Monday, October 7, 2013

Winds of Salem by Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz continues her Witches of East End series with her latest novel, Winds of Salem.

Freya Beauchamp is trapped in 1692, in Salem of all places, with no recollection of her past. A powerful enemy spell has sent her spiraling away so that she is separated by centuries from her mother, Joanna, and sister, Ingrid. This is not good news for a twenty-first-century witch. Not to mention the immediate threat she faces from the wealthy and influential Putnam family. When little Annie Putnam is one of the first to make accusations of witchcraft, her landowner father jumps at the opportunity to consolidate his power and expand his holdings in Puritan Salem Town. If Freya is caught using magic, she will be forced to relive the witch trials, and this time, even her immortality is in question. 

Meanwhile, twenty-first-century North Hampton has its own snares. Joanna and Norm consult the Oracle for advice, and Freddie and his pixie allies search for a missing totem that could reopen the passages of time and help bring his sister home. When Ingrid bumps into an old flame, she finds that her new love for Detective Matt Noble is in doubt.

I struggled to give this book an honest 3 stars. The premise behind the Witches of East End is very good. The story centers around a mother and 2 daughter witches living in present day North Hampton. Based on events that predate the series, they have been forbidden from using their magic, and it is starting to tear them apart. The first book was fairly entertaining and kept me engaged, but the series went downhill from there. However, I really wanted to know where the story would go, so I kept going.

Winds of Salem goes back and forth between Freya, who is stuck in 1692 Salem and the rest of Freya's family in the present day who are trying to figure out how to get her back. It is kind of confusing in the beginning, because you can't really figure out what's going on with Freya, plus the fact that she appears to be about 14, not her actually 19-20ish. You eventually begin to understand that she is reliving the Salem witch trials, which she and Ingrid already suffered through. Meanwhile, Joanna and Norm (Freya and Ingrid's mom and dad) are trying to find a way to get Freya back, because for some reason, the fabric of time is all messed up and they can't get back through. Freya's twin, Freddie, is having problems of his own (which is pretty much a pointless side story as it adds nothing to the plot) and Ingrid is, once again, facing doubts about her relationship with the mortal Detective Matt Noble. 

All in all, the story was dull and confusing to follow. I don't think Melissa de la Cruz is a very good writer and the story really suffered. I wouldn't recommend the series, because if you read the first book, you're going to want to  read the others and you'll be disappointed.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Business of Baby by Jennifer Margulis

I am a huge fan of informative nonfiction books. If it's a topic that interests me, I can never gain enough information about it. And since there are few things more important to me than having kids one day, and making the most natural choices about it, I knew I had to read this book. 

The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line.

It's quite a title for a book with a cute baby on the front, but the bottom line of this book is to find out the truth of what really happens during pregnancy, birth and infancy to the majority of Americans. 

Jennifer Margulis, who has a doctorate in investigative journalism, sought to find the answers to what really happens behind the scenes of an American childbirth and just why those things are happening.
Most of us grow up believing that birth is an experience that must be had in a hospital. We learn that since there are so many things that could possibly go wrong, we shouldn't even attempt to listen to our own body's signals, but that we should call the doctor at the slightest concern. It is frightening to note that the US has one of the highest levels of maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world. How can one of the world's richest and most powerful countries have such appalling statistics on the health and survival of mothers and their newborn babies? 

The answer?


The biggest corporation in the United States run a business, and that business is birthing and raising babies. Dr. Margulis takes us on a chronological journey from conception, through pregnancy, childbirth and up until a baby's first year of life. From free samples and catered lunches offered to hospital staff, to harassing phone calls from formula reps to new mothers, to the most ridiculous vaccine schedule on the planet, Dr. Margulis seeks to inform people everywhere, so they can make educated decisions about their babies' lives.

This book was absolutely frightening! As I've grown older, I have inevitably begun to think about having children one day, and what I imagined and wanted that experience to be like. My initial thought was that I wanted to have as natural of a birth as possible, but that people that have home births were a bit weird and I wanted to have my babies in the hospital. I thought that I could make a detailed birth plan and that everyone would follow it. My births would be stress-free, wonderful experiences and everyone would listen to what I wanted. I have read a number of books on natural hospital births and home-births  and none have given me the confidence to make my own decisions like this one has. I highly recommend it for anyone who is pregnant or wants to have a baby some day. You absolutely NEED to get the facts and be educated. Ultimately, you should be making the decisions that affect your baby, not some CEO who makes $25 million a year.

For more information, visit Jennifer Margulis on her website for more book recommendations and a very informative blog. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Contest over at Bitten by Books for fans of Kylie Griffin!

