Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

Genre:  YA Science Fiction
The Lorien Legacies, Book 3

Note:  Read the earlier books in this series prior to reading the information below.  The information below can be a little spoilsome if you haven't read earlier books.

Description (taken from Goodreads):
The Mogadorians who destroyed the planet Lorien continue to hunt down the Garde, the small group of Loric survivors who have taken refuge on Earth. The Garde must come together. They are Lorien and Earth’s only hope.

During the dangerous mission at the Mogadorian base in West Virginia, John found and rescued Nine. But even with their combined powers, special abilities known as Legacies, the pair barely escaped with their lives—and they lost Sam in the process.

In order to save our world and their own, John and Nine must join forces with Six and Seven who have been battling the Mogadorians in Spain, and who are now trying to locate Number Eight in India.

Power in numbers will save us all.

This book is told from John's, Number Six', and Marina's point of view.  It's a nice variation of narrators, and we jump from one action-packed scene to another.  This story is all about bringing the remaining members of the Garde together and preparing for war against the Mogadorians.

John and Number Nine have just escaped from the Mogadorians' lair.  They left Sam.  But John was too weak to go back for him.  While they regain they're strength, they're plagued with visions of the head Mogadorian.  And they're trying to figure out where to go next.

Number Six, Marina, and Ella are trying to find Number Eight before meeting with John (Number Four).  Through an interesting journey in India, a series of tests, and some fun characters, they manage to find Eight.  And he's a pretty cool guy (alright, he has a really cool legacy).  And then the next course of action is to find Number Four and regroup.

I kind of feel like this book is the page-filler between the "figuring out who you are and accepting it" and the "all-out war against the Mogadorians".  So, it was kind of blah for me.  Sure, there were fun action scenes and everything.  But with the fight scene at the end, I had a small moment where I wished it were the final fight scene and the story would end already (happily of course and with the creepy Mogadorians dead).  So, I guess I wasn't as interested.

I'll keep up with this series in the hopes for an awesome end (whenever that manages to come about).  And I'm excited to meet the elusive Number Five (the last of the surviving Lorien to be introduced).

Challenges:  TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All Hallows Eve Indie Tour: KA Young and Giveaway

Please welcome KA Young, author of The Nephilim Warrior series and Coven, to my little space in the internet.  Also, the first book in The Nephilim Warrior series is free on all platforms if you want to check it out.  Don't forget to check out the rest of the All Hallows Eve Blog Tour!

Author Interview: KA Young
**Images taken from Google Image Search**

Q:  Favorite Halloween Book?
A:  Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Q:  Favorite ghost story?
A:  “The exorcist” scares the crap out of me every time.

Q:  What’s your favorite Fall drink?
A:  Pumpkin spice latte

Q:  What do you like best about Fall?
A:  I adore so much about the fall season, to name a few, the cool, crispness that is in the air and the changes in the leaves. I love taking a drive through the mountains with the top down and simply behold the beauty of the season.

Q:  Truth or dare?
A:  Dare

Q:  What’s the first candy you’ll be eating after trick-or-treating?
A:  Butterfinger Mini’s. My favorite trick or treat candy since childhood.

Q:  If you could have any superpower, what would you have?
A:  To never need sleep. Oh just think of all the writing I could get done in a day. LOL

Q:  Describe your book, Coven, in two sentences.
A:  This is the first book in the tantalizing Elise Michaels Series a spinoff of The Nephilim Warrior Series. It’s an exiting adventure that will leave you breathless and wanting more.

Q:  Who is it meant to be read by?
A:  Adults 18+ there is a lot of steamy stuff in there.

Q:  Who was your favorite character to write about?
A:  I have had the best time writing from Elise POV and she is by far the most fun to write about at the moment. Although, I can foresee that writing in Aliene’s POV from the Nephilim Series in an upcoming future novel will be an experience I will never forget.

Author Bio
K.A. Young is a paranormal/fantasy romance author that lives with her family in the South. She began writing because her mind was swimming with incredible stories that were begging to be told. Her love for reading began as a small child when she realized that a good book was an instant escape to a mystical land that could be reached anytime and from anyplace.

Coven by KA Young
Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance
Elise Michaels Series, Book 1
Amazon | Goodreads

Description (taken from KA Young's email):
Elise Michaels' motto has always been: no guts, no glory. She is a thrill seeker, continually craving excitement and adventure. The idea of being tied down to a place or man never interested her, even though a betrothal spell was cast linking her and the Head of Council’s son when they were mere infants.

Being a distant third in succession to assume the Head Mistress role, she felt confidant that her secret would remain in her past along with Coven life. Unfortunately, nothing in our fun loving heroine’s future is anything she or anyone from the supernatural realm is prepared for.

