Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater

ISBN-13: 9-780545-424943
Publication: September 2013 from Scholastic Press
Source: BEA/Scholastic/bought
Rating: 4.5 &hearts/ 5 ♥ – I really liked it!
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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

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

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

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As some of you may remember, I loved The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievfater. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Dream Thieves – which I did, at BEA 2013 and later from Scholastic Canada. I was pumped! I sat down to read it…and couldn’t. Now wait! That doesn’t mean it was because it was horrible (obviously not, I gave it 4.5 stars) but because I could only hear Will Patton’s voice in my head while I was reading! So I bought the audiobook and listened to it in my car to and from work every day.

This second book introduces the reader to a couple intriguing new characters – Kavinsky and they Greyman. I loved the fact we got more Ronan and Adam point of view, and Calla is still my favourite of the ladies from 300 Fox Way (besides Blue!). The Dream Thieves builds wonderfully on the story from the first book and takes us deeper into Ronan’s dreaming abilities, and his family history. He and Kavinsky get into some major issues that result in an epic blowout at the end of the book. Blue has some boy troubles between Adam and Gansey (Gansey all the way!) and honestly, she just needs to TELL Adam about her “prophecy”.

4.5 heart

The Dream Thieves is an awesome sequel to an awesome book! The boys are ridiculous in that “oh geez” kind of way. I love how driven Gansey is, and how protective they are of Blue (even Ronan, though he doesn’t admit or show it). The introduction of the Greyman gives an air of suspense to the in-your-face crazyness that is Kavinsky and Ronan. There’s something going on with the Greyman and Maura and he is definitely going to be around for book 3 (which I just finished this week and I loved, and the review will be up next week!). I can honestly say I think this is Maggie Stievfater at her best.

ARCs received from BEA, and Scholastic Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you! Audio purchased myself.

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Review: The Night Is Found by Kat Kruger

The Night is Found The Night is Found
by Kat Kruger

ISBN-13: 9-781927-746578
Publication: July 2014 from Fierce Ink Press
Source: publisher
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

When they tried to kill a prince, they made a king

In the aftermath of his pack leader’s assassination Connor Lewis is ready to take control. Rodolfus de Aquila’s plan before he died was to unite the European werewolf packs against their common enemies: the Hounds of God who make the laws and enforce them ruthlessly with questionable motives, and the Luparii, an intergovernmental group of werewolf hunters now bent on the extermination of his kind. The uneasy alliance between these two factions has fallen apart, and now a battle wages leaving the pack werewolves scrambling to escape bio-chemical warfare on one side, and total domination on the other.

After hearing rumors of a union between the American packs Connor returns with Amara to his home city of New York to learn how to bring the Old World packs together. Werewolf society in the New World has taken a very different course from that of Europe, but when Connor meets the American leaders he begins to question if their ways are, in fact, the path forward.

A world away from Madison, Arden, and all those that he is trying to protect, Connor must discover the secret to uniting and leading the packs under one final charge, or else risk extinction for their entire species in the epic conclusion to The Magdeburg Trilogy.

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The Night is Found by Kat Kruger is an excellent end to a wonderful trilogy. Conner is so much more than he was in the beginning, and it was awesome watching his transition from teen to leader.

This third book takes us back from Paris to New York, Conner’s home city. There, he encounters the unified packs of the new world and discovers more intricate plans than he could have guessed at. He stands strong against the Founders of these unified packs and uncovers some useful allies in his fight against the Luparii and the Hounds of God.

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I don’t want to give too much about The Night is Found because it would ruin the entire trilogy! I found the action, secrets, reveals and even the epilogue to be wonderfully paced and attention grabbing. Only thing that through me off a bit was the switch from Conner’s point of views to Madison’s, mostly because in that first chapter from her point of view she was never named and though I figured it was her, I was still a little thrown. Outside of that, the read was great. I definitely recommend this trilogy!

e-ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Cover Reveal: Wastelands by LM Preston

Yep! Yep! Yep! There’s a revealing going on.
If you have an insatiable appetite for PIRATES and romance with MYSTERY thrown in, than you are in for a great ride with the BANDITS series.
Book 2 in the series WASTELANDS by LM Preston comes out Spring 2014 (May).
However, she couldn’t wait to share the details of her Smokin’ Hot Cover!

