Monday, November 25, 2013

A Boy and a Girl - Paul's REVIEW

***I was provided an ecopy of this graphic novel via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review***

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Title: A Boy & A Girl
Author:  Jamie S. Rich
Illustrations: Natalie Nourigat
Year Published: 2013

Release Date: November 27, 2013

Synopsis: Travis and Charley have just met. It's Charley's last night in town, and Travis can't let her leave without getting her to go on a date. In a future where real people are rapidly being supplanted by lifelike androids, sometimes one shot is all you get! Intelligence may be artificial, but the emotion is real in this futuristic romance from the writer of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and the cartoonist behind Between Gears.

Review: A believable near future with humanlike robots. One boy meets one girl. And there our adventure begins. 
The artwork is very simple. It fits the story perfectly. 

If this graphic novel was a movie it would be an indie love story that someone like Zooey Deschenel would be featured in, although if I was casting this story I would definitely give the female lead to America Ferrera. The story takes place in a world with robots, but it feels just like ours. I like the way there was a unique fashion for the time period, but it didn't feel like over the top futuristic. 

Another movie that came to mind while I was reading this is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist(which was a book first). That random romantic meeting that leads to a night of adventure. And on that adventure many existential and ethical questions are addressed. 

I really like how this story played out. It dealt with some really interesting questions involving artificial intelligence and ethics. I recommend this to anyone who likes indie love stories and robots. I give this graphic novel a 4/5. 



-PAUL

Friday, November 22, 2013

Moirai (Aberrant #2) by Ruth Silver - Ashley's Pre-Reading

*I received this book as an eARC from Lazy Day Publishing on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Moirai
Author: Ruth Silver
Publication Date: September 26, 2013

My Aberrant Pre-Reading
My Aberrant Review

Synopsis: 
Olivia has been on the run from the government of Cabal since the marriage ceremony. Finally settling in and finding herself a place to call home, in Shadow, Olivia and Joshua are preparing for the uprising that they and the rebel alliance have been planning for months.


With new abilities and special talents, from Mindonsiphan, Olivia learns that she can do more than most ordinary eighteen year olds. Learning both to hide and perfect her skills will be one of the biggest challenges she'll be forced to face.

A constant rollercoaster of emotion and adventure await Olivia and Joshua, as they embark on a journey to the rebel city of Torv, and what was once home, Genesis.

Why?: I read Aberrant not too long ago (the link for my review is above), and I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I expected to. It ends right in the middle of everything though, so of course I jumped at the chance to get my hands on Moirai! 

Expectations: I expect this book to quite a bit more intense than Aberrant, but to still have the same suspense and excitement and world-building that the first book had. I have higher expectations now that I've read some of Ruth's work, so I'm really looking forward to diving into this one. 

Judging a book by its cover: This cover is really similar to the first one, but I love how the model changed to reflect the changes that Olivia made in Aberrant. It's the same model, but her appearance is slightly different, just like Olivia. Based only on the cover though, I'm not sure if I would pick this up. The girl on the front is so stereotypical YA that I'm afraid it would just blend in with all of the other books out there. 


--Ashley

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandre Rose Clarke - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Angry Robot on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publication Date: January 29, 2013

My Pre-Reading

Synopsis: 
"Cat, this is Finn. He's going to be your tutor."


Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion...and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat's heart.

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Review: I finished this book several days ago (in one sitting), but I still don't think I've fully processed it. This book overwhelmed me and took me completely by surprised. Sure, it's "a tale of love, loss, and robots." But oh my goodness is it so much more than that. I don't even think the synopsis does it justice; it barely scratches the surface. 

The synopsis makes it sound like this book focuses mostly on Finn and his conflict with the world. I figured we would see a lot of Finn, maybe even have the book from his perspective, with Cat playing a more minor role. But, as I should have figured from the title, this book definitely focuses on Cat, The Mad Scientist's Daughter. This is very much her story, and we travel with her as she grows and learns and experiences life. We're with her through her tragedies and triumphs, her ups and her downs, her loves and her losses. 

