Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Follow Friday!

Hello everyone! Welcome to another Follow Friday hosted by the ever lovely Parajunkee!

To answer this week's question, I discovered "The Iron Duke" by Meljean Brook recently, via someone's blog. While I had heard things about it some time ago, it wasn't until someone listed "The Iron Duke" as one of their top reads of 2010 did I really pay attention. So while shopping the other day, of course I bought it. ;)

A little about me: My name is Amanda. I started blogging over a year ago, but to be honest, I'm still trying to figure things out. =) I began as a reviewer for, then decided to start my own blog because I enjoy reviewing books and telling people about new discoveries. So if I read and review a book you love, be sure to comment! I love talking about things I've read.   I also review for Romance Reviews Today, and I usually let my blog readers know if there are any recently RRT reads that just blew my mind and therefore everyone needs to check out.

Well, thank you to everyone that stops by! I'll be working all day, but I can't wait to come home and discover all sorts of new blogs!

Happy Follow Friday, and Happy Reading!

~!~ Amanda, aka Morning Glow ~!~

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review of "The Fledgling Handbook 101" by PC Cast and Kim Doner

The Fledgling Handbook 101 (House of Night) Alright, I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for the House of Night series.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Type: Companion Guide, Vampires, Vampire history, House of Night, Nyx, Rites and Rituals, Fill in the blank (sorta)

Why this book?: As I said, I'm a sucker for the House of Night series. I cannot tell you how much I'm looking forward to Awakened which comes out TUESDAY YAY! So until then, I will have to make do with this book =)

About the book: "The Fledgling Handbook 101" is a companion to the House of Night series by PC and Kristin Cast. Filled with information on the rites and rituals used in the House of Night novels, as well as vampire history. Learn about how your body is changing from human to Vampyre via the same book given to each new fledgling at the House of Night.

I was hoping to get a little more interesting extras in the book, maybe some talk about Zoey and her group. But mostly the book featured how to do the ritual calling of the elements, as well as multiple tales of vampires throughout history. Circe, Cleopatra, Hercules, the Amazons, and more are all featured, each with their own Vampyric tale - whether it be a warning (usually) on what to avoid as a fledgling, or to talk about the power a young vampyre might gain after their Change.

There are plenty of beautiful illustrations involved, either in companion to the historical stories told, or to more clearly show certain patterns important to the House of Night or Nyx. Also included are several pages where the reader can fill in their own comments - such as their Name, date they were Marked, what changes they noticed from their first marking to their second year, who their mentor is, their roommate, and even their class schedule. A list of offered classes for each year is included, so a fledgling can get an idea of what's in store during their time at the House of Night.

All in all, this book was an interesting read for fans of the series, but it's definitely not something I'm going to rush out to buy. If you're a hard-core fan of the House of Night series, well.. chances are you've already bought it. But if the HON books are just an occasional pleasure read, buy this at your leisure, or maybe just get a copy from the library. I actually found myself skipping through some of the histories as I thought they got a bit tedious.

Final rating: THREE out of FIVE (3/5). Just alright. Recommended for die-hard fans of the series.

Get your copy of "The Fledgling Handbook 101" from! Also, check out "Awakened," the next House of Night novel, releasing 1/4/11!

Are you a fan of the series? Have you read this book? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda, aka Morning Glow ~!~

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Whatcha Got Wednesday?

Whatcha Got Wednesday is my own little weekly meme where I talk about books I received, whether I got them to review, or for my own reading pleasure (which is the usual way). If anyone else would like to participate in Whatcha Got Wednesday, feel free! This week I got three books, all bought yesterday, actually.

"The Iron Duke" by Meljean Brook - So many people said they loved this, I couldn't resist.
"Awakened" by PC and Kristin Cast - Eeeek I love this series! And look for my review of "The Fledgling Handbook 101" coming tomorrow!
"My Fair Succubi" by Jill Myles - YAY YAY YAY! I LOVE this author. I cannot express that enough. "Gentlemen Prefer Succubi" and "Succubi Like it Hot" are two of my favorites, and I cannot WAIT to see what trouble Jackie gets into next =)

That's it for me this week, what about you guys? Feel free to share your thoughts on any of the books I got this week, and look for a review of each coming soon!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda, aka Morning Glow ~!~ 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review of "Blood Ties" by Lori G. Armstrong

Blood Ties (Julie Collins Series #1) This must be the week of kick-butt heroines. I'm on a roll!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Type: Mystery, Private Investigators, Kick butt heroines, Vices, Murder and Mayhem, Old Highschool drama

Why this book?: I'm a big fan of Lorelei James, and when I found out she wrote a mystery series under a different pen-name, I just had to look it up. I was never a huge fan of mysteries, but I'm starting to see the error of my ways.

About the book: Julie Collins works for the sherriff's department, as a secretary. It doesn't pay all that well, but she took the job so she could have the jump on any new info about her murdered brother's case. In some ways, she's still hoping, but by now, it's just another job. Luckily, her best friend Kevin is a private investigator that allows her to help out on the side. But this time, the case is a lot bigger and deeper than either of them could have imagined. The girl Kevin is searching for has turned up dead, and each new clue the pair find digs them that much deeper into a pit of secrets and lies dating as far back as highschool. Investigating isn't all fun and games, but Julie isn't about to let this case go.

