Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Genre:  YA Paranormal Fantasy

Description (taken from Kasie West's website):
Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It's the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie's parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with–her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the "Norms," or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it's not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school–but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder in the compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through...and who she can't live without.

What a very refreshing read.  Wouldn't it be awesome if every time you were given a choice, you could see the outcome of those choices prior to making your choice?  That's exactly what Addie can do.  She lives in a world filled with paranormals.  Each person has a gift from persuasion to telekinesis to even erasing memories.  Sounds awesome, right?  Except how do you really know what you're feeling is coming from you and not someone else making you feel that way?

Each chapter is from one of the outcomes of who she chooses to live with.  Both lives play out simultaneously.  And when those lives begin to intersect, things can get confusing.  Sometimes I had to stop myself and try to remember which parent she's living with to determine which reality this was.  And while the big climatic plot was just okay, I felt the jumping between two lives was awesome.

And even if you're just having fun and not totally invested in the characters, the ending will kind of rip your heart up.  I guess I realized just how invested I was with her parallel worlds when they started to shatter, and she had to pick one.

Would I recommend this?  Yes, it's such a fun, refreshing and very riveting read!  I'll be on the lookout for the second one...

Challenges:  Paranormal and Debut Author Challenges

Saturday, March 30, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.
How's everyone's Saturday going?  The sun is shining here, and the snow in my yard is finally beginning to melt (there's about a foot of it left).  So I'm kind of excited.  I finished The Eternity Cure yesterday. Now all I want to do is break things and gush about the book.  Maybe I'll go take my dog on a walk instead...

From the Library:

  • City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I had the chance to preview the first chapter for this book.  And I honestly liked the beginning and wanted to keep reading.  So I had to pick it up...
  • Mind Games by Kiersten White
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • The plot intrigued me.  I also heard Kiersten White's other books are good (if you'd like to throw them at me, I'd totally be okay with it because then I'd get to read them).  But I was kind of surprised to see how small this book looks.


  • Kept and Coveted by Shawntelle Madison Bookmarks
  • Infinity Bracelet and Card from Jordan Dane, part of the Indigo Awakening Tour

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks

Reviews (I must be in a 'seconds' mood):
Guest Post:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Genre:  YA Dystopian
Divergent Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Veronica Roth's website):
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

First off, I have to state that the Divergent series is one of the most thrilling, action-packed dystopian series out there.  I enjoyed it, however like the first novel, I still had some issues.  This book picks up from where Divergent left off.  We also get to learn a little more about what it means to be Divergent.  And as we meet new people, get to know old, our loyalties will be tested, and we must pick a side in the end.

My biggest problem with this series is Tris.  I do not like her character a whole lot.  I had this issue with the first novel, but I just feel like she doesn't show any emotion, and she's pretty much nuts.  And unlike the first novel, I really did not like the dynamic between Tris and Four in this novel.  The whole let's make out, now let's keep secrets, let's not tell each other anything, but hey we can keep making out, but I don't know if we really like each other, but hey kissing's good.  It got old for me.

As far as the plot goes, Veronica Roth does an excellent job at seeding in bits and pieces for the reader to figure things out.  As for me, I had the plot figured out from the beginning (like the first novel).  However I don't really have any predictions for the next novel because I'm too busy scratching my head thinking, "Say what?  That really just happened?"

Go read these books if you like dystopian novels.  They're jam-packed with action, and you really won't be disappointed (even if my review makes you feel that way).

Challenges:  TBR Pile and Dystopian Reading Challenges

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guardian by Heather Burch

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Halfings Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have. Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?

Fresh recap on who's who in the Halflings series:  Mace is the good Halfling in love with Nikki, Raven's the bad Halfling in love with Nikki, Vine's the third Halfling of the trio just trying to keep the other two out of trouble.  And Nikki's the human stuck in the middle being protected from evil forces.  There's more characters than this, but it's easy to catch up as you read Guardian.

