Monday, December 31, 2012

Splintered by A.G. Howard A Review

Splintered by A.G. Howard
Amazon, Kindle, Paperback, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Author Contacts
Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest
Goodreads Summary:
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Wow, I think I said when I finished this one. Then I hurriedly ordered it so I could make sure I got it as soon as it came out. This book is really unbelievable. Really! It's definitely a fantasy but it's part mystery or should I say riddle and it's one magical, crazy, wild ride. I loved reading this novel so much I really didn't want it to end. Believe it or not, I was hoping all things wouldn't be resolved in this first novel. I was even okay with a cliffie, but not to worry. There is a definite ending.

So what made it so special? First, there is Alyssa. You really can't not like her. She's tough, grown up without a mother since she was five after a traumatic accident involving her mother. Her mother is in an asylum and talks to flowers and insects. She completely buys into the Alice in Wonderland theme wearing the clothes and the braids and she will only eat out of teacups. But Alyssa endures weekly visits to the asylum with her dad to see her mom which may or may not end with her drugged into a zombie like state. But, Alyssa has a  disturbing kind of macabre artistic medium, bugs, that she uses to create landscapes. She stabs them with pins while they are living. Yeah, that's part of her dark side. But you see, Alyssa and her mother Alice are both part of the Liddel family and they have a supposed curse on them. Alyssa throughout the novel shows the struggle she has between the dark and light sides of herself and how trying to balance the two can drive one to madness. But, there is a secret to that, too. So many secrets.

Then there is Jeb. Good old next door neighbor, but he's not the all American boy. Not exactly a bad boy, but he isn't afraid to threaten, cajole, make a girl swoon, basically do anything to get what he wants. He has a lip piercing and works at the skate park. He also fixes Alyssa's car. And dates a mean girl. :( But he watches out for Alyssa and is the big brother of Alyssa's best friend Jenna. Can't say anything else without ruining the book! He's a good guy and we like him despite Tae. Blech!

And then there is Morpheus who I will forever picture as Johnny Depp. I can't see anyone else but him when I read about him. He's just charming enough to pull off the things he does and get away with them. You never know if a lie or the truth is slipping off his tongue but whatever it is, it's twisted around some kind of riddle that Alyssa will have to figure out and just when she thinks she's lifted the curse on her family, the tables turn. And she has to fight that side of her that is drawn to the darkness that is Morpheus, or maybe she needs to give in to it once and for all. She just doesn't know.

The writing, it is fabulous. You feel as turned around and twisted as the story is and Alyssa must feel.  Some of it is nonsensical just like in Alice in Wonderland, but then you find there is an actual depth to the riddles that are spoken. And then some things are left out of the riddles for Alyssa to discover on her own. This is fantasy and it's crazy good!  It was just so much fun to read and get turned around. I was as mad (as in twisted) as Alyssa and I just kind of grabbed onto her petticoat and hung on for the ride. So, so much fun! Sorry to say but much better than Alice in Wonderland! (Don't hate me!) The only thing I wish was that there had been pictures in the ARC. Though there might be in the novel. 

Go buy it! Read it! Review it! Then you'll probably want to read it again. I know I do. But I really wanted to write a good review so other people would read this novel. There is some suggestive language in the novel, but other than that nothing else for parents to worry about. Oh and the soundtrack that A.G. Howard created to go along with the novel is perfect. Might want to listen to it while you're reading it if you can listen to music and read. I will be thinking of this novel for days and weeks to come. It's fascinating!

I received an E-ARC from the publisher through NetGalley for a fair and honest review. This did not influence my opinions in any way.

Enjoy!
Heather

Friday, December 28, 2012

Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep Review

Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep
A Mythos Academy Novel
Amazon, Kindle, MP3 Audiobook, AudibleBarnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary:
For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a sword fight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m 
guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…

*******Spoilers for previous books in the Mythos Academy series*****Do not read if you haven't read the others********

I've had some lukewarm reactions to previous Mythos Academy books, the first two, to be honest. The repetitions of what happened in the first book I got tired of. And the repetitions are still in this book but I've learned when they are coming and skip right over them. Only because I know what they are saying. Probably because the books are meant to be able to be stand alones, but you'd do a disservice to yourself if you didn't read the books in order. They build on each story, the mysteries, the romantic tension, the threat of the Reapers. The books, to me, get deeper and richer as they go. By book three, Dark Frost, I am a total convert to this series and stayed up really late into Christmas Eve to finish it so I could start this one.  Now I am waiting with baited breath for it's sequel! This series could go on forever and I'd be happy! 

