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A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2) by Soman Chainani

Summary: When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within.

Review: I was super impressed with the first book in this series, The School for Good and Evil, so I was very eager to see what happens in this follow up.  I think the first book did a great job of establishing the characters and the personalities and motivations of Sophia and Agatha as well as the schools.  This book digs a bit deeper into their history including how their parents fit into the thick of things and we get a healthy dose of Tedros as well.

I didn’t find myself enjoying this book quite at the same level as the first one.  There were definitely a lot of entertaining twists and turns but sometimes it got to be a bit too much for me.  I was left wondering how the characters could truly learn to trust if everything around them was a lie. I was hoping for this book to build stronger relationships.  It appears this series will be at trilogy at the least so this book has that middle book feel to it; things happened, but there wasn’t as much resolution as I hoped for.

One thing that attracted me to this series was the cover.  I would say I like this cover even better than the last one.  I am hoping that like the story, they’ll save the best for last.

The first book is truly awesome and I have a feeling the last book will be great as well.  This middle book is definitely one you can’t miss.

*ARC Provided by the Publisher

 

 

Hollows Update! Confirmed Release Date is September 9th!


Along with the final title, Kim Harrison has also confirmed the release date! Not only THAT, but it looks like us Goodreaders need to do our part and add The Witch With No Name to our “to-read” shelf. Don’t worry, I did it a while ago.  But what’s the incentive? Well, the cover for the book will be revealed on the 28th.  If book gets 3,000 adds before the 28th she’ll release chapter 1! If she gets 5,000 adds she’ll release chapter 2!  If you’re on Goodreads and haven’t added it yet, you have to do so! Just click the green “Want to Read” button on the left (and feel free to check out my preview review while you’re at it.  It’s Gif-i-licious:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/866135115

If you’re not on Goodreads, please join up and add it! Just think of it as you doing your civic duty for The Hollows community.  So get to work, bug some friends, do what you gotta do, THIS IS THE END!!!

How am I feeling about all this? Normally I’d be clamoring for an ARC as soon as I could get my hands on one.  But this is just so soon! I was kind of hoping to let the final book set in for a bit.  Now it feels like it’s being thrust upon me.  I never would have imagined I’d be the least bit ambivalent about a Hollows release.  But of course as soon as I get it I’ll gobble it up!

POLL! The Witch With No Name (The Hollows #13) – FINAL Hollows book gets a title!

Though Kim Harrison hasn’t blogged it herself (she usually takes weekends off), according to Goodreads that is the title of the FINAL Hollows book! We even get a synopsis!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20426917-the-witch-with-no-name

At long last… The final book in the New York Times bestselling Hollows series by Kim Harrison!

Rachel Morgan’s come a long way from the clutzy runner of Dead Witch Walking. She’s faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witchs, and soul-eating demons. She’s crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She’s lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now.

To save Ivy’s soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.

ARCs don’t fail me now! I can’t WAIT to see how it all ends!  Now that we have a title, how do you guys feel about The Hollows coming to a close?

Are you ready for The Hollows to end?

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review – GO SEE IT!!

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

I saw two screenings with my buddies Leanne and Anthony over at The Grand Shuckett so we held a discussion (aka gushfest) here:

If you want a great time at the movies then make sure to see Captain America this weekend! I’m sure my fellow Marvel fans won’t need much prodding, but this film was definitely a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed the first film, but the sequel took things to another level creating a fantastic balance of great plot, action, and character development.  I think fans of the Bourne Identity franchise should enjoy the level of action and espionage involved.  Of course Marvel gives it its own flavor.  The fight choreography was completely on point.

I thought it highlighted characters very well here in a way that couldn’t really happen with The Avengers (let’s face it, that movie was too crowded to allow for it). They were fleshed out a bit more and I found myself really invested in the relationships, especially the bromaces.  I think this is the best movie to showcase the badass that is Nick Fury.  The car chase scene in this film is EPIC!! I thought Scarlett Johansson was at her best here as well compared to the other movies.  I don’t believe her character needs her own film, but she is a great supporting character.  Anthony Mackie’s addition was one of the best things to happen to this franchise.  I loved, loved, LOVED him in this.  He had great chemistry with the cast and I hope they include him in The Avengers 2 as well.

This is a very important movie for the Marvel franchise and it is probably the most important as far as The Avengers 2 is concerned, especially compared to Iron Man 3 and Thor 2.  Make sure to stay through ALL of the credits. I’m talking until the screen goes black and the lights go on.  It’s a good thing that most people know better already when it comes to a Marvel film.  These  scenes will leave you absolutely pumped for the next one.

