Archive for the ‘young adult’ Category

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by At Home With Books.  To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky (at At Home With Books). Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

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I just happened to take this picture today of the biggest seat stealer! This is my Border Collie/Australian Shepherd (aka Bossie), named Stoli. She is a hyper rambunctious one year old, but when she gets tired, she crashes! Here she is in my favorite recliner. It is one surrounded by windows that let in the perfect amount of sunlight during the day. We have a window bench right next to it that we taught her to lay on. Well, as soon as you get up, she jumps into the recliner. My favorite is when she jumps on my legs when I am snuggled up under blankets. Stoli is the biggest cuddler.

Btw, it’s got a watermark from my photography business! :]

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SoM

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Book Links: Goodreads   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   The Book Depository

Author Links: Website   Blog   Goodreads   Facebook

Can you believe that we are back again with another amazing novel by Maria V. Snyder?! The first of the series left me breathless and craving for more action, magic, and, of course, KERRICK! Touch of Power (the first contest and info here) dove straight into the life of Avry, Healer and outlaw. We learned the history of the land, of Prince Tohon and his horrible plans to take over every Realm with the use of atrocious methods such as reanimating the dead. You cried for their losses, feared the worst, and fell in love as Avry did.

Now they are back with an even greater adventure that seemed to have started faster than any Snyder has written before. Here is the synopsis:

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.
Maria1Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible… again.

Are you already ordering the book? You should! Snyder does it again with her incredible talent at keeping pace, bringing a completely different world to life, and delivering characters that will stick with you well beyond finishing the book. You will have a difficult time putting this one down and, like me, will be begging for the next one.

The previous characters bleed into this second installment, bringing new friends and foes along with them. In ToM, you get to know Avry, Kerrick, the  Monkeys, and Tohon. In SoM, Snyder pulls out the lives of the other royalty, Avry’s sister, and the military leaders she meets along the way while still diving deeper into our favorites.

This time around Avry and Kerrick have separated to help on opposite ends of their world. As per usual, the author has kept a quick pace, jumping between their individual, but connected, adventures. I love that about Snyder’s writing. Just as Avry is trying to save Prince Ryne from assassination, Kerrick is finding out his brother made a deal with Tohon to use their army! AH! The suspense and intrigue never end!

Any fan of Snyder’s work, fantasy, love in action, or reading, will coddle this book until it is finished. Maria V. Snyder has yet to disappoint.

If that isn’t enough to get you reading this series, maybe this will persuade you…

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Oh yes, did I mention that there is a contest? Of course! Maria and her team at Harlequin are giving away one copy of Scent of Magic to one of my followers! Yahoo! The contest will run as long as the rest of this blog tour to give you all enough time to enter. That means you have until the 21st to enter. Here are the rules:

US/Canada Only

Up to 5 entries!

There is also a Harlequin TEEN Prize Pack!!! Click on the image and enter for a chance to win:

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12/10/2012 Parajunkee  review and Q&A

12/11/2012 Paranormal Urban Fantasy Reviews  review

12/12/2012 Read Now Sleep Later  Interview with Maria

12/13/2012 The Book Heroine  review

12/14/2012 We Fancy Books Playlist

12/17/2012 Two Chicks on Books Guest Post From Belen

12/18/2012 The Starry-eyed Revue   Guest Post

12/19/2012 A Great Read  Review

12/20/2012 YA Reads Guest Post

12/21/2012 The Book Hookup  Review

☆.5
Author: Karen Sandler
Publisher: Lee and Low Books
Released: September 28, 2011
Pages: 384
Genre: YA, Sci Fi
Source: NetGalley


Best friends, Kayla and Mishalla, know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-Humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises; not the least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet, can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.


This book grabbed my attention instantly. Just the title alone reminds me of the Matrix, humans being genetically engineered and grown in tanks. I didn’t even read the synopsis before jumping into this novel. I kind of wish I did, though. It might have prepared me for some of the strange language.
The story itself is pretty amazing. The author weaves a world where the caste system is strongly in place and the selfish quality of humans is well portrayed. Earth crumbles and humans move to Loca where they start over. They don’t learn from their mistakes, though. They worsen in their ways. The most important things are status, wealth, and land. Part of that is owning GENs, to abuse and use in whatever way. The GENs have been raised to believe that their god has designed all this and their servitude is a part of the plan. There is some romance, but it does not muddle the plot, nor does it take away from it.
The characters are not as developed as I had hoped for. There is so much action, that it seemed rushed to get to know them. If this was a series, I would have been okay with that as there would be time later, but this seems to be a stand alone novel. What was developed, I loved! Mishalla has such a huge heart, Kayla so courageous, and Zul such an amazing leader despite his handicap.
Back to the language part. Just like most sci-fi books, Tankborn does have its share of slang. For some reason, the words used to replace today’s is odd. For me, it did not flow well and it distracted from the whole point. I don’t know what to recommend because an author has full liberty in science fiction. It didn’t take away to omuch, but enough for me to say something.
In all, I really enjoyed this novel. The struggle of the lower class, the reasoning to explain how the human race got to where it is in the storyline, and the disillusionment of the GENs. I wish the story could have been longer or there was a sequel because I would love to see where Kayla’s life could go from here.


Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Random House
Released: October 11, 2011
Pages: 384
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Source: Library (Pat is Awesome!)
TRAILER: YouTube


Thomas knows that Wicked can’t be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they’ve collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It’s up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.
What Wicked doesn’t know is that something’s happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can’t believe a word of what Wicked says.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure?


We have followed closely on the running heels of the Gladers as they fought demonic beasts, survived in the harshest of terrains, and watch parts of their group die. We have survived with them, hearts beating at every turn of page and hoped against hope that they would make it beyond the grips of Wicked.


Here we are again with Thomas and his band of misfits as they try to unveil the truth of their existence. As always, James Dashner has delivered an incredible novel to complete the series. I have yet to be disappointed in his ability to shine every character’s personality and to keep us enthralled with them from page one to the final word.


Though the conflict remains the same, the storyline is not repetitive. It’s a new adventure for the groups with all new obstacles. Every question of mine was answered at some point, yet nothing was predictable. I think that is a talent that many authors do not have.


Each book has the ability to hold its own, but no one should deprive themselves of reading only one. Pick these books up from wherever you can find them and do not let go until the end of The Death Cure. They will keep your mind reeling for months!


P.S. James is the first author whom I have seen that thanked book bloggers in his acknowledgements. That is just too cool! 😀

☆.5
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Teen
Released: February 1, 2011
Pages: 441
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Source: Bookshelf


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.


But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


Every girl grows up waiting until the moment when she falls in love for the first time. For some, it’s the first time one lays eyes upon him from across the room. For others, it takes years to develop that sense of loyalty. Our dreams explode with the possibilities and our pillows are stained with our tears. Imagine waking up one day to never being capable of those feelings ever again. For some who have dealt with the grief of losing a loved one, that might be the ideal way to live out their lives. But for the rest of us who cling on to our heartstrings, that seems like a terrible loss of emotions.


Lena has grown to accept that love is a disease that must be treated before it attacks. Schools taught that life with love is disastrous and cruel, no way for a reasonable adult to live. Take out love and you have a world of order where no one risks anything for such a feeling.


It is an interesting idea that love can be cured and I was pleased with how well Oliver thought the deliria through in detail. So many authors have incredible ideas, and then throw the book to shambles when it is not thought out well enough to believe in the possibilities. The problem I had, was the repetitiveness of the explanations. It seemed to drown out the excitement of the storyline and I got lost…and bored…with the book. The beginning was fast-paced, the ending marvelous, the middle slow, slow, slow.


I did like how well the “cured” characters were portrayed: harsh, unyielding to emotions, distant. I really did not want the cure after seeing the relationships between parent and child. It made me sick thinking that was the “normal way”. I had a hard time reading it because I see it so often in my students’ eyes. The desire for love from their families.


In all, I would recommend this as a quick read. I don’t know that I will read the other two books in the series. To those of you who have read the sequels, what do you think?

☆.5
Author: Elise Allen
Released: August 1, 2011
Pages: 400
Genre: YA, Chic-Lit, Contemporary
Source: Netgalley-Kindle
ISBN: 0547481535

Cara has always dreamed of being a Populazzi, one of the popular crowd. But it’s not until she changes schools that she gets a shot at it, thanks to her best friend Claudia’s crazy plan. The idea is simple: The rungs of The Ladder are relationships. First get a boyfriend who’s ranked low, then climb up through more boyfriends until you’re not just one of the Populazzi, but the Supreme Populazzi. Yet what starts off as a fairy tale turns into a somewhat dark comedy of errors. Just when Cara reaches the top, her life hits rock bottom. She wonders why she wanted to be popular in the first place—and if there’s any way to live happily ever after now.

We have all been there in one way or another. Who couldn’t agree with the desire to be a part of the popular crowd and have thought of antics that would get us there? I recall the days sitting in my group of friends, looking over my shoulder toward the large group of “populazzi”. Rumors circulated around them, glares shot in their direction, and hopes of belonging floated beyond. Although I never wanted to be the most popular, I did want to be that girl that everyone smiled about and said “hello” to. So, it was easy to get caught up in the story and cheer the girls along.
This is a great novel that reels readers into the psychological theory of two girls. Is it truly possible to climb up the social ladder from the very bottom? Apparently so, but at the cost of the most important. Cara goes through the ups and downs of all that is associated with the social ladder and is given the opportunity to truly drown or shine.
I liked the easy humor and clever ways of naming the various high school groups. The references to different literature or plays through Claudia were enjoyable and laughable in a good sense.
Archer was so stinking adorable! Cute, dorky, talented…did I mention cute? I just love guys who do not care what anyone thinks about themselves. They can make for such role models in novels like this. He stuck to his guns and kept going after what his heart desired wether that was a girl or a role in a play. I routed for him from page one. Go team Archer!
Couldn’t stand Cara’s stepdad. He reminded me of a past relationship and I actually screamed at the book every time he took control of the situation. I wanted to kick him off the pages myself!
I would recommend this to high school teens and the romantic indulgers. Beware as Elise will grasp onto you with her quick whit and entertaining characters!

☆ / 
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 315 / 326
Genre: YA: Sci-Fi Dystopian
Source: Netgalley
ISBN: 037321006X / 0373210116



I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper Levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution. -Netgalley


Imagine being a number, one of thousands who live in the same rooms, eat in shifts, work for ten hours, rest for ten hours every day at the same job that was assigned to you before you were five. For the scrubs, that is normal. Walking through the lower levels of Inside is like pushing through a hallway with a herd of cows. The smells, the noise, the light always on. Could you survive?


Trella is a lower that escaped her confines as much as possible. Her job was to clean the pipes that wound through the levels, so she knew the maze of metal with even her eyes closed. Often, she took that for granted to nap in silence and darkness that would wrap around her like a blanket. Trella also took advantage to explore the upper levels, a life that she could never hope to obtain.


Prophetic rumors of a gateway wound through the conversation of scrubs, giving them a little hope to latch onto in their pitiful lives. Trella never believed the prophets or her best friend who constantly lapped up every word, until one day when one of the story-tellers grabbed her attention and peaked her interest. Claiming to have evidence hidden in an upper level room he once held, this prophet fed into Trella’s curiosity until she finally ventured into the pipes to find the truth. -The Book Heroine


Maria has done it again. With characters that hook your heart from the first page, you chase the adventures they lead with tears, laughter, and an entire mix of emotions until the last page. Trella is the little engine-that-could in this dystopian tale. A girl with nothing to hope for other than the few moments of silence she can take in the ducts she calls her escape, she is driven into a spiraling adventure.


I tend to lean towards one character or two in a novel, but I could hardly choose a handful. Even the villains take a hold of you in their mission to take control. Trella is real. I felt the grime of the walls and smelled the odor of so many bodies around as she tried to escape them (or it could have just been my dirty laundry piling up). Cog makes you want a friend as loyal and trusting.


I can’t help but compare Trella to Yelena, one of Snyder’s past characters in Poison Study. Both are strong-willed, but equally unsure of their abilities to lead change. There is something in Trella that doesn’t let her give up on being slightly different, a wonderful characteristic in a leading female role.


Romance? Of course. Does Snyder go overboard in this category? Not even close. She only touches on the tingles and butterflies Trella experiences in light of the rebellion. As the reader, you are rushed through a series of struggles and adventures, torn between fighting for life and fighting for love. And since it is a series, Snyder does not give away all in one book. You are left with the same hope for the heroine’s love life on the last page of Inside Out as you were halfway through.


Although I gave Inside Out five stars, Outside In resulted in four for one minor reason. I wasn’t as drawn into the tale as the first. Without giving too much away, it was much more predictable than the outcomes of the first and that lost the sequel a bit of luster for me. Trella’s continued adventure was still exciting and perilous and I wouldn’t have stopped reading just because of my guessing being correct. Maybe it was just luck! I also had a hard time keeping track of the measurement of time that she had set up. It seemed a lot of significance was placed on this, yet it didn’t place quite as relevant once I read them through.


I would recommend this series to any fan of Maria V. Snyder, dystopian fiction, or a teacher hoping to add another incredible heroine to their bookshelves! I cannot wait to read what this talented author has in store for us next.