Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Format: Paperback


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


The best thing you can do as a reader is dive into a book you have zero expectations for. If you do this, you’ll do yourself and the author a favor by actually enjoying the book and fulfilling the author’s goal to entertain the masses. 

Divergent was dubbed “The Favorite Book” of Goodreads in 2011. I remember voting for it just because it was popular and not because I’ve actually read it. At that time, I wondered why the book was such a success. I wondered why it was so appealing to the young and old. I was actually pretty shocked that some of my friends didn’t find the book impressive at all. And that’s probably why I held no expectations for Divergent and it’s now one of the best books I’ve read all year, of course, it’ll be beside Feed by Mira Grant. 

The first chapter began and the alternative universe Roth paints for us reminded me so much of many other Dystopian books out there. It was like Suzanne Collins, Ally Condie, Beth Revis and Veronica Roth were in the same writing group when they first started their debut novels. I complained so much at the beginning about its similarities to other books but then fifty pages in and I began to eat my own words, the book got really good, really fast. 

The main reason why I loved the book so much was because of how human and me, Trice, the main character, was. She is one of the best protagonists I’ve read all year and I realized one thing: the best protagonists are the kind who sees themselves not as victims but as humans, who can overcome any obstacle they face. Trice faces any obstacle head on and that kind of determination you see in a character will inspire you to take life by it’s hands, so you can lead your own way through it instead of the other way around. 

The book had a gloomy and colorful world. In this alternative universe, the world is divided into factions wherein people are sorted by their personalities. The Abnegation Faction are the Selfless, Amity are the people of peace and arts, Candor are the honest, Dauntless are the brave, and Erudite are the intelligent. Life in this world is a lot simpler and people stuck with their factions and wars rarely broke out. 

Now, for Divergent, what does it really mean? I actually went through 250 pages and I still couldn’t figure out what it was. I might have been a little slow when I read this book so I couldn’t process the obvious. Haha. I realized what Divergent was when I understood that Trice was flawed and truly human, and not selfless like the people of Abnegation. She wasn’t wholly truthful like the honest of Candor, she wasn’t peaceful and free like the Amity and not completely smart like the Erudite or fearless like the Dauntless. She was Divergent, rare and yet, she seems to meet a lot of people who are or used to know a Divergent. 

I really loved following Trice and her adjustment to her new faction. I enjoyed laughing when she did, fighting and being angry along with her. I cried when she did and hurt when she did. Trice is incredibly realistic and the true heroine to follow in any Young Adult book. 

I was surprised to find that the book held more character developments and growth rather than big leaps of plots and twists. It’s refreshing and impressive; especially when Roth manages to write the most enthralling character developments I’ve ever read. She’s a poet in her own little way and I absolutely love her writing style. 

The verdict:

Divergent is a brilliant book of friendship, betrayal, family and the true meaning of selflessness. Roth has written a wonderful book that will leave you a month later still thinking about her book. I can’t wait to pick up the next book and the movie isn’t far off.

5/5 stars

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cover Reveal: Nikki (Angels of the Knights #3) by Valerie Zambito

Angels of the Knights - Nikki (Book 3)
Coming Soon!

Summary not available yet...

Angels of the Knights - Fallon 

Summary from Goodreads:
When Fallon Angell died at the age of sixteen, her life changed forever.

The hallowed world of Emperica is everything she had ever hoped for as a mortal—immeasurable beauty, unconditional love and light. But, with affection for humankind still burning within her, she joins the Knight Caste to train as an angel warrior. As a Knight, she will give up her wings and return to the place that killed her to use her unique powers to search out and destroy the evil Kjin that roam the earth. As a Knight, she will stop at nothing to protect the mortals in her care.

The elders warn her that the path she chose will be a solitary one. That she will not have the same bond with humans as she once did. But, as far as she knows, the elders had never met Kade Royce.

When her duties place her in the path of this handsome former cop, emotions buried long ago rise to the surface and she is powerless to ignore the depth of her feelings for this young man. She knows instinctively that she has found what most people search their entire lives for.

Ignoring the risks, she invites him into her world of danger, but soon their lives collide with explosive consequence. As a result, Fallon realizes with heartbreaking despair that she can no longer hide from the painful truth. In order for Kade to live, she must destroy him.