As it says in the summary the worst has happened and Gwen was there. But if you've read the books you know she did everything she could to stop if from happening. However, on her first real date with Logan, she is arrested by none other than Logan's father, a member of the Protectorate, a group she's never even heard of and what they do to her is unspeakable! It is really bad.

And things only get worse. The whole book is filled with Gwen trying to prove her innocence with her friends supporting her. She only has a few days to figure out what her arch nemesis is up to and to foil her plans, the Reapers plans. But she really seems like she might be over her head in this one. I'd never count the ever resourceful Gwen out, despite her rather extreme tactics to save her friends and defeat the Reapers. But their is a little heartbreak at the end. It doesn't spoil the ending. Grandma Frost knows how to heal the heart with yummy desserts and heaps of love. But Gwen may not heal from this broken heart right away.

This is the strongest novel in the series so far and I highly recommend the series for all lovers of mythologies of all kinds. Gwen is a gypsy but her boyfriend is a Spartan, her best friend is a Valkyrie and the God let loose is a Norse God-Loki. So it's an incredibly well told story with a mix of adults and students battling the bad guys using their special skills that vary greatly. There's a bit of romance, lots of mystery, battles, betrayals, loyal friendships. Read the series!!

Heather

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Tempestuous (A Twisted Lit Novel) by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes 
Merit Press
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads:
Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

While I don't remember The Tempest that well I do recall a storm, isolation, and romance. Tempestuous had it all. It was a lighthearted contemporary romance and mystery that kept me entertained me while reading it. It wasn't taxing to read so it's just the thing to read for the holidays or a great beach read especially if you're heading somewhere sunny for the holidays.

Miranda Prospero used to be one of the popular crowd but has fallen from grace due to a tutoring scheme gone awry. Now not even the geeks won't talk to her. But at the food court, where she's working, she reigns as a queen among the lowly public school kids and most especially with her pixie like co-worker. (Wasn't there a pixie in The Tempest?) It's fun to watch Miranda at work. She's got a scheme for everything and an ego as big as the snowstorm outside that has the food court workers and a few of Miranda's ex-friends stuck in the mall overnight with a dangerous thief.

While Miranda's ex- friends hole up down at the richer end of the mall with all the best bedding and food, arming themselves with BB guns, Miranda and her co-workers decide to launch a counter attack to get the supplies they need. All while handcuffed to a nerdy gamer named Caleb. (Long story, read the book)! During this time,  Miranda plays matchmaker, sleuth, supply coordinator, entertainment director and most of all, revenge taker and she finds herself falling for someone other than her ex. But when her ex comes crawling back, it's really hard for her to say no to her old lifestyle.

As I said, I don't know how much this sticks to The Tempest because I don't remember it, but it was enjoyable to read and a great holiday read especially because the troops get snowed in for a night. You'd be amazed how much entertainment a food court can provide. Think Jenga with frozen hot dogs. I have another novel to read by these two authors called Exposure that I can't wait to dive into that released next month.

Very clean read. Recommended for anyone that enjoys contemporary YA literature.

Thanks to the authors for a review copy of the novel in return for a review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Heather

Monday, December 17, 2012

Opal by Jennifer Armentrout a Review

Opal by Jennifer Armentrout
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads-
No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.
But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.
After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.
Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

*******Spoilers from the other books in this series***********************************

Wow! First I absolutely hate the cliffhanger ending. I know everything was pointing to it and you knew something was going to happen, but I hated it! There, that was the only thing wrong with the novel. (Oh and see the last paragraph).

Everything else was absolutely A+! I got the novel today and finished it half an hour ago. I so love the witty banter between Kat also known as Kitten and Daemon. Love that the pen poke is still there (please don't take that away!) and now that things have gotten a little more serious in the sex department, you can really feel the depth of Katy and Daemon's relationship. God to have a guy like that worship me and make me laugh!

The fallout from Adam's death hasn't even begun to heal and Dee and Katy aren't the friends they used to be. Everyone is subdued despite the fact that Dawson is back, but he isn't the same without Beth. And the DOD still has Beth. The majority of the plot in this novel is about how to rescue Beth from a certain facility where they know she is. How they know she's there and the help they get in getting in and getting out is by using an old adversary. And one that they aren't sure they can trust. But there is little choice.

