Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Most of My Reviews are Written

OK, I understand that most people don't exactly read long reviews of books, well, i just want to say that i usually aim for a page's worth of writing. But hey! here's the beauty of my reviews, you can skip parts if you don't want to read every single last detail.

My reviews are made up of 2 main parts:
Summary of the book- okay, so if you only want to read what the book is about then read this part only

Comments and personaly thoughts- This is where you read what I have to think on the book, I try to not spoil anything, and I apologize if I do.

So yeah, I hope that helps when your trying to find something in particular in my review. :)

Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill

Once bitten twice shy, wish you could say that for Merit...

Unwillingly made a vampire in an attempt to save her life, Merit now lives in the Cadogan house as the Sentinel, trying to avoid the unbelievably alluring and arrogant Ethan Sullivan, the House’s Master vampire. The attraction between the two is undeniable yet Merit still pushes him away, not sure what to think...

The Red Guard, an organisation that spies on the Masters and ensures that they never gain too much power, has offered Merit a position, but Merit can’t decide whether or not to accept. Accepting would mean betraying not only Ethan but they entire House that she is tasked to protect.

The shape shifters are all gathering together in one place: Chicago, home to Merit and the three houses. Too bad vampires and shape shifters are sworn enemies... The plan is to vote whether the Shifters should stay in Chicago or leave and return to their homeland. Merit and Ethan have just managed to earn a much needed sliver of trust from Gabriel, an Apex, and in a gesture of friendship Ethan offers Gabriel Merit as a body guard. In an attempt of securing an alliance, Merit and Ethan attend a pre-meeting as security, all hell breaks loose when an assassination attempt occurs, and then later, the body of an Apex is found.

It would seem that someone’s got it bad for Gabriel, and not in a good way. Merit’s got to find out who’s trying to kill Gabriel, and what their motive is, before they get a second chance; but what Merit would never suspect is that the killer is someone very close...

Beware Side effects of reading this book include: Obsession with Chicagoland Vampires, uncontrollable laughing attacks, and unstoppable crying.

**Hyperventilating, and making animated hand gestures** I absolutely LOVE the Chicagoland Vampires!!! And yeah, they’re by Chloe Neill so that just makes them so much more awesome... you’ll notice that the book I read before this was also a Chloe Neill book, haha. Anyway... I’m drifting. Twice Bitten is SO frikin good! Actually, good can’t even begin to describe it! More like miraculous, astounding, splendorific, award-worthy, heart stopping, nail-chewing... just to name a few... :D

The way this book is written is just so easy to read, and understand, but don’t mistake this with being predictable, because it’s anything but. This is a book that keeps you on your toes, if ever it was possible to exercise and lose weight by reading a book, this is it! Haha!

Merit, what can I say... if you look in a dictionary and find the word “Kick-ass”, there’ll be an image of her next to it! She’s an amazing character, brave, strong, adaptable, not to mention stubborn and witty. It’s all these characteristics that either have you clutching at your stomach with laughter or balling your eyes out! Her ability to actually move in nerve-wracking situations is something I respect, not to mention her love for eating! Overall, Merit is probably one of my most favourite, kickass heroines!

Ethan Sullivan, his arrogance causes me to either smile, or roll my eyes. According to his description... put simply he’s hot. But also completely utterly stupid!! I nearly killed him (well, if I could) in this book! I won’t tell you why because it will completely ruin the book for you, but I recommend you read the book and find out.

So, that’s about it. In case my immense praise for this book escaped you earlier, let me remind you... IT’S FRIKIN AWESOME!!!! You won’t regret picking it up! Chloe Neill, I am counting down the days until Hard Bitten is released!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

EXCERPT- Firespell by Chloe Neill

The following excerpt is from Chlow Neill's website:


They were gathered around a conference table in a high-rise, eight men and women, no one under the age of sixty-five, all of them wealthy beyond measure. And they were here, in the middle of Manhattan, to decide my fate.

I was not quite sixteen and only one month out of my sophomore year of high school. My parents, philosophy professors, had been offered a two-year-long academic sabbatical at a university in Munich, Germany. That’s right—two years out of the country, which only really mattered because they decided I’d be better off staying in the United States.

