Friday, December 30, 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Genre: paranormal & mystery
Series and Book #: Hush, Hush Series #1
Pages: 391
Summary:

A sacred oath, a fallen angel, a forbidden love

When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy.

But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be where she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back?

As their connection grows stronger, Nora’s own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

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I'm just going to dive right in and say: THIS IS TOTALLY NOT WHAT I EXPECTED. AT ALL. See, I thought that this would be one of those gushy-slash-dark-and-serious fallen angel stories, and, true there was some gushiness and some dark and seriousness, but it didn't consume the entire novel. Fitzpatrick made Nora this lovable, funny girl who was incredibly frustrated and scared of Patch, but who always searched for answers and followed what she thought was right.

Oh, goodness, Vee! The bright and spunky character who played with Nora's theories and always saw the brightness in a situation. Vee was a terrific character. She downplayed the drama of Patch's mysteriousness, and she kept Nora under a logical viewpoint. Nora is officially one of my favorite MC's. She's witty and she's collected but she's just nerdy enough so that she wasn't a character you couldn't relate to. And she was very wary of Patch right from the start. She didn't just suddenly fall head-over-heels in love with him.

I loved the inclusion of a murder mystery. This added spice to the novel and made it less of a stereotypical fallen angel book. The way Fitzpatrick set it up was subtle and she kept adding all these different people who could have been out to get Nora. In the end, I felt as if I was a bit shocked at who the murderer was, but I wasn't entirely flabbergasted by it.

Overall, if you're looking for a funny book with lots of suspense and an undercurrent of romance, this is definitely a book for you. It totally delivered a fresh view on fallen angels, one that hasn't been seen before. I can't wait to read Crescendo and Silence!

The Cover: Falling angel, slant of light from clouds, disappearing feathers... Literally, one of the most accurate I have ever seen. Also one of my favorites.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Genre: mystery & adventure
Series and Book #: Gallagher Girl Series #4
Pages: 265
Synopsis:

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start as soon as her junior year. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most trusted allies is actually a rouge double agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

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Spy action, some romantic scenes with Zach, and heart-pounding secrets, this book definitely tops off its series! With every page we learned something new, and with every chapter came another adrenaline-pumping, kick-butt scene!

It starts in London, where Bex and Cammie are ice skating, and Carter doesn't waste time pushing the novel onto the track she wants it to go on. The mystery starts right away when the CIA and MI6 are after Mr. Solomon, and no one knows why. Of course, Cammie devises all the plots on how to find out. Carter added lots of action scenes in this novel, which was such a rush! I missed all the spy-ness and CoveOps missions in Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover!

Ah, Zach. We see so much more of him in this novel which was especially nice considering him and Cammie had this constant love-hate relationship. He was so much more vulnerable, too, which was a good and bad thing. I still think that Zach's incredibly hot with the whole mysterio get-up, but he was so sweet when he was with Cammie. Also, I got the sense that Cammie was looked at as a more fragile character, and the best part of her was that she went out of her way to show people that she was still "The Chameleon".

Overall, an excellent novel picking up from where Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover left off. The ending had a cliff-hanger, and I got the sense that it was the end of the series. But that's not true at all! I looked on Ally's website and saw that she has a Gallagher Girl #5 coming soon! YAY for that! Can't wait for the next one and all the adventures that Cammie gets into.

The Cover: Ooh, so covert! Love how the model's hiding her face, but still has a smile.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

Genre: mystery & adventure
Series and Book #: Gallagher Girl Series #3
Pages: 263
Synopsis:

When Cammie “The Chameleon” Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she’s in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she’s there to watch Macey’s father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world’s best school (for spies), “exciting” and “deadly” are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers’ plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.

As her junior year begins, Cammie can’t shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn’t feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion’s corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?

Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey’s private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer to the shocking truth….

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Although I was a bit sloppy in remembering who the characters were (I haven't read the books in, like, two years) most of it came back to me as Cammie brought up her the mysterious Zach, and the previous operations (althought they'd been illegal) she and her friends had gotten into.

I felt as if this were a more somber novel of the four in the series. There's more doubt in Cammie's mind, like she's not as good as she thought she was. When Macey's almost kidnapped, there's also her sudden deflation. Macey slips into an unrecognizable character and as Cammie tries to find her friend again, she finds out more about the life of a spy than she'd like.

