Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FIRELIGHT by Kristen Callihan

I've never read anything so creepily romantic.  (And that's a compliment! J)

 Firelight was my introduction to supernatural Gothic romance, and Kristen Callihan did a fantastic job of drawing me in.  This book made me realize how important strong first chapters are--at least to me.  If the beginning is stellar, if it introduces me to intriguing characters in an interesting way, creating a picture I just cannot get out my head, it's a done deal.  I'll read till the end, those first chapters driving me to the finish.

Here's the scene that stuck with me: The dreaded Lord Benjamin Archer, a man who hides his deformity behind a black-as-night mask, is on his way to commit a murder when he comes upon a street urchin about to be attacked.  Despite being cornered in an alley by two bigger, brasher opponents, the street urchin doesn't look the least bit frightened.  Even when her hat gets knocked off, and all that fiery hair tumbles down, revealing her to be a girl, Miranda (aka the street urchin) doesn't back down or try to run.  Her fearlessness sparks something in Lord Archer.  He saves her; she finds out he's actually there to get revenge upon her father; and after a very sexy interlude, we're off and running.

The story was filled with danger, adventure, and mystery, but the best part was the romance.  These two characters, Miranda and Archer, were perfect together.  Watching them get to know each other, denying their true feelings at every turn--feelings we get to see first-hand through the alternating third person narrative--was as entertaining as it was excruciating.

Paranormally goodness was also present throughout the novel (Miranda's gift/curse, Archer's hidden past, a secret club that messed with the natural order and whose members are now being picked off one by one), but what struck me was the very human quality of Callihan's two leads.  Miranda's fearlessness was incredibly believable, her fear of herself a great contrast to that defiant nature.  Archer was moody and over-confident and had just the right mix of snark and sincerity.  I loved, loved, loved their chemistry.  It flared and simmered and lit up every page (too many fire references??)

And since today is Teaser Tuesday…a short excerpt from the book:

"He took a quick breath, and his voice dropped. "You've no notion of the effect you have on me"

The words gave a hard tug to her belly. She closed her eyes and swallowed. "If by effect, you mean finding yourself in unchartered waters, wondering whether you are coming or going...." She stared at his shirt, watching his breath hitch. "Then I fear you have the same effect on me, my lord.”"

And that's just one of the many "breath-hitching" moments J

I also loved Miranda's sisters--would've loved to see more of them in the story--and Ian McKinnon.  He was such a delicious little instigator.  Apparently Callihan thought so too, since his book is next in the series. *whoop*  The danger was thrilling, the murders/mystery appropriately horrific.  I'd recommend it for adult readers who love paranormal romance but are looking for that little something extra. 

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Truth: I've been dying to read this book.  Want proof?

Truth: I started a twitter account just so I could participate in a contest to win an arc.  (No joke, I wanted it that badly :p)  The first two chapters of The Fine Art of Truth or Dare were up on Melissa Jensen's site, and after reading those, I was ready to dig right in.

The Awesome: Unfortunately, I didn't win an arc--but last week I ran out and scooped up the only copy left at the bookstore. *Happy dance* J 

The book took a familiar concept (Social Outcast crushes hard on the It Guy Everyone's in Love With), but the story itself was refreshed by an interesting main character and fun side characters.  There were several things that made Ella Marino different.  One of the most obvious (and my personal favorite) was the fact that Ella is in love with a dead guy.  The impossible love she had for the long-dead artist Edward Willing was so interesting if a bit sad.  Interesting b/c I couldn't help but be drawn to Ella's character.  I wanted to know who this girl was and what was so great about this guy that a teenager would develop such a deep fascination with him a hundred years later.  Sad b/c, well, Willing's been dead for over a hundred years, and Ella's love will always be one-sided.

Another thing I loved about Ella was her family.  The Marinos were a very loud, tight knit, and unapologetically Italian bunch.  They all work in a family-run restaurant, so they can't escape each other.  The father who's constantly trying to get Ella to eat more, convinced that good food is the answer to life's problems.  Crazy Nonna who pinches Ella's cheek and shouts and bangs pots like there's no tomorrow.  The over-the-top older sister, Uncle Ricky who's determined to be on Top Chef.  The scenes at Marino's were some of the best. 