Title: Wastelands
Author: L.M. Preston
Series: Bandits (Book #2)
Genre:  YA Romance SciFi Adventure
Publisher: Phenomenal One Press
Release Date: Ebook March 31st, 2014, Print May 5th, 2014
Blurb/Synopsis:
There’s nothing left for Daniel to fight for, except his father’s honor, on the brutal prison planet which holds his brother. This time, he’s going to do things right. He’ll turn his training as a famed Zukar thief into something his father will be proud of. The only thing holding him back is the loss of Jade’s love, the only girl who had the guts to put him in his place. And just one prison Warden who believes he has the power to keep Daniel away.
Take a moment to add it to your GOODREADS reading list!
Here’s the ISBN # 9780985025
And enjoy a FREE read of the 1st book in the series, BANDITS! here.

Giveaway

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L.M. Preston was born in Washington, DC.  She loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl.  A Techie and Educator for over sixteen years, she started writing science fiction under the encouragement of her husband who was a Sci-Fi buff and her four kids.  She has an obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds.  She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing. In addition to being an author, she’s also a Moderator for Yalitchat.ning.org, 2012 Vice President of Mid Atlantic Book Association and 2012 co-chair for the Maryland Writer’s Conference.

Places to find LM Preston

Places to find Wastelands

Review: Membrane by Carol Moreira

Membrane Membrane
by Carol Moreira

ISBN-13: 9-781927-746042
Publication: July 2013 from Fierce Ink Press
Source: publisher
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

You can’t outrun the membrane…

For Tanya turning sixteen sucks. Her former friend Rachel is bullying her, the love of her life doesn’t know she exists and her self-esteem isn’t exactly sky-high. Things go from bad to worse when she gets slimed at a bus stop and finds herself in an alternate universe and faced with another version of herself.

Her alternate universe double is cool and confident, if a bit bossy. P — short for Princess because in Tanya’s eyes she is one — is part of an organization called Resist. Trained in tactical defense, Resist is preparing for an invasion by the Others. But are the Others really mobilizing to take over P’s universe or has there been some kind of galactic miscommunication?

On the other side of the membrane, who can Tanya trust to make it back to her universe alive?

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Membrane by Carol Moreira is a whirlwind of a sci-fi ride through alternate universes and (not-so) alien invasions. Tanya is a fairly normal high school student until she finds herself sucked through the Membrane into an alternate universe where she meets her alternate self. Crazyness ensues!

It’s always fun to read books that take place where you live, since you get to recognize street names, places and events. So like Tanya, when she finds herself through the Membrane into a parallel Nova Scotia, I too was struck by the differences. Tanya has had a rough time of high school and the alternate universe experience doesn’t help her any. Tanya is kind, sensitive, a little anxious and depressed, but has a good head on her shoulders and ultimately really cares for others. She’s a quick thinker and helps get herself, her double (called P for Princess, and boy is she) and others out of sticky situations. P on the other hand, is quite opposite of Tanya. She’s very sure of herself to the point of arrogance at times, and while she can be cruel she is kind at heart.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the alternate universes (Tanya visits two) and the Membrane that separates them. Tanya finds herself wrapped up in quite the mystery where an invasion may not be an invasion, and another may be going on behind the scenes. There is a wonderful “bad guy” who you can tell has secrets and agendas galore. While Tanya and P come from very close universes, the Others that are invading P’s world are quite different. I could have done without the numerous references to how beautiful they are, but other than that they were fascinating and the source of much of the worry and fear felt by P and Tanya.