Remember when super awesome author Kylie Griffin stopped by to chat with us here at Mrs. Clare's books? She's giving away a JAM-PACKED Light Blade SWAG pack over at bitten by books. Head on over. You don't want to miss this.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. 

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

I hate books that have a good story line, but are so difficult to read because they are written by poor authors and I felt that The Girl of Fire and Thorns was one of those books.

I was initially intrigued by this book, because I always  like when someone comes up with a new fantastical element to write about. In this book, the main character, Elisa, has a large jewel in her navel called a Godstone. Since nobody has thought to put a priceless gem in anyone's belly before, I thought it might be rather interesting to see what it means. Unfortunately, that was the only interesting part about the story.

Elisa could have been a really fantastic main character, because she is not tall, thin and beautiful. She is short and fat and plain looking. Rae Carson could have done a wonderful thing and made her into a respectable hero that young girls could look up to and say, "Hey. She isn't skinny and popular, but she saved the world, and so can I." Instead, Elisa dwells on her obesity and brings it up, ALL THE DAMN TIME! It got to be so incredibly annoying. Not to mention the fact that the same words and phrases were used to describe how fat she was. She was also annoying because she dwelt upon all the unhealthy and overindulgent things she was eating. I kind of felt that this book was perhaps driven by the author's own struggle with weight (if she has one) and that she used the book to get all her thoughts out. Like I said, I don't know if that's the case, but that's what it felt like. I also felt that she pushed the elements from he title onto the story. When fire and thorns show up in the story, I felt like they were simply put there because they were in the title and she needed to make the title relevant.

Besides Elisa being an annoying character, the book had an interesting plot line and series of events, but it just wasn't presented in anything resembling an enjoyable read. I gave it 3 stars because I did like the story, and I think an actual young adult reader would be able to overlook the poor writing style, but I just couldn't.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Wowza! Let's talk about one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time, Origin by Jessica Khoury! This review is a little different, because there have been some pretty heavy crusaders out to kill Origin, and I have some things to say about it.

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rainforest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Perfect Pia (the original title of origin was to be "Perfectly Pia") was "created" in a laboratory. She was born just like any other child, but she has been genetically engineered to be immortal and perfect. Scientists in a secret Amazon facility called Little Cam, which is short for Little Cambridge. The facility is surrounded by an electric fence and Pia's room is completely made out of glass, but this doesn't seem strange to her, because it is all she's ever known. At 17, Pia is finally about to take her final Wickham test (horrible heinous tests she is put through to prove she is capable of being a scientist) and finally be allowed to know the secret behind her immortality and begin to create a mate for her in an effort to start a new race.

But a new arrival to Little Cam, who Pia call Dr. Klutz, asks Pia why she doesn't question what is on the other side of the fence. That puts a seed in Pia's mind and she sneaks outside for the first time, with her super awesome jaguar pet, Alai (because who doesn't want a majestic jaguar as a pet?). She meets Eio and begins to discover that maybe being perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be. Pia uncovers the truth behind her immortality and the devastation that has led to her birth.

Reception for Origin has been mostly awesome with a few ridiculous Debbie Downers out there. If you look on Goodreads, you'll find all sorts of naysayers talking about the HORRIBLE (sarcasm) topics in Origin. Of course, Jessica Khoury is promoting racism, abusive relationships, women as objects, and animal cruelty (sarcasm again). Come on, people. Just because she wrote about it doesn't mean she believes in it. Ms. Khoury created a FICTIONAL VERSION OF THE WORLD and took creative liberties to really express just what it was like for Pia growing up. So, she was ignorant, and she fell in love with Eio, even though he's the only boy she's ever met, and so the scientists perform horrible experiments on animals. Those elements are all super important to the plot. Pia is ignorant because she's been made to not question ANYTHING. Maybe Eio is the most awesome boyfriend material in the entire Amazon, we don't know. And animal torture was 100% necessary to understanding the steps the scientists took in order to create Pia. I believe it was something like 150 years that they had been working towards it. We test new medicines on rats, same kinda thing.

But, no matter what the Debbie Downers say, I LOVED Origin. I thought it had a really unique and interesting plot line and I can't wait to see what Vitro, Jessica Khoury's next YA release, has in store. I read the first chapter and I'm already hooked. All in all, 5 out 5 stars to an incredibly original story idea from debut author Jessica Khoury!

If you want to know more, you can find Jessica on her website, which is a visual masterpiece.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Love or life. 

Henry or their child. 

The end of her family or the end of the world. Kate must choose. 

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can’t stop her—until Cronus offers a deal. In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he’ll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead. With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything. Even if it costs her eternity.

