Nov 22, 2012


The Tour Fairy Has Come to Town

We've decided to finally break free of our little hole in the blog-wall and open ourselves up to the big and scary world out there. In the next few months, we'll be having a few tours stop by our doorstep, and we're really excited! You should be too! From what we've read so far, they're really good!

December 7th

Vampire twins - one wants to love you, the other wants your blood. A Werewolf - vows to protect you. Magic - stirs within you.

After Keara Crosby spends months mourning her parents' death, Jared, her best friend, is determined to get her out and moving on with her life. Night Secrets, a new club in town, has a grand opening bringing with it dark secrets of the night and magic within Keara she never knew she had.

For Corbin, Keara ignites his passion. For Dante', she ignites his thirst. It's up to Channing and his pack to keep her alive from the supernatural beings he hates most...vampires. As the secrets of the night and Keara's heritage unfold, her world is turned inside out. Who will be the last one standing?

December 10th

Fourteen-year-old Chloe witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of a vampire. Before the vampire can kidnap her, there is an unexpected rescue by a group of vampire hunters. Overwhelmed by the feeling of safety, Chloe passes out and they whisk her away to their small community.

When Chloe wakes, she comes face to face with the only other living relative, besides her mother, whom she has ever met: her grandfather. Chloe’s mother kept her hidden from the family; now, Chloe tries to unveil the family secrets. Through her grandfather, she learns her mother was a vampire hunter. In fact, her entire family is descended from the powerful bloodlines of vampire hunters. Chloe agrees to join the family she has never known for one reason only: Chloe vows to kill the vampire responsible for her mother’s murder.

With vengeance in her soul, Chloe is even more determined to follow through on her vow when she discovers the true identity of her enemy and how he is connected to her.

December 11th

When lawyer Julia Grant interviews Sam Smith who has been charged with an especially vicious murder, she feels a strange connection to him, as if she has met him before, as if he holds the key to something she has forgotten among the unbearable memories from her past she has determinedly blotted out.

He feels a connection too. "Julia, you are the only one who can help me," he pleads.

Is it the same connection? Does he know something she cannot recall?

When he is duly convicted despite her best efforts, he suddenly turns on her in the courtroom and threatens that one day he will make sure to wreak his revenge on her.

But why? What has she ever done to him?

And then, on his way to prison, he escapes ......

December 12th

When Alexandra wakes up in an unknown environment, populated by a cat-like woman with a tail and a hologram of a rockstar, she knows that she has to be hallucinating. Maybe she has hit her head, or finally suffered that nervous breakdown. It doesn't get any better from finding out that she died and was taken into the future by the elusive Adam, whom she can't remember, or from people telling her that she's on a spaceship.

The last year or so is gone from her memory, and she has no choice but to try to adapt. As days go by, her new environment becomes more and more unnerving. She finds herself helpless, and completely dependent on a man who isn't even human.

December 16th

A small town in the mountains of Marshall, Montana is being plagued by an unknown entity. It’s mutilating and killing the women of the town. At his wits end the Sheriff of Marshall has nowhere to turn but to a friend. A friend, with the abilities to track and kill any prey.

Ryder doesn’t normally do mortal issues. However, he can’t turn his back on a friend. Besides he is the best at what he does. After all he is a Tracker, an ancient race with unparalleled abilities to track down any prey. With one of the three essential elements: Taste, Touch or Smell. Heartless and cold, Ryder knows what needs to be done and performs his duty without feeling.

Kyra, an Air Element and the only female Elemental Enforcer, is sent on a fact finding mission to Marshall, by the Druid Council. She needs to find out exactly what is happening in Montana before the Tribunal goes in and kills everyone.

The last thing she expects to find is a Tracker, and is even more surprised to find out that he is on her side. But can they get past their initial feelings upon meeting? Or will the evil that is living in the mountain kill them both?

Ryder and Kyra must learn to work together to destroy the shadow and save Kyra from a fate worse than death. When pure evil is involved is love enough?

December 17th

1.5 million kilometers above the surface of the Earth

Drusilla Xao has only seen a tree in movies and vid-games. She has never breathed air that wasn’t recycled, re-filtered, and re-used a hundred times over again. She has never set foot on the Earth.

And now she never will.

When a terrorist attack by a radical separatist group on Luna destroys the space elevator that had called so many – including her parents – to live permanently in space, Dru is cut off from any hope of ever reaching Earth and her beloved girlfriend, Sarah. The Chinese-American Alliance declares immediate war on the rebels and conscripts everyone they can get their hands on…including Dru.

