Tuesday, March 31, 2015

*Book Review* This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Series: Starbound # 2
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Released: December 23, 2014
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover, 390 pages
Genre: YA, Science Fiction

*Book Blurb*

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

This Shattered World is the second installment in the Starbound trilogy by authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Let me just say before I get to the actual review of the book that you may be able to get away with reading this book, without having read These Broken Stars first. But, I would recommend that you at least be familiar with Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen's story before going forward. I say this in earnest because not only do they have a "guest" appearance in the middle of everything that happens, but apparently it's not the final time we will see Lilac, or Tarver.

This Shattered World, told in alternating narratives, is all about Captain Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac who are on opposite sides of a war that has been constant on the planet of Avon. As the book begins, the world is in a state of ceasefire, but one small match can throw the entire planet a major conflict. Flynn Cormac is the younger brother of one of the more famous rebels (Orla) ever to have been caught and executed. His people, the Fianna, have been living in caves and hiding from soldiers for a decade.

Known as a pacifist by his people, Flynn's daring kidnapping of Captain Chase leads to even more secrets, betrayal, and dare I say, a bridge to the final installment in the trilogy. This Shattered World isn't a romance driven novel. It is a story about war, the ugliness of what happens to the people it affects, secrets about corporations and its intentions, and perhaps a commentary that if people talked things out a bit more, they would find that there's more common ground than things that separate them.

Captain Jubilee Chase is the perfect soldier who becomes so much more over the course of this story. She's a survivor in that her parents were killed a decade before. Lee gained notoriety as being one without a soul, and a hardass where nothing gets to her. For 10 years, Lee hasn't had any dreams, and unlike others, she's not affected by the Fury.

Lee has always wanted to do things adventurous, but ended up enlisting in the military where she quickly rose through the ranks and now leads her own squad. After being taken against her will by Flynn, Lee's eyes open to things that she never understood before. She has to face the fact that things on Avon are more secretive and deeper than she could ever imagine. She progresses towards romantic feelings for Flynn, and not insta romance. I love Lee, I really do. She's quick and deadly. She's not a robot, but a human who has seen her share of nastiness and survived while others have been sent off planet.

I like this story because it is more science fiction than romance. I like the whispers return to the series, and what has happened to them since Tarver and Lilac's story 8 months before. I like the world building much more than the first book. I like that while a majority of the story is on planet, there is a brief scene in which Flynn sees stars for the first time in his life. I think what confused me was the snippets before each chapter. If you don't pay attention, then you will have no clue what this back story really means.

Next in Series: Their Fractured Light featuring Sofia Quinn, who makes a brief appearance in This Shattered World, and Gideon Marchant. As I said in my opening, Flynn Cormac, Jubilee Chase, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux all make return appearances in what is expected to be the wrap up fight against LaRoux Industries. Expected publication: December 29th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion

Other Books in Series:

Monday, March 30, 2015

*Top Ten Tuesday* Ten Books Added to My TBR Pile of Doom!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and we all share our thoughts on that topic! I decided it was finally time to jump on board with this wicked fun meme!

Top Books Added to My TBR Pile of DOOM!

1. Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

2. Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios

3. Against A Brightening Sky by Jamie Lee Moyer

4. Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

5. The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason

6. Soundless by Rachel Mead

7. Crucible Zero by Devon Monk

8. Velvet Underground by Teri Brown

9. The Drafter by Kim Harrison

10. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Saturday, March 28, 2015

*Stacking the Shelves* Featuring Gardens of Dreams & Desires

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course eBooks!

Hello all you book lovers and fiends! I hope you had a good week, and got a whole lot of reading done! This week has been a breath of fresh air. No rushes to read. No major additions to my TBR pile from Hades. And, things are only going to get more interesting from here! I hope you find something in this brief STS to your liking! 

The Week in Reviews:

Shelley's Birthday week books to read + blog tours:

This Shattered World by Kaufman & Spooner (YA)
Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle (UF) (04/01) 
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (YA Fantasy) (04/02) 
The Diamond Conspiracy by Pip & Tee (Steampunk) (03/31)
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter (UF) (04/10)
Garden of Dreams & Desires by Kristen Painter (UF)

Received from Publisher (Hachette/Orbit):

Received via Edelweiss & NetGalley

Borrowed via Library

Amazon Deals of the Week


Friday, March 27, 2015

*Review/Giveaway Stop* Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard

Series: The Black Towers # 1
Format: E-Book, 306 pages
Release Date: February 12, 2015
Publisher: Centurion Books
Source: Xpresso Book Tours

Aurelia Barone, Jewel of Starry Stone, harbors no illusions about the purpose of her life as heir to the throne. But after two failed betrothals, she starts to feel like nothing more than a pawn being moved aimlessly about a game board.

Until the night she loses everything.