Other adversaries show up as well and Katy finds out what she's made of, if she can kill in self defense, kill to protect the ones she loves, kill someone who truly deserves to die. She grapples with who she is and what she's become and is afraid she's lost her moral compass.

Despite looming missions into what could be a death sentence for them, they try to carry on normal lives. Daemon and Katy try to have real dates and spend time together but get interrupted incessantly, much to the anger of Daemon and the humor of Katy. But eventually, they get their time together to straighten out their relationship in a most unexpected way.

There was a lot more Katy and Daemon together in this one and when they were together they talked about real things instead of bickering. Daemon was protective and concerned. Katy still made stupid decisions which is getting old. I guess that's another thing that's wrong if I had to say something was wrong with the novel. Hasn't she learned by now? She isn't as fast as the Luxen so why does she insist on going on these missions where she's a liability instead of an asset? I know she's worried about Daemon but really, he can take care of himself.

So there will be another book, but please, let's get Katy making smart decisions for once. Stay behind when she's not up to the task. Tell the truth. If she has a funny feeling, voice it. If Creepy McKreepy comes back, tell someone. Stop needing to be rescued! The damsel in distress routine is getting old.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WOW- Waiting on Wednesday 12-12-12


Here is my Waiting on Wednesday a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we share the books we are looking forward to being released.

RED by Alison Cherry

Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.
Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:
I know your secret.
Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.
Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?
Release Date October 8 ,2013 by Delacorte
Why do I want to read this? It seems a little Pretty Little Liars like and that's been pretty fun, though I've stopped watching the series. I just like the idea of first, Redheads getting all the glory instead of the blondes. Then this girl has to dye her hair even from her mom. Where does she get the dye? How does she hide it? Does she get someone to do it out of town?  Do any of her friends know? And how shallow are these people??


THE RULES OF DISAPPEARING by Ashley Elston

She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
MAY 14, 2013 DISNEY-HYPERION

Okay, I've read some witness protection books, but this one sounds like it would be really good. Sounds like Meg just might get her family into some real trouble or else gain them their freedom. (But I would not put up with bad haircuts or bad hair color, I draw the line there!) And I think if my life was turned upside down, I'd want to know why, so dad really owes her an explanation as far as I'm concerned. What do you think?


What are you looking forward to reading?

Heather





Monday, December 10, 2012

Gravity by Melissa West Review

Gravity by Melissa West
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary:
In the future, only one rule will matter:
Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

I have been so frustrated with this novel as the release date kept moving backward by months! This one has had me salivating wondering why a boy would be levitating above a girl while she sleeps. Let me tell you, you don't have to wonder for long. This book jumps right into the action and the plot shoots off from there. No time to wonder what's going on in this one, it moves at a fast pace whether it's character development, world building, or plot, this book did not dissapoint me at all!

Ari is telling the story and she's amazing. The Earth has suffered through a catastrophic nuclear war and cannot grow food for all the people that survived. There are chemists that developed food capsules that provide the nutrients that are required, but it isn't like real food. Ari is lucky, she is the daughter of the commander of the military so she has real food. Her mother is a high level chemist. And Ari is set to marry the President's son, Lawrence Cartier who she has been best friends with for years. She's also set to take over her father's position. She is tough as nails. She should be as she trains with her father every morning at 5am, hand to hand combat, weapons, agility, evasion, you name it, she's done it since she was ten. She is ready. And, she also goes through training at school, she has to be chosen to continue in the Field Ops training. And her main competition is Jackson Locke.

Jackson Locke is not as he appears to be. He is handsome, arrogant and floating above Ari's bed when she peeks.  I'm not going to ruin anything by telling you why he's like that so suffice it to say, this isn't the first time. He's there for "The Taking" and you'll have to read to find out what that means. This night, he talks to her and tells her he needs to talk, tomorrow. Can you imagine that wait??? What he asks of her is betrayal of her father, her country, humankind. But the consequences would be even worse.

I love Ari! Her divided loyalties are understandable. She traverses the world of espionage and lies adroitly. The matters of the heart are a little trickier for her. She's not sure if she can trust her heart that's leaning towards Jackson, even though she's always been expected to marry Lawrence. Jackson seems trustworthy at times. But is he really? She really struggles with betraying her father, but she's also horrified with what her country is planning to do.

