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A Touch Mortal

    Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2011

    Today is the first day of Top 10 of 2011.

    Top 10: A Week of Looking Back….
                                    ………and Looking Forward.

    If you haven’t yet signed up, there’s still time to participate. Just click on the banner above to read the details in the original post and sign up with the Linky.

    I was so excited to be invited by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic and Lisa from A Life Bound By Books to co-host this event along with my very best blogger friends Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books.

    Of course I didn’t really think about what this would entail. Especially as I’m not someone who’s really very good at putting together top ten lists. This post has caused me sleepless nights – yes, it’s true – and took over four hours to actually pull together.

    I don’t really think of books in order of most favorite to least favorite, they’re either favorites or they’re not. So, this was definitely a challenging way to end the year.

    ***

    Today’s topic, “Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2011” was the hardest for me. It was so tough for me to pick, that I decided to cheat the system.

    Forget about honorable mentions, I’ve created two lists – Top 10 Debut Books I’ve Read in 2011 and Top 10 Non-Debut Books I’ve Read in 2011.

    Not that it made it much easier, but there was just no way I could narrow it to only ten. I’ve listed my Top 10 Debut Books below and my Top 10 Non-Debut Books will be revealed in my post on Fiktshun’s Ramblings tomorrow for the Top 10 Tuesdays meme I participate in on that blog.

    While there are a few books that I absolutely loved, that are top-of-my-list favorites like Angelfire, Unearthly and Delirium, apparently I read all of those in 2010 and can’t list them in either post.

    So, here is my attempt at narrowing my list of favorite debut books down to just ten….

    ***

    Top 10 Debut Books I’ve Read in 2011

    1.

    A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    If anyone didn’t guess I’d pick A Touch Mortal as my number one debut book I’ve read in 2011 then they really don’t know me too well. I think I’ve talked about this book endlessly. I’ve read it umpteen times. Yes, that is a word and umpteen is just how many times I’ve read it.

    2.

    Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    This book slaughtered me with its awesomeness. I was not able to instantly recover after reading it. So I had to read it again. And it killed me. Again. I listed it as my number two book, because it’s still clinging to me. Making my heart ache.

    3.

    Wildefire by Karsten Knight

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    You may have heard me ramble on and on about my love for this book and its jaw-dropping ending. If you haven’t, then we just met this past few months. Because I could talk of little else but this book from the moment it landed in my mailbox until months after I’d read it. Seriously kick-a**.

    4.

    Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    I fell so in love with this book earlier in the year when I read it. It has turned me into a slightly obsessed Jennifer Armentrout fan. And she has many of those. Well, I am one of them. Half-Blood is amazing and her heroine Alex is seriously awesome. Of course Aiden is no slouch either. Yum.

    5.

    Everneath by Brodi Ashton

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    Yes, this is a 2012 release, but I’ve read it in 2011 so I have to list it here, even if I haven’t yet reviewed it. This is another book that clings to me. I cannot even think about some of the passages in this book without it feeling like my heart is being squeezed. And so, there was no way Everneath would be left off my list of top 10’s this year.

    6.

    Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    I live in torment awaiting the sequel to Witch Eyes. I want to head back to Belle Dame, okay not in reality because that place is seriously dangerous, but as it exists for me as a reader. I want to get enveloped once more in the beautiful writing, find out who has demon eyes and see just what sorts of hell the author will put Braden and Trey through in book two.

    7.

    Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    How could a book full of snark, sarcasm and beauty not make my top ten list? It couldn’t. This book is gorgeous from its cover to its story to its characters. Lenzi is all sorts of amazing. I don’t think I smiled or laughed out loud – yes, it’s not just an expression – when reading a book quite as often as I did while reading Shattered Souls. Talk about a great character and story to connect to.

    8.

    Divergent by Veronica Roth

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    I am still asking myself what’s wrong with me. This was on my original DAC list for the year and I only read it this past week. This book was, is and always will be full of win. I love the world – not that I’d want to live there – and I love Tris. Yes, everyone goes on and on about Four, but Tris is so much more awesome than he is. It’s really nice to meet a super strong heroine that gets to take center stage instead of the boy every so often.

