Friday, December 19, 2014

Top 14 Books I Enjoyed in 2014

Just a fun little list of my top 14 from 2014!

First in a Series

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkowski
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
The Young Elites by Marie Lu 

The Middle of the Story

Heir of Fire by Sarah Maas (This series still tops my list!)
Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes (This is a close runner up)
Take Me On by Katie McGarry
Lady Thief by A. C. Gaughen
Frozen by Erin Bowman

End of the Road

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Ruin and Rising by Leah Bardugo

Looking Forward to in 2015

Thorne of Glass book 4
Falling Kingdoms book 4
The Raven Cycle book 4
Death Marked by Leah Cypess
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary Pearson
The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead 
The Heir by Kiera Cass
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkowski
Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits book 1.5)

Unfortunately, right now this title is only available as an ebook. I will let you know when a print version becomes available.

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first part of Echo and Noah’s story in Pushing the Limits, Stop! I don’t want to ruin a fantastic series for you.

After Pushing the Limits ended, Echo and Noah took off on a cross country trip to sell Echo’s artwork to galleries. If you are a fan of Katie McGarry’s books, this story takes place before the events of Beth’s book, Dare You To. Breaking the Rules covers one week near the end of their trip. Both have a lot of emotional baggage to work through; Echo’s mother, her desire to become an artist, the possibility of Noah meeting the maternal grandparents he never knew he had and the realization that their separate dreams may cause them to drift apart.

Can Echo find it in herself to forgive her mother? Will Noah decide to seek out his mother’s family? What secrets did she wish to protect her children from? Does Echo find success in her art? Can she begin to move on from Aries’ death? Will Noah and Echo be able to find their happily ever after?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My True Love Gave to Me - Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

“If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you're going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins.  Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there's something here for everyone.  So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy.  You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.” -- Barnes and Noble

My favorite story from this book was by Ally Carter. I also really likes the ones by Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman.

Table of Contents:

Midnights, by Rainbow Rowell; The Lady and the Fox, by Kelly Link; Angels in the Snow, by Matt de la Peña; Polaris Is Where You'll Find Me, by Jenny Han; It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, by Stephanie Perkins; Your Temporary Santa, by David Levithan; Krampuslauf, by Holly Black; What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?, by Gayle Forman; Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus; Welcome to Christmas, CA, by Kiersten White; Star of Bethlehem, by Ally Carter; The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, Falling Kingdoms and Rebel Spring, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

“The seeds of revolution have been sown…but in Mytica the lust for power reigns supreme.”

Prince Magnus Lukas Damora is back from his victory in Paelsia where he stopped the rebels from shutting down the Imperial Road construction. He comes home to find that Princess Amara Cortas has joined her brother Prince Ashur at court. She says that she missed her brother terribly and couldn’t wait for him to come back home. His father is frantic over not hearing from Melenia for several weeks. King Gaius is greedy and ruthless and will stop at nothing in his quest to find the Kindred, four crystals that hold the essence of elementia (elemental magic). They were lost over a millennium earlier. Any mortal who possesses them will become a god. Magnus is extremely confident that his father speaks the truth about magic. He is determined that he, not his father, will control the Kindred. Knowing that his mother’s murder came at the hands of his father, Magnus is also driven by the need for revenge.

Princess Cleiona Bellos finds herself in an arranged marriage with Prince Magnus. With her father’s dying words fresh on her mind, Cleo realizes that Princess Lucia is the sorceress. Knowing that magic may be the only way to defeat King Gaius and reclaim her kingdom, she makes an effort to become friends with Lucia. The ring she wears from her mother seems to affect Lucia in a way that actually settles her magic. Cleo hopes to be able to sway Lucia to her advantage. She is reading everything that she can find about the Kindred.

Princess Lucia Eva Damora is rightly suspicious of Cleo’s motives but she does have her magic under control when she is around her new sister-in-law. Torn between making her first real friend or keeping her enemy close, Lucia soon begins to mirror her father’s superiority over others.

