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Showing posts from February, 2014

Death Sworn

I enjoyed the first two books by Leah Cypess, but felt they didn't reach their full potential. Her latest book ,   Death Sworn , does reach its full potential and more. Magic, assassins, intrigue, mystery, and backstabbing (literal and figurative) make this an exciting read from start to finish. Synopsis: When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances. But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins

WoW: Empire of Shadows

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of  Breaking the Spine , that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Cast out of her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her—a school where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire’s capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could’ve imagined. More shocking still, she finds the boy she thought she had lost forever outside the gates of her new home. Mara knew her life in the dizzying Imperial city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake? I read Forter's City of a Thousand Dolls  last year and was immediately swept into the world she created. I knew she was writing another book set in the same world and was looking forward to it. Once the cover and synopsis were released, I became even more excited. The release date for Empire of

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods is a new acquisition at my local library that caught my eye. I checked it out despite the crazy amount of ARCs I currently have to review and was excited when I found a slot where I could actually slip it into the schedule. It is a heartwarming story of family and identity and I'm glad that I found it.  Synopsis:  Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds. Her mom is white, and her dad, who died before she was born, was black. She attends a mostly white school where she sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. She’s tired of people asking if she’s adopted. Now that Violet’s eleven, she decides it’s time to learn about her African American heritage. And despite getting off to a rocky start trying to reclaim her dad’s side of the family, she can feel her confidence growing as the puzzle pieces of her life finally start coming together. Readers will cheer for Violet, sharing h

The Nightmare Dilemma

Last year I read the first book in Mindee Arnett's Arkwell Academy series, The Nightmare Affair ( my thoughts ), and I fell in love with the fun premise and combination of mystery and fantasy. I was so excited to read the second volume,   The Nightmare Dilemma , and I wasn't disappointed. These books are so much fun. (This is a review of an ARC received from publisher in exchange for a fair review.) Synopsis: Dusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn’t make her life even remotely easy. When one of her mermaid friends is viciously assaulted and left for dead, and the school’s jokester, Lance Rathbone, is accused of the crime, Dusty’s as shocked as everybody else. Lance needs Dusty to prove his innocence by finding the real attacker, but that’s easier asked than done. Eli’s dreams are no help, more nightmares than prophecies.  To make matters worse, Dusty’s ex-boyfriend has just been acquitted of conspir

The Shadow Throne

Sigh. It is always hard to write a review like this one. I really enjoyed my experience reading The False Prince  by Jennifer Nielsen ( my thoughts ). I didn't like The Runaway King  as much, but was eager to see how Nielsen would finish. Alas, The Shadow Throne left me feeling disappointed. Synopsis: War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does. His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he


If Endangered  had not been a National Book Award Finalist a couple years ago, I may have never discovered Eliot Schrefer and that would have been sad, because I love his writing. I just don't tend to gravitate toward books like Endangered ( my thoughts ) and   his latest, Threatened . As I said in my last review, I don't do survival stories, especially if they have anything to do with animals, so the fact that Schrefer is able to keep and hold my interest and, more importantly, make me care and feel every bit of these tense situations is a testament to the fine writing in these books. Synopsis: When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home -- chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night. Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. I

Favorite Declarations of the Romantic Sort PLUS GIVEAWAY

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! It is also International Book Giving Day. In this spirit of both days I bring you a swoon post and a giveaway. On Tuesday I posted my TTT post on Books That Make Me Swoon . I wanted to do my own separate Valentine's post today and decided to go with favorite Declarations of the Romantic Sort, whether they are the first admission of love, a proposal of marriage, or an admission of the first attracted interest (or all three of those at once! Looking at you here, Lord Peter.) In the interests of trying to be as non-spoilery as possible I will put the title of the book said declaration comes from but no other information. Just the quote and title with author. "Don't you see Elisa? I love you the way a drowning man loves air. And it would destroy me to have you just a little." - Crown of Embers  by Rae Carson "But given…the obvious road block, I'm not sure how much we can get to know each other." He rushes on. "As pe

TTT: Books That Make Me Swoon

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's TTT topic: Books That Make Me Swoon A fun TTT topic for Valentine's Week! I'm not explaining WHY any of these make me swoon due to possible spoilers. But here they are:   What are some books that have made you swoon? Come back around on Friday and I will be having a Valentine's Day giveaway.


You know I like a series and the work an author produces when I'm willing to order the books from the UK because they are just not available in the US. In fact, when  it comes to R.J. Anderson's Faery books I pre-order them. The wait for Nomad  seemed eternal because I have been waiting for it ever since the day I finished reading Swift  ( my thoughts ). It was worth every minute of the wait. Synopsis: Exiled from her underground home by Betony, the jealous queen of the piskeys, Ivy sets out to make a new life for herself in the world above – a quest that leads her to mystery, adventure, and a hoard of spriggan treasure. But a deadly poison still lingers in the Delve, and Ivy cannot bear to see her people dying under Betony’s rule. With the help of some old friends she sets out to warn the piskeys of their danger, urging them to rise up and free themselves before it is too late. Yet Betony will not give up her kingdom without a fight... and when her evil threatens the friend

Shorter Musings: Some Recent Speculative Fiction Reads

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post. Here are some recent Speculative Fiction Reads (both MG and YA) and my thoughts. Avalon  by Mindee Arnett  I wanted to like  Avalon  so much. I enjoyed the author's previously published work,  The Nightmare Affair , quite a bit and this new book has such an interesting premise. The concept is intriguing. There is a corrupt government type agency, intergalactic mobsters, mysterious happenings in a Bermuda Triangle sort of place in space, and some pretty high stakes. AND I WAS BORED OUT OF MY MIND. I shouldn't have been. There was some intense stuff going on. I blame it on the characters, who are flat as paper and just as easily disposable. They were all types and none of them, including the narrator ever moved beyond that. When the plot twists actually started occurring it was too l


With the cover and synopsis, it was a forgone conclusion that I would want to read Alienated by Melissa Landers. It's hard not to be intrigued by alien exchange student programs. It's just as fun as it sounds, but with some underlying depth and layers too. (Review of an ARC received in exchange for a fair review.) Synopsis: 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 mysterious 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

TTT: Books That Make Me Cry

Top Ten Tuesday  is a Meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish This week's TTT topic: Books That Make Me Cry Most Recently: Every Dang Time and Sometimes Just Thinking About Them: The Ones I Felt Manipulated By So It Made Me Angry That I Cried:  The One I Swore I Wouldn't Cry During NO MATTER WHAT (Fail): The One That Made Me Cry So Much I Can't Reread It: Did any of these make you cry? If not, what books have inspired your tears?

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing

When I read Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky ( my thoughts ), I went in expecting not to like it due to my overwhelming dislike for quirky southern books, particularly ones that take place in the state I've lived the most years of my life. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and it overcame almost all my qualms. It was with no hesitation at all that I picked up a copy of the follow up, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing , at ALA Midwinter. It has all the charm of the first book and does it all even better.  Synopsis: When Miss Lana makes an Accidental Bid at the Tupelo auction and winds up the mortified owner of an old inn, she doesn't realize there's a ghost in the fine print. Naturally, Desperado Detective Agency (aka Mo and Dale) opens a paranormal division to solve the mystery of the ghost's identity. They've got to figure out who the ghost is so they can interview it for their history assignment (extra credit). But Mo and Dale start to realize