8/29/2014

Death Sworn Review

Title: Death Sworn
Author: Leah Cypess
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, March 2014
Synopsis: When a young sorceress is exiled to teach magic to a clan of assassins, she will find that secrets can be even deadlier than swords. From the critically acclaimed Leah Cypess comes a dangerous and eerie fantasy about murder, shocking discoveries, and fiery star-crossed romance that readers of Cinda Williams Chima and Robin LaFevers won't be able to put down.

Ileni is losing her magic. And that means she's losing everything: her position as the rising star of her people, her purpose in life, and even the young man she loves. Sent to the assassins' cave, hidden deep within the mountains, she expects no one will ever hear from her again. The last two sorcerers sent died within weeks of each other. Accidents? Or something more sinister? As Ileni navigates the dangers--both natural and human--of the caves, she'll discover secrets that have been kept for decades. And she'll find an ally in Sorin, the deadly young man who could be the assassins' next leader. With Sorin determined to protect her, sparks--magical and romantic--will fly. But will even he understand the choice she must make in the end?
A teacher who is losing her powers is sent to teach assassins magic. Can it possibly get more awesome? Yes, it can, because as the synopsis states the previous two teachers died in accidents. The level of solid story telling plunges you into a dark, cavernous world and hits all the notes of a well-written high fantasy plot.

Ileni is the strong-willed character we've come to expect in similar stories, but unlike most other characters in similar situations, she accepts the inevitability of her death. Ileni's world is my very favorite part of the story. It's laid out so logically that I just wanted to explore it more. And the world plays brilliantly into the plot -- it proves as treacherous as the big plot twist.

If you guys are thinking, that is all well and good, but where is the romance? Let me assure you that there is a good blend of romance, action and mystery in the story. Although the romance may be a little light, the chemistry is palpable.  If you click over to the blog tour post, you'll see a pinterest board I made which shows some of Leah's influences as well as a collection of images that I thought represent the setting and plot.

When you're in the mood for a high fantasy story with a protagonist who is fierce but resigned to her fate and a world that is dark, intimidating and has just the right degree of complexity without becoming too broad, pick up Death Sworn. It's a perfect read for these colder mornings and darker nights.

8/25/2014

#TheInfiniteSea Giveaway!

It started with The 5th Wave, a scarily realistic alien invasion and apocalypse
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.



and continues with The Infinite Sea, out September 16th.
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

We are VERY excited to be bringing you the first look at The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, as well as a chance to win a signed copy of the book.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FIRST 11 Chapters of THE INFINITE SEA!

and now, it's

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Thanks to the awesome people at Penguin, we have 1 signed copy of The Infinite Sea to giveaway. This is open to US addresses only and is being shipped directly from the publisher. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter and all of our other standard rules apply. 

You can get 3 entries into this giveaway. The first is achieved by answering the following question on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #TheInfiniteSea and then coming back here and leaving a link. Please be sure to include some form of the Q and the hashtag in your post/tweet.

  • What 3 books would you want to bring in the event of an apocalypse?

The other entries will be unlocked by answering the Q, you get 2 entries for supplying your shipping address. Good luck and have fun narrowing your books down to 3, the sacrifices we make in an apocalypse i tell ya.

8/22/2014

If I Stay Movie Review #IfIStay #Liveforlove

 Warning - somewhat spoilerish (if you haven't read the book)
I usually won't write up a book to movie review - most of the time, it is because I wasn't happy with the movie. That isn't the case with If I Stay, I just walked in the door and had to write a review.

If I Stay is one of my all time favorite books - this movie was a must see for me and I went into it thinking I was going to be disappointed. I had one expectation - I hope it had my favorite line from the book.  I am glad I was wrong. If I Stay is without a doubt one of the best book to movie adaptations I have ever seen.   And guess, what my favorite line isn't in the movie. It is sort of there, hinted at - but Adam never says the actual line...and I really didn't care.  Why, because the sensuality and chemistry between Mia and Adam is there and those few words weren't missed.

Jamie Blackley is an AMAZING Adam, it was like he was born to play that character.  I had no doubt that Chloe would be great as Mia, I have enjoyed all her movies. The casting for this movie is spot on - Teddy, oh my goodness how can you not love him? And man, that scene is hard to watch - my daughter who hasn't read the books started screaming NOOOOOO when she realized what was happening.

I won't lie and say everything was perfect - Mia playing for Julliard scene was a little weird...not sure if it was CGI or what, but parts of it were creepy looking. Of course they had to change a few things, but I wasn't sitting in my chair going- THAT'S NOT IN THE BOOK or THAT ISN'T HOW IT HAPPEN...I was just thinking wow, that made the storyline better. Especially the ending, I really loved how they did that, not to different from the book but enough to make it better.

Okay, enough rambling. Go see it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  BRING KLEENEX!!!




8/21/2014

The Good Sister Review

Title: The Good Sister
Author: Jamie Kain
Release: October 2014 by St. Martins Griffin
Synopsis:
The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.

Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together. But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there.

It has been a while since a book has grabbed and held my attention from the first few lines. The Good Sister did just that - it hooked me with the murder mystery and the unraveling sisterhood kept me glued to the book.

Sarah is dead and it wasn't the way anyone thought she would go. Sarah is a 2x cancer survivor, so her family was "prepared" for her death, but no one expected she would fall off a cliff. From the first few lines, you are hooked; you know Sarah just didn't fall - but, you don't know how she fell either.

