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.