Julie is the type of woman I would want on my side, though I'm not sure I could handle all of her vices all of the time. She smokes, she drinks, she curses, she runs her mouth.. frankly, it's no wonder that she only has a few friends left, both of them male. But for all of her faults, she's tough and won't back down, not when threatened, not even when coerced with physical pain. She's not perfect, she definitely gets scared or hurts, but that just makes this character human. That and the smoking and drinking, among other things. Julie is rough and tough, and definitely the kind of heroine needed to really get to the bottom of a good, scary mystery.

The plot itself was fascinating. Kevin and Julie are coming up against people they went to high school with, investigating plots and lies that started that far back. And the story kept me guessing right until the end. I'm not a huge mystery reader, but I know enough to dislike mysteries where the culprit is glaringly obvious, you just have to figure out how. But with all the new information Kevin and Julie uncover, each layer of the mystery is slowly revealed. And the two investigators never get any more information than the reader, which is another plus.

"Blood Ties" is not a book for the faint of heart. This plot deals with murder, rape, drug lords, abuse, neglect, and more. But remember the old adage, "No pain, no gain," and this book is definitely good enough to be considered a gain. I would definitely recommend "Blood Ties" by Lori G. Armstrong to any hardcore mystery fan, as well as anyone who enjoys a good suspenseful story.

Final rating: FOUR out of FIVE (4/5).

Get your copy of "Blood Ties" by Lori G. Armstrong at via the link to the left.

Have you read this book, or anything else by this author or her pseudonym Lorelei James? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda, aka Morning Glow

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's your grace? - Review of "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore

Graceling So all through this book, I was like "I want Katsa's Grace! Or Po's! Or this other person's!" And that got me thinking about what my Grace would be... Maybe something to do with music.. What about you guys? What do you think your Grace would be?

Disclaimer: Book is on loan from the library, I'm just reviewing it for pleasure. I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Type: Young Adult, Fantasy, Kick Butt Heroine, I want the hero!, Different World, Different Time, Special Abilities, I want a Grace dangit.

Why this book: I remember wanting to read this when it was released, then I forgot about it. Someone reviewed it recently, and I was able to find it at the library. Yay!

About the book: Katsa is the niece of the King of the Middluns, the country right in the middle of The Seven Kingdoms. Within this world, there are some people "blessed" with special abilities, or talents, called Graces. Gracelings are easily identified by their miscolored eyes; Katsa's one eye is blue, the other green. Since Katsa was a child, she was feared for her Grace, a Killing Grace, though she trained hard to learn how to control it and herself. But her uncle, the King, used her as a threat to keep in his good standing, and she went along with it - in theory. But Katsa created The Council, a network of citizens working against the rulers of the different kingdoms. And it was on a raid for the Council that Katsa first met Po. Who knew he would follow her home. Po is also a Graceling, with a huge secret that could leave Katsa is more untrusting of him. And maybe Katsa's Grace isn't as horrible as she and everyone else believes.

Katsa is one of those strong heroines I'm proud of, and we definitely need more of these types in Young Adult fiction. Katsa understands her Grace is dangerous, and she worked hard to find ways of keeping it under control, working with soldiers and generals to learn what are killing blows and what aren't so that she can complete missions for her uncle. She hates what her uncle makes her do, but she can't see a way out of it, since he gives her such detailed instructions. So instead, she goes all covert and starts the council, creating plots and actually carrying out missions to help the people of her country, The Middluns, and as many others as she can. Katsa is far from unintelligent, but her uncle and his orders make her so frustrated and angry she can't think around him, so when he calls her stupid or insults her brain power, she starts to believe him. Until Po comes into her life. Po, another Graceling, is a Prince from one of the other kingdoms, and he quickly takes to Katsa, despite her scary Grace. And Po does wonders for her. These two characters are amazing together, and I was rooting for them throughout the book. The characters are genuine and true, both good strong heroines, with human flaws.... or as human as a person graced with an ability can get, lol.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was the ending. Well, that's not exactly right. The ending was bittersweet. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but it just didn't seem right. The build up to the big reunion, and then at the end...   Well, as I said, it's hard to go into anything without giving away some of the story, so I'll leave it at that. However, from what I see, there will be a book released this year that will be a sequel to both this book, and "Fire," which is apparently a prequel-esque book to "Graceling."

I highly recommend "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore. I couldn't put it down, and while the ending wasn't everything I hoped for, I do hope this next installment will tie up any questions, because Katsa is supposed to be in it. I HOPE!! So if you enjoy a good fantasy, with political intrique and a kick-butt heroine, make sure to pick up "Graceling"!

Final rating: FOUR POINT FIVE out of FIVE (4.5/5).

Purchase "Graceling" and "Fire" by Kristin Cashore from

Have you read "Graceling" or "Fire"? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!


And on that note, please bare with me as I change some things around - new year, new way of doing things. Here's to making 2011 a very book-y year. =)

~!~ Amanda, aka Morning Glow ~!~