    9.

    Die for Me by Amy Plum

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    Who knew I could love beings, aside from vampires, that weren’t exactly alive? I didn’t. Revenants are so much sexier than zombies. And Jules and Vincent are two of my very favorite revenants. I haven’t been able to get this story – but even more so its characters – out of my mind since I read it those many, many months ago. And I’ve been dying for the sequel ever since.

    10.

    Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    Oooh, I loved this book. I loved the gods and goddesses and loved the promise of what is still to come in Dreamless. The ending – as is the case with most of my favorites – has left me in torment. I can’t wait to read more. I read this book three times this year and loved it each and every time.

    ***

    If I could pick just two more books they would have to be Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton and Dead Rules by Randy Russell. Oh I hate all things ten. I really do.

    If you’d like to see what my Top 10 Non-Debut Books I’ve Read in 2011 are, head over to Fiktshun’s Ramblings tomorrow.

    ***

    This event runs through Friday, and each day I will be posting a different list of top ten favorites. Tomorrow’s topic will be Top 10 Book Covers of 2011, which will be a much easier list to come up with, though sorting them is an entirely different matter…. (And, no. I did not create tomorrow’s list yet.)

    If you’d like to see what the rest of the topics will be, check out the original post or the update post for more details.

    ***

    NOTE: this is the SAME Linky on each of the Co-hosts Blogs, so please only enter your Name, Blog Name and the URL for YOUR Top 10 post of the day on one blog. Thanks!

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    Random Thoughts: Books I’m Dying to Re-read

    With so many new books releasing every week – have you seen just how many awesome books are coming out this week yet? – it’s almost impossible to squeeze in all those new releases, let alone think about books you love and want to re-read. But I just can’t help it. I do.

    I find that during those quiet hours I miss re-reading my favorites. I find my thoughts straying to those books I love and miss and want to dive into again.

    Not every book I read is re-readable immediately. Sometimes I don’t want to revisit those books for months or years. But most of my favorites end up on my re-read wish list eventually. And right now there are just a few that keep calling out to me, begging for some of my attention.

    As that list is long, I’ll just name five that are at the top of my TBRR pile.

    ***

    I may have mentioned just how much I’ve been missing Nick from The Demon’s Lexicon, well I still am. I am dying to re-read this first book in the series. After reading The Demon’s Surrender I was sad to see the series end and missed the Nick that I got to know and love from book one.

    I did read this book twice already. The first time was before I started blogging, and then I just had to read this again for review. And it was such a different experience the second time, knowing what was going to happen and being on the lookout for clues right from the start. Plus, with the second read I knew I already loved it, so it didn’t take much to make me fall in love again.

    So, of course, now I want to go back and meet him all over again. I am still hoping that there will be some kind of spinoff book in the series, but for now, I would be happy to have a chance to re-read this book.

    I may have not yet read Passion but I really want to re-read Fallen, the first book in the series. Of the two I’ve read, Fallen was my favorite and I really want to go back and meet Luce, Daniel and Cam all over again.

    I had a completely different experience between the first and second reads, although between both reads, some of the details got a little fuzzy and so parts of the book felt like they were brand new.

    The first time I read Fallen I loved Daniel and only Daniel, but when I re-read it, I grew to like Cam just a little bit more. And after reading Torment, I am seriously starting to love Cam.

    It’s been a long while since I’ve read either book, but I really miss Luce and Daniel and seeing Luce’s reactions to Daniel, and discovering what she does, makes me want to go back to it once more.

    While I loved Hex Hall, I’m pining for a re-read of Demonglass. I think it’s really just that I want to torture myself with questions all over again about that ending. I’m a little bit twisted, what can I say?

    I only read Demonglass the one time, but was left with so many “what ifs” that I drove myself mad for a short while. Sadly, after much debate I think I’m ready to do that all over again.

