Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

I read a bunch of new (to me) authors this year, and these are the ten authors I want to read more of next year!

  1. Colleen Oakes.  I love her Queen Of Hearts saga so much!  I’m so looking forward to reading the next book in that series.
  2. Laura Weiss.  Me Since You is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.  I was a complete mess after reading this book, but it’s stuck with me ever since I read it.
  3. Scott Craven.  His Dead Jed series is a lot of fun to read.
  4. Rachel Tafoya.  Night House is one of the more interesting YA paranormal books I’ve read in a while, and I can’t wait to read a lot more of her books.
  5. Nalini Singh.  Why did I not start reading her before?  Why?
  6. Yvonne Ventresca.  I LOVED Pandemic.  It’s realistically scary, but still an awesome book.
  7. Rosamund Hodge.  Cruel Beauty is such a great book, and I’m looking forward to the companion book coming out next year.
  8. Mary Roach.  She makes science fun and interesting and funny.
  9. Victoria Lamb.  Witches, the paranormal and the Tudors go really well together in her Tudor Witch trilogy.
  10. Tracy Clark.  Scintillate is one of the more unique paranormal books I’ve read, mostly because there’s a trigger for the suddenly acquired paranormal abilities.

ARC Book Review: Princess Of Thorns

Princess Of Thorns CoverBook: Princess Of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Expected Publication is December 9, 2014 by Delacorte Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 278 pages

Where I Got It: I received a digital advanced copy from, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale Re-telling

You can find Princess Of Thorns on goodreads & Stacey Jay on twitter, facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary:

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

What I Thought:

I was really intrigued with Princess Of Thorns, mostly because I know there are a few Sleeping Beauty re-tellings out there (even though I have yet to read any of them).  While I liked Princess Of Thorns, it wasn’t as much as I expected.

I liked the idea of Aurora being blessed with fairy gifts, and how she can’t kiss any male because of a curse.  I also liked that she was trying to take back the throne from an Ogre Queen, because of this prophecy that will usher in a new age that involves ogres taking over.

I thought we got the right amount of information we needed about this world.  Everything made sense, but there were times when I wanted to know more!  With stand-alone fantasy and re-tellings, I always worry that one book won’t be enough to know what we need to know about the world, but I found that Princess Of Thorns was fast-paced (and also well-paced), and had the right amount of detail.

I still wanted to know more about Aurora’s childhood, and what happens after the end of the book, and the different groups of people.  I wanted to know more about how this world came to be and some of the very much in the background characters. Especially the real antagonist.

I will say that I really liked seeing Aurora and Niklaas change over the course of the book, and how they both had some things to overcome, and I wish we had more time to see it happen.

I know the basics of the Disney version (and not surprisingly, there is no connection between the two) but since I’m not familiar with the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, I am not completely sure how much it follows the actual tale.

Let’s Rate It:

Overall, I really liked Princess Of Thorns, because I thought Jay did a great job with telling the story in a really simple way. I do wish that this book was the first book in a series,  because I wanted to know more about this world.  Princess Of Thorns gets 4 stars.

ARC Book Review: The Night House

The Night House CoverBook: The Night House by Rachel Tafoya

Expected Publication is December 9, 2014 by Month9Books|331 pages

Where I Got: I got an advanced copy directly from Month9Books, which hasn’t influenced my review in way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Paranormal- Vampires

You can find The Night House on goodreads & Rachel Tafoya on twitter and on tumblr

Goodreads Summary: 

Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth’s strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she’s worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

What I Thought:

I wasn’t sure about The Night House at first, but as I kept reading, I was pulled in Bianca’s world, and wanted to keep reading to figure out what her world was like and what was going on.

I thought the idea of Night Houses to be really interesting.  A place where vampires can feed, and yet they are places that most people don’t seem to be aware of…it’s different.  And nauth is also really different but in a good way.  Everything Tafoya does with vampires is really believable (at least, it is to me).

Also: there definitely seems to be a structure with the vampires- kings and monarchs and regular vampires, and they all have their own territories.

What’s odd is that The Night House is a stand-alone book, which seems really rare for a paranormal.  And yet, it works really well.  Bianca’s world felt so detailed, even though I still have quite a few questions.  Like, I feel like there’s so much more to the vampire social structure, and James, this empath.  There have to be other people with abilities, right?  I’m really curious to know if there are, and if there are other hidden worlds in this one.

Bianca’s world unravels as we keep reading, and we get enough of her world to know what’s going on. Normally, I like to know as much about a world as possible, especially with a paranormal world.  And yet, I liked learning more about this world.  It definitely felt like Tafoya knew so much more about Bianca’s world then what we get in the book.  At least, that’s what it felt like to me, because I really felt like I was in this world.

