Daring You to Read… Splintered by A.G. Howard

This week I am daring you to read Splintered by A.G. Howard. Because it’s freaking amazing. It has continued to hold its own very close to the top of my all-time favorite books. Splintered can be considered a hybrid sequel/re-working of Alice in Wonderland. The Wonderland that A.G. Howard creates in Splintered is dark, twisted, and skeletal.

The main character, Alyssa was completely kick-ass, and her journey to understand what has happened to her family all these years is absolutely addicting. All the women in Alyssa’s family seem to fall into the same mental illness – they all begin having delusions about Wonderland. Her own mother mumbles under her breath about rabbit holes and refuses to eat anything if it is not served in a tea cup.

When her mothers doctors recommend a drastic new treatment, Alyssa takes it upon herself to find out what her mother has been hiding all these years. And what truly caused the curse on the women in her family. From here, she must travel down the rabbit hole herself, and find out more about herself than she ever imagined was possible.

I was so excited to hear that there will be a sequel for this book – so now is the perfect time for you to get up and read this one if you haven’t already! I promise, you won’t regret it!

 

Splintered (Splintered, #1)Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository 

 


 

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought! You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know! Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment!

Blurred by Tara Fuller

Blurred (Kissed by Death, #2) Blurred by Tara Fuller

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Entangled
Release date: July 2, 2013

Series: Kissed by Death #2

Source: Review copy from publisher

Reviewed by: Helen

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Cash is haunted by things. Hungry, hollow things.

They only leave him alone when Anaya, Heaven’s beautiful reaper, is around. Cash has always been good with girls, but Anaya isn’t like the others. She’s dead. And with his deteriorating health, Cash might soon be as well. Anaya never breaks the rules, but the night of the fire she recognized part of Cash’s soul—and doomed him to something worse than death.

Cash’s soul now resides in an expired body, making him a shadow walker—a rare, coveted being that can walk between worlds. A being creatures of the underworld would do anything to get their hands on. The lines between life and death are blurring, and Anaya and Cash find themselves falling helplessly over the edge. Trapped in a world where the living don’t belong, can Cash make it out alive?

The first book in this series, Inbetween, was the very first book that I was given for review. So obviously, when I had the opportunity to review Blurred, I was beyond excited! Blurred expands upon the storyline of Cash and Anaya, both of whom were side characters from Inbetween. I enjoyed Cash’s character so much in the first book, and getting a chance to know him better in Blurred was such a great experience. We also get to see a few glimpses into what’s happening with Finn and Emma as well.

In Blurred, Cash is in an expired body. He’s dying from the inside out. And there’s nothing that can be done to stop it. Anaya is the reaper that is responsible for keeping him here on earth past when his soul was ready to move on. She’s been given orders to keep his soul in his body and ultimately deliver him to Balthezar when he gives the order. Even though she’s not sure her boss’s reasons for wanting Cash to himself are on the up and up, she’ll do anything to be reunited in heaven with her love, Tarik.

Everyone knows that there’s something different about Cash’s soul. He shouldn’t still be alive in an expired body, but his soul is hanging on. He’s suddenly able to force souls into corporality and to cross the boundaries between Heaven, Hell, and the Inbetween. And both sides are interested in using that to their advantage. But when an unknown stranger starts recruiting Cash as well, he has to decide who is truly telling the truth, and who has been lying to him the whole time. But his time is running out. His body will expire, and soon. And the shadow demons that have been hunting him are just waiting to devour his soul.

The characters in Blurred were vivid and the plotting definitely kept me turning pages as quickly as I could. This series does suffer from a twinge of insta-love. I had the same issues when reading about Finn and Emma in Inbetween, and was hoping that the relationship in Blurred would develop more organically, but unfortunately it was more of the same. Though I fell in love with the characters, there really isn’t much relationship building that we’re able to participate in. With all that said, I felt that the story line and the mystery surrounding the characters was more than enough to compensate for that.

Read an excerpt

 

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Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi AshtonEverneath by Brodi Ashton

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 370 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 24, 2012

Series: Everneath #1

Source: ARCycling

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

I finally understand what all the hype around this series is! This is perhaps one of the most well done mythological debuts that I have come across in a while. I found it to be a really unique take on the Persephone and Hades myth and the world-building and interpretation surrounding this myth was amazing. The fact that we didn’t have a Hades character and instead had Cole, an Everliving that wanted to take over the throne, paved the way for a widely loved and known myth to become a brand new concept.