The rebels are trying to regroup after their devastating losses during the royal wedding and at the Imperial Road construction site. Lysandra and three other rebels were brought to King Gaius so that they could be publicly executed and made examples of. Now in the dungeon with her brother Gregor, Lys is trying to find a way to escape that does rely on Jonas Agallon, who she fears is dead. Gregor is being questioned because he said that a Watcher came to him. King Gauis is eager for information. Meantime, Jonas was saved from some soldiers by Felix Gaebras. Nerissa, an informant, passes word along that Lysander and the three others are in the palace dungeon, he sends a message to Cleo to meet him. Jonas asks Cleo to feed him information from inside the palace. He kisses her and leaves.

Prince Ashur Cortas and his sister, Princess Amara are in Auranos because they too wish to possess the Kindred. Soon the race to not only control Mytica but all magic is on and Prince Magnus finds that he doesn’t know who to trust.

Who is Felix Gaebras? What happens when Cleo finds her feelings towards Magnus changing? Does Cleo reciprocate Jonas’ affections? Why does Cleo’s ring react around Lucia? What does Prince Ashur know about the Kindred? Will Lucia be able to control her growing powers before she spirals out of control?Will Prince Magnus align with anyone? What happens when a Watcher comes to King Gaius in person? Who will find the Kindred and what will they use it for?

Loyal readers will be glad to know that the Falling Kingdoms series will be expanded to six books.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Ann and the French Kiss book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you. Anna, St. Clair, Lola and Cricket all make brief appearances for fans of the series.

“Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?”

While on break before the start of their Senior year at the School of America in Paris (SOAP), Isla Martin runs into her long time crush, Joshua Wasserstein, at midnight in a cafe. High on Vicodin from having her wisdom teeth removed, Isla strikes up a conversation and is surprised that Josh actually knows some things about her. The son a of U.S. Senator, he remarks that it is strange that they have never run into each other before in the city. They rarely speak to one another in school and never outside of it. Isla is painfully shy, while Josh is reserved. Josh has also recently broken up with his long time girlfriend when she graduated. Isla strikes up a conversation over his sketchbook and before long he offers to draw her. Waking her up when the cafe closes, Josh offers to walk her home. It’s raining out. She thanks him on her doorstep and Josh tells her to have sweet dreams.

The next morning, Isla is embarrassed yet giddy over the night before. She and her best friend, Kurt, make plans to go back to the cafe that night to see if Josh is there. He’s not. At all of the various times she went by the cafe, Josh isn’t there the following two weeks or the rest of summer break. Isla’s happiness quickly fades. After attempting to find him online but chickening out at making contact, Isla discovers that Senator Wasserstein and his family returned to Washington, D.C. two days after the meeting in the cafe.

Three months later, Isla is back at school and her confidence at talking to Josh has completely faded. Miraculously, she finds that she has been assigned to the dorm room at Josh occupied last school year. The dorm door refuses to stay shut, even though they are suppose to automatically lock when closed. Isla is talking with Kurt when her younger sister, Hattie, bursts through the unlocked door. Both sets of parents are waiting to take everyone to dinner. Hattie goes on ahead. Kurt remarks that she needs to talk with the resident director, Nate, about fixing the door. In the lobby, Kurt says, “There he is.” Isla immediately assumes that she is talking about Nate and looks up. She spies Josh, who looks and truly is alone. He is pushed into the elevator with a crowd of people and briefly looks annoyed. just as the doors close, he looks up and sees Isla.