E-book is currently free!
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Angels of the Knights - Blane 
(Angels of the Knights #2)

Summary from Goodreads:
Once the hunter, now the hunted. As the war with the Kjin rages, Blane Romero must lead the Paladin Knights against their mortal enemy while trying to protect the young, Juliet Hunter, who unwittingly finds herself entangled in their sinister schemes. Juliet cares only about shielding her young sisters from harm, but finds herself drawn to the enigmatic man who offers her much more than either he or she was prepared for.

Ostracized by the families they loved, Blane and Juliet find they have more in common than they thought as they battle demons both real and personal to stay together. But, will it be enough when the powerful Cesar Grant decides he wants Juliet for his own?

Book Two in the Angels of the Knights paranormal fantasy series.

Buy Links:
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About the Author
Thank you for visiting my Goodread's profile. I am Valerie Zambito, and I live in upstate New York with my husband and three sons. After having been involved in a busy sales career for fifteen years, a great love of world building, character creation, and all things magic led to the publication of my first adult epic fantasy series, ISLAND SHIFTERS, in October of 2011. Since then, I have added two additional books to this series and wrote the first book in a new teen paranormal series called ANGELS OF THE KNIGHTS.

My reading preference is fantasy as well and I devour in copious amounts. In my opinion, there’s nothing like it! Great fantasy grants us entry into a world beyond our own that is filled with adventure, mystery and danger. How exciting to enjoy a front row seat to human struggles of epic proportions. Struggles that tug at our heartstrings and elicit real emotion.

I gravitate to fantasy with heroic elements. I like strong, confident men who never back down from a fight against evil. The kind who will not hesitate to throw himself between a woman and a fire-breathing dragon. I like strong women, too. The kind who will appreciate the offer, but is more inclined to push the man out of the way and take care of the dragon herself. ;)

(1) Print or e-book copies of books 1 & 2 in this series plus $25 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal Organized by:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Cover Tuesday #1: Golden by Jessi Kirby

A weekly meme by Naj at Unputdownable Books. Share your favorite cover of the week with me and the rest of the blogosphere!

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.


It's simple, fresh and not complicated at all. I love the color scheme it gives out a warm feeling. The fonts chosen are crisp and plain and it still holds a big impact to the cover. The patter on the bottom corner is a perfect touch to complete the entire composition of the cover. What do you guys think?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Feature: Dancing with Deception by Andrea Heltsley

The cover is so dark and beautiful! :)

How far would you go to keep your nightmares a secret?

Wendy has been struggling with vivid, chilling nightmares that leave her exhausted and horrified. What will Wendy do to protect her secret when she discovers her nightmares are real? Death is coming and he’s coming for her.

Read the chilling prequel to the paranormal romance, Dancing with Death.

Death is coming and he’s coming for me.

Murders have plagued the woods in the past, making them a place of fear. Eighteen year old Wendy and her friends become worried when a new string of murders come to their high school.

After a horrible car accident, Wendy returns to school, going from wallflower to popular overnight. Suddenly she is the center of attention, paying more attention to guys and clothes. Things are heating up for Wendy with more than one guy vying for her affections.

As the murderer edges closer to Wendy she realizes things are changing. She is afflicted with nightmares that are all too real and she herself is undergoing unnatural changes. Learning the truth about her past, could be the key to saving her future.


Andrea Heltsley

I’m a biologist turned writer. I write YA/NA paranormal romance books mainly. I’m the author of Devour and have several more books scheduled to come out later in 2013. I book blog for fun. I also have a strong addiction to caffeine and fruit snacks. You can find me in Tennessee with my husband and two Italian greyhounds.

