Friday, August 31, 2012

Taken at Dusk by C. C. Hunter

Genre: paranormal
Series and Book #: Shadow Falls #3
Pages: 380

Step into Shadow Falls, a camp for teens with supernatural powers. Here friendship thrives, love takes you by surprise, and our hearts possess the greatest magic of all.
Kylie Galen wants the truth so badly she can taste it. The truth about who her real family is, the truth about which boy she’s meant to be with—and the truth about what her emerging powers mean. But she’s about to discover that some secrets can change your life forever…and not always for the better.
Just when she and Lucas are finally getting close, she learns that his pack has forbidden them from being together. Was it a mistake to pick him over Derek? And it’s not just romance troubling Kylie. An amnesia-stricken ghost is haunting her, delivering a frightful warning: someone lives and someone dies. As Kylie races to unravel the mystery and protect those she loves, she finally unlocks the secret to her supernatural identity. And the truth is far different—and more astonishing—than she ever imagined.

One thing I like about C. C. Hunter's books is that they are not coated in darkness and mystery. Yes, it's somewhat dark (it's paranormal, how can it not be dark?) and yes, it has mystery (Kylie's whole life tends to be a mystery), C. C. doesn't make it uber-dramatic. Kylie is a teenage girl with teenage problems that include, but are not limited to: boys, friends, family, and, of course, identity.

Lucas? Or Derek? It is so hard to decide, especially when both love Kylie, but one is away and the other can't have her and it's just a mess. Add that to Kylie's increasing ghost problem where even her ghost-seeing counselor can't help, her sometimes frustrating friends, her mother who doesn't know the truth, and the sudden discovery that her father was adopted, making it even harder to figure out what kind of paranormal she is. Mix it all together and you have the Shadow Falls series. Somehow C. C. doesn't make the problems overwhelming. While there are a lot of them (a lot, a lot of them) she balances the book so that there's never a dull moment. Plus the characters make for a flirty, fun, and funny book.

Overall, quite honestly, this wasn't any different than the other books. True, we finally discover Kylie's identity (Still not quite solved though. I mean, what the heck? You really won't believe it. I didn't.) and she's finally a step closer to finding her real grandparents, but she still hasn't settled on a boy, her mother remains oblivious to Shadow Falls's true identity, and Kylie's still piling on everyone else's problems. They are, for me, a nice break from serious, melodramatic tales, and they are a fast read-through that are great for between books, but it isn't a series I'm dying for more of.

The Cover: I've always liked these covers. The sky is beautiful and they reflect the main event of the story well.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Genre: dystopian
Series and Book #: Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1
Pages: 374

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered.
This was worse.
Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets and Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.
A hunter for his tribe in the merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

I am super happy Veronica didn't spend too much time detailing the way it was in Reverie or how it was in Perry's village. But from what Aria described the outside like, I was expecting something more dangerous, with more difficult perils, and kind of desert-like. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't as much action as I had hoped there would be, but that disappointment was quickly squashed when Perry and Aria found each other.

I love both Perry and Aria's commitment to their families. Perry was determined to save his nephew while Aria was dead-set on finding her mother, though they weren't close. Though it wasn't as action-packed as I'd hoped they still had plenty of adventures between Aria being dropped on the outside and Aria finding out the truth about her mother. The other characters were also excellently written and weren't shoved to the side to make room for Aria and Perry. Veronica did a nice job of making sure everyone was individual.

Overall, the pace and character development was good. Setting wise, I don't think it was really important enough to be too detailed. It was original for Veronica to have a dystopian novel that wasn't completely centered around a corrupt government. Mostly, this book was about discovering who you want to be even though it might conflict with other things. The ending was superb. There was a moment of heartbreak and I thought Veronica would have her readers reaching for the sequel like a horse reaches for a carrot, but the last paragraph just blew me away. I was so happy she didn't make the wait for the sequel unbearable. But that doesn't mean I'm not waiting!

