This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
A Reader of Fictions: March 2013

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review: Dark Triumph

Dark Triumph
His Fair Assassin, Book 2

Author: R.L. LaFevers
Pages: 400
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Source: Gifted by Little Shop of Stories

Description from Goodreads:
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.

Prior Book in Series:
1: Grave Mercy

First Sentence: "I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling."

I have made no secret of my immense love of Grave Mercy, and have been recommending it to everyone I know who enjoys historical fiction, fantasy, and kickass heroines. As with every sequel to a book I loved, trepidation filled me as I approached Dark Triumph. There's always that chance that the sequel will not live up to its predecessor and will color your enjoyment even of that first book. Robin LaFevers, though, hits her sequel out of the park. Dark Triumph does not fall victim to middle book syndrome and even surpasses Grave Mercy.

Grave Mercy was fairly dark, but still a nice readalike for Maria V. Snyder or Kristin Cashore. Dark Triumph is even darker, not a novel I would recommend to those who do not like unhappy tales. Sybella's dark past makes what Ismae went through look like a healthy childhood, and, those who read Grave Mercy, know that Ismae's youth was no picnic. Ismae and Duval do make a couple of appearances in Dark Triumph, and it's startling how much more optimistic and friendly Ismae is in comparison to Sybella.

My attachment to Ismae formed immediately in Grave Mercy, but Sybella took me some time to adjust to. She's darker, moodier, more pained, and sometimes verges on crazy, though one can't blame her. However, as I got used to her and came to know more about why she is the way she is, I became even more bonded to Sybella, and even more desirous for her to overcome the horrors of her life.

Sybella's childhood, I will reiterate yet again, was...there aren't really words for it. Her father, d'Albret, used her as a pawn, and she had to watch him kill off wife after wife. Two of her brothers sexually abused her, one for the fun of it and one from a misguided sense of love. Her past is without brightness, and I'm warning you now of triggers for rape and incest. On top of that, there is a whole lot of violence.

One of the main criticisms I've seen of Grave Mercy, even from those that liked it, had to do with the circumstances of the consummation of Ismae's romance. It was seen as a bit of a cop-out, as though Ismae needed an excuse to have sex. In Dark Triumph, the same could not be said. Sybella has had more than one sexual partner, some willed and some not, and does not have any hesitancy about having sex when she desires it. Sybella seems a bit more empowered than Ismae, and will likely be a big hit with those disappointed by that part of Grave Mercy.

The romance in Dark Triumph makes me even happier than that in Grave Mercy. Though I do think this series could just as easily have been marketed to an adult audience, I love that this book will be going to a young adult audience. LaFevers tosses aside convention and delivers a hero utterly unlike those to be found in the bulk of YA romances. He is not handsome; in fact, he is described as ugly more than once. That does not make him unlovable to Sybella or to me. This message is so important for teens, the importance of personality and common interests over physical appearance.

If you loved Grave Mercy, get excited, because you will surely love Dark Triumph too. If you were in the camp of readers who thought LaFevers pulled some punches in the first book, then I urge you to give this installment a try, because it is much darker and more unique. My love for Robin LaFevers' writing has been firmly cemented, and I shall proceed to wait impatiently for the third His Fair Assassin novel.

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Quote: "'Jewels can be replaced, my cousin. Independence, once lost, cannot.'"

Labels: , , , , , , ,

On My New Arrivals Shelf (49)

Hey guys, another week full of awesome books! I've got a vlog (with a Percy appearance) for those who enjoy that and a list down below.

Bloggers Mentioned:
Steph of Cuddlebuggery
Wendy Darling of The Midnight Garden

For Review:
Arclight - Josin L. McQuein {gifted to Steph}
Taken (Taken #1) - Erin Bowman {gifted to Steph)
The Shadow Girl - Jennifer Archer
The Wig in the Window - Kristen Kittscher

The Elite (The Selection #2) - Kiera Cass
How to Lead a Life of Crime - Kirsten Miller
In the First Circle - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

*Thanks to Tor Teen, HarperCollins, Stephanie Sinclair, and Kristen Kittscher!*


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Fairyland, Book 1

Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Pages: 247
Publisher: Square Fish
Source: Gifted by Kayla of Bibliophilia, Please

Description from Goodreads:
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

First Sentence: "Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents' house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog."