Of course, the entire Gallagher Gang was back, and Bex and Liz were just as funny and full of energy as I remembered! The operations that they slipped into (including sneaking out of Gallagher Academy more than once) and hiding from the people who they looked up to were all as reckless and fast-paced as I liked. I felt as if I was there with them, and I saw everything they did. This is one of the things I love about Carter's writing: she describes everything with immense detail!

Overall, such a great installment in the series. I thought it was heavier than the previous novels, and I wish that it had been a bit less dark and more carefree. But Carter added enough humor and adventure that it wasn't a total drag of a book. :) The title of the book was correct in saying that you should never judge a girl by her cover. Masks were the theme of this novel, and there was no doubt that they were very good at showing people what they wanted to see.

The Cover: Cute! Gosh, I love these covers. They've always been some of my favorites!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Releases: Magic of the Moonlight and Kiss, Crush, Collide

Magic of the Moonlight (Full Moon #2) by Ellen Schreiber

Beware of a bite under a full moon . . . It will complicate your love life.

Celeste has more to worry about than a secret romance with a hot guy from the wrong side of town. That guy, Brandon, is a werewolf. With gossip and hostility swirling at school, it’s time to find a cure for his nocturnal condition, and perhaps the one person who can help is his scientist father. But what if a “cure” makes things worse and Brandon becomes a werewolf full time?

To keep Brandon’s secret safe, Celeste must hide her relationship with him from her best friends, but with the Moonlight Ball approaching, she must make a choice. Her dream is to go with her one true love—Brandon. But once the sun goes down, the clouds separate, and the full moon appears, could she really walk into the dance on the arm of a werewolf?

Kiss, Crush, Collide by Christina Meredith

Kiss: What Leah did—only she really shouldn'’t have—one hot night at a country club party.

Crush: What Leah has—only she really shouldn’'t have—on the guy with the green eyes, the guy who is not her perfect boyfriend, the guy who does not fit in her picture-perfect life, the guy her sisters will only mock and her mother will never approve of. Not in a million years.

Collide: What happens when everything you always thought you wanted—having cool friends, being class valedictorian and homecoming queen—runs smack into everything it turns out you really do want.

Kiss. Crush. Collide.

 For Leah and Porter, summer is only the beginning.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Missed Releases

December 8


Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

December 20

Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne

Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget.

But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a bit...off. They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety.

Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone! I wish you all safe travels and the blessings of the season!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Genre: science fiction, folklore
Series and Book #: Darkness Rising #1
Pages: 359
Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn’t know much about her background—the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw print birthmark on her hip—but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in the tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town—from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend’s hidden talent for “feeling” out people and situations to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel…different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya’s biological parents and it’s easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

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Just like in the Darkest Powers Trilogy, Kelley Armstrong's made another strong trilogy that I'm so excited for! My favorite part of this novel was the inclusion of Native American folklore. Obviously Armstrong did her research, because the myths and the beliefs of Maya's Native background were in depth and descriptive.

Armstrong did an excellent job of making the secluded area of Salmon Creek come alive. The small town idea was well played. Maya described the place as having nothing nearby, and there was literally nothing. A couple small stores and one restaurant with the nearest town one hour away. The wilderness then became a very strong point of the book, and this is where Maya's rising "special talents" were excellently shown.

I thought the cues that Armstrong placed throughout the novel suggesting who Maya was kind of ruined the climax. Maya was smart and she pieced together everything just as I did. So when Rafe (the sexy bad boy described above) tells who she is and what that means, she doesn't freak out and she doesn't doubt it. She totally accepts it and this, I think, made the novel less about what Maya was and more about where she came from. As with the Darkest Powers Trilogy, medical research was a key part of this novel. I would have preferred if it was more supernatural and less of a scientific reason for everything.

Overall, another strong novel with another strong cast of characters. This book came off better than The Summoning. I'm more animated and excited for the next novel, waiting for Maya's upcoming Shift and her sparking romance with Rafe. The Calling's calling me!

The Cover: like the covers of the Darkest Powers, I don't really get the significance of the earring. But the darkness and the model definitely grab my attention.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Genre: post-apocalyptic, science fiction
Series and Book #: Forest of Hands and Teeth #2
Pages: 404
Synopsis:

Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She’s content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she’s ever known, and all she needs for happiness.

But life after the Return is never safe, and there are threats even the Barrier can’t hold back.

Gabry’s mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don’t stay buried. And now, Gabry’s world is crumbling.