Lawrence and Gretchen, who are Ari's best friends aren't very well developed in this novel. You know they are good friends, but they don't play a major role in the story. Their main point I think is to show Ari's nature to protect and care for people. Her nature is to put others before herself. She is not one to take things lying down or standing up! 

The plot is incredible. I thought I had things figured out and I was so disappointed that I did. Pfffht! I had nothing figured out! Melissa West leads the reader one way then throws you in not just an opposite direction but another path on that direction. I gave up trying to figure things out and just read. This book was everything I expected and more! There is just enough description to know what Earth looks like to understand, what the weapons are, what the experiments and their outcomes are, and what the training Ops are like. Those parts could easily become boring, but they aren't. Everything is just enough. 

The next book can't come fast enough for me. The ending was satisfying enough but it's definitely not the end. It's just the beginning of the story. I do have to say, that it reminded me a little of The Hunger Games as I read it, but it was really different from it, too. I think it was Ari, being self sufficient, not needing to be rescued but being the rescuer in many cases. I like seeing that type of female character. And that she was poised to have a position of high power was also great.

So, who will enjoy this book? Anyone that loves Sci-fi, dystopians, post apocalyptic, strong female characters, political/military action. There is a romance and it seems like a love triangle but  it isn't really.  There are some scenes that are slightly sexual and there is a lot of violence but not bloody just fighting.

If you'd like to get in touch with the author, you can find her and the various places below:
Melissa West Author
Facebook
Twitter
Blogger
Goodreads


Heather

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann Pictures by Maurice Sendak Giveaway

The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann Pictures by
Maurice Sendak
Published by Crown Publishing
AmazonBarnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary
"A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children's books of the year."
-- New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann's wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak's art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann's story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

I went to the Nutcracker Ballet every year as a little girl. It was such a tradition I can't remember not going, but at some point I stopped going. I don't remember how old I was, maybe when I stopped believing in Santa? Maybe later. But schools used to go on field trips to see it I remember. It was A BIG DEAL! And I haven't seen it since I was a little girl. But I vaguely remembered bits and pieces of it. A girl in a white dress. A soldier, a battle, a rat soldier. All of it was kind of way back in my mind. 

I started with the Prologue for The Nutcracker written by Maurice Sendak in 1984. He dug up the original story of the Nutcracker written by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It was then translated by Ralph Manheim and a whole subplot "The Story of the Hard Nut" was discovered that had never been performed in the ballet. So not only did I get to rekindle my memories of the ballet I remembered, but an entirely new fairytale was revealed to me. And you know how when you read a book, it's always better than the movie?
The same is true for watching a ballet and reading the book. You can read the intentions and feelings, what everything looks like in detail, whereas on a stage you might miss something because you're too far away. So, as always, I liked the book better. I always will.

It starts off right away with a beautifully written story, somewhat dark, set in the past with the Christ Child bringing their presents. And they are very good children indeed as they get many presents.  The tree is described in great detail and so beautifully, I want to decorate mine like that. And then Marie finds the Nutcracker and falls in love with it.  But she's told she has to share The Nutcracker and her brother Fritz breaks him. All is better when she is given the Nutcracker to care for and she wraps him in her handkerchief. She is besotted with him.

Now you may or may not know the story from there but the King of the Mice wages a battle against the Nutcracker and Marie and her brother's soldiers. Marie is wounded and her Godfather comes to tell her a story, "The Story of the Hard Nut," which he tells her over three consecutive nights and repairs the Nutcracker. "The Story of the Hard Nut" explains why the King of the Mice and the Nutcracker are fighting in the first place, a long history between the two families, err mice and man. It greatly adds to the story and I'm sorry it's been left out for so long. 

I always remembered that Clara was the center of the romance in The Nutcracker, but it is dear sweet Marie and her steadfast love of the ugly Nutcracker that brings the story to it's end. She is laughed at by her family as she tells of her journey with The Nutcracker to Marzipan Castle where he is King. She's not allowed to mention it again for fear of her father throwing The Nutcracker and all her other dolls out as well. But all is well in the end.

