Brazen by Katherine Longshore

brazen by longshoreTitle: Brazen

Author: Katherine Longshore

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Publication Date: June 12, 2014

Pages: 528

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?


Brazen, by Katherine LOngshore, is a novel set in Tudor England, in one of the most written about time periods around. That being said, I’m a sucker for a novel about Tudor England. But while I love them, they have the potential to be tired before you even begin. Mainly because people choose to write about the same people over and over. Longshore manages to choose a character here that few people ever even remember existed. That’s really what made me want to pick up the book in the first place.

Few books ever get around to writing about Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s bastard son. No one that I know of has ever bothered to remember that he had a wife. This novel is told from Mary Fitzroy’s point of view, and I enjoyed it. Mary is an oddity in court. Her parents are at odds, physically at times, and she is uncertain and easily led at the beginning, even when she doesn’t want to be. She’s honest, sometimes when she shouldn’t be, but learns how to cover that as well in a way that doesn’t deviate from herself, but isn’t going to get her into trouble either.

The author also includes a peculiar character trait that I loved. LOVED. Mary is a synesthete – to her, words (or at least some words) have a taste. Her descriptions of them are lovely, and often hold their own meaning in regards to what Mary is thinking or what is going on around her. Her character growth from beginning to end is really well done. It isn’t unbelievable and is actually pretty subtle. Only when you really think about the beginning do you realize that she did make some serious personal growth and choices.

Her relationship with Henry Fitzroy is a major running thread, and it is an important one, but it isn’t the whole story. To me, her relationship with him is a secondary plot line to her finding her own way in the world. That being said, I loved their relationship. The beginning was rocky and exactly like you think it might have been. Henry is a likeable character, though I must admit that I was having some issues with becoming too involved, because I knew what was going to happen to him. (I won’t say, just in case someone doesn’t know)

The book and its twisting relationships and its weaving of history and fiction are really well done. The author’s notes in the back explain how the author has modified and filled in history for the story, and I really think she did a great job. I especially enjoyed the note about Mary’s book and how it was based on a real manuscript. I found that really surprising and interesting and will be looking into more information about it.

My only complaint, and the reason this book received three stars instead of four, was because there were times when I had to force myself to continue reading. It wasn’t boring – it just couldn’t quite keep my attention until well into the second half. Part of that is the nature of the beast. Tudor historical fiction set in the court has a large cast of characters and all have a part to play. You have to know some of what’s going on, and the secondary characters of Hal, Madge, Margaret, and even Anne Boleyn and King Henry have parts that weave in and out of Mary’s own history. Some of this may also be due to the timing of my reading the book – as I have some big events going on in my life at the moment and it’s hard to concentrate, so take that for what it’s worth.

The last scene between Henry and Mary made me cry, which is rare, and I really think the author did a fabulous job of conveying emotion in this book – not just here but throughout. I really got to know Mary and I really wanted her to win. I wanted to see her happy and to succeed.

So – If you’re a fan of Tudor historicals, this is a good book to try. You may get a little bogged down in the middle, but the book is a good one overall.


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:,%201

Book was purchased by reviewer.


Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter

18692432Title: Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii

AuthorVicky Alvear Shecter

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Publication Date: May 27, 2014

Pages: 336

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

Tag is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master’s injured gladiators. But his warrior’s heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

Lucia is the daughter of Tag’s owner, doomed by her father’s greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she’s been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them — to Lucia’s father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?


There’s something really intriguing about Pompeii. Maybe its the tragedy that draws us in, or the way that an instant of time was captured in such an eerie way under all that ash. Either way, when I saw this book on Netgalley, I was intrigued. I enjoy reading historical fiction set in unusual places, and the hint of romance didn’t hurt either.

At first, I was unsure about the book. I like the heroine, Lucia, and you can sympathize with her distaste for her arranged marriage. While it may have been common, I would think that many young girls reacted in the same way. In that time, they didn’t have to like it, but they didn’t have much choice either. I will admit that at times, Lucia’s “education” and reading habits are a bit reminiscent of the “bluestocking” that seems to pop up all over regency romances. That being said, it wasn’t overdone. I liked the hints that she throws out about what is going to happen. She doesn’t understand it, but she is noticing things that others are not. She doesn’t place huge importance on it all the time, but in a place that frequently has earthquakes (something mentioned often in the story – almost too much) I would imagine she wouldn’t be as panicked as we would. The only thing I disliked about it is that she talks about it a lot in the beginning, but then her concern with the science becomes an afterthought and is mostly forgotten. The actual eruption lacks some of the excitement and fear I had been expecting. It just sort of…happens. Which, maybe, is what the author was going for. After all, thats kind of how it would have been for Pompeii. One day it was a mountain, the next it was spouting fire.