The characterization in this one was solid. Nikki was trying to recover her emotions for a majority of the book, so she was unattached to everything but oddly worrisome over where some of her past relationships stand. It was very well done. Cole was fascinating as well because of his dark side that rarely gave way to a glimpse of true feeling even though he doesn’t have a heart. I think that he made the myth all the more real because he was stubborn and focused on the prize: getting Nikki to follow him back to the Everneath at any cost. But I really loved Jack. He never gave up on Nikki despite her disappearance and his love for her is everlasting. He is noble, the way a hero should be. He is the small ray of hope in the bleak world that Cole is trying to create. Yet, somehow, because the novel is mostly spent with Nikki trying to recover her feelings during her six month Return, romance wasn’t a huge part of the plot until the very end. Unfortunately, I see a potential love triangle in the works for book two.

In regards to characterization, I have to say I was disappointed in the roles that Nikki’s father and younger brother played. You would think that after getting a family member back after a mysterious disappearance would have them overjoyed. They accepted her lies about rehab so easily. It seemed that her father was more obsessed with his campaign as Mayor than he was for his daughter’s feelings, and that bugged me because it struck me as odd. As for her little brother, he was there when it helped out and that was it. No more, no less. After losing their respective mother/wife due to a drunk driving accident, you’d think they’d cherish the return of a seemingly run-away-to-rehab recovered drug addict daughter (even though that was all a lie). Instead, the extent of the love is helping out in campaigns and surprise drug tests.

Ashton’s writing is beautiful and her mythological tale was captivating. I loved how she inserted a series of flashback chapters throughout the story to better explain the events and emotions leading up to Nikki’s disappearance during the century long Feed. However, I think that her transition out of the Feed into her Return could have been smoother. Nikki began the book when she woke up in this awesome creepy scene with Shades surrounding her and then she decided to go home, so she finds herself on the floor of a small store and then suddenly begins to remember everything she needs to know about being on the Surface again. Too easy, you know? Aside from that, the pacing was perfect and I’m hoping that Ashton’s attention to detail will give us more mythological answers in book two, like how Everlivings came along and what caused Cole to become one. I want to know more about his backstory since I now have Nikki’s. I’m hoping that book two will take a reverse approach that focuses on him the way book one did Nikki.

All in all, a great read for those looking for a unique mythological interpretation that is not heavy on the romance. This series is one that I’ll definitely be following, especially after that ending! Ashton easily leaves us begging for more because she unfortunately leaves us with several big questions.

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"When I’m not writing" with E. J. Stevens + giveaway!

E. J. Stevens Today’s guest is E. J. Stevens, the author of the Ivy Granger series and the Spirit Guide series from Sacred Oaks Press. She’s on tour now to celebrate the release of GHOST LIGHT, her second Ivy Granger novel. As part of the celebration, there’s a tour-wide giveaway so make sure to stick around until the end of the post. Please join me in welcoming E. J. to the blog!

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What do I do when I’m not writing? Honestly, writing takes up most of my time these days, but I do try to catch up on my favorite shows, games, and book series.

I watch Netflix, play Xbox, travel, and try to make a dent in my towering TBR pile.

E. J. Stevens smiling Maya

Of course, making time for hobbies can be difficult enough with the pressure of looming deadlines, but add an incorrigible corgi to the mix and it’s amazing I get anything done!

E. J. Stevens graveyard

It may sound strange, but I adore day trips to local cemeteries. We have many beautiful cemeteries here in New England and I’m always inspired by the combination of history and beauty that can be found in these monuments to the dead.

Netflix is another one of my guilty pleasures. When I’m in dire need of an immediate writing break, I turn to anime and Korean dramas. I currently have over 100 Kdramas in my streaming queue (so many dramas, so little time!). I’m also a huge fan of the TV shows Supernatural, Pretty Little Liars, and the Vampire Diaries.

E. J. Stevens Tower of London

A few times of year, I succumb to wanderlust and travel far, far away from my writing desk. A few of my favorite destinations include London, Dublin, Rome, and Disney World (Jack Sparrow AND a Haunted Mansion, what’s not to like?). This year I’m also going on a research trip to the medieval city of Bruges, Belgium. Bruges, known as the “Venice of the North,” is famous for its chocolates, beer, scenic canals, and medieval architecture. I have a feeling this beautiful city will be making its way onto my list of favorite places to visit.

