31 March 2012


And another one down, got my tagging done!  Time for a break :D

Bloggiesta #2

Another one down!  I finished all my letter posts for April A-Z and even double-checked them!  I also started another book for review and I'm halfway done already!


Stayed up way too late to finish Beauty Queens. What an ending, though!!! Also, cross that off my to-do list!


I’m going to dedicate April to talking about all the different types of awards that YA books, Science Fiction and Fantasy books, and especially YA Science Fiction and Fantasy books can win.  I think that it’s very important that good books get recognition.  Books that win awards get picked up more often in bookstores and bought as gifts as well as purchased for libraries and schools to use.  

It’s important, however, to find out how an award system works to make sure it fits your needs.  Adults looking for YA books that will appeal to adults probably shouldn’t look to awards that are voted on by teens.  Likewise, an English teacher probably shouldn’t give too much weight to a book that has won an award for illustration, but that might totally appeal to an art teacher trying to make a cross-curriculum assignment.  So for April I’ll be looking not only into what YA Science Fiction and Fantasy books have won an award, but how that award is determined and what merits they are looking for in a book that they give an award to. I'll also be devoting all the reviews in April to YA books that have been recognized by at least one of the awards mentioned. I hope that somewhere in the alphabet you’ll find a book or two that won an award that appeals to you!

30 March 2012

Bloggiesta Weekend!

I'm going to Bloggiesta all weekend!  To get my blog ready for April (and April A-Z) I've got quite a bit that still needs to be done tomorrow:

     ~ Finish Beauty Queens
     ~ Write 4 or 5 reviews (catchup)
     ~ Write 9 letter posts (gotta cache some so I'm not overwhelmed)
     ~ Post reviews on Goodreads (I'm behind)
     ~ Post reviews on Amazon (I've never done, but I should)
     ~ Tag old posts
     ~ Try to burn through at least one more book

Whew, that's a lot!  I'll work hard, though!

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Wings  Bookplate

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful--too beautiful for words. Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.
This book was quite engrossing.  I really enjoyed the unique take Pike had on faeries and how they worked scientifically.  She did a great job of using science and biology in a way that furthered the plot and yet wasn't too technical.  The interactions of their world with the human world was a good idea as well.  This plot, though, was the best part of the book.  Pike knows how to lay in a good story with enough foreshadowing that things don't appear to come out of nowhere, but its also not laid on so thick that you can see every twist coming.  That is not to say the story is without flaws, though.  I didn't like how clinical Pike's writing seemed.  She does not do very well at descriptions, and her prose seems a little strained for teenagers.  She also had a lot of difficulty with the beginning of her story.  It seemed as if she had a great idea but couldn't quite handle the exposition.  I think the plot and unique take on the mythology is worth pushing through, though, so tough it out to get to a really good read.

28 March 2012

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

This was a fantastic read and I suggest you go got it right away. I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as its predecessor, but that’s only a sliver less. Perhaps that’s due to Persephone. I really, really liked her. In fact, I think she developed more as a character than Kate did, which is a bit problematic. She certainly had more interaction with Henry, which is what I really feel was lacking for the romance of the lead character. I really just wanted Ava to smack them both into sense at some points. However I did really like how Kate dealt with the shadow of a love triangle with James. It was nice to know that the book isn’t going there.

The other thing that kind of got to me was the plot. While I understand that the Titans are really the easy enemies when you’re playing with Greek Gods I really wish that authors would look past the obvious sometimes. After all there is more than enough in-fighting between the gods that you don’t really need to bring in outsiders. That was one of the things I really liked about the first book, that they concentrated on internal strife rather than unified under an outside foe. However, after I accepted that the book was taking the cliché’d route I was able to at least enjoy the ride. Carter’s take on Cronus was rather unique, and I like how he used Hera to get what he wanted and how Persephone was almost able to trick him.

Yup, again with Persephone. Her kick-butt character really stole the show in this book. You can see how she was more of a match for James than Henry, but I wish we saw a bit more of why she was with Adonis. You get the idea that it’s for his pretty face, which is so antithetical to her character that I don’t get it. I want Adonis to be someone who deserves Henry’s envy. Past that, though, the girl is clever, nice, but doesn’t pull punches and I like how she’s got an agenda of her own and isn’t afraid to accomplish it. I suggest you read this book just so you can meet her, she’s such a refreshing break from whiny-Kate. Not that she doesn’t have a reason to be whiny, but I seriously had my fill. Hopefully we can get some confident Kate back in the next book and she can take on Persephone’s butt-kicking and stand face-to-face with Cronus.