Though Catherynne M. Valente's novels have been on my radar for a while now, I've honestly been a bit terrified to read them. They're so lauded by readers I respect highly and I really feared that I would be the black sheep of dissidence. I'd heard they were strange and that doesn't always jive so well with my tastes, but, oh, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland is just the right kind of strange.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland recalls many classic tales: Alice in Wonderland, the myth of Persephone, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to name a few. I make these comparisons not to suggest that Valente's tale lacks in originality in any way, but that she cleverly weaves a story full of allusions to those classic tales. Though I don't usually do this, I'm going to structure much of my review around these comparisons, since The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland has been reviewed by many people already, and I feel free to do my own weird thing with it.

The tone and the sheer madcap adventure-filled feel of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland is one hundred percent Alice in Wonderland. Though there was little that specifically seemed directly out of Carroll's classic absurdist tale, his influence is visible on every page. The girl stumbles into a magical land and bounces from quest to quest, with the ultimate goal of unseating an evil female ruler, who destroyed the benevolent queen. Valente fully embraces the absurd, but, where Carroll's story lacks for mecharacterization, Valente shines, but I'll talk about that more later.

The Persephone myth works as a frame story to September's adventures. There are clever references throughout, but the main purpose is to explain why September will eventually return. I love the way that Valente set up the very end. It's simply perfection, bringing the rest of the plotting full circle. Sometimes it feels like the weird novels are so spontaneous and surprising because the author didn't know what was going on either, but it's very apparent that Valente knew exactly what she was doing.

I have two points to make with reference to the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The most overt similarity is that one of the characters traveled to Fairyland by means of wardrobe, an obvious omage to Lewis' tale. However, there's another comparison to be made, a bit subtler. Like Lewis' classic, September travels to a magical world during wartime. Her father is off fighting in WWII and her mother works as an engineer. She feels lonely and doesn't understand what's going on very well. Valente turns September's adventures in Fairyland into a neat platform by which to make observations on the nature of war.

As I said, there's so much more to Valente's tale than those structural similarities, all of which I love a lot. Her characters are a delight, though I must admit this is one of those times where the supporting cast is much more dear to me than the MC. September is a delightful girl, it's true. She has a lot more strength and graciousness than the average heroine, and is much more empowered in her story than any of the ones in the three classic tales I mentioned previously, which is utterly fantastic. She just can't compete with her sidekicks, though.

Those who know me well will probably not be surprised to learn that my favorite character is A-Through-L, affectionately known as Ell, the wyverary. He's a wyvern, sort of like a dragon, but also the son of a library. He knows absolutely everything about anything found between the letters A through L, which is immensely helpful on a journey, and he's the most delightful companion a girl could want through Fairyland. I also love Gleam, a lantern over a century old and desperate for adventure, and Saturday, a creature similar to a genie who I'm really looking forward to getting to know better in the next installment.

Even the evil Marquess is a marvelously well-drawn character. Often villains take a back seat to the good guys, lacking complexities in books with otherwise sophisticated characterization. Valente, however, made her villain one of the most complex characters in the piece. She gives the Marquess a reason for the way she is, and makes her at least a little bit sympathetic.

On top of all of that, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. Her writing is a veritable feast of deliciously underused words. Though I do think this might be a tough read for children, it would be a perfect choice for parents to read aloud to their kids, though they may end up explaining quite a few terms. This is a story that will delight children, I think, but adults even more so, in a rather different way perhaps.

Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is absolutely marvelous, and I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone who delights in verbiage, characterization, fairy tales, or any of those stories I mentioned above. With this one book, Valente goes on my auto-read list.

