Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Author Information: Website / Blog / Twitter
Genre: Paranormal
Available Formats: Hardcover and eBook
My Shelf:
Want to Buy
Bryn knows first-hand that being the alpha of a werewolf pack means making hard decisions, and that being human makes things a thousand times worse. She's prepared to give up her humanity, but the wolf who promised to Change her is waiting - though for what, Bryn doesn't know. Still human, she must take her place in the werewolf Senate, the precarious democracy that rules the North American packs. Standing side by side with werewolves who were ancient long before she was ever born is enough of a challenge, but Bryn soon learns that the Senate has been called to deal with a problem: the kind of problem that involves human bodies, a Rabid werewolf, and memories that Bryn, Chase, and the rest of their pack would rather forget. With bodies stacking up and political pressure closing in from all sides, Bryn and her pack are going to have to turn to old enemies and even older friends for help - especially when it starts to look like this time, the monster might be one of their own.

First and foremost, a very important issue needs to be addressed. For those of you, like me, who are wondering if there is going to be a fourth book in the Raised by Wolves series, here is what Barnes has to say: “I knew that this book would, in many ways, be a conclusion to the plot lines, questions, and character arcs that started in the first two. I can’t say for sure that this is the last book I’ll ever write about Bryn, but I can say that I would be happy with it as a finale if it were.” *pauses and broods over statement* *broods some more* Nope, I’m sorry. Try as I might, I am not content with this ending. I want more! I want to know what happens next (MAJOR spoilers- only highlight to view if  you have read the book): How does Bryn feel after she has changed? Is her relationship with Devon still light and carefree even though they are now both Alphas? Will her relationship with Callum be repaired and can Bryn forgive him? And is there any way, any way at all, that Chase can be brought back, maybe even as a Shadow?? While the plot lines may have been tied up nicely, I am still not wholly satisfied with this ending (a series should not end on a cliffhanger, in my opinion), so I will praying, down on my hands and feet pleading, for there to be a fourth book. Please? Please, please, pretty please?? I am not above begging.

You cannot resist this face!

[Tries to gather what little of my dignity remains] Ahem. Okay, I am cool and composed. So how was the book, you ask? Absolutely, mind-blowingly amazing!! Just when I thought this series could not impress me more, Barnes dishes out Taken by Storm. This is definitely one of the few series available that actually gets better and better with every addition, and Taken by Storm is the best book in the series, no contest. It defied all my expectations, which were already pretty high. The story starts a little while after Bryn met with Callum (end of book two), and things immediately get intense when a Rabid shows up and Bryn is confronted with memories she would rather not remember. However, this Rabid is believed to be female, and all the big boys (aka the Alphas) come out to play in hopes of adding her to their ranks. When Bryn learns that Maddy might somehow be involved in the Rabid’s killings, it becomes a race against time and the other Alphas to figure out who the Rabid is and save Maddy. If things are not bad enough, Shay starts pulling out some of the tricks he has up his sleeve for some time, and he is anticipating the day when he takes over Bryn’s pack. But Bryn happens to have a few tricks up her sleeve as well….

I know I already mentioned that I loved this book, but it will not hurt to say it one more time. Taken by Storm was beyond brilliant. Barnes seamlessly creates a story with a gripping, ever-changing plot filled with intense action, charming characters, and heightened emotions/feelings, a prefect trifecta. This book made me feel so much; I laughed and I cried and some emotionally trying moments tugged at my heart. I love how Barnes captures the mentality of a pack being family, and I respected the strength of their emotional bonds to one another. Bryn is human, but she is their Alpha, and they will follow her through thick and thin. I cannot even begin to try and explain the appreciation I have for Bryn. Being human, she is physically weaker than other packs’ Omegas, but that never stops her from doing what she thinks is best and fighting for her pack. Shay throws her down rather heavily in this book, but she stands up and pushes right back, and I cannot help but have the utmost respect for her. Her iron will and keen mind are all the arsenal she needs to make the other Alphas regret challenging her or thinking of her as weak. You have got to love a girl who can own Alpha males. All the old favorites are also back, and even good ole Archer makes an appearance (I lovveee his name!).

I really cannot do this book justice. If you have not read it (or this series), then you need to remedy that quickly. Raised by Wolves is one of the greatest werewolf books I have ever come across (if not the very best), and you should not miss out on it. Treat yourself! I just hope Taken by Storm is not the last time we read about Bryn.

To conclude my fangirling review, I have a letter for Ms. Barnes.

Dear Ms. Barnes,
I [politely] demand a fourth book. You do not want to see me go all Rabid (it's not pretty). I will eagerly be awaiting the next book within a year! :)
Thank you,
A BIG fan
The Greatest Escape!!