    I want to see if Archer is as great as I remember him or if Cal is my favorite, as I had hoped he would be when I met him in book one. And I think a second read will be the only way to figure this out.

    As there is no novella or short story to keep me going between release dates, I think a re-read would be the perfect fix for my addiction.

    I am dying to re-read Nevermore thanks to Mary Lindsey, actually. Just hearing about her upcoming book Annabel has me thinking about Poe and dark, dark things and it immediately brings to mind Nevermore by Kelly Creagh.

    I’ve actually read this book twice – once before I began blogging and once after – and I love the dark and twisty world that Isobel and Varen live in and that ending left me so, so sad both times I read it.

    With Enshadowed on the horizon I just have to go back to this story. I never realized just how long it was until I got a signed copy, as I’d read it both times on my Kindle, but I just got so caught up in that imaginative world that I didn’t even notice.

    And I love how Varen’s name is a play on “raven” and so of course I’m wondering just how many more hidden-to-me Poe references there are.

    Yes, of course I want to re-read A Touch Mortal, when don’t I? This is also a book I’ve read a couple times. Maybe more, but who’s counting? I’m not.

    I think having my Facebook avatar as the cover for A Touch Morbid always keeps that series in mind, but that doesn’t mean it’s top of mind because of my cover love. I don’t need a reminder to want to re-read this book.

    I love dark books. And each time I re-read this book makes me realize how much I’ve missed on the previous read. I feel like I’m getting to know the Siders way more by revisiting their story, even though it’s the same story over and over.

    Yes, I need to read book two, but in the meantime I’d be happy just to have the chance to read this one more time.

    ***

    So, you’re wondering where If I Die is on this list, aren’t you? It’s all I’ve been talking about everywhere for the past month or two. And yet it hasn’t made my “Dying to Re-read” list.

    Well, that’s because although I am dying to re-read it, I won’t be dying for long. I will be re-reading it this week, so I can’t very well complain about pining for it.

    The re-read wish list above is just that, a wish list. As much as I’m dying to re-read all those books, the likelihood of that happening in the next month is pretty slim.

    But If I Die by Rachel Vincent is a must re-read. I only read it the one time and that wasn’t even the finished copy, so there may be new surprises in store for me in the published version that I’ll be receiving on my Kindle at Monday Midnight.

    ***

    Do you like to re-read books? Is your TBRR pile as long as your TBR pile?

    I would love to hear your thoughts on re-reading and which books top your TBRR pile

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    Book Buzz: A Touch Mortal

    This time on Book Buzz, I decided to do a “Where are they now?” post for a book that was released just over six months ago and is at the midpoint between the first book’s release and the second.

    If it’s still on your TBR pile you should check it out, so you can see for yourself whether this is a book to be buzzed about and whether it’s time to start buzzing about book two, due out in February.

    The Book:

    A Touch Mortal is a paranormal/urban fantasy young adult novel written by Leah Clifford. It was released on February 22, 2011.

    Loved it or Hated it?

    Loved it. Deeply, darkly and intensely. Possibly verging on book obsession. The cover caught my eye. The description drew me in. Life and death. Heaven and Hell. Darkness. Betrayal. Cliffhanger. Hit all the right notes. Loved it so much it turned me into an official book stalker.

    The Early Buzz:

    I wasn’t a super early buzzer, but I joined the buzz well before this book’s release.

    First came the cover buzz. Everyone was talking about how riveting and utterly captivating it was. From the pink highlights to the single, focused, bright blue eye, everyone wanted to know more about this girl and who she was in this upcoming debut novel.

    Then it turned to intrigue about the description. Talk about a brilliantly written description. Anyone who’d seen it couldn’t help but fall victim to its lure. Fallen angel? Check. A deadly power? Check. A dark future for the main character? Double, triple check.

    Just these two simple items were enough to whip up the frenzy for this book. Add to this the author’s presence on YouTube, Twitter, on her blog and around the web and the frenzy would not die down.

    Fizzle or Sizzle:

    The majority say “SIZZLE” but the readers are divided. And this time it’s into three groups: Those who loved it from beginning to end; those who loved the second half; and, those who just didn’t love it.

