Sky Without Stars Review

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope.

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Releases This Week

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Override Review

320 pages

Zoe is free. She has escaped the enslavement of the Community, disconnected from the hardware that had controlled her every thought and emotion, and evaded capture by the Chancellor intent on killing her. She is finally free, but she is far from safe. Zoe and Adrien hide themselves from detection at the Foundation, an academy that trains teen glitchers to fight in the Resistance movement. Together, Zoe and her new team of superhuman fighters must risk their lives to rescue other glitchers and humans from the Chancellor's control. Challenges abound at every turn, and Adrien, who has become silent, distant, and tormented by his visions of the future, only adds to the growing certainty of defeat. But worst of all, as Zoe's team fights against impossible odds, distrust and betrayal leads to the terrible discovery that their greatest threat could already be lurking behind the safe walls of the Foundation.

After finishing this novel I am completely stunned. This novel goes from a crazy ride with all kinds of twists ending in one heck of a cliffhanger! But I digress, lets get into what really made this novel stand out. If you read the first book in this series then you pretty much understand what glitchers are. For those who haven't, glitchers are those who have disconnected from the technology that controls their thoughts and emotions with the added benefit of superpowers. Zoe is the heroine of this story and the expected "savior" of the members of the Foundation. Zoe goes through so much and at times its hard to watch her struggle with her powers and the weight of the expectations of others. There are a lot of ups and downs between Zoe and Adrien and their relationship seems to suffer at the expense of their powers. In this novel we get to meet more of the glitchers as well as just regular humans and see that while they may be fighting for the same cause, there are underlying issues and distrust amongst them. This story contains quite a lot of action and adventure as the Foundation tries to rescue the others who are like them from under the Chancellor and her team of glitchers. The explosive ending is one that will leave you wanting to read more. I definitely recommend this novel if you like dystopian fiction and superhuman fighters but make sure to pick up Glitch first before you read this.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let the Sky Fall Review

416 pages

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is. Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life. When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

Told from the perspectives of Vane and Audra, this is a hauntingly beautiful story full of passion and action. Audra is a fierce and strong sylph with a deep-rooted guilt about her past. Vane on the other hand has no idea who he is or where he came from, but his only link to his past is a constant vision of Audra. Audra and Vane's attraction to each other is one that neither of them completely understand or can fight. Most of this story is filled with the attraction between Audra and Vane as well as their preparation for the enemy who is coming to kill him. We get to learn about Vane's past piece by piece, and each new insight reveals a lot of pain yet also hope as well. Most of the setting focuses on Vane's life amongst humans although we also see pieces of Audra's past as a sylph. This isn't a fast-paced novel but it moves into a blast of action at the end. I've never read about sylph's before now so I loved being able to experience them through Shannon's writing perspective. I absolutely enjoyed this story and I can't wait until the next novel, in which we hopefully get more of a view of the sylph world. I would definitely recommend this novel if you like mythology and paranormal romance.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

BEA Harlem Shake

Yesterday I received an email that I just have to share from BEA. Now if you don't know what BEA, or more accurately Book Expo America is, it's the largest book show in America. BEA is a yearly event that takes place at Jacob Javitz Center in New York City. This year BEA takes place from May 28- June 1st 2013.

Apparently BEA (Authors Breakfast) made a Harlem Shake video! Check it out! And go to Book Expo America to sign up for the Authors Breakfasts or to get tickets to other events in BEA.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Indigo Spell Review

401 pages

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

The Bloodlines series continues to be an exciting read in this third novel. Once again told from Sydney's perspective, we are able to delve more into the world of the Alchemists. Despite Sydney's slightly annoying tics like her weight issues and ingrained Alchemist teachings, I have to say I absolutely love her as a heroine! Sydney is intelligent as well as fully capable of defending and taking care of herself. She has also come quite a long way from the first novel when it comes to her beliefs and prejudice. Most of the old characters return but the focus in this novel is more on Sydney and the Alchemists as well as the witches. The Alchemists have so much more to their organization than we've learned about previously. Although this novel isn't big on action, it is full of intrigue and the general adventure of trying to figure out exactly what the Alchemists are up to. The ending of this novel literally had my mind whirring, I can't wait to see how Sydney handles the new bomb that has exploded in her life in the next novel. I definitely recommend that you read this novel if you like vampires and magic but make sure to read Bloodlines and The Golden Lily first.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sever Review