The Cover: The Aether sky look brilliant and draws your attention to the model. It's a beautiful, dramatic cover

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Genre: paranormal
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 363

Everything burns in Pandemonium, a city in Hell made of chrome and steel, where there is no future and life is an expanse of frozen time. That’s where Daphne lives.
The daughter of a demon and a fallen angel, she wonders what lies in store for her. Will she become a soulless demon like her sisters? Or follow in the footsteps of her brother Obie, whose life is devoting to saving lost souls on Earth? All she wants is to find a place where she belongs.
When Obie saves a bleeding, broken boy named Truman from the brink of death and then suddenly goes missing, Daphne runs away to Earth to find him. But on Earth, everything is colder and more terrifying, and Daphne struggles between her demon instincts and her growing—yet achingly unfamiliar—feelings for Truman. As Daphne and Truman search for Obie, they must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in their way. But Daphne also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

The thing I love about Brenna Yovanoff is that she's not afraid to take the weird and the gruesome and turn it into something brilliant and hopeful. Like in The Replacement, she took the fabled changelings and created a story about a boy who just wants to be normal and not hurt anyone. Here, she takes an innocent girl born into terrible circumstances (I mean, her mom's Lilith and her dad's Lucifer) and she changes it into a story of love.

Daphne's character development was subtle but wonderful. The writing goes from very dull, colorless, Daphne just describing things not living them, to a more vivid tale where Daphne starts to recognize feeling with what she's seeing. Daphne herself was a great heroine because unlike her parents, she cared about the humans and she loved her family and didn't want to see them hurt.

Overall, this story was wonderful. Though there was the obvious plot where Daphne needs Truman's help to find Obie, it was also a story of recovery and love. That anything is possible as long as you believe it to be. The ending was appropriately shocking but when everything looked hopeless, Brenna offers you a satisfying ending. Loved it!

The Cover: Very glamorous. I like how Pandemonium is kind of pulling Daphne back in.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Releases for August 28: Defiance, Unwholly, & Enshadowed

Defiance by C. J. Redwine

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.

But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.

When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Partials by Dan Wells

Genre: post-apocalyptic, science fiction
Series and Book #: Partials Series #1
Pages: 480

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors of North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what’s left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps no one even knew were there.

This was recommended to me by a friend who said it was really, really good and she wanted me to read it. I totally believed her because this looks really, really good but as the story wore on I was like "c'mon, when's it going to get to the good part?" You know those books where it takes a few chapters for you to get into it? This is one of those books. The pace was inconsistent. It was slow in some parts, when Kira is trying to decide whether or not to defy her government or be a good little girl and sit on her hands while babies die, or it could be very fast, when Kira's battling everyone she's trusted in order to save the ones she loves.

Kira was very stubborn. In a good way! When she knew she was right, and that the elders were just being paranoid, she still went after her theory because she knew that if she was right she could save thousands of lives. I liked how she kept fighting to save the baby of her best friend. Her loyalty and passion made for a very determined heroine. Always a good thing.

Overall, Partials was a unique twist on the way the world could end. While questions were answered during the book, more questions popped up in the last couple of chapters. And the conclusion: shocking! I hope in the sequel Dan answers those questions, and elaborates more on Kira and Samm's odd relationship.

The Cover: The city is isolated, surrounded by nothing, just like how Kira's city is thought to be the only living civilization in the world. It sets the tone for the novel nicely.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Genre: steampunk, science fiction
Series and Book #: Steampunk Chronicles #1
Pages: 480

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her
When a young lord tried to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on—even if it seems no one believes her.

This kind of reminds me of X-Men, in a way. A band of "freaks" that are brought together by a man that seems to know more about them than they do, and can help them focus their powers into something good. They use these power in order to better society and rid the world of those who do harm. *Shrugs*

I must admit this book was more than I was hoping for. I didn't expect this very intricate plot line that includes a lot of mystery surrounding Finley, yes, but also around Griffin's family as well. I haven't read much steampunk (that's an overstatement: I don't think I've read any steampunk) but Kady did it very well. Modern technology in a past setting seems odd but she made it believable.