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Quote: "All children are heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb tall trees and say shocking things and leap so very high that grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.)"

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13

Pretty Girl-13

Author: Liz Coley
Pages: 352
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Publication Date:March 19, 2013
Source: For review from YA Books Central

Description from Goodreads:
Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do-people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing-and ultimately empowering-page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

First Sentence: "You had forgotten how early the sun rises on summer campouts—and how loud the birds sing in the morning."

Holy shit. I knew from the cover that this book would be creepy, but I was not emotionally prepared for this experience. Pretty Girl-13 is one of those books that I'm going to remember for a while, not something that will quickly dissipate from my limited memory banks for story lines. Liz Coley's debut will no doubt shock and offend readers, one of those reads that will be deemed inappropriate for any but the most mature teens, due to the many triggers, most especially rape. If you can handle it, though, Pretty Girl-13 is a riveting tale of recovery from intense psychological and physical trauma.

If you put me in front of a horror movie, I collapse into a shrieking ball of fear. Even though I know what's going to happen, I can't handle it one bit. Horror books, though, really don't scare me. Pretty Girl-13 managed it, however. The horror of Coley's novel is not one of outright violence or things jumping out at you; it's one of the mind. This book messes with your head, makes you imagine situations you've never considered. Angie suddenly appears after three years missing. She has no memory of that period, none at all. That is the most terrifying thing for me: all that time she can't remember, the idea that anything at all could have happened to her and she wouldn't know.

Throughout Pretty Girl-13, I was on the edge of my seat, filled with tension as Angie's story unravels. At no point did my interest wane or did I find the book boring. The revelations come fast and thick, keeping the reader at rapt attention. This is one of those books that I got so into, I disappeared at times, sucked completely into the book, flipping pages without conscious effort.

A couple of the secondary characters in Pretty Girl-13 really shine, and I want to give them a shout out, because the supporting cast generally doesn't get enough love. Kate, Angie's friend, is marvelous. She's totally at one with herself, accepting of her role as a social pariah and determined to make the best of it. Then there are the twins, Ali and Abraim, who date Kate and Angie. Oh my goodness, but they are so cute. Abraim is such a non-standard YA hero in pretty much every way, and I am so thrilled about the way their little romance is handled, though it is probably less than five percent of the story.

Angie herself is a bit trickier. For reasons that will become obvious when you read the book, or if you read the blurb, which I think is a bit spoilery, Angie's character is a bit inconsistent. The narrative style of Pretty Girl-13 does not help with connection to Angie's character. Coley uses third person, which is naturally distancing, and I felt it especially so here. On the other hand, the italicized sections were a well done device. Though I pity Angie and want the best for her, I never got a solid handle on her character, which is understandable, but kept me from engaging that last little bit.

I also feel like some aspects were oversimplified or made more dramatic for plot purposes. Though I can't speak about these directly because I don't want to spoil the story for you, I can say that Angie's recovery takes place to quickly. Her psychologist suggests that full recovery will take years and she's pretty close by the end of a few months. That seems highly unlikely to me, even given some of the extraneous circumstances.

Pretty Girl-13 is a knuckle-biting psychological thriller. I recommend it for mature readers who want a novel that pushes the boundaries of what YA novels can discuss. Readers who prefer lighter fare will want to look elsewhere. This one's intense. Like camping.

Rating: 4/5

Favorite Quote:
"'You don't mince words, do you?' Angie said, a small piece of her innocence in tatters. She didn't want to give him up. He was a link, a bridge across the lost time.
     'I don't have to,' Kate replied. 'I'm already a leper. Gives me the freedom to be honest.'"

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Reading on a Schedule

Not too long ago, I did a post about why I seek out ARCs and review copies, but what I mentioned there isn't the whole story. In thinking about that topic further, due to the comments on that discussion post and other conversations since, I've realized there's another big factor in why I love review copies.

