Month: January 2013

Nocturne by Syrie James (Book Review)

Posted January 28, 2013 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

Nocturne by Syrie James (Book Review)Nocturne by Syrie James
Published by Vanguard Press on January 4, 2011
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 264
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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5 Stars

When Nicole Whitcomb's car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger.

Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension.Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live alone in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret--or secrets--is he hiding?

Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from--but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her--a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change their lives forever.

As the sexual tension between them builds, however, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns her host's terrifying secret, there is nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and Michael may be the only one who can save her life.

1. I love the cover! It does a wonderful job of setting the tone for this haunting love story. I love a good romance. I love a good forbidden romance! I gobbled this book up like a bag of my favorite chocolate truffles, and here’s why!

I was very privileged to receive an invitation to a Q&A with Syrie the day after I finished Nocturne. I will do my best to integrate my questions and her answers into this review without spoiling any parts of the book!

2. This book is amazing for so many different reasons. Syrie’s beautiful writing never disappoints. How could it, though, when she chose such a wonderful setting for the book? It takes place in a beautiful, secluded area not far from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which I have visited and is very lovely. I asked Syrie why she chose this particular location, as I had never read a book that took place there before. She said, “While doing research for this novel, to make my plot work, I needed to find a very remote spot where a reclusive person could own a fabulous spread and beautiful home, yet was not too far from a ski resort … and where it was believable that Nicole could actually be snowed in there for four days. For some reason I just knew it had to be in Colorado. An expert on all things Colorado (my cousin, in fact) suggested that particular location, and I am so grateful. I thought it worked perfectly.” I totally agree! I loved the descriptions she used and the pictures she painted. It was an ideal setting.

3. We have a very sexy, dangerous man who pulls himself out of isolation to rescue a damsel in distress. Michael is a 260-year-old vampire. He has given up drinking human blood and lives in a very secluded Rocky Mountain home to resist any temptation. In his spare time he reads a lot, writes, plays the piano, gardens, takes care of his horses, and works with wood. He is very content with his life, and enjoys his privacy. Seriously, this guy is perfect — intelligent, well read, musically inclined, sensitive, strong, loves animals, etc. You can’t help but love him. Syrie told me that Michael was inspired by, “…my love for Mr. Darcy! Admittedly, he does share a few of my husband’s traits, but mainly it was me conjuring up the type of man I’d fall madly in love with, if I was snowbound with him for four days.” She and I clearly have something in common because, aside from the vampire quality, Michael is my kind of man!

3. One thing that I found so unique about Nocturne is that the entire story revolves around two characters. That’s right. TWO. Yet, it’s not boring or long-winded. I wasn’t hoping for more characters. Actually, I would have been really annoyed if some highway patrolman or Michael’s housekeeper had shown up and destroyed the magic of this chance encounter. I asked Syrie if it was difficult writing a story with only two characters, or if she enjoyed being able to focus more on each one individually. She said, “I LOVED writing about just two characters. As a reader, with many books, I become so interested and invested in the main characters and their stories that I’m tempted to skip all the scenes with minor characters and just get to the main plot. I’ve felt that way as a writer, too. I thought, what if I just write a book about the two main characters? Could I do it? The challenge was to make them complex enough to keep the sexual tension and the twists and turns of the plot going. I hope you enjoyed the result.” Like I said, I did enjoy it and I really got to learn about and become friends with Michael and Nicole as a result.

Speaking of Nicole… She’s working a job that she has no passion for, but she does it because it’s safe. A traumatic past led her to that decision. At the tail end of her Steamboat Springs vacation, she gets caught in an awful snowstorm. She runs off the road, blacks out, and wakes up in a strange home by a warm fire. Her rescuer is a very secretive, moody, mysterious, and very attractive man. He did not want to save her. In fact, he wanted to leave her out there to die, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. So, here they sit, snowbound in an isolated home for four days. Nicole notices he is a little odd, and as she begins to figure him out she’s terrified of staying with him. She has to decide, though, which is more dangerous? Should she take her chances and brave the deadly blizzard, or take her chances and trust this man to keep his promise and keep her safe?

4. As the days go by, they have lots of long, deep conversations about life and love. I really enjoyed these conversations. It was like I was a fly on the wall of Michael’s cozy study, listening in on their private discussions. I usually get bored with long strings of dialogue and no action, but this was quite refreshing!

All in all, I loved this book. Yes, the story has been done before, but this take on the subject matter was so well done and so unique, that I did not feel like I had read it before. I was a bit skeptical about the whirlwind romance that took only about 3 days to reach its peak, but this was believable. The characters were relatable. They both had flaws that made them imperfect, but they brought out the perfection in each other. The twists and turns were dramatic, but again believable. The ending left more to be desired, but Syrie said, “…Nicole and Michael’s story is far from over. I’d love to write a sequel to Nocturne. It will depend on whether readers and the publisher request it, so we’ll have to wait and see!” I know I want to read it!