Kate Winters has been through a lot. Her mom got cancer and moved her to a small town. Then her mom died. Then she agreed to perform tests to see if she was worthy of marrying Henry (aka Hades) and become Queen of the Underworld. Then, she won, but she didn't think Henry would ever love her, even though she loves him. Then everything was great there. Then, Kate got pregnant. Then, she was kidnapped by Calliope, aka Hera (who has some real self-absorption issues). And this is where we begin the third installment of the Goddess Test series. 

Kate has been held captive by Calliope for 9 months and it is almost time to have her baby. Calliope plans to keep him for herself and try to make Henry finally love her (which has been her goal since Book 1). Calliope thinks her father, Cronus, is on her side, but he has plans of his own. He promises Kate that if she becomes his queen, she can keep her baby and he won't destroy the world, but he will destroy the Council. But what about Henry? Is it ok to be selfish when the fate of the world is pitted against the love of your forever life?

I was really excited to get this last installment in the Goddess Test series, because I loved the idea of a Greek mythology taking place in the present world. I'm a sucker for mythology and love when it is redone in a new and interesting way. That being said, I was disappointed in the style of this book. I felt that Kate was too wishy-washy in this book and a bit of a damsel in distress, when she wasn't like that in the first two books. I also wanted a lot more Kate and Henry interaction, but we still had all this, "Is Henry pulling away?" "I thought he finally realized he loved me". It was just starting to get a little old. I thought this book should have been a strong pulling together of them and their love for each other and their baby and fighting together, and it wasn't. However, I did enjoy it purely because it was the finale of the series and did manage to have a conclusion that I was happy with. All in all, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. If Aimee Carter writes more books, I will definitely read them.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Author Interview with Kylie Griffin

Today I have Kylie Griffin, author of the super awesome Light Blade series on my blog answering a few questions. She's a fantastically fun lady and a gem of an author to talk to. Check out what she has to say about writing and her new book ALLEGIANCE SWORN, which comes out in just 5 days!!! And don't forget to post your comment to win Light Blade goodies. I can tell you from personal experience that they are super cool!

Kylie, thank you so much for stopping by today. I'm dying to know some of the ins and outs of how you've created this amazing world.
Amanda, thanks for having me. I'm sure you've got some great questions, so let's get started!

Okay, first question. Are the Light Blade books the first books you've ever written? I know a lot of new authors say they have been writing books for years until they finally wrote one they thought would sell. Is that your experience?
Yes, I have been writing for years, Amanda. I started as an 11y.o. and continued right through high school, encouraged by two wonderful English teachers.
Most of the stories though will never see the light of day again. Those years are what I consider my apprenticeship, the time I spent learning the craft of writing, entering contests, going to workshops and learning about the publishing industry. Many of the ideas from these early pieces of work however will be salvaged and reused.
So, the Light Blade series aren't the first books I've written. If you're talking complete manuscripts, then they're #6, #7 & #8 of the work I've produced that are what I view as being of a publishable standard.

Do you have a special place where you do your writing?
I have an office/library where I like to do most of my writing. Sometimes I migrate with my laptop into the living room and write in my recliner, just for a change of scenery.
Something I do like when I'm writing is a burning incense or a scented candle. Other than that, I like silence. Music just distracts me. If it has lyrics then I end up listening to them or breaking out in verse. LOL.

I've always wanted to know, how do you choose the names of your characters?
I have half a dozen baby name books on my bookshelf. I'll flip through them looking for names, take part of one and a bit of another and combine them. I like saying them out loud and hearing the combination of sounds as well as how they look on paper. Sometimes I spot a name in the credits of a TV show and use it.
That's sounds really interesting, and hard to decide!

When you write your books, do you write from beginning to end, or do you have specific events in mind and then fill the story in around them?
My writing process has evolved over time. When I first started out I was a pantster. I took an idea and just wrote, and ended up with with many, many incomplete pieces of work. 
Now, because of the publishing process, I've had to evolve and become more of a plotter. My editor needs a rough idea of what happens in the story when I submit a proposal. So I have to know he beginning, several pivotal scenes, and the end before I write it.
As for the nitty-gritty process of writing, I like to go from beginning to end rather than just writing scenes out of order and cobbling them together. I'll write fresh scenes in the morning and by evening go back over and edit it. The next morning I like to reread what I wrote the day before to get into the mind-set and go again from there.
Rinse and repeat for about 3-4 months and I end up with a finished book!

