Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it spotlights upcoming books that we as readers are anxiously awaiting...

MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza
Genre:  YA Science Fiction
MILA 2.0 Series, Book 1

Debra Dizra's website
Expected publication date:  March 12, 2013
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

This sounds full of action and secrets.  One of my enjoyable reads.  I'm hoping it's good...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Genre:  YA Science Fiction
Across the Universe Series, Book 3

Note:  If you haven't read the first two books in this series, I advise you against reading the description and my review unless you're okay with plot spoilers.

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


You know how when you finish a book, you want to gush and gush about the ending?  Well, I just finished one of my favorite series of all time.  And you bet all I want to talk about is the ending.  Unfortunately, I can't ruin the journey for you.

There's one major difference in this book than the first two: the scene.  The first two are based on the ship, but this one is based on Centauri-Earth.  Plus, the romance between Elder and Amy has blossomed.  Truly, Elder is one of my favorite characters.  But then the storyline goes front, then back, then, around, then who knows where.  One part of me is trying to stay ahead and predict what happens next while the other part is thinking "What the frex is going on?!"

If you haven't read this series yet, I am officially throwing my shoes at you.  Go read these books.  I loved them, and I hope you do too.

Quote that really made my jaw drop and my head whirl:
     "You could have valued our lives more than your secrets."
          ~Shades of Earth, p 360

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Genre:  YA Pantasy
The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy, Book 1

Description (taken from Frank Beddor's website):
The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges the world’s Carrollian Wonderland assumptions of tea parties, dormice and a curious little blonde girl to reveal an epic, cross dimensional saga of love, murder, betrayal, revenge and the endless war for Imagination. Meet the heroic, passionate, monstrous, vengeful denizens of this parallel world as they battle each other with AD-52’s and orb generators, navigate the Crystal Continuum, bet on jabberwock fights and slip each other the poisonous pink mushroom. Finally, someone got it right. This ain’t no fairytale.

Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, was forced to flee through the Pool of Tears after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd shattered her world. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the surreal, violent, heartbreaking story of her young life only to see it published as the nonsensical children’s sojourn Alice in Wonderland. Alyss had trusted Lewis Carroll to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere would find her and bring her home.

But Carroll had got it all wrong. He even misspelled her name! If not for the intrepid Hatter Madigan, a member of the Millinery (Wonderland’s security force) who after a 13 year search eventually tracked Alyss to London, she may have become just another society woman sipping tea in a too-tight bodice instead of returning to Wonderland to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

This is probably the first book I've ever read where I thought the beginning of the book was better than the middle and ending.  I mean the first 50 pages is pure 5-star material.  It sets the scene and builds the anticipation perfectly.  This story is told from various characters points of view, and we kind of see the electrical storm build and build until it unleashes in the form of a violent lightning bolt.  Only, it's not an electrical storm, it's a war between sisters.

Princess Alyss has no care in the world on her seventh birthday.  She's got a boring party to attend, and then she begins Queen lessons the next day that will help her build her imagination.  No one ever anticipates her Aunt Redd crashing the party.  And Redd is even more insane than the person we know as the Queen of Hearts in the classic fairy tale.  No wonder I can relate to her more-so than the other characters.  Anyways, Alyss flees from her world to our world where everything suddenly becomes more mundane.  But Alyss must keep her wits and imagination around in order to get back and take her rightful place on the throne.

Like I said, I loved the beginning.  And the middle and ending were good also.  It's just after I got over the excitement, I realized this is a bizarre, but good, retelling of Alice in Wonderland.  Do I plan on continuing this series?  Duh, of course!

One of the many things Redd says that I absolutely love:
     "What am I to do with you?" Redd asked.
     "M-maybe you could-" Jack began.
     The Cat raised a paw.  "I know."
     "It was a rhetorical question, fools!  You don't answer it!  Since when do I need help making anyone suffer?"
          ~The Looking Glass Wars, pp 273-4

Saturday, February 23, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.

I've spent the last couple of days work free.  My birthday is tomorrow, and I've been having a lot of me-time to enjoy myself.  I hope everyone else has a fun week as well!


  • The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (signed plus swag)
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I was a happy camper to see this one in the mail.  Plus, I got a bookmark for her new series, Gameboard of the Gods.  Super excited to read this one...
  • Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I saw this in the bargain section at Barnes and Noble.  Since I've been wanting to read it for a while, I decided to pick it up.
  • Wisconsin Day Trips by Mary M Bauer
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • We've lived here for over two years, but we haven't really seen much in the state.  So I figured we'd grab this and go do all the site-seeing we can in Wisconsin over the next couple of years.

From the Library:

  • Everbound by Brodi Ashton
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • A book that will make me miss Utah.  But I've been dying to read this one for a while.  Super happy to read it asap.

For Review (e-edition):

Bones Buried in the Dirt by David S Atkinson
A lot of stories revolving around a man's childhood.  And we get to watch as they form the person he becomes as an adult.  It's definitely something different from my normal paranormal genre.  Thanks goes to David Atkinson for providing me a copy.

manda-rae's Past Week




Friday, February 22, 2013

Cover Reveal: Edge of the Falls by Nazarea Andrews

We have a new dystopian book coming out, and what better way to announce it than reveal the cover?  Isn't it intriguing?!

Edge of the Falls by Nazarea Andrews
Genre:  YA Dystopian Romance
Expected publication date:  March 12, 2013

Description (taken from the book tour):
Sabah has spent her entire life Outside, looking in. She’s used to the danger—the acidstorms, the predators. Even the Mistress is dangerous.