As a preteen Sarah was diagnosed with cancer; cancer took its tole on Sarah as well as her family, one sister became the hero and one sister was pushed aside. After years of living with those "titles" and the roles they played, they can't cope with Sarah's death. They don't know how.  Asha the youngest sister the "hero" sister can not fathom "the whys", non of this makes sense to her. She wants answers and she is going to get them no matter who she hurts. Rachel the middle sister who couldn't save Sarah's life and was forgotten, has her own issues and she wonders how much of the problems she caused led to Sarah's death.

Loved loved loved this book. I have a sister and I have 3 daughters - so I know how the relationships between sisters can be love/hate and how no matter what you do truly love each other. To dive into the middle of these sisters and learn all the great and horrible things they did for and to each other was like watching a soap opera. It kept me glued to this story line... I couldn't get enough. This definitely made my up all night list.





8/20/2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday #wow

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking  the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week we are waiting on...

What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott

An unputdownable thriller with twists and turns the reader won't see coming, from YA talent Kieran Scott.

It's a beautiful, sunny day. Callie Velasquez holds hands with her boyfriend Jeremy as they follow Callie's new BFFs Penelope and Lissa up the trail. The four friends are embarking on a camping trip -- a trip that immediately goes awry. They lose their way on the trail, and encounter a charismatic stranger with questionable motives. And when Callie stumbles upon a dead body, it becomes clear that the danger that lies in the woods is deadlier than she could have ever imagined. Tensions mount and friendships are tested as these teenagers try to survive the most sinister of circumstances.
WHY WE WANT IT:
If you are a PTB follower you know I like creepy, and this looks and sounds creepy. I like plots that scare me, that have twist I don't see coming. 

8/19/2014

Breathe, Annie, Breathe Review

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published: July 2014 from Sourcebooks Fire and Brilliance Audio (Listen to excerpt)
Synopsis:
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe, is a heart felt, refreshing contemporary story. It has the right balance of romance, character development and great story. I enjoyed every minute of this audiobook and at points I didn't want to leave my car, I just wanted to keep listening. I also liked the fact that this was a great transition book between YA and NA (new adult).  Annie transitions from high school to college as she's training for the marathon and because of this, Annie is a refreshing voice that will appeal to both traditional YA readers and the growing NA readership.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe, follows Annie as she deals with the loss of her boyfriend Kyle and trains to run a marathon in his honor. The story has a great mix of humor and heart that shows the character's depth and relatability. When we first meet Annie, she's just started her training with Brown's Race Company, she has a schedule, a meal plan and is working toward this new goal. She's still dealing with the guilt and grief of Kyle's death, but she now has a way to focus some of her emotions and work through them. But this new found focus is threatened by Jeremiah, the younger brother of the owner of Brown's Race Company. Annie's relationship with Jeremiah is a flash in the pan and then it grows into a solid friendship with the chance for something more.

This story is about Annie getting beyond her guilt and loss, finding herself as she moves from high school to college, and the relationships she builds and rebuilds a long the way. It's a simple story, but sometimes the simplest of stories are the hardest to tell, and this is a well crafted story.

The Audiobook for Breathe, Annie, Breathe was very well done.  I was totally engaged in the story and I felt a loss when I had to stop listening because I got to my destination. I found myself craving it and sitting in my car longer than needed to just get a few more minutes. My only issue was the fact that the story has a lot of in chapter brakes, which if you're reading the book is totally fine with it's visible marking, but in an audiobook, it's harder to note the transition. But this was one small flaw in an overall enjoyable audiobook.


Overall Rating:


 

8/14/2014

Wildflower Review

Title: Wildflower
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Synopsis:
The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.

Wildflower is a wonderful contemporary story that looks a girl finding and living dreams she didn't know she had. This is amazingly refreshing when so many contemporary books are about finding love or working through some epic problems, both have their place, but it's nice to have something that changes things up a bit. Wildflower is about family and what that means when you're 16 and discovering yourself and your dreams for the future. I enjoyed every minute of this book and cannot wait to see what happens next to Bird

When we first meet Bird Barrett, she's touring with her family's Bluegrass band. She's kind of quiet and unassuming, she has a crush on her brother's friend, another Bluegrass singer she runs into occasionally, but she's not the start of the show.  But when her dad get's a cold and she's thrown into the lead singer role, her life, and the life of her family members changes.

Bird is "discovered" by a music rep from one of Nashville's largest music studios, but they only want her, not the family band.  This changes the trajectory of every family member and has everyone making choices about what's going to happen next, including Bird. I enjoyed reading about the family dynamics and seeing how each voice their concerns and opinions and how each grow through everything that happens. I loved seeing Bird grow and try to make things work and struggle and try to find her place in the music industry. I cannot wait to see what happens next to Bird and her family.  It's like she's real and on one of those reality music shows. I'm so routing for her.

I listed to the audio of Wildflower, it's read by the author. The overall audiobook was well done, I enjoyed listening to it and was very engaged in the story. My only issue with it was the musical part of the story. There are point that Bird sings and we get that in the narrative, and Whitaker does a decent job, but I as a listener was brought out of the story a bit during these points.  Sadly I was comparing this to other audiobooks with singing in it, and Wildflower doesn't quite stand up to those, but that is one small blip in an otherwise well edited and narrated audiobook.

My Overall Rating: