Tuesday, July 25, 2017
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, The Crown’s Game, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.
Check out Book Series Recaps for refresher on the first book.
“Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.” - taken from Goodreads.com
Approximately two weeks have passed since Pasha forced the end of the Game between Vika and Nikolai. The stakes are high with Vika now the Imperial Enchanter and Pasha awaiting his coronation. With the real threat of revolution and a claim for the throne, Vika, Pasha, and Nicolai are once again pitted against one another in the fight to rule Russia. The author notes at the end that the story is loosely based on the aftermath of Tsar Alexander ‘s death and the Decembrist revolution. I wasn’t expecting the ending but it did tie up this duology nicely.
Visit Evelyn Skye’s website.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
“The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.“ - taken from Goodreads.com
Wow! I cannot believe that I didn't read this when it first came out. I loved everything about the story. Mariko wants to be seen as more than just a female in the male dominated society of feudal Japan. When her convoy to meet her betrothed is ambushed and she is the only survivor, Mariko sees her chance to break free from her family and find out for herself who wanted her dead. Meeting the Black Clan disguised as a boy, she is taken in as a possible recruit. As Mariko learns more about her family and society, she not only sees the truth about her family but finds that her heart has been taken. I cannot wait to see how it ends after that conclusion.
Visit Renee Adhieh’s website.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first three books in the series, Talon, Rogue, and Soldier, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.
“Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all--dragons do not suffer human emotions--let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she's capable of doing and feeling.
In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante--the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.
Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.” - taken from Goodreads.com
After the double cliffhanger of the last book, Soldier, readers will pick up the action immediately where it left off. Told from several points of view, fans of the Talon Saga will find out the mission of the Talon organization and Ember’s part in it. After another shocking but more satisfying ending, readers will be eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the story with Inferno in 2018.
Visit Julie Kagawa’s website.
SERIES ALERT! This is the eighth and FINAL installment in the Hundred Oaks series. Some characters from previous books do appear but they in no way spoil the story.
“Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.
All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?” - taken from Goodreads.com
Fans of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series will speed through this latest and final installment involving the students of Hundred Oaks High School. This book features swimming as the sport. A great read about relationships not only with friends and potential romantic interests but about peers who attempt to undermine you. Several past characters from previous books, but not all, make brief appearances. The best part of this story is the addition of Jordan Woods, from the first book Catching Jordan, as Maggie’s physical education teacher. The epilogue to this story provides a great conclusion to Jordan’s story.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Riders, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.
Check out Book Series Recaps for refresher on the first book.
“When Daryn claimed she was seeing visions during her sophomore year of high school, no one believed the truth. She wasn't losing her mind, she was gaining the Sight the ability to see the future. If she just paid attention to the visions, they'd provide her with clues and show her how she could help people. Really help them. Daryn embraced her role as a Seeker. The work she did was important. She saved lives.
Sebastian was her first and worst mistake.
Since the moment she inadvertently sealed him in a dark dimension with Samrael the last surviving demon in the Kindred guilt has plagued her. Daryn knows Sebastian is alive and waiting for help. It's up to her to rescue him. But now that she needs the Sight more than ever to guide her, the visions have stopped.
Daryn must rely on her instincts, her intelligence, and on blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian. As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test. Will she have to become evil to destroy evil? The very fate of humankind rests in the answer.” - taken from Goodreads.com
The ending to this duology turned out to be a satistfying end to the story that fans will devour.
“Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.
Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.” - taken from Goodreads.com
A little slow to start with all of the sailing terminologies for me and I kept getting distracted by a couple of other titles. Once the story had me hooked, I couldn't put it down. Caro is a determined young woman who is left with a nearly impossible task to complete in order to save her father. When she goes against the orders she received, Caro is quickly pulled into political drama that changes how she sees her place in the world. A slow burning romance also occurs. Now I cannot wait to see what the next book holds.
Visit Sarah Tolcser’s website.