Read my review for Raised by Wolves here.
Read my review for Trail by Fire here

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spineand it's a weekly meme mentioning an anticipated upcoming release!
My choice:

Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte
Author Information: Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
Ahhh, after reading so many paranormal books lately, I have been looking for a cute, romantic read to get excited about, and look what I found! This book just seems like all kinds of adorable, and I love the whole falling-for-the-boy-you-hate scenario! Add the fact that the story is set in London (a place I have always wanted to venture to), this book was immediately added on my to-read list. Why is November still so far away? I want this book now!!

What are your picks for this week?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blog Tour and Review: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Author Information:
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Paranormal, Religious
Available Formats:
My Shelf: Own (ARC eBook)
Other Information: Debut Author
Buy the Book: Barnes and Noble
Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .


Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.

Well, this book definitely added some variety to my paranormal reads. Recently, having read series such as Hush, Hush, Halo, and Fallen, I have essentially avoided most books dealing with angels like the plague. Angel Eyes has restored some of my faith in angel-demon paranormal books. The story is refreshing and Dittemore adds her own flare to the proverbial angel story to make her own unique.

Angel Eyes was a great read. It has an intriguing plot, solid characters (including one guy who is swoon-worthy), and romance. The story is a bit confusing in the beginning, with Brielle being plagued by past events, and the reader does not find out what happened until a decent way into the book. However, once the backstory is provided, it is all systems go. The story gets more intense and a major plot line starts to develop (something which I will not spoil), and it definitely makes for a gripping read. I liked Dittemore’s explanation for the use of halos and how they can lead to advanced powers in people who are worthy to wield them. I also liked the characters, which were well-crafted, and I adored the romance. Jake is such an awesome male lead, and he had my attention from the get-go. As far as God and the religious aspects of this novel are concerned, I am not going to delve into them too much (it is probably best for me to keep things nice and simple, no?). For the first half to two-thirds of the novel, there are very few religious undertones, but there are many towards the end. I am going to leave it at that.

One thing that did bother me a bit was the conflicting character viewpoints. Overall, there are four main players in this novel: Brielle, Jake, Canaan, and Damien. Brielle, Canaan, and Damien all have their own viewpoints being told, yet Jake is the lone man out. Unlike the others, the reader never gets to hear any bits of the story from Jake (save the afterword, which was all of 2-3 pages). Why? I did not understand that. In addition, Brielle uses a first person point of view, but when Canaan and Damien’s viewpoint is being expressed, their voice is the third person perspective. I did not like this mash up between first and third person point of views. It is easier and less confusing to just stick with one of them. I think it would have been better to stick with Brielle’s perspective throughout the book and fill in the other missing pieces told from Canaan and Damien’s viewpoints through dialogue or something. It would have made for a more fluid read while not detracting from the story or any type of character development.

Overall, Angel Eyes was an interesting story with a new take on angels that I think anyone would enjoy. It is one of the better angel-related reads out there, so for those of you looking for a more original angelic story, look no further than Angel Eyes!
A Decent Escape

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Author Information: Website / Blog / Twitter / Pintrest
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Available Formats: Hardcover and eBook
My Shelf: Own (Hardcover)
Other Information: Debut Author
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

When a friend recommended this book to me, they informed me that I would either love or hate it. She told me there is no middle ground, no neutral territory. Well, in the end, it gives me no pleasure to say she ended up being wrong. My feelings on this book are rather ambiguous. It has taken me over 3 weeks to write this review because I could not really decipher how it made me feel. Even now I am conflicted! So let’s start breaking things down, shall we?

The great:

1. The dialogue. Oh man, I am such a fan of the dialogue. It is not the usual ‘teen speak’ that is prevalent in most YA books today. The dialogue is witty and intelligent, and it is definitely on a higher difficulty level than a majority of YA books! It was very refreshing.

2. The cover. Just look at it! It’s gorgeous! Do I need to say more??

The mediocre:

1. The paranormal plot twist. I know, I know, some people hated it. I did not mind it so much myself. Could the twist have been better executed? Of course, without a doubt. Even I was a little thrown with how quickly things seemed to change in the book/story. The story focuses almost completely on the romance, and in the last quarter of the book, the plot rears up and smacks you in the face. However, hints of this paranormal element were present throughout the book, such as Mara’s name. (Mara DYER- as if we needed a bigger clue!) So the plot twist was not overly surprising or anything, but it lacked a certain finesse that would have made it good. For me, it was just okay.

