Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Trailer Tuesday: Insurgent

What do you think of this full trailer? I'll be honest, the last book turned me a little sour on the whole trilogy because there were a lot of things I didn't like.  Still, I did enjoy this second book, and the trailer looks pretty awesome, so I'm sure I'll be checking it out.  What do you think? Will you be seeing this movie come March?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.  Quoted from Goodreads


I was going to save this for Christmas, but then I figured what I really should have done is posted this a few days ago so people could actually do a 12 days to Christmas countdown.  That being said, read two the first couple of days and you'll be right back on track.

This is a wonderful little book.  Okay, at 320 pages it's not so little, but individually each of the stories is short, so my 12 days of Christmas suggestion is totally valid.  Reviewing anthologies is hard.  I'm not going to go through and rate each one, and each person will have a different favorite.  Some, like Stephanie Perkins, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Kiersten White I knew I would love.  They're the reason I bought this anthology and they didn't disappoint. They are some of my favorites of the collection. The stories were unique (especially Laini Taylor's The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer) and varied, and they did exactly what I wanted them to do.  They captured the spirit of the season.

The nice thing with anthologies is you get surprises.  Of all the authors I've either never read or wasn't expecting a ton from, Rainbow Rowell and Myra McEntire's stories really stood out.  It's not that  the other stories weren't good, because a lot of them were.  (For example, I'd never heard of Kelly Link before, and now I'm totally going to check out other things she's written.) These were just the standout unexpected discoveries.

What else is great about this anthology is it's diversity, and I'm not just talking about the regular kinds of diversity such as race and religion (great job Gayle Forman, by the way) but these stories really just felt different.  I know they're holiday stories and with the lovely number 12 they really do lend themselves to a Christmas Countdown, but they don't have to.  I mean, we start off with new years and end up in a fantasy.

Basically this is a fun, cute read.  Did I love all the stories the same? Of course not.  That's the beauty of so many options. Some clearly aren't going to appeal to every reader, but I guarantee there are some you are going to love.

I'm going to give this book a strong 4 stars.  Not all the stories deserve the rating, but on some I could even go higher.  Check this book out.  It's perfect for this time of year, and even if you don't love all of them, there's a good chance that there are a few you will fall absolutely in love with.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Anticipating December

Well, December's here.  I suppose you could say the same thing about this post, but let's be honest. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories came out in October, and that was tailor made for this month.  Still, this is better than I expected, so check out the releases below.  It's no October, but it's better than last year.
 December really isn't a month for book releases.  I mean, even the anthology

                   The Queen (novella) – Kiera Cass
                   Ravencliffe – Carol Goodman
                   Between the Shadow and the Soul – Suzanne Winnacker

            9th: Princess of Thorns – Stacey Jay
                   Winter Falls – Nicole Maggi
                    Zodiac – Romina Russell
                    Wicked – Jennifer L. Armentrout
                    Suspicion – Alexandra Monir
                    Gathering Darkness – Morgan Rhodes

Well, there you go.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Meme Monday


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Theater Thursday: Insurgent

So what do you think? I love the action and special effects, and it definitely fits the definition of teaser. I've read the book, and while I basically know what is going on, it doesn't tell us  much of the actual story.  I like it though. It gets me excited for the movie.  What I'm really hoping though is there will be as much improvement between Divergent and Insurgent as there was between The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Check it out below.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: Talon

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.
Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.   Quoted from Goodreads


When I first started this book, all I could think of was Firelight by Sophie Jordan.  I mean the plot ideas are almost identical: dragon girl, dragon hunter boy, first taste of freedom outside in the human world, controlling dragon society that will determine girl's future without giving her any say, red hair.  The list goes on.  Fortunately I've read enough by Julia Kagawa that this wasn't a turn off.  I knew things would be different, and she was so creative with the ideas around her Iron Fae series that I was interested to see what she would do with dragons.

 You can tell this is the first book in a series---a five book series, no less.  The main character has a lot of growing to do.  It's not that I didn't like Ember, because I did, but like I said before, she has a lot of growing to do, and I'm interested to see where she ends up.  She's impulsive, rebellious, and reckless, but also strong and endearing, and you can't help but root for her.  Garret is probably the character that grows the most this book, though Ember does her fair share, and I'm curious where his character will go from here.

What this book does, really, is set up the next four.  It's a little slow in the beginning---well, the entire first half, to be honest---and doesn't really pick up until the last quarter.  What it's doing is establishing characters and multiple conflicts that you know will all come into play in the next four books.  The ending, of course, is heartbreaking and intense, guaranteeing that you will be reading book two. It just takes a minute for you to get there.

As for the dreaded love triangle, I read once that a good love triangle will bring out different aspects of the main character's personality.  It's not just two boys that she will be choosing, but two different lifestyles and really the person she will ultimately become.  Maybe the author has the same philosophy because that's exactly what our different love interests do for Ember.  One is for her dragon, one for her human, and I'm actually interested to see where it ends up.  With four more books coming, you know there will be a lot of ups and downs.