In the Past

When I was actually a teen, I was a REALLY picky reader, just as picky about books as food. Now, I haven't grown out of being a picky eater, but I have really wide reading tastes now. I remember pissing my mom off when we would go to the library because she would grab an armful of books and I'd still have picked nothing up. I did a lot of picking books up and then putting them back.

Do I want this one or this one or this one...? AGH, I DON'T KNOW!

Nothing really sounded right for whatever mood I was in. Sometimes I'd hit the right thing, start an awesome new series, and be good for a while. Not only did I have trouble selecting books, but, once I'd picked one out, I often DNFed after a couple of pages because I just wasn't in the mood.

Nope, not this one. Ugh.

Thanks to Blogging

Now that I receive review copies, I review based on the schedule of what reviews I have to get done. I know some people struggle with the pressure, some even making the choice to not accept review copies of any format. While I do miss the freedom to pick my own reads, blogging for my review schedule is actually way easier for me. See, I haven't really had a reading slump since I started blogging regularly, except for when I went to BEA, because I was just TOO exhausted to have the mental power to read at the end of the day. Having a schedule keeps me going.

I'mma read this book.

Basically, by nature, I'm too much of a moody reader, so, if I couldn't find something that felt right, I just wouldn't read until I did. Now I don't even consider that because I need to get my reviews done. It's like I've turned off that part of my brain. Only once in a while am I just NOT IN THE MOOD for the kind of book I'm reading for review, usually because something arrived late and had to be read next when I thought I was going to be reading something else. Mood doesn't factor in really and I don't spend hours (not an exaggeration) deciding what to read next because it's chosen for me. This is a big part of why I get so much more reading done than I did before I was a blogger.

Whenever I do have any wiggle room in my reading schedule to choose a book for myself, it involves an overly complex system whereby I consult my GR to-read list, my catalog of books I own, random.org and Twitter followers. So, yeah, it's just WAY easier to let publishers tell me what to read next.

But only about reading. Otherwise, don't fucking tell me what to do.

From talking to blogger friends, I know I'm in the minority on reading based on schedule and not factoring in my mood. What's your relationship with review copies? Do you like reviewing on a schedule or do you prefer the freedom of choosing your own reads?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Post + Giveaway: The Mapmaker and the Ghost

In honor of the paperback release of one of my favorite reads of last year, I have Sarvenaz Tash here on the blog today! Make sure you check out my review of The Mapmaker and the Ghost as well. It's a great story for any middle grade readers! You can enter to win a copy of the pretty paperback edition, cover shown below, while you're here. Leave Sarvenaz some love too, because she's a darling!

All About the Ghost in
The Mapmaker and the Ghost
by Sarvenaz Tash

The Mapmaker and the Ghost has – spoiler alert – a ghost in it. It's not just any ghost however: it's the ghost of my protagonist's explorer hero, Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark fame.

I went through an exorbitant number of drafts of this book before I got to the final published version – 28 by my last count. I can tell you that 24 of those drafts did not have a ghost in it at all. My 24th draft had a lot of similarities to the final version but it was too short and it just needed something to punch up the story…

The idea of the ghost of Meriwether Lewis came to me one night and, once I plopped him into the story, it was like he was always meant to be there. He truly was the missing puzzle piece to my book.

So why Meriwether Lewis? Well, Goldenrod's heroes had been Lewis & Clark from pretty early on. I decided that she'd feel more of a kinship with Meriwether Lewis because, as she puts it, he'd had to deal with a name that was as equally ridiculous as her own. And in all honesty, I really liked his name too. It just sounded like something that belonged in my book.

Once I started doing research on Meriwether, I found all sorts of fun and interesting facts that just fit into the story. He was probably the most fun character to write and I actually had an easy time finding his voice.

I will say that one of the most interesting stories I read about Meriwether is how he died: he died of gunshot wounds and it has been widely debated whether it was suicide or murder. It's all rather mysterious.

I so wanted to include some of that in The Mapmaker and the Ghost. After all, a ghost thinking about how he died would be logical. But, unfortunately, it was just too dark of a subject matter to have any place in my story. And, ultimately, Meriwether works more as a sidekick helping Goldenrod complete her quest then dealing with his own issues!