Her relationship with Tag is not quite insta-love, and I enjoyed it. At first I wasn’t sure that I would be invested in their love story, but I found myself caring more as the story moved along. It was hard to see Tag as a slave in places. Until he brings it up, you forget that. Maybe it lacked the desperation I would have (in my mind) associated with forbidden love between a slave and his master’s daughter. There are several twists in the story that I also enjoyed. The love “triangle” you can see coming a mile away, (I’m pretty sure Tag and Lucia are the only ones who didn’t see it) but the twist with Lucia’s mother is one I hadn’t seen coming at all, and which I enjoyed. It added tension, and helped to add back story to the father’s character, who remains rather one dimensional for a large portion of the book, in comparison to the other characters.

The story was a great foray into historical fiction, and I really enjoyed that the author didn’t use the explosion of Pompeii as her only conflict. There was a lot of tension from a lot of areas, making the story all the more real. Just as in real life, the volcano causes chaos in the middle of lives already in chaos. The ending of the book is surprising. Like the kind that you flip back and have to reread because you’re thinking, “no, that didn’t just happen…” I don’t want to give the ending away, but I didn’t expect it. It was tragedy and hope rolled into one.

If you enjoy historical fiction and history involving ancient Rome and Pompeii, this is definitely one to check out. 


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:,%201

Book was provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal and Contest!


Month9Books Presents a Cover Reveal and Title Contest for
Book 2 in Heather L. Reid’s Pretty Dark Nothing Series.


Help Month9Books choose a title for the next book in the Pretty Dark Nothing series!


Book 2, a follow up to Pretty Dark Nothing, will be released this fall, and we need your help picking a title.  Below are two covers, each with a proposed title for Book 2 on it.  We can’t call it “Book 2” forever, so please take a look and comment HERE to vote on which you like best.

The winning title will be revealed at BEA 2014 and if you commented to vote and will attend BEA, we will give you a signed copy of the galley (limited to the first 20 commenters attending).  Voting opens today and ends on Friday, March 14, 2014.  Thanks to artist Christel Michiels for the amazing cover!


So, which do you like best?

Title choice 1: Perfect Dark Sacrifice



Title choice 2: Pretty Dark Sacrifice



Series: Pretty Dark Nothing
Author: Heather L. Reid
Publisher: Month9Books
Publication Date: September 2014

It’s been five weeks, two days, and eight hours since the demons forced Quinn to throw herself into the raging river, since Aaron sacrificed himself to save her, since he disappeared without a trace. No body, no sign of him at all. Everyone wants her to move on, but Quinn can’t. She’s convinced Aaron’s trying to contact her, but Azrael, her angel Sentinel, insists these visions are nothing more than the demons preying on her guilt, bent on distracting her from her true destiny as the reincarnation of Eve.

With Aaron’s fate forever entwined with Quinn’s true Sentinel, Kaemon, they both find themselves prisoner of the underworld. For Aaron, death in the river would have been easier than ending up in Lilith’s dungeons.



About the Author


 Heather L. Reid has always had a sense of wanderlust and a belief in the paranormal. She eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves video games, and getting lost in a good story. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in South Ayrshire, Scotland, where she spends her weekends wandering the moors in search of the ghost of William Wallace and exploring haunted castles.

Her debut young adult Paranormal, PRETTY DARK NOTHING, will be released on April 23, 2013 by Month 9 Books.


Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



Check Out These Awesome New Releases!!!


Today is release day for four amazing Entangled Teen titles and we are excited to share them all with you.  There’s a little something for everyone this month so read on to find out more about them.


About the Book

Title: Searching for Beautiful

Author: Nyrae Dawn

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, Kobo Books

Before it happened…

Brynn had a group of best friends, a boyfriend who loved her, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And then…she had none.

After it happened…

Everything was lost. The boy she now knew never loved her. The friends who felt she betrayed their trust. The new life just beginning to grow inside her.

Brynn believes her future is as empty as her body until Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of. But letting someone in isn’t as easy as it seems.