I really wasn’t sure if Marvel could top The Avengers, but I initially left Captain America thinking it was the better film.  If it’s not then it’s definitely on par. Because the Cap is so fresh in my mind now that could make me biased.  I will have to give it a year and see how I feel then after watching both movies.  At least it will be a fun chore!  I can definitely say with complete confidence that this is my favorite film of 2014 so far.

Divergent Review

Hi everyone. I’m sure quite a few of you have seen the film by now. I actually saw a screening of it.  I teamed up once again with my friends over at The Grand Shuckett to do a podcast review and discussion.  Feel free to listen here:

My general take: it was a solid film, if a bit too long. I didn’t leave the theatre feeling completely pumped. Contrast that to a Captain America 2 screening that I saw just 2 days later where I left the theatre giddy as a school girl and wanting to see it again right away.  I’ve only read the first Divergent novel and it was years ago, so for me I felt like it captured the tone of the book fairly well. I was a bit fuzzy on some details since it’s been a while (forgive me, I’ve read hundreds of books since then), but it did leave out a few key scenes that could have generated more intensity and interest for those who have not read the books.  Overall it’s a decent book to movie adaptation.

Oh, and Theo James is a sexy beast.   And he’s got acting chops too!  It didn’t take me until Divergent to figure that out though.  He’s been on the list since I first saw him in Underworld: Awakening in 2012.  Yep. He can already cross vampire off his repertoire. All in all I thought the Divergent book was okay but not amazing, so I was never motivated to keep reading.  I also wanted to hold out on finishing it if it was anything like The Hunger Games where I found myself liking each sequel less and less (though the Catching Fire film was admittedly amazing).  From the sounds of things that would have been the case for me so I’m glad I dodged that bullet.  As for the movies? I’ll definitely watch the sequels, especially because I know there will be more of this:

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) Giveaway Winner Selected!

You guys have waited long enough! Please forgive me. It’s been a really busy week and I knew I wouldn’t be sending it out to the post office anytime soon.  But now I’m ready!  I got to see a screening for Divergent on Tuesday and then another one for Captain America on Thursday.  I’ll be posting my reviews of both of those soon.  In short, Divergent was okay, but Captain America was AMAZING!! Can’t wait to let it all out soon!  But I won’t keep you waiting any longer!  I was actually very surprised to see such a mixed amount of responses when it came to everyone’s preferred format.  I thought hardcover would really win out, but it seems like everybody is adjusting to ebooks! To be honest, I’m the same way now.  Unless I’m getting a book signed (and that usually involves Kim Harrison), then I don’t really have a use for paper books myself.  Oh how the world has changed! 

I received a pretty big number of entries! 542 is one of my largest giveaways yet! Based on the announcement post for those of you who entered the Rafflecopter giveaway, I used the trusty random number generator and it chose:

Sarah Courtney

Your preferred format was the ebook!  Please keep an eye out in your email.  Congrats! And thanks again to all of you for entering and supporting the blog. It means a lot! I won’t keep you hanging too long for the next one either. As I said before. I am catching up on the Dresden books (FINALLY) and with how things are going, a Skin Game giveaway might just have to happen.  Just sayin’!  Have a nice weekend everyone!

Dresden Progress!

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Alright! So I am really tackling my 2014 TO-DO goals. I’ve started several series listed so far, but at this point I’m making the most progress with the Dresden files! Lucky me that my library has all of the ebooks available! So far I’ve read through the first four and have started the 5th one.  I think I’m making really good progress. It’s the first series of the 2014 bunch where I’m motivated to read them back to back.  As soon as I’m done I can tackle a few ARCs that I’ve been neglecting.  If I’m reading something else that means I’m making less Dresden progress! See my dilemma? So yeah, I think the only cure will be to read them all.  I hear the books only get better. So far I’ve given the first four books four stars each! Maybe book 5 will be the first five-star! So far it’s on its way. Harry on a talk show is pretty hilarious! I likely will not post full reviews of each novel. I’ll probably just do one for Cold Days. But I’m looking forward to anxiously awaiting Skin Game like the rest of you :P. In the meantime, feel free to track my reading progress on Goodreads!

Oh by the way, does anyone know how many Dresden books he’s planning? We’re already at 15. I feel like I might have heard 20 somewhere, but you can never be too sure.

