Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine, #1)An all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Mindsis the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever (GoodReads).

While I am STILL mad at Dashner for the end of the Maze Runner series, I like his writing. I am interested in this new series. Is it getting buzz just because the movie of Maze Runner is in the works? Or will it be awesome? The Eye of Minds by James Dashner comes out in October.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Nameless by Lili St. Crow

A retelling of Snow White (and a few other fairy tales on the sidelines) Nameless by Lili St. Crow was strange but also satisfying. It is nothing at all like the Strange Angels series, but still a good read.

Nameless (Tales of Beauty & Madness, #1)When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now. (GoodReads).

Originality: 10. Whoa, alternative history with magic and vampire politics and dystopian cities AND fairy tale retellings. Oh, also there is a private girls school run by nuns. And cults. I am probably forgetting something as well.Also, the language is HARD to follow. This is a complex world and you are not given any help in figuring out what a person's "Potential" is, the different between a "jack" and a "Twist", both magically inclined/mutated persons. If you give it a chance you figure it out, but its not easy.
Absurdity. 9. See above. 
Level of Paranormal Romance: 3. For all of the potential swoon with Nico, this books underplays the romance. It is very effective, but more about how Cami feels about the relationship than anything else.
Level of Harry Potterness: 6. At first I could not get into this book, but I read it slowly and gave it a chance, and I am happy I did. This bizarre world (and narrative voice/language) eventually hooked me. I will be reading the next book in the Tales of Beauty & Madness series.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review: Arrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer (Arrow of the Mist Series)

When I saw this cover flash by on NetGalley, I thought: 1) MAN that is a beautiful cover and 2) I should read that:

Arrow of the MistTerror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

Originality: 7- This is much more fantasy then I expected, much more magical.  I liked the characters, especially Lia, but they were not very developed, and predictably intertwined.
Absurdity: 6- Young girl must save her village.  Of course she is an outcast, of course she has magic, and of COURSE the hunky boy loves her no matter what.
Paranormal Romance: 2- Womp womp. we get two kisses and some looks but this is a story of Lia and her cousin ( and since this is not a G.R. Martin book, these two are just FRIENDS and COUSINS.  Thank god).
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 5- This genre is YA Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, and it is definitely closer to middle grade.  Still, I almost gave up but persevered pretty much because my flight was delayed and I was stuck in the airport with nothing else to read, but I was surprised at some of the twists and turns in the end.   Anyone who has a younger reader around, I would definitely recommend this for good clean story telling with some suspense!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Christina Mercer via NetGalley. Happy reading followed. (We do not accept or receive compensation for reviews at YAF and WS.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Library Updates: Book fails, also known as DNF

We will read just about anything around here, but once in a blue moon, we just cannot. finish. a. book. Recently the stars aligned and this happened to both me and Crazy Camper in the same weekend. Luckily we were also in the same place, so rather than wallow in bad books, Crazy Camper and I hung out with our mom in the backyard and she summarized the end of my book fail (Having someone who can tell you want happened and spare you a bad read, which she confirmed was the case, is a win.). Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris will go down as a Did Not Finish. I feel sad to leave Sookie this way, but maybe her story should have been buried (pun!) earlier.

(On a plus side, the cover designs remain delightful)
This is the inside of the front cover.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa has been a hard book for me to review, but here, finally, is my best effort.

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike (GoodReads).

This book just draggggged. I could have cut lots out ESP of the first 240 pages. Things pick up when a certain someone shows up and I gasped at the ending, but overall this was not compelling for me

Originality: 6. I still stand by my review of book oneThe Immortal Rules (click for review) that this series has a unique dystopian/vampire POV with Allie as a vampire and our protagonist.
Absurdity: 7. THEY WALK SO MUCH. Like across large sections of the country. This is truly a minor point, but hey, it made me crazy.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. You know, the usual vampire-human unrequited love. But a certain someone has a way with declarations of affection. Who doesn't like boys who emote?
Level of Harry-Potterness: 2. This book really could not hook me until literally the last page. I am happy I persevered through the epilogue because the cliffhanger was a good one. BUT, but, this barely makes up for the slog. I will have to see how I feel about the next book- it might be a speed-read option.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Defiance (and Deception) by C. J. Redwine

Click this cover for a(n) eBook sample of Defiance.So, logging onto my library website, this came up front page as new, with the following blurb:

Defiance by C. J. Redwine is rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce. While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan--the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.
As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

See that? perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce?  Done. Waiting.  What are you waiting on this week? 

Addendum from Grad Student: Defiance is the first book in the Courier's Daughter Trilogy Series. The second book Deception comes out this August. CC: SPOILERS BELOW!! Read at your own risk!! [ I made it tiny to hide it!]

Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive. 

In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight (GoodReads).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Topics That Make us Pass-Up Books

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is dedicated to the topics which we avoid reading about. As always a big cheers of our whiskey sours to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT, our fav weekly book blog meme!

Grad Student:

    Undead and Unwed (Undead, #1)
  • Trolls. NO TROLLS. Trolls are icky and live under bridges. I tried Amanda Hocking's series, but no trolls for this girl.
  • Serial Killers. I am a huge wimp. I had to stop watching Law and Order: SVU when I moved to NYC because they kept killing women in my neighborhood and I was terrified of every episode.
  • Pregnancy. YIKES
Crazy Camper:

  • Incredibly snobby, rich characters- looking at you, everyone in the Bluebloods series by Melissa de la Cruz.
  • Anything with a pun in the title, stop suggesting things like Undead and Unwed or Witch Way to Murder.
  • Adultery/ cheating scandals- Ugh- no THANKS.
  • INSTA-LOVE/ DESTINED LOVE.  Shakespeare really opened a can of worms with Romeo and Juliette.  Feuding houses? Ick.  Insta-ove? Especially in teenagers or budding witches?  No thanks.
Puns AND babies.