3 heart

I’m a huge sci-fi fan, and quite enjoyed Membrane by Carol Moreira. While I found a few parts of the narrative a little jumpy and confusing at times (I’m still not exactly sure who the Fabricists are) the major plot points, resolutions and set up for a sequel (maybe? It’s certainly left open for one!) were all wrapped together rather well by the end of the book. Tanya had some good growth throughout the story, as did P through her interactions with Tanya and some world-shattering truths. Membrane is engaging and unique, and I would be happy to recommend it to young adult sci-fi readers (and not-so young adult ones).

e-copy provided by Fierce Ink Press in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater

ISBN-13: 9-780545-424929
Publication: September 2012 from Scholastic Press
Source: BEA 2012/publisher/audiobooksync
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be-dead walk past. Blue has never seen them – until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

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

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship students who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

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

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Maggie Stiefvater has done it again with The Raven Boys and completely drawn me in to this amazing world of magic, psychics, boarding school boys and a sleeping Welsh king. And orange cars. We can’t forget the orange car! Despite owning a physical copy of the book, I listened to the audiobook (offered by audiobooksync this summer as a free download) and I loved it. Will Patton is the narrator and he does an amazing job.

Blue comes from a family of psychics, but she isn’t one. Rather, she helps amplify their own seeing abilities. After seeing her first spirit on Saint Mark’s Eve (a person who will die in the next year), Blue finds herself swept up in a mystery involving four boys (Gansey, Adam, Noah and Ronan) from the local private school, an old murder, a sleeping Welsh king who Gansey is determined to find, an aunt visiting from out of town, magic and sacrifices. The book alternates points of view between Blue, Gansey, Adam and a teacher, Whelk. Through their eyes we see the mystery unfold. Blue and Gansey have the most screen time, and I loved their voices. Blue is a girl comfortable in her own skin. She knows who she is and is self-assured and intelligent, if still a bit unsure of her future at times and seems a little lost every now and then. Gansey is supremely confident and while he comes across as arrogant sometimes, he’s really not. Their first meeting is an awesome scene and I couldn’t help chuckling at it – since you as the reader know more about how tied together Gansey and Blue will be in the near future.

Outside of some awesome characterization – each of our Raven Boys and Blue are extremely well developed. It is easy to see them and get into their voices and histories – the plot in The Raven Boys is pretty wonderful. There’s this potential for a love triangle that stays up in the air so you don’t even know if any of them will get together, but it works and is perfect for the plot. There are some crazy twists that I did not see coming, at all, but in hindsight I want to facepalm because I should have. It’s one of those deals where the clues for the twists are so subtly hidden throughout the text that when everything finally does come together and get revealed you’re like “holy crap!” followed by “oohhhhh.” There is also some set up for the next book that gets thrown at you at the ending and just leaves your jaw dropped and you scrambling for the sequel – but it’s not out yet!

5 heart

I was enthralled with The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater from the get go. The matter-of-fact way that psychics and magic are incorporated into the world is wonderful, and the characters are all so well written. The mystery, will-it-be/won’t-it-be romance, threat of future happenings, crazy twists and reveals, and even some emotional upheaval for a character dealing with abuse all contribute to a nicely paced, engaging, hold-your-breath plot – that, while it does wrap up in the end, also dive bombs right into the next book and leaves you wanting more. I greatly enjoy Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and highly recommend The Raven Boys!

ARCs received through BEA 2012 and Scholastic Canada in exchange for my honest review. Audio copy downloaded through SYNC. Thank you!

Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink Ink
by Amanda Sun

ISBN-13: 9-780373-210718
Publication: June 2013 from Harlequin Teen
Source: BEA 2013
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

When orphan Katie Green goes to live in Japan with an aunt she barely knows, she must learn to embrace a foreign world that will open her eyes forever to the unimaginable. Katie can’t deny her attraction to the aloof Tomohiro, but there’s something unnerving about him. Ink reacts strangely around him. Drawings seem to come to life in dangerous ways.

Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, ancient beings who once ruled Japan as gods, and being close to Katie is making his powers spiral dangerously out of control. Hunted by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, and an even darker underworld, Katie and Tomo must find a way to control the ink before their relationship unleashes a power that will shake the very foundations of Japan – and the entire world.

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I had so much fun reading Amanda Sun’s debut novel Ink. Set in Japan, Ink follows Katie as she meets and falls for Yuu Tomohiro, finds out kami (gods) are real, and that she has more to do with everything than she thinks.