Nikki ends up traveling to Viennese, the Halflings' home, and she also learns some more about her Seer abilities.  Mace, the follow-the-rules guy, is all about protecting her and trying to hone her abilities by instructing her.  Raven, the does-as-he-pleases guy, doesn't shield Nikki from the tough spots and attempts to help her feel her abilities.  I think I like Raven a little bit more than Mace.  Hmmm...

Anyways, in this second novel, we get to learn a little more about Halflings.  And the main plot begins to expand and unfold.  What kind of struck me off field is Nikki's behavior in the middle of the book.  Don't get me wrong, things happen that cause her to react the way she does.  It's just, man, she kind of becomes an evil little witch for a little while.  And then of course, we hit a nice cliff hanger at the end that leaves me hanging.

This series is fun to read.  I'm not too keen on angel novels, but I'm enjoying these books.  And yes, it has a lot to do with wanting to understand the whole Halflings concept which will result in me picking up the third one.

Favorite Quote:
Girls are insane.  They laugh when they're embarrassed, they cry when they're happy, and they try to choke you to death when you do something nice for them.
          ~p 78

Thanks goes to Zondervan and Heather Burch for providing me a review copy.

Challenges:  Paranormal Reading Challenge

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vortex by Julie Cross

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Tempest Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Julie Cross' website):
Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he's lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.

Even though this book deals with a bit of time travel which causes it to be considered paranormal, a bit of romance which causes it to be a heart-ache story, it feels more like an action novel.  The first fifty pages or so kind of set everything up which causes it to be a little slow at first.  But once the gun goes off, we're racing against time to figure everything out and save the ones we love.

We have Jackson again, the time traveler.  He's left his old reality to enter a new one where he doesn't know Holly, the love interest.  Only problem is, Holly slowly begins to creep up into his life again.  A life that involves the CIA, a lot of lies, a lot of intrigue, and situations where things can go majorly wrong.  As Jackson begins to form attachments, he begins to find answers that just leave him with more questions.

Did I enjoy this book?  Yes.  But it feels like a second novel.  I'm left with so many questions.  And these questions probably aren't going to follow me through to the third novel.  And that ending was a major cliff hanger.  Just when it was getting good, it ends on me...  And the whole time traveling thing gets confusing after a while.  You have to really be invested in the story in order to follow the plot and the timelines.

I believe fans of Tempest will enjoy this one.  It's kind of like an anti-romance novel while still being a romance novel (maybe it's a heart-ache novel).  Although I think I'd recommend readers wait until the third one comes out, so they don't hit the cliffhanger like I did.

Challenges:  Paranormal Reading Challenge

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guest Post: Literary Couples by Nazarea Andrews

Nazarea Andrews' Favorite Literary Couples

I write romance. I mix it up with a little dystopia, a little paranormal. But at the heart of things, I write romance. So today, I thought I'd share my five favorite couples in literature and why they rock my socks.

1. Catcher/Annah from The Dark and Hallow Places
Dear gracious, these two are broken. So damn broken it makes my heart hurt. I'll be honest--I love zombies and that's why I started this series years ago. But this was my favorite book because of these two. Annah and Catcher shouldn't work. They're broken in so many ways--she's hung up on Elias, he's got issues too many for this blog post. But together, they're strong. They make each other strong where the other is weak. And his line, when he rescues her:
'This is the woman I love. She is my *life* and when you harm her, you harm me.' Gosh. I still get goosebumps.

2. Mara/Noah from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Noah Shaw says the most inappropriate stuff ever. Mara Dyer kills people with her mind. It's pretty much a match made in heaven. (Sorta).

3. Sorcha/Red from Daughter of the Forest
This is the story that started my love affair with retellings. And good gracious--this love story is amazing. I love the slow build of it, the way Red works to earn Sorcha's trust and defends her against the family that doesn't understand her silence. And when he takes her to the beach? I cried. (Actually, there were several points I cried during this book. It's epic.)

