Mundie Moms

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blog Tour: Book Review / Giveaway: Fated by Alyson Noel

For the second part of today's FATED blog tour (you can read the 1st stop here), I have the chance to share my review of Alyson Noel's newest release, FATED as well as host a giveaway for a copy of the book!

Published by: St. Martin's Press
Released on: May 22nd, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
4.5 stars: I Really Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The first book in a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy -quoted from Goodreads

Magic, an incredible journey to the underworld, romance and a beautiful blend of Native American make for a fabulous new read from established author Alyson Noel. Let me start off my saying I read the first book in the Immortal series years ago (back when I had just started reading YA), but never read the rest of the series. I have however read Alyson's spin off series, The Radiance series and have really enjoyed it. I excitedly jumped at the chance to read Fated, and I really enjoyed it! 

I was immediately hooked within the first few pages of the book and I wanted to know more. What exactly had her grandmother witnessed before she was born, what was Daire really seeing now, and what was going to happen to her. Daire for me was a great character to get to know. She's strong, brave and fearless when she needs to be. Not only that, she has this incredible ability as a Soul Seeker to drift between both the world of the living and that of the dead. Daire isn't alone in her journey. Her grandmother teaches her how to embrace her powers and then there's the mysterious hot guy that appears in Daire's dreams, Dace.

Hello romance and fabulous character chemistry! What I enjoyed about Dace was the connection that he and Daire have. It's unique, because of the manner in which they meet and all they deal with together. I seriously loved these two together, and I don't want to say too much and give anything away. Their first meeting definitely got my attention and I wanted more, which Alyson graciously gave me in this book. Swoon worthy? Definitely! Talk about a bad boy, Dace's brother Cade definitely delivers on that. I mean that literally too. I enjoyed getting to know them as much as I did Daire. These two brothers balance out the good and evil that happen in this story perfectly.

The mystical world Alyson created in Fated is fabulous! It's a world that's both intriguing, and incredibly engaging. It's magical, alluring, and a little dark. Being set in New Mexico fit perfectly for both Fated's Native American lores that make up part of the Daire's story, as well as the feeling it gives the book. If I hadn't already had this place on my list of places to go visit, I would have added to my list after reading this book. Alyson's vivid, and beautiful descriptions of her setting and her world made it so easy for me to picture while I was reading the book. Now I could only re-read Fated while vacationing in NM.

Fated has an intoxicating mix of magic, lore, paranormal elements, romance and suspense. I think fans of Alyson Noel's writing will really enjoy what she offers them in her new series. This was a book I enjoyed, and one I'd recommend picking up. I'm looking forward to reading more from this series. On a side note, I totally love this cover! It fits the story perfectly.

Don't forget to stop by and read the short story that blends together Fated and The Immortal series on my 1st blog tour post here

Thank you to St. Martin's Press, I have a copy of FATED I'm giving away today on the blog. To enter, please fill out the form below. US residents only please. Good luck!

Thoughtful Thursday: 5 Books I Wish I Could Climb Into

Happy Thursday! I recently found a quote that rang true to me about books, and I think it's one many o of you will be able to relate to as well. You know there's those books that are fun to sit down and read, and then there's those books you seriously wish you could crawl inside of it and just stay there.

I seriously love this quote! It made me think about some of the recent books I've read, specially the ones I enjoyed vs the ones I seriously wish I could have crawled inside them and hung out there for a bit long. Here's my list of 5 recently read YA books that came to find that I wish I could have climbed inside and stayed there long. These books are taken from my recent 5 star reviews.

I seriously love this YA debut from Robin LaFevers. Everything she did in this story was brilliantly done, and richly detailed and I did not want this book to end. Historical setting, check. Romance, check. Action, double check. Beautifully written, check, check. I loved everything about this book! You can read my full review here.

Saundra Mitchell created a vivid world set in an historical time period and gave it a supernatural twist that left me wanting more. From the realistic feeling the setting created, to the unique ability her characters have, and then finally the sweet sigh worthy romance. Everything about Saundra's writing connected with me, and made me feel like I was apart of this book's world while I read it. The Springsweet is the companion novel to The Vespertine. I highly recommend picking up both books! You can read my full review here.

I don't think I need to list all the reason why Josephine Angelini's DREAMLESS, her fabulous sequel to her debut STARCROSSED is on this list. I was blown away at the direction this story took and thoroughly enjoyed getting to see further into the captivating paranormal world she created with this book, and series. This book has a sizzling romance, a breath taking setting and a well written creative spin on a lore I love. You can read my full review here.