As for the dragons themselves, there's nothing really groundbreaking here.  They're fun, supernatural creatures but not anything we haven't seen in a dozen dragon books.  Still, I love the way they're portrayed and can't wait to see what else the author does with them as the book progresses.

Basically this is a slow start to what will probably be an amazing series.  Julia Kagawa is an excellent writer, and she knows how to torture both her readers and characters in the best possible way.  I'm giving this book a nice 3.5 stars with the absolute certainty that I will be reading the next one in the series.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Theater Thursday: The Hobbit

So this came out today, and I absolutely love it!  Seriously, I love this book, and I've thoroughly enjoyed this series.  Check out the new trailer and tell me if you aren't excited for the final Hobbit installment.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Anticipating November

November is here! November is the bridge month between the mega-release book month that is October and the book release desert that is December, and you can totally see it.  We start this month with a bang. I mean, check out how many interesting, wonderful books are coming out on the fourth.  We still get a few good ones over the next two weeks, but it ends with a whimper.  Still, there's plenty of great stuff coming out. Check out the list below and let me know what you think.

           4th: The Retribution of Mara Dyer – Michelle 
                   A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray

                   Forbidden – Kimberly Griffiths Little
                   Mortal Heart – Robin LeFevers
                   Visitors – Orson Scott Card
       The Princess Spy – Melanie Dickerson
        The Dreamer’s Pool – Juliette Marilliar
        The Map to Everywhere – Carrie Ryan and
                        John Parker Davis
        The Last Changling – Chelsea Pitcher
        Empire of Shadows – Miriam Forster
         Killer Instinct – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
         Waistcoats and Weaponry – Gail Carriger

            11th: The Shattered World – Amie Kaufman
                     Luck on the Line – Zoraida Cordova
                     The Book of Ivy – Amy Engel
                     Entertaining Angels – Monica Millard

            18th: Trails of Shadow and Blood – Carina King
                     The Rogue Knight – Brandon Mull
                     Stolen – Melissa de la Cruz

            25th: Anomaly – Tonya Kuper
                     Captive - Aimee Carter

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: Unmarked

He is here . . . and he could be anyone.

Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us–a demon she accidentally set free. 
Now Kennedy and the other Legion members–Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared–have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked?  Quoted from Goodreads


Happy Halloween!  I actually read this book at the beginning of October, but it was such a perfect, spooky book, I decided to save it for today. Warning, there are some spoilers for the first book, which you should also read if you haven't already.  What are you waiting for? This series has everything you could want in a book coming out this time of year. Ghosts. Demons.  Possession. Murder. Kidnapping. And Mystery. 

Andras, the demon freed at the end of the last book, is killing girls.  He's also possessing different people's bodies, so the Legion members never know what he looks like or where he is.  He's a delightfully creepy bad guy.  One of my favorite scenes is where he literally moves towards Kennedy, switching bodies every few steps.  Everything in the first book builds up to Andras, and he more than lives up to the hype. What can I say, I love my villains.

This book is fast paced, with plenty of action and twists. This round, we also get to learn more about Kennedy's background: her mother's secret past, the father who left her, and the aunt she never knew.  It's through Kennedy's connection to her family that we learn more about this world and the generation that came before.  We also get to see the Illuminati close up.

As for our heroes, a lot of different stuff goes down, but I love how they all pull together.  I particularly enjoyed learning a little bit more about Alara and Priest, though the real character growth goes to Kennedy and Jared.  As for Jared, he's a great love interest, and I adore where the author leaves the book, especially in regards to him.

So, should you read this book?  Yes.  Especially if you're in the mood for a spooky, paranormal series.  With enough twist and painful reveals to keep it interesting, this really is the perfect halloween book.  I'm giving it a haunting 4 stars, and eagerly await the third and final installment.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review: Exquisite Captive

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself. 

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?
Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.  Quoted from Goodreads


This book suffered from high expectations.  I mean, have you read the above blurb!  It seems amazing.  Plus the cover is beautiful, and after a slew of mediocre books about jinni, I really thought this might be just what I've been looking for.  Unfortunately for me, it seems that jinni are going to face the same fate as mermaids and never get that one series that will really do the creatures justice.

It's not that this wasn't a fun, interesting book, because it was. It just failed to live up to my expectations.  The romance was far too insta-love for my taste, and the "love triangle" if you can call it that, was twisted rather than intriguing. I liked Raif as a character, and I totally approve of him as love interest, but he and Nalia fell for each other way too quickly, with too little relationship development before they were madly in love.  Plus, he was a jerk (possibly well deserved because of his upbringing, but a jerk all the same) to her in the beginning, and she got over that way to quickly.  As for Malek, I'm not exactly sure where the author is trying to go with that.  He's the bad-half of a love triangle.  If he's just one of the ways to show haw broken Nalia is, then he did his job, but if he's supposed to be a real side of the love triangle, I'll pass.

To counter this, the world building here is rather amazing.  I love all the back-story the author has built into it and the world where Nalia comes from, the different casts of jinni, racial prejudice, and social history.  The story has tons of potential, especially for books two and three.  The pace actually started a bit slow for me, but it built suspense nicely, and by the end, I was hooked. 