E. J. Stevens bookcase I E. J. Stevens bookcase II

Globetrotting adventures are not always possible, so when I’m in need of a quick change of scenery I often escape into a good book. I enjoy reading young adult, paranormal romance, science fiction, and urban fantasy.

A perfect vacation day might include sipping tea in a foreign café while engrossed in a good book on my Kindle. Of course, my corgi overlord is not a fan of this idea. She’d much rather I stayed within easy reach of yummy treats and belly rubs. 😉

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Thanks for stopping by, E. J., and congrats on your latest release! =) I hope you have a great time in Bruges — it’s a lovely city.

For more information about E. J. and her books, check out her Ivy Granger website or follow E. J. on Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on GHOST LIGHT:

Ghost Light by E. J. Stevens (Ivy Granger #2)Ivy Granger, psychic detective, thought she’d seen it all…until now.

With a vengeful lamia that only she can see on the city streets, reports of specters walking Harborsmouth cemeteries, and an angry mob of faerie clients at her office door, it’s bound to be a long night. Add in an offense against the faerie courts and a few foolish bargains and one thing is clear–Ivy Granger is in some seriously deep trouble.

Ivy Granger is back, gathering clues in the darkest shadows of downtown Harborsmouth. With the lives of multiple clients on the line, she’s in a race against time. Ivy finally has a lead to the whereabouts of the one person who can help her control her wisp abilities, but will she put the needs of her clients above her own?

If Ivy doesn’t find a solution soon, she could wind up a ghost herself.

Ghost Light is the second novel in the bestselling Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens.

Purchase: Amazon

Here are the earlier books in the series:

Shadow Sight by E. J. Stevens (Ivy Granger #1) Blood and Mistletoe by E. J. Stevens (Ivy Granger #1.5)

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giveaway

E. J. is offering a release day giveaway for her whole tour!

See the Rafflecopter for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Storm Force blog tour: Interview with Susannah Sandlin

Storm Force blog tour button

I’m thrilled to have Susannah Sandlin back on the blog because she’s the author of the Penton Legacy books, a paranormal romance series featuring a different kind of vampire, and the Sentinel of New Orleans books as her other self, Suzanne Johnson. Susannah’s here today to chat about her latest release, STORM FORCE. Originally released as a Kindle Serial, the full book is now available and, let me tell you, it’s a whole lot of fun. Keep reading to get to know Susannah and her newest book!

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1. Welcome back to Team Tynga’s Reviews, Susannah! It’s great to have you on the blog again. To start, could you please tell us what inspired STORM FORCE?

Omega by Susannah Sandlin (Penton Legacy #3)Thanks for having me back! When I was writing Omega, the third book in my Penton Legacy series, I got interested in the idea of a joint special ops force of Army Rangers and paranormal partners like vampires or shapeshifters—working in the U.S. instead of abroad. I liked the idea of how these highly trained human warriors would handle partnering with a shapeshifter, for example—not only learning they exist, but accepting that there are some things a shapeshifter’s going to be able to do better than a human. So in Storm Force, the human hero, Kell, is slowly (and grudgingly) coming to terms with it.

2. How would you entice readers to try STORM FORCE if they’re new to your work?

Take a sexy Army Ranger with a bad back, a take-no-prisoners eagle-shifter, a heroine who isn’t quite human, a psychic who looks like a Greek playboy, a case of ecoterrorism that doesn’t quite add up, and a hurricane—and shake it all up. I think readers new to my work can always expect suspense laced with humor and a high dose of sexy.

3. One of the neat things about STORM FORCE is that it’s related to your Penton Legacy novels but stands alone quite nicely. Could you talk about this a bit please?

It takes an element of the plot that occurs in the third Penton book, Omega—in that case an Army Ranger-vampire partnership—and expands it to cover different types of “Omega Force” teams. So while the Penton folks are off doing their thing in the Southeast, the team in Storm Force focuses on cases in Texas and Louisiana. There are no characters in common except a retired Army Colonel with mysterious ties to people in high places, who heads up the whole Omega Force program. So someone could easily pick up Storm Force and read it without having read any of the Penton Legacy series.

4. What made you choose to release STORM FORCE as a Kindle serial? Are you pleased with the response it received? Would you do it again?

It was my publisher’s idea—they were experimenting with serial releases and asked if I’d be interested. I thought my action-filled story would lend itself to the serial format, which is released in nine “episodes” over nine weeks. And I write well under deadline since I come from a journalism background. At the end of the nine weeks, it comes out as a full-length novel in print and digital. It was an exhausting schedule, turning around 10,000 words a week for nine weeks, but I really enjoyed the process and would definitely try it again. The response has been good, although a lot of readers (like me, with other serials), just waited until the whole thing downloaded to read it!

5. You’ve included so many different supernatural beings in your various series. Do you have a favourite? Are there any you’re avoiding?

Storm Force by Susannah Sandlin There aren’t any I’m avoiding, but before I write about a paranormal species, I want to make sure I can give it my own spin and not just trot out a vampire because I like vampires, for example. In the Penton series, my vampires are in an almost post-apocalyptic situation when a flu vaccine turns human blood poisonous to them. Each of my shape-shifters in Storm Force has a different twist, although it’s too spoilerific to talk about! In my urban fantasy series written as Suzanne Johnson, I love my historical undead like the pirate Jean Lafitte and my merpeople, who are Cajun aquatic shapeshifters.

6. Why do you think paranormal romance is so appealing to readers?

I think it appeals to readers on several levels. It’s a fascinating way to explore human issues, because our paranormal characters have the same problems, only amped up and complicated by their species. I also think, speaking for myself as a reader, I love getting in the heads and hearts of a dangerous, sexy bad boy. Or in the case of Storm Force, seeing how a sexy, dangerous human hero copes with a not-so-human heroine—not a combination we often see!

7. Can we expect more Omega Force novels in the near future? (Please say yes!) And will any Penton folks put in an appearance?

I’d love to eventually have some crossover betweeen the two series, but right now I’m working on the fourth Penton book. And in the Omega Force world, I’d definitely like to do the book for Robin, our eagle-shifter. She seems to have really resonated with readers because she’s such a strong, bluntly-spoken character. (Kell doesn’t call her “Razorblade Robin” for nothing!)

To wrap things up, I have some quick questions for you because there’s nothing I like more that random questions! What or who is your…

Biggest temptation? Ah….Haha. I’ve been eating low-carb for the past five months, so if anything that involved bread or sugar wafted past, I’d grab it! I’m also a sucker for tech toys. I just lost the iPhone 5 battle even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my 4s.

Favourite action star? I’ll say Daniel Craig. Then I’ll add that I rarely have time to go to movies or watch TV, so at least I know who Daniel Craig is. I’m woefully behind the times with celebrities. Occasionally, I’ll see a copy of a celebrity magazine and realize I have no idea who the majority of those people are! Oh wait, who’s that Wolverine guy…Hugh Jackman!

Least favourite word? Mewl. Seriously, unless you’re an honest-to-god kitten, and a young one at that, I want no mewling, especially during a sex scene.

Ideal vacation destination? I’d like to go into seclusion at Cedar Key, Florida, for a few months. Wait, that’s not very exotic….eh, that’s okay. It’s the “seclusion” part I want. Cedar Key is cool; has sort of a Jimmy Buffett vibe without having to go all the way to the Keys.

Most cherished keepsake? I lost most of my childhood stuff in Hurricane Katrina (books, dolls, etc.), which was also an experience that made me treasure “stuff” less. So … this monstrous treadle-powered sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother.

Thanks very much for visiting us, Susannah, and congrats on your latest release!

Thanks for having me today!

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More about STORM FORCE:

StormAs leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.

Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon

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Susannah Sandlin

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jenn

Storm Force by Susannah Sandlin

Storm Force by Susannah SandlinStorm Force by Susannah Sandlin

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
e-book: 342 pages
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release date: June 18, 2013

Series: n/a

Source: Review copy from Bewitching Book Tours

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.

Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know i enjoy Susannah Sandlin/Suzanne Johnson’s work. Needless to say, when I heard she was writing a new paranormal romance that’s a loose offshoot of her Penton Legacy vampire novels, I was quite excited, especially since it was being released as a Kindle serial. But then I couldn’t get it because I lived in Canada so I had to wait until the full novel was written to get my hands on STORM FORCE. But I’m happy to report that STORM FORCE is a nice paranormal romance with a lot of suspense added in. It actually reads like a paranormal suspense novel that just happens to have supernatural characters in it, which is just my cup of tea.