Ugh. Why do authors insist on creating love triangles? Finley's darker side liked Jack Dandy, the delicious bad boy who had a soft side for Finley, but she also had feelings for Griff, but he was almost too absorbed in the mystery surrounding the Machinist to notice. Both boys were wonderful and I don't even care who she chooses: but don't keep us in suspense!

Overall, I really did like this. Though the Machinist's identity was pretty obvious to me in the beginning, Finley trying to combat her Jekyll and Hyde multi-personality disorder was cool. Her and Jack Dandy made a fetching couple, don't you agree? I liked how Kady connected Griffin and Finley's families. But the idea is almost tired. Interested to see what's going to happen in book two.

The Cover: What really drew me to the book was the cover. The model is gorgeous and I love the exposed corset against the beautiful vivid red of the dress.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Genre: paranormal
Series and Book #: Paranormalcy Trilogy #2
Pages: 336

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be…kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.

As much as it pains me to admit it, Kiersten's second novel wasn't as good as her first. While Evie tries to figure out what she is, she grows into a more serious character. This coupled with the new experience of high school and Evie's confusion that it's not all it's cracked up to be creates a confused, mature heroine. I found myself missing her playful attitude when she was at IPCA and the crazy adventures she went on there.

The whole mystery surrounding Jack was good but it wasn't engaging. Supernaturally was rather slow. It was mostly Evie sorting through her own emotions: how she felt about lying to Lend, or not spending enough time with her roommate, or her disappointment with high school. I still liked Lend and Evie's romance. They were still madly in love with each other but they still fought (making the making up all the more better!). Lend was still such a sweetie.

Overall, the characters were the same, but the plot was lacking. As for Evie discovering what she was, I don't think Kiersten ever really made that clear, and I hope Endlessly will provide more. The humor of this novel wasn't as apparent: sure, Jack had some moments, and Evie still playfully bantered, but there was always a sort of somber edge to the book. This pretty much lives up to an awkward second novel that is just the median between beginning and end, offering needed facts but not including anything earth-shattering that will change the series forever.

The Cover: As lovely as the first. I love the nod to the red sky in Faerie

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Note from Your Terribly Apologetic Blogger

If you haven't noticed, I've taken a leave of absence from the blog (biggest understatement of the year). If you've been waiting for reviews or summer news I'm so sorry that it hasn't been coming. But I finally got around to writing all my reviews and they will be here, for you, for the next couple of weeks (I have read so many books you wouldn't believe....). Also, I will try to be better about posting the releases of any anxiously anticipated novels in the next year. I'm sorry it took me ages to post things, but I'm getting right back on it. The fall's going to be rocky as well, so I apologize in advance for the slowness that will be happening.

I love all my faithful followers who didn't give up on me even when I disappeared suddenly! Thanks for sticking with me!

I hope you all had a terrific summer and that you read lots of books. I think I'll have some contests coming up (*wiggles eyebrows suggestively*) so you better stick around. Have an excellent fall, study hard if you're a student, and I'll be posting more soon!
Your blogger,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Releases: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore & Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto

The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore:

Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I'd been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive.

Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others. . . .

I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we're looking for the others—including John.

But so are they.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.

Number Two in England.

And Number Three in Kenya.

They caught me in New York—but I escaped.

I am Number Six.

They want to finish what they started.

But they'll have to fight us first.

Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto:

Bethany, an angel sent to Earth, and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier, have been to Hell and back. But now their love will be put to its highest test yet, as they defy Heavenly law and marry. They don’t tell Beth’s archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, but the angels know soon enough, and punishment comes in a terrifying form: the Sevens, who are rogue angels bent on keeping Beth and Xavier apart, destroying Gabriel and Ivy, and darkening angelic power in the heavens.

The only way Bethany and Xavier can elude the Sevens is to hide in the open, and blend in with other mortals their own age. Gabriel and Ivy set them up at college, where they can’t reveal their relationship, and where there is still danger around each corner. Will Bethany be called back to Heaven – forever – and face leaving the love of her life?