Monday, November 25, 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines book 4)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first three books in the series, Bloodlines, The Golden Lilly and The Indigo Spell, Stop! I don't want to ruin a great series for you. It also helps greatly if you have read all six books in the Vampire Academy series as well.

Sydney Sage has decided to follow her heart and break from her strict Alchemist beliefs. Embracing her magical side, she joins the coven of witches her history teacher and mentor, Ms. Terwilliger, belongs to. She finally admitted her feelings for Moroi vampire, Adrian Ivashkov, and the two of them are trying to keep their relationship a secret. A major problem now in her life is the arrival of her little sister Zoe at Amberwood. Their father has sent her to help Sydney with her Alchemist duties and probably to keep an eye on her. Sydney's brush with Marcus Finch has fueled her desire to leave behind her strict upbringing and help Zoe get out from underneath the Alchemists before she is completely brainwashed by them. Their parents announce their plans to divorce, Sydney finds herself caught between her parents in their custody battle over Zoe. With everything that is happening, will Sydney be able to keep up with all of her secrets or will the Alchemists come and drag her off for reeducation?

Told in both Sydney and Adrian's POV, readers will be literally left hanging until July 29, 2014 when Silver Shadows will be published.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

"What would you change?"

Em and Finn are in adjoining prison cells. Em spends her days staring at the floor drain inside her cell. There is something about it that pulls her attention to it. Stealing a plastic spoon for her food tray, she sharpens the handle for use as a screwdriver. When she is finally able to remove the drain cover, she reaches in to find a plastic freezer bag. Inside of it is a single sheet of notebook paper. It is covered almost entirely in her own handwriting. Every sentence but the last has a single line drawn through it. Em has never laid eyes on the paper before in her life. There is a name written at the top and the last unmarked line makes her physically ill. It simply reads, "You have to kill him."

When the prison guard, Kessler, comes back to the cells, Em quickly hides the paper and throws the broken spoon down the drain. Kessler demands the return of the missing spoon, but Em steadfastly refuses. When he asks the unseen person beside him what to do, Em realizes that the doctor is with him. Giving her one last chance, Em is prepared for her punishment. What she isn't prepared for is Finn being punished for her actions. Afterwards, Em feels guilty but Finn reassures her. They begin to discuss the note she found in the drain and what they must do stop the doctor. Em finds herself having trouble remembering what Finn looks like. Wondering how they can escape their prison, Em is almost relieved from her boredom when the doctor and his puppet master, the director, show up at her cell. They restrain and torture her to give up the location of the documents they are looking for. Through the pain, Em never wavers.

The next day, Conner, the guard newly assigned to them unlocks Em's cell door. He tells her a secret from her childhood and says that he is going to get her and Finn out. Their reunion is tender but fleeting because they need to leave. They need to reach Cassandra before they can be stopped. They survive a close encounter with the doctor and know they must hurry. When they reach the control room and Cassandra, the subatomic collider that will send them back four years in time, they disguise their arrival date in the past by three days. That way they can outsmart the doctor and kill him before Cassandra can be built. Conner helps Em and Finn get to where they need to be to carry out their plan to kill the doctor. Finn volunteers to do it but Em says she is a better shot. Finn was just trying to save her some of the pain of killing someone close to her. He tells her to quit thinking about him but about her. Em wants Marina to have a happy life. Finn finally tells her that he loves her. She raises her gun to pull the trigger damage is done.

Shaken but in the past, Em and Finn find themselves in an abandoned government warehouse that is the future home of the collider. Weakened by their trip, they eventually get themselves into standing positions. Laughing at their situation, Em does hear the click of a gun. Turning around, they come face to face with a soldier, Conner. Em pulls out the photo the future Conner gave them to prove their story. Em explains to him that they have traveled back in time to destroy Cassandra, a partial collider built by the government, so that it won't destroy the world in the future. In the future, the country is at war with China, Marines are on most street corners, the government monitors everything you do and terrorists are bombing cities along the East coast. Reading her notes from the past one last time, she and Conner place the sheet of notebook paper in the drain of her future prison cell. If killing the doctor doesn't work, nothing will. Maybe the next Em walking around out can succeed if she fails. As Conner replaces the drain cover, Em hopes the other version of her will never be in that cell.

