Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Genre:  YA Science Fiction Romance
Firebird Series, Book 1
Expected publication date:  November 4, 2014

Description (taken from Claudia Gray's website):
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. To accomplish her goal, she must learn how each world works, and confront the many people she has the capacity to become. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows — including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where the truth is elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

Marguerite is affected by grief and rage when Theo gives her the opportunity to go after her father's killer.  She is surrounded by some of the smartest physicists in the world who have created a device that makes travel between dimensions possible.  Her father's killer, Paul, has used this device, the Firebird, to escape the consequences.  But Theo's determined to stop him and tells his plan of finding him to Marguerite who won't let him go alone.  Marguerite's determined to get retribution and stop Paul.

But jumping between alternate realities is nothing like what she suspected.  Using Theo as her guide begins to become shady as she jumps to a reality with different inventions and sees him at his worst.  And when she finally finds Paul, her old emotions come back, and it's impossible to figure out who to trust.  But as the cat and mouse game continues between worlds, Marguerite becomes more confused.  Is she really the cat chasing Paul, or is she herself being chased?

I will admit, it took me two alternate Marguerites before I finally got into this story.  But as her alternate versions become realer than life and weaved in between the original Marguerite's past, I became so intrigued.  What on earth was going on with this story?  I definitely didn't have that initial spark, but the romance pulled me in, and I had to know how it ended.  And let me tell you, there were surprises that I hadn't figured out until two pages before the revealing.  I thoroughly enjoyed this tale that pulled the ethics of dimensional travel and the meaning of love into a flawless piece.

And now I must wait for the next one to come out.  I think young adult fans looking for something different with that bit of romance will enjoy this book.  And if you're not sold by the first fifty pages, just keep going.  I can say it's worth it.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L Armentrout

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
The Dark Elements Series, Book 2
Expected publication date:  October 28, 2014

Note:  If you haven't read this series yet, the information below can slightly spoil the first book.  You've been warned.

Description (taken from Jennifer L Armentrout's website)
Every touch has it’s price.

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

Zayne has been helping Layla get over the loss of Roth by trying to be there for her.  And she feels safe knowing nothing can happen with this relationship for two reasons.  One - she would take his soul if they tried to kiss.  And two - he's never seen her as more than a little sister.  But when Roth returns, suddenly, Zayne's become more than defensive when trying to protect Layla.  And Layla's begun to realize that she's not the only one with romantic feelings.

After putting the romance part aside, the plotline pretty much continues with where the first one left off.  A ritual was performed at the end of the first one which could have resulted in something even more dangerous than Layla.  Something that could take souls and create wraiths to control.  But did the ritual ever come to completion?  Or are Layla's powers just increasing?

I think I'm team Roth all the way.  As fun as it's been to learn about gargoyles, I think they're a lot of macho heads living in a masculine world.  And I really don't go for that.  I'm sure team Zayne people are wondering why I don't think the same thing about Roth.  Well, he's a demon; so he's cooler.  Anyways, I was entertained from the beginning to the end.  And I wasn't sure if this was five star material until I spent the next day thinking about the book and how epic it was.  Yep, I loved it.

I need book three now.  Those who haven't read this series and like paranormal romance are really missing out.  I recommend this series, definitely.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sublime by Christina Lauren

Genre:  YA/NA Ghost Romance
Expected publication date:  October 14, 2014

Description (taken from Goodreads):
When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

Lucy wakes up on a path in a forest next to a private boarding school.  She has no idea how she got there or who she is.  So she starts walking towards the school.  With the increasing amount of people passing her and not paying attention to her, she realizes something is off.  But she's perfectly content to wander into the mess haul alone.  Then a boy walks in from the kitchen and she's certain about two things.  She's a ghost and she's here for him.

Colin is no stranger to tragedy after having lost his family over ten years ago.  In fact, he's more of a daredevil throwing an F-you at death every day.  His school has always had stories about Wanderers or ghosts that come from the lake next to the school.  And he's never paid them any mind until he meets Lucy.  A girl that will draw his attention and complete him.  But there's a problem: it's hard to touch a ghost.

So me not enjoying this book is partly my fault.  When I saw the cover and read ghost love story, I though oh fantastic, a ghost story.  I really should have thought sappy love story, ugh.  And as I kept reading this book as it alternates from Lucy and Colin's point of view, I was thinking the pair of them should grow up.  What they had wasn't love; it was infatuation.  And I felt like the wording tried to be poetic but couldn't pull it off.  It's as if I found some teenage boy and asked him to write me a love poem, this is what I'd get when converted to a story.  Yes, I picked the wrong book to read and I certainly paid for it...