There are so many aspects of Ink that worked for me. I’m going to break it down and talk about a few reasons why. First, characters. I loved Katie. She’s very smart, determined and capable of looking after herself (with a bit of help sometimes, but everyone needs help sometimes). Katie is incredibly curious, a little awkward, sad (understandable, considering the reason she is living with her aunt in Japan is because her mother passed away) and even a little lonely. Throw in Tomohiro who is mysterious, protective, artistic and caring with a dash of angry loner boy thrown in and there is some awesome scenes and interactions between the two. The pacing of the book works very well with a mix of quieter moments and action packed, breath-catching ones. There are some secondary characters that throw quite a wrench in things, and really help flesh out the mystery and mythology of the story.

Which leads me into the love I have for the setting and mythology of Ink. I’ve always had a fascination with Japanese history and culture (it’s the history major in me, that I love old cultures, I swear) and I feel that Ink delivered a descriptive and engaging, though brief, glimpse into Japanese society. Amanda Sun herself lived in Japan for a time, so I felt comfortable trusting the picture she is showing us. Language is used wonderfully, and there is a glossary in the back for the Japanese words and terms that may be unfamiliar to the reader. The mythology that Amanda Sun created around the kami is very well developed and intricate – and though I’m still a little confused where some of the ink that is a sign of the kami comes from, I still quite enjoyed it!

4.5 heart

Ink by Amanda Sun is a slow-burn romance that winds its way through Yakuza thugs, gods in human flesh, high school, mysterious pasts, secret societies and family. There is a wider threat to Tomo and Katie that comes because of Tomohiro’s connection to the kami, and this first book only touches the tip of it. The out of control powers and the interest from the Yakuza are only the beginning. I am very excited to see where the sequel takes Katie, Tomohiro and the others involved. Should be an interesting ride!

ARC received at BEA through an author signing at the Harlequin booth.

Review: Linked by Imogen Howson

Linked Linked by Imogen Howson

ISBN-13: 9-781442-446564
Publication: June 2013 from Simon & Schuster BYR
Source: publisher
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Elissa used to have it all. But for the last three years she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: She’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl – Lin – who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose. With nowhere left to hide, Elissa is forced to take a drastic step to get Lin to safety – but it could take away her home forever. Lin is too valuable to let go, and Elissa has knowledge too dangerous to let her keep. And the government will stop at nothing to get them back.

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Linked by Imogen Howson is a debut sci-fi novel that takes place not just in the future, but on another planet – and I was hooked from the beginning. Elissa is having very creepy and dangerous visions that actually result in physical harm. From the start, I had ideas that the doctor Lissa sees to try and get answers knows more than he’s letting on. As must her parents.

When Elissa finally realizes what her visions mean, and meets her twin Lin, the action really takes off. There are some very suspenseful scenes running from cops (all while letting the reader explore a very nifty new planet and technology) and some moments where I thought that was it for them. But Elissa’s dad gives some surprise help, as does Caden – Elissa’s brother’s best friend (her brother, by the way, seemed to be a very throw-away character. We hardly see him at all, and it feels like he was there so Caden wouldn’t have to be a stranger to Elissa, but someone she already knows and can hopefully trust). The pace of the story unfolds at a good rate with some crazy fight scenes, space travel and surprising reveals. I felt the main characters of Elissa and Lin were very well developed to the point that I was often frustrated with their decisions, proud of their choices, scared for them and excited for them throughout the course of the novel. With Caden, we get a fairly good sense of who he is but what we see of him is through Elissa’s perception and so his personality fluctuates a bit depending on her feelings for him at the time (it is easy to see that he is level headed and dependable in an emergency though!). The idea behind Elissa’s visions and connection to her twin Lin is really neat and quite unique. I definitely wasn’t expecting some of the reveals in the end.

4 heart

I was definitely swept up in Linked by Imogen Howson, from the action to the mystery of Elissa and Lin, to the sci-fi aspects of the novel and the small beginning romance between Elissa and Caden. The end was left wide open for the sequel, of which I’m ridiculously happy because despite being engrossed in the story I definitely had some questions about how the link between Elissa and Lin (and all twins, apparently) works and their mysterious power, as well as some confusion about the final explanation/solution/twist/reveal at the end that I’m dying to discuss but don’t want to spoil for you! Final verdict? Solid read (even with leaving me with questions) from a promising debut author – I’m excited to read more in Elissa and Lin’s universe.

ARC received from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!