One night beyond the Barrier…

One boy Gabry’s known forever and one veiled in mystery…

One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.

Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother’s past.

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"Maybe, though, it's time we learned that we don't have to live within the boundaries we set up. Maybe we have to learn to push those barriers. To reclaim some of what was lost. And to build a new world."
-The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, pg 404

I really liked the extension of Mary's life through her daughter's. Gabry's view of the world is much different than her mother's. It's less cold and less curious. Gabry is perfectly happy to live in Vista with the people and the world she's known forever, whereas Mary still yearns for the adventure and the secrets that she left behind in the Forest. I thought Gabry wasn't quite as strong as her mother, which bugged me. She wasn't as sure and she was more clingy to what was normal. I thought Mary was a better character, too, because I saw a more personal part of her. Ryan let us see Mary though her daughter's eyes, and it was definitely different than who Mary had been in The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Again, there were two boys who Gabry loved in this novel. But unlike Forest, Gabry had only one love at one time and wasn't switching her feelings on and off like Mary. I liked this better, because I felt it made the romantic moments more meaningful.

The scenes in the Forest were more dragged out with less adventure and less description than in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was mostly keeping everyone going, trying to stop the inevitable, searching for Gabry's mother and any surviving villages. There was less description from Gabry's point of view. In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Ryan described how claustrophobic the moans had been to Mary, and how her senses were full of the undead. But to Gabry, they were just an incessant noise that she wasn't used to.

Overall, though I preferred The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this novel was very thought-provoking. Gabry analyzes herself more than Mary did and through this I got a deeper connection to her thoughts. Gabry has a deeper fear of the Mudo (aka Unconsecrated) than her mother did. She's deeply affected by them because so many of her friends and loved ones have gone to the Mudo. Unlike Mary's selfishness and drive to get to the ocean, Gabry worries about who the Mudo are. Are they still human? Ryan opens more questions, and I can't wait to read more in The Dark and Hollow Places!

The Cover: Just like it's predecessor, very accurate. Love it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Blogoversary!

On this day one year ago, Life by a Letter was born! Just looking at how much it has changed in the past six months compared to one year is unbelievable, and I can't believe how far its gone. As you can see on top, the blog's dressed up for the occasion!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Release: Deadly Little Voices by Laurie Faria Stolarz

High school junior Camelia thought her powers of psychometry only gave her the ability to sense the future through touch. But now she’s started to hear voices. Mean voices. Berating her, telling her how ugly she is, and that she’d be better off dead. It’s a troubling development that has Camelia terrified for her mental stability, especially since her deranged aunt with a suicidal history has just moved into the family house. More torturing, ex-boyfriend Ben, who has similar psychometric abilities, has been spending more time with their classmate Alejandra.

With the line between right and wrong fraying, Camelia turns to pottery to get a grasp on her emotions. She begins sculpting a beautiful figure skater, only to receive frightening premonitions that someone’s in danger. But who is the victim? And how can Camelia help them when she is on the brink of losing her own sanity?

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I've yet to read this series, but from what I've heard, it's pretty good. From what I've read, it seems like one of those books that after the first, the rest just goes downhill. Am I right? Or wrong?

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Genre: post-apocalyptic, science fiction
Series and Book #: Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Pages: 308
Synopsis:

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated with never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

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Such a dark, hopeful novel. The world Mary lives in is surrounded by so much death that her society is consumed by it. To them, it is only survive and live, never love or hope or fantasize.

Mary is one of my favorite characters. She's so hopeful when the world around her crumbles, and she clings to her one dream of seeing the ocean before she dies. Her friends fuel her need to see life and worlds that are not touched by the gruesome death of her neighbors and loved ones. And so when her village falls, she keeps believing in the ocean and in life and that is what keeps her going even as her friends fall, and her heart is crushed and swelled and crushed again. She's relentless. She's so strong and full of life.

Carrie writes the village and its principles so well. She makes it seem as dismal and uneventful as Mary sees it. She transitions between normal life, to chaos, into Mary's miserable existence in the Cathedral, to the Forest, with so much ease that you barely notice. Her vocabulary also expresses the darkness and disaster and the suffocating death that Mary is surrounded by. Just a wonderfully written novel.

Overall, even though this novel is about a zombie apocalypse, it doesn't feel like one. I almost thought it was a dystopian novel because it's placed in the future after the world as we know it has ended by what seems an infection that has overtaken the world's dead population. The anguish and optimism all melt into a delectable read. Carrie has done a beautiful and creative job of building paradise out of disease and destruction.