A love story that involves a ghost.  In my opinion, this story had no point for me.  But I think others are definitely going to disagree.  And if you're a lovey-dovey book person, I highly recommend you read a review from someone with similar tastes (so I don't ruin the book for you).

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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Raging Star by Moira Young

Genre:  YA/NA Dytsopian Fantasy
Dust Lands, Book 3

Note:  I recommend you read the first two books in this series.  Whatever you read below does have a bit of a chance to spoil some earlier plot lines.

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Her passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo...until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he's gone undercover, feeing Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she's not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

The epic conclusion to the Dust Lands.  For those unfamiliar with this series, this world is set far, far in the future where humans and technology have kind of detsroyed the world and it's climate.  Those that survive barely get by with what they have, and they work the earth to feed themselves.  But when a man known as the Pathfinder offers a good life filled with work and food for the select few, people have a hard time telling him no.  That is until Saba's brother disappears and she ends up in the middle of the mess.  Lo and behold a revolution is brewing...

After getting to see what DeMalo's new world has to offer, Saba has decided to fight it.  Living a life with work and food should be for everyone, not a select few.  And Saba just can't agree with DeMalo's idea of family.  But how do you fight a war without turning into the bad guys you're currently fighting? And how many people living in New Eden are there by choice and not forced into it?  As Saba tries to answer these questions, she figures out how she's going to win the war.  But she needs Jack and Lugh to support her if she hopes to survive this.

Honestly, I absolutely loved this series.  But this book?  It felt kind of cookie-cut bland in comparison to the other books.  I loved Saba's tale and watching her grow up and lead people towards freedom.  But in the end, I was kind of left wondering what the point of all of this was.  I guess I didn't agree with the ending or it went exactly as suspected.  Which meant I was a little bored.  And it could be the fact that I've waited a year between books and lost momentum in between.

This is a lovely fantasy dystopian that I think others will enjoy.  However if you have a hard time with modified English speak (think Hagrid in Harry Potter), then you're going to struggle with these.  But I think the 'twang' gives this series its personality, and I especially loved that part about it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

manda-rae's Haul

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

Saturday is finally here.  Although I spent the whole week waiting for Friday.  It was my five-year anniversary with my husband.  And we went to a nice fancy restaurant and a bar afterwards (can you tell I don't get out much).  It was a lot of fun, and I'm happy to say I'm still just as much in love with my husband as I was back then (although I've learned love can take on many forms including the nit-picking, nagging ugly kind every once in a while).  I've been really slow at reading this week, but I hope I pick it up again soon.

For Review from Around the World ARC Tours:

  • Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L Armentrout
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I'm willing to bet I will have this one done before the weekend is over.  I adored the first book in the series.  And it's gargoyles!!!
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • A world involving physics and multiverses.  While physics is my least favorite science, I'm still looking forward to this one.

From the Library:

  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • It looks so dark in the picture.  I hope that's a foreshadow as to how the books go.  I've kind of struck out on third books lately, so it better rock my socks off.
  • Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
  • The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • This is a series that has grown on me.  I'm not absolutely in love with the writing and stories, but the characters have certainly grown on me.  Hence, a faithful reader I've become with this series.

manda-rae's Past Week
I can hear the crickets chirping...


Sunday, August 10, 2014

One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

Genre:  YA Sci-Fi Contemporary

Description (taken from Jessica Shirvington's website):
Sabine isn’t like anyone else. For as long as she can remember, she’s had two lives. Every twenty-four hours she ‘Shifts’, living each day twice. She has one life in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and another, completely different life in Roxbury, Boston.

In Wellesley, Sabine has everything she could ever want. Glamorous friends, a designer wardrobe, perfect grades and the guy everyone wants to be dating. Her future is nothing less than charmed.

In Roxbury, Sabine’s family are short of money, her friends are considered rebels – and when her secret is revealed, her options look hopelessly grim. But then she meets Ethan. He’s gorgeous, challenging, and he makes her feel like no one ever has before.

All Sabine has ever wanted is the chance to live one life. When it seems like this might finally be possible, Sabine begins a series of dangerous experiments to achieve her goal. But is she willing to risk everything – including the one man who might actually believe her?

Sabine spends her days trying to finish high school as your average city girl living with parents trying to make ends meet.  She's super smart and has a scholarship lined up for her.  And the one person who makes her days bearable is her little sister, Maddie.  But at midnight, she switches to spend the same day as a snooty rich girl who has everything going for her except her broken down family.  Yo-yoing back and forth between lives, she never thought she had a choice until she breaks her arm in one life but it doesn't transfer over to the other one.

