Friday, February 28, 2014

The Story of Owen by E. K. Johnston



Published:   March 1st, 2012
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Pages: 316
Copy: Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim's fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard. Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen!

Oh how much I enjoyed this story.  It was so much fun.  Totally different from what I've read recently, it was a wonderful breath of fresh air.  I was laughing out loud in spots at Siobhan's tongue in cheek narration of events and I just adored the world building.

E K (Emily Kate) has populated our world with dragons - nasty fire-breathing, unattractive, mindless, hungry dragons - who are only interested in carbon fuels and emissions.  In this world, every major historical event has been changed to incorporate dragons and it makes for fascinating and funny reading.  By throwing in Norse style dragon slayers, the effect is magical.

With a setting in Southern Ontario, where I live, the story became almost personal because I recognised exactly where the action was taking place - although this shouldn't make any difference to US readers.  Owen, Siobhan, Emily and Sadie were real kids in my mind.  Each very different and individual, nothing cookie-cutter about them.  There is a tiny, tiny bit of romance going on, just a hint of a suggestion really and it's not where you think it would be, so there's not much to distract you from the action - which includes lots of fire and sword play.  Another interesting factor is the music that Siobhan is constantly composing in her head.  I really wish I knew more about music so that bit made just a little more sense, although I definitely understood enough.

It wouldn't surprise me if The Story of Owen ended up as a nominee for  The Red Maple Award next year ( This is an Ontario award that is decided on by school kids after reading and voting on the nominees - all Canadian books and authors). I'd certainly be happy if it got there.  Well done Ms. Johnston, I'll be recommending this one for sure.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Follow Friday


Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –
 
 
Question of the Week: Change the Plot. If you could, what book would you change the ending or a plot thread? Go ahead and do it...change it.
 
 
Hi there.  Christinabean is taking a well deserved holiday with her family so it is up to me to answer this weeks question - and wow, how hard it is.  I've really had to think about this one a lot, but I finally came up with my favourite series - Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.  First, I have to say that I love this series so much, and zombies or not, it made me cry - a lot.  But having said that, I would really like for Tom not to have died.  He was just such an amazing character and it was one of the saddest things I've read in ages when he was killed off.  I'm not sure how the dynamics would change with that, but it sure would have saved me a whole box of Kleenex.
 
So what was your plot change?  Let us know, we'd love to hear it.
 
 


The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney


Published: November 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 332
Copy Provided by: 
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

Review:

Stunning.  I absolutely LOVED this title!!  I have wanted to read The Mockingbirds for such a long time because I everyone always raved about it but I never knew what it was about.  The Mockingbirds deals with REAL issues and the main character Alex is exactly how I would imagine my best friend to be.  She is normal. She is not overly pretty, not overly popular and there is no reason why she would stand out but this horrible thing happens to her and she is given the opportunity to right the wrong.  She is given a voice to speak out and stop being a wallflower and stop others from being wallflowers as well.  Ms. Whitney stays true to the character as she questions why she should say anything at all.  She feels guilty, she questions what really happened, she feels exposed and goes through a plethora of complicated emotions that contradict what she is thinking but in the end, she asks for help and the Mockingbirds take a look at her case.

At first I thought this novel might be more about the Mockingbirds than Alex but it wasn't.  It focused on Alex as a victim and her stuggle to get past date rape and bring the boy who did it to justice.  However, instead of going to the police, The Mockingbirds provided a more internal police/legal system which actually used (to a certain degree) peer pressure to monitor the behavior of your fellow students.  It was a brilliant!!  In fact, after this book was published, I wonder if there are any schools out there who have established their own "Mockingbirds" systems of accountability.  Like The Hate List by Jennifer Brown, I think the Mockingbirds should be on EVERY ISU reading list for school.  A+ Ms. Whitney.  :)  Well done!




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Half Bad by Sally Green

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is


Summary (by Goodreads)

A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

I love books about witches. This one has been grabbing my attention for the past month or so though.  There is so much buzz about it that I am just curious to see what all the fuss is about.  Sounds like a great beginning though!  Can't wait til it comes out!
 - Christinabean

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine


Published: Feb 2009
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Pages: 367
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
The wait is over. dig into the feast... 
In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town's living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It's only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he has set for Morganville.

Review:
I love the Morganville Vampires series yet since I know it has ended and there are 15 titles, I find myself savoring each book and only read them every few months.  In this episode, quite a few things are happening.  There are new residents to the town - Amelie's father has just moved in (Mr. Bishop), and Claire's parents have also decided to move into town.  Unfortunately, these are not happy family reunions as Mr. Bishop is planning something big and the citizens don't seem to be aware of how dangerous their town has become.  

