Monday, March 31, 2014

The Devil's Triangle by Toni DePalma

Welcome to my stop for The Devil's Temptation tour.  Ever wondered how this series started?  Well, I'll be discussing the first one below to get newbies excited for this book.  I look forward to reading the second one!

The Devil's Triangle by Toni DePalma
Genre:  YA Paranormal Contemporary Romance
The Devil's Triangle Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
When 17 year old Cooper dies in an attempt to burn down his school, he finds himself in the afterlife. Lucy, the Devil's sister who has crossed party lines, decides to give Cooper another shot at heaven. The deal? Cooper returns to Earth and has to find a girl named Grace. The rest is up to him.

While Cooper figures out his mission, he's thrown into the life he's always wanted. Great parents, a spot on the Varsity football team and a real future are all within reach. But what he really wants is Grace, a feisty girl with an abusive boyfriend who can pound Cooper into pulp if he doesn't watch out.

While Lucy plays demonic-puppeteer, clues to an unknown past between Cooper and Grace start to unravel. Cooper discovers that what's keeping him and Grace apart is far more sinister than anything this bad boy could have ever imagined.

After being cleaned up and prepared for the afterlife in Heaven (well, maybe he's going there), Cooper is sent before three angels/judges.  They don't like his previous track record but can see the potential for him to be something more.  So they (or Lucy) offer him a second chance at Heaven.  But what he finds is some people are worth more than your second chance at Heaven.

Cooper lands himself at school in the middle of English class.  He's got a crazy teacher and there's a loner girl that's caught his eye.  After meeting Grace, he finds there's a past that he just isn't quite privy to yet.  And then school ends and his brother, Ryan, has to help him with the home-life front.  But there's just something about Grace and this second-chance that Lucy has given him that just doesn't quite make sense.  And it's something Cooper's going to have to dig deeper on to figure out what's really going on.

This story is told from a boy's point of view.  And I imagine the voice is how we girls want boys to think when they're thinking about girls.  I mean we've got the rusty guy humor, but we've also got the deep-down feelings and romance-y things that some guys deny they have.  The romance between Grace and Cooper was cute.  I was able to follow the story well, and I was rooting for Cooper's plans-of-action to save the day.  However, the whole beginnings of the story (what sets up the plot) is what I had an issue with.  I wasn't sure I understood everything clearly, and I just kind of wanted to push all of the bad stuff away and cheer Grace and Cooper on.

This is truly a cute story filled with romance.  It'd be pure contemporary if it weren't for the pesky Lucy giving Cooper a second chance at Heaven.

Thanks goes to Toni De Palma for providing me a review copy.

The Devil's Tempation by Toni DePalma
Genre:  YA Paranormal Contemporary Romance
The Devil's Triangle Series, Book 2
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from the blog tour):
Fighting the Devil brought Cooper and Grace together. But without a little evil to spice things up, the everyday life of a normal teenager is pretty dull. A summer job crewing on a billionaire’s yacht in sunny Italy might be just the ticket to rekindle passion. While the setting is perfect, the winding, sinister back streets of Naples are also the perfect playground for a scorned Lucifer to wreak havoc. And if evil doesn’t rip them apart, the sultry billionaire’s daughter and the sexy First Officer might be what it takes to finally destroy Cooper and Grace’s love forever.

Ooh, Italy!  I want to see the romance between Cooper and Grace continue to grow.  And fighting the devil means there's going to be some interesting happenings here...

About Toni DePalma
Toni De Palma was born in Brooklyn, New York. As a child she spent many summers in Ischia, the Italian island where her father was brought up. Her first middle grade novel, Under the Banyan Tree, was published in 2007 and selected as a Kirkus New Voices Pick and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Her second middle grade novel, Jeremy Owl, was published in 2010. Her third book, The Devil’s Triangle, A YA paranormal is getting rave reviews. Toni holds her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and she is a recipient of a New Jersey Arts Fellowship. She currently resides in New Jersey.

Friday, March 28, 2014

After the End by Amy Plum

Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy
After the End Series, Book 1
Expected publication date:  May 6, 2014

Description (taken from Amy Plum's website):
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness.

They′e survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact.

Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Juneau has spent her entire life living in the middle-of-nowhere, Alaska.  Within her community, she is training to be the next Sage, a type of medicine man if you will.  They live off of the world in seclusion because of the radiation and devastation WWIII left.  But what she doesn't know is that they've lied to her.  The world's still there and people are thriving.  And when her entire clan is kidnapped by helicopter, Juneau embarks on a journey to find them and figure out what is going on.

Miles is the boy who has had it all his entire life,  except for the attention he craves from the people that should mean the most.  He's got the smarts, the money, the family name; so why does he end up acting out to the point of getting kicked out of school?  Forced to work a minimum wage job to prove to his father that he's not a failure, he sees the next few months going nowhere.  That is until he eavesdrops on one of his dad's work conversations about locating a teenage girl.  Miles decides he's up for the job and can get in his father's good graces by finding this girl.  Only he doesn't realize that this girl will make him see everything in a new light.

This book is told from two points of view: Juneau and Miles.  One who is 'one with nature' and a city brat.  We see the stark difference between their lives until their worlds collide and they join forces.  I really enjoyed the emotion and how they reacted to different truths and being lied to.  And the bits of magic, or Yara as it is called, that seems to float throughout the novel.  I want to know more about it.  And as they're being chased, we find there's so much more to the story than what we know.  I must know more...

Honestly, this is a good opener to a new series.  But...  If you can wait for the second book to come out (or the whole series), I would wait and read them all together.  The waiting is killing me (and I just barely finished this book).

Funny side note:  this book makes a stop in Salt Lake City, Utah.  And I loved the little bits of geography that were mentioned (I wish there was more).  Anywho, they end up at the library which is super gorgeous.  I got my bridals taken there (yes I'm a booknerd).  Just a personal connection that no one really cares to know...

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Genre:  YA Dystopian Fantasy
Shatter Me Series, Book 3

Disclaimer:  This is an awesome series to read; you won't be disappointed.  But if you decide to read my review without having read the first two books, you're going to experience spoilers in the earlier books.

Description (taken from Goodreads):
With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

From the very beginning, I loved Warner.  If I weren't married, book-boyfriends were real, and I could have multiple book-boyfriends, he'd be one of them.  But he'd have to be nice to me and not try to kill me...

Anderson, the leader of The Reestablishment, has destroyed Omega Point.  And he almost succeeded in killing Juliette.  But Warner, for some reason, saves her.  While trying to find her friends, Juliette begins to question Warner's intentions.  And she's also decided she's done letting others decide how she should live.  And she lets go of the shell she's hidden in and takes charge with a plan to destroy The Reestablishment.

My reviews from the last two books always mention a weird writing style that doesn't take long to get used to.  Either Tahereh Mafi modified her writing style, Juliette's head got a little clearer once she figured out what she was going to do, or I was just unaffected by the writing style.  My brain was screaming "gimme, gimme" and I read all but 60 pages in one sitting.  And once I realized the ending was coming up, I wanted to savor this series.  I had a hard time picking up those last few chapters.  You know when something tastes so good you don't want to eat it because then it'll be gone and over?  That's how the ending of this book was.

I really loved this series.  The only complaint I have about this book is the fight scene or climax was super small; it wasn't the main point of the book.  I think the main point was watching Juliette grow into who she was going to be and take charge.  That was awesome.  And so is Warner.  Enough said.

Do you like dystopians?  Do you like romance?  If you haven't read this series yet, you must be living in a box without books...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

manda-rae's Haul

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

I feel like I am buried in books this weekend.  So many books came in the mail, it was exciting.  But now I've got to read all of them and fast.  :)  I'm still trying to catch up after my vacation from a month ago.  Also note the Wisconsin Badgers blanket in the background; I have to show my support.

For Review (all from Around the World ARC Tours):

  • After the End by Amy Plum
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I really enjoyed Amy Plum's Revenants series.  So when I found out she was coming out with a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel, I jumped for it.
  • The Treatment by Suzanne Young
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Suzanne Young's books are the kinds I can read in five hours and really enjoy the story.  I absolutely loved The Program, and I want to see what happens next.
  • Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I feel like I've taken a slight risk with this one.  I always seem to strike out when robots are involved, but I'm hoping for good things with this one.