Need for Speed Review

Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I saw this, but overall I have to say that it was better than I thought it’d be.  It wasn’t just The Fast & The Furious with Aaron Paul aka the Breaking Bad guy.  It offered good action with no CGI effects, but because they had a fraction of the budget they had to pad it with more story.  Just a little more, but it’s there even if it isn’t the greatest one.  Aaron Paul’s acting chops are a better than entire cast of Fast & Furious combined so there was arguably more emotional impact. Don’t get me wrong, I love the latest Fast films and I think the cast has amazing chemistry, but nobody’s getting Emmys or Oscars anytime soon in that bunch…

One pleasant surprise for me was the chemistry of this ensemble cast. They brought their own brand of comedy and camaraderie.  The biggest surprise was Imogen Poots. I really enjoyed her character and the back and forth with Paul throughout the film. It was cool that she used her British accent instead of affecting an American one. That actually made a difference for me.

There were some downsides of course. I thought it was too noisy. I don’t know if I’m getting old, but I found the constant tire screeching to be pretty grating.  Thing is, it’s never bothered me for the Fast films, and definitely not latest one, so it could have been the sound editing.  Dakota Johnson was pretty much a waste of time.  Her role was completely non-essential and she was bland.  I never felt emotional at all about her character, but I have a hard time sympathizing with naïve TSTL types.  I wasn’t really all that interested in Dominic Cooper, her villain boyfriend, either. I love me some cool villains but he was your typical cookie cutter bad guy. Boring.

My final thoughts.  If you’re comparing it to the Fast &Furious movies, it’s definitely better than the weaker films of that franchise, but I don’t see it replacing it anytime soon. If you love racing movies it might hold you over until the next Fast film.  For a limited budget they actually did very well and made it count. 

The Undead Pool Q&A and Signing in NYC!

IMG_20140309_202535 Yep! That made the whole trip worth it!

New York certainly was a wonderful time! I’m not a local, but this signing was the closest one to me (or at least it was equidistant to Raleigh) and I decided to attend it. Why? Because it’s NEW YORK! And transportation was cheaper as well :-).  Taking a bus vs. driving my car and gassing it up and putting miles on it was a no brainer. The costs for entertainment and food probably evened things out, but at least I made better use of it.  I decided to come in a day early and meet up with a few local friends. I also caught the Aladdin musical!  I HIGHLY recommend you attend this show if you get the chance. It was a-maz-ing!

aladdin

This was me before, but I think I had the same face afterward! The costumes, the music, the choreography, the singing, the sets…just everything was FANTASTIC! I’m not even going to spoil it with any surprises but their number for “A Whole New World” is one for the ages!  

So yeah, the signing went very well. Kim came out with a tiara and a magic fairy wand and was having some fun with it. She also had glitter all over her, haha.  She said it was from a previous interview she did.  But then she went into the Q&A.  I don’t think we learned anything new if you’ve been following any of her interviews but it’s good that certain things are reinforced all the same.  She tends to get asked the same questions.  I did manage to ask a couple of questions that you guys so kindly provided me with here.  I posted answers in the comment replies.

But yeah we got in line and Kim squealed when she saw me. “ERIKA!! GUY COME OVER HERE!!” It was so funny, especially when she yelled for guy to come over to snap a pic.   Luckily one of my Goodreads friends, Regina, caught her giving me a big hug!   Thanks a bunch, Regina!  Kim still jokes about our San Diego Comic Con meeting when  I was all blue (scroll down ~_^).

One of the reasons I love attending these signings is that I get a chance to hob nob with fellow Hollows fans. This year didn’t disappoint! I ended up bumping into other Goodreaders too!   We talked with Guy for a while and he’s always awesome.  He had some hilarious stories for us about past events.  Let’s just say that I hope their experience at this year’s RT is just as memorable as last time!

Harper Collins is based on New York City so a lot of the team was there as well. It was great meeting a few faces who I’ve emailed in the past about ARCs and feedback and whatnot.  They’re a great group!  I’m sure they are all thrilled that The Undead Pool will debut at #1 on the NYT Best Seller’s List (Hardcover) so congrats to them all!  It’s long overdue for this series IMO.  Her last #1 was for Blood Work but that was on the graphic novel/comic list and that’s not really a main Hollows book.  I have a feeling that Book 13 can keep that momentum going and do the same! The Hollows deserves to end on a high note.

I came to this event to see Kim, fellow fans, and to get my stuff signed! And it all worked out great! I got my second Kindle signed as well as my books! We also got the Free Vampires pins and bus tokens and Regina and I both won Hollows posters in their mini contest. Kim signed those for us too.  Regina won it for traveling the farthest (Los Angeles) and I won it because I was able to name the Craig Ferguson TV spot.

Kim was wonderful, but you definitely get the vibe that she is excited to end The Hollows on a high note and bring on something new.  I’ll miss the Hollows but her enthusiasm for her next series is really making me look forward to what’s next! So I’ve posted a few pics below from the event! You can click any of them to access the gallery.  If any of you ever have a chance to attend a signing I encourage you to do so!  She’s still got a few dates left so I hope she’ll be close by to some of you soon!