If you ask anyone, I’m a total fangirl! I love the entertainment industry. I love Revenge and the Vampire Diaries on television. My favorite movies are Elektra and P.S. I Love You. I have a definite weakness for Tim Burton movies too. I’m beyond a huge fangirl for Shakira, both her English and Spanish music; Jack’s Mannequin comes in a close second. I have too many favorite authors to list, but Kelley Armstrong and Rachel Vincent are two of them. I’ve read all their books.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Feature: Tristis Manor by J. R. Wagner

Margaret lives in a constant state of fear. Fear of her mother, whose constant state of anger and unwillingness to speak of Margaret’s past have long since pushed Margaret away. Fear of disappointing her father should he ever discover the events of that day. Most of all, Margaret lives in fear of her abuser’s return. Margaret turns to self-harm to cope with her pain and fear. Only when her self-inflicted injuries bring her near death does she realize she has the power and the support from an unlikely place to stand up to her fears and believe in herself again. Tristis Manor is a novella from The Never Chronicles, an epic fantasy series.
J.R. Wagner will be supporting the wonderful charity RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) with book sales made between March 20 – July 20, so please help spread the word!
For More Information, Please Visit!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cover Reveal: Keeper of the Lost Souls by Kristy Centeno

Keeper of the Lost Souls
Release Date: June 2013

Summary from Goodreads:
Bryn McCaskey is young, naïve, and can talk to ghosts. Like her mother and grandmother, Bryn is part of a breed of witches called The Keepers of the Lost Souls, whose main purpose is to guard those spirits which are permanently or temporarily grounded in the world of the living.

Because Bryn is a witch, she’s fairly comfortable dealing with all sorts of threats, which she does with ease and confidence. Handling supernatural creatures is as easy to her as baking a pie. Dealing with people however, is something she is yet to learn how to handle.

Unfortunately, as her 18th birthday approaches, and the time for her to take on her first assignment finally arrives, Bryn is forced to confront her inability to communicate with others in an effort to save the one soul that can mean the difference between life and death for mankind.
Johnny Shaw is a lost soul with a personal vendetta against witches. A vendetta he has carried on even after death. However, as much as he might hate them, in order to stop a century old threat, he must join forces with one. When fate brings them together, not only will they be forced to learn how to work as a team, but they will have to depend on each other to stop an evil witch carrying a six hundred year grudge. 

About the Author
I’ve always had a passion for writing but never had the opportunity do so until now. After trying out numerous options I realized that writing was what I loved the most so when I found myself with some free time on my hands, I decided to give it a shot. As it turned out, my very active imagination helped me achieve my goals of creating believable plots with some ordinary, and some not so ordinary characters that helped the stories move along in one way or another.

As I keep moving along in achieving my dreams of becoming a published author, I divide my time in between my four children and my very understanding husband.

Review: Destiny Gift by Juliana Haygert

 (click the cover image above to add the book to your to be read pile)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: eBook


Thirty years in the future, a sinister New York City exists in permanent darkness.

A student at the secured NYU, nineteen-year-old Nadine has visions of Victor Gianni, an imaginary guy she has real feelings for. Afraid of being truly insane, she explains the visions away as simple daydreams, but she can no longer deny them when she bumps into Victor in real life. But this Victor doesn’t know her, and turns her away. After the encounter, Nadine’s visions change to those of eerie fates, gods she’s never heard of, demons with sharp claws they are not too timid to use … and instructions.

To discover if she’s losing her mind, Nadine follows the vague directions—with the real, rude and reluctant Victor—leading to a man who knows it all: Nadine can restore an ancient creed by unveiling the clues on her visions, and bring sunlight and peace to the world again. But that’s only if the demons and the other evil forces behind the darkness don’t stop her first.


Destiny Gift takes place in a world where God has forsaken the world and left humanity with a whirlwind of natural disasters, corruption, demons, and none-stop crime. In this world, stores like bookshops, clothes shops, etc are locked up and you need to ring a bell to get in to purchase something.  Every house and building has a security system. Every newspaper and news channel is filled with terrible things happening every single day. I’m talking about Tornadoes; whole cities being blown up on one go by an unnatural fireball that appeared out of nowhere. This alternative universe is scary.

I took notes all throughout reading the book and in all of them, I'm always remarking on how smart Nadine (the heroine) is (Sarcasm). There are many occasions that seriously made me doubt Nadine's common sense. There are these big bat-like beasts roaming the planet and drunk idiots trying to rape girls and Nadine seems to have no regard for her safety and just chooses to "hang out" with them.

For example, Nadine is about to go out with her friends to a Club and when they're about to leave, the phone rings and Nadine picks up. She has to take the call and asks the girls to go ahead without her and that she'll meet them there. Yeah right! She goes off on her own and on foot too! Talk about a meat beacon for the demons.