So should you read it?  Honestly, I'd probably wait until the second or third book comes out and then see how things are looking.  Like I said,  I absolutely love the world building and think that the story is going to get better and better.  I'd just, maybe, wait and see what happens.  I'm seeing a lot of potential here, and who knows, this may end up being one of my favorite trilogies. This first book was just weaker than I wanted it to be.  Still, I'm going to give it a promising 3.5 stars.  Maybe if my expectations had been lower, my rating would be higher.  Still, I'll absolutely be reading the second book. I'm excited to see where this series is headed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: Unraveled

Autonomous. Independent. Dangerous. They tried to control her. Now she’ll destroy them.Things have changed behind the walls of the Coventry and new threats lurk in its twisted corridors. When Adelice returns to Arras, she quickly learns that something rotten has taken hold of the world and Cormac Patton needs her to help him reestablish order. However, peace comes at a terrible price. As the Guild manipulates the citizens of Arras, Adelice discovers that she’s not alone, and she must let go of her past to fight for mankind’s future. She will have to choose between an unimaginable alliance and a deadly war that could destroy everyone she loves.  Quoted from Goodreads


So many mixed emotions about this ending, I hardly know where to start.  Plus, I have to be vague because I don't want to give things away.  Still, some things really need to be discussed.

Let's start with the end.  I have so many, many feelings about it. Part of me think it's actually perfect.  It's the sort of thing you need to read carefully (I cannot emphasize this enough), but there's a sort of movie-esque quality to the whole thing that I loved.  That being said, part of me hated it. I wanted more---as in some sort of explanation as to why certain people did what they did without telling another key person, this other key person's reaction, what happened next, and that sort of thing.  It also glossed over someone's death, which was sad because they didn't get the send-off they deserved. Basically I wanted more, more, more.   

I was also a little disappointed I didn't get to see the final show-down with a few key characters.  I get that it's from Adelice's POV and we couldn't really change that, but there were some people I really wanted to see taken down.  In fact, more than any other book, I felt restricted by sticking to the one POV. It's not that Adelice isn't in the center of the conflict, because she is, but there's a lot more stuff going on that she doesn't know about or get to see that would have added to the story.  Still, excellent book with tons of excitement.

This book was a little heavy on Cormac (granted he's our big bad, but I would have been happy with a little less his evil and a little more what the rebellion is doing to counteract the horrible thing's he's doing).  It was also a little light on Erik, Jost, and Dante. Minor spoiler here, but we don't even get to see them until the second half of the book.  The first half was still interesting, don't get me wrong, but I was missing some of my favorite characters and I kept waiting for them to show up. Now, to counter all this, we do get to see a bunch of people from the first book again, which really brings the story around full circle.

I really don't know what else to say without giving away spoilers.  The characters were great, and everything you've come to expect and love in the series is here. All in all, this is an excellent conclusion to a wonderful trilogy.  It's such a unique world, with such an interesting concept, you really should check it out. It's definitely got its sad moments (which all good books like this should have, especially ending a series) but there's hope, which is absolutely essential.  I'm giving it a strong 4 stars.  If you're looking for a unique dystopia read, you really should check this out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Trailer Tuesday

I'm so excited for this book!  I've thoroughly enjoyed this series, and I can't wait to see how it ends.  Just two more weeks, but until then, check out the trailer below.

And here's a quick summary:

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.
Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.  Quoted from Goodreads

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: The Blood of Olympus

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II
 will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.   Quoted from Goodreads


Loved it.

I was going to leave it at that.  I mean, if you've made it through the previous nine books, you have to be a fan of the series, but I'll be honest, I never would have thought I'd enjoy it as much as I have when I started reading the first book.  

This was the perfect ending to the series.  It's reminiscent of the first book, The Lost Hero, in that we get POV from Jason, Piper, and Leo (with Rayna and Nico thrown in, which made for a more complete story and a nice change).  It was an excellent way to end the series, but at the same time, that was probably my only complaint with the book.  I wanted to at least get a chapter or two from Percy's POV, maybe get a little bit of Annabeth thrown in there.  We still find out what happens to the characters, and see plenty of action with them, but we never get their POV specifically.  Granted, the arcs that Rick Riordan did choose to follow made sense and covered all the important parts of the story and what was happening.  It's just the selfish part of me that wanted a chapter or two from Percy.

As for action, this book, like all the others never lets up.  It's like Rick Riordan is trying to torture his readers.  Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, and when he switches POVs, it's in the most inconvenient place ever.  There is always screaming or mortal peril involved.  Still, it keeps you turning pages, making the book next to impossible to put down.

As for the end?  I loved it.  It was perfect.  Really, besides my whole Percy rant, it was better than I could have expected.  I'm not going to go into details about who lives or dies and what happens after, but really, it was everything I wanted, and I'm perfectly satisfied with the way everything ended up.

If you're a fan of the series, pick up this book now.  It's got everything you might want in the story and wraps up the series nicely. I know I've been really vague about everything, but I don't want to give anything away. I'm giving The Blood of Olympus 4.5 amazing stars.  It's been a fun roller coaster ride and I'm sad to see it end.  Still, there's always his Norse mythology series that comes out next year . . .