Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Waiting on Wendesday

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

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Genre:  YA Paranormal Fantasy
Cristin Terrill's website
Expected publication date:  September 3, 2013
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

Ooh, another read about time travel.  This sounds super interesting.  And the cover is gorgeous.  I'm hoping it's awesome!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Genre:  Middle School Dystopian
The Giver Quartet, Book 1

Description (taken from Lois Lowry's website):
"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened."

Thus opens this haunting novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve year old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man -the man called only the Giver -he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs.

I wonder why this wasn't required reading when I was in grade school.  This book is kind of the beginnings of dystopian worlds that we tend to read and love nowadays.  Only, it's not complicated, it's short and simple, and it's very easy to understand.  I kind of see how ideas for books published in recent years pulled ideas from this book.

I can't really discuss the plot at all without giving things away.  Yes, it's slightly predictable, but that doesn't make it any less heart-wrenching.  In a world where everything is perfectly chosen for you, Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of the community.  He will replace the old Receiver who in turn becomes the Giver.  And we get to see how a perfect society still has injustice and inequality; it's just all shoved into the broom closet.

Go read this short novel.  It'll take you a couple of hours.  And while it lacks sophistication like the young adult dystopian novels we read nowadays, it still leaves you with questions.

Challenges:  Dystopia Reading Challenge

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rush by Eve Silver

Genre:  YA Science Fiction
The Game Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Eve Silver's website):
So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?

Sixteen-year-old Miki Jones’s carefully controlled life spirals into chaos after she’s run down in the street, left broken and bloody. She wakes up fully healed in a place called the lobby—pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game in which she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures.

There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says that the game is more than that, and that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

I must admit that I am not a gamer.  Watching my husband play first-person shooter games makes me pout because it's boooring.  So what makes me think I'd like this book?  Honestly, I don't really know why other than the cover and everyone else saying they'd like it.  (If you must know, I despised Ender's Game - which if you enjoyed, you'll probably enjoy this one as well.)

Miki is part of a game to defeat aliens that are going to destroy our planet.  And it literally is like playing an Xbox game, but it's real-life.  Lots of killing, lots of questions, no answers, and an annoyingly hot guy (actually, there's a couple of those).  As Miki and her teammates get pulled into this alternate reality, we learn more of the story.  But it just didn't work for me.

Have you ever watched movies where two minutes into the film, you know exactly what's going to happen?  For me with some films, I can make that prediction within two seconds of the film starting (for this reason, my husband has banned me from discussing movies prior to watching them - I ruin them for him).  Well, um, I had this book figured out within the first few pages.  Blargh...  Also, I couldn't see the romance building between Miki and Jackson.  "Ooh, you're hot and an obnoxious A-hole.  Let's kiss already!"  Sorry, but there needs to be some form of communication and relationship-build-up in order for me to excuse the A-holeness in hot guys...

I tried to like this book; I really tried.  It's action-packed, it flows super well, there's never a dull moment.  I just didn't care for the story.  Too science-fiction-y I guess (and first person shooter).

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge

Wednesday, July 24, 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...

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Genre:  YA Dystopian Fantasy
Melissa de la Cruz' website
Expected publication date:  September 17, 2013
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

This one sounds interesting.  And I enjoyed Melissa de la Cruz' Blue Bloods novels even if I didn't finish the series (the last book I was on, I was so lost because it'd been a year in between reading the series).  And I think I'm ready for a good dystopian fantasy.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace

Genre:  YA Fairy Tale Fantasy
The Grimm Diaries Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?

Sixteen year old Loki Blackstar is no Prince Charming. His mother is a ghost. His only friend is a red Cadillac that sings to him through the radio. He looks like an Angel but acts like jerk. No wonder he has been banned from Heaven, which is the least of his troubles. Loki needs a job to pay for school and support himself.

Still, Loki has a rare gift: He is a Dreamhunter. One of the few in the world who can hunt and kill immortal demons in their dreams so they never wake up again.

When Loki is sent to kill a sixteen-year-old vampire girl the locals call Snow White Sorrow, he is pulled into a magical but dangerous world. The locals believe the monster to be Snow White.

The real Snow White... living in the ruins of an ancient castle in a small town. She is described as horribly beautiful, terrifyingly enchanting, and wickedly lovely.

What he finds instead is a beautiful monster girl filled with rage and hurt, who has an epic untold story to tell of things such like why the Brothers Grimm altered the fairy tale, who the Evil Queen really is, where the mirror came from, and who possessed it.

Snow White has killed every person who has dared come near the castle where she once lived with the queen. Mysteriously, she lets Loki live, and whispers two words in his ears; two words that will change his life forever.

Another fairy tale retelling, right?  Only, I've never seen so much weird imagination.  I mean, there's imagination, and then there's the weird, eccentric imagination that Cameron Jace has.  He melds our world into the city of Sorrow which melds fairy tale characters into real life people.  And they all have a different paranormal aspect to them.

Loki is almost like your average teen, except for the fact that he's a fallen angel who's forgotten his past.  But he's trying to get in everyone's good graces even though he has an attitude and doesn't need anyone's help.  We kind of get to see him grow throughout the novel.  And there's Snow White.  She's beautiful, mysterious, and a vampire.  Yep, everything I need to make my book complete.

For me, this book started out really slow.  Watching Loki journey into Sorrow and meeting new characters was difficult for me.  I wanted the fairy tales.  But once we got into the dreamworld, I was hooked.  I loved the retelling of Snow White and how things began to unravel together so well.