This book clearly needs no explanation as to why it's on my list! Without fail, Cassie always leaves me wanting more. More from her beautiful writing. More from her vivid world, and more from her characters I've grown to love. Every time she releases a new book I claim that, that one is my favorite. That's due to the fact that Cassie's writing continues to amaze me, surprise me, and with each story line it becomes her worlds become more vivid, realistic and she has allowed each of her characters to come to life and feel like they're apart of my life. You can read my full review for COLS here.

Oh Kaleb! Okay, reading from his point of view isn't the only thing I loved about this sequel to Myra McEntire's debut, Hourglass. Timepiece took me further into Myra's unique world, allowed me to get to know her characters on a whole new level, and had me feeling like I came back for a brief visit with old friends. I love it when an author allows me to connect with not just her characters, but their writing. Myra has done just that for me. You can read my full review here.

 What are some books you have recently read that left you wishing you could have climbed inside them and hung out there for a bit longer?

Fated by Alyson Noel Blog Tour

I'm thrilled to be the next stop on the FATED blog tour. Fated is the newest release from NY Times bestselling author, Alyson Noel. Today I'm sharing Alyson's Ever-Daire short story with you guys. This short story is when Ever, from The Immortals series, meets Daire from Fated, bringing Alyson's beloved series and new series together. 


a short story by Alyson Noël

            When she’s not crossing and uncrossing her legs, fussing with her cuticles, and/or riffling through her bag, Jennika tries to engage me in a conversation I’d rather not have. A wad of gum smacking between her back teeth when she says, “Reminds me of Vegas.”

            I survey the place. Taking in walls glossed with pale green paint—the color of cucumber meat—the color of calm—along with worn linoleum grey tiled floors left to bubble in the places where they’re not already torn. Her assessment so far off the mark, so opposite the seedy glitz and glam of Vegas, I don’t even respond.

I just close my eyes and slide toward the edge of the curved plastic seat that’s attached to both the floor and the wall. Everything in this place is bolted to something. It’s an attempt to keep the crazies from hurling the furniture at the white-coated doctors prowling the halls.

This is the house of crazy.

A place to contain the insane.

            “Doesn’t it remind you of Vegas?” Jennika’s tone grows louder, more insistent. More than anything, my mom hates to be ignored, especially by me. So I throw her a bone, decide to play along.

            “You mean because of all the slot machines? Or is it the ridiculously long line for the all-you-can-eat prime rib buffet?” I prop an eye open, watching as her eyes roll in their sockets, her brow shooting well past her platinum blond bangs with the chunky pink stripe. Then I close my eyes again, try to focus on something more pleasant, try to conjure the beautiful boy from my dreams. But the drugs they’ve been feeding me, only serve to keep him at bay.

            “I meant the absence of windows. And, if you’ll notice, there’s not one single clock—not anywhere!” She shakes her head and scowls, annoyed with the decor as much as the predicament I’ve sunk us both into.

            “What’d you expect? Ocean views and whirlpools? It’s a mental ward, Jennika.” My voice sounds listless and bored—as though I can barely drum up the energy to participate. “Best not to keep track of how many days they lock you away.”

            Jennika sighs, and leans toward me. Her fingers fussing at my long dark hair, arranging it around my shoulders as though it’ll make some kind of difference to anyone other than her. “It’s not a mental ward, Daire—it’s . . .”

            I slant my gaze toward hers, waiting to see where her hunt for the perfect euphemism will end.

            “It’s a hospital.” She huffs. “A renowned research center. Nothing more, nothing less. Besides, it’s not like you haven’t been here before.”

            When she starts to dig through the contents of her purse, searching for some blush to brighten my cheeks, I know it’s time to flee.

In “The World According to Jennika” there’s nothing a good make-over can’t cure. As one of Hollywood’s most sought-after make-up artists, she’s seen first hand the kind of magick a little spackle and glitter can work. But no amount of fluffing and shading is going to change the fact that this place is, indeed, a mental ward—and that we’re here because of my recent diagnosis as crazy.

I push off, eager to leave Jennika in her happy place of denial. Eager to get as far from her and these “mental health experts” as I possibly can.

            “Where you going?” she asks, her voice rising and anxious. Calling after my retreating back when she adds, “Don’t go to far—the doctor will call for you soon . . .”

            I flee down the hall in search of an exit. Needing to fill my lungs with fresh air.

Needing to remember a time when my life consisted of something more than a never-ending series of mind-altering drugs and mental evaluations.

Needing to get far away from here.