2. The side characters. They were your typical characters with the standard one-dimensional personalities. I did not care for any of them. In fact, even though I just read the book a couple of weeks ago, I cannot remember any of their names! I guess that says it all, no? They did not really add any depth to the story, nor did they detract from it, so they were just meh.

3. The romance. The romance was a typical YA romance. Nothing about Mara and Noah’s romance stood out or was memorable. The dialogue exchanged between the two of them was great, but the characters themselves were terrible (which I will get to in the next section), and I could not bring myself to invest any attention or feelings into their relationship.

 The doldrums:

1. Mara. Oh Mara, Mara, Mara, I did not really care for you. She causes certain catastrophic events in the book (she kills people- some who are innocent!), but never once did she feel guilty about it. If you were the reason someone died, no matter how horrible of a person they were, wouldn’t you feel even a little guilt? Especially when their death resulted from your inability to control your anger/feelings? Instead, she just complained about it all and talked about how unfair it was for her to be burdened with her ‘gift.’ This attitude of hers really irked me towards the end. I really hate it when characters just cry and whine about something instead of being proactive and figuring out a way to solve their problems. Sure, Mara’s gift was not much of a gift at all, but do not spend most of the book sobbing about it. Figure out a way to control it instead.

Another thing that bothered me was Mara’s feelings towards Noah.

What could I say? Noah, despite you being an asshole, or maybe because of it, I’d like to rip off your clothes and have your babies. Don’t tell.

That is not why you should like a guy. That is NEVER why you should like a guy. I do not like that these kinds of thoughts are becoming more and more prevalent in books. Girls should not like a guy because he is a jerk, even if he is popular, rich, and/or all other girls like him (or have slept with him). This is not something that young girls should think is okay, and that is exactly what thoughts like Mara’s teaches them.

2. Noah.  Here comes the rant. I detested Noah. There is no easy or nice way to say that. Initially, I was totally on the Noah bandwagon. He is described as being good-looking, rich, smart, and just all around perfect without meaning to be. To top it off, he even has a sexy accent and speaks six languages. Sounds nice, right? But then a few other details started to trickle in. He throws away women like they are ‘used condoms,’ has a tendency to talk down to them, and has literally slept with all the girls in the school, earning him the title of King Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am (graciously bestowed by me). He is a complete womanizer, and all the girls know it, yet they continue to fan over him even though he treats them like they are undeserving of his attention. Promiscuity is not sexy, and neither are boys who treat girls like crap. His attitude towards Mara is different since he seems to really care for her, but I had a hard time disassociating him with all the other girls. In his defense, a few of the girls are rude and seem deserving of being told off by him, but the way he treats them overall is really just disconcerting to me. In my opinion, no guy should treat a girl like that and no girl should be okay with a guy treating them with anything less than respect.

(Just as a quick note, most of my thoughts and feelings for the characters stem from my own personal beliefs, so please do not let me deter you from reading this book. Plenty of other people have enjoyed it and have fallen completely in love with Noah, so you should definitely read it for yourself and formulate your own opinions.)

Overall, this book was just okay. I loved the dialogue and the plot really grabbed my attention initially, but with poor plot execution and unlikeable characters (for me, anyway), this book left me feeling underwhelmed. I will try reading the next book in the series, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, to see what happens, but I think my expectations are going to be a little lower. 
A Decent Escape

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spineand it's a weekly meme mentioning an anticipated upcoming release!

Release Date: December 6, 2012
Publisher: Dial
Author Information: Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Pre-order: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Be your own hero . . .

An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns—and the heroines who use them all.

Set in Edwardian London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder—and the crimes they believe may be connected to it—without calling too much attention to themselves.

Told with Adrienne Kress’s sharp wit and a great deal of irreverence, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike—well, relatively ladylike—heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

After reading the summary and checking out the cover, the first thing I thought was that The Friday Society is going to be like a steampunked version of Charlie’s Angels! Three butt-kicking heroines solving murders while breaking boys’ hearts and toting guns? What’s not to love?! I love the cover and I love the synopsis, but I am going to hate the wait until December rolls around and I can get my hands on this book. What are your thoughts and picks for this week? 

Closed Hearts Bonus Content: Playlists!

BONUS CONTENT: Closed Hearts Playlist by Susan Kaye Quinn 

[Ed. Note: In celebration of the release of my novel Closed Hearts, I've created bonus content that relates to the Mindjack Trilogy. This bonus content arises from the story time between Open Minds (Bk#1) and Closed Hearts (Bk#2) - it's not terribly spoiler-ish, but you'll enjoy it more if you've read Open Minds already.]