The pictures are...they are Maurice Sendak. There are a few monsters from Where the Wild Things Are peeking out from behind things. They are as descriptive as a picture can be. I've always loved Maurice Sendak's work and it works so well in this story with the King of the Mice and the Nutcracker especially.
I highly recommend adding this to your Christmas collection. I loved the ending!!

If you'd like to see a few of the pictures from the book you can click HERE and check them out. Clicking on each picture will bring up a larger picture and a description of what's happening in the scene.

Thanks to Danielle at Crown Publishing, she's offering one hardback copy to giveaway to a US winner.
Just in time for Christmas. You know the drill, fill out the rafflecopter form! Thanks!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Can't Wait For These Books!!! WOW



Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking The Spine where we can share books we are excited about that are soon to be released or maybe not so soon released, but we're waiting on them!
Here's some I'm chomping at the bit for:

1. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, Jan. 8th, 2013

2.  Asunder by Jodi Meadows , January 29th

3. Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi  February 5th

4. Goddess by Josephine Angelini May 28th

5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman January 8th

6. Nameless Tales of Beauty and Madness by Lilith St. Crow  April 4th

7. Shades of Earth (Across the Universe 3) by Beth Revis January 15th

8. Ink (The Paper Gods) by Amanda Suns June 25th

9. Antigoddess by Kendare Blake  September 10th

10. The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke June 4th

Okay, so this is only a small sampling of what I'm looking forward to and it's looking like January and April are HEAVY with books I want! I think I need a job. Really! I could do this post daily with 10 books and not be finished until the end of the year.

What about you? I bet there are a lot of books you want to read, too! What are they??

Heather








Monday, December 3, 2012

Noah Zarc Cataclysm by D. Robert Pease Review and Giveaway Blog Tour

Noah Zarc Cataclysm by D. Robert Pease (Book 2)
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble
Goodreads Summary-
Thirteen-year-old, Noah Zarc, rockets to Venus in a quest to learn more about his past. He just can’t believe his father is really the monster everyone says he is. Maybe there are valid reasons for everything he’s done, including abandoning Noah at birth. 

While searching for answers to secrets no one wants to talk about, even those that have remained hidden for over a thousand years, Noah becomes embroiled in a mission that could end up causing the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system. And the name, Noah Zarc might be forever linked to the most devastating crime in humanity's existence, all because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is the second book in the Noah Zarc series by Robert Pease and it was just as thrilling and full of close calls, time jumping and catastrophes and revelations as the first novel in the series Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble. Noah is a time hopping space cruiser driving phenom who gets himself roped into helping his father Haon (Noah spelled backwards) visit Earth before whatever catastrophic event happened that made it uninhabitable for thousands of years. Something that destroyed everything that lived and breathed, from human to animal to plant. It's called the Cataclysm, but what caused it is never spoken about nor is it written in any of the history books or even the holopads. Noah has to find out the truth. But sometimes the truth is worse than not knowing. And he is right in the middle of it all.

Haon does seem to have some good sides to him. He wants to save the Venusians, the people that live on Venus in squalor crowded on top of each other in filthy streets with no shelter or jobs or food. But the Poligarchy, the ruling government, refuses to do anything. They won't even see them or take notice of them. So Noah, seeing these people begins to understand Haon being incensed at all the millions being poured into the ARC that his family lives on preserving and rescuing animals from extinction while the Venusians are dying daily. Noah begins to see Haon in a different light. Growing up isn't as black and white as his parents have taught him. Haon isn't the enemy he was brought up to believe he was. And Noah has to wade through the gray area and try to figure out Haon's motives and what is right and wrong.
And when bad is bad and sometimes when it's good.

I read this book so quickly, it's just that kind of book. I did have a little trouble remembering the start of the book. I had to go back and read what happened in the last few chapters of Mammoth Trouble to remember why Noah was where he was. But by chapter two I was settled in and the adventure pretty much begins right there. There are never slow spots in Cataclysm. There is a lot of flying space craft and Noah gets a kick out of dodging missiles and time jumping (just not 20 times in a row) but none of that jargon slows you down. It enhances the feeling that you're sitting in the spacecraft with him. It's a fun ride  but as soon as it starts it's over and you're blasting through Earth's atmosphere to a deserted planet.
The only thing that hampers Noah at all is that he doesn't have the use of his legs. But he does have a very cool chair called a magchair that is connected to neuro transplants in his brain that he can communicate with it so it comes at his beckoning. He still has to rely on the chair, but I'm hoping with all the other simulated everything in this new world that Noah will get legs in the next book, only because he wants to feel what it's like to run. And he did get in to a bit of a situation when he had to leave his chair behind.