Four Years Earlier

Marina Marchetti has been in love with her neighbor, James Shaw, for practically forever. James Is an eighteen year old genius working on his PhD at John Hopkins and Marina feels as if James will never reciprocate her feelings. When he rescues her from her disastrous winter formal dance, the air between them becomes electrically charged before they part for the night. They have spent the past three weeks apart with only one text message between them. Marina goes over to see James as soon as he and his older brother, Congressman Nate Shaw, arrive home. Marina asks James if he missed her why he didn’t call. He says there is something he needs to tell her. Just then the doorbell rings and James' other best friend arrives. Marina hasn't liked this boy since he first arrived at her school a year ago and wormed his way into James' life. She knew immediately that Finn Abbott would be a problem. She decides to leave when Nate does so that Finn isn't privy to their conversation. Later that night after she has gone to sleep, James calls her to invite her to a DNC fundraising dinner. She is thrilled to go to a black tie event with him. He also tells her that Finn will be going as well. Disappoint, she voices her concern over him. James reassures her that Finn likes her and he treats James as a normal person. He asks her to give Finn a chance. Marina reluctantly agrees. He asks her what she wanted to tell him earlier. They both agree to talk later when she isn't so sleepy.

The next night, Marina and James meet Finn at the DNC dinner. Marina and Finn are bickering verbally one another when James hushes them. Nate is about to speak. In the middle of Nate's speak, something explodes. Marina sees Nate fall to the floor and wonders why no one is helping him. Then she sees the blood on his chest and realizes that she is screaming. James rushes to his brother's side while Finn flees from the ballroom. Marina runs after James. Marina and Finn stay by James' side throughout the night awaiting word on Nate. The news is not good. Nate has a 50/50 chance of surviving and James has withdrawn into himself, seemingly to revisit when his parents were killed. He blows up over Marina's hovering and leaves her and Finn behind in the waiting room. He steps outside of the hospital.

Conner helps Em and Finn get to where they need to be to carry out their plan to kill the doctor. Finn volunteers to do it but Em says she is a better shot. Finn was just trying to save her some of the pain of killing someone close to her. He tells her to quit thinking about him but about her. Em wants Marina to have a happy life. Finn finally tells her that he loves her. She raises the gun when the figure she is waiting for steps out of the hospital. Thinking of Marina, Em pulls the trigger at James Shaw, only she misses.

Disappointed over how the night isn't going as she imagined and James pushing her away, Marina cannot help but watch him as he goes outside of the hospital. Finn is angrily shuffling a deck of cards. Seeing him pace outside the hospital, Marina screams when she realizes that someone has shot at James. Seeing two people fleeing from the scene, Marina is dumbfounded when they pause under a streetlight and she gets a look at who shot at James. The hospital goes into lockdown once James is brought inside. Pushing herself to James' side, he tells her that someone shot at the hospital. Marina turns to Finn and says that she did see someone shoot at James. She notices blood on James' head and the nurses whisk him away while a police officer wants to know what she saw. Marina has no idea how she can tell them what she really saw from that window.

With Em's missed shot, the future is now changed. It is a race against time, but in the present and the future. How did Em and Finn end up in the situation they are in? Can Em and Finn stop Cassandra from being built? Who is the doctor that they are trying to stop? How do Em and Finn from the future fit into Marina and James' story from four years earlier? What happens when the future meets the present and Em and Marina meet face to face?

An incredible time travel story where the characters' stories cross and become interwoven in their race to rectify the wrongs of the future. All Our Yesterdays is the first part of a duology. Book two is due out in 2014.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Champion by Marie Lu (Legend book 3)

"He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be champion?"