Initially, I wasn’t sure about The Night House, because I felt confused about what was going on.  Things didn’t really make sense to me, but I’m really glad I stuck with it, because it really is a unique take on vampires.

Let’s Rate It:

The Night House was such a pleasant surprise!  I really like this world, and it’s full of detail, even though we only get what we need to know.  The Night House gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Dead Jed 2: Dawn Of The Jed

Dead Jed 2 CoverBook: Dead Jed 2: Dawn Of The Jed by Scott Craven

Expected Publication is in December 2014 by Month9Books|Expected Number Of Pages: 236

Where I Got It: I got an advanced copy directly from Month9Books, which hasn’t influenced my review in anyway.  Promise!

Series: Dead Jed #2

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary with a hint of Zombie

You can find Dead Jed 2 on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

The first part of seventh grade was rough on Jed, but things are looking up now that Christmas is almost here. As with past Christmases, Jed asks for the one thing he’s always wanted–a dog–and again, his parents tell him they’re not ready. But fate has a different plan when Jed sees a dog get run over by a car. Then, it happens. Jed suddenly has a pet, Tread, a zombie dog bearing his namesake–a tire tread down his back. Jed may have gained a dog, but he loses his best friend Luke, who fears the way Jed created his undead pet.

When Jed returns to school, he finds a mysterious group called the No Zombies Now Network spreading rumors of the dangers the undead pose to normal people. Forced to disprove Hollywood stereotypes, Jed has his work cut out for him as stories of a zombie dog begin to circulate. Jed could be expelled if he can’t expose the NZN Network as a fraud. Jed needs help from his kind of girlfriend Anna, especially after he discovers Luke has joined the shadowy group.

Once again navigating the treacherous waters of middle school, Jed does his best to stay in one piece. Only this time he’ll need even more duct tape and staples than usual.

What I Thought:

I really liked Dead Jed 2!

It’s such a fun, cool book about a kid who just happens to be a zombie.  I liked the first Dead Jed book, but I liked this one a lot more.  I think it’s because we already know Jed and what’s going on in his life.

I think one of my favorite things about this book was Tread!  Tread and Jed are a pretty good pair, especially since they’re both zombies.  Jed has a lot of challenges in this book with the NZN Network, and having some problems with Luke because of Tread.

I really liked the science fair, and how it went very, very wrong.  But I also liked that Jed, Anna and Luke wanted to prove the Tech Club wrong.  I’m glad that Luke and Jed are such good friends, and that he also has a good friend in Anna.  I really hope there’s a third book, because I really like this series and I can’t wait to see what else Jed has to deal with.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked Dead Jed 2.  I like that we went right into his world, and what he has to deal with on a daily basis. It’s something I think a lot of people can relate to, and I was definitely reminded of my middle school years and what it was like.  Dead Jed 2: Dawn Of The Jed gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Fever

Fever CoverBook: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Published February 2012 by Simon & Schuster|241 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: Chemical Garden #2

Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopic

You can find Fever on goodreads & Lauren DeStefano on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

The New York Times bestselling sequel to Wither reveals a world as captivating and as treacherous as the one Rhine left behind.

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they ran away from. Determined to get to Manhattan and find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan, the two press forward, amid threats of being captured again or worse.

The road they are on is long and perilous in a world where young women only live to age twenty and men die at age twenty-five, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price now that she has more to lose than ever.

What I Thought:

After reading Wither a few months, I finally finished Fever.   I liked Fever,  but really, I have no idea why I liked it.

I think I’m going to start off with what I didn’t like about Fever.

For one thing (and mostly importantly), Fever felt like filler.  It felt really slow, and I felt like not much happened.  I also feel like we didn’t learn much about this world.  We’ll get to that later.

Two, I don’t care about Linden and Rhine, and I didn’t care about Gabriel and Rhine.  The romance (both of them) don’t work for me at all, even though people are getting married to have kids so that people can find an antidote to the young dying so young.  I wished I cared about the romance, and yet, I can’t care.

Three, why on earth would Rhine go in a car with Vaughn?  This makes no sense to me, especially given where she ends up.

And four: Rowan.  All of that trouble to find him, and yet, well, #3.

Wait, five: I didn’t care about any of the characters, even the ones I felt like we were supposed to like.  They were just…there.

And yet, I still find this world interesting.  The carnival?  It was bizarre, and yet it makes sense for this horrible world.  I can totally see places like that popping up all over the place.

And why on earth does Rhine seem to be the key to everything?  Remember reason #1 for why I didn’t like Fever, and how we’d get to world-building?  This is that time.

I know she’s the heroine, and that Vaughn is looking for an antidote, and so Rhine is going to be the key to figuring everything out, but I just really want to know what makes her so important!  I felt like so much more could have been done with her in this book.  But I do find myself wanting to read the last book, just to see what happens.