Can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

Find Nyrae Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook


About the Book

Title: Til Death

Author: Kate Evangelista

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, Kobo Books

Sixteen-year-old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a daydreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally, this is not a problem, as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky—even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more drool-worthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Too bad he acts like he hates her.

When Selena learns she’s being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined, she’s had enough. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easily, especially when she discovers that Dillan isn’t what he seems…and might not actually hate her after all. Dillan might be the only person who can save her.

Find Kate Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 KNIGHT ASSASSIN and DONNA OF THE DEAD digital books are on sale for just $.99 for a limited time so be sure to pick up your copy today before they go back to full price!


About the Book

Title: Knight Assassin

Author: Rima Jean

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N

Seventeen-year-old Zayn has special powers she cannot control—powers that others fear and covet. Powers that cause the Templar Knights to burn Zayn’s mother at the stake for witchcraft.

When a mysterious stranger tempts Zayn to become the first female member of the heretical Assassins, the chance to seek her revenge lures her in. She trains to harness her supernatural strength and agility, and then enters the King of Jerusalem’s court in disguise with the assignment to assassinate Guy de Molay, her mother’s condemner.

But once there, she discovers Earic Goodwin, the childhood friend who still holds her heart, among the knights—and his ocean-blue eyes don’t miss a thing. Will vengeance be worth the life of the one love she has left?

Find Rima Online:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


About the Book

Title: Donna of the Dead

Author: Alison Kemper

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pub. Date: March 4, 2014

 Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, iBookstore

Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy class president, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren’t really down with kids like Donna…

Find Alison Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Donna of the Dead


Til Death by Kate Evangelista

9781622662333Title: Til Death

Author: Kate Evangelista

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: March 2014

Pages: 358

Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Sixteen-year old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a day-dreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally this is not a problem as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. Except from her best friend Kyle and her grandparents, of course. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more droolworthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Unfortunately, Dillan makes it more than clear that he does not feel the same. They just met, so why would he act like he hates her?

When Dillan and Selena are forced together one weekend to work on a school project, Selena prepares to be ignored as usual. But when she stumbles across a few undead in the backyard, Dillan comes to her rescue and reveals a whole lot more. Not only is he part of a society that hunts otherworldly creatures…she is too. And she is being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easy, especially when she discovers that Dillan might not actually hate her after all.


I was really excited when I received this book in my email *cough* last night. I hadn’t intended to stay up late to read it. Nope. I had many other things to do. Instead, I had to find out what happened. So I was up a bit late. That should tell you right there that I enjoyed the book.

Selena and Dillan are interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about them. The world that Evangelista has created is smooth and believable, and you can tell she has her details worked out. The relationship between characters is good, and as someone who has lived in a small town for awhile, it was pretty accurate in its portrayal. Selena is a great character, and Penny and Kyle are great supporting acts. They’re likeable and they have their own personalities. I wish Selena’s abilities were a little more defined and “played up,” just because it sometimes seemed like it got lost. Then again, I wonder if that was done on purpose. I get the impression her abilities are something that will grow with her character in future books, and I’m interested to see where that leads.

Dillan’s character, by the end, was one I liked. But I must admit that the cocky, abrasive personality has me struggling to like him in the beginning. When you finally figure out why he’s been sent to Wyoming, it makes a little more sense. I like that Dillan has an inner struggle going on and how that affects him and the way he deals with things. I just wish he’d stop being so prickly a little faster. I like that the characters have separate “issues” going on, outside of what is happening at the moment. The author has given all her characters a story, and it shows. Most of them have hints that they might intertwine and be important later, but it isn’t distracting or frustrating. 

The relationship between Selena and Dillan I enjoyed at the end, but it was another case where the characters are at each other’s throats, insulting each other and getting angry, and then they finally realize its because they like each other. It’s a personal preference, but I don’t enjoy that – if I get that angry at someone, the last thing I’m thinking about is dating them! In this case, they do eventually tone it down, and the relationship takes a more even and enjoyable tone. (again, this is a personal preference. I’m sure some people will love the interaction!) I also like that Selena doesn’t allow Dillan (or anyone else around her) to walk all over her. She might not fully understand what’s going on, but she’s not going to let them fight her battles for her.

The ending is great, and while the villain is predicable and easily identified in both cases, I wasn’t bothered by it. I’m very interested to see where this goes, especially with Dillan’s… past issues coming back to haunt him there at the end.

If you enjoy urban fantasy and paranormal, then you’ll enjoy this. Definitely pick it up and take a read!


Where to Find the Book



Book was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.