I received a copy of this book free through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Waiting on Wednesday: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

This is Breaking the Spine's Waiting for Wednesday, where bloggers post about a book they just can't wait to get their hands on! 

  The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
April 1st 2012

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

As promised here is a new release I'm looking forward to.  This sounds like a great cross between False Princess and The Pauper and the Prince, and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

26 March 2012

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. In this compelling sequel to "Unearthly," Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

I loved Unearthly and I couldn’t wait for this book.  It did not disappoint either.  Although I’m not usually one for love triangles I really like how this one is developing.  Both Tucker and Christian are good choices with no bad traits.  Their differences really lie in the parts of Clara that they appeal to and the good traits they bring out in her.  It really seems as if Christian appeals to Clara’s angelic side while Tucker helps her to cultivate her humanity, and since both are a part of her the conflict is exciting to watch as a reader. 

It is also interesting watching the characters in the book try to deal with the results of their actions in <u>Unearthly</u>.  I especially liked getting to know Jeffrey.  When he reveals the truth about his purpose my heart broke right along with Clara’s (and, actually, I thought Clara’s should have broke a little more with what he has to say).  Angela has developed into a quite intriguing character as well, and it is great that we really get to see the better side of Christian. 

My only fault with this book really was how Clara’s mother developed.  Although it may propel the plot I have a large difficulty with the woman actually saying the words “my purpose in life was to give birth to you.”  Way to reduce a strong female character and role model into a stereotype.  I could have forgiven it if Maggie’s purpose was a little different, for example, if her purpose was to protect Clara and Jeffrey from Samjeeza.  I know that this book presented Maggie at her worst, however, it really bugged me to see her accomplishments minimized even while they are only being discovered.

In all, though, this was a solid sequel and a very good book.  I can’t wait to read more in this series, so much in fact that I kinda hope this is not a trilogy and there is more than one book to come.

23 March 2012

Truth by Julia Karr

In this sequel to "XVI," Nina Oberon's life has changed enormously. After her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council-ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all 16-year-old girls have. But Nina won't be anyone's stereotype. Original.

As action-packed as XVI was it was not nearly as absorbing as Truth. That is especially hard to do in a middle book in a series as well as in a book that is mostly worldbuilding, character building, and exposition. Karr certainly knows how to handle tension so that there is just enough without pushing over into too much. Although Nina has a great character arc I think the thing I loved most about this book was getting to know Dee. It was great seeing the little sister develop into a young adult on her own. Unlike Prim in the Hunger Games I think Dee is going to be a much more major player in future books, and probably present many problems for Nina, especially in how much information Nina is hiding from Dee. Nina’s arc is great, too. I was a little disappointed that it seems that there is another love triangle in the offing, but Chris seems like a much more mature boy that I’m not too upset. I am more upset about the girls’ club that’s forming in this book. It is so cliché to have a girl that’s mad just because she wants to “steal your man” and I’m a little sorry that Karr stooped so low. I hope that in future books it’s revealed that all the animosity is for a totally different reason and that Nina was just jumping to conclusions.

22 March 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Audiobook Clip


I think you guys could tell from my review of Cinder that I really loved it.  I'm happy to tell you that it's also available on Audiobook, and Macmillan Audio has sent me an audio clip for you guys to try it out!

Play Cinder Audiobook Clip

21 March 2012

Plague by Michael Grant

It's been eight months since all the adults disappeared. GONE. They've survived hunger. They've survived lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach. But enemies in the FAYZ don't just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they'll escape - or even survive - life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love? Plague, Michale Grant's fourth book in the bestselling Gone series, will satisfy dystopian fans of all ages.
I love how this series is really starting to catch its wind. With this book it takes the sharp left turn into fantasy that had been hinted at in the last three books, however, I consider that a strong suit. In giving up any contrivance of a scientific basis and setting up a world where there were rules but they were governed by one person’s notions there is so much explanation and holes that can be just skipped over. Thankfully it also gets us away from the nuclear power plant where most of my scientific issues reside (darn that military nuclear training and the nuclear engineer husband making books difficult!).

