Friday, October 31, 2014

Recent Recommended Reads

I read so many books that I don't write reviews for every single one.  I also tend not to write a review for  the final book in a series (I sometimes do, but most of the time I don't).  So this post is to let you know of recent books I've read that I recommend but never wrote a review.  These are super mini reviews.

Chaos (Guards of the Shadowlands #3) by Sarah Fine.  What an incredible series ender!  The world-building is unique (love the different after life worlds), and the romance.  It. Is. Incredible.  Kick-ass heroine and swoony love interest.  LOVED THIS SERIES.  READ IT.
In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken.  Amazing, amazing, amazing.  I will miss Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu.  Intense, action-packed, with so much character growth.  I am in love with this series and the last book did not disappoint.  Alexandra Bracken = auto-buy for me.
Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  JLA is a freaking genius, that's all I have to say.  Entertaining and fun, this series has me feeling all the feels, that's for sure.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually been torn between two guys in a book (actually, I think it's just this book and one other).  Zayne!!!  He shines in this book.  He is Aiden, I tell you.  Roth!!!  Even though he's a demon, he's a good guy.  Both are swoony.  I'm stressed, I tell you.  READ IT!!!
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch.  I really enjoyed this first book in a new series.  Great high fantasy with interesting magic.  It has a Game of Thrones feel because of all of the politics.  Eight kingdoms, yes eight.  Loved the MC and yes, there is a love triangle, but it's not annoying and both are actually really good guys.  Saw the twist coming, but still recommend this one and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan.  I can't recommend this series enough.  Hilarious dialogue with one of the snarkiest, sassiest, funniest MCs I've ever read about.  The secondary characters are AMAZING and there's a whole Scobby Doo gang vibe going (think Buffy's gang).  This last book was such a fantastic end, I basically wanted to start reading the whole series again after I finished.  So. Many. Feels!!!   I give this one my highest recommendation.

Have you read any of these?  Plan to?

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Series Review: The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn Trilogy
Author:  Brandon Sanderson
Publisher:  Tor Books, 2201 pages

From Goodreads (Mistborn, Book #1):
In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?
In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage - Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

I loved this series and here's why:

1.  Phenomenal world-building.  This is one of those books where epic is the word you us to describe it.  Intricate and well-thought out, you can tell the author planned every single detail of this world in advance.  Brilliantly done.  

2.  Loved the magic in this book.  Allomancy, a mystical hereditary power allowing the burning of metals inside the body to gain special abilities.  So unique.

3.  An amazing cast of characters.  I can't even begin to talk about all of the characters in this book.  There are so many, but I felt like I got to know each and every one of them and I loved each and every one (except for the ones I hated).  

The first and second books were five star reads for me, but I have to admit, the last book was a bit disappointing.  Every thing was wrapped up, all of your questions are answered, but at the same time, the plot got a little repetitive, the philosophy and religion aspect of it took over, and selfishly, I hated the ending.  

I still highly recommend the series.  By the way, all three books are out, but if you don't feel like binge reading, the Kindle version of the trilogy contains a summary of Book 1 at the end of Book 2 and a summary of Books 1 and 2 at the end of Book 3.  Why don't all authors do this???

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, October 27, 2014

Discussion Question: Disappointing Series Enders (Spoiler Free Discussion)

More and more I am finding myself disappointed with the last book of a series.  Why do so many authors mess this up?  I know it's subjective and some people may love the way a series ends and others hate it, but I feel like more and more there is some consensus about certain books.

I recently read a series ender that I finished and my reaction was this:
This is not a good reaction.  This reaction should never happen.  And you know why I had this reaction?  Because one of the main characters dies, but YOU DON'T KNOW WHICH CHARACTER IT IS.  I am not kidding.  

And then there are other disappointing series enders where one of the main characters dies (at least you know which character it is), or there are many unanswered questions (I hate loose ends when it's the last book), or it just sort of fizzles out, or the author sets up such a great mystery/world and then when you find out the truth/answer, it's just sort of blah.  

There are a couple of series enders that I will be reading in the next few weeks, In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken and The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinI hope I'm not adding these books to this list.  