For most of the story, I didn't like Cat very much. She's cold and selfish and doesn't consider the consequences of her actions. To watch her change from this fun, loving, little girl into the "ice queen" is remarkable and heartbreaking, and Clarke made it easy to sympathize with her while hating her all at the same time. I think Cat's characters grows and changes the most throughout the course of the story, and the jumps in time really helped to show that. 

I didn't find the jumps disorienting at all, as they usually occur at the beginning of new chapters and are clearly marked. I also think they really helped move the plot along, as we get to see Cat from when she's six until she's into her thirties. Her whole life in condensed into less than 400 pages, and the pacing is just right. Even though there isn't much action or adventure or mystery, I couldn't put this book down. I wanted to know how Cat's story ends, and if she's able to reconcile with Finn and accept him into her life and her heart. 

I wish we had seen more of Finn, but the glimpses we have of him are just enough to develop his character as well. He remains mysterious, but we always know his feelings (even if they aren't explicitly stated, and even when he insists he doesn't feel). I really don't know how Cassandra managed to write such dynamic, round characters that makes the reader have intense feelings towards them. I love her writing and her world-building and just everything about her books.

I can't decide if I would recommend this book to anyone, because it will break your heart in so many pieces so many times. But at the same time, I really think that everyone should read it. It will make you think, even through the sadness and the tears and the anger and all the other emotions this book will make you feel, it still has an important lesson or two buried in there. I think fans of sci-fi romances will definitely enjoy this book, as well any fans of Cassandra's YA series (even though this book is totally different). I'm looking forward to reading more of Cassandra's works in the future! 4/5



--Ashley

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Villain Micro-Series Volume 1 - Ashley's Review

*I received this comic as an eARC from IDW Publishing on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Villain Micro-Series Volume 1
Authors: Joshua Williamson, Erik Burnham, Jason Ciaramella, Brian Lynch, Mike Henderson (Illustrations), Andy Kuhn (Illustrations), Dave Wachter (Illustrations), and Ross Campbell (Illustrations)
Publication Date: November 26, 2013

Synopsis: Krang, Baxter Stockman, Old Hob, and Alopex all get their turn. Krang's past is revealed, Baxter's secret project may be more dangerous than he realized, Old Hob is ready to branch out on his own, and Alopex learns about her past and discovers a devastating truth.

------------------------------------------------------

Review: Having older cousins, I grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I watched the cartoons, played the video games, and had the toys and merchandise. As an adult, I started getting my hands on the comics and learning about the grittier, violent beginnings of the Turtles. I've always lived more in the era of the 1980s cartoons and the live action movies, but I also really enjoy the Turtles the way they were originally imagined.

Since I've never been well-versed in the comic series, I was pretty excited when I stumbled across this collection detailing the backgrounds of some of the most well-known TMNT villains. It's really interesting to see where the villains come from and why they do the things they do. I also really enjoyed how the stories tie together. Krang wants to conquer the planet, Baxter ends up working for him, Old Hob stumbles into Baxter's radioactive ooze, and Alopex is created from that same ooze. The connections are there if you pay attention, and I love how the whole universe is so complex and interconnected.

I also thought it was really neat to see glimpses of  the Turtles and Splinter, as well as to see villains like Shredder and the Foot Clan who are not discussed in detail here but are well known by anyone who has even heard of TMNT. 

The artwork is dark and gritty and reminiscent of the original comics (even to the point of giving all the Turtles the original red masks), so I thought that was pretty neat. I would definitely recommend this to any fans of any TMNT era, as it helps to understand some of the most important villains better. I would also recommend it to anyone who has let their love for TMNT lay by the wayside for a while and wants to get back into everything. The stories are short but pack a nice punch, and definitely made me want to read more. 4/5!


