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30 October 2011

In My Mailbox (5) - The Crazy Edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. It gives book bloggers the chance to share what they’ve bought/borrowed/received!

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (SCIBA) annual Author Feast and Trade Show in Long Beach (thanks, Aly!). Basically booksellers, publishing reps, librarians, teachers and book enthusiasts get together and awesomeness happens. This was my first event like this and I had a great time. The authors were awesome and I got to talk to some really fun people. Book lovers are the best! For a more in depth post about the event, check out the post from our friends at Bridge to Books. Now - on to the books!

 This large pile of goodness is a mix of stuff from the author signings and things I received from the publisher booths. Thank you to all of the authors and publishers for these. 

 (everything listed L to R and top to bottom)
This is the Adult books pile. I really only tried to take books I wanted to read and I still ended up with a ton. Here goes.

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter (ARC) - I've been dying to read this and snatched it up when I saw it at the Hatchette booth.
Slow Love by Dominique Browning (ARC)
Widow's Daughter by Nicholas Elden (ARC)
The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy (ARC)
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (ARC)
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (ARC)
Arcadia by Lauren Groff (ARC)
Queen of America by Luis Alberto Urrea (SIGNED) - One of the speakers are lunch. Totally funny and engaging. This is the second book in a series. 
All That I Am by Anna Funder (ARC)
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (HC) - I didn't love his last book Middlesex but do enjoy his writing. Looking forward to this.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (ARC) - looks good!
Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore (ARC) - I am a fan of Moore and was excited to get this.

YA Time!

Spoiled by Heather Cooks & Jessica Morgan (HC) - I love Go Fug Yourself  and am excited to read this.
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (ARC)
Welcome to the Town of Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley (ARC)
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg (ARC)
Switched by Amanda Hocking (ARC) - There seem to be a lot of mixed reviews on this and I admit that I am curious.
A Million Suns by Beth Revis (ARC) - I have to read Across the Universe stat!
Variant by Robinson Wells (ARC) - Another one I've been dying to read.
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (ARC)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (ARC)
My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody (SIGNED) - Jessica Brody spoke at the Pen Fatale panel and she was so funny. I think this is going to be a fun one.

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E Pearson (SIGNED)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (SIGNED) - Love Maggie!
Enthralled by various (ARC) - I've been wanting to read this one, too.
Dreamland by Alyson Noel (SIGNED)
Shatter Me by Teherah Mafi (ARC) - Squee!
Girls Meet Boys by various (ARC)

on to the younger stuff

Tua and the Elephant by Harris/Yao (ARC)
Bake Sale by by Sara Varon
Chopsticks by Anthony/Corral (ARC)
Nursery Rhyme Comics by various (HC)
Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown (HC)
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (SIGNED) - One of the speakers at the luncheon. I may love him now.

Wow, you say, that is a giant stack books books! Yes, it is. So what do I do? Check out books from the library, of course! To be fair, though, these were books on my e-book waiting list that became available. 


Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent
My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares - Recommended by a good friend.

That's really it for this week. I have to go hide in a cave and read now.
What's in your mailbox?

Follow Thuy on twitter @fishgirl182

27 October 2011

Caught In The Act - Review

Caught In The Act (PI & Men To The Rescue #3) by Lori Foster
Publication date: 01 September 2001 by Harlequin
ISBN 10/13: 0441013813 | 978-0441013814

Category: Adult Romantic Suspense
Keywords: Contemporary, realistic, romance
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook

From goodreads:



Mick Dawson, undercover cop.

He's got his hands full with a pushy broad who claims she's just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Except all the perps seem to know everything there is to know about her. Who're you going to believe? Only one way to find out. Get real close.

Lela DeBraye (aka Del Piper), mystery writer.

She's as confused as he is, but mostly because he's got the sweetest smile, when he smiles. Still, he's sticking with her twenty-four/seven — is this love or duty? Is he her protector or her captor?

