Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Audiobook Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)Author: Michelle Hodkin
Narrator: Christy Romano
Series: Mara Dyer, #1
Released: January 21st 2014
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
Buy: Audible

Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

Sometimes, a book you least expect to like takes you completely by surprise. Sometimes, even though you respect their opinion, you disagree with some of your most trusted friends. For me, this is one of those times.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Symbiont

SymbiontAuthor: Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology, #2
Released: November 25th 2014
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 518 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon


The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde.
Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped.

Usually when a duology becomes a trilogy or a trilogy becomes a more lengthy series overnight, I grumble and complain and become instantly resentful of both the author and the publisher. But when I discovered that this duology somehow grew to become a trilogy, I felt nothing but satisfaction and joy. More books from Mira Grant are always good news to me. In fact, if Parasitology suddenly became a 180 books long medical thriller/soap opera hybrid, I’d still be a happy camper. That’s how much I admire this author and trust in her ability to always, always deliver.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nice Dragon Finish Last Audiobook Clip!

Hello, my nocturnal readers!
A few months ago, I reviewed the first book in a wonderful new urban fantasy series by Rachel Aaron (also known as Rachel Bach, author of the Paradox trilogy). Nice Dragons Finish Last is a delightful blend of genres, and its protagonist, a young dragon named Julius, one of the most memorable characters I've come across in a very long time.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mini Review: Anomaly

Anomaly (Schrodinger's Consortium, #1)Author: Tonya Kuper
Series: Schrodinger's Consortium, #1
Released: November 25th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Length: 301 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it… 
Worst. Birthday. Ever. 
My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…
Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

The wonderful cover of this book, combined with the well-written blurb, does an excellent job of luring us in by promising a book both hilarious and filled with adventure and romance. However, Anomaly doesn’t quite live up to the promise. There is, admittedly, a decent amount of adventure, but romance is far from satisfactory, and the promised humor strangely absent.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Night Shift

Night Shift (Kate Daniels, #7.5; SPI Files, # 0.5; Psy-Changeling)Authors: Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, Milla Vane
Series: Kate Daniels #6.5; SPI Files #0.5
Released: November 25th 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark...
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.
From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn't a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself. 
It’s seer Makenna Frazier's first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms .

Night Shift is an anthology comprised of four stories by two urban fantasy and two paranormal romance authors. I’ve only read the urban fantasy parts since paranormal romance still gives me severe allergies, but the two stories I have read, Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews and Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin are completely worth the price of this book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sheol I Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Hi, everyone! 
It's been quite a while since I did my last WoW post, so I thought I'd choose something really special this time around. Here's a book I'm desperate to read:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mini Review: Descent

DescentAuthor: Ken MacLeod
Series: Standalone
Released: November 18th 2014
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 403 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO FOR THE TRUTH? Ball lightning. Weather balloons. Secret military aircraft. Ryan knows all the justifications for UFO sightings. But when something falls out of the sky on the hills near his small Scottish town, he finds his cynicism can't identify or explain the phenomenon. And in a future where nothing is a secret, where everything is recorded on CCTV or reported online, why can he find no evidence of the UFO, nor anything to shed light on what occurred? Is it the political revolutionaries, is it the government or is it aliens themselves who are creating the cover-up? Or does the very idea of a cover-up hide the biggest secret of all?

Can you imagine a wonderful, light science-fiction novel set in Scotland, with delightful Scottish accents, spaceships (possibly) landing in the moor, and unruly Scottish boys with very wild imaginations? Well guess what, as lovely as it sounds, you don’t have to imagine it, Ken MacLeod already did it for us.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: Forbidden

Forbidden (Forbidden #1)Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little
Series: Forbidden, #1
Released: November 4th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 397 pages
Source: Publisher for review