    The Goodreads average comes in at 3.5 and Amazon’s at 4 (since they don’t round). But according to Goodreads’ rating details, over fifty percent of the readers who rated the book gave it four or five stars.

    Sizzle Buzz

    Phenomenal. Dark and twisty. Original. Fantastic characters. Heartbreaking. Fast-paced. Killer ending.

    Fizzle Buzz

    Character disconnect. Complicated opening. Insta-love. Confusing first half. F-bombs. Suicide.

    What Happened?

    At the six month mark this book is still being talked about. The chatter really never died down completely. From the author’s constant online presence to word of mouth, loved or hated, this book is still part of the chatter and continues to make its way into the readers hands even if it can’t be found on every store’s bookshelf.

    New readers are just as divided as those who grabbed it on or around release date, but there are new readers. With such a wild swing between those who gush and those who don’t, there are readers who aren’t relying on the ratings and/or reviews and are opting to make the choice for themselves.

    And as we’re at the midpoint between the first book and the second, the buzz is getting louder from those in the majority who said it sizzled. And once again the cover reveal got people talking. No longer is the cover model facing forward, no longer are the highlights pink. What does it all mean?

    What’s Left to Buzz About?

    The ending. The overwhelming majority of readers have said the action really picks up in the second half of the book and continues to build. Right up to that unbelievable ending. The ending that left everything in uncertainty. The ending that left readers speechless, shocked and in dread of what might happen next. There is just no way to avoid buzzing about a book with an ending like this one.

    The possibilities. With such a complex world that author Leah Clifford created, the door was left wide open for speculation and seemingly endless possibilities for the characters’ futures and the plot’s development. And with so many directions this story could take, it’s really no surprise the buzz goes on.

    The characters. Every single one of the main characters has a very distinct personality. Even though the story’s premise was the initial draw for readers, it’s the characters that made them read on. From the darkness in each of them, to their abilities, their flaws and their charms, or lack thereof, each one of these characters is undeniably memorable.

    The sequel. Whenever a book is written as part of a series and it contains a nice little cliff to hang from, it is inevitable that the sequel will be buzzed about. And the closer it gets to release date for that next book, the louder the chatter will be, as the excitement over finally getting answers becomes more than a distant hope.

    Buzzworthy?

    Most definitely. Having such a large chasm between supporters and detractors alone would make this book buzzworthy. Add in a potentially controversial subject (suicide), and the 67 F-bombs that were dropped, and no matter whether you’re a fan or part of the opposition, there’s a lot to talk about.

    Buzz factors – Not one, but two, strong female characters, a dark premise, a shocking betrayal, a twisty-turny plot, a love story, a cliffhanger ending that borders on cruelty to readers, and some unusual but wicked cool powers. Heck yeah, there’s enough to keep this buzz going well beyond the second books’ release.

    What do I say?

    Fan-freaking-tastically cool.

    Every single sentence in the description grabbed hold of me. I just knew that this would be my kind of book. And I was forever ensnared from the moment that Eden said goodbye to happily-ever-after.

    As much as I like my books warm and fuzzy and filled with sunshine, I find that I really connect to, and fall in love that much more deeply with, books with a bit of an edge. And there were all sorts of edges in A Touch Mortal.  Sharp ones at that.

    I instantly fell in love with Az and Kristen, and even Gabe. My connection to Eden took just a little while longer. But it was after I finished reading it the first time that I started falling for Luke. And the more time I spend with this book, the more of a connection I feel to him.

    Yes, this is one of my favorite 2011 debuts. My love for this book went so far beyond cover love that as gorgeous as it is, it doesn’t hold a candle to what’s between the covers. I did manage to read this book three times so far, so yeah, I love this book.

    And with everything this story had to offer, I found that I did not walk away unscathed. I will be forever stalking each new book’s release in this series and hoping for more than just a trilogy.

    Will this book be one for everyone? No. But most books aren’t. And this one isn’t trying to be. Not everyone will feel that same connection to the characters that I do. But there are those that will.

