Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Finds and New Reads


Friday Finds and New Reads
This is where I talk about new books that really stand out to me or sound unique, and what new books I have to read or will be getting soon.

I'm so sorry for missing last week, but I've got some great books to share with everyone. So sit back, relax, and see if you find anything that catches your eye.

First we have Witchlanders by Lena Coakley.

 Summary: High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future. 


It’s all a fake. 

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated? 

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned— 

Are about him.

When I first read this description it sounded like a mix of The Near Witch and the new Red Riding Hood. The cover is haunting and beautiful and I've found myself even more intrigued by what this story is going to be like.There's also a little Chronicles of Narnia feeling I get when looking at the cover, like the White Witch is going to pop out at me at any moment.

Next we have Article 5 by Kristen Simmons.


Summary: New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police — instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior — instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.

17-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.


I don't know what it is about dystopian styled stories that have drawn me in recently, but they have become one of my favorite types and when I read this description I immediately added to me to-read list. Especially since it seems a little closer to home with the changes to the Bill of Rights and everything.


And finally we have The Iron Wood by Megan Spooner.

Summary: Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in the Iron Wood – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?


There isn't a cover for this one yet, but I had to share it anyway. It sounds scary and suspenseful and exciting. I definitely can't wait to check this one out.


Now here's some of the new reads that I've had come in or will be coming in soon:



 
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

City of Fallen Angels & Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels
The Mortal Instruments 4
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 424 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: April 5th 2011
Review Source: Own Copy

In this fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series, we get a lot more background and insight to our beloved characters while following them on an even more dangerous journey. Cassandra Clare's world of Shadowhunters and Downworlder's is in for a bumpy ride.

We first follow Simon, who not only is a vampire that can walk in the daylight, but also can't be harmed by anyone. He finds himself dating two different girls and being pursued by other vampires and downworlders alike. But all he wants is to have a normal life.

Clary begins her training to become a shadowhunter and helps her mom with her wedding to Luke. The only strange thing is that Jace pulls away from her and she doesn't know why. He battles his own inner demons while struggling with his love for Clary.

CoFA wasn't as action packed as the previous books in the series, but that didn't make it any less enthralling. Especially since we got to learn more about Simon and the struggles he has to deal with. I loved him as a secondary character in the beginning of the series, but Cassandra made him an even more likable character now. He has to face a new world as a vampire and figure out how to balance it.

And Jace and Clary, though they love each other, aren't out of the woods either. I've always loved his snarky attitude and quick comebacks, but we get to see a different side of him this time around. Sure he's still cocky when it comes to dealing with demons and the shadow world, but he's also more vulnerable this time around as he battles with his fears. Clary's confidence with facing demons and her power are also great to see.

We also get introduced to some new characters and a few that we met in Clockwork Angel, Cassandra's prequel series to The Mortal Instruments. So much takes place and yet there's even more that's still left to come. And one thing that you can be sure of is that there's never a shortage of twists and turns. The cliffhanger Cassandra ends this book with is brutal and has definitely ensured that I will be coming back for the remaining books in The Mortal Instruments series.


Clockwork Angel
The Infernal Devices 1
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 476 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: August 31st 2010
Review Source: ARC Simon & Schster

Let me first admit that when I heard about The Infernal Devices series, I was somewhat skeptical about the whole thing and wasn’t really sure if I was going to want to read it. With that out of the way, I have never been so glad to be wrong before. Cassandra Clare out did herself with this one and it’s only the first in a series of three!

Not only was the story line wonderfully written and engaging, but the characters were just as intriguing as our beloved Clary and Jace from The Mortal Instruments series.

Set in 19th century London, we meet Tessa Gray. She’s a typically well brought up young lady who is thrust into a world that she never believed existed and never would have imagined that she was a part of, the Shadow World. With her brother’s life on the line, Tessa is forced into learning she has the unique and rather rare ability to change forms into anyone, alive or dead, a power that many want to exploit for their own uses.

With the help of Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs, two Shadowhunters that live at the London Institute, Tessa goes on a dangerous mission to locate her brother, uncovering even more secrets that may have been better left unsaid.

Each of the new characters we are introduced to bring something important to the story, including some of the familiar family names from TMI (Lightwoods, Waylands, and Magnus Bane). And, while I love the three main characters very much, I found that the two of the minor roles I wanted to learn more about were Henry and Charlotte, the couple that ran the Institute. With only a little mentioned about their relationship, I found myself asking more questions about their background than most of the other minor characters.

“She longed to reach out and stroke his face, push his hair back and reassure him. But she held herself back. She knew- she had been advised enough times- not force on Henry affection he probably didn’t want.” (CA pg 122) That statement alone was enough to pique my interest and drive me crazy to find out more.

