Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Genre:  YA Mythology
The Goddess War Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Kendare Blake's website):
Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She’s ready to wage a war of her own, and she’s never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra’s hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

It's like taking bits and pieces from the Trojan War and throwing it into modern day times.  But in these days, the gods are weak and dying.  And they'll do anything to preserve their immortality, even if that means involving teenagers whose past lives were in the infamous war.

Athena has a brittle alliance with Cassandra, the girl who can kill gods.  But she's missing another chess piece: Achilles.  And if she can't get Odysseus' cooperation in finding him, she'll find another way.  But on the other side of the war, Ares sees what was done to his mother: Hera.  And Aphrodite's madness is beginning to get to him.  So he will join arms and fight Athena, the goddess who sides with mortals over her own family.

This story is easy to follow from start to finish.  I was engrossed with it and had to know what happened next.  But then the book ends, and I'm left wishing I had the next one.  My only complaint with this series is it doesn't go into too much description regarding the gods.  And I'm not sure I quite follow the weapons of fate, and how they're supposed to be so scary for the gods.  But it's definitely got enough action to keep me occupied.

A book for those who love mythology.  It'll keep you wondering what happens next as the gods are dying.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill

Genre:  Adult Urban Fantasy
Chicagoland Vampires Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Vamps in Chicago!

You’d think headlines like that would have provoked the fine citizens of the Windy City to take up arms against us bloodsucking fiends. Instead, ten months later, we’re enjoying a celebrity status reserved for the Hollywood elite—fending off paparazzi only slightly less dangerous than cross and stake-wielding slayers. Don’t get me wrong, Joe Public isn’t exactly thrilled to be living side-by-side with the undead, but at least they haven’t stormed the castle yet.

But all that will change once they learn about the Raves—mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle and drink themselves silly. Most civilized vampires frown on this behavior, putting mere mortals at ease with their policy of asking a person’s consent before taking a big gulp of the red stuff. However, that doesn’t make good copy for a first time reporter looking to impress his high society family.

So now my “master,” the centuries old, yet gorgeously well-preserved Ethan Sullivan, wants me to reconnect with my own upper class family and act as liaison between humans and vampires—and keep the more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media. But someone doesn’t want people and vamps to play nicey-nice—someone with an ancient grudge.

Welcome to Merit's world: living in Chicago where vampires have outed themselves, and there are three major vampire houses in the windy city.  And while Merit is beginning to deal with her change to vampire status without consent, bad happenings are occurring with the vampires.  So Merit must use her old social elite contacts to make sure the negative vampire aspects don't make the headlines.

But Merit's still trying to deal with her own relationship status.  Being attracted to multiple guys at once can be a problem.  And when one of them's willing to let the other man win, Merit feels like there's little option for her.  So she distracts herself with the vampire problem.

I feel like this series is a typical run-of-the-mill vampire series, except the main character is also a vampire.  Yes, the first book introduces her as a fledgling vampire, and then the series moves on to introduce the rest of the supernatural community.  However, I feel like there isn't a whole lot to the story yet.  Nothing shock-worthy.  Yet I still want to keep reading this series...

Another vampire series I'm sure most vampire fans enjoy.  I'm just really crossing my fingers that the storylines pick up pace and interest soon, otherwise I'll be dropping this series.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

manda-rae's Haul

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

Only 5 days until Christmas!  And unfortunately, I think I'm coming down with a cold...  More reading for me I guess.

From the Library:

  • Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I'm hoping this is a good one.  Especially since I like the Mercedes Thompson series.  I just realized it short stories.  Meh, I hope I'll enjoy them.
  • Undivided by Neal Shusterman
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Is it the ending to this series at last?  I've been so disappointed lately with 'last' books.  This one better be good...

Christmas Card:

  • Isabelle from Lecture toute une Aventure sent me a card all the way from Belgium!  And it came with smurf stickers!!!!!  I love how this book blogging community brings the world together, and we meet good book friends.  Thank you so much Isabelle!  You brightened my week...

manda-rae's Past Week


Unfortunately, I think I'm going to be lowering my Goodreads reading goal again...  Stupid reading rut.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood

Genre:  YA Historical Paranormal Romance
The Cahill Witch Chronicles Series, Book 3

Note:  This is the final book in a trilogy.  Reading anything below without having read the first two books could spoil earlier plot lines.