Kidnapped by a wise-cracking mercenary with more than one identity, Aurelia embarks on a mission across land and sea to avenge her father’s death.

But an evil is rising from the ashes of memory. Insidious magic is stirring. The dregs of a once-powerful nation are thirsty for blood and revenge.

They seek to harness Aurelia. To tempt her. To manipulate her. And if necessary, to destroy her. 

Stones and Finger Bones is the first story in The Black Towers series by new to me author Jessica Minyard. Minyard writes a tale about a world where magical users called the Salindiri once flourished, and are now mostly in hiding, or keeping a low profile. I do suggest that readers take a peek at the back of the book for a nice glossary of terms that Jessica has created. It will help you understand who the people are, and how the world got to this point.

Stones main protagonist is Princess Aurelia Barone VII aka "The Jewel of Starry Stone" who is heir to the crown of Myrinthia. Aurelia is the only child of King Aurelien Barone but doesn't exactly have a good track record when it comes to her betrothed. After Aurelia's father is murdered, she is kidnapped by a roguish assassin named Rycendithias (Rycen). This is where the real interesting parts come from.

Rycen and Aurelia find themselves chased by a drathraq (dark walker), and later come face to face with not only the truth about Aurelia's heritage, but the person who was supposed to have died after giving birth to her; her mother. They travel by sea, and by land to uncover secrets needed to defeat the drathraq and understand Aurelia's abilities. As with other fantasy novels, there is the momentarily romantic interlude between characters. I will say that the romance is NOT love at first sight. It is a bitter battle which slow burns into something else.

Stones and Finger Bones follows a similar pattern to other Young Adult Fantasy novels. There is danger, suspense, bitter politics, backstabbing and betrayal, and a heroine who has to learn how to deal with the fact that she's got some powerful abilities and therefore powerful enemies. The story is also told from the perspectives of other characters like Marel Barone (uncle), Gianmarelo Barone (cousin), and Kostadin, an immortal Salindiri who has his fingers on the pulse of everything that happens in this story.

I dare say that I will be looking forward to the sequel of this story since there are more than a few questions that remain unanswered. I do believe that Aurelia is an interesting enough character not to abandon her journey entirely before it's finished. Even though Stones is a dark story at times, there are scenes of humor which I definitely liked. I also believe the sequel could be much, much darker if Minyard ends up unleashing Aurelia on those who killed her father.  

Truth in reviewing. I received this E-book via Xpresso Book Tours (Giselle) for the express reason of positively promoting this story. My opinions are my own and therefore subject to my likes and dislikes. No money changed hands.

Jessica wrote and illustrated her first story in the fourth grade. “The Dragon of Grindley Grun” was about an evil wizard, a princess, and a dragon who was actually a prince. She likes to think her writing has evolved since that very first story, even though she still writes about magic and evil wizards...sometimes.

She likes to sing loudly and dance on occasion without being particularly talented at either. Her interests include reading, writing, procrastinating, animal advocacy, musicals, accessories, memes, Harry Potter, and sweet tea.

Jessica lives in Kentucky with a spoiled pitbull.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

*Book Review* A Curse Unbroken by Cecy Robson (UF/PNR)

Series: Weird Girls # 5
Publisher: Loveswept
Released: March 10, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Format: E-Book, 272 pages
Genre: UF, Romance

*Book Blurb*

The preternatural world is changing. After a massive magical throw down tore apart the established order, the dark elements are rebuilding their ranks unopposed. Celia Wird’s world is changing, too. She’s the mate of the pureblood were Aric, and his Warriors are honor-bound to protect her family as she and her sisters recover from unimaginable horrors.

Celia hesitates to reveal the true extent of the Wird sisters’ trauma, but they aren’t the only ones keeping secrets: Aric and the werewolf Elders are tracking a stone that grants limitless power. So is a tough coven of witches. Then Misha, a master vampire with his own plans for the stone, sends Celia after it. Can she and the vamps beat both the weres and the witches to the treasure before it falls into the wrong hands?

Fearing for Celia’s safety, Aric begs her to stay out of the hunt. What they don’t realize is that they’re the ones being hunted. But Celia’s ready to prove that she’s not easy prey.

The FIFTH installment of the Weird Girls series, A Curse Unbroken, picks up from where A Cursed Bloodline left off. The Wird sisters, Celia, Taran, Shayna, and Emme are struggling to return to a sense of normality after dealing with a major betrayal by Anara, a werewolf Elder, who left each of them scared; especially Celia, and Taran. But nothing is normal for the sisters who aren't supposed to exist. Who were cursed with abilities that nobody has seen before.

Cecy doesn't even give them a chance to catch their breaths and mourn for their losses before unleashing yet another dangerous entity on them. One who especially wants to eliminate Celia, and uses her fears against her; including flashbacks to her own painful childhood. If that wasn't enough after everything that's happen to the sisters, they are forced into searching for a powerful relic that could turn the tide of the battle to their favor. Everyone, witches, vampires, werewolves, The Tribe, they all want it for themselves and will do anything to get it.