They’d passed along that little nugget one Saturday in June. I’d been preparing to head to my best friend Ashley’s house, when my parents came into my room and sat down on my bed.

“Lily,” Mom said, “we need to talk.”

I don’t think I’m ruining the surprise by pointing out that nothing good happens when someone starts a speech like that.

My first thought was that something horrible had happened to Ashley. Turned out, she was fine; the trauma hit a little closer to home. My parents told me they’d been accepted into the sabbatical program, and that the chance to work in Germany for two years was an amazing opportunity for them.

Then they got quiet and exchanged one of those long, meaningful looks that really didn’t bode well for me. They said they didn’t want to drag me to Germany with them, that they’d be busy while they were there, and that they wanted me to stay in an American school to have the best chance of going to a great college here. So they’d decided that while they were away, I’d be staying in the States.

I was equal parts bummed and thrilled. Bummed, of course, because they’d be an ocean away while I passed all the big milestones—SAT prep, college visits, prom, completing my vinyl collection of every Smashing Pumpkins track ever released.

Thrilled, because I figured I’d get to stay with Ashley and her parents.

Unfortunately, I was only right about the first part.

My parents had decided it would be best for me to finish high school in Chicago, in a boarding school stuck in the middle of high-rise buildings and concrete—not in Sagamore, my hometown in Upstate New York; not in our tree-lined neighborhood, with my friends and the people and places I knew.

I protested with every argument I could think of.

Flash forward two weeks and 240 miles to the conference table where I sat in a button-up cardigan and pencil skirt I’d never have worn under normal circumstances, the members of the Board of Trustees of St. Sophia’s School for Girls staring back at me. They interviewed every girl who wanted to walk their hallowed halls—after all, heaven forbid they let in a girl who didn’t meet their standards. But that they traveled to New York to see me seemed a little out of the ordinary.

“I hope you’re aware,” said one of them, a silver-haired man with tiny, round glasses, “that St. Sophia’s is a famed academic institution. The school itself has a long and storied history in Chicago, and the Ivy Leagues recruit from its halls.”

A woman with a pile of hair atop her head looked at me and said, slowly, as if talking to a child, “You’ll have any secondary institution in this country or beyond at your feet, Lily, if you’re accepted at St. Sophia’s. If you become a St. Sophia’s girl.”

Okay, but what if I didn’t want to be a St. Sophia’s girl? What if I wanted to stay home in Sagamore with my friends, not a thousand miles away in some freezing midwestern city, surrounded by private school girls who dressed the same, talked the same, bragged about their money?

I didn’t want to be a St. Sophia’s girl. I wanted to be me,Lily Parker, of the dark hair and eyeliner and fabulous fashion sense.

The powers that be of St. Sophia’s were apparently less hesitant. Two weeks after the interview, I got the letter in the mail.

“Congratulations,” it said. “We are pleased to inform you that the members of the board of trustees have voted favorably regarding your admission to St. Sophia’s School for Girls.”

I was less than pleased, but short of running away, which wasn’t my style, I was out of options. So two months later, my parents and I trekked to Albany International.

Mom had booked us on the same airline, so we sat in the concourse together, with me between the two of them. Mom wore a shirt and trim trousers, her long, dark hair in a low ponytail. My father wore a button-up shirt and khakis, his auburn hair waving over the glasses on his nose. They were heading to JFK to connect to their international flight; I was heading to O’Hare.

We sat silently until they called my plane. Too nervous for tears, I stood and shouldered my messenger bag . My parents stood, as well, my mom reaching out to put a hand on my cheek. “We love you, Lil. You know that? And that this is what’s best?”

I most certainly didn’t know this was best. And the weird thing was, I wasn’t sure even she believed it, not as nervous as she sounded when she said it. Looking back, I think they both had doubts about the whole thing. They didn’t actually say that, of course, but their body language told a different story. When they first told me about their plan, my dad kept touching my mom’s knee—not romantically or anything, but like he needed reassurance; like he needed to remind himself that she was there and that things were going to be okay. It made me wonder. I mean, they were headed to Germany for a two-year research sabbatical they’d spent months applying for, but despite what they’d said about the great “opportunity,” they didn’t seem thrilled about going.