            I pick up the pace. Following the lighted signs with green arrows, I round the next corner, and plow smack into a girl so beautiful, so radiant and luminous, I can’t help but wonder if she’s one of the glowing people who stalk me.

If so, it’s just a matter of time before the place floods with crows. And once that happens, they’ll be shoving me into a straight jacket and a padded white room where I’ll live out my life.

            “You okay?” The girl places a hand on each of my shoulders in an attempt to steady me. “I’m so sorry—I wasn’t even looking, and . . .”

            She tilts her head in a way that allows a stream of golden blond hair to spill down her side as her bright blue eyes narrow on mine. And though I try to pull away, try to tell her I’m perfectly fine, I’m far too startled by the jolt of her touch to do either one of those things.

It’s like her fingers are streaming with electricity that wraps all around me.

            She grips my shoulders tighter and lowers her voice to a whisper. “Don’t let them tell you you’re crazy,” she says, glancing all around, as though afraid of being overheard. “Don’t let them tell you the glowing people don’t exist, because they do. The crows too. It’s all real, you’re not imagining any of it.”

            I jerk back as though I’ve been shocked. Yanking free of her grip as my mind reels with questions.

Who the heck is she? And how could she possibly know about the visions? Has she read my case file? Is she some crazy escapee impersonating a staff member? 

She smiles, standing steadily before me as she says, “I’m none of those things. My name’s Ever. Ever Bloom. I’m psychic, telepathic, but as far as I know I’m not crazy. Nor am I a patient impersonating a staff member. And though I’m probably the only person willing to believe you—trust me when I say, you won’t always feel so alone. There are plenty of us who realize the world isn’t anything like we’ve been trained to believe.”

            “What are you doing here?” I ask, well aware how I just skipped over her more outrageous claims, only to focus on the benign.

            “I’m taking part in a study on NDEs.” Fielding my blank look when she adds, “People who have had a near death experience.”

            “You died?” My gaze flies down the length of her, thinking she is surely the strangest girl I’ve ever met, and yet there’s something about her that’s so calming, I have no desire to flee.

            “More than once.” She lifts her shoulders, her eyes glinting with mischief when she says, “As will you.”

            I shift from foot to foot, not really knowing how to respond.

            “Listen,” she says, checking her watch and glancing toward the door just behind her. “All you need to know is that you’renot crazy. Not by a long shot. So please don’t believe them. Listen to your heart, it’ll never steer you wrong.”

            I nod, sensing the truth behind her words.

            “I wish we had more time to talk but—” She turns, smiling as the absolute personification of Tall, Dark, and Handsome pushes through the door and stands right beside her. “We’re late,” she says.

            “That’s what happens when you won’t let me manifest a parking space.” He hands her an unopened bottle of water, grinning in a way so heart-melting, I have to force myself to look away.

Remembering too late how she claims to read minds, and the knowing smile she gives me, pretty much proves she just caught me mentally ogling her boyfriend.

“This is Damen. Damen Auguste,” she says, leaning against him and fitting into his side so easily, they’re like puzzle pieces—book ends—made to be together.

“I’m Daire,” I say, realizing I hadn’t gotten around to introducing myself earlier.

“Looks like your mom’s looking for you.” Damen gestures at a point just beyond my shoulder, where, sure enough, Jennika waits with a scowl on her face and a hand on each hip.

“Here.” Ever places her bottle of water into my hand. “Tell her you went to get something to drink. Don’t let her know you were about to run away. It’ll only make her mad, and that’s the last thing you need. Besides, you’re ready to face them now, right?”

I start to return the water, but it’s only a second later when a new one just appears in her hand. And I’m so busy blinking and gaping, I almost miss it when she says, “Remember what I told you: Believe what you see—what you know in your heart to be true—and discard everything else they try to tell you.”

I nod, taking one last look at Ever and Damen, hoping I can carry some of their optimism and magick with me wherever I go. About to make for Jennika now calling to me from her end of the hall, when Ever says, “You’re headed for great things, Daire Santos. You just have to believe in yourself.”

I stop, shoot her a quizzical look. About to tell her that my last name is Lyons, not Santos, when she smiles and nods and urges me on.

I hurry toward Jennika, allowing her to wrap an arm around me and lead me away as I cling to Ever’s assurance that the glowing people are real. The crows too. And the fact that I’m the only one who can see them doesn’t mean I’m insane, but rather that I’m headed for something extraordinary.

I can only hope that it’s true.

The End.

About Fated:

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead. There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

Stop back by the blog in a bit to read my review for Fated and enter to win a copy!

For more info on Alyson and her series visit Alyson on her website and friend her on facebook to receive updates, participate in contests and more.