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first two books in the series, Legend and Prodigy, Stop! I don't want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

It has been eight long months since the last time Day and June saw or spoke to one another. Under the pretense of seeking treatment for his brother Eden, Day has moved to San Francisco to seek treatment. Dying and away from the girl he loves, Day is shocked when he gets a request from the Primo Elector to come to an Independence Day banquet in Denver. He initially turns down the request but then June makes a personal call to him. Suddenly, his emotions are on a roller coaster ride. Trying to keep the hurt out of one another's voices, June tells him that the tentative peace treaty between the Republic and the Colonies has collapsed. The Colonies believe that the Republic used biological weapons on them and caused the illness that now plagues them. Day is needed to attend an emergency meeting to help figure out what to do next.

Anden, the young Elector, has come to June over the brewing crisis with the Colonies. He was too late to stop his father's use of biological weapons on the war front. The Colonies are demanding a cure or Africa and their military will join the war against them. June quickly realizes that there is no cure and that Anden's only hope is to use Eden to help find one. June knows that Anden is using her as Day's weakness to get him to agree to help just as he is using their friendship. Wanting to protect the people of the Republic, June reluctantly agrees. This was not how she wanted her reunion with Day to go.

Day and June are both nervous and cautious when they are finally reunited. When Alden explains the situation with the Colonies and his plan to use Eden to find a cure, Day leaves the table and June follows. She notices now pale he is and that he has lost weight. He tells her that he has had the flu but she knows that he is lying. June doesn't push him. He asks her what she would do in his situation because he only came because she asked him to. She tells him that the Republic will fall if attacked by the African superpower. Day looks at her and says that he will not allow his brother to be used again but he will help Anden and the republic in any way that he can.

Can a cure be found to the plague? Will it be in time to stop the impending war with the Colonies? Is Eden the key to the cure? Does June's friendship with Anden turn into something more? Will she become Anden right hand as the Princeps? Will a cure be found for Day? Does June discover the truth? Can Day and June find their way back to one another or will the needs of the Republic keep them apart?

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

"Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun."

Emaline has spent her entire life in Colby, just like her mother. Her family has owned Colby Realty since her grandparents were married fifty years ago. She is the result of a summer romance between her mother and a vacationing boy from the north. He went back home and started college while Emaline's mother had a baby by the time she graduated from high school. Her father and his family initially didn't have anything to do with her. At the age of two, her mother married a young widower with two older daughters of his own and he adopted her. Her father wasn't a part of her life until she contacted him at the age of ten about a family tree project for school. Finally, Emaline had found someone with whom she could talk to about school related things.

Emaline and her boyfriend throughout high school have just graduated. Both of them are going to attend the local university. She has a full scholarship. Her birth father had pushed her for several years to think about attending Ivy League schools. When her acceptance to Columbia comes, she is disappointed when he can no longer pay for her to attend. In Colby, she sees people come and go all summer long putting aside their regular lives to enjoy a vacation and she begins to long for the opportunity to escape her reality. Colby is a small town where people either stay their entire lives or they leave as soon as they can. Everyone expects her to stay in the family business and marry Luke but Emaline dreams some times of leaving the little town for bigger and better things.

When a documentary filmmaker from New York City arrives in Colby for the summer to work on a film, she brings along an intern, Theo. Emaline soon starts to see Theo everywhere she goes and he always goes out of his way to speak to her. Then she gets a phone call from her father that he will be in Colby for the summer to settle his aunt's estate. He wants to meet with her even though she heard nothing from him about her graduation. Her mother is a nervous wreck that Emaline's father will disappoint her daughter like he did her all of those years ago. Soon, both her father and Theo think she is too smart to stay in Colby. Even though she longs for a bright future, Emaline also clings to her loving family and the familiarity of her small town life. All she has ever wanted is the moon and more.

Will Emaline stay in Colby or move away? Why has her father come back to Colby and will he disappoint her again? Will she and Luke stay together? What happens when Theo pulls her into the making of the documentary film? Can Emaline find balance between her life and dreams and achieve the moon and more?