--Ashley

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel by Jacqueline Koyanagi - Ashley's Pre-Reading

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel
Author: Jacqueline Koyanagi
Publication Date: December 4, 2013

Synopsis: 
Alana Quick is the best damned sky surgeon in Heliodor City, but repairing starship engines barely pays the bills. When the desperate crew of a cargo vessel stops by her shipyard looking for her spiritually-advanced sister Nova, Alana stows away. Maybe her boldness will land her a long-term gig on the crew. But the Tangled Axon proves to be more than star-watching and plasma coils. The chief engineer thinks he's a wolf. The pilot fades in and out of existence. The captain is all blond hair, boots, and ego ... and Alana can't keep her eyes off her. But there's little time for romance: Nova's in danger and someone will do anything—even destroying planets—to get their hands on her!


Why?: I love a good sci-fi novel, and this book sounds like it has everything it needs to head in the right direction! Plus, a little bit of romance, mystery, and adventure never hurts. 

Expectations: I'm not really sure what to expect, since I've never read anything from Jacqueline. I also haven't seen many reviews around about this book, so I don't really even know what other readers have thought. I'm hoping for a good space story that keeps me on the edge of my seat.

Judging a book by its cover: The cover feels very stereotypical sci-fi to me. The space suit, the galaxy in the background... I think it's all a little too much and very overstated. I'm not really sure that I would choose this book based solely on its cover.


--Ashley

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Scholastic on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Year Published: 2013

My The Raven Boys REVIEW
Ashley's The Raven Boys REVIEW
My The Dream Thieves PRE READING
Ashley's The Dream Thieves REVIEW



Synopsis: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Review:

"The appetizers were delicious, not because of the kitchen, but because all food eaten in anticipation of a kiss is delicious."

I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first book. I think it was because I knew all the characters already and didn't have to go through that awkward "dating" process every reader has when starting a book series. Also, this book is Ronan centered, and he is my favorite of the boys. This series has a large cast of characters and they all gained more depth in this book, even the clairvoyants. I liked that some of the characters that didn't interact in the first we got to see paired up in this book. I liked the dynamic of Adam and Persephone.

Stiefvater is an excellent writer. This book was so well written. It is written like a multibook series instead of completed tales told consecutively. There are a lot of hints and allusions that I'm sure I haven't got yet. Looking back at the first book, there were many hints to the second book that I didn't catch. Her writing is very imaginative. Throughout the book I was second guessing characters and their motives very often. I thought Kavinsky was such an interesting characters and it was interesting to see where it went.

I had never heard of air conditioning called "air-co" before.

I'm still not a fan of the many perspectives within one chapter, from paragraph to paragraph. It made me feel like I never completely knew everything that was happening.

I definitely want more! I hope I remember all the characters by the time the third book comes out. I give this book a 4/5. If you didn't enjoy the start of The Raven Boys, but liked it towards the end I think you will enjoy this just like I did.


-PAUL

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vicious by V.E. Schwab - Ashley's Review

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Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Year Published: 2013

My Pre-Reading
My Warm Up Review

Synopsis: 
A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.


Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

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Review: Oh my goodness, this book. I've heard such excellent things about it, but sometimes it's hard to judge a book by what other people say about it. This time, though? All of those rave reviews were spot on. I've read Victoria's YA books (The Near Witch and The Archived), and while I enjoyed those immensely, Vicious blows them completely out of the water. I didn't think it was possible, but there you have it. 

Everything about Vicious is just ExtraOrdinary. I absolutely loved the world, and I think Victoria did an incredible job with the world building in this book. It feels like our world - Victor and Eli meet in college, they have to do a thesis project in order to graduate, they go to bars and parties to celebrate or blow off steam, they and their friends major in common things like pre-med, psychology, and engineering... At first, everything seems normal. But then, the idea of an EO - an ExtraOrdinary - is introduced and things just escalate from there. The world takes on a comic book feel, which is pretty remarkable in and of itself since there are no pictures in the book to create that idea. But when I pictured the settings and the events and the people in my head, that's just how it turned out. 

I loved that there's a research bit to the idea of the EOs as well. Eli's thesis begins as purely theoretical, and we even get to see some of the science behind how EOs are "created" and why it's possible they exist. But then when his topic begins to cross with Victor's and things turn experimental, the intensity gets turned up to 11. It's interesting to see how their experiments change Eli and Victor, and how their paths diverge and eventually merge again. I think jumping around in time really helped with giving a fuller picture of Eli's character (since the present mostly focuses on Victor), and also helps us to see why Victor is the way he is now. 

