seen an operating room occupied. Instruments and equipment were still in the places where the doctors and nurses had left them when they were trying to save Carter's life. At the center was the operating table with a still figure on it, covered with a bloody sheet.
The doctor took part of the sheet. "Are you sure about this?"
No, Mary thought. But she nodded nonetheless.
He pulled the sheet down to Carter's neck.
Mary stared at the broken, pale face of a boy she hardly knew.
"I'll give you a few minutes." The doctor left the room to wait outside.
Mary studied Carter's closed eyes. Maybe when they had opened in the car, it was because of an involuntary spasm. Or maybe she really had just imagined it.
Mary bowed her head, once again wishing she could cry now. But all she could offer was a meager, "I'm sorry."
Mary took one last look at Carter as she turned to leave. But she stopped.
A single tear slowly fell from the corner of Carter's right eye.
Mary rubbed her eyes, making sure her vision was clear. Then she looked again.
Another tear escaped from the corner of Carter's eye.
Mary bolted from the room. "He's crying!"
Everyone looked at her like she was a lunatic.
"Mary, calm down," Mom said.
"But Mom, he's crying!" Mary repeated. "He has tears coming from his eyes."
The doctor looked at her curiously. "Are you sure? Maybe the tears came from you?"
Mary frowned. Couldn't he tell she wasn't crying? "You have to check him again," she said.
The Romeros looked at the doctor, like they had seen a glimmer of hope struggling through the sorrow. He sighed and shrugged, but he turned and went back into the operating room.
A tense few minutes passed. Suddenly, the doctor burst from the door, calling for his team. Several nurses rushed in and the door closed again.
Mary and the others hardly breathed, let alone spoke, as they waited in the hall.
Finally, after what felt like ages had passed, the doctor came out again, followed by the undeniable sound of the heart monitor beeping.
Carter was alive.

Giveaway rules:
  • Open internationally. Just fill out the Rafflecopter.
  • One entry per person / household.
  • I will forward the winner to the tour organizer, who will then get in contact with him/her and send the book in the winner's preferred eBook format.
  • Once I've passed on the winner's information, I am no longer responsible for what happens.
  • Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours, or I'll pick someone new.
  • Duplicate entries / other forms of cheating result in disqualification. All entries will be deleted.
  • I will check every single entry before picking a winner. That way, cheaters are spotted in advance and they don't falsify the odds of winning for other people

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What do you guys think of the cover, description, or excerpt? I am SO curious about what Carter is possessed by! A demon? Some other entity? Is the real boy still 'in there' somewhere?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Review /Excerpt of The Breakaway and Pieces by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Hey guys and welcome to my stop on the tour for Pieces by Michelle Davidson Argyle! Below you can find some more info about the book as well as my review of both Pieces and its companion novel (and prequel) The Breakaway. I had read so many great reviews of The Breakaway before signing up for this tour, and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed both books immensely! I think Pieces is more meaningful if you've read The Breakaway, but the books can also stand on their own.

If you scroll further down from my reviews, you'll also find an excerpt from Pieces.


Release date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Format: Paperback, 303 pages

Goodreads description:
When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she's missing. Escape isn't high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she's part of a family-even if it is a family of criminals. But she's still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she's falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn't sure she wants to take it.

Buy it on:
            Amazon        Barnes & Noble

As mentioned above, I had heard great things about The Breakaway and already expected to like it, but I still got so much more than I imagined! This is one of those books that really impact you and leave a lasting impression, the kind whose characters stay with you for a long, long time. (And that's why I failed once more to write a concise review)

If I had to choose only one word to describe The Breakaway it would be ‘realistic’. I often imagined what I would do if I were Naomi, and while my reactions weren’t always the same because we have quite different personalities, I always understood why she did what she did. She is definitely not one of those heroines whose decisions are seemingly arbitrary and make me want to bash my head against the wall! Another reason why the book was so real to me is that Michelle Davidson Argyle unquestionably did a lot of research – not that the novel is in any way info-dumpy or overly analytical, but it’s clear that she knows what she’s talking about and how to convey the situation. I never once felt that the kidnapping situation was used as an excuse for some domination-fantasy or portrayed in a glorifying or gratuitous manner. This is a delicate topic, and in my opinion it was handled wonderfully and with great consideration!

As the summary already tells you, Naomi’s home life is far from awesome and her motivation to escape when she is kidnapped is fairly low. Add to that the fact that Eric, the leader of her kidnappers, makes crystal clear that he will kill her if she attempts to run away. While Naomi is being held captive, we always get flashbacks to her life before the kidnapping and her relationships to her parents and her boyfriend. Through these memories, it becomes clear that her kidnappers could not have hoped for a better victim because Naomi is already no stranger to abuse and manipulation (I sort of wanted to kill her so-called boyfriend). When her captors finally start letting her out of her room to the rest of the house, a delicate balance between domination and accommodation begins as Eric, his wife Evelyn, and Jesse begin to feel more like family than her real one ever did.