I don't normally listen to music while writing, unless I'm trying to drone out the background noise of my kids. But while drafting Closed Hearts, there were several songs that seemed to speak to the themes (How You Remind Me, Born This Way) and story (Know Your Enemy, Stab My Back). (Click on pop-out player to view and listen to playlist!)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
In Closed Hearts, Kira rooks (or masquerades) as a mindreader. She changes her hair and stamps her cheek with a tattoo to disguise her famous face, putting on the "look" of an asynchroner, someone who listens to "asychronous" music to signal her rebellion against the "tyranny of synchronous thought" as she wryly notes in the novel: 

"I checked the mirror on the employee closet door and smoothed a hand over my gelled flat hair, dyed black now with nano-color and trimmed short. The sleek hairstyle and the synth-tattoo that snaked up my throat and cheek pegged me for an asynchroner—a rebel who thought it was somehow mesh to listen to music without a melody. Asynchroners could rail against the tyranny of synchronous thought all they liked, but I knew that being “out of sync” with the world was anything but mesh. However the twisted black vine and blue thorns on my cheek made for excellent camouflage. Too bad it was starting to fade."

It's tidbits like these that are so fun to write! While the world and technology change, I believe that people remain fundamentally the same, with our patterns of behavior repeating themselves again and again. I imagined asynchroners to be the punk rockers of the future, and actually did some research into that movement and what it really meant: anti-establishment messages wrapped in bare, stripped-down music. In Kira's future world, where being mesh (or cool) means being conjoined, uniform, or in "sync" with everyone else's thoughts, an asynchroner would be someone that holds themselves apart in their choice of clothes and music. Are they really poseurs, that don't understand how painful it is to be isolated from society, as Kira seems to think? Or are they true rebels? This question isn't really asked, much less answered, in the book, and asynchroners just get a passing mention, but hopefully snippets like these add depth to Kira's world.

Here's a few pieces that fit my idea of the minimalist style of asynchroner music in the future:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Closed Hearts (Mindjack #2) $2.99 at AmazonBarnes and Noble (ebook and print)

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.

Bestselling YA novel Open Minds, Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes. The sequel Closed Hearts has just been released. Susan Kaye Quinn's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

CLICK HERE to join the Closed Hearts Virtual Launch Party (with more bonus Mindjack Trilogy content and guest posts) and/or ENTER TO WIN PRIZES (below).

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Tallis by Killian McRae

Stay tuned for a giveaway!!

Release Date: April 2012
Publisher: Tulipe Noire Press
Author Information:
Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, Magic
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
My Shelf:  Own (eBook)
Buy the Book:
The Empire of Andresium is threatened by the corruption of the immortals, ancient beings given the gift of eternal life after the death of the last reigning empress. A prophecy speaks of their eventual downfall at the hands of one of their own, however. Tallis is known by most simply as "The Loren," and seeks to avoid her destiny while trying herself to remain untainted by the decaying morals and indifference to the fates of men that plague her kind. As the events of the prophecy begin to unfold, Tallis finds herself conflicted between upholding her dedication to justice, and falling victim to the ramifications of following the desires of her own heart.
Please excuse me is this is less of a review and more of an ode to McRae’s prose. There is something about her writing that drew me in, and I enjoyed reading every word. It was the best thing about the book, in my opinion! Her prose was lush and beautifully descriptive, and the words just seemed to flow and fall right off the page. Here are a few examples (I included one romantic example for us diehard romantics out there *swoon*):
Night was a harbor to them, sheltering their words as they sat, locked in conversation under the vastness of the heavens, until the dawning sun again tugged at their paradise. The stoic gave way to the poet, as the Loren told the Systerian of distant lands and ancient times.

“My eyes refuse to drift from yours. My hand tells me touch, and I can scarcely recall my control before it has drifted away from my side. My feet carry me to you, longing to pass time which I have not, and knowing how it should be spent in meditation of what’s to come.”
I just fell in love with McRae’s writing style. It is unique, it fits the tone of the novel exceptionally well, and it made the book that much more enjoyable for me to read.

Alright, I am going to try and leave the whole prose thing behind for now. Onto other things! This book, being only ~60 pages long, is more of short story than anything, but do not let that fool you! It is packed full of romance, fantasy, betrayal, magic, and so much more. Tallis, the main character of the story, is one of the few remaining immortals, and she has a wealth of long sought-after magical knowledge that the other immortals would do just about anything to learn. She faces some hard times and difficult dilemmas, but she remains resolute and steadfast through everything. She is definitely a strong female character, and I immediately liked her when she started throwing some carefully scripted insults in guys’ faces (you have got to love a girl who can tell guys off!). Overall, she was a brilliant lead, and I cannot wait to read more about her and the future that awaits her in the next book.