The whole thing was very, very strange.

Anyway, my mom’s throwing out, “It’s for the best,” at the airport wasn’t a new thing. She and dad had both been repeating that phrase over the last few weeks like a mantra. I didn’t know that it was for the best, but I didn’t want a bratty comment to be the last thing I said to them, so I nodded at my mom and faked a smile, and let my dad pull me into a rib-breaking hug.

“You can call us anytime,” he said. “Anytime, day or night. Or e-mail. Or text us.” He pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “You’re our light, Lils,” he whispered. “Our light.”

I wasn’t sure if I loved him more, or hated him a little, for caring so much and still sending me away.

We said our goodbyes, and I traversed the concourse and took my seat on the plane, with a credit card for emergencies in my wallet, a duffel bag bearing my name in the belly of the jet , and my palm pressed to the window as New York fell behind me.

Goodbye, “New York State of Mind.”

Pete Wentz said it best in his song title: “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago.”

# # #

Two hours and a tiny bag of peanuts later, I was in the 312 , greeted by a wind that was fierce and much too cold for an afternoon in early September, Windy City or not. My knee-length skirt, part of my new St. Sophia’s uniform , didn’t help much against the chill.

I glanced back at the black and white cab that had dropped me off in front of the school’s enclave on East Erie. The driver pulled away from the curb and merged into traffic, leaving me there on the sidewalk, giant duffel bag in my hands, messenger bag across my shoulder, and downtown Chicago around me.

What stood before me, I thought, as I gazed up at St. Sophia’s School for Girls, wasn’t exactly welcoming.

The board members had told me that St. Sophia’s had been a convent in its former life, but it could have just as easily been the setting for a gothic horror movie. Dismal, gray stone. Lots of tall skinny windows, and one giant round one in the middle. Fanged, grinning gargoyles perched at each corner of the steep roof.

I tilted my head as I surveyed the statues. Was it weird that nuns had been guarded by tiny stone monsters? And were they supposed to keep people out . . . or in?

Rising over the main building were the symbols of St. Sophia’s—two prickly towers of that same gray stone. Supposedly, some of Chicago’s leading ladies wore silver rings inscribed with an outline of the towers, proof that they’d been St. Sophia’s girls.

Three months after my parents’ revelation, I still had no desire to be a St. Sophia’s girl. Besides, if you squinted, the building looked like a pointy-eared monster.

I gnawed the inside of my lip and scanned the other few—and equally gothic—buildings that made up the small campus, all but hidden from the rest of Chicago by a stone wall. A royal blue flag that bore the St. Sophia’s crest (complete with tower) rippled in the wind above the arched front door. A Rolls-Royce was parked on the curved driveway below.

This wasn’t my kind of place. This wasn’t Sagamore. It was far from my school and my neighborhood, far from my favorite vintage clothing store and favorite coffeehouse.

Worse, given the Rolls, I guessed these weren’t my kind of people. Well, they used to not be my kind of people. If my parents could afford to send me here, we apparently had money I hadn’t known about.

“This sucks,” I muttered, just in time for the heavy, double doors in the middle of the tower to open. A woman—tall, thin, dressed in a no-nonsense suit and sensible heels—stepped into the doorway.

We looked at each other for a moment. Then she moved to the side, holding one of the doors open with her hand.

I guessed that was my cue. Adjusting my messenger bag and duffel, I made my way up the sidewalk.
“Lily Parker?” she asked, one eyebrow arched questioningly, when I got to the stone stairs that lay before the door.

I nodded.

She lifted her gaze and surveyed the school grounds, like an eagle scanning for prey. “Come inside.”

I walked up the steps and into the building, the wind ruffling my hair as the giant doors were closed behind me.

The woman moved through the main building quickly, efficiently and, most noticeably, silently. I didn’t get so much as a “hello,” much less a warm welcome to Chicago. She hadn’t spoken a word since she’d beckoned me to follow her.