From the Library:

  • Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I read all of this except for the last 50 pages in one sitting.  Apparently the eagerness to see the epic conclusion distracted me from the fact that this story was ending...  I had to stop and savor it all before I finished it.  Definitely recommend this series to anyone interested in dystopians.
  • Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • While I wasn't completely invested in this series with the first one, I'm hoping it picks up.  I placed a hold on this one when I saw that I had no books.  Of course everything else came right afterwards (and I feel swamped with books).


  • Only Gingers can be Witches by JA Trevor (signed)
    • Amazon | Goodreads
      • My friend's book came out last weekend.  I finally got my copy in the mail.  I'm ready for some awesome sauce (does any else say this saying or am I the only one?).
  • Bookmarks from Jeri Smith-Ready
      • Jeri Smith-Ready has been revamping her street team, and I'm happy to be a part of it (and spread the word on her books).  By the way, her next novel, This Side of Salvation, comes out in about a week.  I will be picking it up soon (hopefully).  Thanks for the goodies Jeri Smith-Ready!

For Review (e-edition):

Bald New World by Peter Tieryas
Peter Tieryas' books are definitely different from my usual genre.  But I seem to enjoy the stories and eccentricities associated with them.  And as creepy as I find this cover, I'm just as curious to see how a bald-peopled world behaves.  Thanks Peter Tieryas!

The Devil's Temptation by Toni DePalma
Funny story when I received this: I thought I had already read it and was wondering why I was getting a second copy.  Silly me, I had read the first one and this was the next one.  So I'll be continuing this series.  Thanks Toni DePalma!

manda-rae's Past Three Weeks


Waiting on Wednesdays:
Book Release:


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Incarceron Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Catherine Fisher's website):
Imagine a living prison so vast that it contains corridors and forests, cities and seas. Imagine a prisoner with no memory, who is sure he came from Outside, even though the prison has been sealed for centuries and only one man, half real, half legend, has ever escaped.

Imagine a girl in a manor house in a society where time has been forbidden, where everyone is held in a seventeenth century world run by computers, doomed to an arranged marriage that appals her, tangled in an assassination plot she both dreads and desires.

One inside, one outside.

But both imprisoned.

Imagine a war that has hollowed the moon, seven skullrings that contain souls, a flying ship and a wall at the world's end. Imagine the unimaginable.

Imagine Incarceron.

From page one, this book thrusts you into the middle of two very different worlds.  One where everything is ruled by steel.  And another where time does not move forward.  And a girl will risk everything to try to merge these worlds together.

Finn is a member of a gang in Incarceron, a living prison.  This prison is made of steel, but it keeps its occupants alive by recycling the living and its steel.  But Finn has vague memories of Outside.  He feels like he does not belong to Incarceron.  Thus starts his journey to get out.

Claudia is a spoiled girl living in a world bound by Protocol.  Imagine if we all started using mannerisms and wearing clothes from the 1700s (a caste system if you will).  Knowing there's another world out there and only those in power forcing the current social structure, Claudia works to remove this stop in time.  But as she uncovers the secrets of Incarceron, people begin to reveal their motives which changes things for her.

Honestly, the world building here is extravagant.  However, I felt like there was a catch or an explanation that was going to come out soon revealing why things were the way they were.  But I never got that explanation.  Instead, I'm forced into a world that I don't understand.  And jumping between the worlds, I began to think it was all a little silly.  Don't get me wrong, the characters and the story is exceptional.  I just wish I had that explanation to go with it.  In the end, I'm left asking, "So what?"

A beautiful world where the jail is alive and people are hidden from the truth.  Even when you work to be free, you find you are still a prisoner, just in a different world.  Fantasy lovers should give this new world a try.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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 Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer
Genre:  YA Steampunk
Andrea Cremer's website
Expected publication date:  April 22, 2014
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.

This book just sounds interesting.  And I haven't read any of Andrea Cremer's books yet.  So might as well start with this one, right?  I'm in the mood for a good steampunk.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

Genre:  Adult Historical Fiction

Description (taken from Rachel Florence Roberts' website):
Based On A True Story

Anne wakes up in a strange bed, having been kidnapped from her home. Slowly, she realizes she is in a lunatic asylum.