And even though it might sound clich├ęd, Will was my other favorite character. Now, don’t get me wrong, Tessa was amazing and fascinating in her own right and I’m routing for her no matter what, but Will is much more of an enigma than the others. He’s witty and sarcastic, playful and spontaneous. To me he is like an artichoke, we have to keep peeling back layers until we get to the heart, and Clare hasn’t shown us all of what he’s about just yet.

“But there was nothing to say. There was only emptiness, as there had been before her. As there always would be.” (CA pg 451) Another sentence designed to make the readers even more curious about the fascinating William Herondale.

Cassandra Clare managed to win my heart again with this wonderful start to her prequel series and I am already twitching my thumbs in anticipation for the next two. I would also like to thank the lovely ladies of whatchYAreadin for hosting the Clockwork Angel contest and giving me the opportunity to read it early. You ladies are awesome and I hope that everyone enjoys the first book of the Infernal Devices series as much as I did.
For more information on both of these series and updates for future works you can check out Cassandra Clare's website http://www.cassandraclare.com/ or follow her on Twitter http://twitter.com/cassieclare.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer


Wolfsbane
Nightshade 2
Author: Andrea Cremer
Pages: 400 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Release Date: July 26th 2011
Review Source: Philomel/PenguinTeen

I would like to thank the Penguin Teen Group for sending me this advanced copy to review. And I know that the covers have changed, but the ARCs still look like this and I love the first cover. Isn't it gorgeous!

Wolfsbane picks up right where Nightshade left off. Calla and Shay are in the heart of the Searchers lair and Calla had to recover from an injury. When she wakes she quickly learns that things aren't always what they seem, and the searchers have a plan of their own for the two of them.

But if Calla thought things were going to be easier, she soon realizes that was a mistake. They're in the middle of a battle and it's only going to get more difficult.

In Nightshade we got a really good look at how close the wolf packs are. Andrea showed us their connection and their lives with the Keepers, building a good base for them so that we could better understand them in Wolfsbane. One of Calla's main priorities in this book was to protect her pack and get them away from the Keepers. Her fear of what might have happened to them after she left one of her strongest motivators.

That's important in understanding her longing to save her pack throughout the book. But, we also get a chance to better understand the Searchers. We're introduced to some new characters and they have a very interesting relationship with each other that takes Calla a little while to get used to. But, I think that helped ease some of the tension that was created in Wolfsbane.

More secrets are uncovered with the help of the Searchers, but by the end you find yourself with even more questions and a cliffhanger even worse than the first one.

I fell in love with Nightsahde because it was a strong story, unique, and a bit mysterious. Well Wolfsbane, in my opinion, just cemented that for me. It was a bit rougher to get through than the first book, but well worth it. Andrea has created an amazing world here and I can't wait for the conclusion of this series. I'll be sad when it's over, but I know it will be just as good as the first two books.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Finds and New Reads

Friday Finds and New Reads

This is where I talk about new books that really stand out to me or sound unique, and what new books I have to read or will be getting soon.
 
First this week I'd like to mention Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi:
Summary: Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.


The cover hasn't been revealed for this, so I'm just posting the description for now. And that alone has me so excited to read this book. It definitely doesn't sound like your typical dystopian story which I think makes it even better, plus there's a paranormal edge it it. I'm sold!


Next is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake:




Summary: Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

This definitely doesn't sound like your typical ghost story and I think that's what's intrigued me. I have a feeling this will have a little humor, a little action, and definitely some mystery wrapped up in this story.

And here's the new read I have for this week:




 

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch
Author: Victoria Schwab
Pages: 288 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Release Date: August 2nd 2011
Review Source: Disney- Hyperion Books

First of all, I would like to thank Disney Hyperion Books for sending me an ARC of this book. Now, The Near Witch is Victoria Schwab's debut novel and she has set the bar.

Lexi lives in the town of Near where everyone knows everyone and visitor's rarely pass through. But late one night, a new guy does come through the moors and then children start disappearing.

While the men try to search for the missing kids, Lexi takes it into her own hands to figure out what's going on. She uses what her father taught her about hunting and the stories he'd told to start piecing some things together. Only Lexi can't do it on her own. Will the help of the stranger get them the answers they need.

From the very first page, I fell in love with Victoria's writing. The prose she wrote in was very beautiful and poetic, almost as smooth as silk, and perfect for the setting she'd created. I hated putting the book down to sleep.

So much took place in this story: a fairytale within a fairytale, romance, and fear. The town of Near had an almost dreamlike quality for me, especially with the moors on the edge, with the descriptions of the area and the wind taking on a life of it's own. It was a character in it's own right.

Victoria took her time developing the characters, adding to the build up of just what was going on. Lexi, the stranger, even the town of Near, all seemed to have a particular part to play and I loved the small things that added to it.