When you started the Light Blade series, what came first? Did you have an idea about the characters you wanted to write and then created the demons and the half demons and such to fight that, or did you want to write about demons and then develop the characters from there?
Annika first “appeared” to me exactly as readers discover her in the opening scene of VENGEANCE BORN - descending into father’s dungeon about to meet a human Light Blade warrior for the first time, about to begin her escape and achieve her goal of beginning a new life.
It's usually the characters I see first when I come up with an idea for a story. They're usually in a situation and I just play around with the idea (aka daydream) until the details take shape and form.
As the Light Blade series developed I put all the details of characters, places, animals, the language, politics, military and cultural information etc. into a series bible so I could keep track of everything. I even drew maps as the world grew (they appear in ALLIANCE FORGED an ALLEGIANCE SWORN).
As an avid reader of fantasy, I appreciate a map in the front of the book to see where everything is and get perspective on a world I've never been to.

Will you ever give us access to your "Series Bible" that you reference on your blog? I know we'd all be dying to see it!
LOL! You make the "Series Bible" sound like a Top Secret document! I guess it could be considered just that given it has blurbs and information about future stories in the Light Blade series.
It's not a particularly neat notebook, as I write most of the information in by hand (and I don't have the neatest handwriting!) and I've loose leaf pieces of paper shoved into it as well. The pages are divided into sections, one for each book I've written so far, and they have preliminary ideas jotted down for future books in this series. Each completed book section contains information under the heading I outlined in the previous question.
But, yes, to answer your question people have had access to it and probably will again. I've taken it to writers conferences and author talks as a "show and tell" item for workshops, and I have no doubt that it will go on similar future excursions. :-)
It's just so interesting to see how authors think through their process, I think it would be like an insight into your mind :)

Okay. Last question and this was one I was dying to know the answer to before I read ALLEGIANCE SWOWN. The events in Vengeance Born and Alliance Forged all seem to be leading us to a big battle. Will we get the battle in Allegiance Sworn? And will that wrap up the current plot line and move us into a new one, or will we not get the resolution quite yet?
Amanda, this is a great question! 
Before I wrote ALLEGIANCE SWORN I'd have given the resounding answer of "Yes! A big battle is planned for this book! The Light Blades and Na'Reish will decide once and for all which of them will prevail over the other. And yes, this will wrap up the current plot line."But - yep, you knew that was coming, didn't you? - all I want to say is that the big battle morphed into something I wasn't expecting. No specific details (*grin*), but there is a battle or two, lives are threatened, decisions are made, people die.
As the story is set in demon territory for the most part, readers will get to see the Na'Reish up close and personal. And as Arek spends most of his time as a slave in this story, readers will see and experience Na'Reish culture from his perspective, and it ain't pretty!
For those also wondering if we get to see the demon leader, Savyr, you will. Arek and Imhara encounter him in a rather tension-filled scene that has unexpected consequences for both of them.
What I envisaged as "the big battle" and what the characters wanted, ended in a compromise that I hope readers will understand and like. Instead of one final battle, ALLEGIANCE SWORN is the first of many confrontations between opposing sides. I can't say more than that without giving away spoilers for this book and the next two (which I hope my editor will contract!).
I totally saw this as I was reading ALLEGIANCE SWORN. The demon realm was so interesting and the book had such a different feel to it. It was really powerful. And I thought I was going to be disappointed that there wasn't the resolution I was looking for, but I found it incredibly satisfying in the most unsatisfying way! If that makes any sense. LOL.

Amanda, it's been great being here on your blog! I really enjoyed answering your question about the "Series Bible" and I was wondering what sorts of things readers like authors to share with them along these lines.
Do you enjoy reading about how the author keep their world-building consistent? Deleted scenes? Character interviews? Something else? The information would be helpful to know for future guest blogs or when talking to readers at events or book signings.
Anyone who shares an answer & leaves an email address (so you can be contacted) will have their name thrown into the hat for a special Light Blade swag* draw in thanks! (*signed bookmarks, magnets, notepad & Allegiance Sworn tote bag) The winner will be announced Wednesday, 3rd April, 2013.
Kylie, thanks so much for coming! It's always so interesting to get a look inside a favorite author's brain. Thanks for hanging out with us today, and I can't wait to see where we go next in the Light Blade world!

Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when
she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend
the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her
childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young
children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she
volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit
her website at

ALLEGIANCE SWORN (Bk#3 in the Light Blade series) comes out on 2nd April, 2013. For those new to the series, the mass market version of VENGEANCE BORN (Bk#1) releases on the same day. If you aren't familiar with the series, jump on the wagon! You don't know what your missing!

If you want an inside look at Kylie's books, check out my reviews!
Book #1
Book #2
Book #3

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Allegiance Sworn by Kylie Griffin


I've got a very special review today of Kylie Griffin's Allegiance Sworn. This is book 3 in her spectacular Light Blade series. This is a special review, because the book doesn't come out until next Tuesday, April 2nd.