One of my favorite parts in this book was how the concepts of superheroes, villains, and arch-nemeses were defined and played with. Although Eli might appear as a hero to some, he's definitely still a villain to others. But if Eli is a hero and Victor is set on revenge, does that make him the villain? Or are Eli and Victor both villains? Or both heroes? It was really interesting to me how titles change but the characters and their missions don't. The ambiguity makes the story that much richer. 

I thought all of the characters were exceptionally well developed, and I was so sad to have to leave them at the end. Although this book can definitely stand on its own and all the loose ends are definitley tied up, I really hope Victoria has a chance to revisit this incredible world and continue the story, or create a completely new one. I could go on and on and on about how much I loved everything about this book (I couldn't put it down and made the mistake of starting it before bed... needless to say, I was up until the wee hours of the morning finishing it), but you should really just go read it for yourself. I honestly think it has something for everyone in it, even though it is technically written for adults. Just go find a copy somewhere. You won't regret it. Definitely a 5/5 and one of my favorite books of all time. 


--Ashley

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cold Spell (FairyTale Retellings #4) by Jackson Pearce - Ashley's Pre-Reading

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Title: Cold Spell
Author: Jackson Pearce
Year Published: 2013

Synopsis: 
Kai and Ginny grew up together–best friends since they could toddle around their building’s rooftop rose garden. Now they’re seventeen, and their relationship has developed into something sweeter, complete with stolen kisses and plans to someday run away together.


But one night, Kai disappears with a mysterious stranger named Mora–a beautiful girl with a dark past and a heart of ice. Refusing to be cast aside, Ginny goes after them and is thrust into a world she never imagined, one filled with monsters and thieves and the idea that love is not enough.

If Ginny and Kai survive the journey, will she still be the girl he loved–and moreover, will she still be the girl who loved him?

Jackson Pearce, author of the acclaimed Sisters Red and Fathomless, has returned with a unique vision of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” one about power and redemption, failure and hope, and the true meaning of strength.

Why?: I absolutely LOVED the other three books in this series, and I have been eagerly awaiting Cold Spell since I learned about it. I am not familiar with "The Snow Queen," so I'm really intrigued as to where this story is going to go. In Sisters Red, Sweetly, and Fathomless, I loved how true Jackson stayed to the original stories. There's no Disney-fying going on here. I also loved how the three books ended up being tied together ever so subtly, and I'm looking forward to trying to find all the pieces of that puzzle in this book.

Expectations: I have super high expectations for this book because I loved the other ones (and Jackson's other books outside this series) so much. I don't know what to expect in regards to the original fairy tale, but I might have to brush up on in before I dive into this book. Just in case.

Judging a book by its cover: I still have a huge issue with the covers in this series because they changed halfway through. The original covers for Sisters Red and Sweetly will always be my favorites. That being said, I really like this cover. I like how it's dark and how it just looks... cold. I would definitely pick it up off of a shelf or click on it if I saw it in an online store. 


--Ashley

Friday, November 15, 2013

Damselfly by Jennie Bates Bozic - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Jennie Bates Bozic LLC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Damselfly
Author: Jennie Bates Bozic
Publication Date: November 11, 2013

My Pre-Reading

Synopsis: 
In 2065, the Lilliput Project created Lina - the first six-inch-tall winged girl - as the solution to a worldwide energy and food crisis. Isolated in a compound amidst the forests of Denmark, Lina has grown up aware of only one purpose: learn how to survive in a world filled with hawks, bumblebees, and loneliness. However, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, she discovers that she’s not the only teenager her size. Six 'Toms' were created shortly after Lina, and now her creators need to prove to the world that tiny people are the next logical step in human evolution. In other words, they need to prove that reproduction is possible.


Um. No thanks. Lina's already fallen in love with a boy she met online named Jack. Only he has no idea that thumbelina1847 could literally fit inside his heart.

