Monday, December 24, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.
I purposely waited until the last book was finished before I dove back into this series. Beautiful Creatures feels like one of those epic novels which will leave you hanging onto Every. Last. Written. Word. And it is. I know from experiencing Book #1 and Book #2 that it would be best for me to wait for it to be finished before I jumped in again. Beautiful Chaos moved down my TBR pile because I wanted to savour it and not wait for a whole year on pins and needles. That causes grey hair you know....and I have enough of those!
In this installment, you will see how Ridley struggles with her new identity, how Link copes with his and how Lena and Ethan step into a more and more complicated universe. There will be heartache, and there will be an incredibly devastating ending that will make you happy you waited for Book #4 to come out. Trust me, you would not have wanted a year for the conclusion to come out. I know that Curlypow was crying at the end of this book. (Was it the ugly cry?) I wasn't crying. I was just left stunned saying - That can't be how it ends. Is this a joke? Did I read that correctly?
The Beautiful Creatures series is one of the best developed series I've read, right up there with my two favourites - Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy. It is hard to believe that two newbie writers came up with the idea and just ran with it. Heck! They are one dynamic duo! Curlypow and I were fortunate enough to meet 1/2 of the dynamic duo a couple years ago at the first Smart Chicks Kick it Tour. Margaret Stohl was so easy to talk to and easy-going! She actually came through the line up to talk to readers, pose for pictures and sign books.
On another front, Beautiful Creatures is already in production and will come to theaters February 13, 2013. I'm expecting it to be Twilight popular. Here's a quick peek at one of the movie posters and the trailer -
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Buckle on your seatbelts and get ready for a wild ride. This fascinating and hilarious new take on Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' was so much fun to read. It's a long time since I was forced at chalk point to read The Tempest and I had forgotten much of it in my desire to repress less than stellar school memories. However after finishing 'Tempestuous', I'm about ready to pull out my pocket Shakespeare and refresh my memory.
Askew and Helmes have taken all the major plot points from the original and have set them in a contemporary mall, where a bunch of disparate teenagers have been forced to spend the night because of a huge snow storm. Miranda is absolutely wonderful. Her character imperfections and her road to 'recovery' are handled beautifully and with some tongue in cheek humour. I could just picture her in my mind in her hotdog hat and bright red tights - you have to read about it to understand.
Secondary characters Caleb, Ariel, Chad, Grady, Rachel, the 'Itneys' and a host of others are perfect stereotypes and charicatures, but are at the same time real and believable and I recognised many of my old friends in these characters. The action comes in the form of stealth glitter bombs (no I'm not kidding), rock concerts and mischief and mayhem in the food court, while trying to find the mysterious bad guy. It all pulls together into this marvellous romantic comedy that is totally implausible and unlikely, yet completely fun. By the end of it, you'll all be wishing that you too were snowed in at the mall.
I will have no hesitation in recommending 'Tempestuous' at work. It was a funny, quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
PS Keep your eyes open for our Shout Out to Indies post in late January when we'll be meeting the authors.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Q: What have you learned from book blogging that you didn't know before about the publishing industry?
Wow, how to answer this one? Really I think the big thing I've learned is how much of a community it all is, and how large and complex. Before blogging I thought an author wrote a book, found a publisher and bam, it landed on the shelf magically, but there is soooooo much more to it than that. I don't think I really appreciated how much work went into the whole process. I/we are thrilled to be part of that process even if only in the tiniest way. I have been a huge reader my entire life and books enrich that life so much - I can't imagine what I'd do without them. Kudos to everyone who is involved in getting those magical volumes onto the shelf - or into my reader.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
While trying to save her brother from a witch’s fire four years ago, Greta was thrown in herself, falling through a portal to Mylena, a dangerous world where humans are the enemy and every ogre, ghoul, and goblin has a dark side that comes out with the eclipse.
To survive, Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young goblin king, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her will to escape.
But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. An ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal, and with the next eclipse mere days away, every bloodthirsty creature in the realm is after her—including Isaac. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back...
So technically, Greta and the Goblin King is not a fairy tale, but it does have goblins and gnomes and various other fairytale'ish creatures - both nice and not so nice - so I decided it would work for the purposes of this post.