I thought I’d end my review with Syrie’s thoughts on her inspiration for this novel, and why she chose to focus more on certain elements of storytelling than others. “It must be something in the genes, but some of the most romantic and enduring relationships in my family history began as love at first sight (including my own love affair with my husband.) Maybe that’s why I felt compelled to write about the passionate, whirlwind romance between Michael and Nicole in my new novel, Nocturne. I…love that initial period of intense discovery between new lovers. I call it “falling in love through conversation,” and it’s so important to me that I have placed great emphasis on it in every single one of my novels.”

I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of forbidden love stories, real characters, and beautiful storytelling.  Please do me a favor and go buy Nocturne so that Syrie can write a sequel! I’m not done with those two yet! Thanks so much to Syrie James for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Wunderkind PR for sending me a copy of this book!

5 Stars

Asunder by Jodi Meadows (Book Review)

Posted January 17, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 2 Comments

Asunder by Jodi Meadows (Book Review)Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 29, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 406
Format: ARC
Source: Gift
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4.5 Stars

Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

I love this trilogy. LOVE it. Read my review of the first book, Incarnate, if you’re interested. The writing is gorgeous, the world building is amazing, and the characters make you fall in love with them so much, that closing the book is like losing a friend. It’s like the end of the school year, when you promise to stay in touch with your best friends, but end up not. You feel a little empty and hollow, eager for that reunion when you can see them again, and see how they are doing. Asunder has left me wanting to call up Ana and Sam and see how they are doing. Jodi, once again, failed to disappoint. I’ll try to remain brief, so as not to spoil this for newbies to the trilogy, or for people who are still eagerly awaiting Asunder’s release. I loved Incarnate more than Asunder, but that goes for most trilogies I read. The first book is always my favorite. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. We get to learn so much more about Ana, Sam, sylph, Heart, Janan, and reincarnation. We get to learn about Ana’s purpose, and why she is there. We get to learn more about what happened that caused Ana to be there. There’s still mystery left for book 3, but I know so much more of what’s going on here.

2. Love. I love the emphasis on love and feelings in this book. Love, sacrifice, friendship, emotion. It’s all there, and the connection based on those points are all so tender and meaningful.

3. I enjoyed reading about the changes in Ana. She’s really starting to value her life, and the chance she has to change the mindset of all the old souls she comes in contact with. She’s out to make a difference and save herself in this story, rather than just sit around and wonder what her purpose is.

4. We get to see Sam as more of a normal human, rather than Mr. Perfect. And I liked that. He’s flawed, he struggles. His past gets to catch up with him a bit, and he realizes that he might not know all there is to know about the world he lives in. It was nice to see this other side to him, which I love just as much as the one we saw in Incarnate.

5. I really love that all the information we are given makes sense. I mean, I don’t believe in reincarnation… but if I did, I would believe this. And I love that we get to learn so much about sylph. They become much deeper in character. I was not expecting that at all, and loved it.

6. Finally, the imagination behind this entire storyline is a force to be reckoned with. Jodi’s mind is amazing! 

I know this was a super short review, but once again Jodi has left me speechless. Oh, and I didn’t want to give too much away. This book needs to be experienced and savored. Don’t let a reviewer out there spoil it for you!

4.5 Stars

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Book Review)

Posted January 10, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Book Review)Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #1
Published by Dutton Juvenile on January 8, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Gift
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5 Stars

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Holy crap. That’s what I said, people, when I shut this baby after tearing through it at lightning speed. This is the kind of book that leaves you feeling intimidated by trying to write a review, because nothing you say will be what you actually wanted to say. I just have this feeling I’m not going to like my review, so I’ll try to make it short and sweet. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Can I just say right upfront that I want this day to happen to me? I love traveling, and I particularly love Paris. I could picture Allyson and Willem on the train, walking the streets of Paris, eating crepes, gazing over the river, even walking past all the vintage items in boxes and paintings and key chains from street vendors. Gayle brought Paris alive for me again, and so many memories came flooding back from my time there. I loved that they did not do the typical touristy things, though. They experienced Paris in a way that most people who only have one day there don’t. I want to do what they did, and I want to find a guy like Willem to be right there next to me. This day was a whirlwind of amazingness.

2. The wanderlust monster has been reawakened in me! Where can I go next? The travel and scenic descriptions were amazing. It’s like I was there.

3. I love the whole leave your life behind, get totally lost, and end up finding yourself mentality. Wanderlove had a similar feel, and I just love books that make me want to discover myself and the world I live in. I feel like an author has done something amazing if they can inspire me to do something.

4. I felt every single emotion possible in this book. What a roller coaster! I went from feeling on top of the world to absolutely heart-shatteringly sad for my beloved characters. I’ve seen quite a few reviewers say, “I felt ALL THE FEELS.” It’s so true. Never has a single statement summed up a book so well.