One of the perks of working in a library means you sometimes get book releases before they come out. You should have seen me on Friday when I opened a book box and found this! I was literally jumping up and down with excitement. And it turned out it was for very good reason!

***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven't read Alliance Forged, don't keep reading. There may be spoilers from the end of the book.

Poor Arek Barial (former second to the Lady's Chosen) has been taken hostage by a group of Na'Reish slave traders during a failed attempt on a blood raid. From what we know of him and his hostility towards the demon race, this is a fate worse than death. When Arek ends up in Imhara's fortress, it is impossible for him to believe that Na'esih, Na'Chi (half-demons, half human) and humans are all living together in peace and equality. Arek must decide whether to hold on to his hatred and resentment, or give it up and work with Imhara towards a common goal. And if they happen to not be able to keep their hands off each other in the mean time? I guess we'll just have to suffer through it. Or enjoy every second. Either way ;-)

Before I read Allegiance Sworn, I thought that it wasn't possible for anyone to be hotter than Varian. Oh boy, was I wrong. "Clean and clothed, he caught her eye. Now she couldn't look away. The morning sunlight angling in from the windows caught the dips and hollows of his body, outlining every smooth line and heavy curve of muscle along his bare shoulders and chest. Her gaze followed the fine dusting of blond hair as it arrowed down his ridged abdomen then disappeared beneath the waistband of his breeches" (Page 86). I think I re-read that part about 5 times and then had to cool myself off. Can you say hot, hot, HOT?! Arek may just be THE hottest novel character I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Maybe it's because on top of all his manliness, he is only human, so it is believable that there could be such a man out there. Either way, yum!

I have to say, Allegiance Sworn was different than I thought it would be. For the most part, I could see where the story was going, but what I didn't expect was the emotion in this story. For some reason, Arek and Imhara's story just grabbed me by the heart and yanked. I felt their pain and loss and I understood what motivated them. They came from the same place and never were two people more suited to each other. In having a discussion with another librarian, I couldn't describe just how emotional this book was for me. It was so much deeper than the first two, I just wasn't expecting it. And the ending had me feeling desolate and alone and heartbroken. Needless to say, it was amazing. Never have I felt such a range of emotions while reading a book. When they hurt, I hurt. When they were touched, I was touched. When they felt empty, I felt empty. It was just profound. I loved it. So, thank you, Kylie. No one has ever done that to me before. It definitely gets a rating of 5 out of 5 stars!

So, the moral of the story is, next Tuesday, April 2nd, get to your closest book store and buy Allegiance Sworn. And let me know what you thought.

Also, don't forget that in just two days, Thursday, March 28th, Kylie will be doing an interview right here! Stop by and get entered to win some cool prizes!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Death, Doom and Detention by Darynda Jones

The normal part of Lorelei MacAlister’s life didn’t just slip away quietly the day Jared Kovach came to town. Nope. The normal part of her life shattered. It exploded. It burst into a gazillion shards of fleeting light.It went out with a bang.
Goodbye normal.Hello dark and eerie.

While her best friend, Brooklyn, is focusing all of her energy on helping Lorelei hone her abilities, Lorelei is dealing with the reality that Satan’s second in command has taken up residence inside her body. Oh, and the fact that she has a crush on the Angel of Death. But what a beautiful death it is. If those weren’t bad enough, something sinister has come to town and it wants nothing more than to hear Lorelei’s dying breath as it strangles it out of her. Thank goodness the gang has a supernatural champion. But what happens when the only being who can save them switches sides midstream? How can a group of misfits capture one of the most powerful beings ever created? And will they find out how to bring Jared back to them before it’s too late?

Lorelei McAlister used to be a normal teenage girl. She and her 2 best friends were just trying to survive high school, while trying to avoid she-whose-name-must-never-be-spoken. You know? Normal teenage things. Unfortunately, Lor had the great misfortune of being born the last prophet of Arabeth. You'd think that would be awesome, except that it means she's the only one who can save the world by stopping a massive war before it even starts, and because of that, only about a million different spiritual entities want her dead. No big, right? And to top it all off, her pretty much boyfriend, Jared, aka the Angel of Death, is kinda avoiding her. Girl can't catch a break. Her best friend Brooke thinks Lorelei's ability to have visions is wicked awesome, but she doesn't realize how stressful it is for her. When something horrible happens to Jared, Lorelei finally has to decide just how she is going to take a stand in this war, whether she likes it or not.