All in all, The Mapmaker and the Ghost owes a lot to the fascinating life of Meriwether Lewis. I immensely enjoyed learning about him and I hope the readers of my book learn a bit more about him too.

Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. The Mapmaker and the Ghost is her debut novel.


To purchase The Mapmaker and the Ghost:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

Sarvenaz is offering a signed paperback copy of The Mapmaker and the Ghost for one of my U.S. readers! Just fill out the Rafflecopter to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Labels: ,

Cover Snark (50): Cuddlebuggery Comes to Town

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don't write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I've linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

For today's special fiftieth edition of Cover Snark, I have a special guest, the ever-fabulous, snarktastic Stephanie Sinclair of Cuddlebuggery. She's going to be joining me to help make all of you fine folks laugh today. Now IT'S SNARKING TIME!!!

Shiny and New:

1. Precious Things - Stephanie Parent

Steph: Generally, I'm not a fan of cursive font. It's all pretty n' stuff and it just doesn't suit well with my black soul. I have acknowledged fault. But bonus points for the girl not being white!
Christina: Agreed on the POC, but what's with the horizontal lines? Did they run out of normal book cover paper and have to break out ye olde parchmente?

2. Body & Blood (The Survivors #3) - Amanda Havard
Steph: I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about this one, which is probably not a good thing.
Christina: I kind of like it, but it's also not doing anything special for me. *waves to fantasy bird*

3. Summer Is for Lovers - Jennifer McQuiston
Christina: This dress defies logic. I do not believe for one second that it would stay up, especially with how breezy beaches are!
Steph: Well, obviously she's ready for sexy time with that dress.

4. Heart of Rock - Karyn Gerrard
Christina: Someone took the term "silver fox" a bit too literally.
Steph: This cover makes me want to break out that Ashford & Simpson song. "Now it's solid. Solid as a ROCK…. The thrill is still hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, HOT!" Oh, damn. Am I showing my age?

5. True Spies (Lord and Lady Spy #2) - Shana Galen
Christina: Shouldn't that knife be in a sheath or something? It doesn't look like there's anything to stop it stabbing her in the leg except immobility. O_O
Steph: What is he holding? A gun? A clothespin? Clothespin gun?
Christina: True spies leave criminals out to dry.

6. Letters from Skye - Jessica Brockmole
Steph: I actually don't hate this one. More on the "meh" side of things. Though, I do think the title treatment is kinda cool.
Christina: Agreed. I included this one, because the title looks awesome.

7. Shadow (The Paper Gods #0.5) - Amanda Sun
Christina: Now THIS is how you do a novella cover.
Steph: Covergasm. I LOVE THIS COVER. After the huge fails of The Immortal Rules covers, I'm really happy HarlequinTeen finally got something right.

8. The Fall (The Glimpse #2) - Claire Merle
Christina: See, I liked The Glimpse cover. The heart in barbed wire made a certain sort of sense, and it made the swirliness of the font and cheesiness of the tagline a bit more fitting. The star doesn't work the same way. Also, the tagline does NOT need to be so huge.
Steph: I don't really care for this one. It's very plain to me and I'd probably overlook it at a bookstore.

9. Rowan (Blood Crave #2) - Christina Channelle
Thoughts: This is about vampires, isn't it? People are becoming less and less creative.
Christina: Even the model looks annoyed about being on the cover. Though I do love her shirt.

10. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
Steph: The bird peeking out at us is a clear fail in my book.
Christina: *snores* Oh, sorry, did I fall asleep?

11. Library Jumpers - Brenda Drake
Steph: The biggest probably I have with this one is that the title doesn't match the image. Also, the blurb is way too long. And that woman looks like she's more ready for the club than a battle. Nice bling.
Christina: You're so right...but I still want to read it because of the magic word: library. Why miss an opportunity to put books on a cover? Such a waste.

