Saturday, February 28, 2015

manda-rae's Haul

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

My birthday was this past week!!  I took some much needed time off from work and kind of lounged around.  Did a lot of reading, went to a winery, went to a brewery, and all that fun stuff.  It was really nice...

For Review:


  • The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • My husband, who told me he'd never buy me a book again, bought me this for my birthday.  And I devoured it quickly and am sad to see the series end.

manda-rae's Past Two Weeks


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Captive by Aimee Carter

Genre:  YA Dystopian
The Blackcoat Rebellion, Book 2

Note:  This is the second book in a series.  Reading anything below can spoil plots from the first book a little bit.

Description (taken from Aimee Carter's website ):
For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in - but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

Kitty has agreed to continue living as Lila Hart, the voice of the rebellion.  She will help Knox, her pretend fiance, destroy the ranking system that exists in this society.  But she's having difficulty trusting Knox, and he is fed up with her questioning him at every turn.  So when a fatal error occurs, Kitty finds herself in the spotlight playing the Hart game again.

As this story starts off with a bang, Kitty finds herself betrayed and sent to Elsewhere.  Elsewhere is the place where all of the criminals and unwanted people go.  But instead of the Hunt that she experienced when she was first Masked, she finds herself in a warped society.  A place where rats and snitches always have the upper hand.  But even in the worst part of society, the rebellion lives and Kitty finds herself reluctantly helping them.  Can she survive Elsewhere and the Blackcoat Rebellion, or will she lose everything she holds dear, including her life?

Honestly, this book starts out super strong.  And it just keeps going.  Yes, there are some very predictive spots.  But the dynamic between Kitty and Knox...  And Benjy.  I love this trio, and how hard they work at rebelling society.  I was pretty much hooked with the first, and now I'm definitely attached to the series and waiting for the third.

This is a fun dystopic read that I recommend to anyone who finds the plot interesting.  I don't think it will disappoint...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Seraphina Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Rachel Hartman's website):
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In a world of dragons and people, the peace has been bought with a treaty.  A treaty between a kingdom of men and a dragon who speaks for all of dragonkind.  And while this treaty is built on shaky ground, it's meant to become stronger as time goes along and both sides stop killing each other.  But with time, we find resentments and grudges don't disappear completely.  And there are those who would rather destroy the other side than look at them as fellow comrades.

Seraphina is the daughter of a lawyer, and she has received a job at court as the assistant to the music master.  She has her teacher, Orma - a dragon, to thank for honing in on her musical talent.  As she learns to navigate the court life, she finds herself the center of attention at a royal funeral.  All she's ever wanted to do is a have a life outside of her father's home and the limelight.  But as tensions with the dragons escalate, she finds she is well-equipped to help both sides find some sort of peace.  But can she do it before her secret destroys the trust she's gained?

This book is beautifully crafted in a world of dragons and people.  Dragons, who have intelligence beyond what any human could fathom and humans, who have emotions that give life color (something that dragons can't understand).  It's well built, and we have a protagonist who's trying to live life.  And with each decisions she makes, she grows a little and finds she has powers beyond the average person.  And these powers or traits make her special.  But she has to figure that out for herself.  Honestly, it's a wonderful coming-of-age story.  I just struggled with the middle-school feel and honest-to-goodness 'good' this book has (I can't figure out how to describe it - this book makes you happy).

Will I read the second one?  Of course I will.  And I'm going to recommend this one to any tween out there or person struggling with their identity.  I feel like this book helps you overcome your own negative feelings of yourself by seeing the beauty of the protagonist.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Plague of Angels by John Patrick Kennedy

Genre:  Adult Angels
The Descended Series, Book 1

Description (taken from John Patrick Kennedy's website):
Nyx is Queen of Hell and ruler of the Angels who were banished there – the Descended.

And when the rest of the Angels are called home, Nyx finds herself stuck on the Earth with the Son of God. To her surprise, she learns that he is no happier than she. God's son thought he was sent down to judge humanity. Instead, he becomes a sacrifice for a cause he does not believe in – their redemption.

After his mortal body dies, the Son of God makes Nyx an offer: a new paradise on Earth if she will help him destroy humanity.

With two of her fellow Angels by her side, Nyx launches a thousand-year campaign of violence, sex, betrayal and intrigue to bring down God's people and have them worship her instead. From the back streets of Jerusalem to the palaces of Rome, from the temples of Egypt to the Pope's bedchamber, Nyx and her companions work to destroy the worshippers of God.

But not all is as it seems. And the Son of God has bigger plans than any of them imagine...

