Category Archives: 4 Stars

Review and One Day Giveaway: Pandora’s Box by Katie Salidas

  • Pub. Date: June 2011
  • Publisher: Katie Salidas, via Smashwords


After a few months as a vampire, Alyssa thought she’d learned all she needed to know about the supernatural world. But her confidence is shattered by the delivery of a mysterious package – a Pandora’s Box.
Seemingly innocuous, the box is in reality an ancient prison, generated by a magic more powerful than anyone in her clan has ever known. But what manner of evil could need such force to contain it?
When the box is opened, the sinister creature within is released, and only supernatural blood will satiate its thirst. The clan soon learns how it feels when the hunter becomes the hunted.
Powerless against the ancient evil, the clan flees Las Vegas for Boston, with only a slim hope for salvation. Could Lysander’s old journals hold the key? And what if they don’t?
And how welcome will they be in a city run by a whole different kind of supernatural being? 

My Thoughts:

This book picked up right where Hunters and Prey left off which was nice to see.   Fallon find a mysterious box on the door step and end up opening it even though Lyssa knows that this is a bad idea.  Fallon says that the box was calling to her to open it.  What happen next is terror for everyone.  They have unleashed something that it out to destroy them and does destroy Rozaline, Nicholas’ mate which put everyone on edge and trying to figure out how to get this spirit back in the box it came from.  This mission takes them to Boston to retrieve Lysander’s old journals.  All they find there is dead bodies and trouble with the werewolves who think they are at fault.  They have to work together with the wolves to solve this problem.

As with the previous two books, this was one that captured my attention and held it throughout the entire book.  the style of writing appeals to me and I just feel like I have a connection with the characters.  The most frustrating part of this book is the end, a  HUGE cliffhanger!  I cannot wait for more from this dynamic group.  What I liked the most about this book is the addition of the werewolves and witches.  I think it rounded the story out.  I also liked that there was not a lot of talk about the hunting itself.  All in all, another great story by Katie Salidas.

My Rating

Another good story!


This is a for an ecopy of Pandora’s Box by Katie Salidas

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*I was provided an ecopy of this book for review.  This in no way affected my opinions listed above.


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Review: Fireborn: Embers of Atlantis by Tracy Hickman

Fireborn: Embers of AtlantisDetails: Fireborn: Embers of Atlantis by Tracy Hickman

  • Pub. Date: October 2011
  • Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
  • Format: Other Format , 304pp


Powerful scions walk the streets of modern London, oblivious to their true nature. Unknowingly, they carry within them the spirits of reincarnated dragons from an age of high fantasy. As magic begins to emerge once more in the 21st century, long-dormant memories begin to flood the minds of these scions, reminding them of their mystical heritage. Welcome to the world of Fireborn!
Ethan Gallows knows things about his world. He knows there is magic, and he knows he wants nothing to do with it. Yet, when he is sent on the seemingly menial job of filming a museum curator’s antique art collection in London, Ethan discovers that he has much more to learn. After witnessing a violent display of sorcery, ancient memories come rushing back to Ethan – memories seen through the eyes of a dragon! With minions of the Taint now seeking him for their own twisted purposes, Ethan must put his trust in Sojourner – a woman claiming to be a draconic scion. Could he really be a dragon of old, or is this some sort of fanatic conspiracy?
Embers of Atlantis is the first novel based on the acclaimed Fireborn roleplaying game setting. Written by New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance), Embers of Atlantis introduces readers to a modern world faced with the sudden emergence of magic.

David’s Thoughts:

Fireborn: Embers of Atlantis by Tracy Hickman is a novel written in the Fireborn RPG (Role Playing Game) world.  Magic disappeared from the world with the fall of Atlantis, but has returned in modern times.  The dead have risen in Europe and are re-fighting WWII, monsters from fairy tales attack airplanes, American Indians have claimed the plains with shamans using magic to fight the army, and a handful of people have memories of a life as a dragon.  Ethan Gallows is one such person.  Initially unaware of these memories, events lead him to realize he has the magically essence of a dragon last seen on earth as Atlantis was destroyed.  But this revelation only comes about as Ethan is plunged into a war between good and evil.  Each side believes they are in the right, with the side of good using clean, pure magic, and the side of evil using tainted magic.