Isla and Josh pretty much have the same class schedule and she is unable to work up the nerve to speak to him. In the afternoon, Isla hears from a teacher that Hattie fell ill that morning and was sent to the nurse. She suspects that her breakfast made her sick; she has a nut allergy. Walking into the administration wing, Isla is shocked to discover Josh sitting on the couch. The receptionist tells Isla to have a seat, she will go check with the nurse. Isla goes to have a seat and sees that Josh has sat up. Knowing that she must say something, Isla thanks him for paying her bill that night at the cafe and walking her home. He says it was no problem and asks about her teeth. The receptionist comes back to get Isla. She heads back to her sister and the nurse comes in. Hattie explodes when Isla asks about her and if their parents now. She tells Isla to quit acting like her mother. As Isla goes to leave the office, Josh makes a nasty comment about Hattie. Isla turns around and he quickly apologizes. Isla tells him not to and agrees. The headmistress come out to get Josh. His expression returns to blankness. The headmistress sees Isla and inquires about her sister. She then turns her attention back to Josh and looks at him like he is trouble.

Isla is completely thrilled to realize that Josh has noticed her. The only class where they sit next to one another is government. The teacher catches them not paying attention and calls them out on it in front of the class. Josh has been studying Isla’s compass necklace. He chastises Josh and tells Isla that she could do better than the riffraff. Josh says that he knows he can, that she is a terrible influence. Everyone then laughs. Paying attention the rest of the period, Isla is surprised when Josh hands her a sketch of her necklace as she goes to leave. He has written underneath it, “why does she wear it every day?’’  Isla is flustered to her very core. Josh smiles flirtatiously and follows Isla and Kurt to the cafeteria. Kurt is a creature of habit and it shows on his face that he doesn’t want Josh to join them. He doesn’t and Isla is afraid that Josh will treat Kurt badly;  Kurt has high-functioning autism. The situation goes south when she thanks him for the sketch and Kurt wants to know if it is the portrait from over the summer. No something else, she says.. Kurt wants to see the portrait and asks if Josh has it. He says that he left that sketchbook back in the States and hurries off. Isla knows that it is a lie. Kurt comments that the situation turned weird. She agrees but deep down knows that Josh wanted to get away from Kurt. Isla is hurt.

Isla tries to ignore Josh but it isn’t easy when he is around. He flirts with her and recalls past conversations that they had. It is the days at a time that he is missing that bothers her. One day, there is a knock on her door and Isla is shocked that it is Josh and not Kurt. He comes in and asks if she wants to go out with him, to the comic book store. Disappointed at first, she agrees to go. While out, they learn more about each other, including the fact that they have both liked each other for awhile. Josh thought that she and Kurt dated. Soon, romance is in the air and Josh and Isla are inseparable. But can love last when life takes you in different directions?

Why is Josh a loner? Is he a troublemaker? How come Josh lies about his sketchbook? What does he plan on doing after graduating from high school? What are Isla’s plans? How does Kurt feel now that he isn’t the only boy in Isla’s life? Will Josh be a good or bad influence in her life? What happens after a bad decision affects Isla’s life? Can their love survive? Could Isla do better than Josh likes everyone thinks?

Visit Stephanie Perkins’ website.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Unmarked by Kami Garcia (The Legion book 2)

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

“Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengence spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us … a demon she accidentally set free.”

Nineteen days have passed since Kennedy Waters last saw the other four members of the Legion. They believed the Shift was a weapon to destroy Andras, Author of Discords. Instead, it was the key to release the demon, who had been imprisoned for over a century. Out of the hospital, Kennedy’s aunt didn’t want to deal with a troubled teenager, so she sent her to Winterhaven Academy, the last stop for the troubled daughters of wealthy East Coast families.” A loner, Kennedy scours the news for information about the outbreak of violence that points to Andras. On the fifth day after his release, girls started disappearing; one a day. Kennedy begins to keep track and notices that the girls are similar in appearance to her. While in her room as her neighbor is blaring music, Kennedy hears a scratching noise. She realizes that in sound is coming from her room. Lines are being cut from the inside of her mirror to form the words, “He is coming for you.” Knowing that she is being hunting, Kennedy has a meltdown wanting to know why Andras is waiting. She stops when she hears a knock on her door. Opening to a girl she recognizes, the two spar until the girl gives her a message. A boy wandering behind one of the buildings gave her a note for Kennedy. She quickly opens it to see that it is from Jared. Kennedy runs to find him.