12. In the Shadows of Eden - Rebekah Armusik
Steph: My eyes are burning. I mean, where do I even start? The poorly photoshopped wings? The conveniently placed leaf that covers her nipple?
Christina: I did warn you it was a doozy. Also, more disproportionate angel wings. *hisses*
Steph: The fact that they are having sexy times in the freaking bushes?!
Christina: Where else in Eden? They didn't have houses or love hotels, I don't think. *pretends to consult Bible*

13. Canvas Bound (Captive Art #1) - Laura M. Kolar
Steph: It's Miley Cyrus!
Christina: On a cover designed by Bob Ross!

14. No Attachments - Tiffany King
Christina: Success! I feel no attachment to this cover.
Steph: I quite like this. I especially like the font used and how the image is slightly blurb. It is pleasing to my eyes.

15. Uncharted (On the Island Novella) - Tracey Garvis Graves
Thoughts: All I can think of is Blue Lagoon.

16. Roman Holiday - Ashleyn Poston
Steph: Dislike both fonts. It clashes with each other. Can you tell I'm picky on fonts? Also, doesn't the pink strip of hair remind you of a My Little Pony doll?
Christina: Bahahaha, yes, it does. Also, what's the point of Roman Holiday without Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck? Mmmm, Gregory Peck.

17. Harbinger (Book of the Order #4)- Philippa Ballentine
Steph: I feel like I just slipped through the wardrobe and ended back in Narnia.
Christina: It's like The Falconer + Aslan + this guy.

18. Bayou Noel (Bayou Heat #7) - Alexandra Ivy & Laura Wright
Steph: O.O Oh wow... ummm... Gives new meaning to "special delivery". And he looks super warm in his scarf and mittens.
Christina: Nothing says desperate like putting mistletoe over your dick.

19. Wounded Angel (Earth Angels #3) - Stacy Gail
Steph: Because in case you didn't know this book was about angels, they threw red wings on the title along with the shitty ones on his back. And to make matters worse, he looks like he got lost in a jar of Vaseline. SMH.
Christina: Seriously, I hate when they grease them up. Is that supposed to be attractive? I would NOT let that guy touch me.

20. Daylighters (Morganville Vampires #15) - Rachel Caine
Thoughts: Didn't the covers for this series used to be interesting?
Steph: They were forgettable, which is probably why I don't remember anything about them. In which case, I'm sure this one will fit right in.

21. The Karmic Connection - Libby Mercer
Christina: This cracks me up because it looks exactly like those Simon Pulse romances from when I was in high school. Like this one.
Steph: Is this one of your WTFs?
Christina: Oh, honey, no. It gets worse. Prepare yourself.

22. Forbidden Fruit (Corine Solomon #3.5) - Ann Aguirre
Steph: This is one of those times where I can't think of what it is that I dislike about a cover because I hate so much of it. Gah! Fuck it. Okay, seriously. If you're not even going to *try* why bother at all?
Christina: Oh man, I just noticed the cloud face. Ugh. Not an improvement to the general unfortunateness, which is a word now btw.

23. Friends and Traitors (Slayers #2) - C.J. Hill
Christina: Coming soon to the CW!
Steph: No, this has MTV written all over it. It'll probably come on right after Teen Mom and before Teen Wolf.
Christina: Wow, you're really familiar with that schedule, Steph. ;)

24. Tragic (Rook and Ronin #1) - JA Huss
Steph: I feel like this cover should be accompanied by a Ke$ha song. And what's with the flowers???
Christina: That sounds about right. The flowers seem off to me, not trashy enough.

25. Secret for a Song - Adriana Ryan
Christina: I like the font colors on NA titles a lot. Aside from that, well, not so much.
Steph: I like her hair, but I really want to give her a burger. Way too skinny!

26. Hard as It Gets (Hard Ink #1) - Laura Kaye
Steph: That's the best title ever. "How hard, baby?" "AS HARD AS IT GETS." Followed by an "OH MY" for sure.
Christina: There's no camouflaging his desire.