I also loved Ella's friends.  Now, I'm not going to lie.  As much as I loved Frankie (and I did), I couldn't help but picture Duckie from Pretty in Pink.  I, personally, didn't love that movie as much as everyone else--Blaine was a jerk with no backbone; Molly's character was a jerk to Duckie (who really did love her); and there was absolutely no chemistry.  I was so much more a fan of Some Kind of Wonderful J.  But, despite my dislike of PiP, I loved Duckie.  He made that movie at least bearable.  Jensen's Frankie was wonderful as well, but Sadie was the more interesting character to me.  I liked how she had issues with her weight and a mother who dressed her in horrible couture.  I also liked how she had this great voice that could stop traffic. 

Sadie and Frankie and Ella were all hits.  Loved how they played Truth or Dare to catch up and learn new things about each other.  At the end, though, I still preferred Edward Willing to Alex Bainbridge.  I really wished Alex (Ella's It Boy) would've stood up for Ella in front of his friends.  I was left wondering why he hung out with the a-holes he hung out with.  None of them showed any redeeming qualities.  And as nice as Alex was, I really wished he would've kissed Ella's scarred/burned shoulder.  I was waiting for that kiss.  Ella was very, very self-conscious about that burn throughout the book, and I just wanted Alex to make her feel better about it.  I know it was up to Ella to accept herself, but I think Alex could've helped her get there.  I would've been so much more into him if he had.

Anyway, I really liked several aspects of the book.  It made me laugh out loud a few times, and I sped through it in two days.  Definitely worth the wait, and I'm glad I got to meet Ella J

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Monday, February 13, 2012


Hey everyone, like the title says, I was tagged by Jenni Elyse over JenniElyse.com.  Now, that sounded a little ominous to me, but once I found out what being "tagged" entailed, I was like SWEET!  This sounds like so much fun, and I can't wait to tag eleven other people :D

The Rules
  1. You must post the rules.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
  3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
  4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!
Questions from Jenni Elyse

  1. What is your favorite book of all time?  Easy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.  There will never be a better book/series for this ninja ;)
  2. Who is your favorite author?  Hmm…this one's a little more difficult.  I'll just cheat and name a few of my favorites instead.  Meg Cabot, Elizabeth Scott, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, J.R. Ward, J.K. Rowling.
  3. Who is your favorite literary character of all time?  Female: Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables  Male: Mr. Thornton from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (but really, Richard Armitage as Mr. Thorton *sigh*)

  1. When did you start blogging?  February 2011; I'm approaching my one year blogoversary!! Whoop! Am thinking I'll have to do a giveaway (if I can figure out how to do one.  Tips are appreciated; I know a lot of you who know/hold great giveaways all the time J)
  2. Why did you start blogging?  I was reading so much and just wanted to share my opinions/recommendations with others.  Luckily, there were a lot of bloggers who like to read YA lol!
  3. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Hogwarts, of course.
  4. If money were not an issue, what would you buy yourself at this very instant?  A new house, a movie theater and bookstore, an animal shelter.  Hey, you said money wasn't an issue, right?
  5. Who is your favorite actor?  Well, I've always had a thing for Christian Bale (ever since his Newsies days as Jack Kelly :D), but I'd say Rain Wilson.  Dwight Schrute is the man.
  6. What is your favorite movie?  The BBC's North and South based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel.  If you haven't seen it (and you're a fan of period drama), it's definitely one you don't want to miss.  Go and watch it now!!!
  7. Who is your favorite musician/band?  I love ALL music, but at the moment, it's Ingrid Michaelson.
  8. What is your favorite song?  Holy crap with the hard questions… I think I'd say Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap--but it depends on the day and my mood.
Questions for who I tag:

1. What's your favorite color?
2. What's your favorite name (male and female)?
3. Cat or Dog?
4. If you could be anything, do anything, what would you be/do?
5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
6. What was your first blog post about?
7. Favorite song lyrics?
8. Favorite line from a book/poem and why?
9. If your life had a soundtrack, what would be the title tracks?
10. What's your latest obsession (can be anything)?
11. If you could recommend any book/series, what would it be and why?

I Tag:

Hope eveyone is having a great Monday!

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge was phenomenal. 