There were several things I did not at all expect when I went into the book. From the summary, I had jumped to the conclusion that both Naomi and her kidnappers were from a fairly poor and uneducated social background. What I got was a girl who grew up in a huge house, with rich but very work-absorbed parents, and kidnappers who were every bit as sophisticated. These are no dumb criminals who got in over their heads – they know exactly what they’re doing with Naomi, and their intelligence makes them all the more dangerous.

Another thing I didn’t expect was that this is a novel about so much more than just a case of kidnapping and Stockholm syndrome. It is just as much about mother-daughter relationships. From the beginning, the narration alternates between Naomi and her mother, so we as readers see not only the effect of the kidnapping on the victim but also the toll it all takes on her parents and how they try to cope with what happened. At first I really really disliked Naomi’s mother. I found her cold and distant and uncaring. But as I read on, I began to see why she acted the way she did and that the two of them are more similar than they think, even if they themselves cannot see it yet. I really love how the tentative approach between those two women was handled and accomplished even though they can never directly communicate.

All characters in this novel are fully fleshed out and believable. All have their strengths and flaws, and all of them develop over the course of the novel as they grow to know each other better and begin to influence one another. The eerie thing is that like Naomi, I was taken in by her captors. I knew what they were doing was evil, but I also saw what they offered her. I felt torn between wanting her to stay and wanting her to take a chance and try to run. I felt similarly torn about Jesse. It was never quite clear to me who was faking their feelings, or if it was all real after all. The relationships and roles between everyone in the house grew increasingly complex and muddled.

Every aspect of Naomi’s life as a captive was just so well-handled! There are no ‘convenient’ blind spots – we readers gets to see it all, which makes it all the more interesting to see how things evolve. I rooted for Naomi all the way, even though she is not a strong heroine in the traditional sense. She is a very broken, confused girl, but through it all you can sense that she has an inner core that will not yield. While she didn’t grow as confident as I hoped in this novel, such an immense change would not have been realistic (and that’s one reason why there’s a sequel). But let’s just say that the author does not just end the book at what I’ll call the ‘convenient moment’ (I can’t be more precise without spoilers) – she takes it further and shows us the consequences, and I really really loved that!

The pacing, too, was perfect. If you think a kidnapping books is boring because the victim can do nothing but hang around then you’re wrong. Yes, these passages are of course there, but there are also the flashbacks, the moments when we switch to Naomi’s parents, the developments in her relationship to Jesse and the others, dreams, wishes, fantasies… I didn’t want to put the book down, and even though I was still reeling from the ending I had to dive into Pieces right away!

If you enjoy contemporaries, well-rounded characters, realistic settings, a psychological element, and amazing, gripping writing, you must read this book!! Even if this is out of your comfort zone, I promise it’ll be worth it! I feel like my review still didn’t do it justice because there were so many things I wanted to talk about but couldn’t because of spoilers…

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

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Release date: February 14, 2013
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Format: Paperback, 284 pages

Goodreads description:
Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her...until she discovers he's out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie-in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.

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Review (with sort-of spoilers for The Breakaway):
Well, you just read how much I enjoyed The Breakaway and how realistic I thought it was. The same goes for Pieces, only I loved Pieces even more. I wanted so much for Naomi to succeed, to build a life for herself. I laughed and cried with her. Pieces resonated with me even more because in a way, I am in a situation similar to Naomi - figuring out what I want, doubting college decisions, changing relationships to family. Minus the lingering effects of the kidnapping of course.

Pieces picks up two years after the events of the first book. Naomi has moved away to college, shares a nice house with a roommate, and pursues her art. But she cannot forget what happened to her, and she is still hung up on Jesse, even though he's in prison and even though she knows that she suffered from Stockholm syndrome and that she'll never be allowed to have normal interactions with him again. She rarely goes out and doesn't open up to other guys.

But then there's Finn, who works at the café she often goes to because of their almond cake and so she can sketch. They begin to talk and grow closer. I really enjoyed their friendship and how Finn didn't push her. His problems also put hers a bit in perspective - some of them are kind of first-world-problems. I mean, she's never had to worry about money. This was something that at times grated on me a bit, but it's reflected here as Naomi begins to long for more independence, to build a life for herself without anyone's help. I really admired her for that!

But of course just when Naomi wants to really start something with Finn, Jesse contacts her. He'll be out of prison a lot sooner than either of them thought. I felt very divided about him, to be honest. I never saw him as a really bad guy – he was good to her in the first book despite everything. But I also thought her obsession with him was very unhealthy. I was rooting for Finn. And yet when Jesse actually shows up and they get reacquainted, I couldn’t help but remember how they fit, in a way. However, once they take a drastic decision that leaves Naomi alone for long stretches of time, in a situation similar to that of her capture, when it turns out that the new life Jesse promised her isn’t all she thought it would be and that he wasn’t fully honest with her, I wasn’t surprised. I actually got a bit annoyed because she so stubbornly didn’t want to see the truth for a long time. It made sense with her character though, so I don’t consider it a flaw in the writing. Anything else would have been unrealistic.