Everyone knows the story that divided time.  In fact, there are religions based on this powerful being from our history.  But we've yet to hear the story from an angel's perspective.  When Nyx' timeline clashes with Tribunal, the Son of God, Nyx has a new reason to live.  With his help, she will destroy everything God holds dear in order to make a new paradise.  But will she be queen of this new paradise?

After meeting Tribunal, Nyx falls in love with everything he believes in (which happens to not be anything he stands for).  She becomes one of his followers until his crucifixion.  But he vows to Nyx that he will come back and when he does, he will destroy God for His favoritism over humanity.  We, the humans, are like annoying little ants in the grand scheme of things.  So he uses Nyx to rage war on earth against his followers (or God's followers).  And as time goes on and it looks like paradise is beyond the horizon, Tribunal gives Nyx one last task.  Anything and everything is possible with Tribunal's help, and Nyx will raise hell on earth to get what she wants.

Wow.  This book.  Just wow.  I have to say right from the get-go that if you can't separate this fictional story from an infamous story that may or may not have something to do with your religion, then this book is not for you.  This is like what watching Game of Thrones is like but in words instead  of film (yes, I haven't read the books yet).  There's a lot of adult themes weaved throughout the history we see in this story.  But what makes this book glorious is it wraps the angel's stories around major people in our history and events that made our world the way it's become.  But I think what drug me down was how long it took to get through a thousand years (I felt a little overwhelmed).  But once we got to the part where Nyx meets Tribunal again, things started heating up again.  And while I thought the ending was totally clichĂ© and open-ended, I was still pent-up enough with emotion to want more story.

I am definitely going to say that this book is for a select group of people who don't take offense easily.  And it's not going to be the easiest thing to take in, but you're still going to enjoy this messed-up ride.

Thanks goes to John Patrick Kennedy for providing me a review copy.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

manda-rae's Haul

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

So, in addition to my fifty hour work weeks, I've been busy socializing.  Last week, I was at Comic Con in Madison.  But this weekend?  Nothing but laundry and reading.  I'm living the big life...

My crew at Comic Con (I'm Amy Pond - the one on the far right)

From the Library:

  • Captive by Aimee Carter
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Yeah, looking forward to this one.  I really enjoyed the first, and the covers are so captivating.  Must read soon...


  • Christmas Card from Pragya at Reviewing Shelf
      • Look at this Christmas beauty!!!!  Better late than never...  I feel like putting up a tree for Valentine's Day or my birthday now.  Thanks Pragya!!!

manda-rae's Past Three Weeks



Friday, February 13, 2015

Eat Your Heart Out 2: Twisted Romances

EYHO 2 Twisted Romance promo poster 
Okay, so this year's Eat Your Heart Out 2 reader extravaganza event will centre on the theme twisted romance. As a result of this†readers have the opportunity to pick up a whole pile of eBooks at the discounted price†of 99 cents! Eat Your Heart Out 2: Twisted Romance is being held as a Facebook event and you can join up by clicking here. The event is being held all day on Friday the 13th of February 2015 and there are plenty of games, prizes, interviews, competitions and fun to be had during the event. The full list of participants and their twisted romance novels are:
  • Love at the End of All Things by A. Carina Barry
  • Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos
  • Bloodlust (A Barbarian Love Story) by Nicole Zoltack
  • When in Maui by Colleen Nye
  • Hunted Heart by Alison DeLuca
  • Heart Search 3: Betrayal by Carlie M. A. Cullen
  • The Maiden's Courage by Mary Lynne Gibbs
That's seven eBooks for under seven dollars -but wait, there's more! Make sure you check out the grand prize giveaway which has started already! The prize pool includes a $40 Amazon gift card and a whole pile of free eBooks from some of the Eat Your Heart Out 2 participating authors. You can enter right away and the grand prize will be drawn at the close of the Eat your Heart Out event. Clicking on the Rafflecopter image below will take you straight to the giveaway entry page:
  Rafflecopter giveaway. Click to Enter 
Can't WAIT to see you and all your friends at the event on Friday the 13th!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Release: Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos

Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos
Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance
Wood Nymph Chronicles, Book 1

Description (taken from blitz email):
One woman, two worlds and nothing but UNREMEMBERED THINGS separating them.

Indiana Shamira has a dark secret that could shatter her version of reality and get her killed in the process. Now if only she could remember what it is…

When Indiana wakes with no memory of her past life and a vampire called Sam hanging from the rafters in her cellar, she knows things are about to get nasty. Not only does Sam know all about her previous life, but he seems intent on seducing her as well. Of course her boyfriend, Kurt, has different ideas – like making her open the portal to hell!