I was thrilled when the publisher offered me the chance to review this title as it had been on my radar for a little while, and it did not disappoint. Ms Jacobs handled the world building here very deftly and as the story progresses the reasons behind the abductions become clearer and clearer. There are some very nasty creatures in Mylena and I loved Ms Jacobs twist of having every creature completely flip when there is an eclipse. It added a very successful element to the story that became an integral part of the plot and helped ratchet up the suspense level.
I found Greta to be a fairly sympathetic character, who has had a tough time coming to grips with a new life in a strange world. She handles situations rather well I thought. There was a hint of a triangle, but to be honest it is only a little one and there really isn't much doubt who Greta is going to fall for. Issac is definitely not your typical love interest. His nasty side is really, really nasty and very unusual I must say. If you think shapeshifters are strange, just wait 'til you read about goblins under the influence of the eclipse. Wyatt was a nice character. He is one of a group of humans that Greta stumbles upon and he seems like the kind of caring guy we would all love to meet. His concern and care for the young kids under his protection is really something. I liked him a lot.
There is a lovely mystery going on here with the identity of the wicked Agramon and trying to find out just why he has had so many human boys abducted, and when Greta finally has to confront him, the results are not quite what I was expecting. The action was continuous throughout the story and there is a level of tension that kept the story intriguing and enjoyable. It looks like there are going to be more in the series and I will be keeping an eye out for them. For those of you who like an interesting fantasy, give Greta and the Goblin King a try.
Monday, December 17, 2012
So one of the things I'm going to try and do in 2013 is to finish up some of the series I have started and loved. I do find it hard because there are times when I think - I remember reading this and loving it but...uh...what was it about again? It has been a long time since I dove into the Hush Hush series with Nora and Patch but I've picked up the final book.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her--East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living
By the time I had finished reading The Darkest Minds ,it had worked its way to the top of my favourite reads list, but it took a while to get there. I didn't immediately fall under the spell of Ms Bracken's story, I struggled a little at first, but eventually it is like falling under a spell. The story and the characters suck you in and you can't stop reading.
Ruby is such a broken child that it is hard not to feel immense sympathy for her. She is struggling to understand a 'gift' that feels like a curse, and she has been locked away and treated in the most appalling manner. Bracken's description of the camp that Ruby is in - Thurmond - is reminiscent of something that would have been found during the 2nd world war. It is gritty, dark and totally unsympathetic in every way.
Ruby's relationship with Liam is tempered by her fear of what she is capable of doing to him, so it is no surprise that she latches on to Clancy, because she assumes he can teach her what she needs to know. Clancy is a complex character and the complete opposite of Liam, who is basically an open book. I don't want to give spoilers here so I won't say any more about them, but there is one point in the book where I could actually feel my stomach churning because I knew something was coming - I just wasn't sure what. I was so involved, that my surprise and disappointment mirrored Ruby's own.
There are some secondary characters - Chubs and Zu - who are also wonderfully complete and complex and who play an integral part in the story. Ruby's interaction with them is very real and believable. There are twists and turns throughout the book, some I was expecting and many that took me completely by surprise. Ms Bracken's world building here is superb. The writing is lyrical, the mystery is compelling and the romance is bittersweet. I just loved it.
According to her page on Goodreads we can expect to see two more volumes in this tale, and I for one am really, really keen to see them. She has also written Brightly Woven, which came out in 2010, which I'm off to find now.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
With the seeds of distrust sown and Darkness breeding chaos at the House of Night, everyone must band together -- but that's proving to be more difficult than ever before. The twins are barely speaking and the House of Night's former enemy, Kalona, has now become their warrior, pushing their trust to the limit. To top it off, Zoey is pretty darn sure she might be losing her mind. She saw something when she looked at Aurox through the Seer Stone that she can hardly explain to herself, let alone her friends. Is it possible that Heath has come back in a different form? Is that why Zoey's so intrigued by Aurox, when it's so obvious that he's dangerous? And who would believe her if she told them? Zoey knows that following her instinct about Aurox might be just what they need to defeat evil . . . but if she's wrong, it could cause the destruction of those closest to her.
With the tension at a breaking point and friendships on the line, can the nerd herd come together to stop the spread of Darkness before it's too late?
The House of Night series is long and complicated. This is book #10 so if you haven't already started reading this series, DO NOT start with this one. As always, the subject matter in this series is not appropriate for a younger audience and there is quite a bit of language. You will find that there is a lot of "teen speak". Many of the characters use slang terms so an older adult audience may not identify or appreciate this. However, if you are ready to take the leap as an adult, reading the House of Night (aka the Neverending) series is similar to reading Sweet Valley High only there are vampires...and sex and violence. Once you've invested your time into 5 or more books, you may as well continue to the end.