Naomi grows so much from the girl she was in The Breakaway! And once more, Michelle Davidson Argyle doesn’t just do the fade-out, she gives us the aftermath. The therapy. The way things aren’t suddenly all roses with Naomi’s parents, but how they are all trying to be a family again. And nope, she doesn’t just fall from one guy’s arms into those of another. I was on an emotional roller coaster the whole time when I was reading this book. I cried from sadness and from happiness, I went through the whole ordeal. The writing is just sooo good. Gritty and realistic at times but then again poetic and metaphorical. There were so many wonderful scenes I cannot talk about because of spoilers >.< Let’s just say that this book went into some directions I would never have expected and that it’s populated by wonderful, fleshed out characters I care about a lot.

Pieces really is the perfect title for this novel. It’s about picking up the shards of an old identity, about deciding what to keep and what to discard and move on from. It’s about piecing yourself together again and realizing that not all the parts fit anymore. And how sometimes, you may have to break that new construct all over again, because those pieces no longer fit. I loved this book, so so much! The few tiny things I sort of missed in The Breakaway were all here this time. The book left me fully satisfied with what happened in the end, and I have the feeling that when I re-read it (because there’s no ‘if’) I will discover many new details I missed the first time and that will make it even more amazing.

I don’t really know what else to say, apart from pick up these books right now and read them – you will not regret it! I will now go and check out what else Michelle Davidson Argyle has written…


There were always dragons, but never as dark as the ones before her now. She stood in a burning valley so hot that ash fell from the sky like slow-drifting snow. The dragons had started the fire, their scales blackened, skin peeling, their eyes hard as diamonds. She watched four of them land in front of her. Thick smoke curled to the darkening sky.
“I want to leave!” she screamed, but their only response was to open their mouths and breathe flames at her. She didn’t feel the pain, but when the fire cleared and she held out her arms to see the damage, she saw her skin was like dragon skin—black and peeling in jagged pieces. Falling to her knees, she grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it at the dragons. Their mouths turned up in sneers, showing their pointed, blood-stained teeth.
You read too many fantasy novels, she could hear Jesse’s voice in the back of her head.
They don’t love you, her mother said.
Remember why you fell in love with him.
She stopped at the memory of that last set of words, trying to remember who had said them to her. The dragons moved closer, and then she remembered it was Finn who had said the words. She saw the saltshaker on the table as he pushed it around in circles.
With a start, she sat up in bed, realizing all the journal entries were still fresh in her mind. She had finished reading them hours ago and then stumbled into the bedroom to find Jesse already asleep. She had crawled in with him and drifted off, but the nightmares made her toss and turn. Jesse stirred beside her now, his toned arms reaching out for her. Morning sunlight fell across the bed.
“You alright?” he asked, pulling her close.
“I think so.” Lying back down, she snuggled into him. He smelled like spicy soap from his shower earlier. She took in a deep breath, savoring the feel of him holding her.
Remember why you fell in love with him.
Shut up, Finn!
She wanted to scream the words into the silent bedroom, but couldn’t. She loved Jesse because he loved her. It was that simple. He sacrificed things for her. He wanted to make her happy, and she wanted the same for him. She had left everything to be with him.
A knock on the front door made Naomi jump. It frightened her to think of who might knock on their door so early in the morning. Jesse stirred again, mumbling something she couldn’t understand.
“You want me to get it?” she asked, almost afraid to wake him.
Groaning, he sat up and blinked. His hair had dried in spikes. “Where the hell is my phone?” he asked. “Why are the curtains wide open?”
He was always cranky when he was woken up too early. “I wanted to look at the stars as I fell asleep.”
Turning to her, he blinked again. The sun made his green eyes pale. “How did that go, then? Last night? Did you read it all?”
She looked away. “I was so tired I’m not sure how much of it stuck.”
“It’s all in your head now. You can start sorting through it and face it all.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
Another series of knocks. Jesse cursed and got out of bed. He was in his boxer shorts, and pulled on a pair of sweats before grabbing his phone off the dresser. He walked out of the bedroom. Curious, Naomi slipped out of bed and peeked down the hallway as Jesse looked through the peephole. She asked herself if she cared that he had lied to her about his parole, that he was a fugitive. Did it matter? Her stomach clenched.
“What is it?” Jesse asked, opening the door a crack. His body blocked her view of whoever was on the other side. There was an answer. A man’s voice. A shudder went down Naomi’s spine.
“No,” Jesse said, “she’s here.”

Have you read either book? What do you think of my reviews and the excerpt? Is this topic something you might be interested in? Have you read books with similar themes? Tell me in the comments :)

Oh, and check out the rest of the tour, organized by Giselle from Xpresso Tours. Just click the banner below. Some of the other stops also have giveaways and different excerpts!