And I do like the feel of the book.  There’s something very odd yet really realistic about this book that works really well.

Oh, the cover!  It fits the book perfectly, and it does make a lot of sense once you read the book.  I don’t particularly like it, and the first thing I thought was the girl on the cover looks like she’s been drugged. Again, it totally makes sense given what happens in the book but still.

Let’s Rate It:

It’s weird, because I liked this book, but find myself unable to pinpoint WHY I liked the book, so I’m going to go with the vague and not helpful, I just liked it.  Fever gets 3 stars.

Book Review: Mortal Heart

Mortal Heart CoverBook: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Published November 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|402 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: His Fair Assassins #3

Genre: YA Historical Fiction with a hint of paranormal/fantasy

You can find Mortal Heart on goodreads & Robin LaFevers on twitter, facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has.

What I Thought:

I think Mortal Heart is my favorite book in this series!  I really love Annith, and I think she’s my favorite of the three girls we meet in the series.  She was the one we knew the least about, because she was at the convent, while Ismae and Sybella were off on their missions.

I really connected with Annith, and I could relate to wanting to be good enough to go out serve Death, and being the one who’s supposed to be the Seeress, because she is so obedient.  Of course, we do learn why that is, and it just makes me really dislike the Abbess.  I don’t know that I had thoughts on her before, but with this one?  My dislike of her grew over the course of the book.

I understand why she acted the way she did, but I still can’t like her.

I loved learning more about Annith, who has been such a mystery for most of the series, and I loved seeing her story unfold, because it really is the one that’s the most interesting to me.  She most definitely is not an ordinary daughter of Mortain, and there is a part of me that wished there was a fourth book in the series just to see what happens with the characters after the events of this book.

Granted, each book tells the entire story really well, while also standing alone on it’s own.  This book really makes me wish that Anne got her own story.  I’m really hoping that she does, but either way, I’m totally going to read more about this time period.  I love how the story of the convent and the older gods are intertwined with what was going with France and Brittany, and I’ve loved the historical part of the book.

Let’s Rate It:

Still, while I really liked it, and while Mortal Heart is my favorite book in the series and there are SO MANY THINGS I like about it, at the same time, I didn’t fall in love with it and I don’t know why.  Still, I really do love Annith, and I’m really glad that she got out of the convent.  Mortal Heart gets 4 stars.

Mini Book Review: The Countess

The Countess CoverBook: The Countess by Lynsay Sands

Published January 2011 by HarperCollins|224 pages

Where I Got It: nook store

Series: Madison Sisters #1

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

You can find The Countess on goodreads & Lynsay Sands on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

The fairy tale courtship did not turn into a happily-ever-after…

Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened…

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title…only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited “wife”— certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new “husband”…and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts!

What I Thought: 

I don’t read a lot of romance (at least in terms of adults) but every single time I do, i’m reminded of how much I actually like the genre!

The Countess is definitely a lot of fun, and it was absolutely hysterical at times.  I didn’t expect it to be funny, but it definitely was refreshing, because historical romance usually doesn’t result in me laughing frequently. It’s definitely light-hearted and silly and so much fun.  It does start off serious, but it’s not long before it becomes less serious.

I was so glad to finally George go, because he really is a horrible, horrible person.  And I loved Richard and Christiana, and how they have to deal with everything that happened between Christiana and George.  I also liked the relationship she had with her sisters, and even though this is a romance novel, I kind of wanted more scenes with her sisters.

I like Richard and Christiana as a couple, but I wasn’t completely convinced of their relationship- maybe it’s because of how easily Christiana and Richard fell for each other, and how horrible George was.  Still, they are cute and I like that Richard is a good guy who sees Christiana as an equal.

I’m normally not one who cares much about historical accuracy in any sort of historical fiction, but…I kind of forgot that this book was set in Regency England at times, even though there are mentions of carriages and dowries and such.  Still, it didn’t bother me much, but if you are someone who cares about historical accuracy, keep that in mind if you decide to pick up this book!

Let’s Rate It: 

The Countess is definitely entertaining, and different than the other (few) historical romances I’ve read.  It’s silly and light-hearted while also dealing with some serious stuff.  The Countess gets 3 stars.


Book Review: City Of Heavenly Fire

City Of Heavenly Fire CoverBook: City Of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Published May 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books|514 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: The Mortal Instruments #6

Genre: YA Paranormal- Angels

You can find City Of Heavenly Fire on goodreads & Cassandra Clare on TwitterFacebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 


I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

What I Thought:

I have really mixed feelings about City Of Heavenly Fire.  There were things I liked, but there were also things I didn’t like.

I really love the world that we see in this series.  I feel like there’s so much we don’t know about this world, and I like that we see how detailed this world really is.