5. I love Allyson. She is so real, and spoke to my soul many times throughout the story. I felt for her and loved reading about her journey to self discovery. Her alter ego, Lulu, made me so proud. I loved watching her incorporate Lulu into her own life. Willem is amazing. He’s everything I hoped to find when I went to Holland. Haha. Either I went to the wrong places, or he’s a diamond in the rough. I am so excited to read his story, Just One Year. I have this feeling that I will love it more than Just One Day. He and Allyson together are magical.

6. This story is so beautiful. I mean, this is the bottom line here. The writing is gorgeous, the emotions are so wonderfully expressed, the scenery jumps off the pages, the people are so real, the feelings are so deep, and the eagerness and excitement are electric. There were so many amazing quotes. I could not get enough of any of it.

7. I’m a Gayle Forman fangirl for life. This was my first book of hers, but I think I need to go buy all the others.

For fear of spoiling anything, I’m going to end my review with a few blanket statements. Just One Day is a new favorite of mine that you MUST read. I love this book beyond words, and I love that it has inspired this introspective look at my own life. If you love romance, self-discovery, travel, and emotional roller coasters (which usually I hate), you’ll love Just One Day.

And for your reading pleasure, here are a two of my favorite quotes:

“I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don’t put yourself in the path of it, you miss it. When you travel, you put yourself out there. It’s not always great. Sometimes it’s terrible. But other times…” He lifts his shoulder and gestures out to Paris, then sneaks me a sidelong glance. “It’s not so bad.”

I think you’re the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren’t even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don’t let it show. I think you do things that scare you , and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.

5 Stars

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Book Review)

Posted January 7, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Book Review)Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Published by HarperTEEN on January 8, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
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5 Stars

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

Under the Never Sky was one of my ultimate favorite books of 2012, and when I love a book so much, I’m usually terrified to read the second book. Will it live up to the first one? Will I like the direction the author went in? Will I agree with major plot choices? It’s like I’m scared to trust my characters and their world with the author a second time, for fear that their first time was a fluke and I’ll end up hating everything if it continues. Committing to a trilogy, is a major investment for me. I hoped and hoped that I’d still love Veronica after Through the Ever Night, and I DO! I was right to trust her with Perry, Aria, Roar, and the crazy world they live in. This book was amazing, and I might die waiting for the concluding novel. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The creativity behind this series is out of this world. Literally. I think that The Outside, right under the Aether is my very favorite setting for any dystopian novel I’ve read. Veronica’s descriptions of the swirling sky never cease to captivate me. I still picture van Gogh’s Starry Night when I think of the Aether, and we get to learn so much more about it in this book.

2. The characters were all given the chance to grow into someone new in this book. Perry had to learn how to balance his life as a leader and his love for Aria. Loving her, a Dweller, marked him as a traitor in the eyes of the tribe he was in charge of leading. He was very torn between emotions and decisions in this book, which I liked. Aria had to make sacrifices and put her life in danger for others. Roar had to go through heartbreak and soul searching (OH my. I love Roar so much.), and Cinder finally realized how special he is. This was a very transitional period for all of them, and I really enjoyed watching them figure out what mattered most. Lots of emotion is involved.

3. The author did not spend much time reminding us of what happened in Under the Never Sky. I felt a little lost and fuzzy. In some ways this was good, because I hate wasting valuable pages on reading something I already read. On the other hand, though, a little bit of help would have been nice. I should have re-read Under the Never Sky, I suppose. Not a bad thing!

4. This was a major page-turner! A TON happened in this book, whereas second books are usually kind of empty. I got to learn more about the Aether, the Dwellers, all the characters I fell in love with the first time, and some major curve balls and monkey wrenches ended up in the works as well. I don’t want to give away too many details, so just believe me when I say that this book is full of everything you hoped you’d get when you closed Under the Never Sky.

5. The ending stopped my heart. Those last 2-3 chapters had me going bonkers. I could not rip through this book fast enough.

The bottom line: If you loved Under the Never Sky, it’s likely that you’ll love Through the Ever Night more. Veronica does not disappoint, and we surely don’t fall victim to the second book syndrome. It’s beautiful, romantic, heart wrenching, and SO amazing! I am loving Perry and Aria, and can’t wait for more!

5 Stars

Happy 2013 from That Artsy Reader Girl

Posted January 1, 2013 by Jana in Personal / 2 Comments


Happy new year to you, my dear friends! Thank you for all the support in 2012, during my blog’s first year. I have enjoyed getting to know all of you, making new friends, discussing books with you, and following all the wonderful book tours and events we participated in. I’m hopeful that 2013 will be even better. :) There are lots of fun things in store for you here at the blog, and I can’t wait to dive in to all the excitement of great books with you this year!


  • Check out all the challenges I’ll be participating in this year. Will I see you there? Let me know in the comments!
  • Also, skim through my best of 2012, and my goals for the coming year.


I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s, and wish you all the best 2013 has to offer!