 

 

Night Broken – Review + Giveaway! Baby Mama Drama Rama!

When a book is quotable, I’m gonna quote!

“Adam snorted as he pulled on a faded green t-shirt that said “I Heart Coyotes.” Yet another sign that folding my clean clothes wasn’t too big a price to pay to make him happy. He didn’t have any “I Heart Christy ” shirts–or I would have burned them already.”

“I thought we should apply that kind of thinking to the matter of Cristy’s stalker.” He gave me a skeptical look. “No, really,” I said. “Now that we know that Flores is really this nasty, fiery, superpowerful nothing-can-kill-me demon from hell, maybe we should consider just giving Christy to him?” He laughed. 
“I’m serious,” I said.

“Seriously? Do you know how many guilty people are in jail? None.” Gary’s voice rose to imitate a woman’s voice. “Honest. I didn’t kill him. He fell on my knife. Fourteen times.”

You would think that our favorite coyote, Mercy, would have enough to deal with in her life when it comes to adversaries of the supernatural and furry variety.  But she may have to confront her biggest challenge yet in the form of the former Mrs. Adam Hauptman.  That’s right, the ex is in trouble and on the run from her psycho boyfriend.  And Adam wouldn’t be the Adam that Mercy knows and loves if it wasn’t in his nature to help others, especially the mother of his child.

The ex, Christy, is only safest in Adam’s house and with his pack even though several things aren’t quite adding up.  But one thing is as clear as day, Christy wants Adam back and isn’t afraid to play dirty to get him. Mercy isn’t going to take this lying down, but Christy’s peculiar psycho boyfriend may have more going on than some crazy stalker tendencies and as more bodies pile up, it’s up to Mercy to put a stop to it.

Night Broken is certainly one of the more memorable entries in the world of Mercy Thompson.  She’s got bad guys…and girls all around and it’s hard to know who she can truly trust!  Christy’s character is the one you love to hate.  We’d been lucky for a while with her out of the picture, but since the character never died we knew she’d have to crop up sooner or later.  And even death isn’t always a guarantee that we’ll be done with a character in the paranormal world, so it’s always in our best interests to just wait and see.  I did thoroughly enjoy this part of the book, even if Christy made me want to

Mercy’s snark was of the highest order this time around and I found it refreshing.  I loved this that novel tested the depth of Mercy and Adam’s feelings for one another as well.  They define what it is to be a unit. I think Adam fans in general will find him pretty swoon-worthy.

The villain was pretty interesting.  I wasn’t always sure what direction Briggs was going to take with his character so that helped keep the read very engaging.  I did find myself annoyed more than once with Adam’s pack though. It really disappointed me how they treated Mercy despite her dedication to them and the fact that she sticks her neck out there for their sakes time and time again.  I really wish they would get over themselves.  One saving grace is the fact that if they can’t do it at once, they might be able to do it one by one.  I thought the developments with Honey were well done and are a closer step in the direction of where things need to go.

My biggest gripe for the book would be the length.  The latest Mercy books have felt too short to me. I mean, 350 pages might seem like enough but I feel like I whiz through it so fast.  I could use another meaty 50-75 pages per entry.  Additional pages would perhaps allow for more inclusion of side characters whose presence I found myself missing, namely Stefan.  I know it’s probably not very easy to figure out how to incorporate him now that Mercy’s married to Adam, but I really like his character and his devotion to Mercy.  Though he plays an important role, he is featured so little here and that makes me miss the old times.  I am not that invested in the vampires as a whole, just him.  I could use a Stefan spin-off!

But all in all it’s a good read and I think the fans will enjoy it immensely.  The series still has a lot to offer and I look forward to what’s next.

*ARC Provided by the Publisher
Also feel free to like my review on Goodreads and vote it helpful on Amazon!

Giveaway

So now that you’ve read my review are you looking forward to having a copy of your own?  Well one lucky winner of my blog will receive and ebook or hardcover version of the novel!

How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT POST AND INDICATE YOU HAVE DONE SO ON THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email. (Make sure to check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post. The next three opportunities are for bonus entries. Overall, there are up to 4 chances to enter:

  1. Follow this blog via email (THIS IS REQUIRED)
  2. Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
  3. Tweet about the giveaway (bonus entry – you can do this daily for more entries)
  4. “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)

The more entries the better your chance to win! Good luck! And don’t forget to tell me what you’re most looking forward to in this book! 

The giveaway will run from 3/6/14 – 3/16/14. Good luck!

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