Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pawn of Mine by Tabitha Vale

The world never ended in fire and ice. The people were consumed by it and now control the elements. The Fires have harnessed the power down to an art while the Waters cower in fear of their abilities, remaining weak and hopeless. Seventeen-year-old Sage Sinclair hopes to dispel the weakness of her Water people because she knows that if she doesn’t do anything, no one will. When she discovers something special about herself, she seeks Humble Narcissist Ruler Agni in the great fire city, Saint Firefly. Once she gains his seal of approval, she’s admitted into Erra Academy where she secretly sparks a revolution among her ennui peers—a revolution to fight back against the Fires. She has every hope in her movement, just as long as her feelings for a handsome and frivolous Saffron Larkspur don’t get in the way—that, and Agni’s sudden fascination with her

I found this story interesting because of the unique take it took on fire vs water, with the addition of a powerful magic of stars. I have not read anything with a similar idea, although I have read a lot of books about teens in a special school honing their powers. This one found a good twist to it that I found enjoyable.
In this story from the blurb I was hoping for a little more action sequences, but the "sparks of revolution" includes a lot of planning and decision making more than fighting. The story is told heavily (but not 100%) with dialogue. Most of it being between Sage and Zane. So they are the ones that really drive the story.
As they prepare for the revolution, there is a sense of unity and friendships that form. Sage becomes a great leader and has a sense of feeling guilty about how even doing something for the greater good, there will always be innocents that could get hurt in a time of war. In that way she seems to think through her actions very carefully and carefully.
When we do get some fantastic action scenes, there is a focus on fire vs water. As this is what the school specializes in. They look at the tattoos of the students when they first enter the school (each person has one that wraps around their upper chest and shoulders) From these tattoos they can also tell alot about the person and the powers they may have. So fighting with these elements is a main theme, and with the combination of using stars as well, it makes for a good and fun read.
It's got a great female lead character that is intelligent and a fighter. I think that the end of the story was my favorite. I had a great time imagining them fighting with the water. I rate this one 4 stars.
Thanks for stopping by today
Happy Reading!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blog Tour! The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello

“Don’t get me wrong. I loved my sister. I never, not once, wished her dead.”

Brady and Sabine Wilson are sisters born eleven months apart, but they couldn’t be more different. Popular Sabine, the head cheerleader dating the high school hunk, seems to have all the luck, while her younger, artsy sister "Brady Brooder" is a loner who prefers the sidelines to the limelight.

After Sabine dies in a horrific cheerleading accident, grief unravels Brady and her family. Once recognized for her artistic talent, 17-year-old Brady finds herself questioning the value of everything she once held dear. Her best friend betrays her. Her parents’ marriage is crumbling. And the boy everyone blames for the accident seems to be her only ally in the search for answers in the wake of her sister’s death. As an unlikely friendship emerges, Brady learns more about Sabine – and love – than she bargained for.

It is a known fact that everybody deals with death differently. We get to see several sides of the mourning process in this book. Brady's family and friends have all experienced the loss of Sabine, but have taken that loss in different ways.

The focus of the story is on Brady as she learns more about Sabine's life and the secrets that Sabine kept from her. She doesn't intentionally go looking for answers, but once the opportunity is open to her, she engages it. With each piece of information she takes a step back and looks at their past together and signs that what she is hearing is true. She is at a vulnerable point, not knowing what to believe or if the knowledge helps with the healing process or not.

With a small glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel and a foreseeable future. Brady makes a friend in the oddest of situations, and helps another from the same circumstances that befell her sister.

Bio: As a founding member of what the Oregonian has dubbed Portland’s “hottest writing group” (members include Chuck Palahniuk, Chelsea Cain, Lidia Yuknavitch, Monica Drake and Cheryl Strayed), Suzy’s name has graced the acknowledgement pages of many a book. Her own award-winning writing has appeared in a bunch of journals and anthologies. She holds an MFA from Antioch Los Angeles, and when she’s not writing novels, does freelance copywriting and editing. The Moment Before is her debut novel. Suzy lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Kirk, and son, Carson. Find out more on

Blog Tour

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Steel Lily (The Periodic Series #1) by Megan Curd

AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.
She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued. But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.

…Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.

4 Stars
In a world that has been destroyed by war and the living are now herded into domes. Steel Lily really portrays an interesting look into those whom survive the war. 

The writing had a somewhat steampunk-like feel to it, as the story includes an older form of technology with the futuristic. Some of the people have developed powers such as the main character, a water elementalist. Corruption is everywhere and the idea of leaving the dome is too good to be true. 

Although there is some action to the story, it is mostly discovery through dialogue that is the majority of the story. By discovery I mean detective work on behalf of the students to learn more about where they have been placed and the secrets that are being hidden. Avery has just traded one bad situation for another. But at least now, she is backed with a support group. 

I really enjoyed the world building and the fusion of magic, and technology (both old and new) to create the domes they now live in. It is an wonderfully created adventure story that has several twists and imaginative ideas that shine throughout the story. With the overall feeling of dark, dirty and almost unlivable society, but how much can you really trust those that have been placed in power?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.
Hardcover, 428 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

2 Stars

I think it would be a little harsh to say that I hated this book, because I didn't. I just feel that it could have been more. It was as if we get a lot of filler story and not enough character development or depth to the story that I usually see in the first book to a series.

There is quite a bit of action and twists that happen, yet I didn't feel that I was gripped or on the edge of my seat. There are four different characters we learn about and two additional that play more minor roles, but all are prominent in the story. Partly I feel that I would have found the story more gripping if it were told from a different perspective, Ro or Tima for example had a lot more ambition and intuition than Dol showed.

The novel does end with a bang and I would like to see what kind of direction it takes. My personal opinion would be to read this right before the second book comes out. I think it would be more enjoyable to be able to continue on with the series immediately instead of waiting.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Enders (Starters #2) by Lissa Price

5 Stars

With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie's life - but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too ...and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body? This is the thrilling sequel to "Starters".
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: January 7th 2014 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

 Enders (Starters)

My first 5 star read of the new year!
Enders  had me hooked from the beginning. It was a fantastic sequel and took the characters and plot into a deeper and more extreme situation than I thought the story would go.

I love a good survival story, especially one with a smart female lead. Several twists pop up in the book, one I saw coming, but others that shot me to the edge of my seat. This book really amps up the danger factor.

Even though Callie is now in a better situation from the previous book. It doesn't last long, she continues the search for Emma and becomes the center focus of Prime. Throwing her, brother and Michael back in danger.

There are several new characters that come into the story and will have you constantly guessing who is bad or good. There is little to no down time in the story, they are constantly on the run and searching for a way to stop The Old Man's plan.

It is very much like the first book.  A sci-fi, detective, adventure story that has Callie yet again stuck in the middle of a dangerous puzzle. Everything is down to the wire and outsmarting each other. A huge focus on who you can trust, and those you can't.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ruined (The Eternal Balance #1) by Jus Accardo

Hell is looking for a way to break loose…

Jax lost the genetic lottery. Descended from Cain, the world's first murderer, he's plagued by a curse that demands violence in exchange for his happiness. He left everything behind, including the girl he loved, but thriving on the pain of others is lonely… And it's killing him.

After a series of heartbreaking losses, Samantha put rubber to pavement and headed for college as fast as her clunker could carry her. But she can't outrun her problems. When an attack at school drives her back home, she's thrown into the path of a past—and a guy—she's been trying to forget.

Sam strains Jax's control over his darkness, but running isn't an option this time. Someone—or, something—followed her home from school: a ruthless monster with a twisted plan centuries in the making. Forced together to survive, and fighting an attraction that could destroy them both, Jax and Sam must stop a killer bent on revenge.

Published December 30th 2013 by Entangled Embrace
3 Stars 

I really love this author's writing style. She is great at building suspense and anticipation (especially the angst for those love scenes). This book was not a disappointment in those ways. What I did find harder to love about this book than her others is the depth to the plot and storyline.

The story contains constant action and a good mystery at it's heart. I was a bit disappointed to have the one character I felt has a great depth of information about the characters was killed off. Eventually the story became a bit predictable for me. I read a lot it seemed very familiar to me.

What did catch my attention and I find was very well done is the romance aspect to the story. Jax had left his life behind, only to return to say goodbye to a loved one. He finds himself stuck in town for awhile and tries as best he can to explain to his ex-girlfriend Sam why he had to leave. He is the true definition of a “bad boy.” It is apparent that Sam's life is in danger and somebody is trying to kill her. Jax is there to rescue her and eventually begins to break down that wall between them.

The story is told from both Jax's and Sam's Perspective, so we get to learn about each of their personalities well and watch that process slowly breaking down for each of them, bringing them closer, and the reader awaiting the outcome to that angst.

There are a lot of twists to the story and it is slowly unraveled to us in a way that keeps us turning pages to find out what happens next. The main characters are both determined, strong and feisty and them working things out with each other and the romance aspect is the main focus of the story.

It is a more mature novel and recommended for older teens, it also has a lot of violence, some alcohol and language. A very enjoyable story for those that enjoy seeing the bad boy and bad girl hook up. Sam is not your predictable girl next door and adds a lot of humor to the story.