After a brief reunion, Jared is ready for Kennedy to leave with him. Kennedy feels that she doesn’t belong with them since she isn’t a member of the Legion. It’s her fault Andras escaped and she is afraid others will be hurt or worse. Jared doesn’t care because Kennedy belongs with him. He reveals that her mother’s death was an accident and Kennedy was right all along. Her mother was never a member of the Legion. Reeling, Kennedy listens as Jared admits that he made a grave mistake. Andras only killed her mother because he had written her name on the list. Lukas found out that the fifth member of the Legion is still alive. They are a member of her family. Devastated that it could only mean her father, Jared tells her that it is not him. Her father has a sister who is the fifth member in hiding. Kennedy is stunned. Jared also informs her that they now know what Andras wants now that he is freed, the gates of Hell. Kennedy refuses to leave with him, afraid he will get hurt because of her. News flash! He is distracted wondering if she is safe. He mentions the missing girls who look like her. They would be safer with each other. Kennedy rejoins the four members of the Legion who have also brought along her best friend Elle.

Why did Kennedy’s father leave when she was five? Is her aunt really the lost fifth member of the Legion? How can they find her? Will Kennedy become the a member of the Legion? Why are girls who resemble Kennedy disappearing at the rate of one a day? How can Andras be stopped? Can her relationship with Jared survive? What happens when Kennedy’s world is turned upside down?

Readers will be eagerly awaiting the final book due out Fall 2015.

Visit Kami Garcia’s website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Mara Dyer book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution of Mara Dyer, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher on the first two books in the series.

Mara Dyer is out for answers, even though those answers might not be what she wants to hear. Vengeance rules her heart and head and will cause her to do things she never imaged doing.  With the help of Jamie and Stella, they have escaped the Horizons Residential Treatment Facility and Dr. Kells. Jude left Mara a tape recording telling her that Noah isn't dead. Finding Noah is what drives Mara. The three embark on a road trip to find Mara's brother, Daniel and a book that he has, New Theories in Genetics by Armin Lenaurd. Lenaurd's name was listed on a board next to information Dr. Kells had on Mara, Noah, Stella, Jamie, Jude and some others. Even though Mara is sick, the three head to New York in an attempt to find some answers.

Why is Mara Dyer the way she is? Is it genetic? Why did her grandmother commit suicide after she was born? Is Mara really crazy? Why is she having dreams and memories her grandmother's life in India and London? Does Daniel Dyer have vital information that they need? What really happened the night the asylum collapsed and her friends were killed? Is Jude really alive? Who is Noah Shaw? Is he alive?

Readers will be left hanging on the edge of their seats until they find out who Mara Dyer really is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy, Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher on the first two books in the series.

“Because love is stronger than death.”

Brittany, December 1488

Annith is annoyed that she is still at St. Mortain's convent, waiting for her turn to serve Death. She has watched both Ismae and Sybella come, train and leave as novitiates to serve Mortain. Ismae is currently at court and while Sybella is on her fourth assignment. No one has heard from either in over six months. When a new girl, Melusine, arrives at the convent, Annith escorts her to the infirmary. Leaving her with Sister Serafina, Annith goes to alert the abbess of Melusine's arrival. As she nears, Annith hears the voices of the abbess and Sister Eonette. Annith listens in. Sister Vereda is ill and this leaves the convent Sightless. With Duchess Anne's rule over Brittany shaky, her unexpected illness could not come at a worse time. When Sister Eonette is dismissed, Annith scampers down the hall so as not to get caught. She informs the abbess of the girl's arrival whom was expected. After a brief discussion about the girl, the abbess says that maybe Annith could serve as novice mistress until she is called by Mortain. The abbess laughs at the look of disgust on her face. Annith explains that she doesn't want her other skills to weaken so that she wouldn't be ready for Mortain's call. The abbess sends her on her way.