And follow her I did, through lots of slick, limestone corridors lit by the tiny, flickering bulbs in old-fashioned wall sconces. The floor and walls were made of the same, pale limestone, the ceiling overhead a grid of thick wooden beams, gold symbols painted in the spaces between them. A bee. The flowerlike in the beelike shape of a fleur-de-lis.

We turned one corner, then another, until we entered a corridor lined with columns. The ceiling changed, rising above us in a series of pointed arches outlined in curved, wooden beams, the spaces between them painted the same blue as the St. Sophia’s flag. Gold stars dotted the blue.

It was impressive—or at least expensive.

I followed her to the end of the hallway, which terminated in a wooden door. A name, MARCELINE D. FOLEY, was written in gold letters in the middle of it.

When she opened the door and stepped inside the office, I assumed she was Marceline D. Foley. I stepped inside behind her.

The room was darkish, a heavy fragrance drifting up from a small oil burner on a side table. A gigantic, circular, stained glass window was on the wall opposite the door, and a massive oak desk sat in front of the window.

“Close the door,” she said. I dropped my duffel bag to the floor, then did as she’d directed. When I turned around again, she was seated behind the desk, manicured hands clasped before her, her gaze on me.

“I am Marceline Foley, the headmistress of this school,” she said. “You’ve been sent to us for your education, your personal growth, and your development into a young lady. You will become a St. Sophia’s girl. As a junior, you will spend two years at this institution. I expect you to use that time wisely—to study, to learn, to network, and to prepare yourself for academically-challenging studies at a well-respected university.

“You will have classes from eight twenty a.m. until three twenty p.m., Monday through Friday. You will have dinner at precisely five o’clock and study hall from seven p.m. until nine p.m., Sunday through Thursday . Lights-out at ten o’clock. You will remain on the school grounds during the week, although you may take your exercise off the grounds during your lunch breaks, assuming you do not leave the grounds alone and that you stay near campus. Curfew begins promptly at nine p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Do you have any questions?”

I shook my head, which was a fib . I had tons of questions, actually, but not the sort I thought she’d appreciate, especially since her PR skills left a lot to be desired. She made St. Sophia’s sound less like boarding school and more like prison. Then again, the PR was lost on me, anyway. It’s not like I was here by choice.

“Good.” Foley pulled open a tiny drawer on the right-hand side of her desk. Out of it, she lifted an antique, gold skeleton key—the skinny kind with prongs at the end—which was strung from a royal blue ribbon.

“Your room key,” she said, and extended her hand. I lifted the ribbon from her palm, wrapping my fingers around the slender bar of metal. “Your books are already in your room. You’ve been assigned a laptop, which is in your room, as well.”

She frowned, then glanced up at me. “This is likely not how you imagined your junior and senior years of high school would be, Ms. Parker. But you will find that you have been bestowed an incredible gift. This is one of the finest high schools in the nation. Being an alumna of St. Sophia’s will open doors for you educationally and socially. Your membership in this institution will connect you to a network of women whose influence is international in scope.”

I nodded, mostly about that first part. Of course I’d imagined my junior and senior years differently. I’d imagined being at home, with my friends, with my parents. But she hadn’t actually asked me how I felt about being shipped off to Chicago, so I didn’t elaborate.

“I’ll show you to your room,” she said, rising from her chair and moving toward the door.

I picked up my bag again and followed her.

St. Sophia’s looked pretty much the same on the walk to my room as it had on the way to Foley’s office—one stone corridor after another. The building was immaculately clean, but kind of empty. Sterile. It was also quieter than I would have expected a high school to be, certainly quieter than the high school I’d left behind. But for the click of Foley’s heels on the shining stone floors, the place was graveyard silent. And there was no sign of the usual high school stuff. No trophy cases, no class photos, no lockers, no pep rally posters. Most importantly, still no sign of students. There were supposed to be two hundred of us. So far, it looked like I was the only St. Sophia’s girl in residence.