As I continue to read, I hope wholeheartedly that she gets better along the way. But no... Nadine just continues to frustrate me! I don't know if she was written to be so irritating by the author or not.

Anyways, the storyline is actually good. It consisted of the books own versions of the Roman and Greek Gods. It even had the Fates. Throughout the book, I did manage to predict some events but most of the time the plot is unpredictable and does wow you here and there. Aside from that, the romance was just too transparent and angsty. I couldn't even connect with the characters at all and that is one thing I really hated.

On the plus side, the book was very entertaining and actually got really good once you ignore Nadine. Even the ending was such a cliffhanger that I literally yelled "What?! That's it?" when I finished it. So, I give the book a big O. K. and 3.5 stars out of 5.

3.5/5 stars

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Excerpt: The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks

(The Grave Winner #1)

Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead — just like the prom queen did.

While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging.

She should have listened.

Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.

With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.



 Dad, Darby, and I stood rooted in place at Mom’s burial. The weight in my chest threatened to suffocate me if I looked at the lid of her gleaming casket any longer. Instead, I focused on the black birds cutting across the sky in a sharp V formation. They pressed on until the tops of the trees took them from me.
                  The preacher had stopped talking a long time ago. People still crowded around us, heads bent, smothering their sniffles with tissues. Someone patted my back. I wished they’d stop. No attempt to comfort would help.
                  The white-haired old man hovering back by the fence hacked loudly then puffed on a cigarette with a dirt-spattered hand. When we arrived at Heartland Cemetery, I’d seen him preparing another grave for a casket. He bounced on the balls of his feet, probably anxious to get the body in the ground.
                  Mom’s body. Once the ground swallowed her, her death would be final, and that guy wanted to speed things up. He probably wanted to get to his coffee break or something. Heat flashed through my gut. I took a step towards him.
                  Dad grabbed the collar of my dress and yanked me back. I opened my mouth to say something, but the words died in my throat when I saw the tears slipping down his cheeks.
                  Darby had her head buried in his side. She looped her small fingers around my plaid belt, the one Mom got me for my fifteenth birthday. I grasped Darby’s warm hand and closed my eyes against the pricks of hurt inside them.
                  The people closing us in shifted and began to wander away. The old man inched closer to Mom’s casket. Dad tightened his hold on my collar. I gripped Darby’s fingers and glared at the man.
                  The few people who were left gave us consoling looks and said empty words before they drifted off. One was the woman who’d seen my funeral attire earlier and clucked her tongue in disapproval.