4. Phedre/Joscelin (and Imri/Sidonie) of the Kushiel Legacy
"His love is the dagger by which I set the compass of my heart." Yep. That pretty much sums up these two. Joscelin and Phedre (and my number 1 couple) hit a new level of literary couples. I love things about the other relationships. But I wan a relationship like this. A devotion like Joscelin's to Phedre. Everything he does is for her--every risk. And Phedre's love for him--while a bit unconventional--is breathtaking.
Imri and Sidonie are more traditional and no less amazing for it. (It's not surprising that this is one of my favorite series.)

5. Damon/Janelle of the Black Jewels trilogy
So, Damon had waited forever (no, literally. He's an old soul) for Janelle. The thing is both of them are broken. Both have scars that make it really hard to trust and love someone. And, to me, that is beautiful.

About the Author
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. Her first book, Edge of the Falls, is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Edge of the Falls by Nazarea Andrews
Genre:  YA Dystopian Romance
Nazarea Andrews' website
Amazon | Goodreads

Description (taken from the book tour):
Sabah always knew where she belonged—with Berg—and what was expected of her—to care for the other children the Mistress took in.

But when a ban-wolf saves her life, things begin to change.

Arjun isn’t like the other ban-wolves, the savage creatures that are barely human. He’s gentle and furious and as Sabah spends time with him, she can’t seem to get him out of her mind. But in a world of darkness, control, and danger, is there a place for two outcasts?

A romantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast in a dark dystopia.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

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

I hope everyone had a fantastic week this past week!  Unfortunately, I'm probably working right now.  Oh well, I'll be home soon enough and reading.  Or training for the quarter marathon I plan on running in three months.  By the way, I'm three followers from planning another giveaway.  Happy reading everybody!


  • The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • My husband actually bought this book.  He got sick of waiting for me to read the second one and pick up the third.  Guess I need to pick up The Power of Six sometime soon.

From the Library:

  • Asunder by Jodi Meadows
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I have to admit that I thought Incarnate got more hype than it deserved.  Either that or I was missing something while reading it.  But alas, the story was cute enough to want to continue.  It only get better, right?
  • Pivot Point by Kasie West
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I must admit that this will probably be my first debut author for the year.  It caught my interest and was receiving high ratings.  So, I decided to jump in and want to read it.

For Review (e-edition):

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
I kind of giggled and clapped when I got the link for this book.  Favorite author here...  Since this is the series that kind of replaced the other series I loved (Storm Born) and totally thought she could continue with anyway, back to what I was originally trying to say - I hope it's good (better than Bloodlines anyways).  Ugh, I argue with myself sometimes.  Thanks goes to Penguin Group Dutton and Netgalley.

The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross
I'm actually one of the few who thought the second book in this series was better than the first.  I didn't think the characters were quite developed in the first, but they totally grew on me with the second.  So of course I'm picking up the third.  Thanks goes to Harlequin and Netgalley.

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks


Author Interview:



Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Bloodlines Series, Book 3

Description (taken from Richelle Mead's website):
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

I know I've seen a lot of other readers out there complain about Sydney's character.  Well, sadly, I'm jumping on that bandwagon.  I really enjoyed the first book in this series.  And the second was alright.  And this one?  Meh, it's alright.  But I'm starting to question why I'm so in love with this series.  Truth is: I'm not.  I don't think this series has anything on Vampire Academy.

If I didn't have another series set in the same world to compare this one too, I might like this series a little more.  But it seems like I'm opening these books expecting the intense action that I loved in Vampire Academy, but I'm not seeing it anywhere in this series.  I know Sydney's not a kick-butt character; she's more of an intellect who takes you down with her brain power.  But honestly?  I'd rather read about kicking ass than outwitting your opponent.

And Adrian?  Oh boy.  The way Sydney strings him along, she needs to be slapped.  It's another major reason I'm starting to really dislike her.  Maybe we should put this series from Adrian's point of view and have some exciting plots with action come into play.  Also, more vampire lore please...

Yeah, I'm still planning to read the next book since Richelle Mead is one of my favorite authors.  However, I don't think this is one of my favorite series out there.

Challenges:  Paranormal Reading Challenge
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