The corridor suddenly opened into a giant, circular space with a domed ceiling, a labyrinth set into the tile on the floor beneath it. This was a serious place. A place for contemplation. A place where nuns once walked quietly, gravely, through the hallways.

And then she pushed open another set of double doors.

The hallway opened into a long room lit by enormous metal chandeliers and the blazing color of dozens of stained glass windows. The walls that weren’t covered by windows were lined with books, and the floor was filled by rows and rows of tables.

At the tables sat teenagers. Lots and lots of teenagers, all in stuff that made up the St. Sophia’s uniform: navy plaid skirt and some kind of top in the same navy; sweater; hooded sweatshirt; sweater-vest.

They looked like an all-girl army of plaid.

Books and notebooks were spread on the tables before them, laptop computers open and buzzing. Classes didn’t start until tomorrow, and these girls were already studying. The trustees were right—these people were serious about their studies.

“Your classmates,” Foley quietly said.

She walked through the aisle that split the room into two halves, and I followed behind her, my shoulder beginning to ache under the weight of the duffel bag. Girls watched as I walked past them, heads lifting from books (and notebooks and laptops) to check me out as I passed. I caught the eyes of two of them.

The first was a blonde with wavy hair that cascaded around her shoulders, a black patent leather headband tucked behind her ears. She arched a brow at me as I passed, and two other brunettes at the table leaned toward her to whisper. To gossip. I made a pretty quick prediction that she was the leader of that pack.

The second girl, who sat with three other plaid cadets a few tables down, was definitely not a member of the blonde’s pack. Her hair was also blond, but for the darker ends of her short bob. She wore black nail polish and a small, silver ring on one side of her nose .

Given what I’d seen so far, I was surprised Foley let her get away with that, but I liked it.

She lifted her head as I walked by, her green eyes on my browns as I passed.

She smiled. I smiled back.

“This way,” Foley ordered. I hustled to follow.

We walked down the aisle to the other end of the room, then into another corridor. A few more turns and a narrow flight of limestone stairs later, Foley stopped beside a wooden door. She bobbed her head at the key around my neck. “Your suite,” she said. “Your bedroom is the first on the right. You have three suitemates, and you’ll share the common room. Classes begin promptly at eight-twenty tomorrow morning. Your schedule is with your books. I understand you have some interest in the arts?”

“I like to draw,” I said. “Sometimes paint.”

“Yes, the board forwarded some of the slides of your work. It lends itself to the fantastic—imaginary worlds and unrealistic creatures—but you seem to have some skill. We’ve placed you in our arts track. You’ll start studio classes within the next few weeks, once our instructor has settled in. It is expected that you will devote as much time to your craft as you do to your studies.” Apparently having concluded her own instructions, she gave me an up-and-down appraisal. “Any questions?”

She’d done it again. She said, “Any questions?” but it sounded a lot more like “I don’t have time for nonsense right now.”

“No, thank you,” I said, and Foley bobbed her head.

“Very good.” With that, she turned on her heel and walked away, her footsteps echoing through the hallway.

I waited until she was gone, then slipped the key into the lock and turned the knob. The door opened into a small circular space—the common room. There were a couch and coffee table in front of a small fireplace, a cello propped against the opposite wall, and four doors leading, I assumed, to the bedrooms.

I walked to the door on the far right and slipped the skeleton key from my neck, then into the lock. When the tumblers clicked, I pushed open the door and flipped on the light.

It was small—a tiny, but tidy space with one small window and a twin-sized bed. The bed was covered by a royal blue bedspread embroidered with an imprint of the St. Sophia’s tower. Across from the bed was a wooden bureau, atop which sat a two-foot-high stack of books, a pile of papers, a silver laptop, and an alarm clock. A narrow wooden door led to a closet.

I closed the door to the suite behind me, then dropped my bag onto the bed. The room had a few pieces of furniture in it and the school supplies, but otherwise, it was empty. But for the few things I’d been able to fit into the duffel, nothing here would remind me of home.

My heart sank at the thought. My parents had actually sent me away to boarding school. They chose Munich and researching some musty philosopher over art competitions and honors society dinners, the kind of stuff they usually loved to brag about.