When her creators threaten to hurt Jack unless she chooses a husband from among the ‘Toms’, Lina agrees to star in a reality TV series. Once the episodes begin to air, the secret of her size is out. Cut off from any contact with the outside world, Lina assumes Jack is no longer interested. After all, what guy would want to date a girl he can’t even kiss?

Slowly, very slowly, she befriends the six young men who see her as their only ticket to happiness. Perhaps she can make just one guy’s dream of love and companionship come true. But her creators have a few more twists in store for her that she never thought possible. 

She’s not the only one playing to the cameras.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Review: Retellings of old/classic stories are the one thing I cannot resist, especially if it's a story that I grew up with. So a reimagining of Thumbelina? Yeah, I had to read it. And I'm so glad I did, because this book was most excellent! 

Thumbelina is mostly a fantasy story. A girl, no bigger than your thumb, interacts with toads and moles and all other sorts of small creatures before meeting and falling in love with a small fairy prince who happens to be just her size. But Bozic gives us a sci-fi version of this tale. Lina, short for Thumbelina (of course) was created in a laboratory as a solution to the energy and hunger crisis. Because obviously people who are no larger than 6 inches tall will consume less food and energy. I was actually really surprised that this book has so little fantasy in it, and I think it made it even better. I enjoyed how Bozic portrays the advancements of science and I thought she did an excellent job of driing home the point that even science has its flaws. Especially when discoveries are led by a desire for money instead of knowledge.

I liked Lina a lot. She's 15, almost 16, but she acts much older than that. And I guess when you have to train every day to avoid falcons and other birds of prey and you have to learn how to do pretty much everything on your own, you grow up fast. She's strong-willed and smart and physically capable, but she's also naive and impulsive and she even struggles with physical limitations - even the science couldn't manufacture out her asthma. I loved watching her grow and struggle and try to figure out how to deal with her present circumstances. She makes real decisions, even if they aren't always the best ones, and it's very easy to sympathize with her.

I really hate reality TV shows that make one person choose between some number of eligible bachelors/bachelorettes, so I really didn't blame Lina for being pissed about having to participate. Because of that being a huge part of the plot, the romance was pretty heavy. Whether it was between Lina and the Toms or Lina and Jack, it was always a part of any major decision or any plot twist that occurred. Well, most of the twists anyway. I kind of expected that, but what I didn't expect was that it wasn't in your face and obnoxious. It was sweet and nurtured over time, and very much a fairy tale. 

This book was definitely a standalone, as all loose ends were tied up by the end, and I really appreciated that. Too many books nowadays are parts of trilogies or series, and it just gets really tedious. This was a short, quick read that left me with a few questions but mostly filled in all the blanks. I would totally recommend it to anyone who grew up with some version of the Thumbelina story, or to anyone who just likes retellings in general. Especially if you want to see a fantasy story take on a sci-fi twist! 4/5! 



--Ashley

Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1 - Paul's REVIEW

***I was provided an ecopy from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1
Author: Tom Taylor
Illustrations: Jheremy Raapack
Year Published: 2013

Upcoming Release Date: November 19, 2013

Synopsis: Things in the DC Universe have changed after Superman is tricked into destroying the one thing he loves the most. Now unwilling to let crime go unpunished, the heroes of our world must choose if they are with Superman or against him. But not every country will submit to his new world order and neither will Superman's greatest threat—Batman!

Review: This is a great comic book based off a video game. It doesn't feel like a video game. It feels like its own story. Although, there are a lot of awesome pairings and/or duels that I could tell are referencing the game. 


I liked that this story takes place in its own world. Big events happen. Characters change. The problem with characters like Superman and Batman is that its usually just the same tale told a little differently. This is a new story that puts Justice League members against each other. 

My favorite and the most hilarious pairing in this book is Harley Quinn and Green Arrow. I also liked Batman's protégés, Nightwing and Batman's own son, Robin. 

There are some epically badass battles in this book. I'm not a huge video gamer, but I would love to watch someone play this game just based off of reading this book. I'm definitely interested in reading the next volume. I give this book a 5/5.


