Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: Moonset by Scott Tracey

Moonset by Scott Tracey
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 8th 2013 by Flux
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
From Goodreads:
Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents—members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset—began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.

When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past . . . and its deadly future.
Moonset was a great surprise for me! I thought it would be a solid, good book, but did not expect it to wow me like it did.

The reader is thrown right into the lives of the Moonset five right out of the gate. School problems on an unimaginable level bring them to yet another new school. Here they learn that a lot of things in life are not accidents and things are NEVER as they seem. The story gives new meaning to the old saying "History is written by the victors." Sometimes you just have to be there to know what really happened. This set of friends endure so much because of past events. It fuels them and gives them a steadfast desire to prove themselves, but some act in more appropriate ways than others. Their story of overcoming the bans set upon them is phenomenal with all the events that blow up on them. You won't be able to put this one down once you get started. There is always a turn or something poking its head around the corner to jump out at you.

The characters truly make this story. I thought that five may be a little much for main characters, but Tracey really makes it work. It never feels overloaded or choppy. On top of this, other characters play key roles in areas that you normally wouldn't see them. Ash and Quinn has essential roles, but still are practically in the background a majority of the time. A couple characters had quirks that I didn't favor too much, but it really didn't detract from the book for me. I just skipped over a couple of lines and went about my way. They all are likeable in various ways and that made them easy to connect to. For me, all of their bantering conversations made them realistic and that made me enjoy them even more. I cannot wait to see where Tracey takes this story. I believe it can only get better with the groundwork that's been laid out!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney

The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 8th 2013 by Flux
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:
After being tricked into opening the doorway to the Demon Realm by Aliette, the Wood Queen, Donna Underwood is faced with a terrible ultimatum from the newly released demon hordes. They demand that the alchemists deliver the Philosopher's Stone, or their reaper storm will plunge the world into a devastating modern-day Dark Age.

Donna is sent to London, England, where she must complete her alchemist's training and learn how to recreate the Stone. But time is running out. Between facing the vengeful demon king, Demian, and collecting the Stone's elements, Donna realizes she must give her own life in order to succeed. And this time, even braving death may not be enough to save the world.
 The final installment of the Iron Witch series will take you for a ride and truly does live up to its predecessors. Donna and the gang face hard losses and challenges to overcome Demian and his army. Thankfully, they form an amazing group that wrangles through these incidents with their traditional clever tact. The process and journey they take is not easy and sometimes they trip up on what should be the simplest tasks. Normally, this would bother me but in this case it actually fits the story with the events occurring. It actually helps keep the book from being completely predictable. There are times you will probably think of similar series, but there is just enough of the author's touch to make it her own. Mahoney's keys are in the details. It's the little things she puts in the plot and characters that really make the difference. The snide remarks and small descriptions of Donna's arms in events all play a part, do your best to pay attention. You will particularly love the background information that we are privy to in this book. Info on Donna, her family, and especially Xan will let the characters come full circle for you. They slide past that awkward teenage phase and you get to see them begin to evolve into adulthood.

It would be so easy to give so much away. To justly define the book I would simply say that Mahoney masterfully wraps up loose ends and throws enough quirks in to keep you guessing and consistently turning the page. The Stone Demon does not disappoint, especially for those that already love the series. These fans will probably be dancing by the end and it may not even be for the reasons they think!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - March 27, 2013

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

The grand finale to an amazing series from one of the most gracious authors I have met. There are so many questions left to answer and lines to wrap up in this one. I can't wait to get back in touch with Kate and Vincent and just see what happens with this "Champion" thing... ;) 

If I Should Die by Amy Plum
Hardcover, 405 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2013 by HarperTeen

From Goodreads:
I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Splintered by A. G. Howard
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
From Goodreads:
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
 The idea behind this Alice concept is amazing. The perspective Howard takes on the tale is wonderful and definitely different than many would be brave enough to try. Descriptions and excellent visualizations make this a great read for anyone. I simply wish there had been more originality in the book. I felt like I was reading just a deranged version of Alice in Wonderland. Yes, that is basically what it is, but there should have been more of the author's ideas thrown in somehow. The characters and their history's roles in the story are decently weaved into the traditional plot. It made the book very predictable, but Alyssa's and the others personalities make it worth it. Morpheus should have had a better role to play in the end. I think he was cheated of his true potential in the story. Jeb is sweet and great, but sometimes a story needs more than the boy next door. This is definitely one of those cases.

These aspects and the book's ending are what really brought this book down for me. Howard gives you a good ride through the story, but at the end you feel like you have been cut short. I seriously closed after the last page saying, "Wait, that's it?" I believe it to be a little bit of a miscalculation to just drop the ball with the characters like that. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - March 20, 2013

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

Love the concept of this one! Especially since the incidents happen to the males instead of females. That's a nice change from the "damsel in distress" books. :)

Taken by Eric Bowman
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2013 by HarperTeen

From Goodreads:
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
From Goodreads:
When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor's twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it's not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse. The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all. 
The reader hits the ground running right from the beginning of this book. I thought this was a good thing until I realized I had no idea who half of the characters were. We're introduced to Petunia and her "wolf" right off the bat. These two are written well and really make the story like they should. They are extremely likeable and I found that I connected to them easily. Unfortunately, the other characters weren't so lucky with me. The sisters and their respective suitors were distant and sometimes aggravating to me. This is why I would probably read the other books in the series to get a better understanding of Petunia's story, but in no rush to learn about these others. 

Adding to that frustration was the fact that magic just appeared here and there for no reason to me. However, this is when I realized that this was actually the final installment in the series. Everything finally made sense after that. After researching the series a little, I finally settled into the storyline once again. There were still incidents and actions that happened seemingly random, but the story managed to hold my attention right till the end. The perspective on the fairy tale was unique compared to many others I had read and I actually enjoyed this one the most. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - March 13, 2013

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

Why, oh why, do these books have to be so daggum far apart?!? *Sigh*  At least this wait is almost over, but the others to come.... ugh...

