Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Wildcard by Marie Lu (Warcross book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Warcross, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

Check out Book Series Recaps for a refresher of the first book.

“Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?” - taken from Goodreads.com

I don't think I have a read a Marie Lu book that I didn't love or the ending didn't to my soul apart. Wildcard was no exception. Once again shocked by how the storyline flowed, the very last page was extremely satisfying. My only question is trying to figure out who exactly Asher is. Don't name drop and leave me hanging. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Nightblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, Frostblood, and Fireblood, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

“Ruby's world has changed more than she ever could have imagined. She's in love with a powerful Frost King. She's the heir to the Fire Throne. And she may be a Nightblood--the spawn of a vengeful deity hellbent on releasing his wraithlike Minax from their prison. Once freed, these beasts will roam the earth, devouring every last person until he or she is nothing but an empty husk. But Ruby is able to control the Minax to a degree, and now she, her beloved Arcus, and her friend Kai must find a way to bring Frostbloods and Firebloods--sworn enemies--together to make a stand against a foe more deadly than any they've faced.

In this heart-pounding finale of Elly Blake's gorgeously written and action-packed Frostblood Saga, the fate of Frostbloods, Firebloods, and all of humanity is at stake.” - taken from Goodreads.com

I was pleasantly surprised by how this series ended. Arcus and Kai play major roles in helping Ruby to free the Minax from her body and defeat Eurus. With several twists and turns, jaw-dropping revelations and a satisfying ending, fans will not be let down. A great fantasy series for those fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

“Talking to other people isn't Kate Bailey's favorite activity. She'd much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school's podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she'll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate's surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend ... until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.” - taken from Goodreads.com

This book was probably one of the best I've read from this author lately. I wasn't really sure where all of the characters were going, I was surprised by the direction Kate Bailey's life took. Not immediately sure we reach boy's attention was focused, I think everyone was able to overcome what each perceived as inescapable obstacles. Kate really grew as a character who saw that there was more than one path available in her future. Casting old grudges aside and seeing other others problems more clearly, Kate's Awakening isn't overnight or sugar-coated. One of the best parts of the book is the open ending for the Raider to ponder the future of each of the characters you will grow to love.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Dread Nation book 1)

“Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.” - taken from Goodreads.com

You know you have found an absolutely great book when the first paragraph begins “The day I came squealing and squalling into the world was the first time someone tried to kill me. I guess it should have been obvious to everyone right then that I wasn't going to have a normal life.” Jane McKeene is the mixed-race daughter of a wealthy but quite liberal female white plantation owner in Kentucky. After the war between the states was derailed and the shamblers, aka zombies, started roaming the United States. The war shifted focus to one in which some people tried to get Society to go back to the way it was prior to the war were others we're trying to forge a new country.

How can a zombie book with a wickedly good twist on the American Civil War with a mystery thrown in be side-splitting hilarious? Jane's voice is outstanding as she relates not only her current situation but takes the reader through her backstory before she came to Miss Preston's. The first part of the book begins each chapter with an outtake from a letter Jane has written to her mother white the second half of the book has outtakes of letters that Jane's mother wrote to her. Each chapter's title begins with the words “In which I …”

Dread Nation is one of the best books I've read this year. With all the shot shocking revelations and twists and turns that come at the end, readers will be anxiously awaiting the next book in Jane's adventure.

Book two is expected sometime in 2019. Not soon enough for me.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before series by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before - book 1

“What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.” - taken from Goodreads.com

This trilogy has been on my TBR pile since the first book was published. I loved Jenny Han’s Summer trilogy and it remains one of my favorite series. With the Netflix movie adaption looming on the horizon, I decided that I needed to at least read the first book before watching. I knew that I would kick myself for not reading this sooner and I was right.

I adored Lara Jean Song Covey. The middle of three sisters, she and her older sister, Margot, act as mother figures for the youngest, Kitty, Their widowed father is a doctor and he supports his daughters. Not overly apparent in the book at first, but the Covey family lives in Charlottesville, VA. Lara Jean writes a letter to each of the boys she harbors a crush on to get over her feelings. She addresses each letter, seals it in an envelope, and places them in a hatbox, never to be mailed to their recipients. 