-PAUL

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater - Paul's PRE-READING

*I received this book as an eARC from Scholastic on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) 
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Year Published: 2013

My The Raven Boys REVIEW
Ashley's The Raven Boys REVIEW
Ashley's The Dream Thieves PRE READING
Ashley's The Dream Thieves REVIEW

Synopsis: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. 

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. 

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

Why?:   I just finished reading Raven Boys and although I had problems starting it, once I was in I really enjoyed it. I'm going to read this while everything's fresh in my head. 

Expectations:   I'm expecting a focus on Ronan especially after the last line. I also expect Blue's romantic interest to waver. And maybe we'll get to learn more and maybe even see Glendower as well as Blue's dad. 

Judging a book by its cover:  I like the cover. It's simple. I'm guessing the guy is Ronan. I'm interested to see what all the ravens on the cover reference. Just the Boys or some real ravens?

-PAUL

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shadow of the Sun by David James - COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY

We are very excited to welcome David James and the COVER REVEAL of his upcoming book Shadow of the Sun. I think the cover is stunning and am very excited to read the book. And don't miss the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of the post!

This is the end.
And this time, no heart is safe.

A stunning read for fans of Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood & Starlight and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, Shadow of the Sun is the lyrical sequel to Light of the Moon and the epic conclusion to the Legend of the Dreamer series that will enrapture you.


"Destined for love, Calum and Kate will do anything to be together. With Kate trapped by a curse in Ashfall, Calum must find a way to save her before she is lost to dark magic. Before she is lost to him and the truth of their love is gone forever. Even if it means sacrificing himself, Calum will choose to keep Kate safe. 

A Warrior for the Order, Zack prides himself on being stoic and strong. As a Warrior, he never cries and never hurts. He does not love. But underneath Zack’s Warrior heart, love beats true. And when he finds someone who will finally catch him, Zack finds himself choosing to fall even if true love kills him. 

Though the heart never lies, everyone has a little darkness in them, and soon shadows begin to rise against the light. As deadly magic consumes their world, love may not be enough to save them all. Because even though sometimes being brave just means falling in love, one choice can destroy everything. This time, no heart is safe."

The end begins on 1.28.14.

Add it to your Goodreads shelf now!



Start at the beginning and get Light of the Moon, the first book in this epic series, today!

Check out The Witch's Curse, the stunning and romantic novella that reveals Kate's history.

Zack is fearless, but he wasn't always. Read The Warrior's Code and learn more about his past.

All two novellas, The Witch's Curse and The Warrior's Code, are included in the Shades of the Stars anthology, along with an exclusive short story about the fire enchanter Lily. This enchanting anthology also features essays, playlists, deleted scenes, and an author interview.



David James writes books about stars and kisses and curses. He is the author of the YA novel, Light of the Moon, the first book in the Legend of the Dreamer duet, as well as the companion novellas, The Witch's Curse and The Warrior's Code. A Legend of the Dreamer anthology, Shades of the Stars, was released July 2013, and includes the exclusive novella, The Enchanter's Fire. The final book in the duet, Shadow of the Sun, will be released in January of 2014. Living in Michigan, he is addicted to coffee, gummy things, and sarcastic comments. David enjoys bad movies, goofy moments, and shivery nights. 


Be brave. 

And you don't have to wait until 1.28.14 to get started! Enter the INTERNATIONAL giveaway below for a chance to win the Legend of the Dreamer e-book of your choice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ten by Gretchen McNeil - Ashley's Review

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeill 
Year Published: 2012

My Pre-Reading

Synopsis: SHHHH!

Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?





Review: I love a good mystery, and this book definitely delivered! I kept trying to figure out "whodunnit," and which teen would be the next to die. Ten kept me on the edge of my seat and kept me up well into the night. It had enough of a resemblance to And Then There Were None so that I wasn't disappointed in that respect, but it was also a new and unique story that could definitely stand on its own.

Most of the characters are very well written and easy to relate to. Meg is smart, funny, and intensely loyal. She doesn't really fit in with a crowd, but she's not ashamed of it. She just does her own thing and protects her best friend. Minnie, on the other hand, is so annoying. I wanted her to be the first to die just so she would shut up. I know she's supposed to have real medical problems, but she just came across as a whiny, over attached, little brat. I don't know how Meg puts up with her for so long.

As macabre as it might sound, I really enjoyed the way the teens died. There was a reason and a purpose and a story within a story that made it interesting and unique. The killer had to be creative and made sure everyone died in a way that was important and meaningful to him/her. It was similar to the  way the victims in Christie's novel are killed according to the "Ten Little Indians" poem, but still different and unique. 

I didn't really find this to be a "horror" novel, but if you're looking for a good suspense/murder mystery, you should definitely check this book out. No paranormal or supernatural things, no dystopian society, just a bunch of contemporary teens on an island for the worst weekend of their lives. There's even a little bit of romance that runs as a very minor subplot to break up all of the death and everything. It's no And Then There Were None, but it certainly is an excellent contemporary take on it that fans of Agatha Christie's novels will likely enjoy. 4/5! 


--Ashley

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater - Paul's REVIEW


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Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Year Published: 2012


My The Raven Boys PRE READING
Ashley's The Raven Boys PRE READING
Ashley's The Raven Boys REVIEW

Synopsis: Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

------------------------------------------------------------------


Review: I had a really hard time getting into this novel, but once I got to know the many characters I really enjoyed the story. The beginning is heavy. There's a lot of characters and a lot of information is thrown around. Psychics. Predictions. Lay lines.

The characters felt very British to me at the beginning and I'm not sure why. It took me awhile to confirm that this story takes place in Virginia.

Although the main character is a teenage girl from a family of legit psychics, the majority of the book is about a group of prep school boys. I enjoyed the girl's chapters more for most of the novel. They weren't as complicated. The boys' relationships are complex and it was hard for me to differentiate them at first. It was like the Pretty Little Liars tv show, but with guys. And paranormal things. I could definitely see this being turned into a tv show on ABC Family or the CW.

I liked how grounded and real the paranormal things were portrayed. It reminded me of the tv show So Weird that was on the Disney Channel in the 90s.

The first half of this book was a 2 for me. The second half was a 4. I think a 3 is fair for my overall feelings. I didn't find myself wanting to pick the book up and keep reading. Although, I'm going to start the sequel right now while the characters are fresh in my mind.


-PAUL

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Holders (Holders #1) by Julianna Scott - Ashley's Pre-Reading

*I received this book as an eARC from Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: The Holders
Author: Julianna Scott
Year Published: 2013

Synopsis: 
17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called 'experts' who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland's perceived problem, Becca doesn't buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland's family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what's best for Ryland.


What they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family's heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. However, they are all--especially Becca--in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There's an attraction between Becca and Alex that can't be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.

Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he's settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he's done?

Why?: I love YA fantasy, and I've heard such excellent things about this book that I just couldn't pass it up a second time! Surprises and mysteries and sibling camaraderie and romance ... I just feel like The Holders has everything a good fantasy book should have! 

Expectations: I have pretty high expectations for this book, even though I've never read anything by Julianna. All of the reviews I've read of this book have been glowing, and I hope I'm in the minority that was disappointed by it in any way! 

Judging a book by its cover: This cover is simple, but I think that's actually a good thing. It doesn't give anything away, and the green stone in the amulet looking thing really stands out from the darker background. It's caught my eye several times online, and I would definitely pick it up if I saw it on a shelf somewhere. 


--Ashley

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Colonized by Chris Ryall and Drew Moss - Paul's REVIEW

***I was provided an ecopy of this comic via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

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Title: The Colonized
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Drew Moss
Year Published: 2013

Synopsis: In this all-new graphic novel, a spaceship crashes into a separatist camp and manages to reanimate the dead as well! It's aliens vs. zombies vs. militiamen in a carnage-filled tale!