There is death (and boy is he hot!), doom (supernatural war, remember?) and detention (oh the joys of high school). Darynda Jones' YA Darklight series is for teens and adults alike. Ms. Jones has given us a funny, yet touching story about a girl who just wants to be normal, but can't. Similar to her Charley Davidson books, she's given us a bad boy to love, who is a sucker for his woman. Even though this is a YA novel, it is still plenty steamy, just without being explicit. If you're a fan of Paranormal Romance, you must add this series to your shelf. I can't wait to see what happens next in "Death and the Girl He Loves" which comes out October 8th. 5 out of 5 stars for the Mighty Darynda Jones!

And don't forget, it's just over 2 weeks until author Kylie Griffin stops by to talk about her new book, Allegiance Sworn, which comes out April 2nd. Stop by March 28th to get the inside scoop on what I consider the best new series of 2012 and to sign up to win a SWAG pack.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Upcoming: Author Interview with Kylie Griffin!

Hello everyone!

On Thursday, March 28th, Kylie Griffin, author of the incredibly addicting Light Blades series will be here to discuss her books in anticipation of her upcoming release Allegiance Sworn. Stop by between March 28th and the release date, April 2nd, to participate in the discussion and be entered to win a swag pack.

Kylie has some terrific answers to questions I know you've been wanting to ask. So stop by and get the scoop on the sensational Light Blade series.

Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian

It's finally here! Book 11 in Lara Adrian's sizzling Midnight Breed series is titled Edge of Dawn. This story follows Mira, the pint-sized oracle we know and love, but now, she is all grown up! *** Spoiler Alert*** If you haven't read Darker After Midnight, don't continue. There are spoilers to the end of Darker that you won't want to know.

Edge of Dawn starts out 20 years after the events of Darker After Midnight. At the end of Darker, the Order kills Dragos and the Breed are exposed to the humans. The last 20 years have been full of fighting and struggles to find a new normal, now that humans are aware of the Breed's existence.

Mira is now a captain in the Order's ranks. She reminds me a lot of her mother, Renata, with her sassy attitude and unending loyalty, as well as being a super hot fighter chick. Mira is suffering the loss of Kellan Archer, the Bree youth whose family was slaughtered by Dragos in an effort to find the Order's compound.

It has been eight years since the blast that killed Kellan, or so Mira thinks. She's out of control and quickly spiraling toward self-destruction. Kellan is the only man she's ever loved, and she just can't let him go. When a patrol night goes seriously wrong, Lucan banishes Mira to babysitting duty. As she gets to her missions house, a genius scientist related to an important council member, she finds a kidnapping in the works and is abducted herself. She is taken back to the rebels' bunker and gets the shock of her life.

Kellan Archer was supposed to remain dead. The blast that everyone believed took his life eight years ago provided the perfect opportunity to escape the horrible vision he saw in Mira's eyes. He never expected to see her again, but he couldn't bring himself to leave Boston, so it's no wonder they couldn't be separated for long.

Mira feels betrayed by Kellan. She has spent the last eight years mourning him and destroying her life due to her grief. But she can't forget the love that she has had for Kellan since she was a little girl of eight. When a member of Kellan's group goes rogue and kidnaps the scientist, it looks as if Kellan's terrible future is really going to come true. Is Mira's love enough to protect Kellan from the vision he saw eight year ago? And is Kellan's blood strong enough to heal Mira's deepest wounds?

I must admit, when I heard that the story was going to be 20 years in the future I thought 1. Did nothing interesting happen in those 20 years? And 2. Wait a second! We've got loads of questions. Surely they made some headway in 20 years! Also, I worried about how I would feel about Mira being an adult and having sex. In my mind she would always be the little Mouse, but Lara didn't disappoint me. She made the story feel like it really had progressed 20 years and that all the characters had grown in that time. It was heart-pounding and heart-breaking and I couldn't put it down. I read it when I was supposed to be working (oops) and I finished it by the end of the work day. I absolutely absorbed the story and almost wet my pants at the ending. 5 out of 5 stars for sure.

I cannot wait to see where Lara Adrian takes the series next. I just know it's going to be exceptional! Crave the Night can't come soon enough!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones

This afternoon's review is Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, the current installment in the wildly hilarious Charley Davidson series and trust me, you don't want to miss this one. Can anyone say sexy Son of Satan? Yum!