Cast adrift, forced to become a soldier, trapped in a nightmare of vacuum and loneliness, Dru’s training will help her survive, but only Sarah will be able to bring her home.

February 28th

A secret society, a witch, a psychic, vampires, modern day knights, heroes, elves, fae, assassins from another dimension, and fairytales come together where emotions intersect. Two souls, joined by a mystical bond, separated by distance, must simultaneously struggle through pain and darkness in an ultimate confrontation with character and an ultimate struggle for life proving that true love waits patiently through lifetimes and finds courage to survive. Even in the strangest places. Even when you're least expecting it. Even when you're far, far from home.

Is anybody else excited? Time to mark you calendars! We'll see you back then!

Nov 16, 2012


So I've Been Thinking.... #4: Libraries vs. Bookstores

My dearest friend (of course, besides you, Gabby) is my books. Well.... I mean, books are books and people aren't nearly as interesting.... maybe I should rethink this hierarchy I have here. I'd say it's a toss up. (I'm kidding, Gabby! Or am I?)

But besides all of the books, and Gabby, and the other human beings, my best friend is the library. For here I will reveal a crucial piece of my character: not only do I love books, but I am completely and entirely dirt cheap.

I hoard my money like I actually have something planned for it, but books are one of the few things I will relinquish it for. Even then I'm still careful. I have to know that I'll love the book, probably by having read the library's copy or having already been acquainted with the author's books before. Of course, there are definitely exceptions if the book looks so good that I can't do anything but order a copy for myself, but this mantra generally holds true.

Libraries are like little book wonderlands where dancing novel pixies flit around to bestow upon you the gift of happiness. And free-ness. Let's not forget the free-ness. There are no consequences if you don't actually enjoy the book (except for the time wasted reading it), and c'mon people, the smell! Anyone who lives in the library like I do can attest to the fact that the smell of so many books in one place is like heaven to the noses of us novel ninjas. (And yes, there that nickname comes up again. Do you think it will stick?)

Now bookstores, they smell like synthetic packing peanuts and the ever present Starbucks that has squeezed its way into this holy sanctuary. The beautiful aura of books is muddled by those other little trinkets that will forever be found in bookstores. Bendable bobble-heads of caricatured puppies and kittens don't belong in bookstores. That's what Walmart is for.

But bookstores do have their benefits. You never have to wait until a new release is stocked, and if all of the other copies have been taken, you can just order another instead of having to wait the customary two weeks. Once you own the book, you can pick it up again whenever you feel like it, and lend it out to whomever you recommend it to. There are no other restrictions you have to worry about, no one else to take into account, and you make all of the rules to follow as you please. But that freedom comes at a cost, one that I'm only willing to pay if I know it's worth the price.

So what do you guys usually do? Are you a more frequent roamer of bookstores or libraries? Or are all of your copies now digital, either borrowed or owned?

Nov 15, 2012


Author Spotlight #1: Jackson Pearce

Even though I have read very little of this author, I absolutely love her. Everything she does is incredibly hilarious and so creative that it's not even funny. Wait. Did I just contradict myself?

The first (and only, sadly) book that I've read from her isn't even a book. I discovered her writing through a short story called "Things About Love" that she published in Enthralled. I loved it. I'd never met any of the characters before, but that didn't really matter because they were so easy to love.

The reason that I continue to love her so much even though I haven't read very many of her books is because of her incredible Youtube vlogs. They are hilarious. I don't think there's a single one in over 200 that I haven't laughed at. Even more than that, she's very willing to give us all a keen insight on how an author's world works. Here are some of the best ones:

Stuff Non-Writers Say

Sh*t Writers Say


Writers' Blok (Parody)

Naming Characters

Imaginary Writing Process

And finally....

Amazon FAIL (or Twilight Made Me Gay)

This woman is a comedic genius, crazy pet lover, and an incredibly talented writer all in one. I don't know how she does it!

If you want to find her....

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Nov 13, 2012


Review of Bohemia by Veronika Carnaby

I just have to say that for about half of this book, I couldn't get the song "Pure Imagination" from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out of my head. This book resembled the song in so many ways: the characters were looking for a place where there was nothing to changing the world into the creative wonderland they thought it should be, a place where "you'll be free if you truly wish to be."

I know that this is not the usual type of book that we read, but when Marked By Books was contacted by the author, Veronika Carnaby, we figured that we'd give the book a shot anyways. The idea seemed interesting, and the book looked like it had a lot of promise, fresh from the mind of a young author. The largest issue was probably the need for a more colorful cover, but luckily the rest of the book doesn't follow suit so monotonously.