I must truthfully and honestly say, that I am glad that Cecy is taking a break from telling Celia's story for now. I think that she has tortured and driven Celia as far as she can go without becoming one of those authors who is pictured laughing in glee at how many different ways she can make her character bleed, or come close to death. It's a wonder Celia hasn't had a complete nervous breakdown. Every time I read one of these books, I come away hearing Drowning Pool's Bodies in my head!

Another reason I am glad that Cecy is moving on to Taran next, is that I am sick and tired of the marry-go-round known as Misha who refuses to understand that Celia has chosen Aric as her mate and that she will marry him regardless of his unwanted and unnecessary sexual advances. Don't get me wrong. While I do like Misha as a friend, and an ally, he isn't mate material. If you want a character who is a sex buddy, well then Misha is available 24/7.

I'll be interested to see how she goes about resolving Taran's issues, (especially with Genevieve and Gemini) because man alive, this girl needs some serious anger management classes. I truly do feel unimaginable sorrow for this girl. Gone is the awesome, kickass, sarcastic character we saw before everything went sideways in A Cursed Bloodline. I want my Taran back! I also want more of Bren and Emme!

**I received this book for free from (Loveswept) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Other books in series:


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

*Early Book Review* Hellbender by Dana Cameron (UF)

Series: Fangborn # 3
Publisher: 47North
Released: March 31, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Format: E-Book, 272 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Still grappling with the newfound powers she gained after opening Pandora’s box, Zoe shares the responsibility of protecting “Normal” humans. Having long preferred to keep to the shadows, she knows the pending revelation of the Fangborn will set the world on fire. With Fangborn enemies in the Order of Nicomedia forcing their hand, Zoe and her supernatural Family have no choice but to step into the spotlight. But that decision has garnered the attention of the powerful and otherworldly beings known as the Makers. They claim to have created the Fangborn—not as saviors, but as predators. And it seems they have their own plans for Zoe…and for the fate of all the Fangborn.

Hellbender is the THIRD installment in the Fangborn series by Dana Cameron. The series features archaeologist, and Fangborn werewolf Zoe Miller who was raised as a human, but recently found out that she's actually one of those who have been fighting evil in secret for generations. Zoe has literally opened Pandora's box searching for powerful Fangborn artifacts, and come away as one of the most powerful individuals in the world. But, with great power, comes greater responsibilities, and a huge target on her head.

The Fangborn are werewolves, vampires, and oracles, but there has been some eye opening new characters like dragons Quarrel, Yuan, and Nasserian. In this world, Vampires can heal, while Oracles are powerful in their ability to see the future. Zoe breaks the mold in that she's a combination of vamp, oracle, werewolf, and quite possibility, dragon. For Hellbender, Cameron pushes the story that much closer to I-Day where the Fangborn are planning to Identify themselves to the general public.

But, in the meantime, the Fangborn or Family, have been busy with the Order of Nicomedia who have been hunting, killing, and experimenting on them. They have also created a new monstrosity known as the Fellborn who have killed Zoe's friends and family. This has led to an all out war in Boston where Pack of Strays left us. Zoe somehow manages to find the ability to bend the time space continuum and travel to Japan where she finds yet another artifact, and information about the father she never knew.

This leads to the discovery of another one in Alaska, and the introduction of yet another powerful villain who captures Zoe. Zoe's immense powers have also awakened the Makers, who claim they created the Fangborn but are not happy about the current state of affairs. Nope, not happy at all. It is up to Zoe to find a way to not only deal with the Makers, but the Order and their powerful supporters.

There are some curious questions left over after reading Hellbender. The most important question I asked Dana, was whether or not this was the final book in the series. Her response was that she truly hopes for more! Therefore, let me say that if you've read this series, and enjoyed it, spread the word! I definitely encourage readers to start from Pack of Strays before you pick up Hellbender. Trust me. It will make a whole lot more sense if you follow the trail Cameron creates.

I love the fact that the Dragons play such an important part in this story. Zoe's relationship with Quarrel has come a long way since he threatened to eat her in Pack of Strays. I also love that Sean isn't entirely gone from this series, but is part of Zoe's mind lab. How unique is it to have your own mind lab to think things through and store things away from prying eyes?

There are so many possibilities and avenues to explore in this world, that I truly do hope that Cameron is able to write more. What happens to the Fangborn now that I-Day has come? Will Zoe continue her pursuit of Fangborn artifacts, or will she go back to being an archaeologist? Has she chosen the person that she truly is meant to be with? What is the Maker's next move and plans for Zoe and the Fangborn?

**I received this book for free from (47North) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Other Books in Series: