Monday, June 30, 2014

Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin & Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date:
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
I adored Shadow and Bone, and Siege and Storm totally blew me away. I don’t make a habit of pre-ordering books but I pre-ordered Ruin and Rising. Yeah, that’s how much I wanted to get my hands on this series finale. When I began Ruin and Rising I was expecting fireworks, angels singing, and an extremely hot guy (preferably dressed in black) to ride in on a unicorn.

I feel like this series ender gave me all of those things, although, not necessarily in the way I expected them. The beginning of the story took some time to get in to. I don’t know if it was because I was nervous that everything was going to end terribly, or because the beginning was re-capping, or maybe I am just not a fan of underground settings. Anyway, I read it slowly and it wasn’t until a little over half way through that I couldn’t put it down. From fifty-percent on Bardugo’s lovely prose took over and I couldn’t wait to see what she had in store for Mal, Alina, The Darkling, and Sturmhound.

For those of you wondering if everything is going to turn out okay I’ll put your fears at ease and tell you it does. But that is as close to a spoiler as I’m going to let slip.

The characters in Ruin and Rising were once again fantastic. Looking back over the notes I took while reading it’s a lot of “Sturmhond’s my favorite”, “Sturmhond, Baghra!” and even more “Sturmhond’s still my favorite”. At least I’m consistent, and Sturmhond is consistently awesome. Every scene he was in he stole. I like his easy, confident swagger and would love to know what happens to him following the events in Ruin and Rising.

Last Summer I represented The Darkling in YA Sisterhood’s Summer Crush Tournament. We made it all the way to the Top 8! I make no secret about how much I like the man in black…even after the events in Siege and Storm forced me to see him in a new light. I still admired his character and could see why he made the choices he did for Ravka. In Ruin and Rising The Darkling and Alina face more difficult choices and I couldn’t see their story ending any other way.


Overall, Ruin and Rising wasn’t the big epic finale I was expecting but it was definitely a satisfying read. It gave me that fuzzy “I finished a series” feeling and I am already looking forward to Bardugo’s next work, whatever that may be!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Murder of Magpies by Sarah Bromley Cover Reveal + Giveaway

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Guest Post
A MURDER OF MAGPIES cover art
Besides the dream of seeing your book in print, one thing so many authors daydream about is what the cover will look like. I come from an artistic background. My grandmother was a watercolorist, and I actually spent time in college as an art major before switching first to forensic pathology (don’t ask—it obviously didn’t last) and eventually English. As someone who’s visual, I was excited and, to be honest, nervous for what Month9Books would come up with as the design for the cover of A MURDER OF MAGPIES.
Georgia McBride asked for my input, which I know is rare because so often authors don’t get much say, if any, in their cover art, but I still didn’t know what to expect. Yet when I saw it, I adored my cover. How could there be any other cover for A MURDER OF MAGPIES? The design brings in details like the cobblestone roads of the book’s setting, Black Orchard, Wisconsin. I could imagine walking down that road in the fog and knowing someone was watching. The antique-style light plays off Vayda’s family’s business in the antiques trade as well as her ability to take emotion and turn it into electricity. Then the bird . . . I love the bird’s position as it is hunched over to peck at the ground as if uncovering a secret, and this is a story where everyone has secrets.


A Murder of Magpies 
Author: Sarah Bromley
Publication date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
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Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.
No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it's not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk.
Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.
Unwanted. That's all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can't explain the hold she has on him--inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn't know what her powers can do. Yet.
Just as Vadya and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn't so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.
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Sarah BromleyAbout The Author
Sarah Bromley lives near St. Louis with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She likes the quiet hours of morning when she can drink coffee in peace, stare into the woods behind her house, and wonder what monsters live there. When she's not writing or wrangling small children, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

(Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

(Don't You) Forget About Me 
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
This book was weird and it just so happens that I like weird. Gardnerville is an idyllic small town, no one gets sick, everyone lives long lives and every four years the teens in town go crazy and strange/deadly things happen. This year in Gardnerville is a 4th year.

Skylar’s sister Piper was one of those teens that had strange and deadly things happen to her and Skylar can’t get past it. She thinks that since this year is a 4th year something will happen to her.

Skylar was an interesting and somewhat unreliable narrator. Skylar is hooked on Forget me nots and it made the beginning of the novel jump around because we weren’t really sure if Skylar was telling the truth or if it was the Forget me nots talking.

I really liked the inclusion of substance abuse in (Don’t You) Forget About Me. The drugs weren’t real life ones but rather ones that were constructed out of different kinds of flowers. Still, for me, they made the story more twisty and interesting.

By far my favorite part of this story though was Gardnerville itself. This is one of those towns were it is so real and tangible that it becomes a character itself. I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding Gardnerville and how the town itself changed the people who lived there.

Overall, Don’t You Forget About Me was a twisty-turny thrill ride. I enjoyed the characters, the substance abuse elements, and the town itself. This was my first Kate Karyus Quinn novel but it will definitely not be my last!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

10 Book Cover Trends I Like/Dislike

Like: Typography
I love different kinds of type and covers that are exclusively type. They just look so clean and pretty.

1 Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo
2 Dark Eyes by William Richter

3 Killer Instinct by SE Green
4 The Loop by Shandy Lawson
5 Rush by Eve Silver

Dislike: Creepy People On The Cover
I don't know what it is but when there is a person on the cover of a book that looks too realistic it kind of creeps me out. Unfortunately this looks like a trend that isn't disappearing any time soon.

6 The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
7 Requiem by Lauren Oliver

8 Take Me On by Katie McGarry
9 The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
10 Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock

While people on the cover can easily go horribly wrong it can also go totally right, like Winger by Andrew Smith.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Eleanor by Johnny Worthen Blog Tour



Eleanor
Author: Johnny Worthen
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Synopsis:
It was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless. Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had, the only other person who knows her secret, is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless. Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.

Guest Post: The forbidden hobby that lead to Eleanor, The Unseen
When I was growing up I played Dungeons and Dragons. Not to date myself too much, but the game was just in its infancy then and I had to fight with my school to get it approved as part of our middle-school game club.

There was a lot fear and misinformation about the game back then. Parents who didn’t know what the game was about, saw only monsters, devils and ogres and assumed that it was some kind of Satanic ruse meant to enlist their little darlings into some occult coven.

Even then, I knew role playing games like D&D are really just social story-telling, creative, imaginative, historical and cool.

The years have proved me right, but at the time, it was touch and go. Because I had to fight for it, Dungeons and Dragons and role-playing games in general have a special place in my heart. Had the forces that be not cared to try to stop my friends and I from playing, I’d not have spent hours pouring over the books, excitedly visualizing dark dungeons and orcs, noble battles for lost treasures, flying horses, ancient elvish races and spooky monsters.

It was one of these spooky monsters that I studied in my middle grade years that followed me into adulthood and my writing career and ultimately into ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN.

The makers of those early D&D books, the reference ones in particular, did not haphazardly invent foes and challenges; they adapted them from folk tales and myth. They described wonderful beings in exciting detail, introducing them to thirsty creative young minds like mine, giving them the necessary mechanics for game play, combat stats, hit points and the like, but basically offering ready-made characters to be written into our adventures and imaginations. Underneath it all, particularly in the early books, there was often a rich vein of historical legend beneath it all.

When I visualized the paranormal aspect of ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN, and researched Native American legends about the Skinwalker, discovering its cousins in Europe and Asia, I realized I knew much more about it than I thought. I was practically an expert in the legend from my days of Dungeons & Dragons.

I can truly say, and will do so proudly to my middle-school principle, that Dungeons & Dragons helped make me the story-teller I am today. 
About The Author
JOHNNY WORTHEN graduated with a B.A. in English and Master’s in American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of businesses and adventures, including running his own bakery, Worthen found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do—write. And write he does. When he’s not pounding on his keyboard or attending writers conferences, Worthen spends his time with his wife and two boys in Sandy, Utah.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 109


Week In Review
Review: Push by Eve Silver
Waiting On Wednesday: Schizo by Nic Sheff
Lifer by Beck Nicholas Cover Reveal + Giveaway
New On The Shelf
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Pre-ordered)
Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock (Library)
Lothaire by Kresley Cole (Library)
Netgalley
The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts
I Am China by Xiaolu Guo
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lifer by Beck Nicholas Cover Reveal + Giveaway

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Lifer by Beck Nicholas
Publication date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