Of course Claire becomes caught up in the mayhem right up until the end of the book .  Her relationship with Shane is tested as a new, stronger, older vampire comes to town and seeks his attention.  There is little the humans can do to fight her "powers of persuasion" as she toys with Shane and makes him her puppet.  Michael and Amelie also become more secretive than usual as the town's biggest formal ball begins to unfold and only a select few are invited.  Why all the secrets?  And why is Claire forbidden to attend?  Rachel Caine delivers another action packed encounter in Morganville and keeps us wanting more...well, maybe I'll just wait another week before I dive into book #5...who needs sleep, right? 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received. 

This week I received - 


Summary (by Goodreads)

A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers group for making this title available!!


Summary (by Goodreads)

Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.

Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget. Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.

Having a boy come between best friends is one of the most heart-breaking things that can ever happen to a girl.  This sounds like a must-read for me when I'm feeling "contemporary"....
- Christinabean

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Shout Out to Indies - Thrall by Jennifer Quintenz

 
We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting. Lastly, for you readers, this is a bit of a test so please do comment and let us know what you think. We will also be offering up giveaway copies whenever we can! So without further ado, here is this week's pick 


 
  Published: May 2012
Publisher: Secret Tree Press
Summary: Goodreads
 
Braedyn is a normal girl just trying to survive high school with her two devoted friends, Royal and Cassie. Together they’re doing a pretty good job of shrugging off the slings and arrows cast their way by the popular crowd when a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door. Suddenly Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time.

But as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Braedyn discovers humankind is at war with the Lilitu, an ancient race of enticing demons that prey on human souls. Her father is a member of the Guard fighting against the Lilitu - and so are the new neighbors, including her crush, Lucas.

As her world starts to unravel at the seams, Braedyn learns the right answers aren’t always clear or easy. And as for “good” and “evil” – it all depends on how we choose to act.

Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes
     
We asked Jennifer why she writes for a YA audience and this is what she told us:

I love the YA world.  There's something about that time of life that is so full of potential, emotion, drama, and incredibly high stakes - even in real life.  Add a paranormal twist and it's a recipe for intriguing, emotionally powerful stories.  I try to explore real problems, even if they happen to be against the backdrop of a supernatural crisis.  It's one of the things I think great YA can do so well, and I'm thrilled to be playing in this sandbox.

Good luck with the trilogy Jennifer.


Thrall, Daughters Of Lilith: Book 1: http://amzn.to/MWzVx6
 
Displaying INCUBUS-SMALL.jpg    Incubus, Daughters Of Lilith: Book 2: http://amzn.to/11FCcmB
 
Displaying SACRIFICE-SMALL.jpg    Sacrifice, Daughters Of Lilith: Book 3: coming soon


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Same Book, Second Look - The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Published: Nov 2013
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 304
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Review:

I loved loved loved this title.  It had all the elements I was looking for at that moment - suspense, a gripping story, a little bit of romance and a plotline that kept me reading.  Plus, there was even a little smartass humor sprinkled in.

Cassie seems a bit like a lost soul when we first meet her and she is waitressing.  Ok, so she seems like a lost soul who reads people a little TOO well.  When she first moves into her new pad, it reminds me of a foster home for the insanely gifted and incredibly dangerous.  I started to have flashbacks of Kelley Armstrong's - Darkest Power's series.  However, instead of having supernatural talents, these teens seem to be able to use their intuition and powers of reason to read and predict the actions of others.  

The Naturals was highly entertaining and I couldn't pick out if there was a particular character I liked the most.  Of course I did like Cassie but Sloane's penchant for bits of factual information at random (often inappropriate) moments made me laugh out loud.  It took me about 2/3rds of the book to figure out the ending but I was happily enjoying the story nonetheless. 

I was lucky enough to meet Ms. Barnes a few years ago at a book signing and she was brilliant.  All of the other authors bragged about how brilliant this woman was and how she would finish her PhD and be the smartiest pants around.  (Kind of a pun since Curlypow and I met her on the Smart Chicks kick it tour....).  They really weren't kidding...just recently Jennifer finished her PhD and is now teaching at (Yale?).  She even brings her love for Psychology and YA writing together in an essay analyzing Divergent by Veronica Roth called Divergent Psychology.  You can find a copy of it in Divergent Thinking.  Pretty cool if you ask me.  You can visit her website here...

I am super pumped about The Naturals book #2 - Killer Instinct.  I'm a little bummed that it doesn't come out until November but I guess it is something to look forward to in the fall!

If you enjoyed The Body Finder series, you will enjoy this one as well.  It has a great mystery element to it but does lack the supernatural...which in some ways, makes it appealing because it can be so plausible!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Follow Friday


Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –

What was the last book that made you cry?


I don't know what it was about this book that was so touching.  I just reminded me that no matter how bad things get, if you really love something or someone, things will work themselves out.  This novel touched me so much that I actually had to tweet the author - 


Loved it. :)
- Christinabean

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Double Header - Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer



Published: January 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 387
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Review:
I received an ARC of this title a few years back and didn't end up reading it.  When I moved, I had to give it away, thinking I wouldn't have time to read it.  Now I am kicking myself for giving it away!!  A few days ago I downloaded the first few chapters of Cress from NetGalley.  It sounded so intriguing that I decided to give the series a go and bumped it up my TBR list.  Awesome decision!

Cinder has so many parallels to Cinderella but in such a modern way.  New Beijing is such an interesting place to live with so many social castes and planetary societies to deal with as well.  I love the character development of Cinder as a young, innocent cyborg who is quite obviously gifted but whom still retains her own sense of right and wrong.  As the story unfolds and her true identity is eventually revealed, Cinder begins to blossom, picking up allies along the way.

This novel had everything I was looking for - romance, a fairytale re-telling, action, adventure and the story was so well-developed, leading nicely into Scarlet.  Well done Ms. Meyer!


Published: February 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 454
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Review:
I was incredibly lucky to have book #2 ready and waiting to read once I finished Cinder.  I'm not sure I could have waited 8 - 12 months for the second book to come out...Scarlet explores the life of Scarlet Benoit as she searches for her missing grandmother.  Obviously this is a play on Little Red Riding Hood however instead of eating the grandmother, the wolf befriends Scarlet.  So how does this tie in with Cinder? Good question.  I asked myself this throughout the novel...just as we are learning more about Scarlet, Cinder is also making friends with her own male companion, Thorne.  These two couples run parallel until eventually their paths cross and we begin to see how Queen Levana's reign really IS threatened by Cinder's existence.  

Scarlet was a fantastic read and the reader saw the integration of the two storylines fuse quite seamlessly.  I LOVE how Cinder is slowly developing her own secret network of supporters (Go Team Cinder!) as she tries to establish a plan to prevent the Lunar Queen from taking over Earth.  I hope you have Cress hot in your hands and ready to read after this one...it's another fast-paced, action packed title with a cliff-hanger of an ending...

Here's something interesting - 
Did you know that Marissa Meyer began writing Cinder on NaNoWriMo??  That is amazing!  Although the chances of someone getting published from this challenge are slim, I'm so impressed that this is where her story began!  




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Panic by Lauren Oliver

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is




Summary (by Goodreads)

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Ahhh..I love Lauren Oliver.  She was one of the first YA authors who really grabbed me and made me hang onto this genre as an adult reader.  Can't wait for this to come out!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received. 

This week I received - 


Summary (by Goodreads)

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

I am SO EXCITED for this title because I have been hooked while reading Cinder and Scarlet.  I had a copy of Cinder as an ARC years ago but didn't get around to reading it and came across it just recently.  Since I started, I haven't been able to get the story out of my head! Thank god Scarlet had already been released and Cress was on its way!  Look out for my double header review of Cinder and Scarlet as well as my review of Cress soon!


Summary (by Goodreads)

Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith. 

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

Stuck on a deserted island with only your buddies to guide you and the survival skills you have learned through your weekly scout meetings....while a diseased madman is on the loose....can you say SCARY??  Sounds like my kind of book!  Look for my review shortly!
- Christinabean


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin


Published: October 2012
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Pages: 576
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

Review:
This is one of those series where you CAN'T just jump into book #2 and carry on as if you know what is happening.  Mr. Mullin has done a lot of character and story development with Ashfall and it would be hard to begin with this title.  That being said, if you haven't already read Ashfall, now would be a good time to do so.  This is  fantastic apocalyptic series and if this is a genre you appreciate, it is certainly not to be missed.  

SO IF YOU HAVEN'T READ ASHFALL, BE PREPARED FOR PLENTY OF SPOILERS IN MY REVIEW....

Ashen Winter picks up right where Ashfall ends and Alex feels the desire to look for his family.  Darla, even though she is fully accepted with his family, cannot let him leave on his own and accompanies him back into the fray.  I'm not sure I would have the courage to do what he does in this novel.  He is constantly thrown into impossible situations and has to dig deep to make decisions that are not always in his best interests but are morally correct.  Alex and Darla are a team to be reckoned with when together but when they become separated, Alex will stop at nothing to get her back...all the while, opening themselves up to more and more dangers.  

At 576 pages, this was an incredibly long book for me but at the same time, Mike Mullin jam packs the second book with so much action and so many new characters that I flew through the pages, wanting to devour more.  I came to really appreciate Alex and his level of courage.  For a teenager, he has developed some incredible character skills.  I do want to mention that as the need for food and medicine wears on, the level of survival escalates and Mr. Mullin introduces the idea of cannibalism into the novel.  Not a great topic for a younger audience but realistic (and a little disturbing) nonetheless.  This would make for an excellent ISU title series (obviously not for someone who doesn't like to read long novels) and I would highly recommend it for all genders.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Follow Friday


Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer!  This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. 
This week’s question –

Find a “new to you blogger” and feature their button on your post this week. Tell us why this blogger stands out to you.

I like Tale of Two Doxies.  This is a fairly new blog with lots of great things.  It is well-organized and one thing that I really like is that when she does a review, she lists other books that you might enjoy reading as well.  I love re-alike suggestions!  I expect great things from Jen!
- Christinabean

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Offering by Kimberly Derting


Published: December 2013
Publisher: Margaret K Elderry
Pages: 336
Copy Provided by: ARC from publisher
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy.
Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks.

When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom.

But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

Review:
I was SOOO excited to get the ARC from the publisher!  But I waited until the new year to read this title because I wanted the time to savor it...and savor it I did.  Kimberly Derting is one of my favorite authors out there.  She is like a diamond in the rough when it comes to writing style and originality in the themes she chooses.  I would highly recommend her Body Finder series if you have tried The Pledge and enjoyed it.  

The Offering is the 3rd book in the The Pledge series and opens up with a fairly brutal scene.  It was definitely more violent than I remember the first two books to be.  There seems to be more action in this last title than the rest and Charlie begins to strengthen her physical abilities.  

**spoiler!!**
While in the book she did seem to want to be a stronger leader, I often questioned some of her decisions.  In one scene she leaves the palace to meet up with Elena.  It felt so WRONG!!  
**end spoiler!!**

Now, if you have been following this series, can you help me out here?  I can't remember what Charlie's inherited power is??  Does anyone remember?  I know she was powerful enough to keep Sabara under control but is that her power?

So in conclusion, this is the second series that Ms. Derting has written that I absolutely loved.  I liked it so much that I wanted to stand up and clap at the end of the novel.  Throughout the story I really had no idea how Sabara would ever be defeated.  I loved how things turned out.  I never expected things to evolve the way they did.  I am tempted to re-read the first two novels just to watch the character development all over again...and of course remember what Charlie's power is...jeesh! Now that is going to bug me all day.   Read it. Love it and tweet/comment to me about how much you did!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Elevated by Elana Johnson


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is


Summary: Goodreads

The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

I tried to get into Elana's series - Possession but it did not captivate me the way I had hoped.  However, I am not discriminatory and I enjoy trying out different series from authors that I am familiar with even if I didn't mesh with their previous novels.  Elevated is Elana's most recent series.  Cute scenario - being trapped in an elevator with someone you find it hard to be around in the first place.  I am wondering how long it will last and if they will be in the elevator for the whole book....kinda like being on a deserted island with a volleyball....Tom Hanks made it last for over 2 hours on film.  Can Elana tug at my heartstrings for 300 pages?  
- Christinabean

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Let's Hear it for the Boys - Phoenix Island by John Dixon

 
Published: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 320
Copy: Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads


The judge told Carl that one day he'd have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.

A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can't seem to stay out of trouble, using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.

Classified as a terminal facility, it's the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States and immune to its laws, the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname "Hollywood" as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the sweatbox. But that's nothing compared to what awaits him in the Chop Shop: a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.

A new life. . . .

A new body. A new brain.

Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he's not sure he wants to become.

For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence.

And for Carl, it's just the beginning.


 Review

Young boxer Carl finds himself on a prison island for orphans, where he is groomed to be the governor's protégé - for the rest of the story, I couldn't say it better than the blurb above.  Phoenix Island is a violent book, illustrating the absolute violence and depravity that is within some people - bullies to the core - and it made me vaguely uncomfortable.  I guess that means it was well written.  I certainly got the fidgets while reading it and several times I was tempted to stop, but I soldiered on - pardon the pun. I think one of the things that disturbed me most was the fact that it was entirely plausible - extremely unlikely, but plausible.  Or maybe I've just been watching too much TV!

It was hard to like any of the characters, Although Carl has a good heart, I couldn't help thinking that he never considered any options but his fists.  He was trying to solve problems by doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.  But, then I've never been a fan of fighting to solve problems. I've always preferred using words, which is perhaps why I'm not entirely sure that I liked this book.  Octavia seemed a little like a token love interest to me, but she did serve to bring Carl's protective instincts to the fore.

While not a huge hit with me personally it is definitely a great book for boys and those who enjoy combat games.  It's full of boxing terms and macho bragging teen boys, so I'm not sure about its appeal for girls, but I will be recommending it to several of the young men who visit the library.

I did hear that the TV show Intelligence is based on this book, but I have to add it is very loosely based on it, so if you've watched the show and are expecting more of the same, you will be sadly disappointed. I also just found out that my feelings of plausibility are not so far off the mark - check out this interview with John Dixon. where he talks about his inspiration for the book.
There was an error in this gadget