Review: This comic is a really fun mash-up. This story takes place in a community founded on the idea of no government. And unfortunately, both aliens and zombies are out and about in this small community. Not only are the dead people of the community now walking the streets, but the dead animals have turned to zombies as well and are on the lookout for fresh flesh. 


There are a few references to classic zombie movies that I got and I'm sure there were more than I didn't. 


There's political commentary deeper than I expected as well with some discussions of the role of government as well as environmental impacts of the human race on this planet. 

The artwork is colorful and beautifully gory at times. The zombie animals are the best. 

I give this graphic novel a 3/5. It was interesting, but I didn't find it amazing. I think zombie and alien invasion buffs will enjoy this.  

-PAUL

Friday, November 8, 2013

Justice League of America, Vol. 1: World's Most Dangerous - Paul's REVIEW

***I was provided an ecopy of this graphic novel via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review***

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Title: Justice League of America, Vol. 1: World's Most Dangerous
Author:  Geoff Johns
Year Published: 2013

Release Date: November 12, 2013

Synopsis: Following the events of Throne of Atlantis, it is deemed nessesary to create a new Justice League.  This new superhero team is under the command of Col. Steve Travor, of the United States Military's A.R.G.U.S. division(Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans).  Signing up for duty with this new incarnation of the JLA are Catwoman, Katanna, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Steve Trevor, Hawkman, Star Girl and the long-awaited return of 80s superhero, Vibe.

Review: I've always liked the idea of a team of superheroes. I love what Marvel has been able to do with The Avengers and the companion movies, but the original superhero team is the Justice League, or at least it is to me. I was obsessed with Super Friends as a child. DC has recently relaunched all their titles with The New 52. I haven't really been following the comics, but when I was offered this graphic novel to review I couldn't refuse. 


A new Justice League is being established, one that will be able to take out the old Justice League if it needs to. Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, and Catwoman are just a few of the new members. I like that this crew isn't the best of the best and most known. They are super heroes with potential. This new team is called The Justice League of America

I really liked the dynamic of the team. Many of the characters play off of each other. Catwoman's banter is the best. I also liked Stargirl. It was also cool to see the original Justice League with Superman not up to his best and Wonder Woman trying to remedy the situation. I wasn't familiar with the Justice League Dark before reading this. They are a group of superheroes who deal with the magic side of things. 

Since I am not caught up on all the current comics, this book was a little confusing for me. I don't know if it was just set up unusual because it was a review copy, but it seemed like there were multiple stories that weren;t quite in order. After talking to a friend that reads these comics as they are released and doesn't miss a New Comic Wednesday, I was told that this is just one of the storylines in The Trinity War story arc. It is a cross promotional storyline that is covered in different series. So maybe this book will make more sense if you are reading those as well. And then at the end of the book there is a Martian Manhunter story that I am told was a back-up story at the end of each issue. 

Although I was confused, I loved the story and characters. The artwork was also beautiful. Reading this made me want to become familiar with all these comics that are released monthly. I give this graphic novel a 3.5/5. After reading this, you might get hooked and want to get caught up with the current DC comics.



-PAUL

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Ashley's Pre-Reading

*I received this book as an eARC from Angry Robot on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publication Date: January 29, 2013

Synopsis: 
"Cat, this is Finn. He's going to be your tutor."


Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion...and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat's heart.

Why?: I love Cassandra's YA series, The Assassin's Curse, so when I saw she had written a book for adults about an android and a girl, I was intrigued. Then, Angry Robot put it back up on NetGalley as one of the staff picks, so I decided I would give it a chance. I really enjoy sci-fi and I think Cassandra will do the genre justice, so I'm looking forward to seeing her take on it.

Expectations: I have pretty high expectations for this book because I'm familiar with and love Cassandra's YA books/stories. I love her world building, character development, and just her overall writing style. She handled relationships so well and made them so real in her fantasy book, and I hope that carries over to her adult sci-fi. 

Judging a book by its cover: There's just so much to love about this cover. It's simple, but not. I love how the top looks very sketchy and unpolished, and how the person is walking down the road with a giant moon over their head. I have no clue what any of this has to do with the book, but this cover definitely draws me in. 


--Ashley