Mayhem strikes Lara Jean's life when someone mails letters in the hat box to the five boys she loved once in the past. One of the letters is mailed to her next door neighbor Josh, who was just dumped by Margot before she left for college in Scotland. To keep Josh from school every that she still has feelings for him, Lara Jean kisses Peter Kavinsky, one of the recipients of her letters.

When Laura Jane confesses to Peter why she kissed him, the two decide to fake a relationship to keep Josh in the dark as well as make Peter's ex-girlfriend jealous. As you can imagine, with the passage of time feelings begin to develop between the two.

Thank goodness the trilogy is complete because the endings of both books one and two do leave the reader hanging.

P.S. I Still Love You - book 2

“Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?” - taken from Goodreads.com

Always and Forever, Lara Jean - book 3

“Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?” - taken from Goodreads.com

Wasn't really sure where the story was going to go in the beginning but by the last pages, I was crying. Glad I got to read the entire series all at once.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds book 1)

The Darkest Minds book 1

“When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.” taken from Goodreads.com

This is one of those books that has been on my TBR list for the past five years. I knew that I wanted to start this series over the summer since book four as well as the movie is coming out later this summer. I picked this book up on a whim because I was without a new book when I just finished the last one but I had my phone with me. My question is, why did I wait so long to start this series? I was quickly sucked in.

The author was born and raised in Arizona but attended the College of William and Mary here in Virginia. I was fascinated by the fact that our main character Ruby is from Salem. I loved when Ruby and her companions traveled down I-81 from Harrisonburg to Roanoke before heading east, especially since it's in our backyard. I was mesmerized by Ruby's journey of self-discovery and attempting to overcome her fears about her psi ability. While the ending may be a be a bit cliched, of course, this is an older book so others probably used her idea, I still loved the book and I cannot wait to start the next book or to see the movie.

SPOILER ALERT! Stop! Don’t read any further if you don’t want the story ruined.

Never Fade book 2

“Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster. 

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her. 

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?” - taken from Goodreads.com

So much happened in this book after Liam and Ruby parted ways when she joined the League. New characters are introduced and old favorites are pulled back into Ruby story. Jaw-dropping revelations occur leaving readers waiting for the next book.

In the Afterlight book 3

“Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.” - taken from Goodreads.com

Ruby is reeling from the events that occurred at the end of book 2. Without spoiling what turned out to be an incredible and satisfying ending, I'm glad that I finally picked the series up off my TBR pile, just in time for the movie.

Through the Dark books 1.5, 2.5 & 3.5

This collection contains three novellas: In Time, Sparks Rise, and Beyond the Night.

IN TIME 

Gabe's life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skiptracer. This already almost-impossible task is made all the more difficult by his first "score,"a young girl who won't speak, but who changes his life in ways he could never imagine. 

SPARKS RISE 

Sam didn't think things could get worse at Thurmand rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam's dark childhood. Lucas has a deadly secret--he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk everything to save her. 

BEYOND THE NIGHT 

The government-run "rehabilitation camps" have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family and given the "cure"--a dangerous procedure that unclaimed kids across the country are being forced to undergo. But there's more at stake than just her own safety. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfill it. Now that she's out of her camp, Mia only has one thought in her head: finding Lucas, her beloved older brother. - taken from Goodreads.com

Monday, June 11, 2018

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen book 4)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first three books in the series, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

Check out Book Series Recaps for a refresher of the first three books.
Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher of the first three books.
Check out Epic Reads if you need a recap of the series. 

“VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive. “ - taken from Goodreads.com

I'm not really sure what to say about the enormous ending to Mare Barrow’s story without giving anything away. The majority of the 657 pages are told from Mare’s point of view but Evangeline Samos and Iris Cygnet also provide glimpses into the story as well. By the middle of the book, both Calore brothers, Cal and Maven and their thoughts chime in. I enjoyed the story even though it took me a while to find time to read it. At first, I was disappointed by the lack of closure. After thinking about one particular scene, my questions about our characters have doubled.

Although Goodreads lists a forthcoming short story collection, no other information is given. True fans will be hoping that Aveyard will wrap up a few of the loose ends and maybe provide a couple of backstories.