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Synopsis: Asher is a Lifer, a slave aboard the spaceship Pelican. A member of the lowest rung of society, she must serve the ship’s Officials and Astronauts as punishment for her grandparents' crimes back on Earth. The one thing that made life bearable was her illicit relationship with Samuai, a Fishie boy, but he died alongside her brother in a freak training accident.
Still grieving for the loss of her loved ones, Asher is summoned to the upper levels to wait on Lady, the head Official’s wife and Samuai’s mother. It is the perfect opportunity to gather intel for the Lifer’s brewing rebellion. There’s just one problem—the last girl who went to the upper levels never came back.
On the other side of the universe, an alien attack has left Earth in shambles and a group called The Company has taken control. Blank wakes up in a pond completely naked and with no memory, not even his real name. So when a hot girl named Megs invites him to a black-market gaming warehouse where winning means information, he doesn’t think twice about playing. But sometimes the past is better left buried.
As Asher and Blank’s worlds collide, the truth comes out—everyone has been lied to. Bourne Identity meets Under the Never Sky in this intergalactic tale of love and deception from debut novelist Beck Nicholas.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Schizo


Schizo
Author: Nic Sheff
Publisher: Penguin
Expected Publication: September 30, 2014
Goodreads


Synopsis:
The fascinating, shocking, and ultimately quite hopeful story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness by the bestselling author of Tweak.
Miles is the ultimate unreliable narrator—a teen recovering from a schizophrenic breakdown who believes he is getting better . . . when in reality he is growing worse.
Driven to the point of obsession to find his missing younger brother, Teddy, and wrapped up in a romance that may or may not be the real thing, Miles is forever chasing shadows. As Miles feels his world closing around him, he struggles to keep it open, but what you think you know about his world is actually a blur of gray, and the sharp focus of reality proves startling.
Written by the New York Times bestselling author of Tweak, Schizo is the fascinating, and ultimately quite hopeful, story of one teen's downward spiral into mental illness as he chases the clues to a missing brother. Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story. 
My Thoughts: I have been just devouring "Issue Lit" lately. I have also been saying, for a long time, that not enough books deal with mental illness! I am excited to see how the author handles a character who is suffering from a schizophrenic breakdown.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Push by Eve Silver

Push
Author: Eve Silver
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Goodreads Amazon

Review:
Last year I read Rush and was skeptical to say the least. Games, aliens, and shooting are not usually my thing. If I had to pinpoint my usual it would be more contemporary with a side of soul crushing sadness. So color me surprised when Rush became one of my favorite reads of 2013 and when the sequel Push was one of 4 books so far in 2014 that I have rated “5” stars! Yeah. It’s that good.

Reading Push is like watching a movie. I was immediately immersed in the world Silver created and couldn’t put it down. The idea of the committee and the Drau alien threat, even the game itself and the players, all of it is so interesting. Kudo’s to Silver for creating a sci-fi world that even non-sci-fi lovers can enjoy.

So, I know the real reason you’re reading this review is because you want to know if Jackson Tate is alive after that cliffhanger that Rush left us on. I will say that he is alive, but that’s all I’m going to say. Okay, I also mention he’s swoony, but you already knew that.

Miki, in this novel, feels like she has grown a lot. I thought in the first novel that she was relatable despite us having nothing in common but, at times, she let things go that I would have demanded answers about. In Push Miki demands answers and gets them. It was nice to see her take on a more active role in the Game’s leadership and with the committee.

Overall, Push was a solid second novel in The Game series, it was just as gripping at the first installment and it left me clamoring for the third book Crush. I can’t wait to see how things are going to end for Luka, Jackson, and especially Miki. If the twisty-turny plot of Push is any indication Crush is going to be explosive. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 108


Over the past couple weeks I haven't been posting as much on the blog as I usually do. About a month ago I graduated from Law School and moved from South Dakota to Washington (where I'm originally from) so I have been settling in and blogging has been pushed to the backburner. I am going to do my best to get back to it though! Thanks for being patient with me.
Last Few Weeks In Review
Top 10 Favorite Classic Books
Review: Winger by Andrew Smith
Don't Fall by Rachel Schieffelbein Blog Tour
Netgalley & Edelweiss
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Dollhouse by Any Allyn

Jewel by Amy Ewing
Winterkill by Kate Boorman
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray