Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves, #1)
A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
Pub: 6/23/2015
Pgs: 368
ARC received by Edelweiss.

Morgan Rhodes has had a successful run with her on going series, Falling Kingdoms, and now she's created a spinoff series that brings the modern world in contact with Ancient Mythica.

Crystal and Becca Hatcher live with their mother and work in the family book store. Things haven't been the same since their father left them and has never contacted them. One day a mysterious package arrives for their mother from their aunt. Crystal, being the rule breaker that she is, opens the package addressed to her mother to find a book. Once her disappointment has passed she opens the book to find that it's written in a foreign language. Becca takes the book to investigate it and is immediately effected by the book in a magical manner. Now Becca is in a coma, Crystal has to explain to her mother something unexplainable, and she has to figure out how her family and her father are tied to all of this. As she delves into the mystery of what happened to Becca, Crystal will learn family secrets that could tear her family apart and put Becca in danger.

Maddox Corso lives in Ancient Mythica, where he is known as the witch boy. Driven by debt he works for a thug of Mythica that spins Maddox's abilities and sells Maddox's services for high prices. When the Goddess finds out about Maddox she imprisons him to ask him to find a missing princess and a book. While this is going on Maddox starts seeing the specter of Becca Hatcher. He doesn't know why she keeps following him or why he is the only one that can see her, all he knows is that she dresses, talks, and acts differently than anyone else in Mythica. Together they must figure out the mystery laid before them by the Goddess and also how Becca can return home.

Farrell Grayson is your typical rich kid bad boy. Ever the fighter, rake, and disappointment to his parents, Farrell belongs to a secret society that all of his family members belong to. This elite group is run by Markus King, and the things this society does could make anyone's skin crawl. As Farrell keeps falling down deeper into this rabbit hole, he slowly starts losing himself and becoming someone even his younger brother cannot recognize. His path will cross with Crystal and both will learn how their lives, families, and futures are interconnected.

I really enjoyed this spinoff. There are not that many similarities to the other series, which is refreshing, but the writing style is still the same and that's great! I love how Rhodes can weave in magic, mystery, suspense, love, revenge, and friendship in her novels. She gives such great life to her stories and characters.

4 out of 5 stars. Thanks Edelweiss. 

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Pub: 6/9/2015
Pg: 400
ARC Received by Edelweiss

Minnow Bly used to play outside, eat ice cream, read stories, and do the things little kids do, but one day her father came home with new ideas about a prophet and the chosen people. The same idea that changed Minnow's life, and countless of other people, when a cult was created and executed deep in the woods. With a prophet that rules with an iron fist, and Deacons (like Minnow's father) who are willing to enforce the rules or punishments dealt out by the prophet, many of the community live in fear. Not only is that an issue, but there is the issue of multiple wives and child brides.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly delves into the world of cult practices and how these communities can break an innocent spirit. Not only is the story about Minnow's life in the community, but also the crime that ended the whole community life and brought awareness to the authorities about said crimes committed against disobedient members of the community. Minnow is just one of the victims, having had her hands cut off for disobeying "God's" orders to marry the prophet. I really liked the way the story unfolded from memories, testimonies, and conversations with other characters and Minnow. The deceptions and secrecy in this novel make it a thriller, but the present actions in the novel that deal with Minnow in juvie are pieces of darkened humor.

This story in many ways reminds me of All the Truth That's In Me , and I loved that story. It's worth the read because it deals with redemption, lies, complacencies, and perseverance.

3.5 stars out of 5. Thanks Edelweiss.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

The Stars Never Rise (Untitled Series, #1)
The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent
Pub: 6/9/2015
Pg: 368
ARC received by Edelweiss

What I Liked:
I liked the setting.  The idea of recycling souls, and inheriting souls because there is a shortage of souls in the universe is intriguing... and slightly crazy.  So when you are introduced to the way of life in Nina's town you can accept the crazy.  Nina and her sister were also a great plus, since they are both so different and ultimately both have issues or characteristics that would mar them in front of their community.  They both make mistakes but are not impossibly unlikeable... they are very human.
I was intrigued with Finn and his group of friends.  Finn and his friends are rebels who are putting down demons left and right, and they know a couple of secrets that church leaders would like to keep away from the public... and Nina is part of this secret. 
The "mother" of Nina and Mellie was interesting.  And once Finn's group explained further I could see where the book was sort of going... it wasn't until almost the end that I realized along with the rest of the characters what was happening in the town.  I loved the deception and conspiracy of the church in this story. 

What I Didn't Like:
Finn.  I like Finn as a person... you can't even say that, but it's true.  I like him, I don't hate him at all.  What I find troubling is that Nina is now in the most convoluted love square/relationship I have ever encountered in YA... and that is saying something.  I don't want to give much away about Finn, but let me say it is so confusing to have a character like this and then make him part of a romance.  It will be interesting to see how this all will end with Finn.
3 out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy & Oliver
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Pub: 6/23/2015
Pgs: 352
ARC received by Edelweiss

Emmy and Oliver were the best of friends up until second grade, up until the moment Oliver's father picks him up to school on a Friday, up until Oliver and his father disappear without a trace.  Since second grade Emmy and her 2 closest friends have had to deal with the fallout of your best friend being kidnapped as a little second grader.  Parents are weary, Emmy doesn't get to sleep over people's houses much, and the community becomes more closed off.  However, Emmy, Drew, and Caro have adjusted to this and have grown closer since that fateful day their friendship of 4 became a trio in second grade.

They have adjusted well, but Oliver is back now, 10 years later. Oliver didn't know he was being kidnapped, he didn't know his father lied to him; all Oliver knows is that he loves his dad, everything he knew was a lie, and he doesn't really know who he is anymore.  Even when his childhood friends: Drew, Emmy, and Caro are around him, he's not even sure about their friendship.  Slowly he begins to open up to Emmy, since they had always been closer living right next door. 

Emmy and Oliver begin to show parts of each other they keep hidden from the rest of the world.  They slowly build confidence in themselves with each moment they spend together, and when the going gets tough they become an integral part of each other's life.  Emmy might have to hide who she is to her parents, and Oliver might have to hide his true feelings from his mother, but they both will learn that some things are worth the risk. 

I really liked this story of a readjusting after a kidnap.  No one really ever thinks about the people who were left behind, just the family and the victim (rightly so), but what happens to those we leave behind?  Do they become suspended in time, ready to be the same people when the victim returns?  Do they move on, and just become one of the crowd? 

4 Out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss. 

Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano

Nearly Found (Nearly Gone, #2)
Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano
Pub: 6/2/2015
Pg: 384
ARC received by Edelweiss

Nearly, Nearly, Nearly... she's always in some kind of mess and she doesn't disappoint readers in Nearly Found . Nearly and Reece are trying to have fun and get over the past few months. Nearly has one more year of school and Reece is being transferred from school for another assignment in a different town and also so that Nearly's town doesn't figure out he's an informant. Other than that Nearly is pretty stoke for school because she will begin interning at the crime lab of the police department. Everything seems smooth, until a girl she knows is brought into the morgue, after her boyfriend declared her missing and now he's the prime suspect... and Nearly owes him. On top of that a body of a missing person, who is connected to Nearly's father, turns up buried at the local golf course. The mysteries keep piling up with only one link, Nearly... or more specifically her father. Reece and Nearly with the help of their detective friends/handlers need to figure out who is behind this and most importantly they need to figure out if TJ has anything to do with this.

I really like Cosimano's world in Nearly Gone . Nearly has empathy like abilities, she can read people beyond your regular tells; however, this ability never overshadows what's going on in the story. The mystery in this book was just as exciting and riveting as the last novel. I also enjoyed Reece and Nearly's romance, because the author made it realistic and crude, like any relationship actually is in real life.

4 out of 5 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Spelled by Betsy Schow

SpelledSpelled by Betsy Schow
Pub: 06/02/2015
Pgs: 352
ARC received from Edelweiss

Rule #17: To rescue a princess from magical imprisonment, a handsome prince must first slay the dragon. If one is not available, a large iguana will do in a pinch.

is a remarkable blend of classic fairytales, The Wizard of Oz , and Clueless. Dorthea is the crown princess of Emerald. Due to a curse that was placed on her family many years ago, she can never go outside of the palace walls or else. Driven crazy by being locked up, having to pick a prince to marry, and throwing tantrums makes Dorthea do one of the dumbest things in fairy land... she makes a bad wish. Now everyone she loves is gone or turned into a crazy version of their fairy tale, and all the different kingdoms have been moved around. Armed with some great heels, a kitchen maid, and the suitor her parents picked for her (who annoys her to no end Dorthea must escape the Gray Witch and find a way to take back her wish.

It was such an entertaining book. I found myself really liking the character dynamics, the jokes, and the adventure. By the end I was rooting for Dorthea, and she had excellent character growth. It seemed as if the ending is open to a sequel or follow up book, and I am so there.

3.5 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz

Dancing with Molly
Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz
Pgs: 272
ARC received from Edelweiss

Dancing with Molly is an unfortunate story about a girl who falls down the rabbit hole of drugs, specifically Ecstasy and Molly.  I can't say this impacted me as much as Go Ask Alice, probably due to my age now versus when I read GAADWM is a girl's diary that she starts when she first experiences doing Ecstasy.  Becca is a self-proclaimed band geek, and her younger sister always steals the spot light, so when the spot light turns to Becca she realizes that Molly might help her become the girl everyone likes. Even thought I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next, it didn't feel very authentic.  Everyone had absent parents, hot tubs, and these kids were like hard core... and no one seemed to notice until bad things began to happen.  Even when the bad things begin, the parents immediately assume they can handle the issue, only to have their kids' friends lie and get around groundings.  I mean, in all honesty, if I was 17 and doing Molly, and kissed my teacher at a school function while I was high, my mother would have killed me on the spot... not even being overdramatic.  She would have sent me away at the very least; however, I realize that there are absentee parents out there, and their kids have the opportunity to experience things like sex, drugs, alcohol, and other craziness.  Overall, the message was there and it wasn't boring.
3 out of 5 stars.
Thanks Edelweiss.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Pub: 5/5/2015
Pg: 416
ARC received by NetGalley

A Court of Thorns and Roses takes place in a world where the ancient religion was that of the Fey.  As time passed and a war happened the humans separated themselves from the Fey, and soon lost their old ways, and all that remained was bitterness and hate.  Feyre knows the stories of the Fey, she finds it silly, but since she has to hunt for food, she also knows that the forest hides many secrets.  During an outing in at winter time, when food supplies were running low for her family, Feyre stumbles upon a deer.  Unfortunately that deer had a massive wolf tracking her as well.  In a quick moment Feyre decides to kill the wolf and the deer in order to save her starving family.  Even though the wolf was almost supernatural big, she is convinced that it was only a wolf and not some ethereal being... she was wrong.

Tamlin, a High Lord Fey, comes knocking at Feyre's door.  She must pay the price for having killed a Fey that meant her no harm.  Her punishment is that she must returned to the land of the Fey for the remainder of her life.  Feyre doesn't want to leave her family, she is the only one that makes sure they have food and money, and she promised her mother that she would always look after her sisters Nesta and Elain.  After Tamlin brings Feyre to the Fey world, he lets her stay in his home for protection against other Fey.

I loved this book!  I love the Scottish story of Tamlin, and I also loved Cruel Beauty. ACOTR spins the story of Tamlin and Beauty and the Beast.  The character Tamlin is essentially the Beast and Feyre is Beauty.  Feyre has to overcome her hatred for him and his kind, she has to learn to trust him, and eventually she has to love him.  Of course Feyre knows nothing of this.  The characters were great, and Tamlin and Lucien were pretty funny at times, more so Lucien.  The heat between Feyre and Tamlin is intense but not as intense as Cruel Beauty, and even though I really love CB I just fell more in love with ACOTR because where CB was dark and eerie, ACOTR was cold, lavish, and calculated (much like a fairy).  I loved Tamlin as well, you could tell he had a real struggle but he was also a decent person in the story, compared to his kind. 

5 stars.  Perfection.  Thanks NetGalley

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Extraordinary Means
Extraordinary Means by Robin Schneider
Pub: 5/26/15
Pgs: 336
ARC received by Edelweiss

" matter how strong the current beats against you, or how heavy your burden, or how tragic your love story.  You keep going."

Lane is a pretty smart guy.  It's his senior year, he has a great and smart girlfriend, and he's gearing up to apply to colleges, which is all he's ever thought about.  But plans have a way of changing, because Lane has been diagnosed with TB; and not just any tuberculosis, but a rare strain that cannot be treated at this time.  So Lane must follow doctors' orders and go to the Latham House, a facility that has over a hundred other teens diagnosed with the same strain of TB as Lane.  He just needs to stay focused, he just needs to get better, because he's planned his whole future.

Sadie is a pretty girl who can sometimes get into too much trouble.  She's fun, and her group of friends have figured out how to get contraband items into the school.  It is suffice to state, that Sadie and her friends kind of run Latham House, but of course they have been there long enough to figure some things out.  Sadie doesn't want to think of the future or lack thereof, but when you have TB how can you not sometimes drown in all your own thoughts?  Then Lane comes to Latham House, Lane who stood her up at the camp dance when they were kids, Lane who she really liked but played a joke on her like everyone else that summer, Lane who is just so incredibly likeable. 

Extraordinary Means is a book about young love, death, and hope.  Sadie, Lane, and their group of friends try to figure out their place in a world that would wish to keep them far away from everyone else.  Their bonding and adventures give them a reprieve from their every day battle with their sickness, but when you're sick you cannot deny the fact that every moment might be your last.  And when your sick and have been holding on for so long, sometimes tragedy strikes.

4 out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Pub: 4/28/15
Pgs: 464
ARC received from Edelweiss

In An Ember in the Ashes, the Martial Empire, which is modeled after Rome, rules with an iron fist.  Those that do not comply with the law will suffer death.  Being a scholar doesn't mean much in the Empire, and Laia lives with her grandparents and brother, after her family met a tragic betrayal fighting against the Empire.  One night Laia loses the only family she has left during a raid, when soldiers known as Masks, come to her home.  Desperate to find the only living relative left, Laia decides she's going to find her brother Darin, who was imprisoned during the raid.  That's her plan, and then she runs into rebels, who are planning something big against the Empire.

Elias is the perfect Mask in training.  He is one of the best soldiers to come up in training since his mother, but he has never wanted this life, instead he wants to run away.  Before the trials begin, that will decide who will become the next Emperor, Elias has a plan to run away, but secrets and circumstances make him stay.  Soon Elias realizes that there is more to his mother, there is more to the Empire, and there is more to his best friend Helene, a fellow soldier.

Laia and Elias' paths will cross and the Empire will rue the day it began it's rule of iron will.  Destiny has a plan for these two and it has just begun.
4.5 stars out of 5.  Thanks Edelweiss.