I think I have a love-hate relationship with this series.  I love the overall idea of the world, and it seems like the world is very well thought out.  But at the same time, I’ve liked the series less and less as it went on.  I’ve enjoyed the entire series but I also felt like the series could have ended with the third book.

I’m really struggling with what I think of City Of Heavenly Fire.  I liked it, and I’m glad that things were (mostly) resolved.  I wasn’t particularly fond of what happened with a certain character, and while I like said character, I also found I didn’t particularly care about what happened to them, or that things will seem to work out for them.

I found that Magnus is, by far, my favorite character.  I’m not sure if he’s getting his own series, but his story was infinitely more interesting, especially with what we learn in this book.

We meet a lot of new characters, and I actually liked that we saw chapters from many different characters. Like the previous books, there’s a lot going on in this one, so it was nice to see a little bit of everything that was going on.  At the same, there were so many characters that it was hard to keep track of some of them, particularly those who were introduced in this book. It was hard to be invested in them when I had some trouble keeping up with them.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked City Of Heavenly Fire- basically, I like the world Clare was imagined, but I didn’t care about what happened to the characters.  It is sad that I’ve lost interest as the series went on, because I really want to LOVE this series.  It is a fun series, and very readable, but I think this series (FOR ME) has gone on a little too long. City Of Heavenly Fire gets 3 stars.

Book Review: Love Letters To The Dead

Love Letters To The Dead CoverBook: Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira

Published April 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux|327 pages

Where I Got It: bought the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Love Letters To The Dead on goodreads & Ava Dellaira on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?

It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

In a voice that’s as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl’s journey through life’s challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

What I Thought:

I liked Love Letters so much more than I expected, but not as much as I hoped!

I love that the entire book is full of letters.  I love that she writes to them, and that she has connections to each of the people she writes to.  It very much felt like she was writing a letter to a true friend, and it really felt like she knew what they were going through.  I love that she shares her life with them, and that we get to see how she’s dealing with everything.

As much as I loved the letters, I also felt like they were something I just stumbled across.  I feel like it put some distance between me and Laurel, and I didn’t connect with her as much as I would have liked.  I also didn’t really care about May, and I really wish I cared more about May.  I think teenage-me would have LOVED this book, but as 28-year-old?  Not so much.  I was definitely expecting to be more emotional throughout the entire book, and not just at the end.

I will say that there is something about Laurel finally accepting what happened, and I really wish I felt that way during the entire book.

I did love seeing the friends that Laurel made, and seeing how much her friendships with them changed over the book.  I also loved seeing her relationship with her dad and her Aunt Amy, and I really wanted to see more of her relationships with her dad and her aunt.

I didn’t really like her relationship with her mom, and while it seems like there are some issues there, they didn’t seem to be explored as much as they could have been.  And part of me wants to have seen it, but at the same time, there are so many other things that Laurel is dealing with that it’s probably best it wasn’t really there.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked seeing Laurel finally accept what happened with her sister May, and I love all of the letters, but at the same time, I felt a little distance from what was going on because of the letters.  Love Letters To The Dead gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Black Ice

Black Ice CoverBook: Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Published October 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|303 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery

You can find Black Ice on goodreads & Becca Fitzpatrick on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Sometimes danger is hard to see… until it’s too late. 

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. 

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there… and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. 

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally? 

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…

What I Thought:

I definitely liked Black Ice!  There was so much going on, and it’s different than a lot of other mysteries/thrillers I’ve read.

I like that it’s more surviving in the wilderness and what’s going on with the murders.  Granted, I did manage to figure out who was behind the murders quite a bit before it was actually revealed.  I don’t quite remember when I figured it out, but I did.  What kept me reading was wanting to know the motivation behind it.  Still, I felt like things were pretty unpredictable, and I was never completely sure of what was going to happen next, even though I wasn’t particularly surprised by how things turned out.

I LOVED the atmosphere of the book, and it really added to the craziness that happens on the mountain.  Of all of the crazy things that happened, I didn’t like the romance.  At all.

I didn’t care for it , and I didn’t really get the point of Britt and Mason falling for each other.  I get that they both understand what it was like to be up on that mountain- which is actually fine- but the romance felt like it was there just to be there.  In the sense that they know what the other went through, the romance does make sense.  I get that she both wants and doesn’t want Calvin, her ex.  That was actually pretty believable.

What I didn’t find believable was Britt’s friendship with Corbie.  I really didn’t get why the two girls were best friends, and I kind of wish that their relationship had something more to it, because it felt like a pretty shallow friendship.  I did like that Britt seemed to find a couple great friends that she met in college, and that her story was tied back to Mason’s in the end.

Let’s Rate It:

Even though some things weren’t believable or didn’t really work work for me, I wanted to keep reading to see how things would turn out.  Black Ice gets 3 stars.