Now, she’s forced to return to the place and the Sorcerer she so desperately sought to forget.

Elise has no idea the power and gifts that await her. Can she let go of her own desires and embrace her new role? Or will she surrender to the faceless evil coming for them all?

Coven Trailer

Van and I rode in silence for the first hour or so of our journey to my childhood home. I think we were both dealing with our own demons. Coming along with me on this babysitting detail was in fact a demotion for him. Although I was happy to have him along with me, as he certainly would keep things lively as well as my spirits up, I still felt bad that Eli had put him in this position.

He’d been training a lot harder lately while he considered joining one of the covert teams in their pursuit of The Hunter. That ex-brother-in-law of Anna’s had been giving both the vamps and us a run for our money. He’d kinda slipped off the radar several months ago and we all had secretly hoped he’d been ‘offed’ by a rogue vamp. He was one of the strongest and fastest vampires around, despite the fact that he was essentially a baby vamp. He was turned by the use of black magic, so it sped up the process. It usually took years for most vamps to gain his type of strength and speed; born vampires who grew into their powers and abilities during the transition that took place around their early to mid-twenties.

I was ashamed to admit that Van wasn’t the only one I felt sorry for at the moment. I had never wanted to go back to the Coven, but going back I was. It wasn’t that I didn’t have fond memories of my childhood there. I did. It was that being part of, or leading the Coven, was the equivalent of imprisonment. Well, maybe that was a little on the extreme side, but it was how I felt; how I’d always felt. The responsibility that came with protecting the secrets and traditions of the Coven didn’t lend itself to much free time. I was, and always had been, a free spirit. Adventure was never something I shied away from even when it went hand in hand with danger.

I sighed again and tried to focus on the positives of returning. One, I would be close to the sea and I adored the salty air as well as the sandy beaches that were so close to the Coven that they had been deemed our backyard. Two, I would get to see some of my closest friends that remained behind and three­­… well, there were two positives.

Van brushed the back of his hand against my cheek, breaking into my mental pep talk. I turned, smiling at him. His handsome tan face beamed with encouragement. He was aware of how hard this was for me, for both of us.

“I’m okay. Surely, things won’t be too bad. I mean, I can handle a bunch of adolescents.” Could I handle seeing him again, though? Would the pull of the spell still be as powerful as it was when I had resided there? I was positive it would.

I remembered back to the day my mother had explained the bond to me. I’d been about thirteen and Garrett and I had been caught kissing in the woods back behind the Coven. “Elise, do you recall the history of the betrothal of Coven’s leaders?” I had. Back when the Coven wanted to ensure what bloodlines would remain in leadership of the Coven, parents of both the Mistresses and Council would cast a betrothal spell, binding two infants together. They would be compelled to complete the mating bond once they reached adulthood.

“Your father and I, along with Garrett’s parents, cast such a spell on the two of you. We thought at the time it was what was best for the both of you and the Coven, but now, I’m not so sure. You are special, Elise. I have seen in a vision that you are to be paired with a warrior that all of us even wondered if she would live to see adulthood.”

I knew then what she was referring to; we’d all heard tales of the last female warrior. The one that would one day assume the throne as queen of the Nephilim. I had been beyond excited that I’d been chosen. I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends, but my mother had sworn me to secrecy. When she realized it was too much to ask of someone so young, she spelled me silent—a brilliant move on her part. It was then she warned me to control my impulses toward Garrett and I had from that moment on.

I came back to the present and my task at hand. “Anything those kiddos come up with, I’m positive I’ve already thought of or attempted it myself.”

He laughed. “Of that I have no doubt.”

“Van, I’m sorry you got roped into coming along with me.” I glanced down at my hands that I now clasped together. “I know this isn’t what you had in mind when you thought about your future.”

He reached over and took one of my hands in his. “I don’t want you thinking that way. This isn’t the future either one of us envisioned, but it is the one fate has chosen for us and I for one am not going to allow myself to question it. I’m just going to do my damndest to make the best of it and focus on the job at hand; which is keeping you alive and out of harm’s way.”

God, he was the best. “Point taken and attitude adjusted, Warrior.” I saluted him with my free hand. “Van, you know—next to Anna—you are my favorite person. Ever.” He didn’t respond, only smiled. He raised my hand that he still held tightly in his to his lip and kissed it. “Van…” I looked out the window, steeling my nerves. Seeing as how he was my closest friend next to Anna, I needed to be honest with him about everything.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

Genre:  YA Contemporary Thriller

Description (taken from David Levithan's website):
In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he’s been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan’s starting to believe it’s Ariel that’s behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.