I’ve been a fan of Hickman’s books for 15 years of more, and was eager to read this one.  I had never heard of the Fireborn RPG before, but have read hundreds of other books written in role playing settings.  No knowledge of the game setting is required to read this book, it works well as a standalone novel.  I thought this book was an interesting read.  I liked the setting and the characters.  I’ve always found Hickman’s books to be easy to read with a smooth, flowing storyline with characters that the reader comes to love (or hate).  I read through this book quickly, wanting to know what happens next.  The biggest disappoint I had was that the book ended.  At about 300 pages, it’s not a short book, but I wanted it to keep going.  Now I’m stuck waiting impatiently for the next book.

David’s Rating:
*An Ecopy of this book was provided by for review.  This in no way affected the rating or opinions on the book.

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Review: Embody by Jamie Magee

Embody ( A Young Adult Paranormal Romance) (Insight Series)Details: Embody by Jamie Magee

  • Pub. Date: May 2011
  • Publisher: Alvasia Publishing


Not many Scorpio’s are known for their patience, and Willow Haywood is no different. Her only desire is to love Landen Chambers and redeem the lost souls of Esterious, but the path to that desire is long, dark and dangerous…
Before Willow’s life had a chance to balance the sudden revelations and grief she had to endure to get to Chara a disturbing discovery is made. A photo, one that shows Willow blissfully embracing the flawless image of Drake Blakeshire; giving her not only proof that she had lived before, but that she had loved him. 
Running away from the memory of Drake’s hypnotizing touch, and the prophecy set before her seemed like the logical thing to do. That is, until a dark dream reignites her passion to save the hopeless dimension of Esterious. Willow struggles to find patience – to learn everything she needs to know before she faces Drake again, but her eagerness is dangerous and one step in the wrong direction takes everything and everyone away from her – the only way to survive this trial is for Willow to remember who she is and what she really wants out of this life.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in a series and I thought that I would be able to dive into this one and just go with it but it turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought it would be.   I did figure it out but I would highly recommend reading the first book in this series before moving on to this one, it is well worth your time 🙂

Jamie Magee created a wonderful story in Embody, not only in the creation of this world but in the characters as well.  This is a story that really makes you feel for those in it and at times it is difficult to put yourself in their place.  

For me the best part of this book was to watch Willow grow and at time struggle with finding herself and who she is.  This was the strongest part of the book for me and what kept drawing me back to it.

My Rating
A good intriguing story

Please visit my giveaway for this book here.

* I received a ecopy of this for review from Book Lovin’ Bitches Ebook Tours.  This in no way affected my views of this book listed above. 

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Review and Giveaway: Hunters & Prey by Katie Salidas view this animated banner you need to have Flash Player 9 or newer installed and JavaScript enabled. Create <a href=”” title=”BannerSnack – Free flash banner maker”>flash banner online</a> with BannerSnack, the high-quality banner maker.

Hunters & PreySummary:  Hunters & Prey by Katie Salidas

  • Pub. Date: December 2010
  • Publisher: Rising Sign Books
  • Format: Paperback , 300pp


Becoming a vampire saved Alyssa from death, but the price was high: the loss of everything and everyone attached to her mortal life. She’s still learning to cope when a surprise confrontation with Santino Vitale, the Acta Sanctorum’s most fearsome hunter, sends her fleeing back to the world she once knew, and Fallon, the friend she’s missed more than anything.Alyssa breaks vampire law by revealing her new, true self to her old friend, a fact which causes strong division in the group that should support her most: her clan. Worse yet, her revelation entangles Fallon in the struggle between vampires and hunters and The Acta Sanctorum is ready to attack again, with a new army of hybrid creations: the Frenzy Soldiers.If Alyssa hopes to survive and keep her mortal friend safe, she’ll have to be willing to make a deal with the enemy, and regain her clan’s support. It will take everyone working together in a precarious truce to fight against the Acta Sanctorum’s new threat.

My Thoughts:

Just when I thought that the sexual tension between Lysander and Alyssa could not get any stronger it does.  Alyssa heads out to hunt on her own and comes face to face with Santino.  This terrifying face that has haunted her since their previous escape.  She does what first comes to though and runs, she ends up in her old familiar coffee house face to face with her best friends, Fallon.  Alyssa has been missing for weeks and despite everything Lysander has told her she tells Fallon the truth only to have Fallon used as bait.  Alyssa finds herself in a horrible place, drained of blood by the Acta Sanctorum and locked in a room with Fallon.  She knows that they mean for her to feed from Fallon but she cannot do so.  Suddenly, Santino comes to her rescue and helps her and Fallon get out.  Lysander is very angry with her but also very concerned about losing his mate.  Together, they all go forward to fight the newest fighters out there to destroy the Vampires! 

This was another outstanding expansion on Lysander and Alyssa story.  Katie Salidas has stayed true to the character and only made me more drawn to Lysander in this book.  He has such a dark haunted past and his feeling seem so deep.  Alyssa still appears to be the selfish young girl.  She puts her wants in front of the needs of those vampires closest to her without much though.  Fallon seems to handle all of this craziness with out too much of a passing thought while she is scared she never backs down with I really enjoyed.  

All in all, a great story and I am really looking forward to the next installment!

Sample Chapter:

Please click here for the sample chapter.

My Rating
Great Story – left me wanting more!


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*I was provided a copy of this ebook from the author for review.  This did not impact my feeling or opinions on the book.


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Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy SummerDetails:  Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

  • Pub. Date: May 2010
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Format: Paperback , 290pp
  • Sales Rank: 33,165
  • Age Range: Young Adult


“Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie—-she’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

My Thoughts:

This is a very touching and sad book for many different reasons in my book.  The introduction is Anna kind of reliving her birthday and the first kiss from her best friend, Frankie’s, older brother, who she has been secretly in love with since she was twelve.  Their story of sneaking around and sharing hidden kisses is touching and reminded me of what young love is all about.  Matt begged Anna not to tell his sister that he would be the one to do it and then he died suddenly from a heart condition no one knew about and both girls are left devastated   Flash forward one year, Frankie and Anna are going to go on the vacation of a lifetime together where Frankie’s family has been vacationing for years and the memories of Matt and haunting everyone.  Frankie puts out the challenge of 20 boys, 10 each while they are gone.  Will they make the count?

This story was super hard to read at times because both girls were hurting so much yet neither could or would talk to each other.  This is a true story of love, loss and healing.  There are many extreme lows for both girls but how they respond is just how you would expect.  They rebel and do some things there never would.  Sarah Ockler has a great connection with the teen world and what is reasonable and not reasonable to happen.  I loved the descriptions of the ocean and beach and the sea glass.  This was one of my favorite parts of the book.  Also, the growth both girls has during this summer. Oh to be young again.

The only frustration with the book was the ending it was just too abrupt for my taste.  I wanted to know how these girls were going to repair their somewhat broken relationship as all the truth came tumbling out.   

My Rating:

Good story – it touches the heart and is a true reflection of love and loss as a teen.

*I was given this book from another blogger.  All opinions are mine.


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Review: Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn’t have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)Details:  Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn’t have) by Sarah Mlynowski

  • Pub. Date: June 2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Format: Hardcover , 368pp
  • Sales Rank: 25,624
  • Age Range: 12 and up


2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn’t have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Throwing a Crazy Party” (#8), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4), and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn’t-have-done at a time.

My Thoughts:

This was a super fun read.  I love the rebellion in these girls.  There is not way at their age that I would have thought one that my parents would let me move in with my best friend while they moved across the country or two that there would be no adult supervisor.  The trouble they get into and the super hard lessons learned along the way make this a good read for teens.  When looking back on this story after I could not put it down, this was a one sitting read for me, I realized that there are super heavy topics covered in this book from lying, to alcohol and the trouble you can get into there, to sexually transmitted diseases.  That is a whole range of tough topics that I didn’t really put together until I sat down and really thought about the story.  That is the biggest reason why I think this book in very impactful for teens and a good reflection for adults.  The style of writing is what makes this book different from some many others that take the super hard line on these issues and harp on them.  In this book, choices are made and consequence happen and it feels so much more like real life.  Great job to Sarah Mlynowski!

My Rating:

4 Penguins –  Good story with a great message and the ending was very interesting but I am not telling you what happens.  
* I purchased this book.  All opinions are mine.


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Review and Giveaway: Immortalis Carpe Nocetem by Katie Salidas view this animated banner you need to have Flash Player 9 or newer installed and JavaScript enabled. Create <a href=”” title=”BannerSnack – Free flash banner maker”>flash banner online</a> with BannerSnack, the high-quality banner maker.

Immortalis Carpe Noctem

Summary:  Immortalis Carpe Noctem by Katie Salidas

  • Pub. Date: January 2010
  • Publisher: Rising Sign Books
  • Format: Paperback , 346pp


Explore the emotional upheaval that is the transformation from human to vampire.

Bleeding to death after brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, Twenty-five year old Alyssa, is rescued by the cold and aloof, vampire, Lysander. Taking pity on her, he shares the gift-and curse-of immortality. She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: An unyielding thirst for blood as well as the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity.
As if having her humanity stripped away was not enough to make life interesting, Alyssa finds out her “turning”, did not go unnoticed by the rest of undead society. Old enemies; an ancient sect of vampire hunters, known as the Acta Sanctorum, as well as a powerful Vampire mistress, each set plans in motion to destroy both Alyssa and Lysander.
Only by accepting her new-found immortality, seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive. She and Lysander must fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them both.

Sample Chapter:

My Thoughts:

This was a different take on the vampire world and what happens in it.  Alyssa after being stood up by her best friend is walking alone home to her apartment when she is brutally attacked by two men who mean to rape and kill her.  When out of nowhere come a third man to her rescue.  When Alyssa come to she asks for her savior’s name, Lysander.  He first apologizes to her for what he has done.  He has turned her into a vampire going again the rules of the coven he is not technically a part of.  Alyssa immediately struggles with the fact that she is going to have to kill in order to survive.  Lysander takes time to teach her how to hunt and even gives her the opportunity to try blood from the butcher however this does not go well and Alyssa continues to struggle.  They are visited one day by Edmond, a messenger from Kallisto, Lysander’s maker and previous mate.  Lysander has broken the rules and Kallisto wants him to resolve this, he is given 30 days to resolve but the Saints arrive in town prior to this and all bets are off.  Will Alyssa and Lysander make it through alive?

First, I am going to start with what didn’t work well for me in this book just to get it out of the way.  Alyssa is so whining and her inner monologue just drove me crazy through sections of the book.  I know that she did not want to drink blood and kill people because it make her feel like a monster but it was rehashed over and over again.  For me it just got old and whinny.   

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, I really enjoyed the story.  There was a great dynamic between all of the characters in this book and it was very different to view the vampire world broken down into covens and the different politics that this creates.  I give Katie Salidas kudos for creating this diverse world and making the rules work.  The most interesting for me was the Saints. Vampires created by the Roman Catholic church to go out and kill the evil in the world, even though they are evil themselves.  

I enjoyed the romance and frustration around romance in this book.  Alyssa and Lysander have an unique relationship full of give and take that is put to the test when a friendly coven of travelers shows up on Lysander’s doorsteps and he invites them to stay.  Alyssa does not feel safe but must learn to trust Lysander.  

My favorite part of the book is watching Alyssa grow into her new talents and as a person.  Overall, this was a great story and put together well.

My Rating:

4 Penguins!  Good story!


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*I was provided with an ecopy of this book for review, no other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

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