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Forbidden is the first book in Kimberly Griffiths Little’s historical romance trilogy with a very lush, exotic setting. Set against the backdrop of the Mesopotamian desert in 1759, it gives us great insight into the best and the very worst of this world. Our heroine is Jayden, a 17-year-old girl betrothed to the future tribe leader. Her marriage was arranged when she was just a baby, but Jayden feels only fear and mild disgust for Horeb, and wants nothing more than to avoid marrying him. Then a young wounded warrior joins her family in the desert and Jayden is immediately taken by him, just as he seems taken by her. Her life becomes even more complicated, burdened with tragedy and the constant fight for survival and torn between two young men, one she was promised to years ago, and one who truly loves her.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: The Body Electric

The Body ElectricAuthor: Beth Revis
Series: Standalone
Released: October 6th 2014
Publisher: Scripturient Books
Length: 482 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Body Electric

The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…
Someone’s altered her memory.
Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?

For a while after I finished The Body Electric, I struggled to gather my thoughts and figure out how to appropriately express my feelings. My experience with this book felt, for those few shocked minutes, far too important to be put into my unskilled English sentences. But I had to try, I had to do what I can to help this book get the attention it absolutely deserves.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes, #1
Released: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Length: 422 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own. 

YA fantasy is one of my favorite (sub)genres, but it’s also the one I’m most picky about. There are examples of almost flawless series everyone seems to love but me, and then there are some I practically worship and reread all the time. When Snow Like Ashes started being compared to Throne of Glass, I have to admit I was worried. Throne of Glass is one of those books (and even series) that makes me feel like the odd one out –I appreciate it, but I don’t feel compelled to read the next book at all, and even when I do, I tend to be annoyed with the characters and their actions.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review: Armageddon

Armageddon (Angelbound, #3)Author: Christina Bauer
Series: Angelbound, #3
Published: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Ink Monster LLC
Length: 150 pages
Source: Publisher for review

Five years have passed since Myla Lewis last fought gladiator-style in Purgatory's Arena. Now, she’s fighting again, only this time in Hell. And the stakes have never been higher. The King of Hell, Armageddon, has kidnapped Myla and Lincoln’s young son, Maxon. 
In the wake of Maxon’s abduction, all the after-realms calling for war, and no one shouts louder than Lincoln. Myla knows that a war against Hell will cost millions of lives, so she devises her own plan, involving a small attack team and a secret entrance to Hell. Will Myla save Maxon, or will her child and all the after-realms fall to Armageddon? 

Angelbound is one of those series I discovered completely by accident and talked about it to anyone willing to listen. What I loved about it above all else is that it was completely free of the usual YA tropes, new, 100% fresh and often bold in the way it approached things. This applied to romance more than anything else, of course, and Myla and Lincoln quickly became my favorite couple in YA fiction.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta, #22)Author: Patricia Cornwell
Series: Kay Scarpetta, #22
Released: November 11th 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Length: 400 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell delivers the next enthralling thriller in her high-stakes series starring Kay Scarpetta—a complex tale involving a serial sniper who strikes chillingly close to the forensic sleuth herself.
It’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s birthday and she’s about to head to Miami for a vacation with her FBI profiler husband Benton Wesley when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny it’s as if they’re newly minted? Then her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with shocking precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. No one heard or saw a thing. It’s as if God did it.
In this 22nd Scarpetta novel, the master forensic sleuth finds herself in the middle of a nightmarish pursuit of a serial sniper who seems to leave no evidence except fragments of copper. The shots are so perfect, they cause instant death and seem impossible, and the death scenes aren’t crime scenes because the killer was never within hundreds of yards of the victims. The victims seem to have nothing in common, and there is no pattern that might indicate where the Copperhead will strike next. First New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then into the murky depths off the coast of South Florida, where Scarpetta dives a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. There she must face an unthinkable truth that points in the direction of her techno genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood. 

Earlier this year, when I reviewed Dust, I mentioned that my beloved Kay Scarpetta series seems to be getting back on track. Keeping a series fresh for no less than 22 installments is something not many authors can do. There was certainly a rough patch around the middle when I considered giving up entirely, but these last two books have shown me that Cornwell is still very much in control.