One of the neatest things about STORM FORCE is that the lead couple have an unusual power dynamic. Mori is more than human and is consequently more physically powerful than Kell. It’s a pairing that’s less commonly seen in the genre and it was kind of refreshing to watch this alpha Ranger man deal with the fact that his romantic interest is being sparked by someone who could throw him out a window if she was in the mood. Thankfully, he knows that her strength doesn’t make him weak because I hate those characters who can only see others’ strengths as detractions. I adore strong women — in fiction and in real life — and I can’t stand it when people react badly to capable women.

Rant aside, I also like how much this novel stands alone. You don’t have to be familiar with the Penton Legacy books to read STORM FORCE so if the blurb appeals, you should pick it up. STORM FORCE reads very well as a stand-alone novel and you’ll quickly be sucked into the mystery of who set the bomb and why they’re framing Mori for it. The answer is unexpected — and revealed early enough in the novel that you’ll get to see the ramifications, which is great. Knowing the who and they why really up the stakes and it makes STORM FORCE a roller coaster of a novel.

There are also some nice humorous moments in STORM FORCE. One of my favourite characters is Robin, an eagle shifter with a lot of attitude. I really liked her boldness and also the fact that she was an eagle shifter since we don’t see a ton of avian shifters in the literature. I do hope she gets her own novel at some point because I’d love to spend more time with her.

If you’re looking for a suspenseful paranormal romance, look no further than STORM FORCE. Sandlin has created a great story with a compelling cast and you’ll be hooked from the first page!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

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Arrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer

Arrow of the Mist by Christina MercerArrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer

Book stats:
Reading level: Young adult
E-book: 270 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Self published
Release date: March 13, 2013

Series: n/a

Source: Review copy from Xpresso Book Tours

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

Terror 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.

First of all, I’d like to apologies to Christina and Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours. This was supposed to go up on July 2 with Christina’s “When I’m Not Writing” post but I ended up celebrating Canada Day with a bad case of food poisoning so I didn’t have a chance to finish writing my review. I’m posting it now in the spirit of better-late-than-never since it’s a story I quite enjoyed and think that you might too.

Overall, I thought ARROW OF THE MIST was a solid young adult fantasy novel. I really liked the protagonist Lia. She kind of reminded me of Merida from Brave with her red hair and unladylike pursuits. And I adored Merida so this is a compliment in my eyes. =) I also liked how Lia has embraced the traditions of her family — the old ways — even when they’re not exactly popular with the locals or with the royal family. I think it shows her guts and strength of conviction, both of which are tested throughout ARROW OF THE MIST.

Fantasy fans will see many familiar tropes but this doesn’t detract from the story. You have your different races, like dwarves and fairies, and some archetypal characters like the sage grandfatherly figure and your Samwise Gamgee-type stalwart traveling companion but everything is well executed so ARROW OF THE MIST doesn’t feel like a retread of established ground. Each of the characters has enough personality to help them stand out, though I was most partial to Lia and her grandmother, who is dead but still has a strong presence in the novel thanks to her grimoire. I wasn’t terribly keen on all the rhyming going on in the grimoire — I found it to be a fairly repetitive device — but I did enjoy watching Lia puzzle out the riddles. Some of the answers seemed a big obvious but Lia acquits herself nicely throughout the story.

I think this book will appeal to fans of Maria V. Snyder’s Glass and Healer trilogies, and also Sarah J. Maas’ work, since ARROW OF THE MIST features a strong female protagonist in a coming-of-age story. It’s an enjoyable YA fantasy and I look forward to seeing what Mercer produces next.

P. S. How gorgeous is this cover? It’s one of the most eye-catching covers I’ve seen — traditional or indie pubbed — and I think the artist deserves major kudos. =)

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Jenn

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A Million Suns by Beth Revis

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Book Stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 386 pages 
Genre: Science-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: January 10, 2012

Series: Across the Universe #2

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Library

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed.

But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision—no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success—or failure—will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.

Beth Revis catapulted readers into the far reaches of space with her New York Times bestselling debut, Across the Universe. In A Million Suns, Beth deepens the mystery with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in this series, but I was intrigued enough to check out this sequel. As far as sequels go, it’s pretty decent. I think I even prefer A MILLION SUNS, over book one. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE left too many unanswered questions for me and was just a little bit too confusing for my taste. A MILLION SUNS provided many answers, just enough to satisfy me, while still leaving us with a manageable cliffhanger to keep the interest at the end.