I have a love/hate relationship with this series. I do enjoy reading it but sometimes the verbal teen banters gets on my nerves. There are also a lot of pop culture references which is a big reading pet peeve of mine because it tends to date a book.
Suprisingly, I have gotten back into the storyline...after the episode involving Neferet and a bull, I was a little iffy about returning as a reader. As Zoey would say "what kind of bullpoopie is this?" However, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see the story panned out again in the newest installment. Sometimes I feel like I've got a bad addiction. Book #10 held more promise that the past 3 books. Zoey is becoming more mature and I like the development of Shaylin. Another aspect of this particular book that I am enjoying is the de-evolution of the twins (they started to get on my nerves around book 3 or 4) and Shauneen's growth as a character. I'm interested to see where this is going. So what is my conclusion about Hidden? If you're hooked on House of Night, you'll love it. If you stopped reading after book 3 or 4, keep walking down the teen read aisle for something more substantial.
Friday, December 14, 2012
I am currently reading a book that is so raw in emotion that I have to read it one chapter at a time. Hating Heidi Foster is a title that I received from a publisher last week. Mae's best friend is saved from an accident by her father. The problem is, her father died saving Heidi and now Mae blames Heidi for his death. I'm surprised at how much this book affects me. Mae's emotions rip at your heart and are so painful. I usually read this one on the train on my way to work but like I said earlier, I can only read one chapter at a time or I'd be bawling as I start my day!
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Even at a camp for supernatural teens, Kylie Galen has never been normal. Not only can she see ghosts, but she doesn’t seem to belong to any one species—she exhibits traits from them all. As Kylie struggles to unlock the secrets of her identity, she begins to worry that Lucas will never be able to accept her for what she is, and what she isn’t…a werewolf. With his pack standing in their way, Kylie finds herself turning more and more to Derek, the only person in her life who’s willing to accept the impossible.
As if life isn’t hard enough, she starts getting visits from the ghost of Holiday, her closest confidante. Trouble is, Holiday isn’t dead…not yet anyway. Now Kylie must race to save one of her own from an unseen danger before it’s too late—all while trying to stop her relationship with Lucas from slipping away forever. In a world of constant confusion, there’s only one thing Kylie knows for sure. Change is inevitable and all things must come to an end…maybe even her time at Shadow Falls.
The breathtaking fourth installment of the New York Times bestselling Shadow Falls series from author C. C. Hunter...Whispers at Moonrise
I just finished the first three books in this series a few weeks ago, read the review here, and I was delighted to be able to get a copy of this one so quickly. I was not disappointed with Whispers at Moonrise at all. It kept up the fast pace of the previous three books and was in fact even more amazing. There was more tension, more romance, more mystery and way more confusion for poor Kylie.
My fervent hope is that one of the larger tv companies will pick up this series and make it into the next Vampire Diaries. Let me explain - we have a bunch of good looking teens at at school camp. Each one is a different type of paranormal and they are all expected to get along. A main character who cannot seem to decide what type of paranormal she is - cue different one for each episode. The main character is also a ghost whisperer - cue different ghost mystery for each episode. Secondary characters who have crushes on each other left right and centre - cue different romance each episode. A steaming triangle between main character, a werewolf and a fae - cue romantic angst each episode. And for a bit of humour each episode - have one of Miranda's witchy spells go wrong. Then we have two positive influence adults who also have a romantic connection with major sparks - cue adult romance each episode. Lastly, throw in the shadowy govenment agency that definitely seems to have their own agenda - cue creepy grey-suited guys in the background each episode.
Sounds amazing doesn't it? Please, please, please somebody out there see the potential in this series for tv, I really want to see it on the screen. I'll take a movie if I can't have a series.
At the end of this exciting volume I find out that there is a fifth and final installment coming out in Spring 2013 called Chosen at Nightfall.
Thank you Ms Hunter, I'm having fun with this series.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.
During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.
In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.
With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.
Even if it costs her eternity.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and brutal gangs.
Or so he thought.
But now Benson is trapped in a different kind of prison: a town filled with hauntingly familiar faces. People from Maxfield he saw die. Friends he was afraid he had killed.