Have you been disappointed in the last book of a series?  If you can comment without spoiling, please do!  

Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Reader's Choice for Love Triangle…WHAT????

Ok, I just finished reading Stone Cold Touch, the second book in the Dark Elements trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  I love love love this series, but there is a serious love triangle in this book.  I have to tell you, I have NEVER been torn before about two guys in a book.  Usually there's a clear winner and everyone knows it and yes, you may love the other guy, but you know he doesn't stand a chance.  But in this series, I love both guys.  This has never happened to me before.  And so I went online to find out when the next book will be published and I found out that there is a poll to determine who Layla ends up with.  You have until November 11th to vote for Roth or Zayne and once the poll closes, JLA will see who won, and then she will start writing the last book.  What?????  I cannot believe it.  I don't know if this is good or bad.  If you've read Stone Cold Touch (and you HAVE to read it before you vote, no fair otherwise, I say), who would you vote for?  Are you going to vote? What do you think about an author letting the readers decide? This is just crazy, crazy!!  JLA said she's doing this because she can't decide between the two either.  Gah!!!  I don't know why, but this just stresses me out.

Here's the link. 

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
Author:  Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher:  Scholastic Press, 391 pages
Publication Date:  October 21, 2014
*ARC received by publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Wonderfully weird and unique, this book continues the story of Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah in their search for the sleeping king.  Magic, friendship, and family dominate this story.  I love being in this world, but I do feel a bit like I've fallen down a rabbit hole.  It just keeps getting weirder and weirder.  How can people exist from people's dreams?  Cars?  What is the deal with this sleeping king and the favor?  The ley line?  Cabeswater?  What is Adam's role and what is his connection to Cabeswater?  I have many questions and I'm so confused, but I do admire how creative this book is, I haven't read anything else like it.  And the characters are strong and memorable.  Every single one springs to life on the page, even minor characters like Piper.  Stiefvater's writing is achingly beautiful.

Oh, and there are almost kisses.  *sigh*  

Gansey better not die!  I will be heartbroken.  

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review: The Body Electric by Beth Revis

The Body Electric
Author:  Beth Revis
Publisher:  Scripturient Books, 482 pages
Publication Date:  October 6, 2014

From Goodreads:
The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?

An action-packed sci-fi thriller, The Body Electric kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

What I liked:
1.  World-building.  The world-building was solid, with interesting sci-fi technological advances such as androids and reliving happy memories through dreaming.  

2.  Plot.  Intense and fast-paced.  There's a war, rebels, and then there's Ella, who discovers she has the ability to enter someone else's dreams and find out information.  And then she meets a guy who tells her she can't trust her best friend, who is doing her military internship on a different planet.  What??  Oh, and supposedly Ella knows this guy but she's never met him before.  What??  Twists and turns, jaw dropping revelations.  Loved the plot.  There is one huge plot hole, however, but I'm willing to overlook it.

3.  Just the right amount of romance.  It doesn't take over, it's not insta-love, and there's no love triangle.  

4.  It's a stand-alone.  Although it takes place on the world that was left behind in the Across the Universe series, it completely stands alone.  And it's not a series.  Yay!

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (66)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

From the Library:
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
Like No Other by Luna LaMarche
Take Me On by Katie McGarry

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
Author:  Marie Lu
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 368 pages
Publication Date:  October 7, 2014

From Goodreads:
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

I appreciated the complex characters and bold choice the author made with having an antiheroine as the main character, but that meant I didn't like her.  In fact, I didn't like anyone in this book and I wasn't sure who to root for.  I did feel sympathy for Adelina because of the way her father treated her, but wow, she was really unlikable and she made horrible choices.  She was dark, damaged, and twisted, and any positive qualities were overwhelmed by that darkness.  With political intrigue and complicated characters, The Young Elites definitely has a Game of Thrones feel to it, but I was a bit disappointed (of course, I did have high expectations because I loved the Legend series).

Very surprising ending, and new characters introduced in the epilogue that will make me read the next book.  Will the antiheroine turn into the villain?  We shall see.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Recent Fantasy Novels

Lark Rising (Guardians of Tarnec #1)
Author:  Sandra Waugh
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers, 384 pages
Publication Date:  September 24, 2014

From Goodreads:
Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes, and he will kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.