Can we just admit that being a teenager is one of the hardest things we'll ever do in our lives?  So much emotion.  Not enough understanding.  Friends.  Enemies.  Trying to figure out who you want to be.  Trying to understand yourself and life.  It's just hard.  Period.

Ever since Evan's friend, Ariel, disappeared, he's been trying to move on with life.  And yet, he somehow feels like it's his fault for Ariel's disappearance.  And once these random pictures start showing up, we see the guilt push forward.  But we also see Evan trying to rekindle friendships as he tries to figure out what his role is with all of this.

This book is a super short read.  And on the surface?  I didn't care about this book.  But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was sweet.  We see various people in our day-to-day activities, and they will always see a different me than the me someone else will see.  And how we perceive these interactions will determine how we interact with others: who we'll love, who we'll hate.  I don't know.  Maybe it's all too much transcendentalism for me.

This book definitely requires reading between the lines.  And thinking about the big picture instead of just the story in the book.  I think some people are going to like it, and some will make kindling out of it.  Still, the pictures were fun to look at.

Friday, October 25, 2013

All Hallows Eve Tour: Ella James and Giveaway

Please welcome Ella James, author of the Love Inc series, the Stained series and the Here series.  Selling Scarlett and Stained are both free, so check it out.  Don't forget to check out the rest of the All Hallows Eve Blog Tour!

Author Bio
I'm a Denver, Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. I am happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together we are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma. My books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Amazon Top 100 and the Amazon Movers & Shakers List; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012.

Selling Scarlett by Ella James
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
Love Inc Series, Book 1
Amazon | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Elizabeth DeVille doesn't belong at a party like this - one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.

Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail.

When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter's den of vices, she's a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn't have, and she's come up with a foolproof way to get it.

Follow Elizabeth - code-named Scarlett - to the lush Nevada brothel where she'll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that's not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil's mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life.

Stained by Ella James
Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Stained Series, Book 1
Amazon | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
After a fire destroys seventeen-year-old Julia’s home and kills her foster parents, she chases the half-demon responsible across the country and back, determined to avenge her family and discover why a host of celestial baddies want her dead. With Julia is enigmatic hottie - Cayne, who has his own score to settle with the half-demon, and who might be just as dangerous as the creature he and Julia hunt.

Here by Ella James
Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Here Series, Book 1
Amazon | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Milo Mitchell's life used to be charmed, but that was before her family dissolved, she went a little crazy, and her best friends started acting more like strangers. Spending Saturday morning in a treehouse with a stun gun for company and a herd of deer for friends is the only exciting thing in her life...until she shoots a fawn and finds her dart stuck in a guy.
Her gorgeous victim is dressed in a Brioni tux and armed with a hanky. He has no idea who or where he is. Afraid her dart caused his amnesia, Milo takes him in, names him Nick, and vows to help him solve his mystery. Soon the pair find Nick's face in a newspaper obituary, and Nick beings to have strange, ethereal memories of Milo--who is sure she's never met him. Suddenly Nick knows things he shouldn't know and is doing things he shouldn't do. When the Department of Defense shows up, Nick and Milo run--toward a shocking conclusion that could destroy both their worlds.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Genre: YA Dystopian 
All Our Yesterdays Series, Book 1 

Description (taken from Cristin Terrill's website):
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 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, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. 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. Em and Marina are in a race against time and each other, and only one of them can win.

So I know this book was about time travel, but I think my mind was envisioning something else.  Not only one instance of time travel occurring, and an explanation that this has occurred many times.  Or I just didn't get into it.

Em and Finn are being help captive and tortured for information they won't give up.  Soon, they go back in time in an attempt to stop what was for them from becoming for their future selves.  And this is where we meet Marina, James, and Abbott.  Three teenagers trying to deal with death, love, and their future selves.

Honestly, I felt like the plot line was super thin.  Even though nothing is explained until the last ten pages, I had it figured out in the beginning.  I knew how it was going to play out and how it would end.  And I couldn't get into the characters.  I guess I wanted more time travel and less heart-ache revenge (all in the name of saving the world).

If the story sounds good (going to the past to stop the future from happening), then check it out.  Or look into other reviews if I'm not that convincing...

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge and Paranormal Reading Challenge

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Genre:  YA Historical Fiction

Description (taken from Goodreads):
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

So different from my normal reading genre.  And we know right from the get-go that it's going to be a sad one.  This book is from Death's point of view, and he's quite a busy guy during this time.  And one thing that's a little hard to get used to is this book is told as a story not from beginning to end.  Some things are going to remind Death of something that happens later, and he brings it up now and then moves on with the story.  You quickly get used to it.

We see the poor in Germany trying to scrape by.  Hitler has become a figure to look up to.  He represents prosperity, pride, and nationalism.  Only he's also willing to blame everyone he dislikes for everyone's problems.  We see all of this from Liesel's point of view.  And it's depressing, but there's still hope.  We watch some people do nothing while others are tortured, but we also see courage when others step up and try to help.  Just read it to get the plot...

So I have to describe this book with an analogy.  Imagine someone pointing out the window.  You know it's there but can't see out of it.  You step closer and begin to see glimpses of the outside.  The blinds are lifted and things become a little clearer.  Your face is up against the window, and you're seeing outside.  Yet when you step outside, it's still so much more.  That's how Death's story of Liesel is told.  We know what's going to happen, but it's still so much more when it does happen.  Now switch "more" with "depressing," and you've got my mood for this book.

I bawled my eyes out.  I count my lucky stars that I am not in that kind of situation.  It's amazing to see those you least expect to have the most courage to stand up for what is right.  And sometimes the "right" side of the war isn't necessarily doing the "right" thing; they can still do evil things for the better good (but it doesn't cancel out the evil).  Agh, I have to stop before I start blabbering and crying.

Yes, go read this one.  I'm excited for the movie now.  I recommend this one for more mature teenagers because it requires an understanding of the time period to really appreciate it.

Challenges:  TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Genre:  YA Contemporary

Description (taken from Cat Patrick's website):
One decision will change everything…

Caroline is at a crossroads.

Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been bedside since Gram’s stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape—both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. So when Caroline’s best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: Stay by Gram’s side for what might be her final hours, or Go to the party and live her life.

The consequences of this one decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths— and she is about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she’s ever wanted. Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending . . .

Seeing two worlds open into new beginnings based on one decision.  Isn't this a novel concept?  Well, I've actually read one other book that dealt with this concept, so it's not new to me.  But I enjoy reading how our choices and decisions shape our world and future.

Caroline is a teenager dealing with her grandmother's failing health.  While I wasn't in high school when my grandma passed away (I was in college), I do know how that feels.  Seeing all of the distractions and wanting to use those instead of facing reality.  Watching as your world suddenly stops while everything else keeps moving.  I know how she felt.  And it was a little sad to watch it all play out.  But this book is more than just her grandmother's death.  It's about family, friends, making mistakes and dealing with the consequences, and falling in love.

From the beginning, there was only one boy I was rooting for.  I immediately despised the other one.  And then I realized that this book is a major love story.  And not only that, but it deals with fate and destiny.  Kind of like how no matter what our decisions are, our fate will always find us in the end.  Free will that doesn't mess up the grand scheme of things.  (You'll understand all of this philosophical mumbo-jumbo once you read the book.  Or you'll just think I'm nuts.)

But this book didn't really do it for me.  It was a good story, but I was kind of all "meh" with the ending.  It just wasn't for me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

manda-rae's Haul

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

It's been a busy day for me, and I have a feeling this weekend's just going to stay busy.  As I write this, I realize it's way past my bedtime.  And I have to work Saturday.  The good news is I'll be cooking some awesome food in between reading this weekend. 

From the Library:

  • With All my Soul by Rachel Vincent
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • The finale to an awesome series.  I'm looking forward to this one.  Do not disappoint me!  And the cover is fabulous.
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Looking at the cover, I begin to question why I got this book.  It doesn't pull me in, but I've seen some good reviews for it.

Purchased (e-edition):

Released by Megan Duncan
Demon apocalypse!  I like the cover...

The Lotus Effect by Bridget Ladd
This sounds like a steampunk-ish, Hunger Game-ish type of read.  Again, I like the cover (and the title).

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks




Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Genre:  YA Fairy Tale Fantasy
Lunar Chronicles, Book 1

Description (taken from Marissa Meyer's website):
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

We meet Cinder, a cyborg human, who's just trying to survive under her step-mother's watchful eye.  Her world is set in the future where people live on the moon and some people have robotic limbs.  And now a plague is beginning to ravage the town.  When Cinder's sister gets sick, she does everything she can to find a cure and save her sister.  And she happens to cross paths with powerful people, including the prince.  And when the Lunar princess comes to Earth, we see Cinder's world as she knew it begin to shatter and rebuild itself.

To put it simply, this book is a really cute story.  It's a happy retelling of Cinderella.  But I felt like there wasn't enough explanations to the whole cyborg concept.  It was excellent on building the story around a beautiful fantasy.  But I kind of felt torn.  It was too nice...

I found myself constantly rooting for Cinder when I was interested.  But the problem was keeping me interested throughout the whole book.  I might pick up the second, but I'm not sure.  I guess I feel like this book was a little too sweet for me.  I'd definitely hand this off to my little sister to read.

Challenges:  TBR Pile Challenge
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