They are all pawns in the school’s twisted experiment, held captive and controlled by an unseen force. As he searches for answers, Benson discovers that Maxfield Academy’s plans are more sinister than anything he imagined—and they may be impossible to stop.
Variant blew readers away with its breakneck pacing, flawless plotting, and impossibly high stakes. It earned starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and VOYA, which described it as “an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read that combines psychological themes from works like Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Ender’s Game in a truly unique way.”
In Feedback, Robison Wells delivers all the answers you’ve been craving—with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very last page.
I have to be honest, I haven't managed to find the time to read this follow-up to The Variant, (see my review here,) but if it is anything like as good as the first, it will be well worth reading. Let me know what you thought of it.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.
Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.
To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, her mother's bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won't let Audrey out of his sight.
When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything--and everyone--she loves.
I just finished Dark Star and at the end of it I realised two things. I really enjoy books about demons - and Dark Star does demons really well - and I'm not normally overfond of plot devices where the 'heroine' is lied to by ommision. What I mean is, where 'people' - in this case read parents - keep someone in the dark about something for their own good, to keep them safe. I think it is wrong not to tell someone about their heritage - or whatever the secret is - because it might 'hurt' them or be dangerous. It never turns out well.
Of course, that said, that particular plot device is integral to the story of Dark Star, and in this case Ms Frenette does it successfully, so I was able to forgive her. Maybe it was the demons? Audrey's journey to knowing what is going on is fraught with danger, and you'll realise there is a pun there if you read the book. She has to navigate her way through various situations aware of virtually nothing, and pick up little tidbits along the way. Personally, I think she handles it very well and I had a great deal of respect for her. I would have been furious.
Gideon was a wonderful friend to Audrey and I appreciated that there is no love interest between the two of them. They are just friends, no strings. Tink is also fun, but she has her head in the sand a little and I'm sure that is going to come back and haunt her in future books. Leon is a bit of an enigma and I enjoyed the fact that he is not the usual hottie. Is there a love story? Yes there is, but it was atypical and lovely - no spoilers.
There is lots of action throughout Dark Star with a nice mystery - who is the Remnant, what is Beneath, is Verrick really gone? I thought I had it sorted out several times, but in the end I was wrong, and I had several surprises. And no nasty cliff hanger - nice going Ms Frenette. Demons, danger and mystery - what's not to love?
According to Ms Frenette's blog, Dark Star is the first in a series, with #2 coming out in 'about a year'. So I'll add it to my calendar and keep watch. If you enjoyed The Demon Trappers series by Jana Oliver or Rachel Vincent's Soul Seeker series I think you'll love this one.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
Q: Activity! Who do you want to be? If you could choose any character from a book. What do you think that character looks like and what do you have in common?
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
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?
In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.
Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.
Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.
Blood Magic was an interesting read. It took me a little while to get through, but really that was more circumstance than lack of enjoyment. The story is -of course - about blood magic and how the discovery of it affects Silla and her brother Reese after the death of their parents.
Silla was a slightly different character, who tries to hide her true feelings behind masks. I was a little confused about these masks, because at first they appear to be real, but in fact they are masks of her imagination. Thankfully, towards the end of the book we find out where these masks fit into the picture - confusion gone! No love triangle in this one, but there is a romance and the hunk in question is Nick who, it turns out, is aware of the magic. His connection with Silla is powerful and effective, and I loved the way he was always there for her.
Oh, and there is lots of blood, and magic - some interesting story development with that one. There are interesting diary entries from an older witch that help to bring the story to an exciting conclusion. But not a final one. Book 2 of the trilogy(?) came out in August 2012, so you may have missed it too, like I did. I am positive that the reason I missed catching this one first time around was the cover. The original cover was very blah and did nothing to excite me, but when I saw this new version, for the paperback, I loved it and picked it up immediately. It is much more indicative of what the story is actually about. Try it out for yourself.
I also found out there is a third book Crow Memory, which is tagged as The Blood Journals 1.5, I might have to find that one too. I can't find a title for a third (fourth) book so if you know of one, tellus about it.
Monday, December 3, 2012
For no reason whatsoever, I thought I would add a musical interlude.
I suspect that I am one of only a few who had not seen this video, but having now watched it, I just had to share it with everyone.
I just adore the lyrics in this one. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Thank you so much to Malia (pronounced like Maria) for joining us today.