    Not everyone will feel comfortable with the amount of language liberally peppered throughout this story. I actually hadn’t really noticed until it was pointed out to me.

    And still others may feel that the way suicide is incorporated into this story is not something they want to read about. And they have every right not to.

    But if you really want to know just what I thought, here’s my review for A Touch Mortal.

    Buy it, borrow it, pass on it?

    For this book, I say it depends.

    If you love dark stories, complex plots, seriously cool abilities, strong female main characters, heartbreak, brilliant writing and a world unlike any other you’ve experienced, then I say “BUY IT.”

    If you don’t like violence, are squeamish about talk of suicide and death, hate cliffhanger endings, think that the number of profanities was too over the top for you to get past, then either “BORROW IT” if you think it’s still worth a try, or “PASS ON IT.” Because even with countless glowing reviews, if these are things that will take away from your reading experience, then it might be best just to take a pass.

    But what do you think?

    ***

    Any item related to this book is up for discussion. Just because I haven’t mentioned it here doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up in the comments.

    And feel free to discuss any points of interest from reviews that you’ve seen and would like to talk about. But please talk about them in general terms and don’t point out specific reviews unless they are my reviews or your own.

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    The Crush List #2

    There are books that you fall in love with, that leave you breathless and sobbing your eyes out. Books that take your heart and stomp on it, leaving you completely destroyed.

    Then there are books that steal your heart. These bookish thieves take but do not destroy, leaving you forever captivated by their charms and always begging for more.

    These are the books that are the source of our undying crushes. The ones that leave us sighing, with a small smile that is just for them. We give our hearts to these books and would follow them to the very ends of the earth. Some of them make us do just that, and we follow, oh so willingly.

    A crush may be a fragile thing, but we certainly have room for many. I know I’ve crushed on hundreds of books in my lifetime and I’ll crush on many, many more. They say crushes are harmless, after all, so what’s wrong with having just a few…or a few more?

    Here are a few books that I’m crushing on big time

    If I Die by Rachel Vincent is a fairly new crush. I’ve crushed on the series for a couple years now, but I just read If I Die last month and have been crushing hard ever since.

    The more time that passes, the more desperate I become to read it again. And I can’t wait for September so that I can.

    Crushes are supposed to fade over time, right? That is so not happening here.

    Why I’m crushing: Shock factor. Ka-pow. Knocks you right down. Twisty-turny delectable, agonizing, torture. Kept me in knots the entire time. Surprise, surprise, surprise. So many yummy surprises. And an ending that…okay, I can’t tell you THAT, but you’ll see.

    Dead Rules by Randy Russell is a brand new crush and one that I did not expect to have at all. I just love surprise crushes.

    I mean I knew the book would be cool – rules for the dead, that cover, but did not expect this to make my crush list…until I actually read it, that is.

    And I am so totally crushing on this book. Still.

    Why I’m crushing: Dark. Mildly disturbing. Killer irony. Eternal love…or not quite. Bizarre, freakishly bizarre, deaths. Sliders…they may be bad, but they’re way more fun. Mars Dreamcote. So what, I’m crushing on a dead dude. Who says that has to be wrong?

    From Sliders to Siders…

    A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford is an old crush. Yeah, I know it debuted this year, but I’ve been crushing on it since 2010. That makes this crush practically ancient.

    And ever since the cover reveal for A Touch Morbid, my crush for the first book has come back full-force. I mean, come on, one peek at these covers and how can you not be crushing?

    Why I’m crushing: Dark. Yep, this one’s dark, too. Maybe I’m a touch morbid… Edgy, clever, suspenseful. The suspense borders on cruel. Seriously bad-a**. And hello heartbreak.

    Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren is a fairly new and unexpected crush.

    And as it’s the second book in the series, it really is an add-on crush that I developed when reading Waterfall.

    Why I’m crushing: Time travel. Knights. A love story. Action – the heart-stopping, nail-biting kind. Damsel in mega distress. Danger. Suspense. Knights – so nice I had to mention them twice.