In her debut novel, Veronika Carnaby picks up where the Beat Generation left off. Set in 1960, Bohemia chronicles a group of twenty-somethings who defy the "ideals" of a mid-twentieth century society to seek creative fulfillment. In the process, they spotlight the creative path that artists of all mediums tread, all the while depicting the challenges faced by youth in the decade that changed the world.

I have mixed feelings about this book. There were some very interesting high points dispersed throughout, and some constant pieces that I enjoyed, but I couldn't really seems to get into the story. I don't know if this is just not my kind of book, or what, but it just seemed like it jumped around too much for my taste. Nobody ever seemed to stay in the same place for long, giving me literary whiplash, but it was really interesting to see how Veronika Carnaby was able to individually describe each location not just by what it looked like at the time, but also by the type of people that would be found there.

All of the characters were extremely unpredictable so it was hard to keep a hold of them at times, but I think they were each very defined in their personalities, which I liked a lot. It's a sign of a very talented writer when they know and describe their characters so well that they seem to be real human beings. I personally think that the characters presented in Bohemia were the most interesting part of the novel as a whole. They were all so different in their own little ways, yet everyone seemed to be connected by a similar eccentricity that comes with being a true artist.

It's fairly obviously that she spent quite a bit of time researching for her debut novel, and I can appreciate that. While the most obvious part of the novel was to trace the journeys of the main character and of those she met along the way, the book seemed to be chock-full of information. She did an absolutely brilliant job of portraying how life was at the time.

I think that some of my favorite parts in the book were when she would go off and describe the passerby that were not apart of the strange and artistic world presented. It was nice to kind of get a break from the quick-paced world that the characters lived in, and to look at how these people would be viewed by those unlike them. It gave me an interesting perspective as to how the magnificent nature of life is viewed by different people in different circles, still while exhibiting an exquisite writing style.

"It was there that I discovered both the beauty and the tragedy of life. Those folks too rushed with a sense of urgency, but for all the wrong reasons. They sped past us and enveloped us until we could no longer see in front, behind, or beside ourselves. We found each other in the eye of a whirling hurricane, swimming against the current of the populous with no escape."

Rating: 2 stars

Now, its my turn. Hello to all! It's Gabby now. Just like Taylor here, I read the book, Bohemia, by Veronika Carnaby but unlike my beloved friend and partner, I enjoyed the book much more. I agree in some respects about the way the book was written, such as how keeping up with the individual characters was hard because of how scattered they were. They always seemed to be jumping about from one area to another and almost never seemed to be able to sit still. Kind of like a form of ADHD without having any of the medications. This itself describes the two men, Jimmy and Lester. They both seem to get these random ideas of adventure and what I enjoyed so much about them is that they act on what they believe in. They don't just say, "Hey, here's an idea to travel and deny the regular ideals of this era, so let's do it!"

No. It doesn't work that way.

They don't say that but through their actions, you can see that that is what is implied. Most people nowadays are less so. They do more barking than biting and that takes away from any appeal it might have had. So, when I read Bohemia, I felt so.... refreshed because through this, I gained a better sense of what dreams can achieve if one just follows them. People sell dreams too much, and by that, how can you gain a sense of true life?

Maybe I am ranting a little. Or a lotta. But, everything I say is true. This is why I like Valerie, the main protagonist, because through her writing, she portrays a sense of freedom and her true self. Like Emm, who paints, she finds freedom in her work. Again, I say that not a lot of people can manage to experience something like this because they are too caught up in all these new gadgets and so called, "self-improvements." So, as I continuously repeat, reading a book such as this one, especially from a new and budding author, gives me hope for the future. Well, for future writers who want to become authors who don't only write about supernatural things. Not that  there is anything wrong with that, because personally, I enjoy reading that genre of book, but it takes a lot to be able to write a book such as this one and accomplish something good and enjoyable.

So, I say cheers to Ms. Carnaby for accomplishing this book and actually making readers be more aware of their surroundings and to never give up on what they wish to accomplish. A hearty thank-you goes out to you from us here at Marked by Books.

Rating: 4 Stars


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This book was sent to Marked by Books from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Nov 7, 2012


Review of Masquerade by Melissa De La Cruz

Schuyler Van Alen is starting to get more comfortable with her newfound vampire powers, but she still has many unanswered questions. A trip to Italy in search of her grandfather only serves to make things more confusing. What secrets are the leaders of The Committee hiding? Meanwhile, back in New York, preparations are feverishly underway for the famous Four Hundred Ball. In true Blue Blood fashion, the ball is totally fab, complete with masks--and hidden behind this masquerade is a revelation that will change the course of a young vampire's destiny.