I sat down next to my duffle, pulled the cell phone from the front pocket of my gray and yellow messenger bag, flipped it open, and checked the time. It was nearly five o’clock in Chicago and would have been midnight in Munich, although they were probably halfway over the Atlantic right now. I wanted to call them, to hear their voices, but since that wasn’t an option, I pulled up my mom’s cell number and clicked out a text message: “@ SCHOOL IN ROOM.” It wasn’t much, but they’d know I’d arrived safely and, I assumed, would call when they could.

When I flipped the phone closed again, I stared at it for a minute, tears pricking at my eyes. I tried to keep them from spilling over, to keep from crying in the middle of my first hour at St. Sophia’s, the first hour into my new life.

They spilled over anyway. I didn’t want to be here. Not at this school, not in Chicago. If I didn’t think they’d just ship me right back again, I’d have used the credit card my mom gave me for emergencies, charged a ticket, and hopped a plane back to New York.

“This sucks,” I said, swiping carefully at my overflowing tears, trying to avoid smearing the black eyeliner around my eyes.

A knock sounded at the door, which opened. I glanced up.

“Are you planning your escape?” asked the girl with the nose ring and black nail polish who stood in my doorway.


Interested? Buy it here:
Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Everyone knows that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lily’s got the power, but can she keep from becoming corrupt?

New to St Sophia’s school for girls, 15 year old Lily Parker’s having a hard time adjusting. Having only recently learnt of the existence of magic as well as other supposedly mythical beings, it’s difficult to accept that she and her roommate, Scout, along with many other seemingly normal people, possess magic. Magic can be useful for example: fending off horrible creatures of the night, but with the pros come the cons: having too much power, or need for power, can turn you to the dark side.

Magic is unpredictable, it can have the power to save or destroy, but the thing is, magic only stays with its wielder for a short while before disappearing; there are those that know that the time has come and let the power pass on, the Adepts, and then there are those that keep the tightest grip on their power as possible. They are known as the Dark Elite and will stop at nothing to keep their power, but holding onto power is not as easy as it may seem and the only method of doing so is to prey on the power of others. Having witnessed the Dark Elite’s cruel acts, Lily has sworn never to join the dark side.

The appearance of grotesque creatures causes Lily’s suspicions to turn on the Dark Elite; she wouldn’t put it past them to do something so horrid. Lily must uncover the secrets of the new creatures before they are discovered by someone or become a real threat. School girl by day and Adept by night, Lily not only has to deal with the safety of the city, she’s also got to deal with average teenager troubles, such as the rich snobs at school and her ever increasing crush on Jason, oh, did I mention he’s a werewolf? :)

Just to shake it up a bit, she’s also been having secret meetings with Sebastian, a gorgeous and powerful boy who just happens to be a member of the Dark Elite. His concern and cryptic, yet helpful, remarks leave her more confused than ever, causing her to wonder if the world is as black and white as it is believed to be...

Wooo Hooooo!!! I’ve finally been able to read this book! If you’re a fan of Chloe Neill, (I bet you are, or will be) then you know how entertaining and engaging her books can be. Her Dark Elite series is probably more for teenagers, but can still be enjoyed by all ages. It’s entertaining, with very cute scenes between Lily and Jason. I’m a sucker for cute romances. awwwwww. Anyhoo, it's very quick to read, easy to understand, and the like.

Lily Parker is very loyal and dedicated to the Adepts; her power is strong yet not quite controlled, giving her a dangerous edge. She’s a quirky and interesting character with many strong and admirable traits. She’s definitely courageous, well, as courageous as a fifteen year old can get I suppose. Thinking back on all that she’s been through it’s a miracle she hasn’t checked herself into a hospital... :D Yeah, I don’t really discuss each and every one of the characters, but I’ll give a brief summary of the others. They too, are very unique all of them with completely different personalities. This is going to sound quite corny but it’s their differences that make them all so compatible.

Overall it’s an awesome story which is very well written, and might I repeat myself... awesome.

Bonus points for the super pretty cover!!!