Archive for February, 2015

Goodreads.com Description: “In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her. Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.”

My Thoughts:

I received an e-copy of this book via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Loved it!

I read this book at the same time I was reading Marie Lu’s The Young Elites. Both books included magic, threads of energy, a quest, fictitious settings and androgynous characters. Lee’s book, however, went deeper than I anticipated.

Lee set her story in a world which was hard to picture. The setting was apocalyptic and crossed between the modern and ancient. It wasn’t until the main character entered into the White Court that I was able to visualize the setting.

The characters in her world were strong but mystical. The main character, Kai, was raised by a young man, Reev, when somebody left her on a riverbank. Kai has no memory of her earlier years. Reev doesn’t share any of his past with her. The story picks up right away when Kai’s adopted brother/guardian disappears. Her good friend, Avan, steps up to the challenge of helping Kai find him. Their quest takes them out of their immediate setting into an empty wasteland with even more mystical characters.

And, it is the characters that stand out in Lee’s tale. Along the way, Kai meets up with Conquest, Famine, Death and Strife. She doesn’t meet Peace but learns of his existence–which is apropos since Kai’s world is in a state of unrest. In essence, Lee has personified The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Another Immortal we are introduced to is Kronos. Pull out your Greek mythology books–Cronos is the father of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter and Hera. And, there was one more reference that requires you to pull out your Bible and turn to The Book of Revelation. Kai and other characters mention The Rebirth. That’s a reference straight out of Revelation. Death, known as Kallas, tells Kai that there are 70 Immortals in all. I bet Zeus and his siblings are amongst the pack.

The plot of Lee’s book is intriguing. Her inclusion of a tournament with cadets reminded me of “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” rolled into one. Fortunately, the tournaments were not death matches. Participants gladly took part in the fighting because they saw it as a chance to improve their status in the city of Ninurta.

There is an interesting plot twist which leads to the climax of Gates of Thread and Stone. In a nutshell, what would you do if you learned the truth of your existence but wished it weren’t true. What a way to close a story!

I enjoyed Lori M. Lee’s Gates of Thread and Stone. I started reading the sequel right away. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy!

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Goodreads.com Description: “I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt. “

My Thoughts:

Another slam dunk for Marie Lu! Adventure, romance, action and magic all rolled into one. The Young Elites is a creative page turner.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in Lu’s book. Adelina is a strong protagonist to sympathize with and even pity. Thanks to an evil father she ends up on a quest to find herself. When she finally gets in touch with herself, everyone should duck. Another strong character is the antagonist, Teren Santoro. Instead of identifying with the other Young Elites, he despises himself. You pity him for such strong self-hatred. He can’t embrace the beauty in his affliction. Instead, he buys into the propaganda of his world–all malfettos are abominations. Even the secondary characters in The Young Elites are strong namely Raffaele Bessette, the androgynous recruiter. Raffaele is smart and gifted. But, he is a person trapped in a world, not of his own making. If he could choose, he would not be a consort in the Pleasure Court.

The Young Elites reads like a twisted fairy tale–an evil parental figure (Adelina’s father) with a despised child (Adelina) and a much-loved child (Violetta) forces the despised one to act despicably which requires magic to fix. But, like all magic, it comes at a price. In Lu’s tale, the price is a major plot twist leaving the main character dangling in the wind.

I truly enjoyed Marie Lu’s The Young Elites. The only thing I disliked? It’s a series and I have to wait until October for the sequel.

Goodreads.com Description: “A new series of global proportions — from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter. This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row. Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.”

My Thoughts:

I chose Ally Carter’s All Fall Down strictly after reading an online preview of the first chapter. It seemed to be an interesting book so, when I saw it at the library I happily picked it up.

Unfortunately, the story was a little flat for me. I would have liked more character development especially in the main character, Grace. There were times when I had to read backwards to find details of what she looked like. Her brother was constantly mentioned, but I never got a sense of what type of relationship she had with him. Her relationship with Alexei, Jamie’s friend, was never fleshed out. By the time it got interesting, Alexei was sent back to Moscow. Sure hope he turns up in the sequel.

Grace does have interesting friends. And, there are some good interactions. But, I kept wanting more.

Carter’s All Fall Down has all the potential of a young adult spy thriller. The story doesn’t take off, for me, until the last quarter of the book. The overall plot is intriguing. And, I do want to know what happens in the sequel. I’d recommend this book to someone on the younger scale–maybe someone who is just transitioning from middle grade to young adult books. It needs more details and descriptions to really hook the older young adult reader.

An Update…

Posted: February 17, 2015 in Book Thoughts

I’m currently revising (the fourth revision) my WIP. I want to thank my beta reader from Goodreads.com, Lonalie! She read my first two chapters and gave me some valid insight. Needless to say it required more revision, but, I’m enjoying the process. It’s all about creating something people want to read.

My WIP is undergoing a title change as well. I have some possible titles, but, will wait before making the final decision.

I’ve pulled it off Wattpad.com. I apologize to anyone who has gone there looking for updates. Thank you to those who did read it on the site and voted.