The thrilling sequel in Melissa de la Cruz's vampire mythology has all the glamour, attitude, and vampire lore that made the first book a hit.

As you have probably realized, I am planning on reviewing all the Blue Blood books. The second one in this heart racing series, is Masquerade. But you already knew that.

Now, this as this is the sequel, we have the same people in the books: Mimi and Jack Force, the Twin who are lovers that are bonded but were born as twins in this cycle, (Yes, its confusing but its also quite interesting), Bliss Llewellyn, and of course, Schuyler Van Allen. You can't really call her the main protagonist because there really isn't a protagonist. That is one of the many things that I love about this series and author: You have the same story coming from more than one character and that makes the story more appealing because you have the same plot from different angles, making it harder to choose sides or being biased towards only one person. 

Now, as per usual, well what we learned in the  first book, there are the Silver Bloods who want to destroy and take over the Blue Blood population. We Red Bloods don't have blood that is all that appealing to them. Not as powerful...Sad, but also a good thing because it means they won't hunt us down! Yay! Longer life!

Well, as I was saying before I distracted myself, the Silver Bloods are becoming much stronger that the Conclave starts having its doubts. Which is where the new character, Lawrence Van Allen, comes in. He is the husband, thus the Grandfather of Schuyler. He is the one who believe that the Silvers are back and he helps Schuyler try to persuade the Council of this. Tough luck.

The name, Masquerade, gives the connotation of mystery and that is exactly what the theme of the story is: Mystery and luck. Sometimes good, and sometimes bad, but its luck all the same. When the Silver Bloods attack and the very core of the New York Clave is shattered, its luck and pure genius that allows the young protagonists to find a solution to this thrilling, heart racing mystery....

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Nov 1, 2012


Review of Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapated mansion. Schuyler is a loner...and happy that way. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think, but she wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?

Ok, so now I have officially finished reading this book and I am already starting to read the second one, Masquerade, which I will be sure to post a review about when I am done… which will probably be in another 24 to 26 hours. No joke.

Now, I am sure that the whole “vampire” theory is getting old and stale and many of us are really getting fed up with the whole “I am a vampire and going to suck your blood,” scenario. Am I right? Maybe, because before I read this book, I was really starting to want to take a break from them. But now…. No offense to the classics but thanks, but no thanks. This new take on vampirism is really something to appreciate because it isn’t all that gory. There is no garlic, sun, or silver allergies to take into account like Hollywood seems to think. De la Cruz seems to have the perfect image of how to capture the attention of a teen audience when the rest of the world has us hanging by a thread to the wonderful world of reading literature. Granted, the vampire scenario is not exactly literature per se, but it’s fairly relatable.

Now, to start with the actual review….. WOW! Just WOW! Let me be honest, yes the beginning was fairly slow and there was not really all that much to capture my interest. But, I am not the type of person who starts a book and stops if it gets boring. For some odd reason, I finish the book even if I am literally falling asleep reading it, that’s how boring it is. That’s beside the point though. My point is, even though the beginning was quite slow, and boring, I was glad that I stuck with it.
As I mentioned before, De la Cruz has a whole new intake on the vampire theory. Yes, they still drink blood, as far as vampire stereotypes go. So, the Blue Bloods are the vampires who are reincarnated every century or so and guess what………..? Their blood is…… wait for it….. BLUE! Kinda obvious, but also really cool. The Red Bloods are humans. We have, quite obviously, red blood. And then there are the Silver Bloods who are rogues, for lack of a better word. Well, yes there are better words, but they aren’t appropriate. Now, the Silvers are the vampires who used to be Blue Bloods but then they realized that Blue Blood was better as well as more powerful than regular, ole human blood. So, I suppose you could call it a form of cannibalism. Now, the basis of the first book is to introduce the basics about the characters, Schuyler (pronounced Skylar) and her BFF Oliver, who is human.

Now, I have already given away too much about the book, so I will just go with saying that this new take on vampirism is refreshing because it is not all about drying up in the sun. It’s not all about blood. It’s not even all about murder. Granted, the Silver Bloods murder to get the Blue Blood, but that it is what draws the attention of readers.

So if you ever need  a new book, look no further than this one. 

For When Words Aren't Enough

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