1885. Anne Stanbury - Committed to a lunatic asylum, having been deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for the crime of which she is indicted. But is all as it seems?

Edgar Stanbury - the grieving husband and father who is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity, and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his life.

Dr George Savage - the well respected psychiatrist, and chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital. Ultimately, he holds Anne's future wholly in his hands.

The Medea Complex tells the story of a misunderstood woman suffering from insanity in an era when mental illnesses' were all too often misdiagnosed and mistreated. A deep and riveting psychological thriller set within an historical context, packed full of twists and turns, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity.

So what does Medea Complex even mean?  A little tidbit I had to look up that suddenly made everything make sense...  Medea, in Greek mythology, is a sorceress who kills her children after Jason, her husband, deserts her.  Look it up if you want to know more.

This tale is told from a couple of different point of views:  Anne the murdering wife, Edgar the grieving husband, Dr Savage the psychiatrist, and Beatrix the lady's maid.  Each person has a motive, a hidden agenda, and a little bit of crazy hanging over their shoulders.  This tale will wrap around the emotions that drive us as well as what we are willing to do to get our way.

Anne wakes up in an insane asylum with no memory indicating why she's there.  She must trust Dr Savage when he tells her she murdered her baby.  But Dr Savage is a man from 1885 meaning he's very likely to brush women aside and use womenly wiles as a reason to explain why they do what they do.  He doesn't think they are smart or cunning.  But Edgar, Anne's husband, will soon find out just how smart women can be when his wife becomes sane and remembers what happened.  While grieving for his son, Edgar will find out just how far Anne is willing to go to protect her own.

I didn't exactly know what to expect at the beginning of this story.  It seemed like a whole lot of crazy that wasn't going very far plot-wise.  And Dr Savage's attitude of women just bothered me.  I can't respect someone who doesn't respect me (a woman).  But then the story continued, and we find a lot of motives behind people's actions.  And once the story leaves the insane asylum, we enter the legal world (and everything gets interesting).  Towards the end, I was really enjoying the different perspectives and people questioning whether or not their actions were right.

This story is a good one to check out if you're looking for a tale of lies, crazy, and motives.  Despite Dr Savage's attitude regarding women, I enjoyed this story.

Thanks goes to Rachel Florence Roberts' for providing me a review copy.

Rachel Florence Roberts is offering three of you a copy of her book, The Medea Complex.  Winners will receive an ebook copy of her book.
  • This giveaway is open to open to everyone.
  • Entrant must be 13 years of age or older.
  • Giveaway ends on Saturday, April 12.
  • You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below. You can enter by doing one of the following: 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Release: Only Gingers can be Witches by JA Trevor

My good friend from high school just published his first novel.  And guess what?  It releases today.  Unfortunately, I don't live in Utah anymore and can't go to the signing event.  But I can certainly share the good news with all of my fellow book readers.  I can personally say I enjoy his writing style after having had the opportunity to beta-read one of his other novels.  Go check out his book if it sounds like something you'd like.

Genre:  Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

Description (taken from JA Trevor's website):
Two weeks ago, thirteen year-old Ally Walker would have laughed at the thought of running around in the middle of the night, waving bundles of herbs at imaginary ghosts. But the new girl in town, Hanna Primble, is into that sort of thing.

When the two girls become unlikely friends, Hanna's world of witchery invades Ally's own and turns decidedly dangerous. Flocks of crows descend on the streets, shadow-men stalk Ally's front yard, and a ghoul nests like a spider in the local library's basement. Together, the girls set out to quickly uncover the sinister culprit behind it all–before someone gets hurt.

But then a mysterious stranger emerges from the shadows to snatch Hanna off the streets for use in a nefarious plan. Ally has never had to save anyone before, and isn't sure she's up to the task. In fact, magic in general is out of her experience entirely; because as everyone knows, only gingers can be witches… or can they?

I just ordered my signed copy (from his website).  You guys will be hearing more from me about this one once I get the chance to read it.  I'm proud of my friend!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

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 Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
Genre:  YA Cotemporary
Rebecca Serle's website
Expected publication date:  March 18, 2014
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.

This one just looks like a roller coaster of emotions.  I haven't read a contemporary in the recent weeks, maybe I need to read one soon...
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