If you’re someone who enjoys reading Young Adult fiction AND you’d like to give an honest critique, please let me know. I could use one more beta reader who isn’t necessarily in the YA demographic.

In the meantime…I’ll keep reading and posting my reviews.

Goodreads.com Description: “Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray. Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter, she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined. A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure. “

My Thoughts:

Although this book was on my To Be Read list, it was the cover that caught my eye in the library. Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You was unexpectedly good. This was my first time reading a book by Gray. It will not be my last.

I was a big fan of the FOX series “Fringe” which is why the book was on my TBR. Gray went deeper with the character motivations than any episode of “Fringe”. I really appreciated the love triangle she created which spanned the universes. The character caught in the middle questioned the ethics of jumping from one universe to another. Her concern was on a personal level. Fortunately, Gray answered on a larger scale–is it ethical to commit crimes across the different universes?

Marguerite Caine is a strong protagonist I instantly liked. She had a mind of her own and didn’t let anyone alter her decisions. She even made the best of bad situations. The character of Marguerite is insightful, determined and probably a bit reckless. She leaps before thinking which is probably a good trait to have if you’re going to jump between universes.

Although the concept of parallel universes has been done before, Gray tackles it in a fresh style. The technology she mentions is cutting edge and may one day become a reality. Spies and criminals jumping universes was creative and kept the plot moving along.

I loved the way Gray handled description. Her settings were very visual–Russian aristocracy, the sea station, London. I especially loved the Russian details.

Gray interjected modern references throughout her book. But, the references weren’t just details added to Marguerite’s tale. Those details helped Marguerite learn the truth although she was in a different universe.

Finally, I appreciated Gray’s mention of the effects of global warming. She summed it up without making a political stand.

Book Two of the Firebird series, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, is due out in November 2015.

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Goodreads.com Description: “When nineteen-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes without a trace, the residents of rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, launch a desperate search to find her. But few clues are unearthed, and before long another young woman disappears. As locals continue to vanish, residents begin to discover that they might not know those closest to them as well as they had thought. Lies and insecurities quickly surface, leading everyone to question one another…and their involvement in the disappearances. Meanwhile, an unstable, twisted killer is hiding quietly in their midst. Ever since his mother’s murder four years earlier, he’s been forced to raise his disturbed teenage sister. He’s terrified of her—and of women in general—and his world revolves around his fear of and obsession over them. In this USA Today bestselling thriller, debut novelist Jennifer Jaynes delivers a psychologically riveting page-turner that is packed with surprises and will have readers guessing to the very last page.”

My Thoughts:

I received an e-copy of this book via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Jennifer Jaynes Never Smile at Strangers was an intriguing thriller. This book, set in a sleepy Louisiana town, was anything but dull.

The characters were well developed along with the setting. I felt the despair of its residents. The opening of the book threw me at first. I didn’t know whether I was reading a paranormal book or simply a story with a creepy start. Being patient does pay off with Jaynes’ novel. Although you are aware from the description that something bad is going to happen to Tiffany Perron, you get a clear picture of why it happened. She wasn’t the most careful teen. The girl was looking for trouble.

Jaynes dropped clues throughout the book about the killer–drives a truck, likes porn, drinks beer. The killer even becomes very bold towards the end of the tale. I quickly came up with the wrong person to suspect. The actual person is someone no one would suspect. You can’t believe the stereotype of a small town–everyone knows everyone. Not necessarily true. There can be strangers even in small places.

I thoroughly appreciated the surprises in the climax. I figured the killer had only killed the people mentioned. I was just as shocked as the police to learn the extent of his crime. The killer’s relationship with another character blindsided me as well.

Never Smile at Strangers is an interesting thriller worth reading. Jaynes well-developed twists confounded me through to the end.  It is a page turner which can be read fairly quickly. I paced myself, however, to avoid reading it all in a couple of days. I wanted the suspense to last a little longer.

The book could easily stand alone. But, fortunately, there is a sequel.

 Jennifer Jaynes, Ugly Young Thing, is scheduled for a March release. Can’t wait!

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Goodreads.com Description:

Zoey Daniels has been tossed from foster home to foster home, where she grows up fast and tough. When she is placed in her “last-chance” home, she finds a reason to stay and turn her life around: her foster sister, Lexie, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Zoey will do anything to keep her safe. After high school, Zoey is hired by a special government agency, the Department of Molecular Genetics (DMG), where she meets the other reason to remain: Daniel, her co-worker. The man she loves.

But there is something unique about Zoey. She can see fae. Because of this, the DMG hires her to work as a Collector: catching, researching, testing, and using the fae to save human lives. The work never registers on her sympathy radar. She was raised to think of fae as beasts that feed on humans and want to destroy them.

When devastation hits Seattle, Zoey’s whole world is turned upside down. The electric storm connects her to a ruthless fae, a Wanderer named Ryker, whose dealings expose them to even more trouble and danger. They embark on a journey, running and hiding from both the government and fae, both of which threaten their lives and those they love.”

My Thoughts:

Loved this book!