A beautiful high fantasy filled with magic, romance, and vivid world-building.  Lark is a sympathetic main character who goes through a lot of character growth in this novel.  Her sight has kept her isolated from others because she has visions whenever she's around people and it's overwhelming.  So she's shy and timid.  But she rises to each challenge.

Loved the journey aspect of the novel as she sets out to save her village.  Loved the set-up between Lark and Gharain, with her having a vision of him killing her.  Yet she's still drawn to him (isn't that always the case?)  And Gharain acts like he hates her.  So there's tension, which I liked, but it still felt a bit insta-lovey to me (I can't say more without ruining it).  Even with the insta-love, I connected with the characters and I felt all the feels. 

Even though this is a series, Lark's story wraps up and it looks like each book will have a different main character (think His Fair Assassin series).  Definitely recommend.

Author:  Claire Legrand
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 464 pages
Publication Date:  September 30, 2014

From Goodreads:
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Loved this fantasy novel with Clara traveling to a different world to save her father.  The world-building is amazing.  It's vivid and complex, which is quite a feat given that this is a stand-alone.  I love this world that Claire Legrand has created!  

The romance.  It. Has. All. The. Feels.  Nicholas…oh Nicholas.  Loved how his relationship with Clara developed throughout this book.  She doesn't trust him, but she needs him.  Should she trust him?  He's definitely keeping things from her.  Is he just using her?  There are so many twists and turns in this book.

And the villain.  Not what I was expecting at all.  She's evil.  Or is she? 

This book made me so happy!!  Read it.

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

                              Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

1.  Paris.  Anna and the French Kiss and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.
I've never been to Paris…hopefully soon!
2.  Central America.  Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.
I love the theory of backpacking around a country and seeing the real, non touristy sights, but it's probably never going to happen.
3.  Traveling across the country.  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
Again, love the theory of traveling across the country, but I HATE driving.
4.  London.  Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.
I finally went to London this past summer and LOVED it.  Definitely want to go back.  
5.  Scotland.  If Only by A.J. Pine.
Scotland!  Would love to go.
6.  New York.  The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith.
I haven't been to New York in forever, I need to go back soon.  Maybe BEA next year??
7.  Chicago.  The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkowski and Timebound by Rysa Walker.
I usually go to Chicago once a year…it's one of my favorite cities.

8.  Italy.  Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae.
Italy!!  This country is definitely on my must see list.  Rome, Florence, Venice…all of those please.
9. Alaska.  Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid.
I would love to see Alaska, maybe a cruise?  It looks so beautiful.
10.  San Francisco.  Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.
I've never been to San Francisco (well, I've been to Berkeley, but I didn't see anything in San Francisco except for the airport).  Hopefully soon!

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
Author:  Ryan Graudin
Publisher:  Little, Brown, 432 pages
Expected Publication Date:  November 4, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

An interesting, gritty, and action filled book about a lawless city filled with poverty, street gangs, drug lords, and girls kidnapped and forced into prostitution.  The book is based on Kowloon’s Walled City in Hong Kong, but it reads like a dystopian.

The book is narrated by three different POVs: Jin, who has to pretend to be a boy and has been living in the city for two years searching for her sister; Mei Yee, her sister, who was sold into prostitution by their abusive, alcoholic father; and Dai, who is spying on one of the gangster type guys and teams up with Jin. Dai's backstory remains a mystery for most of the novel, but finally it's revealed toward the end. I'm not sure I understand why it needed to be a secret because I probably would have connected more to his character had I known who he was and why he was in the Walled City earlier.

I liked this book. It's a well-written and engrossing story about courage, love, and redemption. It's a stand-alone and it wraps up nicely, with an epilogue that takes place six months later.