Description (taken from Jessica Spotswood's website):
A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can't help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she's torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she's certain she can never forgive Maura's betrayal. And now that Tess's visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

This book picks up right where the last one left off: with Maura betraying Cate by erasing Finn's memory.  Cate has lost the very reason she has worked to destroy the brotherhood and free their hold of the community.  But Maura has joined a bigger movement.  She's going to help Inez, the one now in charge of the Sisterhood, who plans on taking over the city and destroying every last member of the brotherhood, regardless of guilt.  But Cate just can't let that happen.

Cate has joined the resistance, a group of misfits who want to rid the brotherhood's stranglehold on society.  But this ragtag of men wouldn't go so far as to give women the right to vote; that's another conversation for a later time.  But Cate gets a chance meeting here with Finn that will begin to rekindle a romance from the past.  Meanwhile, Tess, the prophesied most powerful witch of New London, is being plagued with visions and illusions.  She can't determine truth from fiction and is beginning to go mad.  But can Cate help her before it's too late?

So this book brings in an element that wasn't touched on much earlier: a fever plaguing the village.  And it felt a little off base from the previous books.  I remember having so much emotion at the end of the second one that I wanted to scream, and this one just didn't keep up the steam for me.  I felt like this huge Cahill prophecy about Tess was such a let down.  It's like witchcraft was just a tiny part to the whole story.  I don't know.  I guess I just lost interest in the characters once we turned it into a classical plague/witch hunt.

This is a historical fiction series that kind of goes through the witch trials from the past.  It's one that's sure to rile with emotions and keep the reader interested.  I think I'm just getting tired of young adult, and that's why it didn't sit well with me.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

manda-rae's Haul

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

It's Saturday!  A day for lots of workouts and parties!  And maybe a little bit of reading...

From the Library:

  • Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • A little bit of mythology wrapped into a paranormal setting.  I thought the first one was intriguing enough to want to read the second.  I hope it doesn't disappoint.

manda-rae's Past Week


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Soulprint by Megan Miranda

Genre:  YA Science Fiction
Expected publication date:  February 3, 2015

Description (taken from Megan Miranda's website):
Seventeen-year-old Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned on a secluded island—not for a crime she committed in this lifetime, but one done by her past self. Her very soul is like a fingerprint, carried from one life to the next—and Alina is sick of being guilty.

Aided by three teens with their own ulterior motives, Alina manages to escape. Although she’s not sure she can trust any of them, she soon finds herself drawn to Cameron, the most enigmatic and alluring of the trio. But when she uncovers clues from her past life, secrets begin to unravel and Alina must figure out whether she’s more than the soul she inherited, or if she’s fated to repeat history.

This stunning “new world” romance from acclaimed author Megan Miranda will leave readers wondering how far they would go to escape the past.

Imagine a future where our souls leave a distinct tag within the spinal fluid.  And scientific advances have been able to capture this data, study it, and link existing people's souls to souls of the past.  Alina Chase lives in this world.  It's a world where your soul's past can dictate who you will become in your current life.  But Alina's tired of being known for someone she isn't.  And she's ready for everyone to let the past go.

Three teenagers help Alina escape her childhood home/imprisonment.  She has been a ward of the government almost since they first discovered who she was in her past life: a dangerous criminal who exploited the soulprinting system.  But these teenagers all want something from Alina's past self, and they believe she's the key to her past.  So Alina must help them find what her past self did through a string of clues.  And this will help lead them to the truth, regardless of right or wrong.

This is a romance cat and mouse tale that stems from a sci-fi idea.  And I will tell you, I was captivated with the story and the characters.  There's mystery that weaves throughout the pages and leaves you guessing.  But as far as the science fiction piece: the whole soulprinting business?  It's not as developed as I would have liked which left me questioning the whole premise.  I wanted a more in-depth explanation about soulprinting and how much it was affecting this future society.  Instead, what I got was off-handed sentences explaining why without the evidence.  So, the gooey romance-side of my brain was satisfied, the thrilling mystery side of my brain was happy, but the scientifically detailed explanation side was not satisfied (it kind of got a little grumpy).

I feel like this novel is for the YA romance enthusiast who is looking for a good thriller.  However, it is not for the science fiction geeks looking for a new world to wrap their heads around.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


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

Still going strong on my reading rut.  But I've got the weekend to catch up now.  Hope everyone has a happy Saturday and Sunday!

For Review:

  •   Soulprint by Megan Miranda
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I must admit that I've already finished this book, and I feel like it was incomplete.  Yes, it has a really good story, but it missing the awesome sci-fi components that I was so looking forward to.  Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours!
  • The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • This seems like a very different sci-fi read from my normal.  But it's about space, and I figure what could go wrong in space.  Well, lots of things; that's why I'm reading this one.  Thanks goes to Tor!

For Review (e-edition):

A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain
Amazon | Goodreads
So, when I read the bottom line: If Stephanie Plum fought evil with magic; it'd look a lot like this," I was sold.  Who doesn't love Stephanie Plum?  And this could be the new urban fantasy that hooks me back into reading.  I'm looking forward to this one.  Thanks goes to Rebecca Chastain!

manda-rae's Past Three Weeks


Promos and Giveaways:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Daylighters by Rachel Caine

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
The Morganville Vampires Series, Book 5

Note:  This is the last book in a long series.  If you like anything vampire and young adult, I highly recommend this series.  But reading anything below can slightly spoil earlier plots.

Description (taken from Goodreads):
While Morganville, Texas, is often a troubled town, Claire Danvers and her friends are looking forward to coming home. But the Morganville they return to isn’t the one they know; it’s become a different place—a deadly one…

Something drastic has happened in Morganville while Claire and her friends were away. The town looks cleaner and happier than they’ve ever seen it before, but when their incoming group is arrested and separated—vampires from humans—they realize that the changes definitely aren’t for the better.

It seems that an organization called the Daylight Foundation has offered the population of Morganville something they’ve never had: hope of a vampire-free future. And while it sounds like salvation—even for the vampires themselves—the truth is far more sinister and deadly.

Now, Claire, Shane and Eve need to find a way to break their friends out of Daylighter custody, before the vampires of Morganville meet their untimely end.

Welcome to Morganville, a town with vampires.  But the vampires have been corralled, and the humans are calling the shots.  However just because they're not at the top of the food chain doesn't mean they can't be just as evil as the blood-suckers.

Claire, Shane, Michael, and Eve are coming home.  They're finally ready for familiar territory.  But their homecoming is nothing like they expected.  All of the vampires have been forced into a building while a new organization, the Daylight Foundtion, calls the shots.  But with Claire's warped view of right and wrong, is the town really doing the right thing by trying to eradicate the vampires?  A question that can only be hard to answer if you're a Morganville resident.

The ending to this series has come and gone.  Honestly, it's been a long time coming.  Yes, I loved the books.  I love Claire's character.  But honestly?  I think Shane's an idiot.  And I don't see how Claire could ever have fallen for him other than a silly high school girl crush.  Of course, I still have a silly crush on Myrnin.  So I guess that makes us even.  But back to the book.  It was a good happliy-ever after ending that you'd expect in Morganville.  I'm happy and sad to see it end.

This is a series I would give to my sister to read.  I loved reading this books throughout college.  And I'm glad I stuck with the series to the end.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Slip by David Estes and Giveaway

This is my stop during the book blitz for the Slip series by David Estes. This series contains two books so far: Slip (Slip #1) and Grip (Slip #2). This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 1 until 5 December, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

Slip by David Estes
Slip Series, Book 1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Release date: December 1, 2014

Description (taken from Blog Tour):
Someone must die before another can be born...

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

Grip by David Estes
Slip Series, Book 2
Genre: YA Dystopian
Release date: December 1, 2014

Description (taken from Blog Tour):
In a tumultuous world of population control, one illegal child has slipped through the cracks. Now, as a teenager, Benson Kelly has escaped certain deaths at the hands of the Department of Population Control, only to find himself the symbol of a rebellion, something he never intended.

While trying to survive one day at a time, Benson seeks to unravel the tangled knot of secrets left behind when his father died, the key to which has something to do with his mother, Janice Kelly, recently escaped from the insane asylum.

As the rebel group known as the Lifers continue to use brute force to send a message to the government, Benson's twin, Harrison Kelly, seeks to exploit a loophole that could be the key to freedom for his brother. All that's required is a simple act of murder.

Meanwhile, Population Control's attack dog, a sadistic cyborg known as The Destroyer, closes in on Benson and his family. His directive: Kill them all.

Faith, family and love will be pushed to the limits in the GRIPping sequel to Slip.

About David Estes
Author of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia. Join 2,400+ David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite in David Estes' official fan group.

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.


Michael Kelly’s stomach is in knots.

It’s no different than he’s felt since his promotion to Head of Population Control, except that the knots seem to tighten with each word that his second in command, Corrigan Mars, speaks. “Finally,” Corr says slowly, “we’ve got a Slip.”