Caleb McCleary. QB. Following in his brother’s “baller status” footsteps.
Tessa Dooley. Any position that needs filling. Her motto: “Be afraid.”
The summer before Caleb and Tessa enter high school, friendship has blossomed into a relationship…and their playful sports days are coming to an end. Caleb is getting ready to try out for the football team, and Tessa is training for cross-country.
But all their structured plans derail in the final flag game when they lose. Tessa doesn’t want to end her career as a loser. She really enjoys playing, and if she’s being honest, she likes it even more than running. So what if she decided to play football instead? What would happen between her and Caleb? Or between Tessa and her two best friends, who are counting on her to try out for cross-country with them? And will her parents be upset that she’s decided to take her hobby to the next level?
This summer, Caleb and Tessa figure out just what it means to be a boyfriend, girlfriend, teammate, best friend, and someone worth cheering for.” taken from Goodreads.com
A quick read with an awesome message about what it means “to win” and about oneself. Tessa and Caleb’s soul-searching journeys with resound with readers about the demands one places on themselves and what our families and peers demand of us. A quick read.
“Let luck find you.
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.” - taken from Goodreads.com
Another cute read by Jennifer Smith that will wrap readers into Alice’s story as both she and Teddy struggle with what winning the lottery means to their lives. Alice also must come to grips with her parents’ death and how it has affected her choices in life. The growth of both Alice and Teddy into adulthood is a journey that readers will devour.
Visit Jennifer E. Smith’s website.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
"Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong"--Provided by publisher.
“Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.” taken from Goodreads.com
This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.
Grasshopper Jungle is a book that has been on my TBR pile since it first came out. I finally listened to the audio version and I found it hilarious. Austin is writing not only the history of his ancestors but the events that transpired in Ealing, Iowa when Contained MI Plague Strain 412E is accidentally released into the town and Unstoppable Soldiers, aka six-foot-tall praying mantises, are formed. I will warn readers that language and adult situations occur throughout. The story does switch constantly back and forth between the past and present, which could confuse some. Overall, this was a pretty good read/listen that is in development for the big screen.
Monday, June 12, 2017
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Lady Midnight, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you. It will also help if you have read the previous books in the Shadowhunters’ world to avoid spoilers.
“Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?”
“A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.
Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.
When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.” - taken from Goodreads.com
Once again, Ms. Clare knocks this latest installment in the Shadowhunter universe out of the ballpark. Readers are thrust back into the world of Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family in the aftermath of Malcolm Fade’s betrayal. The action picks up immediately and leads to the jaw-dropping, cliffhanger end. Fans will be left hanging until 2019 with Emma and Julian’s story will wrap up with Queen of Air and Darkness. In the meantime, readers will be able to begin the Last Hours trilogy with Chain of Gold in the fall of 2018.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
“I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.
Taylor is the leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs—the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.
And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother—who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.” - taken from Goodreads.com
These are the first lines from Jellicoe Road, as it was titled in the U.S.
“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.
It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of miles away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, 'What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?' and my father said, 'Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,' and that was the last thing he ever said.”
This book is about journeys, not only Taylor Markham’s, but some of the most important people in her life that are unknown to her. Told in alternating voices between modern-day Taylor and gang and a hidden story that she comes across from eighteen years earlier. That story tells of an unspeakable tragedy five life-long friends together. As Taylor begins to explore more of her background, readers will be taken in by her story and how the past collides with the present day. And Jonah Griggs! What can I say about him without giving any important details? I now see what all of the fangirling from book reviews is all about.
Jellicoe Road has resided on my TBR pile for years and now I’m going to kick myself for not reading, or in my case, listening, to it sooner. From the opening lines, the reader becomes entranced by the events that occurred along the Jellicoe Road. Overall, the story caused this reader to cry her eyes out and look ahead to the book’s ending before finishing it. One of my all-time favorite reads!
Friday, June 2, 2017
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.” - taken from Goodreads.com
Thursday, June 1, 2017
“Love is an epic disaster.”
“Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.
Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.” - taken from Goodreads.com
This is a great read for John Green or Nicholas Sparks fans. Henry Page learns the joys and heartbreak of falling in love for the first time when he meets the mysterious Grace Town at the beginning of his senior year. The more he gets to know Grace, Henry continues to fall for her even though her signals are mixed. As the semester stretches on, he begins to see the truth behind the Grace Town he knows. A heartbreaking story that will leave readers guessing why Grace Town seems so broken.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
“Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.
Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.
The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.” - taken from Goodreads.com
I really enjoyed delving into Ramona’s complicated life. Just a senior in high school, she took on a tremendous amount of responsibility in the years since her mother’s abandonment after Hurricane Katrina and her pregnant sister, When a childhood friend moves back to Eulogy, Ramona’s world is turned upside down. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and seeing where Ramona’s journey would take her.
Visit Julie Murphy’s website.
Monday, May 15, 2017
“Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?
Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.
But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.” - taken Goodreads.com
This book was one of the best mysteries that I’ve read, or in this case, listened to, in a long time. Flynn and his girlfriend January have a fight that results in her breaking up them him. Several days later, he arrives at home to find two police officers at his house. It tu7rns out that January is missing. Determined to find out what happened to January while trying to keep his own secret, Flynn begins his own investigation and soon learns that everything that he thought he knew about January was wrong. Flynn’s story is interspersed with flashbacks of times spent with January that help the reader piece together the mystery behind not only her disappearance but Flynn’s acceptance of his own secret. Readers will be entranced until they are able to resolve the mystery of January’s disappearance.
Visit Caleb Roehrig’s website.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
“Our Worlds Belong To Us.”
“She’s a soldier.
Noemi Vidal is a seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
He’s a machine.
Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.
Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.” - taken from Goodreads.com
I really didn’t know what to expect when I first started this book. Told in alternating points of view from both Noemi and Abel, readers dive into a story full of mystery, intrigue, and romance. Enemies at first, it’s not long before Noemi and Abel realize that they are actually on the same side. Also the romance between human and machine is a slow burn that will have readers cheering the duo on. I really didn’t know how I expected the book to end, be it was phenomenal! With the story somewhat tied up, readers will be clamouring for the next installment in this series.
Book two, Defy the Worlds, (what a teaser!) will be out in 2018.
Visit Claudia Gray’s Website.
Friday, April 21, 2017
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Denton Little’s Deathdate, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.
“Now he needs a life …”
“You only live once—unless you’re Denton Little!
The good news: Denton Little has lived through his deathdate. Yay! The bad news: He’s being chased by the DIA (Death Investigation Agency), he can never see his family again, and he may now die any time. Huh. Cheating death isn’t quite as awesome as Denton would have thought…
Denton Little’s Deathdate, showed readers just how funny and poignant imminent death could be. Now in this sequel, he takes on the big questions about life. How do we cope, knowing we could die at any time? Would you save someone from dying even if they were a horrible person? Is it wrong to kiss the girl your best friend is crushing on if she’s really into you instead? What if she’s wearing bacon lip gloss?” taken from Goodreads.com
This is the long awaited conclusion to Denton Little’s story and the wait was well worth it. Humorous, snarky and serious at times, Denton begins to unravel the mysteries and reasons behind his survival. I listened to the audio versions of this title and once again, the author does a fabulous job of bring Denton’s story to life. This book is a definite recommend!
Visit Lance Rubin’s website.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, The Girl From Everywhere, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.
Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher on the first book.
“Some things should not be stolen.”
“Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes.
Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?
Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds.” - taken From Goodreads.com
I know I was in a reading slump when I picked this book up. It took me way longer than usual to finish. I liked the story and reading from Kashmir’s point of view. The last 100 pages had me gripped but I did feel like the ending was rushed. The mix of real life characters from history and legend was great but I was left with a few questions at the end.
Visit Heidi Heilig’s website.