    Slumber by Samantha Young is a brand new crush. We’re talking one week old and yet it’s already hit me big time.

    And it is another one of those total surprise crushes. Although I’m thinking this one will move from crush to love affair with the next installment in the series.

    Why I’m crushing: Epic. Magical. Sweet, sweet torture. The chemistry. The love story. Wolfe Stovia – Vikomt oh how I’m crushing on you, too. Wicked. Definitely, grin-worthily wicked. Riveting. How can you not crush on story with a sword-bearing hero who is the ultimate protector?

    ***

    So, these are just a few more books from my very eclectic crush list. I seem to have chosen books that are either bordering on the morbid or of the epic adventure variety. Knights, Reapers, Siders, Sliders, I have plenty of room in my heart to crush on them all.

    Do you crush on books?

    What makes a book crushworthy for you?

    I would love to know!

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    The Extras: April

    I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last “Extras” post. Time flies in the blogosphere. So, as some of you may already know…

    Whenever I find either a legal free download, an excerpt or sneak peek of a book online, I try to link to it in a related post or include the link in my sidebar (to your right).

    But once a month I’ll pop them into a post for a “one-stop shop” with a brief description. You may have previously seen some of these in my sidebar and a couple are still there, well here they are once more in case you missed them. (My sidebar tends to have a LOT of info.)

    We have a few peeks at upcoming releases, just released books and some of them are just items that have been offered for free for awhile but you might have missed.

    And yes, I know it’s not April yet, but it’s a monthly post that I do around this time each month in anticipation.

     

    Red Glove is the second book in Holly Black’s Curse Workers series. It will be releasing on April 5, 2011. Holly Black is an amazing author and this is an amazing series.

    The author has given us a peek at the first chapter in this book on her blog, HERE.

    I have read and loved the first book in the series and can’t wait to read this book. If you’d like to read my review or learn more about Cassel Sharpe and the curse workers, click here.

    Where She Went by Gayle Forman is the sequel to If I Stay. It will be releasing on April 5, 2011. There is still time to read the first book in the series in anticipation of this release.

    For those of you who’ve already read the first book and just can’t wait to find out more or for those of you who haven’t read If I Stay, Scribd has something for all. They have provided an excerpt of the upcoming book and a chapter of the first, HERE.

    I have owned If I Stay for awhile, but it’s on my way too long TBR list. However, I am planning on reading this in the next week, as I have an early copy of Where She Went which I hope to read and review and I never like to read a sequel without having read the first book. I’ve heard such amazing things about this author, so this is a sneak peek worth checking out.

    City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare will be releasing on April 5, 2011.

    And I know, I know…I’ve already “Book Watch” posted this, with all sorts of links to extras and videos, but as this is just for the Extras, I can’t exclude it. But I won’t ramble on about this book since I’ve already done. So…

    Cassandra Clare has included an excerpt from chapter one on her site, HERE. I have not read this particular excerpt, if you can believe, as I’m trying to hold out until April 5th.

    What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen will be releasing on May 10, 2011. It is her tenth novel.

    An excerpt is available on the author’s blog, HERE.

    I have not yet read this author’s work, but I’ve heard such great things and so this will be my introduction to her characters and writing. I can’t wait and just have a feeling I’ll be a huge fan. (Which means I’ll have nine more books to read before I run out – this is a good thing.)

    Goodreads is offering a chance to win this book as part of their First Reads program. You can look through all the books they are offering for giveaway here.

    Hard Bitten is the fourth book in author Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series. It will be released on May 3, 2011.

    This series is the author’s adult series, but I’ve included this excerpt here for fans of the author who have read both her adult and young adult series.

    An excerpt from Chapter One is available on the author’s website, HERE.

    I just love her young adult Dark Elite series and am very interested in reading the Chicagoland Vampires series.

    ***

    And for one more chance to take a peek, here are a few books that are available now.

    A Touch Mortal is Leah Clifford’s debut novel and the first in a series. It was released on February 22, 2011.