All I can say is I loved this one even more than Mammoth Trouble. It had action, a bit of butterflies in the stomach romance, and all the excitement you could ask for. I think this a great book for reluctant readers. There is no way they couldn't find this book engaging with all the action going on. Unless they don't like space. But it has more than that. It has moral questions. Family relationship issues. And personal dilemmas. Even what does it mean to be alive?

My only complaint and I think cover lovers will agree, the cover has got to go.  That boy on the cover is not 13. The original cover was awesome and I have no idea why the covers were changed but the child on the cover still has his baby face and I can't stand it. I hate reading about his feelings about a girl and seeing that face.  So PLEASE, don't look at the cover. The meat and potatoes is there, I promise. It is a book you don't want to miss. Just ignore the cover. It doesn't match the story inside! I PROMISE!

So, now, there is some information before from Mr. Pease about the Blog Tour and some giveaways!








Release Party Notes

Noah Zarc: Cataclysm, the second book in the Noah Zarc series, is about a boy named, surprisingly enough, Noah Zarc. If you haven’t read the first book, Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, then you probably want to start there. But if you are well-versed in all things Zarc, then take a gander at the description of the next book below. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Noah Zarc: Mammoth TroubleOVERVIEW

Thirteen-year-old Noah Zarc rockets to Venus in a quest to learn more about his past. He refuses to believe his father is really the monster everyone says he is. Could there be valid reasons for everything he’s done, including abandoning Noah at birth?

While searching for answers to secrets no one wants to talk about, even those that have remained hidden for over a thousand years, Noah becomes embroiled in a mission which could cause the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system. And the name, Noah Zarc, might be forever linked to the most devastating crime in humanity's existence, all because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com (available in paperback or as an eBook.) Other online retailers listed below.

CASH and PRIZES

Guess what? You could win a $50 Amazon gift card as part of this special release party. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $50 too by having the most comments. So tell your friends to stop by and comment on this post too!
You have until the end of December to comment.
Also, we will be giving away one pair of signed books (Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, and Noah Zarc: Cataclysm) to one winner as well.

D. Robert PeaseTHE AUTHOR


D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.

Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at www.drobertpease.com

THANK YOU! for visiting. And don't forget to comment below for that chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card. And of course head on over to your favorite online book store and buy a copy of Noah Zarc: Cataclysm, for you or for the kids in your life.

Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Kobo | Amazon UK


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

And By The Way by Denise Deegan (A Butterfly Novel)

And by the Way by Denise Deegan
Kindle, The Book Depository, Indiebound
At Strandbrook College, we are Kids Of. Kids of diplomats, media stars, musicians, artists, actors, oh, and wealthy people who aspire to all of that. I'm the kid of a rock star. Means nothing to me. When Mum died, six months ago, I didn't just lose her, I lost my dad - to work. The only thing he does now is annoy me. He hires people like 'The Stylist' who wears bullets in her belt and makes him look like a hobo. Seriously. But 'The Rockstar' isn't the only person who drives me mad. There's David McFadden, a guy in my class who could have helped but didn't. Now, it's too late. I don't want his help. Because I'm not going to trust anyone, love anyone, rely on anyone. That way I'll never be hurt again. If only I could solve the problem of Rachel, my best friend, who won't let me pull back just like that. Even David McFadden won't stay out of my face. But I'm not going to fall for his blue eyes, his windswept hair or the plaited leather on his wrist. And when he says he wants to help, I'm sure as hell not going to listen...

The author of this book, Denise Deegan approached me to read her three novels when I got a chance and I agreed because 1) She was extremely polite in asking me 2) Worked really hard at getting me the novels because for some reason since she's in Ireland and I'm here, she can't gift them to me from Ireland. Some Amazon Law. 3) And it's set in Ireland. I haven't read a YA novel set in Ireland.
So, I started it on the holiday weekend, and I couldn't put it down! Alex, the main character is broken and jaded and angry and expects nothing but to be let down for the rest of her life. When she lost her mother, she lost everything. "The Rockstar" as she calls her dad behind his back, hired a chef, a security guard (not like the ones that walk around the mall), and sent her to a shrink. She closed herself off from everyone but her Gran and Homer, her dog. Her philosophy is, if you don't care about someone, then losing them won't hurt so bad. But she's got two best friends, one a bit smarter than the other and she's wise to what's happening. Shaking her isn't too easy. And then there's David McFadden, the American that she's paired up with for sailing class and who makes her actually laugh. But she can't laugh, because that would mean forgetting her mother.