Unfortunately, Charley has gone off the deep-end. Her last case caused her severe PTSD. She hasn't left her apartment in months and is now addicted to the shopping channel. Her apartment is full of kitchen appliances that she will never use (she can't cook, remember?) and there's also the matter of the stain in the corner, which she has covered up with boxes (sorry Mr. Wong!). When Cookie cancels all of her credit cards and embezzles all her money (harsh, right?) Charley has no choice but suck it up. She takes on a new case of a woman who is convinced that someone is trying to kill her. Oh yeah, and she saw him again. You know him. The Son of Satan. Reyes. Scrummy yummy! After her last case, Charley told Reyes she never wanted to see him again, and being a gentleman, he's tried to oblige her. But one day she sees him outside her apartment for a split second, but she knows he was there. She summons the trusty Angel to help her locate him. She isn't happy when she finds him, but thank the Lord and Darynda Jones that she does, because things get steamy! Not right away, mind you, but they can't be within a 100 mile radius of each other without us readers needing some fresh air to cool us down. Ms. Jones sure knows how to write the chemistry. mmmMMMmmmm!

Jam-packed with fantastic one-liners and fall out of your seat laughing moments, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet is an action-packed, suspenseful and oh so sexy read! 5 out of 5 stars!

Alliance Forged by Kylie Griffin

Today's review is of Alliance Forged by Kylie Griffin. This is book #2 in the Light Blade series. In just over 1 month, book #3 in the Light Blade series, Allegiance Sworn will be coming out. The date is April 2nd. If you haven't read the first book in the Light Blade series, Vengeance Born, head over to my review of it here and then read it before you get started on this review.

Alliance Forged is the story of Varian and Kymora. Varian and Kym are my two favorite characters and at the end of Vengeance Born, I was really hoping they would get together. Of course, Ms. Griffin didn't let me down :)

Varian is the leader of the Na'Chi that found their way to Sacred Lake, the human village. He is very reserved and stoic as he's had to protect his "family" his whole life. The other Na'Chi depend on him for survival. Varian also has scars on his face, which he feels makes him undesirable. Kymora is the Temple Elect and she is blind. However, she never lets that stop her.

After the events of Vengeance Born, the humans and Na'Chi wish to learn how to live in peace. Some of the Na'Chi stay in the village and some of the humans move up to the caves with the Na'Chi. Kymora decides it is her path to go live with the Na'Chi. The alliance is tumultuous at best, but everyone understands that in order to have any chance of defeating the Na'Reish, the Na'Chi and the humans must align themselves with each other and forge a bond. Caught in the middle of this are Varian and Kym. For all of Varian's hardness and unwillingness to show his feelings, he is somehow drawn to Kymora in a way he doesn't understand. Kymora is also unschooled in the ways of romance and finds herself longing for something with Varian. But can she break into his seemingly hard heart and make him trust her?  There are things about Varian's nature that frighten him and he worries that Kymora will be a victim to his rage. Kymora has always felt that nobody believes she can take care of herself because of her blindness, but her unwavering trust in Varian may just give him the healing he needs.

This book was fantastic! Even better than the first. The chemistry and sexual tension was unbelievable! My heart was racing the entire time wondering how this ticking time bomb hadn't exploded yet. It'll be a hard one to beat, since it surrounded my 2 favorite characters of the series, but I'm sure Kylie Griffin will come through. 5 out of 5 stars!

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Allegiance Sworn on April 2nd!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian

This afternoon's review is Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian. This is leading up to the release of the next Midnight Breed novel, Edge of Dawn, which is out February 26th.  ***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven't read the previous Breed novels up until Deeper Than Midnight, do not continue reading. There are spoilers from the end of Deeper in this review. Quite shocking ones, so go read Deeper first!

Lara Adrian is a brilliant story teller and has crafted a world so extraordinary, you wish it was real.

Darker After Midnight is Sterling Chase's story. For those of you already familiar with the Breed nation, Chase is our good boy turned bad boy. A former member of the Enforcement Agency, the Breed's law enforcement, Chase left to become a member of the Order, a warrior group tasked with fighting Rogue vampires and keeping the Breed existence secret. In the last few books, Chase had started to go off the deep end. His long time secret love, Elise, had bonded to the first Gen warrior Tegan and he began to let Bloodlust take control.

Darker After Midnight begins with Gideon, Lucan and the other warriors standing outside their compromised Order headquarters. If you remember, at the end of Deeper Than Midnight, Dragos' evil plan led human law enforcement directly to the Order's door and Chase gave himself up into custody to save his Brethren. While Chase is in human custody, he encounters Tavia Fairchild, the assistant to a Minion senator under Dragos' control. Tavia is a brilliant, but shy woman who harbors deep scars. She believes that her parents died in a fire many years ago, leaving her with extensive burn scars, and that because of that horrible incident, she suffers from severe anxiety disorder and must be medicated at all times. Chase kidnaps Tavia in order to save her from whatever Dragos' has planned and that is when things get interesting. Tavia goes without her medication for an entire day and Lara Adrian gives us a twist I never ever saw coming.

