Friday, July 29, 2011

Wildfire by Karsten Knight

Wildfire 1
Author: Karsten Knight
Pages: 400 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Release Date: July 26th 2011
Review Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Karsten has an absolutely brilliant debut novel on his hands (as well as two more books for the series) that completely blew me away.

Ashlinde Wilde transfers to a boarding school in the redwoods of California when her sister becomes even more violent than before. Ash just wants to put the past behind her and start over, maybe even with a sexy park ranger that keeps coming around, but trouble seems to find her no matter where she goes.

And when Ash and four of her classmates discover that their arrival at Blackwood Academy wasn't by chance, their worlds are changed by an even deeper secret. They aren't just teenagers, they're gods and goddesses from all over the world. But before Ash can fully embrace her goddess destiny, she'll have to face a storm from her past. And her sister, Eve, won't give up without a fight.

I was beyond eager to get my hands on this book and am so glad I got the chance to read it. Not only is Karsten's writing phenomenal, but it's also about one of my favorite topics. Say it with me everyone... MYTHOLOGY! Karsten uses different gods and goddess legends from around the world to create a fantastic group of characters. Everyone from Isis to Shango Baldur to Pele, he brings them together in an interesting and fun way as they discover who they really are.

The story between Ash and Eve was typical sister rival, but they had powers. I eventually just wanted Eve to take the hint an leave, but every good story needs a decent antagonist to drive the main character. I loved the struggle that Ash felt in regard to her sister. She loved her and wanted to have a relationship with her, but Eve kept making it impossible.

And if all that isn't enough, we are left with a major cliffhanger at the end of this first installment. Thank you Karsten (insert sarcasm here)! It's going to drive me crazy to wait for Embers & Echoes, book 2 in the Wildefire trilogy, but I know it will definitely be worth the wait.

So, in the meantime, if you want to learn more about the Wildfire series or checkout Karsten's hilarious vlogs that he posts you can go to his website or you can follow him on Twitter

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Fire and Thorns 1
Author: Rae Carson
Pages: 432 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Release Date: September 20th 2011
Review Source: HarperTeen ARC

This debut novel by Rae Carson is the first in a trilogy and is an intrigue that will keep you guessing until the end. Her writing is clear and honest, all a part of the unique world she created. Oh, and the ARC I received had this original cover and I absolutely love it!

Elisa is a sixteen year old princess with a special destiny. The fates of thousands rest in her hands and when she is secretly married to a king from a neighboring kingdom, Elisa wonders if she has what it takes to fulfill it.

But when fate intervenes and brings her on an even more terrifying journey than a new marriage and secrecy, Elisa has to find an inner strength she never knew she possessed. Everything she had been studying and witnessing will be brought to the test.

When I first read the description of this book, I had a completely different picture in my head of what it was going to be about. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was nothing like I'd thought, which made it even better.

Elisa was a character that was very sheltered, even though her family and even her new husband knew that there was something special about her. She possessed a special stone that would allow her to do great things, but she was kept in the dark for so many years. I loved that this was a journey of discovery and strength for her, that she had to learn to rely on herself and her instincts instead of others.

The world Rae created seemed like one that we could very easily picture and imagine living in, which I think makes the story even better. The struggles and relationships that her characters dealt with gave them humanity and made it fathomable to see Elisa grow and change throughout the story.

And this was just the first book in her Fire and Thorns trilogy. I can't even begin to imagine what's in store for Elisa in the next two books. It felt like so much took place, but there were plenty of things left unanswered.

So if you're looking for a story with adventure, mystery, and romance this would definitely be the book for you. A fabulous debut novel and a great first installment to what looks to be a great series! And for more updates from Rae about this series and anything else you can check out her website or follow her on Twitter

Friday, July 15, 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 love getting to talk about the new books I'm finding out there. Some of them sound absolutely amazing.

So to start of we have Destined by Jessie Harrell:

Summary: When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

I chose this one because, interestingly enough, I also wanted to write a new take on the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Greek myths are my absolute favorite and this one is probably my top besides the legend of Persephone and Hades. I'm very interested to see her take on this beautiful story.

Next we have Ember by Carol Oates:

Summary: When Candra Ember wakes up in hospital after a dangerous encounter with a red-haired woman, she is shocked to discover that seeing a winged boy wasn’t her imagination. Candra is exposed to a world of rivalry and sacrifice she never knew existed, and the aftermath of a war to save humanity thousands of years ago. Soon she finds herself relentlessly stalked by Sebastian, a beautiful and arrogant Watcher Angel and romantically pursued by his darkly seductive rival, Draven. Ultimately, dubious about her own goodness, Candra’s very existence compromises a tentative peace in the city of Acheron.

Carol caught my interest with her debut novel Shades of Atlantis and the Irish/Celtic lore she used. Now with her new series Ember I have no doubt she'll be able to real me in again. And the summary sounds absolutely fascinating.

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout:

Summary: Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

I love the concept of this and the fact that she can't touch anyone. It adds some great angst and frustration to the story and characters. This is definitely one I'm excited to find out how she goes about pulling this off. 

And finally I wanted to show of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi because the cover for her debut novel was revealed yesterday and it is gorgeous!

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.

And finally some new reads that I should be getting in:


Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

The Wolves of Mercy Falls 3
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Pages: 386 pgs
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: July 12th 2011
Review Source: Scholastic ARC

If you haven't read Shiver or Linger then this review will contain spoilers. Proceed with caution!

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Forever and was beyond thrilled to dive in. Maggie Stiefvater has such a beautiful way of writing and has become one of my favorite author's. And she didn't disappoint with this final installment of The Wolves of Mercy Falls.

Now that Grace has been infected with the virus, she struggles to stay human long enough to be with Sam and work things out with her parents. Sam struggles with the aftermath Beck left for him. But there's more than that. Someone wants to kill the wolves, Isabel's father, and no one can stop him now.

It's up to Sam, Cole, and Grace to figure out a way to save them and find a cure for the wolf infection. Will they be able to save their friends, family, even themselves before it's too late?

Maggie's lyrical form of writing is what first pulled me into this series and she's kept it strong through out. Even during difficult scenes where Grace or Sam were struggling with something, the prose just adds to what is happening. I can't accurate explain how beautiful and flowy her writing is, but it never fails.

And, just as Maggie promised, there are more sweet and romantic scenes as well as sad and difficult ones. The love Sam and Grace have for each other has always been the draw to this series and we definitely aren't short changed with it in Forever. But just as their relationship has been the cornerstone, so has the struggles they've had to go through to be together. For me, that's what makes it worthwhile in the end.

Even though this series is somewhat a fantasy with the wolves, Maggie has always given it a very realistic touch and she doesn't back down in this last one. I think that would really disappoint her loyal readers, even if it is difficult to read. And the wolf hunt in this is one of a few really hard scenes to get through.

Forever is a beautiful ending to such an amazing series and even though I wish there could be more, Maggie Stiefvater gave us her all in this final installment. Thank you Maggie, not only for your beautiful writing, but also for giving us such beautiful characters and a love for us all to aspire for. But fear not. She has a new, stand alone novel coming out this fall called The Scorpio Races that I am definitely looking forward to reading.

Friday, July 1, 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 am just beyond amazed at the staggering amount of fascinating books that are coming out lately. When I was "young adult" there weren't nearly as many incredible books for us to read, at least in my opinion. And now it's like there's been an explosion of amazing author's coming to the surface. Which is has also inspired me to get working on my own stuff. Hopefully you'll be hearing about it in the future.

Anyways, lets get started with this weeks finds. First up we have Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi:

Summary: Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—nicknamed The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms eventually will. In this dystopia, even the very air she breathes could kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild, dangerous—a savage. He’s also her only hope.

Perry needs Aria, too. She alone holds the key to his redemption. And their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Debut author Veronica Rossi is accumulating fans from all over the globe—the book has already sold to more than twenty countries. It’s not surprising that foreign rights for this title have been flying off the shelf. It’s a tantalizing romance in any language.

Not only is the cover for this book absolutely beautiful, but the summary is also just as intriguing. I never thought dystopian stories would really be my thing after a traumatizing incident in high school in which I foolishly read Lord of the Flies, but this new crop that's started coming up is so much better. And this book also a science fiction story, so it combines two pretty great genres right off the bat. Add in some romance and you've got a book that I can't wait to read.

Next up we have Incarnate by Jodi Meadows:

Summary: NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

I don't even have the words to describe how beautiful the cover is for this book... it's just wonderful. And then you read the summary and it just adds to the allure. This is one I certainly can't wait to get my hands on.

And now for some new reads:

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four
Lorien Legacies 1
Author: Pittacus Lore
Pages: 440 pgs
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Release Date:August 3rd 2010
Review Source: Own Copy

First of all, I saw the movie before I read this book and I'm actually rather glad that I did it that way. While the movie was good in it's own right, there's just so much more that the book offers and I fell in love with this series because of it.

John Smith is an alien that came to Earth with nine others like him. He has spent his entire life on the run with Henri, his protector and guardian from their planet Lorien, moving from one town to the next, never really finding a home anywhere. At least that is until they move to Paradise, Ohio and things start looking up for John.

Not only do his legacies, powers, start to surface, but he also makes a good friend and starts dating a beautiful girl. For once he just wants a normal life, to not be on the run at the drop of a hat. But things don't always work out the way we hope for, and when their enemies learn where they are it'll be a fight for their lives.

One of my favorite things about this book from the very beginning was the relationship between John and Henri. Even though John made it clear that Henri wasn't actually his father, you could tell that they had a special bond with each other. Henri had been the one to watch over and protect him since their arrival from Lorien, so they had a close relationship beyond just protector and protectee.

I also really enjoyed the background information that we got about what had happened on Lorien that caused them to flee, their legacies, even John's little dog Bernie Kosar. There's just only so much information that a movie can offer and I loved getting all of that as I read the book.

We've only gotten the beginning and I cannot wait for more. John had an interesting voice and was very much a teenage boy. I'm even more anxious now to dig into the early copy of The Power of Six that I got to find out what happens next. This is sure to be a fun and interesting series and I can't to see what else the author's have in store for these characters.


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