Alex is caught between honoring her mother's memory and needing desperately to move on. She's so afraid to move forward because if she let's herself be happy, she's afraid the world will rip that happiness away from her again. This is one of the most emotional and well written YA novels I've read this year, and you know I've read a lot. I was reading with my throat constricted trying not to cry in the car. I didn't want to have to explain it was over a book. But this is just not any book. This is a cathartic book about losing someone, letting go, moving forward, remembering, healing, loving, just about any emotion you could have, you'll feel. Alex does indeed have a romance, but she has a lot of mending fences too. I think the relationship between her and her father is what got to me the most. God did I let loose when I was home in my bed with my tissues and my pillow. Denise Deegan can wring the emotion right out of you until you're just a mess.

Alex is so well written and so complex. You know why she reacts to things the way she does and you understand but you're hoping for her to change a little earlier than she does. But she does put her big girl panties on in the end. Her father, he grows up from someone we don't know at all and kind of hate to someone we understand and feel for and empathize with. Some of Alex's friends we like, some we may not. David, God love him that boy was amazing. And we got to see all the different sides of him that made him who he is. So yes, the characters were very well developed as was the story line. 

You know that little percentage at the bottom of your e-reader that tells you how much of the book is left. Let's just say I was sweating this one out until the very last few percentages!
I really don't know where this book has been hiding except it came out in 2011. I'm sad it's over as I feel like I could read about Alex forever. But I have two other books about her best friends called And For Your Information and And Actually.

Another note, there is some Irish teen slang in it that was fun to read. It didn't take long to figure out what it meant, but it was fun to learn some new words and how the teens over there speak to each other. Not much different from here, they just use different words. That just upped the enjoyment factor on this fabulous novel. I'll be diving into And For Your Information very soon!

Thanks to Denise Deegan for the free copy of And by The Way for review. She'd like anyone interested to know that you can get a review copy from her if you'll do a review. Just contact her at :
deegancommunications@gmail.com
Facebook
Blog
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You won't be sorry if you read this novel. Denise Deegan is a well seasoned author in Ireland, she's just trying to cross the Atlantic!

Heather

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine and is a great way to show what books we are dying to get our greedy little hands on in the coming weeks, months, year. Below is my choice.


SPYGLASS BY PHOEBE NORTH

PUBLISHED BY SIMON AND SCHUSTER
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE JULY 23, 2013 (assuming the Mayans are wrong)

The author has a rather lengthy comment on the Goodreads site about Terra, the main character that gives some insight into her and what is going on on the spaceship.

Goodreads Synopsis-
My darling daughter,

Know that I never would have left the Earth if it hadn't already been doomed. . .


The generation ship Asherah coasts through space, bound for a planet its passengers have never even seen. On the eve of their arrival, sixteen-year-old botanist Terra discovers that her orderly society has fractured. Walking home one night through the long-abandoned engine rooms, she witnesses the murder of an innocent man. Now, called on by the Children of Abel, a group of rebels intent on destroying the High Council, Terra must prove her mettle--assassinate the ship's rising captain. In order to carry out her task, Terra must betray her father, deceive her teacher, and challenge everything the Council has ever taught her was true. 

The rebels think that Terra has nothing left to lose. But when she falls for Silvan Rafferty, the boy that she's meant to kill, Terra learns that "doing your duty" isn't always as easy as it seems.

Also if you'd like to check out the "Lucky 13s" the novelist that have their debut novels coming out next year, here is their website. It's a huge list of MG and YA authors! So much to look forward to and I can't wait!

Now what are you waiting for? I'd love to know!