After reading this, I definitely can't wait for more from Victoria Schwab. Her writing is unlike any I've seen in awhile and the way she weaves a story is beautiful. My hands are already itching to get ahold of her next book The Archive.

For the latest updates on the author you can check out her website http://www.victoriaschwab.com/, her blog http://veschwab.wordpress.com/, or follow her on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/veschwab.

Pieces of Us by Hannah Downing

Pieces of Us

Author: Hannah Downing
Pages: 220 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 5th 2011
Review Source: Omnific Publishing

In Hannah's debut novel she deals with a rather controversial subject, adding twists and unexpected situations that leave the reader wondering just what happened. Pieces of Us is a story that I think everyone could relate to.

Charlotte and Cameron fell in love young and seemed to have the perfect marriage. That is until Charlotte found a text message from her supposed best friend. Refusing to hear his excuses, she leaves their home and tries to start over.

But you can't always run from your past. Charlotte returns years later with her fiancee, Owen, to face her past. And though it is a struggle, Charlotte goes face-to-face with things she couldn't handle before. The things she thought were true turned out not to be; the feelings she thought were broken were resurfacing. Just who can't she live without?

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this story was the real emotions that Hannah was able to invoke in her characters. Not only did my heart hurt for Charlotte, but I also found myself crying for Cameron in the beginning as well. At the time you only know what Charlotte is seeing, but as she's struggling you can also figure out that Cameron really wanted to try and fix things between them. I loved that I was able to feel for both of them and not just view one as the victim, you know.

Charlotte's hubby-to-be, Owen, was a wonderful character. He obviously loved her enough to want the best for her and encourage her to do what she could to let go of the past. In most situations like this in a story you just want to be able to hate this kind of character because he isn't who the main girl should be with. But I just couldn't. Owen was a sweetheart and I admittedly wanted a little piece of him for myself.

Hannah did a wonderful job of slowly revealing what had happened that lead to the end of their marriage. She took us on a journey of betrayal and misunderstandings, love and heartache; a story that seemed to end at the beginning, but really had so much more.


To keep up with future works from this author you can check out her website http://www.hannahdowning.com or follow her on Twitter http://twitter.com/HannahDowning.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Friday Finds and New Reads

Friday Finds and New Reads
Where I discuss books that I've found that really stood out to me and what new ones I have to read.

This is a little late, but I figure better late than never right. So this week I want to start with a story by Heather Dixon called Entwined:


Summary: Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it. 

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation. 

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest. 

But there is a cost. 

The Keeper likes to keep things. 

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late. 
From the description this sounds a little fantasy and a little mystery, all rolled into one interesting ride. I can't really explain what it is about this that appeals to me, but from what I can tell it sounds like a pretty fun read.

Next we have Juliet Immortal by Stacy Jay

 Summary: "These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume." 


—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.


Romeo and Juliet in and of itself is a tragedy, but with the twist that Stay Jay has put on it in her story I think it will be even more heart breaking. It sounds dark and mystical and I'm quite intrigued to find out just how she went about this. 


And one of the new reads that I have this week is:




I have some new reviews coming soon, including The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab and Pieces of Us by Hannah Downing.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Lost Voices
Lost Voices 1
Author: Sarah Porter
Pages: 304 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Release Date: July 4th 2011
Review Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's

I was very intrigued by the concept of this story and was very excited when I received an early galley of it. Story's about mermaids aren't ones that I read all that often, but the description of this particular story seemed different an innovative. Sarah Porter didn't hold back and that made this book even better.

Luce is a fourteen year old girl in a pretty dire situation. Her alcoholic uncle tries to do the unthinkable and then leaves her stranded along the cliffs of their Alaskan home. In trying to cope with what happened to her, Luce finds herself thrust into a world she never thought possible.

Mermaids.

Luce has become one of them and at first it seems like the best thing that could have happened to her. But she soon learns that things aren't perfect under the water either, especially when a new girl joins them that begins to shake things up.

One of the things I found interesting about this story was that Sarah used a siren sort of mythology with the mermaids. They would sing to boats to get them to crash, but there was so much more behind it and I loved that. She puts you right in the middle of Luce's moral delima. And Luce eventually learns a secret about herself that she isn't ready to face.

Her writing is very real and almost uncomfortable in certain areas. As  a reader you want to be able to feel like you know the characters and like your experiencing things right along with me, and I think that you get that with the way Sarah writes. It's very honest and true to her characters. She doesn't hold anything back, but leaves you with the hope that things can get better.

You also get a very true reminder of what it's like to be a teenage girl. There are so many emotions and changes that you go through as a teen, but imagine having to go through that as a mermaid.

This book, like most of the ones that I've read lately, is the first of a series and I can definitely say that I'm intrigued to find out where she's planning on taking it. So much happens by the end of Lost Voices and I know that there's even more still to come. So be sure to keep your eyes open for more this author.

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