First off, if you haven’t read the Darkness series, you might want to give it a read. City in Embers loosely ties with the events in Brown’s first series–the electrical storm caused by Ember and the rumor of fae power transfer mentioned by the Seelie Queen. Reading Darkness will give you a foundation, but, it isn’t required to read those books. City in Embers does an excellent job on its own.

Brown created another strong, confident female protagonist in Zoey Daniels. You can’t help but like her. She’s had a tough life but will stand up and fight for what she believes in. And, Ryker, a burly fae, is her strong counterpart. Their storyline was well-developed. By the end of the book, you want to read more about them and their odd relationship.

Once again, Brown works her magic with descriptions. The devastation after the ES was so visual. I had no problem picturing the characters in this book.

City in Embers continues giving readers a background in Irish folklore. The stone mentioned in the book is legendary. It is obvious Brown does considerable research when crafting her stories.

The only thing I disliked about the book? I finished it in two days! It is a page turner that delivers a serious cliffhanger. I hope Book Two is on its way to the publisher!

Goodreads.com Description: “The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.” 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. The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.”

My Thoughts:

Ignite Me was a thrilling read right up to the end. As a matter of fact, I got to the end of the story way too soon.

Although I enjoyed this series, Mafi left a few unanswered questions with this final installment. It would have been nice to know what transpired between Adam and Warren. Also, I wanted to know how Juliette handled her new role. Perhaps a chapter or two would have ended this series better.

There were some anticipated outcomes readers could enjoy: the demise of Anderson, Warner gets his just reward and Juliette finally matures. I think the best part of Ignite Me is when Juliette realizes that she created her own prison. She had the means to break out of the asylum, but, she let others control her actions. Juliette didn’t act in her own best interest nor did she think for herself. If she had opted to do those two things, her life would have been different. In the end, she didn’t need a knight to come to her rescue. Juliette just needed to be freed from her captive thinking. And, that speaks volumes for anyone.

Mafi continued to interject humor in this series. Towards the end of Ignite Me, I felt like the X-Men joined the story. There were great visual details to enhance this element of the book.

I loved the interactions between Juliette and Kenji. Their friendship was poignant and even humorous at times–the whole dialogue about Kenji not being Bruce Lee was funny.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series. With its great descriptions and plot line, the Shatter Me series would make a great movie.

Goodreads.com Description: “Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’. Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin’s new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.”

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

My hats off to a very visually imaginative epic tale by Arwen Elys Dayton. This book had me hooked from page one!

The plot was intriguing and action-filled. There was nothing boring about any portion of this book. Dayton masterfully used description to bring the world of Quin, John and Shinobu to life. I have read books set in foreign lands that left me a little lost because I’d never been to those places. Dayton did a great job of describing rural Scotland, the busy streets of London and a congested Hong Kong. Readers can easily visualize all these places without any problem.

I loved the characters and their development. Quin is the strong female protagonist people want to read about and love. You feel her joys, her pains and her frustration throughout the book. And, although John starts out as a character you want to love, you learn to not appreciate him. Instead it’s Shinobu that you feel for and admire. You want him to ‘get the girl’. Even the adult characters in Dayton’s book are strong. You grow to understand and appreciate Fiona. Other adults you learn to distrust and hate along the way. And, your reasons will be very justified. Dayton reveals their true natures from page one.

I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next installment. Seeker is due out February 10. Book Two is scheduled for release in the spring of 2016.

Goodreads.com Description: “In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel Me, Fracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective. As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam’s focus couldn’t be further from the upcoming battle. He’s reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend’s life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James’s safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It’s time for war. On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam’s newly discovered half brother, won’t be that easy. The Reestablishment can’t tolerate a rebellion, and they’ll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about. Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi’s epic dystopian series. It’s a novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.”

My Thoughts:

This novella picks up around chapter sixty-three from Unravel Me. We learn about the events surrounding the battle between The Reestablishment and Omega Point from Adam’s point of view.

I love how Tahereh Mafi reveals her characters through layers. This novella doesn’t disappoint. It’s not the same reveal that we got with Destroy Me. You’re not going to walk away with a total understanding of Adam Kent. You will understand why he’s not a totally likable person.

In Fracture Me readers learn about Adam the big brother. You’ll love his admiration for James. Mafi describes his pain in great detail when Adam thinks he’s lost him. Be sure to read carefully. Adam reveals something very important about his relationships with James and with Juliette. If I had read too quickly, I would have missed it.

Mafi reveals just how badly Juliette hurt Adam when she broke up with him. You feel sorry for Adam for a minute. But, then, you want to tell him to grow up. He’s on the fence about her and won’t fess up.

At the end of this novella you learn that Kenji, Adam’s friend, is more concerned about Juliette. Adam loves her, but, his love is suspect. I never got the feeling that he would sacrifice his life for the girl he loves.

I found this an interesting novella. At first, I thought it was a waste of time since it rehashed a lot from Unravel Me. But, it reveals a lot about Adam and how he feels about Juliette. You’ll need to read carefully to find that detail. Once you find it, you just might jump ship and start pulling for Warner or even Kenji.