27. Fall of Sky City (Devices of War Trilogy #1) - S.M. Blooding
Steph: Prince of Persia, steampunk edition!
Christina: Individually, I like most of the elements, but they don't come together very well. Also, his weapons were not well-photoshopped.

28. The Do Over - A.L. Zaun
Steph: DO OVER that cover. That is all.

29. Frostbite (Touch of Frost #1) - Lynn Rush
Christina: There are so many covers that look like this, and this is not the best one by any means. Don't believe me? This, this, this and this.
Steph: Reminds me of Nikki Jefford's (I think that's her name) book, except this one has something weird begin done to that piece of her hair on the side. It's not blended very well. Back to photoshop, I say!
Christina: Not blended at all. Steph is referencing yet another similar cover.

30. The Impact of You - Kendall Ryan
Christina: That girl looks like Jeremy's druggie girlfriend Vicki on TVD. Also, I don't know about you, but the only impact here was my head meeting my desk.
Steph: Ummm, where is her bra? I have collected exactly 3 nipples from this edition. I could make a necklace.

31. Nowhere to Run (The 39 Clues: Unstoppable #1) - Jude Watson
Christina: 39 Poorly-Photoshopped Clues.
Steph: I have never like the covers in this series. They all have looked cheesy. This one is not an exception.

32. This Girl (Slammed #3) - Colleen Hoover
Christina: Thank you for releasing such a nice, large, easy-to-see image!
Steph: OH HAI, random butterfly!

33. Stealing Harper (Taking Chances #2) - Molly McAdams
Steph: RPatz strikes again
Christina: Bahaha. Also, how lame does her stealing the H look? That did not turn out as well as they thought. Photoshop fail.

34. Left Drowning - Jessica Park
Christina: This reminds me heavily of this cover, but I like it.
Steph: That's not a bad cover. But again, REALLY skinny girl. I mean, look at those thighs.

35. Frigid - J. Lynn
Steph: ZOMG, it's FRIGID. Where's your shirt, dude?!
Christina: I generally hate shirtless dude covers, but it's a MILLION times worse when it's freaking obviously cold outside. Also, can Armentrout PLEASE stop using a pen name. It's laughable.

36. If I Fall - Anna Cruise
Steph: I really like the colors used here, but I think there are too many different fonts used. Overall, I like it though.
Christina: Agreed on TMFS (Too Many Fonts Syndrome), and also on the colors. I like when the NA covers go for these bright colors instead of kissy covers.

37. Countdown City (The Last Policeman Trilogy #2) - Ben H. Winters
Christina: This really doesn't match the cover for The Last Policeman one bit.
Steph: This one has a lot it's trying to accomplish in one image. It's mostly boring, but the calendar part seems out of place.
Christina: It looks a bit like the cover to a pamphlet on dealing with depression or something.

Cover Battles:

1. Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
US vs. UK: 
Steph: Oh, US totally kicks ass this time. I mean, a cat, UK? Does not compute. Winner: US.
Christina: I will say that the cat cover creeps me out more, BUT the US cover is still worlds better. Winner: US.
Which cover of Doctor Sleep do you prefer?
pollcode.com free polls 

2. Ex-Patriots (Ex-Heroes #2) - Peter Clines
Permuted Press vs. Crown Publishing Group:
Steph: The first one reminds me of Halo. Truth be told, I dislike both. Winner: Neither.
Christina: Huh, I like the new one, but I'm a huge comics nerd. Winner: Crown.
Which cover of Ex-Patriots do you prefer?
pollcode.com free polls 

3. The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert
Option 1 vs. Option 2 vs. Option 3/Final Cover:
Christina: What's going on here is that Gilbert's fans were given the chance to choose the cover between these three options, and the one shown on the right won. I like all of them (though they don't make me very interested in the book), but, loath though I am to admit it, I think I like the cover with the person on it best, though not because of the person. I just think that backdrop is lovely. Winner: Option 2, though I think they could have done better.
Steph: I really think they didn't put a lot of effort here. The purple one is the worst, IMO, with the others not to far behind. Winner: Clearly not the author.
Which cover of The Signature of All Things do you prefer?
pollcode.com free polls 