Thuy’s review:

Mick’s been watching Del for a couple of weeks. He first spotted her in his old neighborhood and immediately developed a small obsession for the dreamy mystery writer. The day Mick decides to make his move, Del’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. During an attempted robbery, Mick gets shot saving Del’s life. As drawn to him as he is to her, Del offers to take Mick in while he recovers. However, things about the robbery don’t quite add up and Mick isn’t sure if he can trust Del so he keeps her close while trying to unravel the mystery.

Caught In The Act is a light, fun romance with a little bit of mystery thrown in. Foster can be a bit hit and miss for me. I like some of her books a lot and other are just OK. I didn’t like this one as much of some of her other book. It was somewhat predictable but I still enjoyed it - good for a quick read. Caught In The Act is actually a part of a series, which I didn’t realize when I picked it up. I don't think you need to read the series in order though, as I was able to follow along perfectly fine.

This is definitely a case of love at first sight romance. Mick’s absolutely enthralled by Del and she seem to share the same attraction. Usually in romances (especially novella length ones), the falling in love is fast and hard. And normally I can suspend disbelief and go with story. However, in this case, the fast fall was a little too fast for me. Mick and Del barely know each other and he’s already moving in. Maybe it’s a bit of gratitude on her part and obsession on his but I wish they would have developed the relationship a little more.

Mick’s your typical romance lead - big, handsome and aggressive. He makes no qualms about telling Del exactly how he feels about her and is sweet and protective. His cop instincts get the better of him though and he makes a big blunder with Del. Even though I could see it coming, I wanted to smack him upside the head when it happens. Though I didn’t love Del, I did like her and find her to be a unique character. She’s a bit of an odd bird - a mystery writer with her head in the clouds and, while I couldn’t relate to her, I liked that she wasn’t your stereotypical romance heroine.

Mick’s two friends, Zack and Josh, provided some comic relief. Their scenes with Mick had a real feeling of camaraderie and their conversations were pretty funny. I would love to read more about both of them. Good thing they each have a book of their own.

This book wasn’t anything new or groundbreaking but it’s a quick and entertaining read with some good moments. I am picking up Josh’s book after this. :)
say "twee!"

Visit the author online at www.lorifoster.com and follow @lorilfoster on Twitter

25 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (3) - Books To Read During Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to sign up or find more info on this feature, go to the Top Ten Tuesday page.  This week's topic is Top Ten Books To Read During Halloween.

I love, love Halloween though I don't necessarily have too many scary books in my arsenal. I mean I read about vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the night all the time so maybe I don't find them that scary anymore? Anyway - believe is a list of books that I feel are Halloween appropriate. 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman- Great story about an orphaned boy who grows up in a graveyard. By Neil Gaiman Awesome.

World War Z by Max Brooks - I have a friend who is terrified of a real zombie apocalypse happening and this book really scared her. Whether or not you believe in zombies, this book make you think twice about the possibility of a real zombie takeover. 

Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead - What better time to read about a succubus and her demon friends than Halloween? One of my favorites series.

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman - More zombies! The TV show is great (fantastic makeup and fx) but you should check out the comic that started it all. Very grim and dark.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris - I remember this book being so creepy. I love the movie but the book is great, too.  Dip inside the mind of a serial killer. Shudder.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Not really a Halloween book but definitely scary. McCarthy paints a believable setting in which the world is barren of all life save for a few nomadic people struggling to survive. Extremely bleak and harsh - this book stayed with me for a long time.

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell - I haven't read this book in years but it still scares me. I remember the tales being twisted and dark. Part of the scariness though is due to the illustrations. I can't even bear to look at the illustrations to this day, I was so traumatized as a child.  

Dracula by Bram Stoker - A classic.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - Another classic horror story. I haven't read this in a long time but I loved it as a kid.

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz - A classic. I love watching this on TV at Halloween.