Mom had loved my black eyeliner and these combat boots, though. She’d said I reminded her of herself when she was young.
                  “It’s time,” Dad said.
                  A choked cry forced its way out of my mouth. No, it wasn’t. If we left, the old man would lower Mom into the ground. It would be final, and I couldn’t stand it.
                  “Why?” I asked, my voice cracking.
                  Dad just shook his head, hugged us both to him, and turned to leave Mom with the old man.
                  I wriggled free and ran.
                  “Leigh?” Dad called.
                  I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. But I needed to be away—away from that stupid man who wanted to put the final punctuation mark on Mom’s life. Away from the unfairness of her death.
                  My breath came in quick, sharp gasps as I wound around crumbling headstones. The sun threw bright rays on the maze of white, rocky paths and made my eyes tear up. I pumped my legs harder until I became nothing but movement. The untied laces of my left boot whipped my bare legs. Grass and mud around the graves muffled my steps until my boot flew off my foot and landed with a thwack in the middle of a cluster of trees.
                  I leaned over to catch my breath, unsure if I wanted to laugh or cry. Several yards behind me, Dad and Darby stood and waited. I waved them on to the gates and went to retrieve my boot.  There seemed to be no one around except the trees and me. The leaves murmured to each other while the wind swayed the branches. Heartland Cemetery had more trees than the rest of Krapper, Kansas, and they all whispered and danced for the amusement of the dead.
                  A sudden breeze brushed over my arms and sent a faint smell of rotten hamburger past my nose. My stomach rolled. What was that? That didn’t smell like the usual slaughtered cow stink that came from the other side of town. I shoved my foot into my boot and hobbled away.
                  The breeze and stink faded to nothing as quickly as they had come. I bent to tie my boot, but a crackling behind me made me pause. A cloud cast long, dark shadows over the headstones and chilled my skin. The hairs along my arms prickled.
                  The crackling came closer. I turned my head slightly. In the corner of my eye, inky black darkness crawled up the bark of a nearby tree.
                  I gasped and shot to my feet. The black ink crept to the tips of the branches and ripped away its leaves, leaving it empty and naked. More darkness pooled at the bottom of the trunk and inched along the grass towards me. Every green blade curled in on itself with that awful crackling sound, dying. The darkness reached straight for me.
                  A shudder raced across my shoulders. I stumbled backwards. My gaze caught on blackened footprints that led to the tree. Someone was doing this? But how? This wasn’t possible.
                  I glanced back at Dad and Darby, but they’d gone on without me. This couldn’t be real. None of it. I shook my head hard, trying to wake myself. Nothing changed.
                  Something dark fluttered from behind the dead tree. Whoever was doing this stood behind the trunk.
                  I dug my nails into my palms, pressed my lips together, and took a step back. A branch snapped under my boot, louder than the crackling. I froze. My heart jumped.  
                  Scraps of muddy fabric flapped around the trunk, followed by a girl.
                  My flesh crept up and down my bones. Sweat trickled down the back of my dress. That rotten meat stink kicked my stomach, forcing me to clap a hand over my nose and mouth.
                  The torn fabric that hung from the girl’s scrawny frame looked like a prom dress. Mud and grime covered her entire body. Her mouth sagged open in a silent scream.
                  I couldn’t move. The darkness pooled underneath the dangling hem of the girl’s dress and spread dangerously close to the toes of my boots, but I couldn’t move.
                  The girl raised her tucked chin and looked at me. The whites of her eyes blazed behind the mud caking her face. Her open mouth held the same black gloom that dripped at her feet. A grimy tiara perched on the side of her head.
                  My muscles stiffened. I gasped as recognition hit me.
                  I knew the girl. Or knew of her. Her social circle was my social nightmare. Her name was Sarah, a popular cheerleader who committed suicide a week ago.
                  But how could she be here when she should be in the ground? I had to be hallucinating. My grief, the stress from the day, it was all making me see things.
                  Jumbled whispers swirled through the air. Was Sarah trying to tell me something? Because I didn’t want to hear it. My feet finally got the message to move just before the killing darkness touched my boots. I ran.
                  “Mom,” I called without thinking. Mom.
                  The old man cranked a lever that lowered her into the ground. A dull pain stitched my side. A sob welled in my throat. I couldn’t watch.
                  “Dad!” I raced for the cemetery gates. He and Darby stood just outside. When I neared them, I breathed, “Something’s wrong.” Because what else could I say in front of Darby? If she’d seen what I saw, it would be too much to handle in one day. I stood so I blocked her view of anything behind me and resisted the urge to flip the glasses off her face.
                  Jo, my best friend, put her hand on my shoulder. I hadn’t even noticed she was there. “What is it, Leigh?”
                  I took giant gulps of air and risked a glance behind me. The trees looked normal. Black death hadn’t dripped everywhere. Everyone was in their graves.
                  That fact made me wince. “Nothing.”

Lindsey R. Loucks

Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she’s not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she’s dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she’ll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize. She’s been with her significant other for almost two decades.

There will be reviews, interviews, guest posts, excerpts and giveaways + a special giveaway on the Dark World Books website! Check below to find a giveaway to get the chance to win two printed copies of The Grave Winner + Swag, and it's US Only.

The Grave Winner Tour schedule:
May 20th | Road to Hell series (Author Interview, Excerpt)

May 21st | Unputdownable Books (Excerpt)

May 22nd | Mythical Books (Excerpt, Giveaway)

May 23rd | Emma’s Rumblings on Supernatural Fiction (Guest Post, Excerpt)

May 24th | The Avid Reader (Review, Excerpt)

May 27th | Fictional Candy (Excerpt, Giveaway)

May 28th | Breathe In BooKs (Review, Excerpt, Giveaway)

May 29th | Mind Reader (Character Interview)

May 30th | Justified Lunacy (Review, Author Interview)

May 31st | Frankie’s Blooding Bookshelf (Review)