Chase and Tavia's story finally gives us a glimpse into the real Sterling Chase. Underneath his steely gaze and anger issues, we discover the real reasons behind his self-deprecating feelings. Tavia is the perfect woman for him and their story is the hot HOT HOTTEST of them all. 5 out of 5 stars!

Be sure to check out Edge of Dawn, book 11 in the Midnight Breed series, coming February 26th!

Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin

Today's review is Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin.

Vengeance Born is Kylie Griffin's first novel in her Light Blade series and let me tell you, this is THE BEST new series of 2012 for me and possibly the best EVER! Finding new books is so hard for me, so when I find an author I like, I pray with all my might that they have 30 other books previously written that I can move onto. Unfortunately, this is Kylie Griffin's first book, but let me tell you, she's now got a groupie for life!

I'm a sucker for paranormal. And paranormal romance? Woowee! Excuse me while I fan myself. Vengeance Born has all the marks of a well-fleshed fantasy world as well as characters that you really want to see united. At the end of this book, I was already thinking about which characters I wanted to get together next and how it would be if even more characters were entered into the story. This book was so good, I think I finished it in 4 hours. I could not put it down!

Vengeance Born is the story of Annika. She is half human and half Na'Reish, a demon race that is constantly at war with the humans. Annika's father is the leader of the Na'Reish. He raped her mother, simply because he could, and because he knew that a half-blood child (a Na'Chi) would never be accepted among the humans. She was to be a constant reminder of the demons' superiority over the human race. Annika, with the help of a captured Light Blade warrior, manages to escape the demon city and Kalan takes her to his village. Annika has no lover for the demon population that she grew up in and endeavors to help Kalan bring peace between the races. But the Na'Reish are a vicious race and are determined to prove to the humans that Annika is no different.

I can't tell you how much I loved this book. The world that Kylie Griffin crafted is exquisite and unique. The characters practically leap off the page in their realness. Annika is a woman who doesn't fit into the world she grew up in and doesn't belong in the world she longs to be a part of. She doesn't trust her gifts and doesn't understand her own value. Kalan is a stubborn warrior, set in his ways. He doesn't trust Annika, because he has seen the destruction caused by the Na'Reish and believes that even though she is half human, that she is just as savage. Their love story is touching and grabs a hold of your heart and the underlying battle has you rooting for world peace.

This book was 5 out of 5 stars for me. Easily the best book I read in 2012 (with the exception of the second book in the series. So hard to choose!). Stay tuned for a review of Kylie's second book, Alliance Forged later this week. Her newest novel, Allegiance Sworn comes out April 2nd, and I can't wait! For a review of the next book in the Light Blade series, go here

Go visit Kylie Griffin on her website

Monday, February 4, 2013

Welcome! And a review of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Welcome to Mrs. Clare's books!

This first book I am going to review is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, first in the "His Fair Assassin" series. Grave Mercy is a Young Adult Fantasy Romance complete with historical characters and assassin nuns. Intrigued? I was too.

Ismae is a 17 year old whose father is trying to forve her into an arranged marriage with a horrible man. She escapes and is brought to a convent where the nuns and other girls serve St. Mortain, the saint of death. They are trained in combat, seduction, potion-making and other skills in order to carry out their assassination orders on whomever death deems their time has come. 

On Ismae's first mission, she is sent to Brittany, into the family of Anne of Brittany. Anne was a real figure in 15th century Brittany who became Duchess at age 11. In this book, she also has a sister Isabeau (another real figure) and two half brothers. One of the half brother, Duval, is Ismae's handler, and eventual romantic interest. Grave Mercy details Ismae's struggles with following her heart, versus following the mission given to her supposedly by St. Mortain. She and Duval have a very subtle, yet sizzling romantic interest throughout the book, and eventually Ismae's heart wins out. 

I really enjoyed the underlying true story line with the story of 15th century Brittany. Historical fiction fascinates me, especially when little bits of fictional events or characters are thrown into it. The romance was also heartwarming and satisfying. Duval is a prickly character, with a very gruff personality, but in that lovable way where you just know that the right woman can get under his skin.
Ismae is the perfect woman for him and they have a palpable chemistry on the pages.

This book was 4 out of 5 stars for me and I can't wait for the next one. Dark Triumph, book 2 in the series is set to come out April 2nd. If you haven't checked out Grave Mercy yet, you better hurry, because I guarantee you'll want to read the next one as soon as it comes out.

Check out Robin on her website at to see other books written by this talented story-weaver. And don't forget to pre-order your copy of Dark Triumph. You won't want to miss it!