This book also took a turn for the better because I really started to have hope for the characters. There is so much more in the expansive world of the FAYZ than what we’ve been shown, and this book showed us that with a little sleight-of-hand our characters can discover new places and new ways to survive (I had been wondering about the military base for a long time, it was on the map the whole time, and military bases have grocery stores and industrial cafeterias too!). I also liked the growth of the female characters in this book. Astrid’s breakdown was a long time coming, and I think it really played out in a realistic and compelling way. I really empathized with her issue and the conflict between her intellect and her morality. It was an interesting foil to the conflict with Diana’s feelings and her morality and how the two girls dealt with issues surrounding their relationships was very telling for their characters. I didn’t feel that Sam or the other boys (except maybe Edilio) grew much in this book, but that may be because I more naturally identify with girls. Although the ending was unexpected and a little *rocks fall, everything dies* I liked it. Changing up the game and surprising everyone was something that was really needed in this series. I’ll be looking to get the next book when it comes out soon because I really want to know what happens next!

This book was provided to me free by the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Waiting on Wednesday: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

This is Breaking the Spine's Waiting for Wednesday, where bloggers post about a book they just can't wait to get their hands on! 

  Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
March 27th 2012

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

I promise I will highlight a non-series release next week!  This is the final book I'm really looking forward to in March, though.  You can read my review of the previous book, The Goddess Test, to see why I just can't wait for the sequel.

19 March 2012

Lies by Michael Grant

It's been seven months since all the adults disappeared. Gone. It happens in one night. A girl who died now walks among the living; Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdido Beach; and amid the flames and smoke, Sam sees the figure of the boy he fears the most: Drake. But Drake is dead. Sam and Caine defeated him along with the Darkness--or so they thought. As Perdido Beach burns, battles rage: Astrid against the Town Council; the Human Crew versus the mutants; and Sam against Drake, who is back from the dead and ready to finish where he and Sam left off. And all the while deadly rumors are raging like the fire itself, spread by the prophetess Orsay and her companion, Nerezza. They say that death is a way to escape the FAYZ. Conditions are worse than ever and kids are desperate to get out. But are they desperate enough to believe that death will set them free?
This book felt a little more contrived than the previous two, but, somehow, it also felt more coherent. I liked the character development, especially in Sam and Astrid. Their growth and the arc of their relationship was interesting to watch and it was nice to see them have to deal with day-to-day life rather than emergency after emergency. In fact, I think a lot of this book’s success lay in the few newly-introduced characters. We could concentrate on getting to know the characters we already saw better and sympathize more for them. It worked well, too. My heart was breaking with Mary’s decisions and her problems. I felt the same sadness and yet hope that Orsay was feeling. I could even sympathize with Lana and her PTSD. The new characters, on the other hand, seemed a little off. The island seemed very convenient and rather deus-ex-machina. The reveal about Petey, though, seemed to be so long in coming that I wasn’t as excited or even amused by it as I felt I should be. That’s not to say the book was entirely bad, though. Somewhere, halfway through this book, I think I finally got this series. Things stopped being about hopelessness and characters picked up and started acting instead of reacting and things got very interesting. I can’t quite pinpoint what it was or when, but I’ll be diving straight into the fourth book to try to figure it out!

17 March 2012

The Nostalgic Librarian is giving away some pretty awesome arcs!  Go Here for more info!

16 March 2012

Hunger by Michael Grant

It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ. Three months since all the adults disappeared. GONE. Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers. Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous. But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them. The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.
Although it was inevitable from the last book Hunger was even more bleak than Gone. There’s more and more of a downward spiral towards inevitable disaster, and I’m not sure I can follow to see the crash. This book has some good plot points: the continuing battle between Caine and Sam, the quickly disappearing food, further conflicts between the super-powered and the kids who haven’t developed powers, and more exposition about The Darkness. Rather than building tension, though, I really felt like these plot points were more about dog piling on an already grim situation. Instead of feeling anxious I felt hopelessness. About a third of the way through I felt similar to the kids, and I could feel the fight leach out of me as I decided I’d rather lay down and die than suffer like the kids were. Perhaps that is the aim of the author, to induce in the reader the feelings the kids are having in the book, but I wasn’t exactly pleased to experience it with no sense of hope. The cast of characters expanded in this book again, and as we got to know more of the kids better the hopelessness only increased. It actually got painful to get to know kids that you were sure were doomed. Other than the author beautifully putting the reader into the situation I had a few other problems with the book. The ending pivots on a highly strange tale involving the town’s nuclear reactor. While this justifies all the time spent describing it in Gone, it seemed very confusing. The chain of events was implausible at the least, and ridiculous as described. There are some simple ways to make things work, but the author didn’t go there which is annoying. If you are going to go to all the detail of describing a working nuclear reactor I’d think you would put in a little more work to make it accurate as well as propel the plot. The very ending finally seems to give hope to the kids, but it’s so late in the book I’m doubtful it’s going to result in real change and progress. I’ll keep reading, though, because something has me hooked and I have to see things through to the end.