Having lived in the convent since a newborn, Annith learned that collecting secrets and keeping them to herself helped her survive the former abbess, a tyrant called the Dragonette. She rushes unseen into the private chapel off the abbess's office to eavesdrop on the conversation with Sister Thomine. Annith can scarcely believe it when the abbess declares her plans to make Annith the new Seerees. She is so distraught that she barely hears Sister Thomine's dismissal. Annith pulls herself together and tries to think of a plan to change the abbess' mind. She runs into a clutch of older girls and they ask her if she knows why the abbess has meetings going on. Annith says she doesn't and one girl, Sarra, cannot believe that Saint Annith isn't in the know. Unable to keep her anger under wraps, Annith snaps at her and earns her admiration. Since no one knows, Annith promises to find out in the next day or two.

Not wanting to be stuck at the convent, Annith begins her plan to ensure that the abbess doesn't make her the next Seerees. She shows all of the Sisters that she is the superior novitiate and the only choice for Mortain's next call. Annith only realizes after the fact that by helping Sister Serafina nurse Sister Vereda back to health that she has shown the abbess how truly dedicated she is. When she is called into the abbess’ office one day, Annith is completely unprepared for the conversation. The abbess proudly informs her that she is to start training immediately with Sister Vereda to become the next Seerees. The abbess is disappointed that Annith is devastated over being chosen for what she sees as a great honor. Annith silently wonders if the Dragonette spilled her darkest secret when she promised not to. The abbess tells Annith that this is Mortain’s will and she has two choices; accept or be cast out. The abbess reassures her that there will be a widowed father looking for a new wife to care for his children. Annith does ask for time to pray and reflect before making her decision. The abbess reluctantly agrees to three days.

Annith must formulate her escape plan quickly. She agrees to train with Sister Vereda because the abbess is getting ready to go on a trip. It will be the perfect time to snoop for answers. She hopes to find out more about her birth mother and the circumstances that led to her being dropped off at the convent as a newborn. With all of the training the Dragonette gave her, she cannot believe that Mortain’s purpose for her is to stay at the convent. She knows that she will not survive being locked away for the rest of her life, never leaving the island. After the abbess departs, Annith searches her office and only finds a diary of sorts that the Dragonette kept that details some of the horrific events of her upbringing. Deciding that she won’t find anymore information, Annith makes her escape plan. Forging a message from the abbess requesting her to join her on the mainland, she packs her bag. She decides to make one last stop before leaving, Sister Vereda’s room for the Tears of Mortain. Unable to place a drop in her eye without waking Vereda, Annith decides to take the entire bottle in the hopes that no additional novitiates will be sent on missions without the gift of Tears. She is determined to find the abbess and ask why her to be the next Seeress.

What is Annith’s secret that the Dragonette kept for her from the others? Why does the abbess want Annith to become the next Seeress? Who is the first to discover Annith’s defection? Where does Annith flee to? Can she find Ismae and Sybella? Is Mortain’s will for Annith to be a Seeress or is it something else? What will Annith find outside of the convent walls?

Fans of the series will be delighted to see how the stories of Annith, Ismae and Sybella  wrapped up.

Visit Robin LaFevers’ website.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the quartet, The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher on the first two books in the series.

Blue Sargent's senior year of high school isn't starting like she planned or hoped for. Her mother has been missing for over a month. She left behind a note that said, “Glendower’s underground. So am I.”  Her dreams of attending college seem out of reach. And the curse that her kiss will cause the death of her true love is haunting her. She told Adam Parrish about her curse when he demanded to know why Blue wouldn’t kiss him. Blue also told him that he wasn’t her true love. The Aglionby boys year is in a state of upheaval when their new Latin teacher is none other than Colin Greenmantle. Greenmantle hired the Gray Man to killed Niall Lynch and find the Greywaren, who turned out to be a who (Ronan) and not a what. Gansey is trying to fight his ever-growing attraction to Blue for Adam’s sake. Their friendship has turned rocky since he agreed to let Persephone “connect” him to Cabeswater. Ronan’s newest secret is Adam himself. The Gray Man has decided to become the man that Maura believes him to be.