The Cover: Reflects the novel wonderfully. Loved this cover, loved the portrayal of Mary, loved the darkness in the woods.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In My Mailbox (10): November


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where we share what books we've bought, received, or borrowed over the last week or, in my case, month. I don't get enough books over the week to cover a weekly IMM but I always do one every month. Here's October's!  (Some of these books I've already read, so if you click on the links they should bring you to the review)

Library Finds:

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover by Ally Carter
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Genre: paranormal
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 343
Synopsis:

Mackie Doyle is the Replacement.

Mackie is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess.

He is a Replacement—left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us. He just wants to play bass guitar and find out more about an oddly intriguing girl named Tate.

But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem.

He must face the dark creatures of the slag heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

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This is definitely one of those novels you can read after dark and jump at the slightest sounds. Trust me. It happens.

Mackie was a wonderfully unique character. He wasn't particularly brave and he wasn't incredibly strong. Really, he was very weak and very quiet. He tried to keep his head down and avoid blood, iron, and churches. I thought this was great because you don't see a lot of weaker characters in novels. Mostly they're very strong and they're very curious. But Mackie knows what happens, and he doesn't feel he can change it, so he doesn't. And despite his otherness, he acts like a regular human boy. Which might be provocative to some, but it's true, and I like how Brenna doesn't fuzz up the reality of him being a high school boy.

Gentry was a character in itself. The town's fascination with the creatures that ruled them was beautifully written. Mackie always points out that the townspeople could change what happens to them, but they never do because things are the way they are and that's how it should be. Hopelessness overshadows this book immensely.

Overall, this is a beautifully written novel that touches base with scary, dark things. Though the Morrigan was sweet, she was dangerous when she had to be, and the Lady was wonderfully horrific. Brenna also added just the right amount of humor and wit in the story, and though it was a depressing novel, Tate spiced  things up by implying that things could be different. Mackie was a very real character and he wasn't made out to be a super heroic boy. Great first novel!

The Cover: Quoted from my best friend, "Are they trying to kill the kid?" It catches your eye and it speaks that this book isn't going to be about pleasant things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Releases: The Pledge, Shatter Me, Wherever You Go, and The Space Between

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom…. 

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

"You can't touch me," I whisper.

I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.

He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.

But things happen when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans on her own.

After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. But she has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, trying to get close to Holly—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. As their uncertain new relationship progresses, the past comes back to haunt Holly and Jason. Her Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side? 

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cover Reveal: Rapture by Lauren Kate


So this is Rapture, the final novel in the Fallen Series by Lauren Kate. If you remember, I had a post back in January about Passion, the third book, and it's cover. There, I mentioned that I really didn't like the cover because it was just so bright compared to the others. But this got right back on track. I love the darkness that reflects Fallen and Torment. Such a great finish for this series!

This is all from Midnight Bloom Reads at midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com. Check out her blog!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Release: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini


Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.

Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.

The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost?

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Finally, one of the most anticipated novels of a long time. Inheritance, the fourth novel in the Inheritance Cycle (you know, Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr), came out. Yay for all you fans out there!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

Genre: action, science fiction
Series and Book #: Maze Runner Trilogy #2
Pages: 360
Synopsis:

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety…until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim…and meal.

The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

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The Maze Runner was very action-packed and creepy, playing with peoples fears of things unseen and monsters. But The Scorch Trials focused on different fears--sickness and betrayal. This was more psycological than anything else. Thomas has to figure out who wants him dead, who to trust, and what kind of dangers are lurking in dark corners in the Crank town of the Scorch.

James did another amazing job of describing everything with detail. From the Cranks, to the dilapidated buildings and the concotions of WICKED, he didn't waste words. Thomas's expieriences (some good, some not so good) were told in depth. I loved that. It made the novel very 3D.

Overall, this was a great sequel to The Maze Runner. I wish there had been more action than there really was. The Gladers were mostly trying to survive obstacles that weren't as scary as a huge, unsolvable Maze crawling with Grievers. I also felt as if WICKED wasn't made out to be the bad guy in this novel as much as it was in The Maze Runner. There really was nothing that suggested their presence in the Scorch. But the trip it took my mind on...wow. James definetly upped the ante, and I am intrigued to see what he comes up with in The Death Cure.

The Cover: Again it connects to the book really well. It combines everything that happens in the novel.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cover Reveal: Endlessly by Kiersten White

Thursday on her blog, Kiersten White (the hilarious author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally) revealed the cover of the third and final book in the Paranormalcy Trilogy. Here it is:


How gorgeously gorgeous is this? Gosh, I'd buy these books just for the covers! They're so darn pretty! But you shouldn't just buy them for the covers. They're amazing and funny, so go and get them!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner

Genre: action, science fiction
Series and Book #: Maze Runner Trilogy #1
Pages: 374
Synopsis:
Everything is going to change….

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is empty.

But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark.

The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home…wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the Maze is unsolvable.

And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

 --------

This was such an amazing, creepy, mysterious book. James was able to make the mysteries behind the Maze come to light just as a different revelation had become tired. Thomas was a great character, with a mix of courage, leadership, and insanity. He took risks that others didn't, leading him to unusual circumstances. He also thought out-of-the-box, which I always appreciate in MCs.

The Maze was a perfectly described place. I caught on to the ways of the Glade fast, and it was a very vivid place in my imagination. James described the scenery, Grievers, and living conditions with detail. I liked that most about this book. James didn't leave a scene with more questions than answers; instead he had balance.

I especially liked all the chaos when Teresa came into the Maze and triggered the end. That's when most of the action took place, because she was unconscious and unable to answer questions while life in the Maze fell apart.

Overall, this is definitely a trilogy not worth missing, especially if you're looking for a perfect creepy, post-apocalyptic read. I was amazed by all the connections made. Usually in novels like this, I put the pieces together before the MC, which always bothers me because I feel like then the author's been making too many questions and providing too many answers. But James took my attention off of one question long enough for me to focusing on answering that question while he continues to answer the previous question (if that made any sense). Just an amazing, colorful read.

The Cover: LOVE THE CONNECTION TO THE STORY! The visual of the Doors is great.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cover Reveal: Underworld by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot, the author of Abandon, revealed the cover of the sequel as a treat to her fans last night:


I haven't read this book yet but everyone (literally, like every reading fanatic I know) is telling me to read it! I'll get right on it, you guys!

I love these covers. They really grab your attention, and I know that Meg is a great author since I've read previous books of hers. Can't wait to read these as well!

Source: Midnight Bloom Reads (midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com) Total credit to her and her great blog!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies #2) by Pittacus Lore

Genre: adventure and science fiction
Series and Book #: Lorien Legacies #2
Pages: 406
Synopsis:

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.

 Number Two in England.

 And Number Three in Kenya.

 They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.

--------

*Squee!* Gosh, I loved I Am Number Four, both the movie and the book. I was anxiously awaiting The Power of Six, and it delivered big time. Huge battle scenes in greater number than before, more of the Garde, and of course Four. This was told from the point of view of Number Four and Number Seven.

Pittacus describes Spain and Number Seven's (or Marina's) predicament. Unlike Henri and Four, Seven and her Cepan were cast out of tons of homes before they were sheltered in a convent/orphanage in Santa Teresa, Spain. Seven's Cepan doesn't help her like Henri did Four, and so she's grown up discovering her Legacies by herself. She was a very independent, very curious character and I liked her. But I thought she was weak by her lack of training and skill when battling Mogadorians.

Four's just as amazing as ever. On the run with Sam, Six, and Bernie Kosar, Four gets into more battles than in I Am Number Four because the Mogs track and catch up to him, and the police are out looking for him. There's so much more we discover in this novel as Four starts to explore different things that Henri kept from him--like his Chest. He finds more and more things in his Chest that lead them to finding the other Garde, like Number Nine!

Overall, a great installment to the series. Action, adventure, and great character building really made this a wonderful novel. I can't wait to read the next!

The Cover: Less dramatic than the first, but it reflects Number Seven's Legacy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Release: Crossed by Ally Condie and Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

I preordered this from Amazon, and I CANNOT wait to read it! Matched was delectable and I'm anxiously waiting to find out what happens to Cassia!


Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?

Interesting, and with my having just read The Maze Runner, it sounds totally intriguing.

Monday, October 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (9): October


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren  where we share what books we've bought, received, or borrowed over the last week or, in my case, month. I don't get enough books over the week to cover a weekly IMM but I always do one every month.Here's September's! (Some of these books I've already read, so if you click on the links they should bring you to the review)

Bought:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Borrowed:
Stork by Wendy Delsol

Library Finds:
Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Happy Halloween!

Have a great Halloween everyone!


    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Cover Reveals: As Dead As It Gets and Timepiece

    Here's the newly revealed cover of As Dead As It Gets, new in the Bad Girls Don't Die Series: 



    I love this cover. Soooo creepy! I have yet to read Bad Girls Don't Die, but it sounds awesome.

    And there's also the ARC cover of Timepiece by Myra McEntire. I loved Hourglass, the prequel, and I can't wait to read the next installment. Look at the pretty cover!


    A great companion to Hourglass's cover. 

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Releases That I Missed and a Note from your Blogger

    Hello, everyone. Please excuse my absence from the blog lately. My life has been so hectic but now that it's calming down, hopefully I'll be able to focus and read. Thanks for your patience!

    October 19


    On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker

    Claire is struggling to overcome the murder of her childhood friend and secret crush, Daniel. Everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, but she's still trying to cope. The fact that she finds herself alone and drowning on her 16th birthday isn't helping.

    Neither is thinking she sees Daniel's face in murky water as she mysteriously resurfaces. But something happened during those four and a half minutes that will make her realize it was not just her imagination.

    As Claire and Daniel try to grasp a possible reconnection, other grudge-holding beings have plans of their own. Now, the two of them have to decide if their fleeting relationship is worth the possibility of Claire being trapped on the fringe forever.

    ---------

    Sounds a lot like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but it also sounds like it has an interesting spin. I'll read it if I find it on the shelf.

    October 25

    The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey #4) by Julie Kagawa

    My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn.
    I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her.
    My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…
    --------
    Admittedly, I have yet to read the others in this series. But this sounds so good!


    Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

    For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren—the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood—a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.
    --------
    Mermaids, winged-people, humans, OH MY!


    Nightshade (Poison Diaries #2) by Maryrose Wood and the Duchess of Northumberland

    Sixteen-year-old Jessamine Luxton is heartbroken. Her true love, Weed, the strange but intriguing young man who came into her life so suddenly, has disappeared. How could he have left her with no farewell, and no word since?
    Jessamine may not know why Weed vanished, but she does suspect that her own father, Thomas, may have had something to do with it. Thomas, who was so obsessed with Weed’s secret knowledge of dangerous plants that he would do anything to learn it. This suspicion—and her experiences with poisons—has changed her. She is no longer innocent, and now she has her own intimate knowledge of the power of the plants.
    So when Jessamine learns that Weed is alive, she will do whatever it takes to be reunited with him.
    She is, after all, her father’s daughter. . . .
    ---------
    I've heard great things about this series but I haven't read the first book, The Poison Diaries.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Releases: Beautiful Chaos, The Scorpio Races, & Seizure

    Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

    Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

    For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

    Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

    The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

    With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff--with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.

    Seizure (Virals #2) by Kathy Reichs

    Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they've turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack! But now the very place that brought them together - the Loggerhead Island Research Institute - is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it!

    So when Tory learns of an old Charleston legend about a famous she-pirate, Anne Bonney, whose fortune was never found, she can't believe her luck - buried treasure is exactly what she needs to save the Institute on Loggerhead! Trouble is, she and her friends aren't the only ones looking for it. And this time, the Virals' special powers may not be enough to dig them out of trouble . . .

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Stork (Stork #1) by Wendy Delsol

    Genre: fantasy
    Series and Book #: Stork #1
    Pages: 357
    Synopsis:

    Moving from LA to nowhere Minnesota, sixteen-year-old Katla Leblanc expected the local fashion scene to be frozen in time. What she didn’t expect was induction into the Icelandic Stork Society, an ancient order of women charged with a unique mystical duty. Not only is Katla the youngest member, but Hulda, the society’s omen-guided leader, immediately bestows the coveted Second Chair on her—a decision that ruffles a few feathers.

    As if that weren’t enough, Katla also has to deal with her parents’ divorce and the social aftermath of a bad date with popular but creepy Wade. Katla, however, isn’t one to sit on her designer-jean-clad behind, and soon she’s assigned the fashion column for the school paper and making new friends.

    Things would be looking up if it weren’t for editor in chief Jack. Even though they argue every time they meet, Katla is inexplicably drawn to him. Juggling her home life, school, and Stork duties, will Katla be able to unravel the mystery surrounding Jack? More importantly, will she find a dress for Homecoming?

    --------

    Stork was a wonderfully created mix of a modern day girl clashing with tradition and myth. Coming from a person who has lived in Minnesota most of her life, I love the Nordic stories that Fru Hulda tells Katla, and I sympathize with her love/hate relationship with the rapidly changing weather.

    At first, I thought this would be a typical book of a girl who has a very narrow mind for all things old and comfortable. It seemed that way for awhile, but soon Katla won me over. She was a very kind character who loved being herself, and although it took her some time to get used to the thick traditions in Norse Falls, she accepted them and let them mingle with her love of the modern world.

    Overall, this was an incredibly original novel. I loved the concept of storks "delivering" child souls to "vessels", or potential mothers. Also the mythology Delsol added to make it all the more believable. Katla and the other Storks were very interesting characters. I loved Fru Hulda and her cryptic messages and stories. I'm looking forward to more in Frost.

    The Cover: Completely depicts the freezing temperature and the girl looks a lot like Delsol described Katla in the novel.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

    Genre: fantasy
    Series and Book #: unknown
    Pages: 342
    Synopsis:

    Their love was meant to be.

    When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

    But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

    --------

    Great Irish connections. Throughout the entire novel, Fallon connected Megan and Adam's powers with traditional mythology. Also, the places Megan went (example: Trinity College in Dublin) Fallon explained really well and made me even more excited if I one day go to Ireland.

    I have a problem with something. If you look in the summary, you'll see the opening line is "Their love was meant to be." LIAR! Forbidden love is a main theme in this novel. Megan and Adam's elements do not mix and if they were to get married and have children, the world would implode and the universe would be destroyed, life as we know it would end etc. etc. You know, the usual.

    Megan and Adam were a sweet couple, and I think Fallon made them very realistic, but...they just jumped into the "I think we're meant to be" thing. But once that's settled, Adam and she become a lovable couple that you will root for. They have their fights and their worries, and I really liked them together. They balanced each other nicely.

    Overall, I loved the back-myths that Fallon included, and I loved the characters she included in Megan's life. Caitlin (Megan's first friend at her new school) reminded me a bit of myself, always going after something, always worried about someone, and always bubbly and enthusiastic. The DeRís's were a wonderful family whom Fallon put together nicely. Their connection to Megan was supurbly plotted, and everything had a purpose. Not one thing was unnecessary to the story, and I love when that happens!

    The Cover: Gorgeous. Just...wow. Her dress, her hair, the font...beautiful. 

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Releases: Tris & Izzie, Death Cure, and Frost

    Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
    Publisher: EgmontUSA

    “I don’t want him to love me because of a potion,” she said. 
     
    Izzie loves Mark, and why shouldn’t she? As the captain of the basketball team, he is kind and loving and he’s everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend. Her BFF loves . . . somebody, but she won’t say who. So when a hot new guy, Tristan, shows up at school, who better for Izzie to fix up her friend with? And what better way to do it than with a love philtre? 

    But even the best of magic has a way of going awry—and Izzie finds she’s accidentally fallen in love with Tristan herself. And that’s a problem. First of all, there’s Mark. Second, Tristan comes with baggage—like the supernatural creatures that keep attacking whenever he’s with Izzie, and the fact that he comes from the place where Izzie’s father was killed, years ago, by an enormous, evil serpent that’s still around—and it knows Izzie is out there.


    The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner
    Publisher: Random House Children's Books


    Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test. What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.
    The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
    Will anyone survive the Death Cure?



    Frost (Stork #2) by Wendy Delsol
    Publisher: Candlewick Press


    Katla Leblanc has to employ her grit, spirit, and special gifts to rescue the boy she loves. After the drama of finding out that she's a Stork, a member of an ancient and mystical order of women, and that her boyfriend, Jack, is a descendent of the Winter People able to control the weather, Katla Leblanc is delighted when all signs point to a busy and peaceful Christmas. That is, until the snowstorm Jack summons as a gift to Katla turns into the storm of the century, attracting Brigid, a gorgeous scientist who, in turn, attracts Jack. Between the school play, a bedridden, pregnant mother's to-do lists, and keeping an eye on her aging grandfather, Katla doesn't have time to question Brigid's motives or deal with Jack's increasingly cold behavior. But Katla's suspicions mount when Jack joins Brigid on a research expedition to Greenland, and when the two of them go missing, it becomes clear that Katla is the only one who can save her beloved Jack from the Snow Queen who holds him prisoner. Adventure, romance, and myth combine in this winter escapade for teens who like a bit of fire with their ice.