No seriously, I LOVED it!!  Thank you Kimberly Derting for a great dystopian novel with twists and turns that made sense and a main character I'd definitely want to know and be friends with.

If you think dystopian has been done to death/is all the same, this book proves there's still room to explore.  The concept of a caste system based on language simply blew my mind. It was so smart: How do people fight oppression if they can't even speak to each other?  How do they communicate when, by law, you have to look away whenever a person belonging to a higher class starts talking in their language?  The evil Queen Sabara counted on this fact to keep the naysayers apart, and it does.

But then there's Charlie.

As a member of the working class, the seventeen-year-old should only be able to understand Parshon--but she has a secret.  Charlie can interpret every word she hears regardless of what language it's spoken in.  In her world, the ability to interpret is a crime punishable by death, so she plays dumb.  Even when girls from the higher class berate her to her face, she looks away.  Even when a boy she barely knows speaks to her in a language she's never heard before, Charlie pretends not to understand.  One slip could be fatal.  But when her best friend, Brook, is in danger, Charlie does slip--and the mysterious boy, Max, notices.

Will Max expose her secret?  Who is he really?  These questions and more are all answered in the book.  The storytelling here was amazing.  To me, it sort of read like a dark fairytale (i.e. evil queen, lower glass girl with power).  But the realistic contemporary voice, the attention to detail, the relatable characters, these were the elements that made it a great read.

Derting did so much right, but I have to say my favorite parts (and her greatest successes imo) were the sections written from Charlie's POV.  Now, that is most of the book, so I'll narrow it down.  What really made me love Charlie was her unfailing loyalty.  To her friends, her family, her little sister.  The girl was one tough cookie.  Angelina, Charlie's younger sister, was also a favorite.  In a country defined by language, the girl has no voice.  She literally can't speak, but Charlie understands her/communicates with her in a way that really makes you see their bond.  Charlie always put Angelina's safety first; she never once became that sullen teenager who behaves like a jerk simply b/c she's an adolescent.  Charlie was better than that.  She had a real love for her sister, and I liked how that was so clear/believable/wonderful.

The pacing was great, the characters were stellar, and it has a beautiful cover J  What more can you ask for?  I'd recommend this book.  I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed it (and how quickly I read through it). 

Hope everyone's having a great week,

Ninja Girl

P.S. I saw some other reviews (bad ones) on goodreads, and I can't believe how different my feelings are.  Charlie was so strong, for herself and others.  Sometimes I have to talk around the parts that didn't work for me in a book, but that was not the case here.  I just really loved it :D


Teaser Tuesday's is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading (click the image above to be directed to her page). Anyone can participate! Here are the rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open it to a random page
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO REVEAL SPOILERS! (Be sure not to spoil the book for others!
  • Make sure your sentences don't reveal something important!)
  • Include the title and author to, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
Hey everyone! Just thought I'd do a teaser to go with my review of The Pledge by Kimberly Derting.


"In all my life, I'd never heard anything like it.

The world shivered around me in protest.

His language was strange, and the inflection of his voice was heavy and rough-edged, but the meaning of his words was crystal clear.

I heard what Brooklyn never would:

"This childish beauty smells delicious.""

Pretty great, right??  Now off to check all the other teasers :D

Ninja Girl

Friday, February 3, 2012


Happy Friday everyone!!  The Feature & Follow is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison where you get to meet great new people/blogs and keep in touch with the ones you're already following.  This week's features are Progress and Procrastination and Omnom Books.

Q: Define what characteristics your favorite books share. Do they all have a kick ass heroine or is the hot love interest the Alpha Male?

My favorite books don't always have a kick a** heroine or hero.  I just have to care about the MC.  I have to want to know more about them.  Also, I've noticed that I like a male lead who really cares about the MC.  He just has to be good to her, loyal, willing to take a bullet LOL.  Whether he's a bad boy or a nice guy, I want him to be all about the heroine (and vice versa).  My faves also always suprise me in some fantastic way.  And by that, I mean they exceed my expectations.  They take what I thought was going to happen and kick it up to the nth degree.  Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Anna Dressed in Blood and, of course, my beloved Black Dagger Brotherhood all did this :D

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Ninja Girl