She learned a long time ago what dangers she is willing to live with.

But change is coming to the house on the edge of the waterfall, and Sabah will have to choose between the boy she grew up loving and a life that she is willing to live. When a ban-wolf—a mutant–saves her life, everything Sabah knows about her world will change. And the secrets that have dictated her life will finally come to light.

About the Author: Nazarea Andrews
Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.

Excerpt:  Chapter 1

I’ve never questioned the Mistress’ need for starrbriars.

In the almost fourteen years I’ve lived under her roof, I’ve accepted it without thought. But as I pick my way across the cliff, searching the ever-present darkness for the small flowers, I wonder what is so important about them.

The wind picks up and I skid a little, the cliff icy from the spray of the waterfall. I step back as I glance into my bag—it’s almost empty. We’ve exhausted the easily gathered supply of flowers.

I feel someone’s gaze, and resist looking behind me. Instead, I crouch down, drawn by a stunted flower growing on the side of the precipice. I tug it free, and stare into the churning water, broken on the rocks far below me. Which child will be lowered into that this time? Who will risk their life at the whim of our Mistress?

A scream, haunting and primal, fills the air, rising above the roar of the waterfall and I jerk, losing my balance for a dizzying moment. My hands slip on the ice, sliding until I find a grip. For a long moment, I stay still, waiting for my heartbeat to steady. Then I crawl backwards, barely breathing as I edge away from the drop-off. I see blood on the rocks, and belatedly, I feel the sting on my palm.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Prophecy Girl by Faith McKay

Genre:  YA Paranormal Fantasy
Lacuna Valley Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Faith McKay's website):
Ever since Samantha Winthrop’s mother moved them to Lacuna Valley, supposedly in search of better weather, the list of strange questions she has no answers for has been growing out of control.

Does her little sister, Violet, have the ability to make things happen just by “praying” for them? Are Sam’s dreams really predicting the future? Is she destined to marry the boy she just met, and what is the mysterious orb that he’s guarding? Why does she get the impression that there are dangerous creatures watching from the woods?

While Sam should be focusing on answering those questions, there is one other that makes them seem almost irrelevant: Is her mother planning on killing her and Violet?

Sam tends to move around a lot.  Her family moves from one small town to another.  And it prevents Sam from ever forming roots with people; she's doomed to remain an outsider.  However, once she's in Lacuna Valley, things start to unfold and make sense.  Also, she makes some friends (which is always a plus).

Did I mention there's a paranormal aspect?  Sam and her sister, Violet, have some special abilities.  Violet, a puppetmaster, can somehow manage to make things happen simply by wishing for it.  And when Sam meets a cute boy in town, she realizes it's not just her family that keeps freaky secrets.

With this book, I'm simply torn down the middle.  The romance between Sam and Nick (the cute boy mentioned above) was cute, but the paranormal aspects confused me at some points.  A plus, Sam does grow throughout the novel.  She starts out as very timid and is constantly pushed around.  But when push comes to shove and her sister is threatened, she easily has a voice and fights back; it was awesome to 'watch'.  And on the negative, there's this whole aspect of child abuse.  There are only a few scenes involving it, but I cringed every time I read one of them.

The ending had a second-book-in-a-series feeling.  In other words, it didn't exactly end and nicely wrap things up.  So, I'm definitely recommending that we read this book with the intention of reading the second one right after.  Otherwise, you're going to get an unsatisfied feeling once you're done.

Thanks goes to Faith McKay for providing me a review copy.

Challenges:  Paranormal Reading Challenge

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

YA Paranormal Giveaway Hop

It's my birthday this weekend, and I have lots of stuff planned!  But in the book blogging world, I've decided to host a book giveaway!  To start off, I'm going to spotlight a series that has been getting better and better...  (Also note that I've only read the first four books so far.)

For my giveaway stop, you can choose one of the above books or any book (under $15 USD).  So, you get to decide what you win from me.

How it works:
  1. This contest is open to open to everyone (international included - as long as The Book Depository/Amazon ship to you).
  2. Entrant must be 13 years of age or older.
  3. Giveaway ends on Wednesday, February 27.
  4. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below. You can enter by doing one of the following: 
    1. Follow blog via GFC/Linky. Leave how you follow and your user in the Rafflecopter comments section.
    2. Leave a comment on this post. Answer the following question: What book would you give me for my birthday and why? 
    3. Tweet about the giveaway. Leave a link to your tweet in the Rafflecopter comments section. 
  5. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond with logistics.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it spotlights upcoming books that we as readers are anxiously awaiting...

Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Genre:  YA Dystopian
Delirium Trilogy, Book 3
Lauren Oliver's website
Expected publication date:  March 5, 2013
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

So, Pandemonium pissed me off.  And it's because I'm a major Alex fan.  So of course I'm looking forward to the ending to this amazing trilogy.  A book where love is a disease and can be cured?  Yes, you should read this series if you haven't already...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.

I have a weekend free of work.  A weekend to read a lot and do absolutely nothing.  I'm so looking forward to it.

For Review:

  • Guardian by Heather Burch
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • So, angel books tend to not always spark my interest.  And I believe the only bad part of Halflings was the major love triangle.  After receiving a request to pick this one up and looking over the reviews (that state this one is better than the first), I figured why not?  Crossing my fingers that this is the awesome angel book I've been waiting for.  Thanks goes to Heather Burch and Zondervan for providing me a review copy.


  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I was never required to read this in school.  I've always wondered what it was about and if it was good.  So don't throw your shoes at me for having never read this.  I'm going to...

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks


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