Now that I've read the beginning, I'm hoping the next few books will go straight into the dream world and fairy tale retelling (you can tell I'm straight to the point).  It's a fun read.

Thanks goes to Cameron Jace for providing me a review copy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Genre:  YA Paranormal Fantasy
Shade Trilogy, Book 3

Description (taken from Jeri Smith-Ready's website):
No other love has burned so bright

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced that she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

Hmm, I think I liked the first two books in this series more.  Maybe it's the long time I waited to read the finale, or maybe it's because we're done with the love triangle.  For whatever reason, I don't know.

In a world where kids born after a specific date can see ghosts and those ghosts have the potential to use these kids, you can see where issues could arise.  Where people could be scared enough to react in ways that dehumanize the living.  Welcome to Aura's world.  And various companies will stop at nothing to gain control of the situation.

And as always, we have Zachary: the love interest.  As much as I loved Logan, Zachary was alive and well enough to love more.  But it seems like this book was more about nurturing their love than it was about solving the mystery of the Shift.  I guess I wanted more historical aspects and more solving-the-mystery action.  Don't get me wrong because that stuff is in the book.  It just takes a major back seat when it comes to Zachary and Aura's love for each other.

It was a great ending to a fun trilogy.  I just wished I had read this one sooner...

Challenges:  Paranormal Reading Challenge and TBR Pile Challenge

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pure Textuality Convention

I have a secret to tell you....

14PTC Badge

And we have EARLY BIRD RATES!!!

The 2014 Pure Textuality Convention is an official sponsor of

I'll be going to this event.  Will you?
I'm kind of excited; it'll be my first book event.  I figured since it's only four hours away in Minneapolis, I should make sure I can get myself there.  And what's even more awesome is I've been selected as one of the bloggers for this event.  So, you'll be hearing more as we get closer to it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Grimm Diaries Prequels Volume 1-6 by Cameron Jace

Genre:  YA Fairy Tale Fantasy

Description (taken from Goodreads):
What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?

Warning: these Grimm Prequels are like snap shots of a magical land you're about to visit soon. I like to think of them as poisoned apples. Once you taste them, you will never see fairy tales in the same light again.

This Grimm Diaries Prequels are a number of short books in the form of epistolary diary entries. The diaries are more of teasers for the upcoming series: The Grimm Diaries, allowing you to get a glimpse of what to expect of the series. The 6 diaries are told by The Evil Queen, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, the Devil, Prince Charming, and Alice Grimm.

Have you ever imagined a world where ours collides with the fairy tales we've been told since we were kids?  And then add a little warped fantasy (you know, the kind I tend to read and love), and you've got a really weird story where fantasy collides with fairy tales in our world.  These six stories are just a taste of what we'll find from Cameron Jace.

We have six different stories from varying characters.  We hear the evil queen's take on her story and almost feel sorry for her.  We get a glimpse of Cinderella's world.  We see Peter Pan con Dracula into helping him all in the name of resurrecting his love.  We also get to hear from other characters.  And as much as their worlds are set in the fairy tale world, they're still in our world.  So we see some history lessons collide with nursery rhymes and tales of wonder.  It's so weird it's good.

With these prequels, we get a glimpse of this world.  We're introduced to the dream world and the immortals.  And we're left wondering what's going to happen in the actual diaries?  I'll be picking up Snow White's story soon...

Sidenote:  I wouldn't recommend these stories for younger kids.  They may be fairy tales, but they're warped with fantasy that can involve slightly darker themes.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

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

I had such a fun week this week.  Quite a few books came in the mail for me.  I love winning things.  It makes me feel awesome...  I hope everyone has a happy Saturday!

For Review:

  • Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Something more precious than gold, more precious than money.  In fact, it's needed to sustain life.  And those in power control it.  Water is scarce in this world.  Sounds intriguing, no?  Thanks goes to Zondervan publishing for this goodie.

Won from Beth Revis:

  • Defy the Dark edited by Saundra Mitchell plus swag
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Isn't this cover awesome?!  And more short stories to become acquainted with new authors.  I'm kind of looking forward to it.  Plus I got some nifty bookmarks; they say "Don't be afraid of the dark".  Since I have extras, let me know if you want one and I can mail it to you.  Thank you Saundra and Beth!
  • Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • If another copy of an awesome book gave me the same feel-good first-read thrill experience, I'd totally take advantage of this new copy.  But...  I can totally read my other copy a second time.   So...  I'm trying to decide what to do with this copy: offer up for swap on swapping sites, donate it to other readers, or maybe a giveaway.  I'm not sure, feedback anyone?

Won from Lili's Reflections:

  • Prophecy by Ellen Oh (signed) plus bookmark
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I've been wanting to get my hands on a good fantasy.  And this one seems like something fun to read.  And it's signed (see inset picture).  Cool beans!  Thanks Ellen and Lili!
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

From the Library:

  • Survive by Alex Morel
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Prior to winning the butt load of books, I thought I might pick some books from my tbr pile that I wanted to read last year but didn't.  This was one of them.  And it's all about surviving...

Purchased (e-edition):

The Moon Dwellers by David Estes
An indie dystopian.  I like these indie authors.  He was celebrating his one year a couple of weeks ago by offering free copies, and I thought I'd snag one while I could.

Yellow Socks and Blood Spots by Bailey J Thompson
Another freebie that I snagged.  I like being notified of these awesome freebies.  Of course, this book deals with more serious issues than what I'm used to.  But it still looks good.

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks



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