That's all I have this week. How about you? What scary books do you recommend?
say "twee!"

follow thuy on twitter @fishgirl182

23 October 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. It gives book bloggers the chance to share what they’ve bought/borrowed/received!

(my library was seriously rocking this week and I got some great stuff) 


Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick - I've heard good things about this one and the cover is creeeeepy.

Witchlanders by Lena Oakley - Another one I've heard really good things about.

My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent - I'm a bit late to this series. Looks like it could be awesome.

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel - Saw this at Comic Con this year and put it on my to read list. Was happy to find it at the library this week. Based on Frankenstein.

A low haul week for me. What's in your mailbox?

Follow Thuy on twitter @fishgirl182

22 October 2011

Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Anderson - Review

Lord of the Wolfyn (Royal Book of Shadows #3) by Jessica Andersen
Publication date: 18 October 2011 by Harlequin Nocturne
ISBN 10/13: 0373618700 | 9780373618705

Category: Adult Paranormal Romance
Keywords: Paranormal, romance, vampires, weres, revenge
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook (e-ARC received from Netgalley for review)

Thuy's synopsis:

Lord of the Wolfyn is the third book in the Royal Book of Shadows series and continues with the sage of the heirs of the royal family of Elden and their quest to find vengeance for their family and save their kingdom from the evil Blood sorcerer. Dayn, the second prince of Elden, finds himself in the Wolfyn realm after he’s cast from his home by his parents’ warped deathbed spell. The Woflyn realm is a realm with both magic and technology, with features of both the human realm and the kingdom realm. There, Dayn learns to live with the wolfyn (werewolves to us humans) and wait for the guide that his father said would lead him back to Elden to defeat the Blood Sorcerer.

Meanwhile, former cop Reda is recovering from a robbery that left her partner dead. With shattered self confidence, Reda is trying to put together the pieces of her life when she is drawn to a fairy tale book from her childhood that was lost a long time ago. The book brings her face to face with her greatest fear as well as her greatest desire. Chanting an old spell, Reda is transported to the wolfyn realm and to Dayn, the woodsman from her book. Now Reda must find the strength to accept her fate and lead Dayn back to Elden to reclaim his birthright.

Thuy's review:

Lord of the Wolfyn is another fun installment in the Royal Book of Shadows series. While this wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I enjoyed Jessica Anderson’s writing and had a hard time putting it down.  Like the other books in the series, Lord of the Wolfyn is a retelling of a classic fairy tale. This one is based on Red Riding Hood and is probably the most literal, as the fairy tale book actually plays in role in the plot.  The book is what draws Reda into the wolfyn realm and foretells her journey with Dayn.

Dayn is probably the least alpha of the males we’ve seen so far in this series. That’s not a bad thing - it’s actually kind of refreshing. There’s a lot of chest beating in romance novels and it is nice to have a hero who doesn’t say “mine” all the time and proclaim eternal love after five minutes (not that there’s anything wrong with that). After the trauma of her partner’s death, Reda has become very withdrawn and unsure of herself. Dayn is very careful of her feelings and tries to protect her.  However, he’s torn between his obligation to his family and his feelings for Reda. This leads him to do a lot of back and forth with pushing her away for her own good and the good of his mission but also clinging to her because he loves her. It gets a little frustrating because he can’t seem to make up his mind.

Unfortunately I didn’t care much for Reda. She seems to be very emotionally unstable at the beginning of the book. I do feel for her.  She blames herself for her partner’s death and hasn’t been able to forgive herself. When she meets Dayn, she convinces herself that she’s in a dream and goes along with it trying to wake herself up. Once she figures out it’s not a dream she has to deal this weird fixation and fear she has of being brainwashed. She’s very wary of the wolfyn because, in her book, they are portrayed as being able to enthrall women to do their sexual bidding.  When she finds out that Dayn can become one of them, she freaks out and accuses him of entrancing her.  She second guesses her own feelings and assumes the worst about every situation.  She does eventually herself together becomes a pretty badass warrior, but it takes her awhile to get there.

