Saturday, April 27, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

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

The sun's been out this weekend and we're actually hitting the sixties.  Needless to say, I'm in shorts and playing around outside.  Later today, I'll probably be outside with a book sunbathing.  Happy Saturday!


  • Nightingale by David Farland (signed)
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • So there was a book bomb to help support this author's son who was in a terrible accident.  Since it's YA Fantasy, I thought I'd try it out.  I'll have to let you know how I like it in the next few months.

From the Library:

  • Fragments by Dan Wells
  • The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • The first book in this series involved ghosts and Jack the Ripper.  It was awesome.  So I'm really crossing my fingers that this one will be good as well.
  • Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • So I vaguely recall the last book in this series just being alright.  As with most series, the plots tend to diminish a little bit and become boring.  So I'm crossing my fingers that this one will pick right up and be awesome.

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bones Buried in the Dirt by David S Atkinson

Genre:  Adult Coming of Age Short Stories

Description (taken from review inquiry):
The stories of Bones Buried in the Dirt act together to present the young life a boy named Peter. Ranging from Peter at ages four to twelve, the stories focus on the moments in childhood that get buried in the mind but are never fully absorbed, the ones that are always remembered and shape identity.

Unlike most coming of age tales, this novel in story form never brings Peter forward into adulthood. Rather, though the stories are reflective, the distance is short. Thus, instead of a story about how an adult became who they are, the result is a becoming–a sonar picture of the person Peter will be.

Reading the short stories from Peter's childhood kind of make you think of your own childhood.  What we did as kids trying to pretend we were 'grown up' and not really understanding it.  Watching an innocent kid acting out very adult things.

In this story, we get to see little snippets from Peter's life and watch how he reacts to things and tries to comprehend what's going on.  We get to see the mistakes his parents make while trying to teach him life lessons.  We watch the kids tease others and try to avoid playing with them; I remember those moments in my childhood.  Kind of makes you think kids are a little cruel, right?  We get to watch young-kid love happen even though there's very little comprehension as to what love really means.  And then we watch some catastrophic events occur and realize that kids just don't understand the consequences of their choices.

I thought these stories were a 'back-in-time' read.  They made me think of my own childhood and all of the horrible things I did as a kid.  All the things I tried to understand but didn't.  However, I kind of wish we could have seen Peter as an adult.  How did these events in his life shape him as an adult?  Guess we'll just have to make some assumptions as to how he turned out.

A good short read that I think others will enjoy.  It makes you step back and think about all the stuff you appreciate in life.  I'd recommend it to those looking to step out of a comfort zone and read something refreshing.

Thanks goes to David S Atkinson for providing me a review copy.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Bhinian Empire Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Miriam Forster's website):
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

So how does the City of a Thousand Dolls come about?  Well, we give society a two-child limit and let everyone know that only men carry the family name and can own property.  Does this sound familiar?  Yes, the feminism in mean screams to tear some people apart for making up stupid rules like that.  Anyways, we got a safe haven for girls where they will learn things and grow up into something society wants: a wife, a mistress, a medic, a musician, etc.  And we add the mysticism around the city and how nothing really gets in or out past the barrier.  And we hear a dozen or so variations on how the barrier came about, but it doesn't seem like any of the city's background really gets explained.

Truly, I never became vested in this story.  It was too slow for me to get into, and I felt like it was slightly childish for me.  It might have been the talking cats that did it for me.  Although there is an explanation for that.  But it just seems like every aspect of this story was forced into fitting perfectly that it really just fel flat.  Don't get me wrong, the murder mystery had me guessing all the way through.  But I just didn't care for this one.

I recommend people interested in this one read other reviews before making a decision.  I was bored, but I'm sure there are those out there that really enjoyed this read (that's how I added this one to my reading list).

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy
Mind Games Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Kiersten White's website):
Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

So, the sisters in this book are so flawed.  Annie, a blind girl, feels so dependent on others.  And Fia, always knowing she has to keep Annie safe, keeps her safe at all costs including killing others.  But behind all the screw-ups, we really do see how much these sisters care for each other and what they are willing to risk to protect the other.

This book is action-packed while intertwining the background story of how the sisters ended up in a school that's using them.  In a sense, it reminds me of the movie Taken, but instead of Liam Neeson, we get a very demented girl as our heroine.  And don't get me wrong, from her experiences, she has every right to be demented (and it's also her defense mechanism).

I like the action and the twists and turns, however I don't really see the whole point of this.  The school never gets explained.  What's its purpose?  Who is the mysterious overlord, and what does he want?  Also, the ending's like a double-edged sword.  It's good, but then it's not.  It ended perfectly, but it didn't.  I'm so not satisfied with this one...

Will I keep reading this series?  Yes, because there has to be some satisfaction to a story, right?

Challenges:  Paranormal Reading Challenge

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Newsoul Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Jodi Meadows' website):
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

We get a lot of romance in this book.  For Ana, everything's new and exciting.  But to everyone else, it's pretty old and just the same-old-same-old.  Which is why they don't understand the relationship between Sam and Ana.  He's taking advantage of her according to them.  But really, I think he's seeing things in a new way thanks to her and her new insight.

So what does asunder mean?  I finished the book, and I don't even know what it means.  According to Google, it means "apart, divided" or "into pieces".  Makes sense now.  That describes Ana because she is separate from all of the oldsouls, she's a newsoul.

This book focuses on explaining the sylph and how reincarnation came to be.  Only problem is we'll only got an itty-little-bitty of the story here.  Everything else was just romance and drama.  I mean don't get me wrong, it was good.  But at the end of the book, I'm left wondering what was really accomplished.  My couple of questions just turned into a million.  And the reincarnation story just got super-complicated.

This series is a fun read, but I'm beginning to think I should have waited until all three were out before reading them.  The background, the story, it's all really good.  I just wish the storyline would continue more before finishing the last page in this book.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

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

It's the weekend!  Although my weekend started yesterday.  I've gotten a lot of reading done this past week due to me being sick one of the days.  If only I had more sick days (without really being sick), right?  I hope everyone has a good week!

From the Library:

  • The Essence by Kimberly Derting
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I'm really on a role with my 'second in a series' books this year.  I guess it would make sense since my reading frenzy really kicked off last year.  Looking forward to this one.

For review (e-edition):

The Mackenzie Legacy by Derrolyn Anderson
The first book in this series was cute; the romance made me happy.  So I'm looking forward to hearing more of Cali and Cal's story.  Plus, the dual-colored eyes is totally cool.  Thanks goes to Derrolyn Anderson for providing me a review copy.

manda-rae's Past Week


Wednesday, April 10, 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...

The Program by Suzanne Young
Genre:  YA Dystopian
Suzanne Young's website
Expected publication date:  April 30, 2013
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads:
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

I really liked A Need So Beautiful and A Want So Wicked.  Suzanne Young's books are super fast reads, but they leave nice impacts.  So, yes I'm looking forward to this one.  And based on some reviews, it looks like some people are either going to really like this one or really hate it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's post is Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger.
Hmm.  That's kind of hard for me since I don't have a good tracking mechanism to find my favorite books.  Maybe I'll just list a few books that were awesome...

Note:  Some last books in a series are on this blog, but if that's the case, I'm referring to the earlier books.

Angus Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
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