    If you haven’t read this book, HarperTeen has offered a look inside, HERE.

    I absolutely loved this book and am excited to see what’s coming up in the series. If you want to learn more or read my review, click here.

    Demonglass is the second book in the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins. It was released on March 1, 2011.

    An excerpt is available on the Hex Hall website, HERE.

    I’ve read and reviewed both books on the site and I loved them both, although I love Demonglass just a bit more than Hex Hall!

    Afterlife is the final book in the Evernight series by Claudia Gray. It was released on March 8, 2011.

    This is an amazing series, and if you haven’t yet read it, you can now and won’t have to wait to read all the books. (Lucky readers.)

    HarperTeen has provided an excerpt for readers who haven’t yet gotten caught up with the series, HERE.

    Illegal is the debut novel for author Bettina Restrepo. It was released on March 8, 2011.

    I am excited to start reading this one later this month, and have not taken a look at the excerpt in case of spoilers.

    But once again the folks at HarperTeen have generously provided a look inside, HERE.

    The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight by L.J. Smith was released on March 15, 2011.

    By now everyone’s heard of the television series, but these are the books that have started it all.

    HarperTeen has been kind enough to give us a peek, HERE.

    I own but still must read this book and cannot wait to find the time – it’s a fairly long book filled with goodness!

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    The Extras: Teasers #2

    There are so many amazing books out there – released or soon-to-be-released – that have certain passages that just captivate.

    Here are just a few of those that caught my attention in the past month.

    Amelia’s thoughts:

    For one sunlit season, I had laughed and I had loved and I had been extraordinary. It was a glorious ruination–my madness was mine–and for that, I was not sorry.

    I can’t put my favorite passage here or I’d be giving away a spoiler but if you read the book you’ll find it at the very end.

    Ashlyn’s thoughts:

    His whisper slipped into my soul, just like it had countless times before, and wound around my tender heart.

    ***

    Colin’s brief touch at my shoulder was assuring. What did he know of the counterfeit life of which I’d been no more than currency, an ivory pawn?

    Eden’s thoughts:

    Memories rose, rippling like pebbles tossed into the lies she’d told herself to try to forget about him.

    ***

    With a whispered breath, he moaned, “Love.” It rolled from his lips like a promise, echoed layer after layer. Deep inside her, something shivered.

    Kathryn’s thoughts:

    The human voice, it turns out, just isn’t that strong. Human hatred, on the other hand, is.

    Violet’s thoughts:

    He smiled then, a sad smile that almost made my heart break into a million little pieces.

    ***

    Raising one hand to his lips, he kissed his fingertips, and then pressed them against my heart. Something about the gesture said more than any words could, bringing tears to my eyes.

    Aristanae’s thoughts:

    He pulled me closer, tighter, deepening the kiss as though starving, yet taking the time to savor every second. I knew how to kiss, knew the mechanics involved, but this was the first time I’d ever lost myself, ever wanted it more than breathing and wanted to keep doing it until time stood still and the earth faded away.

    I do have a favorite passage close to the end, but it is a spoiler. Here are just a few of the overwhelmingly many beautiful passages in this book.

    Kendall’s thoughts:

    She counts the steps to one hundred, and then she can stop and really concentrate on the ball. She loves the way it moves over the grass, like a hand on bare skin, seeking out all the nuances.

    ***

    She is forever in that moment just before sleep, that sweet hovering of a moment where nothing else matters. Sounds, urges, all is deep background noise. This, she realizes . . . this is truly where her brain doesn’t rule her world.

    ***

    The desk :

    Save me. I’m alive. Say yes. I need you. Come back.

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    Review: A Touch Mortal

    A Touch Mortal is the debut novel for author Leah Clifford. It was released in the U.S. on February 22, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by Greenwillow Books, the hardcover edition is 432 pages.

    A Touch Mortal is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com and was the my second pick for the DAC.

    Goodreads description:

    Eden didn’t expect Az.

    Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.

    Yeah.

    So long, happily-ever-after.

    Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

    She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

    And that’s only the beginning of the end.

    ***

    Mortals have a path. Their lives have a set direction that they follow. But there are those who don’t. The pathless. The Siders. They begin to fade from the minds of everyone they’ve known and when they choose to end their existence they don’t simply die.

    Instead of death, they are fated to wander the earth carrying Touch. Forced to release it before the pain becomes too much to handle. Passing it to mortals who may end their lives because of its effect.

    There are Siders that do not care, even take pleasure in the fact that they are harming others. But there are those that don’t want to pay this price for immortality. With no way to stop their suffering, every day is a nightmare.

    That is until the day that Eden meets Az and her fate becomes intertwined with theirs, offering them an escape from an eternity of agony, guilt and sorrow.

    But falling in love with an angel who is no longer bound to Heaven and forever at risk of becoming one of the Fallen puts her in danger in ways she can’t even imagine.

    Will Eden’s love be enough for Az to fight the temptation or will the urge to fall be too much to resist?

    ***

    A Touch Mortal is a clever, distinctive and absolutely astounding debut novel from author Leah Clifford. The world that she has begun creating in this series is edgy, dark and intricate.

    This is not simply a love story between a mortal and a fallen angel, but rather a complex story of immortal beings who are caught between Heaven and Hell. Every moment in this story will leave readers filled with trepidation about what might happen next.

    Eden is a troubled girl who thinks she is getting a second chance at happiness when she meets Az. But Az is an angel who was sent down from Heaven for falling in love and now the Fallen want to claim him for their own.

    With everyone he’s ever loved tortured in an attempt to cause his fall, Eden is his last hope. But when his friend Gabe, an angel still bound to Heaven, discovers that she has no path, the risk to her becomes even greater. And, in order to protect her from the Fallen Az must deceive her and risk losing her love.

    A Touch Mortal will keep you in suspense until the very end as you follow Eden as she learns more about what she is, what she is capable of and how to cope with her new existence. The atmosphere in the story is foreboding and will culminate in a cruel, devastating and heartbreaking ending.

    Author Leah Clifford has created a new series with so much possibility for what is to come. There are many characters we have yet to learn about, many questions still remaining about Eden and her abilities, and a conclusion that has flipped everything upside down for the start of the next book in the series.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=6]. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note:

    I have been waiting for this book for months, which felt more like lifetimes. Just check out the description…and the cover. And yes, I am resorting to something I never thought I would put in a post, but – OMG. It was so worth the wait. This book was so freaking cool!

    I completely blame Cassandra Clare for getting me hooked on Angel-themed books. She can now share some of the blame with Leah Clifford for the agonizing torture I have to endure between books.

    Part of me was totally afraid that I wouldn’t like this book when I started reading it. I lived in fear that I over-hyped it and that I would hate it and then have absolutely nothing positive to say.

    I will admit, for the first few pages I was a bit confused. If I hadn’t read up as much as I did on this book, the concepts of the Siders would have had me slightly baffled, but if you just go with the story all becomes clear.

    This was one tense read. I was stressed and worried the entire time – which for me is one of the things I like in my books. This book is so wonderfully dark and edgy. I love and hate Eden, which is also something I like to feel about main characters.

    But, you see, I totally fell in love with Az at the very beginning. So anything Eden could possibly do that was anti-Az made me want to have Kristen kick the c**p out of her!

    It’s so hard to write this section without revealing anything, but I can say, “I knew it!” about a few things and can also add that the end has absolutely left me shattered. And a wee bit despondent after spending all those hours on edge and keeping fingers crossed for a happily ever after.

    ***

    A Touch Mortal is the first book in a planned trilogy. To read an excerpt from HarperTeen, click here.

    Favorite passage:

    Memories rose, rippling like pebbles tossed into the lies she’d told herself to try to forget about him.

    (I knew it immediately when I read it that this was my favorite passage, which is funny as it was the very passage that was rephrased and quoted later in the book by a certain evil dude.)

    UPDATE 3/15/11: Book trailer for A Touch Mortal:

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