I thought the back story about Reda’s mother was really interesting but, unfortunately, the story doesn’t delve too far into what happened to her. I am not sure if we’ll come back to it but I hope we do. Since this is the last book before the end of the series, there’s a lot of buildup in this one and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. The time difference is as confusing as ever and I have no idea where Dayn’s timeline is in comparison to his siblings. Perhaps I should make a chart.  

This is my first Jessica Anderson book and I liked her writing style. The story was fast paced and flowed nicely. And even though I didn’t fall in love with the characters I was thoroughly sucked into the story. This has been a fun series so far just because it’s introduced me to several new authors.  The next book is the one I’ve been waiting for, though, because I love Nalini Singh.  I am excited to see how this series wraps up!

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book. 

Visit the author online at www.jessicaandersen.com or visit the website for Royal House of Shadows here

20 October 2011

Lord of Rage - Review

Lord of Rage (Royal House of Shadows #2) by Jill Monroe
Publication date: 20 September 2011 by Harlequin Nocturne
ISBN 10/13: 0373618689 | 9780373618682

Category: Adult Paranormal Romance
Keywords:Paranormal, romance, shifters, revenge
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook
Source: e-ARC received from Netgalley for review)

Thuy's synopsis:

Lord of Rage is the second book in the Royal Book of Shadows series and is the story of Princess Breena, only daughter of the royal family of Elden. Like her brother Nicolai in Lord of the Vampires, Breena is flung from her home when, in an attempt to save her life, her dying parents cast two spells on her and her siblings - one to survive and one to seek vengeance on The Blood Sorcerer. The spells cause Breena to be whisked away during her attempt to escape the castle and she finds herself in unknown woods, with a patchy recollection of who she is and what she is doing there. She’s also without her magical powers, which were always weak at best. Unlike her mother, who can speak to people in her dreams, Breena’s only ever been able to find one person in her dreams - a dark and dangerous warrior who knows her body like no one else. Starving and exhausted, Breena stumbles upon a small cabin in the woods after wandering the woods for several days. She breaks in and steals some food before she collapses into one of the beds in the house.

Osborn is one of the last of his people. An Ursan warrior, he has secluded himself with his two younger brothers in the small cabin at the edge of town. His people were wiped out 10 years ago by a group of vicious vampires in the colors of the Elden guard. He’s sworn revenge against Elden and has become a mercenary in order to survive and support his family. When he finds Breena in his bed, he is furious until he realizes that the woman from his dreams is real and is in his home. Breena pleads with Osborn to help her avenge her family as she tries to piece together what’s happened to them and fights her attraction to the gruff warrior.

Thuy's review:

I didn’t love the first book in this series, Lord of the Vampires (see review here), and went into this one cautiously. I am glad I did, though, because I really enjoyed Lord of Rage.

Breena’s your typical princess - bred to be a political asset and a good wife, she has been sheltered and is somewhat naive about the ways of the world. She is a stark contrast to Osborn, a fighter who is adept at surviving any way he has to. Breena’s no wilting flower, though. She has a rebellious spirit and strong will. She isn’t afraid to stand up to Osborn or seek the vengeance she feels her family deserves. Osborn definitely has a dark side to him. Being one of the last members of his race, he’s very isolated. He is also consumed with guilt still seeks revenge. He comes off as rude and moody at times but it’s tempered with humor and tenderness. His feelings for Breena confuse him and he doesn’t handle it very well at first. I love antagonist romantic relationships, though, so I enjoyed the verbal (and physical) sparring between Breena and Osborn. There’s plenty of sexual tension between the two. When they finally succumb to their feelings, watch out! Their love scenes are HOT and also surprisingly sweet.