Heather

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Handler and The Scribe Novellas from the Mind Jack Series by Susan Kaye Quinn Review

The Handler by Susan Kaye Quinn (Mindjack Origins #2)
 Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords,
Goodreads Summary
It's time for Julian Navarro to fulfill the mission left to him by his dead parents: to spark a revolution that would allow mindjackers to live freely in a mindreading world. While his ability allows him to mentally control the instincts of others, Julian wants to win jackers to his cause with words, not weapons. But when his first recruit has a secret--and bloody--history, Julian has to decide how far he'll go to ensure his revolution isn't snuffed out before it starts.

The Handler is a short novella (9,000 words or 30 pages) in the Mindjack Origins series, which are companion stories to the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy. The Handler is Julian's story and takes place in the time period between Open Minds and Closed Hearts. It contains (minor) spoilers for those two novels.

The Handler started off a little choppy to me, probably because it's been awhile  since I've read Closed Hearts, but it fell into place pretty quickly. In the Mindjacking world, where this new ability has just been outed, one can never be too careful. There are so many abilities out there that even Julian doesn't know about and it's hard for him and his sister to protect themselves from every threat they can imagine. What he doesn't expect is the beautiful desperate girl that comes through his door disarming his sister without even jacking her. And try as he might, he just can't get a read on her, it's like trying to grab a hold of a slippery fish with greased hands. And then his recruit he was expecting, the one that is skittish and ready to run shows up. And Julian has to make a decision, one that he'll probably have to make time and again in his new revolution. He just wasn't expecting to have to make it on the very first day. This is a fast paced novella that gives you a glimpse into the way things started before Kira joined the group. It gives some background information on how Julian chose and who he chose and why. In any case, it's a great little piece of fiction in the series to hold you over until the third book FREE SOULS comes out! 


The Scribe  (Mind Jack Origins #3)
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords
Goodreads Summary:
Twenty-three-year-old Sasha is in search of a mindjacking Clan that won’t force him to use his unique skill—he can’t face the prospect of erasing any more souls. A revolutionary Clan leader offers him a chance to serve a higher purpose, but Sasha’s wary that it’s only a trick to use his ability. When a beautiful female jacker seeks refuge with them, and her former Clan leader wants her special skill back at any cost, Sasha has to decide if there are any causes worth the cost of using his ability one more time.

The Scribe is a short novella (12,000 words or 40 pages) in theMindjack Origins series, which are companion stories to the bestselling Mindjack TrilogyThe Scribe is Sasha’s story and takes place in the time period between Open Minds and Closed Hearts. It contains (minor) spoilers for those two novels.

Mindjack Trilogy (novels): Open Minds, Closed Hearts, Free Souls
Mindjack Origins (shorts): Mind Games, The Handler, The Scribe 


Recommended Reading Order
Mind Games (prequel short story to Open Minds)
Open Minds
Closed Hearts
The Handler
The Scribe
Free Souls
 - coming soon

Now this is Sasha's story and he has the most incredible power I've ever read. I'm not going to tell you what it is. His name "The Scribe" might give you some indication but it is a powerful thing and any of the Clans would want him. But he's escaped to Julian. He wants to never use his "power" ever again. It takes a piece of him every time he uses it and he's used it so many times under his old Clan leader who basically raised him. Now that Clan leader is back and he wants the helpless girl that's just fled to Julian. As Arlis, the Clan leader lays seige to Julian and Sasha's new base of operations, Sasha has to war with himself, can he use his power for good instead of evil and at what cost to him? Will he stay sane if he uses it this time? 
I'm not really sure what Sasha's power does to him, but it's painful for him as well as his victim. Maybe because he's a good soul who's been forced to do so many wrong's. But I think he also has to see all the wrong's the person he is working on has done and it's painful and he gets afraid that he'll get lost in the craziness. But you'll have to see how he ends up and who helps him. This is a story I really wanted to read because once you read about his "talent" you don't forget it. He will stick with you in Closed Hearts. Most everyone will. I loved this story and seeing him find his peace and safety. Another excellent tide over until FREE SOULS comes out!

For more information, see MindjackTrilogy.com

I highly recommend this series if you haven't started it. The first novel kind of sneaks up on you with it's storyline. The second novel will blow your bangs back and have you falling on your butt with all the action and the storyline. I was crying at the end. Lots of drama at the end. I don't know what to expect in the third one, except for mind blowing action and storylines and hopefully some cheering. It's a very fresh breath of air as far as story lines go. The language is updated for the future-things are mesh instead of cool and the technology is very interesting and probably not far off. You're missing out if you don't read this series!

Heather

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