Damn, he thinks, but he can’t say that. “What do we know?” he asks instead. As usual, he’s playing his role and playing it well.

“Not much,” Corr says. “Except she’s young, maybe three or four years old, female.”

“The doctor?” Michael says.

“Dead. He was particularly good at keeping secrets, even under our most sophisticated interrogation procedures. His mind was stronger than his body.”

Michael knows exactly what that means, and it makes him cringe inwardly. Torture. But he doesn’t show his revulsion on his face, his false expression stalwart and emotionless. “Just one child slipped through the cracks though, right?” Michael’s chest tightens when he realizes his mistake. His loose tongue. He called the Slip a ‘child.’ A child born illegally is no child, is nothing more than an enemy of the state, something he should know better than anyone.

Corr blinks once, but if he notices the error he doesn’t show it. Instead he only nods in confirmation. “There were others, but none had reached the age of mobility. The doctor started doing illegal births a few years back. He began slowly, as most of them do, but then ramped up operations as he gained confidence. She was his first.”

“How’d we catch the others?”

“After the first, the doc started keeping records. He used code names and misdirection, but we managed to crack the code during his interrogation. From there it was relatively easy. The Hunters tracked every last UnBee down.”

UnBees, Michael thinks, hating the slang term more than ever. Unauthorized Beings. “How many?” he asks, wishing he didn’t have to. Wishing he could walk out and never return.

“Dozens.” His old friend says it with a smile, like killing more children than can be counted on two hands is something to be proud of. When did the gap in their beliefs widen into an eternal chasm?

“Good,” Michael says, bitterness coating his tongue. “Catch the Slip. Use every resource we have available. Our careers may depend on it.”

The smile never leaves Corr’s blood-red lips. “Don’t you worry, Boss. We’ll catch her and we’ll kill her. Her parents, too.”

The moment Corrigan Mars exits his office, Michael Kelly slumps back in his chair, his body shaking with regret.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Giveaway: Sceadu by Prashant Pinge

Sceadu by Prashant Pinge
Genre:  YA Fantasy

Description (taken from giveaway email):
All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

Nine year old Matilda ends up with a century old book through a series of strange coincidences. And disappears. Her brother and cousins are forced to suspend their hostilities and pursue her to Sceadu, a land inside the human shadow. Once there, the reluctant visitors find themselves chased by the vicious Hefigans, creatures of Sceadu. However, everything changes with the revelation of an ancient prophecy that foretells the doom of the world they left behind.

With the stakes suddenly raised, the children must now navigate the dangerous terrain, overcome grave challenges, and unlock the secrets of the shadow. But can they do it in time to thwart the plans of the treacherous Hefigans? Or will they succumb to the guile of a ruthless enemy who is equally determined to destroy mankind?

Sceadu is a fast-paced adventure which blurs the boundary between the physical and the psychological, the real and the mythical.

lders relaxed; he was in control, at least for the time being. There would be challenges ahead, grave ones. The boy had probably complicated things. But he could deal with all that later.

About Prashant Pinge

Prashant Pinge is a published author of short stories and books in the genres of children’s fiction and young adult fantasy fiction. He also writes historical fiction and romantic comedies. His book, Raja & the Giant Donut, was shortlisted for the Economist Crossword Book Awards in the Children’s Writing category in 2011.

Prashant lives in Mumbai, India, with his wife, Avantika, and son, Arjun.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Matilda sat at her old wooden desk, staring into the thick yellowed pages of a book under a dull moth ridden beam cast by the night lamp. But every time she blinked, it seemed as if the words had played a round of musical chairs. And the moths, fluttering through the words at times and hovering over them at others, did not make things any easier.

Matilda was about to turn the page when there was a tug at her feet. It was a very gentle one, almost imperceptible. Surprised, she glanced down, but there was nothing. Perhaps it’s just my imagination, she thought. She was about to shake her thick dark brown curls out of her face when she felt it again.

Matilda pushed her head down and looked into the dark void with furrowed brow. Her skinny legs stared back. But before she could decide on whether she had actually felt anything, there was another tug, an unmistakable one this time. And another one. The truth suddenly dawned upon Matilda. It was her shadow, trying to drag her into itself.

Matilda jerked back the chair, kicking hard at her shadow. But it snapped back, pulling at her even more viciously. She stomped upon it repeatedly. But the dark grey shape began jabbing at her feet and ankles. Matilda pushed herself up and made a frantic attempt to run. But her legs refused to move, and she almost toppled forward.

All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.
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