Posted by: Pam

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (65)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I missed last week so here's what I've added to my shelves in the last two weeks (and I was feeling lazy so I'm just including the pictures):


From NetGalley:

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
Author:  Amy Engel
Publisher:  Entangled:  Teen, 300 pages
Expected Publication Date:  November 4, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

I loved this book and here's why:

1.  It's thought-provoking.  It's not the usual dystopian in the sense that there's the big bad government with evil people in charge who aren't letting you make your own choices.  Well, it sort of is, but then it's so much more.  There's not a clear villain and there's no "right" society.  There are so many shades of gray in this book when it comes to the people, which I loved.  What is the best way to keep people safe?  What should you do about truly terrible people who commit crimes when you don't have the best resources to keep the good people alive?  Yes, marriages are arranged and the couple is very young, but people don't live as long as they used to and a lot of the couples are very happy and by the winning side marrying the losing side, peace is preserved (By the way, the sons of the losing side also marry girls of the winning side, which isn't mentioned in the synopsis).  It really makes you think about the greater good and individual rights and liberties versus peace and safety.  There are no simple choices.  Loved that this wasn't a black and white story.

2.  Ivy and Bishop.  Ivy's mission is to kill Bishop, but of course, Bishop is just an amazing guy, who truly wants the marriage to work. He wants to get to know Ivy. He doesn't agree with everything his father does, but he's also realistic and smart, knowing that it's not enough to want things to be different, you have to have a plan and figure out how things would actually work.  I loved watching Ivy and Bishop slowly get to know each other and how Bishop encouraged Ivy to think for herself, with Ivy very conflicted about her mission.  I fell in love with these characters.

3.  The ending and Ivy's choice.  The ending. Killed. Me.  I love where it looks like the next book is going, and part of me loves Ivy for doing what she did, but at the same time, she just wasn't thinking because it's not really a solution to the problem.  Doesn't she get that??  I sort of wanted to strangle her.  I read a couple of books after I finished this one, and I'm still thinking about it.  That should tell you something.  Where is that next book???????  Can't believe I have to wait a year.  

Just read it.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Review: The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee
Author:  Shallee McArthur
Publisher:  Sky Pony Press, 352 pages
Expected Publication Date:  November 4, 2014
*ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

From Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Genesis Lee has never forgotten anything. As one of the Mementi—a small group of genetically-enhanced humans—Gena remembers everything with the help of her Link bracelets, which preserve memories perfectly. But Links can be stolen, and six people have already lost their lives to a memory thief, including Gena’s best friend.

Anyone could be next. Which is why Gena is less than pleased to meet a strange but charming boy named Kalan who claims that they’ve not only met, but that Gena knows who the thief is.

The problem is, Gena doesn’t remember Kalan, she doesn’t remember seeing the thief, and she doesn’t know why she’s forgetting things— or how much else she might forget. As growing tensions between Mementi and ordinary humans drive the city of Havendale into chaos, Gena and Kalan team up to search for the thief. And as Gena loses more memories, they realize they have to solve the mystery fast.

Because Gena’s life is unhappening around her.


Whew, that was intense!  I really enjoyed this unique and creative book about genetically altered humans with memory links who are called Mementi (the regular population is called Populace).  Mementi can remember every second, including feeling the emotion, tasting what they were eating, etc.  They wear their links and there is someone stealing the links, which means they don't have those memories.  Years, even their whole lives, can be taken.  Then Gena starts losing specific memories and the mystery deepens.

I was a little confused in the beginning about whether the Mementi had a choice in being this way, why they would do it when they were so vulnerable, although that was answered later on in the novel.  I do wish that had been made clear earlier. Obviously there are benefits to being Mementi.  For example, instead of going to school 8 hours a day they go for only 4 hours, absorbing informational memories.  They see themselves as better than the Populace, because Populace memories fade every day, every minute, while their memories are whole and complete forever.

I also wondered about romantic relationships among the Mementi because they completely cover their skin since they can't even touch another Mementi or they will swap memories.  How does that work then? 

I liked the relationship that develops between Kalen and Gena, and I felt so bad for Kalen when Gena didn't remember him and they had to start over.  How frightening to lose days of your life, to have met someone and formed a relationship and then not remember them! I found the whole concept to be fascinating, especially the fact that even when the memories weren't there, the feelings were but there was nothing to attach to them.  

Engrossing sci-fi mystery, I couldn't put this book down.

Posted by:  Pam