We learn more and more about each character as the series progresses and while A MILLION SUNS sheds more light on the two main characters (no pun intended), it makes me like one of them more and dislike the other. Amy is someone that I can easily identify with. The only Earth born on the spaceship Godspeed, she’s been woken up from suspended animation earlier than expected and I can definitively understand her need to get off the ship. Obviously, she will stop at nothing to find out why the space mission isn’t on schedule, not only because she wants the ship to land on the “new” Earth, but also because landing would mean being able to wake up her parents from their own suspended animation. Like me, Amy is a runner and there’s nothing better than fresh air and a large open space to run and forget about everything else besides your feet pounding the pavement. The ship’s walls feel so claustrophobic that I completely understand her need to get off.

Elder, however, is a different story. Literally born to lead Godspeed, it seems like it’s one of the only things that he isn’t capable of doing. I understand that he’s only 16 years old and that he still has a lot to learn about leading a community, but almost every decision he makes leads to more problems and uncertainty. Even if I completely agree with the decisions he makes, it’s because he’s unable to stand behind them that people see him as a weak leader. Sure, almost everyone on the ship is out to get him anyways, and many try to sabotage the work he’s doing, but his inactions cost him more than his actions. His poor decision making leads the ship into a chaotic state, where mutiny and rebellion rules the community.

And if rebellion isn’t enough to cause problems, there’s a murderer roaming around, killing people and making it look like Elder is responsible for their deaths. The idea of a science-fiction/murder mystery mash-up is a great concept and I’ve read a few other book with this combination, and it works really well. I really admire the author’s courage to try the mash-up in Young Adult because it’s not something we see that often. I’m a huge fan of these mash-ups, and while I’m not a big fan of this particular series, it is getting better as the series develops.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate this series. Actually, after reading book 2, I will definitively read the last book of the trilogy because I’m intrigued enough about what will happen to Amy, Elder and the people on the ship. Will they finally make it to their new planet? Will Amy see her parents again? Will Elder finally take charge and be seen as a true leader? The ever present mysteries surrounding Godspeed will keep you interested, and the main characters will have you sitting on the edge of your seat as they follow the clues in this sci-fi/murder mystery.

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Stacking the Shelves

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

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

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I had a pretty exciting week as far as books go! I didn’t get any review books this week, but I did score at an awesome used book store and got some oldies that I’ve been meaning to read forever! Also finally discovered our local library. HELLOOOO, beautiful.

ParallelThe Line (The Line, #1)Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)

Bought:

Parallel by Lauren Miller

The Line by Teri Hall

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (LOVED her Lux series, so it was about time I started this one!)

 

Borrowed:

Arclight (Arclight, #1)The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)Rush (The Game, #1)

Arclight by Josin L. McQueen

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (want to read this SO badly!)

Rush by Eve Silver

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I can’t wait to get started on all these lovelies!

What did you add to your shelves this week?

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Book Stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Release date: March 5, 2013

Series: Mercy Thompson #7

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book depository

Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

Mercy has always had a way to get herself into trouble, but this time around it’s her husband and mate Adam who’s in trouble, and she gets to play hero. Don’t get me wrong, playing hero isn’t easy either and Mercy gets her fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, but who would’ve thought little Coyote would be the key to save both the werewolf pack and the local vampire seethe?

The Mercy Thompson series is one of my favourites urban fantasy out there, and this instalment didn’t disappoint. My only complaint would be that it was over way too fast. I don’t know if it’s Patricia Briggs’ writing style or if the word count on her novels isn’t that high but it always feels likes it’s too short. Especially since we have to wait quite a while between releases. I’m telling you, I can’t get enough of Mercy and her friends!

This time around the plot revolves around the whole pack being kidnapped by pseudo government agents and Mercy’s quest to find and free them. She has to call on old friends to accomplish her mission and I enjoyed seeing them again. The novel is, per usual, filled with heart-pounding action and keeping-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. I blindly followed our hero every step of the way, and didn’t quite grasp the intensity of the betrayal until the final unveiling. 

Mercy’s world is really rich and entertaining  and with each book I feel like coming back home. I just love it! The lore is entertaining with werewolves, fey, witches, vampires and a single coyote involved. Each race has it knack and Mercy always does her best to walk the line and profit from each strength and trying not to make too many enemies. The ambiguity is maddening hehe.

I really like this series and I strongly suggest you give it a shot, starting with Moon Called. Frost Burned being the 7th books in the series, I can feel it coming to an end and I’m already saddened by the prospect of not visiting Mercy’s world anymore, but I’m really impatient for the next book called Night Broken.

Read Excerpt

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