384 pages
With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them. Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

As the conclusion to this trilogy I have to say it is pretty boring. Rhine isn't very strong here, it seems like she is always relying on someone else to give her the motivation she desperately needs. Linden is just the weakest character imaginable. It's hard for Linden to stand up to his father or anyone else despite the fact that he loves Rhine. Cecily is probably the strongest character yet she sometimes does things that make absolutely no sense. There are a few new characters who aren't too memorable and the return of Rowan brings something new yet dull to this book. There is little to no action in this novel, just an adventure with Rhine, Linden, and Cecily going off to look for Rhine's brother. I feel like most of the things that happened are random with no sensible movement that I was just confused after a while. I can't recommend reading this novel unless you've read the series and want a subpar conclusion to it. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Barnes and Noble Free Fridays

In case you haven't noticed, Barnes and Noble have extended their Free Fridays to not only include a free book but also a free app. Of course these apps are limited to the Nook devices but it's definitely a welcome addition to Free Friday's for those who have one!

Follow Barnes and Noble Nook on Twitter or go on their Blog every Friday to see what new goodies they have to offer!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Wishing Spell Review

438 pages

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. "The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

I love books based on fairytales and I have to admit finding out that "Kurt" from Glee wrote this novel made it more intriguing to me. This was a pretty entertaining novel although a bit more juvenile than I usually enjoy. The twists on classic fairytales were really different and amusing at times. Despite Alex and Conner being twins, they are different as night and day. Alex is a hard worker, practically an overachiever and she loves school. Conner is a bit of a slacker and a jokester and has no interest in school. Both twins have a love of fairytales, having being told them by their grandmother for years. When they're suddenly thrust into the world they've heard stories about, the twins learn that their favorite fairytales have more to them than they thought. I loved the different ways in which the twins approached exploring this world and the characters they met along the way were intriguing as well. This world is fascinating although the writing left a bit to be desired at times. I'm interested to see what may come next for the twins in the next novel. I would recommend this novel to those who like fairytales.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mirage Review

368 pages
Release date: March 12th, 2013

The desert is no place for ocean-dwelling Kampii like Aluna and Hoku, especially now that Aluna has secretly started growing her tail. But the maniacal Karl Strand is out to conquer the Above World, and the horselike Equians are next on his list. Aluna, Hoku, and their friends — winged Calli and Equian exile Dash — race to the desert city of Mirage, intent on warning the Equians. When they arrive, Strand’s clone, Scorch, has gotten there first. Now the Equian leader has vowed to take all his people to war as part of Strand’s army. Any herd that refuses to join him by the time of the desert-wide competition known as the Thunder Trials will be destroyed. To have any chance of defeating Scorch and convincing the Equians to switch sides, the four friends must find a way to win the Trials. The challenge seems impossible. But if they fail, the desert — and possibly all of the Above World — will be lost to Karl Strand forever.

Review (ARC):
This is an exciting second novel in this series, that continues to weave a fresh dystopian story. Aluna and her friends are back, still trying to save the world from Karl Strand and his clones. I admired Aluna's strength in this novel, despite hiding the fact that she is growing a tail from her friends. Dash is still as intriguing as ever, and we get to learn so much more about his past and exactly what happened to cause his exile. I saw a surprising amount of determination from Hoku, while he isn't a fighter, his intelligence and willingness to learn makes him a valuable asset to his friends. There are quite a few surprises along the way, some unexpected friends, and not so unexpected enemies. Finally, we get to experience the world of the Equians, which is quite different from what you may expect. I really enjoyed the detail of the world-building and the adventure of learning about two of the different Above World species. This novel is packed with action, adventure, and a little romance, which make it an absolutely exciting read. I definitely recommend this book if you like exciting dystopian fiction but make sure to read Above World first.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Releases This Week