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Hardcover, 592 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

From Goodreads:
Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review: Undeadly by Michelle Vail

Undeadly by Michelle Vail
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:
The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another...except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble....
 The concept won me over with this book, but the story itself could have benefited from a stronger heroine. 

Molly is a horrible accident waiting to happen. This girl has the luck of a bad penny, but she always seems to just scathe by trouble. In many ways she is a typical teenager trying to make it through a regular school day. However, supernatural incidents keep reminding her that she is not quite normal. Just how not normal she is actually completely unknown to her until she gets to Nekyia. Here events open up a can of worms and Molly has no choice but to fall in line...  Poor Rick. He gets drug along for the horrible ride, but is really a gem in the story. Rath. I adore him for some odd reason. He is a great character and compliment to Molly's naive personality. 

Together, this set of characters will give you a chance to involve yourself in the story along with them. It does start off slow, but Molly's blunders quickly get it rolling. Whining and teenage angst slow it down in several spots as well. If that had deterred from the story, this would have been an easy 5 sticky book. Unfortunately, it made me flip through a few parts to hurry the story along.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - March 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

I love a good story with a strong heroine. If this one lives up to its synopsis, it will be sitting on my shelves... Not too much longer to wait!
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: March 12th 2013 by Disney Hyperion

From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: Parallel Visions by Cheryl Rainfield

Parallel Visions by Cheryl Rainfield
Paperback, 146 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Rain and Sun Press
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:
Visions can kill you. Would you risk your life to save someone else’s?

Kate sees psychic visions of the future and the past—but only when she's having an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, she needs more visions to try to save her, along with a suicidal classmate—but triggering her asthma could kill her. Parallel Visions is the story of one brave, caring girl whose unusual gifts put her own life in danger.

A new YA fantasy from the award-winning author of SCARS and HUNTED
 This was quite the little book. There is a whole lot of ground covered in short span, but the characters make it worth the ride. 

Kate has an interesting dilemma. She has an asthma attack and a vision at the same time. No one believes her and most just think she is just "that sick kid that misses a lot of school." Then life intervenes. Issues with her sister and a friend's sister come up because of her visions and it doesn't lead to where you would think. Instead of creating complete conflict for Kate, it builds her life and opens doors for her that she couldn't have imagined. The build up to that point is a little slow, but then this book really picks up. The culminating events turned this one into a page turner quickly and almost leave you as breathless as Kate. Yes, some may say it is a little predictable and somewhat cliche when it comes to the romance part, but it makes the best out of the number of pages it is allowed. It is definitely a solid good book, but if it had been a "full-length" novel it would have been outstanding!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry

Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Maberry
Hardcover, 469 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Source: Own
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:
Reeling from the tragic events of Dust & Decay, Benny Imura and his friends plunge deep into the zombie-infested wastelands of the great Rot & Ruin. Benny, Nix, Lilah and Chong journey through a fierce wilderness that was once America, searching for the jet they saw in the skies months ago. If that jet exists then humanity itself must have survived…somewhere. Finding it is their best hope for having a future and a life worth living.

But the Ruin is far more dangerous than any of them can imagine. They are hunted by fierce animals escaped from zoos and circuses. They must raid zombie-infested towns for food and medical supplies. They discover the very real truth in the old saying: In the Rot & Ruin…everything wants to kill you.

And what is happening to the zombies? Swarms of them are coming from the east, devouring everything in their paths. These zoms are different. Faster, smarter, infinitely more dangerous. Has the zombie plague mutated, or is there something far more sinister behind this new invasion of the living dead?

In Flesh & Bone, Benny Imura, Nix Riley, Lou Chong and Lilah the Lost Girl are pitted against dangers greater than anything they've ever faced. To survive, each of them must rise to become the warriors Tom trained them to be.
 One of my favorite series and it just keeps getting better and better. This installment takes the previous dangers met by our heroes and makes them look like teardrops falling into a five gallon bucket. The Rot & Ruin brings some horrific surprises for Benny and his crew!

  The journey has already hurt them physically and mentally, but it continues to give our heroes grief. Things don't turn out anything like they thought they would. The cults they encounter are far more crazy than what they could have imagined. This takes their lives and journey into an entire new direction. The incident with Chong was one I was waiting for, just was not sure which character it would happen to. It will be interesting to see how the plot winds that one out. Especially with Lilah involved. We get to see so much more of her and her thoughts this time around and I loved every minute of it. She's become my favorite character. 
Benny and Nix take on some almost hilarious scary events. They are totally plausible, but also laughable because that is all I would be able to do in those situations. Its that sad and horrific and I would be screwed. You will really get to see these two grow up in this book. They are learning the complete in's and out's of a relationship and time will tell if it is something they want to hold on to. 

For a time their journeys are divided, but then combine again at the end. Both paths are filled will potholes, especially when they learn about the airplane and the real history of life after First Night. This opens a whole new can of worms to deal with. The crew's Sanctuary and new friends may not be all they are cracked up to be. From what we learn towards the end, Sanctuary could actually be anything but what it implies. The anxiety you will feel at the end of this book will make you extremely mad. There is so much left wide open, you will be sitting in a corner, rocking, and waiting for the final book in the series, Fire & Ash, to come out in September. Don't worry, you won't be alone. I will be patiently biting my nails until the end of this saga!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - February 27, 2013

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

I love the concept of this one! It'll be interesting to see the perspective that Brody takes on it.

Unremembered by Jessica Brody
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

From Goodreads:
The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.