The only downside to this book is the fact that it is so short, and the only reason I am really saying that is because I want more! Readers, beware, this book ends in a cliffhanger that will leave you craving the next installment in the series. Also, with so much stuffed into 60 pages, the book could get rather intense at times in terms of backstory and plot explanations, but it was relatively easy to follow along with what was occurring/being explained. McRae does a wonderful job packing everything into such a short story, and with great characters, an intriguing plot, and lyrical prose, Tallis is a book you should not miss out on!
A Great Escape!

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Cover for My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century Gets a Makeover!

The cover for My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris has a new look!

Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled
Author Information:
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Books-A-Million
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family's trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze. 

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. 

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
I liked the first cover (which you can see here), but I like this one just as much (I totally want to steal her dress and find a reason to wear it)! I cannot wait to read this book and start swooning over fictional Italian men. *le sigh* So what do you think?

WAIT UP! Want to win some awesome swag? If so, then just sign up below! J

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spineand it's a weekly meme mentioning an anticipated upcoming release!
My Choice:

Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsday USA Children’s
Author Information: Website / Blog / Twitter
Buy the Book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
This book appeals to me in so many ways. First, it seems like there is a few characteristics of two of my favorite books, Graceling and Poison Study. Second, the main character seems pretty badass, where she is the one that everyone has to defeat. Third, it seems like there are going to be two rather wonderful men to choose from, a prince and a captain of the guard. With some murder and mystery thrown in, how could anyone not be interested? There appears to be plenty to like about this book (or plenty of men to swoon over), so I am excited for this one! What are you looking forward to reading?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Swipe by Evan Angler

Interested in this book? Stay tuned for a giveaway!

Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Author Information:
WebsiteTwitter / Facebook
Genre: Dystopian, Middle Grade
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
My Shelf:
Own (eBook)
Other Information: Debut Author
Buy the Book:
Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Books-A-Million
Logan Langley is just months away from his thirteenth birthday and the biggest day of his life- the day he will finally be Marked. The Mark lets people get jobs, vote, and even go out to eat or buy concert tickets.

Becoming Marked means becoming free. Or so he is told. Five years ago when Logan's sister went to get her Mark she never came back. Now Logan can't shake the feeling he's being watched...

And then he finds the wire.

Logan Langley cannot help but be afraid of the dark. While other kids his age might poke fun at him if they knew of his fear, Logan knows that there is something lurking in the shadows, constantly watching him. He does not know who, and he does not know why, but he knows that someone is there. As his 13th birthday draws closer, he prepares to receive his Mark and make his Pledge, officially becoming an adult. However, his paranoia over the Pledge increases as recalls his sister’s disappearance after leaving to get Marked, and when he finds a wire in his room proving he is being watched, he begins to discover that not all is how it seems and getting Marked might be more dangerous than he initially thought.

Swipe is what I consider a ‘true’ dystopian novel. There has been an inundation of YA dystopian literature recently, but many of the books seem to have hardly any dystopian elements or the future world/people created are rather unrealistic. However, Swipe has abundant dystopian components, and the future reality of the world that Angler provides is so plausible it is scary. In fact, certain characteristics of Swipe remind me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (which shall forever be one of my favorite books). The world building is fantastic and it is easy to envision how the new world looks and functions. Angler does a brilliant job explaining how everything comes to be and I loved discovering more about this futuristic reality.

The intensity of the book picks up slowly until it is literally non-stop action and plot twists. The beginning was a bit creepy for me (especially since I am a big wimp who is still afraid of the dark at my age. I wish I was kidding *sigh*). When Logan felt like he was being watched and when he found that wire, I was literally shaking in my boots myself. Then the story begins to unfold, discoveries are made, there is plot twist after plot twist, and I found myself completely enraptured.

I liked the two main characters, Logan and Erin. I connected with Logan quickly (and for more reasons other than the fact that we have a mutual fear of the dark). He is a very likeable character who is mature and smart for his age. Even when adults tell him he is wrong or mentally unstable, he is steadfast in his beliefs, and I appreciated that about him. The same can be said for Erin. I loved the interaction between the two of them, and I thought their budding relationship was adorable. I am hoping to see more of them together in the next book!

Overall, this was a great read and one of the better dystopian books out there for teens. Swipe is listed as middle grade, but it actually reads more along the lines of a normal YA book, and I think anyone of any age will enjoy it. If you are looking for an engaging, fast-paced read in a well-crafted dystopian world, look no further!
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