And then there is the nagging suspicion that Indiana is not entirely human, now she can see ghostly images from the Otherworld. Or could it be from the life she can no longer remember? They include the flickering effigy of Kurt and a redwood forest that conjures up deeply repressed magic.

Not only will Indiana have to risk everything to keep the door to another dimension closed, she will have to decide whether she is ready to lose her heart to someone who has more secrets than herself.

Set in the lush Australian bush, UNREMEMBERED THINGS is a fusion of fantasy, paranormal and forbidden romance.

About the Author
Rachel Tsoumbakos is a stay home mother of two.
Her main passions are writing, reading and organic gardening. Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and eight chickens in the hills surrounding Melbourne, Australia.
While she has had several articles published through mainstream magazines, she has also written extensively for True Blood Net and the now defunct Suite 101.
When she is not tending to her organic veggie garden, she is working on her cardio as she trains for the zombie apocalypse.

“It is time.” Her voice purred like a kitten, but Indiana suspected she was really a feral animal on the inside.

“For what?” Her voice was raspy, hesitant and unsure if she really wanted to know the answer. Somewhere, deep inside, she suspected she already knew.

“Just remember I’m doing this for us,” Sam whispered into her ear. “So we can be together forever.”

Before Indiana could question him further, she felt a flurry of hands over her body. Indiana tried to open her eyes, but a warm hand reached up and carefully covered them.

Indiana was bitten – hard, and she groaned in pleasure. Shocked by her unexpected display, she clutched her hands outwards. Feeling the writhe of skin on skin, she tried to pull herself free. The tickle of fingers across her neck and down her spine calmed her with their warm familiarity.

“It’s okay, Indiana.”

The feathery words danced across her skin, warm like a summer breeze. She stilled and let Sam’s fingers intertwine with her own, relieved by his simple touch.

Time seemed to move forward and Indiana was presented with brief snippets of fleeting images; Camilla biting Sam, biting her. Indiana enjoying the pain of Camilla’s sharp teeth as they gnashed at her neck, her thighs and her wrist. The flurry of skin and hands and teeth as they writhed together in the height of passion. Pale hands slithered over her own luminescent skin, then Sam’s darker skin brushed against her own, warming her and protecting her but against what she was unsure.

Then Camilla poised over Sam, a knife in her hand. A flash of blood as it splayed out from a gaping neck wound. Indiana’s involuntary gasp and then choking sob at the sight of the cavernous hole. Hungry sucking as Camilla drank her fill. A warm hand, its fingers still laced through hers, slowing turning ice cold.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Unleashed by Sophie Jordan

Genre:  YA Dystopian
Uninvited Series, Book 2
Expected publication date:  February 24, 2015 (my birthday!)

Note:  This is the second book in a two-part series.  Reading anything from below can slightly spoil the first one for you.

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Unleashed, the romantic, high-stakes sequel to New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's Uninvited, is perfect for fans of James Patterson's Confessions of a Murder Suspect.

Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.

Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she'll be ruled by the kill gene or if she'll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn't even know if she can trust herself.

Davy has just escaped a training camp for HTS carriers: people who have a genetic tendency to kill.  She along with her friends are trying to escape the US by fleeing to Mexico.  But as Davy comes to grips with what she recently did and who she is in this new world, will she have reason to hope for a better life?  The world calls her a killer, and she's finally believing it, believing what her genetics say about her.  But can she actually run from the person she's become?  Can anyone truly run from themselves?

When an escape attempt goes awry, Davy finds herself on the wrong side of the border and in no condition to survive.  But with the help of a stranger, she does exactly that.  Meeting a guy with an H imprint who claims wanting to help her out of the goodness of his heart raises red flags for Davy.  But despite her trust issues, the will to survive is greater.  And this is how she's comes into contact with the HTS Resistance.  But can she rally behind a cause or has she truly lost hope?

This story kind of leaves the whole HTS-scenario behind.  Yes, the world's been set up already, and we're aware that people with the kill gene are discriminated against.  But that scenario takes a major backburner to Davy's trust issues and love life.  And I guess I couldn't reconcile the two.  I wanted more action, more history, more science, and more world issues revolving the HTS gene.  Instead what I got was a colorful love story with small HTS snippets in between.  And while I certainly enjoyed this new love interest, I still felt like groaning at the end of the story (that little voice inside my head that figures all plots out was thinking 'please no, please don't end this way').  Yes, it was a good love story.  No, it was not a good dystopia read.

Honestly if you've read the first one, you've got to finish the series out.  And if you know what you're getting yourself into beforehand, I think you'll be better prepared.  My absolute honest opinion is yes, I still think this series is worth it and a good read.  Just make sure the readers have a romance side...

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