Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Lair of Dreams

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is all about the new Libba Bray book Lair of Dreams.

The book is the sequel to the wildly popular Diviners, a novel about a young girl in 1920's New York City who is capable of "reading" objects and telling the past and future just by touching something.

The sequel picks up after the events of the first novel (duh!)--after Evie helped to solve a string of murders. And now Evie's powers are common knowledge among the public. She's outed herself as a Diviner and gotten all of the publicity that comes with it.

I absolutely adored the first novel. It was honest and a wonderful look at a paranormal telling of the heyday of jazz and speakeasies. And I thought it was awesome how Bray talked about Evie and her trouble with parties and gin. It was interesting and more than entertaining. I'm absolutely looking forward to the next installment.

The pre-released description from Barnes & Noble is short, simple, and sets the stage for a highly anticipated sequel:

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore read the past, she's become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviner's abilities...

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Lair of Dreams will be released August 5 by Little, Brown Books.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

Series: Alienated #1

Genre: Young Adult Science-Fiction

Acquired From: Public Library


Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.
Handpicked to host the first-ever L'eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she'll have inside information about the mysterios L'eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara's blog following is about to skyrocket.
Still, Cara isn't sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L'eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn't seem more alien. She's certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.
But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 
Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn't just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life--not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet. 
--From Goodreads


This is one of those books that I absolutely could not put down! I absolutely adored this book beyond words. It was one of the most breathtaking views on the young adult sci-fi genre that I've read in a long time--second only to the Across the Universe trilogy. That's why I give Alienated by Melissa Landers a solid, no holds barred 5 out of 5 stars.
I think what I loved the most about this story was that it was alarmingly real. It showcased a lot of human emotion and desires, as well as gave a startling glimpse into human prejudice. It begs the question of how we would react if there were human-like beings out amongst the stars who made contact with us. The story is carried along, not by the romance that blooms between Cara and Aelyx, but by the rising panic and prejudice in the surrounding community.
Perhaps my favorite part is the impassioned speech made by Cara at the end of the novel--it sings of the human condition and the potential we all have inside of us to do good no matter what wrongdoing is going on around us. Cara embodies perhaps the most human of our emotions--hurt, love, passion, courage. And when she begins to fall for Aelyx, it's a slow motion fall into something that is otherworldly and beautiful. 
Landers did a fantastic job of building a reality that is both real and otherworldly. I can't wait to read about Cara's first steps on planet L'eihr! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 23, 2013

Series: Unraveling #2

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Science Fiction

Acquired From: Public Library


Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she'll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths--and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn't turn himself over within five days.
And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about--someone from her own world--has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they're lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she's in way over her head--and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed. 


I absolutely tore through this book. I read the majority of it in a single day just because I couldn't put it down. Elizabeth Norris is a master of the art of writing a great mystery interwoven with science fiction. She absolutely made me fall in love with the characters she wrote and the worlds she created. Because of that, I can honestly give Unbreakable a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
I think the thing about this book that I loved the most was the action. It was high octane and there wasn't a second of down time in the novel. In some books, that might seem like the author is trying to hard to keep the reader's attention, but with Norris it was a fine line of perfection. Barclay and Janelle go from one problem to another and go up against a world that isn't going to let them solve their case easily. 
More than anything, I sincerely hope this isn't the last time I read about Janelle and Ben. Because, ladies and gentlemen, this is how you write a young adult novel. This is a set of strong characters who are so real that they jump off the page. And it's all about a girl who is badass enough to take down the bad guys with enough snark and sass to make an impression. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Redeemed

For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, we're continuing the theme of book finales. This week, we're talking about the electrifying conclusion to the epic House of Night series.

Although the final cover has yet to be revealed, Redeemed is shaping up to be a great conclusion to the series that has captivated audiences for the last several years. With well rounded and interesting characters, the series is a great example of how to tell a great story.

Mother-daughter writing team P.C. and Kristin Cast have woven an intricate tale of love, lust, betrayal, and the epic fight between good and evil. It is a vivid example of how the most beautiful things might just be the most evil. Along with the small novellas that are interspersed into the series, the story of Zoey Redbird and her fight against the evils of the corrupt priestess of Nyx, Neferet, is a dark and full tapestry of characters and emotions.

As a conclusion, Redeemed is shaping up to be one of the best in young adult literature in the past few years. Barnes & Noble presents the story as:

In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her--unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power... but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness.

Redeemed is set for release on October 14, 2014 from St. Martin's Press. Check back later for the cover reveal.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Review: Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

Series: Shatter Me 1.5 & 2.5

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal and Dystopian

Acquired From: Public Library


Destroy Me tells the events between Shatter Me and Unravel Me from Warner's point of view. Even though Juliette shot him in order to escape, Warner can't stop thinking about her--and he'll do anything to get her back. But when the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment arrives, he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner cannot allow.
Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective and bridges the gap between Unravel Me and Ignite Me. As the Omega Point rebels prepare to fight the Sector 45 soldiers, Adam's more focused on the safety of Juliette, Kenji, and his brother. The Reestablishment will do anything to crush the resistance... including killing everyone Adam cares about.