Everything physical, emotional, and psychological always transferred over from one life to the other.  But now that her broken arm stayed behind, does that mean other physical attributes will stay behind?  Sabine begins to test her theories out with the hopes that maybe one day, she'll be able to choose a life and stick with that one.  But when her experiments are mistaken as cries for help, she meets a nurse who treasures life.  He doesn't understand why she would want to get rid of one (or one of her lives as she puts it).  And Sabine begins to realize he might be the only one to ever get her and understand what she's going through.  But will he be able to help her choose the life she wants?

This book is a perfectly crafted story that pulls bits and pieces from the beginning and fits them into a beautiful masterpiece at the end.  I had the storyline pegged pretty quickly, but I still enjoyed reading it (and allowing my brain to refuse the foreseen plotlines until I couldn't deny them anymore).  It's a super quick read that isn't really going to go into the details of how Sabine has two lives but more the quality of her lives.  Basically, it's the kind of contemporary read I love to read (and of course those who read true contemporaries are probably shaking their heads at me saying this isn't actual contemporary).  But the supernatural component is super small in comparison to the rest of the story.

It's a beautiful and romantic tale that'll make you think twice about the meaning of life.  And it leaves you smiling at the end (after you've wiped the tears away).  I'd definitely recommend people looking for a contemporary with sci-fi pieces thrown in to pick this one up.

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

manda-rae's Haul

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

I've been working a lot this past week and unfortunately done very little reading.  I need to start picking up my books again and keep reading.  Because my list continues to grow!

For Review:


  • Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I actually got this one on release day last week and forgot to post it.  I need to quit reading other things and read this one stat...

manda-rae's Past Week


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ruins by Dan Wells

Genre:  YA Dystopian
Partials Sequence, Book 3

Description (taken from Dan Wells' website):
Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.

There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Partials series, this is set in a world where the humans have created a beautiful species as well as destroyed almost everything.  Trying to end world wars, a company engineered the Partials to help in combat.  Their purpose was to fight, win and restore order.  However after the war ended, they were treated as less than human.  One of our greatest creations, and we abandon it.  Thus leading to animosity between the two races.  Oh, and we kind of destroyed the climate as well.  It's a sad world.

Kira has spent her whole life trying to find a cure for RM, a disease that killed the majority of mankind and now prevents humans from having healthy babies.  And now that she's finally found it, she's trying to help the Partials survive.  When she's finally found all of the answers, she has only days to try to bring peace to the warring factions.  But can humans find peace when they're so much better at creating chaos and fighting?

I will admit that these books are huge and a lot to process.  However, they're going to make you think, and they have science.  It's very easy to draw real-world parallels to Kira's world.  And Dan Wells does it in a such a non-invasive way that you don't really think about it.  All you want is more of the story.  This book is about people trying to find a purpose in life and survive.  I feel like at the basic center, that's what all of us are trying to do.  I enjoyed this one and think it had a good ending to the series.

If you can get over how big these books are, I think anyone will enjoy them.  They don't have the kind of fluff that some novels can have, and they're not heavy on the romance.  But they're going to be good reads that keep you hooked.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Genre:  YA Fairy Tale
Dorothy Must Die Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I've been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

The Land of Oz.  Where everything is exactly as it seems: the good are good and the wicked are wicked.  But that's not the case anymore.  When Amy enters Oz, she finds the good have become wicked and the wicked are doing some good by trying to save Oz.

Amy has lived a lot of her life in a trailer park in Kansas.  While trying to help her mother with her midlife crisis, she's also trying to pass high school.  But Amy can't seem to get past her 'Salvation Amy' nickname.  Then the tornado of a lifetime comes in and sweeps Amy to Oz.  And while the wicked seem to think she is the prophecy that will help rid their land of Dorothy, Amy's just trying to keep a level head and not let the magic get to her.  But in the end, will she be able to kill Dorothy?

I seem to be on a Wizard of Oz fix right now.  This book just puts everything backwards.  I'm not sure I can look at Dorothy's clothing in the same way anymore.  I kind of cringe every time I see Dorothy and Glinda in other Oz tellings after reading this one.  This book has forever changed my outlook on all things good in this world.  I enjoyed the warped retelling and am looking forward to the next one.

This one is a definite read for Oz fans.  My only drawback is that this isn't a standalone novel, but I'll definitely be picking up the next one.

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