Will Maura be found? Is she really underground with Glendower? What are the consequences for Adam now that he is connected to Cabeswater? Can Gansey and Blue continue to fight their mutual attraction? Does she tell Gansey about her curse? Will Greenmantle discover the secret of the Greywaren? Does Gansey come any closer to finding Glendower?

Fans of the Raven Cycle will be left clamouring for the final book in the quartet due out in 2015.

Visit Maggie Stiefvater’s website.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Four: a Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

One choice will free him."

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation's faction leader did the same. Tobias's transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened "Four," he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

In "The Transfer," readers witness Tobias's aptitude test, Choosing Day, and the moment he is given the infamous nickname "Four."

"The Initiate" provides readers with a glimpse into Tobias's Dauntless initiation experience, including an epic game of late-night Dare; his first tattoo; the beginning of his passion for training new initiates; and his nascent understanding of the danger of being Divergent.

In "The Son," Tobias struggles to find a place in the hierarchy of the Dauntless. He also begins to suspect that a foul plan may be brewing within the Dauntless leadership and discovers a truth about his past that could greatly affect his future.

"The Traitor" takes place two years after "The Son" and runs parallel with the early events in Divergent. In this robust story, readers follow Tobias as he uncovers the details of an Erudite plan that could threaten the faction system, and makes plans of his own to keep Abnegation safe. At the same time, Tobias is getting to know a new transfer initiate: Tris Prior.

Taken from Barnes & Noble.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman

Unwind - Book One

Here is the link to one of my very first blog reviews I wrote for Unwind way back in March 2010. At the time, Unwind was a stand alone title. There were no plans at the time to expand the world into the now completed four book series.

UnWholly - Book Two

SPOILER ALERT! Please don’t read any further if you haven’t read the first book in the dystology, Unwind. I wouldn’t want to ruin the story for you.

Since the high profile revolt at the Happy Jack Harvest Camp led by Connor Lassiter, Risa Ward and Lev Calder, unwinding has moved to the forefront of society. It is something that can no longer be ignored. In fact, a ban has been put in place that seventeen-year-olds can no longer be unwound. Body parts are now becoming scarce. Connor is in charge of the Graveyard since the death of the admiral while Risa works medical detail. Things are tough for Conner, always wondering when the Juvenile Authority is going to decide to take over and if the ADR (Anti-Divisional Resistance) will come through with much needed supplies. There is discontent brewing through the Graveyard with the arrival of a new AWOL.

Mason Michael Starkey was storked or abandoned on a doorstep. Never really wanted by his adoptive parents, he has been bullied his entire life. The kids all call him Storky and he stays in trouble. Always knowing the day would probably come, Starkey has always made several plans to escape. The Akron AWOL is his hero. When the juvey-cops come in the middle of the night to take him to be unwound, he eventually makes his escape. Starkey is later found by the Anti-Divisional Resistance and taken to the Graveyard. There, he finally meets face-to-face with the Akron AWOL and Starkey is not impressed by Connor.

Camus Comprix or Cam is literally a superior specimen of the human body and mind. He was literally created using the best parts of unwound teenagers; intelligently designed. Major contributors have spared no expense to see him thrive and be the best of the best. When he is revealed to the world, shock waves ripple through society. To make him seem more “human”, the company behind his creation thinks a girlfriend is in order. Cam has eyes for only one, a wheelchair bound girl.

Miracolina Roselli was conceived for the sole purpose of being a donor for her older brother when he was stricken with leukemia and no match could be found. She has always known that her purpose now is to be tithed. Even on the day she is to go to the harvest camp, her parents regret their decision and attempt to stop it. Miracolina has other plans and happily goes, leaving her family heartbroken. Just before the van she is riding in arrives at the Wood Hollow Harvest Camp, Miracolina is captured by the resistance group, where she meets Lev Calder. She is furious.