Although it took me longer than usual to read this one (thanks to a lot of real life stuff that got in the way of reading), I really enjoyed Unite Me. It was well on par with the full length novels and just as good as novellas released from other series. I have to admit that I liked hearing the story from Warner's perspective more than Adam's, but I had a soft spot for Warner from the beginning. Overall, I give Unite Me a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Admittedly, Destroy Me was my favorite of the two novellas because it is told from Warner's perspective. And it gave a lot of insight into how Warner thought and felt, which made his attraction to Juliette in the later books more real to me. There were parts of the story that rang a bit hollow, like a few of the scenes with Anderson, but overall it was a lovely addition to the Shatter Me universe.
I don't know why, but I never really connected to Adam as much as I did to Warner. I suppose that's what made the second story, Fracture Me, a little harder for me to connect to. Something about Adam always felt a bit off, mostly because I felt like he was in love with an idea of Juliette rather than the real person. Fracture Me brought the story down a little for me, but Destroy Me really brought it back.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: January 28, 2014

Series:  Cruel Beauty Universe

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance/ Fairy tale retelling

Acquired From: Public Library


Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom--all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been training to kill him. 
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-entrhalls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secretes, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? WIth time runing out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


I was drawn to this story mostly because my favorite childhood fairy tale was Beauty and the Beast. Plus the cover looks so interesting that there's nothing else I could do but read it. And I absolutely adored Cruel Beauty. That's why I give it an easy 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The story is clean and wonderful. Nyx is a strong character who is irrevocably broken by the fact that she has so much hate in her heart. She is a character who is real and hateful and loving and mischievous all at once. I absolutely adored her strength and her power to acknowledge the kind of person she was. 
I also loved the fact that Ignifex and Shade were such great mysteries. It wasn't so much that they were charismatic, but that they were clearly such strange and unusual characters. They were brilliantly written and wonderfully real. I absolutely loved their unusual relationship with each other, and their complete and total opposite but similar personalities.
This one is definitely going on my shelf to be read over and over.  

Waiting On Wednesday: Fury of the Seventh Son

For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, we're sticking with the theme of The Last Apprentice series. Today, we're all about the thirteenth and final book in the series: Fury of the Seventh Son.

Tom Ward has had a hard life as the Spook's last apprentice. He's had to fight things out of the dark that he never expected, including the Fiend himself. And now only Tom can rid the world of the Fiend forever. The thirteenth novel in the Last Apprentice series looks to be a great and amazing conclusion to one of the best middle grade and young adult series that I've ever read.

I love the blurb that's been released with the cover of the book:

He's the seventh son of a seventh son.

He's the only one who can stop the greatest evil.

Tom Ward, the Spook's last apprentice, has everything he needs to vanquish the Fiend, once and for all: the three blades recovered from the dark, the gifts from his witch mother, and the skills he's learned from Master Gregory. And Alice, the one he loves most, is willing to sacrifice herself to fulfill the spell.

Or is she?

Racing against time, all of Tom's old allies--and old enemies--return. They will clash in a final battle more epic than any he has fought before. And a danger Tom never dreamed of will be revealed. 

Who will survive? Are you brave enough to find out?

I just love that! And I absolutely can't wait to find out exactly how everything finishes up in this great series. Joseph Delaney is an amazing writer, and he is great at making things scary, gross, and addictive all at once.

Fury of the Seventh Son is set for release from HarperCollins on April 15.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Short Hiatus

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted a review or Waiting on Wednesday as the schedule shows. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to take a short hiatus (I'll be back to posting regularly on the 7th) because I've just gotten a new job. I've been spending all of my time preparing for it.

I will post an updated schedule of events on the 7th.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Review: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

Publication Date: June 18, 2013

Series: Cahill Witch Chronicles #2

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Acquired From: Public Library


With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers--if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.
Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.
In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura, and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England. 
-From Goodreads


The Cahill Witch Chronicles may be one of my favorite sets of novels since The Lord of the Rings. Jessica Spotswood is a master of evoking strong emotion from her readers when it comes to her characters. I've tweeted many times about how much I long to rip Maura's pretty red hair out of her annoying little head. And that, I think, is one of the greatest things I can say about this series. I feel strongly about it, and that feeling is what keeps me coming back for more. That's why I gave Star Cursed a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
There's a great set up for the second novel in the series, and it does well to tie the story back to the first novel. It isn't so "stand alone" that you easily forget what happened in the first book. And I absolutely adore this. Spotswood pulls back previous scenes from the first novel so that you remember them and brings them into play in the new story. She definitely doesn't let you forget the troubles that her characters have been through.
The characters themselves are strong and believable, with their own strengths and flaws that make it easy to think of them as real people. The only bad thing about this novel is that Maura might be too evil, and that's a good thing! 
Star Cursed will definitely be added to my shelf of favorite books that will be read over and over.  

Waiting on Wednesday: Seventh Son

Because I've reviewed a lot of The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles novels lately, and with the end of the series coming up this year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the upcoming film adaptation Seventh Son for this week's Waiting on Wednesday.

The film, originally set to be released (as the poster to the left shows) in January of this year, stars Jeff Bridges (True Grit) as the Spook Master Gregory, Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) as the apprentice Tom Ward, and Julianne Moore (Magnolia) as the evil witch Mother Malkin. Other notable cast members include Djimon Hounsou, Alicia Vikander, and Jason Scott Lee.

An 18th century adventure story centered on young Thomas, who is apprenticed to the local Spook to learn how to fight evil spirits. His first great challenge comes when the powerful Mother Malkin escapes her confinement while the Spook is away.

Currently set for release in early 2015, Seventh Son tells the story set out in the first novel of The Last Apprentice series. It is being released by Legendary Pictures, the production company responsible for such blockbusters as Wrath of the Titans, Clash of the Titans, 300, and Sucker Punch. Known for gritty, dark fantasy, it seemed to be a good fit for Legendary Pictures to take on the project of turning Joseph Delaney's horror novels into a feature film.

When I first heard about the fact that the novels were being turned into a film, I was pretty excited. Add to that the fact that Jeff Bridges and Ben Barnes had signed on to the project, and I was ready for the film to come out. But when the trailer came out, I wasn't entirely sure if it was going to work. I wondered if anyone on the film production staff even read the first novel. Still, on the grounds of a pure action adventure film, it looks like a good movie.

Seventh Son will hit theaters on February 6, 2015.