14 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Forgiven (The Demon Trappers #3) by Jana Oliver

This is Breaking the Spine's Waiting for Wednesday, where bloggers post about a book they just can't wait to get their hands on! 

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers #3) by Jana Oliver
March 27th 2012

Jana Oliver's third spellbinding Demon Trappers novel - following The Demon Trapper's Daughter and Soul Thief - brings all new thrills, as Riley Blackthorne takes on demons, love... and the future of the human race.

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control:  something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…

I reviewed the previous books Forsaken (The Demon Trapper’s Daughter) and Forbidden (Soul Thief).  It seems like I'm only doing sequels on this highlight, but there are so many good ones coming out this month!  Riley is such a great character and I'm very happy that there is a fourth book and that this is not the end to her story.

12 March 2012

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why — especially since I should have been the one who died …
*****Review contains mild spoilers***** I don’t think it’s any surprise that I loved this book. I’m pretty much a sucker for any good Greek or Roman mythology fantasy. This one was a good one, though. It had a nice blend of gods from many heritages in a plot that was realistic but not too enveloping. Gwen is wonderful. She is a poor girl who understands the world around her but she can’t help but rebel in many small ways. She’s a great strong girl who acts of her own agency and fulfils her destiny in her own way. I also like how Estep divides magical powers along culture myths, not along gender lines. They may have different names, but Valkyries and Vikings are both supernaturally strong.Romans and Amazons are supernaturally quick. There’s no insinuation that the Valkyries are less strong than the Vikings. I also really like how Daphne is a Valkyrie and a tech nerd and also totally into pink and traditional “girly” things. The dichotomy of stereotypes makes her seem a lot more human, and the growth of her friendship with Gwen is really natural and sweet and not forced at all. The plot is good but needs a bit of polish. I could see the ending coming from the first cat attack. I also hated how repetitious Estep was. I don’t know how many times she told us about Gwen’s dead mother, but by the middle of the book I was very callous about it and I just couldn’t find the emotional impact that I know Estep meant. I also was a bit confused about some of the worldbuilding. The biggest was in the casting of Loki as the big villain. He’s said to be the villain because he’s the god of Chaos and wants to destroy order on the Earth. There’s not a lot of mention of the other Chaos gods, though. Where’s Set, Eris, Mikaboshi, or Chaos herself? Why is Loki the only chaos god that is vilified? I hope that in future books Estep clears these things up. The high points of the book, however, overpower the low points and I’m happy to give her time to grow into the worldbuilding the series needs.

09 March 2012

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother Bookplate

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
Little Brother was a thoroughly chilling book in that way that only a truly realistic near-future dystopian is. It took me a while to finish this book because though the plot was engrossing I just couldn’t push through more of the scary, realistic prose. The plight of Marcus and his friends was crazy, but in a way that made me imagine that it could be happening right outside my front door and I would never know. There are a few times where the plot gets a bit preachy and the characters break so you can see the author talking, but it’s not so often that I got annoyed with it. Perhaps because I see it too: people are really quick to hurt other people when they’re afraid, and right now people are most afraid of terrorism. Or perhaps it is because Marcus is just a teenager. I don’t approve of some of the things he does, but teenagers often take things to extremes without meticulously thinking things through, and Marcus’ bullheaded plow through the government forces helped to make the book more real. Also, Marcus himself was a thoroughly realistic character. I liked how he was sarcastic but not over the top with it, just like his tech knowledge and his rebellion against authority. Doctorow’s way of breaking down and describing what Marcus and his friends do in a way that is thoroughly accessible to all but the most conservative luddite is one of the high points of the book. It is true science fiction that explains the science and what is happening and doesn’t just leave the reader to figure things out or have faith.

08 March 2012

Celebrating Diversity

Ellen Oh has an amazing blog post over on her blog about "why the Pretty White Girl YA Book Cover Trend needs to end". Do yourself a favor and go read it, it's good.

Eden Sale

Eden is only .99 on Nook and Kindle today and tomorrow! To celebrate author Keary Taylor is giving away an autographed hard copy over on her blog!

07 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

This is Breaking the Spine's Waiting for Wednesday, where bloggers post about a book they just can't wait to get their hands on! 

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
March 13th 2012

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

I've reviewed the previous books in this series: Hex Hall and Demonglass.  I loved them!  I can't wait to find out what happens to Sophie and enjoy a little more of her sarcasm.

05 March 2012

Destined by Jessie Harrell

Destined Bookplate

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.
The first thing I noticed about this book is that it was self-published. Not because it was badly written, though, but because of its design. The pages are set so that lines disappear into the ditch of the book, making it really hard to read. I hate opening my books so much that the pages bend (and I had to, the spine of the book was so hard that I couldn’t break it to read the pages even if I wanted to). There were also some formatting errors in the second half of the book. However, the book is worth powering through the printing flaws because the writing has much fewer problems than the typesetting. Psyche and Eros were really brought to life in this book. Even Aphrodite in her wrath and Iris in her jealousy are relatable and convincing. The plot closely follows the Greek myth, but Harrell fills in the blank spots in between the sentences with a wonderful subtext that helps the reader to really feel the love between Psyche and Eros flower and bloom. Even Psyche’s doubts follow a logical progression, and convincingly interjecting doubt into a growing love plot can be a very hard thing to do. I hope Harrell continues to write, and I will certainly pick up her next book when she writes it.

04 March 2012

April Challenge

I know I've been late in updating my challenges for the year, but that's because I don't think I'm going to do any.  I didn't really change any of my reading for challenges, and I only completed the ones that my regular reading fulfilled, so it seems rather pointless to track them.  Also, the only one that seemed even marginally fun was the locations one, and it seems impossible to complete while reading SF/F where so many books are in made up and outside the US loations.  I'll be getting rid of the challenges page soon. 

However, I'm going to take on a different type of challenge:  a posting challenge.  In April, in addition to at least two reviews a week and Waiting on Wednesday I'm going to do the A-Z challenge:

This challenge is about blogging through the alphabet in April, one letter every day except Sundays.  I'm going with a topic: Awards for SF/F books.  I'm already plotting the post topics (any ideas on what to do for D or X?) and writing ahead so I don't get behind on my regular posts.  I think this will be a fun challenge, though, a chance for me to get a little editorial and write what I think on some great topics.

Will you be joining me on the A to Z April Challenge?

02 March 2012

Cover Reveal: Ally Condie

The third book of Ally Condie's Matched series has a name and a cover now:

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake


Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. . . Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Usually I’m not a horror person. I’ve never actually seen Jurassic Park all the way through in one setting. I’m a wimp. So I think you’ll understand when I say this book was, well, difficult for me. To be frank, it scared my pants off. I’m glad I read it, though, because along with being scary it was really, really good. Blake did very good character development. I loved how Cas, Thomas, Carmel, and even Anna grow as characters across the arc of the book. Although the ghost lore part of the story is well thought-through and laid plain for the reader there’s not a lot of backstory or obvious worldbuilding. The story doesn’t seem to need it, though. We see as much of the ghosts as Cas sees, and we know what he knows, so the unusual ghosts are exposed to us as Cas learns more of them. Blake manages to build tension without making it too heavy with her liberal use of sarcasm and witty one-liners from Cas. ***** SPOILERS ***** The only disconnect I could find was in between fixing Anna and finding the real killer. The tension could have been kept up a bit better by having a body be found before Anna was cured so the kids could wonder if she was leaving the house. Instead the letdown from freeing Anna let some of the air out of the book, making the end seem like it was racing instead of building. However, I really liked the romance that developed between Cas and Anna during and after her release from the curse. It seemed natural, appropriate to their ages and experiences, and very sweet. ***** END SPOILERS ***** In all, this was a very good book. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good scare with a love story sideline.

01 March 2012

Pandemoneium Giveaway

Read.Breathe.Relax. is one year old and Lisa is celebrating by giving away four copies of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver! Head on over and try to win yourself a copy!