Why have the authorities not raided the Graveyard? Who is behind the creation of Cam and why did they do it? How did Lev get involved with the resistance group? Is Starkey to be trusted? Who will be betrayed? And who will uncover the truth behind unwinding?

Once again interspersed with advertisements, newspaper articles and snippets of the law, readers will be thrusted into the debate to unwind or not.  

UnSouled - Book Three

There is no safe place for the AWOLs and the key to ending unwinding may lie back where it all started.

UnDivided - Book Four

The journey to end unwinding comes to the final showdown.

Visit Neal Shusterman’s website.
Visit the Unwind movie site. The movie is currently listed as being in development.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

“A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.”

Primoria is composed of eight kingdoms; the four Rhythm and four Seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. The Rhythm Kingdoms blame the Seasons for losing Primoria's source of magic. The Seasons' land sits on top of the chasm where the ball of magic resides deep in the ground. Each King and Queen in Primoria possesses a portion of that magic in a conduit of some type to help their kingdoms. The Rhythm Kingdoms hate that this is all of the magic they can use since the Seasons Kingdoms have lost the entrance to the chasm over time. The Rhythm Kingdoms cycle through all four seasons in a year whereas the Seasons stay in one forever.

King Angra Manu of Spring broke Winter's conduit locket sixteen years earlier when he destroyed the kingdom. The Winter Kingdom “used to be home to more than a hundred thousand Winterians, and most of them were massacred in Spring’s invasion. The ones who weren’t now sit in work camps throughout Spring.”  Twenty-five Winterians originally escaped. Now only eight remain free, hidden in the barren, unwanted Rania Plains of Summer. Their mission is to find and rejoin the two halves of the conduit locket. The locket is needed so that Winter can regain their standing as a kingdom and find allies in the fight against Spring. Unfortunately, the conduit is female-blooded and the only Winter heir is male. It isn’t known if the magic will work when the conduit is put back together.

Mather is the future King of Winter and one of the eight refugees. William leads the small group in their attempts to reclaim the conduit halves. Having rescued Meira as an infant, William refuses to let her call him father so everything was yes, sir and no, sir. Sir stuck as the name she calls him. Everyone has a part to play in the group, even the young heir. Meira is not allowed by Sir to go on any of the group’s missions. She and Mather have literally grown up and trained together. Even though she has been in love with Mather forever, she knows that as heir, he must marry a princess in order to produce a female heir to wield Winter’s magic. When a scouting party returns to the camp with word that part of the locket is now in Lynia, Meira sees it as her opportunity to finally contribute to the group. William will have to send out fresh people. As she is getting ready to ask to go, William tells Mather and Finn that they are to leave immediately. William will not let her go because he doesn’t think she is ready. Meira has yet to beat Mather during their hand-to-hand combat training. Just then, Mather lies about an injury that Meira gave him when she beat him in their last fight. Meira is shocked that Mather would lie for her and she knows that Sir is skeptical but would never risk Mather’s life. Sir tells Meira to help him back to camp and then go get her chakram.

When Meira and Mather are alone, she squeals and gives him a hug. He keeps her close and gives her a piece of lapis lazuli that he found on their travels when they were children. He carries because he has always liked to think that it might contain a bit of magic and it helped him to feel stronger. Mather wants her to have it. She thanks him but Mather says that she deserves the right to fight for their home as anyone else. She “helps” him back into camp and cannot help but wonder what their lives could be like if they could actually be together. Meira is finally getting the chance to help the kingdom of Winter, something she has always wanted.

It takes Meira and Finn two days to reach the port city of Lynia. They split up in an attempt to enter the city undetected. Making her way past the guards at the gate by implying she is a prostitute, Meira heads towards the Keep where she is to meet up with Finn. She crawls up the side and finds Finn waiting on the balcony for her outside of the city master's office. Sir figures that the locket half will be hidden somewhere in the cellar, locked. The key will probably be kept in the office. Finn waits on the balcony while Meira riffles through the desk. She cannot find any keys when voices can be heard outside the office door. She is able to make out the words "Welcome, Herod." Meira meets Finn's eyes and she realizes that it is none other than General Herod Montego, a man that brings memories of fear, gore and horror. She sees an envelope under a paperweight and grabs it before hurrying out to the balcony where she and Finn hide when several people enter the office. The letter she found contains a report on the population of each Labor camp housing Winterians. They are both horrified to see how few of them remain. They are both brought back to reality when the city master asks that it be moved immediately before anymore Winterian scum descend upon the city. Meira and Finn realize the locket half is still in the Keep. There is a discussion about whether to move it or not when the city master notices that the letter is missing from the desk. Herod states that they are not alone.

The balcony curtain opens as Finn and Meira jump from the balcony. Herod sees that they are Winterians and orders the city locked down. Meira makes the decision to grab ahold of a window ledge instead of dropping to the ground. She pulls herself inside the window of a darkened room. She looks back out the window and sees Finn running. She doesn't wave to him in fear of drawing attention to herself. Their plan was to meet up outside of the city walls. Meira makes the decision to stay behind since she is so close to recovering the locket half. She knows that Finn will head back to the camp alone when she fails to return. Meira images what Sir will think. For now, Meira must figure out how to retrieve the locket half and remain undetected.

It's not long before Herod sounds the alarm and Meira unfortunately finds herself in the barracks. Running, she comes to a locked door and ends up kicking it in. She descends the steps and finds herself in the sewer. Meira also finds the locket half. She is unable to escape and Herod ties her up, grabs the box with the locket half and begins to take her to King Angra. With a knife hidden up her sleeve, Meira begins to cut through her ropes. It's not long before she breaks free as she grabs the locket. Her horse flies through the sewer and she is able to slip under the city gate before the soldiers close it. After riding two days, Meira finds her way back to camp. Sir, Finn and Mather are in the meeting tent and don't hear her enter. They are discussing a plan of action to rescue her. She is noticed and walks toward the table where she places the box with the locket down. Sir is speechless until he sees her covered in filth and sends her for a bath. He isn't going to be sending her on any more missions.

Meira is thinking about how she feels no connection to Winter now that she was successful in her mission. Mather comes to check on her. He knows something is wrong if she barely yelled at Sir. He looks over at her bruise and her heart skips. Mather tells her that Sir values her but he hates to see a world where she must be a soldier and not a carefree young lady. He tells her that she would have survived even if she didn't have the lapis lazuli. Meira asks if he thinks her success is tied to a rock when it hasn't helped him in the past. She sees him as a future King that Angra should fear. Meira withdraws from him when she thinks about the separate courses their lives will soon have to take if Mather is to have a female heir. The air crackles between them and Meira tries to pull away when she sees the shadows. Five Spring scouts come out of the trees. Weaponless,  Mather pulls Meira towards the camp while the scouts steal horses to ride back to Angra.

What happens now that their camp has been discovered? Who survives and where do they flee? Can Meira find the second half of the conduit locket? Will it restore magic to Winter? Why doesn't Meira feel a connection to the kingdom of Winter? Will Meira be able to put aside her feelings for Mather? Is the lapis lazuli just a rock or did Mather find a conduit of magic?

Book two in the trilogy will be published in 2015.

“Icicles Like Kindling is a glimpse into Meira’s life before the events of Snow Like Ashes that was originally going to serve as the prologue to the book. In it, you will get a taste of the kingdom of Autumn, meet some of Meira’s fellow refugees, and get an introduction to the wicked danger that will soon plague them…” It can be found at or
It is not a necessary read but the two of the characters are mentioned in parts of the book.