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Orleans Review

336 pages
Release date: March 7th, 2013

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born. Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Review (ARC):
While the story was definitely well thought out and different, I couldn't find myself connecting to the novel itself. Not to say this isn't a good book but it definitely wasn't for me. Fen is a strong main character who has had to survive in Orleans, which has reverted to a pretty much primitive way of living. I liked the fact that Fen was resilient and extremely resourceful especially when it came to trying to save her tribe leader's baby. Daniel, on the other hand knows nothing about Orleans and goes there expecting something completely different from what he actually encounters. Fen and Daniel each depend on the other for something different and find that relying on each other might be the only way to survive. There is absolutely no romance in this novel so don't expect anything to develop because it won't. The journey through Orleans is one full of danger and adventure, which is pretty exciting at times. I would recommend this novel to those who like dystopian fiction and don't mind a romance-less story.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Prey Review

304 pages

For Gene and the remaining humans—or hepers—death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast... and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side. When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other... if they can only stay alive.

The world created here in which humans are food and vampires rule is frightening and full of peril. This book picks up right where the last one left off, with Gene and the hepers he helped to save, trying to stay a step ahead of the society. Although Gene and the others feel like they are on the right track to paradise, nothing can prepare them for the reality of the world beyond the city. Gene is still a strong main character although you can tell he still is conflicted within himself after having to live as a vampire for all these years. Sissy is impressing in her strength and ability to help make sure that the others are safe as well as figuring out the clues left behind by the Scientist. There are a number of returning characters as well as a whole host of new ones we meet as Gene and the others continue on their journey. This journey is one of danger and a true test to loyalty and the bonds between Gene and the other hepers. I love the fact that the author opened up the world for us so that we can see what it's like in places other than the city. There is so much action and mysteries to solve that this is just one of those books that you can't put down. I definitely recommend this novel if you like dystopian fiction and books about vampires but make sure to pick up The Hunt first.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scarlet Review

464 pages

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own. As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I love the way the author of this series twists fairytales in a dystopian fashion yet makes the story completely original and fresh. This second book in the Lunar Chronicle is told from Cinder, Scarlet, and Prince Kai's point of view.  While Cinder is still the main focus of this story, Scarlet plays a huge role in this novel. Scarlet is a brave character, albeit a bit jaded and not too trusting. Scarlet is a new addition to this story and we get to see a bit of the tale of Red Riding Hood play out in her life. Cinder is still trying to figure out exactly who she is and this takes her on an adventure of a lifetime. I feel so bad for Cinder since the Lunar Queen has twisted everything to her advantage and made Cinder look like she manipulated Prince Kai. Prince Kai is really a good guy but its hard for him to stand against the Lunar Queen and all of her power. This novel is full of action and adventure as Scarlet races to try and save her grandmother, and Cinder tries to escape from prison. There is also the looming danger of the Lunar Queen who wants nothing more than to take over the Commonwealth. I absolutely loved this novel and can't wait to see where the author takes this story next. I definitely recommend this novel if you like fairytale retellings and distopian fiction but make sure to read Cinder first.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Releases This Week

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Runaway King Review

352 pages
Release date: March 1st, 2013

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

Review (ARC):
I completely fell in love with Jaron in the first novel and he just doesn't disappoint in the second one. Jaron is an amazingly brave and wily main character, and despite his feelings about being king, he is still willing to help keep his country safe. I think the thing I admire most about Jaron is he doesn't just sit back and let others do things for him but instead he is ready and willing to get his hands dirty. A lot of familiar characters return and we are also introduced to some new ones which are either endearing or horrific. A bit of a love triangle emerges but it isn't a main factor of this story. There are plots to assassinate Jaron and as the mystery behind who is responsible unravels, quite a few surprising revelations are brought to light. There is a lot of action and a great adventure which is both exciting and dangerous. This novel ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and I can't wait to see what happens next. I definitely recommend that you read this if you love a good fantasy novel but make sure you read The False Prince first.