I also loved the mythology that Monroe created around Osborn and his people. I am not sure how much of it, if any, is grounded in any real mythology but I found myself captivated by it. The spiritual connection that Osborn feels towards the bear is profound and quite beautiful. Even though the ritual and its accompanying power are violent, there is also a great respect for the spirit of the animal and a sense of partnership vs dominance.

A fun twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Lord of Rage is an entertaining read and a solid installment to the series. This is my first Jill Monroe book and I enjoyed her writing very much. All of the characters were well developed and the story furthered the overall plot with the siblings and The Blood Sorcerer. I am still a little confused about the timeline of this book - where Nicolai’s story comes and if Brenna jumped time at all. Also unsure about the importance of the magical timepieces that each of the siblings have but hopefully this will all be explained soon. Overall I had a lot of fun reading this book am looking forward to reading the next one.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.jillmonroe.com and follow @JillMonroe on Twitter

18 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (2) - Books That Whose Titles Or Covers Made Me Buy It

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to sign up or find more info on this feature, go to the Top Ten Tuesday page.  This week's topic is Top Ten Books That Whose Titles Or Covers Made Me Buy It.

Confessions of a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland - The minute I saw this I knew I had to have it. Besides being about zombies, this cover is gorgeous. I love the colors, her expression and basically everything about it. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I saw a picture of this book at Comic Con earlier this year at the publisher's booth and fell in love. The paper cutout carousel, the colors, layout, everything is beautiful.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs - I think it was the tattoos that did it for me. This isn't my favorite Mercy Thompson cover but it is the one that got me to pick up the series, for which I am forever grateful. It also introduced me to the awesome that is Dan Dos Santos who does all the Mercy covers as well as a plethora of others. (He also did the White Trash Zombie cover above.)

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Ploitz - This cover is very minimal but intriguing. You're intrigued, right?  I love the title font. Amazon was having an amazing deal on this book so I bought it for my kindle. I know, no cover but it fits the book budget.

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff - I think I picked this up in hardcover when it first came out. I love graphic covers with clean lines and interesting type. I didn't love this book but I still think this cover is great.

The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton - I don't think this one needs any explanation.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater - Just a gorgeous, yet very simple cover. The insides are awesome, too, and each book in the series uses a different color ink.

The World To Come by Dara Horn - I hate to say that I still haven't read this one. The cover looks a bit magical though and I couldn't resist.

Back in Black by Lori Foster - Apparently I'm a sucker for good abs and pelvic bones on guys. Faces are good, too, but often on romance novels the ruins the illusion. or they have long hair (shudder). I like adding my own faces to my romance heroes.

The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catheryenne M. Valente and Ana Juan (illustrator) - I have a thing for fairy tales and adventures and this book looks like it will have both. Pretty.

say "twee!"

follow thuy on twitter @fishgirl182

16 October 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly maeme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. It gives book bloggers the chance to share what they’ve bought/borrowed/received!


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - I've been dying to read this one. Laini is coming to L.A. in a couple of weeks as well and I hope to go to the signing.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by

Shock Value by Jason Zinoman - I am a horror movie fan and hope to learn some interesting stuff from this book.

Vietnamerica by GB Tran - I've had this one out from the library for awhile and I really need to read it soon. Graphic novel telling of a son's perspective of his family flight from Vietnam. This topic has meaning for me since I am Vietnamese-American as well and I am interested in Tran's story.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Yes I need to read this.

For Review

Dearly, Departed  by Lia Habel (from Netgalley) - Zombies. I love zombies. Victorian era zombies? Sign me up!

Wayfinder by C.E. Murphy (from Netgalley) - I don't know much about this book but it looked interesting.

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton (from publisher) - Tor was kind enough to sent this to Alethea, so I borrowed it from her. Not sure if it goes under For Review or Borrowed but here is it. This looks like it could be awesome.

That's what I have for this week. What's in your mailbox?

Follow Thuy on twitter @fishgirl182