4. The Testing (The Testing #1) - Joelle Charbonneau
Take 1 vs. Take 2:
Steph: The problem with both covers is that they aren't very ascetically pleasing. They have very dark colors and nothing jumps out and grabs me. That said, I do think the redesign is a slight improvement over the first. Winner: Take 2.
Christina: I'm REALLY happy this redesign happened, because I thought the...whatever that is (ring? watch?) on the first cover looked really lame. This is better, if not a vast improvement. Winner: Take 2.
Which cover of The Testing do you prefer?
pollcode.com free polls 

5. The Age of Desire - Jennie Fields
 Harback vs. Paperback:
Christina: I like both a lot, but I definitely have to vote in favor of the hardback, because 1) that dress is gorgeous and 2) I don't know what is up with the floral border, even though I've actually read the book. Winner: Hardback.
Steph: Okay, I prefer the first. The second one they decided to add the whack flowers on the side that does nothing for it. EW. Winner: Hardback.
Which cover of The Age of Desire do you prefer?
pollcode.com free polls 

6. Precious Blood (The Blessed #1) - Tonya Hurley
The Blessed vs. Precious Blood:
Christina: Let's bring in the Hallelujah chorus! The new cover's a bit psychedelic and creepy for my tastes, but almost anything would be better than the original. Winner: Precious Blood.
Steph: They changed the cover? Thank ye gods! Because that first cover was absolute shit. Winner: Obviously the redesign because you really can't get much worse than the first.
Which cover/title do you prefer?
pollcode.com free polls 
7. Steelheart (Reckoners #1) - Brandon Sanderson
US vs. UK:
Steph: Oh, I definitely love the US more. I really love how it has the steel ripped apart showing the inside. Cleverly done. The UK's isn't bad, just not as interesting. Winner: US.
Christina: The UK cover has a sort of superhero vibe which I find intriguing, but the US cover just looks way more epic and action-packed. Also the UK looks a little like a middle grade. Winner: US.

Which Steelheart cover do you prefer?
pollcode.com free polls 

WTF of the Week:

1. Death of a Waterfall (The Hayden Falls Saga #1) - Kara Leigh Miller
Christina: Don't go killing waterfalls. Please stick to the lakes and rivers you're used to.
Steph: One does not simply KILL a waterfall.

2. Dessert (The Winemaker's Dinner #3) - Ivan Rusilko
Steph: Oh my damn. Somebody hold me. But... obviously not like the guy on the cover. I feel like he's telling us to not hate the playa', hate the game.
Christina: Something tells me he'll be eating out for dessert.

3. Death and Mr. Right - Kendra L. Saunders
 Christina: Looks like they snapped this photo outside of a comic convention. Cosplayers totally make a cover as long as you black out one of the faces and replace it with a question mark!
Steph: *snort* Okay, yeah. Because taking a random ass picture with your friends totally makes a great cover.

 4. The Park at Sunrise - Lee Brazil
 Christina: Nothing says sexy, romantic reunion like a park bench, especially a park bench covered in snow.
Steph: I feel like this could easily be a fan fiction of Fifty Shades with that weird quote. He's handcuffing her to the snow-covered bench. Say yes, Ana. "Yes, my master." Then it's settled!

5.  Breeding the Female - Bree Bellucci
Steph: Ohhhh… clever. I see this cover artist has carefully used what I like to call the "Nosey Nipple". Even better? You can't tell if it's the wolf turning her on or the tree. Probably both. Yes, I predict a bestseller.
Christina: Certainly brings a depth of meaning to the term 'headlighting.' This doozy was found by Kara of Great Imaginations, so props to her. 

Outstanding Cover of the Week:
Shadow by Amanda Sun

Learn More or Preorder: